Saturday, December 23, 2006

Top 5 Songs - #1

#1) Art Brut – Good Weekend
Whoa, I just realized there’s way too much estrogen up in this Top 5! Let’s knock the bitch level down a bit with Art Brut – sexy beer-tits and all.

OK, Art Brut’s album, Bang Bang Rock & Roll, was released in the UK back in 2005, but not in the US until 2006, but I don’t care. It’s soo good. I rocked it all 2006, and I’m gonna rock it into 2007. Try and stop me! The clever, cheeky lyrics accompanying the art-post-punk music are so enjoyable; you’ll know them all after two listens. I can’t help but laugh on the inside and sing along every time Eddie Argos shouts, “I’ve seen her naked twice!” This song charmingly captures the excitement of having a new girlfriend/boyfriend. So, once you’ve got the lyrics down, GO SEE A SHOW. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have. Just watch out for my flailing arms and bouncing body - I can be a petite powerhouse when motivated.

Happy holidays! See y’all in the New Year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Top 5 Songs - #2

#2) Lily Allen – Nan, You’re a Window Shopper
This song gets the #2 spot because it’s currently in my head. This is Lily Allen’s hilarious – and much better – parody of 50 Cent’s song, “Window Shopper.”

Lily Allen is also at the top because she managed to get another song stuck in my head this year, as well. “Smile” was in my head this summer when I was in the UK; she was top of the pops and all over the radio. When I got back to the States, I looked her up. At the time she was streaming her entire, unreleased album on MySpace. Brilliant, love! Lily, will you be my girlfriend?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Top 5 Songs - #3

#3) Cansei De Ser Sexy – Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above
CSS is the cutest, most dancy-ing band from Brazil. Their whole self-titled album is one big dance party. I was torn between posting this song and “Alala.” I finally decided. Gather tissues now for the following sob story.

I won tickets to see CSS (Exciting because I haven’t won tickets to a show since I was, like, 15), but missed them because I was dining and showed up an hour after the doors opened. What band ever starts early? Well, apparently the band they opened for made them start way early. I was sooo mad. Now, I religiously check their web site to see when they’re coming back to the US; no dates in sight. No CSS for me, but you lovely people got a restaurant review out of the evening.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Top 5 Songs - #4

#4) Peaches - Rock the Shocker
I love Peaches entire album, Impeach My Bush, but this song is the one that got stuck in my head. You can’t help but sing the song and make the hand gestures like a perverted cheerleader. Warning to the citizens of Wilmington: I sang these lyrics while at work; thankfully I don’t work with people, but squirrels were eavesdropping and taking notes. The squirrels of Wilmington now know how to rock the shocker. *No animals were hurt during the singing of this song.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Top 5 Songs - #5

I’m about to take a Xmas break, and I usually leave music up when I’m out of town. There are 5 days left until I drive my ass 12 hours to South Cackalacky…Lets all stop here and say a prayer that I don’t kill a rabbit, have my car explode, cry, get a fever, get diarrhea, puke at a truck stop, tow my car behind the largest U-haul available, and have the U-haul break down like the last time I drove home for Xmas. Anyway…I thought I’d do my own obnoxious end-of-the-year music list. I’m kinda tired of writing about food, anyway. Personally, I can’t believe I kept this food charade up for almost a year!

Starting today, and up until I depart, I’ll post a song a day from this year that made it into heavy rotation on my computer and on my car stereo - no ipod; chain saws and floppy wires don’t mix. More specifically, these songs got stuck in my head.

#5) Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Turn Into
Karen-O, you rock girl! But it’s the “pretty” song that got stuck in my head. The album, Show Your Bones, was played non-stop in my car for about 3 months at the beginning of the year. Thanks to some internet shenanigans, I got a copy way before the album was officially released. Yay, internet!

Monday, December 18, 2006


Every once in a while I’ll get on a kick where I find some food at a restaurant that I like. Then I eat it. All the time. I stop this habit when I get sick of the food, feel guilty for indulging, or am embarrassed that the employees recognize my face and know my order. I’m currently indulging in the vegetarian turkey subs at Capriotti’s and feeling guilty. I’m not sick of the subs, yet.

Capriotti’s is a chain of Italian sub shops that started in 1976 in Wilmington, Delaware. In fact, the shop I’ve been frequenting on Union Street in the Little Italy section of Wilmington is the original location. Most of the stores are located in Delaware and Las Vegas, but a handful of stores are also located in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Arizona, California, and Florida.

Capriotti’s excites me because I can walk in and order a vegetarian turkey sub. This is not a big deal if you live in a larger city with exclusively vegan and vegetarian sub shops. I could order any variety of vegetarian subs at a half dozen or so restaurants in Philly no prob, but Capriotti’s is a manly, no-frills sub shop in middle-of-no-where towns in Delaware…that serves vegetarian turkey subs!!

Vegetarians can also order veggie burgers subs or eggplant Parmesan sandwiches. I hear these are good, but why order these when veggie burgers are the standard vegetarian option at bars and restaurants, and eggplant Parmesan sandwiches can be had at any Italian joint.

Capriotti’s, and the fact that they sell vegetarian turkey subs, is not new to me. I’ve eaten a few over the years. I just never find myself in the area of a Capriotti's during eating hours. I take snacks to work, and don’t really take a lunch break, so these things don't help the probability of me eating at Capriotti’s. Recently though, their vegetarian turkey subs have been my food kick, and I’ve been going out of my way to eat there.

The real turkey subs are Capriotti’s mainstay. They don’t use processed deli meats, but roast fresh turkeys daily and hand carve the meat. The star of their menu is the “Bobbie” – a Thanksgiving inspired sandwich with turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. I’d love to try this with veggie turkey, but the stuffing isn’t vegetarian. Ahh, you can’t have it all!

I’ve been eating a sub constructed with veggie turkey, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, sweet peppers, and Russian dressing. I order my sandwich to go, run home, and pop that baby in the microwave to warm the turkey and cheese. It’s pure love. Big love, too. The small is 9 inches. I could eat half for lunch and the other half for dinner...if I possessed self control.

I’m running out to get a sandwich as soon as I finish writing this. I’m not kidding, either. This love affair is starting to get embarrassing.

Capriottis, mine is open Mon-Sat,11am-7pm, but call your location.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Tale Of Two Cookies

It’s not Christmas if I don’t make sugar cookies exactly as I did when I was a child. This means the exact recipe, rolling pin, cookie cutters, and sprinkles my mom used. Absolutely no frosting allowed!

One of my first cooking memories is of making Christmas sugar cookies with my mom - creaming the sinful combination of sugar and shortening in a bowl; rolling blonde, soft dough with a heavy wooden rolling pin, flouring green and red plastic cookie cutters shaped like candy canes, Santa Claus, and snowmen; pressing the cookie cutters into the dough – hopefully none stick, but some do; sprinkling green and red colored sugar crystals over the cookies and into the depressed patterns left by the cookie cutters; baking until the edges hint of gold; then eating warm, sugary cookies straight from the oven.

I found myself making rugelach the same day I made sugar cookies. I have no memories to share of rugelach, but I can share my recent experience of baking rugelach for Hanukkah. Rugelach is definitely fancier than the sugar cookie and the process is much more involved.

As I chilled the dough for eight hours; divided the dough into four; rolled the dough into perfectly thin rectangles; spread the rectangles with jam, raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon sugar; tightly rolled the dough up into logs, all the while taking the softened dough in and out of the refrigerator to chill, I wondered if this cookie was too difficult for a small child to make? Do people have fond memories of making rugelach as a child like I have of sugar cookies? At first I didn’t think I would put a small child to the task of making a cookie so involved, but then I countered that children enjoy copying and participating in their parent’s activities. If your mother made rugelach, you made rugelach along side her. And, of course, you have fond memories – it’s a cookie!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Boiled Peanuts

Listen up, 24-hour party people! I know you’re in the midst of partying your brains away during this holiday season, and are out of ideas for hor d’eouvres. Bet you never thought of boiled peanuts! Don’t retch. It’s good. I swear. And it’s as addictive as chocolate covered crack. Mmm.

Boiled peanuts are common in the Deep South; sold at roadside stands and gas stations, and served at backyard parties. The best ones are ladled from pipin’ hot kettles and eaten while still warm.

Boiled peanuts are made by boiling green peanuts (a.k.a. fresh or raw; not roasted) with salt in a large pot for a few hours. When ready you crack open the shells and suck out the warm, soft, salty peanuts. If you like peanuts or sucking edamame from their shells, you’ll like boiled peanuts. In fact, I don’t know of a single person that doesn’t love them. Don’t believe me? Make some and watch your friends frantically pop boiled peanuts in their mouth like cracked-out fiends.

Where do I find green peanuts?
If you live in the Deep South, you’ll find them at the grocery store. Elsewhere, look for them at ethnic markets. I’ve had luck finding them at Asian markets and Latin American markets. They’re not available all the time, so snag them when you see them. Can’t find? Order some.

Boiled Peanuts

  • In a large pot, cover green peanuts with enough water to compensate for water boiling off.
  • Add salt. A rough guide is ½ cup salt for 4 pounds of peanuts. Salt levels are subjective. Add less to start, and adjust to taste.
  • Simmer for 3-4 hours. Individual peanuts will soften at different rates, so sample to see when to stop cooking. You want the peanuts to be soft, but not mushy.
  • Drain and serve.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Progressive Dinner

Photo by caryn74

OK, call me sheltered, but I’ve never heard of a progressive dinner. At first, thoughts of a dinner set to a tortuous avant-garde jazz soundtrack entered my mind, but not so. Instead, imagine if a potluck had a baby with a pub crawl.

I was introduced to a progressive dinner this weekend by a couple whose neighborhood association puts together the event. The idea of a progressive dinner is that the dinner progresses from house to house, and from course to course. One house hosts the first course; the next house hosts the next course, and so on. Host houses, how many courses, and the length of each house visit are determined beforehand. The work is kept minimal for each household, the party moves on, and things stay fresh. Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of this – or at least hear of this?

A progressive dinner would work well in a neighborhood where people know each other, or as a way to get to know your neighbors. December is pretty much the get-drunk-and-party month of the year, so you might want to think about giving the progressive dinner a try. Just attaching the word “progressive” to your party will make it that much cooler.