Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ed Helms Post of the Day

Ed will be on Leno tonight...I hope he's not there to announce his role as the star of The Office Spinoff.

Update: Ed looked EXTREMELY handsome on Jay Leno, but told a disturbing story about injuring himself as a child. Yikes! Also, no word on "The Office Spinoff," so, good news!

Update 2: Here's the video. Thank you!!!

He even worked in the Al Gore impression!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Iko's New Favorite Shows - The Monday Edition

Since it's almost the end of TV season, I figured now was a perfect time to tell you about all the shows I've been loving...just in time for them to go off the air, without you watching a single episode, then getting canceled over the summer because no one watched them. Good work, Iko. Whatever, guys, better late than never. Actually, I think most of them are coming back and you can probably watch some of them online, anyway, so, actually, REALLY good work, Iko.

"The Big Bang Theory"
CBS says:
Leonard and Sheldon are brilliant physicists, the kind of "beautiful minds" that understand how the universe works. But none of that genius helps them interact with people, especially women. All this begins to change when a free-spirited beauty named Penny moves in next door. Sheldon, Leonard's roommate, is quite content spending his nights playing Klingon Boggle with their socially dysfunctional friends, fellow CalTech scientists Wolowitz and Koothrappali. However, Leonard sees in Penny a whole new universe of possibilities... including love.

Iko says: OK, yes, I realize this show has it's problems, namely in the "acting" of a few of it's stars, but I'm willing to overlook this fact, because the show is about science dorks, which is (clearly) what I am, too. I love the science humor and the extreme nerdiness of the four main characters. It reminds me so much of my own work, well, if I actually had other people to interact with in my lab. Plus, it doesn't focus on the Leonard-Penny drama too much, so, extra points for making the unrequited love storyline a B-plot at best. Bonus: Star Johnny Galecki also played the delightfully ridiculous Trouty on one of my favorite summer shows, "My Boys."* Check it out, on CBS, Mondays at 8:00 pm.

"How I Met Your Mother"
CBS Says:
It all started when Ted's best friend, Marshall (Jason Segel), dropped the bombshell that he was going to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Lily (Alyson Hannigan), a kindergarten teacher. At that moment, Ted realized that he had better get a move on if he, too, hopes to find true love. Helping him in his quest is his friend Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), a confirmed bachelor with endless, sometimes outrageous opinions, a penchant for suits and a foolproof way to meet women. When Ted meets Robin (Cobie Smulders), he's sure it's love at first sight, but destiny has something else in store. The series is narrated through flashbacks from the future.

Iko says: Why didn't I watch this show from the beginning? Actually, I did watch the first few episodes, but got sidetracked by "Prison Break" (whatever, it was season 1 of "Prison Break," the good season) and then kind of forgot about it. But, I've been completely obsessed with it all this season and even bought Season 1 and 2 on DVD, which I've been watching voraciously whenever I get a chance. This is probably my third favorite show period (behind "30 Rock" and "The Office") and, if they don't bring it back next season, I will honestly be heartbroken. It's hysterically funny, poignant without being cheesy or overly obvious about it, and generally made of awesome. The way the show uses time, jumping to the future and showing us things which happened in the past, almost as another character, is really interesting, and the continuity of the show is on point. Just when you think something that's happening is completely random, it's importance is revealed, either by the future or the past, which is such a nice change of pace from other, similar shows. It even remains in my good graces after a ridiculous performance by Britney Spears (and another one set to come). Also, NPH rocks the show, for serious. Please, please watch it so they bring it back next season!! CBS, Mondays at 8:30 pm.

"Samantha Who?"
ABC says:
What if you had the chance to start over, to do it all again? For Samantha Newly (Ms. Applegate), this fantasy becomes a reality after a hit-and-run accident leaves her in an eight-day coma. When she awakens in the hospital, she is surrounded by family and friends. The only problem is that she has no idea who they are - or who she is. In medical terms, Sam has retrograde amnesia, which allows her to fully function in the world but leaves her with no personal memories. Most people would deem this disorder a curse. But Sam may come to call it a miracle.

Iko says: This show has its issues, I'm not going to lie. But I like the cast - Christina Applegate is awesome, I have such a girlcrush on her, and Melissa McCarthy (Sookie, anyone?) rocks, plus, I think it's a really cute show and an interesting idea. I hope the writers can kick it up a notch when they bring it back in the Fall. And, as a bonus for the ladies, Barry Watson is inexplicably attractive in the show. Check it out:

I know, right? What happened to the guy from "7th Heaven?" (Not that I watched that show...) Mondays at 9:30 pm on CBS.

FOX says:
DR. TEMPERANCE BRENNAN (Emily Deschanel) is a highly skilled forensic anthropologist who works at the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington, DC, and writes novels as a sideline. When the standard methods of identifying a body are useless - when the remains are so badly decomposed, burned or destroyed that CSI gives up - law enforcement calls in Brennan for her uncanny ability to read clues left behind in the victim's bones.
Most law enforcement can't handle Brennan's intelligence, her drive for the truth, or the way she flings herself headlong into every investigation. SPECIAL AGENT SEELEY BOOTH (David Boreanaz) of the FBI's Homicide Investigations Unit is the exception. A former Army sniper, Booth mistrusts science and scientists - the "squints," as he calls them, who pore over the physical evidence of a crime. But even he cannot deny that the combination of his people-smarts and Brennan's scientific acumen makes them a formidable team.

Iko syas: Again, jumping on the bandwagon a little late here, this show is currently in season 3. Um, can I just say, David Boreanaz brings the hotness? Seriously. I always liked him on Buffy, but, come the EFF on.

That just isn't right! Also, I love a good mystery drama with a nice spattering of comic relief (and science(!)) thrown in for good measure. It's a drama, without too much of the drama (I'm looking at you CSI) and a great cast with good chemistry. Also, for all you man-hos out there, Emily Deschanel is pretty easy on the eyes, too. Mondays at 8:00 pm on FOX.

I'll combo the Tuesday and Wednesday shows in a future post and, clearly, everyone knows what I'm watching on "Ugly Betty." Seriously, watch "How I Met Your Mother." We need to keep it on the air peeps.

*Post on the best summer shows to watch coming soon, like, before they actually start, I promise.

Friday, April 25, 2008

We SAW America and So Can You! Subtitle: ZOMG! Stephen

The Colbert Report Taping
We took the subway up to Columbus Circle, as it was a nice day outside, and we could walk over to the studio from there. After a quick stop off at a deli to grab some beverages, we were on our way! I saw this at the deli, and, clearly, how could I not take a picture?
My only fear is that each one is made of actual ground-up Hello Kitties.

We arrived at the studio at about 4:00pm and got on line. There weren't too many people there, so I was able to kind of relax about not being able to get inside to watch the show.
Before we had gotten in line, we saw a woman walking her turtle (yes, that's real) outside of the studio, so I left the line to get a picture. Plus, I got a bonus picture of puppies trying to attack/run away from the turtle.
Around 5:00pm, a guy came out to let us know we'd be going in soon and that we weren't allowed to bring any weapons, like knives and guns, into the studio. He even said, "if you have any of these on your person, we will place them in a bag with your license, and return them to you after the show." So, remember, if you want to carry multiple concealed weapons, you can bring the to "The Colbert Report" and they'll hold them for you, no questions asked.
We were finally herded inside, into the "holding tank" as I affectionately call it. We were there for a long time, longer than (I think) we were supposed to be. We had wo separate people talk to us about making sure that we cheered really loudly and laughed more loudly than any person should ever laugh in a normal (or even abnormal) setting. They did a few trivia questions to hand out T-shirts and the second guy was really nice about answering a ton of questions about the show and Stephen. Finally, around 7:30 we were let into the theater.

The set was awesome! It's exactly like it looks on TV, everyone was telling me that it's ridiculously small and not what looks like on TV at all, but it's actually entirely the same. I guess they make it look bigger on TV, but it really was just like I thought it would be. The Stage Manager came out to talk to us and (again) told us to laugh more loudly than anyone ever in the history of live television. Then he explained the process of the show, when we should cheer and when we should shut the eff up (almost never) and brought out the warm-up guy. He was kind of funny, mostly made fun of people in the audience for looking rich and being from CT. He did bond with some of his fellow bald men, which was slightly amusing. He was just going through the standard spiel of cheering loudly, when he asked if they were going to do a toss. As soon as he asked, Stephen came running out to the desk! We all went nuts! Then he told us to be quiet so he could do the toss. Jon and Stephen bantered a bit before they actually filmed it (about American Idol), during which Stephen "scolded" at Jon for giving him a "note" on his performance! Once the Toss was filmed, Stephen went to the back again. The warm up guy did some more stuff and told us to go crazy for the entire show. He told us Stephen would come out and answer some questions in a moment - and then he appeared (again)!!!

He answered the questions out of character, which was really cool. I don't remember all of them, but one woman asked what three items he would bring to a desert island, to which he replied, "A boat, a satellite phone, and a backup boat." Someone else asked him about the segment on "The Daily Show" where he got Steve Carell drunk and made fun of him. Stephen said that was entirely real, Steve Carell really was drunk, and that, initially, they were both supposed to get drunk and act like douchebags, but Stephen was like, "hells no!" He wanted to get Steve drunk and just make fun of him - I think it turned out much better. See for yourself:

Also, Stephen said Steve really did throw up in his car (which was actually his wife's car - yeah, she wasn't happy). Someone else asked him about how his wife reacted when Jane Fonda made out with him during her interview, he said he went home with flowers and his wife immediately asked, "What did you do?" When he started his reply with, "Well, Jane Fonda..." his wife apparently instantly responded, "I don't want them!" Poor Stephen.

After the questions, Stephen went to his desk and was shooting wrist strong bracelets into the crowd, unfortunately we were way in the back corner, so there was no way we would have been able to get one. I also tried to awkwardly wave at Stephen, but he didn't see me. So sad. But, I was laughing hysterically at the tape outline of where Stephen fell when he broke his wrist, so it was OK.

Next, it was time to tape the show! It was taped in real time, no breaks, except where the commercials were, during which people touched up Stephen's face, used the lint roller to remove pieces of fuzz from his arms, and Stephen generally rocked out to the music playing during the breaks. He was really adorable, singing along, playing air guitar, serenading his staff. The first Act was fun, the "ThreatDown" was especially awesome. I love it anytime Stephen says "bees" or "bears," plus, the kiddie pool paella bit had me rolling.

During the "Difference Makers" segment, Stephen watched the monitors intently, even cracking up at how ridiculous the people were. I lost it when the guy opend up the BumBot and said it had an old chicken smoker in it. Wow. What is wrong with the South?

The Maria Shriver interview was funny, Stephen was kind of looking at her like, "Bitch is crazy" for most of the interview, but they didn't really show that in the aired show. The whole audience was so upset when she told him his show would end eventually - we all just started booing like crazy! I will also say that Maria Shriver looks like every inch of her body was surgically reconstructed. She was super, super skinny and her skin was pulled so tightly across her face, is was a little scary. Actually, when we were first waiting outside of the theater, an ambulance was parked outside, and I was instantly concerned that something had happened to Stephen. Then, my boyfriend assured me it was just Maria Shriver's skeleton being delivered, along with a team of specialized surgeons, employed solely to stretch skin over her bones and reanimate her.

Once the show was taped, Stephen remained on stage for a bit and we all clapped like crazy, while he entertained up with random antics, like jumping off the small raised platform his desk is on. Once he was done, he explained that he had "went long (TWSS) with Maria Shriver, so he had to get us to clap and cheer longer, in case they needed something to fill the space when they were editing that segment. Then he thanked us for coming and said he and his crew were exhausted after taping in Philly all last week, but he really appreciated doing the show in front of his "home" audience. He did actually sound really tired, which is really a testament to his acting, because I couldn't tell from watching the taping or from watching the show last night, that he was feeling under the weather at all. He really get into character and just rolls with it for the whole show, no matter what. Stephen, if you ever read this, I hope you have a great, relaxing weekend this weekend, to recover from your jaunt to Philly.

As we were leaving the theater, we saw Stephen backstage, and my reaction, I'm embarrassed to say, was to point and jump up and down like an idiot, then quickly sprint away before he could see me acting like an idiot. I'm sure some of the people he was talking with saw me, though, so I'm sure they got a good laugh about the degenerate girl who points at, then runs away from Stephen. God, I'm so lame. If I was more bold, I would have asked to take a picture with him, but I always feel so badly harassing people like that, especially since he was so tired after Philly.

Dinner at Otto
It was after 8:00pm when we finally left the theater, so we had to sprint down to Otto for dinner. We ended up taking a cab, with an angry driver who looked like the love child of Dee Snyder and Lief Erikson. For real. Luckily, we made it on time and were seated really quickly. I have already talked (at length) about Otto before, so I'll just post a few pictures.

After dinner, we headed back home, just in time to catch the end of "The Colbert Report" and the Yankees game (stupid White Sox). All in all, an awesome day. I don't think anything could have made it better, unless Stephen had come with us, to dinner at Otto. Even then, I would have been too nervous and scared to talk to him, so I would have drank too much wine and probably thrown up on him. Maybe next time.

So, I'll leave you with this - our Report giveaway:
Yes, those totally are USA socks. And, yes, I'm wearing mine right now.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Top Chef Season 4 - Episode 7: "Improv"

Just a quick one today (TWSS), I'm prepping for Stephen and salted meat (TWSS). I really liked the pastry challenge Quickfire, only because a Top Chef, even one who's not a pastry chef, should have a small arsenal of good desserts to make. Nothing complicated, but nice, simple, delicious desserts. Like what Dale made, or a simple chocolate cake, or a tart. Something. It's always an issue, on every season of "Top Chef," it's kind of like, "Really guys? You know you're going to have to do an effing dessert at some point. You don't want to memorize a few, just so you don't look like an a**hole?" Actually, I think everyone did pretty well, despite the bitching, and I liked Richard's dish - it fit with his whimsical style. Dale's looked good, too.

Elimination Challenge - I really, really liked this challenge. I think the improv theme was awesome. I love how they figured out immediately that the suggestions were what they would have to cook, too. Not like last season, when the chef's thought they were going clubbing, then had to cook in four-inch heels in a grease truck. I think the "improvs" they had to use were actually really cool and interesting, and Dale and Richard's dish, as well as Spike and Andrew's dish (as much as it pains me to say that), both deserved the top spot. I think Dale and Richard definitely had a much more complex and "perplexing" dish, so, I'm good with their win.

Also, I loved how they had no kitchen electrics and had to process everything by hand. That part did kind of confuse me, though, they just took everything without telling them? Doesn't that seem a little unrealistic? I also was a little annoyed at the "sniff and sneer," with Tom telling the chefs they had to pack up their stuff and move to their house. Didn't they do that last season, too? Where's the fun in repeating the drama?

As far as the elimination, I'm a little confused and kind of disagree with the judges. Lisa and Antonia completely disregarded the challenge. Like totally ignored it. Sure, the food tasted good, but if I went to a restaurant and ordered a vegetarian entree and the chef was like, "I refuse to make anything without meat," and sent me a delicious steak, I'd be a little annoyed. Sure, the steak is probably awesome, but it's not what I ordered or even what I can eat. I don't see how that's better than someone making a ridiculous and fun plate because they were given a ridiculous and fun theme. I guess it just really tasted bad. I'm sorry to see Jenn go, I really liked her and thought she was a great chef. And, it's clear the other cheftestants liked her too, which sucks for everyone involved.

Sidebar - I loved Ted Allen throughout the entire episode and I was laughing out loud at how uncomfortable Tom was for the entire Elimination Challenge. Seriously, he blushes all the way through his giant, shiny head. Also, that pastry chef guest judge was H-O-T! And, Spike is still a douchebag, but seemed less douchey than usual - maybe it was the editing.

Next week: My worst nightmare - cooking with children!

ETA - OK, I'm kind of an idiot, I just realized now that the theme of the show was "improv" so now it makes more sense for them to have to "improvise" when they had no electrics and "improvise" again, when they had to pack everything up in Gladware and move to their house. Still a copy of last season, but a little more in concert with the theme of the episode. Sorry, I'm an idiot. I was too excited about seeing Stephen...

Stephen Colbert and Otto Part II

Tomorrow is a banner day at Abs. I'm going to see Stephen Colbert tape his show, then head out to Otto for the second pork and gelato fest in the past month and a half! The only downside is missing "30 Rock" and "The Office," as well at the return of "Ugly Betty," but I think I'll live. Just need to check the TiVo before we leave to make sure that mofo will record everything.

So, keep an eye out for a story about a crazed fan at "The Colbert Report" taping who ran at Stephen during the middle of his show, holding up a bag of Spicy Sweet Doritos in one hand and a miniature American flag in the other and tried to make out with him. Also, save your money tonight, I'll need it for bail on Friday morning.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I can haz clean earth?

Kale and Garbanzo Bean STOUP

I was looking through the various posts I have saved in my blogger account, searching for something, I don't know what. Maybe my lost dignity, maybe any semblance of intelligence on my part, maybe it was just to see what kinds of idiocy I've written about since the beginning of this year. At any rate, I came across this post, in which I skewer RayRay for her stupid "stoup" and say that I will post a blog with the "word" "stoup" in the title so I can sue her for plagiarism and live off the subsequent (and copious amount of) monies I am sure to receive. So, here's the recipe for STOUP. It's good to make a lot of it, freeze the extra, then bring it to work for lunch. Even when it's warm outside - workplaces always crank the AC in the summer anyway.

olive oil
4 strips bacon or pancetta, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 bunches of kale, chopped (I think the soup I made actually had 1 bunch of kale and 1 bunch of dandelion greens)
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or you can cook them from dried beans, again, I'm lazy and pressed for time. Plus, I really like sodium.
1 quart chicken broth/stock
salt and pepper

1. Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil into the bottom of a blue, Le Creuset 4 1/2 quart round oven and heat over medium heat.
2. Add the bacon pieces and render the fat until the pieces are a little crispy at the edges, maybe 5 or 7 minutes.
3. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and pour off some of the bacon fat, leaving about a tablespoon or so.
4. Add the onion and sweat until translucent, but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
5. Add the chopped kale (and dandelion greens) in batches and saute until slightly wilted. Add the next batch of greens on top of the wilted greens until they've all been added and wilted down slightly.
6. Add the chicken broth/stock and add the chickpeas.
7. Add some water, if necessary, to bring the STOUP to the consistency you desire. Keep in mind, some of the liquid will cook away and that it's very easy to add a little water or stock as needed, don't add too much or you'll be trying to boil that mofo down for hours.
8. Simmer the STOUP for about 20 minutes, so the flavors can blend and the kale can cook down.
9. Add the bacon back to the soup and season with salt and pepper.
10. Serve with a few toasted pieces of baguette, perhaps drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
11. Enjoy your delicious STOUP and revel in the fact that you're NOT RayRay.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ed Helms Post of the Day

Ed at the premiere of "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay." Really, Ed? Collared shirt under collared shirt? Oh, who am I kidding? It doesn't matter. You're still adorable!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Shine of Tom's Head Matches the Glow in My Heart

"Top Chef" Episode 5 - Tailgating - will the bitchiness of last week's episode be topped this week?

Short Answer - No. Long Answer - Still no.

(Sidebar: WTF is with Dale's dancing in the opening credits?)

Spike is pissy that people want him to go home for being a sucky-cook-douchebag. Jenn talks about how she's fired up now that Zoi's gone and that she's gonna win for that bitch! Go Jenn! Take bitches down and win "Top Chef!" Dale and Lisa talk about the fight last night and kind of apologize, mostly I'm just thinking that I like Dale's camo hoodie. Plus it's kind of funny, because he didn't really apologize, he kind of was like, "I'm sorry that I find your personality abrasive." I guess it's kind of an apology. But an apology with an insult all embedded inside it. Kind of like a date wrapped almond rolled in coconut. Although those are delicious and not at all bitchy like Dale.

Make some food that goes with beer. I'm with the peeps that were all like, I don't drink beer ever, I'm not a fan. If I'm going to have food and liquor, it's going to be wine. But, that's just me. A Top Chef must certainly be able to cook food that goes with beer. That said, I would have made wings or a burger or something. I think some of them went a little crazy. Here are some random thoughts about a random selection of the food:

Richard - Grilled tuna, quick pickle (who are you Richard, Sam from season 2?).
Dale - too complex, wtf is with the pretzels?
Stephanie - beer and mussels!!! Score!!
Spike - you are a douchebag.
Jenn - the beignets!! Double score!!

And the bottom three are Nikki, Spike (Jen laughs at him), Dale (Lisa laughs at him). Not to surprising based on the editing. The top three are Richard, Stephanie, and Jenn. Again, not surprising, but I was really happy Jenn won. Her food looked good and she was really fired up, she definitely deserved to win. Spike still acts like a douche after Jenn wins and makes some borderline insensitive remarks about lesbians. Are you surprised? Yeah, neither was I.

Elimination Challenge:

The challenge is to cook tailgating food for the Bears game tomorrow. Apparently there's no weird twist to this one. They don't have to use a limited budget, or only food from a vending machine, or whatever. Oh wait, they HAVE to pack the food in Gladware, there's the twist. I think if I went on "Top Chef" I would bring Ziploc containers as my secret item and only use them to pack my food, making sure the containers were prominently displayed in the fridge and the coolers. I actually like this challenge a lot. I would love to just go and cook massive amounts of food for happy Bears fans. What's not to like? Plus, as an added bonus, the Quickfire actually directly relates to the Elimination Challenge...I think they're getting better at this "Top Chef" show thing.

Commercial Break - what's with the "Coming Up Next on 'Top Chef'" preview with the bootleg porno music? Trying to amp up the man-love drama, Bravo producers?

Shopping - Spike acts douche-y about the chicken wings and hogs them all. Dale makes ribs - yummy! Richard talks about how he's refined and therefore cannot make tailgating foods, then choses to make a burger. Ryan talks about how he likes to dance and buy expensive clothes, rather than watch sports. Is that a death knell I hear?

Cooking - Andrew's pile o' bacon makes me want to make out with him. Ryan - what football fan wants poached pears? Richard says that he's cooking for the masses and they clearly can't appreciate anything more than a hamburger.

Sniff n' Sneer - Colicchio's head has been polished to a high gloss. Sadly, I think they had to cut a large portion of Tom's interaction with the chefs, which is sad, it's always my favorite part when he tires to give them hints about how to make their food better. In this case, he tells Ryan he's an idiot - with his eyes!!

Home - Mass drinking...Spike and Mark try to entice the ladies to join them in the tub, sadly, no takers. I wouldn't get that close to either of them either, ladies...strong restraint. So, instead they decide to hang out and be gay in the tub together. With bubbles and champagne. WTF? This is weird. I'm kind of, wait, it's only because the bootleg porno music is back again.

The Game - Everyone sprints across the grass with their coolers and tries to get their food together in an hour. Stephanie says there's good energy. The judges show up, looking retarded in their personalized Bears jerseys. I hate, hate, HATE when people take their favorite teams' jersey and put their own stupid last name on the back. I HATE that. HATE HATE HATE. Stupid douchebags who wear NYY 23 with their own last name instead of Mattingly's or the degenerate, drunken douche-bonnets from Staten Island who wear a pink NYY jersey with a number two on it and "I heart Jeter" (or something equally braindead) written across the top should all be punched in the back of the head, then choked with their stupid jersey. WTF is wrong in someone's head that makes them think that's OK? Do you really think you're part of the team? Do you actually believe, in your heart, that you're better than Don Mattingly or that Derek Jeter knows who you are (or would even care to know you)?

The food!
Stephanie - Sprinkles things with bacon. Made of win! Pork
Dale - RIBS! I love, love, love how excited he was when the old-school Bears players showed up. I like Dale, even with all of his bitchiness.
Spike - Wings. Douchebag tries to pretend he likes football, then asks when the Bears won a Superbowl. Ha! The fans should have just cut him then and there.
Ryan - Works the crowd, like a douchebag, I guess to cover up his ridiculous (and tailgate inappropriate) food.
Andrew - Wears a Bears helmet. He should wear one in real life so he doesn't hurt himself when he's on a Meth bender. Plus, he adds parsnips to his dish. WTF is up with the parsnips? Didn't that not go over too well last week? I laughed out loud when Colicchio reaffirmed his random hatred of the parsnip.
Nikki - Sausage and bread. Apparently there were some peppers and onions at some point, but bitch didn't save enough for the judges, uh-oh. Plus, she didn't really make anything. Didn't they ream someone last season b/c Malarkey made his own seafood sausage and whoever they were reaming bought the ones they were using? Sorry, too much wine has killed too many brain cells for me to remember that far back in time.
Mark - his station is disgusting. I definitely wouldn't eat his food, no matter how good it was. I know most restaurant kitchens are disgusting, I'm not pretending they're not, but I don't have to look at it...come on Mark, step up!

Judge's Table
(Does Tom's head look less shiny? Are you as disturbed as I am that I care so much about the gloss of Tom's melon?)

Antonia, Dale, Stephanie are made of win. Dale is made of the most win! His prize - a douchey Bears jersey with "top Chef" printed on the back. Oh, and the grill on which he cooked his winning dish. I'd burn that effing jersey on the grill to break it in.

Mark, Nikki, Ryan are made of fail. Nikki is confused about why the people hated her food and she wears a stupid hat.
Ryan gets reamed about the dessert, while Colicchio dresses him down with his eyes. Again. I bet Padma wishes she could emote the same way Tom can. Mark gets yelled at about his filthy cooking and tasting habits. Again, Mark, I KNOW chefs are putting their filthy fingers in my food before I taste it, but I don't want to SEE it happen. On cable TV. And you should know better than to do that in front of the Judges. The judges deliberate and try to decide what the worst offense was: inappropriate foods (Ryan), no effort/not caring (Nikki), and laziness/messiness (Mark). I vote for messiness and general filthiness, because that's gross and no "Top Chef" would be that disgusting. Really, Mark? What would Thomas Keller do?

The Elimination - Tom gives a speech about the perfect storm of food and sports at Soldier Field, all the while emoting his disdain for Ryan with only his eyes and slightly-less -shiny head. Then he tells them they all sucked it up, but Ryan sucked it up the most. Actually, I'm kind of surprised. I thought it would be Nikki or Mark, Ryan's food didn't seem like it was bad, just inappropriate. I think overt grossness and lack of making any food at all far outweigh a poached pear at a tailgating party. But, I didn't taste the food and I trust Mr. Clean. Bye Hot!Ryan. We'll miss your douchiness and prettiness. Go be metrosexual back in NYC (or wherever he cooks, again, the wine). My heart is aglow with the knowledge that the douchiness factor will be greatly reduced next week.

Next Week - the dreaded pastry! Going to the improv. Ted Allen's back and taling about sausage! that's what she said...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

All about baseball

And now, the Yankees

The battle of the old guys: Dave Winfield vs. Bernie Williams.

Yes, I know BMG, shut it: Dave Winfield is the only person ever to be drafted into three different professional sports after college (MLB - San Diego Padres, NBA - Atlanta Hawks, and NFL - Minnesota Vikings), thereby making him the BEST ATHLETE EVER. Especially since he didn't even play football in college.

Clearly, he's incredibly large and would probably beat you into submission if you chose not to like him. Also, his legs are the actual size of tree trunks.

Career Stats:
Average - .283
hits - 3110
RBI - 1833
HR - 465
12 All-star appearances
7 Gold Gloves
1 World Series win
Total Games - 2973

But, then there's Bernie Williams. So cute. So nice. He plays the acoustic guitar,, All-Star center fielder, beautiful swing, long, long, legs (they seem to extend out of his chin!). And, he looks like this:

And this:

(Look at that swing)

Career Stats:
Average - .297
Hits - 2336
RBI - 1257
HR - 287
5 All-star appearances
4 Gold Gloves
4 World Series wins
Total Games - 1925

You know what, Dave does have better numbers, but he played in 1000 more games than Bern. Dave's All-Star appearances are impressive, but so are Bernie's 4 World Series Wins and overall post-season performance. Bernie has an album...can you say that about Dave? Bottom line, I just like Bernie more...I always have and always will. Therefore, you should like him more, too.

Need more convincing? Would you ever choose to love a baseball player wearing this:

Does he really think he's going to play baseball while wearing snow shoes and what appears to be a whole polar bear carcass he killed (with his bare hands) and draped jauntily around his neck, just before the photograph was taken?
That is all.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sometimes I'm Lazy and Just Post Old Blogs

(This is an old blog, but thought it was appropriate in light of the "Baby Jesus" blog earlier).

So, since my yoga class with "Misty" is finished for the semester, I finally get to sit on my couch and watch "30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray" on Monday evenings. Oh how I've missed you RayRay. There are so many things wrong with you, you're almost right. Almost...but not quite. For example, her hair looks awesome, and, in a rare moment of clarity from her stylist, her shirt actually isn't ill-fitting - it doesn't cause her rack to sag inappropriately under her armpits or cling haphazardly to her protruding, seemingly bloated stomach. It's even a very nice shade of purple on her, not her usual garish orange paired with an equally hideous (read: GIANT) belt buckle. Plus, she's making some delicious sounding rigatoni with three kinds of mushrooms, which, provided she doesn't add copious amounts of heavy cream (or half and half, whatever you put in your coffee in the morning), excessive amounts of butter and Parmesan, and uses a whole wheat pasta, it may actually fit into the alleged "healthy" meal she claims to make at the beginning of her program. Yum-O! Although, the picture on Food Network's site isn't really that appetizing...

However, she supposedly makes 30 minute meals, which, as the name suggests, will be quick and EASY to make. Now, she's using three types of mushrooms, not complex in and of itself, however, she apparently wants to cook each one in a different way: portabella - grilled, shiitake - sauteed, and dried porcini - boiled (which I have my issue with, they should clearly be soaked and then sauteed, but's Ray Ray). What person, let alone a busy, harried parent, guardian, child, man-child, man-woman-child, man-ho, Iko, etc. in their RIGHT mind wants to bust out a grill pan (or, god forbid) the actual grill, solely to cook four portabella mushroom caps? And waste a saute pan for the shiitakes? And boil the pasta and porcini in separate pots? And probably saute up some bitter greens (with a hint of nutmeg, to make them go, "Hmmmmm, what IS that?") in yet another skillet. Seriously, the show should be called "30 Minute Meals with a Three Hour Clean-up." Not to mention the myriad of utensils she uses to mix, grate, stir, saute, whisk, chop, and dice. And the good, old GB (that's Garbage Bowl).

Is she high? Who does that?

On a separate note, I don't know who told all the peeps at Food Network that it's ok to NOT wash mushrooms....seriously. All anyone does is wipe them off with a towel. They're grown in manure, people, MANURE!! Do you know what MAN-ure is? (Yes I realize I'm going on a rant much like George Costanza on Seinfeld about manure, but I feel like I have an educational purpose here). Seriously, can you say "E. Coli O157:H7" Rachael? Can you? Say it slut! DE-Lish!

On a slightly related side-note, she just informed the viewers that her Grandpa Emmanuel used to forage for mushrooms in the forest. That explains a lot about her and her cracked-out-on-hallucinogenic-mushrooms family. It's all so clear. Aah, Rachael, how I've missed you. I promise to never take a class between 6 and 7 pm on a weekday ever again.

(ETA: Ok, the second show is better than the first. It's more old-school, circa 2003, but she called her meal "healthful." Guess what she's making as a side for this "healthful" meal?

Wait for it...

wait for it...

And the prize goes to... ONION RINGS!

Healthful, indeed. But since she's serving it with turkey burgers with turkey bacon on them, it must be healthy. Yum-O! Sodium!)

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Return

In honor of "The Return" of "30 Rock and "The Office," some friends (KN, MD) and I decided to have a Mexican Fiesta, to celebrate and give us an excuse to drink excessive wine on a weeknight. Yes, I know rioja isn't Mexican, but it's Spanish...and there is Spanish spoken in Mexico. So that makes it OK.

On the menu: Chicken and Pepper fajitas, corn, rice, lots of wine, and the BEST. ICE CREAM. EVER.
More on that in another post.

For the chicken fajitas, I made a marinade of olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, cilantro, and some secret spices. Then, I cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise and added them to the marinade and let them sit in the fridge for about two hours. I would have let them marinate longer, but I didn't get home from work early enough...
Chicken in Marinade:

Once KN had arrived with the rest of the food, I prepared the other delicious things.
Sauteing the onions:
Chopping the peppers and cilantro (on my fancy new bamboo cutting board, endorsed by none other than duck-fat-as-gel himself, Ming Tsai):
(If you're really crafty, you can see some of my secret spices in the background...)
Grilling the chicken:
Please excuse my filthy stove...that chicken was spitting like a MOFO on the grill. Plus, I haven't cleaned my stove in a while.
While I was busy in the kitchen, KN took over my usual duties of fashioning the TablesKape. Here it is (!):
Chili pepper lights, some tequila, two pairs of maracas, some chipotle pepper powder, a lime, and a lemon. All Mexican inspired items, except for the lemon. But every good tablesKape must contain a llllllllemon, Aunt Sandy requires it. And we don't want to piss off that bitch. She'll make us eat the Kwanzaa Kake of Racial Insensitivity as punishment.
"Glamor" shot of food:
There were also some multi grain tortillas and the delicious fajita toppings of sour cream and freshly shredded cheddar cheese (the good stuff, none of that Sargento Mexican blend nonsense).
My plate of food:
Notice we had actually plugged the chili lights in at this point. Unfortunately, due to my lack of extension cord, we had to remove them from the main tablesKape in order to plug them in. Thus, we were left with the main sKape and a kind of auxiliary tablesKape. I think Aunt Sandy would be proud.

Next, it was time to dig into the ice cream!
Oh God, the salted delicious caramel-i-ness. I feel the drool forming just thinking about it. The baby Jesus was certainly not crying as we ate it.

After about two and half bottles of rioja, we had the brilliant idea to create a second and much more involved TablesKape. Here it is (although I'm embarrassed to show you the results of our drunken antics, but I love you all so much, I can't help myself):
The lemon's still there (clearly), but now we have the addition of a few key items. Things that make any sKape better. Stephen Colbert, Bernie Williams, Yankees paraphernalia, and, the most important, floating wine glass. God, we are such degenerates. Although, this makes slightly more sense if I tell you we were watching the Yankees game at this point, as "30 Rock" and "The Office" had been long over.

As far as the actual shows go, I really enjoyed "30 Rock." I love seeing Liz Lemon as kind of evil ("I am the DECIDER!") and Jack playing her, what with the stuttering and sweeping piles of dust, was awesome. I actually really like the Pete subplot, and died laughing when he dialed his own extension at random. Plus, I actually liked how they kept paralleling the episode with what was happening on MILF Island, even if it was a little obvious. For "The Office," I don't know. It was really an episode that shows how uncomfortable the show can be to watch at times. I definitely need to watch it again, I always like those kinds of episodes more after repeated viewings. I just kind of feel the writers are painting Jan into a corner here, what are they going to do? Send her to a mental institution? I can't see any other way to deal with her character (since we all know she's not going to be Michael's girlfriend for long, not after she broke his TV with his own DUNDIE. That's messed up!). It kind of sucks, I think she's an awesome character, so deeply flawed and crazy, but never as overtly mentally unstable as in this episode, in my opinion.

There were some good moments, though. Angela asking what she's supposed to do with the flower and telling Dwight she doesn't want to put one of his beets into his mouth. Ed Helms in general (him harmonizing with Hunter's song, come on, how is that NOT awse?). Jim trying to leave Pam at the condo and almost vomiting at the smell of the fire candles. Also, Pam's "Awesome!" when Dwight showed up was too, too cute. As much as I think Jan is a waste of a character now, her, "Oh, this will be great to cook with" in response to the wine Pam brought was so hilariously bitchy, it was probably one of the few times I laughed out loud. I'll watch it again, I promise. Don't yell at me for not liking it so much.

So, getting back to The Return, thus basically ended our evening. Well, there were some drunken discussions about living by ourselves on an island compound, the state of food in the American South, and I'm sure a lot of me screaming, "I love Ed Helms," but that's all you guys need to know about. Well, maybe one more thing:
I really love Brett Favre.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh, the baby Jesus is crying

Why in the EFF is Rachael Ray cutting up beautiful whole, meaty, pieces of beef tenderloin to make "Beef Tenderloin Bites on Arugula?" WTF is wrong with her? Has she never heard of tenderloin tips? Or, better yet, has she never heard of searing a whole beef medallion? Why would she not do that? It doesn't take more than 30 minutes to sear a piece of beef tenderloin and dump it on some arugula. Come on, ho, sear the whole piece of meat.

Oh my God!! If possible (oh, and I think it is), she made it worse. She's rolled them in store bought bread crumbs and BROILING them!!!! Does she have no sense of flavor or texture? Does she want them to be little pieces of crispy shoe leather? I submit visual evidence from Food Network's website:

How is that remotely appetizing? Even the arty close up shot couldn't save it...I think this may be worse than the Kwanzaa Kake (aka "Kake of Racial Insensitivity") Sandy Lee debacle of 2003:

Yes, those absolutely are CORN NUTS on the KAKE.

Update: Here's the video. This is real. And totally on TV.

Rachael, stop smoking crack, man up, and make the whole tenderloin. To quote Man-Dawn, "Oh, the baby Jesus is crying."

ETA: You know what, I'm sorry, I believe it was "Kake of Kultural Insensitivity." That makes more sense. Try to put as may K's into things to help remind us of "Kurtain Kraft."*
*This link is especially funny if you scroll down to the bottom, where Amazon lists the "Suggested Tags from Similar Products."

She Made Bacon and Gets to Go to Italy - "Top Chef" Season 4, Episode 5

Well, overall, not such an interesting episode. More catering? Boring. No real drama (until the end, I'll get to that)? Boring. The palate challenge? Already been done. Zoi (spoiler alert) going home - AWSE!

I *heart* Ming Tsai, all the way from "East Meets West" on Food Network, you know, before it sucked, and I absolutely adore his food. I want to go eat at his restaurant so, so badly, and just order everything and roll around in it. And, probably eat it, too, preferably before I roll around in it. That said, he didn't really look that hot. His face was kind of bloated and don't even get me started on his hair. I think he's an attractive man, but, come ON "Top Chef," did you spend too much money on Padma's ridiculous wardrobe last season, you can't afford make-up people for your guest chefs?

While I think it's kind of lame that they redid a Quickfire Challenge from last season, I actually do like the blindfolded palate test. Ming is completely right, you need to have a highly trained palate to be able to make good food. I think it's something chefs really struggle with. it's impossible to taste every kind of food in the world, especially more than once for some things. It's relatively easy to cover up bad ingredients and I think, as a result, people (chefs included) never get a sense of what a good quality product tastes like. I know I have a horrible palate, after years of cooking and culinary school, I still can barely season things properly. I don't know that I'd be able to distinguish the good and the bad caviar. And I would be incredibly embarrassed. And that is why I am not on "Top Chef." But this isn't about me, let's move on with the episode, shall we?

The Quickfire was rather uneventful, although I was surprised Stephanie did as poorly as she did. I can definitely see nerves would play a huge roll, so I'm willing to cut her some slack. Antonia winning, clearly she has a good palate, still don't think she's a TOP chef, though. It's always nice to see someone new get immunity, though, so the other, stronger candidates have to really cook during the elimination challenge. I have to be honest, though, I was really distracted by Padma's voiceovers for the entire Quickfire. Why were they at a completely different volume than the rest of the show? Like, at least try to get the volume right, editors...come on. It was actually jarring to my poor, sensitive ears, why is Padma yelling at me?

Elimination Challenge:
Ming, won my heart even more, by directly relating the Quickfire Challenge to the Elimination Challenge, telling the chefs that he wanted simple, clean dishes, which comes directly from the palate. Strong work, Ming! Most guest chefs have no clue how the challenges relate to one another. Oh, that's right, it's probably because they don't relate to one another. Just developed to bring as much ridiculously staged drama as possible. Also, I may have missed it, but what do Earth, Air, Water, and Fire have to do with Meals on Wheels?*

The teams were all fine and the actual cooking was uneventful, with the exception of three things, in my opinion.

1. I did kind of take issue with Antonia refusing to go along with her team's idea about the soup. If you have immunity, you should shut the eff up and do whatever your team wants. They're the ones who will go home if the food sucks. It doesn't matter if you think the idea is crappy, suck it up, act like a sous chef, and power-through. The worst part about it? I actually agreed with Spike (WTF was up with his hat?? Seriously? That's how you want to look on TV?) on this point, when he interviewed that Antonia should have taken a backseat, I was like, wow, I can't believe I agree with that douche hat.
2. Lisa dropping the F-bomb every other word? Comedy Gold. Doubled because of Dale's bitchiness about it. The only way Dale's bitchiness would have been better is if he'd been stuck on the team with the lesbian couple. Three lesbians on one team? Made of win.
3. Richard kissing Tom's ass during the sniff and sneer, and Tom having no part of it was hands down the laugh-out-loud moment of the show. Tom looked so confused at first, then broke out his trusty smirk. Richard looked so defeated that his "charm" was having no effect on Tom. Maybe Tom doesn't like your faux hawk, Richard. Maybe he saw the salmon being cooked sous vide and vomited in his mouth a little bit. Maybe he wishes you'd shut the eff up and spent more time taking the scales off the fish.

Overall, the whole cooking section was pretty uneventful - I still think there are too many people to get a sense of how good they are. All we know so far: Dale is bitchy, Lisa makes Asian food, Stephanie wins a lot but has a crappy palate, there are some lesbians (mostly because Bravo keeps shoving it down our throats - TWSS), Andrew is on crack (not so much this episode), Spike is a douche bag, Antonia has immunity, Ryan has cute dimples, but may have an IQ of 85, Richard is a molecular gastronomist who has stupid hair, and there are some other people flying under the radar, most have douche-y hair and all annoy me.

Plating and Serving:
The shrimp and bacon go over well (yum), the Earth and Water dishes kind of suck. Spike interviews with a new douche-y hat. The sous vide salmon looked horrible, very mushy. In retrospect, maybe Richard was trying to add some drama and texture by leaving the crunchy scales on the fish. The rest of it didn't seem to fit, either. The salad? How does that relate to water? The parsnip puree with vanilla? Again, water? The Earth team's dish seemed weird, too. Rosemary with raw beef? Underseasoned food overall? I don't know. How are some of these people on the show? I mean, I'm not like, "whatever guys, I could do so much better," but, I'd at least salt my food.

Judge's Table:
Again, really, really distracted by Ming's horrible hair. It looks like he styled it with the unrendered duck fat from Team Air's duck breasts. Team Fire definitely deserved to win, although I don't know that Lisa deserved the trip more than the rest of them. Dale was so bitchy when she won...his face was priceless. He probably won't let that go for the rest of the season. I wish there was some way they all could have won, I really think it was a good team effort, everyone contributed equally, from conceptualizing the dish, all the way through the cooking.

Team Water was clearly in the bottom. Scales on the mushy fish? They should just send the whole team home for that. I loved when Tom asked what the parsnip was supposed to do. Um, I think it's supposed to be eaten, right? What would he like it to do? A dance? Administer Prozac to Andrew? Wash Ming's hair?

Team Earth**, also clearly in the bottom. Underseaonsed food is a rookie mistake and nothing these chefs should be doing. Again, they should have sent the whole team home. In fact, I got really excited when Tom said he wanted to send Zoi AND Spike home. That would have been awse! The double elimination is always so unexpected and drama-filled.

As far as the actual knifing, Zoi definitely deserved to go home, but Spike should be thanking his lucky stars here. Two weeks in a row he deserved to go home, too, yet was inexplicably saved by the judges. They must really see something we're not getting at home...maybe his charisma doesn't transfer through the TV. Or, maybe they just want to see what stupid hat he'll come up with next. As for the drama after Zoi left, I won't say much about it, except that I think the producers edited two completely different fights together. I don't even know if they occurred on the same day. It was so choppy and random. I felt bad for Jenn after Zoi left, that has to suck, and it probably wasn't so nice for no one to be sympathetic about it (at least from what the choppy editing showed us), but she had to know it would happen. Zoi was clearly out of her league, although I'm sure she's a pretty decent cook, regardless. The Dale-Lisa fight came out of no where and Antonia-Spike, whatever. Antonia's right, she's on tape saying (piss-i-ly) that she would make soup. At any rate, I wish they'd just show the food and the cooking, not all the drama...I guess some people like it, but I'd rather see them cooking than throwing chairs and drinking excessively. But that's just me.

Next Week:
Dale and Lisa fight. Dude, whatever, Lisa could take you down, Dale, watch it. They cater (again) a Football game and prove they know nothing about sports. Spike and New Zealand guy have a man-love moment in a bubble bath. Nikki's food gets tossed in the garbage - it's about time. Bitch is going home.

*Thanks, Beth, for informing me that "The Elements" was the actual theme of teh event. That makes much more sense now. I'm glad one person's paying attention...
**Yeah, I realized I want to add here, it was total BS when the judges said a soup would have been perfect or whatever. There is NO EFFING WAY they would have won with soup. I can hear the comments now:
Tom: "It takes three people to make a soup? You spent two and half hours making soup? This is "Top Chef" not "Top Soup Maker."
Padma: "The soup was delicious."
Gail: "I was overwhelmed by the rosemary in your earthy soup. I don't think soup is a complex enough dish for these, highly refined, palates."
Ming: "No self-respecting chef would take two and a half hours to make a soup and serve it to a group of diners expecting a highly refined first course. None of you are as good as I am. Now someone get me more gel."

Also, remember to watch new episodes of "30 Rock" and "The Office" tonight!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I was endorsed by a corn chip



Question: What do you know about the Office spin-off? — J.R.
Ausiello: I know that, contrary to speculation, it will not revolve around Dwight. According to an insider, the Michael-Dwight dynamic is "too integral to the show." The likelier scenario, according to a Peacock insider, has Ed Helms' Andy headlining Office 2.0. "That idea was batted around prior to the strike," whispers my source, "and NBC seemed interested." Personally, I hope NBC sticks with its original plan and looks outside the Dunderverse for the offshoot's boss. Speaking of which….

I don't want Ed to leave the good Office and go to the crappy one which will get canceled immediately after the first episode airs. :(

ETA: Not that I don't want him to be a huge, breakout success, like Steve Carell became after "The Office" and "The 40-year old Virgin," I just think NBC should stick with what's good, rather than spread the goodness as thin as possible and ruin all the shows. Unless it's a Jason Sudekis/Ed Helms version of "The Office," which I expressed my extreme enthusiasm for earlier.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I'm Sorry, but WTF?!

Yeah, you know, I look like garbage most days: roll out of bed, brush teeth, wash face, sunscreen, maybe brush hair, add sweatshirt and jeans - roll out the door (with large ass coffee in hand). If I have the extra minute, maybe a brush of mascara. So, clearly, I'm not one to judge the appearance of others. But, really, RayRay? I mean, this is trying:

The neckline. The shiny legs. The awkward grimace/grin.

At least she's there to encourage people to donate to and help food banks. That's all I've got.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Edplant Parmesan

This has been sitting, unfinished in my post list for over two months now...WTF, Iko? Finish what you started, right? Anyway, I haven't posted a recipe in a while, so I though I'd put this one up (referenced here, with most of the same pictures), in honor of "The Office" coming back this week and the delightful Ed Helms gracing us with his presence on the small screen once again.


For the Eggplant:
2 large eggplants (heavy for their size, otherwise they'll be all seedy and bitter)
three large eggs, beaten
bread crumbs (store bought are fine, or make your own)
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
olive oil

To Finish
Marinara sauce (recipe follows, or use jarred - but GOOD jarred, not Ragu...sorry people who make Ragu)
1 large ball fresh mozzarella (not the dioxin contaminated one)
about 6 large fresh basil leaves
Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

1. Peel eggplant if the skin is especially tough. I like to leave the skin on so people know what they're eating, but, if it doesn't taste good, it doesn't matter how pretty it looks. As you can clearly see in the picture - I peeled those mofos.
2. Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick rounds.
3. Coat the eggplant in the flour and shake off the excess. You know how to bread, things, right? Put the flour in a shallow dish, add more if you run out before you run out of eggplant...
4. Mix the beaten eggs with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil, and dip the floured eggplant into this mixture.
5. Mix the breadcrumbs, parsley, and Parmesan cheese together, place the floured and egg-ed eggplant into the breadcrumbs, and turn to coat evenly.
6. Add the breaded eggplant rounds to a large, preheated saute pan coated in a little olive oil. Alternatively, you can use a non-stick pan and some spray (like Pam) for a healthier option, but I like olive oil. A lot. Like more than a normal person. More than even abnormal people. I'm looking at you RayRay.
7. Once the eggplant has browned nicely on one side, flip over and brown the other side.
8. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet pan or plate or some other kind of flat object. Repeat steps 3 -7 with the remainder of the eggplant rounds.
9. Assemble the casserole by spreading a layer of sauce into a rectangular Pyrex or stoneware baking dish (I think mine was around 9" x 13"), covering that layer with the eggplant rounds cooked earlier, then laying half the mozzarella ball over the top of the eggplant. Next, sprinkle the mozzarella layer with some Parmesan cheese (maybe two tablespoons, really however much cheese you want) and tear about three or four basil leaves over that. Repeat the entire layering process one more time and cover the top with some more marinara sauce.
10. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for about 1/2 hour. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more, or until the cheese on the top browns a little bit and the rest of the casserole is bubbly and Yum-O.
11. Remove from the oven and let the casserole sit for 15 - 20 minutes to help it congeal and cool down, so you don't burn the roof of your mouth on the deliciousness.
12. Serve with garlic bread, salad (or sauteed broccoli rabe, as indicated in the menu for Ed's birthday and the picture below), wine, and a hefty dose of Ed Helms.


Probably makes 8 servings. I'm really bad at limiting myself to one serving, though. Also, this freezes really well and makes a delicious lunch to bring to work, because it's not too bad microwaved, either.

Marinara Sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine
1 large can (28-oz) chopped tomatoes, preferable San Marzano
2 tbsp chopped, fresh basil
salt and pepper


1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a sauce pan.
2. Add the onion and cook until very soft and translucent, but not browned. A little bit browned is OK, but don't burn those mofos.
3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 - 2 minutes more.
4. Add the red wine and reduce, probably around 3 or 4 minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine.
6. Let this mixture simmer for about 25 minutes.
7. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. You can add some sugar here, too, if you prefer the sweeter sauces, or your tomatoes are particularly acidic. I'm not such a fan of sugar in tomato sauce, but it's your food, you can do what you want.
8. Add the chopped fresh basil and stir.
9. Use for the Edplant Parmesan recipe or refrigerate or freeze for later.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Continuation of "Strong Work of the Day"

You may remember this picture of Ed from such blogs as "Ed's Birthday - Expanded."

(If you click on the picture, the bigger version will pop up. That's what she said.)