I'm starting to think the world would be a better place if Albert Brooks took over. Not because I think the world stage needs more (and better) comedians, which I do. God knows, I almost voted for Ross Perot thanks to his "I'm all ears" comment.
I'm leaning this way because Albert Brooks, in Defending Your Life, proffered a concept so revolutionary, so thrilling, so game changing that he is the most deserving heir apparent.
The concept: eat all you want and never gain weight.
In an Albert Brooks world, there is no saturated fat count. Or fiber considerations. Or sodium intake. In an Albert Brooks world, we eat for pleasure.
I, of course, have already mapped out my first day of pleasure eating in the new world order and it looks something like this.
For breakfast: a pound of pasta carbonara. Carbonara is like fettucine alfredo but with eggs and bacon in it. A nice tip of the hat to breakfast. I can always have some alfredo later, as a mid-afternoon snack, between the buttery almond tart and the bag of Cape Cod potato chips.
Mid-morning snack: a large slice of pizza, but not from Pizzeria Bianco (see former posts). There's a place in Pelham, New York called Four Corners Pizzeria and the slices are standard legal size, 8 1/2 by 14, and dripping with oil. I'll have one of those, please.
Lunch: a caesar salad, fully dressed. From now on, there will be nothing offered on the side. Terms like "light on the....", "just a touch of....", or "hold the......" will be expunged from the language, as will the silly words "Lowfat," "Diet," and "Lite."
Mid-afternoon Snack: a toss-up between chili cheese fries from Red Hot Lovers and queso fundido. Maybe I'll just have both.
Luckily, I've saved my appetite for dinner. I'll be having the following: cream of mushroom soup (a bowl, not a cup), fried shrimp, lobster ravioli, saganaki, a perfectly grilled Flat Iron steak with herb butter, a mound of well-salted frites, and for dessert, Albert Brooks Brownies (see recipe below) with Pierre Herme's truly hedonistic creme brulee ice cream.
The best thing about an Albert Brooks world is that since you're never really full, you can always go back for more.
Albert Brooks Brownies
These are so unvirtuous, I save them for special occasions. How very un-Albert Brooks of me.
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate*
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 Tbs. water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (totally optional)
confectioner's sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9" square pan with butter.
Chop the chocolate into rough, small chunks with a large, heavy knife. Combine half the chocolate (no need to measure here; you can just eyeball it) with the butter, sugar and water in a metal bowl or double boiler. Put the bowl over simmering water and stir until melted. Set aside to cool for five minutes.
Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl if the first bowl isn't large enough to accommodate remaining ingredients. Whisk in the eggs, then stir in the flour, salt and optional nuts. Fold in the remaining chopped chocolate. The batter will be lumpy.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the sides pull away from the pan. Start checking after 30 minutes to be safe. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes, then cut into squares, dust with powdered sugar and eat immediately if possible. These will store for a few days, well wrapped.
* As for brands of chocolate, I use Callebaut, which I find in 1 pound chunks at Whole Foods. It's very reliable and the flavor appeals to everyone. You can find it online, too. Just Google it. It's worth going out of your way to use good chocolate in this recipe.