Saturday, July 17, 2010

New music! It’s like Christmas!

Thursday, July 1

I'm going on an adventure. It's kind of like a field trip for a really over-eager music-loving kid. Because that's me to a T. The New York Public Library has dozens of branches all over the city, but my favorite location, without question, is the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center. We're talking three
enormous floors of nothing but books, scores, recordings, DVDs, and anything else you could want related to music, theatre, and dance. Did I die and go to heaven? It's very possible.

I spend an hour or so figuring out what's located where, and eventually, I end up in the circulating recordings section. I browse row after row of musical theatre CDs—original Broadway cast recordings, London cast recordings, revivals, collections inspired by a single composer…the options are endless. When all is said and done, I have a stack of CDs so high that I have to balance it all between my hands and my chin. No joke. I'm sure I look like a complete moron. Do I care? Please.

The poor woman at the checkout counter has to scan each CD and remove the security tape that keeps every case closed. And it takes forever. This system is much more complicated that the one at home where I can pull all the CDs I want and check them out myself without feeling ridiculous. Oh well. In the end, all I care about is that I have a bunch of new recordings to burn to my iTunes library—31 to be exact. Somehow, I make them all fit in my purse. It's quite the feat.

On my way to the bus, as I walk through the Lincoln Center Plaza, I pass this woman and her son playing on one of the 66 public pianos placed around town by an organization called Sing for Hope. I love that these pianos give people in almost every New York neighborhood the opportunity to make music, even if it's just Chopsticks or the dreaded Für Elise. At the end of the day, music is music, and you can never have too much of that.

At home, I crank up
The Lion King and play "He Lives in You" on repeat as I attempt my latest culinary masterpiece: kalamata olive and garlic bread. Here's the recipe from

4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon non-iodized salt
¾ cup warm water (110 degrees F)
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup seedless Kalamata olives, chopped

In a medium bowl dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup warm water. To proof yeast, stir in yeast and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes in a warm place.  Preheat oven to 105 degree F (40 degrees C). Warm an oven-safe bowl in the oven.  Place flour in bowl of food processor. Add salt and pulse for a few seconds.  Start food processor. Pour proofed yeast into flour through hole. Immediately add the additional 3/4 cup warm water, then the olive oil. Process for about 1 minute or until dough ball cleans the sides of the processor bowl. If dough is too wet add a little flour through the top while processing, or if too dry, add a little more water.  Turn off food processor. Remove lid and transfer dough to the heated bowl. Cover with a plate or plastic wrap. Let rise for 1/2 hour in a warm place.  In a small bowl, combine minced garlic and chopped olives. Set aside.  Once dough has risen transfer dough to a lightly floured board. Make an indentation in the dough and place olive mixture inside. Knead dough 10 times. Bulk of mixture should remain in middle of dough. Form dough into a log or round loaf shape. Sprinkle cornmeal onto greased baking sheet and place loaf on top. Turn oven to 150 degrees F (65 degrees C) for 2 minutes and then turn off.  Let dough rise in warm oven for 1/2 hour, or until light and puffy. Remove loaf and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Bake bread at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

*Note: the food processor is not necessary. Mixing and kneading by hand does the trick just fine.

The final product is absolutely delicious. Couple it with some pasta and marinara and a glass of red wine, and life is just peachy. Plus I get to watch
So You Think You Can Dance? and marvel at the plethora of talent being broadcast to my living room. If I had a genie, I would wish for world peace and a cure for HIV/AIDS. My third wish would be to dance like those contemporary dancers who always leave my jaw dragging on the floor in awe. Extension? Seriously. Holy crap.

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