Category Archives: Food

Spice Up Your Life – Making Pasta

So, a while back, my parents got me this wonderful little pasta maker. It’s the Imperia CucinaPro Pasta Maker, and they are wonderful for getting me one. See, years ago in college, I tried to make a three cheese and buttered garlic popcorn shrimp herb ravioli. It was a delicious theory… but I’d never actually done it before.

Leave it to me to decide to make my first time out with a technique a ridiculously difficult version of it.

Anyway, all I had was this wooden rolling pin that wasn’t that great. It ended up that the pasta was a bit too thick and came out being more like dumplings than ravioli. It wasn’t an immense failure, per se… but it wasn’t a resounding success either. My mother ended up giving me a (I think) marble rolling pin… whatever it’s made of, it’s super heavy… and then, they gave me this fantastic pasta maker, along with a pasta rack and a ravioli press where you can fill in the raviolis and then cut a bunch at once.

Unfortunately, my counter space in my kitchen didn’t really allow for anywhere to place the pasta maker, clamp it down and still be able to turn the handle without it hitting the clamp. Until I got my new roommates, one of whom brought this little area for his coffee that has a big leaf and a lot of room for my pasta maker.

The fact that it took me this long to use it is the real travesty.

I followed the instructions left in the pasta maker’s manual as closely as I could… here’s what I learned from my experience.

1) MEASURE YOUR FLOUR CAREFULLY. It’s generally one cup, one egg, and that’s all the ingredients you need. The pasta maker’s manual said two cups, two eggs creates a bit more than a pound of pasta. I went with that. Now, the flour I used may not have been the finest flour ever, but I ran into trouble when I foolishly allowed for a bit of extra flour. The dough was not getting wet enough and mixing together at all. Plus, when I created the well in the flour and put the eggs in to whisk them, I got distracted and the well broke. It was messy. Fortunately, you can fix a mistake like too-dry pasta with some lukewarm water. You fix the egg spilling out by panicking and shoving it all back into the flour.

2) THERE WILL BE MESS. Holy crap will there be a mess. You want to mix your pasta dough by hand to make the best assurances for a smooth consistency… and it will be all over your hands. And everywhere else, really.

3) PUT IN EXTRAS BEFORE YOU MIX THE EGGS. I wanted to put some flair on and make the pasta Sriracha flavored. Because, again, I complicate things. Unfortunately, when the flour well broke, I panicked and completely forgot about the Sriracha until a little while into the process… I got some in, but not nearly enough to impart the flavor I was hoping for. Then again, it’s thoroughly possible that all the flavor of whatever you put in there will go away, which is why you don’t see too much flavored pasta in stores. Someone else probably knows better than me.

4) TWO CUPS OF FLOUR MAKES A WHOLE LOT OF PASTA. Like, holy MESS did I make a bunch of pasta. I was also foolishly not cutting the sections I was rolling out into smaller sizes… I ended up with a few sheets a couple feet long before I cut them. Definitely cut the sheets you roll out in half at LEAST once because they will get unmanageably long if you don’t. I only managed to succeed because I had a second person helping me.

Ultimately, though, the process was a success. Fresh pasta was made, boiled briefly and thrown into my pot of vegetarian chili for a much better version of chili mac or Cincinnati chili than the version I had last… The pasta was very thin and almost melted in your mouth, not distracting at all from the flavor of the chili itself.

Next time, I think I’ll either try for a slightly thicker pasta, maybe a spaghetti or maybe a ravioli again (gotta figure out how to make them not taste like water). Still, I think this ended up being a decent start to the new year and me trying out new techniques in the kitchen. I may try to bread and fry things next, but my lack of appropriate supplies may be a problem for that… My other dishes I’d love to work on are pad thai and ramen burgers.

Is there a specific type of dish you think I should try? Or a specific technique in the kitchen you suggest I should work on? As much as I love cooking, I’m still massively under-experienced in a lot of things… so I’d like to hear your input. It can be as simple or crazy as you’d like… And I’ll see about giving it a go.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

And We’re Back

Hello, all. I’m back.

So. It’s been a little while since I’ve written here, huh. Last time I wrote was March 12… and my last “real” post was Feb. 10. Almost an entire year…

…so it’s probably safe to say the “a post a day” experiment kinda fell through.

Still. Not too shabby. I made it an entire year and nearly a half with at least one post per day… that’s a lot of writing. If I had kept it up last year, I would have had SO MANY VIEWS. Even with basically 11 months of no writing, I somehow managed 13,948 views last year. Compare that to the year before’s 15,185. It makes me feel almost popular. Or, well, makes me feel like the lyrics to “Beauty and the Beat” are popular. But enough of that.

2013 was an interesting year. I got my first ever lead role, the opportunity to play Coriolanus in a staged reading of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus.” Less than a month later, I was cast in a TCF television pilot “Toss-Up,” again cast as the leading role. That opened up several other venues for me, such as a decently-sized part in a TCF short film produced by “Seinfeld” director Tom Cherones and a recurring role in the webseries “Alabama Ghostbusters.” Finally, in October, I was blessed/lucky/really really really super lucky enough to somehow manage to be cast as Jean Valjean in a local production of “Les Miserables,” my favorite musical and a dream role of mine for years.

I started out 2013 not talking to my best friend. Not because I was mad at her or something. No, rather because I’m the kind of person that can come to the conclusion (unfortunately often) that people are better off without me in their lives…  Around late February, I started dating a girl (my fourth girlfriend… possibly I only decided to date her beyond my attraction to her because I knew it would end when she went to grad school) that played my fiance in the TV pilot… and had we not dated, I wouldn’t have been asked to go to a wedding that my best friend was the maid-of-honor for, and I may still not be talking to her (as painful as that would be for me).

I haven’t managed to get “Camp Gethsemane” produced yet, sadly… I’m going to make a really big effort this year. It’s in the midst of yet another edit, a big edit that changes a few second act things and hopefully makes it all for the better… but a production would be amazing. I also haven’t managed to find a better job yet… though I did start hosting trivia at bars and restaurants around Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, and the extra income is pretty nice. Also, I seem to be decent at it. People like me well enough. (P.S. If you know any bars/restaurants that might like to host trivia, let me know!)

It’s been a year of changes, for sure. A year of opportunities… not my worst year… and hopefully, not my best to come, but a pretty decent one all-in-all.

Which brings me to 2014. The new year. And new years tend to bring new resolutions. Something that, usually, I duck out on because come on. Those are made with the intent of being broken, most of the time.

Still. I feel I should resolve a few things. So I’mma try.

First, I am going to lose weight. I wanted to for Les Mis, but Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas were right there and it is pretty much impossible to lose weight during those holidays. I plan to shed at LEAST 40 pounds and KEEP it off throughout the year. Maybe even work out and get some toning and muscle, not this semi-sentient fat I have at the moment.

Second, I’m going to get something I’ve written produced. Hopefully “Camp Gethsemane.” I will do it, damn it. I have screenplays and plays at the ready. Some need work, yes. But that can be done. I just want something to show for my work.

Third, I am going to write at least five more of the projects in my head. It’s a tall order. I may need help with some to keep me honest. I still have to edit and polish some of the things I’ve already written. But I also need to get new things done, too. I need to write, need to produce. I have two one-act mythology plays and two screenplays that need finishing. The fifth, I have many many ideas that could be the fifth… And the desire to write new things may help me finish my old things. If you’re a writer and want to help keep me honest, please let me know. No joke.

Fourth, I am resurrecting this blog. But it won’t be a once-a-day blog anymore. That just doesn’t seem feasible. With trivia taking up several of my nights, and all the acting I did last year, writing once per day became basically impossible. Les Mis is one reason “Camp Gethsemane” has been mid-edit since October. Still, I hope to write in this blog semi-regularly… and maybe add a new segment where I try new things in the kitchen, things I’ve never done before, like new techniques (like frying things) or foods (like fish). Which brings me to…

Fifth, I’m going to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve been getting there. Hosting trivia has REALLY helped me become a more social and sociable person. As has finally being on stage in a visible way. I’m going to audition for more things in town, of course… but beyond that, I want to just do things I don’t normally do. Talk to people more. Hang out with people more. Being a hermit really gets lonely, and I really hate the feeling sometimes. And maybe, just maybe, if I step out of my comfort zone, I can be more comfortable with who I am. It seems oxymoronic, but trust me. I’m not intensely comfortable even in my comfort zone.

All in all, I hope to move forward with life in 2014. Professionally, romantically, creatively… I need to stop being stagnant. I need to stop being jealous of other people’s romantic and professional successes and start making others jealous of mine. I’ll let you know how that goes as it moves along.

Oh, and expect more of my randomness on this blog, because there’s a lot I wanted to say last year that I never got to… If 2014 is as ridiculous as 2013 was, I’m sure I’ll have a bunch to gab on about.

It’s good to be back.

Tagged , , , , ,

Spice Up Your Life – Tuscaloosa Chili Cookoff

I can’t believe I’ve lived in Tuscaloosa for nearly 7 years and didn’t know about the annual chili cookoff. Well, this year, I plan to make a big splash.

Today is the 12th annual Asses of Fire chili cookoff, sponsored by WellThat’sCool.com and hosted by Egan’s Bar, located on the Strip. Registration starts at 2 p.m. and ends at 3:45, with judging to begin at 4:15. Now, in my opinion, if you haven’t already made your chili, you’re a bit late for that… though I suppose you might have time to squeeze out a fresh pot before then. I like to let mine sit. I finished cooking my two chilies on Tuesday and am reheating them now to do final taste tests and manipulations. You can enter as many chilies as you like, but can only win once, and I think most that know how I cook chili know which two I’ll be entering… with some slight twists.

Anyway, even if you don’t have a chili to submit for the contest itself, you can still come and partake of the eating of it. Those that submit chili eat for free, but for only $5, you can have all the chili you can eat/all the chili that’s actually there, though chili is a thick, filling food so I don’t expect people to come back for fifths and sixths. Egan’s will also be running drink specials all day… which might be helpful for downing some of the more intensely spicy chilies.

If you’d like to try out some chili or have your own to throw in the pot, come to Egan’s. But be warned… I plan on my chilies doing rather well. Hopefully. …it’d certainly be nice, at least. And I plan on bringing some extra hot sauce if anyone really wants their tongues to be yowling in pain.

Tagged , , , ,

Spice Up Your Life – Mexican Jambalaya

It’s been a while since I’ve put a recipe up… probably because I haven’t been doing much experimentation in the kitchen. Sad, I know, but it happens. Sometimes you get into a comfortable routine, and sometimes you don’t have time or money.

Still, I decided to revisit my Mexican jambalaya recently and realized that I haven’t actually put up how to make it. I’ve put up the recipe for Mexican rice before, but not Mexican jambalaya. So, I’m going to remedy that.

Jambalaya, as you likely know, is a Cajun dish, so Mexican jambalaya is a bit… incorrect. Cajun and Mexican don’t really have the same flavor profiles or ingredients. Jambalaya uses the Cajun trinity of celery, onion and bell pepper, while Mexican doesn’t tend to go the celery route. This is a best attempt to get a fusion as close as possible. And there will be celery.

You’re going to need, for the amount I cook, a big ol’ pot and a very large pan. Or another big pot, it’s your choice. By big ol’, I mean about 5-6 quarts. You can have more if you’d like, but at least one will need a lid. I’m going to talk about this in two parts, rice and jambalaya. It’ll come together in the end. For the Mexican rice, I went with as close to a 1.5 times the ingredients of the original recipe as I could. Two times is a bit too much.

Mexican rice

Ingredients:3 tablespoons oil
1/2 of a medium onion
2 1/4 cups rice
5 cloves finely chopped garlic
3 3/4 cups beef broth (Stock works too.)
1 1/2 cup plain tomato sauce
6 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped parsley

You can replace the onion and garlic with their powder forms and add them when you add the liquid ingredients.

In the lidded pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add in the fresh onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes until it’s soft. Add the dry rice and cook it with the onions for about 5 minutes, or until rice becomes a golden brown color. Stir the rice from time to time to avoid burning it. Add in the garlic to the rice and sauté for one more minute.

Add in broth and tomato sauce (Add it slowly into the rice, not directly onto the hot pan. Try stirring it in if your rice doesn’t fully cover the bottom.) Then add in the parsley. Stir it up and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and fluff with a fork when done. Or stir it. Whichever.

Easy peasy, right? So, onto the meat and veggies part… which is less of an exact science, to be sure. I’ll try to remember what I did.

Ingredients:
Carne picada, around a pound, pound and a half
Celery, about 4 stalks
1 Bell Pepper
1 Onion
4 Tbsp. butter
1 can Rotel (I used hot, of course)
1 can corn (not creamed, just kernels)
1 can pinto beans (you can use black if that’s your thing)
Cilantro
Chorizo sausage (I think mine was 12 oz, and try to get it not pre-cooked. I used andouille, the traditional Cajun sausage, the first time… it was okay, but it wasn’t as good as chorizo.)
Shredded cheese (Cheddar or Mexican blend)
Cumin
Seasoned salt
Garlic powder
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper

Heat up your second pot and melt the butter in it. Chop up your bell pepper, onion and celery (try to keep them in equal amounts) and throw them into the pot with your beef and chorizo. Throw some seasoned salt on your meat if you want to. I try to season my raw meat lightly while it cooks for pretty much every dish. I use Lawry’s, by the way, it’s great. But the spices in this recipe are really up to use. You could just buy “taco seasoning,” which is what most recipes seem to suggest, but bully on that. Give it your own flair. And add cumin, there’s nothing really more Mexican in the spice rack that cumin, I’ve found. Anyway, season your meat with salt, cook all that stuff down, then add your garlic and cayenne and cumin and chili powder in at some point, if you’re using those spices. I’m not even sure I used chili powder. There’s no amounts to suggest because, well, you’ll just have to taste as you go and try to not add too much.

When all your meat is cooked and your veggies are soft, throw in the corn, beans, Rotel and cilantro. Stir them in and let them cook for a while, too. Your rice should be finished at some point during this time, especially if you didn’t chop up your veggies before hand. Stir up your rice, fluff it, get it all thoroughly mixed, then throw in your meat and veggie concoction. Mix it all thoroughly. My preferred method of serving is via a burrito. And I like the Mi Casa brand because, when I microwave them, they don’t get super dry, crunchy and impossible to roll. They actually get steamy. Which makes them hot when rolling, but whatever. Put it in a burrito, throw on your cheese and roll it up. It’s fantastic.

And it will last you such a long time.

Tagged , , ,

Traveling Gourmand – Broadway Pizzeria (Tuscaloosa)

Still catching up. Man, this is a slump.

There are now two places in Tuscaloosa that I will go to for pizza.

Broadway Pizzeria, on Rice Mine Road just across the Holt-side bridge and two buildings down from where I work, is a very tiny, unassuming little eatery. When you enter, you can see the brick wood-fired pizza ovens in the back of an open, small kitchen and dining area. It’s a very casual establishment, perhaps a little low quality, but none of that matters because, ultimately, you go for the food.

Now, in actuality, I’ve never had their pizza. I’ve only been twice, and they serve enough options to let me forgo getting the pizza. The difference between Broadway and my favorite pizza place, Little Italy, is that Broadway doesn’t serve pizza by the slice. That, and Broadway delivers. You can get a 7-, 12- or 14-inch pizza with a decent variety of toppings, 19 in all. I think Little Italy has more, but the selection is still pretty comprehensive with nine types of meat. They also have sandwiches, pasta, calzones… even muffeletta and a hot dog.

The first time I went, I had their baked spaghetti. Meat sauce was extra, but the spaghetti came out in this tin about 6 inches across, completely caked with cheese. And by completely caked with cheese, I mean this looked like crème brûlée, but with a layer of cheese instead of sugar. The sauce was perhaps not as zesty as I prefer mine to be, but it wasn’t bad. The dish also came with toasted garlic bread, and it was some of the tastiest bread I’ve ever had. Perfect crunch to softness ratio, as well as a very wonderful, but not overpowering, garlic, salt and spices flavor.

The second time I went, I ordered the calzone.

Fair warning: The calzones are MASSIVE.

This thing was about 12 to 14 inches across, as though they had just taken a big pizza and folded it in half. The calzone came with some warm marinara sauce, which was delicious. They can have up to six toppings inside, from the same toppings list as the pizza. I had sausage, pepperoni and jalapeno peppers, and that meal was lunch and dinner for me. Still, before I realized how ridiculously big the calzone was going to be, I had ordered a slice of their cheesecake. Now, I find it unfortunate that cheesecake is always a bit expensive… particularly because it’s my dessert vice. If somewhere serves cheesecake, I will probably buy it. I’ve even had cheesecake shipped from New York’s Junior’s Cheesecake. Now, Broadway’s cheesecake isn’t the best I’ve ever had, but that’s because I’ve had Junior’s. If you like cheesecake even a little bit and happen to be in New York City, do yourself a favor and try Junior’s cheesecake. It is phenomenal. So, it’s not Broadway’s fault that it isn’t the best. Broadway’s is really quite good, though. The crust was fantastic and moist, and the cake itself had a good depth of flavor, though not as rich as I tend to like it.

All in all, these guys seem to know how to cook. I’ve only been twice, but I’ve had great meals both times, and neither were their specialty. And I’ve never heard someone complain about their food. I think I might try them for lunch when I go to work this week. It’s definitely not a bad choice.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Traveling Gourmand – Glory Bound Gyro Co. (Tuscaloosa)

First, a quick note: I’m trying out new themes. I’ve had several people say the coloration of the previous theme was just awkward, and I kind of agree. So, I’m changing it… unfortunately, most of the themes on WordPress lean toward use of pictures, which I don’t do, and require me to pay to change coloration. This current one hosts no color differentiation for links. Which is idiotic. But the coloration is better than grey on black, so I’m sticking with it for now. Likely, I’ll just have to shell out the $30 ($30?! It used to be $17! Ugh.) per year to get access to the CSS customization options and have someone whip me up something pretty. (I may have changed it by the time you read this so this paragraph is pretty pointless.)

…well, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these segments. Possibly because I eat absolutely nowhere new. But I’m bringing it back for this (and hopefully other places once I eat there once or twice). There’s a relatively new place in downtown Tuscaloosa on the corner of Greensboro and University, below the Twisted Martini where Brown’s Corner once sat. They call themselves a Greek restaurant with a Southern twist. They are the Glory Bound Gyro Co., the restaurant that my second place winning chili got me a $25 gift certificate to go to.

Incidentally, I think my two chilis split my votes… but I’m okay with that. This prize was way better.

Owned by the same people that own Mugshots, Glory Bound is a small chain insofar as it has a second original location in Hattiesburg, Miss. As you might be able to discern from the name, their specialty is the gyro, which someone with limited descriptive powers might be inclined to call a Greek taco. Really, a gyro is, traditionally, a lamb and beef seasoned meat mix with vegetables and tzatziki sauce (a sauce made primarily of yogurt and cucumber) wrapped in or held in a folded pita. Kinda like a taco.

While gyros are Glory Bound’s specialty, of which they serve something like 20-plus varieties, they have many other dishes. The first time I went, I noticed they had shawarma. Those that saw the summer blockbuster “The Avengers” may recognize that as the dish Iron Man wanted to try once they took care of business. From what I understand, however, Glory Bound’s shawarma is a bit different than what you might get elsewhere. Where Wikipedia tells me shawarma is actually the meat placed on the vertical spit and carved off, which I’ve seen used to typically create the beef and lamb mixtures for gyros and other dishes, Glory Bound’s shawarma is a bit different. It comes on rice pilaf, which has bell peppers in it I believe, and is covered in their shawarma sauce. I asked today what that sauce was, and I was told it’s a cream sauce of some kind. I forget what specifics the waiter mentioned the sauce had, but it tastes like a creamy cheese sauce of some kind. It’s tasty either way. The dish also came with sauteed zucchini and squash, and eight small slices of pita with a flavor of hummus, of which they have eight (with a ninth served special today).

I feel it says something when I have no idea what I’m eating (shrimp and beef shawarma) and still devour it entirely. Even more so, it says something when I DO know what I’m eating (squash and zucchini, and also hummus of which I ordered the spicy pepper), know I normally hate it and devour it entirely anyway.

Today when I went with my family, I had their most popular dish, the pepperjack gyro. This is a dish where the Southern twist comes out in full force. Their gyros, served with some tasty, flaky and crispy spiced cottage fries, come in a whole bevy of weird twists, such as the Italian gyro. This gyro comes with pepperjack cheese sauce and crispy bacon. And it was delicious. My family being there, they decided to try to spoil me. They ordered an appetizer (which I think was actually my mom spoiling herself as she and dad ate most of it), the cheese rolls. Completely different than what you’re thinking, they’re kind of like fried mozzarella sticks. They’re feta, pepperjack and cream cheese wrapped in bread and fried and served with a tasty pepper jelly that has just a bit of a kick. The cheese is very melty and mild enough to not be offensive while still maintaining a flavor.

They also let me order a dessert, something I don’t usually do. I ordered what I called (from the description) dessert nachos. In reality, they’re the Glory Bound Favorite, which I’m pretty sure is just their Pita Delight dessert with two scoops of ice cream. It’s lightly fried pita chips covered in drizzles of cinnamon and caramel (and sugar, I think?), served with two scoops of some rather delicious ice cream. I think it was vanilla bean, as the vanilla flavor stood out quite a bit. The dessert is definitely one that’s big enough to share.

As for the venue, there are several TVs most often showing sports of some kind. It doubles a little as a sports bar in that way. It offers your typical chain restaurant level of volume, unless there’s a football game on and a fan in the building. Then things can get shouty like they were with LSU vs. Alabama. The only problem I’ve noticed with the venue thus far is the Twisted Martini upstairs. My older sister and mother are both allergic to cigarette smoke, and the stairs leading to the Twisted Martini are open. So, at our original table, we could smell the cigarettes pretty heavily, and we had to move. But the first time I was there, I never noticed any smell like that. I can’t say if that’s a common thing or not.

Service was good and food came out quickly both times, and if you get a to go cup, you’re given a plastic Glory Bound emblazoned cup to keep. All in all, it’s a rather solid restaurant. On Tuesdays, they have a $5 gyro deal that my $10 remaining gift certificate and I will be using at least once. And they also offer a decent military discount (though I don’t know if that was promotional or what).

If you’re looking for a new place with a Mediterranean menu, I’d put Glory Bound at the top of my list.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sing, Sang, Sung – “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” From “Fiddler On The Roof”

Okay. Once again, I find myself not having much time. I spent most of my day fixated on my chili. They took, like, two hours to fully reheat, after which I had to add spices and chocolate and the like to perfect them. Then let it simmer for an hour or so, then off to the farmers market to be part of the competition. In a wholly non-egotistical way, I honestly think both of mine were better than all the rest. The winning chili tasted like a good hot dog chili, but not a great standalone chili. Still, my hot chili, “Trick,” won second place (Which got me the prize I preferred. First place was an overnight stay at a local hotel for two, with complimentary breakfast. I’m kinda massively single, so that didn’t appeal. Second place was a $25 gift certificate to a local Greek restaurant that has some gyros with twists… can’t wait to try it.), and when I peeked at the scores, it looked like my sweet chili, “Treat,” was a vote away from tying.

I then proceeded to spend $29 at the market. They had muscadines! I haven’t had those in years! They’re probably my favorite fruit ever, truth be told. And they had fresh cayenne peppers! I have honestly never seen those. Not once. And I buy a LOT of different peppers. Maybe EarthFare in Huntsville had some, but I’ve never seen fresh cayenne in stores. It’s always powdered. And I also bought potatoes, jalapenos, habaneros, nearly two pounds of ground black Angus beef and a block of habanero goat cheese. You throw that cheese in a pasta dish, it becomes almost an instant cream sauce. It’s delicious. I love farmers markets.

And then there was trivia and we were awful, even worse than usual. It was bad news bears.

BUT! None of that really has to do with the song. I’m just telling you all this because 1) it happened and 2) I need to pretend I have an excuse for yet another rather stupid post. I’ve not been giving very much lately. So, excuses made. The song is simply because a friend tweeted about “matchmaker” earlier today and tweeted some of the lyrics to the song. Which proceeded to get stuck in my head. Which is okay. I like that musical. It’s pretty awesome. I think I could play Tevye, were anyone to ever cast me in anything.

…anyway. Here’s the song, via the film. Not “Mrs. Doubtfire,” although the song appears in that movie, too, albeit briefly. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should go watch it. It’s loads of fun.

“Matchmaker, Matchmaker” – “Fiddler on the Roof”

Hodel:
Well, somebody has to arrange the matches,

Chava:
She might bring someone wonderful-

Hodel:
Someone interesting-

Chava:
And well off-

Hodel:
And important-

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
catch me a catch
Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match

Chava:
Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
I’ll bring the veil,
You bring the groom,
Slender and pale.
Bring me a ring for I’m longing to be,
The envy of all I see.

Hodel:
For Papa,
Make him a scholar.

Chava:
For mama,
Make him rich as a king.

Chava and Hodel:
For me, well,
I wouldn’t holler
If he were as handsome as anything.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
Catch me a catch,
Night after night in the dark I’m alone
So find me match,
Of my own.

(spoken)
Tzeitel:
Since when are you in a match, Chava? I thought you just had your eye on your books.

(Hodel chuckles)

Tzeitel con’t:
And you have your eye on the Rabbi’s son.

Hodel:
Well, why not?
We only have one Rabbi and he only has one son.
Why shouldn’t I want the best?

Tzeitel:
Because you’re a girl from a poor family.
So whatever Yente brings, you’ll take, right?
Of course right!

(throws scarf over her head, imitating Yente)
(singing)

Hodel, oh Hodel,
Have I made a match for you!
He’s handsome, he’s young!
Alright, he’s 62.
But he’s a nice man, a good catch, true?
True.

I promise you’ll be happy,
And even if you’re not,
There’s more to life than that…
Don’t ask me what.

Chava, I found him.
Won’t you be a lucky bride!
He’s handsome, he’s tall,
That is from side to side.
But he’s a nice man, a good catch, right?

Hodel:
Right.

Tzeitel:
You heard he has a temper.

Hodel:
He’ll beat you every night,

Tzeitel:
But only when he’s sober,

Tzeitel and Hodel:
So you’ll alright.

Tzeitel:
Did you think you’d get a prince?

Chava:
Well I’ll find the best I can.

Tzeitel and Hodel:
With no dowry, no money, no family background
Be glad you got a man!

Chava:
Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
You know that I’m
Still very young.
Please, take your time.

Hodel:
Up to this minute,
I misunderstood
That I could get stuck for good.

Chava, Hodel and Tzeitel:
Dear Yente,
See that he’s gentle
Remember,
You were also a bride.
It’s not that
I’m sentimental
It’s just that I’m terrified!

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Plan me no plans
I’m in no rush
Maybe I’ve learned
Playing with matches
A girl can get burned
So,
Bring me no ring
Groom me no groom
Find me no find

Chava, Hodel, Tzeitel, Shprintze and Bielke:
Catch me no catch
Unless he’s a matchless match.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Drugs Make Me Sleepy

Benadryl drugs, at least.

Sorry. I fell asleep at some point around 8, 9 p.m. and woke up right around midnight, suddenly remembering I hadn’t cooked my spicy chili and my meat was just sitting out waiting to be used. So I ran off and did that. Which took about an hour.

…really, I didn’t have much to say anyway. Except, well, I love Christopher Nolan, right? But he has absolutely NO understanding of how to balance sound. I’m trying to watch “Inception” in my room. If I move the volume up to a point where I can hear people actually talking, eventually something happens and it’s all BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH LOUDEST NOISE EVER BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! If I lower the volume to where the bwahs and other loud noises are tolerable, I can’t hear them talking unless I’m sitting right next to the speaker. He totally has a similar problem with “The Dark Knight Rises,” or so it seems from watching the movie in theaters.

…so, yeah, there’s that.

…I’ll try to have something more meaningful tomorrow. And more on time. G’night.

Tagged , , ,

Spice Up Your Life – Mexican Rice

There are several things I could talk about today, really. I actually was out tonight playing games… Well, game. I played Munchkin, finally! Except that it was all new kids (including myself, and I was explaining the rules based on watching the Munchkin episode of Tabletop and reading the rules to a different expansion…) and, as my last thing in the parentheses may have clued you in on, it was an expansion. Axe Cop. …that expansion was a bit odd. It added allies and powers and stuff not covered in the core and Cthulhu expansions. Also, there was a MASSIVE amount of cheating happening. Like, not even subtle toward the end. Plus, since I’m not 100 percent certain we were playing right, I’m not accepting my loss. Though I would like to say I was stuck at level two for a good chunk of time, sadly, but my fighting level was at 26 at one point. Came in handy when I flipped a level 20 monster.

BUT! I don’t want to talk much about that. Because, as I said, I’m not sure we were even playing it right. The rules weren’t in the box, so… Basically, I was winging it on things other cards said.

Instead, I feel like posting a recipe I’ve used a couple times in the past while, to varying success. …mostly because I screwed up big time the second time by moving the pot to a different burner. Bad idea. Anyway, I’m giving you a recipe for Mexican rice, which lasts a long time and can go in a lot of stuff. So far, I’ve used it for “Mexican jambalaya” and my feaux Mexican fajitas. …Really, I’m mostly going for Mexican flavors shoved in a tortilla.

Anyway. Here’s what you need.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons oil (I just used olive oil. I suppose you could use any oil you want.)
1/4 of a medium onion
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (Or beef broth. I used beef because I was cooking beef.)
1 cup plain tomato sauce
4 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped parsley (optional)

You can replace the onion and garlic with their powder forms and add them when you add the liquid ingredients. You can also replace the tomato sauce with chopped stewed tomatoes in their juices, or salsa. …but I honestly wouldn’t suggest any of those substitutions. Also, if you want a variety of texture, heat up a 15 oz. can of corn and add it after the fact. Anyway, to the actual cooking!

The recipe I found suggests using a medium-sized sauce pan with a lid. I don’t have one of those. You can use a pot if you need, as long as you have a lid. My 5 quart pot handled a double recipe of the rice, so that’s nice. Anyway, in the saucepan/pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add in the fresh onion and saute for 1-2 minutes until it’s soft. Add the dry rice and cook it with the onions for about 5 minutes, or until rice becomes a golden brown color. Try to be sure and stir at this point from time to time to avoid burning the rice. Add in the garlic to the rice and saute for one more minute.

Add in broth and tomato sauce (Add it slowly into the rice, not directly onto the hot pan. Try stirring it in if your rice doesn’t fully cover the bottom.) Then add in the parsley if you’re using it. Stir it up and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and fluff with a fork when done. Or stir it. Whichever.

Don’t do like me and move it from one burner to another. Bad idea. And definitely stir during the boiling phase. Your rice WILL try to burn at this point. Also, you can add cilantro, or replace the parsley with it, if you want it to taste “more Mexican.” Personally, I’ve just been adding it to whatever Mexican-esque dish I cook with it, so it doesn’t much matter.

Still, it’s a solid rice dish that will last quite a while. My Mexican jambalaya lasted two weeks without going bad. And it took me nearly all of that two weeks to eat it all, too. I had a lot of food in there. Maybe I’ll tell y’all about it some other time. For now, try it out, and I hope you enjoy.

Tagged , , , , ,

Racist Sandwiches – PC Gone Too Far

Okay… this news is almost a month old, but I still can’t understand how it ever happened.

This is a story about racist sandwiches. Apparently, in Portland, Ore., Principal Verenice Gutierrez of Harvey Scott K-8 School believes some sandwiches are racist. Apparently, a teacher at the school attempted to use an example of a peanut butter sandwich in class, and Gutierrez claims that is racially discriminatory.

“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?,” she said. “Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.”

Now, maybe as a white American, the whole culture of racist food is simply lost on me. Not that I ever ate PB and Js. I hate peanut butter. We never really had peanut butter in our house, come to think of it… But, okay. Maybe the PB&J is a primarily white American food. But can we really consider the use of PB&Js in the classroom as racially discriminatory? Or, frankly, discriminatory at all?

To the best of my food knowledge, there is only one specific type of food that is shared in every culture: The meatball. Every culture, to the best of my knowledge, has some form of semi-ground up meat rolled into a sphere and prepared in some type of sauce.

But using meatballs as an example would discriminate against vegetarians and vegans, right?

See where this “all metaphors and examples in the classroom must apply to every individual student” type of thinking might go too far? One could perhaps argue that I’m making a slippery slope out of things… but I’m not saying the racist sandwich is a dumb idea because it will lead to dumb things… I’m saying it’s already a dumb thing. The fact that that train of thought could easily apply to far dumber applications doesn’t matter. We’ve already reached a pretty dumb application.

Of course, this comes from Portland’s “Courageous Conversations” initiative, which states, via The Portland Tribune:

“Through intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives, the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.

Last Wednesday, the first day of the school year for staff, for example, the first item of business for teachers at Scott School was to have a Courageous Conversation — to examine a news article and discuss the “white privilege” it conveys.”

Now, I’m not trying to make light the predominantly white, racist culture pervading America. It exists. Some people thought our having a black president meant racism was dying off in America… I think it just made it more obvious. How many other presidents have had their citizenship challenged? Constantly, and after proof was given?

And racism needs to be tackled. However, branding the use of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in classroom examples as racist is taking the political correctness thing too far, and in the wrong direction. It continues to divide people by their race and culture when they should be explained, taught and made inclusive.

…but, ultimately, we really need to tackle the larger, more damaging issues, I think. Maybe come back to sandwiches later.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,