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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

For all those fighting for their place in this life...never, ever give up...

Hot-Ass KY Jelly, Mexican Food Sex, Lovin' You and only You...

The shit I've had to deal with trying to get this idea off of the ground is unreal.

I've realized something -- cooking shows are DULL.

So I'm mixing it up.

It's true what Tina Howe, the great American playwright once told me -- she said you have to look people in the eye and see if you can really trust them before you work with them.

I've had two producers over 5 years for one aborted TV show idea. And I thought selling screenplays was hard!

Endless emails. Years in editing rooms working on two promos which fell short. The world needs my talent!

The first promo had energy but was sloppy, stilted and weird. The second promo made by former Fucker Producer was sweet but boring as hell. It was like pulling teeth to get it made.

Now I am (hopefully) working with a new director and a new crew and writing a new script for the show - the working title is "Sex, Food, Love".

I feel like a spastic salmon determined to swim upstream when all of the other fish around me are yelling, "Give it up, Sally Salmon. It ain't gonna happen!".

The part that kills me is I talk to successful people and talented people and I can tell I'm smarter and more insightful than them. Sure, most of their work is vapid and of little significance, but still - they are getting shit made.

The show is now a variety style show. It's about the relationship between Sex, Food and Love.

Speaking of SEX...I got the most interesting email from US Magazine (and what a shining example of journalist it is).

It was for a new product.


Intensive K-Y. INTENSIVE K-Y.

From the website. Oh my:

"K-Y® Brand INTENSE™ is formulated with a proprietary combination of niacin and sensory ingredients. Massaging K-Y® INTENSE™ directly onto the clitoris, as directed, stimulates sensitivity and creates a gentle warming sensation increasing female pleasure during intimacy."

So essentially, it's Ben Gay for your clit. Okay...

And then there is this:

"Have you (or your partner) gently massage a drop (2-4 pumps) of K-Y® Brand INTENSE™ onto your clitoris."

Okay, that turns me on.

But here are the tastiest bits:

"The #1 doctor-recommended K-Y® Brand has more than 80 years of experience speaking with consumers around the world to better understand their needs and desires."

I can see the booth now at the local Piggy Wiggly. "Free Clit Stimulus Testing with purchase of two boxes of Low-Fat Trisket Crackers!"

"A recent K-Y® Brand study of unmet consumer desires with regard to intimacy identified a need and an opportunity to create a high-quality product targeted specifically toward female satisfaction."

No comment.

"The K-Y® Brand's market research team understood the link between a woman's physical pleasure from intimacy and her overall intimate satisfaction. This insight led K-Y® scientists to explore ways to increase clitoral sensitivity."

The research team...hm...I wonder how many of them were women? And how many identified as gay or bisexual?

And did they include shrinks in this study? Because all of the bullshit aside, we all know the reason women are not satisfied in bed is because their husbands or lovers are emotionally in la-la land during the act.

I'd love to see KY gear their brand to the gay market. Do they have ANY idea how POPULAR they'd be?

The science and market research teams needed a method to increase sensitivity in a way that both made the feeling last and resulted in a good consumer experience."

Good consumer experience - gosh, do I go for five drops of K-Y on my clit or the new Bisol?!

"To test their formulations, K-Y® researchers utilized Doppler imaging technology to measure the effect their prototype had on human skin. The result, as hoped for, was localized and lasting. Subsequent testing with couples confirmed that the K-Y® team had developed the consumer delighting experience they had been striving for."

We know why consumers found it a 'delighting experience'. It took the responsibility of off the women's partner to fulfill his/her/their emotional obligation to bring the woman to climax. Don't get me wrong, but I'm all for sex toys to ENHANCE sex and the resulting deeper emotional bond between partners, but not as a way to REPLACE emotional connection.

Sex is great for sex's sake. I'm a guy. I get it. Guys are all about doing it and going to sleep.

Women are wired differently. They like more emotion with their sex. Funny, huh?

Us gay guys are in the middle of that - we like a lot more emotion than our heterosexual buds but not as much as many women.

But there are tremendous gray areas here.

Gay guys are going through a huge shift right now. Gays hate gays for being gay, hence, the whole hype-masculinity crap. It's called 'internalized homophobia'. I used to laugh when my Ph.D. social work husband said that about gays, BUT HE'S RIGHT.

Straight guys feel much more than they let on, but they don't show it because it's not socially acceptable and they are taught, from an early age, to be stoic and withheld -- women don't help this much either by always saying 'oh, you know Charlie, still waters run deep', thus wanting their cake and eating it too by justifying that Charlie won't say how he feels, but loving the fact Charlie is such a 'man'. They want him sensitive when they want him sensitive and a Cowboy to make them feel save and protected -- can you say Daddy Complex?

Gay guys feel a lot more than they let on. But they don't show it. Why? Because gays are uncomfortable being gay.

Lesbians - sorry, but you got me there.

Straight women are, to me, the most highly evolved of the different categories. They do show how they feel and they are often right. They have an awareness most men simply will not fathom.

'nuff said. Let's cook up some Mexican, shall we?

I made this one up last night. As always, it was brilliant. I should change my name of Michael Rodriguez, I swear.

SPICY CHICKEN, POTATO AND POBLANO ENCHILADAS with HOMEMADE LOW-FAT SPICY TOMATO AND POBLANO CREAM SAUCE

This one rocked my world. I made it rather spicy, so if you are a wimp with hot Mexican food cut down a few peppers. Or man up and eat it with sour cream. Just kidding (on the man up part; not on the sour cream).

Here is what you'll need:

Enchiladas:
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced into cubes
  • 4 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes, partially boiled and diced into cubes
  • 5 tablespoon medium-hot chili powder (NOT made with cocoa...read the label...cocoa is not good in Mexican and I don't care what anyone says)
  • 3 large white onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped/sliced fine
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, chopped with seeds
  • 4 dried arbol chili's, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Manchego cheese, shredded
  • 6 medium-sized tortillas
Poblano sauce:
  • 2 large fresh Poblano chilies, chopped medium
  • 3 large fresh ripe tomatoes, chopped medium
  • 1 large white onion, chopped medium
  • 2 jalapenos, chopped medium seeds and all
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped medium
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Sour cream for serving on the side

Here is what you do...

Arbol chilies are tiny red chili's normally sold in the ethnic section of the supermarket. You normally get a big ass bag for, like, $2 dollars. All you do is soak the dry chilies in boiling hot water for 15 minutes and chop them up and put them in the meal. Very simple. BUT...these are hot, so be careful with them.

Put the chilies in a bowl, cover with water and soak as you prepare the rest of the meal.

Put on a pot of water on the stove that can easily accommodate the lovely 4 Yukon Gold potatoes. Heat up the water until boiling and then throw in the potatoes, unpeeled.

As the potatoes cook, cut up the chicken. Pour a few glugs of olive oil in a 12 inch non-stick pan and heat up for a minute or so. Throw the chicken and 2 tablespoons chili powder along with some salt and pepper in the pan. Cook until chicken is just done, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

The potatoes are still probably cooking, so make up the spicy base. Heat up another tablespoon of olive oil in the clean skillet. Add 2 chopped onions, 6 cloves of garlic and the jalapenos as well as 2 tablespoon chili powder. Cook for about 6 minutes. Add the chopped arbol chilies, cook 4 minutes and then set aside.

Do not wipe out the pan UNLESS it's a tad burnt. Otherwise, leave all the good tasting spices in there for the potatoes.

The potatoes are probably done now. Poke them with a fork. If they offer a bit of resistance but are still a bit firm, that is what you want. You are going to cook them a bit more. Take them out of the water, and slice them into quarter-sized slices.

Heat up the last of the oil. Throw in the potatoes and the last chopped onion as well as the last of the chili powder and salt and pepper. Cook about ten minutes on medium heat, or until the potatoes are cooked but have a tiny bit of resistance to them.

Put them aside.

Heat up your oven to 375 degrees.

Get out a casserole dish big enough to hold 6 large enchiladas. Spray with Pam (olive oil).

Wipe out the skillet you've been using and heat up over medium heat for a minute or two. Add in all of the Poblano sauce ingredients and cook for 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until mixed and thick, about a minute on medium setting. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.

Set up a little Enchilada Station.

You should have four bowls: Chicken, Potatoes, Onion Mixture, Poblano Sauce.

Lay a tortilla in the casserole dish and sprinkle a bit of each Onion Mixture then Chicken then Potatoes and top with 2 tablespoon of the sauce and roll up so the are tight.

Once all six are rolled, pour a thick line of Poblano sauce down the middle of the Enchiladas and then sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 25 minutes (or until a bit crispy) and here you go:


Kick ass food and kick ass advice...

Now...let's party!!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sex...Food...and Rock and Roll...


Let go of my producer a week ago.

Met a new producer Friday. And another producer today. And another producer tomorrow.

Talking with Logo, A&E, Food Network, MTV, PBS (they won't like me; too R-rated), Bravo.

Downing lots of wine at night before bed.

Meeting a show director tonight. Same guy from last week; we'll see what he's made of. Meeting another director tomorrow; another after National Turkey Day.

Obsessed to find out if there is anything on record, ever, of Martha Stewart talking about The Anus or Anal Beads. Must be in show.

Drinking lots of wine at night before bed.

Happy the show is becoming a variety show about food and love and living and sex and relationships and music, music, music.

Am I to only do a gay promo? A straight-friendly promo?

Working on getting a star to be in the promo. A big star. Sex may be involved. Forgive me, Andy.

Sick and tired of waiting for everyone to get their shit together and just shooting a new promo myself.

Wishing (with my dead mother's cross in hand) I'll get a break. A big break with this. Or else...

NEW POSSIBLE TITLES:

Food, Sex and Rock and Roll

OR

Sex, Food and Rock and Roll

OR

Shopping, Fucking, Rock and Roll and Food...

OR

Food and Sex and Love and Rock and Roll...

Tone of show is irony, satire, indirect sarcasm...

DEFINITION: Irony, sarcasm, satire indicate mockery of something or someone. One thing is said and its opposite implied, as in the comment, “Beautiful weather, isn't it?” made when it is raining or nasty.

Irony differs from sarcasm in greater subtlety and wit. In sarcasm ridicule or mockery is used harshly, often crudely and contemptuously, for destructive purposes. It may be used in an indirect manner, and have the form of irony, as in “What a fine musician you turned out to be!” or it may be used in the form of a direct statement, “You couldn't play one piece correctly if you had two assistants.”

The distinctive quality of sarcasm is present in the spoken word and manifested chiefly by vocal inflection, whereas satire and irony, arising originally as literary and rhetorical forms, are exhibited in the organization or structuring of either language or literary material. Satire usually implies the use of irony or sarcasm for censorious or critical purposes and is often directed at public figures or institutions, conventional behavior, political situations, etc.

Soon, all will be revealed...soon...

Mikey Bryan
Your 'New' Food and Sex and Love and Rock and Roll Therapist...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Friday Take-Out - DEFYING GRAVITY and how GLEE makes the world a better place

I first heard the song "Defying Gravity" from the Broadway musical Wicked 2 days ago.

I know, I know. I heard it on the new Glee soundtrack. It's pretty amazing.

Give it a listen:



Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I am defying gravity
And you wont bring me down!

I'm through accepting limits
''cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!

I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you wont bring me down!

I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And never bring me down!
bring me down!
ohh ohhh ohhhh!

Glee recently starred the amazing Kristin Chenoweth. Whenever I get down (which is often on a Friday), I pull up a picture of Ms. Chenowth and am happy again.

Isn't she lovely? And let me tell you, this woman can SING. O.M.G. She was so fantastic in Charlie Brown on Broadway and amazing in Pushing Daisies (a cancellation which still haunts me).

If really want to hear her in force, listen to this fantastic rendition of "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret. It just builds and builds and builds to a blinding finale...all the while giving the original a run for it's money.

I used to work for the agent to Kander and Ebb, the guys who wrote Cabaret. Her name was Bridget Ashenberg and she was such a bitchhhhhhhhh. I mean, bitch, bitch, bitch. Across the hall from us was Binky Urban, a famous agent in the city. All of them were fuckers who were so mean and manipulative it was unreal. Binky wore tight black skirts which showed off her scrawny legs and Bridget was a mammoth thing of flesh and hair. Scary. Very scary.

Oh, the stories I could tell from the jobs I've worked in New York City, children. The horror. The horror.



It's Friday. For me, it's the same as Monday. Hard to do what is expected from me. I get down, a bit depressed. I imagine what my life could have been.

The refrain from this song and the sweeping, soaring feeling is the perfect anecdote for melancholy feelings. So latch onto this feeling as we dive into one hell of a good meal.

It's time for:

Tortilla de patatas
or
Really, REALLY Awesome Spanish Eggs
with Fried Potatoes and lots of amazing tastes

My system for new recipes is always this - I wade through my countless recipe books and magazines and read recipes similar to the one I want to make. I let it sit with me for a day, then I plan the cooking night and I wing it.

I defy gravity.

And it always works out.

Tortilla de patatas, or, Spanish Tortilla, is one of those dishes limited only by your imagination. Frankly, I had never wanted to try it. The only reason I did was because my husband wouldn't stop asking for eggs for dinner. I was like, "Eggs? Only the French eat eggs for dinner."

Oh, how wrong I was.

It seems EVERYONE except me eats eggs for dinner. I was foolish, I'll admit it, so I decided to give a famous egg dish a go, hence, this amazingly good meal.

This was great. I mean, really, really great. I made lots of my own changes and they all worked beautifully. Except for a few aesthetic choices, I stand by this original recipe.

Let's cook!

Start to finish - 45 minutes (or, the streamlined method of 25 minutes)

Serving size - 4 (if served with a fresh side salad)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound turkey Chorzio sausage, diced into bite size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced crosswise into bite size pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, diced small
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced small
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 large, organic eggs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Manchego cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • Fixings for a simple side salad
I also served this with and garlic, cheese and egg aioli, but it was fairly unspectacular. It worked, but not amazing. I'll play with different aioli's and report back here later on what's really great.

Let's cook!

First thing is first. If you want to make this during the week and do it much faster than the 45 minute method, do this - toss your potatoes in a bowl with a tablespoon of water and salt. Cover and microwave for 8 minutes, tossing them around a bit after 4 minutes. This will cut the cooking time by half.

Personally, I prefer the slightly meatier taste of the potatoes if they've been cooking in the pan versus the microwave and the slightly tasty brown edges.

Heat up a 12 inch pan. Throw in the diced sausage. You want to render the fat just a bit, so only cook for 5 minutes. Don't add oil! Let them cook in their own fat. After they have a nice bit of brown on them, remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

As the sausages cook a tad, throw in your potatoes, onions, garlic and jalapenos in a large bowl with two big chugs of olive oil and a dash of salt. Mix it all up a bit, making sure the potatoes are all shiny and nice with the oil.

Yum!

After you're removed the sausage, throw in the potatoes and veggies into the pan, toss a bit, then cover and cook over very low for 25 minutes, mixing them up ever 5-7 minutes. Ideally, you don't want to brown them so much as you want the potatoes to cook so they are tender to the touch.

Heat up your oven to a hot 475 degrees. Put the oven rack in the center.

As that all cooks you want to mix up your 8 eggs, cheese, cayenne pepper and milk. Don't over mix - just a bit to get it all mixed up.

When the potatoes are done, GENTLY mix the egg mixture into the pan. It will looks messy but yummy:

Run a spatula around the outside edge until it becomes a bit loose, about a minute. Then pop it in the oven (make sure you have an oven proof skillet).

After 10 minutes, remove it (handle is hot!) and it looks like this:

Nice, huh?!

Cut a slice and serve with your aioli of choice!

Enjoy!!!!

xo

Mikey Bryan
Your Food Therapist


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Untitled Thursdays - Meryl, Sally, Pam and Joy...and a VINDALOO RECIPE to make you sing JAI HO!


I was watching TV the other night had a few epiphanies:

1) The name for Thursday isn't right. Sure, "Take It Up The _____, Thursday" makes me giggle, but it's not accurate, so it has to change.

2) Desperate Housewives isn't good TV but when Felicity I'm-Slumming-On-A-TV-Show-When-I-Can-Act-Circles-Around-The-Entire-Cast-So-My-Husband-Bill-Macy-And-I-Can-Afford-To-Go-To-Europe-Every-Month-And-Live-In-A-Nice-House-Until-We-Die-Despite-The-Fact-I'm-Wasting-My-Talent-On-A-Nighttime-Soap Huffman hugged Teri I-Can't-Act-To-Save-My-Life-But-I'm-Harmless-And-Probably-Suck-Off-The-Producers-To-Stay-On-TV Hatcher's daughter, agreeing to cover for an affair she had, my eyes grazed across the four movie posters framed and on my living room wall.

They are:


And this...

And this...

And this...

And that brought me to point #3:

#3) I love the texture and the style of how women relate and create. Oh, that rhymes.

Many of my favorite movies are about women. I love seeing young women holding the hand of their grandmothers. I love the way women are strong yet deeply in touch with their emotions. I love how conflicted women in the workforce feel - how do you gain respect from men who don't understand you can rule with a velvet lined fist?

I attribute my clear respect and love for women to being gay and relating to the outsider. Please, let's be honest. Women are still considered less than men. Less capable in work, less capable in business, less capable in being decisive and strong.

Mind you, I may be gay but I'm still a guy, a DUDE...there are only so many things I can relate to from a women's perspective. I have a penis; most women do not. I live in a male body; most women do not. I am a guy; most are not.

Thursday is now gal's day - in what form, I'm not sure. But Thursday is dedicated to all the women in my life and the women I will surely meet.

I had an abusive mother. Clearly, my connection with women is very deep and old and emotional and fated. It was destined to have many, many women in my life.

It makes sense today's posting would be dedicated to the one person who saved me from the ravishes of my poor mother's devastating childhood, my sister Joy Lyn Bryan Markely.

To anyone reading this, you'll notice the one person who always writes supportive and inquisitive comments is my sister, Joy. She has always been there for me and she always will be. Above is a photo of her and my wonderful sister Pam.

Joy is beautiful, flawed, human, emotional, an artist who has something legitimate to say, giving to a fault, dynamic, compassionate, strikingly intelligent, driven and above all, a very, very good person I love with every fiber of my being.

She is the kind of person other people model themselves after.

She loves carrot cake, she loves meat loaf. She lives for apple pie and she can make a mean macaroni and cheese. She knows how to make a super soup and get her around a blender and she'll make a protein shake to make you cry. She is, like me, a person at home at home and a person fiercely dedicated to her husband and her marriage. She is the glue that holds together our family and her own extended family.

She is a blessing from God.

My sister Pam also saved me. Don't get me wrong. Pam in Boise Idaho who is made of rock and roll and passion and sweet kisses. Talk about a volcano of emotion. Pam is nothing at all as she appears. She doesn't know how strong she is. She's beautiful and so giving I imagine it fills out Mother in Heaven with such happiness.

Soon, my beautiful sisters and I will begin posting some winter recipes on this blog (they doesn't know this yet, but they'll join in, trust me, they're very gifted artist).

But until then, I am starting off Thursday with them in my heart and thoughts. I write this sending blessings to our poor tortured mother. I hope you are now in peace, Mom, and see the great work you did with us.

We're doing pretty damn good, aren't we?


Let's cook!

Last time I was in London, the most surprising thing I came across was the sheer volume of good Indian restaurants. Despite a shocking amount of soggy Fish and Chips (which made this Irish boy very unhappy), there was no shortage of great Indian food.

I tend to distrust many Indian recipes from the States. One of my favorite go-to guys for great Indian meals is the impossibly adorable Jamie Oliver. How can you not love this guy?

Not only is he down-to-earth, a devoted father and obsessed with food, he can throw down an amazing Indian recipe like no other popular cook I know.

He takes all of the pretense out of food and just cooks. Cooking for him is active and PRIMAL. When he's in the kitchen, he's in the kitchen. My kinda cook!

He came out with wonderful new cookbook - JAMIE'S FOOD REVOLUTION. For goodness sake, buy the book. The photos are bloody brilliant and the recipe writing, as usual, is void of jargon and confusing terminology. He just writes.

He's an artist, darling, an artist!

I took one of his curry recipes from the new book for a spin - his VINDALOO DINNER.

For the most part, it was spellbinding. But there are some changes which must be made for us silly non-curry cooking people.

I followed his recipe but I did mix it up a bit. I can't claim this as my own but I can say this is the American test kitchen version of Mr. Oliver's work.

This is the kind of meal I'd serve to my sisters. It's super spicy, rich, deep and full of amazing flavor which fill the house.

To my sisters Joy and Pam and all of the women out there in my life (and those I have yet to meet and befriend) - this meal is a toast to you!

TONIGHT:

Spicy, Yummy and Authentic Curry Chicken Vindaloo with
Cinnamon and Cardamon Pod Basamati Rice

Total time: 1 hour 15 min.

Serving size: 4 adults

The few changes I made:
  • I added more protein and greatly reducing the amount of water he said you need to thicken the broth. There was way too much broth at the end.
  • I cooked the tomatoes much earlier then he recommended for a less chunky sauce.
  • He uses cilantro. Cilantro is Satan's herb so I don't use it. I omitted it.
  • He advocates using fresh red peppers and I find those difficult to find. So I use jalapeno which are more readily available and they work fine. Don't substitute Italian fresh red peppers as those are sweet. You want fire here.
  • I used Olive Oil and not peanut oil. Olive Oil a much healthier choice. Tasted just fine. I also omitted the butter he added. You don't need the extra fat and calories.
  • I doubled the balsamic vinegar and used Fig Balsamic which was great.
  • Finally, Jamie does offer one great short-cut. Pre-made curry paste. While they are very, very good they are sodium bombs. I only added half of what he suggested and it was super duper. Make sure you get PASTE and not SAUCE. Very important. I tried both versions - the one with the pre-made curry paste and the one where I made the curry paste myself. Frankly, they were both dynamite. If you have the time, make the curry paste by hand. It's very simple. If you can't then use the pre-made brand he uses (it's one I've been using for years). Their name is Patak. And they are heaven.
http://www.pataksusa.com/

Now - on the MOOD/FOOD relationship:

Did you know?! Chili Peppers increase endorphin production – this is the stuff that makes you feel SO good after you exercise. Think of chile's as natural little hits of happy opiates!

Did you know?! Eating hot peppers can reduce the discomfort of the flu (in part, by promoting sweating). It also opens clogged breathing passages, and functions as an effective expectorant.

Did you know?! Eating peppers decreases our feeling of pain and muscle hurt!

Did you know?! If you were a real freak, you could snort chili peppers through the nose to relieve headaches brought on by tension or sinus problems (capsaicin turns off the nerve release fibre that triggers sinus and tension headaches). I don't recommend it, love.

The great thing about spicy food is it makes you feel GOOD. You feel it in your body and then in your gut and then in your head...it's fantastic.

This is definatley a FEEL GOOD MOOD FOOD!!

Let's cook Vindaloo!!

Ingredients:
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 jalapeno chili's, diced with seeds
  • 2 inch piece of ginger
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken breast diced into 1 inch cubes, you can use lamb or boneless pork shoulder roast diced
  • 1/3 cup hot curry paste from Patak's or homemade curry paste (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1/2 cup Fig Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Yogurt for serving
  • Fresh lemon atop if desired
HOMEMADE HOT VINDALOO CURRY PASTE

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic; 2 inch piece of ginger; 4 dried red chiles; 1 tablespoon turmeric; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 3 tablespoons olive oil; 2 tablespoons tomato paste; 2 fresh chiles.

Spices for toasting: 1 teaspoon black peppercorns; 4 whole cloves; 2 teaspoons coriander seeds; 2 teaspoons fennel seeds; 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

To cook:

Peel garlic and ginger; heat a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes; toast spices in skillet for 2 minutes until smell delicious and are lightly brown; remove from pan. Grind the toasted spices and mix with the fresh ingredients.

LET'S COOK VINDALOO!

Before cooking, prep the following:

Slice onion, peppers, garlic and ginger and put in a large bowl. Cut tomatoes into quarters, throw into large Dutch oven.

Look at these bad boys:
Heat up olive oil for 2 minutes on medium high heat.

Throw in the above mixture and cook for 10 minutes or until onions are soft. Taste a bit of onion to make sure it's soft.

As it cooks, dice up the chicken. Measure your your curry paste.

After 10 minutes, throw in the curry paste and chicken. Mix very well so all is coated. Add the balsamic vinegar, honey and the water.

Here is the big difference - Delightful Jamie adds 1 2/3 cup of water at this point and the end result is a VERY soupy meal. I like a thicker Vindaloo stew. So only add 1 cup of water but you need to watch as you cook it.

Cover and put on a low simmer for 45 minutes, checking to make sure it's not too dry. As it nears the 45 minute mark, taste to check for balance (make sure the chicken is cooked).

FOR THE RICE:

As the dish cooks covered, make your rice. This is my favorite recipe for Indian rice. A sure-fire hit.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 1 5 inch stick cinnamon, halved
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup pure Indian Basamiti rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cup water
Get out a pot with a tight fitting lid. Throw in the Olive Oil and heat over a medium flame until you hear the spices pop. Add the onions, cook for 3 minutes. Add the rice, cook for 1 minute to taste a bit and separate the little grains so they don't stick.

Add the salt and the water. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, cook over low heat for 15 minutes.

Turn off heat, put on the back burner, KEEP THE LID ON, remove the lid in 20 minutes, fluff with a fork and take out the cardamon pods and cinnamon and cloves before serving.

Serve the Vindaloo with yogurt and a squirt of lemon.

Brilliant.

Before eating, rejoice in life by watching THIS BRILLIANT CLIP - JAI HO!!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What The F**K, Wednesday! The Food for Mood Primal Revolution...

PRIMAL

1. first; original; primeval: before the appearance of life on earth.
2. of first importance; fundamental: the primal resources of a nation.

Word Origin & History

primal
1602, "belonging to the earliest age," from M.L. primalis "primary" (1485), from L. primus "first" (see prime (adj.)). Psychological sense, in ref. to Freud's theory of behaviors springing from the earliest stage of emotional development, is attested from 1918.

Primal:



Primal:

WARNING...VERY GRAPHIC



Primal:



This morning I was thinking what to post.

I thought of all the people I know in life who need a 'Scrooge Intervention', meaning, they need to be thrust into their own Christmas Carol so they are forced to see the errors of their ways and realize how grateful and lucky they truly should fucking be.

But this won't happen. The only way real changes happens is when it is primal. When we feel it with our entire being. When it is the first and only emotion.

Only when greedy and nasty Scrooge is faced with the inevitability of his own DEATH does he change.

Why is the story so moving?

Because it's primal.

Making us feel primal emotions is the goal of all great art.

It is the same with food and our pathological eating disorders.

No one will ever change their food behaviors unless it becomes a primal necessity. The only time we every truly change is when the need to change is fueled by a primal emotion. You can't logic this out, you can't read a book to figure this out, you can't will yourself to not pick up the KFC for dinner tonight.

You will only stop eating bad food and eat good food when the will to do so is fueled by a primal emotion.

It's why I point out The Biggest Loser and Scared Straight and show clips of extremely emotional scenes from famous movies. These cause us to feel and the sensation of feeling is what makes us change.

Biggest Loser is very emotional. So is Scared Straight. But it makes people change. For good.

Our favorite movies are all primal. Our favorites works of art are primal. We go to sporting events because the celebration and sheer fun of being in a stadium with thousands of other people is primal. Rock concerts. Live theater. Listening to your iPod.

Primal.

So the answer to a true food revolution in this country isn't based on this diet or that diet or logically considering the pros and cons of calories in/calories out.

The true Mood and Food Revolution will take place only when we feel we must change or else we are doomed.

This is why I love all of the shit Scrooge is put through in A Christmas Carol. He doesn't want to change, there is no endless talking about him needing to change, he doesn't talk about wanting to change, yet of course we know he must change because he's a miserable asshole, so the change is brought to him in primal way and bingo!

He changes for good.

No recipe for today, no boring food witticisms, no funny quotes from funny chefs...

Just take this feeling and remember what it feels to feel because I'll return to the act of feeling often on this blog.

Feel:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tranny-Dip Tuesday! Don't become a dangerously unbalance woman! Make this tonight!

Make this tonight and avoid a Eunice Burns Tranny-Dip!



It's Tuesday. Classic Tranny-Dip day. It's only one day into the work week. You want to make a fast dinner but Lord KNOWS it's hard when all you want to do is Dip!

One of my favorite go-to meals on a Tuesday is a fast burrito paired with a green salad. And there is a way to make it taste deep-fried without making it deep-fried.

You know my blog is about Food and Mood...and one of the ways we are influenced by the foods we eat are by eating foods which makes up physically feel GOOD.

This meal has a nice bit of cayenne, red pepper flakes and garlic in it. Cayenne gets its heat from capsaicin, a compound linked to killing cancer cells and may help fight cancer in the brain, liver, prostate and the skin. Can't beat that!

And garlic has a sulfurous compound called allicin. This compound is known for reducing cancer risk and lowering blood pressure. It's a fact, baby!

We also use olive oil in this recipe which is great for your body. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat which lowers the good cholesterol.

On the fats!

Here is your handy-dandy fats/oil eating guide!

STAY AWAY FROM:

TRANNY TRANS FATS - Found in margarine and processed foods. Baked goods have them as well as deep-fried foods. This shit actually REDUCES good cholesterol in your body. Get this - eat just four grams of this crap and you increase your risk for heart disease. McDonalds fries have FIVE grams of this stuff in it.
Read labels - any foods that contain vegetable shortening, hydrogenated fats or ESPECIALLY hydrogenated fats are to be avoided at all costs.

SATURATED FAT - Again - eat this and you increase your risk for HEART DISEASE. Cut back on butter, cream, whole milk (who drinks whole milk anymore?), fatty meats and unskinned chicken.

EAT ONLY A LITTLE:

OMEGA-6 FATTY ACIDS: Here is the low down - we get to many omega-6's, not enough omega-3's. Avoid vegetable oils, sunflower, safflower, corn and soy oils they are high in omega-6's and make us get all inflamed.

CHOW DOWN, BABY:

MONOUNSATURATED FAT: Olive oil lowers LDL cholesterol. Canola is a good bet as well.

Print this up/save this/put it up nearby - you don't need more info. than this to eat the right oils.

Now, today's quick meal:

SPICY CHICKEN UN-FRIED CHIMICHANGA!

This one is so easy it will knock your socks off.

This will make two UN-FRIED CHIMICHANGA'S which translates into FOUR MEALS. Why four?

You want to serve half of a Chimichanga with a side salad to each person and trust me...you will be full.

You will be using store bought tortillas which are never the healthiest choice, but eating half of one per meal isn't bad.

We are also going to add extra beans and lean chicken to this so you'll get loads of protein.

Here is your ingredient list:
  • 4 large burrito size Misson tortillas
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans no-salt black beans OR pinto beans - drained and juice from one can saved
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded with all skin removed
  • 1 package Uncle Ben's ready-made brown rice
  • 1/2 cup 2% sharp cheddar cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 2 plumb tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced
  • 1 bunch carrots, sliced
  • Balsamic/olive oil dressing for drizzling
Let's cook!

Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Oven wrack in the middle of oven.

Chop up your onion and garlic. Put the garlic aside. Pour a dab of olive oil in a 12 inch non-stick pan and heat for 2 minutes. Add onion, tiny dash of salt. Cook for 4 minutes. It's okay if the onions brown a bit.

Throw in the garlic, cook 30 seconds, throw in the jalapenos and the spices. Cook for 1 minute, or until very fragrant.

Throw in the beans, cook for 3 minutes. Throw in the RESERVED JUICE and cook and reduce for 2 minutes until a little thick. Throw in your shredded chicken and mix.

Transfer entire mixture to a large bowl.

Zap your Uncle Ben's Brown Rice; add to the bowl. Mix. Add the cheese, a healthy toss of pepper and mix a few rounds. Wait a moment, then add the sour cream, mix and taste. Salt and pepper as needed. Don't over salt!

Get out a baking pan big enough to contain four large burritos. Spray with Pam.

Fill 4 separate tortillas with the mixture and roll so they are tight and place in the dish.

Spray well with Pam Olive Oil spray all over the tortillas. This is what will change your tortillas to a fake Chimicanga...as they bake they crisp in the oven.

Pop in the oven for ten minutes and then take a look - if they are browning too quickly, take them out of the oven, spray again with a bit of spray and put them back in the oven 5-10 minutes more.

As they bake, cut up the lettuce, throw with the tomatoes, radishes and carrots, serve with the dressing and a half of the finished and browned burrito.

BRILLIANT!

Time for a little old dress up and celebration!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

MANIC MONDAY: Just a LITTLE Lasagna please...not the whole damn plate!

This video is the perfect way for a foodie to start their Monday.

Go ahead...his PLAY:



My sister and were talking about food and love and desire and emotion again today. It's a constant discussion with us.

Here is the Big Questions I'm obsessed with and why I take so much time to write on this blog:
  • What is the drive in us to eat when we aren't hungry?
  • What emotional needs are we secret fulfilling when we either eat too little or too much?
  • Why do we feel we have no control when we over eat?
  • Why do some people starve themselves and look sickly and undernourished?
  • More disturbing, why do we find the starved look attractive and the obese look disgusting?
I can't tell you how many people have told me they cannot stop eating bad food even when they know the food is bad.

Even when they have been told my doctors they are going to die if they don't stop. Even when lovers have left them, even when they feel like shit about themselves as they shove bite after bite in their mouth or shove their fingers down their throat or refuse to eat more than a tiny plate of veggies and steamed rice.

What kinda fucking truck has to slam into them to make them WAKE UP?

It's a self-hate.

It's most evident with celebrities.

Look at Madonna or poor Maria Cross of Desperate Housewives. Madonna is a nasty, hedonistic hag so it makes sense she'd eat too little, but Maria Cross? It saddens me to see how awful she looks on Desperate Housewives. I really like Ms. Cross. She's a smart, intelligent woman who is in a spiral. My guess?

She got pregnant, gained a little weight, and desperate to be a hot Desperate Housewife again (she never wasn't; the woman is striking), she forced herself to train endlessly and eat less to look 'good'.

MEMO TO MS. CROSS: EAT. PLEASE. You look like shit. I mean that with all due love and respect, sweetie.

Like Madonna, Ms. Cross is starving herself and lifting too many weights. Both women are grotesque; they look like emaciated middle-aged Lithuanian female boxers training for a prize fight.

Don't think the irony the actress playing Bree Van de Kamp has an eating disorder escapes me. Unlike Madonna (whom I do enjoy seeing suffer - if one more gay man tells me she moved the gay movement forward I'm gonna fucking scream - Madonna is all about making money people, plain and simple), I have nothing but empathy for Ms. Cross. She needs help. Now.

Look at poor Kevin Federline. Oh dear. He was a trim dancer, cute and dumb and white trash and now he's obese, former Mr. Britney Spears and is going on a reality TV show to lose the weight.

People all over America are like this. They either eat too little and looks angry and hard (probably because they're so fucking hungry), or they eat too much and lose their sense of self-respect and hide in shame from those who love them.

Both extremes are desperate cries for help. How do we heal this in this country?

Why DO we eat at night when we're not hungry? Do we feel our lives are unfulfilled and we crave feeling and sensation, so we dive into food which feeds this craving?

Do we need the tastes to feel we're living?

Why DO we eat chips at night when we know a healthy, trim weight is the key to feeling GOOD as we age? Do we want to use a cane by the time we're 50?

Why DO we obsess over needing people's approval and praise to 'look good' and thus eat too little and deny ourselves the pleasures food inherently has?

I am mixed on how to answer and deal with some of these questions. There was a documentary in the 70's that had everyone talking. It was violent, in-your-face and shocking. And it changed people's lives.

It was called Scared Straight.



Now, am I saying we need to get obese people or anorexics in danger of killing themselves into a room with other formerly nearly-deceased obese and anorexic people and have them scare them scare the living shit out of them so they change?

No, I don't think that's the answer. But I think the movement behind the intention of this action is something a growing population of this country needs.

Let's get real - isn't that partially what Jillian on The Biggest Loser is doing? Giving Tough Love to the most desperate kind of overweight person in this country?

Isn't she saying YOU ARE GOING TO DIE IF YOU DON'T WAKE UP TO HOW YOU ARE EATING?

Think about how much more powerful that would be if SHE were on the verge of death because SHE used to be obese but changed.

Don't you just wanna do this sometimes?



According to the latest edition of Business Week, over 40 billion dollars was spent last year in the diet industry but people keep getting fatter and they keep starving themselves to death.

Endless books on how to cook right, endless data, endless options to exercise, endless TV shows on the issues of being overweight and underweight and yet, portions of people in this country to not change not matter what is told to them or what they read.

Why?

WHY?

I don't have the answers. Clearly, very few of us do.

But I can tell you this - there is not one person I know who does not have at least a slightly complicated relationship to food and how they eat; over half of those people have a VERY complicated relationship to food and how they eat.

Shit - I know I do. I always feel fat. I always feel I must lose weight. I feel like I want to reward myself with a burger and fries after doing something well. Or when I have a terrible day. I don't do it, but I feel like I deserve to.

Why?

WHY?

Fascinating stuff which consumes this country. We have to keep this discussion alive. It's not about removing the food we love; it's about finding balance.

And speaking of balance, today is MANIC MONDAY! And one of the sure fire ways to make your Monday is LESS Manic is to make a great Sunday night meal you can eat Sunday night, at work Monday for lunch and then, if you want, for Monday dinner.

The trick is balance. B.A.L.A.N.C.E.

Here was Sunday's meal:

SLAM BAM REDUCED CALORIE AMAZING HOMEMADE MEAT LASAGNA
with
FRESH HARLOT BEANS IN OLIVE OIL AND SHALLOTS
with
MEATY BUTTER LETTUCE SALAD
served with
HOMEMADE SPICY ITALIAN CROUTONS, CARROTS, RADISHES AND TANGY BALSAMIC VINEGAR TOPPED WITH SHAVED PARMESAN.

This is who I always listen to when I cook on Sunday:



I've posted my lasagna recipe before, but I've learned to streamline this one, to reduce the calories and truly amp up the flavor...my hardcore part-Italian husband swears by this meal and he's one tough critic when it comes to lasagna.

And you can eat this over three meals if you wish by adding DIFFERENT sides to the lasagna and mixing up the salad...and plus, we all know homemade lasagna tastes better over time, right?

Let's cook!Bold

For the sauce you'll need toss 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large dutch oven. Add 2 finely chopped yellow onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Now add 10 cloves of diced garlic and let cook for a minute or two.

See?Now add 3/4 hot sausage and 1/2 pound ground sirloin with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the raw red color is gone, about 10 minutes.

Now add 1/8 cup heavy cream and 1/8 cup 2% milk. Let the meat absorb the cream and milk until it's mostly gone, anywhere from 5-15 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup red wine (preferably Merlot) and let the meat absorb again.

Now add 1 28-ounce can of tomato puree and 2 15 ounce cans of no-salt diced tomatoes. Stir. Add 2 teaspoons dried oregano and one teaspoon granulated sugar.

Turn on low and let it simmer as you work on the cheese mixture. Make sure and mix the tomato mixture from the bottom up.

In a large bowl, add one 15-ounce container of part-skim ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, 1 large bunch of basil diced very small (take a tiny handful and throw in the sauce on the stove behind you), 1 large organic egg beaten, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Mix just until mix. Don't overmix.

Open your box of no-boil lasagna noodles. If you haven't used these, you must. They are fantastic. They cook in the sauce. Great stuff. Buy Barilla brand. Most authentic on the market and everywhere. There will be three noodles left from the package from this recipe.

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Put your oven rack in the center.

Get out a baking dish which comfortably fits three noodles with a little room to breath. Taste your sauce. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Remove the sauce from the stove and put on the counter next to pan you'll cook the lasagna in. Have the ricotta mixture on the side. You are creating a little 'lasagna station.'

Now, pour a small spoonful or two of the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay down three noodles, side by side. Scoop three teaspoons of the ricotta mixture down the center of each noodle. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the noodle/cheese mixture.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of 2% mozzarella cheese over the noodles.

Repeat this twice and when you get to the TOP layer, lay down the noodles, the ricotta mixture of the noodles, pour the rest of the sauce over the top so all layers of the noodles are covered, sprinkle 1/2 cup 2% mozzarella over the lasagna and then sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan.

Parmesan goes a long way, so you never, ever need as much as most recipes indicate. I've seen recipes saying I should add up to 2 cups of Parmesan to this. What?! You really, REALLY don't taste the difference with more Parmesan in this dish. Trust me, my husband would bitch and moan if it didn't taste cheesy, so when I say this hits all the lasagna marks, it hits all the lasagna marks.BoldBada Bing!

Spray a large piece of aluminum foil with Pam olive oil spray, cover the lasagna, bake for 20 minutes, remove the foil, bake anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes longer, until it's to your liking in terms of top browning.

As the lasagna bakes, let's prep our French Harlot green beans with shallots, butter and olive oil and the salad.

I grew up on green beans. I love green beans. My parents has a really cool mini farm in the back of the house where we grew beans and I loved them.

I am a firm believer in tasting the vegetable and not bathing it in cheese sauce or butter. What's the point? As a kid, sure, give me cheese on cauliflower or give me death, but not as an adult. This is why I made these with a classic French/Italian twist.

It's very simple. And fast.

Snip off the end of the green beans. Contrary to popular conception, there is no 'string' inside of string beans. You simply need to snap off the ends, rinse and put in a large bowl. The snapping of the ends is the hardest part.

Boil a scant about of water in a stainless steel skillet. Throw in 1 1/2 pounds beans. Cover and boil about 5 minutes. As they boil, chop up 2 large shallots.

Take off the lid, remove the beans to a separate bowl. Most of the water in the pan should be evaporated. Toss in a bit of unsalted butter, a tiny chug of olive oil and the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Throw in the beans. Cook 2 minutes, add a dash of salt and pepper, a tiny shaving of parmesan and you're done.

Serve with a side salad of 2 heads of meaty and tasty Butter lettuce, diced radishes, slices carrots, freshly baked spicy black pepper and onion powder croutons. Add a homemade dressing by mixing 6 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar and mix it up in a jar.

Sprinkle over and here she is:


Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Friday Movie Food Night! The ULTIMATE BURGER!


In a restaurant I order everything I don't want,
so I have a lot to play around with while everyone else is eating.

Andy Warhol

Now here is how to have a meal:



Burger, burgers, burgers and more burgers! Seems everyone is eating burgers now!

Growing up I ate at Dick's Burgers (how appropriate) and at In-N-Out in California. McDonald is crap and we all know it, so I'm even going there. McDonalds is about real estate, not food.

Now there are so many burger places in New York it's mind-boggling. Lots of people are raving about these guys in town:


People from Jersey swear they are the most amazing burgers they've ever had. I'm excited. I want to try one but then...I don't.

Don't get me wrong - I love burgers. I was raised on beef. Beef and burgers. I'm all-American. But let's get really real, shall we?

Do you have any idea what is in most hamburgers you order in a restaurant? There is a reason, honey, those burgers are so moist.

Two words: FAT ASS.

Well, one word 'fat' but put it next to your 'ass' and that's what you'll get if you eat takeout burgers more than once a month. You know I'm right. That shit is awful for you. So what is the solution?

Make them at home!

Check out these easy homemade burger tricks. You'll love me for them...

First, all of the hardcore cooks will only eat burgers if they grind their own meat. Okay, you know what? That' s fabulous, it really is fabulous, but if you think anyone is going to the butcher on a Friday and standing over the food processor grinding sirloin so they have a great burger, then you are way too obsessed over food.

Not realistic.

Sure, grinding your own meat makes for a moist burger, but no one working a 40-60 hour week is going to do that on a Friday. I know I won't and I cook all the time.

In a screenwriting class I took with a famous teacher (who, turns out, was bipolar, which is why his lectures were so interesting), a student asked how they should choose which of their many stories to flesh out into full-length screenplays.

Mind you, this was for commercial studio films, so the idea was driven to mass interest, and this blog is for the average American, so it all applies...

The teacher said, "Imagine a married couple standing outside of a theater where ten movies are playing. They have been working all week. Managed the kids. Dealt with bosses, long days, a recession, depression, anxiety and all of the shit we have to deal with on every day...and when they look at the marquee, you want your movie to be the one they want to see over everyone else. Your want to write a Friday Night Movie."

That's what this meal and all others following are. The kind of ones you make on a tired Friday because you want to.

There are plenty of tricks you can use to make a great burger. The first trick it's not what goes on the burger but what goes in burger.

There is no need to get into the whole Cooks Illustrated science here (God, can they take the fun out of cooking or what?!). I know everyone wants a secret to cooking burgers and the exact measurements but it doesn't work that way.

BUT...there are guidelines.

Buy organic ground CHUCK. 85% lean is the best. Yes, it's fattier but that results in a better burger. You can always drain the fat as you cook. You can go with the leaner sirloin or ground turkey, but it will result in a less tasty burger. And again, you can drain and pat dry the fat off of the burger.

If you do go with ground turkey (I'll do a posting soon on the major benefits and pitfalls ground turkey) you must always buy 93/7 turkey (which means 7% fat). You are an idiot if you buy the 1% fat turkey. Dry as a bone.

I find one pound of meat for four people is fine. That means you are getting a 'quarter pounder' at home. You really don't need more meat than that, dear Lord.

Now you can add all sorts of stuff into the meat. This is one of my favorite combinations per 1 pound of meat:
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 slices of whole wheat soaked in 1% milk for 10 minutes
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary and thyme
  • 1 small red onion, diced very small
  • 2 shakes Worcester sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced very small
  • 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese
  • Tiny, TINY pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Healthy pinch of pepper
Neat, huh? Add very few extra calories but loads of taste.

Put the ground meat into a bowl. Very gently add the ingredients above. One of the biggest mistakes when making burgers is over-handling the meat. Treat the meat gently. Very gently.

Treat The Meat Gently. That could be the title of my bio.



You just want to mix until it all comes together. Making good, moist burgers reminds me of baking. Slow and easy does it.

Put the four burgers on a plate and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Make your toppings. The logical route is to match what is INSIDE the burger with what is ON TOP of the burger.

Since I add jalapenos, I sometimes slice up Monterey Jack cheese...or will add more sliced jalapenos atop...of fresh, sliced white onions.

Here are my favorite toppings...you will want to get these ready before you cook the burgers:
  • Romaine hearts, chopped
  • Fresh Beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
  • Slices/grated cheese (more salty the better, you got the great taste of Parmesan in this) - Bleu is a great choice as a tiny bit goes a long way
  • White onions, sliced
  • Jalapenos, picked or fresh
  • Gherkins
  • KETCHUP
  • Dijon mustard
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • 2 slices cooked turkey bacon per burger, great place to save calories
ROLLS - I am not a fan of the ordinary hamburger rolls in the supermarkets. Not soft, not big enough for a 'meal'. My favorite, by far, are ciabatta rolls. They are in most supermarkets and all bakeries.

Just as you won't buy cheap meat for the burger, you CANNOT get a cheap bun. It will ruin the experience.

Now, when you cook them, there are a few tricks I always use and it results in a moist burger.

Take the burgers out of the freezer. Get out a large 12 inch skillet with a secure fitting lid.

Heat up 2 teaspoons olive oil in the pan for a full 2 minutes over medium high heat. You want it very hot. Gently lay the patties in the pan and let them cook until they are seared on one side for 2 minutes.

Gently flip them over, cook another 2 minutes, then move the pan to the back burner, cover, cook on medium-low for 5-8 minutes, depending on how rare you like your burger.

How can you tell when a burger is done? Well, the facts are the FDA says it must have an internal temperature of 160 degrees it's good to go. I think that's a bit much.

As you cook more, you can tell by touch. If you press down on the top of the meat and it's got a bit of give, it's medium. A bit less give, medium-well. No matter how many times I try to teach people how to check temperatures of a burger, they invariably cut a slit in the side of the burger to check for the level of pink they like, which is fine.

When they are done, gently remove them from the skillet and put them on your ciabatta rolls (you either toast or not; up to you).

Fabulous burger!

For sides you can do just about anything. Go healthy, make a side salad with my favorite fig balsamic and croutons with sliced onion.

Fries are an option - as are my white trash favorite everyone loves to make fun of:

I know, I know. Shoot me but I do love me some Tater Tots. I had them as a kid, love them as an adult. It's what I wrote before. A lot of our food tastes come from our childhood, don't kid yourself.

I try to limit my side dish to a healthier option when making them at home. Too many carbs and too fattening.

I'm Irish, so when it comes to making potatoes, God blessed me. Soon I'll post a potato cooking day that will knock your socks off.
Enjoy your burgers, darlings!

xo

Mikey Bryan
Your Food Therapist

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's 'Take It Up The _______, Thursday!' AMAZING CRAB CAKES!

Late last night I found out the major TV network known for airing the biggest cooking shows in the world passed on my show idea and me as the talent.

I know why they passed. My promo wasn't fast enough. It wasn't ME enough. How to get them to realize I am that true undiscovered talent they will kick themselves if they don't do SOMETHING with me.

I. Am. Meant. To. Be. On TV.

Like BORN to be on TV.

I think it's the gay thing, maybe, and the fact they are very G-rated. My charm is I bake pies on the weekends, always am polite in public, do the right moral thing and am consumed with the idea of kindness but then I also like to talk like a white-trash sailor about sex and relationships.

And who can wear a pair of Prada heels like no one.

I will say this - there is one woman I met there, (I'll call her G. K.) who was so sweet and lovely and charming...she was like the perfect gal pal and business woman I'd work with and who would watch the show.

She made the process so delightful. Thanks darling G. K.

Onward. Onward, onward, onward.

Let's set the mood, shall we?

Watch...



I decided on a recent trip to up my efforts to get people to read my blog. I've been relying on others to help get my TV project off the ground and that's been a mistake. I mean, it's a nice idea, others helping you with a creative career, but I find it's really up to me to be a One Man Band...once again.

I gorged on the most popular food bloggers. And after just a few days, I started to feel like I had taken way too much Immodium. I felt there was no way I could compete with them.

There were reams upon reams of arguments about the lack of culinary taste and education bloggers have; pages upon pages of bloggers saying how blasphemous and infuriating it is regular Joe's and Jane's think they have the audacity to write about food without having studied in Europe or at LEAST Le Cordon Bleu in the states.

Then I heard a voice. A tiny little bearded voice named Sean.

No, it wasn't my therapist.

Come with me to 1997. NYU. School of snotty, over-entitled girls with Prada bags and white yuppy boys who are dumb as a post.

My teacher had finished reading a story of mine and proceeded to tear it to shreds. He said I didn't get this voice, I didn't get that voice, I didn't know how to say this, how to say that -- on and on he went, quoting Faulkner, Hemingway, Tolstoy, saying I needed to know all of that work before I could possibly try to write.

He told me I wasn't a writer and that I should quit writing. Now.

He said only a very precious few are born writers - the rest of us are squatting in their Kingdom of Creativity and we need get out. He said Ed Albee agreed with him. He said a whole slew of famous writers agreed with him.

I wanted to die.

Out of the back of the class came the voice of Sean, one of my fellow students. He looked right at the teacher and said, "Who the fuck died and made you the God of the writing world? I mean, really man. Who the FUCK?"

God bless tiny, hairy and cute straight boy Sean - he was right. Everyone has right to do anything they want if they feel it is something they must do.

If you feel you must write, write.

If you feel you must dance, dance.

If you feel you must cook, cook.

You may not, in the end, be Barishnikov or Hemingway or Pepin, but don't let anyone tell you to stop because, in their view, you are not 'born' to do it or because you are not doing it the right way.

Fuck 'em.

Remember...that tells you more about their insecurities than yours. Trust me.

Which is why I am not stopping on this blog or with this project.

Is The Food Therapist a variety show? A cooking show? A show with a musical number at the beginning? Is it three shows in one?

Yes. It's all of them. Deal.

Born cooks, writers and dancers indeed.

Who DID make you God?

Onward!

Now, why is Thursday called "Take It Up The ______, Thursday?" Because I want to be an equal opportunity gay blogger. Wherever you DO take it 'up', this is your foodie day!

All meals on Thursday will be about sex and romance.

See...I love everyone for who they are.

This first 'ketchup' first recipe is from the amazing Jacques Pepin.

The second 'ketchup' recipe will be for tomorrow's special Friday Take-Out Edition.

He wrote a great book a few years back, Fast Food My Way, and it's a dream. I'm sure the snobby food bloggers are yawning over this, but I ain't writing for you, honey! I'm writing for you home cooks who are looking for something a bit off of the beaten path.

He wrote a follow-up to this book I'm not a crazy about. This first edition is the real deal.

One of my favorite recipes is his Zesty Crab Cakes. They are sublime. I made a few tweaks and moved a few things around, but it's 70% Jacques so I can't claim it. Some of Jacques recipes are a bit more difficult than they appear because he's so damn good at what he does he forgets most home cooks are not as good with cutting or assembling as he is.

But I can't fault the man. He is so generous in his TV shows and has been an inspiration to so many cooks for so many years, I adore him, I just adore him.

Try this meal with a nice side salad of mesculin greens and fresh croutons with olive oil and fig balsamic vinegar and you simply cannot go wrong! Better yet, this pairs well with a variety of tomatoes and vinegar. You don't need much more than that.

Well, I wouldn't turn down torn pieces of a baguette but that's simply ME, darling.

And this meal is a great one for "Take It Up The ________, Thursday!" Sure, it's fish, but it's light, very tasty, not heavy and won't make you feel bloated either during of after, well - you get the idea, girl.

ZESTY CRAB CAKES
w/ ZESTY RED SAUCE!




Let's cook!

Total cooking time: 20 minutes

Serving size: 4

INGREDIENTS:
  • 8 ounces crab meat
  • 1 and 1/2 cup bread crumbs DIVIDED
  • 3 large scallions, minced
  • 3 teaspoons garlic, chopped or pressed through a garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1-3 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
  • 2 egg whites
On crabmeat. Varies widely. Your handy-dandy guide:

Lump or Lump Crab Meat

Jumbo Lump comes from the pair of large muscles that drive the crab's swimming legs. Grades identified simply as Lump are from smaller crab varieties. Use Jumbo Lump when you want to display beautiful white meat...that's right, I wrote 'display white beautiful white meat.'

I need a drink.

Jumbo Lump Crab Meat

This a lovely type for crab cakes, if you can find it and afford it. Girls in the ghetto will have a problem affording this one.

Lump or Backfin Lump Crab Meat

Lump or Backfin is the preferred grade for many traditional crab dishes. It has the same fine flavor and texture of Jumbo Lump, but is in slightly smaller pieces. It has the same caloric value as Jumbo Lump. Some companies call this grade Lump, some Backfin, and some Backfin Lump. The reason is that many packers include a large percentage of White Crab Meat (body meat—see below) in cans labeled Backfin. If you purchase a can labeled Lump, it will be all lump meat—just not Jumbo Lump.

White Crab Meat

Canned white crab meat is popular and good for crab cakes

Let's cook!
  • Mix the first six ingredients together LIGHTLY (use only 1 cup of breadcrumbs).
  • Don't manhandle the crab. Be gentle you big brute.
  • Crush the remaining breadcrumbs with the almonds. The yuppie method is to use a food processor. My white trash way is to put the crumbs and almonds in a plastic bag and smashing it with the edge of a frying pan. Laugh, but it works bitch.
  • Form the crab mixture into 4 patties.
  • Mix up the egg whites in a separate bowl.
  • Gently dip the crab cakes into the egg, then dip into the crumb/almond mixture until it is coated on all sides. You have to be patient and press.
  • Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and arrange the patties next to one another in the pan, handling them very gently because they are very, very soft.
  • Cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Keep warm in the oven.
SAUCE:
  • Mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 teaspoon wasabi paste or wasabi powder, 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, and 1 tablespoon water.
  • Don't skip the wasabi paste. That is the trick. I have been using wasabi paste for along time and I love it.
I normally double the sauce for the crab cakes, as this tends to be a slight amount for the meal.

And after this recipe, you know what you'll be singing?