Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday's Thoughts - Jockeys

Has anyone seen Jockeys on Animal Planet? I am hopelessly addicted to this show. Thank goodness for DVR, because I'd hate to have to choose between this and Friday Night Lights. It's a behind-the-scenes reality show about everyday life for jockeys. It amazes me how these guys (and girls - yeah!!!) make a living. Can you imagine not taking home a paycheck at all if you aren't one of the top 3 in your company every day? That's everyday life for them. They have to train hard and fight the politics of the backstretch; some even resort to eating disorders to make weight. 

It's a little known fact (Cliff Claven) that until about age 12, that is what I wanted to do with my life: Be a jockey. It was around that age that I realized that I was still going to grow, height and weight-wise. I'm still the perfect height. Weight... not so much. If I can lose about 100lbs I might have a chance. I mean, I'm sure that is what's missing from horse racing; the 37 year old n00b cinderalla story, right? 

I wouldn't do it anyway, now, knowing what I know of the racing industry, and its cruelty toward the majestic animals on whose backs it makes billions. *sigh* 

So many causes, so little of my time to devote. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Today's theme - Ever again????

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Recipe Review - spring is in the air? Summer, maybe?

I can dream, can't I? Without my annual March sojourn to Hilton Head Island - which usually consisted of 3-10 days of endless beach-walking in sunny 70 degree weather and eating at fabulous restaurants every night - I'm a little at a loss this February for something I can look forward to. That was actually something my therapist asked me the other day: What is it I have, that I can look forward to, when I get home from work? I thought hard for a few minutes and realized that this time of year, the only thing to which I look forward are my days off of work. Doesn't count. I need to find something to look forward to daily. I could say I look forward to watching Friday Night Lights on the dvr, but then of course there arises the next question: What snacks go with FNL? Counterproductive. So.. while I think about something that I can look forward to every evening after 12 hours of hand-holding, band-aid passing-outing and occasional life-saving, here's a nice distraction: Thai Beef Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Slaw.

Something to remind us summer's on the way.

I love Cooking Light Magazine. The only thing I don't like about it is that I will never have the time or stomach capacity to make everything I see in a year's worth of magazines that I like. This one, though, I have made a few times. Whether served for company or just whipped up for a casual weeknight dinner, this has received rave reviews. The slaw just gets better and better the longer it sits. Of course, I can't say it's ever lasted more than 2 days.

Thai Beef Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Slaw
(serving size = 2 tacos - makes 4 servings)
1 TB sugar
1 1/2 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb flank steak, trimmed

Slaw: 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 TB sugar
2 TB rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups packaged angel hair slaw
2 cups packaged matchstick-cut carrots
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

8 tortillas (Cooking Light calls for fat-free flour tortillas. I usually use a corn or whole wheat tortilla)

Combine first 6 ingredients in baggie. Marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes. Marinating overnight really infuses the flavor and makes the steak super tender. Prepare grill or broiler. Remove steak from bag. Discard marinade. Grill or broil 5 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness. Let steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Slice thinly, diagonally across grain of meat. To prepare slaw: Combine liquid ingredients with minced garlic, then add slaw, carrots, green onion, and cilantro. Toss well to combine. Divide steak evenly among tortillas. Spoon about 1/2 cup slaw into tortillas. Fold and serve.

Nutrition information (using fat free flour tortillas)
Calories: 431 (24% from fat)Fat: 11.5g (sat 3.9g,mono 5g,poly 1.4g) Protein: 31gCarbohydrate: 50.8gFiber: 5.1gCholesterol: 42mgIron: 4.3mgSodium: 871mgCalcium: 157mg

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro - originally appeared in Cooking Light, April 2007

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Recipe - Valentine's Day Edition

Guys... these will get you laid. Hear me? Laid. Ladies, let's face it. We can get laid whenever we want, so you would make these for your sweetie out of the goodness of your own heart, or perhaps to distract from a minor incident with some hot peep-toe pumps and a certain credit card. Even if you don't get laid, you won't notice - if you have these on hand. Promise.

Chocolate Covered Crackberries!
2 lb fresh strawberries, washed and dried (stems and leafy part left on any that are too small to fill)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 package chocolate chips of your preference (semi-sweet, milk, or dark)
1/4 pint heavy cream
piping bag or baggie made into piping bag

First - wash and dry the strawberries. They need to be good and dry for the chocolate to stick.

Hull the strawberries with the tip of a veggie peeler. Try to only dig out the stem, then rotate the peeler once inside to make room for the cracklike filling. Those berries that are too small.. leave the stems on. We'll dip those suckers in chocolate too!

With a mixer, combine cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth.

Don't trip over the dog. That's part of her evil plan.

Spoon cream cheese mixture into a piping bag (or make your own piping bag out of a plastic baggie with a small corner cut out). Refrigerate for 10-30 minutes for best results.

Pipe cream cheese mixture into strawberries; try to keep filling inside strawberry and not spilling out of top. I swipe the top of each one with my finger to make the filling flush with the opening. Gives me an excuse to lick my finger.
Refrigerate filled strawberries for at least 30 minutes. This will help filling set up and make the chocolate dipping process neater. You could serve the strawberries just like this, by the way, and still probably get laid. But why do it half-assed?

Make a double boiler to melt chocolate by placing a small pot into a pan of hot water. Once it reaches the boiling point, turn heat to low-medium. It's important to use a small pot because you want that melted chocolate to form a deep pool of chocolatey goodness for strawberry dipping. Pour 1/4 pint of heavy cream in first, then the whole package of chocolate chips.

Stir constantly. I promise, it gets better.

Stir until smooth and chocolate coats the spatula.

For unfilled strawberries with stems on (the ones too little to make the crackberry team), grab berry by stem and dip it into chocolate, making a swirling motion to cover it almost up to the stem.

For the filled crackberries, hold berry upside down by the pointy end and dip/swirl. This is where it helps to have nails.

Place on rack to set chocolate.

You're as good as laid. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday's Recipe

In honor of the Steelers' ass-puckering Super Bowl win yesterday, from which I am still recovering, here is a great party recipe. It was originally posted on a friend's Facebook page. Thanks for sharing this, Kim! If only I'd remembered to share it before the big game. I myself haven't had the opportunity to make this yet, but it look fabulous! One thing I like about it is you could probably fancy it up by substituting, say, peppered turkey, black forest ham, and swiss for the meat and cheese, and some fancy ciabatta or french bread (obviously you'd eliminate the oregano). Maybe some red onion for color?

Hoagie Dip

1/2 lb salami
1/2 lb ham
1 lb american cheese
1 package hoagie buns
(dice all of these into bite size pieces)

1 small onion, diced
2 tsp oregano
2 cups mayonnaise (real mayo, for the love of God, please!)

1/2 head lettuce, shredded
2 tomatoes, diced

Mix together all ingredients except for lettuce and tomato and spoon evenly into casserole dish. Top with shredded lettuce and tomato just prior to serving. Serve with crackers.