Sunday, January 29, 2012

Haiku Monday: RAIN

Cacophonic skies
unleash God's torrential tears.
Damn my metal roof.

* * * 
Appropriately enough, this week's Haiku Monday hostess and perennial PNW denizen, Miz Boxer, has chosen RAIN as her theme. Head on over to her blog for another spirited contest and puppy porn to boot.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pop Goes the Synth

Okay, so sometimes I do like the French.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

That Giant Sucking Sound?

I ain't gonna buy from crap-ass China no more. Or any place that serves simply as a manufacturing center for a U.S. or other First World country that should be making their goods at home. And if that means I have to spend more or buy less or buy second hand, fine.

(Anyone know how to make a pair of high heels?)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Haiku Monday: BEAUTY

Fractured limestone peaks
once obscured by ocean’s depths
now commune with sun. 

* * * 

Haiku Monday is being hosted by the delightful Anya at her blog,
Aspects of Life, with the theme of Beauty.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

American Idol Snark Station

That's right, Party People, American Idol's eleventy-millionth season started last night. LAST NIGHT. Can you believe it? Boxer and I couldn't; we flung a series of texts back and forth about 2pm PST that featured so many WTFs? and Where does time flys? and Please Make it Stops that I was beginning to feel like one of those geriatric dudes that sit around at coffee shops, hitching at their pants and lamenting about days gone by. I don't want to be one of those people. But that's life. After forty, it seems, ti-i-i-ime is no longer on your side. Time is rubber stamping "Use By Date: Expired" on the forehead of your former Metallica tee shirt-wearing, fifth of Jack-clutching happy-ass self and shoving a Snuggie over your head and cup of decaf green tea in your mitt.

Anyway. I'm speaking about time passing here, not necessarily about the former merits (Simon Cowell) of a show that is going decidedly stale on the shelf. And there is only so much snark I can muster for Steven Tyler's Tourette's-fueled monologues, J-Lo's ass, and Randy's Cliff Huxtable sweaters before I just want to go clutch all my Dead Kennedys records to my chest and curl up on the sofa thinking about the good old days when music mixed the bourgeoisie and the rebel.

So, there won't be any snark today. I don't think I can tolerate the audition portion of this show no more, no more. I'll leave it until perhaps Hollyweird week but maybe even until the final 20 or whatever that number is.

In the meantime, let's do something fun and have another music round up. This one is inspired by a comment Troll left on my Flock of Seagulls post about a category he has on his MP3 player (or whatever it is Troll uses to play music because we know it ain't the iPod like NORMAL PEOPLE. Ah-hem.) called "Weird Songs."

Which got ME thinking about weird songs. Not necessarily novelty songs, but instead songs that are quirky and bizarre, which, in spite of their possible dissonance and incomprehensibility, make a compelling kind of sense to your ear. Songs that you may even be embarrassed to like, until of course, someone else tells you that they love them too! and then you don't feel like such an idiot, but, rather, kind of hip and tuned into it all.

Here, I'll throw down a few:

1. Mexican Radio, Wall of Voodoo: "No comprende, it's a riddle."
2. Bird Song, Lene Lovich: "Still I watch the sky, still I wonder why."
3. The Magnificent Seven, the Clash: "A.M. the FM, the P.M. too, churning out that boogaloo."
4. Settle Down, Kimbra: "We'll call her Nebraska, Nebraska Jones."
5. Oh Superman, Laurie Anderson: "Cause when love is gone, there is always justice."
6. Eat to the Beat, Blondie: "Oh, you got a sweet tooth and I remember, standing on the corner with a piece of pizza."
7. Never Say Never, Romeo Void: "I might like you better if we slept together."
8. Preacher Man, Dusty Springfield version (it's her restrained, blue-eyed-soul rendition of this song that makes it so bizarre): "Being good isn't always easy."
9. Peaches & Cream, Beck: "Give those pious soldiers another lollipop."
10. It's No Game, David Bowie: "Silhouettes and shadows watch the revolution." Bowie's apology for the Thin White Duke, accompanied by Robert Fripp and a bunch of incomprehensible screaming in Japanese. Perhaps the greatest song ever written.

Now it's your turn . . .

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Culinary Smackdown: BATTLE TOFU!

What choo talking 'bout Willis? Tofu? In a Culinary Smackdown? Well, yeah, if the last competition's winner was our resident vegetetamarian, vetetarist, um, blogger who doesn't eat meat. Except fish. She could have chosen fish. But she didn't. She chose tofu. And while that might get some people's panties in a twist, really, it's a rather genius choice. Because it's going to force some folks to scramble. (Heh. See what I did there? . . . Oh, never mind. If you, too, had spent the past two months trying to make industrial machinery sound sexy you would cut me a big fat literary break right here, right now.)

Anyway. Here's my entry:

Panko Fried Tofu Strips with Asparagus Pasta

Por le Tofu:
1 pkg extra firm tofu, pressed (or, do what I do, wrap the chunk o'fu in a couple layers of paper towel and set out for 30 minutes or so. The towels will soak up all the moisture and you'll have workable tofu, a la:)

1/2 cup all purpose white flour mixed with 2 T. cornstarch
1 large egg, preferably from a local chicken, beaten (the egg, not the chicken)
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs mixed with:
1 t. salt
1 t. lemon pepper
1 t. dried parsley
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried thyme
Peanut oil

Por le Pasta:
1 pound of angel hair pasta
1 bundle asparagus, lightly steamed al dente
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
2 T fresh basil, minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Por le Sauce:
1/4 cup basil pesto (if not homemade, try and find Buttoni)
1/4 cup heavy cream

Putting it all together:

In three separate plates, place the flour/corn starch mixture, the beaten egg, and the panko breadcrumb mixture.

Cut block of tofu into eight equal pieces: cut first in half width-wise, then cut each half in half again. Then, flip each quarter over once, and cut that in half.

In a medium-sized, high-sided saucepan over medium heat, pour in enough peanut oil to come one inch up the side. Heat until a bit of flour dropped into the oil immediately sizzles.

Dip each piece of tofu first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the panko mixture.

Then, using tongs, fry tofu slices in hot oil 3-4 minutes per side, until golden.

Set aside.

Cut steamed asparagus into thirds.

In a large saucepan, heat butter and oil over medium heat until hot. Add minced garlic and sauté for about a minute, careful not to burn. Add asparagus, chicken broth, and cream. Turn to low and cover.

In the meantime, boil pasta until al dente. Add to saucepan with asparagus cream sauce. Add minced parsley, basil, and grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and mix together.

Stir the pesto and cream together in a heat proof bowl and microwave on high for about a minute until hot and bubbling.

Cut each slice of tofu in half. Plate the pasta. Arrange two slices atop the pasta, then drizzle with the pesto sauce. Thusly:

Looks like fried chicken! But, tastes like tofu!

And with all that butter and cream and cheese, it's not like NOT having fried chicken is going to be doing any of your arteries any favors. BUT if you are a vegetarianist, at least you can enjoy all kinds of artery-hardening goodness without the meat!

To see who else is tossing their tongs into the ring for Battle Tofu, head on over to Miz Boxer's Place for all the details.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Haiku Monday: TREASURE

Amid second hand
shop dust, discards once beloved,
keen eye spots a find.

* * *

This week's Haiku Monday is being hosted by the fabulous Chickory, with a theme of Treasure. For the first time ever, judging will be by popular vote, whose winner will claim a fabulous price. Chickory will also pick her fave, and award that winner a handmade Valentine. Click here to check out all the rules.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Some Like it Hot

I suppose if one has to be this eyeballs deep in work, this stressed to the gills to extrude word after word after word out of the brain and onto the page, there isn't a better time in which to be so than the long, barren haul that is January, February, and March. In my mind's calendar, these months are colored a cheerful pink, deep burgundy, and blue-green respectively, yet they always "feel" sort of grey to me. Like ghost towns, months in which nothing much festive really happens. Okay, so there's Valentine's Day, but who really gets all that excited about President's Day (or whatever they're calling it now) except perhaps bankers, and does anyone who isn't a college student OR a drunk still celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

Around here, the first three months of the year are instead mostly about low temperatures, unpredictable dumps of snow, and work. Work for S.B., work for me. I'm thankful, you betcha. Not only do I enjoy my work, even when it's stressy, I am also not qualified to do anything else. Except maybe type. Which means I'd make a great executive secretary, but I'm not sure that's a job that even exists anymore. And I would have made a rockin' trust fund baby, had grand pop not gone and blown his entire fortune on shoes.

I suppose it's also appropriate that I find myself in the middle of another strange culinary craving jag. I do this every so often. I'll get stuck on a particular kind of bubble gum or vegetable (like the one summer where I couldn't eat anything that wasn't also accompanied in some way by avocados, although I know, I know, it's a fruit) or ice cream or legume. I'll go through long stretches of eating only peanut butter and honey sandwiches for breakfast or, when S.B. is traveling, the same pasta night after night (butter, garlic, minced tomatoes, a little sherry, and grated parmesan cheese).

Right now, I'm majorly addicted to hot sauce. Specifically, this one, which I first tasted thanks to Aunty sending me a bottle as part of a haiku win many months ago.

I've tasted a lot of hot sauces in my life and this one is just about the best. My favorite thing to do with it is mix it into ranch dressing and use as a dip for cut up veggies (when I'm really busy, it's an instant lunch—something I can eat at the computer and keep one hand free for typing). It also adds a great kick to steak sauce and just about any dish that benefits from a little heat.

So tell Moi, what are you craving lately?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Haiku Monday: NOCTURAL

Caught out at dusk? Duck!
Echolocating Pallids
pluck insects to death.

* * *

First-time winner and new blogger Scout from Preserving the South is hosting this week with the theme of Nocturnal. Drop on by, read a while, and post your own offering if one comes to mind.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Iran So Far Away

Is it just me, or are any of you Party People also spinning Flock of Seagulls' finest in your head whenever the news starts prattling on and on about Ahmadinjadabajab (or whatever the fork his name is, all I know is 1982 called and wants its Members Only jackets back) and his single-mindedly Islamatarded determination to make even more trouble in an area of the world on which we are dependent for our chi-chi-la-la lifestyles never mind the fact that its denizens are so assbackwards that New Guinea pygmies look like latte-swilling urbanites by comparison?


How about now:

Monday, January 2, 2012


Winter garden sealed
in sleep until spring’s surprise.
What comes, birth or death?

* * *

He/she could be yours
if only you were . . . Chop, chop!
True love’s labor costs.

* * *

Aunty's hosting the first Haiku Monday of the New Year!
Head on over for the theme of New Beginnings.