Sunday, February 28, 2010

Recipes from Ollie J -- Honey Carrot Cake

Honey Carrot Cake

2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup honey

1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup grated carrots

Beat eggs, add oil, honey and buttermilk and mix well. Sift flour, soda, salt & cinnamon together and add to egg mixture. Beat until smooth. Add carrots and mix well. Pour into greased 8 inch square pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cake is moist and delicious.

Oddly enough, I actually had whole wheat flour in my freezer. The only thing I had to find was buttermilk, which isn't as easy as you would think. Now I'm stuck with almost a whole pint of buttermilk to use. I guess I'll just have to make something else with it.

As for this recipe, I used a 7.5x7.5 inch square pan, so the cake was a bit higher than usual. I had to cook it a bit longer than the 45 minutes, and then the center "fell" a bit as it cooled. It's very moist, so it was stored in the fridge. No icing was provided, but so far, the I.T. department guinea pigs haven't complained.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Retroblog February 27, 1983

Today is February 27, 1983 Time 5:24 pm

Today was ok. I had a talk today I did bad I had a good birthday. I got $24.00 and a lot of other things. It snowed twice this last month.

I think this will serve as the last of the retroblogging entries from the All About Me journal that I kept, oh, so briefly, in the 1980s.

Once again, my loquaciousness overwhelms me. Where is the descriptive prose? Where are the minute details of my life, beyond my glee at getting 24 whole dollars for my birthday. Though, to be fair, in 1983, that was a lot of money for me. I don't even think I have $24 in my wallet at the moment.

Friday, February 26, 2010

If the snow doesn't kill you ...

It was an epic struggle to get to work today. We’re in the midst of a three day snow event, which someone called a snow-hurricane. First there was rain, then there was sleet, then there was wet heavy snow … combined with the howling winds, blowing everything this way and that. And it's not going to be over for another 12-24 hours. It’s beautiful – when viewed from the warm, dry side of the window, secure in the knowledge that you don’t have to shovel or go trudging through slush piles that are up to your knees. Sadly, that wasn’t me today. I had to go to work.

The Big J is a college conservatory. There are auditions scheduled every day for the next ten days. Audition week here is like the Olympics of music, dance, and drama. These kids work for years for their chance to try out, and then pass through layers of qualifiers, just to get admitted. Some people travel in from around the world just to audition. It’s a big deal for the students and their families, and the school will not deny them the chance. Thus, we are open – regardless if we are working auditions – which, luckily, I do not! (Sorry readers, you can’t bribe me for help getting in.) Repeated checking of the cell phone and the main number to the office crushed my hopes for another blessed snow day this month. Plus, I had an application that had to be filed by today. Phooey.

The newscasters warned me of 20-90 minute delays on my trains. I knew it was going to be bad. I thought I was prepared for it. The 35 minute wait on the platform wouldn’t have been so awful, if my feet weren’t soaking wet from the puddles I had to splash through to get to the station. Then the commute was a 45 minute standing room only experience, ala the Tokyo Subway. It would have been bearable if I wasn’t smooshed into a human pretzel. I want to learn yoga, but even trained yogis would have been hard-pressed to find the zen in the mass of bodies that was the train this morning. At one point, one of my shoulders was in some guy’s armpit, and my other shoulder was in between some lady’s shoulder blades. (I hope they were her shoulder blades.) I had an elbow in my kidney for a while, plus my knees and hips were canted in different directions. A chiropractor would have a field day with me right now. Oh, and that’s not all. I was in the vestibule on a local train as people were jostling to get on and OFF. It was a LONG, miserable, achy, ride. Needless to say, I got to work very cold and cranky.

As the day progressed, and the snows fell, those of us in the office got a little punchy. It could have been the exchanging of the “war stories” (my commute was sooooooo bad), or the very casual nature of the various clothing ensembles, but our conversational topics began to get decidedly odd. Somehow it turned to current events (like this and that) and this gem was uttered:

Me: Well, they are called killer whales for a reason.
Boss: I bet cows kill more people per year than killer whales do!

Me: (*beat*) hysterical laughter*

Then my Boss LOOKED UP THE STATISTICS, proving once again that you can find anything on the Internet.

Moral of the story?

Really? You want one?

This entry is about snow, trains, killer whales, and cows, for cripes sake!

Is it spring yet?

*** I do extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the SeaWorld trainer, of course. I'm not trying to be disrespectful to her memory at all.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fried Adventures of the Shushing Librarian

S.L. here to give my report on Auntie Nettie's birthday feast. As part of my culinary explorations of the City, Auntie agreed to let me tag along with her and Jane from Flax Hill Gardener when they went to visit A Salt and Battery, a chip shop in the Chelsea section of Manhattan in celebration of Auntie's b-day.

We all took an oath that the weekend did not count as part of calorie counting and that the Food Police could take a long walk off the shortest part of the Chelsea Piers. Trans fats? What trans fats? Salt? Yes please. Fried foods? Load us up! This poster was a perfect symbol of the day. We all had our fingers in our ears to avoid the mocking of our own consciences. This humble facade is misleading. Auntie said she almost passed out in bliss when she walked in and smelled in all the fried wonderfulness.So many choices. Luckily, we already knew what we wanted. Small chips for everyone. Small haddock and a Diet Coke for Auntie and small pollock and a Tango for Jane.
The shop is tiny. Don't go expecting tables or seating. There's about 10 spots to perch in the window and along the side. There's a bench outside. Don't try and change the atmosphere by suggesting tables and more seating (like some blowhard did while Jane and we were eating). Embrace the place for what it is. Like this view out the front window.And while you're embracing the authenticity, don't use salt or that red stuff on your chips. Use Malt Vinegar.
Here I am, trying to score some Tango and pollock from Jane. She wasn't sharing, so I had to help Auntie with her chips. Auntie said she wasn't overly impressed by the chips and next time would skip them and just get a double portion of haddock and TUBS of the house made tartar sauce. It apparently is so much better than the American-ized relish with that pickle garbage in it, and more like dill with Crème fraiche! (Wait, she's telling me that maybe she'll try the curry sauce next time!)
To be honest, Auntie was really there for the Deep Fried Mars Bar. Apparently she's been lusting after one for about 10 years, or whenever she first saw it featured on the Food Network or the Travel Channel.
Hot from the fryer, oozing chocolate, caramel, and nougat, this Mars Bar was out of this world. (Yes, yes I did make that pun.)
A.N. Quote: "This is the best bad thing I've ever eaten!"
At least, I think that's what she said. There was some mumbling through all that gooey molten goodness. And that's saying a lot, because believe you me, that Auntie girl loves her her junk food, AND she did years of service at a fast food restaurant.

Stick a fork in me. That last bit of Fried Mars Bar just did me in. Sugar Coma!

I'm still salivating about this culinary adventure. We topped the day off by wandering up to the Chelsea Market where our eyes, ears, and other senses feasted away. ...

I can't wait to see where my culinary and other explorations take me next.

For now, I'm The Shushing Librarian ... shhhhhing off.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Flaming Adventures of the Shushing Librarian

Today's blog posts are brought to you courtesy of Kikoman and Sweet 'N Low...
And now back to our regular blogging...

S.L. here, to tell you all about my Amazing Culinary Adventures. You wouldn't think to look at me, but I'm quite the culinary explorer. Have chopsticks, will travel, and all that.
Recently, my adventuring took me to a steakhouse and sushi restaurant called Samurai 21 with a bunch of Auntie Nettie's relatives.
We started off with a clear broth to cleanse our palates and to get ready for the floor show with a side of food.
Here I am, hungrily waiting for my dinner. All the soup did was make me hungrier. Where's the fried noodles?
The chef was totalling ignoring me as he flung food around right and left. Do you think he couldn't see me? I wasn't hiding behind the Diet Coke or anything.
When I finally did get some food, all I got was 'shrooms. (Not even the fun kind of 'shrooms either!) To make an '80s reference and date myself, "Where's the beef?"
You would have thought I learned my lesson at the girls' holiday party, but once again, I had a little too much to drink. I may have gotten in my cups a bit too much. I blanked out for a while again. I think I passed out ...
Whoops. I guess I did. Here's proof.
Next thing I remember, there was this tremendous fireball. HOLY SMOKES! I know I was lit, but this is ridiculous.
The explosion knocked me off my feet. Luckily, I didn't make a splash down in the dipping sauce. I didn't want to be that kind of spicy at a family party.
The family decided to sober me up a bit more, with some watered down Diet Coke until I could get home and sleep it off. (That or they decided to try and drown me ... I really can't remember ... the photographic evidence could support either theory.)

I am totally ashamed. Auntie's nephew was there, and he was better behaved than me. No wonder the chef was flinging food at him. I have decided that perhaps I should seek some help for my partying ways. No more sake for me at the sushi bars. No margaritas at the Mexican joints. No more limoncellos at the Italian place up the street.

Coming up next, my adventures at a Chip Shop in Chelsea sans a pint, or a lager, or Pims.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Amazing Adventures of the Shushing Librarian

Happy New Year all! 'Tis I, The Shushing Librarian (S.L.). Sorry I haven't been blogging lately. I know that February is almost over, but I got a bit behind on documenting my Amazing Adventures. Between travelling, working, and undigging, the end of 2009 zoomed by and 2010 has already been a blur.

You know it's been snowing a lot on the East Coast. Here I am giving you a sense of how much snow we've been getting. I've been up to my neck in shovelling. I've been savouring the snow days, but it does put a crimp in my blogging.
To give you a recap on the Holiday season 2009, I got stacks and stacks of Christmas cards and presents,and spent lots of time waiting around in airports waiting to fly. Luckily, Auntie Nettie and I got out of JFK between snow storms. Other people were not so lucky. They were also annoyed that I was hanging out in the beverage holder that they needed for their gigantic Starbucks!While on vacation, I did a bit of window shopping. Even with my deceptively hobbit sized feet,I don't think I'll be buying these shoes. Plus, they are completely impractical for library work. I could use the heel to keep annoying patrons in line ....I spent a lot of time with partying some of my lesser known friends. Mrs. Butterworth and I spent some sweet time talking about our culinary hobbies. She brought some delectable muffins to our brunch.Lady L. finally got a substitute to work for her back in NYC so she could enjoy some forest adventures. It was a nice change of scenery for her, and she could really shrink her ego down to size ... for once.There are lots of layers to my Russian friend. She's such a doll. We don't spend nearly enough time together. Sadly, she's shy and got startled by the photographer.I only wish all my friends were as nice as Mrs. B., Lady L, and the Russian Doll. Unfortunately, "Princess" was gloating because of her new real estate purchase. She lorded it over everyone at the brunch. It was making me a bit ... crackers.Here, Tippi and I were commiserating about family, friends, and coping mechanisms when we got rudely interrupted by the photographer again. (What is with her?)I had every intention of behaving myself at this little get-together. I started off with soft drinks,but by the end ... let's just say ... I was hanging a little looser than I should have.

Oh no ... someone took a picture of me posing ala "Stick a fork in me. I'm done."Sadly, emergency services had to be called, and I got carted off. My friends tell me that the EMS workers were totally hot, but I was a hot mess. They dumped me back at my hotel to sleep it off.I had the strangest dreams ... or at least, I HOPE they were dreams. There was something about flying saucers or were they wheels?

I also vaguely remember something about scuba diving into coral reefs or being poked by cacti. There was water involved -- maybe it's because I had to float to the bathroom about 3:00 a.m.I passed out again, but I do remember this bit from my last batch of dreams. Dr. Freud would totally have something to say about my dreams about the giant bananas and the hammocks. Coming up next, how I had my eyeballs flamed out at Samurai 21.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Getting Goosed at Work

As has been documented on this blog, there are some strange sights to be seen when working at the Big J. One never quite knows what is going to appear when one walks down the halls. You expect it near the prop shops and in the halls near the Drama Studios. You don't quite expect it when walking past I.T. -- though, I seriously should know better by now.

One day I went to consult with a colleague in his office and was confronted by this sight.
Directly over his desk, and taking up a prominent place in the office, was a paper-maiche piñata of a Canadian Goose, with multi-colored streamers and lovely gossamer foil highlights.
The belly of the beast showed evidence of a massive beat-down, with one remaining treat -- an airline snack. Keeping watch out the window and over budget numbers, was the carcass of its mate ... looking to exact some revenge upon an unsuspecting number cruncher's elbow.
Closer examination of the fowl beast's head showed a very desirous autograph.
As it turns out, these are two of the piñatas that were created to help celebrate the one year anniversary of the "Miracle on the Hudson," aka Flight 1549, and were later auctioned off on ebay. According to the description:
The piñata was created by Tony Dominguez and served as a centerpiece of a passenger-organized celebration on the one-year anniversary of the January 15, 2009 Hudson River landing, where the passengers and crew playfully turned the tables on the Canada Geese that crippled both engines of US Airways Flight 1549. This piñata is one of three that were custom-made for this celebration. One of the three piñatas was destroyed by the passengers at the celebration, and the other two are being auctioned for earthquake relief in Haiti. ... It is currently stored in New York City."

Lucky me ... I found out where it was being stored, and got to have some fun with it before it was delivered to the ebay auction winner.

Here's another view of one of my colleagues getting goosed.

Seriously, you just NEVER know what you're going to see when you go to work.