February 7, 2013

The Myth of The Motor-Mouth & Outrageous Brownies

I know, I know. I said I wouldn't be posting this week, but I've gotten used to our comfortably cozy chit-chats. And really, what is life without a little whining, right?

When I'm sick, I'm a serious sour-puss. I turn into the Grinch; groaning, griping and generally being grumpy. And during these incidents of illness, all I want to do is listen to sad, sappy music and spill my sickly sob-story to every sorry soul in sight. Sometimes, I really savor sucking some sympathy out of people. This time was different, though. I came down with a killer cough, which pretty much left my voice-box out of commission. Know what that means? My signature chatter was silenced.

Talk about a sinister scheme to shut me up, right?

Not fun.

Anyways, now, in my suffering, I have no choice, but to use you guys as stand-ins. You might suffer. You might feel sapped. But I assure you, you won't be sorry.

First off, in case it isn't obvious already, I'm a talker. Admittedly, my listening abilities are a little lackluster, but if you're looking for buckets of advice, I can be your best buddy. In fact, I'm a total sucker for stories that need a little bit of sorting out. Maybe I should've been a psychologist?

The point is, when it comes to babbling on blindly, I can easily orate for hours.

I'll give you an example of what I mean, just so you're clear on the kind of joker you're dealing with here.

Have you ever had one of those moments when someone was nightmarishly nasty to you, saying something so stunningly snide, that it left you absolutely speechless? Were you so shocked that you couldn't even smite them with your stink-eye? Did your clever comeback cower somewhere in the back of your mind, surfacing seven hours too late?

Yeah, that's never happened to me.

Mostly because I have a razor-sharp tongue that's been held responsible for slicing through some seriously strong souls. What makes it worse is my verbal impulse control -you know that little censor board that sits in your head, stamping all your oral outbursts with a seal of approval before allowing you begin your broadcast- I don't have that. I can only blame myself for that. I insisted on airing banned material so the board bailed on me.

Impulse issues aside, in most cases, my motor-mouth is tolerable, but sometimes I like to tread on thin ice and that has gotten me into a ton of trouble. The fact is, sometimes I talk faster than I can think. In fact, I write that way too. Full speed ahead!

Just so you know, I don't mean any of this as a compliment.

Luckily, age and endless arguments with the husband about appropriateness have mellowed me out. 

Thank God for that. Seriously, there was a time when I used to swear like a sailor.

It's a disease, I tell you. A disease!

If it's any consolation, I'm far from confrontational. It's awkward and a tad aggressive for my taste.

Besides, like my sister-in-law says; don't wrestle a pig. You get dirty and the pig likes it.

Once in a while though, stupidity sneaks its way in, and the war of the words begins. And when I'm on this raging war-path, some people in particular are deemed perfectly worthy of my verbal wrath.

So in the spirit of being sick, I'd now like to commence a highly cultured ritual; complaining.

Please sit cross-legged in a circle and clasp each other’s hands. Now, we are connected. Now, we are one. And as we embark on this not-so-joyful journey, let us give thanks to the Good Lord for instilling us with enough intelligence and bravery to battle and bring down the beasts before us. Hallelujah! I say, Hallelujah!

But I must warn you, my fellow flower children, that in this fight for freedom (of speech, of course); you stand to encounter eight evil incarnates. Their sins range from snobbery and sucking up to stupidity and superiority complexes. We must win this war with wit and wisdom!

And now, I must implore you to honor the myth of the motor-mouth, slaying the monsters that stand before you. Good luck and God Speed!

  • The Ridiculously Rude: It's one thing to be mean; it's another not to have manners. Your insults don't intimidate me, but thank you for inadvertently informing me of your insipid intellect. And it just goes to show that my impulse to ignore you was right on the money. You are the weakest link...goodbye! 

  • The Fame-Hungry Faker: Let me guess...you're a fayshun designer/event planner/model, right? Or, wait! You're a socialite, right? By the way, I mean no offense to any real designer/ event planner/model. I'm talking about the boys and girls who bag a buyer or a big gig once in a blue moon and then bum around bragging about it. As for society suck-ups; there's no saving you. The extent of your exertion is limited to scoping out the 'scene' and posing for pictures. A word of advice: A little less lying and a little more learning could up your likability...a little. 

  • The Ape-ishly Aggressive: "Did he wink at you?" "No, he blinked," "A blink is a secret wink!!! Ahhhhhh!!! I'm going to pulverize him into a pulp" *chest-thumping* "Oye, tujhay pata hai mera baap kaun hai?!?!" Hey, King Kong, take the testosterone down a notch. And P.S., bringing Daddy up during a brawl doesn't really help your bad-boy image. You sound like a spoiled sissy who can't stick up for himself. 

  • The Sickeningly Superficial: Yes, in the real world, money is central to survival. And yes, imagining a life of living on love and fresh air is for fools. But being besties on the basis of bank accounts? I hate to burst your bubble, but I'm broke. What I can, however, afford to buy you is a big, warm bowl of buzz off! 

  • The Crazy Conspiracy Theorists: Everyone's an agent, or armed with an agenda. This perpetually paranoid pessimist doesn't believe in pals; only perpetrators. Ok, let's assume I'm one of the bad guys. What's your big plan for blowing my cover? Or is blowing smoke your battle-cry? Beat it, Bozo! No one buys your bogus blabber (I said "bogus blabber" but the swearing sailor in me was going for a far more colorful B-word). 
  • The Ferocious Facebooker: Congratulations! You've won the prize for the most passive-aggressive person on the planet. I understand; as long as there's a screen between you and whoever you're planning to skewer, you're safe and super-confident. Who wouldn't be amid masses of minions? I just wish you would name your nemesis. Leave the "Mein naam nahi lena chata, lekin..." lines to the politicos. I guarantee it'd up the entertainment. And your groupies wouldn't need to spend a gazillion hours to keep the guessing game going. Until all of that actually happens, I crown you kings and queens of the keyboard! 
  • The Snot-Nosed Snob: I know, I know, in your world, you rule the ring and I've got to give it to you; your talent for staring down your nose at me is top-notch. But you know what that means, right? I can see straight up your nostrils and I truly relish being the one to break this to you; you've got a bat in your bat-cave! Don't get it? You have a booger, a chooha. And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen; even snobs pick their noses. Not so superior now, hunh? 
  • The Ignorant Airhead: Honestly, I don't pore over the papers either, but that's no excuse for your brain to become a barren wasteland. Hey, hey! I'm talking to you. Actually, never mind. I just saw your eyes glaze over and something tells me you're not absorbing an iota of what I'm saying. Stop it. Stop it! Stop staring at me so blankly. Stop with that befuddled smile! For God's sake, at least blink, you goldfish! Enough said.

God that was liberating! After seven days of sniffling, I can actually breathe better. If I sounded bitter, sorry, but I warned you, I'm a spaz when I'm sick. Love you for listening!

When I'm under the weather, I turn into a hibernating hedonist. I crave the comfort of cuddles and cake and chocolate. And in those hours of extreme weakness, nothing lifts my spirits like the luscious love-child of chocolate and cake; the brownie.

Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies really are wow-worthy. She's the dame of decadence and believe me, this dessert does not disappoint. In fact, left-overs are highly unlikely. 

So what makes a banging brownie? Well, for one, it's got to be chewy, not cake-y, and that requires copious amounts of butter and chocolate. Skimping on either one of these ingredients equals unimpressive results. The other thing you need to up the ante is good quality chocolate. What you end up with is a deep, rich chocolaty flavor and a dense, fudgy brownie that, I swear, is devilishly delicious! 

By the way, I'm a huge fan of dark chocolate and I use it as much as I can to replace milk or semi-sweet chocolate. I'd highly recommend using it in this recipe because when you couple it with the coffee, you end up with a hint of bitterness that balances the sugary sweetness, turning a boring, basic brownie into a thing of beauty. 

By the way, I never, ever ice brownies. Ever. There's no real reason to. On their own and completely undressed, they're already a piece of bitter-sweet perfection.

Outrageous Brownies (makes approx.12 large brownies)
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, by Ina Garten

  • 225 grams butter 
  • 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips 
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I use Lindt Dark Chocolate) 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon coffee powder 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup flour  
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped 
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 x 1 inch baking sheet, lightly dust it with flour and set it aside.

- Melt together the butter, chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. A double-boiler is a simply a saucepan filled halfway with simmering water, with a steel bowl placed on top. It's a gentle way to melt chocolate without having to worry about it splitting.

- Cool the chocolate mixture slightly.

- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar, stir in the warm chocolate mixture, and cool this mixture to room temperature.

- In a separate bowl, stir together a 1/2 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt, and add it to the cooled chocolate mixture.

- Pour the batter into the baking pan. Sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts.

- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.

- Important: After the first 15 minutes of baking, gently tap the pan against the oven rack. This allows any air pockets between the pan and the batter to escape. Do not over-bake! Cool completely in the fridge and then cut into squares. .

Until next time, keep your claws sharp and your wit sharper!

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  1. You awful creature. I was looking for myself in those categories of unbearable people. I was. I even found myself. This will take a while to stop smarting. *shakes head mournfully*

  2. Oh, oh, which one are you!?! I border on ferocious facebooker, but I'm working on weeding it out LOL

  3. In this age of audio attacks, text messaging and twitter posts, it has become more complicated to accept the motormouth. So how can you handle these people in a group conference and also trainer them in a one-on-one conference to become more helpful in their communications?


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