Sauce Bologna-ese

One of my peers sold his establishment recently. It brought back one my favorite cooking stories.

He and I worked together back in the excessive 80's at a very trendy upscale new American Vermont country inn. That's a mouthful right there. I would run a contest once a year called "The Bologna Cook-off". All the kitchen staff would participate. We had some classics like the Maine Cupped Bologna, ethnic treats like a nice Sweet & Sour Bologna and the cutting edge "Bologna in Three Styles". My favorite recipe came from my friend Michael. The simplicity speaks to his considerable skill set

Here is his recipe, reprinted without his knowledge or consent

Chef Michael Flanagan's Sauce Bologna-ese

  • grind bologna in food processor
  • add tomato paste
  • add hot water to consistency
  • season with traditional spices

That's it. Ready to serve over your favorite pasta. Gotta love the "add hot water" line. He actually made it and we keepers of the haute cuisine of Vermont ate it for staff dinner.

My Plan for Peace on Earth

 

 

I have a plan, a doable plan to bring peace everywhere. A bold claim flawless in it's logic, more visionary than all the political leaders of all the countries (not hard) and fun to boot. I developed this plan while I was flying over Scottsdale, Arizona. Lots and lots of swimming pools was all I could see. You need one piece of information before I get you to drink the kool-aid. Half of the fresh water in the world is in Canada. I read it years ago when the internet was known as books. I strongly suggest you invest in anything swimming pool related now.

Here goes step by step

  1. Fix hockey. I have some surefire ways to get the NHL back to its glory. First, no team can be in a city where ice does not occur naturally. Sorry Tampa, San Diego and Phoenix. Second, move the net away from board. A little more room in the "office".  Third, puck is live when a fights break out. Go ahead fight but see how happy your fans are when your team gets scored on. Fight on, game on.
  2. Become President of the United States. How hard can it be?
  3. Invade Canada. Trust me this will be easy. Not like " we will be greeted as liberators" easy. For real easy. How do I know? See step 1. I fixed hockey, the Canucks love me. I'll do it on a Saturday night when they are all watching Hockey Night in Canada on CBC. Why invade Canada? Weapons of mass desruction? Maybe but I don't care. Are they harboring terroists and evildoers? Probably but again, I don't care. They have half of the fresh water in the world and I want it.
  4. Start building swimming pools at every house near the equator. There is not enough water in those desert countries to build swimming pools. Who is holding all the water? The same greedy folks that have all those oil tankers coming over everyday. We are just gonna fill them with water and sell it back. The ultimate world economy stimulation package. The reason people are always fighting is not God. All are pretty much the same. Love people like me, hate everyone else and I'll give you a present when you die. Not sooner--you must die first to get the present. It's the heat. They are tired hot cranky and a little itchy. Peaceful countries are in more temperate climates, crazy people who are always pissy seem to be closer to the equator. North Korea is the odd man out here but really all they do is say they are going to do something. Like a stoned roommate " someday I'll". Sure you will. This is why you should follow my investment advice.
  5. Watch peace happen. This is the fun part. When the angry folks are ready to start up another of their mindless quarrels it gets postponed. " Oh so sorry , no fighting today my son is having a pool party for his 6th grade class. Maybe tomorrow" And so it goes, no one has the time. Just like in Scottsdale between work and cooling off there is no time left to fight. Awesome!

Scrod Low-retta

 


I grew up in the Northwest corner of Connecticut and hung out with a chef friend named Harvey. He worked at a little steakhouse in downtown Litchfield. Harv ended up cheffing at this place after a brief stint at the Litchfield Country Club. Not really a country club but the acronym was the same, Litchfield Correctional Center. Apparently you aren't supposed to be married to more than one woman at a time in puritanical New England. Who knew?

Harvey was a 6'4" and I don't know how many pounds Southerner. He came up with all kinds of strange names for food. Kansas City Soup, Lazy Lucy's Lasagna or Cream Puff Crab Etouffe.

One day Harv says to me " Hey Ger, wanna try some of my scrod Low-retta?"

I knew better to ask before tasting after sampling his Kerosene Ketchup.

His inspiration for this dish " Scrod Low-rretta, I named it after a good women gone bad.....jus like the fish"

No thanks, I'll pass.

"I Have a Kitchen Because It Came With the House"

My sister-in law Norma lives in Rhode Island,one of my favorite states. Narraganset is my favorite all time beach. Sorry Elbow Beach and Panama City Beach. But this is no story about me name dropping the fancy places I've been. It's about Norma. She does not like to cook. I am not even sure if she knows how. Somehow her oldest is a dedicated cook making a living working the New England shoreline. But none of this is funny, let's get to the funny.

Norma has a stove (because it came with the house) with a hood above it. She always wanted to remodel the kitchen and take out the stove and replace it with a comfy chair.

"How nice to have that light overhead to read by and an exhaust fan in case I want to smoke" she said.

That is quite the image. Maybe I can get some furturistic Norman Rockwell to paint a picture of it. Not quite the "ah shucks" imagery of the local barbershop but just as telling.

 

Brandy You're a Fine Girl

 

Do you know that song? "Brandy you're a fine girl. What a good wife you'll be." Yada yada yada. Could you think of a better song to play at a wedding? Me neither. Below is a post I put on nephew's wedding blog site thingy. With the exception of one visionary guest my idea appears to have gone the way of the Dodo bird. Maybe with a little help from my Aga friends we can bring this to fruition.

Here is the post.

December 1, 2008

I assume this is like most websites. Anonymous ramblings and unsolicited advice expressed in a public forum to facilitate an exchange of ideas. I am running my idea up the wedding flagpole one more time. Maybe with the support of the people my idea can gain some traction
My proposal is simple. Every song played at the wedding will be "Brandy (you're a fine girl)" by the powerhouse group "Looking Glass". Your playlist will be introduced but only Brandy will come out of the speakers. First dance, Brandy. Daddy dances with his little girl, Brandy. Song playing when you met, thats right Brandy.
Fashion forward is so 90's. This is audio forward. It will keep people talking about your wedding day every time they hear that song.
Now understand I have no personal gain in this. I do not have any legal claim to songs royalties. I don't even like the song. I challenge you to find a more cost effective way to keep your special day alive for years to come.
Peace out cub scout, Gerry

Giant Pumpkin People


Every tribe seems a little odd. Ball golfers wear funny clothes that only come from prep schools in Connecticut. Wine enthusiasts use every word under the sun to describe a wine's characteristics except  "this one tastes like grapes". Beanie Baby collectors actually turned out to be  better financial investors than Sherman Lehman, GM or AIG.

I met a man the other day who is a big time player in the world of Giant Pumpkin Growers. Foolishly I asked him for the seeds so I could toast them up for a snack. Oh no, seeds from his big boys cost big bucks and are not meant to be toasted and lightly tossed in Tamari.

My brother in law is a science guru at a prep school in Delaware where they enjoy the popular fall pastime of "punkin chunkin". For those not in the know Punkin Chunkin is the art of throwing a pumpkin with some type of catapult. Awesome, right?

On the drive home my mind began to wonder about these two tribes meeting each other.

Two men are standing in line at Starbucks ( that opening alone is funny, ain't no line at Starbucks these days) when one notices a pumpkin lapel pin on the other.

" Mighty fine day for Punkin Chunkin ain't it?"

" Pardon, Punkin Chunkin? I'm not familiar"

Punkin Chunkin man proceeds to tell the tale of finding just the right combination of pumpkin size, catapult action and trial and error of tossing dozens of pumpkins into an empty field.

Giant Pumpkin Grower man is horrified. How can someone take a pumpkin before it has reached it's potential and send it sailing into a mass grave of pumpkin pieces?  No one to carefully roll it over so it's evenly ripened, trim back the extra leaves that rob it of valuable nutrients. No one to sort the seeds as they lay strewn over a barren field. He proceeds to tell the Chunkin Man all about the life of one his giant pumpkins from carefully harvesting the seeds, a single greenhouse for each pumpkin, the trimming and nurturing. The heavy doses of fertilizer and Miracle Grow. This is a selfless dedication to pumpkins so big you can cut them in half and sail away to Pumpkin Paradise in one of them.

Chunkin Man is horrified. How can he get a fat pumpkin like that to fly free and still be inside the technical boundaries set up by the World Championship Pumpkin Association. The levers and pulleys will need to be too big. This is just too much pressure.

As the two stare vacantly at each other, no chance of comprehending the others' dilemma, the barista chimes in to the customer ahead of them . " Your half caf latte and grilled pumpkin muffin is ready" Both men stop and stare at the man at the head of the line.

Nothing like a common enemy to unite opposing viewpoints.

I really need to concentrate more when I drive.

Observed at the Farmers Market

I am a dog person. My dog Titan does lots of things with me. He skis, mountain bike and loves the local disc golf course. One place he does not get to go to is the Saturday Farmers Market. The Market has more dogs than hippies. Thats going some in this part of Vermont. They have a sign at the entrance that says " Well behaved dogs on leashes welcome. Please use plastic bags below for cleaning up after your dog." I never would have noticed the sign if it wasn't for a big black Lab lifting his leg and marking defiantly all over the sign and doggie bags. How would you like to be the next person who reaches for one of those bags? Bad dog......owner.

closest I could find, apologies to Bush apologists

How do you get a..... off your porch

Up here we are fond of New England Culinary Institute (NECI) founded in Montpelier Vermont. NECI has some natural rivals with Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park New York and Johnson & Wales (Whalies) in Providence Rhode Island. NECI is the  new kid on the block and has that underdog / little man mentality. I heard this joke from a Whalie who was a NECI instructor.

How do get a Johnson & Wales graduate off your porch? Pay him for the freakin' pizza.

Feel free to throw in any rival you have, it's a one size fits all joke. Give it a try.

Dowsers

A few years back we had a week long conference of Dowsers and other holistic off shoots of Dowsing. Dowsers are people who find water with sticks. Some can make underground streams move to dry out fields, help you dig a well or even find lost jewlery. From the outside they are an odd lot. I was working a salad station for a lunch buffet we set up. I was one of the first employees they saw on that hot summer afternoon. What question did they ask me repeatedly? " Excuse me, where can I find the water?" Not every day a Dowser asks you where to find water. Enjoy it when you can.

On a side note Max the Crystal Skull was at the conference as well. He spawned the worst Indiana Jones movie by far. Evil skull

These People are So Dumb.......

This is one I've been telling for years. I lived in a little town in CT called Barkhamstead. Loved it, nice river, big lake, good bar close by. It was the first real small town I lived in so I thought I would let my big city uppitty shine a bit.

The people in this town are so dumb they think Macbeth is a small Big Mac.

That's funny. Not a current kitchen joke but it makes my wifes top ten list of funny things I've said. After 25 years that puppy got some legs. Feel fee to use it but give me a tip of the hat please.