Are a Part of Your History ~
~ Steve Maraboli
1) Kirsty Mitchell Photography
Sister Madly knows what you’re thinking: is it safe to eat the peppers of a NuMex Twilight ornamental pepper plant?
Allow the aforementioned Moppet to put your mind at ease: Yes, it is!
But you don’t want to. Trust her on this one.
Now that she’s gotten that out of the way, it’s time to talk about M&M’s.
As a wee little Moppet, this was one amongst many favored 35¢ treats, peaking a few years before Red M&M’s made their triumphant return to society. It was during one of Sister Madly’s weekly pilgrimage down to the party store* that she was confronted with the truth about the candy that ‘melts in your mouth, not in your hand.’
* A Michigan phenomenon jam-packed with all things liquor, tobacco, snacky things, candy, lottery, magazines, Clearly Canadian, and pickled eggs.
Now Sister Madly simply could not pass by her friend’s house without pounding on the door and demanding that she come out and play (Sister Madly had impeccable social graces in those days.) And being the angelic little Moppet that she was, Sister Madly decided to save last M&M for Serafina- and a yellow* one at that. However, before she could implement her drop-whatever-you’re-doing-and-play-with-me! knock, Sister Madly was horrified to discover that most of the shell had melted off.
* Yes, the yellow ones taste the best. This is not up for debate.
Surely nothing is more devastating than discovering one of the fundamental truths of one’s childhood is nothing but a lie- and if M&M’s had the audacity to fib, how many other pop culture icons were doing the same? Does that mean drugs will not turn her brain into a sunny-side up egg? Is that to say the MASH game is not accurate when foretelling one’s future? Or that Golden Grahams is not part of a complete breakfast? Does that mean girls want to have more than just fun?
But even as Sister Madly faced this tragic, coming-of-age moment, she was determined that Serafina’s innocence should not be lost at such a tender age. Thus, in a most noble gesture, Sister Madly chose to save her best friend from the disillusionment of false advertising by eating the last M&M herself.
BRAISED CHICKEN MARSALA
Season chicken w/salt and pepper
In heated skillet, brown chicken on both sides, 3-5 min per side
Remove from skillet; set aside
Sauté pancetta; 1-2 min
Add shallot and garlic; sauté 2-3 min
Add herbs; sauté 30 sec
Deglaze with ¼ cup Marsala; 1-2 min
Return chicken to skillet
Add stock, Worcestershire, and remaining Marsala
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until chicken is cooked: 20-25 min
Stir in cream and Parmesan (if using) simmer 2-3 min
Remove from heat, garnish with chives, and serve
THEME SONG: I Melt with You, Modern English
Sister Madly was closing down the pub the other night when she overheard a nearby patron speaking about Soul Retrieval.
Now, there’s a fine profession she hadn’t considered when just a wee little Moppet! Which is most unfortunate, as Sister Madly clearly fits the criteria required of a Reaper: she works well independently, has mastered the art of being grim, and can put together a rather fetching uniform at a moment’s notice- her Renaissance Faire days has left Sister Madly with an eclectic array of costumes and bits of weaponry that is often difficult to explain.
Why, just think of all the joy she could bring to commuters simply by strolling along the boulevard in uniform; no doubt the ruffian who just ran that red light will be pleased to find that photo ticket in the mail. Sister Madly would downright giddy to receive a picture of the intrepid Itty Bitty flirting with the speed limit and a Reaper in the foreground- she might even go so far as to make that moment happen. She would hang it on the refrigerator next to the bold You-Didn’t-Vote-Enough! Shame Campaign Card she received in the mail before the last elections.*
* Apparently, Sister Madly is a very naughty citizen because she did not cast a vote for nor against the unopposed, incumbent Drain Commissioner.
For centuries, the Netherworld has employed Reapers as an eco-friendly alternative to leaving Souls littered about the Multiverse like candy wrappers on Halloween- but what does one do with the Souls after tidying up? Does Sister Madly, as a Reaper, decide into which afterlife the Soul is dispensed? Does she decide which ones to recycle, and which to reuse? Zero waste is clearly a concern of the Netherworld and, according to the Ancients, has been recycling Souls through an ecological process known as Reincarnation for centuries.
* Confirmed: Reincarnation is a fact, as evidenced by the bench at her local Marketplace made entirely out of recycled milk jugs.
Yet as with earthly rubbish, not all Souls can be recycled; but that does not mean the surplus is stuffed down the spiritual garbage disposal. As Souls are not compostable, it is most trendy to use the debris for DIY projects around the home- just think of the masterpieces one could make with the leftovers! Surely Sister Madly can find a board on Pinterest addressing this very topic. Hashtag TrendyMoppet.
In fact, a career as a Reaper might even benefit her current engagement as a Vendor.* She could make haunted relics by cramming leftover Souls into certain artifacts willy-nilly, and enlist the most interesting of Psyches (and hopefully, with the most colorful language) to be the spirit behind the Writing Planchette.
* Whose goods are mostly purchased by psychologists, teenage girls, and tourists from Montana. Apparently, Sister Madly has cracked the code on how to cater to this particularly niche market.
As it turns out, the retrieval of Souls is not the same as reaping them. Retrieval, he said, is all about the living…
Living… So, does the Soul just wander off? Or is more like retrieving property- such as when one sells one’s Soul to the Devil and the Devil doesn’t deliver on his end of the bargain- like some sort of mystical Repo-Man? If so, Sister Madly may wish to retain these services: having sold her Soul years ago, Sister Madly is certain that the purchaser of said Soul is the Snitch behind her not voting for nor against the unopposed, incumbent Drain Commissioner, which is in direct violation of their nonexistent contract.
The Repo-Man politely declined.
PULLED CHICKEN PARMESAN
Heat oil in Dutch oven
Add onions, stirring to coat
Lower heat, stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized; 30-45 min
Add garlic; sauté 3-5 min
Add spices; sauté 30 sec
Deglaze ¼ cup wine; simmer to reduce; 2 min
Add stock, paste, chicken, and remaining wine; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until chicken is cooked (25 min)
Shred chicken in sauce
Simmer to reduce and thicken
Add cheese; stir until melted and remove from heat
THEME SONG: Don’t Fear the Reaper, Blue Oyster Cult
Image 1) Chris Clor
A few weeks ago, Sister Madly was on her way home from the Market when she was passed by a man on a unicycle.
Now, she knows what you are all thinking: how does one even begin to master the unicycle? Does one utilize training wheels? Where does one keep the spare tire? And who was the madman that came up with the concept in the first place? Indeed, it was this train of thought that momentarily distracted Sister Madly from the fact that the cyclist was completely naked.
Yes, Sister Madly had just wandered into the outskirts of the World Naked Bike Ride.
As it turned out, the World Naked Bike Ride- which began as a protest against society’s oil dependency while promoting positive body image- was meeting at the park in her neighborhood. The Good Samaritan in Sister Madly considered hunting down the Unicyclist to inform him that he was, sadly, one wheel short of a bicycle- it was the Naked Bike Ride, after all- but she was quite overdressed for the occasion.*
* The World Naked Bike Ride is bit of a misnomer, as riders are encouraged to wear shoes and helmets, making it the Nearly Naked Bike Ride with Special Guest: the Unicyclist Without a Spare Tire.
While the Ride itself was to commence at 9pm, a few carefree activists decided to get a head start on the demonstration by assembling at 2; and though Sister Madly is all for that Consume Less Fuel thing, she was unable to participate in the Ride as she, unfortunately, does not own a bike.
But even if one does not participate in the Ride itself, there is much to be learned from the demonstration; indeed, much to be shared:
– Riding a bike without certain undergarments can be extremely uncomfortable and is accompanied by many 4-letter words.
– Unicorns exist; they are environmentally conscious and roam about on their hind legs. Unfortunately, Sister Madly is unable to provide photographic evidence as Unicorns are also body positive, and roam about completely naked.
* Nessie and Sasquatch, however, are clearly gun-toting, non-Prius driving, cloth-wearing body-shamers as they were nowhere to be found at the Bike Ride. Savages.
– Fairies also exist: they tend to be 6 feet tall, have butterfly wings, and sparkly Peace Signs painted on their tummies.
– Barbecuing in the buff is an extreme sport due to errant ash and the potential to singe off more than one’s eyebrows. A child’s bike seat, however, is a perfectly legitimate way to transport a bag of charcoal, provided it is properly strapped in and wearing a helmet.
* Fully nudity does not appear to be addressed in the current Food Handler’s Handbook. It seems that the Health Department does not give a hoot about one’s attire as long as one wears a hairnet.
Extreme Barbecuer was not wearing a hairnet.
– Now, that man is wearing a helmet. That’s right sir: safety first.
– Not all hippies sit in a circle and sing One Tin Soldier while weaving flowers into their hair. Sometimes they sing the Scooby-Doo Theme Song while smoking dubious plant life.
– A pair of red stilettoes is considered adequate footwear, the lady with the ombre hair insisted. Sister Madly has to admit, there’s talent in stiletto cycling- after all, if she so much as even looks at a pair of stilettoes, Sister Madly will break her ankle; she’s sprained it twice just thinking about it these last few seconds. Hats off to the Stiletto Cyclist.
– If you order the cheesesteak sandwich from the Hawaiian Food Cart, just eat all the steak with a fork and feed the bread to the ducks: you will be minimizing waste while maintaining a healthy, low-carb lifestyle, and you just might bring joy to a lonely, hungry, down-on-his-luck duck. Just a friendly tip from the cyclist in a loincloth and equestrian helmet.
– A tutu is more often worn about the head than about the waist, something Sister Madly does not remember from Tallulah’s brief childhood stint in ballet- but then, neither were particularly fashion savvy in those days.
– Update: Stiletto-Wearing Cyclist was not a lady. Apologies.
POBLANO CORN CHOWDER
Sauté onion until translucent: 8-10 min
Add garlic and poblanos; sauté 2-3 min
Add celery and carrots; sauté 2-3 min
Add spices; sauté 30 sec
Add potatoes, corn, and broth; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until veggies are tender; 25-30 min
Blend soup to desired smoothness (opt)
Add cream (if using); simmer 2-3 min
Stir in lime juice and remove from heat
THEME SONG: Riders on the Storm, The Doors
Upon reflection, Sister Madly has come to the conclusion that her high school education was a bit lacking. While most students were studying the usual curriculum of Biology and How-Not-to-Get-Salmonella-at-the-Cafeteria, Sister Madly & Co. were handed flyers featuring Scuba Barbie and asked to describe what was wrong with the ad. When a heated discussion erupted over whether Miss Barbie was wearing her scuba gear correctly, the teacher tried to regain control of the dialogue by pointing out the impossible body proportions and beauty standards of the doll.
Now this is the same Teacher who once assigned the female students to carry an egg around for a week to prepare them for motherhood. Said Teacher was convinced that every high school student hungered for the shiny, happy joys of teen pregnancy while simultaneously suffering from eating disorders due to the “impossible beauty standards” of Barbie.
High school is, indeed, the best time of your life.
Still, Sister Madly can’t help but wonder if her childhood toys have, or continues to, influence her to this day:
CABBAGE PATCH KIDS
Throughout the 80’s, the Madly household amassed enough Cabbage Patch Kids to reenact the Great Plague, yet never once was Sister Madly thrown into fits of despair over the fact that she was born without the signature of Xavier Roberts tattooed across her bum. In fact, Sister Madly tried to unload her first Cabbage Patch Kid- a tot called Jennie Freddie- on Tallulah in the dead of the night a week or so after Xmas. Apparently, Sister Madly preferred to play with errant golf balls and rocks.*
* Tallulah once had a stick named Wendy, thus has no reason to poke fun at Sister Madly for her affinity for rocks. Sister Madly did not name her rocks.
Sister Madly must confess: these Bears were not goodwill ambassador toys so much as arsenal for a particularly twisted game of dodgeball. This Sibling Warfare notwithstanding, Sister Madly can’t remember being confined to a straitjacket because a big, blue thundercloud was not painted on her tummy.
Even the Mother Madly mastered this far superior knockoff of Pac-Man by Texas Instruments, much in the way Sister Madly mastered the Art of Annoying Tallulah by simply sitting next to her. Still, Sister Madly can’t say she was ever compelled to devour Texas as a result… but admits that she does like to munch.
Sister Madly would like nothing more than the ability to fold herself into a plush little ball on a Saturday night… then again, maybe she can; she’s never actually tried. No doubt it involves pulling her lip over her head and swallowing herself whole… do remember to stretch before trying that maneuver, dear Moppet; you’re not the spring chicken you used to be.
SOME DOLL THAT HAD A PAIR OF WINGS
Even at a young age, Sister Madly knew that she would never possess the ability to sprout a pair of wings in order to fly to the candy store at a moment’s notice.* She really doesn’t know much else about the doll other than she didn’t play with it much because it was pink.
* She did on occasion try to float about the backyard with an umbrella ala Mary Poppins, but that was more out of curiosity as to whether this mode of transportation was possible. Further testing is needed.
Surely there was nothing more thrilling than crossing America in a covered wagon, chasing after oxen that wander off before dying of dysentery. She wonders if anyone has ever proposed a Vegan version of Oregon Trail where, instead of hunting buffalo, one sneaks into a garden and steals all the turnips- perhaps then Sister Madly would not, to this day, be sent into hysterics at the sight of a vegetable.
However, nothing impacted Sister Madly’s childhood more than the moment of awakening, the Coming of Age: when candy bars went from 35 to 40 cents apiece. She remains traumatized to this day.
SRIRACHA BACON STICKY WINGS
Sweat off garlic; 1-2 min
Add remaining glaze ingredients EXCEPT lime juice; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until glaze thickens
Stir in lime juice and remove from heat
Preheat oven to 400*
Place wings on greased baking rack in tray
Bake 30 min
Remove from oven, brush wings with glaze
Return to oven; bake 10-15 min, or until cooked through
Brush with remaining glaze straight from oven
* Not a first date meal; more like a ‘married for 10 years’ meal.
THEME SONG: When I Grow Up, Garbage
Sister Madly is a creature not unlike your good self- in fact, she may be more like yourself than you care to admit: like you, she dreams of one day becoming an eccentric old lady who runs the Curiosity Shoppe on the corner and frightens children with the volume of her hair.
But unlike yourself, Sister Madly has taken steps towards making this happen: yes, she has recently become a Vendor.
Now what’s tricky about being a Vendor is that one actually has to vend things. But unlike the seasoned Vendor who frequents estate sales, has a sprawling beach house and a mutt named Trinket, Sister Madly is pillaging free bins on the side of the road while pondering the ethics of nicking books from Little Free Libraries. She does hit up auctions now and then, but even her sparring at the Renaissance Faire did not prepare her for the blood-soaked battles she faces against bidders; Rorschach Plate auctions are particularly cutthroat.
But for all the blood, sweat, and four-letter words expended clicking the ‘bid’ button, Sister Madly has to admit, it gets a little boring. She has the spirit of a maverick, preferring to spend her free time in the noble pursuit of shenanigans, tomfooleries, and avoiding housework. And of course, napping in the sock drawer.
And occasionally, these auctions go awry:
And the Postal Carrier still insisted she sign for that.
On the bright side, she now has Pakistani stamps to sell to the avid collector; you may leave your bids in the comments below.*
* Sister Madly also accepts Ferrero Rocher in lieu of cash.
Recently, she came across an auction for a ‘haunted’ ring, which was said to relocate itself in the middle of the night. Since the average person is disinclined to invest in a Ring that is perpetually lost, it wasn’t a popular auction; however, Sister Madly figured if she could make the ring devoted to her exclusively- more specifically, to the Madly Marketplace- the Ring would relocate back to said Marketplace after purchase, where Sister Madly could sell it again and again indefinitely.
But how does one secure the devotion of a Ring? Does she woo it with poetry and roses? Hire a Mariachi Band for a moonlit, margarita serenade?* Or should she provide one-on-one training and reward good behavior with kibble? Maybe she should play hard-to-get, or perhaps she should make a pie chart and use the word ‘community’ a lot.
* The preferred method for wooing Sister Madly… or ticking her off. She forgets which one.
Being a savvy BusinessMoppet of a few weeks, Sister Madly recognizes a potential flaw in this plan: What if the customer is so in love with the Ring it is never removed from the finger? Will the Ring return to the Madly Marketplace with the customer in tow, or just with the finger? And can she charge extra for that appendage next time around?
But for the moment, Sister Madly put aside that auction in favor of one featuring an Automatic Writing Planchette. Winning said auction was easy, as most bidders were busy warring over the newest listing of Rorschach Plates- barbarians, the lot of them. Seriously, if there is a New World Order, it will be run by antique dealers.
Now Automatic Writing is said to be the psychic ability to write words or phrases without consciously doing so, and is attributed to the supernatural or spirit world; however, skeptics ascribe ‘automatic writing’ to the Ideomotor Effect, a physiological phenomenon in which an individual makes movements unconsciously. Since the Planchette had never been used, it was possible that Sister Madly procured an Ideomotor Effect Planchette and not an Automatic Writing one. Not wanting to falsely represent her product, Sister Madly set the Planchette up in the kitchen to see if it will write anything (she is hoping for a lovely note from Vincent Price)- after all, if it IS an Automatic Writing Planchette, it certainly doesn’t need Sister Madly to guide it along. Also, she can’t spell, which is embarrassing for spirits.
UPDATE: the Planchette has written a squiggly line, but whether this was by supernatural means or the aggressive jackhammer outside the window is unclear.
UPDATE #2: Sister Madly has since decided that it was the former, as ‘responsive to jackhammers during utility repair’ is not a good sales pitch- again, savvy BusinessMoppet.
ALOO GOBI MATAR
Heat oil in skillet
Add onion; sauté 5 min
Add garlic, ginger, and chili; sauté 3-5 min
Add spices, sauté until fragrant; 1 min
Mix in tomato paste; 1 min
Add potatoes, cauliflower, and broth; mix
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat; cover
Simmer until veggies are tender, stirring occasionally 15-20 min
Add peas and cream (opt)
Simmer until heated through; 3-5 min
THEME SONG: Working Girl, The Members
“I don’t wanna go to church- I wanna eat pancakes and watch the hookers.”
Perhaps she’d better explain…
It was over ten years ago that Sister Madly left the great state of Michigan for stranger lands. Her Mother had accompanied her along the journey, and as it was the Mater’s last day in town- which she faced with a most suspicious good cheer- they arranged to meet Tallulah that evening a pub that had once been a Chapel* back in the 30’s.
* Actually, it began as a mortuary, only to include weddings later on- after all, if a marriage ends at the Chapel, it should begin at the Chapel.
As Tallulah was working at a most sophisticated and respectable boutique, Sister Madly and the Mothership were free to pop into the neighborhood bar for a pre-dinner cocktail- after all, it was 5 o’clock somewhere.
It was a classy joint with its plastic lawn furniture, AstroTurf, and life-size cutout of Liberace in the corner. Even the cocktails were nothing short of sophistication, with Sister Madly’s margarita lacking everything but the tequila, and the Mothership’s wine presented in a single-serving bottle with a neon bendy straw.
It was nothing short of superb.*
* Although Sister Madly was compelled to have a stern tête-à-tête with the jukebox: not everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting. Sister Madly surely wasn’t.
Now the occasional bar fight is to be expected even in the classiest of joints- sometimes over a lady, sometimes over a game of billiards- but the epitome of class is when a heated discussion erupts over Martha Stewart and her decision to add bacon to pancake batter.*
* The epitome of class is also when the patrons demand to watch the Cooking Channel over sports or CNN.
Classier still was that this discussion was spearheaded by an absolute philistine who declared he ate nothing but raw. Sister Madly made the assumption that when he said this, he meant Raw Vegan.
That is not what he meant.
As it turned out, the Philistine was an ex-vegan of 6 years who now eats only raw meat– organ meat in particular. He seemed equally disappointed in Miss Martha’s decision to cook the bacon as he was in her refusal to serve raw pancake batter.
Sister Madly must confess that, despite her many angelic qualities, she is not a raw meat-eater… more like a medium, medium-rare meat-eater. No doubt this sin is what will keep her from attaining sainthood in the afterlife.*
* Which is perfectly fine, as a naughty Sister Madly fully intends to haunt each and every one of you upon reaching said afterlife.
What fascinated the Mothership, however, was not the unconventional diet of the Philistine, but the fact that he was in search of a companion who was willing to be Raw with him- and by ‘companion’ she though he meant ‘hooker’- but then, she was a few bendy-straw wines into the afternoon.
Now even Sister Madly, who had only been in town for a few days, knew where to find the Ladies of the Night; Tallulah often saw them while working at her most sophisticated and respectable boutique, and told many a tawdry tale. One more bendy-straw wine later, the Mothership decided that pancakes and spying on the Ladies of the Night was more appealing than an evening at the Chapel Pub.
“I don’t wanna go to church- I wanna eat pancakes and watch the hookers.”
TERIYAKI CHICKEN WINGS
Mix together marinade ingredients
Add chicken; shake/mix to coat
Cover; refrigerate 30 min – 24hrs
Sweat off garlic and ginger; 2 min
Add remaining sauce ingredients; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until sauce thickens
Preheat oven to 400*
Place chicken on greased baking rack in tray
~ 30 min (WINGS)
~ 45 min (THIGHS)
Remove from oven, brush chicken with sauce
Return to oven; bake 10-15 min, or until cooked through
Brush with remaining sauce straight from oven
THEME SONG: One Sin Between Me and the Lord, Peter Murphy’s Carver Combo
What training does one need to be an Executioner?
Admittedly, Sister Madly has never seen Executioner listed as college major, so the courses one must take for this profession must be wide and varied- business management, for example, and art theory- much like how one needs a degree in Philosophy to be a professional dog-walker.*
* The employment ad for aforementioned dog-walker position stated, ‘degree in any field,’ which clearly meant Philosophy.
Then again, does one even need a degree in Execution? Or does the discipline provide on-the-job-training? Is it all based upon experience? There’s a small arsenal of medieval weaponry under her bed ready to be used at a moment’s notice; perhaps Sister Madly ought to add a few souls to her repertoire thus expanding her resumé. Execution-ing is quickly becoming a lost art.
The Professor, however, with his undetectable sense of humor * and a crippling fear of Cheeto dust, clearly disapproved of this rumination.
* Make no mistake, the Professor had a sense of humor- just not a detectable one.
So Persephone can declare at which strip club she saw her first cockroach- and do so without reproach- but Sister Madly cannot speculate about a career change? What if she’s a natural? She was pretty good at axe-throwing at the Ren Faire back in the day… surely that means something.
The Professor, however, indicated that he was not interested in discussing Capital Punishment on his night off.
Who said anything about Capital Punishment? Perhaps Sister Madly doesn’t want to be a government employee; perhaps she wants to freelance. She could contract her services, be her own boss- the entrepreneurial spirit runs strong through the Madly Family Tree. No doubt her own sister, Tallulah, would utilize these talents from time to time- everybody knows how cutthroat retired, part-time antique dealers can be.
Still, the Professor wanted to change the subject, and Sister Madly is nothing if not accommodating.
…Sister Madly had a dream the other night that Tallulah got a French Bulldog, whom she named Johnny Popcorn…
While said Professor was unable to follow the storyline, he did manage to question why it was a French Bulldog.*
* Sister Madly wondered that, too, as she would’ve chosen a fox or an otter; but it was Tallulah’s dog in the dream, so clearly it was Tallulah who chose a French Bulldog and he should ask her.
…Ever try oyster sauce straight from the bottle? Sister Madly won’t be making that mistake again…!
Nope. Too controversial.
What would you do if you found out that Sister Madly was actually your imaginary friend?
Oh no- that was just too traumatizing to consider.
… A few months ago was Sister Madly’s half-birthday…
Apparently, the Professor was unfamiliar with the Half-Birthday, a phenomenon Sister Madly’s encountered quite frequently ever since leaving Michigan. It seems nobody outside the Midwest is interested in celebrating the halfway point to their next birthday. Sister Madly, however, is much more diplomatic and graciously allows people to buy her ciders on that magnificent day.
You see, that is why it’s important to determine the avenues one must take to be an Executioner: to give those launching down the destructive path of tasting oyster sauce straight from the bottle- and the subsequent discussion thereof- the means to a brighter future! As it stands, Sister Madly is one tedious tête-à-tête away from a PhD in Small-Talk.
… but seriously, about that Executioner thing- does one need a degree, or is it all about experience?
THAI BASIL LEMONGRASS WINGS
* Thai Basil substitute: fresh basil, plus pinch of anise.
Mix together marinade ingredients
Add chicken; mix to coat
Refrigerate 30 min – 24 hrs
Preheat oven 400*
Place chicken on greased baking rack in tray
Coat chicken with any remaining marinade
~ 45-50 min (WINGS)
~ 55-60 min (THIGHS)
Remove from oven; let rest 5 minutes before serving
THEME SONG: Psycho Killer, Talking Heads
So, Starfish, we meet again…
“Is it alive?”
While known internationally for her pearls of wisdom, Sister Madly’s savvy falls short in the Is-The-Beached-Marine-Creature-Alive field of biology. The only way she can tell with any certainty that something is dead is if the creature is missing its head*- and a starfish doesn’t have one of those as far as she can tell. It is one of the many reasons Sister Madly has never pursued a career in the healthcare field.
* Even then, it’s no guarantee- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a testament to that.
It was at the Pacific Coast where Sister Madly & Co. encountered the Starfish who had so fearlessly deviated above the tide line. Much like Sister Madly herself, the creature lacked the perfection found in the Starfishes of souvenir shops and more like it had been constructed with an Etch-A-Sketch- in fact, it was almost identical to the poor creature she heartlessly dissected in biology class back in the day. The only thing learned that semester was that a box cutter is no match against the armor of this whimsical echinoderm.*
* That, and her teacher believed that ancient dinosaurs still existed and roamed about the ‘jungles of Brazil.’
Now consider this, Sister Madly: what if this beached Star-Creature is the vengeful spirit of the Dissected Starfish of Yesteryear? At the very least, it was plotting to put a custard pie in your face- everybody knows that Starfishes have an affinity for Custard Pie Retribution, especially in the afterlife. Had your biology teacher graduated from an accredited college, he would have learned of the karma that follows the dissection of a Starfish and passed that info onto his students.*
* He would have also learned that the T-Rex no longer roams about the ‘jungles of Brazil.’
It is also well-known amongst marine biologists that the final wish of every Starfish is to lie in repose on a shelf in Tallulah’s sunroom. After a lengthy interrogation, it was determined that the Starfish was probably dead- and if not, he should have spoken up- thus steps were taken to see this final wish fulfilled, which began by preserving the creature in alcohol.
It was a marvelous idea, really, as a drunk Starfish would be less likely to haunt Sister Madly effectively and put a Custard Pie in her face. Perhaps they could share a couple of pints and sing a few pub songs, and bond over their shared distaste for Biology. They would go onto win the World Tiddlywinks Tournament, frolic hand-in-fishy-appendage throughout Southeast Asia, then settle down and start a fabulous punk band- Sister Madly and the Starfish. Sister Madly would play the doorbell, of course,* and win a Grammy for doing so.
* She’s also rather talented with the smoke alarm- without even using her hands!
Indeed, it could have been a most beautiful friendship, had Tallulah not soused the Starfish with buckets of isopropyl alcohol instead of the delightful Nice & Naughty Cider that Sister Madly requested. How did she expect Sister Madly to bond with her new Spectral Fishy Friend over the same stuff ne’er-do-wells use to deodorize their shoes? Tallulah just doesn’t understand!
So in order to make amends, Sister Madly extended him an invitation to her annual Dumb Supper this upcoming October. Tallulah won’t be there, but Sister Madly will allow her to make cookies.
~ * DUMB SUPPER 2019 GUEST LIST * ~
1.) Leonard Cohen
2.) Vincent Price
4.) David Bowie
AUTUMN HARVEST TAGINE
Add sliced onions to hot oil, stirring to coat
Lower heat, stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized (30-45 min)
Add ginger, garlic, and chilies; sauté 5-8 min
Add spices; sauté 30 sec
Add broth and vegetables; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until veggies are tender; 30-45 min
Remove bay leaves and star anise before serving
THEME SONG: Starman, David Bowie
It’s no secret that Sister Madly’s pedigree is largely mongrel, said to include Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, a dash of the British Isles, and the Middle East. However, part of this bloodline was scientifically confirmed the day Sister Madly was overcome by a most Scandinavian desire.
It happened the day she attended a casual ‘backyard BBQ,’ which quickly turned most pretentious with sushi, red wine, and lavender footbaths. It was upon fleeing the smoked oysters that Sister Madly encountered this pod from another planet hovering inside the kitchen:
Now Sister Madly found this to be extremely negligent- why, just anyone could wander in off the street, kick over that bag of golf clubs by the door, and make themselves a gourmet pizza. The Pod was not only sentient but a smooth talker with all the temptation of Original Sin…
You know what? To hell with this Pretentious BBQ- she’s making a Banana Curry Pizza!
Now, unless one is of Swedish descent, one does not naturally associate bananas with pizza; but as Sister Madly had a bit of Sweden- and admittedly, a lot of cider- coursing through her veins, resistance was futile.
Surely it cannot be worse than assembling an IKEA bookshelf.*
* This inability to assemble IKEA furniture indicates that Sister Madly is not a purebred Swedish Maiden Fair.
As it turned out, Sister Madly has just enough Swedish in her to make a Banana Curry Pizza, but not enough to actually enjoy it. And as the environmentalist in her would not permit her to desecrate the land by tossing the monstrosity into the compost, Sister Madly left the Pizza on the counter, and decided it was no longer her problem.
And it wouldn’t have been, had it not been for the Professor.
“I need to know who’s responsible for this.”
Clearly the Professor did not hold a PhD in Pizza- to this day, Sister Madly couldn’t say in which field is his PhD; he just keeps emerging from Idaho with gifts of potatoes and unsolicited commentary on her culinary creations.
That would be Sweden, Professor.
Just what is it about bananas that automatically makes one suspect Sister Madly? Sure, there was that whole Ham and Banana Hollandaise thingy, but had you let her help with the Scotch Eggs that day, that dish would never have materialized.
“You can’t just throw whatever you want onto a crust and call it a pizza!”
Yes she can.
“It’s pizza- there are rules.”
There are no rules, Professor! The freedom to top one’s pizza with whatever noms desired was clearly one of the subjects discussed amongst the Founding Fathers. While never officially included in the Constitution, it is implicit in the Second Amendment- The Right to Bear Arms- as deviant pizza toppings* have been perceived by many as a threat to one’s safety and wellbeing- of which you have been inferring, sir, for the last 3 minutes.
* See the great ‘Does Pineapple Belong on a Pizza?’ debate.
There was something touching in the way this PhD struggled to comprehend how one could defend a Pizza that she created yet found completely disgusting.
… are you talking about Sister Madly, or the pizza? Because there is nothing neutral about that pizza- proud of it, though she may be.
Oh, but the Professor had an explanation- D&D terms were involved- and a most narcoleptic dissertation it promised to be, had he not been interrupted by a plucky little Bohemian declaring the Pizza to be “just so frickin’ amazing.”
The Professor had but one response:
“Stay right there, I’m calling the police.”
BANANA CURRY PIZZA
Preheat oven to 450* (or as recommended by ready-made crust)
Mix pizza sauce with curry powder to taste (opt)
Spread thin layer of pizza sauce over crust
Cover with grated cheese
Top with ham, onion, and banana
Sprinkle bananas with curry powder and garam masala
Bake until cheese is melted and crust is cooked through; approx 15 min
THEME SONG: Anything by ABBA
A cautionary tale for Valentine’s…
We’d like to tell you a story
About a young girl,
About eighteen years old, about five feet two,
And about to go out.
Now, her Mother,
Realizing it was her first time
Out with a young man,
Called her into the bedroom and said,
And now, Minnie,
I want you to remember everything
I’ve always told you,
And above all
I want you to be very, very careful…
They searched the place from penthouse to the cellar
In every room and underneath each bed.
Once they thought they saw it lying on a pillow
But they found it belonged to someone else instead.
They questioned all the bellboys and the porter
The chef appeared to be the guilty guy
And the doorman also acted quite suspicious
But he coyly said, “I’m sure it wasn’t I!”
They just about completed all their searching
When the chauffeur walked up with it in his hand
All they did was stand and gape,
There was Minnie’s sable cape-
And she thought that she had lost it at the Astor.
… always remember your sable cape, ladies, lest you displease Mama.
5) Cecil Beaton
No doubt you’ve been wondering what Sister Madly does all day. It’s true that she doesn’t have much of an online presence, but that is for the benefit of the species as envy has been known to destroy nations. Still, that does little to dissuade the more curious amongst you, and as curiosity has been responsible for killing many a cat, Sister Madly has graciously provided a snapshot narrative of her quaint yet fashionable everyday life:
Gorgeous Sunrise! #Nature
Morning Devotionals w/cuppa sour cream. #SpiritualWalk
Cuteness overload! #Pets
DMV Heart Hands! #BestDayEver
Molecular Gastronomy at the hottest new bistro, Chomp. #YOLO
OMG so delish! #CleanEating
Woo-Hoo! My Amazon Prime has arrived! #Blessed
What?! He knows he’s not supposed to play in the wok! #FollowYourBliss
Or wear my jewelry- why is he being so naughty? #Fashionista
A High-Society Girl at ♥ #KnowYourWorth
Gorgeous Sunset! #Beauty
Well, look who’s sulking! #Introvert
Looking forward to a long soak in my favorite pothole. #HotMess
Unwinding with a glass of bay leaf water. #Believe
Now you may think that Sister Madly romanticized her daily routine, but truth be told life in the Madliverse is every bit as glamorous as depicted. While modesty may play a small factor in why she doesn’t engage in social media- and a most modest Moppet she is- Sister Madly just doesn’t have the patience to deal with all the haters who would criticize her spiritual walk or report her to the Humane Society whenever she makes Pet Dragon Fruit into a popsicle. The burial ground just isn’t big enough.
MOROCCAN ROTI JOHN
Sauté onion until translucent; 8-10 min
Add chili, garlic, and ginger; sauté 10-15 min
Add ras el hanout; sauté until fragrant; 1 min
Remove from heat; set aside
Add lamb to skillet; sauté until cooked through
Add onion mixture to lamb; sauté 1-2 min
Remove from heat; allow to cool; 5 minutes
Add beaten eggs to lamb; mix well
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat
Spoon egg mixture over slices of bread
Place bread slices filling-side down in skillet
Fry for 2-5 minutes, or until eggs are cooked
Flip bread over to toast outside (opt)
Remove from heat; add garnish
Serve open-faced or as a sandwich
THEME SONG: Pictures of You, The Cure
Aside from the occasional Dumb Supper, Sister Madly never entertains in a high-society fashion. So when she received a single teacup from Tallulah over Christmas, she assumed that Tallulah intended her to serve herself from this charming china set.
Now, Sister Madly has been known to have discussions with herself, often keeping herself up at night with lengthy dissertations about the correlation between Hollow Earth and Pop Rocks, until she rolls over and tells herself to put a sock in it. She then hurls insults at herself under her breath like a petulant child until she falls asleep exhausted somewhere between 4 and 5AM. Clearly, a nightcap from this teacup will put an end to those late night discourses.
Tallulah knows her so well.
Her Brother-in-Law, however, has a different theory about his favorite holiday: Christmas, he says, is a time to get someone the present you want to give them, not necessarily what they want*- a theory he later demonstrated by gifting Sister Madly the LP soundtrack of that beloved cult classic Manos: The Hands of Fate.
* A very interesting theory, Mr. Tallulah; Sister Madly just might implement this same philosophy for you next year. Hopefully, SkyMall is still in circulation.
While not a brilliant score musically, there is a certain novelty in owning the soundtrack to one of the worst disasterpieces in cinematic history- that, and she likes to annoy her neighbors.
Also, it provided some lovely dinner music later that evening.
* Be thankful that Sister Madly linked you to the 10 minute video, not the 10 hour one- that is her Christmas gift to you.
But the Manos soundtrack was not the only gift from Mr. Tallulah; it was accompanied by that coveted DVD of Radiant Fireplace 2, to satiate her midnight cravings to watch 60 minutes of nonstop fireplace.
Being that it was Christmas, the unwrapping of Radiant Fireplace 2 quickly led to a discussion amongst herself over the storyboard for a truly festive Yule Log Video.
Allow Sister Madly to elaborate:
Naturally, one starts by setting some dead trees on fire to merry music…
By the 3rd Song- Greensleeves, of course- break out the snacks…
After a S’more or two, revive the dying flame with kindling and all those pesky incriminating documents you forgot to shred…
45 minutes later, ritually summon an Elder God Sister Madly…
Then scramble to appease her demand for an offering…
No doubt Sister Madly is pleased…
… nope, not as pleased as she could be…
Now look what you’ve done- you’ve sent Sister Madly into a proper tantrum! Why would you even think that a spider is an appropriate offering? What’s wrong with Moroccan Lanterns or fuzzy socks or Ferrero Rocher candies? Pretty rocks? Birds of Paradise? Spiders are never an acceptable currency in the Madliverse- you should know that by now, peasant!
And it is here that the more sensible amongst you would implement, most carefully, the wisdom of Tallulah’s Teacup*- as you can see, Sister Madly’s tantrums are epic.
* Having filled it to the brim with Cider, of course.
MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN SOUP
Sauté onion in hot oil until translucent; 8-10 min
Add garlic; sauté 2-3 min
Add celery, carrots, and mushrooms; sauté 2-3 min
Add spices; sauté 30 sec
Add chicken; stir to coat
Add stock; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until veggies are tender; 30-40 min
Shred chicken with 2 forks
Add couscous; cover; simmer 8-10 min until cooked
Remove from heat and serve
THEME SONG: Let the Fire In, Peter Murphy’s Carver Combo
10) Jill Greenberg
The Creatures of the Night are abroad,
And over there in a ruined Churchyard, in a ruined Church Steeple~
The cracked Bell is being activated by the Night Breezes
Suddenly, I heard the plaintive cry of a young, Mexican girl…
Performed by: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain