Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How Not to Sell Vibrators

A few days ago, I received a Carol Wright Gifts catalog in the mail.  If you’re not familiar with them, they are one of the many Random Occasionally Useful Crap companies that sell everything from dog shoes to paisley-framed reading glasses to novelty kitchen gadgets.  And I admit that, when I receive these publications, I flip through them before placing them in the recycle bin because once in a great while there is something that actually interests me.

In this case, it was Fleece-Lined Leggings.  I’m very sad that I can’t in good conscience order those.  Because they sound super comfy and ideal for working-at-home winter days.  But I will not give Carol Wright a dime of my money until they change one very important thing.

The leggings were on the first page of this seemingly innocuous gift catalog and, encouraged, I continued flipping pages.  The Removable Instant Eyebrows on page 7 were definitely pause-worthy.  But it was pages 20 & 21 that made me stop dead in my flipping tracks.

For there, photographed in all their intricately-detailed plastic glory, were two pages of what Carol Wright euphemistically refers to as “marital aids”.  Further along, pages 44 & 45 showed more of the same.

Four pages of sex toys.  In the Carol Wright catalog.  Most of which are, for some reason, really obnoxious shades of purple.  Shades of purple I wouldn’t buy underwear in even knowing it would remain safely outside my bits.  But I digress.

I am not the first person to question this.  A bit of Internet pokearounding revealed comments & complaints dating back to 2009, many on Mom-centric forums to warn people that the Carol Wright catalog is something you shouldn’t let your kids get hold of.  On the Carol Wright Facebook page, there are complaints from two different people dating back to June 2013, stating quite emphatically that having sex toys in mass-mailed catalogs is simply not okay.

Carol Wright’s reply to these comments was instructions on how to remove yourself from their mailing list.  Other commenters stated that people need to calm down and not be so easily offended, and if you don’t want your kids looking at this stuff, put the catalog where they can’t see it.

Here is the problem with both of those responses: There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on the cover of the Carol Wright catalog that indicates IN ANY WAY that there is Adult Only content to be found therein.

So how do you know, until your 8-year-old wanders into the kitchen while you’re fixing macaroni & cheese and asks if she can have the bright pink plastic toy with the little balloons on the end because it would make a cool slide for her Barbie playground, that you need to keep this catalog out of reach of your children?

You don’t.  Until it is, clearly, too late.

I don’t have any problem with these products.  Well, okay, I have a problem with some really questionable color choices, but that’s another topic for another time.  The products themselves do not bother me.  I don’t even have a problem with Carol Wright selling them.  There are a lot of people who might want to buy them without having to go through a more traditional source for such items, and if adding the UltraPleasureVibe 2000 to your order of accent curtains and slipper socks makes you feel less guilty/pervy/sinful/whatever than placing an order at hawtsextoysnshit.com would, I can respect that and you should have that option.

But there has to be disclosure.  There has to be an Adult Content Advisory ON THE COVER of the catalog, so you know as soon as you take it out of your mailbox that it needs to be put on a higher shelf than the rest of the junk mail.  And on the Carol Wright website, you should have to stop and answer whether or not you’re 18+ before clicking through to these products.

Movies have ratings so you don’t inadvertently take your kids to see things you don’t want them watching.  Music is required to have the same type of disclosure right on the label.  It is utterly ridiculous that catalogs and mail order sites are not legally required to do the same when they carry products that are quite clearly intended for adults only.

So, Carol Wright, if you’re reading this, you know why I’m not ordering the fleece-lined leggings from you, even if you do claim they’re “hard-to-find” and you might be my only shot at owning them.  Unless I can somehow miraculously find my way to Amazon, Target, NoMoreRack, zappos, eBay, or Bed Bath & Beyond dot coms.  But the minute I see one of these on the cover of your catalogs


I’ll be back for those Instant Eyebrows.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stop Lying to Yourselves

The fabulous George Takei this morning posted this photo on his Facebook page


words of advice I have been hearing for about 30 years, but funny nonetheless.  And while I didn’t have time to read all of the 276798364 comments that his posts routinely receive because he is all the awesome, the ones I did read were unanimously in agreement with the sentiment.

However, I submit to you the following:

You are sitting outside on a beautiful summer morning, eating waffles.  Along comes a unicorn.  It stops at your table to say hello.  You get to talking, and it is every bit as magical as legend made it out to be.  You finish your waffles.  It says “Hey, let’s go to the park!”  You have nothing else to do on this beautiful summer morning, so you go to the park with your new unicorn friend.  It says “Hey, let’s play leapfrog!”  And what do you do?

You play the leapfrog.  Because it’s a goddamn unicorn.  Seriously.  You’re at the park with a goddamn unicorn, and it wants to play leapfrog, and you’re going to do it.  Because, as previously stated,

IT’S A GODDAMN UNICORN.

Everyone stops at the “my ass flying over pointy object high risk situation to be avoided at all costs” aspect of the scenario, and no one considers the reality of the situation, which is that you just met a goddamn unicorn.

Be honest with yourselves.  You know you would play the leapfrog.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A scribble about death

Poets in their twenties
write a lot about death
because
in your twenties
it’s just a cool thing
you’re going to do
someday
later
and when later is at your door
it will be okay
because death
is that thing you owned
a long time ago
when you made it ink
and made it yours
in so many clever ways
in so many coffee shops
under your black trench coat
through the flat lenses
of your black-framed Buddy Holly glasses
(because Buddy Holly is dead see how
it all comes around)
on napkins
in notebooks
filling the air with all its best words
the big ones
the loudly silent ones
(which totally means a thing when you’re talking about death)
the ones that would glitter if
glitter wasn’t
you know
so glittery
(darkly glittery
without all the sparkle)
wrapping yourself in
layers of its distant
oh so distant
inevitability.

Death.
Fuck yeah.
(someday)

Those same
poets in their forties
only hope
that when later is at their door
the unfinished laundry
will already be in the dryer
rather than mildewing and
smelling up the house
most of the dishes will be done
(all is too much to ask)
someone will take the dog

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Tits Aren’t Your Husband’s Problem

A few days ago, this article showed up in a Facebook friend’s newsfeed.


Go ahead and give it a read, we’ll wait.

...

Back?  Okay then.  We’ll begin at the beginning, and go on ‘til we come to the end, then stop.

First off, “I can’t believe I used the word boobs in the title of this post”?  Yes, you can.  You can believe it quite easily and completely because it was a deliberate attempt to drive traffic to your blog.  I know this because it’s the same reason I used the word “tits” in the title of my blog post.  The Internet has scienced this thoroughly and concluded that posts with titles that contain any alternate word for “breasts” receive approximately 317% more views than all other posts.  You know that as well as I do, so please stop dissimulating like a nine-year-old who just dropped her first f-bomb on the playground.  We don’t write blog posts so no one will read them.  Own your words.  Oh, and FYI, “boobs” in that context belongs in quotes, not italics.

Second, stretch khakis should not be a sin.  I don’t know about your ass, but mine is pretty big.  I need stretch pants.  They are the only pants that fit me properly and still allow me to move.  And “hot” never needs to be spelled with a double T.  In any context.  Ever.

But enough with the nitpickery, and on to the real topic at hand.

Your first concern is whether or not your husband is looking at the bodies of other women.  Well, allow me to put that concern to rest for good and all by assuring you that yes, he absolutely is.

Your next concern is whether or not he is sometimes comparing you to these other women, and I can give you the same assurance.  Yes, he absolutely is.

Now, before anyone goes too far down the “holy shitstacks what a heartless twat throwing this woman’s insecurities back in her face like that I’m not reading any more of this cruel fuckery” path, please read just a bit more to see if I can’t redeem myself by letting you in on a little secret.

You know who else is looking at other women, and even occasionally comparing his life partner to them?  Brad Pitt.

Yes.  Not even Angelina Jolie, arguably one of the most beautiful creatures the universe has ever seen fit to create, is an exception to this very simple rule.  The rule is, everybody looks.  Which, by the way, also means that Brad Pitt isn’t an exception either, because Angelina Jolie is looking too.

Everybody looks.  So when you make statements like “my husband was in solitary confinement from social media for two days to protect his eyes and heart” what you’re really saying is “my husband took drastic action in the hope of making me believe something completely unrealistic, which is that he would never ever as long as we both shall live ever look at another woman with anything even vaguely resembling a lustful thought in his head”.  Which is, in a word, bullshit.

You say you’re “fighting for your marriage”.  May I suggest, as one human being to another, that you fight for a marriage built on realism and truth rather than escapist techniques and impossibilities?

My guy and I have been together for going on seven years now.  He looks at photographs of beautiful women all the time.  Of course, part of that is because he’s a photographer, but while he could just as easily pick up lighting ideas and various other stylistic whatnotteries from photos of things other than beautiful women, most of the time he doesn’t.  Because in addition to being a photographer, he’s a guy who likes looking at beautiful women.

Women who are a lot younger than my 44 years.  Women who are a lot more boobacious than my B cup.  Women who are a lot taller than my 5’ 3”, and a lot blonder and a lot less asstastic and and and and and.  I could go on for a day and a half about all the things I’m not and still not finish the list.  But what I am is the woman he comes home to every day, and falls asleep next to every night.

And would I be surprised if someone told me he was cheating?  No.

I would be shocked.  And demand proof of his supposed crimes against our relationship.  And if you showed me a picture of him shirtless on a bed with a naked woman, and he said “oh yeah, that was a light check, the stand-in flaked” I would accept that without question.  You show me photographic evidence of actual intromission, and I will have questions.  Until then, I trust two things; he’s going to look, and he’s not going to act.

And so am I.

And that is how things work in the real world.

Your husband is going to look at other women, he is sometimes going to compare you to other women, and he is sometimes even going to think about other women while he’s having sex with you.  That’s just how it is.  The difference between a healthy relationship and one that you should probably get the hell out of immediately is that he is occasionally thinking about other women while he’s with you, rather than occasionally thinking about you while he’s with other women.

And you’re going to do the same.  I already know that you, as someone who feigned shock at her own use of the word “boobs” in a post title, will deny this up to and with your dying breath, but you’re not fooling anyone.  But you know what?  Fooling other people isn’t anything you should be worried about.  Fooling yourself, on the other hand, that’s where you start to have a problem.


Oh, and please don’t call me “love” unless you actually know me, or you’re from somewhere in the UK and have the accent to back it up.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Domestic Sluttery: Improv Apricot & I’m-Going-To-Hell Tagine

Among myriad other things I am well aware I should and should not do, I have a terrible horrible no good very bad habit of using pork in recipes that really should not include pork.  I could say it’s not really my fault that the flavor profiles of a lot of these recipes lend themselves spectacularly well to the inclusion of pork.  I could say that Costco tempts me mercilessly with their high-quality low-priced bulk trays of country-style ribs* which freeze beautifully and are an absolute treasure in slow-cooked dishes.  I could say a lot of things.  All of which are to say, yeah, pretty sure I’m going to hell.

Having accepted this eventual doom and the freedom to be found therein, I decided to make Domestic Sluttery’s Slow Cooked Chicken & Apricot Tagine with a couple of big chunks of pork shoulder.


The sweet spicy rich delectable damnation that followed is well worth any pesky eternal hellfire, I assure you.

I made a ton of changes to this recipe, starting with not using my slow cooker** and opting for a stovetop preparation, which worked quite well and had the added benefit of making the whole house smell a lot more delicious than it would have had all this yum been relegated to the sealed confines of a crock pot.

I didn’t have any squash handy (hurry UP already, garden) so I increased the pepper from one red to a whole bunch, i.e. all that were left in the bag from the previous week’s Costco excursion because it was Friday and that’s what I do on Fridays.


I also didn’t have celery, which I don’t keep in the house because I have a mild sensitivity to it, so I substituted celery salt for regular, and the harrisa paste was swapped for half a teaspoon of crushed red pepper in canola oil.

I left my dried apricots whole because I love big chunky stews, and in lieu of the sliced almonds the original recipe suggested be sprinkled over the finished dish at serving, I threw in a cup of whole almonds.  They cooked down to just soft enough to not be annoying but still crunchy enough to add textural wow.

All of this was put in a stew pot, with an extra tomato-canful of water to compensate for stovetop vs. crock pot cooking, and left to become magical.



Which it did.


I intended to make chapati to go with this*** but ever since my excursion at the beginning of the week into the wonderful realm of cooking spaghetti in wine, I have been haunted by the question, “What other starches can I cook in what other alcohol?”  The answer that came to me was, “I can cook brown rice in brandy”.



And by “can” I mean “should”.

And by “I” I mean “everyone”.

I started small since I had no real idea how this would work, just a few tablespoons of brandy in the cooking water with a good dash of salt.  The result was the rice having a nice little bite to it, which was needed to balance the richness of all the pork and apricots and almonds.  Next time, there will be more brandy.****

Unlike the labels of most packaged foods which seem to be written by people who have never actually eaten, this recipe is not kidding when it says it serves 4.  Which comes in really handy on Sunday night, when a weekend of manual labor started at 7:00 on Saturday morning and you barely had the mental acuity necessary to order a pizza online Saturday night and knew you couldn’t get away with that two nights in a row but by the time another dinner was required you would happily have just thrown yourself to a pack of rabid wolves rather than have to figure out and prepare another meal, just throw the leftovers in the microwave and slice some bread to go with it.  Super delish and requiring no significant brain power.









*Which actually aren’t ribs at all, unless they’re farming some bizarre mutant pigs with really oddly-shaped rib cages that finish in their shoulders, which I doubt.  Or which could explain the consistently low prices.  I think I’m going to not think about that anymore now, just in case.

**I was going to use my slow cooker.  But it’s been so long that when I took it out of the cupboard and tried to remember how to take it apart to wash it, I… couldn’t.  It’s either fused permanently as revenge for my neglect, or I’m dumb.  We’ll call that another thing I’m not going to think about anymore now.

***Chapati is my new favorite thing.  It’s naan for people who are too lazy to make naan.  Things for people who are too lazy to make other things very often become my favorite things.

****If this makes no sense to you, I am now sad for your childhood.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Domestic Sluttery: Improv Creamy Seafood Curry

Shortly after my 40th birthday, shrimp got together and decided to exact their revenge for my lifelong love of Sizzler All-I-Could-Eat sprees by making it so that if I ever ate another one of them, I would die a fairly quick but nonetheless quite uncomfortable death.

It’s okay, shrimp.  I forgive you.  If somebody ate a few thousand of my cousins, I’d probably go a little Carrie on their ass, too.

Now my go-to seafood is tilapia, which is inexpensive, not destroying the planet, and worked really nicely when recreating Domestic Sluttery’s Creamy Seafood Curry.


This was actually the first recipe I grabbed when I decided to do this weeklong tribute to DS, for a number of reasons.  I love curries.  I love seafood.  I love recipes that call for an entire can of coconut milk and half the contents of my spice rack.


And for bonus points, I had a bunch of rainbow chard in the garden that really needed to be harvested and consumed ASAP, so this dish was pretty much perfect on every possible level*

First year growing chard,
happy times :)

I actually had most of the exact ingredients this recipe called for, so my improv was slight.  The only things I had to alter were ground mustard in place of the mustard seeds, and chili paste in place of the chopped chilies**.

Stages of Awesome

This dish is seriously fantastic, the keys to which are the coconut milk and spices with the rest being open to pretty fluid interpretation, so in the future I will be making versions of it that include:

1- Tofu in place of the fish
2- Courgettes***
3- Salmon
4- More spinach
5- All the spinach
6- The use of a larger pan****

On the menu tonight: Apricot & I’m-Going-To-Hell Tagine  







*However, DS, you should know that I take ingredient listings like “all the tasty veg you fancy” as a personal challenge.  Do not tell me all the veg.  You will get all the veg.

ALL THE VEG

**A lot of chili paste.  What some might call inordinate amounts of chili paste.  Again, DS, “add more chili if you fancy it” will be taken as a personal challenge around here.

***Now that I know what the shit they are, and when the ones in my garden are ready to be harvested

****The recipe says it will serve 2 very hungry Christmas mourners with some lunch leftovers.  In our house, it served 2 very hungry Stanley Cup Playoff mourners with some sauce left in the bottom of the pan.  But even The Big Pan wasn’t quite big enough.  Or maybe I was just uncoordinated in my sorrow and not stirring things as neatly as I could have.  Either way, I’ll use a bigger pan next time.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Domestic Sluttery: Improv Breton Chicken

Before I even start talking about food, let me just say my boys were knocked out of the playoffs last night so I’m not in the best of moods right now.

However, the food was good even if the hockey was not* so I’ll try to keep my focus on that.

After two days of fairly big heavy meals, I wanted something at least a bit lighter, and after the temperature decided to take a 20 degree jump between Tuesday and Wednesday, I definitely needed to incorporate as much cold as possible.  But I also really really really wanted to try Domestic Sluttery’s Breton Chicken recipe.


In cooler times, I will revert to my 70’s roots and use it as the basis for a biscuit-topped casserole** but when the temperature is still pushing 100 at 6 o’clock, other measures are called for.

Those measures were not cooking anything other than the chicken, and consuming a lot of very cold wine along with it.  Fat Louis White***, to be exact, in keeping with the whole geographic theme of the meal.  They put the Eiffel Tower right on the label, so you know it’s the real deal.

I wish I could have photographed this smell,
it was basically all the joy of all the lands

I only made minor alterations to this recipe, replacing the pancetta with turkey bacon****, using dried shallots in place of the leek I didn’t have in the house, and using almond milk in place of dairy, which I do in just about everything.

My poor tarragon is not doing well this season :(
but we got through one more meal together

I also may have made another alteration, I’m not sure.  The recipe calls for “English mustard pepper”.  I have no idea if that’s a specific thing, since Google failed me this time*****, or if “pepper” was supposed to be listed separately, or what.  So in context, I decided to go with my old standby of French’s, which is my secret weapon in mac & cheese and had the added benefit of totally furthering our geographic meal consistency.  I like cheap sharp mustard in cooking because it’s ballsier than its higher-quality counterparts, particularly in rich heavy dishes like this one promised to be, and it also balances the slight sweetness that stems from using almond milk in the place of dairy, which is almost always a companion ingredient.  And it worked really well here.

The Dynamic Duo

The Domestic Sluttery serving suggestions for this dish are over rice, with bread, or in a pie.  I will do all of those things in the future, I assure you.  For last night, I stuck with just the bread suggestion, sourdough sliced thin, with tomatoes also sliced thin and lightly salted, some fresh spinach, and a lot of grapes, creating a grab-dunk-wrap picnic-y sort of meal.

As delicious as this chicken is on a slice of bread, it is a whole other sort of amazing when you put a blob of it on a slice of tomato and cram the whole thing in your face.  With the added benefit of limiting the amount of time your neighbors have to spend listening to you yelling at the refs as they hand the series to L.A.******

But I digress.

On the menu tonight: Creamy Seafood Curry







*I blame Darryl Sutter’s evil yellow tie.  I like the guy, but that tie seriously needs to inadvertently on purpose die in a fire forever.

**Anything we didn’t top with biscuits, we put in Jell-O molds.  The 70’s were as fantastic for great bad food as the 80’s were for great bad music.

***Another of my recent Big Lots finds at $7 a bottle

****It’s a pretty sure bet at this point that if any recipe ever calls for pancetta, I will be using turkey bacon.

*****But thanks again for the “courgette” thing, because that was really bugging me


******

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Domestic Sluttery: Improv Bang Bang Chicken of the Sea

As mentioned in the DSIW intro post, I go to Costco once a week.  That trip is made on Sunday mornings, with my mom, and we have a wonderful mother-daughter bonding time involving the ogling of many baked goods*, the use of much profanity, and the reinforcement of our shared opinion that Californians seriously do not know how the fuck to drive**.

I am all about buying meat and fish in bulk then freezing it in single-meal portions; it’s cheaper, it cuts down on the number of times I have to go to the store, it reduces the amount of packaging involved in my meat & fish consumption, it’s just a win-win-win.  Win.  I’m not even sure how many.  There’s a lot of win involved.

And while that works perfectly well for a lot of things, it does not work for tuna, so when I buy a piece of tuna at Costco on Sunday, it goes in the fridge and is eaten no later than Tuesday.  Buying tuna at Costco is a hit & miss prospect, not because of quality (that’s consistently good) but because of quantity.  I don’t know if the butchers are still drunk from Saturday night when they parcel it out or if some of the tunas fight back harder than others or what, but more often than not, my choices for tuna-buying are an 88 lb slab or a scrap barely sufficient to feed a colicky toddler who doesn’t particularly care for tuna even on a good day.

So when I find a piece the proper size for two adults, I grab it***.  And eat it within 48 hours.  Which is why I decided to try Domestic Sluttery’s Bang Bang Chicken recipe with tuna.  And holy wow am I ever glad I did, because it was awesome.


I made far more alterations to this recipe than just swapping out the protein, but the end result stayed pretty true to the spirit of the original, in that it was rich & peanutty & spicy & again made it far too easy for us to eat twice as much as we should have.

First off, since tuna cooks far more quickly than chicken, I decided to combine all of the poaching liquid ingredients beforehand and let the tuna marinate in it for a couple of hours, to make sure it really soaked up all the yum.  The changes I made there were using jarred chopped ginger and lemongrass, since that’s what I keep handy, and throwing in a teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice because I don’t have star anise in the spice rack right now (which I totally thought I did, but if I do, I can’t find it).  Oh, I also used minced garlic from the 3 lb jar that is in my fridge at all times.  I use far too much garlic on a weekly basis to want to mess with chopping it fresh every day.


“But what is that I see?”, you are asking yourselves right about now, “you neglected to add a small piece of tuna to the marinade!”

No, I did not neglect.  When tuna is cooked in this house, a small piece of it is cooked sans seasoning for the third resident of our household

Lady Byng, Spoiled Rotten Little Shit Extraordinaire

who is a thoroughly spoiled rotten little shit, and is also the only canine I’ve ever met who likes fish even more than she likes bacon.  Watching the eye-popping backflip-turning hyperventilating happiness that ensues is well worth the small amount of extra work.

But on with the people food.

I did not have rice noodles in the house, so I made black rice instead, which I love and which for some reason we haven’t had for a while so it was about time.  If you’ve never tried it, find it.  It’s amazing, and lends itself really beautifully to nutty dishes like this.


For the accompanying veggies, I did not have bean sprouts, sugar snap peas (dozens of blossoms in the garden that will be ready in a matter of weeks, but that didn’t do much good last night) or spring onions, so I used green beans, a bunch of garlic chives that really needed to be harvested, and threw in a bunch of extra peppers with the carrots that the recipe calla for.


After cooking the tuna and straining the poaching liquid, I gave the veggies a quick swim in it, just enough to heat them through and let them pick up some of the flavor but still keeping them crunchy.

For the sauce, I substituted a heaping tablespoon of chili paste for the chopped red chiles, a sprinkle of dried coriander for the fresh that I didn’t have, and an extra splash of rice vinegar to bump up the acidity since I didn’t have limes handy.

The recipe calls simply for “crunchy peanut butter”.  I don’t know what peanut butter is like in the U.K. but I will tell you this; using natural peanut butter is, to me, an absolute must here.  Using the brand name stuff that works so well in sandwiches and cookies will not work as well here, so check the label.  If the second and third ingredients in your peanut butter are sugar and corn syrup solids, consider picking up a jar of something that contains nothing but peanuts, oil, and salt to keep on hand for your savory peanut butter dish needs.

And once you’d tried this, you will have those needs.  Oh yes.  You will need.

On the menu tonight: Breton Chicken






*Seven.  Pound.  Chocolate.  Layer.  Cake.

**With bonus points for not knowing how the fuck to maneuver a shopping cart.

***Even if it does bear a slightly disturbing resemblance to Oklahoma, a place not exactly renowned for its saltwater fish


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Domestic Sluttery: Improv Drunken Spaghetti with Baked Avocado

People who do not live in California tend to associate the state with movie stars, beaches, and Disneyland.  And while it’s true that we have those things, natives like me have other associations with our beloved home state, many of which are tied to agriculture.

FUN FACT FROM FWIKIPEDIA*
On less than 1% of the total farmland in the United States, the California Central Valley produces 8% of the nation's agricultural output by value

So, you know, we’re pretty cool like that.

For today’s blogscursion, we focus on two specifics of California agriculture; we produce 90% of the nation’s avocado crop, and are the fourth largest wine-producing region in the world.**

Avocados & wine are part of my dinner routine 4 to 5 days a week, usually in salads and glasses respectively.  But it’s always fun to take old favorites and render them almost completely unrecognizable, which is why I chose to open Domestic Sluttery Improv Week with a Cali twofer, combining interpretations of their Drunken Spaghetti and Mediterranean Baked Avocado.


Holy mother of tits you will never want to do anything as plebian as cook pasta in water again as long as you both shall live.  You and the pasta, that is.  I won’t presume to make sweeping declarations about any of your other relationships.  But your commitment to starch and alcohol just took itself to the next level whether you think you’re ready or not.

The recipe calls for a bottle of red that is cheap but drinkable, the finding of which is something I excel at quite mightily.  You may recall from the DSIW intro post a mention that I buy much wine at Big Lots.  Outlet store wine is hit & miss, but more often than you might think, a lot of really good bottles wind up there simply because a lot of really good wine makers get hung up on the “I am an artiste” aspect of their chosen profession and don’t have the sense to assemble decent marketing departments.***  My latest find, at $4 a bottle, is TanTerra.  They have two varieties, but the Cab is better than the Syrah, so I used the Syrah to cook my pasta.

Cheap, drinkable, AND sustainably-grown.  WIN.
The end result was the pasta having a slightly acidic edge to it, which balanced the richness of the rest of the dish beautifully and made it really easy for us to eat twice as much as we should have.

The changes I made to the DS Drunken Spaghetti recipe were omitting the butter and increasing the olive oil to compensate, substituting Asiago for the Parmesan, using turkey bacon in place of the pancetta, and adding a bit of anchovy paste to put back some of the richness lost by leaving out the butter while still keeping some of the fat/calorie reduction benefits.  Oh, and I used curly leaf parsley instead of flat leaf, because that’s what I grow.


Their Mediterranean Baked Avocado recipe is meant to stand alone as a starter or small entrée, but since I was incorporating it as the protein in a pasta dish, I kept it very simple, just rolling the avocado halves in the olive oil mixture (after it was cooked but before adding the wine) and topping them with some of the cheese before baking them.


Next time, I’ll either use the broiler or break out the torch to brown the cheese a bit, but overall I was extremely happy with the flavor and texture.

In summary:  I cooked an entire pound of pasta for 2 people.  There is one very small dish of leftovers currently in the fridge.  ‘Nuff said.

Happy Pasta Spoon was happy, too.

On the menu tonight: Bang Bang Chicken of the Sea




*I was going to spell it right, but that would have altered an awesome alliterative apportunity

**Which may or may not hearken back to the Californians-seriously-not-knowing-how-the-fuck-to-drive bit mentioned in the previous post.  I’m not sure learning the truth would make me feel better or worse, so I’ll just leave that alone.

***A lot of bottles that are nothing more than a tragic waste of grapes, glass, and cork also wind up there.  It’s a gamble.  When in doubt, look for labels that show addresses in Napa or Sonoma proper.  It’s still a gamble, but that puts the odds slightly more in your favor.  You also run the risk of running into people in outlet store wine aisles who are genuinely not aware that Bordeaux is a place.  Trying to explain this to them is not worth your time.  Just walk away.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Domestic Sluttery Improv Week

As some of you may know, I recently stopped smoking, after a year and a half of smoking, after four years of not smoking, after a very long time of smoking.  The combined effect of no longer flooding my system with appetite suppressants and needing to keep my hands busy has resulted in a lot of really good food flying around my house lately.

Now, I’ve been playing in the kitchen since I was tall enough to reach the stove* and am no stranger to cranking out properly cooked and well-seasoned food, but even I’ve been impressed with me this past few weeks.  I have been stretching, boys and girls, stretching like the first bite of a chile relleno, like the innards of a just-cut grilled cheese, like homemade mozzarella I will be making week after next**.

Why wait, you ask?  Because next week I am dedicating to paying proper tribute to a blog I’ve been following for a while now but have not taken the time to truly appreciate hands-on, Domestic Sluttery.

We’ve all found blogs that immediately make us go “ooooOOOOoooh…” with all their pretty and awesome and delicious, and subsequently make us go “mmmmmm” and “zomfg” and “I SERIOUSLY FUCKING NEED THAT IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW” with every new visit, but how often to we take the time to act on those base and usually not entirely healthy urges?  Not often enough, people.  Not nearly often enough.  So next week, the household menu planning will revolve around interpretations of recipes found on that blog.

Even if they are based in the U.K. and insist on using an utterly ridiculous system of measurement based solely on increments of ten, when we have a perfectly good one of fours, fives and twelves that anyone who was raised with it can easily make perfect sense of.  And even if they do insist on calling cans “tins”, when everyone knows cans aren’t even made of tin anymore.  That would be like us calling glass jars “cans” just because the process of sealing things in glass jars is called “canning”.  Pffft.

And thank you, Google, because without you I seriously had no clue what the shit a “courgette” was.***

However, I must admit to finding the phrase “on an offer”**** far more endearing than it has any right to be.  Don’t ask.  I don’t know.  It just makes me happy every time I read it.

But I digress.

Your next question after “why the hell are you waiting to make mozzarella?!” is very likely “why will you be interpreting the recipes on the blog rather than following them exactly?”  And the short answer is, because I am an old hippie at heart and people in California do not know how the fuck to drive.  Which probably requires some elaboration to make even a modicum of sense, so here you have it:

I am not one of those people who will make a special trip to get a single ingredient to make a specific dish.  I go to Costco once a week primarily for meat, produce, and bulk dry goods like flour & rice.  I go to Big Lots once a month, mostly for a lot of wine but also for canned and smaller dry goods.  I make a special trip to Cost Plus 2 or 3 times a year to stock up on spices, vinegars, more esoteric pantry items.  And that is it.  I choose to not worsen my carbon footprint by willynillying around on a daily basis for teaspoons of things.  And I limit as much as possible the amount of time I have to spend on the road with my fellow Californians, who, I believe I have previously mentioned, seriously do not know how the fuck to drive, consequently also limiting the likelihood that I will wind up on trial for their mysterious deaths should my numerous assertions throughout the years that I am quite capable of planning the perfect murder***** prove sadly untrue.

So I will be following the recipes pretty closely, but making adjustments as I go based on 1- what I have in the house, 2- the fact that I cook for someone who has a history of picky eating that I have only mostly managed to obliterate, and 3- my fundamental what-the-hell-everishness when it comes to actually “following” recipes.

I will be posting the results of my folly here, with links to the original recipes, notes on what changes I made, and, of course, pictures.  Feel free to tell me to stop at any time.  I won’t, of course, but the feedback makes me feel loved.







*shut up, Paul
**dear god I love cheese
***for those of us in English-speaking countries, it’s a zucchini
****it means “on sale” but it just sounds so civilized and non-inclusive of mall brawls
*****digitalis and coffee filters, just sayin’