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Comments by YACCS
Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mr. Sulu Phasers Tim Hardaway

Okay, Jen here. I'm on Safari on a public machine so I can't text up my stuff in purple as ususal--don't see the text color thing here. Anyway, enjoy and comment away.

posted by Jenonymous @ 6:04:00 PM

6:04:00 PM

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

The (Somewhat Belated) Holiday Office Party Thread

About 1/100th of what I've seen my colleagues go through this year

Jen here. I know that Gilly and I ususally do a great big, morality-taling, finger-wagging, ass-laugh-offing big ol' article on what to NOT do during your company holiday party (or if you're really (un)fortunate, holiday parties).

However, this year, circumstances have made us tardy. Gilly had a minor medical thing which messed up his arm for a bit, and until a few days ago I was laid up with either the worst head cold I've had in 5 years or a mildish case of flu--and taking care of Round 2 of Holiday Shit (Chanukkah was round 1). Now, Gilly is on the road and I am about to get on the ol' Metro North myself for too much booze and not enough sleep at Dad's. As such, I propose a novel way to handle this thread:

You have all heard Gilly and I rant on this subject for a few years now. Instead, why not share YOUR lurid tales of company holiday party excess here? If you have an especially long/lurid post, please email it to me at and I'll tag them up--with names changed to protect the guilty--when I get back post-Northern European Tree Cult Festivities. Just be sure to put "Holiday Party Thread" in the subject line so that I don't think it's another Nigerian currency scam email. Otherwise have fun tagging up your do's and don'ts in the comments, and I will try to contribute more upon my return.

Happy Holidays, all, whatever you celebrate. Keep fighting the good fight, and if you're not of the Dead Evergreen Pursuasion, take the next two days as a chance just to chill, eat, sleep, and enjoy the relative quiet.

posted by Jenonymous @ 1:32:00 PM

1:32:00 PM

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Where I've Been--Bad Problem with Haloscan at the Office

Not Me

Hello, all. Jen here. Just an FYI--if you've missed me in the comments, it's because for whatever reason, Haloscan is now fucking up my ability to even read the Blog during my brief breaks at the office, nevermind post.

Regardless of browser or my Javascript/Java settings, or my permissions, The News Blog either does not load at all, loads improperly (no comments numbers showing at the bottom of the post), or nothing happens when I click a comment link.

Once in a blue moon a comments window will load, but not all the way. If the godz smile upon me and the whole fucking comments section loads, any effort on my part to post won't.

I know I'm not the only person who thinks Haloscan sucks--and yes, it definitley has something to do with my work network. Unfortunatley, we can't install new stuff on our machines at work--admin lockdown--and can't tweak network settings too much. OTOH I DO have both IE and Firefox installed, and it suddenly seems to work on neither.

Heck, even trying to load the Haloscan homepage is slow or impossible.

So, until further notice, you may not see a whole lot of me unless something changes at work and/or we move to a non-Haloscan comment option (hint, hint--hey Gilly tons of other blog options work just fine on my box at work...suggestions in the comments, folks, please...).

Happy Holidaze,


PS and FUCK BLOGGER. Can't get this text to appear directly under the photo. Fuck it.

Fixed the photo.

If people have suggestions for a non-haloscan option with the ability to pull comments and IP blocking, I would certainly consider them.

However, Haloscan and Blogger are seperate programs and one shouldn't affect the other in terms of being seen. It might also be a popup-firewall issue as well.

I killed the Gravitars, not that I much liked them anyway. Let's see if that solves the problem.

posted by Jenonymous @ 11:20:00 AM

11:20:00 AM

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Original Jewish Chicken Soup Recipe According to Me WITH A CRITICAL CORRECTION

Oh Shit....

All--please see important correction/re-definition below. What I refer to as "icicle turnips" are also more commonly known as...parsnips. Note also that if you just can't find parsnips, tiny turnips are OK also but the soup won't have that special sweetness behind the saltiness that I grew up with.

Jen here promised, my Super Secret Family Chicken Soup Recipe...

Okay, everyone, as per earlier thread, I spent tonight mostly making my familial Chicken Soup recipe in an effort to stave off a Mounting Head Cold. As such, I started to reflect upon Issues Of Mortality and thought that perhaps, being as I have no children, I had better pass this on so that it may be preserved *grin*. In any event, here it is, along with post-preparation tips so that you may make a Full Chicken Soup Dinner, in the grand tradition of my Mom's side of the family, which included my grandpa (may he rest in peace) who worked in the business of processing and selling chickens much of his life, and my grandma, who made it happen.

NOTE: All quantities are very rough and are to be regarded as suggestions, not rules.

Big Heavy Pot (I use my Le Creuset 7-qt. round dutch oven)
flame diffuser (optional--I don't use one for this but depending on the size of your pot and the control of your gas burner if you have one you may need it)
Tongs (optional but helpful)
Wooden Spoon
Separate bowl/tupperware for chicken

Time: Many hours.

Attention Span: Once set up, requires attention about every 20 minutes until done.

1 smallish fryer/broiler chicken (under 5 lbs, more like 3.5-4 if you can find it)(get one with a gut bag if possible)
1 large yellow onion, peeled but otherwise left whole
1 or 2 carrots (or one big baseball-bat cross-sectional giant tough old carrot)
1 or 2 icicle turnips also known as parsnips (ie the ones that look like white carrots)(same sizing rule as for carrots; if you can fine one tough old huge monster, use it)
1 bunch dill, fresh
1 bunch broadleaf or "Italian" parsley, fresh
About 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
A few celery ribs
A few whole cloves garlic (no more than 4), peeled but not mashed
Salt (kosher or flake)
1 or 2 bullion cubes, chicken flavored or veggie flavored (I use cheapass Knox ones, but you can use the more pricey Knorr, which I sometimes use--if using Knorr use only 1)
(very optional--white wine, left over from previous meal/night)
Super Duper Special Bonus Points Optional--fresh unripe eggs from chicken processor--I have only had this a few times in my life (much in childhood, twice in adulthood)

To prepare: Make sure your pot is clean. Rinse off chicken and put in pot. Rinse off all "parts" in gut bag except for the liver and put in pot (save liver for poaching in boiling soup later if you want, or freeze/save/feed to the cat/etc). Peel the onion and put whole, in the pot. Ditto for garlic. Peel or scrub turnips and carrots and put in also, Wash dill and parsely, cut off root ends, put that in also. Ditto for celery. Put in a palmful of whole black peppercorns. Add a large palmful of salt and put in the unwrapped bullion cubes.

Put in JUST enough water to cover--you don't want to have the pot boil over and you will add more water later. Bring to a brisk boil. If it foams over, just take the lid off and let it boil down a bit until manageable. If necessary, depending on how big a pot you have, use the tongs to turn the chicken over once the fat begins to render out of it. In any event, the veggies will eventually begin to collapse and you will be able to get the lid on (this is where a heavy cast-iron pot is useful). As you cook it down, add water and pour in any white wine that you may have (I used about a cup and a half of decent Chardonnay that I had opened last week--this is a great way to get rid of white that may have been opened too long).

Just keep boiling the bejesus out of the soup until the bones are rather loose on the legs of the chicken. At this point, take out the tongs. If you take hold of the end of a leg bone with said tongs and it pulls out easily, you're ready to go to the next step. First, start by working the tongs in the boiling soup and pull out as many of the large bones and discard. If you press on the breast, it should collapse the body cavity. Pull out whatever other big bones you can--wing, etc. Let any bits of meat that have fallen off into the soup be. Use the tongs to knock the meat off the dark meat areas and let it be in the soup. Then take the tongs and lift the breast out and put on a plate/in a bowl. This should free up a lot of room in the pot; add more water to top it up. If you are lucky enough to have unripe eggs, put them in now. If you want to poach the liver in the soup, this is the time also. Continue to boil for a while until the onion falls apart easily, along with the celery (the root veggies will remain somewhat intact). Remember, you'll have to boil at least an hour and a half-two hours to get the chicken to elegantly disintegrate properly.

The soup will be an odd swampy khaki color but will taste great. DO NOT SKIM THE FAT OFF.
Season with more salt to taste; however, it's a good idea to wait and season per serving, as hot soup tastes less salty when it's first cooked.

Now, you can eat as-is. Or, you could be all fancy and strain it.

Here's what to do next:

With the chicken breast/large bits of meat: Chill. Make the world's best chicken salad or do one of my favorite childhood sammies: Use forks to pull apart the much-cooked breast meat. Take two slices of white bread, spread with ketchup. Make sandwich with white meat. This was one of my absolute favorite lunchbox items as a child. Do NOT get fancy with wholegrain bread on this one--it's white bread or bust.

If you strain the soup (as opposed to just serving it with chunks of meat and veg in it): Carefully sort through the sodden mass of veggies and chicken bits for bits of bone (especially look out for ribs, bits of back, etc). Take bread crumbs or panko flakes and at least one egg. Add salt and pepper but only if needed. Resist the urge to add any other seasoning. Put the mess through a food grinder or a food processor or just mash with a fork, and mix in egg (yes I realize this makes in No Longer Kosher--no cooking mother and child, but it's authentic) and crumbs/panko. Make croquettes and coat in more crumbs/panko. Fry in heavily salted chicken fat.

Let soup cool in the pot; put pot in fridge once it's cool enough to handle. Put away/freeze the next day. Again, keep the fat IN THE SOUP.

The croquettes and boiled chicken, served with soup and the white meat, and either a steamed veg or salad, makes a real, honest-to-G-d "Chicken Soup Dinner" that I grew up with. Serve soup as-is or float bread/crumbly crackers in it. Have with wine to induce instant sleep/head cold abatement.

Enjoy and please share your results if you attempt--link to my email is on the homepage.

PS--read the chicken label carefully! When I went shopping today, I discovered that the smallish chicken that I had tossed into my cart was some kind of organic, free-range thing that went to Harvard or something and cost $13.80. For a fucking 4-pounder. Never again. Shit. This better be the best fucking chicken soup I ever made...

I hope you all like this bit of family history.

posted by Jenonymous @ 4:52:00 PM

4:52:00 PM

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Pod Lust Part 3

Holy Shit

Jen here.

I have a cold (wah) and have decided to devote the weekend to Important Stuff. No, not re-doing my apartment after workers ripped it up, broke shit, and stole stuff (thank you Gilly for the replacement mugs), but REALLY important stuff like making chicken soup (may post on that later), listening to the shit I got at the WFMU Record and CD Fair (may post on that later as well--depending if my sinuses dry up enough for me to sleep) and...most IMPORTANTLY...getting my fucking waycoolio, amazing, sexy, wild-tiny iPod Shuffle 2nd Gen to work.

Let me rant for a few seconds:


Yes, the bass is good, as is the overall sound. So is the interface.

Yes, iTunes still sucks Republican octogenarian balls. Use Anapod Explorer instead--I do, for all 3 of my iPods. The lastest version is the best of all.


Gotta go make my bed now and have some soup, and put the rest away.

posted by Jenonymous @ 12:56:00 AM

12:56:00 AM

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Best spur-of-the-moment chicken part/section recipes

So many recipes and only three meals a day...

Jen here again. Time for another "clap along and sing with Gilly and Jen" thread--that's right, your participation is vital to this particular thread.

Today's theme: What's your best spur-of-the-moment, last-minute treatment for chicken parts? By parts I mean a whole chicken cut up or a package of one or more parts, ie drumsticks and thighs, just thighs, etc.

Here's my example: I had a smallish bottle of sweet champagne that had been languishing in my fridge since forever ago, and I needed the room in the fridge. I was preparing food for one the now-famous Lefty Blogger Secret BBQ and Strategy Sessions (hail Kos!) and had bought a package of chicken thighs for the occasion. I was going to do a spice rub, but then the power issues in Queens began and I wanted to get out of the kitchen as soon as I could. My solution?

Chickenhawk Thighs Burning in Hell


--1 package chicken thighs (about 8-10ish)
--harare sauce or paste
--cheap sweet champagne or dry ginger ale

Equipstuff: Ziploc Plastic Bag

Wash off and pat the chicken dry. In the bag mix at least 3 heaping tablespoons of harare with enough champagne or ginger ale to make a very loose paste--think more of a thick marinade versus a thin paste. This should only lightly coat the back of a spoon.

Dump in your chicken thighs and smoosh around, then seal the Ziploc bag. Let the chicken sit in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferrably overnight. Whenever you go to the fridge to get something out, squidge the bag around so that all the chicken marinates evenly.

Grill when ready.

You see, that wasn't that hard, was it? As a somewhat lazy cook, I love quick and delicious advance -prep fixes like this. Share yours here.

Personally, I tend to fry chicken with lots of spices when I'm stuck for things to fix. Things like Chipotle chili powder, garlic powder, fresh ground black pepper can make chicken thighs pop.

posted by Jenonymous @ 1:47:00 AM

1:47:00 AM

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Indian Coke may not be Safe

Not cool and refreshing.

What happens when you make soft drinks in a country that has a contaminated water supply? You get contaminated soft drinks. From BBC News:

Drinks giant Coca Cola has enlisted the help of British government scientists to prove its assertion that its soft drinks sold in India are safe to drink.

Six Indian states have announced partial or complete bans on the soft drinks after claims that the drinks contain harmful pesticides.

At a press conference in Delhi, the scientists said tests carried out by them show the drinks meet EU standards.

But an India-based campaign group has questioned the tests' credibility.

Read the rest here. This is another "sleeper" story that got buried amid the general chaos with the airlines. Stories like this are the evil little siblings of the issues surrounding the use of infant formula in Third World nations. Comment.

posted by Jenonymous @ 8:38:00 PM

8:38:00 PM

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Shrub already planning his alibi

Better start baking these into a cake or two, Barb.

Jen here. It seems that our fearless Leader is already attempting to avoid a one-way ticket to the Netherlands with a cute piece of legislation:

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration drafted amendments to the War Crimes Act that would retroactively protect policymakers from possible criminal charges for authorizing any humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees, according to lawyers who have seen the proposal....

Read the rest here. Conspiracy theorists, note that this story hit the same day that the shit hit the fan regarding the UK Airline Terror Plot/Evil Plot to Make People Buy Overpriced Books in Departure Lounge Bookstores Debacle, and was therefore completly buried.

You know, Pinochet tried something like this--a kind of sick reverse Mobius-zero-G-porn-flick-pretzelfuck of the "I was only giving, erm, I mean, following orders" and it didn't fly.

Now, I strongly doubt that Dubya will ever be keeping Miloscevic's seat warm, but the idea of a permenantly US-bound ex-prez is at least some small consolation. When he drives over the Mexican border for weed and a blow job he'll always have to look over his shoulder lest a wily bounty hunter do an Eichmann on him.


Also, note: If you're wondering where Gilly is, and why he headed up the day with a "fire and forget" thread, he's recovering at home after having some very minor work done related to his ongoing medical care. He's fine, but his arm is as sore as hell and he's probably grooving in a Vicodan daze right about now. Me, I've been stupid busy at work and obviously can't post a full post from the office, so please bear with the meager effort that I'm making here after a full day in. Gilly will be back with more posts and more snark as soon as he's able.

posted by Jenonymous @ 8:18:00 PM

8:18:00 PM

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Back from Edinburgh

Jimmy the Bartender sez: "Kiss my haggis, terrorists!"

Yes, I'm back in one piece from Scotland, having survived the full impact of Security Theater. Yes, I took the picture above, and yes, the pose was unprompted.

Before I launch into my airport stories, let me add the following point:

Attention Newark airport rent-a-cops and Continental Airlines: Please bite this.

Right! Now that we've gotten that out of the way...I could type for pages and pages about what I saw and what I went through--which was substantially less horrid than many of my fellow travelers, given that I actually already had packed a spare bag (ie so I had room to check through the crap I woulda taken on carry-on) and many many plastic bags (always good to keep stuff like filthy laundry, potentially meltly cosmetics, etc. in). I also was traveling alone, with no kids, while Caucasian, English-speaking, middle-aged, and female. I saw many others who fit none of the above categories who had a much rougher go at it.

However, I don't want to get into too much detail here just now. It's 6:30ish on Sunday night and I haven't left the house since I got in late Friday--crashed hard after getting home very, very late, did nothing on Saturday whatsoever, and spent most of today unpacking, doing laundry, shopping for the week, cooking what I had bought as I came home to an empty fridge, etc. If you must know: Cooking highlights included chicken thighs with crispy Turkish 7-spice crust and black rice with barley cooked in the Rice Spaceship. Had that for lunch, but I have an urge for shitty pizza. But I digress.

So, let me hear YOUR airport stories. Special shout out to our own Lower Manhattanite, whom at last note was attempting to take his Black Muslim self and several cases of complicated electrical shazbit to California (LM--please let us all know how it went!!) Given the amount of general fecal matter that yours truly was subjected too, I can only imagine what anyone who vaguely fitted any kind of "profile" went through. So please let me know, and if I have the stregnth before bed, I will try to post more on my own experience.

Summary of my trip: Checked three times, frisking, etc, had all of my non-scrip meds confiscated, including sinus stuff, but they still managed to miss three chewable Rolaids in one pocket, a lollipop in the other (both of which I had even forgotten were there), an opaque bottle of aspirin (which was right next to the Rolaids and Sudafed that they nicked so no idea why that got missed) and a small flashlight on my keychain, which really shocked me. If the chewy Rolaids had really been plastic explosive, I wouldn't even need anything naughty in the aspirin bottle--I coulda just stuck it on the john and broken the bulb on the mini-Maglite to ignite. They did not, however, let us take books or reading material on the plane that hadn't been purchased (with receipt) from the "secure area." Sitting on the top of the Confiscated Shit tub: A copy of Amos Oz's "How to Cure a Fanatic," a book that I was going to bring up here at some point. Oh, the irony.

My prediction: Eventually someone is just gonna shove a tube of nitro up their ass and get it done that way. In 5 years, we'll all have to go thru a full-body screening and wear special airline-issued "bunny suits" on the plane, no exceptions.

More later perhaps, but right now, I need to get some sunlight in or I will never be able to go back to my desk tomorrow.

Again, tag those stories up!

posted by Jenonymous @ 6:26:00 PM

6:26:00 PM

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Friday, July 07, 2006

And Now for a Vaguely Soccer-Related Post

Kos told me to put this up

Guten Tag, meine Damen und Herren! Jen here! In honor of the World Cup being in Germany this go around, and on direct orders from Supreme Commander in Chief Kos, I hereby give you this next Teutonically-themed installation of the Man with a Ham series!

I need a giggle right now. I feel like crap--got food poisoning from a bad pizza on the 4th of July (made going to work on the 5th even more of a dog than usual), so I went to bed at 9 PM that night. So, I was all good or so I thought on the 6th. Heh. Went out to grab a light dinner at my favorite local place to stop in at when it's late and I want food. Had an innocent enough dish--grilled veggies with a few strips of grilled steak on it, served with a side of hummus and pita--which I washed down with a little pinot noir.

Well, around 1 AM, the second set of fireworks started as it were. Let's just say that I slept in brief shifts between bathroom trips, and all I've had today to eat is...water when I don't retch it up, and some Gatorade. In a bit I'm going to attempt some rice, cooked of course in the Commander Kos Approved Rice Spaceship and Spying Device.

And I need to get up the gumption to go do a sheet and towel laundry, as my sheets are now all sweated up and smell like the gastric after-effects of food poisoning.

I think it's rice, Gatorade, Netflix, and the Net for the rest of the weekend.

In the meantime, enjoy the, ah, visual stimulation.

posted by Jenonymous @ 5:09:00 PM

5:09:00 PM

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

So what is everyone doing this holiday weekend?

My first task this weekend--break these bad boys in

Hello, all! Jen here.

Apologies for not posting/commenting more, but my work life has been like a slow-motion riot in a crowded white-collar asylum for the past few months, and most nights after work I'm trying to either a) keep what social life I have still alive to some extent b) do necessary things, like buy more toilet paper and pay bills, c) hit the gym or d) go to bed at 8 PM and sleep in the same position all night out of bone-crumbling exhaustion.

The irony is that for the first Memorial Day Weekend in about 5 years, I don't have some kind of Huge BBQ Party Thingie to go to. Gilly is getting ready for a family event in Boston, another close pal is home with his sister who just got home from the UK, and my other friends with jobs are pretty much doing what I'm doing--going face-down to rest and get shit around the place done. Even my Mom isn't doing anything at the house and is actually for once going to someone else's party. The ironic part is that this isn't the first Memorial Day in ages that hasn't had shitty, cold weather.

(Note for our non-US readers: Memorial Day is a holiday that always falls on a Monday. Ostensibly it is to honor the members of the US Armed Forces. Over the years it has become the official Start of Summer in the US, and is traditionally celebrated by barbeques, picnics, etc).

So, what is radical, super-exciting Jen doing this weekend?

Well, I rushed home Friday night after banging back 2 mudslides a the Continental to watch Get Color on HGTV. This was because I was exhausted from schlepping a new pair of sneakers and my new Doc Martens around town, in the damp, running chores after work. The Docs are for my upcoming summer vacation; the sneaks are because the last pair I bought for "just walking around" (as opposed to the gym--a lot of US gyms have "indoor sneaker only" policies) was something like 6 years ago, and the arches on my one street pair had totally collapsed. Yes, I got the sneaks in the funky pink and green shown. I woulda gotten New Balance, but my gym sneaks are those, and I have to say while they have the very best fit, they are ugly to the point of bordering on a wearble medical device.

But I digress.

When I got home, I collapsed in front of the TV after running to my bodega for milk--I have not set foot in a supermarket for almost 2 weeks, and was eating the nasty ends of whatever I had left in the fridge (and was too tired after work most nights to even think about opening the freezer, which by contrast, is full).

I had also managed to hit the drug store for silicon sneaker spray, Motrin, and other feminine supplies. So, after Get Color, I sprayed my sneakers, treated my Docs with Wet-Pruf, and collapsed into bed after the news.

Today all I did was sleep, get up and pee from time to time as the kids next door woke me up, highlighted my hair (need to get it cut but couldn't deal with it Friday--will do next week), and then...launched into Grocery Shopping. Hit my local greengrocer, got some sliced dried salami from Mike's Pork Shop, and dropped stuff off at home. Had a dinch (dinner/lunch) of fresh, raw veggies, a kaiser roll with a tad of olive oil on it, and some sliced sweet and hot salamis.

Then I watched the news and went back out to do my REAL grocery shopping, even though I was tired again, because I had one roll of toilet paper yet and was out of essentials like, oh, bread, cheese, canned tuna, and so on.

Got in around 9. Was going to go back out to some hotspot in LIC, but then I realized that a) it was hot b) I was tired and had been c) breaking in boots as hard as new body armor to do multiple staircase runs and chores around the 'hood, and my feet needed a break.

Tomorrow, I am due to go have dins with a good friend, whose dad was just diagnosed with cancer. I may go out later that night, or I may just flop.

At some point, I also have to go Shopping for Summer Staples like a few fresh layering T's to wear under a blazer at the office, as well as cheap shorts that fit. And, I have to Try On Stuff to see what Fits for a big fancy dinner that I am doing with family on Tuesday. I also have to try to call a bunch of folks overseas now that I finally remembered to get an STI Phone Card at my local bodega.

Yeah, I am the picture of decadant urban living. Woo Hoo. Exciting me. I may try to clear another level of 25 to Life or Black, or put in Brokeback Mountain or one of the Aeon Flux on episodes.

But enough about me.

What's everyone else doing this weekend?

posted by Jenonymous @ 7:41:00 PM

7:41:00 PM

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Spice Rub, Part II

These make everything taste better

Jen here. Gilly was sick yesterday, and he's bushed today, so I took over the duty of making spice rub for the BBQ that we're going to tomorrow. This was a first effort, but I think it came out pretty good. I have two almost-full little supermarket spice jars full of the fruits of my effort--Gilly is getting one tomorrow, and I will probably use up the other one at the BBQ, so I wanted to write this all down before I forgot what I put in.

Herewith I present to you a very loosely-written recipe for what I shall call:

South by Southeast Spice Rub

Black peppercorns (whole)
Black cardamom pods
Green cardamom pods
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Cumin seed

Whole fennell seed
Coriander seed
Whole fenugreek
Caraway seed
Sweet paprika
Hot paprika
Chipolte peppers (whole)
Pequin peppers (whole, dried)
Espresso or dark roasted coffee beans (whole)
Sumac powder

To start: Make sure you have a good large spice grinder or small food processor. I have one of those Cuisinart mini-countertop things that only has two speeds (chop and grind) and a very strong engine. Or you can use a blender; just make sure you don’t burn the motor out.

This makes about a cup and a quarter of rub.

Start by throwing in several whole black cardamom pods and many green cardamom pods—again use the whole pod. Also put in at least a big palmfull of whole black peppercorn. Throw in three or four whole dried chipotles. Then also throw in at least six or seven tiny dried pequin peppers (the really tiny, really hot ones). Now pulse/grind until it’s a coarse powder. At this point you add the Secret Ingredient—about 5 whole espresso beans. Grind again Now put in the seeds—the whole caraway, cumin, coriander, fennell, and fenugreek. Once everything is ground, put in a good deal of garlic powder, and less but still a good amount of onion powder. Again, grind. Now put in sweet and hot paprikas (I use the Szeged stuff from Hungary) and the sumac powder—at least a teaspoon of each paprika and a tablespoon or so of sumac. Grind again. Add at least a palmful of salt and pulse/grind in intervals until you have a decent coarse powder. Taste with a damp fingertip and correct accordingly.

Put into very dry storage jars of some sort—I had two leftover ones from when Gilly made me spice rub. I also have an empty cumin jar which I can use.

Use on everything that would need a spice rub or seasoning powder. On the hot side and very aromatic, but this could be adjusted by laying off the pequins and some of the hot paprika, but then that would make this recipe something else. I suppose you could toast the spices first but I wanted to keep it simple.

Think of this as a jumping-off point; try your own variations and have fun.

NOTE RE spice sourcing: Unfortunatley, I can't recommend anything other than mail order if you can't get these things locally. I am very fortunate to have a huge Mexican community and a huge Egyptian community within walking distance of my apartment. I got most of the spices except for the chipoltes at the Egyptian market; the cardamoms came from an Indian deli. All were purchased from places that had brisk business and refreshed stock frequently.

NOTE #2 forgot the fennell seed in the first post ten minutes ago. Correct your records accordingly!



I just tried this on a shell steak, which I panfried in a cast-iron pan with a bit of goose fat for the fat.


This is definitley a rub/spice mix for things that you are going to cook--its character was totally changed by the flame. It has heat, but also a deep resonance to it. I bet this would be amazing on lamb and especially game. Ditto for strong-flavored fish. I also dipped bread in the pan drippings and from what I tasted, it would be great with a roasted garlic spread or other roasted veggies. I am dying to try this on oven-roasted potato slices or gratins.

Ok, I know people have been waiting for this, but I've been relaxing all day.

First, when I met Jen, she handed me a bottle of the spice rub. As we sat down , waiting for our ride, she shoved her container under my nose and it was incredible, it had such a nice aromatic smell. She had marinated the steaks in the rub for a couple of hours. And was as excited as a 10 year old going to a baseball game about it.

For some reason, I wore my Carlos Beltran Mets shirt, well the reason was that Jen had never been to a place with someone who would wear a sports T-shirt of such loudness.

When we got to the barbeque, we were hoping we didn't bring too much food. Our tendancy is, since we rarely have the chance to cook for others, to overdue things. So we brought steak, as mentioned, greek sweet sausage, turkey kielbasa, pineapple and pears, as well as greek pastries and my garlic butter with red peppers.

Our hosts had planned turkey burgers, hot dogs (which we never got around to) , smoked salmon, salmon burgers, chicken, along with artichoke hearts and marinated mushrooms, tortellini salad and bread. Costco is an amazing place, they said.

I also brought a bottle of shiraz and a reisling, as well as a six pack of Brooklyn Pennant Ale. Jen brought a magnum of red.

I've liked reislings since college. They're perfect for things like grilled meats and pizza. Now, given my druthers we would have had beer and more beer, using Garrett Oliver as a guide. But when you attend parties with adults, wine is essential. You can't just offer up a pint of Newcastle and say be happy. And I like to leave the Jack and Coke at home when kids are around.

Normally, I have dim hopes for turkey burgers , but these were amazing. I ate mine as I made the garlic toast in the broiler. The grill was busy. So Jen had brought fresh bread and I sliced it thin and spread my garlic butter mix on it.

I used a container of whipped butter, roasted some peeled garlic, a whole head might be easier, and marinated red peppers. When grilled, the red peppers stood out against the toast. I only toasted one side to make the bread kinda warm and chewy.

We then got to the sausages. Jen, when cooking, can be a force of nature. She tends to like to cook. I think she would pout if there was an open flame and she had no part in it. But then, she told me she used to grill at her mother's place. I grew up in a Manhattan apartment. The kielbasa, Hillshire Farms, grilled up nice. So did the Greek sausage.

Her spice rub was amazing on the quickly cooked steaks. It was spicy without being too hot. It was a wonderful mix for the chicken and beef without being overwhelming or one note. We also grilled peppers and vidalia onions which were incredibly sweet when cooked.

Other people brought other things, like artisinal cheese and this potent brew called fire water, which reminded me of college, mostly for the Everclear (commercial grain alcohol) and citrus. Not the kind of thing to drink too much of. The last time I encountered a everclear-based drink I woke up at10 AM at my friends fraternity. I remember parts of getting there. Parts.

We had all manner of desserts. Greek pasteries , panettone (which makes a great French Toast), a marvelous home made strawberry shortcake, with fresh shortbread, fresh strawberries and fresh whipped cream.

Jen and I had planned on grilled fruit. In mid summer we like grilled peaches, but we did grilled pears and pineapples. I had planned on using port, but instead I made a bourbon syrup with vanilla, apple juice and cinnamon in a simple syrup. Oh my god, what a nice fragrant flavor and smell. They were an incredible hit.

Finally, we went home, full and tired.

The best thing about it was the simple nature of what we had cooked. Making a simple syrup is easy enough, boil water and sugar. Just wait until the fire is off to add alcohol. Then cook it off. Bourbon works especially well with sugar.

posted by Jenonymous @ 4:23:00 PM

4:23:00 PM

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

News Blog Literary MadLibs #1

Placeholder hams

All sorts of possible answers and endings

Jen here. I'm rather tired and think I may be getting a mild head cold, so I'm tucking in to a cask-stregnth 10-year Laphroaig and thinking about a hot bath, with a big chunk of this thrown into it. Having said that, I am finally remembering to put up a thread I thought of a while ago.

Does anyone else remember MadLibs? I loved them as a kid. Well, here's a sort of very brief grown-up version. Just copy and paste your completed paragraph into comments.

And is....

"My Best Celebrity Brag Story"

Well, I was walking around ______ one night, and I decided to stop into ______ for a quick nightcap before bed. I pull up a chair at the bar, and ordered a ________. Just as the bartender was putting down the napkin, I look over to my right, and there was _______, just sitting there alone, drinking a _______. They were on their way out, but while I started my drink, I actually screwed up the courage to say "hi." I told them __________________, and then we talked for a few minutes about _________________ while they paid up. I had another drink, but I was psyched for the rest of the night and couldn't sleep. I wish I had had my camera with me!

Now, this is meant to be fictional and cool, or it can be true if you have a real story to tell.

My quick off the top of my head version:

Well, I was walking around Mitte one night, and I decided to stop into this little kneipp for a quick nightcap before bed. I pull up a chair at the bar, and ordered an absinthe and a pack of nasty unfiltered Marlboros. Just as the bartender was putting down the napkin, I look over to my right, and there was Gorbachev, just sitting there alone, drinking an Irish Coffee. They were on their way out, but while I started my drink, I actually screwed up the courage to say "hi." I told them that I was shocked to see him there, and then we talked for a few minutes about the weather and Putin's bad taste in suits while they paid up. I had another drink, but I was psyched for the rest of the night and couldn't sleep. I wish I had had my camera with me!

So that's my mental diversion tonight. Have fun; be snarky.

posted by Jenonymous @ 7:00:00 AM

7:00:00 AM

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Medicine Show Carney Act Plays On

How people with no other marketable skills made money before the Internet

Jen here. Over the past 48 hours or so, I received the following three emails in my InBox, and many others like them, which I thoughtfully shared with Gilly.

First I got this:

Tue. Feb. 28th:
Tue. Feb. 28, 7:30-10:00 am
Marriott Marquis, Wilder Room, 46th B'way
Wayne Reuvers, CEO, LiveTechnology
Michael Elling, Principal, Information Velocity Partners
Michael Christian Shimbo,CEO, Concert
Shen Tong, CEO, VFinity

IP TV is a broad term for the next wave of TV Internet convergence. What does it mean if TV has the same interactivity as the Internet or that it uses the same pipes? The answer is a lot more than entertainment or interactive TV. It is a whole new way of doing business for everything from Advertising - think of AdSense for all mediums but with streamed and visual ads - to music and business tracking of TV assets and appearances. And more..... As IP TV ripples through the business world, it has the power to transform it in surprising ways. Advertising, communications, management, medicine, small business and end users will all experience a shift in their landscape. This event opens up a new world of possiblities for the next Internet Revolution.
Networking Breakfast 7:30-8:30am Presentations: 8:30-10:00am

Networking Breakfast 7:30-8:30am
Presentations: 8:30-10:00am

REGISTER: no link for you!
$50 members - $60 non-members in advance
Individual $155 (6 Free Credits) Corporate $350 (12 FREE assignable credits)

Special Offer to Attend Collaborative Communications Summit
CCS 2006 Mon-Tue. Feb. 27-28
SAVE $100: SPECIAL OFFER FOR IBREAKFAST $349 You can't afford to miss this event if your company is involved in Visual Communications, Web Conferencing, VOIP, Instant Messaging, Real Time Presence-aware Collaboration Tools and Services, Knowledge Management Team Collaboration Tools, and Mobile Collaboration Tools. Network with decision makers and leaders in the industry. We will feature many social gatherings during the show where you can build revenue and customers, develop leads, and meet potential strategic partners.
February 27-28, 2006 Marriot Marquis Times Square

That very same day, I got this:

Dear Friends of Location One:

the talk scheduled for tonight, Wednesday February 22nd at 7pm
has been P O S T P O N E D to

Wednesday MARCH 22nd at 7pm

Please mark your calendars

** Folksonomies and the Mental Habits of Classification **

Clay Shirky writes about Economics & Culture, Media & Community, Open Source
and teaches at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Join his mailing list at (link deleted)

26 Greene Street
New York NY 10013

******************** L O C A T I O N O N E is a not-for-profit organization devoted to convergence between visual, performing and digital arts in a time of rapidly changing technology. We invite artists from different disciplines and from different countries to work in our studios. We ask them to experiment with the new technologies of artistic creation, interaction and delivery. We urge them to collaborate in creating new works and give them virtual Internet spaces and physical gallery space to exhibit the results. Our goals are to foster the creation of new work, new forms of expression, and new capabilities in artists, and to advance new awareness in all those we reach.

Now, I really have nothing against Clay. Gilly has more to say on that particular subject, so I'll let him chop in his comments when he gets a chance. However, suffice it to say that I don't have a particularly high opinion of ITP or similar programs. Their mantra really does seem to be "you too can get a programmer's salary and throw around bullshit technical terms without ever having to learn any of that icky programming math or other scary things." I'll say more on that later. In the interim, let me share one other email that I got:

PC Forum 2006
March 12 to 14
La Costa Resort and Spa
Carlsbad, CA

Dear Jen:

If you still want to meet the executives, technologists and venture capitalists that are changing the way our lives are lived and our businesses are managed - register today for PC Forum 2006, March 12 to 14

They're your peers - the thinkers and doers - and they're packing their bags for the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California. In this inspirational setting, they'll be exploring this year's conference theme,

Erosion of Power: Users in Charge.

Industry thought leader Esther Dyson moderates all the sessions, guiding a headline cast of speakers. With unrivaled breadth and depth, the discussions will focus on topics such as search and online marketing, today's security threats and the user's role in ensuring security online and offline, the role of IT and of employers in bringing informed consumer choice to health care, and the business models of a variety of start-ups that hope to empower users. Our high-level audience will be asking questions all along: Will individuals rise to the opportunities and take the control offered them? Do users really want choice, or just good advice? Can "spyware" (or behavioral targeting if you prefer) help in this regard?

So, join the conversation, meet the players and add your voice to this year's PC Forum (it's our 29th!) by registering today. We hope to see you in a few short weeks for the industry's most provocative and useful conference.

Daphne Kis
Executive Producer

Leaders from companies large and small will be in attendance; among them are:

Accel Partners
Ask Jeeves
America Online
Benchmark Capital
BBN Technologies
Cisco Systems
US Dept of Homeland Security
Healthline Network
Kalinda Software
Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers
LG Electronics
Oak Technology Partners
Pando Networks
Primavera Systems
Real Networks
Ricoh Innovations
Scripps Network
Visual Information Technologies
Vulcan Capital
WPP Group

(I dropped this note to Gilly along with this email) FWIW: La Costa Spa is one of THE MOST EXPENSIVE SPAS ON EARTH. Literally Rock Star stuff. You would literally start having to look at stuff in private resorts in Thailand or Hawaii to get pricier. ... . I priced out a week there, and BEFORE services, it would run about 3K for the MINIMUM setup. Without treatments. Just a nice room and food.

So much for the whole "power to the people" thing--like I would spend that kind of money to listen to John Perry Barlow (old hippie) [ED NOTE: not that I have anything agains old hippies but he doesn't know shit about real technology] bloviate anyway.


Gilly replied for me to post:

We get e-mail.

If you ever wondered why there is a digital divide, look no further.

You have an industry run by people with the common sense of .......small children trying to influence a business which has largely moved past them. In an era of consildation, these folks are still selling the same bullshit that they were 10 years ago. They claim to be trend makers, but come on, they are more isolated than ever.

Back then, people told me writers simply didn't matter. Well, blogs are the revenge of the writer. We dominate the online world because we can create interesting content without any roadblocks. People still can't figure out what's going on. We're moving so fast no one can figure out what will be next. Yet these people will take the money of the clueless and try to prove they're still hip.

After all that Gilly and I have seen in the past 15 years or so in the new media industry, we are both astonished that there are still people who can sell the idea that ideas alone will sell. I have met hundreds of people who got conned into leaving potentially lucrative degrees in real industries to go pursue expensive degrees in "user interface design" (without any art, psychology, or industrial design instruction), "community forecasting" (without any background again in psychology, statistics, or similar hard fields) or (perhaps most damaging of all) "business model prediction" (without any background in economics, statistics, or business management).

An acquaintance of mine had an arts background, and suddenly finding herself approaching middle age without a firm career, she enrolled in ITP. The result? Yes, she can bullshit her way into consulting gigs. I have chains of emails that she forwards to friends asking for tips on how to ace the interview on whatever gig she's up for next. At the end of the day though, she almost always gets cut eventually--because she ADAMANTLY refuses to look in the mirror, inhale, and say to herself: I am not a programmer. We have stopped talking over this in the past. She waves around some 18-month ITP certificate like it means something, when I know she she doesn't even have basic CSS or Java skills.

In the meantime, self-proclaimed "experts in online culture" keep acting like Pied Pipers and leading the desperate, the unqualified, and those grasping at straws down various primrose paths and get others to invest in the results of their ideas. In other words, they get one group of folks to build castles in the air, and con others to rent space in them.

Let me note that for almost 10 years I was an online project manager, and I watched the title and the industry slide downhill. I know enough about programming to know that I am not one. I have friends and exes who are in fact very high quality programmers; they get paid big bucks for cleaning up the mountains of bullshit left behind by folks who think are.

Let me also note that the hucksters are never around when the shit really hits the fan. I have helped run the WWWAC List for over ten years now, on and off. Over the years it has become a sort of group therapy/safehouse/advice column/emergency tech help desk for people building online content. You never see the Idea Peddlers on our board, because like faith healers on TV, they never have any real answers about things like what to do when your company folds without paying you, or what to do when you have a medical emergency and no health insurance because you got conned into an equity-only gig. The hucksters NEVER put forth plans for anything resembling a freelancers union, basic negotiating skills, or anything like that. And, as a result, they look down on any grassroots reality-based discussion group that does.

I remember the days when I got moronic business cards from people with titles like "Chief Marketing Mantis" and "Interactive Code Ninja." Our Medicine Show Preachers still can be seen sharing the travelling show bill with folks like this, while people like my friend who has run his own online design and identity branding company since 1985 (he did CD-ROMS back then) get looked down upon for not going public, operating past their expenses, or pretending to be rock stars.

Sorry, had to get that out.

Gilly, feel free to add what you want. Everyone else, comment away.

First, let me say up front, I have nothing but disdain for Clay Shirky and here's why. He was telling me how poor his Hunter College students were, and I told them many of them just chose to spend their money in different ways. And he sneered at me with a line like "I don't trust you". From that day on, I realized he was an asshole. And conescending as all hell. A pure bullshit artist.

He didn't know those people and they were my neighbors.

I consider ITP an embarassment to my alma mater, NYU. The school has excellent programs in journalism, graphic arts, math, even computer science. ITP is a horrid joke. It teaches buzzword bullshit.

My point about writers is this: back in the 90's, people thought it would be all about video. Well, with some exceptions like Crooks and Liars, it's not. It's a written medium and needs to be seen in those terms.

The problem with people like Dyson and Barlow is that they have no useful information on how the day to day internet works. They sell dreams and bullshit.

How do you think that they all missed blogging? Because they didn't see any potential in it.

These people say people power like the communists say people's republic. They're corporate hucksters and their goal is to make money for the people who pay them.

But the most important thing to understand is that the internet has passed them by. They're hunting for new ideas after pushing a sea of bad ones in the past. They are largely responsible for creating an image of dillitants and ass clowns.

Jen and I were discussing eBay today. Now, a lot of people rely on it, but I find it way too risky for most things. And this was one of the companies these people pushed while Google swam under the radar.

The fact is that most everything these people backed failed and failed badly. But people see what they want to and hear what they want to, even if it's bullshit.

posted by Jenonymous @ 3:51:00 PM

3:51:00 PM

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

By Popular Demand Part One

Hi! Have a bite of my nice Southern Style HAM....

Okay, thank you Gay Vet for recommending a more multiethnic bend to our multimedia artistic Opus Magnus, the Man with a Ham Series! While I was unable to find a reasonable shot of a gentleman of color with dreads for the Ham Treatment, I was able to find this smiling young fellow, seen here working the nice hair/nice bod/nice breakfast options look.

Look to the left for my G-mail email addy, and feel free to send me any pix of men whom you, our readers, would like to see with a nice HAM-on. Needed: Reasonable frontal shot of a blonde Germanic type, preferrably in a uniform cap/leather for coverage with some nice shots of Westphalian ham that I found. I have a few candidates, but they're all a bit on the twink side as opposed to the more Blonde Tom of Finland look *grin*

PS--man, gay porn sites are such a pain in the ass! Do ALL the free sites out there refer back to the same fucking 8 pop-ups? Also, what's with all the morons who tag their het sites with "gay" tags? If I wanted to Google for emaciated crank-addict chicks getting Various Things in Various Holes, I would fucking google them myself!

Happy and Hammy Saturday!

posted by Jenonymous @ 2:58:00 PM

2:58:00 PM

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ham and More On the Way

I'm George Bush's Rent Boy and All I got was this Lousy Flag

Jen here. I may go out late later tonight to see a band at The Creek and the Cave later tonight, but being as my area is going to get record cold temperatures tonight (-8 degrees F with the wind), I may just stay home and play either Deer Hunter or 25 to Life . I will probably do this while drinking either crappy box wine or (on the other end of the spectrum) pricey single-malt whiskey that I got for Xmas.

Having said that...Gilly knows the drill. He posts too much cheesecake, up goes the guys sporting HAM over their privates. In keeping with our "freedom of speech" theme, though, I though I would post this patriotic teaser article while I fire up Photoshop.

Yes, we here at the News Blog are equal opportunity assholes editors, I thought that I would post this up for the ladies and the boys who like boys. Note that for those who are bothered by the butt cheeks: Ladies have shown this much moon and more in prior posts *grin*

Happy Friday! Watch this space and comment away...

posted by Jenonymous @ 6:59:00 PM

6:59:00 PM

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Monday, February 06, 2006

The Frugal Geek's Greatest Resource

I got a part for one of these

Okay, everyone, let me share One of the Most Useful Links/Sites I've found in a while:

CompUSA Part Search

Now, normally we don't do commercial plugs here. But this site has parts not just for computers and tech toys--it has parts for literally hundreds of thousands of home appliances. How did I find it?

Well, when I was grooving on my ear infection LAST weekend, I was trying to nuke some frozen soup. I wound up breaking the wave diffuser on my 1996 vintage microwave--that's the bit that basically diffuses the microwaves (hence the name) so that you don't get hotspots. Well, it cracked when I tried to pry some nuked soup bit off of it.

Now, I love my old microwave, and more to the point, I figured that this was an easily-replaceable part, as it was only held in by gravity behind slots anyway.

I went to the Sharp site, which was useless--of course, they had no resources for older out-of-production models. After some more Googling, I triangulated the exact part number that would fit my old model--it's not exactly the kind of thing that a company would change between models.

And behold, I found it at CompUSA PartSearch--for under $5. Yeah, with shipping, it's more like $11, but it's still easier and cheaper than getting off my ass on a Saturday, braving the trip out to Circuit City, and schlepping a microwave home.

Got some old semi-functional appliances? Need stuff like oven light covers, electric razor bases, fridge parts, and so on? Give this site a spin before you chuck otherwise-functional items out.

posted by Jenonymous @ 5:57:00 PM

5:57:00 PM

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

What are YOU doing instead of watching the Super Bowl

One of the many things that I would rather do than watch the Superbowl

Jen here again. Tonight, needless to say, I am not watching the Superbowl. Gilly is. He is watching it on a giant plasma screen somewhere in Hoboken, while eating various saturated fats and yelling "Fuck" a lot. I was invited to this. I politely declined. :D

Actually, we were supposed to go down to Chinatown in NYC today to have Chinese New Year food at Fulan Seafood and watch the lion dances. However, at around 5 PM last night, I got some kind of 24-hour virus--at first I thought I had a migrane, which scared the crap out of me. However, when I started to puke up to the point of dry heaves, I knew that it was probably the odd yakitori that I had eaten the night before. One
Vicodan (see, wisdom teeth extraction DOES have positive health effects), some Pepto Bismol, three aspirin, and twelve hours of sleep later, I feel somewhat better.

So, today, I'm doing everything that I had to do yesterday but couldn't because I was puking and not being able to look into strong light.

I have some nice easy spiced rice in the Rice Spaceship (set up long-grain rice with a cinnamon stick, two cloves, and two bruised green cardamom pods). Later, I will make "Banging Bart"--the corruption of an Indian name for a super easy eggplant dish (yes, the tummy is 100% hungry again). Otherwise, I will either channel-surf, watch a movie, or just try to organize the paperwork/magazines all over the place in my apartment. Then, I will wait for the mob at the sports bar on my corner to start piling out and urinating near my stoop.

So....what is everyone else doing instead of watching the Superbowl? All readers encouraged to reply, even those abroad who don't know and don't want to know what the Superbowl is.

(Oh, and if that pic choice above grosses you out, here's another take on Piercings Gone Bad):

Will probably post in the Luxury thread later also.

Will also nag Gilly relentlessly until he gets my Blog email up: Jenonymous at Gmail dot com

posted by Jenonymous @ 6:01:00 PM

6:01:00 PM

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Monday, January 09, 2006

A Long-Promised Food Post: Jen's Pea Soup Recipe

You know you want some right now....

Okay, enough people have asked for this recipe that I am going to spill the beans and share my own family Pea Soup Recipe. This is despite the fact that:

A) I'm still waiting for the spice rub that Gilly promised me since my birthday LAST year (he says it's in the mail) and

B) Lower Manhattanite is still holding out on his N.O.I. Bean Pie recipe and

C) It has meat in it (but will list variations), nonkosher meat at that, so some may object.

Having said all that, this is the soup that our own Gilly, Pea Soup Conneseiur and Critic, has dubbed some of the best he's had (other than the pea soup at Cozy's, which gave me massive food poisoning last August, but I digres....).

Note that this makes a very concentrated soup. If you have a big family it may be worth it using a big pot and doubling.


--Bigass heavy pot such as a Dutch Oven and/or enamelware such as Le Creuset
--Flame diffuser (part of Le Secret)


--1 lb. dried green split peas
--1 high-quality chicken boullion cube (can also be beef, pork, or veggie--I like Knorr; don't use the chalky little foil-wrapped cubes)
--1 packet Goya Sazon sin Annato (ie without annato) (yes, this is the Secret Ingredient, something that my Estonian grandmother hit upon shortly after coming to the States and kept to herself for years)
--1 small white onion, peeled and cut in half
--1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed but not grated (use the flat of a knife)
--1 medium carrot, peeled and cut in half
--salt and pepper to taste (but go REAL easy on the salt initially)
--The HAM. This can be any combo of these: Bone from roasted ham, smoked ham hocks, slices of fresh hock on the bone, chunk of salt pork). I'll get on to other variations further down.
--Lots of water
--Bottle of red wine

Prep Time: Hours and hours--rent a movie

To proceed:

Dump everything EXCEPT RED WINE in a huge pot. Use lots and LOTS of water--you're going to let it boil way down, and add more water, and reboil later. The final product should be totally lump-less but I'll get to that later.

Cover everything in the pot with lots of water and bring to a boil. Cover or partially cover if stuff starts to boil over.

At this point pour yourself a glass of wine.

Keep everything on a slow boil and stir a lot to prevent sticking. Eventually, the carrot, onion, and garlic will liquify and become one with the peas. Keep stirring and refilling your wine as needed. Watching TV while doing this is encouraged--just give it a stir at commercial breaks.

When the meat starts to fall off the bone, uncover partially and start to boil down. If you boil down too fast, don't worry, just add more water--it can always be re-reduced. The goal is to have ALL the meat fall off the bone, for the meat to fall apart, and if you used a whole hambone, for the joints to disconnect and for the cartiledge caps to partially dissolve.

When things get thick, DO put the flame diffuser under the pot. This is how you get really thick, gooey pea soup without scorching or burning. I always use one for my soups. TIME is the other secret ingredient here, as is the multiple reductions of the soup.

When done, still resist the urge to salt or pepper the whole pot. Also, if you can hold off at all, do NOT have any that night. Let it cool and let the whole mess stay overnight in the fridge to get over itself and develop its flavor. You can always salt and pepper individual servings. Texture note: When it comes out of the fridge, it should be thick enough to stand a wooden spoon in.

This freezes tremendously well. A bowl of this and bread, with a side salad or shredded raw veggies on the side is dinner.

NOTE: I usually use 2 kinds of ham--I almost always use a bone from a baked ham and either (in order of preference) fresh hock slices, a piece of smoked hock, or a piece of saltback.

VARIATIONS: Depending on your dietary preferences/religious restrictions, you can also experiment with subs for the ham, with varying results, most of which I haven't tried:

-Smoked turkey legs (but be careful; they frequently taste like nasty liquid smoke--not an encouraged option--this one I DID try and it was not great)
-smoked sausages (ie merguez, etc)
-smoky tempeh, tofu dogs, etc
-good ol hot dogs
-smoked lamb, goat, whatever you got

Happy Cooking!

Oh, and while I have your attention, let me sing the praises of my new toy again:

Yes, I refuse to shut up about my little
rice spaceship. So far, I have cooked all kinds of brown rice variations, including brown rice with barley and sweet corn, brown rice with wild rice, plain ol jasmine rice, brown rice porridge, and brown rice with white rice. I went to a Japanese shop today and got various seed and seaweed blends to sprinkle on rice, pickled plum to cook rice with, and some genuine shortgrain new crop Japanese rice, even though I know white rice isn't as nutritious (gotta have a treat once in a while). If I was vegetarian or vegan, I couldn't imagine NOT having one of these. I realize that St. Alton Brown does not approve of single-use appliances, and neither do I generally (NYC apartments have almost NO counter space ever), this is one I'd make an exception for. It really does make perfect rice, every single time.

Happy and healthy cooking, everyone!

posted by Jenonymous @ 12:00:00 PM

12:00:00 PM

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Friday, December 30, 2005

The Glue Trap

Do not fucking use these

Jen here.

For those of you who don't like my politics, it's okay; keep reading. Sometimes I post just because I feel the need to write, and now is one of those times.

I just walked in to my apartment about fifteen minutes ago.

I had an average day at work. I have tomorrow off. After work, I was too tired to haul downtown to have a (huge) mudslide at the Continental, so I aimed to go straight home to drop off my laundry and get some milk.

I had two beers at the Bohemian Beer Hall in Astoria, where I caught up with the regulars, read 70 or so pages into the novel I'm trying to get through, and helped two bridge and tunnelers figure out the menu. I was feeling good. After getting back to the apartment and throwing down my messeger bag, I took out my garbage and made ready to drop off my laundry. So far, so good as far as beginnings of long weekends go.

I dropped of said laundry across the street from my place, and hit the bodega next door to the laundromat. Got milk. Didn't win my scratchoff ticket. As I waited for the light, I tore up my lottery ticket and started to throw it in the trash can on the corner.

Then my evening changed.

I heard tires screech as a car dug in to an empty space about 4 cars behind me. Doors slammed, and I heard loud male voices. I ignored them; a sports bar was across the street. As they came up on me from behind, I smelled Too Much Cologne and heard a "bang" noise. Soomething landed in the trash next to me, so hard and so close I almost jumped.

"Hey Mike, whydja bring the book with you? Leave that shit in the car!" I looked up-one of the loud young white guys had an accountant's ledger under their arm. I always suspected that the sports bar ran books. They were very loud and a little scary. "Yo, last time I left it in the car, it got stolen, and Paulie almost killed me!" They crossed the street. Once they were in front of me, I looked in the trash, expecting a bottle.

Instead, I saw two glue traps.


Each one had a mosaic of roaches large and small, flies, and ants stuck to them.

And one small, live, struggling mouse on each one.

My Mom called earlier today. A bat had gotten into the house a few days ago, scaring the crap out of her. She hadn't been able to find it. She discovered it in the middle of the living room today, half dead.

She put it in a shoebox and threw it out, but couldn't bring herself to kill it.

She had seen my stepfather die--awfully and slowly--from crushing in a car accident. And she just couldn't do it. He used to have glue traps around, and my Mom would freak if a mouse was stuck to it that wasn't dead. Now, she does not allow glue traps in the house (we have a cat--at least the little guys have a fighting chance) but she couldn't "have the nightmares" from crushing this poor bat--which was sick/wounded beyond repair--either.

When she called me, I tried to convice her to kill the bat, but to no avail.

As seconds ticked by, I watched the two mice struggle in the cold and the starting-again rain on their traps.

I felt like it would be cowardly to just walk away.

Carefully, I fished the two filthy, hellish glue traps out of the trash. I realized that there was no way I could pull the mice off. I was afraid to touch them, but tried moving them with my foot, bits of lottery ticket, etc. It just made them more stuck.

I couldn't watch them twitch--to wait to die, by freezing or rats or bugs or starvation.

I put the two traps on the sidewalk, after prying the sticky corners off of my fingers.

I was wearing my Fluevog boots. I just had them polished today.

I crushed the two little mice.

Once quick stomp and twist each, full force.

As I stepped in a muddy curbside puddle to wash off my boots, I didn't care if I got a waterline of grime on the fresh polish.

I felt like crying.

I felt like I had done the right thing.

I looked down again, and each mouse was now a smear of red, white, and purple on the traps.
I re-rinsed my boots in the puddle, and carefully put the traps back in the trash.

I got in and wiped my boots on every welcome mat and strip of industrial slip-proofing on my way up the stairs. I washed my hands three times before I even put my milk away--twice with softsoap and once with dish detergent.

I lit my Chanukkah candles--and a stick of cheapass incense from Ricky's--somehow the whole incident left an almost spiritual stench in my nostrils. How could those guys just toss out two little creatures like that?

I'm not an Animal Rights Freak. But if you're going to kill something, at least don't make it suffer.

I still feel sad over all of this. But at least I can feel better for having acted decisively. I hope I alleviated at least a little tiny bit of suffering somewhere.

posted by Jenonymous @ 12:00:00 AM

12:00:00 AM

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