Archive for July, 2008

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its the little things

July 31, 2008

Yesterday at work, one of my co-workers asked if I’d walk across the two parking lots that separate us from a multiplex and buy him some movie popcorn. I did so, came back, and he shared. It was so delicious that I stopped myself from eating much of it because I KNEW I wanted it for dinner. I looked up what movies were playing and pretty much nothing struck my fancy. And I didn’t want to pay like, $16 dollars for us to see a movie that I didn’t want to see just to spend another $5 bucks to get movie popcorn.

Earlier in the day I’d asked S to pick up a copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – we hadn’t yet owned it, and only saw it once on opening day in the theater, and the new trailer for #6 is out today and well, I wanted to see it again. So I knew it was waiting for me at home. Solution? Bought large bag of movie popcorn on my way home to enjoy in the privacy of my bedroom. Genius point number one.

We both thought the movie popcorn at home experience would be better with some….fresh greens (yes, that was a euphemism,) and well, it was but after we ate the popcorn, we were still hungry and didn’t really have anything else to eat. Lo and behold we get a text message from my sister that say, “open the door.” We do and she shoves a bag of Indian food leftovers (a LOT of leftovers) into S’s hands, says “enjoy,” and leaves. AMAZING.

And then we had freezie pops for desert.

It was an excellent date. Yay for excellent dates.

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can you explain this?

July 27, 2008

It’s no secret that where I live is kind of a vacation hotspot for the rest of the world. And by rest of the world I mean people from the rest of New England and some mid-Atlantic states and French Canadians. Mostly French Canadians though.  Anyway, last night we ventured south to one of the more popular resort towns, actually a town that has a really big reputation for being a queer destination. And while there were many gay people to be found there were also lots of other tourists, mostly French Canadians.

As seaside towns often have, this particular town was not devoid of its tacky beach type stuff stores. We went into one store that had beach clothes, surf shoes,  many skim and boogie boards, most with “typical” California-esque inspired designs. And this:

Uhm….I don’t get it. Any French Canadians out there who get this? I can only assume that there is a target audience or….? I really don’t know.  Maybe it isn’t F/C at all. Maybe it’s just the gayest boogie board design ever? If so, I really don’t want to take credit for it. At all.

Your thoughts?

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Littlestpea cooking school, episode 1

July 21, 2008

Now I will comply to starhillgirl’s request of a photorific, detailed entry on how I make spring rolls and Thai sweet chili sauce. I love making these, though I think they are best done party style, and everyone can have a fun time making their own – having the sauce and veggies/noodles prepped is key.

First, here are all the ingredients that are required. The brands shown are my favorites for various reasons – for example, I like those rice sheets best because I’ve found they are less prone to rippage and have less “rejects” than other brands.

Let’s make the sauce first, shall we? I like mine HOTTTT, so I use both fresh chili and jarred chili paste. You can use either or both as well, and you’d want to 1/2 what I use for a less spicy sauce.

Remember, SAFETY FIRST when playing with the hots. Either dive into your safer sex kit or just buy some vinyl gloves to prevent getting chili oil on your hands which can then either burn your own eyes and nasal passages if you don’t wash well enough, or worst case…uh, someone else. I don’t think I need to go any further with this precaution except to say that unfortunately I’ve been there and it ain’t pretty.

Next, combine 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, your fresh chili, 1 big tsp of chili paste and 1 tbsp of fish sauce into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let cook down for five minutes after which you can remove from the heat. Squeeze….one good squeeze of lime juice into your sauce. I like mine slightly thicker (think coating the back of a spoon) and so I often make a slurry of 1 tsp cornstarch and a bit of water and add it in at this point too. Give a good stir, and let it cool down for about an hour or so. You should probably be “cooking” your rice noodles about now too – I put mine in the pot with cold water, and a bit of salt, and then bring it up to a boil. After it hits the boil I kill the heat and cover and let sit till they are perfect. Drain, and rinse till cold. I then put them in a bowl with a bit of water and also cut them while in the bowl like i was making a cross to make them easier to manage.

Next set up your assembly line. Cut cucumber and carrots (and anything else you’d like to put in) into uniform, slightly larger than matchstick sizes. Cut your iceberg lettuce into similar sized strips. Pick the nicest pieces of mint and cilantro that you have and remove stems.

Fill a shallow vessel with warmish water so that you can soak the rice paper sheets. Also handy is a plate covered in saran wrap for when you’re done making your roll. These things stick to anything so saran wrap is your friend. Soak a rice sheet until it is softened. Depending on your water temperature this can take anywhere from 20 seconds to a minute – just make sure there are no “crispy spots” on it.

Carefully remove rice sheet and put it on your prep plate. To make the prettiest rolls possible *noting that after you make one or two perfect ones, you will realize that you are not a restaurant and will just shove all the stuff in there* you will want the herbs visible on the top layer so place the mint and cilantro greenest side down at the top of the roll.

Next put just a small amount, like a 1/4 cup or less full of noodles on top of the herbs. Seriously, not too much. Over stuffing rolls leads to blow outs and no one likes a blow out. Yes this means you probably made too many noodles but it’s ok, you can just make a stir-fry out of them tomorrow.

Start layering on your fillings, again not too much. You’ll see that’s where the uniformity in the pieces comes in handy. Everything is the same size so that nothing pokes out of the side of the roll – genius, eh? I like putting the lettuce on last, it seems to keep all the insides on…the inside.

On to the roll. Slowly and carefully start rolling forwards, pressing any air out of the roll and trying to keep it all neat and compact. You’ll be happy you did this when you are eating them and the insides don’t end up in one gloopy big plop on your shirt or in your lap. Not that that has ever happened to me before. As your rolling try to keep the sides pretty flat and less….tight and rolled in on itself. This will help when you get to the next part.

Just past halfway on your roll it’s time to tuck the sides in. This part is very very much like burrito making. In fact the whole thing is sort of like making burritos, but with a lot less cooking.

Continue to roll until you are out of wrapper, again, pressing air out and keeping everything tight and smooth. You will then be rewarded with a perfect vegetable spring roll. Yum.

Lather rinse and repeat. Remember to separate layers of rolls with an extra piece of saran wrap or else they will all stick together and you will be a very very sad person who worked too hard to have that happen to them.

That’s it – if it’s a party, dip into your chili sauce and eat NOW.

Honestly though, the consistency firms up very nicely after about an hour in the fridge. They also work very well the next day as lunch – still make sure to follow the saran wrap rules.

Not only are they nutritious – they can be made even more nourishing with the addition of shrimp. You can go all fancy and figure out the herbs on one side and two shrimp on the other so the presentation is awesome.

PS: I apologize in advance if the photos/spacing is messed up. I’m not pleased with WP at the moment.

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this will make your day, promise

July 17, 2008

You must immediately turn up the sound and click over to the first and second act of Neil Patrick Harris in DOCTOR HORRIBLE!!!!!

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only because it was her birthday…

July 17, 2008

Dawn tagged me for this meme and I had a few minutes this morning AND it was her birthday yesterday so….here goes:
1) What is your favorite quotable line from a Movie?

This “back and forth” conversation from Labyrinth gets repeated at my house almost as much as “menomena” does…

You remind me of the babe
(What babe?)
Babe with the power
(What power?)
Power of voodoo
(Who do?)
You do
(Do what?)
Remind me of the babe

2) Who is the most famous person you have spoken to?

Those who have already answered have got the political side well taken care of so I’ll go for the celebrity (sort of) categories.

I briefly met Sally Ride (of NASA fame) in the eighties. As a Space Camp graduate this was like, awesome for me.

The first time I ever ditched school it was to stand outside for HOURS at Tower Records in NYC just to meet Morrissey for about 2 seconds. Still was an amazing 2 seconds.

When I lived in SF I met Tori Amos after one of her shows at the Warfield, at the Cafe on Market street – I got a tour pass and an autographed photo for my then girlfriend.

When I was a check out girl at the local Acme market in High School Salt and Pepa used to shop there quite often.

As for athletes, growing up where I did, where there are so many sports teams, it was a fairly regular occurance to run into Yankees/Mets/Giants/Jets/Devils/Nets/Knicks……Dave Winfield and Willie Randolph were town residents (as was Bob from Sesame Street AND Alan Alda) and mid 80’s Giants center Bart Oates was my next door neighbor for a few years – he taught all the neighborhood kids how to play football. Then, when I was in college, Bernie Williams and other assorted Yankees would often patronize the bar in which I worked.

And, Sarah Jessica Parker’s mom was my brownie troop leader.

*EDITED* Reminded by my best friend about this one time that we went to see Bif Naked play a show in NYC and we were like the only two people who knew who she was and the lyrics to her songs and she hung out with us after and said “I’m playing in Boston tomorrow, if you come up I’ll put you on the list,” and we said, “sure, we’ll be there,” and then we drove 4 hours to get to TT the Bear’s in Cambridge and saw her again and then drove home but stopped to nap in a truck stop in Connecticut. Bif is so on the Famous/Met list.

3) How many bags/boxes of Potato Chips are consumed at your place in a month?

From me? Less than one. I’m not a really big chip person. I like the occasional Cape Cod Yogurt and Green onion chip, and for some reason I think that brands Salt and Pepper flavor tastes like fried chicken, but I don’t really eat them that often. I like Cheez Doodles more (still don’t eat them that much.) I will cop to the fact that we go through a box or so of Cheez Its every month.

4) Who is your all time favorite Cartoon Character?

Linus van Pelt

5) What foreign food Dish do you prepare from scratch and serve?

I LOVE to cook. Ya’ll know that. Favorite stuff of the non-American variety…I LOVE making fresh Thai spring rolls with shrimp. I have also recently perfected sweet Thai chili sauce, which goes well with pretty much anything. I make a mean drunken noodle as well. I LOVE the spicy and so often make meals that are very Vietnamese (Pho, etc) Thai, or Korean at their base. I also love making sushi, and my Sicilian background and culinary upbringing has allowed me to learn to put together a really great red sauce, and I love making fresh pasta as well.

6) What is your favorite section of the Supermarket?

Cereal aisle. I actually (now, anyway) rarely eat cereal. But I love to look at the colorful boxes. Every now and again I will allow myself to pick up a box of peanut butter Cap’n Crunch, or Fruit Loops, or Golden Grahams, or um, my favorite, Honeycombs. And when this happens I also pick up a small container of REAL milk (which I don’t drink often either) to further savor the sugar.

7) What was your high school teams mascot and what were the school’s colors?

We were the Teaneck Highwaymen, and our colors were blue and white.

Ok, so I HATE tagging people, so….If you wanna….go for it.

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exhaling

July 13, 2008

You know, sometimes life just has its ups and downs and right now it’s a bit down, but hopefully working on the upswing. I needed to vent a bit yesterday and that came on the radio and well you know…..

I’m okay….things are ok….just a little hard right now. Because being good at life takes a lot of work.

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yesterday

July 12, 2008

Yesterday,
All my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly,
I’m not half the man I used to be,
There’s a shadow hanging over me,
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

Why she
Had to go I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said,
Something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday,
Love was such an easy game to play,
Now I need a place to hide away,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Why she
Had to go I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said,
Something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday,
Love was such an easy game to play,
Now I need a place to hide away,
Oh, I believe in yesterday