Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Old Man and the See, I Told Ya!

I was driving down A1A yesterday when an old man on the side of the road caught my eye. Dressed in a pair of camo shorts and an Allman Brothers t-shirt, he was leaning on a cane made of driftwood and holding a sign that read: "Will increase your blog followers for food."

Intrigued, I made a quick u-turn and pulled up beside him. I rolled down my window and asked, "So, you say you can help me increase my blog followers?"

He wiped his nose with a sun burnt forearm as his narrow, mailbox slot eyes fixed on a passing Escalade crammed full of tan surfer girls, all bouncing off the seats to a blaring tune I didn't recognize.

"Absolutely," he replied, his eyes following the black beast of an SUV as it turned right toward the beach. "I have a system that could double it."

"You can? For food?"


"How much food?"

"About a forty bucks worth."

So I whipped out two twenties and tossed them to him. "Now what?"

He slid the bills into his back pocket then wiped his nose with his forearm again. "S'easy," he replied as he stared off into the distance. "You just need to ask all the folks that are following your blog to recruit one more follower."

"I see."

He stopped staring at the vision in the distance and his eyes locked on mine. "I shared that with Bill Gates. Back in '77. Course there were no blogs back then. We was talking about doubling the users of that Microsoft thing he had going." He turned his head and spat on the ground. "Course, the rest is history."

I thanked him and pointed my car to the Usina Bridge. As I crossed over the Intracoastal, I smiled and thought, Yep, Warren. Money well spent. dear reader know what to do. Why keep all this blog buffoonery to yourself? Ask a friend to follow. Maybe two friends. I'd love to drive by that old man in a few weeks and watch his brown-as-tanned leather face fold up into a smile as I shout, "It worked. It worked!"

And while we're talking about doubling things. Here's a recipe for two that is great doubled.

Bon appetit!


PREP: 10 minutes COOK: 15 minutes

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
3 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs with Romano cheese
1-1/2 tablespoons dry sherry (or dry white wine, Sauvignon Blanc is good)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. Place the shrimp in a small casserole dish and add the melted butter.
Stir shrimp to coat well.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to coat. May be refrigerated
until ready to bake.
4. Place casserole dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes (a little
longer if the shrimp have been chilled.)

Serve with Steamed White Rice and Corn.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Near Plethora of Incredible Cooking Tips and Kitchen Hints

A short time ago I posted a nice list of helpful cooking tips and kitchen tips right here on this blog. And you, the public, responded with a plethora of e-mails, cards and letters demanding "More! More!"

Well, actually, it was more like a stray comment here or there. Something more akin to: "What? Is that it?" or "Is that all you got?"

My answer? A resounding NO! Here's eight more!

Now, keep those cards and letters coming.

You can pretty much discount the credibility of anyone who uses the word 'plethora' in any form of written or oral communication. If they use it twice in the same communication, you will be absolved if you hunt them down and beat them repeatedly with a Roget's Thesaurus.

When microwave ovens were introduced they were supposed to revolutionize our culinary lives. Manufacturers claimed they would do everything except crush garlic and wash dishes. I have owned a microwave for over three decades and am convinced it is good for only four things: popping bags of popcorn, defrosting or cooking frozen veggies, reheating last night's dinner for lunch, and taking up three square feet of precious counter space. (Reports that it can also dry wet cats are purely speculative).

Many of us make a real effort to show up for a dinner party a little later than when we are told to arrive. This is good form. However, there is a very small minority who insist on showing up early. Sometimes very early. When these socially-inept morons arrive while you are finishing a sauce or fluffing the rice, throw some sliced onions in a skillet with some olive oil and saute them. The aroma will drive them nuts and they will drool uncontrollably, which is always good for a few laughs. (Oh, and be sure to pour some of your cheap wine in a carafe and set it out. Save the good stuff for those guests who have the good sense to show up at the right time).

Placing an open box of baking soda in the back of the fridge to keep it odor-free is a strategy that has been handed down from great-grandparents to grandparents to parents. Unfortunately, it doesn't really work. Here is the best way to keep your fridge odor-free: Make sure all of your food is tightly-wrapped, throw out the veggies that are starting to rot, and clean the refrigerator every now and then with soap and water. I know it's more work than putting a little yellow box on the shelf, but this technique actually works.

Removing chicken skin with your bare fingers works just fine with the first piece. After that they get so slimy you may as well have had them dipped in oil. Instead, use a paper towel to grasp the skin and then toss the paper towel when you're done. No muss. No fuss.

The quickest way to thaw frozen steaks and chops is to place them unwrapped in a heavy aluminum skillet or baking pan (the heavier and thicker, the better) at room temperature. You'll be amazed at how quickly they defrost. Of course, thicker roasts and chicken should only be defrosted in the fridge.

A pound of fresh spinach looks like it could feed a small army but when it cooks down it only yields about one cup. Keep that in mind when you're out shopping.

The effectiveness of any gadget advertised on a late night infomercial is diminished in proportion to the amount of airtime said infomercial expends.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We Interrupt Our Normal Blog Buffoonery to Bring You this Important Message

Have you ever wanted to take part in an event on the evening of September 14th that was so incredible it would rival traditional life-altering moments such as a marriage, the birth of a child, a major job promotion, or a 50th wedding anniversary?

I know I would!

Unfortunately, I will be busy on the 14th and will be unable to attend such a momentous occasion. And that's the reason why I am writing to you today.

You see, instead of participating in such an extraordinary event I will be busy filming my 45-minute cooking demonstration on the 14th, and I would like you to be part of the studio audience. There are several reasons why we are doing this:

   - There is an agency that has expressed interest in representing me but they would like to see an example of my live presentation.
   - Several out-of-state cooking/food events have extended a tentative invitation for me to appear but require a video before confirming.
   - I would like to audition for the Food Channel next year but will need to submit a b-roll of my 'performance' along with the usual paperwork.

I know it's a weeknight, but this is the only way we could pull this off at a price I can afford (many folk are volunteering for this - I am so appreciative!) I'd count it an honor if you would join me for this project.

Here are the details:

When: Tuesday, September 14th  7 pm to 8 pm

Where: A. Chef's Cooking Studio, 145 Hilden Road in Jacksonville, Florida. (I will send directions if you choose to attend).

Seating is very limited so we are requesting 'firm' RSVP's to be sure to accomodate everyone. Please let me know if you will be attending by sending an e-mail to:

If you cannot make it, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Bon appetit!


PS. Normal blog buffonery will continue in all its foolishness in a day or so. Thanks for following!