Friday, December 30, 2011

Twisted Claus-e-Q, A Piece of the Puzzle< Jello Shot or Slop?

“Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”
Henry David Thoreau

December 30th, 2011

I’ve recuperated from yet another Holiday Season of catering, adjusted my volume to block out the most pressing of emotions and officially reclaimed my compass . . . my feet following the orders from upstairs.  One last holiday on the horizon, New Years Day.  The turn of a new year has always puzzled me a bit seeing how people from across the globe celebrate this holiday by the minute and yet those minutes turn into hours –even days of separation due to the time zones.   Awaiting the drop of crumpled confetti, hawking down the opportunity to kiss someone of significance or a selected candidate from the potential stallion stable with high hopes for a wet-n- wild rodeo, milling around a herd of new nameless acquaintances as you dribble appropriate “best year wishes to you both” all the while you silently breath deep into your soul (-reflection-relief-revive-respond-), the countdown begins and the anticipation subsides all but for a split second!  Dodging guests as you b-line for the bar, “Refill de’m fanciful champagne cocktails Shelby!”
The Clock, once a symbol of entitlement, notable & purposeful, unrivaled Germanic craftsmanship hardly relevant to the nearly forgotten heirloom Grandfather clock   . . . . tick tock tick tock . . . Everything is digital these days, displaying the current time, penciling in your  calendar of events and meetings for the next two weeks . . . tock tito trick otto . . .   I tend to evaluate these divinely magnificent  days of commercialism  as another Showbiz Twister stint (myself included, the value of a few catering dollars easily able to purchase the rights to my own holiday memory making).   The tornado likes to rip up everything insight with the exception of an occasional propane tank (they seem to bolt those things down real good). Next, the wind tunnel rattles you to the core, blasting you with confusion & a gnarly case of  whip-lash before thrusting any given hostage out of its “eye” in vertical fashion.  Thus we move into the ever so placid months of January, February & March.  All suited up for the duration of another winter, these months  promise far less retail potential or media exploitation . . hell, you’ve got a frekin little Irish hoarder, a nuisance of a fairy sporting its “all for no particular reason” bow & arrows and January just kind of get’s the shaft as it’s Hallmark happens to start in the December  & conclude as a new year “a la Enero” whilst you have pay back your Cirque de Soleil “party like you don’t need them brain cells”

“If only we had stopped at 2pm, if only we hadn’t started at 8p?  If only I could manage my nauseating overindulgence in the form of prayer & selfless deed . . . naw, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without burning & burying oneself into even a deeper financial abyss as we polka our way through the subliminal  redecorating the house in fire-engine red,  evergreen clippings strewn throughout, the near-forgotten attic emptied of its festive cargo.  Too much?  I think so . . . Sifting through a rather formidable crate (or is it an outhouse?), those pesky bio-peanuts parachuting away from it’s prison.  Labeling not exactly addressed with any consistency, at least somebody had the common sense to list the contents on the side of the refrigerator sized vessel: X-mas at Harmons/ assortment of figurines  DON’T BREAK!

New Years Eve is just the final “Sha-Bang n’ Bootscoot” of our modern Holiday image and coincidently those expenditures are baptized by: the good, the All forgiving God, acts of giving & generosity, imagination, kindness and  childhood innocence,  So, let the Party God say, “Can I get a hell yeah & a whoot-whoot, cause it’s gonna get sizzling, smoke-n-swervy, curried curves wrapped up in some sultra spice, a dash to the flash as you move to groove, sippin’dis bubbles, by the bottomless we bite.”  Wait a minute, Weren’t we suppose to make some goals or New Year’s resolution, thump, thump,whoomp . . . . “damn it!

On Christmas Day, your were given an amazing gift of insight, discovered possibilities, evaluated emotions, and directions to several  undetermined destinations .  This blueprint of your 2012 comes in the form of a 4,739 piece transparent jigsaw puzzle.  Now, it’s most likely that you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, I mean this thing has the jeopardy logo on it . . . have no fear, you’ve got all year!  Hell, you’ve still got 6 or 7 unfinished puzzles from previous years laying about the house for all to see your sense of fortitude, lack of adaptation or shear neglect for your own potential.   Why not finish?  Certainly some of those pieces were eaten by some experimental hybrid of a wolverine, a boston terrier and American alligator . . Chouncy not exactly living up to the ideals of a “house-pet”  And surely, some of those pieces were swept up and away,  stolen for surplus mice bedding . . whatever, it doesn’t matter why they disappeared but the achievement of participation as each piece brings the jigsaw puzzle holds the potential to exponentially expand ones full visualization, thus forth expediting the cryptic cardboard “fitting & finagling fest”  In my experience, when I’ve lost a piece, had several stolen by the devious hand of a sibling or dropped a bottle of Clorox Bleach onto a ½ of the collective “painting” . .  . . I just create replacement pieces based upon the needs of the puzzle and corresponding colors.  Either way, you don’t want too much unfinished business dragging around into the next year, let alone year, after year  . . .   Clarity comes to those who seek it,  your resolution should be to RESOLVE
  • .)     1.) Happiness – in all of it’s many forms, this is the goal beyond any pre-ordained destiny which leads us to the next goal (they go hand-in-hand like infinite marriage of bees & flowers one needing pollination in order to bare fruit)
    • 2.) Balance – work not being everything . . .  love/companionship, quality family time, spirituality growth . . . I need to really focus on this one as it's all to easy to slip back into all work – little play
    • 3.) Travel – I go to get my passport this week . . it’s been way too long since I’ve set out for some culture & new experiences.  My goal is to see at least five new countries this new year 2012
    • 4.)    Optimum Health – yes, I know cigarettes are not exactly organic.  I will permanently quit this year, continue my gym outings in grafting some washboard abs, nourishing my body with goodness
    • 5.)    Work/Finances – work smarter not so much harder . . applying the lessons of my past to create more financial freedom as well as branching out into some new arenas of writing (screenplay, cookbooks, journal), consulting (for food & beverage operations), a new Chef Scotty culinary concept (which I will share at a later date), the big screen – a culinary TV show of my own
    • 6.)    A new Car & Home – Mr. Wilson has been grateful enough to let me take over “the attic” but this lawsuit is no longer an excuse and this Taurus needs to set down some roots, a foundation to build upon . . . Sister Mary Cleo needs “the Banshee” returned to her in less than 15 days . . homey needs to get on it.  The alluring option to be a vagabond for a year is gonna have to be set aside for the time being
    • 7.)    Art in the form of Painting – I want to touch the canvas again . . this writing just not quite enough to quench my thirst for creativity.  I miss the process of watching something evolve slowly like a book requiring ones attention if ever to reach the final chapter.  Maybe this time I won’t give away all of my creations  . . honor myself and selfishly hold back the piece de resistance?  Or maybe not – I enjoy so much gifting, giving a piece of myself to another . . . .

    Seven rather substantial goals that no doubt are more than a years intentions.  I’ll likely refine these enigmatic ideals to be a little more specific but it’s a solid rough draft.  What are your goals for the new year?  What about last year – did you follow through on those past inclinations or will you carry them on just as every other year . . . yourself being the only judge, only you to uphold the task of diligence, failure any easily acceptable cop out?    

    As I am unable to retrieve a substantial large portion of my 2011 jigsaw pieces, I’ve already replaced near to half of them with my homemade imposter cutouts; I do belief that are of acceptable likeness to the originals. Then again, it’s a big ass picture.  I’ll just leave 2011 right here on the kitchen table for a little bit longer . . I still have hope for those orphaned pieces are judicially returned to me . . I believe, must believe!  I must believe that no matter the outcome, I’ve got a fresh puzzle box begging to spread it’s legs, whispering tidbits of favorable flavor and unashamed of it’s declarations and desires to captivate my immediate and full attention . . . I can choose to RESOLVE with my diligence and in so being diligent . . . the tasks much lighter, much clearer, and so much more gratifying . . . the exact opposite effect of jello shots!
    Happy New Years,
               Chef Scotty
    One of the more creative ways to serve alcohol at a New Years Eve party is to work it into gelatin, and serve the gelatin in small cups, making what most people will recognize as Jello shots. It's pretty much like making regular Jello, except with some alcohol added instead of cold water.  Super easy to make – the creations and possibilities are endless, so feel free to add chopped basil or fresh sprigs of incarcerated mint . . . and  remember not to sample to many of the goods or you just might wake up in the new year – your house trashed by your guests, you oblivious to the orgy unraveling on the very same bed that you passed out on . . .best to be awake and aware  

    • You can use shot glasses, individual shot-size (1oz-3oz) plastic cups, or accordion-like squeezable cups manufactured specifically for this purpose. Although shot glasses look prettier and allow you to see the vibrant colors of the Jello, paper cups allow for easier Jello shot consumption as they can be turned inside out.
    • To make the Jello easier to consume, buy plastic cups that also have lids. Pour the mix into the cup, add the lid, then turn it upside down prior to refrigeration.
    • If you use cups with lids, you can run them under warm water for a moment or two, just before serving, to loosen them.
    • If you don't want to make a mess sells jello shot makers as well as shot cups and lids.
    • To make firm shots, add a packet of Knox gelatin to the mix before adding the boiling water. It's unflavored and helps make them firm, which also makes it possible for you to make molds.
    • Make bubbly shots by adding soda water to the mix in place of some of the cold water.
    • The potent vodka shots will not be as clear as regular Jello shots.
    • Be creative in mixing Jello flavors with alcohol. If you have a favorite alcoholic drink, try converting it into Jello shot form using juice, soda, alcohol, and unflavored Jello. Here are some suggestions:
      • Orange and cherry with Brandy.
      • Lime Jello with tequila and Triple Sec (try adding a pinch of salt to the liquid mixture)
      • Lime Jello with Coconut Rum
      • Orange Jello with orange cognac and brandy (such as Grand Marnier) or peach Schnapps
      • Unflavored gelatin with Coca Cola and rum
      • Cranberry Jello with vodka
      • Cherry Jello with cherry brandy
      • Raspberry Jello with raspberry Schnapps
      • Tropical fruit Jello (or unflavored gelatin mixed with fruit punch) with dark rum or mango liqueur
      • Unflavored Jello with lemonade and whiskey
      • Strawberry Jello with light rum and strawberry liqueur (such as Pucker)
      • Apricot Jello with amaretto
      • Lime Jello with Sake
      • Lime Jello with Sprite, Pimm's, and cucumber garnish
      • Lemon Jello with Lemon Juice, Midori, and Vodka
      • Strawberry Jello with champagne (retains some bubbles!)
      • Orange Jello with amaretto
      • Pineapple Jello with coconut rum
      • Blue Jello with Everclear
      • Black Cherry with Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum
      • Orange Jello with Absolut Mandarin
      • Lime Jello with Tequila
      • Pineapple Jello with Mango Rum
      • Lime Jello with Southern Comfort-SOCO and Lime Shot
      • Orange Jello with Absolut Mandarin Vodka
      • Cherry Jello with Chocolate liqueur
      • Strawberry Banana Jello with strawberry vodka
      • Strawberry Jello with Tropical Banana Malibu

    • Jello is not a vegetarian dessert. Gelatin is a protein produced by partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from the bones, connective tissues, organs, and some intestines of animals. If any of your guests are vegetarian or vegan, consider vegan jelly mixes rather than gelatin. Most supermarkets will stock these.
    • Do not transfer boiling water directly into shot containers.
    • Even though Jello shots taste like candy, they each contain as much or more alcohol than a beer, wine or shot, so warn your guests, wait a few minutes between shots and count your drinks.
    • Jello stains are difficult to clean. Club soda and ice water help avoid stains caused by spills.
    • Make sure the kids don't mistake this for ordinary Jello.
    • Jello can fade if exposed to sunlight too long. If you want to keep the freshest color, keep it in a dark place until you serve.

    Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    A Wham, Bam Whopper Fan, I've got the Moves, A Sonnet of Shrimp Ceviche

    "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” -Thoreau

    December 27th, 2011

    I ate McDonalds. Please forgive me as my quench to forgive my hangover exceeded the chef code of culinary principles & anti fast-food ethics. The gratification to my palette was less than satisfactory, but at least the fermented agave elixir lining my stomach was now fortified with good old’ fashioned Mickey-D’s saturated fats & patented triglycerides. I was always a chicken nugget with barbecue sauce kind of kid, but it wasn’t too often that we got to visit the clown’s joint – Dad wouldn’t have it, “No, we’re not eating that crap! Burger King is the only one that grills their burgers.” And so we’d forego the Big Mack for a Whopper all the time wishing it was Mom who at the wheel.

    A long ass night with one damn long drive, I touched down in Los Angeles at 1:15am this morning after having catering an event in Palm Springs. I must be slipping back into the groove as I was about 87.4% happy with my timing, cooking & plating presentation – a big advancement from Fridays affair at the same house (I’m not one to scapegoat but on Friday I had “Mitilda the Moron Maid” as my only assistant and really, she should stick with Panda Express & Bubbilicious bubblegum). As for the three hour drive there and back? A journey as such provides one that solitary opportunity to really delve within and turn the channel in an endless search for the right tune, adjusting the volume to personal preference as the crisp desert air comes streaming through the window and Journey belt’s out “don’t stop believing” . . . jiving to the catchy beats until that annoying commercial promoting the latest and greatest Fat burner Pill steals your karaoke moment (I hardly needed any reminders of my late lunch selection). Somewhere between here & bum’fk nowhere, a thought occurred to me - as this journal is cause to share inspiration in all of its many forms, as I’m attempting to encourage you to explore self-awareness beyond the outlet of a kitchen . . . “we should include a song with each daily journal entry”

    I’ve referenced my love for dancing before, but what is dancing without the music? I'd rather not try to make something out of nothing; your basic bass thumping will adequately suffice . . but it oh, how it can be so much more! What is music? It’s that billboard top charts song that you’ve assigned to your most recent love escapade, it’s that heart break melody that you’ve added to a repertoire of “let go’s” and it’s that elevating tune that was blasting over the gymnasium befuddled sound system as your team celebrated winning the first game of the season. Music has a way with our emotions –and why shouldn’t it? As much damage as mankind does it is our artistic creations that stand out as our pinnacles of potential. The chain of music extends deep into a series of artists aspiring to translate their talent into a profession.

    At the conception, you have a song writer etching out the words to a love lullaby, the verses of sadness & loss, or the often harsh jibberish of street scene living. Then there is the composer who actually writes out the hieroglyphic notes applicable to any assortment of musical instruments, which brings us to those amazing individuals that followed their broke-ass Peter Pan flute dreams. Of course, there’s the lead singer & band who applies their uniqueness to the ballad and whence the song is consecrated, the album composition finalized, the CD cover drafted . . there is the dramatic concert performance involving theatrics, choreographers, lighting specialists - all acts placating to world of creative energy. The moment concludes with the fan – just like all of the preparations for an amazing dinner touched with a chef’s personality . . . it is that simple enjoyment and appreciation for an artistic production created by the hand of man. Cathedrals in the sky, Monet impressions, Billy Joel keyes . . we can be quite amazing when we choose to be!

    And we conclude with some beckoned interaction here - I am open to your song suggestions that are most applicable to one of my past journal entries (I’m going to clean-them up a bit to our finalized “blog format”). Your input and participation are greatly valued as a guest at the dinner table . . . I might be scene whistling to the tune of my own beat , but we share the common dance floor of life. It’s up to you to decide if you want to join me, the tempo vibrating, the bass pulsating, the emotional triggers transporting one to an ethereal state . . you’re out of your body now, the feet shuffling to a different commander in chief, your hips swaying to the beat of freedom . . . let’s groove together baby cause I got's the moves like Jagger!
    Back to the beat,
    Chef Scotty

    The Sonnet of Shrimp Ceviche
    You’ll need some quality chips for this recipe or if you’re adventurous you can buy tortilla’s and fry up your own . . . a precursor party at your casa? The club calls to you like the lime calls to avocado – love making in a bowl, shake your booty and remember that salt is your best friend!

    • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
    • 1 cup fresh lime juice
    • 3 red bell peppers, diced
    • 1 large red onion, diced
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, or to taste
    • 1 mango, peeled and diced
    • 2 avocados, diced (optional)
    • 2 ribs celery, diced (optional)
    • chopped fresh cilantro & mint to taste
    • salt and pepper to taste

    1. Place shrimp in a glass bowl and cover with lime juice to marinate (or 'cook') for about 10 minutes, or until they turn pink and opaque. Meanwhile, place the red bell pepper, onion, jalapeno & mango (and avocados and celery, if using) in a large, non-reactive (stainless steel, glass or plastic) bowl.
    2. Remove shrimp from lime juice, reserving juice. Dice shrimp and add to the bowl of vegetables. Pour in the remaining lime juice marinade. Add cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to mix.

    Monday, December 26, 2011

    Shaken & Stirred, A Course in Pasta, Hallpass

    The better part of the man is soon ploughed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool's life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

    December 26th, 2011

    Compost, recycled holly, stomach turning, Advil advocating . . you guessed it, I went out dancing last night with Ms. Whitney & Mr. Silver Patron. It's 9:21 am, I took a taxi right? >walking out to check the street< Confirmed - good boy Scotty. I danced to the songs that held a good beat. I stood off to the side when the music lacked any substance, and I washed down my Jingle Bell-less attitude with 6 oz shots of tequila. My Christmas complete, my reluctance to participate in "battling" certified, I wipe my crusted, weary eyes and re-gain focus . . I have a dinner to cook in Palm Springs.

    A Course in Pasta

    Gnocchi Chopsticks with Pickled Honeydew & Prosciutto

    Seared Sea Scallop, Lobster-Saffron Cream Sauce, Lemon Pepper Papparedelle

    Artichoke Tapenade encrusted Black Bass, Umbricelli-n-Cheese with Porcini Mushroom

    Tangerine-Basil Granite

    Veal Agnolotti with Smoked Tomato-Fennel Sauce, Capicola-Chevre Blossoms

    Meyer Lemon Ricotta Cannelloni, Huckleberry Gastrique, Spiced Crème Anglaise & Fresh Berries

    My equilibrium askew and not enough synapses firing upstairs, diluted emotions & an upset stomach . . I'm gonna have to take a hallpass on today's journal entry. Appropriately, I leave you with a blueprint for creating a specialty cocktail. Shake it up, drink it down and remember to take two aspirin before you crawl into bed!

    with Culinary Blessings,
    Chef Scotty

    Specialty Libations in a Martini Glass
    A cool, flirty martini is the perfect cocktail for lounging by the pool, throwing a party or setting the tone for a romantic evening. Utilizing your personal liquor cabinet and a few easy ingredients from a grocery store, you'll have partner or guests wondering where you went to bartending school.

    Things You'll Need
    • Martini glass
    • Shaker with strainer
    • Ice
    • Vodka (if non-alchoholic you’ll substitute more club soda & sprite –stir don’t shake!!!)
    • Club soda
    Place a martini glass in the freezer to chill. Place 4 ice cubs, 2 oz. vodka and 1 oz. club soda in the shaker.
    Add your mix of choice, shake your frustrations out and pour. Finish with a splash of club soda & garnish.

    1.) rosehip litchi martini: purchase two cans of litchi & rosewater (at your local Persian or Kosher store). Open the cans and process the litchis with the juice in a blender, add one teaspoon of rosewater & follow the recipe above. Garnish with a rosepetal.

    2.) tangerine-thai basil martini: purchase thai basil (or regular),chiffonade (cut up finely) and set aside with a damp paper towel covering any air exposure to prevent oxidation. Tangerine juice is available at any natural food store but you can easily substitute any juice here (kerns guava & mango work well but they do have corn based thickeners). Mix the tangerine juice & thai basil together, then pour into a container & place in freezer for at least 8 hours. To make your martini – omit the ice in the shaker!!!! And instead, carve out 2 scoops of your granite (iced fruit juice) pouring your vodka over it, shake it like you would your boss if you could, add a splash of club soda – and enjoy! Garnish with any fresh fruit: strawberries, mango wedges, orange slices

    3.) muttled men martini: purchase oil cure olives (dry packed usually or available at any olive bar) & a jar of pepperocini’s. Slice and dice your little pickled peppers & olives, mix and set aside. Use a good vodka for this one – I like Chopin (still made with potatoes) or Belvedere and OMIT the club soda. Afer shaking, Put about two heaping tablespoons of your mix with 1 tablespoon of pepperocini juice. No garnish needed – this little guy is spicy, salty and goes down ohhhhh, so smooth!

    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    The Ornamental King & Porky Christmas Crowns

    “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant
    ― Henry David Thoreau

    Christmas Day, 2011

    Another year and it doesn’t seem like Christmas Day – I’m not with family or friends – just me and my lonesome self, I’ve eaten entirely too many chocolates, I am working . . . always working – hell, I got’s to work if I’m yet to achieve another comeback tour to this seemingly endless novel of struggles and persecution. At least I’ve discovered such solace from the lessons to be learned within the turning of each page, the conclusion to by hypothesized with each chapter shedding a touch more light.

    Yesterday, I shared my gifts created for my reclusive Aussie lover it’s only fair that now on Christmas Day, I properly acknowledge those gifts revealed from our spontaneous starburst of romanticism:

    he recalibrated my understanding of love and in less than seven magical days he has now set the bar for any other suitor to uphold. I will honor myself in accepting nothing less than that to which I deserve . . with definite finality issued to our relationship, today I seal the envelope and set aside with my past due bills. The knowing & the unknown are now officially in the same basket.

    he kindled a fire of passion that burned away a lot of baggage which has transpired into new creativity in writing, cooking, painting, thinking, creating . . . too many opportunities before me, it’s up to me and me alone to make the right choices if I am to reach the desired outcome.

    he put a pause to our budding love, our companionship of limitless potential which has afforded both of us time to contemplate the next course of action – this has allowed me an opportunity to refocus on the most immediately pressing priorities of work development, stabilized finances & the final chapter of my ChileCo & Eden legal affair.

    he reinforced my awareness of just how strong and I am . . it’s been a year where I’ve had friends willing to compromise integrity & loyalty for the sake of personal gain at my expense. My belief in humanity slightly tilted, but not exactly chucked into the garbage disposal either.

    Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all . . . .

    I add these experiences today to my past history of adventures in dating and a rather limited selection of lovers. Not exactly a lot to report, I’ve never cleared a year with anyone (priority 1 = success), just your usual collection of ankle biting, unappreciating, dog-eat-dog cheating types with a few good ones thrown in the mix (which I successfully managed to sabotage).

    I really don’t think “dating” is a proper name for this entire companionship interviewing process. Maybe they should rename it “battling.” Its seems our harsh world is quite accomplished in breeding doubt, jealousy, anger & hunger – love, gratitude, balance & harmony not exactly great assets to bring to the table of war. With no crown to conquer, I’ll suit up again, ready for the fight . . . strong enough to take a bullet, smart enough to have a plan of attack, intuitive enough to see a punch coming, and god-willing . . . lucky enough to get air-lifted out when it’s hopeless, rescued with the incoming instruction “mission aborted” or saved by the hand of another soldier . . hopefully he has topaz blue eyes too!

    Merry Christmas,
    Chef Scotty

    Crown Roast of Pork Recipe with Pumpernickel-Crancider Stuffing
    Whilst we give “love” a badly needed break, let’s give that damn turkey a rest for once,hook-it up with some beloved Piggly-Wiggly. If not, this playful twist on traditional stuffing will work on any victim of your choosing on any given day. Live with passion, love unconditionally & don’t cook like a Whitney.

    • 7 pounds crown pork roast
    • 2 cups chopped cranberries
    • 1 cup red wine
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 2 onions, chopped
    • 2 cups chopped fennel
    • 1 cup cooked, chopped parsnips
    • 2 tablespoons salt
    • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
    • 8 cups pumpernickel or rye bread cubes
    • 2 apples – cored and chopped
    • 1 cup – toasted walnut
    • 1/2 cup spiced apple cider
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (option to add fresh thyme a big +++++)
    • 1 tablespoon rasta rub (sub: garam masala spice blend)

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
    2. Season pork roast with salt and pepper to taste, then place on a rack in an open roasting pan, rib ends down.
    3. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 2 hours. Roast will be only partially cooked.
    4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine cranberries, red wine and sugar and mix well; set aside. Melt butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, celery, fennel and cooked parsnips, sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add cranberry mixture and cook for another 3 minutes on high heat. Turn off heat and add salt, black pepper, bread cubes, apples, walnut, apple cider, egg, poultry seasoning & rasta rub. Toss well.
    5. After the two hours, remove roast from oven. Turn rib ends up and fill cavity with cranberry/apple stuffing. Insert meat thermometer between two ribs in the thickest part of the meat, making sure that end of thermometer does not touch any bone.
    6. Return stuffed roast to oven and continue roasting at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 1 1/2 hours, or until internal temperature of meat reaches 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). (Note: If stuffing becomes too brown, cover it with aluminum foil.)
    7. To Serve: Place roast on warm platter and let stand for 15 minutes for easier carving. Slice between ribs to carve, and serve with stuffing.

    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    A Lesson Unwrapped, Giving the Gift of Oneself, Almond Fortune Cookies

    I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau

    On Christmas Eve, 2011
    So exactly what is Christmas? A Hallmark bastardized evangelical holiday of retail explosion? An opportunity for our society to assign one little day out of 352 to actually come together as a family “unit” for a good dose of guilt & affection, an annual trip down memory lane, a persuasive invitation to partake in a thoughtful-n-thoughtless gift exchange? The majority of us hardly cling to religious indoctrinated mandates. Kids are more likely to be drawn towards candy & x-box than a cross & prayer; good ole’ Santa Claus and his slavedeers kickin-it with the Cantebury egg bearing Easter Bunny as our savior Jesus Christ fixes them another round of Mango Mojitos. I myself, have long since abandoned the ideals of a monolithic church (although God & I do chat occasionally . . or more like, a veteran wedding couple cursing at each other) and in the light of Buddhism … my beliefs are that is your one and only life, the gifts are to found in everyday occurrences and it’s exactly your choice whether or not to take notice, whether or not to give freely or expect reciprocation. Happiness the goal of attainment.

    Eight foot tall Blue Spruces sawed off at the expense of a century old Tatenbaum tradition, slurps of viscous eggnog, slices of commercialized pumpkin pie, Nat King Cole melodies, stockings hanging from a fireplace-less, eggshell-white painted drywall . . . the attributes are within the intent & more practically exposed by the benefit of a lasting custom that will undoubtedly never fade – too much money to be had . . . you can take the God out of the Gift, but you can’t take the Gift out of God (Allah, Buddha, Jehovah, Yahweh, Jah, Holy Spirit, Mother Nature, Almighty or whatever you believe it to be).

    I’m not trying to paint a negative connotation around this Holly holiday – it does a damn good enough job without my cynical input. I think whence you unwrap all of that shiny, glitterized & bowtied shit, you’ll find that most materialistic expressions lack any real shelf-life and the true inspiration of gratitude & instantaneous infatuation fades as fast as an American Idol contestant. I’m gonna throw it out there that maybe ten thousand people out of the 6,840,507,000 billion actually took the time and effort to whittle an artisan quality, burlwood maple salad bowl or stitched and bitched together a hand-crafted quilt for a loved. No, not likely . . . I’d be a hypocrite to say that I did much else other than refrain from participating in this obligatory exchange all together with the exception being gifts for my nieces & nephew . . . and I’d be remise to withhold from you that I assembled quite the heartfelt, romantic package for my Aussie lover . . . it never made it to the post office (intuitive hesitation you could say) but I’ll share with you the contents for the purpose of redeeming myself in the act of creating your gifts:

    1.)One hand-made card with words of the heart – a symbol via a poem I wrote eleven years ago that pretty much spot on describes him and how we’d feel together if we ever met

    2.)One eighteen year old, stuffed animal platypus from my childhood (named Charlie) – a symbol of my playful childhood demeanor & the seemingly known fate to be found in Australia

    3.)One rare succulent that would grow with time, threw drought or famine – a symbol of that which could endure any hardship and prosper with a pair of nurturing attentive hands

    4.)One pair of really too cool leather sneakers – a symbol of the separation yet possibilities, each of us having to two feet to carry us in any direction we choose, our footprints easy to follow or walk hand in hand along any journey.

    5.)One bottle of Conundrum Sauvignon Blanc Wine – a symbol of our first dinner (day two) and the spontaneous nature of our meeting, the living in the moment lifestyle, the laughter, easy flowing conversation & pleasured smiles to be shared over many more dinners.

    6.)Wisconsin hometown nibbles – including some Chocolate Caper artisan chocolates (there’s a story there) cashew brittle, and of course, cheeses of all sorts -symbols of the those little favorite things we’d yet to learn about each other

    7.)Last but not least, a dream journal – you see, he has vivid dreams and so, I took my own journal from 1999-2000 and cut out all of my rough drafts (from which I had painted canvas in oil & acrylic), sketches, poems & a few excerpts, pasting them throughout and scribbling a few thoughts here or there. It was/is titled “an imaginary, wonderful world by LR” Yesterday’s blog sums it up as I was putting the final touches to my piece de resistance (seven days ago) – my intuitive dumb-ass sensed this gift wouldn’t be making the trip to Melbourne.

    The final present, one of those little mobile cameras that I attached to my labtop for the purpose of updating my technological capabilities and more importantly; Skype allowing us the ability to see each other as we conversed. . . a symbol of no matter the distance, no matter the challenge – we’d find a way. Whence the communication channels were opened up (lol – Diamonds & Pearls just came on), I confronted my premonitions with him and certified his need for space, a break, a timeout, things were moving too fast (yes, that’s right LOL – we’re separated by a big ass body of water called the Pacific Ocean but apparently that’s too close LOL, oh boy – LOL)! Now, you might think – “that’s way over the top, Scotty’s pathetically in love, excessive too excessive, you’re gonna freak him out (if so: mission accomplished) or how absolutely romantic, I wish someone would do that for me?”

    The truth be told, I don’t need anyone else’s approval or jaded doubts of what is or isn’t right when comes to my emotions– that package, my words, my thoughts are of pure, good intention and like our time spent together . . . I enjoyed every minute of assembling it, conceiving each element in honoring my desires to make him happy, to put a smile on his face, to touch his heart like nobody else has ever done. In so doing – it was just as much a gift to myself!

    Giving & Receiving: an equal exchange is not likely to transpire so one must hold tight to the principal of “it was the thought that counts” But even that very thought fails to truly inspire the true meaning of giving . . . I mean that involves some “intuitive” thought that you’re going to get something in return! How about just giving for the sake of giving with no expectation of receiving?

    Another Citibank MasterCard already maxed to the hilt, the presents stashed in tow below the Mary Kay camouflaged Christmas tree, this year chalked up to yet another status-quo Holiday at the Wagners . . . perhaps this coming year of 2012 you’ll make an effort to embrace a refreshed perspective on the gift of giving? Maybe you could celebrate this philosophical tradition daily . . . all 352 days of the year, the gift of yourself . . . present enough?

    Happy Holidays to All,
    Chef Scotty

    The FORTUNE found WITHIN: Recipe for Almond Fortune Cookies
    This make for a great homemade gift for a party, an unexpected "thanks for being in my life" a wedding rehearsal dinner at "Wok with Me" You'll burn the shit out of your fingertips but gain so much pleasure & acknowledgement for your sweetness. Note: you can also dip these in dark chocolate for a touch more class & decadence but make sure you keep this tightly wrapped up - moisture will make em' soft!

    fortunes printed on 3 x 3/4" thin papers (I write these by hand, mix'em up with humor, memories, inspired quotes, ridiculous prophecies, etc.)
    3/4 cup unbeaten egg whites
    1 2/3 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup melted butter
    1 cup flour
    3/4 cup finely chopped blanced almonds
    1/2 teaspoon each of vanilla & almond extract

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Combine and mix egg whites, sugar and salt until sugar is dissolved. Stir in separately and beat until well blended the butter, flour, almonds and flavoring. Drop the dough in tablespoons, well apart, onto an ungreased baking sheet.

    Bake about 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Mold cookie (curl) over a wooden spoon handle. Insert fortune paper in each cookie letting part of the paper project. Pinch the ends of the roll closed while the cookie is still warm.

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    On the night before brunch, Scrupulous thoughts & Nibbled Bits of Knowing

    “ yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else's idea of yourself should be.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau

    December 23rd, 2011

    Okidokey, I think I’ve got a concept that ties in a few of my emotions without digressing into any state of absence or lustered confusion. I’ve been “blessed” with a certain gift that I don’t care to share with most as it only seems to complex matters, and as we’ve already previously discussed – life is complicated enough without having to muttle the waters more. My little gift has it’s benefits with regards to writing, painting, creating, self-awareness, business dealings and most definitely my presence in kitchen. It has no intention, only impulse! It can be turned off consciously in effortless surroundings (mother nature has a way of quieting the unrequested rhetoric), it can’t be turned on (it chooses it seems to have it’s own initiatives), it neither predicts not recaps the past, it is of the moment, it is shapeless, colorless but not nameless . . .

    adj \in-ˈtü-ə-tiv, -ˈtyü-\

    a : known or perceived by intuition : directly apprehended
    b : knowable by intuition
    c : based on or agreeing with intuition

    Good? Bad? Indifferent? At the ripe age of 35, I haven’t quite mastered this “ability” but I have come to understand it’s implications and the capable sensibilities inherent to our little sequestered existence together. The essential problem is, “Do you really want to know what other people are feeling?” “Do you really want to know that foreboding answer ?” And the biggy, “When you have attained the unspoken answer, just exactly how are you suppose to react? Would you make an effort to change their decision, would you confront them with this uncovered honesty or do you shut your mouth, hold down those known truths and just skip along as if you didn’t know any better?” ahhhhh, you’re starting to see the downside . . . maybe that’s why all thems witches are miserable and self-conceited – too much power, too many knowns, too much pain to hold onto – easier to withdraw.
    Let me give you a few examples so you can make your own evaluations, severity or blessing in disguise?

    Example 1: An employee, with relative good principles and work ethic asks you to borrow $400. The little committee in your head goes to work and informs you that he is strapped for cash and feels that it’s owed to him – not likely to repay you. But they also, shed light on his potential for goodness and that he does possess the capability to honor his word – your affirmation would help transcend his connotation that he was owed anything through your act of generosity. Did I lend it to him in hopes of inspiring his development? Yup! Did he pay me back or even bother to tell me he couldn’t or wouldn’t? Nope! And so, I assumed some serious frustration with myself – taking accountability for my actions, disappointed yet again in mankind shucking off the husk of goodness . . . oh, and I fired him and banned him from my property as the mere sight of him triggered such internal frustration.

    Example 2: More of an everyday scenario – close relationships of every capacity are a wee bit complicated with this so called gift. I can’t seem to maintain any male gay-friends as they’d prefer to sleep with me, marry me, fall in love with me. Egotistical? Yeah, one could easily scapegoat me as being the one at fault for “wearing my heart on my sleeve” but it’s my true nature and I’m not about to change that – not for nobody! To hell with anyone who would think I am to blame for their selfishness & my neglect to subside to their desires . . . my actions are uniformly based upon a code of ethics, morals and conscious awareness . . it’s the subconscious that gets me into trouble. (ie: the world would be a better place if we could all walk without doctoring our actions to conformity) Unfortunately, the multitude of seekers has stained my perception of what a successful relationship of “mutual attraction and compatibility” really is, and in my younger years – this caused me to sabotage several potential partnerships of equivalent “give & take” qualities. Like an antique, hand crafted corvette, it’s an endless task to upkeep the basic necessities of performance and appearance; requiring the need for constant fine-tuning, an overhaul scheduled more than periodically. The moral of the story is, it’s just easier to have girlfriends (and yes, even some of those had to be dismissed for their not-so-secretive desires to be with me as more than friend)

    Example 3: For the final snapshot of this unwanted talent I take you back to its origination of realization, which ripened to full maturity just as I turned thirteen years old and entered the unforgiving adolescent world of “high school.” My mama knew her child was different, unique, peculiar, a bit of a loner, estranged from commonality and in her concerned efforts to protect me . . . she started sending me to a multitude of psychologists (plural –because I could see through the falsity of these “PhD’s of the mind” and would screw with them a bit . . they didn’t like that!). How many kids are obsessed with saving the Earth and believe their pre-ordained destiny is nothing short of shaping the salvation of mankind? (and I’m talking the entire globe folks!) Needless to say, my little sessions did provide some insight as to my unfiltered knowledge of another’s thoughts. I guess the simplicity of another attempting to enter my brain, my emotions, my past made it all too clear that I could in fact perceive and translate another’s intentions.

    You be the judge! Until some miraculous oracle tells me different, I’ll just continue to plug along as I have, building yet another force-field around my free-spirited soul for the purpose of self-preservation; serving to protect me from the pain inflicted by others at the cause of my choice to live without inhibitions and believe in another’s full potential. On a lighter note, this gift has it’s benefits in the field of culinary arts and has rewarded me albeit a true talent as an innovative chef.

    I cook from the heart and it’s rather effortless for me. The combination of spices and herbs unique to my intuitiveness, knowledge of ethnic cuisines and experiences based upon numerous trials as a child, an apprentice, an accomplished chef . . . an artist. Maybe my whimsical mannerisms are all attributed to this visceral manifestation . . . maybe not, I don’t need to know the reasoning behind everything – if something’s not broken, no need to fix it. And I’m hardly broken by heart, body or mind (strained perhaps, but not broken).

    With holiday wishes and an endless pursuit in achieving happiness,

    Chef Scotty

    “Intuitive Angel Toast” Recipe
    Sweet and decadent, feel free to embellish with chocolate or omit the cream cheese layer for whipped cream (canisters of rediwhip always adventureous). Sometimes sweets have their way soothing the soul, comforting the weary, easing the agony . . . even if at the cost of 5lbs of excess fat!

    7 eggs
    3 cups half & half spiked with a shot of vanilla & almond extracts
    12 slices angel-food cake (the rectangular type if you can find it/2 pkgs)
    2 tbl butter

    For angel "french" toast:
    Butter or spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Combine the eggs and half & half tincture, pour a small amount in the dish. Put the bread in a single layer in the pan. Pour the remaining egg mixture over the bread and let stand 5 minutes. Turn slices over, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning melt butter in hot skillet and cook the french toast until golden brown on both sides.

    Cream Cheese Topping:
    8 oz. softened cream cheese
    3 tbl orange blossom water (or sub amaretto or almond extract)
    3 tbl half & half
    3 tbl sugar
    1/4 cup sliced almonds

    Mix first 4 ingredients until smooth. then stir in almonds, set aside.

    Cherry Amaretto Sauce:
    4 cups frozen or fresh dark pitted cherries
    1 cup orange juice
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tbl butter
    1/4 tsp cinnamon (Mexican canela please)
    1/2 cup amaretto or frangelico or 2 tsp almond extract
    1/2 cup cherry juice
    2 tbl corn starch

    Place first 6 ingredients in sauce pan, bring to boil. Mix corn starch and Amaretto mixture in small bowl and add to cherry mixture. Continue cooking, stirring until thickened.

    To Assemble:
    Place a slice of french toast on place, spread cream cheese mixture over top. Then spoon cherry sauce on top and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Some delicious salty bacon would work beautifully to contrast & cut the sweetness . . otherwise, brew some strong ass coffee!

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Writings Unwritten & Blackened Sea Scallops

    I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

    December 21st, 2011

    No "real" writings in this journal today - it's keeping to the heart ... maybe to be entered at a later date. Hell, we haven't gotten to know each other well enough for me to tell you all the dirty roses planted in my field of unkempt dreams, rooted vegetables and promising blossoms. Complications are synonymous with living, but as yesterdays entry divulged the efforts of a team to carryout any one certain goal or aspiration - it is the "I" that set's the pace of advancement . . or the unavoidable retraction.

    Something a little aggressive for the pan but still sweet to the tongue - blackened scallops accompanied with a creamy n' piquantly spicy sauce. Appropriate to my standing at this moment (but a moment is just that folks - it too has to forfeit to the next, moving the chains - regardless of their direction). I've pulled my Cocoa-Sangiovese Short-ribs from the oven, pickled my Graverstein apples to hold a delectably Gewurztraminer-Pear Cider Sorbet ... and it's time to pack up for yet another Christmas catering event. Perhaps good ole Nat King Cole can electrify my holiday spirit . . if not, I'll call upon the rickity-dickity Elves of Marbled Assumptions for a breakdown on this weeks transactions. Maybe they know something I don't!

    Chef Scotty

    Blackened Sea Scallops with Chorizo Cream Sauce

    Chef notes: I like to serve this with Israli Pearl Cous-cous (ie: pasta) but you make the call – sweet & spicy sure to invigorate your sexlife . . at least for one night!

    • 20 ounces sea scallops – feet removed
    • Cajun spice mix, recipe follows
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    Heat a skillet over high heat. Dredge scallops in spices and saute on both sides. Finish the cooking in the oven, for about 4 or 5 minutes.
    It is also wise to have all your windows open, and all your smoke alarms disconnected, considering the amount of smoke that this wonderful dish produces.

    Cajun Spice Mix:
    • 1/4 cup kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup cayenne powder
    • 1/4 cup paprika
    • 1/4 cup garlic granules
    • 1/4 cup black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons onion granules
    • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
    • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
    Mix well. Store in glass or plastic container with lid.

    Chorizo Cream Sauce:

    serves: 4
    5 links of chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
    1 tbsp cracked black pepper
    2 cups whipping cream
    1 cup pecorino, grated

    1. Fry the chorizo for 2 minutes in a frying pan until golden.

    2. Add the pepper and fry for 10 seconds. Add the cream, bring to the boil

    3. Add the cheese and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes then remove from the heat.

    4. Serve immediately over a bed of fresh pasta with blackened scallops. Garnish with fresh cilantro stems and possibly bacon bits

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Winning by Defeat? "Your Team, Your Life" Thai Candied Cashews

    “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau

    December 19, 2011

    It’s well past my 10am third round audition with Tony’s hands (well, he bailed on using his fingertips and forefeited to using his elbows & kneecaps to drive deep into my most devoted “Holy Mother of Knots” congregations) and my body is attempting to understand the shockwaves of yet another phenomenal massage! It feels good – really good, the blood is finally getting to the head (God knows how many brain cells I’ve been working with these past few years!) . . and well, apparently some other places.

    My body all but beaten like a North Dakota cattle ranch wife, I had to undergo yet another loss yesterday . . . . the Superbowl Champs of 2010, the infamously Midwestern football team . . the undefeated until yesterday, Green Bay Packers! And so, I feel it appropriate we touch on this beloved American rendition of the Roman inspired Olympic competitions.

    de•feat (d -f t )
    tr.v. de•feat•ed, de•feat•ing, de•feats
    1. To win victory over; beat.
    2. To prevent the success of; thwart: Internal strife defeats the purpose of teamwork.
    3. Law To make void; annul.
    1. The act of defeating or state of being defeated.
    2. Failure to win.
    3. A coming to naught; frustration: the defeat of a lifelong dream (hello???)
    4. Law The act of making null and void.

    Defeat” is nearly synonymous with “Failure” but how does one become defeated or remain undefeated in a world such as ours? The answer: it is resolutely impossible to avoid defeat, failure, victimization, the un-in-fortune . . . . . . .

    For to play the game with any true intent to win, you run the risk of loss, injury, fumbled mistakes, mis-guided throws, windy days that just won’t let that leather bound ball penetrate the distant goal post. Our involved world, the stadium, our external surroundings participating afar from Sony High-def TV’s, the asphalt parking lot just outside the coliseum -grilling up hotdogs and consummating their “almost immediate presence” with gallons of Miller Lite; the majority of Earth just not giving a shit, and rightly oblivious to your own American drama story.
    You? You are the leader of your internal battle, the quarterback whether you like it or not . . . if you’re second or third string QB, that likely means your content to ride the bench of life, letting other people play out your life, ignorant to your own purpose and potential.

    Fortunately for you, the coaches, linebackers, even the fans are all in your field of decision making. That’s right, you draft the participants in your life and you can just as easily excommunicate any of ’em at your owned damned leisure. You’ve got eleven “main” players on the field at any one time, but the rules allow unlimited substitutions between plays, the types of players on the field for each team differ depending on the situation – it’s your call, your show, your people!

    Here’s a Chef Scotty life-analogy lineup:

    The playbook: your sub-conscious, your knowledge and experiences of the past, the alternatives

    Line of Scrimmage: short-term goal baseline, your present disposition, the challenge before you

    The Endzone: short-term goal destination, the accomplishment of your intended task

    Stadium: your immediate world, your home, your work environment (outside of the stadium you pretty much have a parking lot of chaotic society wanting to get in)

    Fans: your acquaintances, the people who’s life you grace for a glimpse of a moment & vice-versa. Some of them are season pass holders, always cheering you on & some just ride the bandwagon when life is good “we’re number one man!!!” and off to another team & QB when you’re struggling.

    The Football: electronic perception, instantaneous intuition, fate???, energetic vibration?????? This is nothing more than the median to the entire game – it can do nothing if you don’t pick it up!

    A Fumble: one of your best friends hands-over, cough’s up all your drive, forfeits the ball of endless possibilities. He’s not gonna be on your good side – forgivable? I think so, I think any given situation whether accident or intentional is worth forgiving. But on the other hand, anyone who screws up too much is going to find themselves a broke ass, free-agent that next morning!

    An Interception: Well, really nobody to blame but yourself (and yes, you too can cause a fumble!). Now, it’s all too easy laying the blame on anybody & everything but yourself – take accountability & try not to loft a hell mary unless really necessary – you’ve been picked off 3 times this year already!

    Touchdown/Fieldgoal/Safety: Points = Successes in your life, get enough of them and you accomplish goals (ie: graduating, learning to paint, losing 15 pounds, paying off a credit card, getting that ellusive promotion). Miraculously you can learn from losing the game and become a better team for it . . . so live it up, work hard/play hard, be true and look at the big picture? Hell, until you’re dead and buried . . . your stuck with this game, so play for the win but understand you’re going to fail in the process!(Hello, Green Bay Packers???)

    The Other Team: this scenario, these players typically change in accordance to the circumstances of your life with some individuals all dragging on season through season – you can evict them though!

    The Officials: Pretty simple – the law, the judges, the damned pain in the ass meter-maids . . these folks are here to keep some semblance of morals & values applicable to both sides.

    Your Team: the people in your life that love you dearly and look to you for friendship, love, memories, babysitting, crying on your shoulder during losses, cheering for your TD’s, practicing in their own efforts but participating in your own long-term goals.

    Headcoach: Your best friend or family member for practical advice, possibly a close mentor who corresponds with you directly, giving you the play by play and the authority to override impromptu

    Asst. Coaches: Your other intellectual friends contributing their experienced opinions – whether requested or not (ie: your boss). Often, somewhat older confidants with the wisdom of past years.

    Quarterback: You in all of your entirety, the play-maker in ever which manner of your life! You control the final decisions and impact the game more than anyone else. You’ll have good days, even Brett Favre days, but you are not perfect and will flounder from expectations both self-imposed & externally.

    Your Tackle: This is the guy who protects you night & day from getting sacked – Your best all around friend, life-long partner or family member of stability, a protector that would die for you. This person has nothing but unconditional love & lives to see you shine, knowing they had their own silent part in it

    Your Offensive Line: Most likely made up of your immediate family members & the friends that personally call you on your birthday or better yet – get you a gift; these people allow you the possibility to put forward your best efforts & performance, to gain the yardage necessary with perhaps the least amount of gratitude received, persecuted by you, the fans & the coaches when you let the opposing linebacker break through and nail you onto your back.

    Widereceiver/Tightends/Runningbacks: Ok, these are your flashy folks that like the attention you give them not to mention the gratification and benefit of scoring. You’ve got your favorites at any given time . . . a new lover, your leo sister, your fellow leaders and personalities that you “just click with” Game on & off the field you talk regularly, dine occasionally & party regularly– move the chains mother f’kr!

    Your Defensive Line/Linebackers: Muscle to muscle these men (or women) are those peeps that don’t take shit from nobody . . & they aren’t about to let their team down. You want to fight – it’s on! They live to set things right in your life and put the possession of opportunity back In your hands. Who you got that has your back, yet doesn’t require any thanks in return? The pleasure in the patriotic duty.

    Your Safeties/Cornerbacks: In defense, these guy’s are the ones who knock down those obstacles, determined to get you back on the field of play. They are the ones who strive to keep the oppositions point off the board – making it more feasible to win should you & the offense not be at optimum performance level. I’d like to think these are your guardian angels, perhaps? Otherwise we’ll have to settle for your loyal co-workers, veteran business associates & clients, your lawyers (as much as I hate to admit?), your accountant, your mechanic, your Farmers Insurance agent . . get the drift?

    The Kicker: This is that one particular, professional or financially sound friend who‘s just in that spot of life to help you save your ass and put some points on the board with above 80% ratio of coming through for you (despite your team squandering the opportunity on those last 3 yards). They’re on the field the least – but their consistency is unequivocal in winning the games!

    Need I say more??? My head is swimming right now with some adjustments to the roster, the playbook mentally shifting, my bicep flexing in anticipation of the next throw!

    Thai Candied Cashews

    Thai glazed cashews are a tantalizing combination of sweet, salty and spicy, making them an excellent beer nut or snack food. Perfect for the holiday season or football game these glazed nuts can be made in a matter of minutes and served alongside your party platters. Great with beer and cocktails, but also delicious sprinkled over salads or desserts (excellent on ice cream!).

    • MAKES 3 cups glazed nuts
    • 3 cups unsalted cashews, roasted or unroasted (other types of nuts work too, such as pecans and walnuts)
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili
    • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 2 Tbsp. canola or other vegetable oil
    • Optional: fresh ginger minced, sambal, crushed lemongrass or cumin
    1. Spread cashews out on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 350 degrees. Allow to bake until cashews appear golden brown in color (15-30 minutes) If your cashews are already roasted, allow to bake for 10 minutes (this will just crisp them up nicely).
    2. Remove from oven and slide nuts onto a plate or onto your counter-top to cool slightly.
    3. Place a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil plus the chili flakes and cayenne pepper. Stir the chili into the oil.
    4. When oil is hot, add the nuts. Stir-fry until nuts are coated with chili oil (about 20 seconds).
    5. Add the salt and sugar. Stir-fry about 1 minute, or until the sugar has dissolved. Don't over-cook, or the sugar will start to burn.
    6. Remove from heat. Slide nuts onto a sheet of wax paper, parchment paper, or tin foil and allow to cool. While cooling, do a taste-test. Add another sprinkling of dried chili flakes if not spicy enough. Add a little more salt if you prefer them saltier.

    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    The Best Value by the Buck & Local Lobster Bisque

    “If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality. Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau,

    December 18th, 2011

    For those of you already following my almost daily journal, say goodbye to my little screenplay introductions (literally – pulling them off today) and greet my new intro of daily quotes by an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist – Henry David Thoreau. Perhaps best known for his book, Walden, his words have always resonated with me, his literary style interweaving close natural observation, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and love of practical detail. Aside from keeping my cloistered mind focused, my hope is that you discover a boost of inspiration from his accomplished writings; pause in deep conscious thought, reflect on the potential of his words and then continue reading “The Word of Chi” in anticipation of this aspiring author’s clumsy collection on full flavored living!

    Full living” being a point of interest, a common denominator throughout this literary equation, a long-term goal etched in the master plan . . . Attention required to my physical well-being could no longer be ignored. My back has been agonizing these past few weeks (3 long served years in normal human terms), unbearable clustered grenades of lactic acid firing off from within, no pill able to comfort, no hammer able to penetrate (no lie – I’ve pounded my back by more than a few construction tools in hopes of tenderizing the constricted muscle tissue). I concede at last to what those whom walk a life of normality would do – attend to the problem! Enter: dirt cheap massage therapy

    Exit: per-conceived thought, “$15 foot massage” say’s the quincenera , rose colored neon sign externally hanging from a rather decrepit awning. So one would assume that the joint, nestled between a modestly ghetto laundrymat, Health Department “Grade C” recipient taqueria, and Adolfo’s Fine Spirits (LOL) wouldn’t likely be furnishing the Ritz-Carlton spa package, right? I mean seriously folks, who cares about aesthetics when the price is comparative to a one hour n’ twenty minute blockbuster movie ticket! I pondered, “This sounds like a score, a sweet deal, a two bill deal for some well needed nourishment at below fair market price.” Read on Maybelline, read on . . . .

    I open the standardized Pittsburgh steel mill, glass framed door and find a brandy stained bamboo host stand with a pleasant Southeast Asian receptionist (receptionaire? Is there a different word for a male host???). He say’s “welcome, you want soft, medium or hard?” Is this a rhetorical question? Am I being punked? The moment of gayness passess and I reply, “hard, very .. very hard!” We pass through a narrow inlet between the serried panels of Shoji Screens depicting your typical backdrop of red crowned cranes, budding cherry blossoms and vertically floating koi. As my gracious maitre d’ guides me to one of the twelve massage tables visible from my not quite 282 degree view, I’m thinking “ok, so the $15 sign was a hoax to usher people through the door and then charge them a crisp President Grant for a standard massage. Whatever! My back f’ing hurts so bad I’ll gladly forefeit the remains of my wallet if one of these fine folks is capable of relieving my debilitated spinal cord.”

    PAUSE: real-time, my sister just got up at 7:53 and brought me the one we call Nugget . . so adorable! I juggle her attempting to continue my writing . . then concede to placing her on the bed, wrapping her in my Keneth Cole cotton pull over . . . I admire her and share a conversation, speaking in infant tongue of “hiiyeeee’s, & aweeehhhh’s” She squirms this way & that, then flex’s her petite nub’s for legs and . . . rips a 5 second fart like a grown man after having eaten too many baked beans – Hilarious!!!!!!

    A stout, sort of frumpy man with weathered facial lines predicting an age slightly more than half-century brings a bucket of steaming water and murmurs, “you take off shoes, shirt – put feet water” I’m leary, anticipating a blistering teapot effect and so I cautiously steep my size 14, triple wide left foot it. Neither scalding nor timid, my right foot happily follows suit and a I stripe to down to quasi-naked Voyeurism is apparently non-applicable at this establishment, the other seven persons furnishing undies and pants with all remaining unseen flesh discreetly covered by yards of terry-cotton towels.

    The man returns. Curiously I wonder if he will simple nosh on my disabused toes, but silently hopeful that at any minute he will break-down my upper quadrant in Andrea Centazzo percussionist fashion. He begins with an application of lotion to my shoulders, kneading with a touch of assessment, stroking downwards towards my butt crack, both hands diligently testing my anatomical status. After a sensual tasting, Mr. Miyagui initiated a full-throttle, bone crack-a-lacking, rigor mortis a la tendon stretching, physique calibrating, push-pin-pressure point-persuading deep-tissue massage to my entire living corpse! It was as if he possessed full knowledge of “the force” - this man was the master Yoda re-incarnated and I his obedient disciple. I begged, “Beat me! Pound at will and strike down my knotted dark evils that loath me from within.”

    At the end, breathing with such gratitude I asked, “You are incredible, What is your name? That was the most amazing massage I’ve ever had in my entire life” The jedi-masseuse responded, “Tony, tank you Mr. you very nice.” I exited the place believing I would have a bill by the minute, and having no idear how the clock had turned I imagined a invoice of upward $120. The receptionaire (will go with that) replied, “fifteen dollars please.” No, no this couldn’t be right – this man should be institutionalized! Yup, that’s right folks – right here on Springdale St & Westminster Avenue, Orange County . . you too can have the massage of your life for the price of two Happy Meals!!! Almost shameless, I tipped only $25 on the $15 tab, bought 4 gift certificates and booked a 10am appt for the next day . . . its 9:10am now, I haven’t showered yet or proof-read this journal entry so I leave you with “the best value by the dollar blog” and a recipe for Tommy Gomes, Catalina Offshore Products local Spiny Lobster Bisque.

    Lobster Bisque Recipe

    2 1-lb. cooked local, spiny lobsters from Catalina Offshore Products
    1 cup lobster stock (recipe to follow this week/keep your lobster shells in freezer)
    4 tbsp. clarified butter
    1 tbsp. tomato paste
    1 med. minced onion
    1 each bay leaf
    1 lg. minced carrot
    1 sprig fresh thyme
    1 tsp. chopped garlic clove
    1/4 cup brandy
    1 stalk minced celery
    2 cups heavy cream
    2 tbsp. flour
    1/4 tsp. paprika
    1/2 cup dry sherry
    salt and pepper to taste

    Remove all meat and tamalley from lobster shell. Place in bowl and chill. Chop lobster shells as fine as possible. Heat a medium size saute pan until hot and add butter. As butter starts to smoke, add shells, reduce heat and cook shells for 1-2 minutes tossing the shell pie fragments frequently. Add all the minced vegetables and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. Slowly sprinkle in the flour and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer everything into a 2 quart saucepan and deglaze the saute pan with the sherry adding everything to the saucepan. Heat the mixture until hot then slowly add the lobster stock until the soup thickens. Add the tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, and paprika.

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Blown Out Flames, Butterdreams "be left" Untold & Razorback Ridge

    I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right. Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
    Henry David Thoreau
    December 17th, 2011

    What a difference writing with a clear head! My spinal cord is relaxed, the twins cakes are complete I’m ready for a Saturday of Chucky Cheese and a small tribe of children drooling, ducking & most certainly, wailing! Getting to know my sisters little family of five: my sister “Mary Cleo to the Shabaz," the 2 year old twins, Lily & Logan, the 3-month old enfant, Kylie (or Nugget as we affectionately refer to her) and finally, Kevin (her husband – say no more Scotty), has been an unforeseen luxury, a generous gift, a blessing in disguise resulting from this whole fraudulent acquisition of my San Diego businesses. Tonight, I play the role of babysitter – diapers plastered with mucky poo to change, mouths chirping in fascist aggravation to be fed, toy’s dispersed throughout the modest Westminster labyrinth like an upturned jigsaw puzzle box . . . I love these kids and absolutely can’t wait to strap on my shit-kickers, dig out my Uncle Scotty Cowboy hat & lasso up some childhood imagination!

    Yesterday was a day for tears. Tears shed for someone else’s pain . . well, a bit of my own in remembering Mo and Sammy’s loss of his only son . . but for all said purposes – the untouchable, unthinkable, unequivocal losses sustained by a parent outliving their child are nothing that I can quite relate with. Comforting a friend in need, I will act out my role in neighborly custom, probably drop-off some home-cooked meals for Robin & Gayla, offer my condolences and let them mourn at their own steadfast pace. I have nothing else to offer at this time – the tragedy still fresh to their thoughts as a smashed jack-o-lantern before the day of Halloween.

    Prayers will be appreciated, memories will be savored and rivers of cobalt tears of tomorrows not had will no doubt, flow endlessly; but today, in my own circle of Disney-matic life, I hold dear the celebration of these two little tikes, a lioness & cub’s birthday party of laughter, partial skim mozzarella cheesy pizza, unfathomable calories consumed in the form of these twin tower cakes (I’m still twitching from last night’s cake bake session - the copious amounts of sugar coercing through my every blood vessel . . I finished at 1:30 am)

    Food for thought, When is the last time you actually baked a birthday cake? Really, what better of a gift for your spastic sister-n-law, your devoted single-serving friend or that rotten crab-apple of a wicked witch neighbor across the way? A Nordstrom’s metallic silver gift-wrapped, Visa snaffled expense, down to the very last minute rush . . . purchased by necessity, expectation, compliance . . . hell, at least you didn’t cop out albeit a $50 gift certificate from Bed Bath & Beyond! A cake, your efforts regardless of their Duncan Hines plagiarized torte variation, is a much more of an authentic birthday present . . more than any forfeited American dollar bills at least. I implore you to pick somebody’s upcoming big day and dream up the extra effort to create some virtuous confection draped in a sheath of almond praline buttercream, scharfenberger dark chocolate ganache, or even settle for some pre-manufactured, overly sweet confectioners sugar frosting – your reward will gain you pounds of sincere appreciation.

    with Culinary Blessings,
                         Chef Scotty

    Here is a recipe for Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
    *Now this isn’t exactly the recipe I use (a more French based variation that requires a bit more attention) but will suffice for nearly any occassion

    • 1 pound box (about 3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3 - 4 tablespoons milk
    • Add a touch of sauvignon blanc, orange blossom water, imagination

    Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and mix until combined. Add more milk if necessary for spreading consistency.

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Monkeybread Fears conceding to Peanut Butter Smears

    “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity”
    Henry David Thoreau

    December 16th, 2011

    Apologies for the 15th going undisputed with my vocal veneer – my assigned duties to this journal going unacknowledged, as I was exhausted from a catering event. It yet another event that I worked for upscale "Beverly Hills" caterer which would only reaffirm my capabilities as a chef, a bartender, a captain, an entrepreneur. I liked the lady, even if she was a bit O.C.D. and lacked veteran experience in this laborious field of work – and she thanked me endlessly not just by words but with bills (the words more important than the money – but let’s face it, my ass has gone from modest wealth to bare broke, a dime once again possessing value!) Perplexed doesn’t even touch my thought pattern with regards to my career at this exact moment!

    Without divulging the inadequacies or inefficiencies of any specific caterer that I have now joined their ranks as a multi-skilled, on-call status employee, I cannot rightfully withhold my gut feelings anymore. I have the need to express my apprehensions in the form of “No” & “Know” Perhaps the duality of my life’s recent transactions is the implication for my paired comparisons . . . I can’t be certain as the cause or reason, maybe it’s the Piper H. Brut Champagne I’m juggling down, or my fluctuating thought patterns do to emotional over-exposure, or too much or too little of anything. Regardless, here are the basic definitions in accordance to Merriam-Webster:


    1. (a negative used to express dissent, denial, or refusal, as in response to a question or request)
    2. (used to emphasize or introduce a negative statement): Not a single person came to the party, no, not a one.
    3. not in any degree or manner; not at all (used with a comparative): He is no better.
    4. not a (used before an adjective to convey the opposite of the adjective's meaning): His recovery was no small miracle.


    1. to perceive directly : have direct cognition of (2) : to have understanding of (3) : to recognize the nature of : discern b (1) : to recognize as being the same as something previously known (2) : to be acquainted or familiar with (3) : to have experience of
    2. to be aware of the truth or factuality of : be convinced or certain of b : to have a practical understanding of
    3. archaic : to have sexual intercourse with

    To say “no” is essentially, shutting down an option. To say I “know” is to express a sage-like understanding. These two terms having such relevance in our lives – PAUSE - I just found out that a good friend lost her twenty year old daughter this past Tuesday . . . What in the world could I say that would have any importance? If I told you that this woman is a successful Lesbian fortunate enough to have conceived one single child – now lost to our world, to her maternal instinct to protect, to shared dreams & endless possibilities . . .would anything I say really matter?

    I just got off the phone with my good friend Sammy, who likewise lost his only son almost two years to date – he religiously visits Mo’s grave every day – he is also gay, happens to be a practicing Muslim and struggles daily with his unimaginable loss. My immediate intuition, Connect these two beautiful individuals together in their quest to survive such pain, a pain that such few have ever experienced. Perhaps this is the “know” . . . I was gearing towards the ability to say “no” to certain business opportunities, I was intent on saying “know” to how I feel about my love for a foreigner that I’ve had no more than 7 days with . . Apparently, what the fuck do I really “know”? Mo (endearing nickname for Mohammad) was like a little brother to me, Sammy – a loyal friend that seems to have transitioned past lives into the present, Robin an introduction through Mr. Wilson – the spirited, rebelliously admirable type . . I like her immediately and resolutely share a part of her loss, as I will undoubtedly lose a piece of her.

    I “know” my financial/business loss is petty in comparison. I “no” longer hold back my emotional propositions for fear of rejection; I “knew nothing” before, and life was ever so simple for it; a child’s dream’s untainted with the forbearance of a corrupt society. Love & Birth, Loss & Death are natures gifts and unavoidable burdens. Ironically, my sisters fraternal twins: Lily & Logan will be celebrating their birthday’s tomorrow. For the cherup princess, I’m baking an eggnog genoise with raspberry compote & orange-blossom buttercream & for the mischievous butch boy – a chocolate mousse lacquered with caramelized bananas and various confections. God, I love them so much . . I couldn’t even begin to imagine losing them!

    Sorry, I have to feel this moment right now, release these tears of loss . . . and then thank the heavens for my cherished loved ones, everyday being a gift to appreciate! To continue tomorrow, in the intern enjoy a peanut butter cake that doesn’t scald your fingertips, sear your eyebrows, or brandish you check with the imprint of mama’s 36 carat diamond ring. (AND LET YOUR LOVE FLOW OPENLY, EXPRESSIVELY . . . tomorrow may take that everlasting bond away!)

    In memory of those that we’ve lost, not forgotten as we raise our remembrance smiles of peanut butter jelly smears - Chef Scotty

    Peanut Butter Memory Cake
    - rolling with caramelized bananas & dark chocolate ganache for this one

    • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 (18.25 ounce) package butter cake mix
    • 2/3 cup water

    • 1 cup peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
    2. Combine 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/2 cup butter or margarine. Cream until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each one. Add cake mix alternately with the water. Stir until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
    3. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 25 minutes or until cake tests done. Allow cakes to cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Assemble and frost with Peanut Butter Frosting once cool.
    4. To Make Peanut Butter Frosting: Combine 1 cup peanut butter, and 1/2 cup butter or margarine cream together until light and fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar. Mix in enough cream to make the frosting of a spreading consistency. Apply to cool cake.