miscellaneous bits and pieces



Behind the scenes at Land of the Sweets Part 1: Wardrobe Mistress Taffeta V.  

(All about my work with Verlaine/McCann's long-running holiday favorite, Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker)



In the middle aughts (is that what we're calling the first decade of the 21st Century?), I had a reasonably popular food blog called ROOT (UNDERGROUND FOOD). Here are a few of my favorites:



Friday, January 28, 2011

In a pickle

At an abandoned medical college in Lithuania, during the cruel winter of 1812, some of Napoleon’s starving soldiers dined on preserved human organs.

The French had lingered in Moscow until November of that year - a critical error. Half a million troops quickly dwindled to less than 40,000 along the frigid 900 kilometer return route. Those who remained were crazed with malnutrition and exhaustion and disease.

By the time they lurched into Vilnius, the alcohol-soaked human offal bobbing in jars must have looked like a banquet. A trick of the protein-deprived mind.

So shut up already about how bad the weather is, because I’m pretty sure you’re not ghoulishly gnawing on people parts while you browse your Netflix queue. (Pretty sure.)

In the cold dark months where soft comfort foods rule the day, it’s good to have something piquant and crunchy to reawaken the winter weary palate. Quick pickles are a fast and easy way to accomplish this.

Spicy Bok Choy Quick Pickles

  • 3 or 4 small bok choy (I used a curly variety, but any will do)

  • Salt

  • Chili flakes or fresh chilis diced fine

  • Rice wine vinegar

~ Wash bok choy and cut into quarters

~ Place a single layer of bok choy into a specimen jar procured from an historic Eastern European medical college, cover it with a fairly generous amount of salt and chili to taste; repeat until you run out of bok choy

~ Put just a tablespoon or so of rice wine vinegar over the top; seal the lid on the jar and shake a bit to ensure everything is well combined

~ Refrigerate, pack into glass jars (preferably not the ones used to house medical specimens)


Sunday, May 08, 2011

I love you, Mum!

Please allow me to regale you with the tale of The Time My Mom Vomited Into Her Purse.

My beloved Mother is a pint-sized powerhouse who can hold her liquor. Until she can’t.

Both she and Pop are attorneys (very Adam’s Rib) , and once upon a time in the 80’s, they worked crazy hours and had a wacky office full of interesting characters. It would have made a great sitcom. 

One of the recurring characters was my Pop’s best friend, J-Phillip, a man of rather grand charisma like my father. One night, after a long week of doing Important Work, the power trio of Mum, Pop, and J-Phillip needed to blow off some steam. This was achieved chiefly a pursuit of large amounts of swearing, rich food, and top shelf booze.

(It should be noted at this point that the two gentlemen in question were men of rather large girth as well as charisma. Mum is a wee pixie, just under 100 lbs soaking wet. But she’s also tough as nails. I am dead serious when I say that my mom can beat up your mom. This is why no one thought anything of it when she kept pace with every bite and every drink.)

J-Phillip was assigned the transportation duties, and Pop apparently called shotgun - which left Mum sitting alone in the back seat, slowly becoming acutely aware of the depth of her intoxication. And while she may be a badass, she’s also a lady, so when she was finally overcome, she quietly opened her handbag and puked inside.

Cut To The Morning After: My surly 16 year old self was getting ready for school (by teasing my dyed-black hair, listening to the Cure, and shuffling around in witchy boots with bats for buckles). I moped into my parents’ bedroom and asked if I could have $20 for gas money. I should have sensed the disturbance in The Force right away, because Mum immediately said yes and told me I could get it out of her purse. This was unprecedented. But I was young and dumb and really wanted the $20. Delighted, I went to fetch my prize. DID YOU KNOW THAT SCREAM-GAGGING IS A REAL THING? BECAUSE IT IS.

I learned a number of lessons from my Mother on that day:

  1. You can be a badass and a lady at the same time.

  2. If you are clever, there is no situation - no matter how potentially humiliating - that you cannot turn to work in your favor.

  3. Don’t fuck with Mum. She will always win.

I am grateful for these lessons, and many more (including: long hemlines just make you look shorter, spelling counts, question authority, etc.) that she has passed to me. I am also grateful for her Bloody Mary recipe. My Mom likes them spicy, boozy, and homemade. She also swears by them as a hangover cure.

And as usual, she is right.

Mum’s Kick Ass Bloody Mary
• 8-10 limes, juiced
• 11/2 tablespoons celery seed
• 4 tablespoons horseradish (Grate the real thing if you can, or use a good quality prepared version if you must)
• 2 quarts V-8 (this is important! Don’t use a nasty fucking mix, people. And don’t use plain tomato juice. Trust us here.)
• 3 tablespoons Tobasco
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 3/4 cups good vodka, chilled in the freezer
• Salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and additional celery seed (to garnish the rim of the glasses)

~ Get a big pitcher, and juice the limes directly into it (over a strainer - seeds are not welcome here!). Throw in the horseradish, celery seed, a generous pinch of Kosher salt, and about 10 grinds of black pepper - muddle them all together with a big wooden spoon.

~ Add the vodka, V-8, Worcestershire, Tobasco, and stir to combine. Refrigerate it for a while, so everything can get acquainted.

~ Combine salt/pepper/smoked paprika/celery salt in a shallow saucer; Rub one of the spent limes around the rim of a large tumbler, then invert into saucer of salt rub to rim the glass with tasty goodness. Fill tumbler with ice, pour chilled Bloody Mary mix over the top, garnish with celery stalk.

Go make a pitcher of these for brunch, get drunk with your mom, and remind her how much you love her.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Scandalous Jam

~ Tallulah Bankhead’s last words

Called "an extremely immoral woman", Tallulah Bankhead was actually investigated by MI5 for reported "indecent and unnatural practices" with Eton schoolboys.

She liked cocaine. And gin. And men. And women. She smoked 100 cigarettes a day. She swore like a fucking sailor. Her parties lasted for days on end. Her drink was bourbon and water (without the water), and she could down a bottle by herself in 30 minutes. 

I like to think this delicious Bourbon Bacon Jam is fit for a woman of Ms Bankhead’s caliber. A woman with lust for life. If you choose to consume this, pray do, and do so with abandon. No small nibbles to be polite. No guilt. No apologies.

If you are too uptight - too square to roll with the wild kids, then you might want to look away. You won’t like what you see - this is a sticky, sweet, boozy, piggy perversion. 

Bacon/Bourbon Jam, Dahling

• 1 lb applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1 inch hunks

• 1 medium yellow onion, sliced

• 3 cloves garlic, smashed

• 1 large shallot, grated

• ½ an apple, grated

• 4 T apple cider vinegar

• ¼ C strong brewed coffee or espresso

• ½ C bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve, because it’s yummy)

• 3 T light brown sugar

• ¼ t freshly grated nutmeg

• 1 t smoked paprika

• 1 t black pepper

• 2 t chili flakes

• 3 T Hot Sauce

• 2 T honey

~ Cook the bacon until done - crisp around the edges, but still meaty and moist on the inside. Remove from pan, drain.

~ Caramelize the onion in the bacon fat and brown sugar - wait until it starts to go golden amber, then add in the shallot, apple, and garlic. Continue to slowly caramelize until dark and sticky.

~ Return bacon to pan, then add honey, hot sauce, and dry spices; stir to combine and coat

~ Add liquids to pan, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer and thicken until it has reached a deep golden brown. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until it has a consistency you like (I made it fairly fine and spreadable; you may wish to leave it chunkier. Do what you like best - Tallulah would!)

Spread this on good toasty bread and serve with cocktails. Slather it onto a bun for the best hamburger condiment ever - it’s got everything! People at your next BBQ will hail you as a deity. Or you can add a spoonful to some scrambled eggs for a lazy but delicious breakfast fit for a silver screen diva with a wicked hangover and a stranger in her bed.

 Skincare/Makeup blogging…sort of.

Over the course of about 5 years, I wrote over 500 posts for the Atomic Cosmetics blog. Sometimes it got weird. You can check out the full archive HERE.

Nothing says Christmas…



She now keeps it youthful by anointing it with serums and moisturizers. Sometimes, when she feels pretty-pretty, she wears the face and makes the elven choir sing. Sing, elves! Sing! And put the lotion on your skin or you’ll get the hose again!

(Sorry. That went to kind of a dark place. ANYHOO. It’s winter. You should moisturize. Dr. Jen has something for every skin type - even the CLEARLY INSANE.)







I gotta tell you, I am NOT. Not at ALL ready for Centaur. What the hell is happening here? The hottie with the perfect makeup (love that catty liner, girl!) is rubbing down - is that Alan Arkin? Is he supposed to be the centaur? Because it looks to me like he has the requisite man head and torso, but also man legs. Which makes him just a dude, not a centaur. Or is rubbing this concoction on his “loins”, as suggested in the ad copy, supposed to affect some sort of transformation - like, he totally promises to morph into a cryptozoological mythic man-beast if you rub him just right? Or is it just that the cologne/massage oil/lotion/whatever supposed to smell like centaur? Which I think is a HUGE mistake, but musk was big then too, and that’s gawdawful. 

No. I am not ready. Are you?








Wow - this is quite the interrogation! Here goes:

  • Yes

  • I suppose I could if I had to. But we’re not really a swiveling calypso kind of couple.

  • Of course. 

  • Wait, what? No, I don’t think so. If this is a euphemism, then no - while I’m a fan of morning nookie, I don’t HAVE to have it EVERY morning. And if it’s a juicing thing, once in a while is fine for carrot juice, especially when there’s apple and ginger in it. Sigh. I’m really not sure I understand the question.

  • If holes the dog has chewed in them count, then yes.

  • OK, this is a big one: yes; not especially; I guess…; Fibber McGee? Really?; yes; and an obsession, no, but I wouldn’t turn one down.

  • Sure.

  • Absofuckinglutely.

  • I’m not sure ocelots are legal to own in Washington…

  • NOPE.

  • Naturally.

  • I’m not convinced that is scientifically accurate - I shall google “male silkworm” immediately.

This collection of questions is most curious. As is the notion that the new Mistress Collection (by Funky!) is crafted in “sensual nylon jersey”. Seriously, how coked-up does one need to be to think of nylon jersey as “sensual”? 

Coked up enough to have a possibly-illegal ocelot and understand what carrot juicing really means. 








Nothing says Christmas…



She now keeps it youthful by anointing it with serums and moisturizers. Sometimes, when she feels pretty-pretty, she wears the face and makes the elven choir sing. Sing, elves! Sing! And put the lotion on your skin or you’ll get the hose again!

(Sorry. That went to kind of a dark place. ANYHOO. It’s winter. You should moisturize. Dr. Jen has something for every skin type - even the CLEARLY INSANE.)