Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Jokes

Primarily for Dads to elicit groans from their children (from BuzzFeed):
  1. Why are graveyards so noisy?  Because of all the coffin'
  2. Why did the vampire subscribe to the New York Times?  He heard it had great circulation
  3. Why didn’t the mummy have any friends?  He was too wrapped up in himself.
  4. What kind of protozoa likes Halloween? An ameboo
  5. What happened to the guy who couldn’t keep up payments to his exorcist? He was repossessed
  6. What do Italians eat on Halloween? Fettuccine A-fraid-o
  7. Why can’t male ghosts have babies? Because they have hollow weenies
  8. What did the corpse’s mom do when she got mad at him? She grounded him
  9. What happened to the cannibal who was late to dinner? They gave him the cold shoulder
  10. Why did Dracula get thrown out of the haunted house? He was a pain in the neck
  11. Why are demons and ghouls always together? Because Demons are a Ghoul's Best Friend (sing it, you'll get it)
  12. Why don’t skeletons ever go trick-or-treating? They don't have any body to go out with
  13. What do birds give out on Halloween night? Tweets
  14. Where do movie stars go on Halloween? Maliboo!
  15. What does a vampire never order at a restaurant? A Stake Sandwich
  16. Who does a mummy take on a date? Any old girl he can dig up
  17. What is a witch’s favorite subject in school? Spelling
  18. Frankenstein and Dracula had a fight. Who won? Frankenstein - because Dracula sucks
  19. Why did the headless horseman start a business? He wanted to get a head in life
  20. Who are some of the werewolves’ cousins? The What-Wolves and the When-Wolves
  21. What do you get when you drop a pumpkin? Squash

Monday, October 27, 2014

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

You would think that it's not hard to roast pumpkin seeds.  But it is.  Sometimes they get burned, or there's too much oil, or the seasoning is off.  So here's a recipe for you (via simplyrecipes), one of many that are out there on the big old world wide web.  Not that I'll follow it - I'll keep winging it.  I do like a little Old Bay on my seeds and of course, just straight up salted.

Enjoy those seeds on Friday while you are handing out that candy to all those ghosts and goblins.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
  • One medium sized pumpkin
  • Salt 
  • Olive oil
  1. Cut open the pumpkin by cutting a circle around the stem end with a sharp knife (knife blade angled in), and pulling off the top. Use a strong metal spoon to scrape the insides of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place the mass of pumpkin seeds in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds from everything else. (don't bother with those tools that appear this time of year, if your pumpkin has any substance - they wont work)
  2. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to the pan for every half cup of pumpkin seeds. Add more salt if you would like your seeds to be saltier. Bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan or thick baking sheet with olive oil, about a teaspoon or so. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer, and toss them a bit to coat them with the oil on the pan. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Small pumpkin seeds may toast in around 5 minutes or so, large pumpkin seeds may take up to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don't get over toasted. When lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack. Let the pumpkin seeds cool all the way down before eating.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cider Cocktail: The Young Buck

I spent the end part of last week communing with my archival friends at the Fall 2014 MARAC meeting in Baltimore.  There may have been some drinking.  Now that it's fall, there should be some warming cocktails on the menu.  Here's a list from BuzzFeed, and my favorite of that list below - though the Cranberry Apple Cider Cocktail was a very, very close second.

Cider Cocktail: Young Buck
About This Recipe Yield: 1
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Special equipment: pilsner glass

For the Hibiscus Simple Syrup:
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1/4 ounce dried hibiscus flowers 
For the Cocktail:
  • ice 
  • 3 ounces ginger beer 
  • 6 ounces semi-dry sparkling cider 
  • 1 tablespoon hibiscus simple syrup
  • dried hibiscus flower for garnish 
  1. To make the hibiscus simple syrup, combine the sugar, water, and hibiscus flowers in a small pan. Turn heat to medium and stir until sugar is fully dissolved and mixture has reduced slightly, five to seven minutes. Remove from heat, strain to remove hibiscus, and let cool. (Can be bottled and refrigerated up to 3 weeks.) 
  2. To make the cocktail, fill a pilsner glass with ice. Add ginger beer to the glass. Slowly pour cider on top of ginger beer. There should be a nice separation between the ginger beer and the cider. Drizzle the hibiscus simple syrup on top of the cider. Garnish with a dried hibiscus flower and serve immediately.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"I Have Become Death"

C in DC recently posted to my FB wall regarding a list that was out there on "13 TV Character Deaths That We Never Got Over."  The list was pitiful.  If you really want to see it - you can click on the link.  But it was suggested that I come up with my own list of TV Deaths that had major impact.  (Bonus points for the one who identifies the title quote and where it was used in a movie)

So here goes, in no particular order:
  • Edith Bunker on All in the Family - She was missing from the above list, and it is possibly one of the most poignant episodes of the entire series.  I still get choked up when I think about that scene where Archie is talking to her slipper.
  • Henry Blake on M*A*S*H - Henry's tragic departure was on the above list, but that was not enough to save the list's credibility.  I think that one of the reasons this has such an impact was that the cast was not told of this plot twist until the moment of the filming - which is why Radar's delivery is so moving.
  • Dolores Landingham on The West Wing - As many viewers never saw this coming - it hit hard.  It, of course, set the stage for the series to hit the gas and blaze forward and her later appearances in Jed's memory were helpful to series watchers find closure.  Honorable mention here - Leo McGarry, though we all knew this was coming following the death of John Spencer.
  • Gary Shepard on thirtysomething - in one of life's great ironies, Gary, who didn't drive a car, rode his bike everywhere, is killed in an auto accident.
  • Coach on Cheers - Due to the untimely death of actor Nick Colasanto, we we forced to say goodbye to Sam Malone's greatest foil.  We liked you Woody, but you were no coach.
  • Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street - On a show aimed at kids, it forced parents everywhere to take a crash course on explaining death to their children - and luckily the gang at Sesame Street were there to help.
  • Zoe Barnes on House of Cards - Mrs. BA and I came late to the House of Cards bandwagon, so we knew this was coming.  But the violence of the moment still made us both gasp and showed us the ruthlessness of Frank.
  • Rosalind Shays on L.A. Law - I never, ever, step blindly onto an elevator.  Not after seeing this untimely end of the evil Rosalind.
  • Nate Fisher on Six Feet Under - For a show that started every episode with a death, the death of Nate as the show was concluding was still very painful. 
  • Lane Pryce on Mad Men - Lane got himself in a little bit of trouble and took the easy way out, leaving the other partners of SCDP to clean things up and move on.  When viewers found out (and saw it) it stunned us.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Twist on Chicken Salad

I am lucky in that LBA likes salad.  SoBA, not as much.  This is why I often say LBA is mine and SoBA belongs to Mrs. BA.

But here's a recipe I think all of us could get behind - from the Barefoot Contessa.

Roast Chicken with Bread & Arugula Salad
Serves 4
  • 1 (4- to 4½-pound) whole chicken, preferably Bell & Evans 
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed flat 
  • 1 lemon, quartered 
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus extra for serving 
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 3 to 4 (¾-inch-thick) slices country bread 
  • Good olive oil 

For the Arugula Salad (recipe follows)
  • ¼ cup Champagne vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • ½ cup good olive oil 
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (3 scallions) 
  • 2 tablespoons dried currants 
  • 6 cups baby arugula, lightly packed (6 to 8 ounces) 
Place the chicken in a baking dish. Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin from the breasts and thighs without breaking the skin. Carefully slide the sprigs of thyme and the garlic under the skin. Put the lemon in the cavity. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings under the body. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of sea salt and the pepper, cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is very clean!) Place the bread in a medium (10-inch) cast-iron skillet in a single layer. Brush the chicken with olive oil and place it, breast side up, on top of the bread. Roast for 30 minutes, turn it over and roast for 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Wrap the skillet tightly with aluminum foil and allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for a full 30 minutes. (Don’t worry; it will stay hot.) The bread will be almost burnt on the bottom and soft with the pan drippings on top.

Place the Arugula Salad in a very large, shallow serving platter. Put the chicken and the bread on a cutting board. Cut the bread into 1-inch squares and sprinkle them on the salad. Carve the chicken thickly and place it on top of the salad. Spoon the pan juices over the chicken, sprinkle it with sea salt, and serve warm.

For the Arugula Salad:
Whisk the vinegar, mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup.
Whisk in the olive oil, stir in the scallions and currants, and set aside.
Place the arugula in a large bowl, add the vinaigrette, and toss well.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Apples and Sausage

I actually have a good recipe for sausages simmered with apples.  I haven't made it in some time - as the boys both seem to enjoy the basic sausage sandwich.  It might be time to branch out.  From the Washington Post Food section, September 17, 2014

Apples and Sausage in Cider, Asturian Style

Dry cider is the traditional drink of Asturias, a coastal province of northern Spain, where it is often served or cooked with chorizo or other kinds of sausage. For this recipe, use a crisp, sweet apple like Gala or GoldRush; Granny Smith, in a pinch; or these heirloom apples if you can find them: Belle de Boskoop, Bramley's Seedling, Ashmead's Kernel or Ananas Reinette. The original recipe did call for chorizo (fresh or cured/dried); feel free to substitute. We liked the pairing with sumac-spiced merguez from Whitmore Farm of Emmitsburg, Md., which sells at the Broad Branch Farmers Market in Northwest Washington on Saturday mornings.
  • 1 pound lamb merguez sausage (casings on or off; see headnote) 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 onion, cut into very thin slices 
  • 1 cup dry (hard) apple cider 
  • 1 or 2 apples, cored and sliced into half-moons (see headnote) 
  • Kosher salt (optional) 
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish 
  • Thin, toasted slices of baguette or ciabatta, for serving 
Cut the merguez sausage into 1-inch pieces, then use the palm of your hand to flatten each piece.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the sausage; cook, stirring, until the sausage has browned and is releasing some of its juices and fat, about 5 minutes. Pour off all but a tablespoon or two of the rendered fat, if desired.

Add the onion and cider; cook for 6 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the onion has softened. Add the apple slices and stir to incorporate. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring once or twice; some of the liquid will evaporate, slightly thickening the cider sauce. Taste, and add salt if needed.

Divide among individual small bowls. Garnish with the parsley. Serve warm, with the toasted bread slices.