Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jack Hanrahan: 1933-2008

The Road to Cannibal Island (with a flying saucer and Jack in the foreground)
by Artsy Squirrel

One more sadness to add to Heraldo's list. Jack Hanrahan, a popular Emmy-winning writer and star of the god awful creative local movie Illegal Smile who lived in Eureka for many years, died Monday in a Cleveland nursing home.

The first time I met Jack he stroked my hair and told me he wanted to paint me. I knew he was just trying to be charming, but I liked him anyway. He told amazing stories interspersed with harmonica riffs that I could've listened to for hours.

Jack's last few months in Humboldt were painful to watch as he descended into a world of addiction and mental illness. I watched his many friends try to help him, but he wasn't having any of it. His family was contacted numerous times, but for reasons unknown to anyone but themselves, they were unable or unwilling to help.

He made his way to Cleveland last March where he was eventually able to get help.

You too, Jack. Rest in peace.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

E-town Observation

Or: A really bad excuse for going to meet the guy with whom you're having an affair.

Place: Henderson Center Laundromat
Date: April 14, 2008

The man with the ill-trimmed mustache is leaning against the washer and staring out the glass door. He smiles at everyone as they place their clothes in the machines beside him. A woman in a long puffy blue jacket walks through the door and his smile becomes a grin. She is wearing black tights with black athletic shoes underneath her jacket. I wonder where she works, as I can't imagine anyone would wear that combination by choice.

The man and woman seem delighted to see each other. They stand way too close together for people who are talking about the rain. Her nose is thin and pointed. She cocks her head, lifts her chin and looks into his eyes. He is gently fondling the faux fur collar of her jacket.

"I told my husband that I was going out to pick up a Eureka Reporter, and that I'd be right back."

They continue to look into each other's eyes for a very long time. It is obvious that she wants him to kiss her. He doesn't. He walks her to the door and watches her as she moves down the street. I look down at the chair beside me and see a stack of Reporters. She forgot to grab one.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Marshmallow Monday

I know it's not Monday, but Marshmallow Tuesday just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Some of you, based on a few emails I've received, have been waiting with bated sugary breath for a new marshmallow experiment. For the record, I said I'd try a new one every week or so. To me, this means every 1 - 3 weeks. Any longer than that and it would be every month or so. Thank you for your patience and your fabulous marshmallow ideas.

I had originally planned to make dulce de leche marshmallows but wasn't sure how exactly to do it. Then Carson Park Ranger left a comment about filled churros in Chile that got me inspired. I decided I'd make marshmallows flavored with strong Mexican vanilla, fill them with dulce de leche and coat them in a sugar/cinnamon topping to mimic the churros. So now I give you:

Carson Park Ranger's Dulce de Leche Filled Marshmallows

First you need to make the dulce de leche, which is really easy. All you do is take a can of sweetened condensed milk, remove the label and stick it in a pot of water. Make sure the water covers the can completely. Boil this for 3-4 hours (It will be runny at 3, fairly firm at 4.) You'll need to keep adding water to keep the can covered as it boils off. Let it cool. Open it up and....voila! Yummy, milky, sweet caramel. Some people will tell you that you should poke a hole in the can before boiling it so it doesn't explode. Just ignore this alarmist talk. The hole just makes you have to cook it a lot longer. It'll be fine. Trust me.

Make the regular vanilla marshmallows as described earlier. Pour half of the marshmallow goop in the pan and use a spatula to smooth it out. Then pour on the dulce de leche. Smooth this all over the top of the marshmallow.

Then put the rest of the marshmallow goop on top of that and smooth it out. Then comes your real decision: The marshmallow or the dulce de leche. Which to lick first?

Let the pan sit uncovered for eight hours, then gently flip it over onto your work surface spread with powdered sugar and cornstarch. Cut it into strips and then cut those into cubes.

This picture might give you pause to indulge in a delectable little fantasy about being the dulce de leche filling in a Heraldo/Carson Park Ranger marshmallow. Or maybe that's just me.

Add a little cinnamon to your powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture, stir and coat your marshmallows. They're certainly not the prettiest things in the world, but they totally make up for it in taste.

Here are a few comments from my favorite random taste testers:

Anonymous Taste Tester #1: "Mmmmmmmm. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm."

Blogger Nerd Taste Tester #1: "I think I'm going to go into sugar shock. But I don't care."

Anonymous Taste Tester #2: "These are unbelievable."

Blogger Nerd Taste Tester #2: "I like these marshmallows more than long boring meetings and porn."

Curmudgeonly Work Taste Tester: "These are...interesting." (as she grabs two more and shoves them in her mouth)


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Did You Hear That?

Date: April 7, 2008

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Place: Chapala Cafe, Eureka

A cute little flamboyant man is sitting with a woman at the next table over.

CLFMan: I'm only going to order the soup tonight. I'm trying to diet.

Woman sarcastically: Uh, yeah, because someone who wears size zero pants should be worrying about dieting.

CLFMan: Well, I can only fit into the size zeros if I'm not wearing any underwear.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ceviche Saturday and a Man With a Mop

Ahhh, I love the smell of Saturday morning. Today our's smells like lavendar lysol and that delectable appetizer, Ceviche. Come on over and join us won't ya?

I got this recipe in my former life as bride #1. We were on our honeymoon in Pismo Beach and decided to stop in Morro Bay for a bite to eat at the Great American Fish Company. Their ceviche was delicious and as I pondered whether my new marriage would last, I decided I would at least try to get a new recipe out of the whole deal in case it didn't. Good thing I got the recipe.

Oh, before we start, I need to let you know I'm a dumper. I don't always have exact measurements (especially in this case where I got the recipe on the sly from the cute dining room manager Brandon.) So if you are totally type A just go with the flow baby.

Ingredients: Raw red snapper (this morning we used Tilapia) cubed. Don't worry about the bones. They dissolve in the lime juice. Green onion chopped, chopped red onion, lime juice, tomatoes (I have to run to the store to get them), cilantro, serrano pepper or jalapeno (we used cayenne), cumen, salt. Okay, so I skipped a few steps. I didn't realize that maybe I should be taking pictures ala Kristabel until 1/2 way through. So, cube up your fish. Chop up your cilantro. If you are using fresh peppers chop and throw them in for good measure too, otherwise sprinkle on your cayenne to your taste. Then I use about 1/4 tsp of cumen and salt to taste.

Now squeeze lime juice all over your mixture. I used 4 fresh limes but found I needed to use some Nellie and Joe's Famous Key lime juice. Make sure your fish is totally covered. The fish will cook from the acids in the lime juice. It's all very scientific and I can't explain it. I just know it works. Trust me this... Mmmmm. Lookin' good baby. Now if only I was 21 again and vacationing in Pismo sans the ex. Okay, cover and marinate for 6 hours in the fridge. I know, I'm sorry. This isn't one of those instant gratification foods. This is more like making love, slow but orgasmic at the end. Go find something to do. Myself? I'm going to lounge about and watch my male housekeeper bend, stretch and give the floor a good what for. See you in 6 hours. We'll finish then.
Hey, welcome back. Ready to finish? Funny, Burt said that earlier. Hee, hee. We're almost there. That's what I said...earlier. Anywhooo...
Drain all that liquid off of your fish. The fish should look nice and white and feel more firm than before. Trust me, you want it firm. Uh hum.
Then chop up your tomatoes, pepper (if you didn't add it before) and onions. Throw them in and give it a good stir. You might want to add more salt at this point.
Isn't it pretty? I love eating pretty food. Just think how good this will be in the summer when the tomatoes actually have flavor!
Put a little on your favorite cracker or tortilla chip and enjoy.

Oh and Burt? The mopping didn't last long once basketball came on.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How are you?..Fine, and you?...Fine

My cousin and I had a wonderfully stimulating conversation today. In it, we both determined that in the course of a week or so, nothing in our lives had changed. Nor was there anything to report about our spouses or families. There was no magical shift, amazingly juicy gossip or latest must have recipe that needed to be shared. Our conversation was as flat as the current economy.

Hmmm. Two outspoken, opinionated women with nothing to say? I mean, if nothing else we can always start dissecting our relationships with men in the hopes of finding some drama and turmoil. Usually we can dig something up. But not today. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Zip, zero, zilch.

When did the excitement go out of my life? I used to be able to tell great stories. Weird and crazy things always seemed to happen to me. Okay, not as much as Kristabel but still. Now I look forward to the new episodes of Spencer's cartoons. Aw, who am I kidding? I 'll even sit through the ones I've seen before.

That's it. I'm going to pierce something.

Or not.