Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Someone got his own library card

And signed it himself!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fake AP Stylebook


Walmart is no longer spelled with a hyphen. Target is Target Corp. K-mart is still around, incredibly.

According to our technology writer, "Disc" refers to optical media while "disk" refers to magnetic media. NERD.

If your story reveals the perpetrator of a crime, it is polite to put a spoiler warning at the top.

The use of unnecessary quotation marks are referred to as "scare quotes" because they died... ten years ago today.

Correct spellings are: Sanford & Son, Five & Dime, ham s&wich, &y Gibb, ampers&, etc.

"Batman" may be used informally ("let's go, Batman!") and "The Batman" formally ("Mr. President, this is the Batman").

I don't know, when do YOU think it's OK to use the passive-aggressive voice, MR. SMART GUY?

Do not refer to an anonymous source as "Mr. Scaredy Pants," no matter how much of a scaredy pants he might actually be.

Dates should be formatted as MM/DD/YY except for the years 1990 through 1992, which should be denoted in 'Hammer Time.'

"Bloody Mary" on first and second mentions, "Mary" on third to avoid summoning her through the mirror.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Strawberry-balsamic tiramisu

For dessert I thought of tiramisu but went in a slightly more springtime direction using strawberries as a starting point.

8 oz. mascarpone
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 whole egg
1/8 tsp. vanilla
20 ladyfingers
balsamic vinegar
2 strawberries, quartered

1. In a large bowl, use beaters to whip together mascarpone, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until it's fluffy yet stiff.

2. Spoon 2/3 of the mixture onto the center of four plates in a mound.

3. Arrange 5 ladyfingers on each mound in a star shape, overlapping the ends as you go.

4. Sprinkle liberally with balsamic vinegar (the ladyfingers I had absorbed liquid so quickly that the idea of even a lightning-quick soak was out of the question).

5. Top with remaining mascarpone mixture in another mound in the center, and then add two quartered strawberries on top.

(If I did it again I'm curious to see if it would have had a more refreshing flavor with a lemon juice sprinkling instead of balsamic. I'd probably also have added a full strawberry per serving, but that was all I had on hand. And it might be worth upgrading from Safeway-brand ladyfingers, which were a little dry. It was definitely good, but felt a little like a first draft. Perhaps in the future I'll try another version and compare the two.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bacon-pineapple noodles

I improv-ed (that would be improvised, not improved, although, maybe it is a bit improved) a dish last night in attempting to feed six people and thought I'd share. For some reason when cooking for a large group I never take a normal recipe and double or triple it, but just add more ingredients to fill out a dish I normally make. Weird, I know.

One of my long-time favorites to make for guests is Bacon-Pineapple Fried Rice, which is essentially 1 box Rice-a-Roni fried rice, 1 can pineapple slices, a 12 oz. package bacon, 1 large sweet onion, and sprinkling of sunflower seeds. (It probably goes without saying, but you chop the pineapple coarsely, dice and cook the onion, and cook and break up the bacon before mixing all together.) I almost feel the need to put fried rice in quotes because Rice-a-Roni fried rice is barely rice, and tastes nothing like actual fried rice in any way. I just really like the flavorings in it.

At any rate, I was making my second dish of the evening with rice, and, not wanting to be monotonous, decided to substitute ramen noodles for the mostly-pasta-anyway Rice-a-Roni. Then, to make it somewhat more heathful as a main meal, added carrots, red pepper, and water chestnuts (and substituted almonds for sunflower seeds because that's what was accessible). The result was something that should have tasted mostly the same but instead was a completely different meal. I like both of them, and can't pick a favorite (and both get packed away by guests with equal gusto). Not that I have to choose just one!

Since I have the photo from last night, here's the full details of this particular recipe. You'll need:
  • 6 packages ramen noodles (only 2 ramen flavoring packets, beef)
  • flavoring packet from Rice-o-Roni's fried rice
  • 1 can pineapple slices, chopped
  • 12 oz. package bacon, chopped and separated
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 3 oz. or so raw almonds, chopped
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chunked
1. Put pineapple, almonds, and water chestnuts into large pot.

2. Cook the carrots. (I was steaming other things in my dual-level steamer and used that for 15 minutes or so.) Add to large pot.

3. Saute the onion and red pepper and add to pot.

4. Cook the bacon and set aside. (You can cook individual slices and crumble, or chop it up beforehand and cook it in two batches, which is faster.)

5. Cook ramen with two cups of water to every three packages noodles. (I did this in two batches, one with the beef flavoring and one with the fried rice flavoring, and had to break up the noodle blocks a little to get more of them touching the water.)

6. Mix vegetables, noodles and bacon together over low-medium heat and then serve!

Note: You might find a better method of cooking all the ingredients more simultaneously... I'm terrible at juggling a lot of things at once and with a dish like this end up cooking all the ingredients just slightly underdone and then completing the cooking in the final warm-up.

Second note: Yes, this leaves you with a box of plain Rice-o-Roni and extra beef flavoring packets. I'll have to let you know if that turns out as an edible side-dish another time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My turn to do it!

Corin reads "Big Dog ... Little Dog" for himself.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Everyone's a critic

Recently Corin's been telling us what to do at every opportunity.

As we drove to the store today, Corin requested "more music." All of the radio presets had commercials airing except the classical station — we listened to it for 30 seconds or so before Corin said emphatically, "Apa, I can't do this."

(Sometimes he says things out of the blue, so I confirmed with him: "You mean the music?" "Yes.")

Later I caught him headbanging to "Rockin' like a Hurricane."

[Edit: For the record, just in case it still sounds like a coincidental phrase, what he usually says during a slow song or anything without a strong bassline is "different music!" This one was just so much funnier I had to archive it.]

[Edit 3/23: Yesterday it was on the classical station and this time he said, "different noise!" He wouldn't even acknowledge that it was music.]

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Super Why

Corin's new favorite TV show is a PBS series called "Super Why." It has a theme song, but Corin made up his own, which he sings everywhere he goes:

Super Why,
Super Why,
Super Why,
Oh, Super Why,
Super Why,
Super Why,
Super Why,
Super Why — oh!
Super Why,
Super Why — oh!
Super Why,
Super Why — oh!
Super Why,
Super Why,
Super Why — oh!

Sing Super Why,
Super Why,
Super Why,
Super Why,
Super Why,
Super Why,
Super Why,
Super Why — oh!