Monday, September 20, 2010

From a Bad Date to Good TV: Dancing with Stars, Hawaii Five-O and Carrot Cake

You see this man hiding his face?

It's in shame.

Let me explain why.

The embarrassing truth is, I don't get asked out on a lot of dates. I'd like to believe it's because I'm "intimidating" or "too good to be true" or all those other things my friends promise me are the reasons I don't have a boyfriend but the cold, hard reality is this: I haven't been asked out on a date since August 2009. That was until now.

I was catering a party last week and the above gentleman was in attendance. He's young, handsome-ish (6.5 if we're being frank...and a little generous), attentive and persistently asked for my number so, despite the fact that he looked about eight years younger than me and was kind of abrasive, I figured, why not? No one else has been asking.

Hopes high, fingers crossed, my date picked me up tonight and took me on the most generic of generic first dates: sushi. A lame choice but forgivable. Until he informed me that the restuarant he'd selected was an old haunt of his and his ex-girlfriends.

Really, buddy? You're busting skeletons out of the closet and we haven't even had a hand roll yet? Awesome. Can we get some hot sake and a Sapporo on table three?

Between tales of his multiple exes and comments about how I "wasn't a cougar quite yet," my escort spent the majority of the night texting and talking on his cell phone while I tried to refrain from rolling my eyes and hailing a cab back to my apartment where I had much more important and alluring things awaiting me. Namely, some of my freshly baked carrot cake and the season premieres of Dancing with the Stars and Hawaii Five-O.

There's no shame in my game. I've been a DWTS fan for a number of years but this season it's all about Jennifer Grey.

I will proudly declare that Dirty Dancing is my favorite movie of all time and Patrick Swayze, one of my deepest loves. When he passed last year, I got condolansce calls from friends because they knew the gravity of the loss to me.

The only time I've ever encountered Jennifer Grey was at a Maya Rudolph/Fred Armisen show two years ago where she gave me a Twizzler and I didn't realize she was JENNIFER FRICKIN' GREY (damn that nose job) but I still feel deeply connected to her. Plus, she's paired with my DWTS boyfriend, Derek Hough. I don't care that he gives crazy Dancer Face. I love me some Hough!

Seeing his tears when Jennifer broke down thinking of Patrick and how much she misses him as she watched Derek choreographing to "These Arms of Mine," aka: the song Baby and Johnny Castle dance to right before they do it for the first time (chills!!!), made me love both of them even more! Heartbreaking and wonderful, all at once. If Jennifer and Derek don't win this season, there is no justice in the universe.

As for her competion, not even the Tea Party will be able to save Bristol Palin from elimination in the coming weeks. That girl dances as well as her mother comprehends geography and grammar. But it was hilarious for the producers to assign her the song, "Mama Told Me Not to Come."

And why was Mike "The Situation" totally charming? I've never had a thing for him but his nerves made him adorable. Way to bring some funky white boy thuggishness to the ballroom, Mike.

Cake eaten, DWTS watched, it's time to take a trip to Oahu for Hawaii Five-O starring good ol' Scottie Caan.

The thought has me flashing back to my trip there last summer to visit Koa. I've got an Aloha craving! But, in the meantime, I guess carrot cake will have to get me through.

Bad Date-Cleansing, Bad Ass Carrot Cake
Makes 1 three-layer cake or 24 cupcakes

3 cups flour, sifted
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups freshly shredded carrots (about 6 carrots)
8 oz. chopped walnuts
1 20 oz. can chopped pineapple
1 cup raisins, plumped in water for 10 minutes
zest and juice of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans or 24 muffin tins.

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir well to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 40-45 minutes for cake, 18-24 minutes for cupcakes.

Cool completely and frost.

World's Easiest Cream Cheese Frosting
24 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
16 oz. powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
zest and juice of 1 orange (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer until smooth and well blended.

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