Friday, November 14, 2008

Cooking Show Woes

Watched some cooking shows today. They were pretty, fun, and holycraptooexpensive.
Who has enough money to buy whatever is the latest haute foodie item? A fifty dollar block of parmigiano reggiano to sprinkle on my soup? Why thank you! Seventy dollars for wine made by geese in the small French village of Wearetomuchtoafford? Oh goody goody!

Would it kill the premise if they just made normal affordable food? Give me some pasta and tomato sauce. Where is my simple ham sammich? 

In the spirit of Food You Can Actually Afford To Cook, I'm going to throw some recipes out there occasionally. Things that take two pots or less and won't kill you to make. Sauteing petit diced rack of virgin lamb? Uh, no. A kick ass chili that's one pot? Ah, yes.

What's that? Veggie in the house? Fear not, you guys are included too. I'll even throw some recipes in that you veggie heads can serve your Gnaw On A Carcass buddies. 

Just a heads up: I'm assuming you have basic cooking skills. Nothing fancy but enough to know what kind of food goes in what pot. If you can't boil water, then well... you're screwed. Sorry about that. 

First up:

Tuscan Lasagna. (I don't know if it's Tuscan at all, it just looks good on a recipe card) It's a tall, thin layered lasagna so choose your pan accordingly. The smell of this will have you drooling within five minutes, I promise. 

What you need:
A box and a half of lasagna noodles. (maybe both boxes if your pan is gargantuan.)
A bag of frozen squash, zuccini summer squash-ish mix.
A can of pasta sauce. (I use the 99 cents one)
One can of diced tomatoes. (two if you like wet lasagna) 
About a pound o' beef. (cheap stuff is just fine)
Some red wine (cheap is good here too)
One container of ricotta cheese.
A bag of mozzarella cheese (Mizithra works better, but is more costly)
Five slices of Italian bacon. (this is the only really expensive thing)
Italian spices you have lying around.

   I know this sounds like a lot, but it is worth it. Don't forget to go cheap on these things. Once they're all together it won't really matter if they cost 99 cents or fifty bucks. 

 So cook the beef in about a cup of red wine. Brown it but don't crisp it.

Boil pasta per box instructions. Remember to leave some cooking time on the pasta because you'll be putting it in the oven to bake. 

Combine tomato dices and tomato sauce in a bowl on the side.

This lasagna has thin layers so don't overfill it too much or it'll slide all over the place. 

Layer as such: Oil the pan, layer of lasagna noodles, layer o'beef, noodles, thin layer of ricotta, noodles, squash mix and 1/4 of cheese, noodles, rest of the cheese, then on top put the Italian bacon.  
In the beef and squash layers spread the tomato/tomato sauce mix and sprinkle on some Italian spice mix (or basil, salt, oregano). Make sure you leave enough tomato mixture to put over the top layer of noodles as well.

Bake at 350 for about 20-40 minutes. Check the pasta to make sure it's not getting too soggy.

Take it out and let it set. Setting is important in this recipe because of the squash layer being so wet. 

Cut it up and nom down. 

So there's a recipe from my humble room where I say things like, "where the hell is my cutting board and who moved my pan". 

Up next, Fufu Souffle' . 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Casting In Death- aka don't fear the reaper

So the In Death series by JD Robb is amazing. If you haven't read it- shame shame shame on you.

I was looking around at a couple of messageboards today and there was a thread about casting a series or movie and who should play what character.

Almost all of them squigged me out a bit. Either Eve was casted as some soft gentle faced twenty year old or she looked like a dyke on a motorcycle. There has to be some leeway, somewhere.. anywhere.
One suggestion was Ashley Judd. Seriously?? She's so soft and fragile... too soft and fragile for Eve. We need someone tough and strong.. unmovable like a cement block. Well a cement block filled with childhood abuse and self doubt.. oh and dead people. LOTS of dead people.
Eve is going to be the sticker. If we cant' find an Eve there's not much point in going on to make the series. Another suggestion would be whatshername from Law & Order SVU. That'd work except she's been on a loooong running series playing- gasp!- a cop. The two characters might entwine in the viewers mind and scrub it all for us.

Roarke being played by Michael Easton? *wha?* I just cannot abide. The hair- too poofy, the face too full. He looks like a "bad boy"- not, imho, the hard shelled know-it-all world weary multibillionaire known as Roarke. I wanted to call foul as soon as I saw the pic. Not that Easton is anything to sneeze at-those eyes! he's just not ROARKE.

Someone suggested Hugh Jackman as Roarke. This didn't bother me one whit- mainly because I'd do Hugh Jackman like damn and woah and smackety - not because he really fit. I always think of Roarke's face as a bit thinner and not so wide in the jawline.

One suggestion that did seem to stick pretty well for me was Zooey Deschanel as Peabody. That actually could work if she cut off her hair and didn't keep the too SmartDitzyFreakyGoth bit going. So just some moderate changes there.

Casting a film version of the In Death series is going to be problematic all the way around. First off NO ONE will agree on Roarke or Eve. Period. There is no one- even if JD Robb based it on a real human being (down to a DNA match even)- that we could all agree on.

Everyone has their own idea of what hot and sexy is. Someone's idea of a "bad boy" would just look like a poseur hard rock fan to me. I hang out with The Bad Boys, and let me tell you- they're just a bunch of lovable dorks. My idea of someone soft and caring could send others into shock and awe. This is just a no win situation.

So I propose the In Death books be turned into really extremely unbelievably(sp) high quality japanimation. Something along the look of Samurai Champloo or Cowboy Bebop. Theres depth in the cell animation and the action would look right at home. Futuristic Gritty Urban Setting? Well Shit Martha- japanimation has been doing that shit for years. Go to the pro's Nora- go to the pros.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's killing me and not so softly at that

So theres this movie, Bunty aur Babli, and everyone has been raving about it.

My netflix is so slow it might take another week to get here. It's driving me slowly insane.

There's this one song from the film that was on Youtube and damnit if it just won't leave my head! It just keeps playing over and over!

I think my obsession with music all began when I was a child. I blame the "beginner" record players. Espescially that one that has camptown races on it!

Those evil geniuses at Fischer Price! Have they no shame? They began my early dj efforts with camptown races- and THAT is about as old school as it gets.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

the view from my balcony

I'm basically a hermit. I like hermiting and it likes me right back. I like staying inside and watching the world while having a nice glass of iced tea. So I thought I'd share my view on this little planet of ours.

Here's the view from my house
Gorgeous huh?

Some people have asked me why I stay home so much. Why don't I get out and live a little?

Honestly? I feel that I've had enough "living" for a while. I was on the go for twenty six years, never slowed down or thought much. It's just time to let the world take its turn at driving this happy bus.

I love the glass in the windows. It lets me be a part of the action without ever having to worry about that tricky barrier between observing and participating. I can sit on this side and its a clear boundary between me and them. Them is not a bad thing. Them is just.. well.. them.

Them is the people out there going shopping, walking their dogs and kids, young hoodlums jockeying for pride, old people out for an after dinner stroll. People in cars and busses going to work, going home or just going. Only once have I seen someone just stop and let the world move for a moment instead.

They were walking underneath our tree out front when it was in bloom. They just stopped walking and looked up at the tree and smiled. This was, from my well hidden third floor, a beautiful thing to see. There! I said, there is a person who just "got it".

Sometimes the most beautiful things are found when we let the world turn on its own and acknowledge that us moving doesn't change much.

My bedhead is fierce, yo

Behold the power of my bedhead!

Tres Impressive, no?

I think this will be a regular feature- Saturday bedhead. Or just my crazy mop o hair in general. It does odd things while I sleep. Maybe like the toupee from the first season of Robot Chicken. The one that was a secret agent. That toupe and my hair are like THIS man like THIS.

I kindof dig the big puffy bit in the middle. hmmm

Friday, June 13, 2008

Afternoons at the pub and other itty bitties

Will and I went to the bar last night. Had a good time hanging out with the early birds.

I stopped going to the late night (after midnight) crowd because there's too much posturing and positioning to see who will be the first (tonight) to get to stick it in girl number 857-B. Its boring to watch and even worse when you're one of the chosen.
Oh how I swoon.

A friend of mine today mentioned how he doesn't pay attention to world affairs and doesn't put much stock into racism. It got me thinking about how I do the same thing in a much smaller scale.

If the world were my bar...

I dont go late so I dont have to put up with all the hipster bullshit. I connect this with not caring what new PC term and ideal is being bandied about.

I dont care who's popular at the moment, nor do I really care what they think. This one I think would be akin to chosing a political party and just blatently throwing your support behind whichever yokel they've chosen this term.

I hate being the fat girl at the bar. This has no correlation- I just hate being the "fat girl" that guys think will just fall on my knees and bless the lord there is now a penis in my life. As I told a friend once- the fat stops here (pointing at my neck). I have no brain fat. The brain is not stupid or slow because I like to eat Taco Bell. Just because I'm at the bar at closing time does not mean you will get lucky. Bah.

I dont want to hear the same five songs that you liked in high school over and over and over and... you get the point. Hmmm maybe this one could be related to hearing old blowhards talk about the good ol days. You know when people could walk down the street counting out their RothIRA in plain sight, girls never lost their virginity and all people of color wore suits.

Given all of this- why do I go out to the bar at all? Gemi, you may say, you are a class a biotch and boy do you whine a lot. Hmmm this may be true. Let me assuade you of the notion that I dont like my bar tho. So here's what I do like:

I like going early because I get to sit with working class people relaxing after work. There's no insane jockeying for "pole position" (hurhur) and generally the jukebox is pretty quiet. I like sitting and talking to the bartenders. I've been going to this bar for ten years- its amazing how close to friends one can get over ten years.

Oh yeah... and there's alcohol. What's not to love about my early bar?

So I think that my relationship to my bar shows my relationship to the world. I want to pay attention to what I enjoy and feel can actually change. I'll concentrate on the close by instead of the big picture all the time. I want to see the difference I make- not wait until my great grandkids are fifteen.

And I want to be able to drink while I do it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hearts of Thunder, GERD of pain

Oh Johanna Lindsey, how I love your Malory series! Unfortunately this book was as painful as your Malory novels are joyous.

Let's start with the cover- which the author no doubt had not much to do with as its a marketing thing...
The male model is definately suffering from some kind of weird zombie-tan and the woman is just... well.. lets just say her curtains and carpet cant match! Of course the back of the cover has the horse going nuts, its par for the course.

As for the premise, a fiesty (fiesty means a woman who screams and is TSTL) Samantha is the inheritor of land that once belonged to the swarthy (swarthy meaning asshole) man named Hank (oh how sexay eh? sounds like a guy who repairs my car). Oh how Hank is an ass. Even from his beginning on the stagecoach- ass hattery approacheth!
Samanth (Sammy) is no better. In fact, I think these two deserve each other. Samantha is the feminine lone ranger, she can shoot, ride and hunt with the best of the men. Until of course, the plot requires her to be insipid and screechy.

Now I love, and I do mean lurrrrve, a good bodice ripper. The problem with this book is the dialogue. Its painful. Hank (oh yeah its so damn sexy) speaks in such a stilted tone that I kept hearing Speedy Gonzalez talking for him. for example:
"I am saying only that I am a stranger and you should not be so trusting of strangers. But let me assure you now that you can trust me"
OK, now re-read that with the speedy voice... yeah its hilarious.

Honestly, reading this I knew it was an early work so I was prepared for the rape scenes and the "oh noes! OH yessss!" bits. What really killed it for me was the dialogue.

The best part of the book? I could NOT stop reading it! It was as if a magical mystery tourhand was pushing me to keep reading. They end up with their HEA but dayum, how weird a road it took to get there.

Would I recommend this book? If you're familiar with historicals (80's historicals at that) then yes. Then I can have someone to laugh with me at the bad wooden speeches, but enjoy the passion these two characters shared.

Two twinkies outta five.

The evil that is my cat

Biscuit, yes that's her name, has decided that our new plant is hers for the taking. She has made it her bitch!

Twice she's taken the poor plant, Ferguson, down from the mantle and drug it kicking and screaming across the floor. So we've picked it up and vaccumed the mess. Poor Ferguson- he's a bit battered now, but improving.

Meanwhile Will's plants are sprouting! They even are starting to get their little second leaves. Its great- soon the herbs will be ours for the taking! YAR!

It all begins at noon

First time blogging, so be kind or get the hell offa my page. Or something witty like that.

So how about a nice purpose to this whole thing?

It all started with Cassie Edwards. (scary I know)
Researched a rumor I heard and then found.. da da.. the blogosphere. Wow. Found a great one that just inspired me to do what I do... but inflict my pain- I mean insight- on others.

So I'll be trynig this out for a bit and see where it goes.

I'm going to review romances, show some of my life and maybe talk about just general stuff that tickles my fancybone.

Exciting I know, but wait it gets better! I'll even put up some pics with all the power of the interwebs at my fingertips.

More in a bit.