Monday, November 14, 2011

Rainy Day

In Rio, when it rains, it continues for a good while, sometimes days, and people stay inside. This weather reminds me of the last time I was at my parents' house in Minneapolis this last April, though 65 and 35 are objectively very different temperatures. The house feels quiet and calm all the same, and I thought I'd share some stuff I've enjoyed lately while I have my oatmeal and coffee. 

-Saw this fascinating documentary this weekend. Dictatorship + awesome male dancers dressed as women makes for some powerful stuff, plus Liza Minelli thrown in for good measure. Did you know that Brazil had a dictatorship in the 70's? I didn't. Major social studies fail.

-Amazing, amazing  peanut butter cookies-- she says to "imagine a Reese's peanut butter cup cookie" and she's absolutely right. All an American living outside of the states could possibly ask for.

-Science tattoos- I love tattoo art, but I would never get one. The ammonite one is my friend Alex's.

-If you really want to feel like an inadequate Anglo dancing, take a look at this video. (The original video is here, and the instructional one here, which certainly doesn't make me feel much better. My butt cannot do that.)

-Last but certainly not least, going back to April in Minneapolis for me means Passover, and Passover in my family for the last couple of years means loads of matzoh brittle. I've seen it referred to as matzoh crack online, and in my family we're talking at least a batch a day, which is rather scary given that each batch contains 2 sticks of butter. What can I say, life is short, Passover feels eternal (for those who stick to the dietary restrictions), and there's nothing like matzoh brittle and sweet potato soup on a chilly April day. And by the by, this works with saltines, too, so even Americans in Brazil can make it in the middle of November-- or so I'm told.

Matzoh Brittle
     adapted from Marcy Goldman and David Lebovitz

4-6 sheets unsalted matzohs
1 c. (8 oz.) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. natural vanilla extract
1 c. (7.5 oz.) firmly-packed brown sugar
6 oz. (1/2 package) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. (3 oz.) pecans or almonds, toasted and chopped (You can slip them in the oven while it's preheating up, just don't forget about them and let them burn. Then chop them while the brittle is baking.)

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet completely with foil, including up the side of the sheet. Fit the matzohs in one layer, adding smaller pieces to completely cover the sheet. 
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter and brown sugar together. Stir as the butter melts, then let the mixture boil for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the vanilla, then immediately pour the mixture over the matzoh, trying to evenly distribute it. Working quickly, use a spatula to spread the mixture so all the maztoh is covered. Bake for 10-15 min., checking after 10 to make sure it hasn't begun to burn in spots. 
Immediately sprinkle the matzoh evenly with chocolate chips. Let them sit for 5 minutes without touching them, then use an off-set spatula (or table knife) to spread the chocolate evenly over the matzoh. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, gently pressing them in, then lightly sprinkle salt over the whole thing. Leave to cool. 
Break into pieces. Devour.

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