Cookies, week 3

It's Saturday, which can only mean one thing: cookies! This week's experiment was something called 'Pecan Tassies', which is something like Pecan Tarts. I made them this week because the recipe calls for half a cup of mascarpone cheese, and I had that exact quantity left over in the fridge.

There's a few interesting things this recipe calls for... the first is the mascarpone I already mentioned, which goes in the crust as what I assume is a partial substitute for butter. The crust also contains finely ground pecans. The filling includes maple syrup and toasted pecans (among other things, of course).

The crust turned out fine (I realize it looks ugly but it's fine), but there's all kinds of interesting issues with the filling. The first issue is that I toasted the pecans a little bit too long... so they taste kind of bitter. The second is that the maple syrup is kind of old and was in a metal container, so it had a little bit of a metallic taste. The extra taste on the syrup doesn't come through in the final product, but the bitter pecan taste can be a bit much. And so I'm going to call today a partial fail and start figuring out what I'll make next week.


to "nananana BATMAN" would make light of a dark film

This evening I went with my brother and cousin to go watch The Dark Knight. I wasn't aware that such a movie was being made until Heath Ledger's death, and figured that it would probably not be very good. As the release date came closer, I started to hear more about it, and got more interested (either that, or I just got caught up in the summer advertising hype: buy me! spend your money! etc etc). And so I went tonight, so that I would have something to do.

Which means that now I'm going to talk about the movie.

First I'm going to say that this new Batman movie is fantastic. I realize that I am a little biased because I think Christian Bale is gorgeous (although I don't like the scratchy voice he uses when he's being Batman) and I love all the technology. Neither of these let me down.

I found the storytelling in this film to be very thorough - I guess because it ran something like two and a half hours they had sufficient time to treat the story in such a way that no ends were left hanging loose. This is great, because I get frustrated with movies that wrap up too quickly (Enchanted, for instance). Even in the times when it felt like things were starting to close, hints were left to reveal that there was more to come. Sometimes these came in forms of music, sometimes in people that didn't make sense to have around... Classical film is interesting because it really lets you know where you're going, and in a well-tailored movie like this one, everything that is included is there for a reason.

The story itself was much darker than the kinds of things I usually watch (consider that the most recent movies I've seen are Mamma Mia! and WALL-E), but I really appreciated that it deals with integrity, the way people think, and choices that are made out of desperation, or in the attempt to choose the lesser of two evils.

The Joker was particularly well portrayed by the much mourned Heath Ledger (my cousin was sounding off about his death before and after the movie), who made the character come across much more deranged than Jack Nicholson did back in 1989. I, having entirely the wrong temperament for disturbing scenes, had to look away several times because the Joker just creeped me out too much.

Eventually those types of scenes made way for some AWESOME action scenes. Like I said before, I LOVE Batman's gadgets. His tank from the previous movie reappeared, but this time he had this motorcycle that made me very happy, and did all kinds of things that couldn't actually happen in real life, but were so cool. It was like watching a Bond movie, except Morgan Freeman can take Q any day.

But what this movie really ended up dealing with was what it means to be a hero and what it is to choose the right thing to do (and the difficultly in doing so). Batman is not Superman. He isn't the primary-colors liked-by-everyone kind of guy. He's always been a dark, brooding character, but that doesn't stop him from being the good guy (unless, of course, you think about the live-action TV show from the '60s, where Batman is just campy). I think it would be apt to put it as Commissioner Gordon says at the end: "he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now."

Needless to say, I think this movie is definitely worth watching.


Cookies! Always a good first post

Two weeks ago I was in a bookstore, and I bought this book. In it are one hundred seventy five cookie recipes. I have decided to go through this book, cooking a different kind of cookie every week, until I've done all of them. This should take me about three and a half years.

Today marks my second cookie day, and based on the taste and the nice resemblance of the product with the picture in the cookbook, I call it a success.

Today is also a good day, because I am another step closer to having an appropriately furnished apartment. I know I don't move for a couple weeks yet but I am keeping my eye out on garage sales and craigslist in the hopes that I can get some of the more necessary furniture (i.e. a mattress) before necessity forces my choice.

In other news, I went and watched Mamma Mia! with my grandmother, great-grandmother, and cousin. The movie was... flashy. I read a review that compared it to a giant ABBA music video, and I think I have to agree. As I sat through this okay movie (okay, not good), I was reminded why I don't really like ABBA music: although it is no less simple than other popular music, I find it has far too much stepwise motion and uncreative rhymes. I would blame this kind of thing on my music snobbery, but I didn't like this music before I was familiar with any music theory.

There are two conclusions that can be drawn from this. Either I have always been a music snob (whether trained or untrained), or ABBA just fails. Their success in the '70s makes me believe the former.


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