Home

The Butt Cheeks I’m Not Cooking

4 Comments

Lizards may not have lips, but fish have cheeks.  The former are imaginary; the latter, delicious.

I’d ordered fish cheeks at restaurants but had never found them available for purchase.  An Oregon coast fishmonger told me that the much-prized fish cheeks were sold mainly to restaurants and were rarely available in retail markets.  The first time I saw halibut cheeks on sale was over ten years ago, at the newly opened branch of a locally-owned organic market (a shout-out to our beloved New Seasons!).  I checked out fresh meats section of the store, passing by other patrons who stood in front of the beef, poultry, lamb and pork cases while the butchers took their orders. When I reached the seafood display case I nearly mashed my nose against the glass with excitement, and the fishmonger smiled in appreciation.

“Look what you have!”  I blustered.  “You have halibut cheeks!”

Butt cheeks?”  The woman to my right gasped and dropped a freshly wrapped package of New Season’s house-made chorizo in her shopping cart.  “They sell BUTT CHEEKS?”

I exchanged bemused glances with the fishmonger, who, I could see, was about to enlighten the aghast shopper.  Greedy moi launched a preemptive strike[1].  “Yes, they do.” I grinned at gasping sausage woman, and cheekily (sorry) patted my own behind.  “They are considered a delicacy in some Eastern European countries.”

I was able to buy ’em all: two pounds of halibut cheeks.

Sweet and tender, with a flavor and flaky texture that is often compared to with lobster,[2] halibut cheeks are so tasty on their own that IMHO, the KISS[3] doctrine applies to their preparation.  Here’s how we celebrated Little New Year’s Eve[4] at the Black Cat Café,[5] with dear friend and discerning dinner guest, LAH.

Yummers Halibut Cheeks (serves 4)
-1 pound Halibut cheeks (about 8 – 12 pieces)
-EVOO
-Sea salt
-2 ½ T unsalted butter, divided
-2T freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
-lemon wedges

Film two large cast iron pans with EVOO and heat the pans over medium-high heat until the oil is hot but not smoking.  Sprinkle both sides of the cheeks with salt; place cheeks in the pans (don’t overcrowd – give ’em plenty of gasping room). Sauté the cheeks for 2 minutes.  Flip them over, cook second side for 2 minutes.  Add the butter and lemon juice (dividing them among the two pans). After 30 seconds flip the fish again, so that both sides are coated with butter.  Cook for another 30 -60 seconds (do not overcook; depending on thickness, total cooking time for the cheeks should be a mere 5-6 minutes).  Plate and serve with lemon wedges to squeeze on top.

 Credit: Roy Henry Vickers artcountrycanada.com

Don’t ask don’t tell

During this lovely dinner, I sniffed a cat turd. There’s no graceful segue; it happened.[6]

I heard something scuttling on the floor by my chair,  and with all the holiday goodies we’ve been given (including a package of chocolate goober things called “Moose droppings”) I assumed the cats had once again gotten up on the counters and knocked down some treats down….  And I screamed at K when he said, “Yeah, I was going to say to you when you picked that up, ‘I think it’s a cat dingleberry.'”

Don’t ask.  Oh, but you didn’t, did you?  I told, without being asked. And if you’re a Facebook friend of my daughter’s, you already know.

*   *   *

♫ So this is Christmas/And what have you done
Another year over/A new one just begun ♫ 

As much as I have always loved the Tweenolidays[7] I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  I have been to and hosted my share of entertaining New Year’s celebrations; still, more often than not, it’s a couple of days to tolerate, not anticipate. This is methinks, a combination of three factors:

1)  The Ghost of The Younger Years ® rattling its memory-chain of the Are We Having Fun Yet?! pressure:  It seemed to me that I did not have the kind of festive/bacchanal/out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new adventures immortalized (and exaggerated, yeah, I know) in cinema and literature, and thought that I was supposed to do that, even if I didn’t want to, and that every other person on the planet was Having A Great Time save for moi;

2)  The gut-check of the Mature years:  I’ve passed a certain AARP- significant age, and that effin’ John Lennon song gets played over and over this time of year, the lyrics of which seem to taunt me with the reality of the insignificance of my accomplishments during the past 365 days  (“…and what have you done?…another year over….”)

3) There is no factor #3.

*   *   *

A new year.  Here we are, two thousand and thirteen. Fiscal cliff, schmiscal cliff.  We stared into the void.  Dutiful American © that I am, I am supposed to ponder…something. I believe it is my patriotic duty to declare, “No matter what else happens, at least my taxes might not go up.”

Not to be flippant, but the issue was so complex; I tried to find a study guide to help me understand it, but apparently they don’t make Fiscal Cliff Notes.

cliff

A New Year.  Here we are, two thousand and thirteen.  That bears repeating, because just like the intestinal gas bubbles caused by your uncle’s New Year’s Blowout Chili-dawg casserole, the boogeymen of yesteryear keep surfacing.

Despite the number of professional male athletes who spoke out in support of LGBT on rights in 2012, a recent Los Angeles Times article detailed how gay athletes still feel unwelcome in pro sports.  To come out as gay (which no active NFL, NBA, major leagues or NHL players have done) is considered a “career-ending” truth-telling, largely – gee, I’m just guessing here – due to attitudes like those of Detroit Tigers right fielder Torri Hunter.

The über-masculine named Torri told the Times that he believes an out gay teammate would make him “uncomfortable.”

“For me, as a Christian…I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right,” Hunter said. “It will be difficult and uncomfortable.”

All his learning.  Okey dokey.  Has Hunter done any learning about how someone with his skin color[8] playing baseball alongside white teammates once made the majority of white Americans “uncomfortable,” because in all their teachings and learning, biblically, the “mixing of the races” was not right?

BTW, this isn’t the first time Hunter’s insight-free jaw flapping statements have gotten him attention.  In a 2010 interview with USA Today about the changing demographics in baseball, Hunter referred to dark-skinned Latino baseball players as “impostors.”

I look forward to Torri Hunter’s Detroit Tigers teammates addressing the question if being on a team with an ignorant religious bigot makes them uncomfortable.  In the meantime, without further ado-doo, Imposter of the Weekgoes to Torri Hunter, for his up-until-now successful imitation of a sentient human being.

catimposter

The TMI Files

I subscribe to salon.com. I usually find their articles an equal mix of cogent, timely and provocative, seasoned with more than the occasional dash of WTF thinks this crap is news? But on Little New Year’s Eve, the article with the story line: “My Sexual Resolutions,” oh, really, salon?  I am so not going there (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz).

I hoped in vain the article would have a subtitle, something along with lines of “…which I vow to keep to myself.”  Alas, no.

*   *   *

This stupid day in history.

On January 4:

– 1649 – English Civil War: The Rump Parliament votes to put Charles I on trial.[9]
– 1885  The first (successful) appendectomy is performed by Dr. W. W. Grant, on Mary Gartside.
– 1974 – President Richard Nixon refused to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.

Notable births on January 4 included
– 1809 – Louis Braille, French developer of the touch reading system for the blind
– 1960 Michael Stipe, R.E.M. singer/songwriter

Two significant January 4 bucket-kickers
-1903 – Topsy the Elephant (died in America, born in India, ca. 1875) was electrocuted.[10] Yet another reason to hate Thomas Edison.
– 1999 – Iron Eyes Cody, Italian American actor (nee Espera Oscar de Corti) best known for portraying Native Americans (he was the “crying Indian” in the Keep America Beautiful PSAs).

*   *   *

2013.  I’m going to have to start those…how do you say #@!%& French tapes, en francais? There it sits on my desk, mocking me: Rosetta Stone Francais Level 1. I promised Belle that if she sticks with French for all four years of high school, she and I will travel to France after her graduation. It seems as though I may have to keep that promise, and my two quarters of college French seems like a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  Although I’ll have my own translator in the family, I’d like to reacquire some survival basics, other than being able to complain about the lack of TP in the WC (Il n’y a pas de papier dans la salle de bains).

*   *   *

My KenKen books are full, and this is not to be tolerated in a new year.  I’ve become quite fond of the math puzzles[11] and consider doing at least one of them, along with the NY Times Crossword puzzle, a daily, sanity-break necessity. My New Year’s present to moi was a shopping spree on Amazon, where you can (and I did) waste far too much time perusing their puzzles offerings.  I limited myself to three: Puzzle-a-day Kenken; Ferocious KenKen, and Crazy for KenKen. It was a tough call to settle for the third book, the full title of which is Crazy for KenKen: 100 Logic Puzzles That Make You Smarter.  I kept searching for its companion: Batshit Crazy for KenKen: 100 Irrational Puzzles That Blow Your Higher Reasoning Skills Right Outta Your Nostrils.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The New Year is here; hilarity ensues.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] There weren’t many halibut cheeks in the display. I wanted them all.
[2] Not by me, but by people who like comparing things to lobster.
[3] Keep It Simple, Sweetie.
[4] The eve before New Year’s Eve.
[5] Aka our dining room.  So named for the painting, titled, “The Black Cat Café,” that hangs on one of its walls.
[6] Or, shit happened, as the saying goes.
[7] the days of between Christmas And New Year’s day, briefly mentioned in last week’s post.
[8] Jackie Robinson couldn’t help but be “out” about that.
[9] Some historians believe Charles got a bum deal.
[10] Topsy, a circus/amusement park elephant, had killed three men, including a trainer who tried to feed her a lit cigarette. Although the sadistic trainer was not considered a threat to elephants, Topsy was deemed a threat to humans by her owners and killed by electrocution after the cyanide-laced carrots she was fed failed to do the job.
[11] KenKen is way better than Sudoku, which, IMHO is like watching grass grow while the paint dries.

The Cough I’m Not Suppressing

Comments Off on The Cough I’m Not Suppressing

Yes, I know it is months before the book’s real-time release, but there is a FB fan page for The Mighty Quinn.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mighty-Quinn/314422698666956

Like it.
You know you want to.
Please don’t make me beg.

*   *   *

Now that Santa’s left the proverbial pile of coal in select stockings,[1] it seems fitting to haul out the Asshat of the Week award.  I don’t want to be stingy, especially at this time of the year, but really, so many asses, so few asshats.

The Iowa Supreme Court seemed to be a slam dunk, what with their ruling that a woman could be fired if her boss finds her “irresistible.” I’m looking forward to benefiting from the legal wisdumb of the Big Minds in such matters, when  the inevitable lawsuit find its way to the SCOTUS, allowing them to rule on the workplace hazards of those deemed to be too fabulous.

As I was saying, the candidates for the award were legion. And during this Solstice season, with its focus on charitable feelings toward one’s fellow human beings, it seems only fitting to list a few of the other contenders.

It seems the Big Daddies of Catholicism spent a good portion of their holy season getting their rhetorical man-panties in a knot.  The Imbeciles of Italy’s chief blusterhole spokesman, Joseph Ratzinger [2], used his annual Vatican Christmas message to diss marriage equality and other gay’s civil rights advancements as a “manipulation of nature” and an “attack” on the family. Meanwhile, the gentle folk of Ireland were privy to the gibbering of another pontificating baboon, this one taking the form of Cardinal Sean Brady, the Primate[3] of all Ireland (I jest not; that’s his official title).  Brady, one of Ratzinger’s fellow pedophile apologists, used his Cardinal’s holiday soapbox to exploit the death of a pregnant woman in a Galway hospital.[4] Brady misrepresented the proposed content of Irish Constitutional legislation while he urged the Irish people to protest plans for legalized abortion (the medical treatment that would have saved the afore-mentioned woman, who suffered an agonizing death from septicemia).

But wait, there’s more.  Just days before the RC dudes chugged their Kool-Aid, another public figure was caught after indulging in too much eggnog.  I refer to Mike Crapo, the aptly named Republican Senator from Idaho who was DUI’d after a cop caught him blowing through a red light.  Crapo, a Mormon who has said he does not drink alcohol,[5] was a member of last year’s “Gang of Six” budget committee and is was considered a candidate for the top Republican spot on the Senate Banking Committee.  It wouldn’t surprise me, should Crapo play the penitent, that his party would keep him on their list for the committee.  Because there’s nothing our country needs more than a teetotaler drunk Mormon Republican kicking the crap-o out of our nation’s fiscal policies.

Oh, hell’s bells, let ’em all share it.  Supreme Courts, Popes, Irish Primates, Crapos – this asshat’s for you.

AHat640

*   *   *

This week, the days I think of as the Tweenolidays, are some of my favorite days of the year.  Dec 26-31; the pressure is off while the fun still lingers; there is still another major celebration on the horizon; the seasonal fatigue hasn’t yet set it.

‘Tis also the season to be jolly judgmental.  I had the opportunity to refine this art yesterday, while waiting in the checkout line at a bulk/discount grocery store:

The Woman In Front Of Me, whose cartload of items was being scanned by the checker, was going through her wallet and pockets, counting her cash while her way-too-old-to-be-sitting-in-the-shopping-car-seat son dangled his feet from the shopping seat’s legholes. The boy loudly spewed wetness in my direction; TWIFOM occasionally/half-heartedly admonished her son to cover his mouth when he coughed.  He ignored her. The next time he coughed I got his attention, smiled at him, and mimed covering my hand over my mouth, indicating he should do the same.  He stuck his tongue out at me.

The checker was waiting. TWIFOM apologized for not having enough funds to cover her purchases (“I need to pay in cash”), even as both the checker and I could see that TWIFOM’s checkbook style wallet was bulging with forms of plastic payment.  TWIFOM directed the checker to remove and reverse-scan certain items, to get her total down to cash-on-hand.  While the checker did this I passed the time by silently critiquing TWIFOM’s choices:

 (“No; keep the low-fat mozzarella! Your son does not need that box of Red Dye #2 Krusty Sugar Puffs for breakfast. And neither of you needs that processed lunch “meat,” which, BTW, costs twice as much and has 5 times the fat, half the protein and 100 bajillion times the sodium as the carton of eggs you’re subtracting…Thank you, Sweet Flying Spaghetti Monster, at least she’s removing the Summer’s Eve box – wait,WTF?!  She’s changing her mind…she’s directing the checker to rescan the va-jay-jay douche?).

I shut my eyes and took a brief trip down memory lane, back to when I was a health educator in an OB/GYN practice. I had a spiel for the traveling corporate reps who had the misfortune to try to convince me to stock free samples of their “cleansing wash”:

The vagina, like other bodily organs, is self-cleaning; douches are marketed as part of the primitive cultural baggage that teaches women that genitals are icky. Not only is douching unnecessary, the practice is associated with serious health conditions, including bacterial vaginosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. My boss, Dr. B—, says that your “Summer’s Eve” should more accurately be named, “Summer’s Deceive.”  Only a douche would try to promote douching…

It’s one of my fondest memories, that of Fleet Laboratory salesreps leaving skid marks trying to flee our office.

But I digress.

I kept my diatribe to myself and seethed in silence. Meanwhile, TWIFOM placed her V-be-gone product next to a jug of blue-colored sugar water in her “keep” pile and removed – this was so painful to watch, my eyes almost bled – a bag of navel oranges, a second carton of eggs, and a gallon of 1% milk. 

Excellent parenting choice. Pay for your lady parts to smell like morning at the bakery while your son’s only breakfast option is to lubricate his Type II Diabetic-inducing cereal with high fructose gel.

WT food

After finally settling with the checker TWIFOM bagged her groceries junk. The checker began to scan my items, and I noticed TWIFOM hds left her open wallet (the thing had so many credit cards into its slots it couldn’t be folded shut) on the checkout counter. I hoisted the wallet and managed to catch TWIFOM before she left the store. “Whoops, you don’t want to forget this,” I said.  I handed her the wallet; she lamely joked about forgetting her head if it wasn’t on top of her neck, but offered no “thanks.”  Nor did she apologize when her son launched one last, obviously intentional, spittle-laden cough in my direction as they exited the store.

On my way to my next stop, the market where I was to purchase the organic produce I am fortunate to be able to afford, I pondered the differing perceptions of, and the relationship between, having good luck and making good choices. I’ll notify the Nobel Prize committee when I figure it all out.

*   *   *

 An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
(Bill Vaughn, American author and newspaper columnist.)

Until next year, when hilarity ensues.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] It’s too early for a footnote, don’t you think?

[2] Bear in mind that “Pope Benedict XVI” ad nauseum are made-up monikers – attempts to confer an aura of authority to the theology-thumpers .

[3] A fitting label in so many ways, although the RC poobahs would remind you that “Primate” is a title of honor denoting ceremonial precedence in their church.

[4] I blogged about the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in my November 16 post.

[5] But he supported a federal bill to cut taxes on small beer makers (Mormon farmers in Idaho raise barley for Budweiser and Negra Modelo beers).