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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cooking Tips for Bachelors (2): Russian Tea Cakes

So, the Mush government has decreed that civilians can be court-martialed. I always thought a court-martial was a military trial for a serving member of the armed forces, but not so. According to Sunday's paper: "The Army can now try civilians on charges ranging from treason, sedition and attack on Army personnel to 'assaulting the president with intent to compel or restrain the exercise of any lawful power' and 'giving statements conducive to public mischief.'"

Please read that last one again. You can be arrested and tried for saying something that contributes to "public mischief." Presumably, saying something like, "We think the Constitution should be restored," would fall into this category. Presumably, this blog--and many, many others--would fall into this category.

The farce goes on.

Meanwhile, in the same paper: "Bush made it clear on Saturday that his government still wants to work with Musharraf." Well sure! After all, the court-martial law is nothing more than a slightly watered-down version of the Patriot Act, and I bet Bush wishes he could roll that one through, too.

Bush also said that Mush "understands the dangers of Al-Qaeda," that Benazir "understands the dangers of Al-Qaeda," and that the Pakistani people "understand the dangers of Al-Qaeda." Although from my experience, most people here are far more cognizant of the dangers of the US Air Force (650,000 dead in Iraq, according to Human Rights Watch) and rather less concerned with a bunch a bearded fundos in the hills. But presumably, "the dangers of Al-Qaeda" are a convenient way of shutting down the dangers of, oh, free speech, free assembly, access to information, and political representation.

Fuck it. Let's make cookies:

My sister Eleanor sent me this recipe last week and I made them Saturday, for the first time in years. They rule.

1. Cream together 1/2 cup butter and 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar (or "icing sugar," as they call it here), and 2 teaspoons vanilla.

2. Mix 2 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

3. Mix together [1.] and [2.]

4. Finely chop 3/4 cup of walnuts and mix them in too. Wash your hands and really mash the dough. The heat from your hands will soften it and turn it into a big smooth lump. But you have to do this or the mix will just remain crumbs.

5. When you have a big smooth lump, put it in the fridge for an hour or two.

6. Preheat the oven to 400. Scoop out teaspoonfuls of the dough and roll them between your palms till they are smooth little balls. Put them on an ungreased cookie sheet. You can pack them in: they won't spread or melt. A big sheet can hold 3 dozen cookies, the whole batch.

7. Bake 10-12 minutes till they're slightly golden. Don't burn the bottoms.

8. Let them cool a little and roll in confectioner's sugar. This will melt and form a glaze. When they're completely cool, roll them again. Oh man! They're good. They have that melt-in-your-mouth thing going on.

9. They're even better the next day, in my opinion, once they're firmed up a little.

10. Then when you're in the car with someone and you're passing a market, you can say, "Oh, can you stop a minute? I need to get confectioner's suger and walnuts for my next batch of Russian cookies." Enjoy the look of bewilderment on his/her/their face(s).


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