Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Spice Up Your Christmas

Oh, another provocative title from the elves here at AntiM Industries.

Y'all are going to be so disappointed. No sex AT ALL under that banner.

[SUMMARY: I'm a tease wielding a hammer of doom.]

No, I'm mostly leading in to an anecdote designed to bridge the long bloggap, because I'm mostly still on vacation here in my head and I have no idea where my camera is, so I can't provide you with the pictures you so rightly crave.§

[SUMMARY: I'm a psychic wielding a hammer of vivid imagination.]


Brother and I, as I mentioned, have created a tradition of cooking and drinking on Christmas day,# providing our family with nourishment, entertainment and more than a little fear.

Certainly there is fear enough of two drunkards whirling around the kitchen, singing Sisters of Mercy songs and brandishing paring knives and hot oil, but we realised Saturday that they have one more -- possibly greater -- reason to fear us as chefs: we are clearly out to harm them.

Oh, it's *probably* unintentional, *most likely* subconscious, but a clear pattern nonetheless.

The year of Jamaican menu, I have a vague memory†† of Brother and I saying, "Half a teaspoon of Scorchingly Hot Island VooDoo Death Spice? That doesn't sound like much. Let's use a quarter-cup."

And so a tradition is born.

[SUMMARY: I'm a sentimentalist wielding a hammer of fire.]

We also had last year's Thai fiasco, which I distinctly remember‡‡ came because we didn't use the recipe to make our own Thai red curry paste, so we didn't know how much of the little Thai curry jar to use.

"Hmmm," I said, sticking a little blob of Thai red curry paste in my mouth, "try this. It isn't all that hot... what do you think? Three tablespoons?"

I used the leftovers as a sort of Thai curry concentrate to add small amounts to new, unspiced batches. It was perfect all watered down like that.

This year we made a sweet potato-jalapeno-chile hash from Fine Cooking magazine.

Now, you may say, "AntiM, whyever did you make something with the word 'jalapeno' right in the title, given this propensity for torching the mouths and sinuses of those you love?"

Well, children, the answer is simple: we didn't really put two and two together until after this year's inferno.

But, really, even if we'd noticed, I think you have to take into account that two points of reference just draw a line. You need at least three points to draw a conclusion.§§

[SUMMARY: I am a philosopher wielding a hammer of geometry.]

We couldn't quite trace what went wrong this year. We agreed that we removed almost all of the seeds from the jalapenos. And, really, with the seeds gone, a jalapeno is just this side of a bell pepper.

Later, I realised that at some point, SIL mentioned that the smoked chiles we were using were equal to twice fresh. In other words, the recipe called for 3/4 cup of fresh chiles, so we should be using half that¶¶ in our recipe.

I vaguely remember Brother saying, "I think we just throw all we have here in. Are you with me?"

[SUMMARY: I am Muninn, completely failing to wield a hammer of Huginn.##]

Good grief, I'm chatty today. Maybe tomorrow will bring more pictures and less words.

Or at least a fair share of simple sentences.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Elves who have spent the better part of a year talkin' saucy, pushing your prurient buttons and apparently setting you up for this little holiday disappointment.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): And as Ron White says, if I'd known the difference between anecdote and antidote when I was a kid, my friend Bob Snyder would still be alive. I watched a LOT of Comedy Central over the last four days.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): This is my mental image, anyway. I figure for every picture, that must be a thousand less words you have to slog through.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): The self-referential linking is getting a little ridiculous, don't you think? I mean, just look down a few lines and there you are at the linked (and now footnoted) mention. I'm going for the record here, folks.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Or whatever passes for Chrismas day -- this year, it was Saturday, the 22nd.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): They're all vague when you go through two bottles of Bailey's and assorted tiny bottles of stuff in the cupboard.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Yeah, I know what I said in the last footnote. Maybe it's the time element more than the rum element.

§§FOOTNOTE (a veritable whirlpool of curvy): And next to the word "equivocate" in the dictionary, there's a picture of Brother and me... probably looking startled and more than a little warm in the face.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (a pair of clubs): Or 3/8 cup, for those of you scoring at home.

##FOOTNOTE (pounded like a chicken cutlet): Yeah, I'm showing off. It's one of those darjeeling-means-land-of-the-thunderbolt trivia bits I'll probably be spouting on my deathbed. It'll be very Citizen Kane.

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