Posts tagged “Life

Dashboard Cookies ~ Disasterchef: Netherworld

And on the 26th of June, in Year 2 of the Plague, a minion of the Netherworld thought it a fine idea to open the Gates of Hell.*

* No, it was NOT Sister Madly. She has an alibi.

This resulted in a weekend of record heat, officially topping out at 116*F/46*C on the final day (119*F/48*C in Sister Madly’s neighborhood, but the National Weather Service doesn’t give a hoot about her Neighborhood, the scalawags) which she sweated out like a champ.

A surly, sluggish, salty AF champ.

Because she’s a strong, independent Moppet who don’t need no air conditioning!

When she heard about the impending ‘heat dome,’ Sister Madly went through the customary stages of weather-related grief:

  • doubt
  • awe
  • the wonder if one can really bake cookies on one’s dashboard
  • dread
  • acceptance

Now all the professionals say that grieving is healthy; yet Sister Madly found herself trapped in the ‘wondering if one can really bake cookies on the dashboard’ stage, unable to move onto the dread’ that she so looked forward to. If Sister Madly is to grieve properly, she must bake cookies on her dash.

And being a most famished responsible Moppet, she proceeded to work through her grief via the following:

  • Preheat Neighborhood that the NWS doesn’t give a hoot about to 119*F
  • Relocate the ‘oven’- i.e., the intrepid Itty Bitty, Smart Car Extraordinaire- into direct sunlight once the outdoor temperature is >95* F. This allows the car to reach an internal temp >165* F, which is the minimum the FDA demands threatens recommends certain foods reach for safe* consumption

* Because no one has ever eaten raw cookie dough before. Ever.

  • Prep baking tray; add cookie dough (gently; respect the cookies)
  • Place tray in car, which naturally is 4 blocks away
  • Lock the car behind you (protect the cookies)
  • Wait- magic is happening

As success was inevitable in her dashboard escapade, Sister Madly began planning a sophisticated menu for her next venture in climate change, including vanilla onion souffle and cactus dauphinoise. No doubt she will win a host of Michelin Stars and retire a wealthy eccentric, wherein she will buy herself an air conditioner- because 119*F is hot AF! affluent individuals have air conditioning. It’s a status thing.

And should she somehow fail… at least her car will smell divine.

After 30ish minutes and a change into a tank top stashed in the freezer (which resulted in the “Son of a Biscuit!” heard ‘round the world) the dough baking in the intrepid Itty Bitty, Smart Car Extraordinaire, was looking more like cowpies than anything edible; perhaps double chocolate cookies were a poor choice.

Poorer still was choosing store-brand cookie dough, as the car smelled anything but divine.

And so Sister Madly was officially able to move onto the dread’ stage of grief that she so looked forward to as she slowly melted into a puddle.

A surly, sluggish, salty AF puddle.

Because she’s a strong, independent Moppet who don’t need no air conditioning!

DASHBOARD COOKIES

  • Cookie Dough of Choice, homemade or ready-made

Preheat Neighborhood to 96*F – 119*F
Move Baking Vessel into direct sunlight
Hydrate: you were just out in 119*F weather
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Drop dough onto baking sheet (approx 2-3 TBSP per cookie)
Allow Baking Vessel to reach 165*F (this may happen faster than you think)
Weep uncontrollably: you’re about to go back out in 119*F weather
Hydrate: you’re about to go out into 119*F weather (and you just wept uncontrollably)
Place baking sheet on Dashboard
Re-Hydrate: your Baking Vessel was parked 4 blocks away
Bake cookies for 30 min – 4 hours, or until cooked to a minimum of 165*F

* Cookies may not caramelize on top even when fully cooked. You’re baking in a car, after all.


Polynesian Pasta Salad ~ Justice for the Fortress

Contrary to popular belief, Sister Madly is not one for revenge- that is, not right away. She is more than willing to wait a month for the full impact of her unholy retribution to be unleashed upon the deserving individual- in this case, her elder sibling, Tallulah.

Many a Madly Moon ago, a wee Sister Madly constructed a Fortress out of Legos- and a mighty fine structure it was, with its turrets and its multiple moat-thingies. Indeed, it was the envy of her 8-year-old contemporaries… until Tallulah’s foot came out of absolutely nowhere and punted the Fortress clear across the room.

Twice.

Well, son of a biscuit, Tallulah- did you run out of crutches to kick? Must Sister Madly suffer for her art?

To this, Tallulah insisted- in a manner that did not seem heartfelt- that it was an accident.

But any armchair psychologist worth his salt will tell you that there are no accidents.

That means Tallulah kicked her Fortress on purpose. Twice.

Now everybody knows that when it comes to Childhood Justice, ‘on purposes’ cannot go unpunished; thus, Sister Madly implemented the most calculated, the most devastating means of retribution: she planted an acorn outside Tallulah’s window.

For those questioning the logic behind the Acorn, understand that by planting said Acorn, it would grow into a mighty tree that would one day block Tallulah’s view of the beloved* swing set. If one can have faith as small as a mustard seed, then one can sow retribution as small as an Acorn.

* A rusted, toxic heap of metal and sadness though it may be, the swing set was still beloved.

Unfortunately, that ‘one day’ wasn’t happening fast enough for the wee little Moppet; so, to promote the development of the Acorn Tree- thus furthering her masterplan- Sister Madly would routinely spit on the Acorn every time she passed by the window.

Sometimes her genius is frightening!

Several decades have passed since the Punting of the Lego Fortress, and Sister Madly has come to terms with the failed vengeance of the Acorn Tree. Thus, she is here to announce that she has accepted* Tallulah’s less-than-heartfelt apology, and as a testament to her newfound maturity as an adult, she will graciously allow Tallulah to make her cookies.

* For now, that is…

POLYNESIAN PASTA SALAD

  • 1lb Pasta
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar

DRESSING

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Carrots, julienned
  • Frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 cups mayo
  • ¼-½ cup heavy cream, to taste
  • 1-2 TBSP Worcestershire, to taste
  • ¼ cup crushed pineapple
  • Salt/pepper, to taste

Mix together dressing ingredients; refrigerate until needed
Cook pasta; drain and return to pan
Add cider vinegar to pasta; mix well
Cover; rest for 20 minutes
Mix in half the dressing; rest 10-20 minutes
Stir in remaining dressing
Cover; refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving

Sister Madly is aware that this is not a traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. The aforementioned recipe was made during the pandemic, and her pasta selection was limited to manicotti, lasagna, and some rainbow twisties. As her Sicilian brother-in-law was no help whatsoever,* Sister Madly went with the rainbow twisties.

* Admittedly, he was no help because Sister Madly did not ask his opinion.

 


Sichuan Wings ~ Sad Satan’s Toolshed

Let’s face it: 2020 is determined to turn Sister Madly into a couch potato.*

* Albeit, an adorable one.

In addition to the Great Sickness and Neighborhood Protests, Sister Madly woke up one morning to find herself on Mars- and clearly she was, as the atmosphere was not only unsuitable for human consumption, but the color of iced tea. Iced Tea Atmosphere, like the Great Sickness, forces one to spend days on end in complete isolation- minus a few rabid dust bunnies.

Didn’t think the whole ‘colonizing Mars’ thing through did we, Elon-Baby?*

* The local news claimed this Iced Tea Atmosphere was a result of nearby wildfires, but Sister Madly knows propaganda when she hears it. She was on Mars.

Facing another week indoors, Sister Madly engaged in what no-doubt will become the Great Martian Pastime: reminiscing about the last time she encountered another human being. In this case, it was Chipper- an enthusiastic Phlebotomist with only a vague concept of personal boundaries- who had been working from home.

And just how does a Phlebotomist work from home, you might ask? And you should ask- Sister Madly should not be the only creature to endure many a Couch Potato Contemplation Session picturing this hippie mosquito setting up practice in his potting shed just for kicks.

Which is why Sister Madly will be moving to another dimension, Elon-Baby.*

* A safer, saner dimension. A Lovecraftian Dimension.

Now, the Ghost-of-Jobs-Yet-to-Come first visited the Madly Siblings upon reaching the tender age of 7, with careers that were also homegrown. Take Tallulah who, on her own initiative, went door-to-door collecting money for the ‘orphans;’ or Sister Madly, who had a lemonade stand at the end of her dead end street. She made a whole quarter that day.*

* Thanks, Me-Ma!

With two-bits to her name, Sister Madly retired from the Lemonade Stand determined to become an astronomer- a misfit who sits and stares at all things outer-space, possibly befriending an alien or two. This lasted until the moment she discovered that astronomy is not just looking at planets and colorful nebulae. Apparently, there’s a whole bunch of science behind it, science that goes beyond staying up past her bedtime just to catch a glimpse of a passing comet. She didn’t sign up for the science.

Abandoning the stars, Sister Madly decided that treasures were more her style, and set out that very afternoon to dig up the driveway with a plastic shovel in search of diamonds- which her parents tolerated for about 15 minutes or so.

As it turns out, archaeologists do more than just dig in the dirt; they have to know things, things that require years of schooling as an older Moppet. And it’s not diamonds they dig up, but bones, bits of pottery, and ancient weaponry- none of which she can keep! What nonsense is that? Finders-Keepers is a universal law, and Sister Madly obeys the law- as evidenced by her luxuriant treasure trove:

~ decorative lamp finial
~ orange golf ball
~ faux diamond ring, squashed by a car
~ petoskey stone, found nowhere near a Great Lake
~ unused Remington cartridge, which the Pater Madly made into a necklace
~ etc

But the one career Sister Madly never pursued as a child was the absolute dream of her 9 year-old self: a Professional Backmasking Decoder.

For those not in the know- she’s looking at you, Elon-Baby- backmasking is the fine art of concealing messages in songs that can only be heard when played in reverse. This conspiracy was often preached about in churches during her childhood, and was but one reason why rock music should be avoided at all costs.* And since Sister Madly was forbidden to listen to rock music at that age, she never received the proper training.

* Churches spoke of the Devil as well, but that job is taken.
As is Death. So unfair.

Now, genuine backmasking is a deliberate process, with a clear message:

Satanic Backmasking, however, is much more deviant- that is, less coherent, and difficult to understand without an imagination and the aid of written lyrics:

Because when you’re told what to listen for, you will hear it.

However, after another Couch Potato Contemplation Session, it became obvious that the Decoders of yesteryear got it all wrong. Clearly, this ‘Stairway to Heaven’ is a metaphor for Elon’s Starship to Mars, and ‘Sad Satan’s Toolshed’ is a reference to the Happy Phlebotomist working from home. Because sadness in reverse is happiness, and Sister Madly obviously is on Mars…

And Heaven in reverse is nothing more than Hell… isn’t it, Elon-Baby?

…it seems Sister Madly has missed her calling…

SICHUAN WINGS

  • 3lbs chicken wings
  • 1/3 cup hoison sauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos ~ OR ~ low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP ginger, minced
  • 1+ tsp Sichuan pepper, toasted and ground, to taste
  • 1+ TBSP honey, to taste
  • sriracha, to taste (opt)

Preheat oven to 400*
Place wings on greased baking rack in tray
Bake wings for 30 min
Add remaining ingredients to a saucepan; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until thickened
Remove wings from oven, brush with sauce
Return to oven; bake 10-15 min, or until cooked through
Brush with remaining sauce straight from oven

THEME SONG: Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin (in reverse, of course)


Arayes ~ Sins of the Father

There was a time when Sister Madly & Co. would swank about town in search of the next great adventure. One such swank landed them at a local Chinese Restaurant, where they were greeted by a King Crab on Ice wearing a Party Hat.

Now Sister Madly has never tasted King Crab, nor does she see herself succumbing to such lunacy anytime soon. Seriously, who was the ruffian that first waltzed into the Alaskan Sea, encountered the giant, spiky, pinchy water-spider and bellowed, “Alas, fellow countrymen- tonight, we feast!” ?

Of course, the evening would not be complete without the Professor’s friend, a former Seminary Student turned Reverend Lump of No Fun, who immediately announced to the good people knee-deep in TGIF Celebrations that he does not eat shellfish.

Well, Sister Madly does not play the bassoon, but she does not turn Town Crier every time she passes by the symphony. She simply goes through life not playing the bassoon.

The Professor, however, assumed that Reverend Lump made such an announcement due to a shellfish allergy.

… is announcing that one has a shellfish allergy typical of a shellfish allergy? Does Benadryl* relieve that particular symptom?

* Due to its spectacular send-a-person-into-a-coma skills, Benadryl very-well might alleviate this symptom.

The aforementioned allergy also compelled Reverend Lump dissect his egg rolls and pull out all the pork.

Now Sister Madly is rumored to be a picky eater, but not to the degree of dissecting an egg roll to remove the offending foodstuff. She prefers to throw a tantrum whenever it finds its way onto her plate.

When asked why he didn’t just order the vegetable egg rolls, Reverend Lump said that while he was ‘forbidden’ from eating pork, he quite liked the flavor, and was willing to spend the extra millennia in extracting it from said egg roll. Sister Madly had to admire the lengths he took to find a loophole in his particular belief system.

Reverend Lump went on to say that pork was considered unclean, and the Old Testament forbade the eating of unclean animals, including storks and bats.

Damn. There goes her dinner plans.

While this may seem rigid, he said, it was nothing compared to the restrictions his Catholic Friend faced, who wasn’t even allowed to eat Chicken in a Biskit during Lent. Catholic Friend used to eat these unholy crackers by the case, until biblical, brotherly love compelled Reverend Lump to point out that the crackers were flavored with real chicken, which violated the whole No-Meat-During-Lent thing.

Sister Madly was beginning to think his refusal to eat King Crab had nothing to do with an allergy.*

* But that doesn’t mean the coma-inducing Benadryl wouldn’t benefit him greatly.

Now the Professor- who acknowledged these dietary practices without batting an eye- is the same creature who once suffered a psychotic break when Sister Madly ordered French fries with her port. Clearly her culinary no-no was as much a theological faux pas as Bat and Stork Bolognese.

This was confirmed when Reverend Lump suffered a similar meltdown over the story of the unholy port and spud combo. He went on to say that the wine at the Last Supper and the Wedding at Cana was most likely unfermented grape juice.

If so, that doesn’t mean wine is forbidden; it meant that they were serving French Fries at the same time- which, when paired with wine, is a gastronomical sin.

And the Son of God cannot sin!

“Which is why he served grape juice.”

Every ideology, philosophy, religion, diet, etc, has its zealots, but Sister Madly had somehow managed to find her way into its Mecca- all the while not playing the bassoon.

ARAYES

  • 1lbs minced lamb
  • 1TBSP ras el hanout
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ sm onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • 4+ pitas, sliced in half
  • Oil
  • Tzatziki, for serving

Preheat oven 375*
Combine lamb, onions, garlic, tomato, and spices; mix well
Stuff halved pita pockets with meat mixture
~ Alternatively, spread mixture on pita slice and fold in half ~
Brush pita with oil (both sides); place on foil-line baking sheet
Bake for 7 min
Flip pitas; bake for additional 6-7 min*
Serve with tzatziki

Federal Guidelines recommend cooking lamb to a minimum temp of 160*, but since the Feds have been doing some very disrespectful and naughty things in her City, Sister Madly cooked hers to medium just to spite them.
She also ripped the tags off her new pillow.

THEME SONG: Summer Wine, Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra


Images:

1.) amazing-places.com
2.) pinterest
3.) pinterest
4.) pinterest
5.) pinterest


Saffron Potato Soup ~ The Feral Inner Child

One would like to think Sister Madly matured as she grew older- much like a fine cheese; but if truth be told, she has only enhanced her vocabulary- again, like a fine cheese.

As of late, Sister Madly has had to find- if not invent- new ways of entertaining herself. Having just spent her birthday in quarantine, Sister Madly found herself waltzing down the back alley of yesteryear, bypassing the Valley of the Dolls only to frolic through the grassy knoll of absolute childhood boredom. Sister Madly will now be incorporating these Adventures of Absolute Childhood Boredom into her daily routine.

T-BONE
This little ditty is about a starry-eyed bull named T-Bone, who entertained dreams of becoming one-half of a World Champion Bullfighting* Team. Mama T-Bone, however, was determined to keep her little Bovine at home to take violin lessons from no maestro in particular. T-Bone, naturally, rebelled against convention and would slip out of the house to meet up with a most flashy Matador in hopes of achieving the All-American Dream.

* In the Madliverse, a ‘bullfight’ was an Olympic-level choreographed dance between Matador, Bull, and a beach towel advertising Carnation Bon Bons. There was no harming of animals- real or imagined- as T-Bone was a sensitive soul and would have no doubt chosen the violin.

OLD PAL & OLIVER
That age-old tale of 2 Horses stampeding into their Owner’s house late at night and insisting on sharing the bed because it was too cold to sleep in the Barn. Sometimes, they would lock Owner said Barn (that is, the Madly Matriarch’s Closet) and snack on Tato Skins in his absence; at others, they would tie Owner’s socks into knots for no reason in particular.

But it was mostly about the Tato Skins.

SHIRT
The odyssey of a Red Shirt who was in love with a pair of Turquoise Pants, who sought the services of a Tailor in the hopes of being dyed a color complimentary to the aforementioned Pants. The Owner of the Shirt- Tallulah- wanted to pair the Shirt with a Mini Skirt from the 70’s, seeking to dye the Shirt a hideous shade of orange. Many a washing, drying, and ironing moment* were had before hanging the Shirt in the closet- after which, in the dead of night, Shirt would disguise itself as a Blinky-Woo-Woo Visor while attempting to make contact with the Tailor.

* Various acrobatics and fanciful pillow fighting upon the Patriarch’s bed.

HAUNTED HOUSE
Not a haunted house but a maze made up of riffraff, chairs, and some rather terrifying dolls such as Baby Alive* through which one crawled by the glow of a Lite-Brite.

To be honest, Sister Madly has no desire to recreate this particular childhood pastime: feeling her way through a booby-trapped obstacle course undercover of darkness is something she does every night between turning off the light and climbing into bed- which is 3 feet away from the light switch.

* Baby Alive didn’t work, by the way. She ate her food, which in turn rotted inside of her; it didn’t take long.
Also, she was called Baby Alive…

As the aforementioned adventures were not designed for social distancing, Sister Madly decided to recruit a particularly toothy live-in companion of whose elegance you are certain to be jealous: Sister Madly’s Inner Child.

However, the only part of these adventures that remotely interested her Inner Child was the bit about the Tato Skins. Upon discovering that all Sister Madly had to snack on was some cans of Spaghetti-O’s from her quake rations, her Inner Child threw an epic tantrum and climbed into the sock drawer to sulk.

Quite the feral soul, her Inner Child…

SAFFRON POTATO SOUP

  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 3-5 Garlic cloves, minced
  • Potatoes, quartered
  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Carrots, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • Peas
  • 4-6 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Lg pinch saffron, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 TBSP thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt/pepper, to taste
  • Heavy cream (opt)

Sauté onion until translucent: 8-10 min
Add garlic; sauté 2-3 min
Add celery and carrots; sauté 2-3 min
Add spices; sauté 30 sec
Deglaze with wine
Add potatoes, mushrooms, and broth; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until veggies are tender; 25-30 min
Add peas and cream (if using); simmer 3-5 min
Remove from heat and serve

THEME SONG: Forever Young, Alphaville


Images:

1) Doll Created by Julien Martinez
2) Pinterest
3) Reddit
4) Tumblr
5) Pinterest


Soda Bread ~ Plague it Safe

Not to be a tattletale, but Sister Madly’s neighbors were NOT practicing proper social-distancing last night. Nor again at 3AM. Or again, around 6.

Like most individuals, Sister Madly has been prohibited from engaging in non-essential activities away from home- including the very specific “going out to browse an open hardware store”- with violations in her state carrying a potential Class C Misdemeanor charge.

And now Sister Madly wants nothing more than to browse an open* hardware store.

* Browsing a closed hardware store, however, is a felony. Sister Madly is spoilt for choice on criminal charges when it comes to hardware stores.

But even Quarantine is not without its risks; one can easily tolerate the minor side-effects associated with prolonged bouts of self-isolation, such as making pinatas filled with cutlery or torching one’s eyebrows off. Still, there is one side-effect so devastating that even Sister Madly is sent into fits at the very thought: the overwhelming desire to bake bread.

Why aren’t there more people talking about this? By the lack of flour at the market, it’s clear that Sister Madly isn’t the only one suffering from this condition, but she is the only one abstaining from it due to the lack of supplies and is, as of yet, asymptomatic. But shelves will one day be restocked, and Sister Madly will be left with no other recourse than to Von Trapp it over the mountains to Tallulah’s, despite being personally* banned from the town.

* The actual phrase was ‘all non-residents,’ but Sister Madly has decided to take this personally.

In the meantime, Sister Madly became a most productive Moppet in hopes of warding off the Bread-Baking Plague:

DAY 3: Sister Madly sifted her Sichuan peppercorns.
DAY 4: She gave the Desert-Wandering Horse a Name.
DAY 5: She forgot what she named the Desert-Wandering Horse.
DAY 8,314,699: Made a Plan for World Domination, but ran into a snag figuring out how to fulfill said Plan while observing proper Social-Distancing Guidelines.
DAY 11: Oiled her olive wood bowls
DAY 12: An owl has moved into the neighborhood. Loves to hoot around the midnight hour.
DAY 13: A sack of flour is silently watching her from the kitchen counter.

Clearly Quarantine Productivity is an old wives’ tale- everybody knows that Sacks of Flour is but the first symptom of the Bread-Baking Plague. As desperate times call for desperate measures, Sister Madly resorted to channeling an Old Acquaintance She’d Sooner Forget in the form of a Totem, lest she be rendered terminally domestic, bereft of all social graces and refusing to travel Southeast Asia because she absolutely must stay home and bake a brioche.

She’s made 3 so far.
She’s also made bread.
It’s a lawless time here in the Madliverse…

To all the writers and poets at whose depiction of life during a post-modern pandemic Sister Madly had often scoffed:
Her sincerest apologies.
But you should have mentioned the bit about the Bread.

SODA BREAD

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375*
Grease cast iron skillet or baking sheet
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Add butter, buttermilk, and egg to flour; mix
Knead dough briefly on floured surface
Shape dough into a ball
Place dough in skillet
Cut an X across top of the loaf
Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean
Transfer to cooling rack; let rest for 15 min before slicing

THEME SONG: A Horse with No Name, America


Harissa Wings ~ The Lab Coats are Coming!

On her way to Tallulah’s Olde Peculiar- a Marketplace where she is a Vendor– a rather chipper Sister Madly passed by Pompous Name Laboratory, which proudly displayed a banner that not only announced their Grand Opening, but invited the public to ‘Come in and say Hi!’

Do tell, Pompous Name Laboratory: why does Sister Madly have to make the first move? Why don’t you come out and say ‘Hi’ to her? Friends just don’t make themselves, you know.

Now you may think that Sister Madly is being tiresome, but rest assured, her skepticism is warranted. Businesses that invite her in to say ‘Hi’ always seem to have ulterior motives: Car Dealerships hopes the ever-so-seductive dance of the inflatable man-thing will convince her to buy a Pinto, while Credit Unions tempt her with promises of coffee mugs and folding camping chairs in the hopes of opening an account.

So naturally Sister Madly was curious as to why a Laboratory would want her to drop in for a little new-to-the-neighborhood tête-à-tête. Is there a shortage of Lab Rats? Do they need someone to ‘drink this solution’ or ‘press this button?’ Is it National Adopt-a- Pathogen Month? Or do they simply wish to showcase a happy and healthy strain of Free-Range E.coli?

Nevertheless, there is the possibility- however remote- that the Science-y People of Pompous Name Laboratory are simply lonely, as is the norm for those who choose to work in Labs. And while Science-y People are making terrific discoveries for which they should be applauded- such as finding cures for disease and creating new dyes to make red M&M’s edible again- being around smoking beakers and big Latin words all day is bound to render one more and more out of touch with reality.*

* At least with Sister Madly’s reality.

The fact that Sister Madly was even contemplating speaking to a Science-y Stranger- and of her own volition, no less- shows how much she’s progressed in venturing beyond her most excellent anti-social skills. True, she doesn’t speak science,* but this language barrier can be balanced with a good first impression, which includes poise, a toothy smile, and covered in someone else’s blood.

* She also doesn’t speak accounting, Trekkie, or bird.

Unfortunately, Sister Madly’s Travel Companion did not want to pop into the Laboratory and say ‘Hi,’ and most certainly did NOT want to represent ‘someone else’s blood’- which is totally unfair, because why else would Sister Madly have a Travel Companion? Without a good first impression, Sister Madly will have to resort to sign language and smoke signals, which will be misinterpreted as a biological warfare, cause widespread panic, burn down the Lab, and send her fleeing into the streets, shouting, “The lab coats are coming, the lab coats are coming!” before ultimately finding herself strumming her lips in a padded cell.

Perhaps she’ll send them fruit basket instead.

HARISSA CHICKEN WINGS

  • 2-3lbs wings

MARINADE

  • 1 TBSP harissa sauce
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • oil, as needed

SAUCE

  • ½ cup harissa sauce
  • ¼ cup honey, or to taste
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • salt/pepper, to taste

MARINADE
Mix together marinade ingredients
Add chicken; mix to coat
Cover; refrigerate for 30min-24hrs

SAUCE
Add sauce ingredients to pan; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until thickened

BAKE
Preheat oven to 400*
Place chicken on greased baking rack in tray
Bake 30 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: The Lunatics, The Specials and Fun Boy Three


Marsala Chicken Wings ~ Saucepans and the Single Girl

Once again, it is that magical time of year, when Sister Madly hosts her annual Dumb Supper. The current guest list reads as follows:

  • Leonard Cohen
  • Vincent Price
  • Starfish
  • David Bowie

In the past, Sister Madly had difficulties when it came to her guests- in particular, how to go about inviting them. Tracking down the Dearly-Departed is trickier than one might think, and Sister Madly has been unsuccessful in the past.*

* She assumes she was unsuccessful, but it was a Dumb Supper- her guests might have just been silent the entire time.

However, she hoped to change all that with the help of this handy guide:

“From midnight supper for two, to ‘deadly little dinners’ and smashing soirees for the gang…”

By ‘deadly little dinners,’ one must assume the authors had hosted a Dumb Supper or two during their bachelorette days. Thus it was necessary to follow the recipes verbatim- or as verbatim as possible.

DUMB SUPPER MENU

  • Surly Steak
  • Cheaters Garlic Bread
  • Wild Rice
  • Sculptor’s Salad with Sour Cream
  • Layer Cake

SURLY STEAK

~ “Buy a good piece of meat from your twinkly-eyed butcher and treat it with tender loving care.”

Already, Sister Madly was off to a bad start: the twinkle had gone out of the butcher’s eye a long time ago. He did have a tooth that caught the light rather fetchingly, but the book said nothing about his teeth.*

* Unfortunately, her Dumb Supper was served without the Surly Steak, as she was unable to find a twinkly-eyed butcher in her hometown.

CHEATERS GARLIC BREAD

~ “You’re really missing something if you don’t know how to make garlic bread.”

Now, there may be some truth to this: Sister Madly does not know how to make garlic bread, and her favorite rock has been missing since childhood. There is no denying the correlation here; she must master the art of garlic bread, or be rock-less for life.

~ “Buy a good packaged garlic spread at the market. Follow the directions on the jar. Magnifique!”

Just as her market did not have a twinkly-eyed butcher, they did not have garlic spread. They did, however, have ready-to-bake garlic bread, so Sister Madly scraped off the garlic spread, then spread it back on the bread- which, admittedly, was not very magnifique. Also, she burnt the bread, so… no garlic bread either.

WILD RICE

~ “Open a can, drain off excess juice, and toss with lots of butter.

Clearly this is why Sister Madly is single: she has been cooking her wild rice before consumption. And now she has a random can of corn from which the excess juice has been drained, and she’s not exactly sure what to do with it.

Also, please note the most excellent presentation.

SCULPTOR’S SALAD WITH SOUR CREAM

~ “Tear up whatever greens you have on hand.”

Sister Madly does not keep leafy things on hand as she is not a rabbit. Her neighbors, however, seem to have some greenery, but they are currently smoking it and are disinclined to serve it up for her Dumb Supper.

So she settled on a serrano pepper, a green glow-stick, and some frozen chives… again, note the excellent presentation.

~ “Add sliced tomato, or what you will.”

Like the leafy things, Sister Madly does not have any tomatoes- as she is not a rabbit, neither is she a barbarian. So she added ‘what she willed’- which was old watch parts.

~ “Sprinkle generously with salt and cracked black pepper.”

As you can see, Sister Madly is the soul of generosity; and for a bit of exotic flair, she substituted Sichuan Peppercorn for black.

~ “When ready to serve, toss with sour cream.”

The salad had been tossed; Sister Madly just didn’t capture the moment.

That looks like something David Bowie would eat, doesn’t it?

LAYER CAKE

~ “That towering, toothsome Layer Cake is magically made from a mix- but you get all the credit.”

As there are no instructions on how to bake said mix, Sister Madly must assume one is meant to eat the raw batter.

Truly, this is cookbook that understands the Single Girl.

MARSALA CHICKEN WINGS

  • 3-3½ lbs. chicken wings

MARINADE

  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 TBSP garlic, minced
  • Salt/pepper
  • Oil, as needed

GLAZE

  • 2 cups sweet marsala
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos/low sodium soy
  • 2-3 TBSP maple syrup, or to taste
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp chipotle, or to taste

MARINADE
Mix together marinade ingredients
Add chicken; shake/mix to coat
Cover; refrigerate for 30 min – 24hrs

GLAZE
Add glaze ingredients to pan; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until glaze thickens

BAKE
Preheat oven to 400*
Place chicken on greased baking rack in tray
Bake 30 min
Remove from oven, brush chicken with glaze
Return to oven; bake 10-15 min, or until cooked through
Brush with remaining glaze straight from oven


Prohibition

For every Prohibition
You Create,

You also Create
An Underground.

~ Jello Biafra


Images:

1.) Pinterest
2.) Pinterest
3.) Frank Horvat

 


Pulled Chicken Parmesan ~ The Magical, Mystical Repo-Man

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

  • 2 sweet onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup red wine, divided (¼+¼)
  • 6 boneless chicken thighs, whole
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1½-2 cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan, or to taste
  • 1 TBSP basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • salt, to taste

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


Aloo Gobi Matar ~ Moving Finger Writes

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

  • 1 TBSP ginger, minced
  • 1 TBSP garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 chilies, minced
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2-4 cups vegetable broth (less for dry curry)
  • 1lb (medium) cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ½ cup peas, frozen
  • coconut milk ~ OR ~ heavy cream, to taste (opt)
  • salt/pepper, to taste

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


Harmony

What is Happiness
Except the Simple Harmony

Between a Man
And the Life he Leads?

~ Albert Camus


Art by Michael Grab (GravityGlue.com)


Teriyaki Chicken Wings ~ The Ladies of the Night

“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

  • 3-3½ lbs. chicken wings ~ OR ~ 6-8 bone-in chicken thighs

MARINADE

  • ¼ cup coconut aminos ~ OR ~ soy sauce
  • ¼ cup sake
  • 4 tsp ginger, minced
  • 4 tsp garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • 1-3 TBSP oil, or as needed

SAUCE

  • 2-3 TBSP honey, or to taste
  • 2 TBSP ginger, grated
  • ½ cup sake
  • 1 cup coconut aminos ~ OR ~ soy
  • 1-2 TBSP rice vinegar, or to taste
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced

MARINADE
Mix together marinade ingredients
Add chicken; shake/mix to coat
Cover; refrigerate 30 min – 24hrs

SAUCE
Sweat off garlic and ginger; 2 min
Add remaining sauce ingredients; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until sauce thickens

BAKE
Preheat oven to 400*
Place chicken on greased baking rack in tray
Bake:
~ 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


Thievery

Comparison
Is the Thief of Joy.

 

~ Theodore Roosevelt


Images: Tumblr


Champagne Chicken ~ The Merchant of Menace

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.’

CHAMPAGNE CHICKEN

  • 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


A Second Spring

Autumn is
A Second Spring

When every Leaf
Is a Flower.

~ Albert Camus


Images:

1) Photohito.com
2) Photohito.com
3) Photohito.com


Roti John ~ Saluting the Magpie

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.

ROTI JOHN

  • 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)

FILLING
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

PREPARATION
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


L’Art Du Soleil

The Artist Produces
For the Liberation of his Soul.

It is his Nature
To Create

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.


Bait and Switch

The Worst of all Deceptions
Is Self-Deception.

~ Plato


Images: Pinterest


Pork Udon Curry ~ The Coquettish Maiden Fair

So apparently, this is a thing now…

…which is totally unfair. No one has ever made Sister Madly into a beer.

She knows how this happened; she need look no further than to a Renaissance Faire some 10+ years ago, when her friends stole her Medieval Love-Finding Bingo Rock and gave it to the Dodo.

Everybody knows that Bingo Rocks are enchanted; after all, they’ve united love-seeking desperados across many millennia who might otherwise have never realized that a talking tree was their Soulmate. Sister Madly’s willy-nilly selection of Rock 88 was no mistake in the Love-Finding Universe; the Fates knew that she was just as likely to read the stone upside-down as right-side up- 88 would all but guarantee that Sister Madly connected with her Soulmate instead of a wandering pudding.

However, after a tedious encounter with a cheeky Thyme Lord, Sister Madly began to suspect her friends had not been forthright with her. It was only a hunch, of course, but that is the best way to solve a mystery- clues and evidence be damned, a hunch is always the preferred method according to the movies- and Sister Madly had a hunch that this scheme was the brainchild of a master scam artist.* The Scott’s claimed they gave her Medieval Love-Finding Bingo Rock to the Dodo, but Sister Madly had seen neither hide nor hair of the Ol’ Bird all day.

* Although ‘artist’ may be a bit generous… More like scam finger-painter.

So she thought to herself, Self… do you really want to place all your starry-eyed dreams on the whims of a Ye Olde Bingo Rock? Let’s face it: that’s a few steps away from seeing the Virgin Mary in a Poptart. Are you so far removed from society that you don’t understand how Romance works?

Probably.*

* Sister Madly always responds to her own questions, otherwise she gets miffed at herself and will refuse to speak to herself for days.

But even though she bailed on her own Romance, Sister Madly was no less curious as to what the Fates had in store for everyone else. Thus she began calling out numbers at random- perhaps luring a few unfortunates with the false hope of her siren’s song- but that is the risk one takes when dipping a toe in the dating pool. During the course of this lovey-dovey investigation, Sister Madly learned that the Fates paired Bingo Rock 45 with a Spanish Inquisitor:

… 67 with the Living Embodiment of Dark Matter:

… and lucky number 13 with what can only be described as a Lump:*

* It might have been a Troll.

Having been most successful in locating the Soulmates of those unfortunate chumps, Sister Madly decided not to give up on love altogether, and took a crack at finding her own- she may not have the Medieval Love-Finding Bingo Rock on her side, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t win her True Love over by playing the coquettish maiden fair. Apparently, flirting was quite popular in days of yore.

But Sister Madly was created with a bit of a design flaw: she is completely incapable of playing the Coquettish Maiden Fair without looking like a psychotic Miss Piggy with a bad case of the collywobbles, and that had a catastrophic effect on flirting… never before had a Reaper dropped his scythe and run like that…

She blames it on her recessive genes.

Sister Madly didn’t know it that day, but had she retrieved her Rock, it would have been she – not the Dodo – who met her True Love, who frolicked happily around a maypole, and who would now be a local beer.

Instead, she contemplated the clouds while lying in a field of buttercups- having properly filled herself with cider, of course.

PORK UDON CURRY

  • 1 sm onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 chili, chopped and seeded to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 bay
  • udon or ramen noodles
  • sliced pork
  • 1-2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • lime juice, to taste
  • chives, for garnish

Saute onions in hot oil until translucent
Add garlic, ginger, and chili; saute 2-3 min
Add spices; saute 30 sec
Add pork; brown slightly; 2-3 min
Add broth, coconut milk, and fish sauce; bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer until pork is cooked through
Add udon/ramen; simmer until tender
Remove from heat; add lime juice and garnish with chives

THEME SONG: Lover, Lover, Lover, Leonard Cohen


IMAGES:

1) Black Plague Brewing
2) Christopher Lovell