Friday, September 26, 2014

Mushrooms & Polenta

I have observed that cool people occasionally have recipes on their blogs. I want to be cool. Here is a recipe. I made it up.

Go get:

1 ½ cups of corn meal
½ lb white mushrooms per serving
Some coarsely chopped onion
Some coarsely chopped garlic cloves
Some butter
Some balsamic vinegar
Some goat cheese
Some delicious herbs that you enjoy (fresh)

I know these amounts are vague; but the ratios are really about personal taste. I don’t presume to know how into balsamic vinegar you are.

Mkay. The thing about this recipe is, the two main parts A) take forever, and B) have a nice long counter life. Therefore, you can make them one at a time in whichever order you wish, or, you can try to multitask and make both simultaneously. You can’t lose.

Part 1: Polenta

Apply some sort of lubricant to a 9 x 13” casserole dish.

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a stockpot. Add, I don’t know, maybe 2 tsp salt? I never measure and also never add enough salt to my polenta.

Here is the hard part. Somehow, slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the boiling water while stirring constantly. I have tried a whisk, a wooden spoon, and an electric mixer. I have tried putting the corn meal in a sifter and stirring with the other hand. None of these scenarios could be labelled a success. You are going to burn yourself on this step. Just come to terms with it.

Turn the heat down and keep stirring until it is smooth. Pour it into the casserole dish and smooth the top with a spatula.

It doesn’t take long at all for the polenta to set up. Poke it for fun and also to check it. Cut it into squares, or if you are feeling fancy, use a biscuit cutter to make cute little circles.

Brown each side of the polenta. This takes FOR-E-VER!! I recommend using a griddle: a buttery, buttery griddle. Then you can do a bunch at a time. The sexy toasty corn smell when they start to brown is totally worth the INSANE AMOUNT OF TIME THIS STEP REQUIRES.

Part 2: Delicious Mushroom Stuff

Clean and do whatever you do to mushrooms. Stem them, quarter them, slice them, leave them whole:  I authentically don’t care. Sauté them over medium heat in a fat of your choice. I like a nice blend of butter and olive oil.

Bout ten minutes in, add the onion and garlic. This is so they will still have texture and structure at the end.

After a bit (I don’t know how long because I don’t know how hot your stove is and how you cut up your mushrooms) the mushrooms will start emitting their mushroomy juices. Add more butter or olive oil, and a decent amount of balsamic vinegar. The sauce consists of the mushroomy juices, butter, and balsamic vinegar, so consider that. Also, if your heat is too high, some of the balsamic vinegar will evaporate instantly into your face and make your eyes all watery and tingly.

Reduce the liquid until it is a little thicker. You can also use flour or cornstarch if you’re into that.

Now to plate this business.

Put down a piece of sexy toasty polenta. Ladle the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and sauce over.  Now do you see why I was vague about the amounts? Mushroom stuff to polenta ratio.

Now top with big glorious chunks of goat cheese and your favorite fresh herb, coarsely chopped (or hand torn, if you are that variety of d-bag). My first choice is basil; but thyme is also quite nice.

OR, if you are feeling ambitious, fry whole sage leaves in half an inch of canola oil for 10-20 seconds. Really no more than 20 seconds. They burn. Your mother in law will not be impressed by your burned sage leaves. She thinks you’re strange enough as it is. Pull them out with chopsticks and drain them on a paper towel.  Arrange artfully atop.

Because of its low protein content, this is really more of a side dish. Perhaps you could main dish it up by putting the whole situation on a bed of arugula and topping it with a nicely-cooked cut of your favorite mammal or fowl. (Favorite EDIBLE mammal or fowl. This dish is good; but it isn’t pet-butcherin’ good.)

Or, God forbid, tofu.

Nom nom nom.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Inevitable Feminist Rant

This might not be what you expect.

The Two-Pronged Attack

My perspective on gender equality is similar to my perspective on equality for any marginalized people. The world does not treat you as it ought. The world thinks less of you than your whiter, straighter, wealthier, more phallus-riddled counterparts. The world needs to change. Yes: protest, litigate, write. Yell and scream at the world. Get in its face. But consider a two-pronged attack. The second prong is YOU.

I believe that the most effective thing that women can do to further the feminist cause is to be An Epic Human Female. If everywhere young people look they see women doing monumental things, they are less likely to grow up assuming that their doctor or mechanic or boss is going to be male. The next generation of women will have more opportunities, and the courage to take advantage of them. The world will be a better place.

If you join the ranks of Epic Human Females, there are no days off. Every day, you must be the best accountant, engineer, teacher, mother, manager, or business owner that you can be. It is exhausting work.

If you are inclined, eschew the status quo. Have you always wanted to coach football? Join the Navy SEALS? Start a construction company? Become a firefighter? Make it happen. You will have to fight hard for it. You may have to get a lawyer. You might make some enemies. However, the next woman will have it a little easier. And the next and the next.

Choose the college major that you actually want, even if you know for a fact that you will be the only woman in all of your classes.

Here is the hard part, though. You don’t get your Feminist Pioneer Patch by simply signing up. You have to kick wholesale ass. This means working harder than you have ever worked before. Like all other marginalized groups, you have to exceed expectations before people will acknowledge that you have met them.


While it might be easy and fun to play the “I’m cute; do this for me” game (okay, really easy and really fun,) you are not doing the women of future generations any favors.

Carry your own heavy shit.

Open your own pickle jars.

Hook up your own Blu-ray player.

Figure out how to work a cordless drill.

Smush (or relocate) your own spidies.

Hold the door open for a guy once, just to see what happens. (They freak out.)

Consider familiarizing yourself with the basics of your automobile. Then your mechanic (of whichever gender) might be less likely to say, “See, your gastric serpentine turbine needs a new photon oscillator plug,” and then charge you $800 for something that doesn’t exist. Just cause you’re a chick.

Hey, you don’t have to do any of this. But if you are at all disgruntled by how women are treated, give it a thinky-thinky.


Please stop using the word “pussy” as a synonym for something weak. It doesn’t even make sense. As my idiotic male friends in college repeatedly demonstrated, a mere well-aimed finger flick can fell The Mighty Dick & Balls. (But who doesn’t enjoy a bracing round of Bag Tag?) Meanwhile women shove entire small people out of their…pussies. No one that I know has ever gotten anything more interesting than a kidney stone to come out of his wiener.

I know I said I wouldn't judge you but

If I overhear you at the bar telling your friends that you have to wait until your boyfriend gets home so he can put your framed picture of your kitty on the wall, or put together your bloody Ikea bookshelf for you, I swear by my own ovaries that I will purchase the most caustic drink the bar has to offer, fill it with toothpicks, and then pretend to trip and pour it on your face.

Get out there and be amazing, ladies. I love you all.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lying to Children by Susanna Grubb

I have been told that cool people have guest authors write articles for their blogs. To that end, I respectfully and temporarily relinquish the stage to my sister and fellow circus freak, Susanna!

Let me begin by saying that as someone who both has a child of her own, and personally knows the children of this blogger: I would salute her if I didn't think she would mistake it for encouragement and have another one. I hope she knows we all expect to someday walk in and find her gnawed-upon skeletal remains on the living room floor with her babies crawling all over her, like those people who live alone and are eaten by their cats when they die.
Lying to children is a divisive subject, raising issues of morality, social mores, and cultural values. While each person’s position is highly nuanced, those nuances are extremely boring and everyone can pretty much be put into one of three categories: those who deceive their children about painful or embarrassing things until they are old enough to handle it (most people); those who are completely honest and answer all of their kids’ questions without mincing words, resulting in children who know what genocide is and who talk openly about their vaginas and penes (that’s right, penes), to the horror of the other children (progressive types); and those who abuse the trusting relationship inherent to parenthood and lie to their children recreationally.
            It should come as no surprise that I fall into the latter category. I am what you call a “bad mom,” mostly because I am a bad person who happens to be a mom. And it turns out that if you want to openly lie to your offspring, nobody will stop you. I don’t bother to lie about stupid stuff like Santa Claus (speaking of which, why do we perpetuate a massive falsehood that only produces disappointment when it ends, and prevents parents from getting the credit they deserve for choosing and buying presents? Dumb.), but lying to kids about other stuff is perfect for getting out of explaining awkward stuff, and also for entertainment.
            For example, when my kid asked me where babies came from, I told her I didn't know where other people’s babies came from, but she came from the experimental fetus the aliens implanted in mommy when they took her up in their spaceship. I put her on the lookout for developing alien powers, so sometimes she tries to levitate, or makes me check her for wings, or asks me to turn the light out in her room and see if she is glowing.
            So if you are someone who isn't particularly hampered by a sense of right and wrong, try lying to your children recreationally today. Chances are you have already been lying to them about things that are much more meaningful, so you might as well have fun with it.