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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Think Of The Children

This is every childhood story from the pond:

What a lovely day. Here. At the pond. My parents must love me, but—to be sure—I’ll let the normality of my time here confirm this presupposition. Whoa, geese! Geese are awesome! Like ducks, but bigger—their size probably makes ’em super hungry. Given how much their diminutive contemporaries are enjoying these slices of Sara Lee, I bet these geese will be eternally grateful if I share the loaf. Maybe they’ll lay a million golden eggs for me, and I’ll be able to buy all the friends in the world and never be lonely again. I’d be stupid not to do this.

Whoa, differences!

Geese have teeth!? No… but what serrated devilry is this!? Holy freaking finger skin! Geese can run!? Mom! Care more about this! Dad! I’ll do better sports, I promise! Please! I just want to keep loving both of you based on the aggregate positivity of my formative years! And, lo, you feed me to this gaggle of avian hand rapists!? The fuck!?

After California’s foie gras ban goes into effect this Sunday, stories like this will become the sad reality for the unsuspecting limbs of more and more children. Thank you, hippies—and your accompanying granola—for the phalangeal holocaust you’ve signed into a completely superfluous law. We uppercrustians already had the perfect system. Our robust parties necessitated the hoitiest of toity pâtés, and the overstuffed innards of these miserable birds filled that need in tandem with our pretentious gullets. The waters were calm. The screams of wee ones muffled. Life was good.

Then… actually, I’ve already made my thoughts on this topic clear. Click the link for a refresher, and spare me the risk of redundancy. I’m just gonna leave it at this: geese are horrible wrong-things, deserving of our butchery. Look no further than your local schoolyard for the reason. I am of course referring to that most ancient and useful of waterfowl teaching tools, Duck Duck Goose. Consider the dynamic. The ducks are calm, they know their place. They will endure a small rapping of the noggin, while the goose… less so. The goose is wild, the goose seeks retribution. The goose chases, seizes and attacks with mush pot intent.

Why chisel this much-needed intolerance into their developing brains if we’re just going to pass laws contradicting it? I think I need to calm down with this:

Wish I Had More Thyme Lemon Drop

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 3 oz vodka
  • 1 oz limoncello
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • sugar, for rim

Combine sugar, water and thyme in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes then set aside to cool. In a cocktail shaker full of ice add 3 tablespoons of the thyme simple syrup, vodka, limoncello, lemon juice and zest. Shake well. Rim martini glass with sugar, pour in lemon drop and garnish with a sprig of thyme and lemon twist. This is rather strong, so if you (sissies) like your drinks on the sweeter side, reduce the vodka to 2 ounces.

Yes, I realize the majority foie gras comes from ducks now, but it makes little difference. Like the failed drug policy this country adheres to, the only thing Sunday’s kibosh bans is reasonable pricing. There will still be a fat, livery market for any gourmet junkie needing a decadent fix, just at condor prices. Being the entrepreneur I am, I hereby declare myself The White Trash Foie Grasnista. Of course I got what you need, baby—I’ve been smuggling geese in my bra for years. A grand will get you through a box social; I’ll even throw in the water crackers for free.

TWTG says, “Is it golden and full of Satan?”

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Like The Dickens

I do like the Dickens.

Look. I respect taste is personal and opinion is subjective, but there’s a point when both shade off into an error of fact. If you don’t adore the work of Charles Dickens, you’re wrong. You’re actually admitting more about yourself than anything relevant to Chuck’s ability as a writer. Who am I to decide this for you? I’m the enduring weight of history, smiling down on those choosing to be on the wrong side of me. I’m not advocating herd mentality; millions of people are reading Fifty Shades of Grey (which has inexplicably usurped Harry Potter as the fastest-selling book series), and, by no accident, millions of people are dumb.

Only when a culture ends can its value be appraised. Its descendants cull through the trends, preserving only what is truly worth keeping. (Everything else gets stabbed in the neck with its fifteenth minute of fame.) Dickens has survived a sesquicentennial of passing eras, been translated into almost every known language (Aramaic notwithstanding) and even surpassed the Bible in sales—as the latter is often printed and distributed for free. A century from now, nobody’s going to remember Stephenie Meyer, but A Tale of Two Cities will continue to be the gold standard for literature. Even if mankind is no longer ingesting food through an orifice in his skull, he will still be touched when Oliver Twist asks for more.

If this reads as though I’m writing an essay about the man… well, I like to do that. After all, my love of him began in college—when I originally had the hots for my Victorian literature professor. Wanting to seem impressive, I devoured the curriculum as hungrily as I could, and from this simple student-teacher crush emerged my true passion. Dickens was the voice of the gutter before there was such a thing. His gentle understanding of women, the poor and how much it sucks ass to not be white, wealthy and male (something that is still true today), seduced my then-liberal ideologies. Unlike my then-liberal ideologies, however, my obsession with this timeless work hasn’t waned over the years.

And, no, I didn’t sleep with my professor. That professor.

Hannah’s Cookies

But I like my cooking more.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Reese’s Pieces

Russell’s daughter, Hannah, wanted to make chocolate cookies with me, so of course I added an element of peanut butter. The result was still appreciated.

Preheat oven to 350˚. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix in vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except Reese’s Pieces. Slowly add dry mixture to butter mixture and stir until just incorporated. Fold in Reese’s Pieces. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes.

Small confession: I initially despised A Tale of Two Cities in high school. Like most sophomores, I thought it read like the longwinded gay-speak of the wig-wearing dead. But, like any drug worth getting addicted to, it takes a few tries before your body starts to understand the point. If Dickens left a bad taste in your mouth during your scholastic years, give him a second, adult chance. After that, if you still can’t muster an appreciation for such inarguable greatness, I’ll never let you read another one of my posts again.

TWTG says, “Mmm, stolen gum tastes so much better.”

Confusion Cuisine

The epitome of fusion cuisine.

I’ve grown very tired of the phrase “fusion cuisine.” Restaurants like to smear it over their mission statement like they’re getting away with something—as though a culture is married to its traditions, and integrating them with another’s is infidelity. Now that technology has made distance entirely practical, can any flavor still be deemed exotic? There’s no modern equivalent of the conquistador returning with culinary treasures from a foreign land; there’s just the spicy shit you ordered on Cost Plus World Market’s website from the assholes two countries over.

Fusion cuisine is also nothing new. When I discovered Persian food a week ago, its overall flavor eluded me. Not because it pinged outside my salivary radar, but because it was something my mouth already knew. It was neither as light as Greek nor as spicy as Indian, yet clearly inspired by both. Looking at a globe, I quickly figured out why: Iran is the median point of the two regions (it’s almost like it’s in the middle of the East, go figure), and any trading between them would’ve crossbred there—like divorced parents meeting halfway to swap kids.

The same thing is being practiced today, but we call our pack mules planes and anywhere can become the median point with the click of that thing in your hand. Unless you’re on a MacBook Air with its fancy Multi-Touch trackpad… in which case, aren’t you fucking special? Buy me one.

Generic Stir Fry with Shrimp

Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, look at these.

  • 3/4 lb shrimp
  • 2 baby bok choy
  • 2 Japanese eggplant
  • 8–10 shiitake mushrooms
  • 7 oz package enoki mushrooms
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp plum sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Clean and devein shrimp. Mix soy sauce, plum sauce, ginger, 1 tsp minced garlic, Sriracha and sesame oil, then pour over shrimp to marinate. Chop veggies (except shallot) into similar size pieces. Heat wok over medium high heat. Add oil, 1 tsp garlic and shallot. Stir fry for about 30 seconds, then add eggplant and bok choy. When they are almost cooked, add mushrooms and cook until done. Remove veggies from wok and add shrimp and marinade. Stir fry for about 2 minutes or until shrimp is almost cooked through. Add veggies back in, stir to incorporate and remove from heat. Serve with rice.

Fusion cuisine is little more than novel puffery—a twisting of words to sell an idea for more than its factory direct value. “All natural” is another good example of this. Whether your green fingers are picking raw corn fresh from the stalk, or they’re sanitizing the pesticides from a genetically modified, chemically treated, pasteurized husk, everything is the result of what was universally available to happen. Dress it up with pretty language all you’d like, but until the final boss is summoned, and its nine black mouths tear into its own flesh like the Ouroboros, irrigating our farmlands with the unholy blood of Red Dye No. 666, I promise everything you put into your body is all natural in the most literal sense. And, yes, all natural fusion cuisine is double stupid.

TWTG says, “I can do things with bagels that don’t require cream cheese.”

(Baconopolis) Of The Week

Went to the Del Mar Fair San Diego County Fair today for fatty goodness. I think the pictures speak for themselves. A maple bacon Texas donut? It’s like they read my dream journal. Hey, fair vegans… can you hear that coming up Via de la Valle? It’s the sound of a better life.

 

TWTG says, “I’ve totally turned you gay! I’m so excited!”

The Bitch Is Back

Not taken from a plane. I just fly now.

A trip to Syracuse later, and I realize I’m turning into the things I hate. Am I a liberal, vegan possum with a black belt in progressively pistol-whipping those that dare enjoy goose livery goodness? No, but I encountered a spate of people throughout my travels, and all of them have since been directed here. The conversation didn’t organically segue into the topic of my blog, nor did most of them have interests mutual enough to warrant a gentle nudge in its direction. I simply stapled my business card into the soft stuff of their palm, then politely informed them of the bragging rights they would one day have for sharing recycled plane air with yours truly. Essentially, I’m no better than those buttoned-up Aryan kids pitching Jehovah to me on my idle weekends of bad mothering. We’re both shills, the difference is that my written material has a way better main character.

Some architecture is worth dancing about.

I’m of course kidding about that last remark. In fact, I texted Russell—whose workaholic ass got left at home—that if the churches in California were as beautiful and historic as what I saw in New York, I might attend service with some measure of regularity. But, between the ninety-five degree weather, forty-five percent humidity and the abundance of local pubs, I couldn’t be bothered with such salvational quandaries. I Yelped the entire trip, but was really too jet lagged and preoccupied with work to have a true culinary adventure. Sure, there were sweet potato fries, buffalo chicken pizzas, cheese platters, panini, Hampton Inn breakfast specials, spiedies, cocktails, local beers on tap… but nothing worthy of its own paragraph here.

So I didn’t have the time to be a good foodie, I didn’t do enough to come back with a clever anecdote, I slept for ten hours last night but my face still isn’t working and I missed my fucking hundredth post. Non-vacationing vacations suck. Just drink this:

Golden (State) Punch

Purty.

  • 5 oranges
  • 5 limes
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 liter club soda
  • 1 cup simple syrup

Juice 4 oranges, 4 limes and 2 lemons. Slice remaining fruit for garnish. Mix juice, club soda and simple syrup. Pour punch on top of sliced citrus in a pretty glass pitcher. Serve. Or, do it right, and add vodka and some sort of liqueur.

I tried very hard to not be that mom; the one that shoots you between the eyes with endless commentary/photographs of her ugly-ass children. Sure, I take great pride in my own trio, and think they’re absolutely beautiful—but that’s how I feel. I never demanded the world agree with me. I find it interesting, then, how insistent I’ve become with my blog, and the way I project my feelings about it onto others. I mean, yes, obviously there’s a difference. One is a souless commodity that can be exploited for financially selfish gain… and the other is a blog. Zing.

TWTG says, “I’m gonna cut my thumb and then you’ll have thumb in your salad.”

Best Blog Ever

True fact.

Such is my luck: today marks my hundredth post, so of course I’m not home to celebrate it. I’m traveling for work—at the mercy of WordPress’s severely limited mobile app. Observing this milestone is not something I can put off, either, as I promised myself to update every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Hence, there will be no entry in the infallible tome of culinary perfection, no snarky musings about the inarguable wit of trashy goodness and no maximum cleavage. Just keep worshipping me as the big deal I so plainly am, loyal subjects. I’ll make it up to you. Pretty soon, I’m gonna let you give me all your money.

TWTG says, “Women are weird. That’s why I don’t date them: they’re horrible.”

I F’ing Love Baklava

Casual, hungry me.

For someone raised in the middle class of a First World country, my boyfriend had about the saddest childhood when it came to home cooking. His dad only made food for himself, and his mom’s recipe for steak is as follows:

  • 1 thingy of meat
  • some salt

Bake until grey.

I wish I were exaggerating. He was almost full-grown before discovering exotic flavors like mustard and soy sauce. Yet from this household of tasteless indifference emerged a palate wholly set to receive. I think that’s part of why I like him so much: he prolongs my maternal need to feed, to teach and to feed-teach. Just because my tubes are tied doesn’t mean the sight of a newborn hurts my uterus any less, and Russell’s like a baby I can beat around the head—while belittling around the heart—without the state getting up in my shit. It’s everything momma ever wanted.

I promised him we could have lunch anywhere he desired for Father’s Day. Imagine my delight when he chose Persian cuisine—something even yours truly had yet to try. From being raised on two-ingredient baked potatoes (russets and boiling water) to being curious about kashk bademjan… I dare say this protégé of mine is almost passable as a functioning adult. Now I just need to get him to drink, rationalize sports and fart like the cure for effeminateness is in his asshole. Because it is.

Onto the ReKimmendation at hand:

Cafe Papillon and Bakery

Delicious eggplant paste.

So, yes, despite his inner crapola, Russell really did unearth a treasure by finding this place. Like any hole in the wall worth its holy salt, its deceptively simple-looking exterior is an act of subterfuge for the fantastic eatings within. (I’m convinced this is to turn elitist, micromanaging white people away.) Persian food is not unlike Greek, using many of the same ingredients, with no shortage of gyro goodness. The sweet lady, who both ran the counter and cooked the food, welcomed us like we were coming into her home. We started with the aforementioned kashk bademjan. Our darling proprietress said we would like it, and she wasn’t lying. It had the texture of baba ganoush, but was creamier, packed with a lot more flavor and served warm. After the accompanying pita ran dry, we were practically licking the bowl for whatever eggplant innards we could exhume.

Protein horseshoe.

Next came the Gyros Plate and Combo Plate. (I try to order something familiar at new places, so that I have some basis of comparison.) The Combo Plate included skewered ground beef, chicken, basmati rice and a side salad, while the Gyro Plate had me piling a piece of naan high with tzatziki, gyro meat, onion and tomato. Both were heaven. Speaking of tomatoes, a side note: Far too many restaurants are serving underripe and/or refrigerated tomatoes these days. If you didn’t know, putting your tomatoes in the fridge makes them mealy and bland. So just don’t do it, m’kay? The crisp freshness of what was served here definitely stood out to me—another reason why you’re going to go.

They stole my business card!

They also have an all you can eat lunch buffet Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I’ve already roped my basmati-sized friend, Autumn, into going. Oh, and their baklava is the best I’ve ever had. And, in case the censored title didn’t drive home the point… I. Fuck. Ing. Love. Baklava.

For you and I, the idea of something tasting like “home” fills us with nostalgia and warmth. It’s heartbreakingly sad to me that Russell’s idea fills him with an intrinsic need to delouse. It just goes to show you that socioeconomic status is in no way indicative of fine dining. Some of the best food I’ve ever found has been off the beaten path, both figuratively and not. Today’s ReKimmendation put the proof in that pudding.

P.S. I’ve updated the gallery, stalkers, so go feast your eyes.

TWTG says, “All my slaves can probably see you.”