31 August 2005

*sigh* $50 ain't enough!

i'm not going to go off on a rant about how the budgets for FEMA and the army corps of engineers were slashed to pay for georgie the infantile's adventures in the middle east and his tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy... but trust me, at some point in the very near future, i will.

for now, i'm just going to say this: if you have even FIVE BUCKS to spare, please click on the title of this post and go donate some fundage to the american red cross. go without your daily starbucks fix for a few days if you have to, but please do it. our government has fucked us over once again, and this is when we open our wallets and do what they should have done.

too many good people have had their lives ruined because of this, and i only wish my finances allowed me to donate more. as they do allow, though, i intend to make additional donations.


p.s. - if you hear anyone say something totally whack like *god sent katrina to get back at the gays*, please do you, me, and them a favor and smack them upside the head, k? ty again.

26 August 2005

real time!

well well... bill maher's on tonite. he's gonna have cindy sheehan on via satellite from crawford, tx.

if you have hbo and you don't see it tonite, try to catch one of the encore presentations.

24 August 2005

bistecca con cipolle arrostite con aceto balsamico

1/4 c plus 1 T olive oil
1 large porterhouse steak, about 1 1/2 lbs and 2-inches thick, at room temperature
salt, preferably gray salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 large red onions
1 T minced garlic
1 T finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cubalsamic vinegar

preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

in a heavy skillet over med-hi heat, add 1 T olive oil and heat until very hot. season the steak with salt and pepper. turn on the exhaust fan and put the steak in the pan; stand back to prevent being splattered. cook until the steak is brown on the first side, about 2 mins; brown on the other side. remove the steak to a rack or baking pan until you are ready to finish cooking it. when ready, put the steak into the oven and cook until done to your liking, about 10 mins for rare. remove the steak to a carving board and let it rest for 5 minutes.

peel and cut the onions into thirds or quarters, depending on their size. leave as much root on as possible to keep the wedges from falling apart. heat 1/4 c olive oil in the same skillet used to cook the meat over med-hi heat until hot. add the onions, reduce the heat to med, and cook until brown on all sides, about 5 mins. season them with salt and pepper. place the pan of onions in the oven and roast until tender and very browned (the onions tend to char around the edges), 15 to 20 mins.

remove the onions from the oven, add the garlic, and cook briefly until light brown. add the thyme and stir. add the vinegar (stand back so as to not get splattered) and toss well with the onions. stir and scrape up all the browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pan.

to serve, cut the meat off the bone, then carve it into thin slices. serve immediately.

note: in order to cook the meat in the shortest amount of time and thus extract the most flavor, the meat must be at room temperature. afterward, the meat must rest before carving. if this procedure is followed, the carving knife glides right through the steak.

a 1 1/2 lb porterhouse should give you about 14 oz of meat off the bone, enough for 3 or even 4 people. however, if you are steak lovers, you might want to buy 2 steaks of that size for 4 people.

22 August 2005

philadelphia style vanilla bean ice cream

philadelphia style ice creams are made w/o eggs... that's the only difference really. i used more heavy cream than half and half to make up for the lack of eggs... a decent ice cream has to have a fair amount of fat, especially a homemade ice cream, in order to have proper mouth-feel.

anyhoo... here's the recipe:

2 c half & half
2 3/4 c heavy cream
3/4 c superfine (not powdered) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (save the pod and make vanilla sugar with it... it's great for making ice cream or even to put in your coffee)
1 t double-strength vanilla extract
1 t single-strength vanilla extract

combine all ingredients in a large, airtight container and whisk vigorously to dissolve the sugar. stash in your chill chest for an hour or so, then put it in your freezer for about 15 mins to get it good and cold.

meanwhile, prepare your ice cream maker. pour the dairy/sugar/vanilla suspension into the work bowl, and churn 20 mins or so. if you have the type of ice cream maker that i do, an attachment for a kitchen aid stand mixer, when the ice cream has churned for 20 mins or so, turn the power up gradually from stir to about 6 to beat a little more air into your ice cream batter.

place the finished ice cream in an airtight container and ripen in the freezer for at least 6 hrs before eating.


20 August 2005

vanilla bean ice cream

have you ever had homemade ice cream? isn't it the best?

i made some the other day... here's the recipe.

3 c half & half
1 c heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
1 c + 1 T sugar
2 t double strength vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

place the half-and-half and the heavy cream into a medium saucepan, over medium heat. bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat. add the inside of the vanilla bean and the scraped pod to the dairy mixture.

in a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine, till a ribbon forms when you lift the whisk from the egg yolk and sugar mixture. temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about a third of the cream mixture has been added. pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees. pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. stir in the vanilla extract. place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees or below.
pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. this should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.

click on the title of this post for double strength vanilla extract. it's definitely worth it for this recipe.

18 August 2005

*snort*, *snort*, & *re-snort*

Your IQ Is 140

Your Logical Intelligence is Genius
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius

Your General Knowledge is Genius


well well... my IQ is actually considerably higher than 140, but wtf? click on the title of this post to take the test.

check this shit out!!

Ahh, the good ol' days

by kos

Wed Aug 17th, 2005 at 11:47:32 PDT

Quotes from when Clinton committed troops to Bosnia:

"You can support the troops but not the president." --Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years." --Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?" --Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy." --Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy." --Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy." --Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush.

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area." --Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today" --Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." --Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

Funny thing is, we won that war without a single killed in action.


click the title of this post to read the comments posted by dailykos.com readers. do it!!

*lol*... it's freaky how accurate this is!

you are dependable, popular, and observant.

deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.

in fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do. you are unique, creative, and expressive. you don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.

and lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

click on the title of this post to take what is indeed the world's shortest personality test.

also, props to the angry sicilian for directing me to the test.

one last thing... kristin from debaucherous and dishevelled is being induced and *knocking wood* monkey will at long last be making his first appearance. cross your fingers that everything goes well for mom & baby.

15 August 2005

compleanno del mio fratello

so... we had my brother over yesterday for brunch. it was his 34th birthday, and it was pretty obvious he'd had a.. um... *intoxicated* evening. sooo... i knew the menu was going to be perfect.

it was him, the hub and i, the parents, and my cousin deb and her mom, my aunt joan. we were fixing eggs benedict with crab cakes instead of back bacon. potatoes da delfina. wen'l made english muffins from scratch *!!!!!*. a cake made with olive oil and citrus zest and almonds with a citrus compote.

i used jumbo eggs in the hollandaise, and didn't count on needing extra lemon juice and probably a bit more fat... so it ended up horrible. tasted great, but it was umm... scrambled? lol the crabcakes were amazing, the potatoes wonderful. there was a definite lemonyness to the meal.

my husband fucking rocks tho! he saved the day by making HIS first hollandaise, and it was the bomb, yo.
i ended up alone in the kitchen when everyone had been served, and i poured a wee splash of vodka into my naked oj.

soo... here's the recipes, in the order you should do them.

english muffins

1/2 cup warm (approx. 110°F) water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm (approx. 110°F) milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cups king arthur unbleached a-p flour (get this if you can... ka flour is all we use around here.)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup lukewarm water

combine the warm water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and let sit until foamy. add the warm milk and salt to the yeast mixture, then stir in the flour. beat hard, using an electric mixer, for 5 minutes (this beating, as well as the addition of baking soda just before cooking, will help the finished muffin develop its holes).

cover bowl, set in a warm place, and let batter rise for 3 hours, or until it is very bubbly. don't worry if the batter bubbles up, then falls down; if it does, just proceed to the next step.

dissolve the baking soda in the 1/4 cup lukewarm water, and stir it gently into the batter. let rise again, this time for only 30 minutes.

heat a greased griddle over low heat for 10 minutes. spoon about 1/4 cup of batter on to griddle. tuna cans, well-cleaned and with both ends cut off, are useful in containing the crumpet batter, but not necessary. just set them on your frying surface, being sure to grease well first. nudge into a round shape with the back of a spoon or fork.

let muffins cook 5 to 8 minutes, or until bottoms are golden, then flip over and let the other side cook the same amount of time, removing from pan when both sides are brown.
place muffins on a wire rack to cool. to serve, split muffins with a fork and toast. serve with butter, jam, etc.

olive oil cake with citrus compote

1 1/2 cups a-p flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c sugar
3 large eggs
2 t orange zest
2 t lemon zest
1/4 c whole milk
3/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 c sliced almonds, toasted, coarsely crumbled
powdered sugar, for sifting

citrus compote:
2 T grated orange peel
2 T cointreau
3 T sugar
3 oranges, segmented
2 pink grapefruits, segmented

to make the cake: preheat the oven to 350 degrees. lightly oil a 9" cake pan. whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs, and zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. beat in the milk. gradually beat in the oil. add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. stir in the almonds.

transfer the batter to the prepared pan. place cake pan on baking pan to collect any possible spills. bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. remove cake and place on serving platter, top side up. sift powdered sugar over the cake.

to make the citrus compote: stir the orange peel, cointreau, sugar and 2 tablespoons of accumulated juices from the segmented fruit in a small bowl to blend. cover and let stand 15 minutes for the flavors to blend.

potatoes da delfina

2 lb creamer potatoes (red or yukon gold if possible)
2 T gray salt
peanut oil for frying
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c chopped garlic
2 t lemon zest
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

put the potatoes in a large pot with generously salted water to cover. bring to a boil and cook until a knife slips in easily, 15 to 20 minutes. drain the potatoes. when they are cool enough to handle, hold one between your hands as if you were clapping and press gently with the heel of your hand. you want to smash the potato to about a half-inch thickness while keeping it in one piece. the skin will split, but the potato should not fall apart.
repeat with the remaining potatoes. you can prepare the potatoes to this point several hours ahead.

put 1/4" of peanut oil in a large skillet and heat over moderately high heat. when the oil begins to smoke, carefully put the smashed potatoes in the oil and cook on both sides until crisp and well-browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. transfer to paper towels to drain. season with salt and pepper.

while the potatoes cook, combine the parsley and lemon zest in a serving bowl. add to potatoes and stir very gently to combine.

the bigger the pan you use for this, the better. also, the potatoes can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven, uncovered, while you fix the rest of the meal.

hollandaise sauce

4 large egg yolks
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
pinch cayenne
pinch salt

vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. continue to whisk rapidly. be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. take the bowl off the simmering water if it gets too warm as needed.
slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a thermos until ready to use for the eggs benedict.

crab cakes

1 lb. lump crab meat (drain VERY well)
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1 bunch green onions, chopped fine (the white part and about 2" of the green part)
1 1/2 + 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
peanut oil, for frying

in a bowl combine the crabmeat, mayonnaise, parsley, green onions, 1/2 c panko and pepper. form into 3-ounce cakes. dredge well in the panko to evenly coat.

pan-fry the cakes in 1" of 375 degree F peanut oil until golden brown and flip to brown on the other side about 3 to 4 minutes per side. drain on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. can be held in oven with potatoes while you poach the eggs.

poached eggs
usu. 2 per person
get a deep 12" or larger pan, and fill about 2/3 the way up the sides with cold water. add 1/4 c white vinegar, and bring to a simmer. when water is barely boiling, crack the eggs and drop into the water, as close to the surface as feels safe. cover and cook 5 mins.
drain well when removing the eggs from the water.

one tip... this is a VERY labor intensive meal. it will require good help (ie, someone who can handle some steps, like my husband and the muffins and hollandaise and basically helping with mise en place for my stuff) if you are making it for more than 2. save this one for a very special occasion if preparing for a crowd.

13 August 2005

yes, i'm an atheist

dear god, hope you get the letter and...
i pray you can make it better down here
i don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer
but all the people that you made in your image
see them starving in the street
'cause they don't get enough to eat from god
i can't believe in you

dear god, sorry to disturb you but...
i feel that i should be heard loud and clear
we all need a big reduction in amount of tears
and all the people that you made in your image
see them fighting in the street
'cause they can't make opinions meet about god
i can't believe in you

did you make disease and the diamond blue?
did you make mankind after we made you?
and the devil too!

dear god don't know if you noticed but...
your name is on a lot of quotes in this book
and us crazy humans wrote it, you should take a look
and all the people that you made in your image
still believing that junk is true
well i know it ain't, and so do you

dear god
i can't believe in
i don't believe
i won't believe in heaven or hell
no saints, no sinners, no devil as well
no pearly gates, no thorny crown
you're always letting us humans down
the wars you bring, the babes you drown
those lost at sea and never found
and it's the same the whole world 'round
the hurt I see helps to compound
that father, son and holy ghost
is just somebody's unholy hoax
and if you're up there you'll perceive
that my heart's here upon my sleeve
if there's one thing I don't believe in
it's you
dear god

- "dear god", xtc

12 August 2005

decide yourself... my 100 things

100. am i wrong for thinking bill berry was the heart of r.e.m. and that when he left the band, it was all downhill?

99. my new current mission in life is to find out what the hell a *turd blossom* is.

98. i wonder if oprah winfrey realized the challenge she foisted upon her book club by selecting 3 books by william faulkner for them to read over the summer.

97. i wish the most humiliating thing to ever happen to me was being refused service after business hours @ hermes.

96. speaking of books, i need to buy a few. i think some day next week when i'm bored i'll go buy some. any ideas?

95. i am 6 feet tall and what you might call plump. hell, you might even call it fat. i cannot think of a lousier set of circumstances for the easy procurement of stylish threads.

94. my husband is riding his bike back and forth to work. all told, he's doing like 25 mi a day, 5x a week. i cannot think of anything more motivating to me to get my own ass in shape than to fondle his legs, particularly the parts of his thighs directly above his knees.

93. nice lower bodies on men have always made me swoon.

92. i've been an italophile since i can remember. the language, the history, the food... mostly the food.

91. in fact, i think mario batali is hot.

90. and yes, as a matter of fact, i agree with his opinion that parmigiano-reggiano is the undisputed king of all cheeses.

89. oddly enough, i make my sauce/gravy a little different every time i make it, and it's killer every time.

88. my sexual career started fairly slowly, but i more than made up for it after i hit 30.

87. i am sooooooooo glad i'm out of that now tho.

86. i think being with the same person for the rest of my life (*knockin wood*) is fuckin hot.

85. i took almost 6 years of spanish in school.

84. i say almost cuz i got into it with my professor the 2nd semester of my 6th year and dropped the class. after the withdrawl date had passed, of course.

83. i used to dream in spanish quite regularly, but not for years now.

82. my spanish suffered cuz i think i sound like a dork speaking it. italian is another matter tho. i rock @ italian.

81. i wish i could wrap my head around my husband not liking the clash.

80. this isn't a half-bad way to spend a nicely baked friday afternoon.

79. but it'll probably be a week from tuesday before i actually finish this.

78. when i win the lottery, i'm going to see a 3/4-game series in each park in the major leagues. i'd get to spend like a week in a few really cool towns, like chicago fer instance.

77. i really wish i could sing. well, obviously, i can... i just suck.

76. it would be cool to be the singing chef, i think.

75. have i mentioned i want a show on food tv? thanks to my buddy gilly, who will be cut in on any of my profits to the tune of 10%, i have a schtick (sp?) that i'm currently developing.

74. i'm not too proud to whore for your votes in next year's "so you want to be a food tv star?" contest before i've even submitted an entry.

73. it might not be obvious from reading this piffle, but i have a really big brain. not only am i brillant (and modest), but i have the ability to predict the future. unfortunately, i only see about 30 secs ahead, so i'm pretty much fucked.

72. my tastes in many things are remarkably pedestrian.

71. the funniest song i've ever heard is "debra" by beck.

70. or maybe "gin and juice" by snoop as done by phish.

69. :)

68. i think the pot should be legalized. the latest research suggests there's something like 30,000,000 pot smokers in the united states.

67. i say tax the shit out of it!

66. i'm always thinkin of my fellow man.

65. that much should be obvious by now.

64. i am a girl in one respect: i am totally addicted to coach handbags.

63. i wear more men's clothing than i should. but fuck... it's cheaper for the same thing. i live in shorts and t-shirts basically.

62. life at the airport was much more fun before 9/11. i can't ever fuck at LAX again, so the terrorists have already won.

61. that was a feeble attempt @ snark btw.

60. starbucks coffee almond fudge satisfies the munchies better than anything else.

59. the best date of my life was watching a taping of the bill maher show.

58. i totally dig it that my snortastic husband can pretty much upstage whatever he's watching.

57. i am periodically troubled by lower back pain.

56. when i say lower back pain, i mean i am unable to stand upright for 3 or 4 days.

55. it's like i forget how, and remembering is a bitch and a half.

54. it's now the next friday afternoon, so i figure i'm right on schedule.

53. another way i am a total girl: i love getting my hair done.

52. i like things that feel sorta creepy, and as anyone who's ever had a head full of reynolds wrap can tell you, there's nothing that compares to getting your highlights touched up.

51. i would make a fantastic president, and i share a birthday with our third.

50. according to some birth day (and yes, 2 words) book i read, it's the day of the iconoclast. my life's dream is to live up to it.

49. i made it to age 35 before someone of my generation produced a rock opera.

48. it's my sincere belief that it's one of the best records of my lifetime.

47. i'm a native californian. ever since that record came out, i've had a strange kind of pride at the fact that i was lucky enough to be born here.

46. i know a lot of people in this country think that california pretty much jumped the shark in the 1960's. but if that's true, how come over 10% of the people in this whole fucking country live here?

45. the cuisine of practically every country on earth can be found in the greater los angeles area.

44. i want to go to matsuhisa so bad i could cry.

43. i'm way behind on this thing.

42. what's weird is that i wasn't *tagged*. yes, i'm doing this unbidden.

41. i haven't quite determined how mentally ill that makes me, but i'll share with everyone just as soon as i figure it out.

40. i need to get better at writing about food. hell, i could stand some work in general.

39. i had a teacher in the 11th grade tell me i had enormous potential as a writer.

38. unfortunately, it's all been downhill since then.

37. i know i'm not alone in thinking our president is a traitor.

36. how the motherfucker ever got elected (not re-elected), i'll never know.

35. i had my heart broken by politics last fall. if i hadn't gotten married 2 days after the election, i'd still be obssessing about it.

34. i love my husband more than i thought it possible to love anyone, but whomever said that marriage was hard work wasn't kidding.

33. the whole cooking/cookbook/eventual celebrity on the food network thing is because i am not cut out to be a housewife. so, i'm developing my best task as a housewife... my cooking.

32. i really am a killer cook. try that chicken recipe down there if you don't believe me. i invented that. it's not a variation on someone else's dish.

31. but feel free to play around with the recipe. different mushrooms, red wine and red wine vinegar (but get something good, like cabernet or merlot vinegar... trust me) instead of white, different herbs.

30. getting directv and finally having food network was a revelation, and not because i immediately thought i'd be on it one day. i heard those chefs and cooks say that good ingredients alone would take one's cooking to new heights.

29. the first time i had real parm, the stuff from parma - parmigiano-reggiano - i fell in love with food.

28. it really is that perfect.

27. so's their prosciutto.

26. god i talk about food a lot.

25. if i could figure out how to paint as well as i do quickly, i'd paint the whole house once a year.

24. i like having something new to look at.

23. i'm singing "cornflake girl" by tori amos right now.

22. i might as well take advantage of the fact that wen'l is at work and listen to all the stuff he doesn't like.

21. i think a 4" height difference is optimal.

20. my husband likes lemony vodka cocktails. i think they make him smell like mr. clean.

19. so, he has taken to calling me mrs. green... prolly on account of my drug of choice.

18. i know this list of 100 things really sux, but you know what? tough titties!

17. speaking of titties, i have an extreme aversion to bolt-ons.

16. i would much rather have tiny or floppy ones than a set of aftermarket boobs.

15. which is a good thing, considering i wear a DD bra, and i'm no spring chicken.

14. and i haven't passed the pencil test since high school.

13. my lucky number!

12. yes, i'm grasping at straws, but i only have 11 left now!

11. my recipe for limoncello is simply the world's best.

10. i was a victim of sexual abuse at a very young age.

9. somehow, it didn't destroy my ability to enjoy sex. *praising buddha*

8. i'm not much of a drinker.

7. in fact, i'm a lightweight.

6. which is ironic seeing as i'm anything but light.

5. i sustained a major concussion, complete with coma, 2 months before i started school.

4. the powers that were at mckinley elementary in long beach, california wanted to put me in the second grade sometime during my second week of kindergarten.

3. i bet it would have been the 4th grade if i hadn't landed face first on the 91 tho.

2. fuck... i better make #1 a doozy.

1. did i mention i'd make a kick-ass president?

09 August 2005

a happy accident


k... this afternoon i went to the grocery store seeking one thing... something to have for dinner with some lovely frozen haricots verts that wen'l and i picked up at trader joe's. click on the title of this post to see if you have a trader joe's location near you. if you do, take a few minutes to browse their frozen foods section. you will not be disappointed.

anyhoo... this afternoon i went to vons. i needed to lay in some provisions and pick up a few cleaning items. i got some boneless skinless chicken breasts and some of the house brand rice pilaf. the makings of a lovely summertime dinner i figured, esp if i put a nice lemon juice soak on the chicken before cooking.

turned out i didn't have any lemons, so i had to use some other sort of acid in my marinade, and hence, the happy accident.

pollo alla julia

2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 T champagne vinegar
2 T olive oil
12 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed but not chopped
1 t salt
1/2 freshly ground black pepper
4 T olive oil
1 c dry white wine (i used some chardonnay i had left over from another recipe)
1 c chicken stock (i used the stuff in the big juice box-looking container... kitchen basics i think it's called)
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T butter
additional salt and pepper, to taste

2 hrs before cooking, combine champagne vinegar, 2 T olive oil, smashed garlic, salt and pepper in a gallon size ziptop bag. add chicken and massage thoroughly to coat. stash in chill chest till you're ready to cook.

preheat oven to 400 degrees. heat 3 T olive oil in a large, oven-safe saute pan over med-hi heat. sear chicken in batches till golden brown and delicious, about 3 min per side and remove to a plate. heat 1 T olive oil in another saute pan over med-hi heat. add mushrooms and shake to coat with oil. if the mushrooms look a little dry, add a bit more oil. saute till GB&D, and add parsley and garlic. remove from heat.

when all the chicken is seared, add it all back to the large pan you used and put in the oven for about 20 mins. when it's done in the oven, remove the pan and put it back on the stove. remove the chicken to a platter and add the wine. use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the lovely bits stuck to the pan, and reduce by 50%. add the chicken stock, stir and reduce again by 50%. add the butter, and allow to reduce slightly before adding the mushrooms, parsley and garlic. taste for salt and pepper.

spoon this lovely pan sauce over the now well-rested chicken breasts and enjoy!

p.s. - you've probably heard this before, but DO NOT cook with a wine you wouldn't enjoy drinking. lots of perfectly acceptable wines can be had for as little as $2 a bottle (snaps to 2 buck chuck).

01 August 2005


President Bush gets off the helicopter in front of the White House carrying a baby pig under each arm.

The Marine guard snaps to attention, salutes, and says: "Nice pigs, sir."

The President replies: "These are not pigs, these are authentic Texan Razorback Hogs. I got one for Vice-President Cheney, and I got one for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld."

The Marine again snaps to attention, salutes, and says, "Nice trade, sir."