Friday, April 25, 2008

Maddeningly Inconsistent

A curious thing happened yesterday. I ordered a polish sausage at Zoe's soccer game, and there was no fish or chorizo in the bun.

Ignorant rubes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Top Chef Recap In Which The Author Gets Grumpy About Beer

I know, no real Top Chef recap this week. I'm boycotting because they didn't take the beer pairing seriously ...or I got distracted. Hey, look! A squirrel!

Maybe they got all of this stuff right in the first couple of minutes that I missed, but really:

- Would they have a wine pairing and not bother to tell what wine they paired with each food during the judging? Isn't that sort of critical information to determine how well the chefs did? Half the time they didn't even get the beer in the shot of the food, and they only mentioned the beer once or twice.

- Michelob Ultra? What's with the macrobrew? Would they use Mad Dog or Boone's Farm in a wine pairing? They might as well serve up Rhinelander or Pabst Blue Ribbon.

- What happened to the emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients? Where were all of the great microbreweries in and around Chicago? Even if they went with small regional breweries they had some great options. Just off the top of my head, Sprecher, Three Floyds, and Chicago's own Goose Island are all obvious choices just a hop, skip, and a jump from the studio. Go a little farther and you can add other great regionals like New Glarus, Bell's, and New Holland. If I can get them in Urbana, they can get them in Chicago.

- Most of the contestants obviously didn't know shit about beer. "When I think of beer, I think fried food," is on a par with "When I think of wine, I think overpriced, pretentious French crap." Thank you, Dr. Food Science.

- I'm not sure that judge had a poker face, I think she might have been a smidge overmedicated. I'm from the Midwest. I get the whole quiet, subdued, low-affect thing, but if I spent more than a few minutes with her, I'd be looking for the lobotomy scar. If she is at all qualified to judge a beer and food pairing, how did she not tear that "fried food" douche a new one?

In case you missed it, Beastie Fauxhawk won the Quickfire for Skater Zoi. Awwww.

Then they went to Soldier Field, which they carefully shot to avoid showing the enormous glass and steel Daleyflush 2000 toilet bowl they built on top of it. I am so glad the Fire don't play in that ridiculous eyesore any more.

DAAle won, and they gave him a shirt. I'm sure that makes up for the trip to Italy he missed last week.

Oh, and double dipping is all cool again. Spit is the new cilantro.

The Girl Gets Paid

Hey! My adoptee Corinne has a new commercial selling choose-a-size paper towels. (They come in half sized sheets so that you can tear off your choice of "not nearly enough", "actual paper towel size", or "well, this is just too damned big".) She actually gets to form complete sentences in this one, so it's a step up from the pizza rolls.

Also, Apple started running her Mac commercial again. Hooray for women in power suits. Rowr!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Well That Was Weird

You don't expect to be wakened at 4:30 by an earthquake in the middle of Illinois.

It shook the house, woke everyone up, rattled closet doors, and knocked a few things off shelves. Not really such a big deal except, hello, Illinois?

Update: 10:15ish There was another one. It was strong enough to shake my monitor a little, but I probably wouldn't have noticed it if someone else hadn't commented on it. Apparently there were three little ones in between.

You know, I've heard for ages that we're due for the New Madrid Fault to kick loose again. Back in the early 1800s, there was a biggie that shifted the course of the Mississippi.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Flavors Were Tight

I came home from soccer practice last night and threw together a little something from stuff I had laying around:

1 Boboli traditional crust

1 can tomato paste
A selection of italian-y spices
a dash of red pepper flakes

1 package frozen spinach
4 oz Feta cheese, cut into cubes
a little bermuda onion, shaved thin
a handful of shredded pizza cheese (mozzarella or a blend)

1. Preheat over to 450.
2. Pop the spinach in the microwave, set aside.
3. Mix tomato paste and spices in a bowl (makes enough sauce for two pizzas).
4. Finish cooking the spinach, squeeze all of the water out by your favorite method.
5. Put a couple of tablespoons of sauce on the Boboli, spread thin to cover.
6. Spread the spinach over the sauce.
7. Sprinkle with cubed Feta.
8. Shave some bermuda onion over the top.
9. Toss a little shredded cheese over everything.
10. Cook directly on the middle rack for about 9 to 10 minutes, until a little brown shows on the Feta cubes and the rest of the cheese is melted.

11. Tell your spinach-hating children that it's good, they should try it.

12. Watch them wolf down half a pizza each.

13. Make another.

Lex said I was a god.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bacon Is Nice

Butternut squash soup, Spike? Are you kidding me? You think serving hot, runny baby food at a high-end charity gala is going to win Top Chef?

The judges clearly have their heads up their asses again. Scaly boil-in-a-bag mushfish is less of a sin than adding rosemary to mushrooms? Don't get me wrong, Skater Zoi was not going to win this thing. Still, it's tough to argue that her team didn't season anything, and that her seasoning was the biggest problem of the night without looking like an asshole. See how those are kind of opposites? See? Because if there's no seasoning... then how is the...? seasoning...? You're not listening anymore, are you?

If your celebrity guests are picking scales out of their mouths at the table (Salmon is seafood! See? Food! Ha! That joke kills in third grade.) because Dick Fauxhawk made a Cooking 101 error, you pretty much have to send him home, no matter how much you have riding in the Last Fauxhawk Standing pool. Tom... dude... when it comes to seasonings, I will always prefer rosemary to fish scales. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.

I want to see them do a couple of rounds of blind testing where they don't know who made each dish. Then again, I'd like to see them call the losers in first once in a while just to shake things up. "You thought you won? Ha! You suck! Go home loser!"

DAAle the Designated Asian Asshole makes me laugh. Did you see him holding his crotch when he was going off on Piercing Girl? What a tool. He didn't look like a tough guy, he looked like he really had to pee.

Here's the thing, DAAle. I love hot spicy stuff. Your chili stuff sounded like a winner. Chilis are good. I like chilis. ...but bacon is trumps this round. Bacon, I think you'll find, is trumps every round. Bacon is lord... god... king of ingredients. As soon as she said bacon, you were up against it, but when she busted out a totally new technique for cooking bacon that the judges had never seen before, you were just plain fucked. The proper response at that point is "Thank you for letting me be on your team, Piercing Girl," not "I'm a bitter little man! Rawr!"

While we're on the subject of your poor judgement, DAAle, deviled eggs? Really? That was your idea? Deviled eggs? I mean... I get it. Devil. Fire. I see what you did there. Let me explain where you went wrong, as someone who has actually eaten them. Let's set aside, for now, the fact that deviled eggs are perfectly appropriate for say, a family reunion, or for Yogi Bear to find in a pic-a-nic basket, but not quite so appropriate for a gala charity event. Just put that out of your head and let's look at the challenge. Deviled eggs are cool and creamy little morsels of eggy, mustardy goodness, but your element was Fire. "Cool", "creamy", and "fiery" are not, generally speaking, adjectives that go together. Piercing Girl was far too kind. I would have thwapped you in the forehead with a spoon for suggesting that, dumbass.

You know, maybe he wasn't trying to look like a tough guy, maybe he was just trying to protect his junk. Which, come to think of it, is probably a good idea. If Piercing Girl had thrown down, she would have kicked his ass. DAAle is lucky she was all blissed out on bacon and tickets to Italy.

Next week, somebody cooks some stuff, somebody pointlessly flips out despite being totally and completely wrong, and somebody goes home! You heard it here first!

...oh, and bubblebath porn. Sure. After they break up the lesbians. Thanks, Bravo, thanks for nothing.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mostly Dead?

I probably should have clarified this earlier. I'd originally intended that last post to be an April Fool's joke. That said, I've been too busy to blog since then, and now I'm not entirely sure whether I should go on hiatus until I have more time or if I should just call the whole thing off.

I'll try to come to a decision within the next week or so and let you know one way or the other.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

To Everything There Is A Season

A time to bitch and moan,
A time to shut the hell up already.
A time to blog,
A time to cease from blogging.

I'm swamped at work, I'm coaching two soccer teams, and I've grown tired of writing. I'm worn out. I don't expect you'll miss me. Honestly, I get fewer than 10 hits a day, so it seems clear you've grown as tired of me as I have.

It's been fun, mostly, but I think it's time to take a step back and read someone more entertaining than I feel.