Drawing the chance card

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Storm prep calls for action: Lug in the herbs, latch the windows, charge the phone. It calls for supplies: candles, batteries, butter and eggs. It calls for bright fire, cold cookie dough, Monopoly.

During the first hours hunched over the board, while you snag Mediterranean Avenue and the Water Works, the game distracts from the rush of wind and the snap of tree limbs.

Later, after you've secured both Park Place and Boardwalk, you note the similarities between board and bored, monopoly and monotony. And yet, you trudge on, counting out your paces, building houses and frequently, without benefit of trial, landing in jail.

In the final stages of house arrest, when the winds of greed whip through the living room, you are forced to mortgage Boardwalk, close the Water Works, sell off those sturdy green houses. In real life, the storm seeps down through the roof, up through the foundation. On the board, your bank account is drained dry.

You know you've rolled a lucky number. So many have suffered true loss. You saw those logs of cookie dough — a sweet and savory combination of butter and sugar, rosemary and cornmeal. The shortbread bakes up tender and gritty, strange and satisfying. Like weathering the storm with most everything — save dignity — intact.

Rosemary shortbread

Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 12 minutes
Makes: About 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Whisk:
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal and salt.

Mix:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar. Mix in egg yolks, then rosemary. Add dry ingredients and mix just until dough holds together.

Chill:
Roll dough into 2 logs, each about 6 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in wax paper and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Bake:
Slice logs into 1/4-inch thick disks. Settle shortbread disks on parchment-lined baking sheets. Slide into a 350-degree oven, and bake until golden at the edges, about 12 minutes. Cool.

Serve:
Nice before dinner with cheese, after dinner with fruit, or anytime with a smile.

Provenance:
Recipe passed along by my friend Laura, who got it off Epicurious, which adapted it from "Ready for Dessert," by David Lebovitz, who — given that his job is to live in Paris and write about dessert — is a genius.

Leah Eskin is a Tribune Newspapers special contributor. Email her at leahreskin@aol.com.

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