Saturday, May 21, 2011

Make lemonade

Holy crap, I didn't beam up.
Pretty awful when NPR is the first to inform me that Judgment Day is around the corner. Even worse, if not for them, I would've received word of our impending annhilation from glimpsing this week's cover of the crappier of the two free Philly newspapers, The Philadelphia Weekly.  Saddest of all was overhearing Judgment Day's exact date pass between the mouths of my Whole Foods cashier and bagger yesterday afternoon. In case you somehow didn't get the memo, the world was supposed to end today, May 21st, 2011. Honestly, I expected Arnold to get us out of this, cuz I'm pretty sure that's what happens in the awesome movie, "End of Days."
Isn't that movie about really big fire all over the place brought on by the apocalypse? Wait, lemme check....

Ohhh, now I got it. It's about Arnold calling Satan a "choir boy," then Satan getting mad and stomping on Arnold's hand while he dangles from a broken window, and finally Arnold overpowering Satan and throwing him out said window, as if Satan can't fly. Shyeah, right.
I was way off. Either way, Arnold must be way too busy announcing his scandalous love child's existence. My brother broke the news to me yesterday on the telephone. He went on to say that the baby mama is none too attractive. What did you say, Chris? She looks like "a mound of turd"? Or  she's a "big ugly turd"? There was something about a "turd" in there to convey how unworthy she is of Arnold's sex. Welp, I dunno about the mom, but their secret love spawn should be down in the basement eating Baby Ruths with Sloth:

This photo makes me wish today was my last day on Earth, which as I mentioned above is what Family Radio followers are were prophecising. It's worth listening to this segment just to hear a woman with a 2 year old daughter defeatedly state, "We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won't have anything left." Yeah me too, except I'm broke not on purpose.
My favorite part about their version of the end of the world is the part about the Tribulation, which is supposed of take place after all the good people are beamed up into heaven today. In case you were not fortunate enough to have your Sunday's Best scared off of you as a child in Sunday School, the Tribulation is a brief period of worldwide hardships, famine, war, natural disasters, and pain and suffering, which will wipe out more than 75% of all life on the earth before part deux of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ takes place. However, many scholars and intellectuals (myself among them) believe that we have always been in the Tribulation. I have proof (as if Arnold's freaky love child was not enough evidence).
Exhibit A: Checker's lastest ad campaign recently sighted plastered across the ass of a Septa bus. Apparently I'm not the only soul who's taken note of this particularly vulgar sign of end times.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade...or challah...or a Wells Fargo customized debit card. Holy crap, have you WF account holders been informed of this incredible serviceIt has increased my quality of life at least two fold, and I demand you take advantage again and again. Not only is it free, but you can do it forever. Er, well until Jesus comes back.

Baby's First Last Challah
adapted from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum*


1/2 liquid cup
118 grams
old starter

75 to 85 grams
unbleached all purpose flour (use Harvest King)
3 cups
424 grams
instant yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons
8 grams
1 1/2 – 1 3/4 teaspoons
10.7-11 grams
2  1/2 large eggs
used the remaining for glaze
4.2 ounces          120 grams
(weighed without shells)
3 tablespoons (1-1/2 fluid ounces)
60 grams
corn oil or
Vermont butter
1/4 liquid cup if oil
54 grams
65 grams

Special Equipment: An insulated baking sheet or two baking sheets, one on-top of the other, lined with parchment. A baking stone or baking sheet
1) Mix the dough In the mixer bowl, place the water and tear in the starter. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and yeast; then the salt.
Add the eggs and honey to the liquid in the mixer bowl and the corn oil or butter. Add the flour and with the dough hook, mix on low until moistened. On medium (#4 Kitchen Aid) beat for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and shiny. Add flour if necessary until it almost clears the bowl The dough should be just barely tacky. (The dough should weigh about 30.2 ounces / 856 grams.)  Form the dough into a ball.
2) Let the dough rise Place the dough into a 2 quart dough rising container or bowl, greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover the container with a lid, plastic wrap or a damp towel. With a piece of tape mark on the side of the container approximately where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise, ideally at 75 to 80 °F., until it has doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours (to 2 quarts). Gently deflate the dough by pushing it down, give it 2 business letter turns and allow to rise a second time. (The second rising takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
Flatten the dough gently by pressing down on it, so as not to activate the gluten, making it stretchy. If desired, for best flavor development, the dough can be placed in a larger container or wrapped loosely with plastic wrap, placed in a 1 gallon plastic bag, and refrigerated overnight -- in which case give it a turn or two first. Allow it to sit a room temperature for 20 minutes after dividing in 4 pieces and preshaping into logs.

the remaining 1/2 of an egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons
33 grams
3/4 teaspoon
Optional: poppy seeds
1 tablespoon
9 grams
3) Shape the dough, glaze it, and let it rise Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces (214 to 217 grams each). Shape them into little logs, cover them with proofer or greased plastic wrap—no need to rest unless refrigerated overnight as they get more gluten development. Start by rolling one piece of dough on the counter into as long rope, 13 inches.  (Keep the rest covered while working with one-at-a-time.) Taper both ends of each dough rope to about 4 inches down so that they are narrower than the rest of the dough rope. (Allow the ropes to rest covered if stretchy.)
Starting from one tapered end, (middle, if doing a 3 strand braid) braid the strands. Pull the dough more as you come to the ends of the braid so that it comes to more of a point. Pinch the strands together at the end of the braid.
Don't allow too much bulge in the middle, i.e. braid tightly so that it doesn't spread when rising and baking. Push the ends together a little so that the loaf is about 14 inches long by 4 inches wide by 2 1/2 inches high. Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with glaze and cover. Let rise to 15 x 5 x 3 1/4 inches high—about 1 hour.
5) Preheat the oven: 45 minutes before baking preheat the oven to 325°F. Have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating.
6) Glaze and bake the challah.  Remove the plastic wrap and brush the challah all over with the egg glaze, going well into the crevices of the braid. Sprinkle the top with poppy seeds if desired, tilting the pan slightly to have access to the sides.
Quickly but gently set the bread onto the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Turn it around and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes (tent loosely with a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil after 30 minutes of baking time or if the top is getting too brown). Leave on parchment as very tender. The bread should be deep-golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 180°F.)
7) Cool the challah on a rack.
*I cannot tell a lie. This is actually an updated version of the recipe I used, though both are by the same lovely baker lady.

And now,

Until the real rapture comes I shall be spending my time enjoying the three activities I love most and do best: playing with the software that came with my webcam while making into my potty-mouthed slave reciting words such as "poon tang" and "tit mouse" as I listen to Nilsson.

One last thing, I just wanted to tell you that when I typed in the word "pooper" on, it came back with this-and I quote:

Pooper definition

  1. n. 
    the buttocks. :  How is she going to get that humongous pooper into the chair?

The hilarious fruit I pull from the cornucopia known as the internet.
This is Lauren Marsella saying, "So long, and thanks for all the fish."