"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Monday, February 26, 2007

Pistachio Bread & Studio 60: The Harriet Dinner Part 2

My yoga class was canceled tonight so I'm home early for once on a Monday night. I didn't know our class was going to be canceled until last night and I had already baked a bread to take. So I took it to work today to share.

As some of you know, I used to bake a lot, which is something I am proud to say I am good at. But over the past couple of years I rarely bake that much basically because I was eating most it and it wasn't that healthy for me. So whenever I do put on my "baking" cap, it is always a treat.

I was amazed how many compliments I received on this bread. Some people were a little put off that it was green and Lauren doesn't care for nuts. But those that ate it, loved it. Every time Marty walked by my desk he had to swipe a piece. He finally had to leave the building to get away from it.

This green-hued bread has a pistachio flavor, light & moist cake-like texture, and a crunch topping. Enjoy!

Pistachio Loaf

1 package yellow cake mix
1 package (3.4 oz) instant pistachio pudding mix
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Combine cake and pudding mixes. Add sour cream, eggs, oil and water; beat until blended. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Combine the pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over batter. BEWARE: My bread ran over so you may want to use two loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes (my bread took about 55 minutes though) or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire racks.

Studio 60: The Harriet Dinner - Part 2

I’m really torn on how to write this review of Studio 60, which first aired February 5, as I don’t quite know yet how I’m feeling about the show. I will freely admit that I am very wishy washy about Studio 60 and sometimes love and the next scene loathe it. So, how to proceed?

I guess I’ll start by saying that Harriett’s Dinner ended much like it began, without much direction. The show continues to shove the forced relationship of Harriett and Matt down our throats. For a while I was excited to see this relationship in its varying stages but I don’t really understand the rushed urgency Sorkin and Company have placed upon it. I mean, next week is a flashback episode that will show us how Matt and Harriett met. Do we need that? Maybe. Do we need it now? Doubtful.

I’m over the coupling on the show. I know many folks are into the whole relationship aspects of Studio 60 but I’m far more interested in the politics in putting on a left wing show like Studio 60 and the diverse characters that make up the genius and the flaws within.

Danny and Jordan are still trapped on the roof and are forced to talk to each other, where we find out that Jordan doesn’t want to date Danny because she thinks his crush on her is the result of addiction recovery. After Cal saves them, Danny finds a piece of paper in his watch band that says “I’m crazy about you!” (Jordan does magic – so lame). Then he finds her waiting for him on the set and they… have one of the most anti-climactic kisses in a serial drama I’ve ever seen.
While Danny and Jordan are sharing their anticlimactic moment, Tom and Jack are trying to sober up the Chinese investor’s daughter. The scene where Jack and the Chinese investor finally come to terms with each other was a little strange, as if some lines had been edited out for time but no one checked the continuity of the entire scene.

One minute Jack is calling the guy a Commie prick, and then the next minute he agrees to help him and they’re best buddies? What happened to this “sense of honor” motivation that they’ve been building for the Chinese investor? We’re just supposed to forget that? Jack insults the guy’s parenting skills, then calls him a Communist, and the guy just lets it go and agrees to help him? Something’s off.

Something was definitely on with Cal’s scenes though – he and the animal handler were hilarious. I laughed out loud when he delivered the line “Yes, we will get them out of there…and then EAT them!” to the animal rights girl. This storyline was a refreshing break from all of the annoying love stories – another testament to how much better the show is when it actually focuses on television production instead of relationships. I have loved Cal’s character from the beginning, though – Timothy Busfield is certainly doing a great job with this one.

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