Friday, November 21, 2008

A Must-Read

If you don't regularly read Real Live Preacher, you're missing out on some truly fine humor, discussions, and great writing in general. RLP has a new post up today which is a shining example of his writing. You owe it to yourself to go check it out.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Web -2.0 Customer Service

If you want to see how to make sure your company is seen as uncaring, overly concerned with how things are said rather than what is said, and generally acting like a 15-year-old entitlement teen, have a look here. The original posts, which were on someone else's blog here and here, will give more context, as will the final 2 posts in the thread. Read it and weep, then try to find another company to bankroll.

A Simply, Marvelous Turkey, Modified

Over at the NY Times food blog, Mark Bitten has an unbelievably wonderful recipe for cooking turkey. Not your usual way at all, he browns the thighs and breast separately, and then roasts them in a medley of vegetables, which keeps the skin crisp while cooking the breast and thighs perfectly. A bonus is the dish of roasted vegetables on the side.

Yesterday, I went to make turkey for our main meal (heading into the holidays, I like to practice before subjecting my victims guests to my new ideas) and decided to use Mark's recipe. Problem was, I only had 90 minutes, not the 3 hours he called for. Undeterred by this, I went ahead, making some changes on the fly, and ended up with an even better version, for us, at any rate. We got 3 cups of unbelievable gravy and made stuffing to boot! So here's my version (all ingredients remain the same from the original, but I bought a boneless breast and unwrapped it, rather than boning it myself. I did bone out the thighs.):

Simple Turkey and Gravy, adapted from Mark Bitten

Turn the oven to 425°. 

Soak the dried mushrooms in 1/2 cup hot water, or just enough to cover. Coarsely chop 1/2 pound each carrots and celery, and one medium yellow or white onion. Microwave the carrots for 3 minutes in a little water to get them started. Add them to the onion and celery, with the cooking water. Sauté these in 1 T olive oil. 

Meanwhile, in another pan, sauté the pancetta until it starts to give off some fat, then add the sausage and cook until both are well browned (breaking up the sausage if you used bulk). When the meat is browned, add to the vegetables and continue to cook until they are soft and beginning to brown. Chop and sauté the fresh mushrooms in the sausage fat, then add to the vegetable mix. When the dried mushrooms are soft, drain them, reserving the liquid, mince them and add to the mix.

Brown the turkey in the pan you used for the sausage, adding the remaining 1 T olive oil. Brown the thighs first, and reserve them, and then the breast. When the breast is browned on all sides, turn off the heat to the pan and leave the breast there, covered, until needed.

Now, in a roasting pan, spread the vegetables evenly, and place the thighs in the corners on top of the vegetables, skin side up. Strain the mushroom water over the vegetables, adding enough hot water to the pan to bring the level up to 1/2 way up the side of the thighs (I used about 3 cups) and cover the pan with foil. Cook for 30 minutes, then uncover and add the breast to the center. (Don't wash the pan!) Raise the oven temp to 500°, and return the turkey to the oven, roasting until the meat is cooked through and the skin is dark brown and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Remove the turkey to a serving plate and cover loosely with foil. Pour the vegetables and their water through a colander set over a bowl to catch the liquid. Reserve the vegetables. Degrease the liquid and make gravy with most of it (in the same pan you used for browning the meat), saving a little to moisten the stuffing if you're going to have it, and adding water as necessary to thin the gravy.  Then, either put the vegetables into a serving bowl if you are going to serve them as is or mix them with a bag of stuffing mix. Moisten with the remaining juice and serve!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cue the (Right Wing) whining

Shorter Ron Prentice: We cheated you fair and square, now shut up and like it.

The backers of the despicable Prop 8 have a message for you: If we don't like something, we can speak out, but you can't. Apparently, the idea is that once you have stolen, er  won the battle, you never have to deal with it again.

Tell you what, Ron: you get your minions to completely stop harassing women at Planned Parenthood, and stop trying to repeal Roe v Wade, and maybe we'll cut you some slack in this. Otherwise, please sit down and have a nice cup of Shut The Fuck Up.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Soft Opening

Welcome to Johnny's Garage, home of The Bad Yogi. Here I putter around, muttering to myself about people, politics, food, and anything else that catches my eye. Polemics, pejoratives, pea soup, and many things that don't begin with the letter "p" are all presented for your examination and, I hope, enjoyment.

I am a long-time liberal, both socially and economically. This doesn't mean that I have stopped thinking. There are many "liberal" ideas with which I simply don't agree (i.e. gun control), and many "conservative" ones with which I do (I'll think of them in a minute, I'm sure). Actually, most of the "conservative" ideas that I agree with turn out to be "liberal" in origin. But I try to keep an open mind, just in case a good one comes along. And when my fellow liberals show up with their heads rectally compromised, I will point that out, too. Equal opportunity polemicist, that's me.

I love to cook and eat. This explains why I live in a garage. No, wait, that's not true. But I do love to cook and eat, and I love to talk about cooking and eating. The Garage is located in Pasadena, CA, which, for my foreign friends, is north Los Angeles. While many consider Pasadena to be a culinary wasteland, I disagree: it is, at worst, a culinary battleground, with the war being between the chains taking over Old Town (Hooters, Melting Pot, Cheesecake Factory etc) and the local eateries fighting back. Also, within reach of the Garage is the new Chinatown (Temple City, Arcadia, Monrovia etc.) and a vibrant Lebanese community on Washington Blvd. There are many eating adventures to be had, and I plan on having them.

I am married (20+ years!) to DW, and we have a Son, and Elder Daughter, and a Younger Daughter, as well as a smattering of brothers, sisters, grandchildren and the like. They may or may not show up periodically. That's kind of up to them. However, our 2 dogs and 3 cats WILL make appearances from time to time. You have been warned.

Please feel free to comment. While profanity is certainly acceptable, excess use indicates a certain intellectual laziness, and will be commented on. If it gets boring enough, you'll be sent to time-out. Ditto for personal attacks: if you can't figure out how to disagree with someone without calling them names, please return to High School, where you will fit in much better. But strong disagreement is always welcome, as is strong agreement: I intend to have great discussions, and that entails strong emotions, usually.

Now, I'm off to think of my next topic.