Good Stuff for YOU

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How About Some Tuna?

Tuna is good for you.

That's something we've all been told, and you know what? They're right. It is a low-fat source of protein and it can carry just about any flavor you want to impart. You can cook it from raw to just barely cooked to well-done and still have a consistent product. You can go Asian, make a mock steak, cook it and crumble it on a salad...

Or turn it into a BLT.

That's right - how about a Tuna BLT?

Hang in there, let me run through it before you scream into the night!

This recipe serves four. Or maybe two, if you're REALLY hungry!

Gather:

8 slices of bacon (thick-sliced peppered bacon is good for this)
2 tbsp. EVOO (or an oil of your choice; EVOO carries a good flavor)
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
S & P to taste
1 cup loosely packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar (loose pack)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 6-8oz 3/4-inch thick tuna steaks
1 tbsp. grill seasoning
4 large slices of peasant bread (needs to be coarse, ciabatta rolls work beautifully)
8 red-leaf lettuce leaves (or romaine or boston or...choose your lettuce)

(There's an alternate recipe for this, and I'll list it at the bottom.)

1) Preheat your oven to 375. On a slotted broiler pan, bake the bacon until crisp. (Mmmmm, bacon) This will take 15-20 minutes. And if you are smart, you'll add a few extra slices for nibbling.

2) In a small saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. EVOO over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 7 minutes (smaller the dice the faster the cook). Season with S&P. Stir in 1/2 cup water, sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and Worcestershire and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until thick, 7 to 8 minutes.

3) Season the tuna with grill seasoning. (Here's a hint, if you don't have grill seasoning - just do S&P. I have some smoked black salt, which worked really well, imparted some of that smoky grilled taste.) In a large skillet, heat the remaining EVOO over medium heat. Add the tuna and cook for 2 minutes each side for medium rare.

4) Toast the bread. Build with the lettuce, then tuna, bacon, and tomato jam. Now, enjoy!

Okay, so you know me well enough, I can't leave good enough alone (and, like you, I don't always have EVERYTHING that my recipes call for on hand, so I do plenty of substituting. Instead of step 2 above, and those ingredients, try this:
1 cup FRESH tomatoes
3 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. balsamic
2 tbsp. Worcestershire
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 cup water
Add all these into a MEDIUM saucepan, bring it up to a boil, keep it there for about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to simmer for another five minutes.

I've got a photo here; it's not of the one we made, because, well, we ate them before we had a chance to think about photographing them. But, it gives you an idea.

I hope you enjoy it - and as always, you have questions, shoot me a line!

 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Change Of Direction

You might know that I have worked in restaurants at all sorts of levels and all types of food for twenty years. BUT, what you probably don't know is that, other than the necessary OTJ training to get me through my immediate tasks I had NEVER received any formal training.

Well, not any more.

So I'll be sharing recipes here for you to enjoy and try out!

Recipe for today?

30 Minute Bread & Butter Pickles

Yes, you read that right. 30 minutes. Not 24 hours, not a week, not even overnight. THIRTY MINUTES!

You'll need:

1 Large cucumber (sliced to about 1/4" thickness). You CAN use pickling cukes, but regular ones work just fine (save a few pennies!)
1 tsp Salt (Kosher or regular)
1 Onion (thinly sliced - about same as the cukes)
1/2 tsp Mustard Seed (you can substitute ground mustard if that's all you have)
1 Cup Sugar (you CAN use an artificial sweetener but more about that later)
1/2 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
1/2 Cup Water
1/4 tsp Celery Seed
1/4 tsp Ground Turmeric

In a saucepan, combine the water, vinegar and sugar.

[Time for a rant about sweeteners. USE SUGAR! BESIDES the occasional nasty side effects (for a good laugh, read the reviews of Sugar-Free Haribo Gummy Bears, made with Sorbitol), there is a physiological reason to stay away from them. All of the chemical sweeteners are anywhere from 70 to 13,000 SWEETER than sugar on an ounce-for-ounce basis. To bring the sweetness down, they have to use non-nutritive chemicals to 'bulk it out' to reach the right volume, or use a minuscule amount. That's not such a problem, but here's the rub: your taste buds regenerate every three to five days. The more of a certain flavor you EAT, the more taste buds REGENERATE. The more taste buds of a certain type you have, the more you crave that flavor, so you go seeking more. See the issue? Yeah. Not good. Just use sugar, and keep it in moderation! End Rant.]

Bring the mix to a boil. Once boiling, add the cukes, salt, mustard, celery and turmeric. Allow to boil for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and place into a jar. Cap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you need to serve immediately, use a metal mixing bowl filled with ice. Place your saucepan in the ice and stir and stir and stir until the temperature drops.

See? Easy!

I'll start doing this more often. Feedback is always appreciated - and until next time, good eating!
 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Deflate-gate

What?
Talking about sports HERE?!

Well, yes. I do live in New England, after all; I am a football fan; and yes, I root for the Patriots (previous warts and all) so OF COURSE I have an opinion about this whole kerfuffle.

Here are the issues (as I see them):

1) Did the Patriots intentionally underinflate the footballs?

Yup. That's it. Now, that's not to say there aren't corollary issues.

a) Did they test the balls the Colts were using?
b) Did the refs notice any difference with the balls?

Look, there are two options. Either they intentionally did it, or they didn't. Whether they were underinflated is NOT IN DISPUTE - 11 of 12 balls were underinflated by two pounds EACH. If they did it intentionally, why? They pasted the Colts; they would have pasted them ANYWAYS. They didn't need to try for such a dramatic advantage.

If they did it intentionally - hammer 'em. Fire Belichik, fine the team, fine the owner, take away draft picks - this was totally unnecessary and should - MUST - be punished.

IF, however, it was unintentional - if they say 'We inflated them, the refs tested them, we don't know what happened' and turn it into a 'he said/he said' kind of thing - then other, more disturbing questions arise. Questions like -

Did they test the balls the Colts were using? (Probably not. There wasn't an issue with their footballs, as far as anyone reported. It's unlikely that they were tested.) What was the result? Were they underinflated as well? (If they were, then that points to a mechanical issue with the pressure gauge that the refs used to test the balls, and therefore NO unfair advantage was sought.)

Did the refs notice anything before it was pointed out to them? What did they testify?? (If they didn't see any difference, then the Colts were using the same pressure balls and again no issue.) If there WAS a difference there are two FURTHER questions, which begin to call the NFL into question: Are the refs INCOMPETENT or CORRUPT? Either they can't tell the difference between properly inflated balls and underinflated balls - two or three refs handling each ball on every play all game long - OR they were told NOT to notice the difference, either by bribe (Patriots) or by fiat (NFL).

THIS IS A HUGE ISSUE. The NFL has enough troubles on their plate; PROOF that their refs were incompetent would be devastating. What would be worse, of course, is if they were either paid off to ignore the deflation. That would show that yes, the refs CAN be bought - how many games have been decided this year by a poorly-timed flag? A penalty that swung the game one way or another? WHO PAID FOR THOSE FLAGS??

WORST, though, would be that the NFL Front Office - by which you can read Roger Goddell if you so choose - ORDERED them to ignore the deflation. Do I need to expound on the can of worms THAT would open if this was true? I didn't think so.

Look, I know that the Patriots aren't perfect. However, there are questions - HUGE questions - that still need to be answered before we say that the Patriots were on the wrong side of the rule book.

Just my two cents. Feel free to add yours.

ADDENDUM (in light of the two press conferences today by Belichik and Brady): The article at the following link is AMAZING - great questions! Tom E. Curran

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A link to Amazing Stories Magazine Online!

Okay, so to make everyone's life a little better (no, REALLY!) - to read the entire DragonCon review in one post - follow this link to Amazing Stories Magazine .
Go go go!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dragon Con - Day 4

The last full day of Con - OH NO!!!

We actually spent a lazy morning recovering from Saturday, heading late to the host hotels, back down the Sheraton, to see Terry Gilliam.
Yes.
Terry Gilliam.
Of Monty Python, 12 Monkeys, Brazil, Fisher King..BRILLIANT filmmaker!

We expected the line to be long, and it was - but we got into the hall to see him, and he said quite a few memorable bits of advice. A sampling:

Don't fail for other's mistakes; fail for your own.
You make rules for your life in order to break them. What other reason would there be for having them?

WELL worth the time and effort - charming, gracious to the questioning audience members, he likely would have stayed for hours but the Con limited him to the allotted time.

Our best view - since the hall was full, we were waaaaay back.

Then off to the Marriott to listen to Gil Gerard - Buck Rogers from the TV show - and for a small panel (only Gil and the audience, and the show was a bit of a cult show, being cancelled after only a season-and-a-half) VERY entertaining. Gil answered questions about the show, of course, and told stories about his involvement in the industry and his perception of the show:
Question: Did you ever feel threatened that you were co-starring with a robot (Twiki)?
Answer: No, because it was my show. Buck Rogers, that was me.

He had good advice for people wanting to get into the industry: don't look like you want it. He was cast as an extra in Love Story (after being a successful chemist for NASA - yes, this man was a rocket scientist!), and a buddy told him NOT to look at the casting director, to look at the buddy and talk to him, like he didn't care whether he got the part or not. Well, he got the part. Then they held another casting, and he did the same thing, and got THAT part. Then they were looking for a small speaking part, and he did it AGAIN, and it worked AGAIN.

Excellent panel, and if you get a chance to see him, go do it because who knows how long he'll be doing these cons!

Finally, before dinner, we decided to go to a Battlestar Galactica panel: May the Gods Watch O'er Us, a discussion of faith and religion within the reimagined BSG. You want to talk about an all-star panel - okay, so last year there was James Edward Olmos, but this year you had Michael Hogan (Colonel Tigh), Richard Hatch (Tom Zarek in the new and Apollo in the classic BSG), Tricia Helfer (Number Six), Mary McDonnell (President Laura Roslin), and Kate Vernon (Ellen Tigh). WOW! You had the head of the government, the semi-loyal opposition, two of the 'hidden' Cylons, and THE indelible image/voice of the show.
Deep discussion, very thoughtful - and while I am a fan, my partner isn't (or maybe I should say, WASN'T) and she was interested too.
Unfortunately, very far back from the panel again. So not great photos.
L to R: Hogan, McDonnell, Vernon, Hatch, Helfer

Of course, there was plenty of cosplay:
She made this. BY HAND.

Genderbent 5th Doctor

Judge Doom, Jessica Rabbit, Eddie Valiant

Amy Pond as the Kiss-O-Gram

Steampunkers





We avoided the restaurant they visited

Genderbent 5th Doctor and Queen Nefertiti

Sixth Doctor
You may have noticed a plethora of Doctor Who characters - that's partly because it's my primary fandom, partly because Colin  Baker (Sixth Doctor) was there, and partly because we found an interesting panel on Saturday night, one that we hadn't planned on attending: Doctor Who Costumes & Prop Designs - with Robert Allsopp, one of the designers and costume makers for both the classic Doctor Who and the new series.
This was the ONLY panel in which he was the primary panelist - hell, he was the ONLY panelist! And there were SO many goodies that he brought along, interesting tidbits from both versions of Who. Plus there were the item he brought along:
Armor from Time Lord soldiers, 50th anniversary special
Time Lord Soldier helmet, 50th Anniversary Special
And then there was this - not an actual prop, but something almost better. You see, he designed the headpieces for the Time Lord High Council, the very ornate Gallifreyan script that reached from the front, around the back of their neck, and down the other side. He kept one, of course, but couldn't bring it across the pond, so he laid it on a piece of paper and did a quick spray paint.
I have one more photo of that, but it's something REALLY special which I plan to turn into a t-shirt for next year.

That's about it for Sunday. One more day of Con (OH NO!) and then it's back to the real world.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dragon Con - Day 3 (Part 2)

Kathleen Coleman.
Wesley Eure.
Philip Paley.

Do any of you know these three people have in common?

*Jeopardy theme plays*

Time's up!

Holly Marshall, Will Marshall, and Cha-Ka.

Still no?

Sid & Marty Krofft.

Okay, okay.

Land of the Lost. Remember that??

Yeah, I thought so. But in case you didn't, well, here's a helpful link to the ENTIRE FIRST EPISODE. So you can relieve all the glory that was the series.

Anyways, the three young stars of the show were in a panel to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the show. Apparently, it was the first time all three had been together on stage since the series ended, but they had stayed in touch, stayed close. You could tell by the chemistry on stage, the way they were so obviously joyful to be back together.

The crowd, though small, appreciated it and was as enthusiastic as any I had seen.

L to R, Wesley, Kathleen, Philip (and a Sleestak head from the show)

And an unnamed Sleestak. He answered questions, but there wasn't a translator in the house.
And, of course, there was plenty of cosplay to be seen.
Guardians of the Galaxy

Always a soft spot for the Doctor

Now THAT'S a knife!


Our misunderstood friend, the Sleestak

These are the Imperials you're looking for!
Saturday night? That's the Georgia Aquarium. It's a chance to go, look at fish, and enjoy the cosplay. After a shower (totally necessary) we were dressed for the occasion as well - me as a sheriff from Eureka (NOT Jack Carter, I don't have the build!) and she went as a steampunk fallen angel.
No, no picture of me (I'm the one behind the camera).
Then, time for a couple hours in the Aquarium. I won't put up TOO many pictures, but enough so you get a sense.
Everybody do the NewTron Dance!

Deadmau5

Genderbent Loki

Morpheus

Aquaman, looking very serious (great bubble into the aquarium, great for photo shoots like this)

Whale shark (one of four)

Beluga having fun


We found Nemo!




Every Mayo should be a Penguin!

Finally, we went to one more panel. This was one of the adult (late-night) panels, and it was HIGHLY disappointing. Why? Well, again, the panelists felt that they knew best and discussed what they wanted to, not staying on topic and being quite unprofessional. I know that this was an adult panel; I know that many of the panelists were coming from a Mixology panel and had sampled their products. Still, they ignored the moderator, strayed from the topic, promoted their own interests and generally disregarded the topic.

But that was the only low mark on a busy and fun day.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dragon Con - Day 3 (Part One)

Can it be day three ALREADY? we thought as we actually awoke to an alarm.
Alarm?
During DragonCon?
Why yes, actually - when you are marching in the viewed-by-100,000-people DragonCon Parade, it behooves you to actually, you know, show up on time and in costume.
So we did.
Yup, that's us, cosplaying as members of Wolf Squadron. That would be taken from John Ringo's Black Tide Rising series - post-infected-apocalypse world, very entertaining - and we were marching with BAEN Books. You could be any character you wanted, as long as it was from a BAEN book.
We had kukris and Nerf guns. Lots of fun - very hot, but a fairly easy walk. Alas, we don't have any more pictures from the parade - as we were marching! But I did take a few snaps BEFORE:

Go Speed Racer Go!

BatGirl






They put the Band back together!

No, not THAT band - this one was behind us. Pretty good too.
So then, after the parade, it was time for some panels! And rehydrating. And cooling off in the blessed, blessed Marriott air conditioning.
Then we wandered down to the Sheraton - unlike many other parade members, we were near the front (position #7), so we were able to start on time and even make the entire route in about 40 minutes. Thus we were able to get to the 11:30 panel, which was another Trek Track panel.

Jeri Ryan (with Garrett Wang, the director of the track)!

This looked to be a fun panel, as Jeri and Garrett performed together on Star Trek: Voyager, and so it proved. It was all Q&A - with a few fun stories. One of which, I will attempt to replicate here:

Garrett and Jeri were rehearsing what they called a 'walk and talk' - a scene where they are walking down the stage and talking about something. They reach the end of the scene and the director tells them, 'Cut! Return to one.' Translated, that means return to the first position to take another rehearsal.
According to Garrett, he reached out to take her elbow...but missed. And ended up grabbing her breast. Realizing that something was amiss, he looked down. So did she. He (said Jeri) turned several shades of red, gibbered, and spluttered 'I thought it was your elbow!' before dashing off to hide.
The director then called a break while they set for the shooting.
An hour later, Garrett returned to the set for filming. He arrived first. A few moments later, Jeri walked in. She had applied two post-it notes. One on her shoulder, pointing to her elbow, saying 'Elbow'. The other? Above her breast, saying 'Not an Elbow'.

Garrett turned red again on the panel.

One more tale from the panel - after the Elbow Story, Jeri fielded more questions from the audience. One of the questioners was dressed as Jeri's character (I suppose I should mention that she played a former Borg called Seven of Nine, and had the remains of Borg implants on her face,primarily above one eye) and had done a faithful recreation. After her question was answered, Garrett complimented her on the accuracy of her costume with, 'Nice implants.'
Everybody in the room knew what he had said. Jeri knew what he said. Garrett - a full heartbeat later - realized what he said, and DOVE under the table to hide.

Okay, last bit. On the way out, we went out a side door, near the stage. Garrett exited just ahead of us and, having met him before, I felt comfortable enough to tease him a bit: 'Garrett!' He turned. 'Not an elbow!' He grinned and continued on his way.
We were sitting far enough away that the best view was of the big screens (at least for photography)
Tomorrow - Day Three, Part Two (yes, it was a jam-packed day!)