|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Okay, so I hadn't blogged since March (jesus...), and Iggy said he'd like to see a live blog of something I mentioned on Twitter...
Mas Sabe el Diablo
So, last night my channel grazing screeched to a halt on Telemundo when I saw three ludicrously hot women on some telenovela having a great time increasingly tiny underwire-supported tubes of spandex for one another.
Then, I found out that there's a closed captioning channel that translates the Spanish into English. Awesome!
So, this is where I found Mas Sabe el Diablo, a fantastic piece of confectionary tv about young, hot Hispanics in New York City. Hot women, scantily clad, talking in a language I don't care to understand. What's not to love?
Fair warning, half this blog post is a celebration of hot Hispanic women doing whatever hot Hispanic women are going to do. I'm not apologizing, just know what you're getting into here.
Rough plotlines I figured out after one episode:
1) The villain appears to be a stripper who's sleeping with some old guy (Martin) to emasculate his younger brother. Martin is apparently a villain too.
2) The stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold has a baby, who is apparently the brother of the guy who's been pining for her since childhood.
3) There's a hot lawyer who fell in love with her street-wise client, and hasn't broken off her engagement yet.
4) There's a rich couple who have issues that one episode has yet to reveal.
5) Martin has a brother (?) who's dying, and I think Martin wants to pork his wife too.
Anyway, now that we're caught up...
Dying brother has been holding off on revealing his tragic illness to his daughter, and has apparently just revealed to Martin that his niece is in the Hamptons! With the criminal she used to represent!
Stripper with a heart of gold is looking awesome in a little tank and boycut shorts, and just heard from Topo (brother of her baby, as I understand things) that he loves her! And Martin just put out a hit on the criminal! Who dies in the Hamptons?
God, that stripper-w-h-o-g is smoking. She's really agonizing about Topo, and is totally torn about what she just heard. Now Topo won't babysit while she strips tonight. Tragic, I know.
Lawyer and the rich couple wife just walked back into their Hamptons vacation home and started pouring bloodys. One of two in a push-up bra is a pretty good ratio regularly, but not when it comes to Mexican TV. Anything less than 100% is unacceptable.
Martin is now revealing the Hamptons weekend to the fiance' of the lawyer, and he's taking it surprisingly well. Maybe this isn't the fiance'. Fuck, I need to catch up. Hitman just called, and Martin wants this hit executed as soon as possible. Hope to hell the criminal dude gets to show off his sweet karate moves that he rocked last episode.
Wait, criminal is Topo's brother? Well shit, I should have figured. Topo is apparently trying to pull off "a job," which likely means sucking the criminal (the titular "Diablo," apparently) back into the life for one more gig. He's now lying to his lawyer, telling him that his madre (Mexican for mom) needs him, and he's got to hustle back to Manhattan. God, that lawyer chick is hot. She totally wants to come with him for his fake mother thing, and he's having a hard time saying no, so he makes up an excuse that he wants to take the train, which means she can't come because her car can't be driven by someone else or something? Fuck, I dunno.
I don't remember this chesty brunette married to the Mexican John Ritter from last episode. She's in her early 40s and manages to have her tits right under her chin in a sundress...
STRIPPERS! Fuck, one is stretching out by touching her elbows behind her back and doing squats. I couldn't possibly be making this up. Head slut, the one who's banging Martin, walks in. She's ridiculous. I mean, I'd empty my wallet to get a lapdance from any one of these women, but the villain? Damn.
Seriously, we're now seventeen minutes in and they're just now doing the title sequence?
Gaby Espino is top-billed, she's the lawyer. I need to figure out who the head whore is. I'm having a hard enough time typing and reading the subtitles at the same time, so it might be a few days before I get all this shit straight.
Okay, so commercial break - one reason I fell in love with this show can best be summed up in how they treated the standard in-bed-with-the-wrong-girl, but-someone's-on-the-phone, so-baby-be-quiet-so-we-don't-give-anything-away scene. On American TV, the girl would be nibbling at his neck and giggling. Telemundo? She's clearly fucking him under the sheets. This whole network is one exposed breast away from the pay wall, I swear to god.
By the way, about half of these commercials make you feel like you're in a parallel universe where the ad wizards swap brown people in for take two.
Diablo is saying his goodbyes, and lawyer lady's ass is banging in tight grey jeans. Yesterday, they did a flashback to her spirited defense of him in court. Did you know that New York City features court rooms that operate entirely in Spanish? Me neither! Lawyer chick looks like a curvy Angie Harmon, but 30% hotter.
STRIPPERS! Fucking A, I love this show. They're constantly working on their moves while talking, which is intentional, I assure you. Head whore is now in shiny boy shorts and a bikini top featuring mad sideboob. She's bragging about Martin giving her his credit card, and how she's totally playing him. Good for her. I'd be driven stupid enough by this chick to empty my bank account too.
Hitman arrives in the Hamptons, presumably to fill Diablo full of holes. Of course, he calls the boss before going in the house, which makes sense to set up his whole path from NYC to the Hamptons where he tries to kill someone and eventually goes down due to tracking the location of his cell phone calls.
Geeze, Nissan clearly a sponsor of this show. Lawyer and Diablo just fawned for 30 seconds over the camera that helps you back up without hitting shit in their muy, muy bien Murano.
This show has more women I'd like to pork than any other show on TV. By a significant margin.
Love the "I'm Mr. Opportunity, and I'm knocking" ads for Honda on Telemundo. Wonder if that translates to Spanish.
Another brown-people-take-two for Olive Garden. Great ad for calling cards hosted by the least-animated animated ant you can imagine. For $5, I can call Mexico for 73 minutes. I don't have that much time in my day to yell at Mexicans, so I'll keep my $5, thanks.
God, this dying-guy-and-wife-Martin-wants-to-bang couple is getting annoying. Ridiculous sidebar. They're like the parents from the old version of 90210, who I assumed were only hired because congress passed some law mandating an acceptable minimum of middle-aged cast members on television shows. Dude's dying with nobility, I suppose. Just die faster, please.
Hitman doesn't look at all obvious with his bald head, huge SUV and constant cell phone calls from across the street. I think I've just figured out lawyer lady's name is Manuela.
Christ, dying guy again. I'd totally bang his wife, even though she's thick and easily in her late 40s. She's really ratcheted that cleavage to another level, even for a mature woman with good size to begin with. Fuck, I'll miss you too, dying guy. Please pass.
Diablo in the house! Criminality to follow. Diablo has the map, knows when the shipment arrived. They're clearly hitting a truck full of... microchips? I think that's right. I know how this is going to play out... One of the criminals loves Topo's stripper, and knows Topo's after her, and he's totally going to turn on this crew and screw them in the end. Love his peasy beard and fake-ass cheek scar. Least threatening villain I've ever seen. Even Diablo's had enough. He just threatened to "finish what Iron Man (Martin) started," whatever that means.
Telemundo already teasing Mexico v. USA on Aug 12. Oh, I'll be there, Telemundo.
Steve Zahn's acting doesn't get any better in the dubbed trailer for The Perfect Getaway. Can't believe I'm expected to accept that he's married to Milla Jovovich. Not in this life. Where, exactly, on the quirky-chick spectrum does Jovovich fall, by the way? I mean, I would think Zooey Deschanel is the current gold standard, having taken that title from Parker Posey a couple years ago. I think Milla is slotted a couple below Zooey, and is ranked right above Maggie Gyllenhall. Deep sleeper on this list? Lili Taylor.
Manuela is glowing about Diablo after dropping him off at the train station, but detective guy is suspicious. Manuela blows him off and everyone laughs. Cut to the criminal elements plotting their microchip heist. Peasy dude has already been told he's not on the job, but only after they revealed their plan? Come on now. You know this guy's going to Martin to rat these guys out. I'm sure they're Martin's fucking microchips too, probably.
Big showdown between Diablo and some dude named Leon for control of the team. Ragtag bunch of misfits, really. Ridiculous. Someone's getting shot, and someone's going to jail. I'm sure we'll figure that out tomorrow, as no one's robbing anything in the next 13 minutes.
I'm wildly disappointed that I haven't seen head whore in more outfits today. On yesterday's episode, she taunted Martin's brother by showing him a teddy she bought with Martin's money, they went to commercial, and she showed up in the next scene wearing the teddy. This is why I'm watching.
Marina - that's apparently head whore's name. She hinted that Martin's son might be gay, and now Martin's confronting his son on the issue. Told you she was emasculating him. Martin looks pissed. Hasn't used the Mexican version of, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
Oh, so the strip club has a kitchen? Stripper-w-h-o-g wants the kitchen staff to watch the baby, and she's just revealed to them that Topo might be going out on a job. Turns out, one of the kitchen staff is the mom of one of Topo's crew, and the other one was eyeing her baby like a piece of meat.
Peasy beard dude is totally selling Diablo out... TO HIS MOM. That's the kitchen lady. What the hell? Tell the cops, get him arrested! Why tell his mom? Ugh.
There's been a total sex drought on this episode too. Last episode? way hotter. Still enjoying myself, but PUT SOME CHICKS IN LINGERIE, PLEASE. Dammit, Telemundo, you know what side your bread is buttered on.
Wait, there's a newswoman on Telemundo named "Tsi-tsi-ke Felix?" Did I see that right?
Last five minutes. Hitman's still following lawyer lady back to her apartment. She's digging through her luggage, and pulls out a nude drawing of her Diablo did. Nice! Classy! I've got to remember to tell women I'd like to draw them nude. Seems like an easy sell.
So, it's about to go down with Diablo's crew. They're dressing up as city workers, and Diablo is stating that he's doing this job BECAUSE he loves lawyer lady so much. As if that's not a perfectly good reason not to do the job. Jesus, Mexicans make no sense.
They roll out, and that's it... until tomorrow. Looks like lawyer lady disrobes, Martin tells her about the job, and Diablo's crew may not pull this thing off!
Tomorrow, 7PM Central, TELEMUNDO!
Sunday, March 08, 2009
A Tasty Failure
Last night's dinner was an attempt to recreate something I've had at a local bistro. There, the lamb shanks were braised in veal stock (and, I'm sure, something else) and served with ratatouille - which was eggplant, zucchini, squash, carrot and caramelized onion prepared with the braising liquid.
Sounds good, no?
Without giving too much away, I didn't get there. I ended up with something that I think anyone would have enjoyed being served in a restauarant, but it didn't hit the notes the bistro's version did, so I'm going back to the drawing board at some point (note: I have two more of these shanks in the freezer to experiment with) to figure it out.
On to the cooking...
Here's a pro-tip for your vegetable prep - take a couple sheets of plastic wrap and lay them down in the bottom of the sink. Toss all your vegetable garbage right in there as you're prepping.
Then, just pull up the corners of the plastic, bunch it up and voila...
No chasing carrot peel off the sides of your sink, no "garbage bowl" getting dirtied. Everything just balls up and goes right into the trash. Of course, this only works if you're able to get yourself to the point where all your veg is rinsed and ready to peel at the same time. Sink can't do double-duty with a layer of saran wrap at the bottom. I like this trick because I use my peeler so quickly that I can't shoot the peelings into a bowl. I need a bigger repository, but it totally sucks to have to pick individual peel pieces out of your sink's stopper and off the walls and such. Why not make it easy?
Here was last night's starting point - two 1lb. lamb shanks. If you look at the one in back, and see the taut layer of fat that runs along the side, you'll see something that looks a lot like silverskin. If you've ever had a beef filet that had a ribbon of something totally inedible running through it - not quite fat, but not at all chewable - that's silverskin. On beef, you trim. On these, I wasn't sure. I hadn't ever worked with lamb shank before, so it was a coin toss. Trim it, and risk losing some percentage of tasty, tasty fat, or leave it be and risk an inedible wrap around my lamb at the end. I chose to leave it be, and it was a good move. Despite the similarity in appearance, this fat wrap totally melted away just like it was supposed to, and kept the meat nice and juicy underneath.
Two weekends ago I went a little bonkers and decided to buy veal bones and make stock. If you believe Michael Ruhlman, and I do, "If there were one ingredient that the home cook could have that would transform absolutely his or her cooking, one that would put it close to the level of the professional chef, it's veal stock. This stock takes the flavors that are already present and, without inflicting its own flavors in braise or a stew or a sauce or a soup, elevates them. It's the selfless stock." Veal bones are also full of young fats and tissues, which gives the stock enhanced gelatinous qualities, which enhance the overall robust texture of any sauce in which you're incorporating the stock. From the pic, you can see I stored some of the end product in ice cube trays, and froze them for future use. I did a really outstanding job with this stock (using Ruhlman's "brown" veal stock recipe - brown = bones browned in the oven first), and when I pulled the cubes there was only a minimum of fat on top of each cube. Good stuff.
Oh, and I defrosted more than I ended up using, but simply returned the stock back to the trays and slipped it back into the freezer. Nice! I've got at least a quart more stock frozen waiting use, so you'll excuse me if I find a reason to work it into everything I do for the next little while.
After all the veg is chopped up (I made vegetable sticks, with the intent of having full sized veg pieces to eat as a side dish), brown the shanks.
This wasn't easy. The irregular shape of the shank prevented a uniform color, as they wouldn't sit comfortably flat in my French oven. This wasn't a big deal ultimately, as the business surrounding the bone on the lower half of the shank was largely fat, and melted off in its entirety over the cooking time.
After that, get the onions going.
Then, once softened, add the vegetable sticks and get the whole thing nice and hot.
It's crucial to get the veg heated up to a decently hot temp, as the next step is to start adding your liquid. Since wine goes first (for deglazing/burning off of alcohol), it's important that the contents of the pot are sufficiently hot enough to help the room-temp wine get up to steady simmer as quickly as possible.
Now, I originally added about 1.5 cups of Barolo. First off, why Barolo? Well, I bought a bunch of it last year August, and I was still sitting on almost a case. Why not treat myself? It's a great cooking wine, as it's dry and awfully flavorful. But I do regret using so damn much of it. I actually outsmarted myself before beginning the whole cooking process. What I did was to add all the raw vegetables and onions to the French oven, then add water to the point that looked right for the lamb to go in. Then, I removed the vegetables and the onions and dumped the water into measuring cups to see how much liquid I was going to need. What I didn't figure on was that vegetables at some state of cooking take up less volume than raw vegetables, and I overestimated the liquid I needed by a solid cup/cup and a half. I noticed this when I dumped the whole 1.5 cups of Barolo in. It filled the French oven over the veg to the point that I could have just added the lamb and been done with it. Seeing as I needed to add veal stock and tomatoes (and the rosemary sprig) as well, I ended up ladling some of the wine out and into the sink.
My beautiful, beautiful wine going down the drain. Sigh...
Anyway, wine cooks off/cooks down, then the veal stock and tomatoes go in and gets brought up to temp. After screwing up my liquid estimate, I just eyeballed this part. The whole thing is then brought up to a bubble.
Bonus here - all the stuff I had to prep to get that braise into the oven, and look how clean my kitchen is. Nice, huh? Also, in the video I mentioned using the parchment paper to hold the browned shanks while the veg/liquid was prepared, saving yourself from dirtying up a plate. I'd also recommend giving parchment paper a try instead of foil to line cookie sheets you're trying not to have to wash after use. I like it better than foil, as the heat is more direct from the cookie sheet (foil doesn't take on as much heat, paper allows the heat to go through more easily), and stuff that tends to stick to foil (freezer bag french fries?) doesn't stick to parchment paper. Oh, and I also use the stuff with my cheese grater on the counter to capture freshly grated Parm or Asiago. Again, just trying not to dirty a plate or cutting board.
I ran these at 325 degrees through three 45-minute cycles, turning after each, with an extra ten min tagged on to the end (no good reason, just wasn't ready to yank them yet). Here's a look at what came out:
So, I took that cup/cup and a half of braising liquid and a tablespoon of butter and reduced them in a saute pan for about five minutes while the shank and veg were under the broiler. Here's what it looked like on the plate, and some final thoughts. The recipe follows.
2 - 1lb lamb shanks
1 small yellow squash
1 medium green zucchini
1 large carrot
2 ribs celery
1 medium white onion
1 sprig of rosemary
3 roma tomatoes, peeled and crushed with their juices
2/3 cup dry red wine (Barolo used here)
2 cups veal stock
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Wash vegetables, peel carrot and squash. Chop into sticks. Chop onion into large half-orbit slices (there's gotta be a formal name for this cut, but I don't know what it is). Peel tomatoes and crush, holding aside. Salt & pepper lamb shanks.
Heat French oven over med-hi heat, add olive oil. Brown shanks as best possible, remove from oven and hold aside. Add additional olive oil if necessary, then add onion. Cook onion through for 3-5 minutes, then add vegetables. Salt & pepper. Cook until vegetables are hot and softening, approx. 5 minutes. Add red wine, deglaze. Allow alcohol to burn off. Add rosemary sprig, veal stock and tomatoes. Season with salt & pepper. Bring to a steady simmer. Add shanks back to braise, less than 1/4 submerged in the liquid. Press parchment paper down to trap the steam in right to the top of the meat. Cover, place in oven.
Turn the meat over every 45 minutes. Total cooking time = 2:30.
Turn broiler to high. Transfer meat to a cookie sheet. Remove vegetables from liquid and set aside. Add remaining liquid to a saute pan with one tablespoon of butter per 1.5 cups of liquid remaining. Reduce for five to seven minutes while meat is gaining additional color under the broiler. Add sauce back to meat and vegetables while plating.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Otis Eats Wasabi For $40
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Looks like a recent remark I made about a recent dining experience outed someone's relationship in a low-rent gossip blog.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Try Again Easy...
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Photos of today's front pages of:
New York Times
Oh wait, it did get reported. Even on the front page of eventheliberal insertnameofpaperhere.
You know what they say about assumptions... Except, you know, you can cut the "me" out that old saw.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Things Worth Mentioning
Had dinner at The Publican last night with DP and Grubby. The restaurant's concept is "Oysters, Pork and Beer," (no, really.), and it really fucking works.
We started off with a Belgian trappist, moved into a dozen oysters followed by a sampler of fine hams from across the world, then shifted gears to a Surly Mild. The Surly sucked (a "session" beer, says Chad - "Does this beer even have a taste?," says DP), but the entrees we started to devour absolutely did not.
The first pass included pork marrow, piping hot in the bones, and pork shoulder with littleneck clams and fingerling potatoes. The marrow was a first for all of us, and was really fucking good. Spread on some high-end sourdough it had an earthy molten awesomeness to it, and is something I'm not going to be scared off of anymore. The shoulder/clam dish worked like a charm too. There was a small puddle of a tomato broth that gave the whole thing a sort of cioppino (sp) look and feel, and the little burst of having all those flavors in your mouth at the same time was worth the price of admission.
More food came, along with some Alpha King. We were graced with a barbecue octopus, which was a little sweeter than, but still reminiscent of, unagi at a sushi joint. The other dish brought at this time was a potee of three kinds of pork: rib, tenderloin and this holy-fucking-shit pork belly sausage patty that just knocked me for a loop. The patty tasted fresh and medium-rare, and didn't have any fat texture to it at all, despite being constructed entirely of pork belly. That little piece of sausage was a revelation. Never had anything like it before, despite how rustic and simple the flavor was.
We knew we were still hungry when those two plates arrived, so Grubby ordered one more - a barbecued country rib platter cooked in pomegranite and kimchi. The meat had that charcoal caramelization around the sweetness of the pomegranite (although the kimchi was buried), and an outstanding texture, considering the cut is usually in need of serious slow cooking to achieve tenderness. I can't tell you what they did to get those country ribs to be as easy to eat off the grill as they were, but I'd like to find out.
So, the only real misses for me were the tenderloin out of the potee (a nice piece of meat, but nothing remotely close to special) and the Surly Mild. I'd give the trappist, octopus, marrow and belly sausage all an A+ grade, and the rest a solid A.
Total experience? A-grade for food, B+ for service (manager and bussers were outstanding, server was buried and took his time - which was alright by us, but he wasn't as attentive as he could have been).
As it got late and the restaurant started emptying out we got to meet the assistant manager (hot, and enthusiastic about food - and dating the chef de cuisine at Alinea, apparently) and chatted her up a little bit. The restaurant has been packed since the day they opened, and has received great reviews. I'm actually a little surprised that's the case, because the menu is either something you're really going to get, or something that isn't going to make sense at all. It's a pleasant surprise that all the critics were onboard, because this place was worth it.
We're taking you there if you're coming to Gentile Summit. Tables are booked.
The best purchase I made in 2008 was Apple TV. I'm going to get a little evangelical for a minute, but I firmly believe that if you've got an HDTV, cable modem, and a sound system of any sort hooked up, this rig will change your home theater experience.
More specifically, it's the combination of Apple TV and Boxee that has changed the way I listen to my music and watch TV. Here's the breakdown:
MUSIC: My CDs have been sitting in a closet for close to three years, and Apple TV further cements their place as backup hard copies to something far more convenient than a six-disc changer can offer. My entire iTunes library lives on the Apple TV box, and since the box runs its audio content out via digital optical audio to my amp/speakers, I've got my entire music collection at my command at all times. All my playlists, all my songs, and even the ability to shop the iTunes store via the Apple TV menu and internet connection. The only complaints I have are of the nitpicky variety (can't manage the music via Apple TV for ratings or playlists, for instance, but I have a computer at hand for that), and the cool things like the cover art screen saver more than make up for it.
MOVIES: How easy is it to rent and watch a movie on iTunes? Takes roughly two minutes from when you make your purchase to when enough is buffered to begin viewing. Also, there's a growing segment of the content that's delivered in (720p, not 1080p, but I can't tell the difference) HD. It's super easy. Add to that a variety of software solutions that help you rip or repurpose content for upload to Apple TV, and it couldn't be simpler to relax with some popcorn in front of the tube.
TV: Two angles here... first of all, you can either buy or upload your content, or you get Boxee. Boxee is a program that uploads to the Apple TV which provides access to sites like Comedy Central, CBS and Hulu. Granted, the video quality can be shaky, but the amount of content out there to view is staggering.
EXTRAS: How about your flickr account on a 42" HDTV? How about Youtube? My favorite, though, is access to the podcasts store in iTunes. Plenty of short form video, along with all sorts of professional and amateur audio content free at the click of a button.
Seriously, aside from Michigan State basketball on ESPN and Big Ten Network, I haven't watched anything except my local channels or stuff off the Apple TV in two weeks or more. There's enough on that box and on the net to keep me satisfied through the rest of the year - and plenty of room left on the 160GB hard drive for more.
Huge find. Highly recommended.
Got a call from "Fredo Speech Girl" today. She asked, "What the hell is your ex-wife thinking?" Turns out, the ex tried to friend FSG on Facebook, somehow forgetting they have been mortal enemies for years. As a matter of fact, one of the big hesitations my ex had getting engaged to me was that I used to run around with FSG. So FSG calls, I get a giggle out of it, and remain as anonymous on Facebook as my five-time All-Star pseudonymous identity allows.
You know I only mention this because there's an off-chance the ex reads this blog, and I know it will irritate her that I'm good friends with FSG again. And that FSG called me about her. That's all.
Memo to G-Vegas: We'll see you in two weeks.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
2 jars homemade Italian pork and beans
1 container of homemade Bolognese
1 pound meatballs
1/2 bar of Norwegian chocolate
1/2 lb whole milk mozzarella
1/2 lb chihuahua Mexican cheese
1 baby bottle of Soco
1 slice of Key Lime pie
6 lbs coffee beans, various types (bought here, recommended)
9 lbs veal bones
3/4 lb bacon
12 cups veal stock, in containers and ice cube trays
9 chicken breasts, boneless skinless
8 pork loin chops, boneless
2 veal shanks (ossobucco)
2 lamb shanks
2 meatloaves, beef/veal/pork/andouille
2 links Andouille sausage
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