Sunday, February 28, 2010

This 'n That

Note to Self: remember the garlic noodles at the Elephant Bar. One, they were delicious and two, the portion was huge! I ate with gusto and still had enough left of them as a side dish for us the next night. $4.95 - two meals and three people.

Too Young to Remember!
"A Homemade Life, Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table" by Molly Wizenberg Simon and Schuster 329 pages $25

Wizenberg tells us that she was born in 1978. That maks her 32 years old and probably 30 1/2 when the book was written (selling and publishing take eons.) What the hell does a 30 year old know? I knew nothing at that age! Before comments come rolling in about "arrested development" and "natural blonde," let us move on ...

The book came out of her very successful blog Orangette. She writes about her childhood in Oklahoma, her parents, life experiences and gives recipes at the end of each chapter. Unfortunately I found it pretty much of a one-trick pony of a book. The stories are all themed thusly: introduction of person, characteristics/description of that person, item cooked, recipe.

How Old Is Your pet in Human Years?
Hermosa Animal Hospital's newsletter had a chart on the subject. And it is not true that to measure your pet's age in human ages, you multiply by seven. Spread sheet typing is not my forte, so please try to bear with me.

Pet's Age if under 20 lbs.
1 - 15
2 - 23
3 - 28
4 - 32
5 -36
6 - 40
7 - 44
8 - 48
9 - 52
10 - 56
(Note: no tab stops allowed when typing a blog.)

Saturday, February 27, 2010


This is blog #461.

While the entire coast of California is under a tsunami warning, we are not in any danger immediately, if ever. If - God forbid - the tsunami does hit some part of Hawaii, etc. I think that will dissipate its force. If it misses Hawaii (to be devoutly wished) then it will take at least a couple of days to get here. Knowing nothing about tsunami's speeds, this is just a guess. (And knowing nothing about the subject never stopped me from writing about it anyhow.)

Most of all -- there's a helluva lot OF California coastline.

A Pair of Warriors Talking It Over
Woman #1: I got my test results back -- you?
Woman #2: On the spot on my lung? Not yet.
#1: I've got pancreatic cancer and the doctor gives me 3 to 6 months. If yours are more than 6 months, you come see us but if yours are less than 3 months, I'll come see you.

This conversation's tone was calm, practical and realistic. The person who related it told me so. I can't tell you how much it impressed me. These are practical women! They are a lesson to us all in bravery, courage and above all, practicality!

Friday, February 26, 2010


Oh ye of small and insulated world, everyone of knowledge knows that St. Labre Indian School, of Ashland, Montana is in China where polesters roam the countryside in huge herds. They are all virgin because they are so fast and have no Viagra there.

It is, in fact, quite a primitive society. They propagate like amoebas rather than through more crude methods such as mammals do. They are quite colorful which explains the colors of the blanket. It is an honor to receive this gift and it should be displayed openly in the WC on the little holder near the throne.

I do hope this clears this issue up.

Yours in the Great White Spirit CME
Chief Jarome Running Lass

Dear Chief Running Lass...

Thank you for your skill in eruditing this matter for me. Lo, though I lived in ignorance, your brilliancy of thought has guided me into the light.

As a token of my genuine appreciation, I am Fed-Ex-ing this blanket to you today! You, of all people, will appreciate it the most... (signed) Murfink

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The label on the "Indian" blanket reads:

100% polyester
Made in China

Indian Givers

Yesterday's mail brought a big padded envelope, addressed to my California dba Murf Ink. I couldn't imagine who ...

Upon opening it, I discovered a sealed plastic bag with what purported to be an Indian blanket inside it. The St. Labre Indian School, of Ashland, Montana, was gifting me with it as part of "Indian Giveaway."

According to the four-page letter tucked inside, this is a "remarkable facet of Native American culture." No matter how poor the Indian may be, it is not unusual for him/her to give away a fine possession.

The letter's writer is one Curtis Yarlott (Indian name "Yellow Arrows") who signed as Executive Director.

Yarlott began his letter with that explanation and then asked "Why am I telling you all of this? Well, for one, you strike me as someone interested in Native American culture and the history of America's first people. I believe you have a genuine concern for what has happened to Indian people through the years." Please remember this whole shebang was addressed to Murf Ink, not a person.

Richie looked puzzled; I was standing there howling with laughter. Between guffaws, I managed to blurt out, " I AM part Indian! And no one knows that unless they heard it from my mouth!"

Naturally, I was urged to make a donation. Mr. Yarlott (despite presumably being a tribal member) seems not to have gotten this part of his own message: the Indians give away a prized possession with no expectation of anything in return!

According to Yarlott, drink and drugs are rife on Indian reservations. The sob story in this letter ran, "When a train killed Michael's mother, she wasn't driving a vehicle. There were no screeching tires, no crashing metal, not even the sound of shattering glass to pierce the night." Now this is fine, powerful writing and I salute it.

It continues, "By the time the train conductor (Note: not the engineer) realized Michael's mom lay sleeping along the tracks, it was too late." Yarlott's letter then explained that she had a drinking problem, as do many other reservation dwellers.

In the spirit of giving (with no expectation of anything back) and certainly to salute some fine writing, here is their Web address: or call 1-866-753-5496. We are encouraged to donate online and to use PayPal. Don't do it for the blanket. Two Kleenexes folded together are just as thick. And Kleenexes are not as garishly bright either.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Monday List

Happy Birthday, "D"! This one's for you --

Blue Hawai'i Coffee
1/4 lb. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans
1/4 lb. Kona coffee beans*
1/2 lb. Sumatra coffee beans

Grind and mix together and store in an airtight container. It can be kept in the freezer for up to two months.

*Kona coffee is one of the most sought-after in the world. It's grown on the West Coast of the Big Island. The beans benefit from a unique cloud cover that moves in around 2 p.m. every day and shades them from the intense heat. It has a medium body, fair acidity and wine-like tones.

Talk About Understatement!
Drudge Report headline today: "Daughter Calls Dad a Hero; Plane Attack 'Inappropriate'"

High School All Over Again
"Under Their Thumb; How a Nice Boy from Brooklyn Got Mixed Up with the Rolling Stones" by Bill German. Villard Books 352 pages 425

German fell in love with the Stones' sound when he was 10. Age 16, he put out the first issue of "Beggars Banquet," his newsletter for fans. At age 33 (33!) he finally got a real job - he wrote a book - this one - about his experiences with them. This after 17 years spent following them around on his own ticket "reporting" on their activities. Talk about meshugannah!

He was friendly enough with Keith and Ron but exchanged maybe five words with Charlie Watt or Mick Jagger. All of their petty bickering, major fights -- and sides -- are covered. Save yourself $25 unless you are overcome with longing for high school. (Yawn.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

All Hail a Poet Laureate!

Sometimes one finds the funniest things in the "Comments" section of many news or gossip items. Yesterday's delight (2/19/10) was contained in that section following an op-ed piece about Tiger Wood's apology on (a wonderfully dishy site.)

It is attributed to one "Betty Crocker" and the first two lines can be googled to read all of the poem. In abridged form:

Tyger, tyger, burning bright
Like a hotel sign in the night
What inflated boob or thigh
Have you not touched then told a lie?

(two more verses)

Was this a bogey, a hole in one?
Who else's fairways have you shorn?
O how your story turns a pivot
Just tell us, and fill in your divot.

Yes, of course, it's based on William Blake's poem of the same name.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Easy as Pie!

Friends are coming for dinner tonight! Since it's heading toward the cool side of the thermometer, I'm serving a Daube Provencale which translates to "fancy for beef stew." I like a light dessert with a heavy entree so I made (yes, you read that right) a Key lime pie. If it's easy enough for me to do, it's damned easy!

KEY LIME PIE, courtesy of The Dockside Restaurant, Savannah, GA

1 store-bought Graham cracker crust
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup bottled lime juice
1 14-oz. can of condensed, sweetened milk

Unwrap the crust and bake at 325 for 10 minutes.

While that's going on, put the lime juice in a big bowl, add the egg yolks (which you've opened individually over a separate cup or bowl - yes, as a matter of fact, I did learn this the hard way) and then the sweetened, condensed milk. Beat well.

Richie had a couple of limes for his nightly gin & tonic, so I swiped a couple of peels off of one and minced the green part and threw it in with the pie filling. This really makes the lime taste pop out.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Learn Fast

I followed The Vigilante's advice this afternoon. We drove into the main post office's parking lot and Richie paused to let another person back out. Whip! Some woman in a grey sedan flew past him, very nearly taking off his left rear view mirror. Incensed, he gave her a honk. Then she pulled up in front of us next to the drop-in mail box and began fumbling through stuff on her front seat for whatever she was going to mail.

Down came my window and out of it came my stentorian roar: "BE PREPARED, BITCH!" and another honk for good measure. Nervously I turned and looked at Richie -- he always figures he's going to have to pay for my actions - but this time he was laughing out loud.

Not That Anyone Cares...

Frankly, I find all the hoop-la about Tiger Woods Great Apology just another means of publicizing the man. I have no interest in his private life (and, in fact, slightly less in his public life.) Athletes are not mean to be moral compasses for "our young" - they are meant to deliver on whatever they're being paid $60 jillion dollars a year to do. Parents are the keepers of the moral compass...

The Vigilante

"I See Rude People" by Amy Alkon McGraw-Hill Books 215 pages $16.95

Alkon writes "The Advice Goddess," a nationally-syndicated clumn and has made numerous appearances on NPR, CNN and MTV. You can read her at or find her on Twitter at amyalkon.

She is a woman on a mission -- change rude behaviors! She covers cell phone abusers, telemarketeers, parents who will not discipline their children and slovenly banking practices that lead to identity theft -- ours.

But before I pass along any of her solutions, I caution you to judge the audience - New Yorkrs are decisively not interested in being polite; most of the offenders in our Midwest are armed and many Southern Californians, unduly influenced by the Drama of Hollyweird, will go off on you. That said ...

Patronize coffee shops with a "no cell phones" policy. Legally then you are covered if you remind an abuser of this fact and they shoot you. Airport gates, plans, public transport, elevators -- "Excuse me, but you are invading our space (gesture at others) with your yelling."

Alkon can be kind of scary. She listened as a woman called eight different parents to invite their off-spring to her kid's birthday party. At peak volume, she gave out the phone number, street address and exact instructions on finding the house. Alkon wrote it all down and later on, called the woman at the house, read it all back to her and asked her if she realized just how much information she'd given out to a roomful of strangers? Any one of whom could have been a child molester?

Clearly the woman is deranged about this -- Alkon feels that telemarketeers who call her at home should be tracked down and invoiced ($50/hour) for disturbing her. "Time is money" and why should her time be wasted and the stranger make money on HER phone?

Too many parents are raising the equivalent of wolf packs and when challeneged will retort, "Do you have children? No? Well, you're not a parent!" (as if squeezing out a kid makes one a parent.) Alkon's cool retort? "What a pity that the person whose job it IS isn't doing it ..." (well-timed sigh.)

Like I say - pick your spot.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Dispatch from Loony Land

Denizens of Southern California have, over the years, become almost used to very strange behavior. Michael Jackson had extensive plastic surgery to make himself look like Diana Ross? Didn't affect us one way or the other -- until the molestation charges surfaced.

When Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to make a run for governor of our (formerly) great state, many of us may have thought "Delusions of adequacy based on his wife's family." Now, sadly, we know...

But today, we are faced with the biggest loony we've so far encountered. That is Prince Frederic von Anhalt, 8th husband of Zsa Zsa Gabor (his 7th bride) and pretender to the German nobility. "Bought the title" is maliciously (and truly) whispered.

He's featured in today's papers. He announced his decision to run for governor of California. He is quoted as saying that he "wants to make life good again." Clearly it wasn't too good for him when he failed in his bid to convince the public that 1. he'd been Anna Nicole Smith's secret lover for some 10 years and that 2. he was the probable father of her daughter, Dannielynn.

Undeterred by the massive lack of interest this pronouncement met, he took a fall back position and declared that he'd been mugged by three women who attacked him in his Rolls Royce Phantom and robbed him of his money, keys and all of his clothing. Despite being naked and handcuffed, he managed to call 911 on a cell phone. Interestingly enough, neither cell phone nor handcuffs were ever found by police.

In 2009, he made another bid for headlines saying that Gabor had lost $10 million by investing with Bernie Madoff through a third party; his adopted son, a German brothel owner! This adopted son is one of perhaps six whom Anhalt claims paid him $1 million each to bear the title "Prince von Anhalt."

Anhalt was himself adopted (age 37) by the "original Princess von Anhalt," who was 76 at the time. Gabor is 93, Anhalt is 64 or 65, records are murky. Of their marriage, he has said that it was a business deal, but that friendship turned to love. Gabor is believed to have been in a more or less persistent vegetative state since perhaps 2002.

He is running as an Independent. His platform includes imposing taxes on alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and prostitution. "I don't believe in same-sex marriage, but on the other hand, the constitution says equal rights for every American." (AP)

Read his entry -- he is truly deranged, but unlike Jackson or Ah-nold, there is no money behind him. Nothing but full moon, barking mad craziness...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Multiple Personalities...

"Garlic and Sapphires; the Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise" by Ruth Reichl Penguin Books 329 paes $15

Reichl was ured away from her job as restaurant critic at the LA Times by the NY Times. Her husband encouraged her to take the offer even thought it involved a pay cut -- down to $82,000/year. (Note to self: Figure out how to get paid for this... $50/week would be good...)

On the flight in to NY to start working, Reichl's seatmate recognized he and happily cackled that every restaurant in New York City and environs had posted her picture and description in their kitchens. They were waiting for her ...

So ... Reichl invented a series of women -- Miriam, her own picky mother; Betty, who wouldn't say "Boo!" to a goose and several others. She wore wigs, clothing appropriate to the character and never got busted by restaurant staff. Very often, she fooled everyone in her offices at the Times.

But one of the characters scared her -- Emily, a mean, spiteful woman. Reichl was afraid of what she'd found, deep within her own self. (Talk about being out-of-touch!) At the same time, she was burning out on the job. She was unexpectedly offered the job as editor at Gourmet and leaped to take it.

The book is well-written (although it runs a little long for what it covers) and it was certainly an interesting read that showed another facet of the rstaurant business to me. Pushy gets you seated in New York; mousy puts you near the kitchen. Neither fact really surprised me ...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"It's 11:45 (a.m.)"

"Shall we see if we're hungry again in two hours?" Richie just laughed.

Pick Up Stix, 705 Pier Avenue, 3A, Hermosa Beach 310-406-0689. The restaurant is located inside the Von's mini-mall, just west of PCH. But this is a chain - they're everywhere.

We were celebrating the Chinese New Year a day early. As we walked toward it, I told Richie, "Say gun hoy, fat choy (phonetic spelling) - that's how you say "Happy New Year." Good thing he forgot, the counter woman was Indian.

This is a Big Board restaurant - choices run from Starters, through Soups, Salads, the House Special (choices of chicken, beef, shrimp or vegetarian,) Noodle and Teriyaki Bowls, Asian wings, Fried Rice (two kinds) Wok Smart, Chow Mein or Yakisoba. Desserts: the mandatory fortune cookie, Apple Cinnamon Wraps or a Fudge Brownie.

Prices seem fair - $1.39 for a vegetarian egg roll. But: you can get it for a $1 if you add it in to your meal. Items at $8.99 are the most expensive on the menu.

We both had the garlic shrimp and a $1 egg roll. Water to drink. The plates were plastic, divided servers. The shrimp (I counted 10) came with sauteed broccoli, whole mushrooms and onion chunks. The egg roll had a sauce -- reminded me of apple sauce and didn't bring a whole lot to the dance. Hot mustard pepped it up considerably. The egg-fried rice had whole pea pods and tiny carrot strips. I dropped forkfuls of it in the leftover garlic sauce from the shrimp - good! Portions were good, not "generous" (translation: piles of food) and filled us up quite nicely. The tab (with tax) came to $15.34 for two.

For the record: at 20 minutes before 2 p.m. I went into the kitchen and cut myself a slab of Italian fruit cake. It couldn't have had any calories left; it was carbon-dated "Christmas - 2009."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fool Me Once, Shame on You; Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me

To explain why I will not watch another evening of the Olympics. It was a continual parade of commercials with the odd moment or two of actual sport. Example -

Image of a skier, poised at the top of a mountain, ready to come out of the gates
Cut to - commercials
Back to skier, now halfway down the slope, bouncing off of the moguls
Cut to - commercials
Back to skier crossing the finish line...

All of the hype - "promoting peace among countries" "the joy and beauty of sports" -- it's all just words. And 95 per cent of them are commercials.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Goat Dancing Strictly Forbidden Within RB City Limits

Columnist John Bogert writing in the Daily Breeze ( today hit one out of the ballpark with some of his comments on the historical aspects of Valentine's Day. I urge you to click over and read him.

The graf that caught my eye and still has me laughing was this: "And, still, we don't know how Valentine became the patron saint of lovers other than how his feast day just happens (as so many Christian festivals do) to fall on the naughty, virgin-harassing, wolf-howling, ring-a-ding-ding, goat-dancing, wine-swilling Roman festival of Lupercalia."

I can only wish you a Valentine's Day that is half as exciting as that. Just remember that thing about goats though, will you?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hard Times, Worse Comin'?

Yesterday's mail brought us an offer from the Wynn Las Vegas -- one free night for two paid nights. Sun.-Thurs. $139; Fri. Sat. $199/night with a complimentary upgrade to an "Encore Resort Suite King" based on availability. Sister hotel, the Bellagio is usually $300/night and the Wynn is newer and said to be posher so figure $350/night. This means the hotel is hurtin' big time.

But wait! That's not all! A $100 dining credit for food and drink in Chef Theo Schoenegger's salute to Frank Sinatra! (This means pasta, I don't doubt.) "It is the only restaurant sanctioned by the Sinatra family." One wonders if it was Greed Hog Barbara or actual family...

We were invited to include our family and friends in this largesse -- but they only get a $50 dining credit. Eatch'er hearts out! Call 888-770-7998 and use the code ESCFRD.

It was an impressive brochure (4/c art on heavy stock paper) so I went to and had myself a look-see. All of the public rooms shown were massively formal including the pool surround with cabans.

There are a number of specialty (read: expensive) restos. This sounded good at the Sunday Jazz Brunch -- poached eggs on BBQ-smoked pork on a bacon-cheese muffin with a charred green chili Hollandaise sauce.* It did sadden me to read over and over a reminder for the "nice" restaurants -- "Casual Business Attire Please." If you need to be told not to wear shorts and t-shirts to Daniel Boulud's (even thought he may not personally have been in the kitchen since 1962) you aren't deserving of the honor.

Tidbits about Steve Wynn...he is 68 years old (a Capricorn.) In 2009, he was #468 on the list of the wealthiest people in the world with a net worth of $1.5 billion. He currently owns six casinos.

The art work is Wynn's personal property, but he leases it to Wynn Resorts for $1 a year -- and THEY pay the insurance and security. How's that for a sweet deal? I can see how he got the net worth...

Wynn and his wife Elaine were introduced after their fathrs got together and thought they'd make a good match. College sweethearts, they married in 1963, divorced in 1986, remarried in 1991 and as of March 5, 2009, filed for divorce again. They have two adult daughters.

*Poached Egg dish You don't have to go to Las Vegas to get it -- make it yourself.
Leftover roast pork, heated and shredded.
Muffin mix plus cooked, chopped bacon and shreds of Cheddar cheese
Poached eggs
And, if you're too lazy to make your own Hollandaise sauce (melt a stick of butter while beating together 4 egg yolks and 4 T lemon juice with a dash of Tabasco, then whisk the butter into the egg mixture. Many supermarkets sell Hollandaise sauce in a jar. Just add 1 T drained, chopped green chilis from the can.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weapon of Singular Destruction

No blog today; am out testing a secret weapon for use at the gym. It's from the Sharper Image, it's called the Pocket Terminator ($19.95) and is for individual use. More of which anon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


That grill master Bobby Flay was right about how to make a hamburger. Just before you cook it, put a thumb-sized dent in the patty center. Never press down with the spatula while it's cooking. The result is a plump, juicy patty.

Gym Update
On my way out, I stopped and suggested perhaps a bench by the locker room doors for cell phone users. The older woman, a grizzled vet if ever I saw one, laughed and said, "They'd never use it. (warming to her theme) I've had to talk to them and they instantly become abuse -- verbally AND physically. 'Who do you think you are?'"

The younger one added, "I used to be a costumed character at Disneyland and if a kid kicked me and I complained to the parents, I got in trouble and they got a free pass!"

I reeled backwards, hand pressed to my forehead. "The world is upside down. I've lived too long," and staggered out of the gym.

A Bigger Day than I Knew
This Sunday is Valentine's Day. It's also the monthly jazz club meeting with a first look at the re-designed bar at the Knights of Columbus where these meetings are held. This is quite enough excitment - Maybe free drinks to toast the bar? but then I discovered it is also Chinese New Year! This year it's the year of the Tiger. Go to to find your sign -- I'm a Dragon, Richie is a Snake and my sister is a Rat.

Other Uses
As I whipped through Target the other day, I grabbed a bra off of a rack, saw that it was my size and threw it in the cart. Once home, I examined my buy more thoroughly and discovered it's something called a "nursing bra." There is a half-pocket inside the cup and I thought, " What a wonderful place to stash your cash and credit cards in Vegas or a foreign land!" 50s and 100s on the right!

The Broccoli Incident
Richie demanded this vile vegetable with his dinner last night and since I had all four burners going on the stove, I microwaved it and it turned out perfectly!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Keeping the World Straight... One Incident at a Time

At the Gym
Yesterday was Day 2 for me back at the gym. I have a set of machines I use for upper body strength (my legs are quite strong enough; they have to carry me around.) One I use was occupied by a woman talking on a cell phone. She was as relaxed as a cat, sitting on the equiment. The only muscles she was working were those found in the jaw and tongue.

I shrugged and went on to the next machine and then returned. She was still talking. On my third return, I said, "You know if you want to chat, there are benches in the locker room," gave her the hairy-eyeball laser of Death glare and walked away. When I came back out, she was elsewhere so I sat down and did my exercise.

Still seething -- I'm supposed to pay $28/month for the pleasure of watching some rude bitch sit on the equipment and chatter away? - I talked to the desk clerk. Helpfully, she exclaimed, "Oh! I'll make an announcement that it's only 20 minutes on the equipment" and I looked startled and said, "But you can do at least 35 or 40 reps in less than 5 minutes!"

She explained that she meant the cardio machines. "Do I look like the kind of woman who would get on a treadmill? (we both laughed) I'm talking about the couch potatoes on the machines." She muttered that she'd see what she could do.

Since I don't like to complain about a problem without having a solution, tomorrow I'm bringing the gym some signs:

Unless you are waiting for an organ transplant, turn off your cell phone.

If you get a call, take it to the wall (of the gym floor.)

Seating for cell phone users (over benches along the walls which I will also suggest.)

If all else fails, I am not above stalking about the gym floor, camera in hand, taking pictures of the offenders. If queried (and you know I will be) I will calmly report that I'm doing an investigation for the police. I see no need to insert "cell phone abuse" before "police" - do you?

In Other News
The American Psychiatric Association has come out with new guides for addressing mental problems. We are to say "intellectual disability" instead of "mental retardation." I think "intellectual disability" covers too wide a field. Example: There are many people who are capable, can do math, spell properly and who still vote Democrat!

"Asperger's syndrome" is now "mild autism. This is fine with me. My luck, I'd be calling it "asparagus syndrome."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Disecting Countries - A New Cooking Fad?

"Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy, A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes" by Lidia Bastianich and her daughter Tanya Manuali Alfred Knopf 411 pages $35

Alert Readers will remember that I recently reviewed a book called "Made in Spain" which covered recipes indigent to certain areas of the country. Less than a week later, here comes Lidia touring us through Italy? Coincidence? Happenstance? I think not...

It is a huge book, full of color illustrations. The daughter has a PhD in Renaissance Italy and she covers the locations.

4 medium oranges, washed and dried - you're going to make orange peel
2 cups honey
1 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
2 cups finely-toasted walnuts
Vegetable oil for rolling the cookies

Chop the orange peels to make up 1 cup of chopped peel.
Put the honey in a saucepan, stir in the orange peel and bring it to a simmer. Stop when the peels are slightly translucent.

Stir in the bread crumbs and one cup of walnuts and simmer again. The mixture should form a dough after about 6 minutes of stirring.

Oil a non-porous flat surface, lay out the dough and smooth it into an oblong about 1/2 in. thick.
Roll the dough into small balls, roll the balls in the rest of the chopped walnut, put on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let them cool. No baking required!

8 large eggs
3 cups fine dry bread crumbs
3 cups grated Pecorino
2 T kosher salt (omit)
4 T finely-chopped basil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup vegetable oil

Beat the eggs well, add in all the other ingredients. Make balls and brown them in vegetable oil. Serve as is or put them in hot marinara sauce (where they will get sodden.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Palm Springs Historical Site

If you have never been to Palm Springs, here is a bit of what it looks like -- in February! These pictures were shot on the grounds of the Ingleside Inn ( which has been here since the '30s. Once a private home, it was sold and converted to a hotel which it still is today. It is host to the very good restaurant, Melvyn's.

Photos by Richie Murphy

Sunday, February 7, 2010

No Worries!

(Right) Coconut Shrimp

Crab Callahan

Tommy Bahama's Caribbean Cafe, 73-595 El Paseo at Larkspur Ave., Palm Desert 760-836-0188

Crab Bisque

My sister-in-law was born on Aruba, grew up in Saba, and she and Charlie routinely vacation in Anguilla. She considers herself an Island Girl and I couldn't wait to tell her about this place!
The literature says it's "Caribbean style" but that doesn't mean faux coconut fronds in the corners, sand on the floor or cutesy sea shell-trimmed mirrors. Instead, think American plantation with high ceilings and lots of wood trim. The wide patio wraps around three sides of this second floor establishment and offers stunning views of the mountains.
We ordered drinks (Bahama Mamas for them; mai tai for me, draft beer for Richie). It should be said that we rarely drink at lunch other than iced tea, but this was a holiday!

Richie and I started with cups of their excellent crab bisque with cream and sherry ($7 each.) Richie had the Crab Callahan - "normal" crab cakes rolled in coconut before cooking ($17) and I had the coconut shrimp appetizer with mango chutney which came with a pile of Asian slaw (apparently this means Very Little Oil & Vinegar Dressing) for $12. First out were piping hot rolls with honey-cinnamon butter.
Continuing the holiday feeling, he had a slice of Key lime pie and I had the creamy butterscotch pudding (both $6.) Food came to $55; drinks $13.50 - you can see why we rarely drink at lunch.
Photos by Richie Murphy

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Unless politicians are more flexible than I would have thought...

From an Associated Press report in this morning's paper regarding an alleged sex tape featuring John Edwards and Rielle Hunter:

"... has the original copy of the tape showing Edwards in a sexual encounter in a safety deposit box in Atlanta..."

Also please note the use of "original copy."

Repent,The End is near.... grammerwise.

Friday, February 5, 2010

"A Quick Pint" is Dangerous in Britain!

Who knew? Regard these horrifying statistics...

There are 87,000 alcohol-related "glass attacks" (the instigator picks up his heavy, handled beer much and lays about himself.)

50% of all violent assaults are alcohol related.

You are five times more likely to be involved in a violent incident in or near a licensed pub.

"Glassing attacks" cost the National Health service (NHS) about $4.3 BILLION A YEAR.

Now these statistics may change. A new non-shatter beer mug is being introduced for use by a major pub chain, name not disclosed.

Glass A has a thin bio-resin coating on the inside of the glass.
Glass B is made like a windshield - glass, plastic, glass.

"Why not plastic go-cups?" you ask in some confusion. A bar patron was quoted as saying "(Glass) feels good in the hands; it feels cold. Plastic is warm." Dude! You drink your beer WARM! "Rule Britannia" my arse.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Palm Springs was wonderful! We ate like royalty - more on that you may be sure!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kinky! You Animal!

Oops -- left off the lover after "animal."

"Kinky's Celebrity Pet Files" by Kinky Friedman Simon & Schuster 208 pages $24.95

This "book" is a compilation of celebrity interviews, celebrity name dropping, editorializing (see the chapter on Mark Twain) and -- oh! Stories about the celebs' pets. Alive or dead (Churchill, Joseph Heller, Richard Pryor, Hank Williams) doesn't seem to matter to the Kinkstah (his name for himself.)

Not surprisingly many musicians are included - Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Brain Wilson, Emmylou Harris to name only a few. And, come to think of it, I believe some of the above are dead, too.

Each chapter is short - average 2 1/2 pages each making it a perfect bathroom book. "Bathroom book" in my lexicon is NOT an insult! It's a book you can pick up andput back down with no sense of "What's going to happen next?"

Friedman has a great sense of humor -- naming his band Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys while deep in the heart of Texas -- that takes a special kind of... er, nerve.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Brilliant, Difficult Parents...

"Losing Mum and Pup, A Memoir" by Christopher Buckley. Twelve (publishers) 251 pages $24.99

"Mum" is Patricia Taylor Buckley, said to be one of New York's most glamourous and colorful socialtes. "Pup" is William F. Buckley, said on his part, to be the "father of the modern conservative movement." These are subjective points of view and I leave you to them. However, having finished the book, old Pup was "the father" in 98% of family decisions. The Mrs. used to remark that she was the Arab wife. He'd tell her to pack up the tents, she would and they would go.

Through anecdote and memories (his and others,) Buckley relates the last year of their lives. She died first, age 81, after a long illness (four hip replacements) ended in a stent that caused an infection. He had a history of emphysema, diabetes, sleep apnea and an appalling habit of over-doing the sleeping pills in his demands for instant gratification (sleep.) He died of a massive heart attack at his desk aged 83.

Buckley is most amusing at descriptions of actually getting someone buried/cremated. His father thought that two cases of wine (he never paid more than eight or $10 per bottle) served in a room designed to hold 80 to a crowd of 500 was just dandy.

Many years previously, WFB, a devout Catholic, had commissioned a large, bronze cross for his ashes and hers. (She said NOT to put her ashes in it; she was Anglican, not Catholic.) WFB then wanted the cross prominently displayed on the grounds, never doubting for an instant that the mansion would always remain in Buckley family hands.

WFB was a risk taker of majestic proportions - particularly when sailing - and she was a liar of equally majestic nerve. "When the Queen and Prince come to Vancouver, they routinely stayed with us (her family.)" She had the ugly ability to look someone right in the eye and lie her back teeth off. (Do not try this at home.)

It was an entirely engaging read although I could have lived without Buckley's moaning that he was now an orphan -- at age 55, with a wife and children -- until he explained (finally) that it meant in the natural order, he was next.

What stays with me is the fact that both of them were unerringly arrogant -- and got away with it!