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…and red all over

My friend Virgle Kent calls me Liz Lemon. No, it isn’t because of the glasses. It is because I am a huge spaz.

A few months back there was an episode of “30 Rock” where Liz has her boyfriend, Drew (played by the Adonis-like Jon Hamm), over for dinner. It is a series of humiliations, pratfalls, and indignities; she screws up dinner, accidentally flashes him and says all the wrong things. VK pinged me the next day and told me that is what he imagines a date with me is like.

I didn’t help my case, my “Hey, no, I am nothing like that klutz, trainwreck Liz Lemon” case, when I spilled half a glass of Prosecco on myself a few weeks back when we were at lunch and I just kept on talking. He appropriately mocked me, I just moved right on along, barely noticing.

I am used to it. I have lived with myself for 28 years.

I trip. I cut myself. I fall. I slam in to walls and walk in to coffee tables. I break glasses and drop eggs. I tumble down the stairs at least once a year. The fact that I have been on and off all these headache meds, which effect my balance and equilibrium, for 5 years doesn’t help. Sadly, the pills cannot take all the blame. It is me. It is who I am. To know me is to love that I can barely stand on my own two feet.

As a result, I am habitually covered in bruises.  Sometimes I can pinpoint their origins but most of the time I have no idea from whence they sprang. For instance, this huge bruise on my left hip?  Ugly purple and green?  Absolutely no clue, but I am assuming I walked in to something.  Oh bruises, I know you well.

Another thing I know well is a burger and what could be better than a black and blue one? To know it is to love it.  This burger was insanely moist thanks to a few things; the onions and garlic sweat out in to the meat, the ground meat had a decent fat content and the sausage imparted some delicious fat as well. The worcestershire sauce and balsamic certainly doesn’t hurt.  I demoed these and everyone went insane with how good they tasted.  I really think the sausage and blue cheese add an unexpected element to the burger that brings it up to the next level.  I overcooked them–I was worried about them being too rare for the crowd–and they were still pretty amazing.  That is a mark of a good burger.  The picture is subpar–I was so hungry I forgot to snap a picture of it plated–but you can see how juicy they are.  Best of all, these are super easy.

Look, I can barely walk but I can make a good burger.  Trust me.

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Black and Blue Burgers

4 lbs ground beef (not too lean)

3 sweet Italian sausages, cut out of the casing

1 medium sized red onion (or half of a large red onion), finely diced

2 large cloves garlic, chopped

3 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

3 TBSP balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup blue cheese

Salt and pepper (don’t be shy)

Mix together all ingredients with hands. Preheat grill or grill pan. Cook to desired temperature. Don’t be a bitch like me and overcook them, but these are so moist that even medium well, they are really great.

Don’t Make Me Beg

Last Friday night I lead a cooking demonstration for a group of Annie Birdie’s friends. As part as her bachlorette party, I was asked to head the demo. Due to the plague–or as Lilu has dubbed it, my combination of swine flu and tapeworm–I didn’t prep as much as I liked, but I definitely spent a good amount of time running through it in my head.

Thanks to your suggestions, I landed on something simple: burgers and fries. They say go with what you know and that is exactly what I did. The group said they felt this was something they could actually recreate and that was exactly what I was going for. Burgers were the perfect choice as I could demo knife skills (the onion and garlic) and just pass on general grilling tips. The fries were a huge hit, too.  Nothing makes a group of women go more insane than the suggestion of sour cream as a dipping sauce.demo

The best part for me was how comfortable I felt in front of everyone.  I wasn’t nervous or worried about screwing up.  It certainly was not perfect or formal, but I just felt really at ease in front of the group as I rattled of tips and lead instruction.  Seriously, Food Network, why don’t I have a job with you?  My breasts are not nearly as scary as Racahel Ray’s and my attire is way more appealing that Guy Fieri’s.  Sure, my apartment cannot compete with Ina’s house in the Hamptons but at least I don’t have a gay husband you will have to follow around.  Give me a job, people!

After the demo and gorging ourselves on burgers, fries, and a delicious cake (made with coke!), we headed to Cafe Citron for some Latin dancing.  Now, I am a dancer of the American sort; I like to shake my whooty and get low.  Plus, I have never really recovered from the trauma of being motorboated by a very petite man while salsa dancing a few years back. (My asshole friends just stood in the corner and laughed hysterically…)  I managed to cordon myself off and only got dragged away twice; once by a man with a kung-fu grip on my waist tighter than a teenager watching his first porno and another who reaked of bubble gum and kept jabbing me with his…excitement. I was actually endlessly amused by this as my cold was in full force Friday night; I shouldn’t have gone out but I could not allow myself to miss Annie Birdie’s bachlorette.  The whole night I sniffled, coughed, and blew my nose on a paper towel in my purse; goes to show you if it has a pulse, some guy will dance with it…and that “it” was me this past weekend.

To the Tooth

I was the first kid in my grade to get braces and I thought this was immensely cool. As a pudgy girl with glasses and a raging case of acne, one would think the braces would be the final nail in the outcast coffin but for whatever reason I didn’t see it as such.

Braces were welcome as my teeth were monumentally jacked. My top two lateral incisors (those two pointy teeth next to your front teeth) never came in so I was stuck with gaping holes in my smile. Not only was it painful (you try eating an apple with huge gummy spaces where teeth should be) but , frankly, it made me look inbred.

Just like most of you, I went through the tightening and made all those frequent trips to the dentist. I rocked colored rubberbands on my braces (red and green for Christmas! Black and orange for Halloween!) and did my best to avoid gum. After moving my teeth over a whole space, I was left with a weird looking mug; everything looked…off. So then began the capping, filing and bonding in order to make my teeth look normal. As part of my genetic freakishness, I was also gifted with a lack of wisdom teeth. I am thankful I have never had to get them yanked, but you should see the huge empty space in the back of my mouth due to all my missing teeth. It is a site. To this day, it cracks me up when I visit a new dentist and s/he takes a look in and slowly realizes something is amiss.

Obviously Mom will yell at me about my teeth; she invested a fortune in them. I do my best, but I still managed to pop off a huge chunk of bonding in college while I was chewing a pen. Might I remind you that tooth is filed to an inch of it’s life; sans bond it was some sort of scary looking vampire nightmare. NOT HOT. Also, don’t tell her, but I have a very small chip in my top front right tooth thanks to a drunken happy hour and a Corona bottle. I am gangsta, yo.

When I took a bite of these really delicious greens and felt a tiny rock crunch between my molars, I got a little freaked. Let this be a lesson to you; you do not need a trip to the dentist as an accompaniment to your vegetables. I did rinse these greens, but I obviously could have been way more thorough. I recommend dunking them in a bowl of water to make sure all the silt and dirt washes away. These bitter greens really are a treat. Why ruin them with a dental emergency? This is not fun for anyone.

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Sauteed Greens

1 TBSP olive oil

1 large clove garlic, chopped

1/2 smoked andouille sausage, chopped (or two slices bacon)

1 head swiss chard, chopped

A couple shakes tabasco sauce

Squeeze of lemon juice (about a TBSP)

Salt and pepper

Heat oil over medium heat and add garlic. Cook for about a minute and add sausage (or bacon). Cook for about four minutes and add chard. Saute for about one minute and add tabasco, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Saute for another 5 minutes (until wilted) and serve immediately.

My friend Bitchy McSnarkster looked at me and started laughing.

“I cannot believe you came out with us”, he said, gesturing at the circle of gay men that surrounded us, “and wore that”, he said, as he pointed at the white vest I was wearing as a shirt.

I think I looked pretty damn cute. Seems some of the men did too; what is it with gay men and breasts? Can’t one imagine what they feel like?  More gay men have felt me up in this lifetime than the straight ones.

Now, this outfit should not have surprised him. This is how I dress. I have an agenda when I put my clothes on, a message to send.

Bitchy knows better. A few months back I called him in a tizzy as I tried to pull together an outfit for a day date. Oh, the dreaded day date. How does one construct an outfit that could perhaps carry you in to the evening but still manages to be appropriate for such wholesome fun as a museum or a movie? I should have worn a burlap sack to this particular date, but one does not know this going in to these scenarios.

He listed off possibilities… “V Neck sweater?” “Don’t own one.” “Flat shoes?” “Only flats I own are sneakers or flip flops.” “Casual black pants?” “NOPE….Bitchy, THIS IS NOT MY LOOK.”

No matter how you dress me up I think I do alright.  Hey, I’d rather have a look than be some cog in a machine.  It is not like I am wearing vests to work sans shirt; there is a time and a place for everything.  I just have a bit more of a liberal interpretation of what to don in most situations. I’m flexible, a chameleon.

Salmon is another one of those flexible creatures.  No matter what you do to it, it is going to turn out pretty great.  For instance, I wanted to add some ginger to this marinade but forgot it; the fish still turned out great.  The lemon juice could be swapped for some OJ or rice wine vinegar and the sesame oil can be completely omitted.  I have made this as simply as just using the soy saice, lemon, garlic and oil, while other times I have added red pepper flakes or mustard powder.  Seriously, do this up however you like; you cannot make a mess of this.

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Asian Salmon

3 TBSP low sodium soy sauce

juice from half a lemon

1 clove crushed garlic

1.5 TSBPS olive oil

1 TSBP sesame oil

1 TBSP honey

2 tsp olive oil

2– 3 oz salmon pieces

In a bowl, whisk together soy sauce through honey.  Add salmon pieces and marinate for 30 minutes, turning several times.  Preheat oven to 450.  In oven safe saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add salmon to pan and sear on each side for about 3 minutes. (Start by searing the non skin side first.)  Place in oven and cook for 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Make sure to check me out at The Gospel of JP today.  Topic: dating.  I know some stuff about it…trust

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In college, our improv troupe was called Recess. They were sporadically funny, but they did manage to turn out a few memorable skits. Also, they churned out TJ Miller, who was in such classics as Cloverfield and is also a pretty entertaining stand-up as far as stand-ups go. Weird dude that TJ; my friends and I cleverly referred to him as “Buck Toothed Blond Boy”.

Anyway, when I think of Recess I always think of this one video skit. It is this guy, some worker drone, getting ready for his day. He is happy, smiling, and going about his daily tasks with some pep as U2’s “Beautiful Day” plays in the background. At the end of the 60 second short, huge smile planted on his face, he hangs himself. The caption across the top of the screen reads “Even Happy People Kill Themselves”.

Is suicide funny? No, but that skit sure was… And the point of this story?  Not everything is perfect and yesterday was certainly a bad day.  I am alive, though.  Thanks to everyone for their emails and comments of concern yesterday, even if some of them did manage to scare me a bit.  I promise I am not dying, or have a brain tumor, or celiac disease, or a zillion other things.  I trust my doctor and it is gonna be fine.

Last night I stopped at Vace, the best Italian deli in the city, and picked up some homemade fettucine.  Without shame (hey, I have lost 5 freaking pounds from feeling so crappy), I made a huge trough of pasta, covered it in oil, garlic amd parmesan, and scarfed down. It is the little things, kids.  Today, despite a sore thorat and a still lingering headache, I feel better.  Thanks for the vent…I needed it.

So, I ask you this…what is your favorite comfort food when feeling sick? Soup? Sundaes?  Mashed Potatoes?  I am curious.

And for some much needed comic relief, please head on over to Just JP’s place for some hard truths about men and dating…Mom, skip this one.

Cry Me A River

I hate whiners. Truly. I have broken up with men because I found them to be sissified man children who think the world owes them eternal happiness. Women who behave like entitled princesses, believing they are the specialist of all the snowflakes, honestly deserve a smack back in to reality.

So, truly feel free to smack me around after this but I need a good pout.

This new headache medicine is making my life an unmitigated hell. After some careful consideration, my doctor and I decided to try treating my migraines with Effexor, an antidepressant. I am on a low dose as I am not actually depressed, but this minimal amount of the drug has proven effective in treating some womens’ migraines. My old drug, Topomax, made me stuttery, tingly, forgetful and, most importantly, put my sex drive in the tank and competed with my birth control at the same time. Can you imagine a fate more awful then getting knocked up from a bang you weren’t even that into? Christ, it is enough to give you a migraine.

When we decided to take the Effexor route, I knew there would be some adjustment. The headaches had once again become unbearable, intervening with my life in a way that was unacceptable. Every night for the past week I have been forcing those pills down my throat.

I am miserable.

I am nauseous and shaky. The bed spins every night as I try to drift off to sleep. Yesterday I dry heaved in to the trashcan beside my desk three times during the course of the day. My head is still pounding since the stuff this medicine is supposed to do–stop the ever present ache in my temples–has not taken effect yet. I am irritable and gripped by a shameful amount of self pity. Everything seems like a personal insult. My dripping faucet taunts me and my co-worker’s loud laugh has left me homicidal. If I was a crier, I would cry…but then again I can only imagine how much worse that would make things. I just want someone to rub my back and tell me this will get better.

I know it will get better, I do. It really isn’t so bad. My life is a good one. I have friends who are more like family. I have managed to make a decent living for myself despite my Women’s Studies degree. I don’t take myself too seriously and I can usually ring the fun out of most situations. Hell, I rock a leopard print trench coat and I look like the baddest bitch in DC. I hate that I have wished away every single day of this past week. I am lucky to have the health insurance that will eventually rectify the problems these headaches cause.  But at this very moment? I want to whine and scream about how god damn awful I feel.  I want to crawl up in a ball and wait for the next month to be over, a month of pain I am not looking forward to but I know will be worth it.

But, hey, I have to believe the time is worth it, that something really good will come from this.  I will be better and happier and life will be a bit more bearable.  So I sit and I wait.

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(The time here is worth it.  This is a healthy, tasty snack.  The peas are nice and crunchy and are bursting with flavor.  Take the time to make these.)


Slow Roasted Chickpeas

1– 14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed

3 TBSP olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp coriander

Cayenne pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Pat dry rinsed chickpeas and place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove chick peas and toss with oil and spices. Cook for 15 more minutes.

Christ, I hate the sound of my damn voice, but does anyone love it?

Congrats to the winner…a recipe will be posted tomorrow.  Pinkie swear.