Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy New Birthday Barack

Why not, Why not watch one of the most important events in my lifetime. Why not cozy up on the couch with the dog, and listen to her fart and snore, and watch this amazing spectacle.

I must admit, I am not that surprised how horrible of a Singer Shakira is. What made me stop in my tracks while watching the inaugural performances, is how amazingly GOOD U2 is - after all these years. I mean, these four dudes from Dublin are freakin' talent - perhaps in their fifties, they got the mojo of rascals in their 20s.

Now, I am a bit tongue-tied, as they bring a real, yes, REAL American eagle on stage. I just don't get that. I hope he takes a big dump. He didn't, but my consolation was watching him try to get the hell out of there and by doing so, give the handler a massive comb-over. Nice.

All humor aside, I am inspired. I am inspired by the numbers of attendees, by the inspiration of others, and by this one man. So many people have been moved by this single man, like no one I have seen in my lifetime. On top of that, I hope it does so much to quash the stereotypes that many have, and bring us together, and keep our cynicism for more important things... like, comb-overs and Shakira.

Monday, January 5, 2009

What's All the Hubbub, Bub?

The most expensive bottle of liquor I have purchased, by far; I thought I would see what the big deal was on tequila. Well, other than a good margarita, of course.

Although this was excellent, I wouldn't mind trying the "cheaper" version. I liked the earthy agave and oaky flavors, but would also like to try the clean less flavorful "silver." The truth of the matter is no matter how good hard alcohol is, I just can't force myself to say that I love the post-swallow burning. Don't get me wrong... this is smooth, nay, smoother than any alcohol I have tasted, but after it goes down, the esophagus does burn as you would expect swallowing alcohol would have it. My opinion is that the lack of initial burn allows you to enjoy the flavor a bit, but I still don't think I will get the hang of savoring neat tequila as a hobby. (So much for being a devout alcoholic.)

I do think I will use the rest of this for some killer margaritas (RIP Three Degos) and maybe shooters after the champagne runs out, if not to just to pull out and impress the stray guest who truly loves the stuff.

Next - back from our trip back from Whistler (or maybe a bottle on the way) will be some of that AMA-zing maple-flavored whiskey, which I can (and have) nursed lovingly by a roaring fire.... Mmmmm... Don't give up on the party-er in me just yet.

Oh wait... to be very candid, what I preferred most about this $60+ bottle of tequila, was the hand-blown and numbered bottled, neatly hand-wrapped wrapped in ribbon and bright yellow tissue, and little bee graphic. I am such an aesthetic-slut.

Good Hearty Winter (Vegan) Lentil Soup

This is one of those things that I make in which I never measure any of the ingredients, and it is always a stellar meal regardless.

I dice everything small before starting.

onion, about 1/2 large
carrots, about 2 very large carrots
celery, 4-5 stalks
oilive oil, 2-3 Tbs
red lentils, about 1 heaping cup, picked through and rinsed
kosher salt, about 1 Tbs, or to taste
cumin, ground, about 1 Tbs
garlic, granulated about 2 tsp, or 1 large fresh crushed clove
water, tap-hot, about 3.5 cups
vegetable stock, 1 packet
lemon, a good wedge per serving

Basically, I just cook the onions in the olive oil until almost translucent, then add the diced carrots and cook another minutes. When the carrots are almost cooked (I test-taste one or two) I then add the celery and mix it all up well.

After the celery has cooked only for about a minute, I add the lentils, salt and cumin, and stir more. I then add the water and vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then immediately turn to a gentle simmer. Simmer all this (and enjoy the wonderful small as it fills up your house), for about 1/2 hour, or until the lentils are mushy and are cooked. Be sure to stir frequently, as the mixture tends to separate the the lentils fall to the bottom.

One thing I really like to do (I did this time with a great reception) is add about 5 or 6 very large sliced mushrooms. Keep in mind, though, that you may want to reduce the water a bit, since the mushrooms will make it a little more "watery."

Be sure to serve with a nice wedge of lemon which should be squeezed on just prior to eating - this brightens up the flavor nicely.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Good Shite.

Nothin' much more to say, but I am off to cement the commitment of my New Year's resolution with some nice champagne glasses.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Good Luck, Bad Luck

This is all about the new year and what it might bring.

Dismissing the zen principle that there is neither good luck or bad luck (i.e., the farmer's son broke his leg and therefore could not be drafted, which turned out to not be the greatest luck, etc.), we thought it couldn't hurt to go get some dim sum and fortune cookies.

So, when we ran into Seattle to visit an old friend to celebrate with an old friend, and none of us liked the idea of running to Dick's for burgers, I came up with the idea of dim sum. I was pleased that it was (surprisingly) my friend's first time, and was sure her two kids (9 and 11) would love it as well; what kid doesn't love picking steaming dumplings from an array of colorful delicacies?

If you are in Seattle, I recommend the House of Hong which serves dim sum until 4:30. Be sure to also check out Kobo at Higo about 2 blocks away; I cannot possibly imagine anyone would be disappointed with this uber-cool art gallery/store. One of the things they had there was little machines that took yen (a coin/exchange right nearby) in exchange for little trinkets; far-cooler than the cheap crap we have in America, they dispense either a anatomically correct body part that can be taken apart and put together, a bust of your favorite composer, a miniature roll of toilet paper (yes, really), or a miniature head with its very own plastic wig. Freakin' cool. (oh, that's right, I blogged about it here.)

So... recommendation number two (after good champagne) is dim sum with friends.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wowah, You Rook Maaarvelous.

Yeah, I suppose I have some. I normally refuse to make resolutions, under the pretense that the more I am forced to do something, the less-likely I a to do it. However, I feel a bit stronger, a bit more responsible this year. So, I have made a couple resolutions for the new year...

1. Drink more champagne. Seriously. I thought I would get a bottle of champagne but really wanted to forgo the $6 Cook's champagne and spend a little more. Hey, it actually was good - really good. I recommend going either to Trader Joe's, Costco, or some other discount store, so you get more bang for your buck. (Sorry - couldn't resist.) If at all curious, a moderately priced yet decent champagne - the one we tried - is made by Mumm; a particular one (there are many by Mumm) which cost us $28 at Safeway, so I am sure you could pick it up for less than $25 somewhere. I am not sure which exact one it was other than the pic of it here, but this may be partm of the resolution: to learn more about champagnes. What we liked about the champagne was not only the taste, but the "high," which is much better than a simple glass of say, chardonnay; The bubbles do go to your head a bit, and it is a more fun buzz, and seems to hit you quicker. Also, after sharing the entire bottle between he two of us, neither of us had a hint of after-affect in the morning; no more than drinking Martinelli's sparkling cider.

2. I need to think about a second resolution.