Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Round-Up

Health Update: Not since I was 13 have I slept until 11:20 a.m., but I did it! Yep, I slept in yesterday, thanks to a kidney infection and the hacksaw that was cutting through me. So no new post yesterday, but a more youthful, healthier me today. Thanks, Cipro! (It's not just for anthrax anymore.) And that blue pill that turns everything ... blue.
And the dreams! Whoa! The weird dreams you can have while you endure excruciating pain and a soaring temperature! Jami Gertz was my doctor, and as with any doctor visit, I tend to talk too much. Nerves, I say. So I just keep yacking away. Yack, yack, yack. Dr. Jami Gertz is so unnerved that she LOOKS AT HER WATCH. Then she gets up, opens the door, yells down the hallway for a nurse, then tells me that I'll have to see someone else because she DOESN'T HAVE THE TIME TO LISTEN TO MY PROBLEMS. I thought that was rather rude. And then I woke up.

* On the political front ... Tim Russert can act like this is Christmas all over again, but frankly, I'm bored out of my skull. The most riveting element in this campaign is Mike Huckabee's appearances on The Colbert Report. Last night, the two played air hockey with a puck shaped like Texas. Meanwhile, Hillary was offering her warm and sincere "it is an honor" diatribe to Obama in Austin. That's when I looked at my watch like I was Dr. Jami Gertz.

* Blog Update: Caprice of My Name Is Earl pants and Kidnapper Van fame has been busted. Seems the school principal pulled her aside to ask if she is the same Caprice who wears a homeless man's pants. So I was warned to be careful what I post. Yes, ma'am. And that reminds me: I need to write about Caprice's near-death experience with Hot'n'Spicy Cheez-Its.

* Newest purchase ... This Polar watch, the greatest thing since sliced bread, which I don't eat because I'm limiting the carbs and practically quadrupling my protein intake. Thanks to this watch, I can now closely monitor my calories burned, my heart rate and, I think, the barometric pressure in Indonesia. For those who already have a moderately obsessive personality, this is a great way to enhance your disorder. Walk the length of your driveway, check your watch. Get off the couch to find the remote, check your watch. Type really, really fast, check your watch. Those numbers can really add up.

* Valentine's Day amendment ... Guess what I found on my pillow, WITH A CHRISTMAS BOW ATTACHED, just two nights ago? Yep, that's right, the People Magazine Yearbook 2008. Apparently this periodical is available in paperback at Walgreen's for $11.99 (more if you live in Canada). But if you want to ensure a longer shelf life, you should probably invest in the hardcover edition, which you can buy for about $19.95 from outlets like amazon.com or buy.com. The hardcover option to this yearbook is lost on me because it's not like I'm going to seek out any autographs from Angelina Jolie: "Hey, remember that time we rolled so-and-so's yard? That was awesome! Stay in touch over the summer! 2 cool + 2 be = 4 gotten." But perhaps this is something you might do, so spending a few extra dollars makes sense.

Go enjoy your weekend...everybody's working for it, you know...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chocolate Babka, or Two Degrees from Jerry Seinfeld


Editor's Note: The short history of the Wednesday blog is that I discuss food. I woke up this morning, suffering near insurmountable indifference toward my blog. That, and I had traveled a long road to recovery from last night's vegetable burrito. (Whoa, Nellie!) No WAY was I going to write about food. Until now ...

Dear readers, if you will kindly scroll down a couple of posts to "Do the Crime, Do the Time, Be Mine," you will see that I have one lone comment. If you were to compare only numbers, you would scoff and say, "Hrmmph! Pioneer Woman gets 4,000 a DAY!" Well, that may be so, but just look who left my one comment: Suzy Soro, the comedian who played the woman who bought the last chocolate babka on the 77th episode of Seinfeld! "The Dinner Party" was originally broadcast Feb. 3, 1994 and was written by Larry David. Her comment to ME was posted Feb. 20, 2008.

So, thank YOU, Suzy Soro for lifting my spirits today and giving me fodder for the blog. It even has a food element, which is just icing on the ... babka.

"Well, I'll be there ahead of you and I'll be telling them what a jerk YOU are. . . . I'll have the chocolate babka." -- Barbara, as played by Suzy Soro

Chocolate Babka
(from All Recipes)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 10 inch tube pan. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
* In a medium bowl, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Change the mixer speed to medium, and beat in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. With the mixer on low speed, alternately beat the flour mixture and sour cream into the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until just blended.
* For the topping: In a small bowl combine the chocolate, pecans, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to make a crumb mixture. Spread half of the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the crumb mixture. Pour in the remaining batter, and sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture; press the crumbs in lightly so they adhere to the batter. Quickly, but gently cut through the batter and crumbs in an up and down motion with a knife. Lightly rap the pan once against a hard surface, to settle the batter.
* Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Cover the top of the cake with aluminum foil. Continue baking until a skewer inserted halfway between the side of the pan and the tube comes out clean, about 20 minutes longer. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert cake onto rack, and cool completely.