Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Severed Finger Snacks (and maybe a few toes)

I am fortunate to have a job where every couple of months I get to help put on a great big fabulous party. Last Friday was a Halloween extravaganza, so I thought I'd share my very simple recipe for those of you who still need to whip up some scary snacks. These aren't really very gross looking, which is good because even though it's Halloween, you still want people to be able to eat them after you went to all that trouble. Of course, if they don't, that's just more for you....

Here are the ingredients: puff pastry (you buy it in the freezer section and let it thaw,) an egg, some rosemary and some sliced almonds. You want specific amounts? Sorry. My life's an art, not a science. Pay attention, and you'll be alright.

The first thing you want to do is preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then break your egg into a bowl and stir it with a fork to break it up. Add a little bit of water to make a glaze. Get out your pans.

Listen to how bossy I sound! Pretend I've got a riding crop while I give you these instructions - you know you like it.

You can use metal or glass...they both work just fine. For one box of puff pastry, you'll probably need two large pans. One box'll get you about 60 fingers, unless you're like me and drop some on the floor, taste test a few, forget to put on the almonds...then you'll get about 50.

Lay out your puff pastry and cut it into strips - about 10. Then cut each of these strips into 3 giving you somewhere around 30 fingers. Don't worry about making the strips all even and tidy.

Use your hands to round the corners on one end and pinch each strip right in the middle so there's a large raised bump. This will turn into the knuckle. Lay them on your pans and use a pastry brush (your finger will work too) to brush on a thin layer of glaze. Then add an almond to the rounded end. I like to pick through the almonds and find the ones that are the most toenail-like. And since every severed finger (or toe) needs a hairy knuckle, sprinkle on a little rosemary right in the middle. Eeeeeew. At this point you can also sprinkle on a little salt or parmesan cheese if you want more flavor. This, of course, all depends on what kind of wine you like to drink with fingers. I prefer a nice cabernet.

Here is my favorite kitchen minion helping to make the fingers. Look at those hands. You know what they say....big hands....warm heart. Or something like that.

Now stick them in the oven for about 10 minutes. You'll know they're done when they're puffy and golden brown. I like to wait until the toenails also have a funky brown tinge to them as well. Take them out, let them cool a bit and enjoy.

Just imagine how great these look floating in a bowl of tomato soup or sticking out of a bowl of chili.

A whole tray of fingers ready to party:

One last thing. If you get in a hurry and think it'll be okay to wash your glass baking pan right after it comes out of the won't. In fact, it will explode and shatter into about a bazillion pieces and cause your kitchen minion to shriek and your curmudgeonly taste tester to get that wrinkle in the middle of his brow and swear that he will never let you use his kitchen again.


I think a little sweet talkin' and a plate of my famous espresso brownies will help heal the trauma.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

24-08... meet Buxton Meats

Because of the previous post I felt it was time to come around in the circle of life.

My girlfriend Chris owns a seven acre farm. They have had cows, chickens, ducks and a miniature horse all at various points. She is the daughter of a vet and a nurse and has the most kind and lovingly tender heart that I have ever known. For some reason, the animal kingdom (and kids) just naturally gravitate to her. She has even taken in a stray pigeon, nursed it back to health and then set it free. But she is also practical. She gathers eggs for breakfast and would milk the cows if she still had them. Animals are meant to be providers.

Being more of a city girl myself I have a warped sense of the food chain. My food comes from the grocery store or if I'm feeling fairly adventurous I head for a farmer's market.

So when Chris told me that they had a cow that they were taking to the market and did I want half I naively said "of course!"

As I took my kid to the slaughter house to pick up our meat, a strong smell hit me. I'm not sure what the smell of death is but I think that might have been it. I thought about turning around and heading back to Winco's meat dept for something that was recognizable and not so scary. I felt a little pang of guilt for not even knowing it's number, gender or if it had any next of kin to notify.

Unfortunately, our slaughter guy must have sensed "newbie" all over us and grabbed my son to take him "in the back" to see the behind the scenes action.

Five minutes later, Spencer returned a little greener than when he had unwillingly left my side. Quietly he whispered that he had seen pigs, cows, sheep and even a horse hanging fleshless on huge metal hooks.

We quickly gathered up our four boxes of meat and sped home. As I opened up the goods, I began to sort and determine what cut was what and how I might prepare a feast for dinner. We seemed to be filling up the freezer rather rapidly and as I mentally started counting out the packages of hamburger I found that I had slightly underestimated.

One hundred and twenty pounds of ground chuck later I began nervously laughing.

So if you ever get up here to Oregon, stop on by for a spell. I have an extra bedroom and plenty of food. I'll make you anything you'd long as hamburger is in the recipe.

I highly recommend the Cheesy Meatball soup.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's just a little crush

I're all sick of hearing about my gigantic crush on Heraldo. I've professed my adoration of his intellect and wit here, on other blogs and on my long drive home, inserting his name into the sappiest of love songs while I bellow out the open window across the grassy range.

For the record, and just so no one thinks I'm only a one-crush girl (or perhaps a stalker,) I thought I'd tell you about my latest. You see, crushes can be on anyone really. It doesn't mean that I want to spend a hot Saturday night with them necessarily, it just means that I find them fabulous in one way or another. Those of you who are squeezing your eyes shut and shouting, "Liar!" right now; you might have a small point. There are certainly a few crushes who are worthy of a backseat makeout session, but for the most strawberry gloss on the lips or Al Green on the ipod is required.

This has been the latest object of my affection: Number 24-08.

She used to wait by the fence for me everyday and refused to leave until I'd visited with her for a bit. Visiting with Number 24-08 didn't consist of much talking. She's a woman of few words and communicated mainly with her big gentle eyes. Over the past several weeks I'd gotten to know her quite well, and I now understood what she wanted and what she needed: apples. Lots and lots of apples.

I would walk around the yard gingerly picking up every apple that had fallen from the tree, braving the bald-faced hornets that were often lying in wait on the underside. I threw them one by one over the fence, and the second an apple hit the ground, Number 24-08 grabbed it with her huge black tongue and swallowed it in one bite. She did this until she'd eaten them all. The feast always ended sooner than she would've liked.

I stood on the other side of the fence and tried to explain things to her. "That's it, 24-08. There's no more. Only a few fall every day - such is the way of apples. I'm really sorry. Stop looking at me like that. Is that a tear in your eye? Come back tomorrow - there'll be more. I promise!" I always got the feeling that she didn't quite understand. Eventually, after a last effort at sticking her nose through the fence, she ambled off and joined her less ambitious pals in the far pasture.

I've never been one to form a crush on a well-mannered soul. I like the wild ones, the rabble-rousers, the ones my mom always warned me about, and Number 24-08 is no different.

Two weeks ago I awoke with a start to a horrible noise in the middle of the night. Was it thunder? A wild animal on the roof? A strapping ranch hand peeping tom? I groggily climbed out of bed and shone a flashlight out the window to see if I could determine where the sound was coming from. I swept it over the yard - not a thing seemed to be amiss. Was it a dream? I waited a few minutes and hearing nothing, walked back to the bed. I was just about to pull the covers back over my head when there it was again: Bang! Followed by a burst of small explosions. Maybe it was one of the ranchers after a mountain lion. I ran to the window and shone the flashlight into the farthest part of the yard, and there she was: my sweet Number 24-08.

Apparently she had peer-pressured some of her friends into a late night raid. They were ramming their big cow selves just hard enough on the fence to knock it against the tree. If they managed to hit it just right, they were rewarded with a shower of apples for a delicious midnight snack. I threw on a sweatshirt, ran outside and waved my arms at them.

"Number 24-08! You sneaky little thing! How dare you! After all the times I risked being attacked by wasps so you could have your afternoon treat! And this is the way you treat me! Get out of here! And take your lazy good-for-nuthin' cow friends with you!"

Number 24-08 stared at me for a long time. She finally gave one last look, inhaled, snorted loudly, turned her back to me and slowly clomped away. The others followed suit, and not one of them had the decency to show any sort of guilt or regret.

The next morning I surveyed the damage. The hoodlum cows had managed to make a hole in the deer fence just big enough so that those tricky looters were able to get in. The squash plants had been nibbled down to nubs. The cucumbers were ransacked. The tomatoes...I don't even want to talk about the tomatoes.

"Why?" I whispered to myself. "Why do I always fall for the ones with...issues?"

The remaining apples fell to the ground after the last rain. Number 24-08 still came to visit for awhile, but after several days of not getting any apples, she stopped coming.

I saw her on my evening walk tonight, and she looked at me with hardly any recognition at all as she happily munched on some hay. I was almost glad about that. This is ranch land after all, and one day, my sweet but troubled Number 24-08's number will most definitely be up.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We'll Drink to That!

Have you had a rough week? Have too many responsibilities and not enough time helped to get your knickers in a complete twist? The Brits have the solution to your troubles. It's National Orgasm Week across the pond, and here at Chocolate Covered Xanax, we see no reason why we shouldn't celebrate as well.

Need a little help? Go buy yourself something pretty and battery-operated at Good Relations.

Need more discretion? South Coast Pleasure can certainly help you out through the mail.

Not into DIY? Then for god's sake get your arse home and have a good old-fashioned shag.

Also, check out this video which explains why, unfortunately, only 12% of women in England are having orgasms. We'd call that a bloody national emergency.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lunchtime Wisdom

Here is today's fortune.

Why does Squirrel have that terrified look on his face?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Once Apron a Time

As a kid my family would spend one or two weekends a month at my Great Grandma Doty's house. She was a large woman with all those grandma curves where they were supposed to be and she could almost suffocate you with her thick arms and amble bosom when she hugged you close. She always seemed to be in the kitchen, wearing an apron and making course after course of food. You NEVER went hungry at Grandma's house.

Her home was a 1920's bungalow with front and side porches, a pull down ladder into the attic and all sorts of nooks and crannies for an 8 year old to hide in.

The house had 4 bedrooms. We distinguished them by color and location. Mom and Dad always took "the red room". It was spacious and had 2 gilded roses matted on velvet in picture frames along with a crushed red velvet bedspread. It seemed very romantic to me and I always felt like my parents got a mini retreat at a fine hotel.

The other two rooms were fought over between my brother and I and any other cousins who happened to be there at the same time. I liked the feel of "the blue room" with its old TV that sometime would get channels I wasn't supposed to watch. But I didn't trust the blue velvet curtain that covered a closet instead of doors. I always thought the ghost of my Great Grandpa who had died in the house might be there. The location wasn't the greatest either. It faced out front, right into the community hospital's ER department. Oh sure, it was fun to watch them wheel in the accident victims but the ambulance's siren at 2 in the morning scared the crap out of me.

My preference was "the green room". It was small, quaint and cozy. It had a big antique trunk, a foot pedal sewing machine and Mexican blankets and wooden bowls on the walls. The bed was a double that suited my size better and the location was right next to "the red room" in case I needed my parents right away. But the best part, the most coveted item within the room was the heater vent. It was one foot square sunk into the carpet of the floor and it was directly above the old oil stove down in the dining room. When you opened the grates you could not only SEE directly below but also HEAR all the adult conversations that took place after bedtime!

I learned many things over the years. And for a while, the parents seemed none the wiser to our covert spying. That was until my little brother thought it would be funny to make noises one night to the unsuspecting aunts and uncles below. After that stunt, the conversations never seemed as juicy. They talked in adult "code" talk and would yell up to us even if we weren't hovering over it.

As the years past and we moved away, grandma grew older but stayed in her little white house. We would come to visit as often as we could. It never seemed to change much except the bedrooms grew smaller and the colors of her whirlygigs and plastic flowers in the front yard faded out. Grandma had on her apron until the day she died.

The bungalow was sold and her belongings divided up between us all. I was given some of her costume jewelry, a big faux fur coat from the 40's, those Mexican wooden bowls and one of her blue gingham aprons. Rarely do I wear or look at those things but when Kristabel told me that she was going to be a part of a holiday bizarre and wanted me to contribute, I knew exactly what to pull out.

Grandma's apron. I'm not sure what it is, but it takes me right back to her house, in the green room looking down on my family.
So I'm makin' aprons for the bazaar. I think that in today's world maybe we could all use those bright colors and soft fabrics that dried many a tear, wiped off the dirt from the garden veggies and cleaned the front window of our own little white houses.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Peace, love and drag queens

I apologize for my slacker blogging ways during the past week. I've just returned from a visit to a very special place where I've been receiving wisdom and re-energizing my spirit in the best possible way I know how: good food, stiff drinks and drag queens.

I was extremely excited several weeks ago when I found out that a conference I was attending for work was taking place in San Francisco and convinced Bumblebee and the Boy-most-likely-to that they should come with me.

I used to live in the city and though I could probably never live there again, I love it still. I worked at a residential hotel in the Tenderloin, lived nearby, and it's still my favorite neighborhood to hang in. The Loin's got the most interesting sights, sounds and smells, the best ethnic restaurants and the stickiest bars, including my very favorite watering hole, Aunt Charlie's Lounge.

It took a little sweet-talkin' to get Boy to agree to hit the lounge with us, but the promise of cheap beer won him over, so last Friday night we headed out for some Indian food, some Pabst Blue Ribbon and a lot of debauchery.

The first stop was Little Delhi on Eddy Street. Our adorable and very sweet waiter Indrajit brought us samosas, paneer naan, malai kofta and lamb saag. It was all delicious and perfectly spiced. There was a large-screen t.v. playing a Bollywood film. Indrajit was quick with the refills and was highly skilled at keeping a straight face and pretending not to listen each time we forgot to stop talking about leather and orgasms while he poured us more water. He even posed for a picture.

After getting completely stuffed at Little Delhi, it was on to Turk Street where Aunt Charlie's Lounge and the Hot Boxxx Girls awaited.

This is not your typical drag queen show. The cover is only $5, and Joe, the manager/bartender pours a cheap, very stiff drink. The bar is dark, tiny and filled with regulars who are a bit rough around the edges - as are the Hot Boxx Girls. Who really wants to look at pretty and perfect queens anyway? These girls have LIVED. They're bawdy; they have teeth missing; their belly buttons are surrounded by flesh as well as hair. You just know that they've got great stories to tell, and the more you see them perform, the more you want to hear those stories.

Gina La Divina, the $65,000 silicone wonder is the absolutely beautiful hostess. She walks through the bar stroking the shoulders and egos of every person there. Vicky Marlane, the woman with the liquid spine, is 73 years old and still shimmying her wrinkles. Daffne, my very favorite performer, is loud, large and exceptionally colorful. The night we were there she sang a song about made her feel so "odd ka"....and pulled an entire bottle of Smirnoff out of her cleavage. Very impressive.

Bobby, the cute choreographer for the show, also performed a couple of numbers. What could be sexier than a cheerleader with hairy armpits, huge nipples and a goatee?

I think my favorite part about seeing the Hot Boxx Girls this time was hearing Boy - a virgin at Aunt Charlie's - exclaim with surprise several times, "Wow! She's hot!"

We had such a good time that we barely noticed all of our money had disappeared into the hands and cleavage of the performers. At 2 a.m., we happily staggered back to The Metropolis. Boy and Bumblebee drifted off to sleep right away, but it took me awhile. I couldn't get the vision of Aurora Style's gorgeous wobbling adam's apple out of my mind's eye. Finally, after about an hour, I drifted off to ruffled neon dreams......backed by the sound of Celine Dion.