Saturday, February 28, 2009

I can't stop reading Top Chef Recaps They seemed really stuck on your dessert. Do you wish you had done something different?

Stefan: Honestly when I walk in a kitchen and I see four-inch plates I'm f---ed off, lost my creativity. I was bored by Top Chef in the last episode.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Party with the Party! CPAC in the hizz-ouse.

So CPAC 2009 is finally here! For those of you unfamiliar, that's the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. It's where lots of republicans, young and old, get together to be outraged, discuss "strategy", and cheat on their wives. Plus you get lots of super great deals on super great relevant literature, as evidenced by the ad "3 Conservative Books for 1$ Each" front and center on their homepage.

Showcased (by me) sponsors include:

The American Federation of Senior Citizens
Catholic Family Caucus
Concerned Women for America
Islamic Free Market Institute
The Poker Players Alliance
Radio America
The Republican Majority (I don't think they have one of those anymore)
Youth for Western Civilization
and of course, the Libertarian Party and the NRA.

And what kind of super smart, super relevant things will these protectors of American Freedom be discussing, in between downing white Russians and hating gays? Here's a sampling of their agenda: note-These are actual events. Let's play spot the irony, shall we?

The Key to Victory? Listen to Conservatives

Sarah Palin Unplugged on the Media Video Interview

Al Franken and ACORN: How Liberals are Destroying the American Election System

Presentation of the Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award (recipient TBD)

Bailing Out Big Business: Are We All Socialists Now?

What the Government Doesn't Want You to Know, and How You Can Find Out:
Putting the Freedom of Information Act to Work for You

Will Congress Take Your Guns?

Health Care: The Train Wreck Ahead

How Many Crimes Did You Commit Today?

Media in the Obama Era: Is Journalism Dead?

The True Cost Of Global Warming Hysteria

Presentation of Defender of the Constitution Award (recipient: Rush Limbaugh)

I thought Michael Steele was trying to give the GOP a hip-hop makeover, but I see shocking little evidence of that on the agenda. I am particularly sad though to be missing Media in the Obama Era: Is Journalism Dead? From their perspective, I'm totally crossing my fingers for it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Something is Rotten in Colorado

Thanks to Ergotism for the link.

Republican State Senator Schultheis: HIV testing for pregnant moms rewards "sexual promiscuity"

Schultheis voted against SB 179, which would require HIV testing for pregnant mothers, in the hopes that early detection could enable early treatment for the unborn.

Even more disturbing is that he actually devoted some thought to his decision.

"You know, this was a difficult bill for me. I voted yes in committee
on it because of discussions surrounding the fact that — well, let me just
basically say this, it basically modifies the communicable disease laws and it
requires the health care providers to test pregnant women for HIV unless they
opt out. And that’s basically, that’s the main part of this bill. I voted yes on
it. I was a little bit troubled with my vote and was just wondering what was
bothering me. I woke up the next morning — Thursday morning — at 5 a.m. and I
wrestled with this bill for another hour from 5 to 6 and finally came to the
conclusion I’m going to be a no vote on this. I’m trying to think through what
the role of government is here. And I am not convinced that part of the role of
government should be to protect individuals from the negative consequences of
their actions."

In an awesome follow-up, the Senator then goes on to say that having an HIV infected baby is a proper punishment for those whores.

“What I’m hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that,” he said. “The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity and it may make a number of people over the coming years begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior.”
All of this comes right on the coattails of another Colorado Senator, Scott Renfro, who recently compared homosexuality to MURDER.

"After quoting Scripture to call homosexual behavior a “detestable act,” the Greeley Republican said it would be “an abomination according to Scripture” for the Legislature to “(take) sins and (make) them to be legally OK.”

He continued: “I’m not saying (homosexuality) is the only sin that is out there. Obviously we have sin — we have murder, we have, we have all sorts of sin, we have adultery, and we don’t make laws making those legal, and we would never think to make murder legal.”

So today's question is WHAT THE FUCK COLORADO?

Top Chef Finale: The Anticlimax

There have been many things said about this past season of Top Chef. The talent pool was lacking. It was like watching children in the kitchen. Why was there a Muppet competing? Last night’s episode was the worst episode of the show ever. In a season that looked for the past few weeks like it might actually pick up, and the final three might actually be solid competitors, last night proved that Bravo’s editors are really just that good at tricking us. They should win an award for their creative cut and paste.

Our final three were Carla the belatedly-beloved aforementioned Muppet, Stefan the arrogant Great White Dick who easily won everything, and Hosea the Suck Dog of Suckville.

Carla started the competition off very weak, the victim of nervousness and insecurity, but managed to pull herself together in the middle and win a few times. She never did anything too complicated, and it’s true she fucked up some simple shit, but she emerged as the audience favorite by virtue of not being a whiny douche bag. None of us really thought she was up to the level of Top Chef, but we weren’t sad to see her in the Top 3, because she would make an adorable sacrificial contestant. What she lacked in creativity, she made up in French classical technique and sincere love.

Stefan was an arrogant guy, but probably the most talented of the pool. The editors forced a Hosea/Stefan rivalry on us, but the reality was Stefan is just one of those guys who will make fun of you if you deserve it, and Hosea was a yippy little antagonizing Chihuahua constantly nipping his heels. We were all rooting for Stefan to give Hosea a well deserved kick in the face since Stefan won the most challenges throughout the season, he showed the most consistency, and he seemed like the shoo-in once Fabio was sent home.

Lastly there was Hosea. This guy was consistent as well, consistently mediocre. He skated his way through to the end because everyone else was so bad. He never made anything that will be remembered. And he spent most of his time being a 12 yr old, whether it be cheating on his girlfriend with Suckface Leah, or acting like a petulant dork around Stefan. Hosea’s big claim to fame was always seafood, “I work at seafood restaurant, this is my specialty, this is what I’m good at”, ect. But despite him mentioning this background every episode, his seafood dishes always fell just short of the winners. And the guy didn’t know how to skin an eel. Which turned out to be one of the highlights of this season, watching Stefan nail the eel head to the board and pull the sticking skin off.

So for the final episode, Padma and her band of frustrated judges gave them the challenge of creating a 3 course meal for them, whatever and however they wanted. In past seasons, the finale has always been a big deal, and at least five courses. It’s a reflection of the overall air of disappointment here that they shaved it down to three courses, and no live finale announcement. What’s even more disappointing is that despite the three month break, none of the chefs had planned out any sort of menu. It’s like they forgot this part was coming.

The second place winners from past seasons came back to “help” in the kitchen. Marcel, Richard and Casey were assigned as sous chefs to our hapless pawns. Marcel quietly took orders from Stefan and acted the obedient worker, meek from his year on a fishing boat. Richard obviously was not a fan of Hosea’s, and kept to himself as well. But Casey, fan darling and consummate fuck up, took action to turn Carla’s menu into a masterpiece of Casey bullshit. “Oh Carla, why don’t you try sous vide on this beef? Oh Carla, a tart is nice, but wouldn’t a blue cheese soufflé be much classier?”

Needless to say, Carla’s beef was too tough, and the soufflés never even made it out of the kitchen. Because Carla doesn’t know how to sous vide and she makes tarts, not soufflés. So Carla was out even before she began.

Which left Stefan and Hosea. Fat face Hosea tried to screw Stefan by giving him alligator for the appetizer (a contest which involved a golden baby and Hosea stuffing his face with cake). Then Hosea took all the foie gras. Then Hosea smirked and sniggered, and fantasized about a riding a giant dinosaur through the streets of New Orleans, Leah clutched to his back with her bony fingers.

Both of their appetizers rocked though. Then both of their sashimi sucked. Both their main entrees rocked. Then, for a third course, Stefan decided to make dessert and Hosea made venison because he can’t make dessert at all.

The judges were really split on this course. On the one hand, Hosea is a baby coward for not making dessert, because a three course menu should end with dessert. However, they weren’t required to make a dessert, so technically no points off. While some of the judges liked his dessert, Padma was adamantly against it, accusing Stefan of time warping back to 1992. But other judges were like, “hey, what’s up with Hosea being a coward?”

So in the end, Stefan should not have made dessert. Hosea won. Carla cried and vowed to never listen to Casey again, especially about cheese. And every single person on that set breathed a sigh of relief that this crummy season was over. Though Stefan probably should have won, by this point nobody, not the audience, the producers, the judges, really gave two shits anymore. And Hosea got pecked to death by Leah’s hard thin bitter lips, a fate which should go well with his future as head chef at Red Lobster.

Padma then crawled back into her coffin, to sleep unbroken until the world called for her again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jindal is An Immoral Idiot

At least the Republican Party's new "diversity in action" image proves that you can be a self-serving douche no matter your ethnicity, color, or gender.

I heartily echo my sister's post here.
Where she links to this awesome little op-ed piece here from the NYT:

"Imagine yourself jobless and struggling to feed your family while the governor
of your state threatens to reject tens of millions of dollars in federal aid
earmarked for the unemployed. That is precisely what is happening in
poverty-ridden states like Louisiana and Mississippi where Republican governors
are threatening to turn away federal aid rather than expand access to
unemployment insurance programs in ways that many other states did a long time

And I feel very bad for any Republican pundit who tried to squeeze something good out of his performance last night. And I think the comparison to Kenneth the Page is very apt.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Best and Worst Dressed of the 2009 Oscars, according to a girl who wears jeans every day and possibly didn't brush her hair today. Possibly.

Like all young ladies in the US of A, last night I watched the insipid red carpet interviews in order to flash back to that comfortable childhood feeling of playing with dolls. In my case, I was crazy about paper dolls as a kid, had all sorts of paper doll collections and even made my own out of my mother's Sear's catalogs. Very little house on the prairie of me, I know. And I like to think of celebrities like my own adult paper dolls. I can't move them, or even interact with them in person. But I can judge their style like nobody's business. So let's spend a few shallow moments together contemplating gowns that would probably pay my rent for a year.

Team Beige

From left to right:
1. I have no problem with Henson's feathery layers, except that I am not a fan of the "toilet paper wrapped around my torso" look.
2. Miley Cyrus is Underwater Barbie. This girl is seriously on the crazy bus, headed to mid life crisis breakdown town. She probably thinks that belt gives her special powers to talk to dolphins.
3. Jessica Biel wandered in from some sordid hotel rendezvous. Or a National Lampoons movie.
4. Anne Hathaway wins. This was my favorite dress all night, mostly because it looks like a melted disco ball.

Almost the Worst of the Night, Because the Expectations were So High.

Seriously, Amy, who picked out that necklace? Amy Adams is my It Girl, and I just have a hard time believing this was really what she picked out. I think she was bullied into this by a fat Italian man, who probably made my sweet Amy cry. She looks like she belongs on Days Of Our Lives.

Team Princess

From left to right: Marissa has gotten mixed reviews for her Pleats Will Take Over the World dress. But you know, I think the point of being fabulously rich and glamorous is wearing completely over the top things that took 2 million man hours to create. Somewhere out there, a middle aged Parisian woman now has carpal tunnel. There's pain in that couture.

Penelope could wear a track suit and be better dressed than some of these hacks, and the fact that she bothers to even make an effort is admirable. She said she saw this vintage dress years ago, and thought of it when she needed something, so she went back to the same store and found it. She looks like a princess bride. It's awesome.

And then there's Sarah Jessica Parker, who is basically a grown up Miley Cyrus. So let's move on.

Team "Let's try and match the statue"

From left to right:
1. I basically love anything disco ball reminiscent, so Tina Fey wins. Though I had to search for a picture where she wasn't squinting like a drunken sailor.
2. I don't know who this woman is, she was in Doubt I guess, a serious movie about serious nuns. Anytime the person had a role that's unattractive or nonsexual, the red carpet commentators get all "oh my god, can you believe she has boobs, what a change blah blah blah". They did that with America Ferrera too. Anyway, she's rocking the gold lame.
3. Melissa Leo tried. You can tell she tried. But it didn't work.
4. Sophia Loren and Dolly Parton have been merged together in some insane act of genetic engineering. This is definitely the Vatican's fault. The close-ups were particularly scary.

Beyonce Really Likes Her Couch

This is horrendous. It's obvious the recession is hitting Ms. Jay Z hard. Or one of her cousins called in a favor. That's the problem with the whole "cousin" thing.

The Power Couple

Okay, I was SO SICK of the whole "will Jennifer run into Angie on the carpet?" CRAP that they were selling, I was hoping they would so they could nod demurely, pass by, and then everyone could SHUT THE FUCK UP. But no, America will not be denied it's fucking DECADE old scandal. And Jennifer Aniston is dating ManBoy Mayer, so how is it possible to still pity her?

Brad and Angelina were dressed exactly like the truly powerful, understated and with emeralds the size of small baby heads. Look at her earrings. Those jewels are probably worth more than the GNP of Canada. Not to mention the matching huge one she had on her hand. It was so big, she actually had trouble clapping with it on.

Also, she looks quintessentially bored with the whole fiasco. So good for her.

Back Online - Academy Awards Edition

"Wow, this is just, I mean, wow. Thank you. It's just so great to be up here and see all of the talented people in front of me who have made this possible. Something like this doesn't happen as a solo project, it's a collaboration, so I want to thank first S., who made this all possible with his unending supply of used computer parts. Webstar and Scientific Atlanta, without whom I would have never found the anger or the tools to really push past the boundaries of this character. Real method work there. My beautiful mouse, who stepped in at the right moment, mouse, where are you? Stand up and take a bow mouse. Without that mouse there, I would still be frustratingly pounding my tab key and possibly crying. You really gave me a port to lean on. And finally, I'd like to take a moment and remember the passing of my laptop, who may be replaced, but never forgotten. Especially because all my music is still on there. Thank you all so much. God bless you and God bless America and equal rights for all people including animals. Thank you."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Few Random Things...

From Broken Headphones:

"According to, there’s a new band that exists on earth called Tinted Windows featuring former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, handsome Hanson brother Taylor, and Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger."

Let's reiterate. James Iha, Bunny Carlos, Taylor Hanson, and Adam Schlesinger. In a band. Together.

Quotes by Michael Douglas's character in Wall Street:

"Money isn't lost or made. It's simply transferred from one perception to another."

"Greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed -- you mark my words -- will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA."

In 2009 these bands will release albums I will buy:
Built To Spill
M. Ward
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Dan Deacon (note, I will not be buying this album for myself.)

I am mostly excited because it means the first two might actually tour! And I might actually go see them! And they were super awesome in concert!

Lastly, R.I.P Socks.

It's Not Top Gumbo, Douchebag, it's Top Chef.

I know, no Top Chef Recap this week. First, because I was deathly ill for the last two days, and so I barely even acknowledged the show when it was on. And second, because there weren't really enough interesting things to write a whole entry about.

A short list:

- meeting up at the airport, Stefan asked Hosea if he learned how to cook while he was away.
- Emeril is either impossibly nice or impossibly evil. Either way, he's boring. I'd like to think you can't be that evil AND boring, but I suspect that's more often the case than not.
- Louisiana will always be known for gumbo, and that's never gonna change, and quite frankly, there's better stews to be had. Gumbo has never appealed to me, probably cause I don't eat bugs like those crazy jungle swamp dwelling Southerners.
- I blame this on the cold medication. I seriously considered writing a fanfic of zombie Padma rampaging in New Orleans, or vampire Padma in a kind of Anne Rice love triangle with Tom and Gail. Has Anne Rice ruined New Orleans forever? I say yes.
- Everyone did great, I guess. But it still feels like Stefan should have gone home and didn't.
- I felt really really sad for Fabio. The mohawk helped this, a little. I did cry for him, but in all fairness I also cried while watching the movie Wall Street yesterday, and I cried when someone made a dog fucking joke. I'm a crier when I'm sick.
- Carla not drinking at all accounts for a lot of her lucidity this past season.

Bonus List!

Things That Are Not the Same:

- watching the movie Serenity/watching the movie Serendipity
- Star Trek the next Generation/Star Trek Enterprise
- Charlie Sheen/John Cusack
- rose/rose`
-Canada Dry/Seagrams/Vernors
-tire flotation/tire rotation
-ANTM/ Make Me a Supermodel

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I've always thought that one of the signs of growing old is starting to hoard things or buy them in bulk. First of all, usually only older people have the money to do that. Second, only older people are really counting on using 12 bottles of ketchup in the future. I don't think I would use 12 bottles of ketchup in a decade. Third, when you're younger, you usually don't have the space for keeping that crap. With the housing implosion, I guess that last one doesn't work as well these days.

But the other day at the grocery store, I bought three bottles of wine that were on sale. I took them home and plopped them on top of my fridge with the other two bottles I already had there. So either I'm reacting in an instinctual animalistic way to the impending economic collapse, or it's time to buy a Sam's Club membership.

I woke up today getting sick. It's that active kind of cold, the one that you recognize immediately by the tell tale sniffle in the morning, and the onset of symptoms within hours that is only comparable to having a herd of rhinos covered in barbed wire and cottonballs let loose in your head. Get it? Rhinos, rhino virus? Ugh. Seriously, this is fast acting. Within hours of getting to the office, I am full blown out of it, and also everyone else at the office is sneezing and coughing now.

So I took my lunch at work early (I usually try to tough it out till 5pm, so when I come back the day is already over), and I drove in the sinus infecting dreary cold rain to CVS to buy tissues. Why are there so many types of tissues available? And why can't I just buy super tissues that combine all desirable features? You know, mentholated, super soft, lotioned, anti-bacterial, cool looking pattern tissues. That also can act as cooling facial masks, to cover up the dark circles. And evaporate after used.

In conclusion, after reading the comments on the Foreclosure/Housing Bill story in NYT, I:
a) hate people
b) hate banks
c) hate that everybody is mad about irresponsible people getting help, but no one is angry about the irresponsible banks who are just getting more and more incentives, with no real rules forcing them to use those incentives for good.
d) hate that all those people in category c are also the ones complaining that they're not getting any bailout help. Even though they have jobs and are making their payments just fine. They want to get paid for not being stupid. They want to complain about the size of the bill, and they want to complain about having to help people who got themselves in their own mess, but they also want free money as a reward for not being broke. What?
e) Where the fuck are our regulations, dude? Seriously, isn't that what we're supposed to be doing, regulating everything? C'mon.

There was a really excellent Economic Collapse for Beginners Frontline on last night, which just went through the whole banking nightmare timeline event by event, and I feel much more qualified to be terrified now . Also a little self-righteous, as watching Frontline tends to do.

And if I hear one more jackass from Wisconsin say "just let the markets fix it", I will burst into sick person angry tears, and I'll get sicker from the crying, and then you all will have to deal with irrational grumpy politically asking for it Bridget. And that's not a lot of fun, as my parents, siblings, and various boyfriends can tell you.

ALSO, Mr. "Google Ad on my homepage", I doubt rice cakes have really changed THAT much.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If more of you were off on Mondays, I wouldn't end up watching so much SciFi Channel.

There’s something really nasty about going to buy Valentine’s Day candy the day after. Like, suddenly the chocolate has been infected by mites, or the caramel has reverted to ground mealworms. Because of this, and also because it’s kind of shameful to be the fat girl walking into Malley’s in her hoodie on a Monday in the middle of the day, Half Off Valentine’s Candy is irresistible. I should mention, I was not the only one.

Did you know if you eat Half Off Valentine’s Day Candy, you are guaranteed to be happily in love on Feb. 14th next year? It’s true.

Just like if you eat Half Off Halloween Candy, you get invited to cool parties. And Half Off Easter Candy gets you into heaven.

Yesterday was a recovery day for me. I woke up and watched 5 episodes of Dead Like Me. Then I managed to motivate myself out of the house with thoughts of nutmallow hearts. After my dirty foray to Candyland, I went to Giant Eagle and bought a bunch of health food; green beans, pork chops, yogurt, marmalade, diet cream soda (which I totally got for no other reason than it was in the British section. It probably tastes just like regular American cream soda.)

Then I cleansed myself with 4 cups of coffee at Bela Dubby, which had mysteriously been turned into a kindergarten room. It was surprisingly comforting. I hung out with some friends there and talked about nonsense for while. Pictures were taken of people talking on phones, which made very little sense even in context. The night ended with S. and I watching more Arrested Development, and Rusty dive-bombing my plate for green beans.

Best cooking discovery of the day? Frying a pork chop with just salt and pepper, then drizzling honey on it, is perfect when you have no apples. Really perfect.

Martyrdom by Excess

I had a great Valentine’s Day this year. I know it’s not fashionable to get into this holiday, “hallmark created”, empty materialistic gesture, and all that. But really, Hallmark just capitalized on an already existing ancient materialistic gesture. And we all know, if something’s really old, then it’s valid. Dust adds worth. (this is what I tell myself about my house all the time)
This year, S. and I went on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Wine Express. I love trains, and I love wine. We got coach, because first class was sold out by the time we bought tickets. I guess the Wine trains normally sell out months in advance. So we were sitting knee to knee with these two computer programmers from Aurora, who were visibly wary of us when they first sat down. They were both wine tourists, the kind of people who go to every festival and have been to lots of wineries, and have their own wine cellar, ect. So we coddled them with lots of wine questions, and once they saw we weren’t going to be gulping and shouting for refills, or lighting a joint with the riffraff in the next seat over, they relaxed and we all had a decent time. They were nice people, and of course, everyone's nicer when you're drinking. I was definitely tipsy by the time I got off, tipsy enough that I didn’t want to wear coat in the stupid cold Cleveland darkness. It was a lot of fun, if only for the whole novelty of it, and I want to go on the South American Wines trip this spring, but I think I want to be a little more sure of my traveling companions if I’m not in first class. So some of you are going to have to come with me. Cause I'm not sitting next to Mr. Hair Gel and Ms. Tasteless Leather Jacket. We totally lucked out this time, but I don't trust luck twice ever.

After the train, we stopped by Asterisk to see CB’s friend Rob’s exhibit. It was suitably impressive. I drank more wine there, and wished I had more money to buy artsy stuff. Then it was a brief stop at Lava, with more wine there. And finally a late night stumble into Tremont Taphouse, where I stupidly thought short rib sliders and a pineapple vodka would sit well on what, 8?, glasses of red wine? Because I am easily influenced by meat.

How I rolled out of bed the next morning is still not fully understood. I do know that I got out of the house on time, only to be thwarted by the slipperiest inch of snow ever to fall on Cleveland. I counted 7 car accidents on 480 on the way there, and I was 30 minutes late, which sucked.

For actual Valentine’s Day, we just stayed home watching Serpico and Arrested Development. I made dinner, and here you go, you can make it yourself. It was pretty satisfying. I tried to stay really simple when I picked out the recipes, because I knew my eyes would be rolling in the back of my head by the time I got home from work. The corn bruschetta was awesome, and I loved the rub on the steaks. S. liked the squash, but it was a little too punch out parmesan for me, I tend to like squash with a sweet aftertaste. We had a decent Malbec with everything, and then sparkling Shiraz with dessert, which I totally just bought from the store, because I’m a pastry pussy. If I could, I would buy you all a bottle of Shingleback Sparkling Shiraz, it’s SO good, and it goes really well with dark fudgy chocolate (the thing I bought was called a Chocolate Bomb, and was basically a round of dark chocolate cake with fudge on top, and then covered with a chocolate shell. There’s no way I will EVER be making something that good.) If I bought you all bottles though, I would then lose my apartment. So get it yourself.

Sage Creamed Corn Bruschetta with Prosciutto – recipe from Michael Chiarello (from

•1 tablespoon unsalted butter
•2 garlic cloves, sliced (I have this giant jar of minced which I’m going through surprisingly fast, and I used about 2 teaspoons. It went a long way.)
•6 sage leaves (yes, I also have no idea what this translates to for dried ground sage. Apparently the internet does not know either. So I used about a teaspoon of this too.)•4 ears corn, kernels removed (I used frozen, it was fine)
•Salt and pepper
•1/2 cup heavy cream
•Slices of grilled bread (I used a baguette and immediately regretted not having more surface area)
•About ½ pound of shaved prosciutto


In a skillet over medium-high heat, lightly brown the butter. Add the garlic and cook until it is light brown. Add the sage and cook until aromatic. Add the corn kernels and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the cream and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 to 5 minutes; let cool. Spoon the corn over the bread and serve with a slice of prosciutto on each.

Butternut Squash With Thyme and Parmesan – recipe from Rachel Ray ( from hell…or…or Canada…take your pick)

•1/2 cup chicken broth
•2 boxes, 10 ounces each, frozen cooked butternut squash puree (I used chunked squash cause I couldn’t find puree, and just let it cook in the broth like ten times longer than she probably meant)•2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
•Salt and pepper
•1/2 cup Parmesan


In a medium pot, bring chicken stock to a simmer over medium heat. Add frozen cooked squash and cook together until squash is warmed through and loose. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper and cheese and cook over low heat to combine flavors, serve.

Mexican Spice Rubbed Rib Eyes with Lime Butter – recipe by Bernie Kantak (from

1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2. 1 small garlic clove, minced
3. 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
4. 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
5. Kosher salt
6. 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
7. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
8. 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle powder (chipotle powder is surprisingly hard to find in Cleveland, go fig. So I had to substitute a chipotle blend, which usually has paprika in it but just for coloring. So you know, eye it. You really want a little more chipotle than paprika, if you can’t get it exactly balanced.)
9. Four 12-ounce, 1-inch thick, boneless rib eye steaks (I only made two steaks of course, so use the rub and butter proportionately. I also got this awesome aged Delmonicos, but that’s cause I go overboard when it comes to meat. Please recall Valentine’s Day 2007 when I bought 4 inch thick stegosaurus steaks. Each one was the size of my head.)
10. Vegetable oil, for the grill


1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, lime zest, lime juice and a pinch of salt. In another bowl, combine the paprika, cumin and chipotle powder with 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Rub the mixture all over the steaks.

2. Oil the grate and grill the steaks over moderately high heat, turning once, until slightly charred and medium-rare, about 12 minutes. Transfer the steaks to plates and top with the lime butter. Let the steaks stand for 3 to 4 minutes before serving.(but don't do like I did, and decide to make out while the steaks are resting, cause then you'll end up with overcooked Delmonicos. Shame Shame.)

And here's is my not very pretty photo of a very good plate. Please note the almost empty plate of bruschetta in the background.

Friday, February 13, 2009

For Valentine's Day, I would like Chocolate.

"An autistic woman with powerful martial art skills looks to settle her ailing mother's debts by seeking out the ruthless gangs that owe her family money."

Thursday, February 12, 2009


There's not much that grosses me out.

Let me rephrase that. There is a lot that grosses me out, but not much that falls into the range of what a normal person might mention or even think of. Once you've had the conversation about fucking a vagina stuffed with dayglo earthworms, or letting maggots chew off your callouses, or had someone explain the term donkey punch creampie (not separately, used TOGETHER) in length with numerous unnecessary illustrations, you start to feel fairly sturdy.

Also, a certain adolescent experience involving a bottle of corner store long island ice tea. Or throwing up nine chocolate martinis. Or waking up in a rave kid's house covered in fleas.

These all do wonders for your constitution.

So take me seriously when I ask you to PLEASE STOP USING THE PHRASE "HOT MESS."

I'm fairly certain the images it conjures for me are not the ones you imagine, but still, its a yucky thing no matter how you slice it. Eww. Hot Mess. Sliced.

Also, it's overused, and whatever happened to trying to not be so much of a hipster?

Acceptable variation: Hot Tranny Mess

Top Chef Recap: Is It Supposed to Feel This Empty?

When last night’s episode ended, I immediately wanted to post a recap. Only one sentence: Thank you Tom for keeping Stefan.

But then I realized that a) it would be rude to abandon my friends for the computer immediately, and b) that’s not a very compelling commentary, although it pretty much sums up the episode. Oh, and c) I would miss the Daily Show. Plus d) I was pretty drunk at that point and should probably just finish my glass and go to bed and worry about my geeky little blog tomorrow.

So now I’m a bit more clear-headed, let’s see if I can make this a bit more interesting…

There’s only five chefs left; Leah (no), Hosea (double no), Stefan, Fabio, and Carla. I’m a little more excited about a finale with those last three than I’ve been through this entire season, but there’s no one I’m really rooting for. If any of those three win, I’m good. But first we have to get to the top three, which means Leah and Hosea have to go. Leah is easy to get rid of, but Hosea might prove a little more challenging, and I’ll be heartbroken if he beats Stefan. He’s always smirking around him, and saying snide little things, and even though he has a great “I love Padma” shirt, I really don’t think he’s good enough.

At this stage in the competition, the producers bring out the big culinary stars. Eric Ripert was the beginning last week, and this week they brought Wylie Dufresne out from the underground lab where he’s been hiding out, trying to animate a piece of broccoli. He transports himself to the Top Chef Kitchen, and materializes in his chosen costume of Comicon Director. Then he tells us, for the first of 14 times this episode, how much he loves eggs. God, Wylie loves eggs. He loves breakfast, he loves eggs, he loves eggshells, and he loves yolks and runniness. He dreams of ostrich, albatross, carrier pigeon eggs. He longs for the comfort of his own special birth egg, the warm darkness and the curve of the shell cold against his skin. Wylie has a thing for eggs.

So the chefs have to make an egg dish for him, and since he’s Mr. Wizard, they all try and do quick clever things. Except for Carla, who makes green eggs and ham? A lame little joke that has been done about five times on this show. But it must have been the best green eggs and ham ever, because it beats out Stefan’s “pretend poached egg” panna cotta with mango puree in the middle to simulate yolk. Anyway, she wins. The local viewing audience thinks this is pretty lame.

For the main challenge, every chef is assigned a famous culinary superstar and has to cook their requested last meal for them. Leah gets Wylie, who requests eggs benedict. Carla gets Jacque Pepin, and almost wets herself over peas and squab. All the meals are pretty simple in fact, shrimp scampi, roasted chicken. Who requests roasted chicken as their last meal?

The exciting things that happened are as follows:
- All the guest judges sit at a long table in an empty room, and get the weird Barbara Walters interview lighting treatment. Everyone has an aura. It’s annoying and distracting, and they probably did it because all the judges were so old.
- Fabio breaks his finger. He declines going to the hospital, saying that he will instead “chop it off, sear it on the flat top, and serve it.” He has a lot of trouble peeling potatoes, but pulls it through and actually wins the challenge. For his reward they give him a giant bottle of wine to pair with his painkillers. By the end of the episode, he’s so hopped up; he’s standing on chairs and yelling about immigrant achievements.
- Carla’s peas are apparently great, and now I want peas really badly.
- Leah makes her hollandaise too runny.
- Stefan overcooks his fish.

So the bottom two are Leah and Stefan, and those tricky editors, they really made me think it was over for the Great White Threat from the North. I mean, it was nothing but “wow the salmon was overcooked” and “I couldn’t even tell there were 2 kinds of spinach”. It looks really bad for him, and all of us in the room are sitting on the edge of our chairs, praying that it’s a trick and Leah goes home. The only glimmer of hope is when Tom decides to stand up for Stefan, apparently to thank us fans for putting up with the crap this season. I heard him say that, right before he asked the chefs to not embarrass him in front of Pepin.

Well, looks like Tom is really running the show, because finally Leah goes home, Stefan stays, the rooms screams in joy because we really like screaming at this show, and hope and joy is restored to the universe.

When this show is over, I’m totally going to start going to Prosperity Karaoke.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Random things (There are not 25, and this is not the meme you are looking for *waves hand*)

I don't spend all my time ranting about politics and god, but there's been a lack of personal shit happening, and it's been really slow at work. Which I suppose I should be happy about. Here's a short list of what's been going on.

1. I bought S. a copy of A Separate Peace, which he hadn't read, and of course he loved it. Which makes me want to buy people more books, and also makes me want to reread A Separate Peace...which is in general not a good idea. Don't ask me what inspired me to buy one of the saddest books ever for S., but I was at the used bookstore, and there were all these copies because its required reading for the three biggest private schools in the area, and they all looked like they needed a home. There are certain books that do that to me, every time I see a copy I have to buy it. Watership Down, Jane Eyre, The Handmaids Tale, The Phantom Tollbooth, World According To Garp. They deserve good homes, surrounded by Norton Anthologies and old sociology books. I'm totally going to be one of "those" aunts. Also, you would think I would know how to spell separate by now, but spellcheck always tells.

2. I already mentioned this on Facebook, but let's try and decipher it. This morning I was cleaning receipts out of my clutch (so much better to say than purse, it's NOT a purse after all) when I ran across a note I had scribbled on the back of one. First, the receipt in question is from North Midway Travel Plaza (Marjorie was my cashier), and I'm pretty sure this note was written on the way back from Baltimore with S. It says:

"Squirrel Hill Tunnel
The ghost of Judy Blume is giving me head
Connor O is the new Eagles

According to Wiki, Squirrel Hill tunnel is in Pittsburgh, and contrary to Wiki, it is not possible to hear FM radio all thru the tunnel, so Carnegie Mellon students suck. I remember we took this detour through Pittsburgh because S. was trying to hide the fact he was kidnapping me to West Virginia. And we hooked up with the local NPR station, which was doing a New Years countdown of their top forty albums of the year.

While that explains the Connor O comment, which by the way is TOTALLY TRUE, it doesn't explain the Judy Blume bon mot. And unfortunately, I can't either. I remember S. said it and it was the funniest thing ever, and then we went in the tunnel.

And that last one is actually spelled Devochka (so I did pretty well guessing the spelling off the radio) and its a band, some sort of world music I heard on the countdown and really liked.

3. I found another receipt that said this on the back: I don't know what to make of it either...

"8 oz white wine
4 oz Castor sugar
1/4 pineapple sliced
2 oranges zested and juiced"

4. I'm calling it now, Stefan is totally going to win Top Chef.

5. My hair is excruciatingly long right now. If you've only known me in the last six years, this is probably the longest you've ever seen it. This is because a)I should get my cat's teeth cleaned before I get a haircut and b)I've been really unhappy with my last few haircuts even though they were almost exactly the same as the way I used to get it cut. So I'm trying to figure out what to do next, and it's rolling around in my brain, which I figure is a good place for it because it's so close to the subject.

5. I went to a wake last night for a friend's mother who I didn't know, but you know, you go for your friend. And then this morning I heard the news about another friend's mother who just died. Two things I think about this: I should really go pick up that shirt my mom bought me that she's been pestering me to come get for a month now, and it's uncomfortable to be an atheist at a wake. Not that it isn't already uncomfortable to be at a wake, I mean, that's the role of the not very close friend. You come to the wake and you deal with uncomfortable, because it makes your friend more comfortable.

I just think I'm too weird of a person to do right at these functions. Because the other side effect is that I get wistful looking at all the people who know the deceased and all the awesome super cute beautiful photos of their life and how much their kids look like them, and I wish I could have met the person. Or watched a movie of their life. Maybe that's the true intent of a wake, but you still feel everyone looking at your dry eyes, wondering why you're here.

Anyway, it makes me feel like a cold-hearted person, because I think about observations like these too much, and I don't feel enough sadness. I don't get sad around death, not nearly the way I think I should, and I wonder where that comes from. I know I've talked about this before here, so I won't go into it more. But doesn't it make me a weird person that in a detached way, I am really curious about how I'll react when one of my parents die, or a sibling? I love them, I want nothing to happen to them. But none of us are living forever, and I just wonder if maybe I never really loved Peter that much and that's why I was okay when he died, or if it runs deeper than that. I guess we'll find out someday.

The Return of Super Pope

Well Mom, good news. I found your next Christmas gift for me. Finally you can stop buying my soul masses with those monks in New York, and get me something really useful:

Pope Brings Back Plenary Indulgences

"There are partial indulgences, which reduce purgatorial time by a certain number of days or years, and plenary indulgences, which eliminate all of it, until another sin is committed. You can get one for yourself, or for someone who is dead. You cannot buy one — the church outlawed the sale of indulgences in 1567 — but charitable contributions, combined with other acts, can help you earn one. There is a limit of one plenary indulgence per sinner per day."

Well, that should be especially good for those of you insisting that the Holocaust didn't happen.

Of course, the article also mentions that most people under 80 have no idea what an indulgence is, a fact that underscores why you should really get to know your religion a bit better. Also, guess what your grandparents want when they die? This is totally the new trend gift. I wonder how much in "charitable contributions" you have to give before you get one?

Oh wait, here's a site that tells you all the ways to get one for free! It's easier than you think! You can get one for going to the Basilica, or just for listening to a Pope speech on the radio! Now this is more of the Catholicism I remember, where you're forgiven just by doing what you're told.

In a way, I think Pope Benedict is doing something admirable in trying to bring back the ancient Church. The real Catholic Church is the one where the Vatican holds the power, the mass is said in Latin, the Jews are going to hell, and you'd better not eat anything before Communion. Its all the hell and fury and mysterious threatening rules that made it so popular and powerful, and anyone claiming to be Catholic today should at the very least know what an indulgence is. I mean, I knew before I was 12. I took this shit seriously for most of my childhood, which is why when it came time for Confirmation, I put up such a hissy fit and only did it because my mom insisted. If you know you don't believe in God at 14, but you spent your formative years being respectfully terrified of the Church, you don't want to go messing around with committments you don't mean.

Just going to mass every holiday and singing hippie instrumental guitar hymns does not a Catholic make. There a thousand rules and rites you go through to be a real one. All these divorcees and gays and people having sex before marriage should evaluate whether or not they are really Catholic. You can't get an indulgence unless you know, in your soul, that what you did was evil and wrong. So you can't fake this for forgiveness. If you don't really believe abortion is wrong, well you're just wasting your time in church dude. There is no liberal Catholic Church. There is only THE Roman Catholic Church. Get with it or leave.

To be clear, I recommend the leaving part.

On the upside, the Pope recently acknowledged Darwin and Evolution.

So to summarize: Nazis are okay, evolution is okay, and it doesn't matter how you sin, listening to the pope will get you out of it. Also, Catholics need to man up, cause Pope Bennie is kickin it old school. He's not going to let Islam have all the fun.

First person to name me all Seven Sacraments wins a secret prize...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fidel Castro Should Write Bible Fiction - Like, that one movie starring Tom Hanks, he could totally have written that..

Turned onto this by Gawker today:

In his latest "Reflections of Fidel", the bed-ridden commie lion sips his cigar and muses about Rahm Emmanuel...sort of...

"WHAT a strange surname! It appears Spanish, easy to pronounce, but it’s not. Never in my life have I heard or read about any student or compatriot with that name, among tens of thousands.

Where does it come from? I wondered. Over and over, the name came to mind of the brilliant German thinker, Immanuel Kant, who together with Aristotle and Plato, formed a trio of philosophers that have most influenced human thinking. Doubtless he was not very far, as I discovered later, from the philosophy of the man closest to the current president of the United States, Barack Obama.

Another recent possibility led me to reflect on the strange surname, the book of Germán Sánchez, the Cuban ambassador in Bolivarian Venezuela: The transparence of Enmanuel, this time without the “I” with which the German philosopher’s name begins."

And it goes on from there. And on. And on. The basic gist is Obama is too late to save America. (This may actually be true.) You should read it so that someday when you're trying to pick up a vegan college girl at the animal rescue farm (which you actually thought SOLD pork, your bad), you can break out some Fidel quotes and she interpret your obvious age as more attractive "wisdom and worldiness".

The funny/sad thing to me is that Fidel stays true to his "no god but the commies" roots, and doesn't address the Jewish, Bible origin of the word once. I mean, he's missing a wealth of youtube worthy jumping there. Imagine the leaps he could take. I'm excited imagining the leaps I could take, and I'm not stuck in bed with no intestines. The very first thing I think of when I hear Rahm Emmanuel is that hymn we used to sing at Christmas, Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel (and ransom captive Israel). How about a "reflexion" about "captive Israel", and the marauding US interlopers funding their secret cabals? How about some support for Iran, Fidel? Especially given the timing of the 30th anniversary, and all this holla back and forth between the US and Iran right now. It's a missed opportunity to stir the masses! (are there any masses left in Cuba?)

So it's kinda sad Mr. Castro didn't take this as far as he could. I think in his younger days, he could have composed a rant worthy of the weird guy who used to run our Trotsky-ite meetings at CSU.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Not really a post, more like a piece of advice....

Yesterday we drove to Valley View theater to see Coraline in 3d.
Why anyone would want to see Coraline in non-3d is mind-boggling. Why a giant movie theater like Valley View would not have this movie in 3d is also mind boggling. Despite these two mind boggling facts, there was a big line of people for the 12:30 show, even though there wee bright green signs on all the ticket windows that read:

"We are not currently showing Coraline in 3d.
Due to high demand, please check back with us next week."

It used to be that Valley View had good movies. Now they're dopes who don't get a Tim Burton movie in 3d.

So for those of you who live in Northeast Ohio, Coraline in 3d is only playing at Regal Cobblestone Theaters in Elyria, and it is TOTALLY worth the drive because the use of 3d in this movie is so well done and fits in so well with the animation, it's a break though for animation as a whole.

The story itself tends to not slow down or speed up in the proper places, but I blame this on Neil Gaiman, who's a lot like Stephen King. He has really great ideas, but not very good follow through. On the whole, this is a really beautiful movie, and you can easily forgive the downfalls of the script, cause they're stumbles not cliff falls.


Also, I think that at the very end, they should have created a stop motion Neil Diamond to sing Sweet Caroline with a chorus of vampire Scotties, and Coraline could get mad at him for mispronouncing her name, and it would ultra cute. Way to miss the ball on that one, guys.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Grammys

Watching the Jonas Brothers with Stevie Wonder doing "Superstitious" was one of the most jaw dropping moments of my life.

Coldplay can suck it. Chris Martin looked like one of those wind up monkeys with cymbals.

Kanye's new haircut was the second most draw dropping moment. But in an AWESOME way. Fade and jerry curl, gloves and sparkly jacket? Seriously.

John Mayer doesn't seem to realize, at all, what a tool he looks like. I wonder if Jennifer does?

Dave Grohl looked so genuinely happy to be drumming for Paul McCartney, it was adorable. As was the stuffed dog sitting on the speakers. Which probably houses McCartney's soul.

MIA is having her baby backstage now, as we speak. T.I. is going to eat the afterbirth, so he can live forever.

I just saw a commercial with Will.I.Am and Bob Dylan that's so offensive, it deserves a post of its own.

Lil Wayne totally deserved it, but how cute did Lupe look?

Okay, just to let you know, if Radiohead doesn't win album of the year, Im going to finish this entire bottle of wine

Giggles the Grog Shop Gimp

It's Springtime. Sort of.

So my life was changed when I discovered I could buy fresh pizza dough from the grocery store by my house. Not frozen, or those damn weird looking DiGiorno shells, but made that day Italian pizza dough from Corbos. Also, their Florentines changed my life, but that's another story.

Now whenever I want pizza, unless I'm physically incapable of leaving the house, i go buy dough and make my own. It takes ten minutes to stretch the dough, five to assemble, and it tastes better than every other pizza except Nunzio's. I really love Nunzio's, even though they never cut their pizzas properly. They also have a white sauce that is WAY too garlicky for me. Mine's better.

My list of favorite pizza ingredients:

black olives
minced garlic
diced tomatoes
olive oil
fresh basil

Not all together, of course. Of course not. Did you notice I'm basically okay with any salty cured Italian meat? Yeah.

Making your own pizza give this feeling of independence you never knew you were missing. No tips. No worrying about whether it's cold or not. No having to put on clothes to go to the door, and worrying that the delivery guy thinks you're a big loser. And more importantly, making your own pizza exactly the way you want it. Also, not having to hide the stash or spray deodorizer all over.

Just kidding.

Oh my god, the air outside just smells so good...someone please tell me it's actually May and this isn't going anyway for at least six months...tell me I can keep wearing my sneakers...and going to the park on my lunch break...and not wearing a coat.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Oh I wish I was in Sandusky

Hundreds of People Stranded on Ice Floe in Lake Erie

So here's the thing: if the ice floe is 8 miles wide, and there's about 300 people who were ice fishing on it, then we're talking a very large area. How would you know when it broke off? Did they hear the bone crushing noise first? Or did someone come running towards them shouting? Running on ice that can break on you at any moment is not perhaps the smartest thing. And did the people keep drilling holes in ice, figuring they might as well keep fishing while they waited for the helicopters? Did they get the women and children off first, or is it more random? Is everyone gathered in large groups, or are they afraid of the weight, so they're standing scattered about? Will they get everyone off by nightfall, or will people be stranded in the dark, with freezing water and gusting winds, while the searchlights scurry back and forth in the distance?

And more importantly, who goes ice fishing on the warmest day in the past three weeks?

What I wish is that I could drive out to Sandusky now, and stand on the shore by the Maritime Museum (which I'm sure will someday have a picture of this) and watch the helicopters and boats. Then I wish I could go into a warm waterfront bar and get drunk watching them. Then I wish I could walk along the beach in the cold and watch the ice melting.

I can still do that last part tonight. It's one of my favorite things in Cleveland, watching the ice break up.

This is the kind of infrastructure we ( I ) need

High Speed Rail Suddenly On Fast Track For Cleveland

And once we've got Cincinnati and Columbus, what about a Toledo-Chicago line?

Now get me a ferry to Canada, and I'll be thrilled.

Friday Night Lights Blind Me

So last night I'm watching TV, which is usually my fate on Fridays because I have to wake up so insanely early on Saturdays for work. The idea that people voluntarily wake up this early to "get stuff done" on the weekends is sickening. Unless you're milking goats or driving to Virginia, stay in fucking bed. Anyway...

I'm flipping through bad TV, Numbers and Tool Academy and reruns of Criminal Minds (Oh, Welcome to the Dollhouse, please just start already), when I end up on the Rachel Maddow show. Maddow is one of those pundits I want to like. She's cute, smart, funny, and a lesbian. But she says "bullpuckey" every five minutes, which in combination with her stilted delivery, serves to drive me batshit insane. She's going off about the stimulus package, about how stimulus means spending, ect. I agree with everything she's saying, which is one reason these shows are so boring to me. I mean, on the Daily Show at least they're coming up with jokes. But regular pundits are just going to repeat the same observations I've read online and heard on the radio and thought my own self, thank you very much. So it's just ego stroking. Plus it leads to me subconsciously recycling their lines, which is just heinous.

Anyway, she said something that stuck with me. She commented on how she thought this Republican opposition to the stimulus package was the beginning of a upcoming war on unions. And I thought, yeah, that's pretty sharp. I mean, with all this infrastructure and education and healthcare stuff, the unions are front and center here.

So then I made the mistake of switching to Hannity.

I remember the days when I used to try and watch Fox to get some idea of the opposite point of view, like 5 years ago. Now I can't leave it on for more than five minutes without wanting to live in a shack in Nebraska and never talk to anyone ever again. Or devote my life to taking down Limbaugh.

As luck would have it, this particular five minutes of Hannity was featuring his guest, Ann Coulter. A few observations about Ann. I realize she's supposed to be some classy NY socialite type girl, little black dress and all, fox of the conservative party, but oh my god is she a hick! Seriously. Listening to her talk, just the tone she employs, is like listening to some unemployed housewife from the sticks of Georgia go off about her neighbors and the new organist at the Church. I'm reminded of the woman trying to argue to me that hitting a pole was not her fault, because the pole shouldn't have been where she couldn't see it, and getting really really mad when I tell her hitting inanimate objects is ALWAYS your fault. I hate that tone. I can't decide if it's worse in a New Jersey accent or a Southern one. Anne's so involved in her facial expressions and condecension, she can't form sentences anymore. Also, she looks like she lives on Slimfast. Like all the actual nutrients in her body have been replaced by fake strawberry slime.

Anyway, Ann is going off about how this stimulus package, this 780 billion dollars, is all just to supplement the government jobs that already exist. How if you have too many people working for the government, and here I assume she's talking about the poor women at the DMV or the SS office, then they will always just vote for money for themselves. Then she refers to it as the Socialist Government Bill. And Hannity calls it the "End of Capitalism As We Know It Bill" and I change the channel. But not before I hear at least three references to the stimulus package supporting FRISBEE GOLF COURSES.

I had to google this, cause I was like "is this some secret Republican metaphor?"
Turns out Austin TX had down on its stimulus wishlist some funding for a Disc Golf Course. And this has been jumped on as an example of how much pork is in the package.

FIRST of all, this serves to illustrate how there is no point in trying to work around people like Hannity, because they are dumb children who only hear one word in your sentence and stick with it. "If you eat your vegetables, maybe you can play xbox later". And then 20 minutes and 4 brussel sprouts in the garbage later, they're begging to play video games despite not meeting the conditions, and screaming about what a meaney you are.

SECOND, I happen to like frisbee golf courses. I remember the first time S. and I stumbled upon a disc golf course. I think we were in Warren? Not sure. There was a reservoir we wanted to visit, and while walking along we kept seeing all these weird cage cup things stationed everywhere. Then we finally saw some guys playing, and figured it out. On another trip, we ran across a car which was COVERED in disc golf promotional stickers. Like, these guys from Michigan are singlehandedly promoting the sport across the country. It was crazy.

THIRD, way to kinda screw us Austin :)

Anyway, all that's beside the point, which is that Hannity and Coulter literally referenced disc golf three times in three minutes, and it was surreal. I'm sure there's something more credible in that package to get upset over.


Oh and before I go, let's talk about the BOYSCOUTS.

"The Boy Scouts had to suffer the consequences for sticking by their
moral values," said Eugene Grant, president of the Portland, Ore., Cascade
Pacific Council’s board of directors.
"There’s no question" that the Scouts’
anti-gay, anti-atheist stance has cost the organization money, he said. As a
result, he said, "every council has looked at ways to generate funds … and
logging is one of them."

"Every time (a council) gets a new scout director, they call a state forester to come out and see if there is any good timber to harvest," said Paul Tauke, Iowa state forester. "There's always pressure to make money."

So GAYS AND ATHEISTS are responsible for the high impact logging. I wonder what's next? A Girl Scout cookie China lead poisoning scare?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Salsa, Corn, and Economics: Why Living in Cleveland in Winter isn't the WORST thing ever

First of all, if I had no news channels or internet, I would not know there was a recession in Cleveland. Because technically we've been in a recession for like, thirty years.

Oh wait, you thought Obama was going to fix everything? Well unfortunately, just like Jesus, Obama can’t make people unselfish and he can’t kiss them and turn them from fat cat piggies (alright, I realize how lame that phrase is) obsessed with their own money into sweet universal health care advocates. It would be nice. But he’s not going to fix anything by trying to include them, because they don’t want to be included. Remember that lousy class partner you had in school that just had the very worst idea for your Thanksgiving presentation, and you knew yours was ten times better, but the teacher insisted you had to work together? And then the presentation sucked, except for the three paragraphs you wrote about corn? Yes, it’s true that Republicans live here too. However their party sucks, and their policies suck, and their whole general idea of what America should be is at odds with the liberals. So seriously, if they refuse to work with us on this, screw them.* Also, I’m going somewhere with this corn thing. Remember that.

So, I am a little disappointed in Obama for not being more forceful on this. But I understand why he’s trying to get them all involved. He doesn’t want to alienate them right out of the gate. You just can’t be nice and popular with everyone in this political climate. Right now, the parties are opposed on fundamental things, like whether or not we should spend money on children or tax cuts. And whether or not the Republican voting base is a bunch of lead poisoned idiots who have no foresight, or they just get played that way on TV by the cancers of Fox News. Or maybe just the liberals are arguing about that.

What I’m trying to get at here is today’s political climate is a lot like a good salsa. It’s a little sweet, very hot underneath, and it’s definitely not an entrée. It may look one way, and taste completely opposite. Also, people are very particular about the way it’s made.

This is a lame segue. I just wanted an excuse to post my two favorite salsas, because it’s awfully cold outside, politics is depressing, and I crave this stuff. I’m one of those girls who CAN follow a recipe, but really prefers not to. I think cooking is the most fun when you’re just experimenting, which is why I tend towards things like braised meats, poached fruit, ice cream, and pies. Once you have the fundamentals down on these foods, you can come up with any combination you like and have very little chance of fucking it up. Salsa is a play-doh food.

I used to think salsa was nasty, pureed stuff that tasted too much like tomato paste. Johnny Mango’s was the first place to really turn my head, with fresh, very simple salsa. I mean, it was basically diced tomatoes, onion, and cilantro. Problem is, I’m not a big fan of tomatoes. I hate them cooked, I like them okay raw, but I will substitute them if I can. The only time I really use them is when they are the good ones from my mom’s garden.

So I started making salsas out of anything but tomatoes. And that brings us to my two biggest hits this year, corn salsa and pineapple salsa. What follow are basically ingredient lists, because seriously, do you need directions on what to do next?

Bridget’s Liberal Corn Salsa, Guaranteed to Stimulate

2 pounds frozen corn (please cook this before using. please. Please be smart enough to have realized this.)
2 large red bell peppers (chop them.)
½ a large red onion (chop this.)
3 decent sized jalapeno peppers (chop that.)
3 tbps. Lime juice
2 tbps cumin
1 tbps salt
1 tbsp black pepper
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chopped garlic

Bridget’s Wintry Pineapple Salsa : How to Pretend You Don’t Live In Cleveland
(Seriously, this stuff is SO good, I kinda hate making it for people because they keep asking for it. One girl at the office has been literally pestering me for months. And I sent her the recipe. I said,"just make it yourself". Still...)

2 large cans crushed pineapple (drain most but not all of the juice)
2 small cans mandarin orange segments
3 red or orange bell peppers
1 cup chopped cilantro
4 large jalapenos
3 tbsp cumin
2 tbps hot red pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Approx 1 tbps each salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbps brown sugar
1 large red onion, chopped

The whole point of salsa is it’s a salad of fresh cold hot stuff. Onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and cumin are my starting points. After that, it’s whatever you want. And if you’re not such a huge fan of cumin as I am, maybe start adding about half of the suggested amount, and building from there.

Since I’m thinking about corn now, here’s an extra recipe for creamed corn that I adapted from Rudy’s Barbecue in TX. I guess it’s more seasonally appropriate.

Austin Creamed Corn

2 lbs frozen corn (fresh would have probably been better, but you know, it’s February)
11/2 package creamed cheese
1/2 stick butter
2 cups whipped cream
1/4 cup sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all items in a crock pot, adding corn last. Cook on low till melted, which is at least 5 hours maybe more, depending on your crock pot. I used the baby crock pot at Mom’s house. It thickens as it cools, but still thinner than what we had in Texas. I think I'm missing corn starch, but this turned out really well. And ta da! That's it. I was afraid it would be too sweet, but the whipped cream doesn't add as much sweetness as you would think.

Now I'm gonna go eat my cold cold yogurt and cookies for lunch... :(

*I say that like I’m actually writing the bill, ha!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Top Chef Recap: Fire On The Mountain Top, or How Jamie Learned To Love The Bomb

Last night, the chefs gathered as salt seasoned supplicants at the foothills of the Throne of the Seafood King of New York. First the novices tasted the glories of the Seafood King. Then they were led, blindfolded, into the warm inner mountain, where for centuries the stone has smelled of butter candles and garlic, the Michelin stars glittering on the cavern ceilings. Then they were asked to recreate these dishes for the Master*. This would allow the Master and his Disciples to determine the true level of focus, dedication, and loyalty of the novice. One by one, the dishes came out, and he of the flowing gray locks made no noise, but crinkled his eyes or turned up his nose, single gestures that determined the novice's entire future.

And the lesson for today is: Jamie, why the snarky attititude? You know nobody fucks with Eric Ripert and wins.

So Jamie was decapitated and her head mounted on the temple walls, as a lesson to anyone who might dare to call his food "too simple".

*sidenote: when you google 'monk of highest order", there is a wiki article someone wrote about themselves which is hilarious, not to mention about 9 million forum users arguing amongst themselves.

My New Favorite Winter Dessert

When your parking lot looks like this:

Your only option is to get into these:

And make this:

About eight months ago, while discussing Vegan desserts, Tara told me how Eric made her these poached pears in black tea, and served them with chocolate and soy ice cream. Since then, I've rolling it around in my head, and Thursday I decided to finally do it. Especially since everywhere I turned in the grocery store, there were pears and more pears. It was like they were IN SEASON or something.

So here's the deal: this is the kind of recipe that is only a baseline. You can, and should, try this with any kind of flavor combinations you can think off. Pears are wonderfully flexible, they're like the tofu of the fruit world. You never quite know what this will taste like. Thursday night it tasted of peach cobbler. Saturday night tasted like berry apple pie.


3-4 pears (serves 3-5 people)
3 bags of tea
a cup of dried fruit
ice cream

1) Peel and slice the pears. Remember that sometimes your friends knives' are actually sharp and don't cut the tip of your finger off like I did. Blood everywhere. Almost fainted. It was awesome.

2) Boil a cup and a half of water. Then let the tea bags soak for about five minutes. Add in honey to taste, and anything else you feel like. Wine, fruit juice, coconut milk. I bet hot chocolate would be good in there too.

3) Place the pears in a small oven proof dish. At this point, remember to preheat the oven to 475. Throw the dried fruit in there too.

4) Pour the boiling tea mixture over the pears. Cover with foil. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

5) Let the pears cool a little. Then cover them with your choice of ice cream, and chocolate shavings or cookies or whatever. Amaze your friends with your super creative flavor profiles. Also, if I ever use the term flavor profile again, except in a mocking tone, please remind me not to be a douchebag.

For the Thursday night version, pictured below, I poached the pears and some dried figs in Oolong tea, with honey, lemon juice, and half a cup of coconut milk. Then we topped them with green tea ice cream and dark chocolate shavings...and yet, really, this was peach cobbler. Which was really really good.

IT WAS SO WARM AND YUMMY AND YUMMY....I had to make it again on Saturday when I went to Marty and Rebecca's. Only this time Rebecca, who can't have caffeine, requested I use an orange-spice herbal tea.

So I used orange tea, with a half a cup of red wine, a small dollop of honey, and a large amount of dried tart cherries. Then I garnished it with chocolate florentines and straight up vanilla ice cream.

That was exactly what three people in pajamas,snowed in with 3 crazy cats, and a lot of economic repression needed at 10pm.

Speaking of crazy cats, Marty and Rebecca's cats have this nice habit of running through the house scavenging for clothes at night, and throwing it all in their water shirt somehow migrated from the guest room to the hallway. And beware, the cats know how to get into drawers.

And to counteract that depressing opening picture, here's Sunday morning, which was cleaning water off the floor and cream cheese lox sandwiches.

And let me tell you, the leftover pear sauce is great in oatmeal, bread pudding, by itself...oh pears, please don't go away. I love you all. D'Anjou, Asian, Bosc, and yes, even you my blushing Bartlett. Words alone can't express my feelings, so lets try song.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Did You Know Dumplings Could Save the Economy?

Well, no economic stimulus for us at the moment. So I think we should all take this opportunity to learn how to cook really good "poor people" food. Poor People Food is what I called stuff like rice and beans, hummus, organ meat, and lots of stews. So pretty much, you know, all the really tasty dishes. I bought a pound of bacon slab ends at the Market on Monday for 1.99 a pound. I felt a)very thrifty and b) very Polish. I plan to always have bacon ends in my freezer now, for split pea soup and frying grease.

Mmost Asian food is included in this category, since most people in Asia are dying of lead poisoning and selling their kidneys for a bicycle, so here's my segue into what we made last Thursday for Thai Night, from now on known as Survival Skills for the Millennium Night.

Jay found this great pork dumpling recipe to try, and if you're like me and think dumplings are one of those things I am genetically incapable of making properly, this will change your mind.

First you grind up some pork, and then LOTS of green stuff.

Somewhere out there, a far more talented person than me should be capitalizing on the underused business of turning food smells into perfume. Like Cilantro and Mint shampoo. D. was the sous chef for the night, and she was living in a haze of Green, it was like catnip for her.

Then Jay actually folded the dumplings, a task he embraced except for the actual touching of the meat. Look how industrious this looks. It just seems like if you can do this, you can also keep your house sparkling clean and iron your clothes.

What Jay didn't tell us is that he secretly spiked those dumplings with Hope and Change. Jay and his Dumplings were single-handedly responsible for the election of Obama, the discovery of a pill that will lengthen your lashes, and the price of gas hovering below 1.80. If he ever stops making these dumplings, gas will careen up to 3.50 and all your hair will fall out. In fact, it's because he's not making these dumplings for Congress that we will lose twenty million more jobs next month. What we need to do is have a Day of National Dumpling, where every man, woman, and child makes these and freezes them and then stones Congress to death with them.

Only thing I would suggest is that maybe the Green sauce was a little too strong. We found that we preferred a sweet chili dipping sauce. But we had mutated our tongues with three bottles of red wine, so you know, make your own call. It did make the house smell wonderful, and it certainly sparked some animated conversation. So maybe you should just chop up some Green every time you have a party, and leave it in corners like Potpourri.

Coming up next....Dessert.

(note: I did not write this recipe. But I don't know who did either.)

- Dumplings -
1 lb. ground pork
1/4 cup minced scallions
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
2 tsp. minced ginger
1 red bell pepper, minced
2/3 cup minced cabbage
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 large egg, beaten lightly
45-50 shumai wrappers (or round wonton wrappers), thawed if frozen

- Green Sauce -
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sugar, or to taste
2 tsp. minced ginger
1 tbsp. shredded mint leaves
1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro


In a bowl, add the scallions, pork, ginger, bell pepper, cabbage, garlic, oil, soy sauce, coriander, egg, salt, and pepper. Mix well with hands (or with a food processor, like a sane person). Cook a bit in the microwave and adjust seasonings to taste. Cover and chill filling for 1 hour (or overnight).

Put a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of a wonton wrapper, then moisten the edge of the wrapper with water. Form into the dumpling shape of your choice (regular wonton triangles or half-moons, little gathered purses with the filling completely enclosed, etc.). To make ones like mine, pinch the wrapper closed around the filling, forming a mulit-pointed star-like shape with the filling exposed in the middle. Then push all of the points in one direction and squoosh the filling and the dumpling into the shape you want. With a wet fingertip, flatten out the top of the dumpling. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
(yes, only Jay is capable of turning that paragraph into an actual image. So I recommend making your closest artist friend do this. What else are they doing?)

Continue making dumplings until you run out of wrappers or filling. At this point, the dumplings can be frozen on the cookie sheet or cooked right away. I froze mine overnight, then popped them into freezer bags the next day.

To cook the dumplings, heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan. Place the dumplings in and cook for 1 minute, or until the bottoms begin browning. Then place about 1/4"-1/2" of water in the pan, cover and steam until the water is absorbed. Continue adding water as it is absorbed until the dumplings are cooked all the way through (it usually takes at least 6-7 minutes if cooking straight from the freezer).
To make the sauce, just combine all of the sauce ingredients and mix well. Adjust as you like. "

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I can't believe not a SINGLE one of you want anything from me. Are you afraid of what I would make for you? Do you think it would be the worst thing anyone would send you, ever? I'll have you know I once sent a set of communist unicorns to a girl in Japan I didn't know. COMMUNIST UNICORNS.
This leaves me either a)indescribaly sucky or b)relieved and relaxed.