Sunday, November 8, 2009

I was told there would be cookies ...

I was socially awkward before I'd ever seen those two words strung together in a sentence. When I was in elementary school, I was terrified of birthday and slumber party invitations. My parent's would pull up in front of the inviter's house, and about 40 worst-case scenarios would rush through my head.

"What if it's the wrong day?" I'd say.
"What if this isn't the right house?"
"What if they decided at the last minute that they didn't want me to come to the party?"
"What if I'm two hours early?"

I'd beg them to go around the block one more time. Maybe I could catch someone else showing up for the party, and confirm that this was the right time and place.

So the whole open house thing this weekend had me in a weird panic. Since Chuck is a night shift worker, things that happen at 1 p.m. are totally out of the question. He's brilliant at 8 a.m., and he can do 7 p.m., although I doubt he would want to anymore than any of us would want to climb out of bed, into socially acceptable pant-ware, and onto a stranger's creaky front porch.

"But what do I do?" I asked him. "Do I knock? Do I just walk in?"

He talked me through it, and told me there would maybe even be cookies.

Today I was lurking in the front yard of an open house sans an open house sign. The home owner's dog was going nuts, and I was doing some of the wide eyed, hunchbacked poses made popular on Next Top Model.

Worst fear realized: There was no open house here. Just a woman and her children chillaxing. That said, the woman let me come inside and showed me around. The place totally wasn't haunted -- which is code for "one bathroom, a dishwasher, and larger eating space short of awesome." And I kept wanting to say to the woman: "You totally look like someone I would like to be friends with."

Luckily, I knew that would be weird, and didn't.

In other news:

FEED BAG


Chilaquiles Casserole: I never know if it counts it as "cooking" if it mostly involves a can opener. But this is a Tex-Mex enchilada-like mixture that was good, but probably not a repeat dish. It's also one of those cases where the leftovers surpassed the original meal. Very easy, though, and good enough.

Banana polenta: This one comes from Top Chef: The Natalie Portman episode. The Voltaggio brother earned huge props for it from Portman, a shiny haired vegetarian, and the recipe is actually super easy: Make polenta, using milk, fold in chunks of banana. It's pretty darn good. Of course, I'm a polenta freak. But I can see this being a regular oatmeal-caliber snack. I didn't take a photo because mostly it just looks like a blob of mush.


Pumpkin Ravioli with Gorgonzola: Very interesting. The last time I tried to make pumpkin ravioli using wonton wrappers, I ended up a weepy mess with a pumpkin-flavored slop. This is a more user-friendly recipe that eliminates the potential for disaster. For instance, when you've made your individual raviolis, put them on a baking pan covered in corn starch. It helps to not let them touch each other, so they don't stick together. My personal advice: Take your time and listen to the Aha channel on Pandora.

There is a lot of flavor here, between the pumpkin and sage mixture and the Gorgonzola sauce. I liked this.

When we were in NYC more than a year ago, we found ourselves traipsing around blistered and starving and unable to find a restaurant that didn't have a pub theme. We stumbled on a small French restaurant in a little neighborhood. I had pumpkin ravioli with a goat cheese sauce that I've been trying to replicate. This was a step in the right direction, and, in fact, I probably could substitute goat cheese for Gorgonzola if I made this again.

BOOKS
The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy: Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchert are boxers turned coppers who have recently forged a friendship and partnership after kicking the shit out of each other in a highly-publicized, post-retirement boxing match that resulted in huge headlines, cash for the LAPD, and a promotion for Bucky.

They are on the job when the Black Dahlia's body is found in a vacant lot around the corner on 39th and Norton. The torso is severed, and her face has been sliced ear to ear -- mafia style. The body ha...more Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchert are boxers turned coppers who have recently forged a friendship and partnership after kicking the shit out of each other in a highly-publicized, post-retirement boxing match that resulted in huge headlines, cash for the LAPD, and a promotion for Bucky.

They are on the job when the Black Dahlia's body is found in a vacant lot around the corner on 39th and Norton. The torso is severed, and her face has been sliced ear to ear -- mafia style. The body has been drained of blood, and the organs removed. Lee goes from zero to nutso, using the case as a way to resolve the murder of his own sister. Bucky does everything possible to get out of working the case, and instead spends his time trying to undo the crazy his partner is unleashing. At the center of this is Kay, Lee's special lady who is also making bedroom eyes at Bucky.

Full review will be here.

TV Marathon:
Harper's Island: The DVD Edition: Chuck found this one-season wonder about a small island town that was attacked by a serial killer seven years ago. The hero, a Katie Holmes-ish sort, returns to the town for a wedding -- even though one of the victims was her mother. As soon as she gets back to town, people start dying again. This show is a Christopher Pike novel. Awesome. We're on episode four. Totally lovin it.

MUSIC
Raditude Weezer: This is, of course, rankling everyone who ever prematurely wore skinny jeans while listening to "Pinkerton." Listen. This is good, catchy, fun, with extremely specific lyrics. Lil Wayne makes a cameo. There is a song about the mall. A song about a girlfriend. It's pop music. Or maybe it's post-pop irony. Either way, I'll listen to it.

Believe: Wicked guitar and grrl power triumph that you croak along to when idling at stoplights. Totally for girls who are a little bit Miley, a little bit Lita.

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack The Twilight Saga: New Moon: I like to think that all those bands I really like that are on the New Moon Soundtrack purposely made mediocre songs for this album. "Meh," The Killers said. "It's just Twilight. A bunch of teenaged girls will like it no matter what. We could sell those dipshits CDs covered with glitter for $29.99, not even put a song on it, and it would win a statue during the MTV Video Awards."

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