Monday, November 8, 2010
I work in The Ben Gurion Airport and on my way into work last night I see that they have a new display in the entrance to the Sharvul (Rotunda). It is for the clothing company Diesel and the theme is, get this, "Be Stupid". Yes, you read that right. Diesel wants us to Be Stupid. I was in shock. I felt like stepping over the little rope and knocking over the mannequins! I mean, Seriously???
Even better, the company's reasoning behind this, among other things is that "Smart has the brains, Stupid has the balls", and "Smart has the plans, Stupid has the stories" and get this: "Smart critiques, Stupid creates." Right.. Guess what Mr. Einstein, Mr. Graham Bell, History had it wrong. You guys weren't geniuses, you were idiots!!
I shit you not.
Let me break this down for a minute Diesel. You want Us, the general public, to be... Stupid?? Sigh, I almost don't think this is worth dignifying with a comment, but just for shits and giggles, lets ponder this for a moment.
I took a look on their website before I started this post (research I tell you, well, that and morbid curiosity) and checked out some of their other ads. One of which shows two scantily clad individuals in bed(Of course! Because we all know that its impossible to sell CLOTHES without nudity!) and the caption reads "Be Stupid, You'll spend more time with your Boss." Ah good one guys, instead of encouraging kid's today to go to Yale, lets encourage today's youth to just SLEEP their way to the top, BRILLIANT!!
Another Gem says, "If you've never done anything Stupid, You've never done anything at all." Gee, that explains EVERYTHING!! All this time I've been trying to AVOID doing something Stupid when really I should have been trying to just royally Eff everything up! Thanks Diesel! My life makes SOOOO much more sense now.
Another one, "You can't outsmart Stupid." Sigh. I don't even know where to start.
I mean honestly, they probably spend several hundred thousand dollars a year in their advertising budget and THIS is the best they can come up with?
Lets dissect a few more. "Smart says no, Stupid Says Yes." I detect a slight flaw in that logic. It strikes me as something that might just backfire, but maybe I'm just a little to Smart. Drive Drunk? Sleep with a stranger without a condom? Eat 100 Habinero Peppers? Eat ONE Habinero Pepper? Yeah Stupid says Yes alright... Real Stupid...
I mean I get the concept way, way, WAY buried underneath well, all the STUPID... They are trying to promote fun and adventure and all that good stuff that makes us want to really LIVE(well live and buy overpriced designer denim)... But honestly, isn't there enough Stupid in our culture today? Too much hatred, too much ignorance, too many kids getting killed or killing themselves over something well, Stupid. Too many body image problems, too much pressure to be in the "right" crowd, too much sex and drugs and alcohol, too many teen moms, and highschool dropouts, too many kids getting drunk in the Wal-Mart parking lots and then driving around getting into trouble because their parents are to scared to tell them no. Too much Playstation and too many kids who get to highschool and can barely frigging read! Too much Stupid, too soon. As if it's not hard enough being the Smart kid growing up in schools today, now You have to reinforce the face that Stupid is cool? That its COOL to be STUPID??
They go even further in listing WHY we should Be Stupid. Here are their reasons:
"You'll Get that much closer to genius." Really? Think about that one for a minute will ya?
"You'll discover talents you never knew you had." What like talking your way our of being somebody's girlfriend in Jail after you decided it would be a good idea to get drunk and rob the Wal-mart with a Twix bar?
"You'll have more Sex." Ah this must go back to the Smart says no, Stupid says yes bit... Hello baby-daddy! Lets name the twins Sifylus and Genorriyah...
"You'll create more." More what? More Problems? More heartache? More addiction? More hospital bills? More unemployment? More teenage pregnancies? More ignorance?
"You'll never wish you were someplace else." Oh good, so you will adapt quickly to your jail cell and your new girlfriend Big Mike. Thats nice.
And the real winner is; "And yes, you might die, but it wont be of Boredom." Sigh. At least they warned us...
Here are some suggestions, Diesel, that you COULD have used, and since you've already blown your advertising budget on well, some very Stupid ideas, I'll even give them to you on the house.
Be Anything! Just don't, despite what the very sexy, half-naked models painted into the perfectly faded, torn-just-so jeans are telling you, DON'T. Be. Stupid!!!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
So yeah, it's no secret that Southern folks like Mac-n-Cheese. Its at every pot-luck, every holiday dinner and Sunday Supper. I've seen it made a million different ways, and to let you in on a little secret, it took me a long time to actually get a recipe I liked. I like the taste of Mac-n-Cheese made with Sharp Cheddar, not Velveeta (which while tasty is all chemicals and I try to avoid that) I always found it to be a little dry, a little greasy and not nearly creamy enough. It took me until I was living in Israel before I came up with a good enough recipe to really genuinely LIKE Mac-n-Cheese. This recipe is a bit more work than the traditional boil noodles, dump on cheese recipe but the extra work is definitely worth it in the long run. Try it, You'll thank me.
Butter- 1/2 stick
Flour- 3 TBSP or more if required to soak up butter into paste
Cream or Milk-1 1/2- 2 cups
Cream Cheese- 1/2 -3/4 cup
Shredded Cheddar Cheese- 2 cups plus enough to cover the top (depends on how thick you like the top coating, appx 1/2-1 cup)
Onion Soup Mix- 2 TBSP
Salt and Pepper- to taste
Macaroni Noodles- 1 box
1 Medium Saucepan
Pot to boil Noodles in
Cooking Spatula (not the burger flipping kind, the bowl scraping kind)
Large Baking Dish
First Preheat oven to 375*
Prepare noodles as directed for Al Dente (sorry my computer doesn't have the Italian Spellings on here), rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process and set aside. In a Medium Saucepan melt Butter over Medium heat, just until it is liquid but do not boil. Using the spatula, mix in the flour a little bit at a time until a paste is formed. Be sure that all of the butter has been soaked up into the flour. It should sort of resemble Mashed Potatoes. Turn the heat down to Low. Add the cream/milk a little bit at a time and mix thoroughly with the spatula to be sure there are no lumps until all of the cream/milk has been added. Next mix in the Onion Soup Mix (you can add more if you prefer a stronger taste). Next add in the Cream Cheese and slowly bring sauce to a boil stirring constantly. Sauce should begin to thicken as it heats up and cream cheese should melt into the sauce. Be sure to use your spatula to mash away any lumps. Once the Cream Cheese has melted into the sauce, Add the Cheddar Cheese. Mix until the Cheese is melted evenly throughout the sauce. Add more milk if the sauce becomes too thick. It should be the consistency of a Mexican Queso dip, maybe slightly runnier. Taste and adjust Salt/Pepper/Onion soup to your taste. Pour over the Macaroni in the pot that you cooked it in and stir to mix completely. Be sure that all Macaroni is coated, it should be a bit saucy as it will thicken up in the oven. Next pour the Mac-n-Cheese Mixture into the baking dish and top with Shredded Cheese. Place into a hot oven JUST until Cheese on top is melted. Serve Hot.
For Mexi Mac-n-Cheese, use 1 cup Pepper Jack and 1 cup Cheddar in the sauce, add 1 cup corn, 1/2 cup Roasted Red Peppers, 1/2 cup sauteed onion, a dash Red pepper flakes, and 1 cup fresh tomatoes to the Macaroni mixture and stir well. Top with Pepper Jack Cheese.
For Pizza Mac-N-Cheese, use 1 cup Cheddar and 1 cup Parmesan, 1 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp Garlic Powder in the sauce, and stir in a handful of Chopped Fresh Basil, 1/2 cup sliced olives (or other family favorite topping such as mushrooms), 1 cup fresh tomatoes, 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, into the Mac-n-Cheese Mixture. Top with Shredded Parmesan Cheese. Eat it as a side or make a meal out of it... YUM!!!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
My Dad's Mom used to make corn pudding for most family meals. It is one of my earliest food memories and I absolutely love it. It's creamy and just a little bit sweet and completely delicious. It can also be made ahead of time and then warmed before the big meal.
Sweet Corn- 2 Large cans drained
Sugar- 1/2 Cup
Flour- 3 TBSP
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Butter- 1/4 cup melted
Eggs- 3 Large
Milk- 2 cups
Vanilla or Almond Extract- splash
Baking Dish 8x8
Preheat oven to 425*. In the mixing bowl, combine eggs, salt and sugar. Next mix in the Flour. Add Corn, Vanilla/Almond extract, and Milk and mix well. Mix in the melted butter and pour immediately into greased baking dish. Place into oven and cook for 35-40 mins or until browned on top and firm. Serve hot/warm. Can be made up to a day ahead of time and reheated.
I grew up with the typical style of Southern Green beans, cooked in fat back for an entire day. Shudder. I like vegetables because they taste like vegetables, and I like my green beans nice and crunchy and full of flavor. Here is a great recipe for super flavorful beans that literally take less than 20 minutes to make. If you are not a fan of Garlic, this is also very nice if you substitute the garlic for Fresh Rosemary.
Whole Frozen Green Beans- 1 bag (I like to use the baby green beans just because they are more tender. If you have access to fresh green beans go for it!!)
Shaved Almonds- 1 Packet
Garlic- 2-3 cloves finely chopped
Good Quality Olive Oil
Salt- to taste
First steam your green beans for about 10 minutes until they are tender but NOT mush. They should still have a bit of a crunch too them. Remove them from the steamer and let them drain. Shake off any excess water. In a skillet put a good drizzle of olive oil over a warm heat. Its important to use a good olive oil so that the flavor is olive-y more than oily. Add the garlic and stir a few times. Next add the green beans and mix together until garlic has cooked and the green beans are entirely coated in the oil/ garlic. Add in a few shakes of salt and stir. If you are not a fan of garlic, add a few sprigs worth of fresh rosemary that you have removed from the stems and loosely chopped to the beans instead. Remove from the pan into your serving dish. Next in the same pan, add a drop or two of olive oil and the shaved almonds. Stir until almonds have a nice brownish color and are toasted. Lightly salt and sprinkle over the green beans. Serve immediately so you do not eat them all before they get to the table.
So where I'm from, pretty much every meal that involves meat is served with Gravy. Sometimes I think that instead of blood, Southerners veins contain rich savory gravy. It's pretty much a staple, we pour it onto potatoes, drizzle it onto meats and sop it up with biscuits. No meal is complete without it. I grew up from a very young age helping my Momma make gravy over the stove. It is not Technically hard, but alot of people seem to really mess it up. Here is a recipe for gravy perfection, just like my Momma makes:).
Turkey Drippings From Fresh Herb Turkey
Giblets and Neck from Turkey
2 Bullion Cubes
Chicken Broth or Water
Several TBSP All Purpose Flour
Fork or other stirring tool
Before placing Turkey into the oven, place Turkey neck and Giblets (insides) into a small saucepan and cover with water. Add in Bullion cubes and cook over a low heat, replenishing the water as it runs out. Once Turkey has cooked, remove it from the pan and pour Turkey drippings into a large skillet. Pour a small amount of hot water/broth into the original Turkey pan as there are alot of condensed flavors that tend to get stuck in the pan and its a shame to waste them. Once it has softened, stir it around and use later as water for the gravy. Over low heat, add several heaping TBSP of Flour until the grease from the drippings has soaked up. It is very important at this stage to mix/mash the flour into an even paste to avoid lumps later. Once grease is completely absorbed, pour in small amounts of HOT water/ broth stirring/mixing it in well each time. We also always used the broth from the giblets in our gravy. Stir like crazy adding a small amount of water a bit at a time until the gravy has reached a consistency slightly more liquid than you would like it. If you would like you can also chop up the giblets and add them to the gravy at this point. Continue stirring until gravy starts to thicken up. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve immediately over everything:).
Yeah, I know I already posted a recipe for Sweet Potatoes but I'm from the South, we can't get enough of these things:). This dish was originally introduced to me by a friend who brought it to one of our All American Thanksgivings here in Israel. I liked it so much I've used the basic idea and twisted it a bit adding the bananas to make this winner of a recipe. Its a really simple side to make and is definitely delicious.
Large Sweet Potatoes- 4-5
Ripe Bananas- 3
Pecans- 2 cups
Brown Sugar- 4 TBSP plus 1/4 cup
Butter- 2 TBSP plus half a stick
Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie spice- To taste
Condensed Milk or Heavy Cream- A Good Splash
Large Baking dish either glass or throw away
Large Mixing Bowl
Hand Mixer or Potato Masher
To Prepare Candied Pecans:
Place 2 TBSP Butter into a skillet and allow to melt but not boil over medium heat. Add into melted butter 4 TBSP Brown Sugar, and a few good shakes of Cinnamon. Stir constantly until sugar has melted into butter and loses its grainy appearance. Add in Pecans and stir vigorously until all of the Pecans have been coated with the Sugar mixture. Pour onto wax paper and separate. Allow pecans to cool. Try not to eat all of them before finishing the recipe. Once Pecans have cooled, break or chop them into smaller pieces.
To Prepare Sweet Potatoes-
First place rinsed Sweet Potatoes in a pot of boiling water and cook until soft all the way though. Set aside and let cool slightly. Remove the peels and place Sweet Potatoes into a mixing bowl. When Potatoes are cooking, place the unpeeled Bananas on a Cookie Sheet into the oven at 375*. Cook until the Bananas are soft and the peel has turned black. When they have finished cooking set them aside and allow them to cool slightly. Slice open the peel and scrape the cooked Banana into the Mixing Bowl. Add 1/2 half stick of butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, a good dash of Cinnamon/ Pumpkin Pie Spice(more or less to your taste). Using a Hand Mixer or Potato Masher, mix all ingredients until creamy. Add a generous splash of Heavy Cream or Condensed Milk and mix until blended. Scrape Sweet Potato/Banana yumminess into a Baking Dish and top with chopped candied pecans. Place into warm (not hot) oven until time to serve. So Yum!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Last year was the first year I tried this for a Marinade. I made it up on a whim and it was hands down the best Turkey I had ever eaten. It was juicy and tender and all around a Yummy Bird. Fresh Herbs make this an easy winner and a definate crowd pleaser. Get a big Bird as there won't likely be leftovers!
1 Whole Turkey (Recipe makes enough for about a 15lb bird)
Fresh Garlic- 6-8 Whole Cloves
Lemon- Juice from 1- 1 1/2 whole Lemons
Fresh Lemon Zest- 1 tsp
Olive Oil- Approximately 1/2 cup
Fresh Parsley- A heaping handful of leaves, free of stems
Fresh Sage- A small handful of leaves, free of stems
Fresh Oregano- A smallish handful of leaves, free of stems
Fresh Thyme- About half a handful of leaves, free of stems
Fresh Rosemary- About half a handful of leaves, free of stems
Fresh Lemon grass- A small Handful of leaves, free of stems
Salt- 1-1 1/2 tsp
Fresh Ground Pepper- to taste
Large Turkey Sized Baking Dish
2 Large Kitchen Sized Trash Bags
Several Large Safety Pins/ Needle and Thread/ Other Method of Closing up Bird
Combine Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Lemon Zest (fresh grated lemon rind), and Fresh Garlic in Blender/Food Processor and pulse until smooth and free of chunks. Next add fresh herbs a bit at a time, blending until smooth. You should end up with a fairly thick pesto-like paste. Add salt/pepper to taste. Next rinse out one of the Kitchen Trash Bags and place it inside the other Trash Bag to double layer it. Place Turkey inside open bag on a counter where you have room to work. Slide your hand very gently in between the Turkey's skin and the meat of the breast making a sort of pocket. Extend this pocket as far as possible to the legs etc being careful not to poke holes in the skin. Next take small handfuls of the Herb mixture and rub it all over, in between the skin and the meat, inside the bird, and on the skin. Use all but a few Tbsp of Marinade, which you will save and use to baste with while baking. When finished coating the Turkey, close the bag tightly squeezing out all of the air and tie it. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight. The longer you marinate it, the more flavorful and tender it will be. When you have finished marinating, place the Turkey in a large baking dish and stuff with your choice of stuffing. Close Skin over stuffing with a Needle and thread/Safety Pins/ other method. Before placing in oven, pat with leftover marinade. Cook according to your birds specifications basting often and thoroughly. When the Turkey is done, remove from baking dish and let it rest on serving plate for 10-15 minutes before slicing so that it has time to reabsorb its juices. Do not forget to remove thread/ safety pins/ etc before serving. Do not forget to save the dripping for a succulent herb gravy (to follow in a later post). No doubt this will be the most flavorful Turkey you've ever tasted!