Come find yourself...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

How To Be Truly Cool...

It's the beginning of 2011. And I am finding myself, for the first time in nearly 13 years, single.

I know - cry me a river. Lots of people break up every day. But come on...I was with my one and only true love 13 fucking years. People like me are why Barry Manilow records still sell in the millions. And I don't mean to sweet, old Babushka's in Vegas. I'm one part Babushka, so I can write that.

After a break up, the worst advice I can give is listen to "This One's For You" and "I Made It Through The Rain" and "Weekend In New England." Why is it horrific pop songs suddenly take on mythical truths after you break up with someone? It's like the songwriter deeply, deeply understands the mysterious workings of the human heart better than Rilke or Shakespeare.

I've been in love twice in my life. The first time was with a man I met in Seattle. Randy _______. He was a sweet, dumb and ultimately misguided white trash boyfriend. He did have a a rockin' mullet, though.

"He's a fuck around, I'm telling you, Mike." This was my sister, Joy. I was 20 years old. She had strolled into Dunkin Donuts in the Capital Hill section of Seattle where I was the Assistant Manager. I can still smell the sickeningly sweet smell of dough frying in dirty oil. My hair was constantly laced with thin strands of caramelized sugar. Like the donuts weren't fattening enough, we had to cover them with endless reams of ropey fake confection.

She walked in with her boyfriend at the time. Now, I love my sister, but on this instance, she was calling a spade a spade (is that racist?). She was telling me I was dating a male whore when her boyfriend looked like a whore as well! Her swarmy boyfriend looked at me and smirked. Then he glanced over at Randy and his mouth hung open.

Randy was an extremely skinny guy. Whenever he would wear shorts in the summer I would stare at his pencil-thin legs in wonder. They looked like hairy swizzle sticks. Like most men, all he cared about was his upper body. His muscular chest and arms were an odd compliment to his frighteningly thin legs. I was sure one day his legs would buckle under the weight of his body and he'd fall over in the middle of the street.

Randy was very proud of his hair. Most gay men in the Pacific Northwest in the 80's were. The top was extremely high and spiked, like a porcupine forced on it's back, it belly wiggling, the hairs on it's bare stomach waving like grain in Montana.

The sides were severely short and the back was very long and wavy. Whenever we would make love he'd drape his hair over my naked body in long, sweeping strokes and moan as if his male G-spot was being tickled with each sweep of his strawberry and cigarette scented hair. He found it erotic. I was both repulsed and fascinated watching him huff and puff as he whipped his hair over my skin.

At Dunkin that day, Randy was dressed in backless chaps and a leather vest and cowboy boots. And that was it. The leather buckles on his chaps kept getting caught in the sugar grinder, a demonic looking machine with various gears and numerous ominous black buttons you had to push in a complicated sequence to make it work. It was not unusual to be at the front counter ringing up a cherub faced soccer mom and her cute, white-bread children and be subjected to Randy screaming out, "Suck my dick!" or "Bitchcuntwhorefag!" whenever his buckles would get caught in the gears of the ravenous machine.

In 1985 we were 'married' in a faux ceremony in a big white trash house in the town of Ballard in Seattle. It was a lazy fishing town with no real personality or sense of community. I realize now how radical it was to be publicly married as a gay couple. The Seattle Times came to the house and took pictures of us for the paper. Oh, look Birdy! The gays are at it again!

I loved Randy very much. He was my everything. But the day I came home and found him in bed with our postman, Hal (true story; seriously), I knew it was the end of our doomed relationship. I never did get my mail on time after that.

Fast forward 14 years. That's 14 long years of hardly dating, hardly seeing anyone, seeing men but not feeling a flicker in my heart of anything more than passing gas from the bad Perogies I ate the night before. Until I met the man I would spend the next 13 years with.

And a little over 4 weeks ago, we agreed to end it all.

My therapist calls me a 'virgin bride.' Don't get me wrong. I ain't no virgin. I've had lots of sex in my life. Not mind-bending, all-consuming, Oh My God Keep Doing That For Three More Hours But A Little To The Right kinda sex. I was never one of those gay guys who love their DICK and only their DICK and think only of DICK.

Call me crazy, but I'm an old-fashioned girl - I like to know 'em before I fuck 'em.

I started this blog writing about food and my journey to TV stardom.

I pitched my cooking show to the Food Network. They listened and nodded and said, "We are all about food, front and center. The human angle? Not really us. You know?"

It's true. Watch their network and it's food, food, food. Which, okay, if you're obese or have a fucked up relationship with food it's clearly gonna be your cup of fatty hot chocolate but after awhile I found myself asking, Is this it?

Where is the emotion? The people? The questions we all ask ourselves late at night - Where am I going? What is my life about? I had an idea of how my life would be - why is it nothing I imagined it would be? And is Paula Deen really a woman or a transvestite?

A long time ago I subtitled this blog "Food, Sex, Love, Life" And that is what this is going to become.

Think of this as a self-help blog which will sing about the meaty subjects in life...all to the tune that is sweet, snarky and funny.

My Mother - God bless her, she's dead and she was a pain in the ass when she was alive, but she did give me a grand sense of humor. It's who I am. I am outrageous, loud, sweet, caring, overly emotional, grand, very gay, cute, charming, insecure, concerned about how I appear, a bit overweight, overbearing and glaringly human.

Just like everyone else on the planet. Okay, I'm larger than life in many ways, but that is my specific charm. Everyone has their specific charm. They simply have to find it first!

Everyone tells me the only thing they want in life is to be happy. On this I'm gaining a deep sense of a undeniable truth:

You already are happy. You just don't know it.

I realize that sounds like what Anthony Robbins might put on a bumper sticker, but the annoying truth is it's the annoying truth.

There was a book years ago that was a huge self-help hit. Some of you may remember; some won't; some of you will groan because you have a copy in your closet:

The book sold in the millions. It took a few years for it to catch on, but by 1974, this book was The Secret of the 70's. It's all about "Transactional Analysis" which is, fundamentally, about searching your past to find out how your needs weren't meant and how you act out like a child now to get them met. I know, crude baseline summary, but this is a blog and not the New York Times Book Review.

My point is the title "I'm Okay; You're Okay" became a joke for every comedian on the planet and every post-modern book, film or TV show in the late 70's/early 80's. It lost it's power.

I think it's high time our incredibly cynical society had a taste of this basic principal.

I'm Okay. You're Okay. It's really not much more deep than that.

I'd rewrite it to "I'm Cool; You're Cool. Cool?"

What is my point?

Right now I'm facing the truth of my life: I'm 46 years old. I'm single for the first time in 13 years. I was single for 14 years before that. My ex (so odd to write 'ex') is a wonderful, sweet, caring man who kept saying for a long time 'We are going out separate ways; we want separate things'. I finally heard him. He was right. Still doesn't take away the tremendous sadness of it all.

Which is why I'm writing this now, right as I'm dealing with the ramifications of my life. Most self-books are written after the author has been through six months of therapy and four book editors and fallen in love again...

My thought has always been, Where is the book that tells me how to get through the shit I'm going through as I'm wading through the tit-deep shit?

So to any of you who are reading to this and coping with a broken heart or a loss you feel is too great for you to handle, I want you to listen to me: You are not alone. You are never alone. You are loved. You are needed and without you this world would be a much darker place.

And yes, sweetie - there is a reason for everything. There are no accidents. None. Nada. Nothing is random, Shirley. Need evidence? You one of those cynics, er, realists? Look at your life. Comb the past and see the results of major, traumatic events in your life. I dare you to tell me you didn't find a deeper truth in terms of your relationship to yourself after the dust or the cocaine settled.

Let's make it through the hard times together, but let's also keep one eye on the prize we already have: We are alive. We have a chance to make our lives anything we want it to be. In order to do that, we must help others make their lives what they want them to be.

More on that later as well.

Happy New Year. Blessings to all of you and for God's sake, go ahead and order Chinese tonight. You deserve one night of bad food.

Now I have to run and go listen to "Read 'Em And Weep" by Barry again. I hope my neighbors don't call the cops again.

In love and light and wearing male Spanx...


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why I Haven't Posted...

I haven't posted here in a very long time for a number of reasons. The primary reason is a bit embarrassing to write: it pissed me off this blog never got me a cooking TV show.

I know, I know. I should have blogged for the sheer joy of blogging. But I'm afraid to say part of my ego was hoping my witty and intelligent writing would be noticed like so many others and I'd be whisked away into a studio and taped for all prosperity and have my own talk show/variety show/cooking show, but as you can tell...

I had endless meetings with TV executives, psychics, friends, cooks, hookers, colleagues, producers - I work in cable TV so I know how to do this. never happened. Even my friggin' BOSS told me it was a good idea.

It never happened.

So I am left now with this blog. A blog I spent countless hours writing.

My hubby of nearly 13 years told me he was concerned about me. He said I have not been cooking. He has been traveling a great deal and I haven't had him at the house as much to cook for. I told him I haven't been cooking for me because I always wanted to cook for US. He pooh-poohed me. Said I cooked for me. Said he never really needed the cooking. Said the cleaning and the fuss and the muss and the money annoyed him. I then rambled off his top ten meals and he retaliated, said yes, maybe I did like all the cooking you used to do.

So why don't I cook for myself with him traveling so much? Why have I lost the urge to cook? It's true, I'm preparing to put up a new one-man theater show, but it's not up yet. Directors are reading it, I'm not in rehearsal, I finished writing it and I've got evenings free to cook.

What is happening?

I was recently in an independent movie. I was the victim of an alien probing. Yes, I know. How very 'independent movie'. The filmmakers are two very very sweet straight boys in Long Island. I adore them. They are hysterical and committed to their art. They don't get weird with the gay thing and always have very good reefer. Nice boys all the way around.

After we finished a day of shooting, the producer took me to his family's house for dinner. He had asked me weeks before if I wanted to have dinner and I said no. I was content to be depressed in my Queens apartment with my lover traveling so much for work. But the day got away from us and we ended up at his parents house.

I met his mother and father. Both regarded me skeptically. They're from Long Island. Everyone from Long Island was born skeptical. Not the most embracing of cultures, but once you are in, you're in. After his mother and father seemed to like me, they proceed to feed me. Chicken breast in a white wine reduction; homemade pumpkin cheesecake; messy and tasty blueberry pie with a homemade crust; cheese and crackers with fresh pepper and marmalade -- all to the constant whirring and blending of mixers and blenders and an extremely noisy dishwasher.

I loved it. I loved every minute of it. I got lost for a bit in how the family I grew up in was never this accepting and loud. How my producer friend could smoke up in front of his parents and they didn't care. How the food was a community thing.

My lover is partially right. I do cook for me. To enjoy the undefinable rush of assembling ingredients and the process of cooking and mixing and tasting and coming to an end result that is wonderful and never the same. But food and cooking is a thing of family and people. It's a sharing. I miss that. Now that's he's gone so much, I miss the sharing of food.

I said over 8 years ago when I first had the idea for The Food Therapist show, I cook to give back to people and to make them feel good. That is the reason I cook. I don't care if anyone doesn't believe that anymore, but I know it's the truth.

Maybe it's time I started to cook for myself and to share with me. What an odd thing to consider.

In any case, we'll see how much longer I keep this blog alive. I am still heartbroken this never resulted in a cooking show. Something I would have been so fucking GOOD at.

Youtube. Everyone tells me to Youtube. I don't know.

I just don't know.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Me & Dinah Shore...

Look at what I found at The Strand Bookshop downtown today...

Oh, my.

I am so cooking out of this next week.

Dinah Fucking Shore wrote a fucking cookbook. Unreal.

Just WAIT until I tell you what she wrote.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Walk In The Shadow Of Love!

For many years now, I've dabbling in Buddhism and yoga and mediation as a way to cope with my unfettered anxiety. Why I came to Buddhism is beyond me. I'm a nice little white boy from Washington State who grew up on chewy, over-cooked hamburgers and canned green beans.

My mother's version of a side dish was a container of large-curd low-fat cottage cheese with a spoon jammed in the center. Or a can of beets opened and spilled, red juice and all, into a large bowl.

If she was feeling fancy, she's jab at the beets with the end of her fork, muttering how much she loathed cooking and then proceed to be hurt if we didn't eat the mangled mess of red looking flesh.

I've read so many stories in cookbooks how cooks were inspired by their mothers or their childhood to cook.

Martha Anal Stewart waxing poetically how her mother used to beam down at her when she was a little girl in their pretty white, green and anal-retentive kitchen. She says she remembers how the sunlight streamed in through the garden windows, a look of unfettered love in her mother's eyes as sprinkles of flour floated in the air as her mother cooed to her and lovingly showed her how to make homemade bread.

Afterwords, they would hold hands as they cut the freshly baked bread, love pouring out of every orifice. They would eat the bread snuggled together by the living room windows, gazing at the snow falling outside and feel all warm and fuzzy and entitled as they slurped their freshly brewed hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows bobbing on top, like miniature dreams floating atop a perfect cloud of hope.

I had a slightly different experience.

First of all, my mother used to fart when she cooked. Like, all the time. It wasn't the smell of yeast in the air I remember. It was sulfur. We used to walk into the kitchen, hear the tiny sound of my mother farting away and know that the food would be good. For some reason, her farting equated a good meal.

When I was 8 and finishing my 3rd year of intensive psychotherapy, I finally understood when my mother farted a lot when she cooked. The more she farted, the less anxious she felt. The less anxious she felt, the more she could enjoy cooking, resulting in a meal that was not only edible but tasty.

Just like Martha's Mom!

My mother never cooked because she liked to cook. She cooked because, like many, many women before her and many, many women after, she had no choice. Eating out wasn't an option. That option existed only for people who grew up in Connecticut.

And, plus, she was raised to cook at home, so as a wife, she felt it her moral obligation. It was in her blood. And, clearly, in some perverse way, she passed it along to me. It's neither right nor wrong, it just was the way it was and for some women, still is.

My mother was mentally ill and had horrid IBS. That's Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

I'm sorry, but it exists. Let me guess - some of you'd rather not hear about IBS.

You'd rather I talk about the new vodka drink or engage in the debate about weather or not Britney sings at her concerts.

Well, vodka is wonderful but a dull subject and as far as I'm concerned Britney Spears is a hypocrite who is filthy rich and does nothing useful with her money (like Madonna and Simon Cowell). I have a problem with rich people like her.

It's not right she can get her clit pierced with a diamond stud while 4 year old Joanna Muwabi in Africa has intestinal worms and will die in 2 days if her mother can't find her fresh water.

Buddha was right, life is suffering, but I don't think he ever imagined our society would become this indifferent. Do you?

My mother was always very ashamed about her need to constantly poop. Her poop smelled so bad we had to have a fan installed in the WALL of the bathroom as a direct line to the outside to shuffle the stench out.

And to think I wondered as a child why people kept moving out of our neighborhood. Would explain why they changed the flight patterns of the planes over our house.

They say poop smells worse when the pooper is in a state of distress. I myself am a smelly pooper and am a very anxious person. When I am extremely anxious and take a long, protracted crap, the tiles in the bathroom shrink. The medicine cabinet mirror cries. My boyfriend stares at me in awe and says in a hushed voice, "Wow. Now that's something special."

Anxiety makes poop smell like poop. Let's just agree no matter how bad the economy gets, one should never, ever accept a janitorial position at a Anxiety Disorders Convention. One may never recover. One will lose one's hair. One will descend into madness. If you need money that bad, come see me. I'll loan you a few bucks until you can find something better. I wish such a job on no one. Well, maybe George Bush. He deserves it.

My mother was very ashamed. I think she should have had more pride. She should have shoved it in people’s face. Figuratively, mind you.

She should have said, "Yes, the bathroom smells like a Roman battleground littered with thousands of dead and rotting bodies – jealous? I have a natural skill and you do not. Fuck you, you insecure gnat."

My mother's humor is what saved her from being committed to the local funny farm and what saved me and my two sisters from joining her.

So we joked.

If we heard my mother fart five times it meant we were in for a rare treat.

The main meal, which was anything from Stuffed Peppers to Hamburgers to Hot Dogs to Tuna Casserole to Baked Squash, would be tasty. No weird ingredients, no misplaced mousetraps or tampons, nothing surprising. Just good old comfort food.

Four farts meant the main dish would be good, but you had to be careful for the sides.

Four Fart Sides could be odd. Like Metamucil in the green beans or blueberries in the potatoes. When four farts were heard, you prodded those lumpy mashed potatoes very carefully.

Three farts were tricky.

Three farts meant anything that appeared to be one thing could, in all likelihood, be something else. So despite the fact it looked like carrots it could, in fact, be turnips died with orange die and then put into the toaster for no apparent reason.

Three farts usually meant this was when my mother's mediation was shifting from one to the next - we called these meals the Three Fart Bi-Polar Transitional Meals.

Two farts, well - only two farts meant it was best to have car keys in hand as it was a sure bet one of us was going to have to jump in the car and drive to KFC.

You didn't want to be in the dining room on two fart nights. Two farts meant a load of tension was building inside of her and what was inside of the meatloaf was best left unprobed by human hands.

Most often my father would check the shed to see if anything was missing from his tool box, or on the rare occasion, if the bird feed was still in the bird feeder.

One fart, well, one fart was Armageddon.

One fart meant she had tried to make the meal and had failed miserably and most often would stop cooking and start taking any one of her multitude of pills. My mother was fun on one fart. On one fart nights she'd eat anything on the planet as long as she didn't have to do anything but drink her wine, take her pills and watch TV.

One farts nights were our version of Sunday Night Disney TV.

No farts? Luckily, we never had a No Fart Dinner Night. Such a night would have resulted in our own little production of Long Day's Journey Into Night, a production I'm glad I missed thank you very much. My mother was always one moment away from hysterical Katherine Hepburn land and it was best to keep pulling her away from the ledge. Trust me.

Otherwise I can't have said what would have happened to our three legged dog with a leaky bladder, Sparkle.

That Shepard's Pie on No Fart Night could have tasted like mighty 'pooch-like.'


Last night, I made a tremendous meal if I do say so myself.

I made:

Vegetable and Chicken Rogan Josh
Dum Aloo (Whole Potatoes in Spicy Yogurt Gravy)
Aloo Paratha (potato stuffed bread)
Spicy Mango Chutney

Spicy Basmati Rice

The key to planning an Indian meal is just that - planning.

We are going to start the Rogan Josh first, then make the Dum Aloo. They both cook in a Dutch oven for 45-60 minutes so as they simmer you can make the rice and get the rest ready.

I know, work, but it's WORTH IT.

I have no idea why Indian cuisine is so appealing to me. I was raised a big meat eater. But with Indian food, it's sorta amazing to me how you really, truly don't miss meat. And this is the funky part - I simply don't want meat in the meal.

It must be the spices and the colors of the food.

Homosexuals like things that are pretty and sparkle.

First thing is first - I don't trust Americans with Indian food. If you're not Indian or from the UK, it's best we don't discuss Indian recipes.

Two of my heroes: Jamie Oliver and Julie Sahni.

Julie who?

Here I am licking her cookbook. Don't have it? If you like Indian food, get off your butt and buy it. Amazing stuff. She teaches cooking in Brooklyn Heights. I may even take a class from her.

Indian food for many Americans is still a new cuisine. We don't trust it. Which is a shame. The basis for the compassionate and humanistic nature of vegetarian Indian food is pretty cool. Narcissistic and egocentric fucks could take a lesson from Indian food. The stuff tastes amazing and you don't have to harm anyone or anything to make it. I know, a foreign concept to selfish Americans (New Yorkers especially).

My hubby loves Indian food but didn't trust me making it home. He a very wary person in general, but the idea of me making Indian food didn't excite him...until he tasted it.

And let me tell you...this shit is good.

Homemade Indian food holds over very well. Since most of the recipes have half (or none) of the meat of most American cuisine, the taste becomes deeper and more flavorful over time.

Sure, some chili's and braises are better the 3rd and 4th day, but do you really want me to tell you want a diet of constant animal protein really does to you lower intestines?

Let's cook!

Jamie Oliver and Indian Food - is there anything better? Not only is Jamie passionate and aware, but he's got a big heart, takes action in life and makes KILLER Indian food.

Of course, he's from the UK and my secret lover. Don't tell my hubby...

I love Jamie. Why? He makes cooking fun. Martha makes me tense, Rachael Ray is falling apart before our eyes, Mario is fat and mean but getting thinner...but Jamie Oliver? Just a good bloke who can throw food together from his gut, not from a measuring cup.

What you need for Jamie's "Rogan Josh":
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1 inch dice
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch dice
  • 2 large yellow onions, or white onions
  • 1-2 large red hot Italian pepper or jalapeno pepper, 2 if you like it hot
  • Thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and cut into tiny dice
  • Olive oil
  • A spoon of butter
  • 4 Turkish bay leaves
  • Salt/pepper
  • 2 glugs of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of no-salt, diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of no-salt chicken broth, plus up to 1/2 can of water for thinner sauce
  • 1/2 cup mild Patak's curry paste, any style works with Biryani paste a lovely choice (see previous post about Patak's ready-made Indian PASTE...not sauce, but PASTE)
  • 2 handfuls of red Turkish lentils, or 'dal' as its called...these are not french lentils or green lentils, but red Turkish or Middle-Eastern lentils
  • 1 cup natural Middle-eastern yogurt
The cooking of this is fun but read this part carefully - it takes a full hour to cook with prep being a bit involved - a good 20 minutes of chopping and prepping for dinner, so plan carefully. But OH MY GOD. It's worth it.

I've taken liberties with Jamie's original recipe. I've added/deleted and modified based on making this countless times.

I still love you, Jamie boo. Sit on my face, er, LAP please.

Let's start the the chicken dish first, then we'll proceed to the potatoes.

Let's prep:
  1. Cut up your chicken and put aside in a bowl.
  2. Cut up cauliflower and put aside in a separate bowl.
  3. Cut up onion, chile's, ginger and put into bowl. Add bay leaves. Put aside.
  4. Get your balsamic vinegar nearby.
  5. Open up the can of tomatoes and chicken broth. Put aside.
  6. Get your Patak's and put aside.
  7. Have your open container of red lentils nearby.
NOW you're ready.

Note: Purists say you must use peanut oil or ghee (Indian butter) or vegetable oil for these meals...personally, I taste no difference when I use Olive Oil, so I use Olive Oil since it's much better for you there.
  1. Heat up a few glugs of oil in a pan with a spoon full of UNSALTED butter over medium heat. Add the bowl of onions, chile's, ginger and bay leaves - add a splash of Kosher salt. Cook until onions slightly brown. Watch so it doesn't burn.
  2. Add cauliflower. Mix well and get all the yummy veggies on there.
  3. Add the chicken. Mix, mix, mix. Liberally add fresh pepper and a dash of Kosher salt.
  4. Add a couple big old lugs of balsamic vinegar and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and the broth. Really mix that up well now.
  6. Toss in your tasty Patak's. Mix the hell out of it so everything is evenly coated. Very important.
  7. Gently toss in your lentils and stir well.
  8. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for one hour, checking often to make sure it's not drying out.
Now, Jamie Oliver, bless his little tasty bum, says to add 3 1/2 cups of water at this point. My advice? Don't do it. I'm not sure what his thinking is here, but it makes it so watery. Add what I indicated above and keep checking every 15 minutes and add a bit of water if you must, but only add 1/4 cup at a time. A little water goes a long way.

Keep checking the chicken and when it's cooked through and the cauliflower is tender, you are good go to!

Dear LORD it's good!



Sorry. Couldn't resist.

And no, I'm not going to be a drag queen. My hubby seems to think so, but he's limited in seeing my future.

Let's agree to let that go, shall we?

Let's cook!

What'll you need:
  • 2 pounds small red-bliss potatoes, don't go with Yukon Gold as they will fall apart in cooking
  • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 thumb side piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper, 1 teaspoon if you like it mild
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut in half and purred in a blender
  • 1 cup thick, Greek or Middle-Eastern plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
All of the spices you can get nowadays at a nicer grocery store. Whole Paycheck, er, Whole FOODS is great but too bloody expensive.

Try a local Indian spice store if you have it. If you don't, one of the best places to go for these kinds of spices is Kalustyan's Indian Spice Shop in Manhattan.

Yes, they are in Manhattan but do excellent mail order.

Buy from them and you have great spices for a long, long time.

Take a gander:

Let's prep:
  1. Wash red potatoes. Prick all over many times with a pairing knife. This is to aid in the cooking and to allow the sauce to penetrate the flesh (I love writing that - flesh). Put in a large bowl with cold water as you prep the rest.
  2. Chop onions. Put in a side bowl.
  3. Chop ginger. Put aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix your cumin, coriander, tumeric, red pepper and garam masala. (Note: I've erred way to many times on putting in too much cumin. Use cumin sparingly and with only a level measure. It can overwhelm a dish.)
  5. Quarter your 2 large, ripe tomatoes. Puree in a blender until just liquefied. Put aside.
  6. Measure out yogurt. Put aside.
Now...this is an easy and fun recipe. Here is what you do:
  • Heat up the oil in a large Dutch oven that is large enough to accomodate the potatoes in one layer. Very important.
  • As oil heats over medium heat, drain potatoes and dry with paper towel. Put dry potoes in one layer in Dutch oven. Cook, moving around for 10 minutes until they are spotted and brown all over. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on papertowel lined plate. Nice!
  • Add onions, lower heat to medium low and cook, slowly until brown, about 10 min. Chill with the onions. Don't go crazy. They can burn. Watch them.
  • Now add ginger, cook a minute. Careful it doesn't burn.
  • Add spices. Ah...that smells LOVELY. Cook a minute. Must always toast spices, lovelies.
  • Toss in the tomatoes, mix.
  • Toss in the yogurt, mix.
  • Add a healthy dash of salt.
  • Put in the potatoes in an even layer, cover, cook for 30 minutes or so until tender.
Keep checking to make sure it's not dried out.

When the potatoes are tender, add the tiny bit of cream. I wrote this as optional. But don't be a butthead. 1/4 heavy cream spread over 6 meals won't kill you.

Love you!

If the sauce is too watery before you put in the cream, then remove the lid and reduce it down a bit. But be careful the potatoes don't cook to the point of mush.

Now for the rice, you can just go to an Indian restaurant and get pre-made Basmati rice. I mean, I get it. You did the goddamn chicken and the potatoes and you've got the bread...but to me, Indian food without good rice is a crime. Just a crime.

So here is the easy way to make it:


What you'll need:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 3-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 1 cup REAL basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
All of the recipe books say you must, must, MUST rinse your rice. Poppycock. I've been making it one way for years and it's taste and fluffy and doesn't stick together.

Not much prep to do here except make sure you slice your onion early and thin.

And make sure the pan you make this in has a tight fitting lid.

This is what you do:
  1. Heat up the oil in the pan over medium heat.
  2. Toss in the cinnamon, cloves, cardamon pods in and cook until the pop. (I used to think 'cloves' mean 'garlic cloves' and could never figure out why they didn't pop...took me awhile to realize cloves meant CLOVES, tiny dark spices you can get at any store.)
  3. Add onion; cook 2 min or so. Careful as it can burn.
  4. Throw in rice; cook 1 min.
  5. Throw in water, bring to boil, over and SIMMER for NO MORE THAN 17 MIN.
  6. Check at 12 minute mark to make sure rice is not burning.
  7. After max of 17 min, move off burn and let it sit for 15 min. Very important.
  8. Take lid off, fluff with fork, remove spices and throw out.
Now, this is fine as is. But if you want to add some SPICE, do this:

Chop up one or two red or green fresh pepper, two garlic cloves and a tiny bit of peeled ginger. Measure out one tablespoon of no-salt tomato paste.

Heat up 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a skillet, add the spices and the tomato paste, cook for a few minutes, throw in the plain rice and cook for a few minutes and voila! Spicy rice!

This is one of those dishes that is lovely the next day or the day after. It tastes amazing heated up.

I bought some lovely store bought Aloo Paratha for the meal and it was fantastic. All you have to do is heat it up in a large non-stick pan for 5 min. each side.

Add the Hot Mango Chutney on the side and you have a brilliant meal!

Enjoy this my darlings!

And next week - what happens when a gay man is contacted by old, straight and married High School male friends on Facebook and the gay man reminds them they used to have increadibly hot acrobatic sex under the bleachers and in the bathroom and in the locker room and the straight men deny it until the gay man has pictures to prove it! Oh, it's a hoot!

And food is involved!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Cupcake

It would be easier to roll up the entire sky into
a small cloth than it would be to obtain true happiness without knowing the Self.


I was standing in line at Starbucks and saw the above cupcake in the case. I had seen it many times before (and it had seen me). It was beautiful. Deep chocolate covered in this dreamy pink frosting dotted with tiny silver pearls of spun silver confection.


For as long as I could remember I wanted to take one home with me and just look at it. But I didn't. I heard voices in my head.

"A cupcake? In the morning? Sure, but hope you have elastic in that waistband."

"Please. I'll have a scooped out bagel with fat-free cream cheese and a triple skim latte."

"Wait. You want to buy it and just look at it? What? I don't get it."

I decided to ignore all of those voices and bought it.

Oh, what a glorious trip we had back to my office.

I perched it on the edge of my coffee tray. As soon as I got into my office, I promptly put it on the window ledge in the sunshine and took the photo above.

It looks like a perfect rose shining in the new Spring air. I don't know about you, but gosh, this sure made me happy today!

Of course, as Fate would dictate, I didn't know why I bought it today but I knew, beyond my need for a lovely food infusion, there must be a reason.

And sure enough, it arose.

I ended up giving it to a co-worker, a perfectly wonderful woman who asked me today where I was originally from. I said Seattle. She said that made sense. I asked why. She said because I'm not like most New Yorkers. She said everyone thinks of me as balanced and centered.

Me? Balanced and centered?

I can't take it. A lovely cupcake, a lovely interaction AND someone telling me I am coming across in a way I've been consciously seeking for years.

Well...damn Sam.

This all makes sense. As I've hinted, big, big changes are around the corner in my life. This only affirms the changes are indeed happening. I'm so grateful I could do a jig at my desk right now.

Let's take another look at that cupcake, shall we?

Not sure if it's visible or not, but one side of the top is smudged. The woman who sold it to me, a tall, lanky and extremely sensitive and feeling musician, said she felt bad she smudged the top of the cupcake.

I told her it was perfect. It's exactly like life - both beautiful and flawed, all at the same time.

Enjoy your spring day everyone.

Buy a pretty cupcake. Pet a dog. Pay a genuine compliment from the heart to someone.

Be thankful for all you have. And stop frowning. You really have no reason to frown.



Thursday, April 8, 2010

Boogie Into Your Life

I was going to get deep and write some truly profound insights into the human condition, when this song came on and and dammit - I couldn't stop dancing.

Give it up, people!

Through friends of friends I'm setting up a meeting with the GM of Comix, a comedy club in Manhattan. Thank God he's nicer than most corporate entertainment people. Jesus some of them are vile. This guy is super sweet. Gay. With a baby with his black lover. Can't get much better than that.

I'm going to convince him to allow me to do an open mike soon. For the hell of it. My hubby told me I should do stand-up in NYC at least once. I agree. I can always say I did it once in NYC.

He told me that it's hard to fill the club with gays who want to hear a gay comic. That shocked me. I was trying to think about what to do for the routine.

I'm not of the bitter George Carlin style. He was insightful and funny, but bitter and pissed. Like a cranky but very smart old guy. Pissed off hippy.

I like Richard Pryor a lot. He was very funny and was talking about race stuff long before a lot of comics ever did.

Lenny Bruce was tragic and profane.

Lots of great comics had endless rage in them. Anger, rage, disappointment, frustration....I'm not gonna put that out there. I get it, I can be very funny in my rage and my frustration having lived for years in the most chaotic city I can imagine, but I don't think that's the way to go.

Maybe I should talk about bowels. That's a good subject!

I have this very juvenile tendency in that I’m fascinated with the lower regions of a person, meaning, their bowels. I know, disgusting, but it’s a part of life, right? That’s not the worst part.

I’m disgusted when other people bring it up but then I laugh like a little school boy when I bring it up. It’s disturbing.

My mother had irritable bowel syndrome. I think that’s where it came from, along with most of my neurotic obsessions. Her shit smelled so bad we had to have a fan installed in the WALL of the bathroom as a direct line to the outside to shuffle the stench out.

She was very ashamed of this and I think she should have had more pride. She should have shoved it in people’s face. Figuratively, mind you.

She should have said:

"Yes, the bathroom smells like a Roman battleground littered with thousands of dead and rotting bodies – jealous? I have a natural skill and you do not. Fuck you, you insecure gnat."

Something like that.

My very successful one-man show was all angst and humor and it was hard and painful but necessary. I am now in the process of letting go of so much shit. So much shit. Useless shit.

I need to latch onto my humor. I am a very insightful man with a solid sense of humor.

I think I need to use that.

Speaking of humor, what I would have given to be one of the writers on this very fine film:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ego Shit

It's been almost two months since I last posted. Much has happened in that time.

The most important thing has been a shift within me. Yes, there have been projects I have been involved in (a one-man show, the cooking show, more written work) but the real work has taken place within me.

My way of living is changing. How I relate to myself and how I relate to my creative work is changing. How I relate to others is changing.

It's unfortunate I cannot be as open as I would like to be on this blog. I cannot divulge all that is happening. Others will use it against me in ways which are negative and hurtful. I can't go there anymore with those people. I am sick of those people. They make me itch with anxiety.

So for now...suffice to say change is taking place. It's all very good but very difficult.

It's very interesting -- I wrote and performed in a one-man show off-off-off-Broadway 2 weeks ago. It was called "Me & Julie Andrews". It was the story about what I cannot write about on this blog. The process of writing and performing in the show was very difficult but very necessary.

Everyone has within them their true, wonderful selves which are covered with layers of shit. Shit about how they need to act. Shit about how tough they need to be. Shit about how rich or famous they need to be. Ego shit.

Ego shit drives so many people. They base their entire lives on trying to achieve their ego's needs. I am not pleased with this, but I can see now how that is not the right way to go. Sigh. To go that way is to live a life for all the wrong reasons. What a pain in the ass to realize that.

There is a thing in Buddhism called 'Right Action'. We all know what the Right Action is to take (the one from our hearts) but most of us never do that, but instead, what the ego wants. I think...I'm not sure yet as I'm in the midst of this, but I think...I think that's the absolute wrong path in life.

Fuck. What a difficult yet liberating awareness.

I know the kind of people who will never, ever understand what I'm talking about. They would look at me as if I were a lunatic or flighty. But I know I'm not. Because I've walked in their shoes. I know how it is they view living life. Their view is a fallacy.


Change is coming. And it's time. Change in a way I never dreamed. I'm mired in the muck of accepting the truth but I see glimmers of what lies ahead and I see it's good. Very good.


I've said before the only reason I wanted to do a cooking show was because I like cooking as a way to create and as a way to give to people. Pure creating and pure giving. Right now, I don't give two shits about branding or media or advertising or demographics or ratings or research or mind and emotional games inherent in seeing a cooking show on the air.

I gave two shits and it put me right where I needed to be. At square one.

The food in my cooking show was only a metaphor and a tool for waking people up the reality of their lives and their relationship with themselves. I got lost in trying to give unnamed executives in television what they wanted.

I am entirely unsure what the next step will be. I know I have to have a plan, I know I have to strive towards a goal, a way to create a body of work...but right now with this big change it's all about listening for signs, seeing what is around me and being the best friend to myself I possibly can be.

To today...