Looking Glass (again, hee hee hee)
“…he came on a summer’s day, bringing gifts from far away…”
nothing at the moment
still pondering the wondrous possibilities
my upcoming vacation
only two weeks to go!
t h a n k s
whoever in Missouri bought some of my shirts
may they serve you long and well 🙂
flotsam & jetsam
I have readers on every continent except Antarctica. Some of the newest additions to my collection: Iran, New Zealand, South Africa, and Venezuela. Totally awesome, dude. 🙂 Thank you all for reading, because humour without an audience is merely a crazy person talking to themselves. In the dark.
My Cooking Class features have lots of large photographs that take a long time to load. What the hell am I apologizing for? No, screw YOU! YOU get a faster connection. (C’mon, you know the big pictures are worth it. Each and every picture as delicious as a centerfold…) The Cooking Class features will also be reduced to once a week, because I fall into a food coma after eating and then I don’t have time to edit the photos. Mmm. Food coma…
Q & A with OMGWTF
Dave of Miami, FL (I haven’t been to Miami since I was five. I remember I was traumatized on that trip because I swallowed chewing gum and sincerely thought I was going to die.) asks…
Q. Just curious how do you maintain a petite body eating steak, chili fries and other deep fried goodies?
Dave, that’s an interesting question. To answer it, we go now to a friend of mine, Big Mike, who was at Outback Steakhouse with me and asked this very question. Big Mike?
How do you eat so much and stay so skinny?
I talk a lot of s— about people.
That would explain why your face is skinny, but how about the rest of you?
After I talk s—, I have to run away very quickly.
Oh. Yes, that explains it.
And there you go, Sir Dave of Miami, FL.
Chicken à la King is a classic recipe and it is one of the first dishes I made as a kid. WARNING: this is NOT a healthy recipe. The “tweakage” level of this recipe is high. (Yeah, I made up the word “tweakage”. It means the tweakability of something.) You can tweak many aspects of this dish to your liking, i.e., omit certain vegetable elements, use all cream (just because you’re not rich doesn’t mean your food can’t be), etc. The original recipe calls for pimientos, but I omit those. They belong in my martini olives, and there they shall stay.
Chicken à la King
As with many named dishes, there are several stories concerning the orgin of Chicken à la King. The most plausible story, according to FoodReference.com, says Chicken à la King was created by Chef George Greenwald, at the Brighten Beach Hotel, New York in either 1898 or the early 1900s. He prepared a special chicken dish one evening for the owners, Mr. & Mrs. E. Clark King II. The next day, either Mr. King loved it and wanted it on the menu or Chef Greenwald asked if he could put it on the menu. In either case, it was added to the menu as Chicken à la King ($1.25), and quickly became a great success.
Snap back to reality… (Oh, there goes gravity…)
This recipe is supposed to serve 4. You will need…
meat from six chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces, skin and excess fat removed (I like dark meat, but you can substitue an equal amout of white meat)
1/2 stick of butter (I told you this wasn’t a healthy recipe…)
2 or 3 shallots, diced
half a yellow onion, diced (not the sweet onion varieties)
1 cup diced green and/or red bell pepper (you can get large peppers and save the extra for another purpose)
1 cup sliced mushrooms (more if you like them shrooms)
1 cup petite green peas (frozen is fine, no need to defrost, either)
1 cup milk (or 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 cup cream, if you want a richer sauce, or all cream–if you dare)
a 14-ounce can of chicken broth (NOT the flavored ones)
1/2 cup sherry (oh yes, wine… mmm… sweet, sweet wine…)
1/2 cup white flour
salt & pepper to taste
cooked pasta, rice, toast points, or biscuits to serve the chicken over (we prefer cooked white rice)
Got it all handy? Spiffy. Let’s ride…
Cook the chicken. The original Chicken à la King recipe uses poached chicken, but I do a quick panfry instead. I HIGHLY recommend removing the skin and extra fat from the chicken pieces. Aralia and I like fatty chicken so we kept it. Do as we say, not do as we do… What’s that? We’ll need to run another three miles? Just put it on our tab… If you are using chicken pieces without skin, drop a tablespoon of oil or butter into your pan to prevent the chicken pieces from sticking while cooking. I like to put a few grinds of black pepper on the chicken while it cooks.
The chicken should be done, cooking over medium-high heat, in 10-12 minutes.
Put the cooked chicken aside and reserve for later. Pour off the fat from the pan, and toss in the butter. Raise the heat to high. Oh yeah!
Throw in the vegetables (shallots, onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms) without mercy!
Sauté the vegetables, stirring often, until the onions are translucent. I generally sauté my vegetables for 10-15 minutes, depending on the amount of vegetables I have. A good way to judge the amount of time is by the bell peppers. The bell peppers should still be brightly colored (cooking too long will turn them dark), but tender to the bite. It is better to undercook rather than overcook.
Flour power! Sift or sprinkle about two tablespoons of the flour at a time over the sautéed vegetables, stirring in between, until all the flour is used. You are making a roux. By adding the flour evenly in small amounts over the sautéing vegetables, you will avoid getting giant clumps of flour bombs in your sauce. Take the time to do it right. DO NOT dump in the flour in one go. If you do, I will be forced to hunt you down and kick you.
If you added the flour with the preferred patience of a saint, you should have this lovely outcome.
Add the broth and sherry. Stir it up! You will notice the sauce thickening noticeably.
Add the milk and/or cream. Stir it up! Dance a little! Sing a little! Drink your beer!
Add the cooked chicken to your richie-richeson (what a great name) cream sauce. Stir. Yet again.
Mmm. By now, you should have all manner of men and animals knocking at your door to see what’s cookin’. The cats in the neighborhood used to camp outside my apartment door when I would cook this. Yep. That’s me. The Inadvertent Cat Lady.
Peas overboard! Yep, stir them little green suckers in, too.
So beautiful I think I’m gonna cry. *Sniff.* Stir and cook just until the chicken is hot and the peas are no longer frozen. Add salt to taste.
Serve the Chicken à la King over cooked pasta, rice, et al. We slathered ours over white rice, opened a bottle of white wine, and settled down in front of the TV. It’s Shark Week, baby.
By the way, Chicken à la King reheats well. Take the extra for lunch.
100 days of pool : 34 days left
Almost there… Just a little over a month left…
 : Tuesday, July 31, 2007
[SAPP = Socially Awkward Pool Player]
When I arrived at league tonight, I noticed my teammate–we will name her Alice in Wonderland–shooting with a guy I had not seen before. I asked her if he was a member of the team we were playing tonight. She responded in the negative. Her opponent–we will name him Pear Man SAPP–immediately came up and asked me if I was also a “pool shark”. I said no. He said, good, then I might learn something. I shrugged. I sat down to watch and wait my turn.
I was treated to a thorough, near-flawless trouncing of PMS by Alice.
The best part? PMS was giving her tips on every shot, and coaching her the whole time (incorrectly, might I add), and offering the encouragement you might give a potty-training toddler (“You can do it! I know you can!”), even though it was apparent that he was, BY FAR, the inferior player. I looked at Alice and said, “He’s coaching you.”
Alice smiled a huge smile, and said, “Yeah. Aren’t boys funny?”
A few games later, I played another random guy we shall name SAPP Yellow Fever. I played quite well against him, but ended up scratching on a spectacular eight-ball shot. SAPP Yellow Fever was not a bad player, but I would have to say I don’t think I’d have a problem beating him, even were I to spot him a triple shot of Jack Daniels on the rocks. After my loss, I turned to go sit down and SAPP Yellow Fever commenced to say loudly,
“You did that on purpose, didn’t you?”
“You know, scratch on the eight-ball.”
SAPPs of The World, please note–I do not lose on purpose. Ever. I am a true competitor, and you can bet your last penny and go into debt betting more and then bet all your credit at the Bank of Heaven of Hell that my sole mission is to make sure you never win.
I turned to rest my eyes on the smugly smiling visage of SAPP Yellow Fever, dressed as he was in his dirty grey wifebeater with stained cargo shorts and various unreadable and randomly placed tattoos. I decided to think carefully and not say the first thing that jumped to mind. I measured the SAPP with a critical eye.
“Nope. You’re not that cute. And I don’t like you that much.”
Alice later told me that she had run into SAPP Yellow Fever before, at another pool hall, where he proudly informed her that he had married a wealthy Chinese girl. For her money.
Yeah. I don’t get why you’d tell a girl that, either. Especially an Asian one. Who isn’t Chinese. Dumbass.
My pleasant winning streak in league came to a gentle stop tonight. I’m glad I lost to the person who beat me. I always remember that I could have lost to a person who plays a lot worse, and who I like a lot less.
Good shooting, JB.
 : Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Today was another slow evening at the pool hall. I am attempting to resuscitate my big-table game, but bar tables look more appealing by the second since I can reach everything. Oh well. I learned something today.
I learned (again) that I am short and I need to learn how to use a bridge.
 : Thursday, August 2, 2007
I decided to play pool at lunch today.
When I walked through the door of the lounge, a guy I didn’t know immediately came up to me and asked if I wanted to play pool. My SAPP Alert System shot straight to WTF and I asked why. He said he figured he could learn something from a good player. I asked, with some degree of suspicion, how he knew I was a “good” player…
Turns out, he had seen me play in college many years ago. I used to spar against his brother quite a bit and he remembered me from those days.
The world is small.
And I am old.
For the uninformed, Le Sandbox is the section of my blog that contains links to random/weird/funny articles, videos and other fun stuff on the internet. Click on the RED links below to start slacking and killing time now!
age & beauty <– Goldie Hawn…
Stick around for the slow-mo replays at the end.
[3 minutes : 38 seconds]
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