23 December 2005 - 9:11 AM
It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank
In case yesterday's explosion of hate wasn't quite intelligble, the Viking was fired the week before Christmas, and the week after he'd gotten an excellent performance review and a raise. I suspect this translates as 'you're a great guy and a good nurse, but you're costing us too much money.'
It will, of course, be all right in the end. Great guys who happen also to be good nurses are rarely unemployed for long. But Merry ^%$&ing Christmas anyway.
I asked the Viking if 2005 was over yet, because I couldn't, offhand, think of one damned thing that was good that happened to us this year, and I'd had enough.
'I fought Crown for you,' he said, a bit plaintively. I had to give him that. Leaving aside how I felt about the whole Crown experience (streeeeeeesssssss!) it meant a great deal to him.
Last night I cranked up 'Fairytale of New York' and made julkaka.
1 package yeast
1/4 cup butter
1 cup whole milk, scalded
1 cup dried cherries
5 to 5 1/2 cups flour
Notes: A cake of fresh yeast is best; if you use dried, don't use a rapid rise yeast. I use dried cherries, but an early version of this calls for those artificially red and green candied cherries which glow in the dark and taste like plastic. These seem somehow out of keeping with the spirit of Swedish baking and I sometimes wonder if they were a substitution made when something more foodlike was unavailable. I have seen other julkaka recipes that call for candied citron, chopped figs, dates, even almonds. There's a lot of variation. I like the cherries; Daddy liked the cherries. I frequently double this so I can make outlandish braided wreaths or at least make enough smaller loaves to distribute. The quantity of flour is of course approximate.
In a small bowl, soften the yeast in the warm water.
In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, salt and cardamom. Add the hot milk and stir. The milk will melt some of the butter but not all of it; the rest will get mixed in when the flour is added. Add the cold water and cool to lukewarm. Stir in the egg, the fruit, and the yeast.
Beat in the flour 1/2 cup at a time, turning the dough out onto a floured surface and kneading once it gets too stiff to stir, until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Put the dough into a buttered bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Shape the dough into two round loaves and bake until golden brown and done, about 35 minutes. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped. If desired, the loaves can be brushed with an egg glaze before baking, or frosted with a sugar glaze once cool.
So happy Christmas