Wednesday, January 28, 2009

She is Not Alone

There is an interesting medical condition in which individuals lose their ability to smell, in many cases due to some sort of head trauma. It's called anosmia. Really. Like amnesia, but it's your nose which has no memory. There's even a foundation that helps to advance the issue. It is evidently an affliction that affects many people.

In December, the New York Times profiled a woman who suffers from it. She had moved to New York and was unable to smell the aromas (good) and odors (bad) of the city that never sleeps. In 2006, she had been hit by a car and the olfactory neurons in her brain that control the ability to smell had been damaged. Then her sense of smell began to return. Her body had decided that she needed her ability to smell - especially the smell of freshly baked bagels coming from a New York bagel shop on a Sunday morning. It is noteworthy the woman being profiled was once a chef and food writer. The story in the Times was picked up by a blogger in New York who also suffers from anosmia.

I have to say, I would miss my sense of smell terribly. As a life-long allergy sufferer, I have gone days with a stuffed nose and the inability to smell things. But there is something about waking up to the smell of coffee (or bacon!) or the aromas coming out the kitchen at a holiday that I would miss tremendously if that sense was lost.

How about you? What sense could you not live without?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

For Those of You Still Wondering

Today is the 42nd anniversary of the launch pad fire at Kennedy Space Center, which claimed the lives of astronauts Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chaffee. On January 27, 1967, a flash fire broke out inside the capsule of Apollo 1 and the three astronauts were unable to open the door and the three astronauts were killed. For those who would like the complete history of the tragedy, you can read the Senate report here. An investigation of the accident resulted in several modifications to the space capsule to ensure that the tragedy would never be repeated. The final report submitted to NASA can be read here.

When I first started this blog, I came up with the moniker, "Brave Astronaut." I alluded to how I came up with the name by mentioning it had to do with my secondary school career. The junior high school that I went to was Harry B. Thompson Junior High and our athletic team was known as the Astronauts. The school has three wings off the back of the school, one for each grade attending the school. When I arrived there in the fall of 1978, the halls were known by those grade (7th grade hall, 8th grade hall, and 9th grade hall). However at the head of each hall there was a plaque denoting that each wing had also been named for one of those three "Brave Astronauts."

The name of the school store (where I also worked), where you could get school supplies and occasionally snacks and candy was also known as the Astronaut Shop. Today, the school is now a middle school, and the 6th grade classes are divided up into "Rockets," "Meteorites," and "Stars." But I hope that somebody is remembering the Astronauts, especially Grissom, Chaffee, and White today.

Monday, January 26, 2009

But Will He Do It at My House?

One of my as yet, unstated New Years Resolutions is to get a handle on the clutter that is overtaking the Brave Astronaut launchpad. The problem of course, is not enough hours in the day. Some time ago, Adam Roberts, also known as the Amateur Gourmet, published a how-to guide to getting a handle on your kitchen. Perhaps that is the place to start.

Then just the other day, he posted a recipe worth sharing. Chicken with Bacon AND Cream!

Mustard Chicken with Bacon and Cream

Make a marinade. In a bowl, mix together:
  • 1/4 cup strong Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds crushed (optional; I had them on hand)
  • 1 1/2 cups Creme Fraiche OR 1 1/4 cups heavy cream (I used the cream)
  • 8 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1/2 pound thick-sliced bacon or pancetta cut into 1/4 inch lardons
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp chopped thyme
  • 2 Tbsp chopped sage
Take chicken, cut into 8 pieces, pat dry with paper towels and season aggressively with salt and pepper. Place in marinade, stirring, let sit for at least an hour or two or overnight.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees. Place the chicken and all the marinade into a baking dish and bake for one hour, turning the pieces as they brown. Some of the pieces will cook through earlier, Adam found that the breasts were done after 45 minutes--but the legs and thighs took the full hour.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Stranger in Paradise

From C in DC, here's another Friday meme. Feel free to play along. She got it here.
  1. Put your iTunes or MP3 player on shuffle.
  2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer
You must write the song name no matter how silly it sounds.

If someone says "is this okay" you say?
  • Ally Ally Oxen Free (The Kingston Trio)
What would best describe your personality?
  • Georgia on My Mind (Ray Charles)
What do you like in a guy / girl?
  • If I Can't Have You (Yvonne Elliman)
What is your life's purpose?
  • Straighten Up and Fly Right (Natalie Cole)
What is your motto?
  • Old Joe's Place (The Folksmen - from A Mighty Wind)
What do your friends think of you?
  • Yellow Submarine (The Beatles)
What do you think about very often?
  • Calypso (John Denver)
What is 2 + 2?
  • Shower the People (James Taylor)
What do you think of your best friend?
  • One of These Nights (The Eagles)
What do you think of the person you like?
  • Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes)
What is your life story?
  • Dance Band on the Titanic (Harry Chapin)
What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • Stay (Jackson Browne)
What do you think when you see the person you like?
  • I'm Still Standing (Elton John)
What do your parents think of you?
  • Grazing in the Grass (The Friends of Distinction - from the Anchorman soundtrack)
What will you dance to at your wedding (although I don't expect to be having another wedding)?
  • Fire and Rain (James Taylor)
What will they play at your funeral?
  • Come Together (The Beatles)
What is your hobby / interest?
  • Worrisome Heart (Melody Gardot)
What do you think of your friends?
  • Buildings and Mountains (The Republic Tigers)
Whats the worst thing that could happen?
  • What's Goin' On (Marvin Gaye)
How will you die?
  • She's Got a Way (Billy Joel) (ouch)
What is the one thing you regret?
  • Don't Stand So Close to Me (The Police)
What makes you laugh?
  • We Can Last Forever (Chicago)
What makes you cry?
  • Good Life (Tony Bennett)
Will you ever get married?
  • Lowdown (Boz Scaggs)
What scares you the most?
  • The Boy in the Bubble (Paul Simon)
If you could go back in time, what would you change?
  • Crazy Love (Poco)
What hurts right now?
  • Tell Her About It (Billy Joel)
What will you post this as?
  • Stranger in Paradise (Tony Bennett)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

For want of a checkpoint . . .

An inauguration volunteer was lost.

As many of you know, I was supposed to be on the Mall today to volunteer for the Inauguration of Barack Obama. I started my day at 4:00am, when I left C in DC's house and headed for the National Mall. I walked and walked and walked, getting pushed north of the Capitol complex. I finally headed east along E Street, trying to find a checkpoint that would get me to the National Mall. However, with Pennsylvania Avenue between me and the Mall, I was unable to find a checkpoint where I could cross.

I walked around with several thousand cold Americans for about two hours when I finally hit my limit. I talked with my team captain and told him of the troubles I was having. He had no good advice for me, nor did any of the many law enforcement officials that I talked to.

While this will certainly sounds like sour grapes to some, I finally decided to throw in the towel and headed home. I got some celebratory donuts and have returned home to watch the ceremonies on TV. But I can always say that I was almost a part of it. I've got the badge and the hat to prove it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Food - Good

Today is the federal holiday set aside to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Tomorrow our nation will inaugurate the 44thPresident of the United States, Barack Obama. I am going to need some good stick to your ribs food to keep me warm through the festivities, which I am planning to attend, as an Inauguration Volunteer. I'll be in front of the American History Museum. I'll be the one in the red hat.

Braised Beef Brisket
Makes 8-10 servings; Time: 3 hours (including prep time)
  • 1 whole beef brisket, about 5 pounds, cut lean
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 large ripe tomato (cored, chopped, peeled and seeded)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 36 oz. beef broth, or enough to almost cover brisket
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the olive oil, so it covers the entire skillet, then add the beef. Sear each side for about 5 minutes or until it is nicely brown. Remove meat from skillet and place in oven-proof casserole dish. While you don’t need to sear the meat, it really helps retain the juices and moisture.
  3. Add chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic, tomato and beef broth until the meat is almost completely covered in the casserole dish. If you don’t have enough beef broth, you can add water.
  4. Place in the oven, turning the meat every 30 minutes, until tender, approximately 2.5-3 hours.
  5. Allow brisket to rest for 10-15 minutes, while you boil down the gravy/broth over a high heat.
  6. Carve thin slices of the brisket going against the grain.
  7. Voila! Brisket is ready to serve with whatever seasonal sides you’d like. My sides were baked potatoes and cabbage with butter and nutmeg.
From We Love DC.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Plans

It's a last minute date night here in Brave Astronaut land. Mrs. BA and I are heading out to the Georgetown basketball game. But I've been sitting on this tidbit of information for a while. Perhaps we should make a plan for a Valentine's Day outing. Because nothing says "I love you" like a good schnitzel and a peppy polka.

My friend, Anna von Schurman, spotted this on a blog that she reads. Blob's Park, is back in business. The polka palace which closed at the end of 2007 has reopened (a planned real estate deal fell through and the owners decided to give it another go). I enjoyed the one time that I went and according to the website, there is a big plan for Valentine's Day.

I say we make a date! OSGs, Special K and J in PA, what do you think?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

An Open Letter to the President-Elect

Dear President-elect Obama:

In one week's time, you will take your oath of office on the steps of the United States Capitol. I, along with millions of Americans, will be there to witness this great event. You have been entrusted with the greatest office and we are counting on you to bring us the change we need. We are with you. I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election and second, to let you know of one appointment that is of great concern to me and many of my colleagues at the National Archives and Records Administration.

As you know, the Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein, announced his resignation, and left the agency on December 19. While I completely understand that you have a lot on your plate right now and that leadership of the National Archives may not be centered on your radar screen, I urge you to act on nominating a replacement as soon as possible.

Since the establishment of the National Archives in 1934, there have been nine Archivists of the United States.
  • Robert D. W. Connor - October 10, 1934-September 15, 1941
  • Solon J. Buck - September 18, 1941-May 31, 1948
  • Wayne C. Grover - June 2, 1948-November 6, 1965
  • Robert H. Bahmer - November 7, 1965-March 9, 1968
  • James B. Rhoads - March 10, 1968-1979
  • Robert M. Warner - July 1980-April 15, 1985
  • Don W. Wilson - December 4, 1987-March 24, 1993
  • John W. Carlin - May 30, 1995-February 15, 2005
  • Allen Weinstein - February 16, 2005-December 19, 2008
Mr. Bahmer served as Acting Archivist from November 7, 1965 until his appointment, January 16, 1966. Mr. Rhoads served as Acting Archivist from March 10, 1968 until his appointment, May 2, 1968. Between the tenure of Archivists Rhoads and Warner, James O'Neill served as Acting Archivist for approximately six months. Prior to the appointment of Archivist Wilson, Frank Burke served as Acting Archivist for more than two years as did Trudy Huskamp Peterson between the tenures of Archivists Wilson and Carlin. With Dr. Weinstein's departure, Deputy Archivist Adrienne Thomas now serves as Acting Archivist.

Dr. Weinstein and his two predecessors have had controversial tenures. When President Clinton nominated John Carlin, a former Governor of Kansas, there was concern in the archival community about his qualifications for the position. In fact, one of the first pieces of professional correspondence I wrote upon becoming an archivist was to President Clinton regarding the nomination. When Dr.Weinstein was nominated by the current president, there was concern over Dr. Weinstein's publishing record, but he was a genuine historian and his service to the National Archives has benefited the professional community immensely.

With Governor Carlin's appointment, the National Archives and Records Administration was in need of an administrator that could help with the management of the archives. It was Governor Carlin who secured the initial funding for the Electronic Records Archive and partnered with Lockheed Martin Corporation to get ERA off the ground. Dr.Weinstein's tenure has raised the reputation of the institution and, in what will surely be one of Dr. Weinstein's greatest legacies, made ERA a viable entity, which will revolutionize the way records are transferred to the National Archives.

What the National Archives needs now is someone with enormous technology knowledge. The National Archives needs to be the leader in the archival community and nominating someone who can fully embrace technology and help move the archives forward is crucial to the success of the institution. ERA, though it has many critics and significant issues, must not be left to wither.

I respectfully also suggest that you look to the archival community for candidates as well. I can think of several right off that would do amazing things for the National Archives, individuals who are technologically savvy and also of a keen archival mind. The blogosphere and many of us in the archival community have been abuzz with suggestions on who should be the next Archivist of the United States. I know that members of your transition team met today with representatives of the Society of American Archivists to listen to suggestions and concerns about what qualifications are needed in the next Archivist of the United States.

The individual that you select must be able to navigate the intricacies of the federal agency and assist in developing a policy that echoes one of the promises you championed in your campaign, that of openness and transparency. Declassification efforts currently underway at NARA must continue to move forward.

Finally, the new Archivist of the United States should be an individual who can reclaim some of the prestige that should be afforded the National Archives and Records Administration. I will note that four of the nine individuals who have served as Archivist of the United States have also served as President of the Society of American Archivists.

One of your predecessors, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who established the National Archives in 1934, offers some more advice in a letter he wrote to former Archivist of the United States R. D. W. Connor, who was serving as President of the Society of American Archivists: "I need not tell you of my lifetime interest in the building up of archives throughout the nation." President Roosevelt concluded with an understanding of the work that lay ahead, speaking for the work of the Society, but could easily be translated to the necessary work that lay ahead for the National Archives, "This involves, of course, a vast amount of work because of this volume of federal, state, and local archives of all kinds - but I think that a broad plan would meet with hearty public support if it could be properly publicized."

Again, congratulations on your election. I am honored to be a part of your historic inauguration. Now let's get to work!

Brave Astronaut

This letter represents my own personal opinion and in no way reflects the opinion of the National Archives, nor do I speak in any official capacity for the National Archives.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Here's a list of 100 food items

But not 100 recipes. I pinched this from Special K, who got it from here, who got it from here. Special K was kind enough to follow up with an explanation of some of the more exotic items on the list, in case you aren't sure what they are, let alone if you've eaten them.

I'm off tonight to a long overdue chiropractic appointment and then I will be attending my training session for inauguration volunteers. Yes, I have been selected to help out on the big day. While I am sure that I will be right on the podium, ADR is betting on my holding a big arrow at the intersection of 21st and Constitution Sts. Let's hope for something in the middle, shall we? You'll find out shortly after I do.

  1. Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
  2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
  3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
  4. Optional extra: Post a comment here linking to your results.
The Brave Astronaut Omnivore's Hundred
  1. Venison
  2. Nettle tea - who am I, Winnie the Pooh?
  3. Huevos rancheros - I mean, I like salsa, I like eggs, but not together.
  4. Steak tartare - I like my steak rare, but not that rare.
  5. Crocodile
  6. Black pudding - ew, no, never
  7. Cheese fondue - as recently as New Years Eve - our traditional fondue night with the OSGs!
  8. Carp - was it in a tub?
  9. Borscht - not a fan of the beet
  10. Baba ghanoush
  11. Calamari - this one is a Mrs. BA favorite and a reason that I now eat it.
  12. Pho - another recent addition, but hot soup, good!
  13. PB&J sandwich - um, yes. It's a popular late "dinner," with an ice cold glass of milk
  14. Aloo gobi - I could eat this.
  15. Hot dog from a street cart - from the cart is part of the adventure!
  16. Epoisses - Mrs. BA likes to say she's never met a cheese she didn't like. Perhaps this one might be the first.
  17. Black truffle
  18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
  19. Steamed pork buns - heh, heh, pork buns, is that like cow cheeks?
  20. Pistachio ice cream - but not the artificial green kind, Ben and Jerry's makes a really good one.
  21. Heirloom tomatoes
  22. Fresh wild berries - my mother used to have raspberry bushes in the back yard, and the neighbors had blueberry bushes, not to mention the wild strawberries that use to line the road to my grandmother's house in Maine.
  23. Foie gras - not for me, but a fave of Mrs. BA and Mr. OSG.
  24. Rice and beans
  25. Brawn, or head cheese - ick.
  26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
  27. Dulce de leche
  28. Oysters - I've had them raw, including having them at the bar at the Acme Oyster House.
  29. Baklava
  30. Bagna cauda - I could eat this, too.
  31. Wasabi peas
  32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
  33. Salted lassi - what's that Timmy, Lassie's been sprinkled with pepper and put in the blender?
  34. Sauerkraut
  35. Root beer float - a weakness, especially when made with vanilla soft serve.
  36. Cognac with a fat cigar
  37. Clotted cream tea - I like it better when my milk does not curdle in my coffee.
  38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O - there are some gaps in the memory of doing these, but yep, been there.
  39. Gumbo
  40. Oxtail
  41. Curried goat - There are some that think lamb is gamy, man what must this taste like?
  42. Whole insects - it's intriguing, but not unless I really, really have to.
  43. Phaal - my taste for the hot stuff is still way below this level.
  44. Goat’s milk
  45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more - um, must stay away from the brown liquor.
  46. Fugu - I'm not that adventurous. And there is still a part of me that thinks all this is really just, well, bait.
  47. Chicken tikka masala - I could do this.
  48. Eel - see #46
  49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut - just one?
  50. Sea urchin - see #46, again. I've stepped on them, I don't need to eat them
  51. Prickly pear
  52. Umeboshi - maybe, but probably not.
  53. Abalone - again, more bait.
  54. Paneer - more stinky cheese. I can barely eat bleu cheese.
  55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
  56. Spaetzle - I used to be married to a girl of German descent.
  57. Dirty gin martini - another fave of Mr. OSG, but not for me.
  58. Beer above 8% ABV - when it can be secured, it will be drunk, as will I.
  59. Poutine - oh why ruin perfectly good French Fries like that?
  60. Carob chips
  61. S’mores - C'mon, my mother was a life-long Girl Scout.
  62. Sweetbreads
  63. Kaolin - eating dirt, thanks, but no.
  64. Currywurst - maybe, but not likely.
  65. Durian - sure, maybe someday
  66. Frogs’ legs - Mrs. OSG had these on my birthday.
  67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - I will always reach for the sugary dessert, every single time.
  68. Haggis - thanks, no.
  69. Fried plantain
  70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
  71. Gazpacho - I prefer my soup hot
  72. Caviar and blini - that scene in Big? Could have been me.
  73. Louche absinthe
  74. Gjetost, or brunost - more stinky cheese.
  75. Roadkill - never even been tempted, although it creeps me out when I pass a skunk that has been hit and the smell makes my mouth water, it's really weird.
  76. Baijiu - get me drunk enough, and I might not even notice.
  77. Hostess Fruit Pie
  78. Snail - if it's on the menu, I'm ordering it.
  79. Lapsang souchong - tea, which I'm not adverse to
  80. Bellini
  81. Tom yum - again, something I might eat.
  82. Eggs Benedict
  83. Pocky - its got chocolate, how bad could it be?
  84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant - maybe someday
  85. Kobe beef
  86. Hare
  87. Goulash
  88. Flowers
  89. Horse - Hey, I saw that episode of MASH
  90. Criollo chocolate
  91. Spam
  92. Soft shell crab
  93. Rose harissa
  94. Catfish
  95. Mole poblano
  96. Bagel and lox - bagel, yes - lox, no
  97. Lobster Thermidor
  98. Polenta
  99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
  100. Snake
To honor the 100, here's the fondue recipe preferred by the OSG and Brave Astronaut families.

Classic Swiss Fondue
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups (8 0z.) shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Emmentaler cheese
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. kirsch
  • dash white pepper
  • pinch grated nutmeg
Rub inside of fondue pot with cut garlic clove.

Pour in white wine and lemon juice; cook over medium heat until bubbly. Turn heat to low and gradually stir in cheeses with a wooden spoon.

In a small bowl blend cornstarch with kirsch. Blend into cheese and continue to cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture is thick and smooth. Do not allow fondue to boil. Season with white pepper and nutmeg. Serve with bread cubes, ham, apple slices, or whatever you want to have with melted cheese. Makes about 4 servings.

Friday, January 9, 2009

If it's Friday, it must be another Meme

Fridays have developed into Meme / List Friday around here. Here's one that C in DC stole from others and also undertaken by Special K.
  1. Political show - Meet the Press
  2. Picnic food - Deviled Eggs
  3. Mixed drink – Vodka Collins
  4. U.S. President – Thomas Jefferson
  5. Kind of student to teach – High School
  6. Hobby you do or wish you still did - Read for pleasure
  7. Sports commentator – I was always fond of Jim McKay
  8. Sport to watch on TV – baseball
  9. Animal to have as a pet - cat
  10. Halloween costume you have worn – Pirate
  11. Kind of dessert - my mother's cheesecake
  12. Comic strip - Pearls Before Swine
  13. Style or make of footwear - Docksiders
  14. Ice cream flavor - Heavenly Hash or coffee
  15. College or university president – I am a big fan of Ruth J. Simmons
  16. Internet news source – I have to pick one? Probably CNN
  17. Vacation spot - Bermuda
  18. Wine – Shiraz
  19. Way to waste time instead of working – things like this
  20. Student excuse for late work – true story - my typewriter / word processor ran out of ribbon - ah, those were the days
  21. Reality show – not if I can help it.
  22. Jewelry on a man – a wedding ring is sufficient, though I do have my father's fraternity ring
  23. Pizza topping – Sausage
  24. Children's movie - from my era, possibly the Fox and the Hound, currently the next generation of Brave Astronaut prefers Toy Story 2
  25. Celebrity you wish would retire - Jack Nicholson

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Random Observations on a Road Trip

I traveled to Jersey City, New Jersey yesterday to pick up my new (used) car. I've put a picture at the bottom so you can see my new ride. As some of you know, I have been looking to replace our second car for a few months and finally scored it on eBay, hence the day trip to Jersey City. However, with the new car came a radio that requires a code to make it work. So I had some time to think on the drive home. So I wrote this blog post in my head.
  • I have (in my mind) come up with a list of New Years Resolutions but have not yet gotten around to posting them here for public review. One of them is however, getting out of bed when the alarm goes off, which will allow for an earlier arrival at work and a better time management of my work day. So today, I got up when the alarm went off (and one snooze) so the Brave Astronaut family could get downtown and I could make a train northward.
  • Walking from the Metro to the bank (to get a bank check for the car) and back to the Metro reminded me how much I liked working downtown. The trip downtown also allowed me the opportunity to help drop off the boys at daycare, which LBA had been remarking to me that I never did.
  • As I got on the Metro to go to Union Station, I was standing near the door of the subway train, and a woman looked over at me and said, "Brave?" "Brave Astronaut?" Of the mass of humanity crowded on the Metro on a morning when I wouldn't necessarily be downtown, I had managed to bump into someone I went to high school with, in New York. It was very funny and good to see her.
  • I haven't ridden Amtrak in some time (I will say, had I bought a car from the Boston area, I could have flown there for less money than the train fare to Jersey City) but it was a very uneventful trip, complete with the requisite travel mall catalog in the seat pocket. VP-elect Joe Biden does know how to travel.
  • While I should have used the time on the train to sleep, I instead read and found myself looking out the window. There is a wide range of stuff littering the side of the tracks. I would swear that I even saw evidence of where people had been living - another sign of the poor economy.
  • I was also struck by the fact that in many places, looking out the window from a train is not the best view. I wonder if the President-elect will have the same thoughts when he travels to DC from New York next weekend?
  • I bought the car from a used car dealer in Jersey City. It was everything you would have expected. Trailer, fenced in lot, in the wilds of Jersey City. And I had to put gas in the car and put on new wipers.
  • I traveled home via the New Jersey Turnpike and noted with some interest that while there are rest areas up and down the Turnpike, the exits do not indicate what other amenities you might reach if you get off - with the exception of some hotels listed off of exit 5(?), including a Macintosh Inn, where I may have stayed once.
  • When I reached the Delaware Memorial Bridge, I noted the overhead sign warning me of a slippery roadway but also offering me a phone number if I was in crisis. Does a slippery roadway make it harder for people in crisis to do what they may have come there to do?
  • I made a pit stop at the Delaware rest area. I got some coffee, a snack, and a few dollars of Powerball tickets. I didn't win.
I am sure there are more random tidbits that I might have had last night, but the day overcame me and I had to get in bed. Which is why this post is 24 hours late from planned. But enjoy nonetheless. The car goes to the dealer tomorrow for a checkup. Wish me luck.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together

Stolen from my friend Stinkypaw, who posted this on her blog on a MONDAY. There were some accusations of content overlap, but she told me to use it in the future, so here it is.

Best-Ever Peanut Butter-Chocolate Molten Cakes
  • 4 squares Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
Heat over to 425°F. Butter 4 custard cups. Place on baking sheet.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on High 1 min. or until butter is melted. Stir with whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar; mix well. Blend in whole eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.

Pour 1/2 batter evenly into prepared cups. Spoon 1 tablespoon peanut butter into center of batter in each cup. Cover with remaining batter.

Bake 14 min. or until sides are firm but centers are still soft. Let stand for 1 min. Carefully run small knife around edges of cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto dessert plates. Cut in half to serve.