Wednesday, February 14, 2007

You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You

You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Loves You,
You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Cares.....
You may be king, you may possesThe world and its gold
But gold won't bring you happiness
When you're growing old......
The world still is the same,
You'll never change it,
As sure as the stars shine above,
Well, you're nobody 'till somebody loves you,
So find yourself somebody to love

While I have always loved this song as Dean Martin sings it, I have never really liked the sentiments. Does your life really have no meaning if you don’t have a romantic interest? WHAT UTTER ROT! So, while the song may still refer to that romantic kind of love, I instead like to think of it as love for all of those special people in one's life, romantic or not. This Valentine’s Day, I would like to dedicate this entry to all of my friends and family that I LOVE. They make my life have meaning, bring me happiness, and make me feel rich and blessed.

I have actually never celebrated Valentine’s Day romantically. Growing up, Mom would receive her annual potted plant from Dad, and the kids would receive a Valentine’s Day card from my parents and a nummy treat on our plates at dinner. In college, as none of my roommates had romantic interests either, this tradition continued. And while I can’t make sure that each person I love receives a Valentine and some divinely, delicious goody, I can share with you a recipe for you to make yourself. ;) Make these lovely chocolaty-perfect mixture of fudge and cake-squares and tuck yourself in with your favorite leading man, fictional or non. And if I am so blessed to have my class canceled tonight due to the inclement weather, I might be joining you.

West Tenth Street Brownies

This recipe got its name because I found it in Greenwich Village a few blocks from where I live. As I walked east on Tenth Street, I saw a yellowed index card lying on the sidewalk. When I picked it up I saw written in a spidery hand in blue fountain pen ink a recipe for "The Best Brownie's [sic] in the World." Well, I put it aside in a miscellaneous recipe file, and a few months later I tried it. They turned out to be sensational and certainly a contender for the title.

Makes 1 9-x-13-x-2-inch pan, about 24 2-inch brownies

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecan or walnut pieces

1 9-x-13-x-2-inch pan, buttered and lined with buttered parchment or foil

1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Off the heat add the chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. If all the chocolate has not melted, return the pan to very low heat and stir constantly until the chocolate melts.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the salt and vanilla, just until mixed. Whisk in the sugar in a stream, then whisk in the chocolate and butter mixture. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the flour.

4. Set the batter aside until it has cooled to room temperature (test it with your fingertip). Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.

6. Bake the brownies for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick or a small knife inserted in the center emerges clean. Cool completely on a rack.

7. Wrap and refrigerate the pan so that the brownies solidify, at least 4 hours, overnight is best. This also makes them easier to cut.

8. Transfer the whole cake to a cutting board and slide a long knife or spatula under it to loosen the paper or foil then pull it away. Use a ruler to mark, then cut the brownies into 2-inch squares.

9. For up to several days, store the brownies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover. Freeze for longer storage.

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