Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Post-Thanksgiving Fallout

With a whopping 5 people for dinner, I decided to buy a 28 pound fresh Butterball turkey because I was sure:

  1. I wanted leftovers.
  2. My guests would take home doggie bags.

What was I thinking?  My father was the only take-away-er.

Thanksgiving is just another holiday excuse to cook way too much food and to use my guests as guinea pigs for new and delicious creations – which usually works out nicely for me – and my company.

My story began on the Monday before when I called out sick because I wasn’t feeling well.  This put me 1 day behind my intended schedule.  On Tuesday I hit Shop Rite in search of a turkey and all the trimmings so I could cook a fantastic meal for my beloved peeps.

Two-hundred dollars later with a thrown out back (that damn turkey), I realized that I had to go to two more stores – Whole Foods and Costco.  First I have to tell you about that damn turkey.

Twenty-eight pounds is crazy.  I lifted it out of the bin, into the cart, out of the cart and onto the belt, into the cart, out of the cart and into the trunk, out of the trunk and into the house, onto the kitchen counter, into the garage, into the fridge, out of the fridge, back into the kitchen, into the sink, into the bag and salt-brine, onto a pan, into the fridge in the garage.  Out of the fridge and into the kitchen sink, out of the bag and into a new bag, out of the sink and into a roasting pan, into the oven and out of the oven – then into the garage fridge later that night because my husband fell asleep!

Let’s count the number of times I lifted 28 plus pounds!  No wonder my back went out.  Enough about the turkey….

I stopped at Whole Foods spent another $200 including vino and I can’t even remember what the hell I got at Costco….

Thanksgiving came and went and as tired – rather overtired – as I was, I stayed up until 3:30 pm with my daddy chatting about God knows what but enjoying every minute of it.  I desperately needed the jacuzzi but opted for some Berentzen Appel instead.  My dad hoovered a good amount of blackberry brandy – that’s probably why he was so chatty!

Does anyone remember blackberry brandy when you were a kid?  My aunt Mimi gave me a shot of that cure-all liqueur whenever I was feeling under the weather – at any age and any time.  It makes me laugh.

Anyway…. it’s day 5 of leftovers – I had to be drugged by the poultry companies to buy a 28 pound, $65 turkey!   Next year I need to be reminded of my error because I’m running out of ways to make my leftover VAT of turkey into other dishes.

So far we’ve had plain leftovers, sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey soup, turkey pot pie, turkey with pasta, turkey casserole and turkey meatballs.  I think I’m done with the bird so tonight I splurged on a sinful Five Guys bacon cheeseburger with BBQ, pickles, grilled onions and the hottest jalapenos I’ve ever eaten.

What did you do with your leftovers and how long did they last?  I need to know if I’m the only lunatic out there!

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

It’s All About The Boobs – A Re-Blog…

Boobs, jugs, peaches, ninnies, tits, rack, eyes, knockers, cans, sweater meat, knobs, boobies, breasts, titties, mammaries, pins, bazooms, bazongas, headlights, hooters, lungs, fun bags, tatas, maracas, girls, twins and the list goes on.

What is the obsession with boobs?  Especially men’s obsession – straight or gay, single or married, bi-sexual or A-sexual.  When I lived in Paris, my “happy” flat mate Vivaldo loved my boobs.  He used to hover outside the frosted glass window of the bathroom door waiting to catch a glimpse.

When I was in graduate school I did an action-based project on boobs.  It was titled, “Do Big Boobs Really Make A Difference?”  My professor at Montclair State loved it and I got an A.  It was an interesting project.  In a nutshell:  I went to several places one of which was a supermarket.  The first time I walked in with no cleavage but looking nice.  I couldn’t find a soul to help me and left the store unsatisfied.  The next time I went, I was sporting full boobage and the young men at Shop Rite couldn’t wait to come to my rescue.  They actually followed me around the aisle and made me feel really uncomfortable.

What I found on my quest for truth was exactly what I thought I would find.  They DO make a difference in how people treat you.  Really how men treat you.  You/They are objectified.  You/They are ogled.  Christ!  Even Mike Tyson leered at my boobies, paused to smile and say a personal hello.  Men are notoriously easy when it comes to visual stimulation.  You have to be a confident woman to walk around with perky boobies.

A female friend of mine asked me if they were real and touched them for verification.   Another friend, on my birthday, reached over into my shirt at the Avenue in Long Branch and felt me up!  I looked at my husband and laughed.  They’re real people.  It’s all in the bra.  Lift and push up.

The size of your breasts and the way you present them is everything.  When I’m in a bad mood the last thing I want people to do is to leer at me and the twins, so I cover them up (this does not always help – it may be my posture).  I always felt sorry for the girls in grammar school that had beautiful breasts and were completely objectified by immaturity.

My mom survived breast cancer and had to go through a double mastectomy.  I had 2 tumors removed from each breast before I hit 30.  Just waiting for the pathology report was one of the longest weeks of my life.  Thank God they were benign but I know a lot of women, my age, younger and older who have battled with breast cancer.  They are courageous women from whom we should take a lesson.

If it’s all about the boobs when you look at them, it should be all about the boobs when you take care of them.  Self exams, mammograms, doctor visits.  Just do it.  Big or small, our breasts are important – we are important.  In this day and age when we hear of so many incidents of breast cancer in both women and men (yes men), we need to take action quickly as early detection is the beginning of the battle.

So as a favor to me and as a service to yourselves, everyone grab your boobs on three.  One, two, three….  It may save your life.

 

Shoe Shock Reaches 139!

SHOE SHOCK!
91, 92, 93
94. Bebe
95, 96, 97, 98.
99, 100, 101.
102, 103, 104.
105, 106, 107, 108, 109.
110, 111, 112, 113.
114, 115, 116.
117.
118, 119, 120, 121.
122, 123, 124.
125.
126. Pour La Victoire Patent Stilettos
127. Pour La Victoire Lace
128. Jessica Simpson Sequins
129. Nine West Boots
130.
131.
132. Chinese Laundry
133.
134, 135, 136, 137.
138.
139.
© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

 

Pour La Victoire

This month has been a stress fest!  The holidays are quickly approaching.  I’m having “cat” issues and need retail therapy.

The problem is that I already shop too much!

Last week amidst my unyielding pressure-filled existence, I decided to drop by MJM Designer Shoes.  I love that store!  It’s the next best thing to sample sale shopping.

In any shoe department it is very difficult for me to find a pair of shoes that
A.  I don’t already have.
B.  is not similar to something I already own.

I was lucky and rationalized that the price was worth it because they are made so well, comfortable and black to boot.  Black shoes are a staple.

 

Pour La Victoire Lace Stilettos

Pour La Victoire Patent Stilettos

 

Pour La Victoire has allowed me to feel happy, powerful, tall and oh so satisfied.

Try out a pair and tell me what you think…  I think it’s a Victoire for everyone!

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Shoe Shock Reaches 90!

Shoe Shock Reaches 90!

78.
79. White Mountain
80. Gold ZINC
81. Bronze Steve Madden’s
82.
83. Nine West
84.
85. Paris Blues
86. Nicole
87.
88.
89.
90.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

New England Clam Chowder: Not On My Diet… But Oh So Good!

Recently I have been blogging about food and recipes original and borrowed.  My obsession with food is evident in my 20 pound weight gain over the past year – causing me to gain 2 sizes – from a 4 to an 8.  I must say it’s been worth it.  I love to cook and I love to eat more.

I’m always trying to create or perfect existing recipes to please my sense of taste and style.  After searching for years for a great New England Clam Chowder recipe, I decided to make my own and I think that it is the best I’ve ever tasted.

 

A Jersey Girl’s New England Clam Chowder

1/2 lb bacon, medium dice
1 large onion red or yellow, chopped
1/2 c chopped celery
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 lb red potatoes, medium to small dice (approx 8 small)
4 c clam juice (I use the juice from the clams only if using canned)
2 c heavy cream
2 lbs little neck clams, shucked and chopped or 1 – 3 lb can clams or 6-8 small cans, reserve juice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy stockpot or Dutch Oven, over medium-high heat, render the bacon, until crispy, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the onions, celery and carrot.

Sauté until the vegetables start to wilt.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the bay leaves and thyme.  Stir in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring.  Add the potatoes.  Stir in the reserved clam juice.  Bring liquid up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 12 minutes.  Add cream and bring up to a simmer.

Add the clams and simmer for 2 minutes.  Stir in parsley.  Season with salt and pepper if needed.  Ladle into shallow bowls and serve.

Serves 6 – 8

I hope you will try it out and let me know what you think.

Do you have a favorite Clam Chowder recipe?

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

 

Stuffed Eggplant: Courtesy of Michael Chiarello

When I’m dieting I’m always running out of tasty options for dinner that my husband will actually enjoy and not starve from.

Virtually any recipe – barring heavy cream laden clam chowder and deep-fried goodness – can be made low-calorie or reduced calorie.

Tonight I decided to borrow a recipe from Michael Chiarello – doubling it – though the original recipe would have been plenty.  I was too full after eating a half of eggplant.

Stuffed Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, small diced
  • 1 red pepper, small diced ( I used a small green from the garden)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, divided
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used seasoned)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 chopped tomatoes

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the center, leaving enough meat inside the skin so that it holds its shape when baked. Boil the scooped-out center part until very soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the seasoned ground beef to the pan and saute until all of its liquid is evaporated and the beef begins to brown slightly. Drain the beef, removing the extra, unnecessary fat. Let cool briefly and chop the cooked beef so that there are no large chunks of meat. In another medium saute pan over medium heat add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the onions, peppers and garlic together.

In a bowl mix together the cooked eggplant, vegetables, cooked beef, herbs, 1 cup of the cheese, bread crumbs, and the egg.

Fill the scooped-out eggplant halves with this mixture, dividing it evenly among the 2 halves.

Top with chopped tomatoes and the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese, season with salt and pepper, place on an oiled oven tray or baking dish, and bake for 50 minutes in preheated oven. Let cool briefly, slice widthwise and serve.

Serves 4.

When doubling the recipe I didn’t double the onion or pepper quantity.  Enjoy!

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Alright! So I’m Keeping The Darn Cat!

Recently I posted my new kitten saga.  My husband brought a stray kitten home and expected me to take it to the shelter.  After me bawling like a baby, he decided that we’ll just find her a good home.

After the +$303 vet bill, I’m keeping the cat!

I’m in a battle over this.  It’s his fault for bringing that cuddly, affectionate, pretty and adorable kitty into my home.  Can you say sucker?

Last night he was sitting on the couch and the new kitty (I haven’t named her yet) was snoozing on his belly.  I think I might have won this one!

So for all of you that KNEW that I would break down and keep her… Bravo!  You were right!

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Stray Kitty To Adopt: Jersey Shore

First my husband brought home Bailey – a stray living under a pallet in Elizabeth, NJ.  Then he rescued a beautiful Tabby from the streets and through friends of ours, we found him a good home.  Along comes Peaches – adopted from Petsmart at five.  So then there were two.

Enter July 2010 and I bring home Thursday – rescued from S.A.V.E.  Major turmoil in the house.  Now we have three.

November 1, 2010 – the phone rings.

“Jacq.  I have a dilemma.  I found a cat and I’m bringing him home.  Call the animal shelter and see if they have an emergency number.”

Needless to say….  I don’t even know what to say, but I’d like to find the cat a good home.  Contact me if you’re interested and in the Jersey Shore area.

Update:  It’s a healthy girl!  Six months old and just paid for all her shots.  Feline Leukemia NEGATIVE.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Thanksgiving – It’s What’s Cooking

Cover of "What's Cooking?"

Cover of What's Cooking?

My favorite Thanksgiving movie is What’s Cooking.  If you haven’t seen it I suggest you rent it, buy it or borrow it from a friend.

It celebrates the ethnic fare of four families of different backgrounds in Los Angeles on Thanksgiving Day.  The movie goes much deeper than food but the food twists really interest me.

Depending on the heritage these families included rice, tamales, macaroni and cheese and all the other wonderful authentic dishes.

I am an Italian – Lithuanian American.  My mom was Italian so I basically grew up with Italian food, customs and language.  I never rejected my Lithuanian side but aside from a few Lithuanian customs that my dad still follows, I grew up Italian-American.

Since my mom passed away I host ALL the holidays for both friends and family.  It’s not that I don’t get invited anywhere, I do – but my dad refuses to go to anyone’s house for dinner.  I know he wouldn’t mind if I did but I don’t want to leave him on the holidays.  After losing a parent, you realize how important family is.

I never liked turkey growing up.  I couldn’t stand to look at the whole bird sitting there, dead on the table.  My mom would remove any meat from the turkey and put it in a dish for me (it’s a mental thing – I know) so I didn’t have to take it from the animal centerpiece.

Stuffing inside the bird was also a no-no for me.  Yuk!  So Mommy made me a casserole dish full of stuffing that I guarded with my life and enjoyed thoroughly.  Gravy was another taboo food if it contained giblets, neck bones, etc.  Never!

When I finally moved out and started making my own turkey – that I grew to enjoy – but I couldn’t bear to touch the raw, goose-pimply, sometimes hairy bird – and forget about sticking my hand inside it to remove the bag with the gross stuff.  My boyfriend, now husband, got that job.

Finally at 43 I can clean, cook and eat a turkey for Thanksgiving.  My phobias have not completely disappeared but I guess I deal with them better.

I always try to keep a little Italian in my American Feast of Thanks.  I prepare the usual suspects:  turkey, gravy (with no gross stuff), mashed potatoes and an array of vegetables to rival the biggest celebrations.

On the last Thursday of the month we will also be feasting on…

I must say that I love the Italian fusion in my Thanksgiving dinner.  Wait until Christmas!

Do you have any ethnocentric food traditions?  What are they?  Do tell….

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.