Winnie the Whore

I used to work for a major banking institution as a financial analyst of sorts. Don’t as me how I got that job, because the answer is that I padded my resume and had my friends give me references. The financial experience I had was limited to bouncing checks and trying to get Canadian nickels to go through the CoinStar machines at the local grocery store. I had NO BUSINESS doing that job. So it turns out that it was lucky for them and their customers that I had absolutely no supervision, and would put my things on my desk in the Denver skyrise, eat a bowl of protein oatmeal, and then spend the rest of the day shopping and getting pedicures on the 16th Street Mall. I turned on my computer each morning, but only so I could find a way to hack their firewall and allow Gmail to come through. My boyfriend at the time (who is now my husband) would send me emails during the day, and I wanted to be able to obsessively check for them every 15 minutes. I “worked” there for 6 months, and in that time accomplished nothing. I’m not even 100% sure that I ever was granted access to their financial database.

Best. Job. Ever.

Anyway, the point of this story is not to brag about my misspent youth, but to tell you about Winnie the Whore. She was this awful woman who also worked there, and she carried a Winnie the Pooh backpack as a purse. I find this GROSSLY inappropriate for a middle-aged woman, and also she was a mega-bitch. I’ll tolerate a freakish, nearly pedophilic love for children’s storybook characters. I’ll tolerate the tapered, too-short pants that she seemed to be so fond of. But I won’t tolerate those things in someone who is also a crotchety old pirate hooker. I have limits.

We would passive-aggressively bicker during any spare moments I spent at my desk, and she seemed to genuinely disapprove of the lack of work I did. Like it was my fault that she elected to stay, unsupervised, at her desk. She said that I was guilty of cronyism (I called them “lookouts” and they were invaluable). She said that I was toxic and liked to boss people around.

So not the case.

I don’t like to boss people. I’m actually a terrible boss. When I was assistant pharmacy manager (again, padded resume, no training), I used to just let people do whatever they wanted to, because I didn’t like bossing people around and being unpopular. It’s a wonder anyone showed up for my shifts at all. I would usually just read pharmaceutical brochures and drink Chai with our Indian pharmacist.

So I’m not bossy.

But I’m bossing you right now. MAKE THIS.

In fact, the first person to make this, take a picture of it, and send it to me for publication on this blog will win something. Something kitcheny. I don’t know what yet, but it’ll be something you’ll like.


It couldn’t be simpler.

Bacon mushroom tacos
1 # mushrooms, quartered (I like cremini and button for this application)
1/2# bacon, diced (Nieman ranch applewood smoked is GREAT)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 russet potato, peeled and diced into 1/4″ cubes (approximately)

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Toss all of the ingredients together in a cast iron skillet with a bit of salt
Roast until the bacon is crispy on the outside, but still juicy, the potatoes are tender but not mushy, and the onions are brown on the edges.
Stir periodically to make sure the bacon fat coats the other ingredients. Taste and add salt and pepper to finish.

Serve with warm corn and/or flour tortillas and guacamole with diced tomatoes.

See? Could that be a simpler recipe? And it’s FANTASTIC. The guacamole with the salty bacon and earthy mushrooms and sweet onions. OMG. You could make this vegetarian by using olive oil, FYI. It won’t have the same salty deliciousness, but it’s still a damn good, hearty meal that kills it with a margarita. I used to do this without potatoes, but adding the potatoes as a filler tastes great and makes it cheaper to fill up the bellies of big eaters like my husband and Sally Struthers.

So get cooking and send me pictures. [email protected]

And if you have a Winnie the Pooh backpack, you really need to set fire to it. Not that I’m bossing.

The funky chicken

‘Tis the season for poultry, right? After a week of turkey preparation, then a day full of turkey preparation and consuming said turkey, and then another week of eating nothing but turkey leftovers in various “creative” presentations, you may be getting to the point where, if you see another bundle of traditional holiday spices, you’re going to slit your wrists with a bay leaf. Or maybe that’s just me.

But you can’t very well be like, “OMG Thanksgiving is over, and now I’m going to eat nothing but beans and red meat for the rest of the year, so help me God.” I mean, you could. But it’s not advisable. So what you want, nay, NEED are some poultry recipes that aren’t laced with sage and stuffing and leftover partially digested niblets of corn casserole.

Might I suggest the following?

Roasted chicken, stuffed with fire-roasted chiles.

Yeah. It’s spicy, it’s flavorful, it’s delicious, and the leftovers make KILLER enchiladas. And the leftover carcass, once picked clean, makes a fierce stock for tortilla soup. Can you beat getting three meals, plus leftovers, out of a single (free range) chicken? No, you cannot. And if you can, maybe you should stop bragging about it, Sandra Lee.

It’s so ridiculously simple, too.

Step 1: Obtain fire roasted chiles or fire roast your own (1 lb, and I used Hatch, you can use Anaheim or Poblano)
Step 2: remove charred peel, stem, and seeds
Step 3: Place in food processor with a quartered, peeled onion (medium)
Step 4: Add a small amount of cumin (1 T)
Step 5: Blend up to a coarse paste
Step 6: Stuff liberal handfuls of the paste under the skin of the breasts and thighs of the bird. For the thighs, cutting small slits in the skin (careful not to perforate the meat) and stuffing/pushing it around will work fine
Step 7: Salt and pepper the outside of the bird
Step 8: Roast the bird at 375 F in a rotisserie or your oven until the internal temp reaches 165 F, remove, and cover with foil til the internal temp is 170-175 F
Step 9: Slice and serve with garlic rice, roasted tomatoes, or whatever you damned well please.

Does my photo quality suck? Yes, yes it does. But you try taking quality pictures while also trying to make sure that the infant, who has been napping for a whole 7 minutes (a record for him) doesn’t enter a state of hypoxia by suffocating himself on his sheepskin rug.

That’s what babies do best, you know. Try to off themselves. Given half the chance they’ll pull the blanket over their own faces or bury their faces in their mattress or flop their heads forward in their swings so as to close off their trachea as efficiently as possible.

It’s kind of like puppies. They also specialize in suicide attempts. Put a raw steak on the table next to a half eaten, lint-covered package of IceBreakers gum, and any puppy worth his salt is going to leave the steak and eat the package of gum, plastic and all. Why? Because IceBreakers gum has Xylitol as a sweetener, and xylitol is highly poisonous to dogs.

Also, my dog will eat onions if they’re dropped off the cutting board, but not dog treats. Why? Because onions cause liver toxicity in dogs, and dog treats freshen breath. Duh.

They’re all direct descendants of turkeys, who will cheerfully kill themselves by looking up with open beaks when it rains, effectively drowning themselves.

Ugh. Turkeys. Where are my bay leaves?