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
- 4-6 chicken thighs, whole
- 6-8 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup pearl couscous, uncooked (opt)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 TBSP fresh garlic, minced
- carrots, chopped
- celery, chopped
- mushrooms, sliced
- 2½ tsp thyme
- 2½ tsp marjoram
- ¼ tsp pepper, or to taste
- salt, to taste
- oil/ghee, for sautéing
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
…and when they had opened their treasures,
they presented unto him gifts of Gold, Frankenstein, and Murder…
Every December, Sister Madly’s mother would spend a week baking up to 40 loaves of bread while listening to Lawrence Welk and the Mexicali Brass. A young Sister Madly would then reluctantly deliver half of this bounty with her elder sister, Tallulah, to neighbors they hardly knew- many of whom lived far beyond the acceptable distance of ‘neighbor’- while dragging a red wagon through several feet of snow.
But this tradition was not limited to neighbors.
While no child looks forward to a school day, no morning was as dreaded as the day before Winter Break, when Mother Madly handed over a loaf of bread as a gift to the bus driver. When Sister Madly first heard the term “cruel and unusual punishment,” this scenario is what came to mind.
However, the argument of which Madly Sibling (the elder Tallulah or the most magnificent Sister Madly) was to give said Bread to the Bus Diver was beans compared to the argument of whom would carry the Bottle of Champagne the following day.
The Darrow’s, you see, lived 4-doors down (Sister Madly used to play- most discreetly, of course- in the weird tar-pit thing behind their house.) And every year, the Darrow’s would gift the Madly girls a bottle of cheap Champagne in return for the annual Loaf of Bread.
For Sister Madly, this was much worse than the whole Bus Driver thing; people might actually think the Champagne belonged to her. They might think that she, a wanton, 5 year-old Moppet, had wasted every cent of her allowance on its purchase, and there was no way that she could prove otherwise. And the Champagne didn’t even come in a proper paper bag, which is how it was consumed by the Elite on the streets; no, Sister Madly’s bottle had a shiny, red bow tape to it.
Then came the horrifying thought: what if her own Mother thought that Sister Madly bought the wine for herself? Her parents had stopped drinking some years before, and the bar in the basement now held a bizarre assortment of Care Bears and Cabbage Parch Kids… if a bottle of Champagne should appear within their midst, it would bring no end of trouble….
But there was no time for this worry, as one such delivery spree found a pom-pommed Sister Madly hauling 3 Loaves of Bread all by her lonesome. Tallulah had been forgiven of all delivery obligations that evening after befriending a classmate who had the cheeky audacity to be born on that particular date some years before, and who wanted to celebrate the fact with something called a “party.”
Even at the tender age of 5, Sister Madly had anti-social tendencies; she had absolutely no desire to knock on the doors of her Bread-less Neighbors, and succumbed to a magnificent tantrum somewhere between her front door and her Neighbor’s driveway. After spending an eternity (i.e., 2-3 minutes) fussing about, Sister Madly utilized her Red Wagon in such a way that allowed her to slide the Loaf of Bread into the oversized mailbox* without a word to her long-nosed neighbors.
With her mission technically complete, Sister Madly trotted home, confident in the fact that she had rebelled against the unknown universe with her little Red Wagon and a knitted, Pompom Hat.
5 stupid hours of pointy hell later, Sister Madly’s apartment is
finally festive. She will be calling upon one of you next year to set
up this tree for her. She may even buy you a cider for your trouble.
* Re-post from 2014. Or somewhere around there.
In civilized society, one never promotes a holiday before its season. Seeing as Utopia resided on the edge of civilization, Management flirted with this unspoken decree by requesting that Sister Madly, despite being a swingin’ bachelorette, create a window display for Valentine’s the day after Christmas.
Now, some might say that embracing the pink holiday before the New Year is a bit premature, but no one has ever accused Management of abusing logic; and as she was far from civilized herself, Sister Madly set about creating a Love Fest so romantic it would put Cupid out of business and into months of intensive therapy.
As none of her co-workers were willing to donate their anatomical hearts to fulfill her artistic vision, Sister Madly had to rely upon actual merchandise, including the Lovers Tarot, several copies of the Kama Sutra (including the pop-up edition full of mechanical witchcraft) and more than enough incense needed for chemical warfare. Indeed, one would not look at this menagerie of color and romance without being filled with all the chalky heart-shaped joys of Valentine’s, bypassing the quiet melancholy of January where contemplation over World Peace and whether anyone really uses the word acquiesced* aloud routinely abides.
* Or crestfallen. Nonplussed…
It wasn’t long* before the window display worked its marketing magic on a prim and proper spectator, and lured the waif oh-so seductively into its psychedelic love web.
* Approximately 27 days, 3 hours, and 46 seconds.
While it was difficult to discern the woman’s opinion of this glorious masterpiece, the back of her head looked awfully critical. No doubt within this wandering individual common sense reigned supreme, disturbing her soul with the instinct that Valentine’s should never be promoted 7 weeks before its appointed time.
However, the subsequent symphony of tongue-clucking and aggressive sighing assured Sister Madly that this was not the case, as Miss Prim and Proper announced to no one in particular that she was seriously offended by the pop-up Kama Sutra.
Now, one might assume that the person making a fuss over the Kama Sutra is the one who needs it the most; Sister Madly, however, knew better than to make such assumptions. Perhaps the lady was frustrated for another reason, such as the growing price of avocados, or the invention of the banjo; perhaps she was irritated over how the heated sidewalks malfunctioned that day,* leaving them covered in snow and ice.
* Sister Madly, too, was rather piqued over this malfunction: she fell on her bum twice.
Contrary to popular belief, only 20% of the Kama Sutra is about the creative side of copulation. The popup version of this book, however, focuses exclusively on that 20% and is best not left within the reach of children- unless you are prepared to have some rather frank discussions with your offspring.
Then again, when one considers the population of India in comparison to the rest of the world, one cannot help but acknowledge the success of that 20%…
“There is no such thing as KARMA!”
As it turned out, Miss P&P’s distress was not over the playfully explicit material, but the concept of Karma. This tongue-clucking contempt for Eastern Mysticism led to a zealous sermon about the evils of meditation, the dangers of yoga, and would finish in approximately 15 minutes time with a store-wide exorcism that included casting demons out of the stack of Cthulhu* knit hats.
* Actually, it was an octopus- but the hats sold better when the creature was labeled as ‘Cthulhu.’ Marketing.
There was a moment when Sister Madly considered informing Miss Prim and Proper that she had- quite understandably, actually- misread the title; but then Sister Madly would have to explain that the Kama Sutra was not a book regarding the mystical principles of Cause and Effect, but an interactive novelty featuring innovative and often athletic positions of physical intimacy.
It was the classic no-win situation.
Face it, Sister Madly: either way, you are about to be exorcised.
SOUTHWEST STUFFED CHICKEN WINGS
- 20-24 chicken wings, deboned, tips intact (tutorial here)
- 1 cup chicken, cooked and diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 chili, chopped and seeded
- 1 red/orange bell pepper, chopped
- ½ cup corn, drained
- ½ cup black beans, cooked, drained and rinsed
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp chipotle
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 – 1½ cups shred cheese
Sauté onion until translucent: 5-8 min
Add garlic, bell pepper, and chili; sauté 5 min
Add spices; sauté 1 min
Add corn, beans, tomato, and chicken; sauté 5 min
Cook out any excess water
Add cheese; mix until melted and remove from heat
Preheat oven to 400*
Spoon mixture into in each wing, filling entire cavity
Secure cavity w/toothpicks
Season wings with salt and pepper
Place wings on greased baking rack in tray
Bake for 45 min, or until cooked through
THEME SONG: Karma Chameleon, Culture Club
The World is Changed
By your Example,
Not by your Opinion.
~ Paulo Coelho
All Images: WeHeartIt
When an Honest Man Discovers
That He is Mistaken
He will either
Cease to be Mistaken,
Or Cease to be Honest.
All Images: Pinterest
It’s said that, on average, champagne corks kill approximately 24 people a year- far more than the 10 killed by sharks.
Still, Sister Madly decided to risk it with the champagne rather than find sanctuary with a posse of sharks. She likes to live dangerously.
It was the end of October, when the veil between the worlds is said to be its thinnest, and when the living honor those who have passed on through a variety of traditions, including a celebration known as a Dumb Supper.
Now, Sister Madly has attempted a few Dumb Suppers in the past, and with mixed results.* Of course, this could be that the Departed were already engaged in another Dumb Supper across town, or were busy in the southern hemisphere doing southern hemisphere-ish things. Still, she had to consider the possibility that she was completely lacking in the area of social graces, and that the Departed refused to associate with anyone but the elite. Thus, Sister Madly decided to not only host a trial supper, but with a guest.
* Unsuccessful, and even more unsuccessful.
And what Dearly-Departed guest would be more appropriate than Vincent Price?
For a posh dinner party, one must be properly dressed; and for the Merchant of Menace such attire should be both classy and theatrical. Sister Madly has accumulated a most eclectic array of costumes during her Renaissance Faire Days, down to the satin-lined cloak worthy of an Elder god ritual. She admits it may be a bit show-offy for a Dumb Supper, but it would be perfect of the Vincent Price Trial Run. No doubt he would be wearing one as well.
Unfortunately, Sister Madly looked nothing like the sinister, show-offy cultist of her most excellent imagination, but a portable keyhole- something she did not realize during her Renaissance Faire Days. Did she always look like the gateway to another dimension? Why didn’t anyone ever tell her this?
Thanks a lot, fellas.
As for the feast- Mr. Price was a gourmand in his day, and the not-so-sinister Sister Madly couldn’t get away with Frozen Tater Tots and cans of Spaghetti O’s, even if she did garnish it with a lemon wedge and a sprig of parsley. A culinary effort would have to be made on her part, if only to apologize for dressing as a particularly unmenacing Keyhole.
So what could be more appropriate than a dish from A Treasury of Great Recipes, authored by Vincent Price himself?
No doubt he would be pleased that Sister Madly acknowledged his talents beyond The Pit and the Pendulum, and be touched that she was so thoughtful. And should she replicate his recipe to a ‘T’,* Mr. Price would put in a good word for her with gods of the afterlife, who will no doubt permit her to haunt the living willy-nilly. Of course, should she fail, Mr. Price may plague her with wicked laughter, poltergeists, and B-movie dreams for the rest of her life.
* What is this ‘T’ anyway, and why is it the standard to which everyone aspires?
So Sister Madly settled on a delicacy entitled Poularde Pavilion– that is, Champagne Chicken.* That sounded posh.
* Poularde Pavilion does not translate to Champagne Chicken on Google Translate, but Sister Madly is not one to question the magnificent Vincent Price.
Naturally, merely purchasing a bottle of champagne can bring about delusions of sophistication far beyond one’s station. However, Sister Madly- being most adult- retained enough sense to know she might horribly screw up the opening of said bottle; and as she hoped to get her security deposit back one day- and since she wasn’t quite ready to shuffle off this mortal coil in the most embarrassing way possible- Sister Madly opened the bottle on the fire escape outside.
Science can be a beautiful thing to witness, be it fireflies, the way liquid mercury separates, or the Northern Lights; and while there may be a ‘proper’ way of opening champagne, there is nothing more magical than the moment the internal pressure forces the cork from the bottle, and sends it sailing off into the sunset.
Or, as in the case of Sister Madly, over the fence and into the neighbor’s kiddie pool
Naturally, this left Sister Madly pondering one of the Great Mysteries of Life: how fast does a champagne cork travel?*
* Up to 60mph, it turns out- which is a $435 fine and possible license suspension up to 30 days should that Cork be pulled over in Sister Madly’s neighborhood.
Sister Madly did not replicate Mr. Price’s recipe to a ‘T’.
She gave up when instructed to preheat the oven to ‘moderate.’
- 4 chicken thighs, bone-in
- 1¼ cup champagne or other sparkling wine, divided (¼ cup + 1 cup)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Heavy cream, to taste (opt)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- pearl onions, peeled
- wild mushrooms, sliced
- pancetta, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp dried tarragon
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- pinch cayenne, or to taste (opt)
- salt/pepper, to taste
- Oil, for searing
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; 2-3 min
Add garlic, pearl onions, and mushrooms; sauté 2-3 min
Add herbs; sauté 30 sec
Deglaze with ¼ cup champagne
Return chicken to skillet
Add broth and remaining champagne
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer: 20-25 min
Uncover; simmer until sauce is reduced by half
Stir in cream (if using) simmer 2-3 min
Remove from heat and serve
THEME SONG: Haunted, Maya Kern
During the first few weeks of summer, a young Sister Madly would wait impatiently for hours to play with her friend Serafina, who was a member of a strict and rather unfun denomination known for its boycotts of various fast-food joints and hosting ‘safe alternatives’ to Halloween. That week, it was Vacation Bible School* that rudely took up Serafina’s mornings, and when Sister Madly showed up at her house later that day, Serafina was trying to draw a picture of Jesus.
* Fortunately, Sister Madly’s mother wouldn’t discover this Summer Vacation Buzzkill for a few years yet.
Now Sister Madly had absolutely no idea what Jesus looked like, aside from the usual pictures of a long-haired, melancholy European holding his pet lamb. After much discussion, she and Serafina were pretty certain that this was an inaccurate depiction, as most of the churches they’ve encountered frowned upon men having long hair. As it was now up to them to right this horrible wrong, they approached the mission like lovely, little know-it-alls of all things sacred, tossing out terms associated with the Divine- such as holy, church on Sundays, and eternal.*
* While she did not fully appreciate ‘eternity’ as a child, as an adult, Sister Madly now flirts with the infinite on a weekly basis.
Since the girls lived in an era a few years after Jesus, Sister Madly decided to ransack the bible for a description of said messiah- she was a bit more of a know-it-all than Serafina, despite not being a member of a strict and unfun denomination at the time.
Nowhere was he described as the long-haired, melancholy European that the art world seems to favor; rather, Sister Madly came upon a host of verses which the artists of yesteryear clearly overlooked:
- Bread of Life.
Obviously, this was no ordinary loaf of bread; it was alive– which meant the Loaf had a face.
- Good Shepherd.
To the Smiling Loaf of Bread was added a Shepherd’s Staff.
- Light of the World.
A magnificent Sunburst was drawn around the Smiling Loaf of Bread-Shepherd.
- The Alpha and the Omega.
The Inedible End-Slice of Bread was added, which symbolized the Alpha and the Omega.
- The Resurrection and the Life.
Since Bread rises when baked, there was no need for further artistic depiction. Still, there was concern that merely implying the Resurrection via oven and yeast was too profound and complex for the adult mind; thus they decided to include the baking temp for The Smiling, Atomic, Loaf of Bread-Shepherd.
Sister Madly, however, knew nothing about the joys of baking bread; she only knew the joys of delivering it to the neighbors in a wagon through the snow. And Serafina- well, she only knew the joys of Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwiches.*
* Sister Madly prefers Peanut Butter and Banana.
So Sister Madly suggested they call Information.
Even as a little Moppet, Sister Madly knew that Information was a direct line to the All-Knowing Oracle, as people were always calling it in old television shows asking for phone numbers; but when the Oracle had no answer, Sister Madly asked for the number to a Bread-Making Store. When told that there was no such thing as a Bread-Making Store, it became clear that the Oracle found that Sister Madly & Co. already possessed the information they sought deep within themselves, thus making them wise beyond their 7 years.
Unfortunately, the inherent Bread-Baking Temp Knowledge was hidden far-too deep within their souls to be discovered by 9 AM the following day, so they had no other choice than to depict the Bread actually rising.
And that is what they did.
- Bread of Life.
Obviously, this was no ordinary slice of bread; it was alive– which meant the Slice had a face.
- Good Shepherd.
To the Smiling Slice of Bread was added a Shepherd’s Staff.
- Light of the World.
A magnificent Sunburst was drawn around the Smiling Slice of Bread-Shepherd.
- The Alpha and the Omega.
Detail was added to indicate that the Smiling, Atomic Bread-Shepherd is the Inedible End-Slice, which symbolized the Alpha and the Omega.
- The Resurrection and the Life.
The Smiling, Atomic, Inedible End-Slice of Bread-Shepherd pops merrily out of a Toaster.
As you can see, Sister Madly’s artistic skills have vastly improved since she was 7. This pleases her.
- 6-8 boneless chicken thighs, whole
- 5-7 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 TBSP sumac
- 1 TBSP smoked paprika
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp cayenne, or to taste
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 2 TBSP lemon juice
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup oil, or as needed
Mix marinade ingredients together
Add chicken, shake/stir to coat
Refrigerate 30 min- 24 hours
Remove Chicken from fridge 30+ min before baking
Preheat oven to 375*
Skewer chicken on metal or pre-soaked bamboo skewers
Lay skewers on greased baking track in baking tray
Cover with any remaining marinade
Bake for 45-60 min, or until cooked through
Slice and serve with pita
THEME SONG: Personal Jesus, Depeche Mode
Let’s play a game…
“Pop Rocks in the litter box!”
~ Sister Madly, which she accidentally sent to her accountant.*
* Sorry about that, Steve.
One cannot help but consider the many ways that cake brings people together, such as weddings, birthdays, a passion for homemade potato-launching weaponry, christenings, and the like. So it was only natural that the most altruistic Sister Madly sought to perfect this skill in order to unite the whole of the human race- albeit, not with her.
She’d attempted Cake Perfection before, at friend and fellow co-worker’s house once upon a time after being awakened by Rita’s younger brother spraying a hose through the window. This time, it was the robust, repetitive call of Ri-co-la! from somewhere below, which the Pater Rita had perfected like an Alpine native.
In the previous installment, the bungling, sleep-deprived twosome faced a task fraught with September crushes and lovesick butterflies. But they were older and wiser now, and knew better than to frost a cake straight from the oven- such children they were in those days.*
* Approx. 6 weeks prior.
And in honor of this newfound maturity, they decided upon a most grown-up cake with 3 lovely tiers, with each being its own flavor: banana, root beer, and of course, red velvet.*
* To be clear, the intent was to make the cake, not eat it. Mature though she may be, Sister Madly wasn’t a complete idiot.
As it turned out, frosting a 3-tiered cake wasn’t quite the same as writing Congrats on Our Divorce, Darling!* across a giant chocolate-chip cookie. A cake demands a certain amount of finesse, which Sister Madly decided that she had obtained during her 6-week transition into adulthood; thus the decision was made to have the most mature Moppet kneel on an office chair while Rita maneuvered said chair around the cake in a graceful manner. Rita always took the helm when it came to operating heavy machinery.
* An actual request. Sister Madly is all about customer service.
This method was not successful.
Admittedly, Sister Madly has never seen one pastry chef maneuver another around a cake in order to frost said confection at 6:30 in the morning. Thus, one can only conclude that if it is not the chef that moves around the cake, it is the cake that rotates before the chef- a secret most patissiers keep to themselves in order to reign supreme in the culinary world.
No doubt the great culinarians of this world excelled in modern-day cake-ology by utilizing the modern-day turntable- which, of course, is your standard record player. Anyone who has any taste in music has access to one to those, if only by way of the neighbor’s skylight at 3AM in the morning.
But that is the risk one must take when it comes to cake.
Looking back, Sister Madly probably shouldn’t have set the player to 78 RPM, but hindsight is 20/20, after all. She did, however, retain enough wisdom to stop the turntable before garnishing the culinary masterpiece with a luscious Alpine Sunburst of Ricola Cough Drops.
While the cake seemed to lack a certain elegance- if not happily dwell in its own gravitational field- there was no denying a certain wonder in its very existence; all Alpine yodeling ceased within its presence. Indeed, it was absolutely magnificent to behold.
“What is that?”
A testament to her greatness, sir: a 3-tiered red velvet gateau with essence of musa fruit and sassafras root.
“What’s in it?”
No. Don’t say interesting. That means you’re going analyze the cake and demand an explanation of things that have no explanation. It’s a cake, an undeniable work of art; it’s not meant to be questioned, but experienced and enjoyed- much like Pink Floyd.*
* Sister Madly merely declared it to be magnificent to behold, not to taste. There is more than one way to experience cake.
And so the Pater Rita and his Son decided to experience the cake together in the backyard by shooting it with a homemade spud gun.
KOREAN BBQ CHICKEN
- 6-8 chicken thighs, bone-in
- ¼ cup coconut aminos* ~ or ~ soy sauce
- ¼ cup sake
- 4 tsp ginger, minced
- 4 tsp garlic, minced
- ½ tsp pepper
- salt, to taste
- 3+/- TBSP oil, or as needed
- ½ cup coconut aminos ~ or ~ soy sauce
- ½ cup sake
- 2 TBSP gochujang paste
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire
- 2-3 TBSP honey
- 1 TBSP garlic, minced
- 1 TBSP ginger, minced
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- salt/pepper, to taste
Coconut Aminos contain less salt (up to 65%) and is slightly sweeter than traditional soy sauce or tamari, yet without tasting of coconut.
If substituting soy or tamari; adjust salt and honey to taste.
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 thickened
Preheat oven to 400*
Place chicken on greased baking rack in tray
Bake for 45 min
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: Ri-co-la!, Various
A Second Spring
When every Leaf
Is a Flower.
~ Albert Camus
Morning, Mr. Magpie…
Sister Madly first learned this of custom from the Professor after listening to his lengthy and completely unsolicited dissertation on superstitions. He was saluting a tree- or so she thought- which is not entirely odd in itself; Sister Madly herself has been known to talk to strange things, such as people.
As it turned out, the Professor was not saluting the tree, but a creature he called a Magpie. Sister Madly had to admit that she didn’t know what a Magpie looked like, but if she were to speculate, she would assume this:
Turns out, they look like this:
The Professor told her that it was unlucky not to salute the first Magpie of the day, which was a bizarre ritual for him to adopt; he was a scientific creature completely without whimsy, living an academic life while selfishly refusing to allow Sister Madly to sell his kidneys on the black market. He seemed to imply that if she were to embrace the Saluting of the Magpie, she could forever live a blissful life in a lovey-dovey, vegan butter-spread commercial.
But this raised a few questions for the most rational Sister Madly; to begin with, how is one to know that this is the first Magpie of the day? There may have been a conga line of 57 birds on her windowsill in the wee hours of the morn. And what if the Magpie she salutes is not a Mister, but a Missus? If the idea is not to anger the old bird, knowing its proper title is an absolute must!
Then again, why would Sister Madly salute a bird whose only purpose in life is to poo hellfire missiles all over poor Itty Bitty whenever parked beneath a tree?
It didn’t take long for her to find out.
At the pub later that night, they encountered the Happy Phlebotomist, whom had recently returned from a trip to Canada and was giddy to show off his souvenirs. He led them to the dark end of the parking lot, where he revealed a trunk full of Ketchup Chips.
“If you’re not going to buy Ketchup Chips, why bother going to Canada? That’s what the country was made for!”
No, Canada was created so that Alaska won’t float off into the Bering Sea, flex its muscles at its newfound freedom, and shack up with Hawaii- everybody knows that, Chipper. It would be most devastating for the caribou.
Since the chips tasted as one might expect, it became clear that the Happy Phlebotomist was fascinated not only by the chips themselves, but the brilliant innovation of this time-saving measure.
You see, much of a Canadian’s life is wasted writing that extra ‘U’ in words that need no extra ‘U’; thus the Ketchup Chip was invented not only to save time, but prevent the excruciating fatigue of dipping said Chip into said Ketchup, hence allowing Canada to continue this curious tradition. Of course, food is so much more flavourful with that superfluous letter, everyone knows that; but nearly 6 years* is squandered in composing that character over a single lifetime. The Ketchup Chip makes that loss much more bearable.
* According to Sister Madly’s estimate, which of course is most excellent.
But that was not his only memento.
But before the Professor could question the logic behind selling non-refrigerated Milk in Bag like a Boss, Sister Madly decided to test the strength of the bag by dropping it to the asphalt.
Bag O’ Milk promptly became Sprinkler O’ Milk.
You know why this happened, don’t you, Sister Madly? This happened because you did not salute the Magpie first thing in the morning after your merry frolic through Sunnyside, which has more Magpies than you can shake a stick at.*
* Not that Sister Madly wanders about town, shaking sticks at things willy-nilly. She’d like to think that she’s still a few years away from that particular mentality.
After the Milk-Sprinkler Dance of Panic, Chipper attempted to correct this by sticking ballpoint pens through the tears. It would seem that the Happy Phlebotomist’s solution to every problem is to stick a pointy object into said problem- which is far from comforting.
Apparently, Canada has yet to learn about the science behind the Pencil-Thru-the-Bag-of-Liquid, because this did not work in the least.
“You should have Saluted the Magpie.”
The Professor clearly has no heart- at least, he isn’t using it.*
* In which case, he shouldn’t mind if Sister Madly sells it on the black market.
On the plus side, Sister Madly did get her recommended daily serving of dairy.
While she can’t say the Magpie was responsible, she did leave him an offering of Ketchup Chips, just in case.
- oil/ghee for sautéing
- 1lb beef mince
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1-2 chilies, chopped and seeded to taste
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 TBSP ginger, minced
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 4 eggs, beaten
- crusty bread, sliced
- spring onion, cilantro, sriracha aioli, cheese (opt, for garnish)
Sauté onions until translucent; 8-10 min
Add chili, garlic, and ginger; lightly caramelize; 10-15 min
Add spices; sauté until fragrant; 1 min
Remove from heat; set aside
Add beef to skillet; sauté until cooked through
Add onion mixture; stir until combined; 2 min
Remove from heat; cool 5 min
Add beaten eggs to beef; mix well
Heat oiled skillet over medium heat
Spoon egg mixture over sliced bread
Place bread filling-side down in skillet
Fry for 2-5 minutes, or until eggs are cooked
Flip over to toast outside (opt)
Remove from heat; add garnish
Serve open-faced or as a sandwich
THEME SONG: Surfin’ Bird, Ramones
So, can just anyone buy a submarine?
It’s not like she isn’t qualified to command one; after all, Sister Madly has a boating license- got it when she was twelve. Officer What’s-His-Name said it was all she needed to operate motorized watercraft- sure, she may have forgotten a few things in the intervening years, but surely beneath the water those laws no longer apply.
The craft shouldn’t be difficult to figure out, no doubt just an ignition key and a bright orange button to make it go forward. It will have no reverse gear, but that won’t be a problem on the ocean’s floor where U-turns are permitted willy-nilly; after all, the Germans call these magnificent vessels U-boats, which is clearly in honor of the U-turn.
But most importantly, one need never parallel park a Submarine between an obnoxious Prius and a wood-paneled PT Cruiser, which is a most unnatural and debauched maneuver straight from the pit of hell.
She doesn’t need all the fancy u-boat upgrades, such screen doors and nuclear warheads; your standard get-out-of-the-way torpedo will do. Sister Madly will, however, insist upon flocked wallpaper, disco lights, and a badass stereo system; David Bowie will sound especially haunting inside a submarine.
As for the intermittent, man-your-stations-you’re-under-attack buzzer (complete with flashing red light,) that will make a most excellent alarm clock for any early morning appointments Sister Madly is foolish enough to make.
Also, a conveniently placed shark’s fin will not go to waste.
It shall be called the USS Sweet Hereafter.
* But secretly, she will call it Myrtle.
There are one or two things that will need to be addressed- her negative sense of direction, for example. Officer What’s-His-Name used to talk about this apparatus called a compass, but Sister Madly finds relying upon magnetic poles so 1987. She would utilize a state-of-the-art navigational system,* not prehistoric tomfoolery.
* A few sober friends and a map.
You may be wondering where Sister Madly will store the vessel when not in use. She is certainly glad you asked! Her elder sister, Tallulah, has a creek running through her back yard- no doubt she would be happy to let sweet little sis park Myrtle at the end of the dock. The HOA doesn’t address the subject of submarines, thus one can only assume that they are allowed on the property.
Also, Sister Madly would be most responsible with the torpedoes: she will only use them on spiders.
But all this is nothing more than a pipe dream if civilian submarine ownership is beyond her reach. Sister Madly couldn’t go on wasting her night glamming up Myrtle if she wasn’t allowed to buy one.
So, at 2:41 AM:
Can just anyone buy a submarine?
Now some of you may cluck your tongues at the 2:41 timestamp, but it’s not like she was texting something frivolous, like celebrity death notices. This was important; Sister Madly’s entire future depended upon it.
And rest assured, she was completely sober at the time.
Come on, Professor- can’t a person ask about submarine ownership without being accused of plotting something nefarious? Sister Madly encountered the same skepticism last year when inquiring about a steamroller. Have a little faith.
The Professor never answered.
So… can just anyone buy a Submarine?
AREPAS CHILE CHICKEN
- 6-8 boneless chicken thighs, whole
- 2 sweet onions, sliced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ cup chicken stock
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp chipotle pepper
- salt, to taste
Heat oil in Dutch oven
Add onions; stir to coat
Lower heat, stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized (30-45 min)
Mix in spices, stock, and chicken; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until chicken is cooked (25 min)
With 2 forks, shred chicken in sauce
Simmer to reduce and thicken
- 1 cup Harina de Maiz (pre-cooked cornmeal, such as P.A.N.)
- 1 cup water or milk, room temp if possible
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 TBSP oil
Combine arepa flour and salt
Mix in oil and water, until mixture is smooth
Knead a few times, dividing dough in four pieces*
Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten about 1/2 inch thick
Heat greased pan over medium heat
Add the arepas; cook until golden brown (about 6-7 minutes)
Flip; cook another 3-5 minutes
* Coating hands in oil will help prevent sticky-dough rage.
Split arepas horizontally
Fill with chicken
Top with cotija, guacamole, and sour cream
THEME SONG: Under Pressure, David Bowie/Queen
Show Me Slowly
What I only Know the Limits of
And Dance Me
To the End of Love
~ Leonard Cohen
That some People
~ Albert Camus
1) Laurie Simmons
The Artist Produces
For the Liberation of his Soul.
It is his Nature
As it is the Nature of Water
To Run Down the Hill.
~ Somerset Maugham
Filipino Solar Artist, Jordan Mang-osan, harnesses the power of the sun to create intricate works of art. With a magnifying glass, he focuses the sun’s rays to burn his visions into slabs of wood.
Art by Jordan Mang-osan.
Let’s face it: one can only spend so much time lounging about, indulging in bubble wrap and drinking from the skulls of thine enemies. Faced with the possibility of becoming merely a husk of a person, Sister Madly decided to confront one of her greatest fears: making a salad.
Having fondly recalled the culinary success of Ham and Banana Hollandaise, Sister Madly returned to the recipe box of yesteryear for the inspiration that would propel her into the world of healthy vegetables.
And she found it.
An array of vegetables encased in gelatin, and stuffed rather glamorously into a decorative mold- or in Sister Madly’s case, a disposable tin.
- 2 packets unflavored gelatin.
Unable to find unflavored gelatin (she didn’t try very hard, she admits) Sister Madly headed straight for the Jell-O. Not only does this confection have gelatin, it is available in an array of lovely colors. The lack of pigmentation was the one thing that, in Sister Madly’s most correct opinion, that kept the Salad from being absolute Perfection; thus she rectified this oversight with a package of Berry Blue.
- 1 cup finely shredded cabbage
Sister Madly saw no reason to waste time and effort shredding a large cabbage when Mother Nature has provided mankind with itty-bitty mutant ones.
- ½ cup chopped green pepper
Green pepper, which is a formidable piece of produce in its own right, does not have a lot of kick, and Sister Madly needed some spice to balance out the sweetness of the Berry Blue.
So she replaced the Bell Pepper with Thai Chilies. Brilliant.
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 1 cup shredded carrots
Since celery is an affront to humanity, Sister Madly omitted this particular vegetable in order to maintain the title of ‘Perfection.’ She had every intention of including the Carrots; however, once at the market, Sister Madly found herself swept up on the winds of whimsy and substituted Cherry Tomatoes.
- 4 oz chopped pimento
Since the pimento is the heart of an olive, and since produce is at its best when obtained organically, Sister Madly skipped the jar of farm-raised olives and chose to harvest this elusive fruit from its natural habitat: a martini.
And where best to get a martini than at a pub?
24 hours later… Behold, her genius!
Just as professional culinarians enhance their creations with decorative sticks and sprigs, Sister Madly, too, opted for garnish; but her garden yielded little more than slugs and rocks. She did come across a bit of herbal greenery in the backyard, but her neighbors were smoking it at the time.
In the end, she need look no further than her own pantry: indeed, all the culinary masters would agree that brown onions and garlic are the perfect accompaniment to Berry Blue Jell-O.
Even Sister Madly could not conceive what sort of mind would consider this anything other than absolute perfection. It was guaranteed to be called a work of art amongst those blessed with the gift of sight!
Having determined that her Salad was exquisite in every way, Sister Madly decided that it would be cruel not to share this gastronomic masterpiece with the world- and what better way than to present the Salad as the main course at a neighbor’s birthday celebration?
All she needed was a birthday candle.
Sister Madly, as you can see, is the soul of generosity.
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 oz apple juice
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 2 TBSP vinegar
- 1 cup carrot, shredded
- 1 cup celery, sliced
- 1 cup cabbage, shredded
- ½ cup green pepper, chopped
- 4 oz. pimento, chopped
In small saucepan, combine gelatin, sugar, and salt; mix well.
Add 1 cup water.
Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar and gelatin are dissolved. Remove from heat.
Stir in apple juice, lemon juice, vinegar, and ¼ cup cold water.
Pour into medium bowl.
Refrigerate 1 hour, or until mixture is consistency of unbeaten egg white.
Add carrot, celery, cabbage, green pepper, and pimento; stir until well combined.
Turn into decorative, 1½ quart mold.
Refrigerate 4 hours, or until firm.
To unmold: Run small spatula around edge of mold; invert onto serving plate.
Place hot dishcloth over mold; shake gently to release. Repeat, if necessary.
Lift off mold; refrigerate until ready to serve.
~ From McCall’s Great American Recipe Card Collection
THEME SONG: Sweetest Perfection, Depeche Mode
The Worst of all Deceptions
The Closest One Comes
To Perfect Love
Is Accepting Somone
For Who They Are.
Bower Birds do not rely on plumage; rather, they attract females through elaborately embellished structures (bowers) which are carefully arranged by the males.
2.) Markus Lilje