Friday, May 9, 2008

Filling The Air With My Essence

So, I'm headed to a baby shower this weekend with 30 women - and I know exactly ONE of them, the one with the soon-to-be-born baby. Let me set the stage here:
I didn't attend my own college graduation, I didn't have a wedding shower, I didn't have a wedding registry - and the only attendant at our wedding was our dog, Wylie. To the chagrin of all, there was not a microsecond when I wanted a "real" wedding. To be honest, I never understood events like showers, reunions, and other seemingly obligatory events. I like to breeze past Christmas, for crap's sake, so getting me to a shower is nothing short of the immaculate conception itself.

I don't know what it is. I suppose I'm partly - fine, gigantically - bugged by the requisite games we gals are often forced to play at showers. Literally, the games could be Pin The Tail On The Baby, Baby Crossword Puzzle or, my favorite, Yikes The Water Broke. Figuratively, the games could be more subtle.
Case in point: the last bridal shower I went to, I wore black (is that a sin?) - and, as I passed two friendly girls, one of them muttered under her breath "God, she looks like she's going to a funeral". So friendly! Punks. Frankly, I stink at both types of games.

Luckily, my friend is incredibly down to earth (my kind of girl), so I'm hopeful the rest of these kittens will be equally earthbound and cool. But here in Statusdale - one just never knows about down-to-earthness, one just hopes. So, like a lamb to the slaughter, I could be heading into an episode of the Real Housewives of Orange County. Then again, maybe they're all going to be just as cool as she is, can you imagine? A girl function where everyone is just chill, where the mix is perfect? Like, if I could make my ideal mixed-drink of girl energy, here's what I think I'd toss in: some Debbie Harry, a bit of Gabrielle Reece, a dash of Aung San Suu Kyi, Exene Cervenka, Talitha Getty, Billie Jean King, Meryl Streep, Julia Child, Mother Teresa, Lynn Hill, Anne Frank - SOMEONE PLEASE STOP ME. [you realize I'll be up all night editing this perfect list in my head, I now wish I'd never thought of it...]

Anyhow, like a soldier going off to battle - I know not what I face on the 'morrow. Or, what gear I should arm myself with. Don't think I'll wear black though.

What I would really love to do though, as a crowd tester - is to pass some gas. To take an opportune moment and just suddenly announce: "Oh my god, so sorry - I just totally farted!". Not only would it be a staggeringly beautiful example of uncomfortable woman-silence, but I think it would also really serve an essential larger purpose.

With that one efficient move
, I could both clear the air about who I really am while also filling the air with the essence of who I am. Good idea?

Bow To Me Brownies

Now, these are really incredible. Did you hear that? INCREDIBLE. I've really been wanting to find a great brownie recipe - but every time I'd ask Tony if he wanted brownies, he was all "nah, brownies are just blah, just kinda boring". Well, OKAY then. Like I was born yesterday and couldn't smell the stench of reverse psychology all over THAT statement. Or, he was just a man making a statement. In any case, I was up for the challenge - real or imagined. And I triumphed and it was glorious and Tony literally got down, bowed to me, and kissed my feet. Well, okay, I imagined that last part, but they were glorious - there were tiny molten pockets inside; they were a tad gooey, a tad fudgy, a tad crumbly, moist. Oh, how we loved them, people at work loved them - it was love, love, love! I don't know how I'll ever bake any other brownie.

1/2 lb. unsalted butter
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips for melt
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, unmelted
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3 extra large eggs
1 tbsp. + 1 heaping tsp. instant espresso powder (or instant coffee powder)
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour for batter
1/8 c. flour for coating unmelted chocolate chips
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 x 9 pan. Alternatively, grease pan, then line pan with aluminum foil (leaving overhang), and grease aluminum foil; after baking and cooling, use foil overhang to lift bars out of pan for cutting.

Melt the butter, chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Allow to cool slightly. Stir eggs, instant espresso powder, vanilla, and sugar. Add and stir in the chocolate mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture and combine. Toss the chocolate chips with the 1/8th cup flour, making sure chips are coated. Add chips to the batter and combine until distributed evenly throughout batter. Pour batter into pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool, and cut into squares.
Once again, adapted from Ina, that Mensa. ENJOY!


hungryandfrozen said...

I have been in a similar situation...a baby shower where I knew only the pregnant one. Twas a somewhat uncomfortable couple of hours (complete with tacky games), never though to employ your methods of clearing the air! But are you saying the essense of you is...gas? If so, i salute you :)those brownies look fabulous, if anyone knows what they are doing, it's Ina! :)
Laura xo

Selfhuggingjack said...

These look like my kind of brownie! I'd have to argee with your Tony, Brownies are usely bla because their dry and taste like chocolate cake gone wrong but these look perfect. Will be giving them a go sometime.

Ann said...

Laura - lol! I think I'm saying the essence of me is to actually pass the gas and giggle about it, but I suppose the gas itself it also the essence. Oh my. Thanks for the sallute, girl!

Jack - I hope you like these, we were mightily surprised!! :)

Anonymous said...

I have so been in this situation, and sometimes the girl events have been fun (the mix is right) and sometimes they're miserable. If you would pass gas and announce it, you would be my hero.

Anonymous said...

These brownies look amazing. That little drip of chocolate did it for me, they look so moist but with a more crisp top. I love these pictures. Good luck at the shower, lol! Clear the room!

RecipeGirl said...

Ug- the last baby shower that I went to was like that... I knew NO ONE. It was weird... they were a clique-y bunch, spoke Spanish and were not super friendly. I bailed as soon as I could.

I love a good brownie recipe for sure. I especially love it when my hubby kisses my feet because he's so excited about my cooking :)

Hope the shower isn't too miserable!

Ann said...

Sarah - LOL! I will let you know if I muster the courage!

I love sweets - who knows - I may clear the room in MORE than one way...

RecipeGirl - ya know, I'm now so glad I posted about this, bc I felt like maybe I was the only one who felt this way - and I'm relieved I'm not alone. :)

Anonymous said...

I went to a shower recently and didn't know the other gals. A girl turned to me and asked "Do you know the bride?" and I deadpanned "no, I just like to crash these things." Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Oh man I love me some parties...but only when I throw them myself! :) I'm not one to play cheesy games though. Strictly yummy food and cool people. Oh and of course some good music.

How can someone NOT like brownies?! Those and cheesecake are my dessert of choice! I'm definitely going to try this recipe!

Enjoy the shower!

Anonymous said...

i can somehow never get my brownies to look like that, what a come-hither it's giving me. ;) love it.

Angela said...

I totally know what you mean about those showers and requisite parties with corny rituals. They are totally awkward. I also hear ya on the wedding thing. My husband and I had one witness at our courthouse wedding and then flew to France the same afternoon! Beautiful job on the brownies. Clearly, a must try and the perfect thing to get you through the shower!

Elle said...

First off, I love a brownie recipe that gives a 9x13 pan of chocolatey goodness. It bugs me to get only an 8x8 pan.

Second--I'm with you on showers. They're uncomfortable, and you hardly ever know many people, and you are supposed to be on your best behavior.

Anonymous said...

dude. I think we are long lost sisters. seriously.

Nic said...

I think you could get away with a lot more than farting if you serve up brownies like these - they look bloody fantastic!! My husband just had to pull me off the screen!
We don't have baby showers here, I don't think I could bear to do silly games with 30 women, just thinking about it makes me cringe!

Ann said...

Kelsey - Love it, would have loved to see her face!

Kspin - I know you'd throw a great party, can just tell from your blog. :)

Diva - they are so easy, I highly recommend you give them a whirl!

Angela - a girl after my own heart.

Elle - I'm almost thinking of doubling the recipe next time, lol!

Amanda - sisters from another mother, girl!

Nicisme - Wherever you live, shower-free, I think I have to move there! :)

Anonymous said...

First off, I literally drooled on my chin at the sight of these brownies. I'm afraid to make them though. I'm afraid they will plaster themselves directly onto my lower body region. :sigh:

I'm so with you on the whole shower thing. I allowed the showers--because I'm greedy and wanted gifts, but I threatened pain of death upon anyone who got anywhere near me with a clothespin, roll of toilet paper, or any other silly game implement.

I have to tell you that I actually *did* fart in the brides room right before my wedding. That is the time when you're glad to be surrounded by your closest of friends! ;)

Ann said...

SHAYE - LOL LOL LOL!!! Omg, just spit a bit of soda out my nose! I think I love you a little bit. :)

Mama Mia said...

mmmm, those look so gooey and delicious!

NV said...

OMG! These brownies are the devil incarnate. Sorry. They ARE! There goes my take 10 more pounds off my a**-diet.

And you gotta have Jane Austen and Annie Lennox on your list. I know Jane's dead but her spirit is a part of just about every woman ever born. :-) Now you've got ME trying to mentally compose such a list.

Kelly said...

So who actually does enjoy those shower games? My sister threw my bridal shower and was so wonderful to not force us to play "dress the bride up in toilet paper." The last baby shower I went to was for my sister and it was just awful. The woman hosting gave a little speech about how every little girl has dreamed of becoming a mommy just like we all dream of planning our weddings when we're playing with Barbies. Um... not all of us. Totally insensitive to those who might not be able to have kids as well. I was really turned off.

Thanks for the brownie recipe! I'll have to try it soon (though I'm currently on a cookie kick)!

Ann said...

NV - oh, you are 100% right on Jane - and I cannot believe I forgot her, bc I am a total Austenite, I am humbled. :) And who doesn't love Annie?

Kelly - I completely agree with you - we're not just cookie-cutter copies of each other, are we? No indeed. Oh my, showers can indeed be a challenge... :)

Yas said...

Oooooh...These look amazing! thank you for sharing - I will attempt my first brownies and hopefully they can look like these!

Marie Louise said...

D*mn! Will you look at those brownies!
What a vision. I will definitely have to try your recipe. As for your tactic at the baby shower - I say go for it. You'll be remembered!

Ann said...

Nic - I'm sure they'll turn out wonderful, they really are very easy!

Marie Louise - Thanks, they were not only beautiful to look at...but heaven to eat as well. They did not last long in this household!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I think I could honestly survive an evening with the Real Housewives if those Bow to Me Brownies were served. Yup. I could stand it. But only for one night. I don't care how good the food is -- it can only make up for so much and those women make me want to go all King Lear and tear out my eyes.

Hope it all goes well. Just a little word to the wise (and from someone who wears black to EVERYTHING) -- just jazz it up with some pink. No one will think anything of it. No punk comments. No need to beat anyone up in the car park.

On second thought -- wear black from head to toe and get ready to make use of those delicious insults you posted previously.

Am I diplomatic or am I diplomatic??



Those brownies look sinfully good!

Ann said...

Lacy - I just love your comments! Wish you were the housewife next door to me. :)

J - THEY ARE! Bake NOW. :)

Deb said...

Yum - I haven't made brownies in a long time. I've got to make these tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie said...

Haha oh boy, you sound like me - not loving all those cheesy get togethers (and the games, oy the games). You've got a great blog, I'll definitely be back!

Anonymous said...

You had me rolling on the floor..laughing. FINALLY! Someone that gets me :) Glad you enjoyed my post too. You are definitely a crack up. I want to go to a baby shower with you :)

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