Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oh. My. God.

Okay, I just blew my coffee out my nose, this is frakking hilarious. Few people in the world are more crazy and/or self obsessed than Pammy.

Make sure you are in a safe location before viewing, I was laughing hysterically at work, not a good thing.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein!

Just popped over to one of my favorite blogs Monkey Muck and saw that it was his many happy returns to you sir, I will raise a Guinness to you tonight, you can be sure.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hi! I've been busy, and I know it's been awhile, so I've cooked you some things to make amends!

First, I made a pan Pizza. This is easily done if you have the right kind of pan. In this case, it's cast, I love my cast iron pans.
In case you were wondering, that's salami on it, my current favorite cold cut.

Then (and I am sorry, I don't have a finished product shot of this), but I made shrimp scampi, my wife insisted. First I like to get all my ingredients prepped and ready to go.

You'll see I have some grated Parmesan, lemon zest, onion, garlic, tomato, parsley, and though you can't see it here, some white wine and cold butter cubed up. And of course, shrimp peeled and de-veined (and PLEASE, PLEASE, it's a pet peeve of mine, but if your going to serve shrimp in a dish (as opposed to 'cocktail style', where I have no problem with this) TAKE OFF THE TAIL SHELL!!!! it's the polite thing to do).

I saute the shrimp first, partially, then remove it. Add the onion until wilted and translucent, then the garlic. De glaze the pan with the white wine and then let it reduce. Once it's near depleted, add the COLD cubed butter and work it into the mix (your making a butter sauce, or a buerre blanc (I don't know how to spell it, just how to make it), making sure not to let it boil (this will cause your sauce to 'break', i.e. water separates from the old chef would make you throw it out). Now toss in your cooked pasta and shrimp, add the tomato and parsley, and cook til' warm. Serve with some crusty bread to mop it up.

What's this? It's been two days since the scampi and you still have left over bread??? I am glad you came to me then! Did you know for under $4 dollars (at least here in Boston) you can get 2lbs of muscles? You didn't? Well you can! And let me tell you, once you find that out, you'll make them twice a month for sure. Again, prepare your mise en place (everything in it's place..i.e. prep). Here I have some slices of that day old bread, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, some onion, julienned, garlic, green beans, tomato and chopped parsley. Also some white wine (yes, a lot of the same ingredients as the scampi, I know, but it's how you save money, using the same ingredients, but making different meals), heavy cream, grainy Dijon mustard, and last, but certainly not least, some double smoked bacon...I love this stuff, it's slab bacon, that's been smoked twice so it has this amazing smoky flavor and a rich mahogany color... I would put it on ice cream (if I ate ice cream that is). I think it goes without saying that I have some muscles in my sink rinsed off and culled of the dead ones. A little trick I use to find the live ones is this (since it's not just that they have there shells shut, some live ones are open), give the open ones a flick with your finger, and then put aside as you rinse and inspect the rest, if when your done inspecting, the shell has not closed, then he is dead, if the shell is shut, then the sneaky bastard was just playing possum. We will have none of that. Render out your bacon first, then add your onions to soften and become translucent.

Add the garlic, and let it go for about 15 seconds, then deglaze with white wine. Throw in your muscles and then put a lid on your pan. When all the muscles have opened, pull them out of the pan (don't worry if bacon and or onions stick to the shell, no big deal, they will go back in soon enough), and reduce the wine and muscle juice. Add the cream and about 2 tbls of grainy mustard and let simmer for about 2 minutes, then re-introduce the muscles.

I forgot to mention that while all this was happening, you would be toasting the bread in your broiler until golden brown and delicious.

Place your bread, well, now it's a crostini, in the center of your plate, and scoop a big heap o' muscles on top, and don't be shy with the broth neither, as it's unbelievable when it's soaked into your

Grab a glass of that white wine you had there and enjoy! Can you believe it's only $4 dollars for 2lbs of these things??!!!?? I mean, that's just one serving right there!!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

...Then I have a bridge to sell you

From the "if you hadn't realized this yet" department comes news that the Bush administration was using warantless wiretapping PRIOR to the 9/11 attacks.

I am not convinced that the current administration has no intentions NOT to attempt a hostile takeover of our government providing they lose the next elections, and I think findings like this bolster my fears, 9/11 has nothing to do with there power grab, it's just a convenient truth.

Do what you can strip these people of power. One thing that heartens me is the military brass that have retired that are speaking out against these assholes. I feel as though the Cheney crowd has assumed that the military was in there pocket, and would blindly follow their lead. It's good to see that's not the case.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Moving on up, to the big time

Had my review at work today and it went swimmingly. Got myself a smidge of a raise, that will be nice, and a project that I had worked on and fought for all year was given high praise by the partner in charge of my department.

Now I know one should never really take to heart what a fat cat businessman says, but what can I do? I respond well to positive reinforcement.

So raise a glass for me tonight, and I will to you *clink*, today was a good day

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Scraping and Planing

Ahh, Scraping and Planing, such good times. Saw my dentist today, and I had to pay HIM to have my teeth scraped, and then planed. In earlier times, he would have to pay ME.

All kidding aside, this places me at sort of a dental day one, a restart if you will. If I maintain good dental hygiene, it will be as if I never had not gone (double negative, I know!) to the dentist in the last 15 years or so, so it's all good, and worth the sacrifice.

We picked up the Little Guy's Halloween costume yesterday, and let me tell you, it's the cutest thing in the world, pictures will be posted shortly.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Look everyone, I made you some fried chicken! there anything better than a batch of fried chicken? I didn't think so. I start by cutting up a whole chicken and soaking it in buttermilk overnight. This does two things, one, it makes a nice wet coating for the flour to stick to the chicken with, and secondly, the enzymes in the buttermilk will help to tenderize the chicken. Also, buttermilk I think adds a complexity of flavor that you just don't get with just plain milk.

Get some oil going in your electric skillet (I actually have some excellent cast iron pans that I absolutely love, but I have found that this cheapo skillet does such a good job with fried chicken, keeping the browning even on all the pieces with a minimal amount of moving the chicken around, not so much with my cast iron), I heat the oil to about 325-315. Some might think that's kind of low, and it is, but again, I have experimented quite a bit with this recipe, and have found cooking it slightly lower than the conventional wisdom would suggest, guarantees crispy brown outside, with a fully cooked inside. If this were boneless chicken pieces (like say boneless, skinless thighs, my favorites), then I would go for a higher oil temp such as 350 to 365, always remember bones slow down cooking time, factor it in when your cooking bone in meats. Make sure to prepare a dredging bowl with flour, salt and pepper, and I like to put Old Bay Seasoning in....I know, it's odd, but I shit you not it's good...reminds me of the 11 herbs and spices in the kernel's recipe (even though there chicken is crap, you have to admit to craving it once and awhile).

Once your oil has reached it's optimal temperature, lift your chicken one piece at a time out of the buttermilk, letting excess milk fall off the chicken (if you drop it in the flour too wet, you will get less yield from the flour), and then dredge it in your flour mix, placing the chicken skin side down into the hot oil.
After a few minutes (about 8 or 10 or so) you will notice blood peeking out around the bones of the chicken pieces, this means that the heat is getting into the center of the pieces, I check the undersides and see if there golden brown at this point, if so, it's time to flip em'.

Wow, that's looking good eh? Let it finish up (another 8 to 10 minutes on this side, until golden brown as well), and while it's doing it's thing, why don't you make a nice salad to go with it? It's been unseasonably warm here in Boston, so I decided to make cole slaw, sort of an indoor summer picnic dinner. A tiny gentleman in the background approves of my decision.

Some people use the bagged pre-cut slaw from the supermarket, but that's not for me, I hand cut the carrots and cabbage. They put a chemical on the bagged stuff to keep it fresh and the flavor disgusts me.
Drain off the excess oil on the chicken by letting it rest on some paper towels.
And then serve!
Last but not least a gratuitous photo of the toy Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein that my son got for his birthday. He loves to play with it, imagining all the adventures that the REAL Dr. goes on everyday.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I am SO sorry

I have to apologize for the lite posting as of late, real life (to use the MMORPG parlaince) has poked it's god awful nose in business again, and in the interest of full disclosure, fake life has creeped in as well....I have become addicted to one of those MMORPG's I mentioned earlier. FYI for those not in the know, that would be a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (is my geek showing? does it make you nervous?).

Besides the full time job, and the little one to take care of, not to mention a significant other to spend time with, I decided it would be a good idea to take on a digital time sink.

That wasn't blogging.

I am an idiot.

If it makes you think a little less harshly upon me, the game is based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, and is a nerdly paradise.

Oh, I made it past the layoffs at my work (to be honest I was in no danger, I am not in the department that's fat needed trimming), I have another 'Scraping and Planing' appointment coming up at my dentist, and the in-laws dropped by yesterday. Once I get some clear thoughts on that last part, I will prepare a post for you reading pleasure.