Monday, January 30, 2012

The I Love America Diet

Dear Reader,

It should be obvious that there is little I love more than a weird cookbook.  After all, I wrote one myself.  I have one that I have been meaning to share with you.  I bought it at a bookstore in Ithaca, New York, and it is from the mind of the one and only Phyllis Diller.  No just kidding.  That would be really awesome.  This one is from Phyllis George.  It's called the I <3 America Diet.  The premise behind this patriotic cookbook is that if you really love America you won't be a lardass.  America needs skinny citizens, not only to look good, but fatties cost too much

Here is what Phyllis recommends a woman eat in an average day, in effort to "reduce."

1 medium orange
1 medium egg, scrambled
1 small bagel, with
1 tsp. margarine, soft
1 cup skim milk, fortified
     coffee, tea or water

(You can brown-paper-bag this one)
1 cup tomato juice, preferably with no salt added
1 salmon salad, consisting of:
     2 ounces canned salmon, packed in water, served on a platter, with
     1 1/2 cups combined Romaine lettuce, watercress and sliced radishes, and
     2 teaspoons Italian dressing
2 slices whole-wheat bread
1/4 medium cantaloupe
     coffee, tea or water

1 cup fresh fruit cup (suggested ingredients: slices of banana and apple, grapes and orange sections)
3 oz. roast chicken, preferably white meat
1/2 cup lima beans, fresh
1/2 cup spaghetti, enriched, with tomato sauce
1 1-inch cube natural Swiss cheese
     coffee, tea or water

1/2 cup broccoli, cooked or raw
1/2 cup cauliflower, cooked or raw

First, that's one mighty big brown paper bag she brings her lunch in.  Ms. George may have servants to rinse off her platters, but the rest of us have to make do on our own.  Second, if I ate like that I would be as big as a house.

There was one nugget in this book that I found extremely enlightening.  You know how people are always saying we should eat slowly?  I've always taken that to mean chewing slowly, which is kind of disgusting.  Phyllis advises, "Bring your food to your mouth slowly.  Count 1-2-3 from plate to mouth.  You'll soon forget you ever shoveled it in at high speed.  Your dining partners will appreciate the change to a more graceful you."  I'm absolutely sure my dining partners would appreciate a more graceful me.  I'll try this one at home!

Here are some more of Phyllis' pearls of wisdom:

*  When you dine with thin people, observe how much faster you finish your meal than they do.
       This is especially true if your thin companion is going to the bathroom to vomit between courses.
*  Bring a mirror to the table and watch yourself eat.
       If you want to look like a total idiot, this is a great idea.
*  If you have a motion-picture camera or a video recorder, take pictures of yourself eating.  You may not smile when you see yourself on candid camera.
      Andy Warhol did this.  He ate very slowly.

*  Eat with your knife, fork and spoon - never with your hands.  That applies when you eat anything - a sandwich, a slice of bread, a roll or a piece of fruit.
     Again, a good idea if what you're really after is to look like an idiot, carving up your strawberry with a knife and fork.  Paging George Costanza.
*  Put only one kind of food in your mouth at a time.  Not steak, potatoes and onions in one mouthful.  But one mouthful of steak.  One mouthful of potatoes.  One mouthful of onions.  That's three mouthfuls instead of one, and that takes three times longer to consume.
      Does she suggest you deconstruct your sandwich before eating?  I'm highly opposed to that idea.  Especially if you then have to eat it with a spoon.

I want to leave you with a recipe from Phyllis George, and as it is Monday I will advocate for Meatless Mondays and pass on her "Frank Kebabs" (yes, hot dog kebabs are good for America) and "Oriental Beef."  Enjoy.


You will need:

Wheat germ, unsweetened
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup natural cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup walnuts
3/4 cup wheat germ, unsweetened
3 eggs, slightly beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2.  Grease 8x8x2-inch baking pan.  Coat with wheat germ.

3.  Cook vegetables in fat until onion is tender.

4.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper and thyme.  Stir in milk.  Cook and stir over moderate heat until thick.

5.  Stir in cheese, nuts and 3/4 cup wheat germ.  Add eggs.

6.  Pour into baking pan.

7.  Bake about 40 minutes or until well browned and firm.

8.  Let stand a few minutes; cut into serving-size pieces.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Egged in the Head Chocolate Chiffon Pie

Dear Reader,

You know how sometimes you're standing outside your house, talking to the fishmonger, and some neighborhood yahoos drive by and hurl a bunch of eggs and one orange at you?  No?  Well my friend Sophia does.  This chocolate chiffon pie is for her.  She needs it.   So much for "jolly old England."

Egged in the Head Chocolate Chiffon Pie

You will need:

Graham crackers
Unsweetened chocolate
Cream of tartar
Heavy Cream
Dark Chocolate

The first thing to do is help up the poor fishmonger, then place a really large order for fish just to get him out of there. Then scoop up whatever eggs you can find and bring them in the house. From your ear remove one egg yolk and reserve. In a food processor, whiz up graham crackers to make 1 1/2 cups crumbs. Mix these with 2 Tbs. sugar and 5 Tbs. melted butter, which you can easily melt right in your hand because you're boiling mad. Press mixture into a 9 inch tart pan and bake for 10 minutes at 375. Look out the window to see if the kids are back. Place at the ready four eggs, so that the minute you see them you can retaliate. Fashion an egg slingshot from a heavy rubber band and salad servers to maximize both velocity and trajectory.

Pour gelatin over 1/4 cup water, and let stand for 5 minutes while you go look for that orange. Heat 2/3 cup heavy cream in a sauce pot until simmering, then take off the heat and add 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate and 1/4 tsp. vanilla, stirring till the chocolate is nicely melted like the egg running down your back. Whisk in the gelatin.

Scoop up two more yolks and beat these with the one from your ear and 1/2 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Slowly add in the chocolate mixture, beating as you would like to beat those egg thugs. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for fifteen minutes while you take a shower.

Beat the egg whites and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar until you have formed soft peaks. Add 1/4 cup sugar. Beat the chocolate mixture for a minute just to feel better, and then fold the egg whites into it. Pour the whole thing into the pie crust. Beat one cup heavy cream with 2 1/2 Tbs. confectioners sugar slather over the top of the pie. Grate dark chocolate over the top and sprinkle on some zest from that orange.

Chill for two hours. Place remaining eggs from carton in pockets of jackets, should you see hooligans whilst out and about.   If they are with their mother, make sure you have an egg to toss at her as well.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Boy am I glad that's over! Who knew that Central Park had alps in the northwest corner?! Here are a few photos from Saturday morning when I was a long distance runner.

7 AM, trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do with these orange tags.  Turns out they go on your shoe.

In a cab, freaking out because of the doom and gloom coming from the sky.

At the park.  Other runners heading for the starting line.  Are they faster than me?  Will they notice that I'm wearing sandwich bags over my socks to try and keep my feet dry?

Everybody ready for the race to begin.  At this point I'm freezing from standing around in the snow and am looking forward to running just to get warm.

I didn't stop for water here.  Mostly because I was afraid that if I drank water I'd pee in my pants.

For some reason I kept finding myself behind these two guys.

Close up of the conditions - everyone was sliding around with each step.  I've never prayed so hard for a stinking snow plow.  It never came.  Needless to say my ankles are still aching.

These dudes again.  Nice pom pom.

I got a little choked up at this marker, but not so much that I couldn't snap a quick picture and send to Facebook.  Priorities.

Yahoo.  I took this photo after I had finished, gotten the freebie apple as well as a delicious Gatorade, then walked back around to photograph the finish line, so this does not accurately reflect my time.  Just so you know.

Hobbling out of the park, shivering because I was sweaty and without a proper jacket in the middle of a snowy park, and what happens?  This bozo on the bike stops me to take a picture of him in front of the Dakota.  Actually he wanted me to take two.  Tourists.

Sandwich bags no help whatsoever.

Not only did I consume a whole loaf of French Toast, a few hours later I had this bad boy lasagna.  Yes, that is the Garfield-sized piece I ate. 

Now that my legs have stopped shaking, and my hip flexors can move again, and my knees are less creaky, and my ankles are only hurting a lot instead of a whole hell of a lot, I can say that this was an awesome experience.  It did occur to me that if I were running a whole marathon, I would have to turn around and run the damn thing again, a feat which for the moment seems impossible.  

But never say never.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Running on a Fantasy of French Toast

Dear Reader,

Tomorrow morning I will rise before the sun, don layers of something called "Capilene" and fleece, as well as sneakers, and set off for Central Park where I will run for somewhere around two hours.  It is the Manhattan Half Marathon, and something possessed me to sign up for it.  My goals are twofold:  to finish, and to leave my pants unsoiled in the process.  I've been working my way up to running 13 miles, so I should be able to make it, fueled by thoughts of the massive He Man breakfast I will devour when I'm done.  Think of me tomorrow, as it will be snowing here in NYC and I will surely be freezing.  I just hope I get some sort of medal that I can wear as an everyday accessory, perhaps pinned to the front of a turban.

What feast will be the subject of my race day imagination?  Fitness Test French Toast, of course - great slabs of brioche soaked in a custard of egg, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon, griddled to a golden brown perfection in a butter-laden skillet and topped with apples simmered in more butter (don't give me any Paula Deen crap - I will have run 13.1 miles and I bet Mrs. Deen can't even drive that far without needing a breather) and brown sugar, then anointed with a generous pour of maple syrup.  Oh yeah, and sausage.  There will be sausage.

Wish me luck.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fancy French Cuisine for Ass Kickers

Dear Reader,

You know how sometimes after the New Year, you think everything's going to be different, everything is going to be better, this is going to be my year goddammit!  And then it's not?  Well that's not going to happen this time, baby!  Because this is your year!  And to celebrate we are going to have something a little fancy, well, maybe not exactly "fancy" but definitely French.  You deserve it for all the ass kicking you're about to do in 2012.  Enjoy.

Fancy French Cuisine for Ass Kickers

You will need:

4 Chicken breasts, cubed, or other proteinish substance
Olive oil
1 onion
2 carrots
12 fingerling potatoes, sliced
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
Pinot Noir
1 Tbs. Herbs de Provence
Tomato Paste
Bay leaf

First thing you need to do is put on some music to suit your awesomeness.  Here's what I suggest, but feel free to use your incredible and vast imagination.

Next, place onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic, herbs, bay leaf, and chicken into a large bowl.  Pour wine over all to marinate for about an hour.  Meanwhile look into the mirror and admire your glowing confidence.  Take a picture while you're at it because friends and family are going to want to see your gorgeous face.  Everything that you want is going to happen for you - and soon!

Strain the chicken and vegetables, saving the marinade.  Heat a large skillet with some olive oil, and toss in the chicken and things, stirring them around until they are brown and as awesome as you.  Add a spoonful of tomato paste, and stir for a minute, then add the wine and mushrooms.  Simmer until the sauce has reduced to a silky goodness.  Season with salt and pepper and then eat either on mashed potatoes, rice, pasta or pureed cauliflower, making sure to share with others so that they will be able to admire your culinary superiority, because you rock.