Monthly Archives: December 2011

Butter me up, Ina! I’ve got a yen for chocolate cake.

“Psst, your collar. Your collar is UP.” (courtesy Food Network)

People swear by the Barefoot Contessa, but I don’t agree. It’s not just that her bangs bug me, though they most certainly do, or even that I get so preoccupied with the desire to flip her collar back down where it belongs that I can’t focus on the food. What really gets up my nose is the not-so-subtle nagging quality to Ina’s recipes: use extra large eggs, finest quality chocolate, freshly brewed hot coffee. I mean really – once a cup of coffee has been baked into a cake, who could possibly tell the difference between a freshly brewed cup and one that’s been sitting around on the counter for an hour? I’ll tell you who. Nobody.

Then there are the oven temps where the Fahrenheit is always indicated, as in “350 degrees F.” Now there’s an important safety tip, Egon. You don’t want to take a chance that people will think they should set their ovens to 350 Celsius, which if memory serves is approximately the surface temperature of Mercury. But of course, our Contessa spends so much time on the Continent that one understands her need to clarify.

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It’s amateur night. Take ‘er easy folks.

I like to have a martini,

Two at the very most.

After three I’m under the table,

after four I’m under my host.

~Dorothy Parker

“Another drink, another binge, another bender, another spree.”

A little quinoa salad to help straighten you out on New Year’s Day.

Depending on the level of debauchery you achieve in the wee hours of the New Year, your first thought upon waking might well be, “I am never going to drink again,” not that I’d know much about that. But let’s be honest, if surviving a bender was a reliable cure for a tendency to overindulge, we’d all be sober as judges come January 2, and we’d stay that way for a good long time, or at least until St. Paddy’s Day.

Regrettably, such is generally not the case. Still, in the agonizing hours or days that follow a walk on the wild side, sustenance must be had. And though it’s entirely likely that the thought of eating lacks a certain appeal when you first wake up, once the vomiting subsides and the hallucinations fade, you will need to put something in your stomach. I find that the crashing hangover responds best to a combination of sugar and stodge, and for me French toast fits the bill. But as the day wears on, healthier foods are called for, and I’ve got just the thing: quinoa salad. I often make up a batch on the 31st, just to have it at the ready, and because experience has shown that it’s generally not advisable to wield sharp knives until at least January second.

I adapted this from Jamie Oliver’s recipe for couscous salad in “The Naked Chef.” The quinoa has a little more flavor, fiber and nutritional value than regular couscous, though you can substitute couscous if you prefer.

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Hey Hey Paula, I wanna move next door to you

What is it about Paula Deen? Is it the accent? The hair? The butteranoerl? Maybe it’s the openly unhinged-ness of it all. Witness:

Apparently it’s all the romantical gnawing and the bone sucking.

But then there’s this, girlfriend:

I love her. After about teeyen minits ah staht talkin’ lahk thayat. Reeeel slow lahk.

No kidding, I could watch this stuff for days.  I defy you to stop once you get started. Just make sure you trash the Krispy Kremes and deep six the bacon before you open the vein and jack into the matrix, folks.

Can we get that goddamned thing out of here now?

Next to the presidency, detrimming a tree has to be the loneliest job in the world. It has fallen to women for centuries and is considered a skill only they can do, like replacing the roll on the toilet tissue spindle, painting baseboards, holding a wet washcloth for a child who is throwing up or taking out a splinter with a needle.

~Erma Bombeck

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