Saturday, August 27, 2005

From raisin to grape in four days

I promised pastry recipes and, just having made the most buttery butter tarts, here is the first one. For the pastry anyway. Fool-proof! In a large bowl mix 2 ½ cups flour and 1 tsp of white sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Cut in 1 cup of solid vegetable shortening. It should have the texture of cornmeal once done. And now for the secret of REALLY flaky pastry – beat one egg in a small bowl. Place half of this in a measuring cup and add enough ICE water to make 1/3 cup in total. Add two ice cubes and let them melt. Drizzle this over your flour mixture and cut it in with a spatula. If the balls of dough stick together, it is good to go. If it is too dry you can add 1-2 tablespoons of ice water until it is the right consistency. This is great for pies or tarts. Enjoy.

Some of the butter tarts have raisins and some have pecans. Now if you like raisins and are happy with the above pastry recipe, STOP READING NOW. But if you want a light and flaky story about a raisin that will either make you laugh or gross you out (or both) read on.

A while ago I was enjoying a bowl of raisin bran when a mouthful went down the wrong pipe. I started to choke and cough a bit, but nothing out of the ordinary happened. Things righted themselves and I went on eating. The back of my throat was sore for a few days though and I thought I must have scratched myself with a rather hard, sharp bran flake. I did not think anything of it. At the gym 3 days later, I was doing seated arm curls, huffing and puffing a good deal. Not grunting out loud or anything – is that really necessary? -but was exhaling with a good deal of force through my nose. Well, on one such exhale a rather large object flew out of my nose and landed on my shoe. I was shocked that I had such a large booger up my nose and was none the wiser. However, it was no booger, it was a raisin. Actually, it had re-hydrated into a grape. The feeling I experienced of having my “scratch” instantaneously removed was wonderful. I equate it to the feeling Arnold Schwarzenegger must have had when he pulled the tracking device out of his nose in Total Recall. I had to laugh but was grateful no one was around to see the offending piece of fruit perched on my toe. The raisin to grape experience got me to thinking and I have now taught myself the wonderful party trick of being able to suck my necklace up my nose and pull it out my mouth. People think it is disgusting but my niece and nephew love it!
They squeal with glee each time I do it.


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