Saturday, December 15, 2007

1:15 a.m.

153 Ultimate Rock Ballads!

Because if they gave me 150 I would feel cheated, like they had not tried. 153 seems like a number that was given a lot of thought and that was all they could squeeze onto 9 CDs.
Call in the next 60 minutes and they drop 29.99 and you go from 5 payments to just 4 payments of 29.99. "Opportunity of a lifetime" is what I am told from The Kevin Cronin of REO Speed wagon, in a shirt he should know better not to wear but doesn't. If I had not stayed up past 1:15 a.m. before I would have believed him but I have been sold this line before. Do we just shut our brains off after 1:15? We sit in front of our TV's and I see mullet after mullet paraded with spandex, leather, aquanet, wet and dry, it does not matter. Mullets, mullets and even when I flip I get a "prophet" speaking for God. I'm sure God is speaking but I am not listening to any prophet with a wet, jerry curled white guy mullet. Now back to this deal of a lifetime…

Call in the next 10 minutes and you get the best of the 70's- Yes, Eddie Money and Kansas for free. That fact could get me over the lingering insecurity that my penus needs enlargement (wow, Lord please don't let my mother see this) and I can't afford the "natural" supplements that I apparently need but I can afford the 120.00 dollars for 153 rock ballads. I need more Steve Perry in my life. No one ever told him that he looks like he got out of the shower, left his hair flat and sings like a woman to other women. Weren't the 80's so wonderful? "Meatloaf just has one of those voices that gives you goose bumps"-did I just hear that? I have goose bumps and I'm craving ground beef topped with ketchup.

I don't think I can fight this feeling any more, should I buy this C.D. set? Can these songs take me high enough because love hurts and I could close my eyes, only for just a moment but the moment could be gone. Maybe I should buy this C.D. set because this is more than a feeling, surely. I want to know what love is and I know these songs could show me because I don't know if this is love, I've been searching for it, but how will I know true love. I need 153 lessons on true love. It's like I am having a total eclipse of the heart, I can't see. At least they can help me narrow it down to girls named Oh'Sherrie, Sara, Carrie, Beth, Amanda, Rosanna (let's go all the way) or your sister Christian.

This is almost paradise. Thank you Time life. Thank you

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Inside the cooks kitchen vol. 1- Sausage Chronicles

Much like "Inside the actors studio" I hope to pick the brains of people who love food like I do and get some insight for all to learn. Our first interview will be a man who is my dear friend, fellow N. Ireland traveler, computer guru, thinker and all around good guy Michael Atkins- "The Patron Saint of Sausage". I kind of see him as the Lewis and Clark of my culinary experience, always up for adventure and exploration. Let's dive in!

-How did you become the Patron Saint of Sausage?
It was a sunny summer day in the home of black pudding (Northern Ireland) when a discussion on the topic of sausage began. It was probably overwhelming enthusiasm rather than any professional qualification that earned the title. I've not worked any miracles, but I have smoked breakfast sausage over hickory and mesquite and that blurs the line quite a bit. I do hope to carry the mantle in a worthy manner for years to come.

-What is it about sausage that makes it better than a pork chop or hamburger, which are in the meat family?
Two things immediately come to mind...fat and spice. The American pig farmer, responding to popular demand, has basically bred the fat right out of the pig population. Additionally, the FDA has instilled visions of painful infections or death at the thought of not cooking your pork chop until it resembles something akin to shoe leather. Cattle farmers suffer from the similar anti-fat initiatives as their porcine brethren. These days, people will pay huge sums for ridiculously lean beef only to top it with three cheeses, bacon and bleu cheese dressing.
You simply don't have those kinds of challenges with sausage. It doesn't require condiments, buns, or special sauce. Everything you need to enjoy it is already inside. In a family with a member whose name is Lardo, you know exactly what you're getting. That is the sausage family.

-What are you top two go to sausages for yumminess and merriment?
Since I began smoking meat in recent months, nothing brings a smile to my face faster than smoked breakfast sausage (known simply as "fatties"). Sausage began life in human history as a way to preserve meat. Something about taking it back to the basics of meat and smoke connects us with the generations of sausage fathers past.
I also have a huge warm spot for the entire salumi family...from bresaola to cappicola to salami and everything in between. The branch of the family that is cured will be high on the list of any disciple.

-What are your favorite ways to prepare the aforementioned sausage?
It's hard to mess up sausage. There are branches of the family I have yet to sample...mostly in the organ meat department (I'm not settled on the "pate is sausage" debate that is older than we are). Sausages can be boiled, fried, smoked, cured, simmered, dried, and fermented (mmm...summer sausage) with the expected outcome almost always being delicious. I'm relatively purist when it comes to serving. I'm not saying sausage should never be combined with sauces or soups - I've had my share of great gumbos and pastas with italian sausage - I'm simply saying you can't judge a sausage solely on those appearances. You need to give each one a chance to perform on its own.

-I was shocked as you educate me in knowledge of the sausage just how many types there are. What are one or two sausages that are just a real delight that people know little about?
Anytime someone is entering the arena as a novice and is looking to have their eyes opened quickly, I turn to my old friend Chorizo. Chorizo represents a lot of what's right in the sausage world. It is intensely spiced and contains copious amounts of fat - the combination produces one of the best apologetic arguments...forget cosmology...have you tried chorizo?
Other recommendations usually depend on the person seeking guidance. I'm quick to send someone down the salumi path. They are easy to get, require no preparation, and taste delicious. For some, the sense of adventure draws them down the organ meat path. For them, it's boudin. Boudin is balanced in its presentation and gives a relatively easy entry way into organ meats. Black pudding and some of the scandinavian sausages are available to those wishing to move beyond basic boudin.

- Have you ever made your own sausage or are plans in the works?
The making of sausage has been maligned to the point of absurdity. Really, anyone who would compare making such a beautiful product to politics must never have seen either. While I haven't yet produced my own, I'm certainly not against it. Unfortunately, the economics of the situation limit the varieties available to the sausage artist at home. I think a nice andouille would be a great segue into what has the potential to become an obsession.

-I know you have a smoker, how has sausage been apart of that enterprise?
Smoking has brought an entirely new dimension to the enjoyment of sausage at my house. Anytime the smoker is turned on, you will find at least 3 fatties cooking alongside whatever other meat is being beautified. If you have a smoker, you owe it to yourself to do this!

- How would you recommend including sausage into meals this holiday season?
Sausage is a part of the celebrations of many cultures. Not too long ago, winter was a time when preserved foods became everyday staples as supplies of fresh foods diminished. Do some genealogical research and discover the sausage traditions of your ethnic and cultural ancestors. From Europe to Asia to Latin America and everywhere in between - sausage has a proud heritage. There is a huge number of prepared dishes featuring sausage. Sausage can appear on a platter with cheese for an appetizer. Sausage can be featured in dressing as a side dish. Sausage, of course, can be the star of the show as well. Really, there is no excuse for failing to have sausage in some form at your family feasts.

-Do you have a history of heart disease that could interfere with your pursuit of this passion?
I may have a history, but I don't have one that will interfere.

-Finally, Ron Paul, good idea?
See, there you go messing up a perfectly good discussion about sausage by bringing politics into it. I'll do my best to answer. Ron Paul is like a nicely aged bresaola among a platter of really weak, grocery store, water-laden bolognas.*

(all views expressed are those of the interviewee and do not always reflect the views of the author of this blog nor do they often reflect reality)

Hope you all enjoyed. Look for more interviews and I hope I can get my big interview opportunity with Moby. He is real and I will avoid every temptation to make a stupid whale joke.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

My day is made

It's the little things people that just make you grin. My friends the Hendrix's love them some White Castles (sliders for those in the know) and so when I saw them this afternoon I started craving them. I drove over to the White Castle after leaving their presence and got my sammies (with extra pickle). I get to the drive through window and the credit card machine is broken. I have no cash. I tell my friend this and he asks me if I want ketchup. I said no, he gave me the bag and I reminded him I have no money. The man said it was cool and I drove off with free White Castles with extra pickle. I started singing "Free White Castle" over and over as I drove away.. Happy Day.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How I get stupid

When I need to keep my head from hurting after finishing a 5,000 word document and life just seems to be too stressful or work is just too "high brow" I need to kick it low brow. Maybe your stress is different and every time I think, man I'm busy, then I realize I don't have kids and I am not breast feeding right now or I have kids waking me up at night etc.. so life is good..

All said, let's get stupid with some videos. I'll be writing soon on Grammar, beavers and another sausage post.

Nice impersation of Matthew Mcconaugheyyyyyy ah my goodness you fine.

Unlike the above video, this gets funnier the more you watch it and really helps us get stupid

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hannah Montana of Bluegrass

Because I know that you come to me for your hard hitting bluegrass news let me introduce you to Sierra Hull who must be the Hannah Montana of bluegrass. She is not related to Billy Ray, which actually goes to her credibility, so don't be confused by that. She has some chops and it's great to watch them jam in the living room with wood paneling behind them and a guy on mandolin a.k.a "the chili dipper" with handle bar mustache. Do you think his name is Randy, Fletcher or Dale?