Saturday, April 29, 2006

And You Can Take This To The Bank...


A recent exchange today between Mr. Scoop and a teller at the local bank:

Mr Scoop (unhappy to be awake before noon): Um...I'd like five money orders please.

Teller Chiquita (frighteningly perkily): No problem, sir! We'll need a check from your account to fund these orders.

Mr. Scoop (feeling the hangover and sunlight keenly): If I had checks, I don't think I'd be asking for the money orders now would I? (He grins and leans in for effect. The teller recoils and begins to look uncomfortable.)

Teller Chiquita (shaken): Well, I'll need your bank account number.

Mr. Scoop: i

Teller Chiquita: Ok, then. Anytime you're ready.

Mr. Scoop: No, really. My bank account number is imaginary. Type in the square root of negative one and see what you get, sweetheart.

What it got was us ejected by security. But not before Mr. Scoop killed a ficus by peeing on it in the corner while we waited.

When we got to the next bank, we found ourselves at a window next to a guy who apparently was confused about the difference between a bank and brothel.

Stupid Guy in the Denim Jacket: I'd like change for this twenty dollar bill in quarters.

Teller #2: Certainly, sir.

Stupid Guy: I'm watching you work back there and my you have great hands. I'm going to be using these quarters to fund my side of a Dance Dance Revolution battle at Good Times Emporium later, perhaps you'd like to accompany me? (Raises his eyebrows suggestively.)

Teller #2: I'm married.

Stupid Guy: Oh? Well, how about one of these other fine ladies? Because, all you lovely young things have me thinking that this is a bank and I'd like to make a deposit. (More silly eyebrow waggling)

Security escorted this guy out too. I don't know if he got his quarters before he got bounced. We were just happy that it wasn't us this time. I do know that I saw him walking on the side walk as we left. Mr. Scoop has a convertible. It is gernerally considered ill advised to stand up in a car as it's moving, but I pelted this douche with quarters as we drove by. I caught him in the kidneys and behind both knees. He fell, crippled to the pavement.

Me (shouting into the wind): Yeah! Dance-dance now, Bitch!

I figured I was was within my rights - It's one thing to mess with the bank staff in the name of an imaginary number. It's another thing to do it while brandishing a very real twenty. An imaginary number can be anything for the teller's trouble. A $20 won't even get you hand release in Chinatown. It was the principle of the thing.


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Thursday, April 27, 2006

It's Like Hanson, But Stupider



This was brought to my attention via the blog of Bitch, Ph.D:



Apparently it's a viral marketing campaign for MTV España parading as some conservative group called Asociacion Nuevo Renacer. The slogan in the header of the website translates to something like "Young People With Principles, You Are Not Alone!" (I guess - I teach Latin, afterall). One of the sections on the website gives tips on how to be a good father by, among other things, not letting your kid watch MTV after 9pm. I would like to tell you more about this, but every damn site (except for this little blurb) I've found on this has been in Spanish and I can't seem to get either Google or Bablefish to translate the damn site. So, you know as much as I do right now.

Just watch the video and marvel at what appears to be the Latino version of Urkel times four. Just put away any sharp objects first. Consider turning it into a drinking game by doing off a shot everytime the couples do something "wholesome". I don't care if it's supposed to be tongue-in-cheek; I've never seen a video that has made me think that Wham! actually rocked in comparison. Until now.

I need to go funnel some Drano.


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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Purge

Check it.



These are items I've cooked this week. On the left is tonight's shrimp scampi with basil over angel hair pasta. The scampi are a pound of U-12 shrimp (1 pound is about 8-12 shrimp) that have been sauteed with garlic, red chile flakes, lemon juice and white wine over angel hair pasta and sprinkled with large handfulls of basil and parsley. Eat with smug satifaction, accompanied by an Italian Soave, while you pretend that the $15 you dropped on the shrimp won't come back to haunt you when you need to pay your utilities at the end of the month.

On the right is a delicacy I like to call Seafood Dynamite. Saute your favorite seafood (in my case scallops, squid and shrimp), toss with a sesame and cayenne infused mayonaise to which I've added a great deal of fresh crab and run the results under the broiler until brown and bubbly. Relish the results over white rice with a good quality chilled sake. Lord it over everyone else.

Why have I called this "The Purge"?

I'm getting this all out of my system. By this I mean cooking yummy, comforting things. I desperately need to start dieting. I give y'all the finished product of what will probably be the last two "so-good-I'd-feed-them-to-professional-cooks" items that will come out of my kitchen for at least a month. Unless I make baked, stuffed shrimp this weekend. The jury in my brain is kind of out on that.

Most likely, starting Monday, I'm looking at a lot of poached chicken and steamed veggies. This is not a particularly good base for drinking. The upside will be that after rather fewer shots of whiskey than usual, I will pass out. This is fewer calories. The downside will be trying to avoid hitting McDonalds for lunch in search of grease to offset the hangover.

I may still have a few things to work out here.



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Monday, April 24, 2006

Dead Babies Aren't Much Fun...

...Although Sometimes They Can Make A Lovely, Commemorative Keepsake...

Mummified Baby Handed Down As "Heirloom"; Police Investigate

Ok.  This is a doll.  Check out this site: http://www.susanscustomcreepydolls.com/
CONCORD, N.H. --A mummified baby that's belonged to a local family for decades is being investigated by the state attorney general's office...Charles Peavey, 41, said the tiny preserved corpse has been passed down in his family since it was discovered among his great-great uncle's possessions in a Manchester attic..."My friends at work say that even though this is not weird to me, I have to understand that it is weird to other people," he said. "But for me, it's something tangible to hold on to from my great-great uncle."



If your friends..."at work"...have to explain to you that it's weird to other people.. to keep a dead baby around for sentimental value, then they'd probably be really disturbed to find out what you've been doing with those dead hookers. But, that's just a guess.

"New Hamphshire: Live Free or Die...And Be Passed Down For Generations To Come"

The best part is that he was ratted out by his own 4 year-old niece.

Investigators got word of the remains after Peavey's 4-year-old niece was overheard telling another child that her uncle was a killer and had a dead baby.


Damn. Out of the mouths of (unmummified) babes.

Oh, and the picture? That's not really the dead baby (sorry). That's from Susan's Custom Creepy Dolls. Apparently, she's an ex-mortician and taxidermist looking to give Barbie a run for her money. Her creations include frightening Ooompa Loompas and Donner Party Snowglobes. I wish I was kidding.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

It Came From The Kitchen (Or "The Horror That Is Sandra Lee") - Part 1

"Why must I be assaulted with images of bears shitting in the woods on a Saturday morning?" I pondered aloud as I sat on my couch watching the Food Network this morning. "Because the alternative is me taking a dump on your front step for the church goers across the street to see", Mr. Scoop replied.

Clearly, it was going to be one of those days at Chez Scoop. Soon I was going to think back wistfully on the memory of bear shit innuendo as commercial vehicle for toilet paper sales. It was so much less disturbing than what was about to befall me.

No, there's no dick in my ass.  Why do you ask?What you're looking at on the left side of the screen is the face of evil.

Her name is Sandra Lee.

She must be stopped.

The biggest mistake I made (other than not changing the channel) was not getting drunk while I watched this. I hate her so much that two years ago I created a drinking game for the sole purpose of killing the pain that watching her mutilate helpless ingredients by mixing them with "70% storebought" processed crap creates in my poor, defenseless brain. She gives me stabby thoughts.

I'm going to wish you into a cornfield Aunt Sandy!Yes, Sandra Lee is back with a new look to dress up her 70/30 philosophy towards "cooking" ("70% store-bought/ready-made products accompanied by 30% fresh and creative touches" - I suppose then that buying a package of Pillsbury brownie mix and adding as many grams of ground hash as I can get my hands on before I baked it would make the brownies "semi-homemade"). She changed her opening montage of frightening pictures. She no longer tries to cartwheel (in obvious ecstasy over the way Polysorbate 80 has bonded with her, the host organism). She does inexplicable things, like touch fresh produce as though she knows what it is. Mr. Scoop thinks she may know what fresh produce is because "once in a while she may need a break from the vibrator".

It appears as though I'm going to have to make some amendments to the drinking game. "Drink if she's been left alone with a child in her kitchen. Chug if she kisses him." "To hell with that", shouted Mr. Scoop. "Call the damn police!"

The premise of today's show was that her sister, apparently uncaring that Sandra is an alcoholic wreck who Botoxes her hands to keep them from shaking, was going to leave the kids with her so that she could go off for some alone time on her anniversary. I guess she decided that her anniversary gift to her husband would be to start over as a childless couple. Sandra prattled on about her nephew "Scottie" as they flashed a picture of him on the screen (that may well have been from a milk carton - we will never actually see this child live in the entire episode), "Aunt Sandy is going to make Scottie and his friends -" "Sick!", I interjected. "Ginger cookies with peach ice cream," she continued.

She showed off a blob of melty butter in a dish. "I bet she softened that by putting it between her fake tits", Mr. Scoop snarled. "Oh, honey", I said. "There's no warmth there."

"Aunt Sandy" then proceeded to doctor up some sugar cookie mix with an inexplicable mixture of ground, jarred and crystalized ginger - apparently on the principle that if a little is good then entirely too much is better. I think she just liked the idea that if she stared at the crystalized ginger with her eyes out of focus, it could be crack. She proudly showed her overspiced creation to the camera and declared: "I really like this cookie dough mix because you can use it for so many things!" "Yeah, I've got bathroom that needs grout. Why don't you send some of that on over", I told her. My money is on her letting that dough dry out so she can grind if fine and use it to cut the coke that she clearly must be dealing in order to finance this trainwreck.

"I just want her to be honest and some day do an Emergency Room tablescape", said Mr. Scoop imploringly. By imploringly, I mean he'd pulled out his cell phone and was making calls to "people who can get shit done". Unfortunately, the operator told him there was no published listing in the general directory for "Filthy Manny the Eliminator". Words were exchanged. I suspect he'll be looking for another cell carrier again soon.

"Oh God", he lamented. "Her cookie dough is making me go to that happy place from 60's science fiction where we could get food in pill form." "If Sandra Lee had to rely on food pills to create recipes, she'd find a way to sneak in about 10 Vicodin", I replied. "Baby", he said. "I love you but, if this keeps up, I may have to kill you". "Hey. You bought me the Tivo", I said in return. "You just want to drive me to Irish up my Diet Coke. Where's the whiskey?" he asked, leaving the room for the kitchen.

It was going to be a long morning.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Cellulite or Whale Blubber?

If you read this blog with any kind of regularity, you probably have noticed that I'm a "foodie" which is defined by the Urban Dictionary thusly: "A person that spends a keen amount of attention and energy on knowing the ingredients of food, the proper preparation of food, and finds great enjoyment in top-notch ingredients and exemplary preparation." I like to cook. I like to eat. Exotic or esoteric ingredients don't scare me. Note tonight's dinner (or at least part of it), pictured above. I made a spicy carrot salad, a tomato and roasted eggplant salad and tzatziki (a yoghurt dip with garlic and cucumber). I'm also going to make stuffed peppers with leftover cous cous salad from Easter and some leftover lamb.

I like to cook because I like to eat well. It's a priority for me. Cooking my own food means that I can keep track of the quality of the food that I eat. I can use fresh vegetables and meats and whole grains and the like. But, I'm only human.

Sometimes, I have cravings. Cravings for bad, awful things. If you offer me a Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese and Onion Rings, I will not tell you "no". I may find you later and beat you to death when, after six hours, it's no closer in my stomach to digesting than when I took it out of the bag. But, I won't tell you "no".

I demand that my mother makes green bean casserole every time I come home for a holiday dinner. You know, the kind that is green beans (fresh, frozen, canned...whatever) swimming in Campbells Cream of Mushroom soup and covered with canned Durkee (or French's) Fried Onion Rings? The one that probably has more sodium per serving that just eating straight salt? Yeah, that one.

I keep a stash of Ramen Noodles ("Oriental" Flavor - made from real, freeze-dried Orientals!) and "blue box" mac n' cheese in the pantry. I don't apologize for this. Sometimes you want the booze soak food you remember from college and you want it to be food you can fix quickly, while teetering close to a blackout and hoping that you don't burn the kitchen down in the process.


Just what kind of flabby was it?  Cellulite or Whale Blubber?However, recently, I had a craving for Chef Boyardee canned "meat" ravioli. There's about as much real meat in these things as in a bag of pencil shavings. And about as much flavor. I gave in, but I'm happy to say that, having revisited this foodstuff, I don't think it'll ever be a problem again. I knew it was bad going in, but I ate it a lot in college. I didn't remember how nasty and tinny the flavor was or how disturbingly flabby the "pasta" was. I suppose you could describe it as "toothsome" if by toothsome you mean "cleaves to the palate like spackle".

I was describing the experience to someone recently. When I was done, she asked me, "Flabby? Kinda like cellulite? Or whale blubber?"

I wasn't able to answer her because it was then that it occurred to me that there were a couple esoteric ingredients I just would not be able to bring myself to try.

I'm not even sure where you'd buy.. those.


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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Anatomy of a House Cleaning

I’m on vacation this week. Vacation means blissful days of sleeping in entirely too late followed by evenings of sedition and general debauchery. So, I knew it was bad news when I found myself awake for no particularly good reason at 6 AM.

The apartment had reached critical mass, you see.

It was time to Clean.

6 AM. Clearly, I had not had enough to drink the night before.

Let me preface this by stating, for the record, I am not a good housekeeper. If I could pound a beer for every time this place has been dusted or vacuumed, I’d be pretty damn sober.

There is dust on the window sills that I think may have been pollen from last spring.

The apartment reached critical mass in miniscule increments over several months – crumbs from many fabulous meals littering kitchen surfaces, toothpaste gunk creating interesting abstract sculptures on fixtures in the bathroom, piles of laundry that created an entirely new "rug" on my bedroom floor.

The fact that in avoiding doing laundry I had, over time, bought enough underwear that – when it was all washed - I would not run out of underwear for the next two months.

My mother arriving for Easter dinner last weekend was not enough to compel me to clean. Of course she arrived a half hour early. That compelled me to rake the trash out of the bathroom. However, it was not enough to move me to take down my Christmas tree.

Despite that, for whatever reason, the assorted mess (or my general psychosis) affected my mind with its chatter this morning. Still, I gave it a good three hours or so to sweat it before I gave in and began sorting laundry. Couldn’t let it think it had the upper hand, you know. That’s how things like The Amityville Horror start. One minute you’re sorting laundry and the next you’re trying to chop up your family and dealing with an unruly fly population. It’s just not right.

I finished as much as I was willing to do by about 3 PM. I have learned today that, when throwing away items that are considered "recyclable", it’s important to time your trips to the dumpster for when the tree huggers are not watching. They will try to make you feel bad and may, if not sedated by pot, try to hit you with items made from hemp. Like rope. I have also learned that, when you have long hair and have not vacuumed your apartment in many moons, that your vacuum cleaner will balk. It’ll try real hard for about 15 minutes and then just…suck.

Finally I learned that, as much as you think you may have accomplished today, there is some other thing you didn’t get to that will lurk in the shadows and run the risk of waking you up at 6 AM with its own brand of chatter tomorrow. I call this thing my bathroom.

I have taken pre-emptive steps. It involves a Lysol bomb, a case of beer and a rag covered in chloroform. Now, the question is: how can I trick myself into smelling the rag?


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Sunday, April 16, 2006

And The Seas Will Run Red...

There are certain things that are wrong. And then there are certain things that suggest that Armageddon is imminent. This is one of those things:

Change comes from within.  If you're lucky.














What are you seeing in the above picture? A Peep-Bunny "Turducken". What is a "turducken", you may be asking?

Well, back in the day, figure around Ancient Rome, the rich nobility, with their propensity for social gatherings that involved in home gladitorial combat and vomitoriums, thought that a really cool thing to do to impress their guests was to stuff a whole animal inside of another whole animal (like a doormouse inside a fish inside a chicken, for example). Sometimes live (remember "Four and Twenty Blackbirds baked in a pie"? It had to come from somewhere.), sometimes not.

The French would adopt the idea as the technique called "Farci", from farce. Farce, as in funny. It's funny to cut into one animal and find another animal there inside. Let me also point out that the French think that Jerry Lewis is funny.

Here in the States, in the South, they've taken the idea in this direction: let's take a turkey and bone it out, then we're going to take a duck and do the same thing. Lay the duck on top of the turkey. Now, let's take a chicken, bone it out and lay it on top of the duck. Roll the whole damn thing up. Tie it with string and roast it. Congratulation, you have achieved turducken.

Yes, the word "turd" is, in fact, in the word "turducken". I don't think it's a coincidence.

For the terminally curious, here's Paula Deen's recipe for Turducken. God speed you on your journey to hell.

But, back to the picture.

Some braintrust decided that it would be funny to create a "Peep-Bunny" Farci (née turducken). Basically, you jam a knife in a Peep. Then you rape it with a Cadbury Egg. It's all in the pictures on the site. After that, you take the now violated Peep and stuff it and two of its brothers into a chocolate bunny, preferably sealing the poor marshallow dears in with a brulee torch. Ta-Da! Chocolate Bunny-Peep Turduckenage.

God help us all.

It is Easter, folks.

I'm left with these words of wisdom to share with you:

"Egon: 40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanos.
Winston:The dead rising from the grave!
Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats, living together... mass hysteria!"


Venkman knew whereof he spoke.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


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Friday, April 14, 2006

I Gave Up My Liver For Lent and other tales...

Oh sweet, sweet Cherry Wheat. What is it about you that tempts me to start drinking at 3:30 in the afternoon? I mean, I'm on vacation and all, but still...

Let me say, for the record, I'm not much of a "candy booze" drinker. When I'm drinking my booze, I want it to be booze flavored. I don't think that's asking a lot from my beverage. This is why I tend to stick with scotch or various wines. I know what I'm getting with every sip, which is to say, drunk. Candy booze (think anything with a name like "Strawberry Calypso Punch", ends in the suffix "-tini" that is not an actual martini, or involves Red Bull as a mixer) is insidious and should be left to lightweights, club kiddies and Lindsay Lohan.

"I don't know why I'm puking up fluorescent pink goo! I only had 6 drinks! Say, is that my own blood?"



But, I keep coming back to Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer time and time again. And I lived through the early 90's when every microbrew in the world was releasing a fruit flavored beer just as I was old enough to legally. drink. I don't find the cherry flavor cloying. The wheat beer itself is crisp. On a hot day, this beer is a mouthful of summer.

It helps that it's about 70 degrees outside. A veritable damn heatwave. Bottoms up, Mr. Adams!

________________________________________________________

My favorite time of the school year is the day before vacation. We have a party in each of my classes. I get the kids all full of chocolate and sugar and send them home to their parents. I call it "giving back".

________________________________________________________

This is the beer my dad used to drink when I was growing up, Narragansett. He'd buy it by the caseload. Not because it was good. It was cheap and that was enough. He told me that it was the first beer that he ever bought (possibly underage) from the tap in the bar of the Massasoit Hotel in my hometown, where he'd hang out in the summer after he got off work. At a quarter a pint, it was probably overpriced even then. He used to tell me that, when I was very little, he would pour the beer into a big glass (I remember the glasses in our house were big and kind of owl shaped) and leave the glass on the floor by his recliner. I would, apparently, come toddling by and steal the heads of foam of the glass when I thought he wasn't looking. He said it was "cute", but I think he just wanted me to not argue when it was naptime.

One of the barbecue places near me started carrying cans of the stuff recently. Mr. Scoop and I bought one. Yes, one. To sample. Tasting it, I was assaulted by flavors involving yeast, tap water and library paste. I let Mr. Scoop finish it. For science. I'm not sure how I stomached that beer as a toddler, although kids will put anything in their mouth.


Linked to: Comedian Jenée: People are Idiots

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

10 Commandments = Asleep At Your Desk By 10 AM

Thou shalt not suck.  No, really.  God said so. So, one of my kids came in all hangdog tired today.

When I asked her why, she told me that her mom had made her stay up and watch The Ten Commandments because she "needed to learn more about God and the Bible".

You can't make an excuse like that up.

And the sad part of it is, it's not the "good" version made by Cecil B. DeMille. It's this awful remake, starring the guy who plays Sayid on "Lost".

From the review on MSNBC:

Well, hell...um...Are you sure he's not one of The Others?
"Most of the time, networks hope viewers will be drawn eagerly to special events, but in the case of "The Ten Commandments," ABC executives must be hoping no one will notice — and that future airings will be confined to the basic cable networks where this clunker belongs."


Not to take the Lord's name in vain but, Jesus Christ! Why would you do that to your kid?

At least the Charlton Heston one, you know, you could kind of understand. It was cheesy as all hell, but it's a damn classic. Bear witness to the Tom Shales article in the Washington Post (*cough* Amen!): "DeMille's movie is an adored classic that ABC used to air annually near Easter and or Passover, still getting healthy ratings after three decades on the air. Some people love it for its classically campy mock-eloquence ("His God — is God"), others may find it genuinely inspiring, and some may giggle throughout yet still feel, when it's all over, that they've had as close to a spiritual experience as Hollywood could muster."

And it makes for a hell of a drinking game: "Oh, yeah, and for those of you who like a good drinking game, grab a bottle of choice and a few shot glasses, and every time someone says Moses, have a blast. It really makes things funnier come the big dance number with the Golden Calf. "

I will, of course, try this. Probably to celebrate Good Friday. I've got the whole day off, afterall. And the next day is Saturday. I can sleep in. For Jesus.

Christ. If you're going to make my kids stay up late to learn about the Bible, at least show them quality religious mass media programming. I'm pretty sure there's a bleeding statue of Jesus out there waiting to be exploited even as I type.


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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Got Dumplings?


I made this!I have a horrible addiction to Asian food. Lately, it's gotten so bad that I've started to seek out mail order sources of frozen edamame and shumai that can live in my freezer for whenever the urge to spend the evening munching on appetizers and swilling sake hits without my needing to drop $30 on delivery each time. Mr. Scoop stared at me incredulously when he found out the subject of my research. Afterall, he knows that I love to cook. So, why would I want to have frozen items on hand like some common shlub who's highest culinary aspiration is to bring home "Carside To Go" take-away from Applebee's?

Well, the easy answer is that I've been putting in a lot of time at work and I'm pretty damn exhausted when I get home these days. But that's not really an excuse. Mr. Scoop was right. I'm perfectly capable of making these things myself. So today I made a huge batch of dumplings, some with beef, scallions and ginger and some with crab and shrimp. I froze half of them and I still have some of each filling left, so that stuff will either be made into more dumplings and frozen later this week or I will find some other application for it.

Wonton wrappers are the uber convenience product of the new century, in my not so humble opinion. I have an incredibly small kitchen so, for the moment, I draw the line at making my own pasta dough for recipes. I just don't have the space. Wonton wrappers can be used for everything from pierogies to Nutella Ravioli.

Fillings For Dumplings

Beef Dumplings

5 scallions
2 T. chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, sliced
4 T. soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. sherry
dash of red pepper flakes
1.25 lbs lean ground beef

Blitz the first 7 ingredients together in a food processor until thoroughly combined. Add the ground beef and pulse until all the ingredient come together in a ball. Scrape into a bowl and keep chilled until ready to use.


Crab and Shrimp Dumplings (based on a Ming Tsai recipe for shrimp mousse, that used to be on ming.com but is now gone.)

6 oz. cooked lump crabmeat
8 oz. raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 stick of unsalted butter, cubed and kept cold
1 egg
2 t. soy sauce
1 t. sesame oil

Pulse all ingredients together until well combined, but not paste-y. You should still see some chunks of butter. Scrape into a bowl and keep chilled until ready to use.


To construct the dumplings, place a teaspoon of a filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Wet the outside edges of the wrapper with a little water and fold over the edges until you've formed a triangle. Squish the edges until well sealed (but be careful not to rip the wrapper). Keep covered under a damp paper until ready to cook.

If you assemble all of these dumplings at once, you will probably need two packages of wrappers. You're going to end up with about 100 dumplings.


To cook these dumplings, I follow Alton Brown's instructions for cooking potstickers: heat a pan to medium (ok, I go to medium high and I spray it with Pam first). Add the dumplings in a even layer on the bottom of the pan. Cook without touching for 2 minutes (I cover the pan). Uncover the pan and add 1/3 cup chicken stock or water. Cover the pan again and reduce the heat to low, cooking for about 2 more minutes. Remove cooked dumplings to an oven safe plate and keep warm in the oven until all dumplings are cooked. You may need to wipe out the pan between batches.


I'm enjoying the dumplings today with the Morimoto beer put out by Rogue Brewery. It's an interesting brew, very crisp with some malt and a little hoppiness going on. Not too bad.

Rogue apparently has created a chipotle beer as well. I'd like to give it a try if I ever see it in a store around here. I bet it would be a good liquid to braise beef in for chili. Mmmm. Chili.

But, first I'm going to need to finish all these dumplings.



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Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Island Provides For Its Own...

...Except For Hurley


Dude, I love peanut butter.  Dude. More than your mom. Last night on Lost, well, damn.

Poor, poor, put upon Hurley.

I have this theory that Hurley, due to his collosal field of bad luck, isn't actually supposed to be on the island. Click the damn link to catch up.

I think Hurley is going to be the unlikely hero of these folks that have crashed upon the island. I've thought it for a while. The island tried so very hard to keep him from showing up, after all.

And my suspicions around this were only strengthened last night.

You see, in my not so humble opinion, the island seems to have a habit of messing with people by giving them what they need: Locke has the use of his legs back, for example. Sawyer gets to live the "being a badass" dream. Kate, not only doesn't get molested by step-daddy - and, bonus!, she also avoids jail time. Oh, and Jack gets to be big Doctor in Charge without Daddy looking over his shoulder or Ghosts of Who He Is Supposed To Mature Into flickering on the horizon. Hell, even Charlie kicked his drug addiction (for now).

But what about Hurley?

Hurley tries to eat less -------> He begins to horde food.
Hurley decides to destroy his secret food stash -------> A food ration drop is discovered.
Hurley is generally considered the most even tempered, "normal" guy on the island -------> He starts to hallucinate the "imaginary" guy who used to dog his therapy at the clinic, "Dave".

Frankly, if a character is supposed to be evil, I think its pedigree is only strengthened if he or she used to be on Sex and the City.

Oh, and what did I miss...

Hurley decides he has enough of a mental health issue to look for anti-psychotic meds from Sawyer -------> When Sawyer doesn't fork 'em over, Hurley - even tempered, easy going Hurley, opens up a can o' whup ass on Sawyer. Leading Sawyer to call Hurley "crazy". Daddy issue ridden, wish I had an identity of my own Sawyer. Calling Hurley crazy.

Whatever.

My point is, if any other character thought he was going crazy, he or she would've magically come across a stash of meds that had fallen from the plane away from Sawyer or a plant that somehow healed neurosies. That's what the island does.

Hell, even when Hurley kinda manages to get some from Libby at the end of the episode, it's revealed that she may just be another crazy from the mental institution. Sure you can claim you have a doctorate in psychology, but simply having lots of therapy just isn't the same thing. Apparently.

The island is out to get Hurley. That's all I'm saying.

But he'll win. He'll overcome all this nonsense through sheer force of will and fuck up the plans of the island and/or The Others in the process. It's what Hurley does.

Mark my words, people.



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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

You Have Been Recruited...

I ate all the Frusen Gladje.  And I'd do it again.
...to eat as many Twinkies and Taco Bell burritos as you can find.

Oh, Lance Guest.

You're The Last Starfighter.

How could you let this happen?

What would Robert Preston say? I'm thinking that it would involve trouble in River City...what begins with "T" and rhymes with "P" and stands for "Pool".

Maybe it's just the Ho-Ho's.

It's just sad to see a guy I thought was cool when I was about 12 start to get all spready and vast. When I was 12, I totally wanted a video game to turn out to be a recruiting test for some other-wordly army - to let me go off into the void and fight for freedom while some android hung out and put up with my mundane existance in my place. Hell, I still. want that.

The Last Starfighter was the movie that I and my geeky chorus buddies rented when I was in 8th grade for our Christmas party. We went caroling on a road that paralleled the town landfill. Joey S. and Jen D. behaved for all the world like they might actually seal the deal. They would break up. Actually, by high school, I don't think we ever saw Joey again. Jen, allegedly, got serious with her college roommate and both girls moved to Seattle. All I know is that the movie gave me my first impulse to play with stage make-up or SFX in any kind of serious sense. I was fascinated by the pop open wrist compartment of the android in the movie. I spent a good week trying to come up with realistic looking flesh and metal using nothing more than typing paper, tin foil and chalk pastels. God, I wish I had had an allowance. I might have been able to buy something other than rubber cement to use as an adhesive. Oh the other hand, the guy I tried the fake "flesh-metal" out on was so gullible that I was able to run a fake "sure-this-is-telekinesis-what-magnets-are-you-talking-about?' con on him about a year later.

I wish I could say that I loved Jr. High, but I'd be lying.

I wish I could say that I loved Lance Guest in tonight's House, but I'd be lying.

More acting. Yes, Lance. Less Michelle Trachtenberg. No, Lance. She is a dirty, awful piggy. Mr. Scoop's friends have spoken. At this rate...at some point...you may meet them. Be afraid.


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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Beer, Produce and Pain


I found Mr. Scoop asleep in his clothes on my couch this morning. After I convinced him that I wasn't a cop, he blinked at me for a few minutes. Then he said, "I flew a Lear Jet at high speeds last night with my co-pilot, Jack Daniels. I was attacked by F-18s. They had missles." He nodded to himself as he told me the story. "You fell asleep playing GTA: San Andreas again, didn't you", I replied. It wasn't really a question. I continued, "Oh, by the way - I'm pregnant." I barely got to "April Fools!" before he started hyperventilating. He locked eyes with me meaningfully. "It might have been F-Us", he muttered.

It seemed prudent to get Mr. Scoop into fresh air at this point, despite his pleas that "Sunlight brings pain!" There's a diner up the street that makes a mean chili omlette and doesn't mind if you smell funny and pay in pennies. It is frequented by college students and the elderly.

What could have happened the evening before to bring Mr. Scoop to such a state? Well, it doesn't take much of an excuse, really. We kicked off things with a beer tasting sponsored by Berkshire Brewing Company. Mr. Scoop spent a good half hour practicing his social skills in the mirror before we left: "Why, yes, I'd like to try your IPA. Thank you. My gosh, you're right. It is..full of hoppy goodness!" Despite this, the first thing he did when we got to the store was march up to the beer rep, vigorously shake his hand and tell him, "Your coffee porter is so damn good I shit myself! No, really! Say, you pigs got any food in this joint? Why, yes I'm drunk! Why do you ask?"

He spent the rest of the tasting in the car.

I did.. sample the beers. They had a range of beers available from a very light Extra Pale Ale to an incredibly roasty, nutty Porter. All of it was tremendous. We took home an assorted case by way of apology to the nice lady at the cash register.

The rest of the evening consisted of high end beer, pizza and Batman Beyond. It was sometime after I went to bed and passed out that Mr. Scoop got into the Jack Daniels and madness ensued.

Back to this morning: After a thorough refueling with caffiene, grease and Tabasco, we hit the grocery store across the street. I had decided to make meatloaf, and we needed supplies. This particular grocery store is one of those high end Hannaford's that is full of obscure veggies, sushi and bulk, organic foodstuffs.

"Kumquats!" exclaimed Mr. Scoop. Immediately, I knew I'd made a mistake. "Kumquats!" He began to finger the produce. I pulled him away from the fruit stand. "Indoor voice", I hissed. He calmed down, but not for long. As I was gathering some maroon carrots, he wandered away from me again. From two aisles of vegetables over he yelled to me, "Ooooo! What's a jackfruit?" There was entirely too much glee in his voice. I found him and put the thing back on the cart. "It is not.. a masturbatory aide", I told him.

No.  I don't know why they're purple. I can never get out of the grocery store without buying some item from the produce section that the cashier can't identify or find on their handy PLU # chart. Never. While we waited for her to get some kind of price check on the phone, I watched as the same manager walked by no fewer than four times refusing to make eye contact and help out, as the line in back of us in the Express Lane began to grow exponentially. So, I did the only thing I could do to expedite the process. I sent Mr. Scoop back to the produce section.

Within moments, a very perturbed older woman with a name tag that read "Iris" came back to the register pulling Mr. Scoop along by the ear. "Does this belong to you", she demanded of me. I looked at Mr. Scoop. He shrugged helplessly, "I asked her if she'd give me a price check on my exotic purple carrot." "You need to stop scratching your balls in public when you ask people questions," I told him. "It makes people suspicious."

"The carrots are $.99 for the bunch. Just ring the damn thing up", Iris yelled at the cashier before stalking off back to Produce Central. I knew the carrots were $2.99, but I wasn't saying anything at this point. I thought it would be a good idea to make a quick getaway. It was time to get Mr. Scoop home.

Sunlight had, in fact, brought pain...or at least aggravation, to Iris the Produce Magistrix.


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