Monday, February 11, 2013

Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!

". . . the NPR News Quiz."

Andy and I are big NPR nerds.  One of my biggest celebrity crushes is on Ira Glass (host of This American Life), and we listen to more NPR podcasts than any other kind.  It's our first radio preset in the car.

So when our lovely friends Allan and Jen let us know that they would be unable to attend the live taping of the show "Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me," and offered us their tickets, I was so excited.  We'd wanted to go to the show, but by the time I'd thought seriously about it, the show was all sold out.  Imagine my delight when our opportunity arose again.

I decided to keep it a secret from Andy.  I told him we had a date on Thursday night, and that he would be really excited.  His guesses were hilarious.

"Are we going to an REM reunion show?"

"I know!  You got us tickets to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving!"

"Are we getting a puppy?"

It was really hard not to spill, but I kept it in.  So, after work on Thursday, I picked him up and we took the DART rail to the Arts District in Downtown Dallas.  He'd figured we were going to the Arts District, but still had no idea.

On the train.  Clueless.  

We got to the beautiful new Winspear Opera House, and he still had no clue what was going on.  I pointed out the crowd to him: mostly Hipsters and Rich White People (and, of course, opera-singing truck drivers).  What do they have in common?  Still, no idea.  

What could it be? 

There was a little snafu with our tickets, so we had to get them reprinted.  The Rich White Lady in front of us in line asked, "So, did you get yours through the station, too?" Andy decided that meant that the tickets had been won on the radio.  Closer . . . 

The moment of realization came when we were in line to get our seats, and someone behind us said, "We are huge NPR geeks at our house." 

Ohhhh, I get it now!!  

The above was taken just as he figured it out.  He was excited, obviously.  Nerd.  

So, we listened to them tape the show (you can listen here, if you're interested).  There are three panelists, plus hosts Peter Sagal and Carl Kassel.  This week's panelists were Paula Poundstone (everyone's favorite), Tom Bodette, and Kyrie O'Conner.  (On a sidenote, I wonder how many of you, like me, knew Paula Poundstone first from these spots on PBS.)  It was really neat to be there, with (as Peter Sagal said) "every Liberal in the Dallas area," and to see how they do what they do.  

The guest on the show was Erykah Badu, who is a native Dallasite, and absolutely adorable.  Did you know she is also a trained doula?  I have always liked her very much, but now I kind of have a girl crush on her.  Sigh.  

After the show, we were able to go to a dessert reception, and shake hands with the hosts and panel.  It was good times, and the desserts were good, too.  

Andy with host Peter Sagal.  Peter was less excited about the photo op than Andy.  

The reception ended up a little weird, as my mom called and we found out that the family dog (Zoe, a 15 year-old Beagle) was put down earlier that afternoon.  So, it was a mix of a lot of feelings. 

To thank Al & Jen, I baked some cookies.  Cookies are the best thank you--I agree with Jen.  :-)  Plus, I'm always down with an excuse to bake.  This time, our pantry was a little sparse (no granulated sugar? How did that even happen?!), but I remembered a recipe that used only confectioners' sugar, and used that. (The original recipe is for Lime Meltaways, but we had only lemons. They turned out delightfully with the lemon, though.) They're super easy, and have a nice, light flavor.  

For your enjoyment: 

Photo from

Lemon Meltaways (adapted from Martha Stewart's: Cookies, which is a great book, btw)

3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt

1. Put butter and 1/3 cup sugar in bowl, mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy.  Add zest, juice, and vanilla, and mix until fluffy.  

2. Whisk flour, cornstarch, and salt together until combined. 

3. Divide dough in half and form into log, about 1.25 inches diameter.  Roll into plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).  

4. Preheat oven to 350F.  Remove plastic wrap from logs and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds.  Place rounds one inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Bake until barely golden, about 12-13 minutes, rotating halfway through.  Transfer onto cooling rack to cool slightly.  While cookies are still warm, toss in remaining sugar in resealable plastic baggie to coat.  

THANKS, A & J, for a great night and good times.  We'll bring more cookies when we come to game night SOON.  What's your favorite cookie??