Special Sauce

A mish-mash of twisted thoughts from a fevered ego. Updated when the spirit moves me, contents vary and may have settled during shipping. Do not open towards eyes. Caution: Ingestion of Special Sauce may cause hair loss, halitosis, and a burning sensation while urinating.



Dear family of a culture different than mine that I've tried to tolerate for the past week,

I realize you're concerned about your family member, and last night, they were going downhill quite rapidly. However, today they're infinitely better. This is still a critical care unit, and if I can't get through the room for the number of people jammed in there, I'm going to get pissed. Additionally, this is a HOSPITAL, not your damned living room. All kinds of evil germs are all over the place, especially in our nasty-ass carpeting. For the love of God, PUT YOUR FUCKING SHOES BACK ON. The only people who get to prance around in their socks are the patients.

Also, I realize you've got family in all parts of the world, and cell phones are ubiquitous. This does not give you license to chat on your phone, in my hallway, IN YOUR SOCKS every 30 seconds. Put your damn shoes on and go to the waiting room, before you kill someone (or I do).

Enough Already


What I'm Eating, II

Oh, let me just sing the praises of the Tofu Shiritaki noodle now. Seriously. This stuff is so tasty, and for 40 calories a bag? Dieters should rejoice. This stuff is good. The Angelhair is what I tried first, and turned it into the fastest, tastiest lunch that you can get on the table in 10 minutes.

Teriyaki Tofu Shiritaki

1 bag Tofu Shiritaki angelhair noodles (found where you find your tofu)
about 2 cups or so of frozen stirfry veggies (I used a half bag of snap pea stir fry mix and a half bag of red/green pepper strips)
a swirl or two of olive oil
about 2T GOOD quality teriyaki sauce (Cooks Illustrated has a great easy recipe...)

Heat up a frying pan or wok with the oil, toss in your frozen veggies and cook them till they're nearly done. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the noodles in a colander, and run a knife through them a few times to shorten them slightly. When the veggies are nearly done, toss in the noodles an teriyaki sauce, heat through till everything's done, and enjoy! It makes 2 really big servings, and would be great with a side of fruit.

The angelhair noodles have the texture of very well cooked rice noodles, and it really works for this. YUM. I'll be stocking up on bags of these, and will post as new recipes come to me.

Also- yesterday's clammy pasta spirals are really good the second day (or even the first) if you add about 1/2 block of lowfat cream cheese that has been melted with a little chicken broth- (or veggie broth) and a diced tomato. Makes it sorta alfredo-y, but not lethally fatty. Taaasty.


What I'm Eating

I've been feeling really domestic lately, so I've been cooking a lot more. It doesn't hurt that I've cut my hours back at work, and have had an extra night off per week. It also doesn't hurt that I got the neatest little lunchbox thingee. It's great for packing my lunch for in between classes, fits nicely into my already overpacked backpack, and has the perfect icepack...

So here's what I'm eating today.

CLB's chai spiced rice pudding (with my twists)

1 cup medium grain rice
5 cups milk-type liquid (I used a can of light coconut, a cup and 2/3 of skim milk- all I had left, and the remainder was light vanilla soymilk.)
1/4 cup sugar (your mileage may vary- but with all the sweetness of coconut milk and vanilla soy, I didn't need that much.)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 big pinch white pepper
1 big pinch nutmeg
1/3 teaspoon salt
4 chai teabags

Put together the rice, sugar, and liquids. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce to a simmer. Remove the teabags & press out the liquid, and continue to simmer till the rice is tender. Don't cook everything out, or it's going to be gross and pasty later. Take it off the heat, stir in the spices. Serve warm or cold, this will thicken as it cools.

This is the ultimate spicy warm comfort food.

For dinner (to keep the carb love going)... Clammy Spirals.

4 good sized cloves of garlic, minced or grated
1/2 to 2/3 box of pasta (I used wheat rotini)
zest of half a lemon, plus juice
1 cherry pepper, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
handful of parsely (flat leaf) minced
an assload of olive oil
1 bag of baby clams
(the kind you get near the tuna, not raw ones).

Grate 2 of the cloves of garlic & pepper flakes and cook gently in a little bit of olive oil over low/med heat, once your pasta is nearly done cooking. Once that garlic is cooked, add the other two cloves (grated) and the pepper. Add a bit more olive oil, and increase heat. Add your clams (drain them and press dry- otherwise you're going to wear it.) and stir till warm. Drain your pasta, saving a little of the water, and mix it, along with your minced parsley into the clammy mix. Add a little more oil/water if you need it, salt & pepper to taste, and top with fresh grated parmesan, if you'd like.

Yum. Makes plenty with leftovers. Enjoy!

So. What are YOU eating?


School's In

Oh that magical, mystical month off has evaporated, and I find myself setting the alarm for 0630 again. Damnit, the semester's begun again.

I have a few observations from this first semester.

1. If you're embarking on a second career, bully for you! I'm right there with ya. I'm fortunate in the fact that I look like I'm a good 6 or 7 years younger than I am, and can blend in with some of the little kids here. However, when you look every bit of your 40+ years, dressing like a bratz doll doesn't make you fit in, it makes you look like a whore. An old whore at that. PS- those 2 inch long acrylics you're sporting (with rhinestones) are SO not going to fly in clinicals.

2. I realize that the "Y" generation is used to multi-media, channel surfing, and generally has the attention span of a gnat. Nonetheless, this is college. The Sociology textbook should not read like it was written by a bunch of overly-caffienated, ADD-afflicted chimps. I've read issues of USA today that were more scholarly and logically arrayed. And for fuck's sake, I don't give a shit if Buffi thinks she's a Functionalist or if she espouses the Conflict theory. Please don't make me have to post 25 things a week on our ridiculous message board.

3. I now know way, way more than I ever thought I would about the reproductive system. P's afraid I'm going to slice his nuts open, just so I can identify all the parts. "Look honey! It's your tunica vaginalis, and there's your tunica albuginia. Now hold still so I can take a look at spermatic cord, and STOP Crying! You'll make the knife slip!

4. It's really funny to have P as a lab partner in micro. The prof is a riot, and I believe this will be my favorite class. It doesn't hurt that he's got a science-geek sense of humor (I like that), and I used to have a giiiiiinormous crush on his son in Junior Hi. Heh.

I'm sure next week will be even more amusing.


What would we do?

Ok, a little exercise from Crankyprof. What would we do if you spent a day with me in Lovely Lancaster, PA? Assuming money was no object, I didn't have to work that night, and there were no classes to attend...

First stop? Wish You Were Here, for some sweet Swedish Pancakes. Oh sure, you can get bigger breakfasts elsewhere, and you could order something else off the menu, but why bother? They also have the best iced tea around.

Next, a quick walk over to Central Market, "The Country's Oldest Farmer's Market", which is conveniently located downtown. However, if you came to visit in the summertime, I'd probably hustle you out to my favorite farmstand, run by a local Mennonite family. There, you can get a giant office paper size box of tomatoes for about 6.00, great home-grown sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, blueberries, peaches, and baked goods for ridiculously low prices. (Buy fresh! Buy local!)

Next stop? Lunch. I'm pretty partial to a local Vietnamese restaurant, SaiGon Cafe, (they don't have a website). However, if we're aiming for touristy, we could hit one of the 900,000 smorgasbord tourist traps, like Shady Maple (and we wonder why there's an obesity epidemic?)

After lunch, it would depend on your personality- Crafty folks get a trip to the Flower and Craft Warehouse. It's exactly what it sounds like- a ginormous warehouse with all manner of silk, dried, and fresh flowers, plus regular craft supplies, fabric, baskets, a 10,000 sq foot scrapbooking emporium, bath and body stuff, candles in every scent imaginable, and that's just the first floor. Upstairs is jewelry, candy, decor, and Christmas. Oh, and they added a greenhouse. Planty types, however, would need to visit the Black Creek Greenhouse. (A little further up the road.) They've got more plants than anyone else in the county. (No website, sorry.)

Retail types would, of course, end up at the Outlets. (Yes, they get a capital O.) Rockvale and Tanger Outlets sell all kinds of brand name merchandise at low-low prices. My favorites are the Corningware outlet, and the Pfaltzgraff outlet. They also got a Steve & Barry's, apparently.

After that, it's dinnertime, and eating on the patio at the Old Greenfield Inn would be swell, but if there's an ox or pig roast at a local firehall, my money's on that. (The firehall closest to my Mom & Dad's does a pork and sauerkraut dinner every year on New Year's day- family style, all you can eat, pork, hotdogs, sauerkraut, taters, applesauce, rolls, and at the end? Cake... All for about 11 dollars a person. This? You can't beat.) Firehall cooks rock- and if ya wanna see the Amish in their "natural habitat" forget that crap out on Rte 30, and come to a firehall dinner.

For the evening's entertainment, we could take in a band at the Chameleon, or a couple of drinks in the Lizard Lounge, See a play or hear the symphony at the Fulton Opera House, or take in a Barnstormers baseball game. If you're visiting in the fall, I would recommend visiting one of at least 4 (that I can think of) community street fairs. (New Holland's my favorite, but Ephrata is good too!) Nothing's more fun than eating a Grilled Cheeseburger (a grilled cheese sandwich with a hamburger smacked in the middle- NOT a pattymelt!) and fresh cut fries in the middle of the street, then following up with caramel corn, watching a little "Rat Roulette", checking out the exhibitions, and grabbing some fried Oreos or some tasty cream puffs on the way back to your car. (There are games and rides too, but c'mon- you're here for the FOOD!)

Sure, there's more to do in Lancaster that doesn't involve food, but really- is it worth your while? We grow it, we sell it, and we love to cook it. That's the best part about Lancaster... (We could, actually, spend the entire day eating, but that would be a little bad, eh?) Maybe tomorrow I'll do JUST Lancaster City- Mmm...