Category Archives: Humor

Reboot It, Renew It, Reshoot It!!

Yakko, Wacko and Dot were more on target with that song than I thought. Yet another CBS program has been rebooted, putting them in a tie with DC Comics for most reboots ever, LOL. Who is our unlucky victim this time? A cash cow that CBS decided could be milked further:

‘CSI: Vegas’ Gets Series Order at CBS

15 years wasn’t long enough, so here we go again. O_o ๐Ÿ˜€

The new series will feature a few of the “old guard” from the original series mentoring a new group of CSIs using cutting edge technology to help solve crimes.

I’ve got to admit, I liked the old show (not loved), but another reboot in the CBS line up? When is enough enough? Even half of Netflix’s shows are reboots anymore. I’m wondering when Zorro is going to be rebooted by Disney anymore…

Unconventional St Patty’s Day Dinner

I showed the corned beef I smoked for this meal in a recent post. Being a contrarian, I had to do something different with it for dinner. We had a long day that day, and after getting stabbed, I didn’t feel like an ornate meal. Truth? They’ll take away my (part) Irish Card, BUT, I’ve always hated the “throw it all in a pot and boil it” thing for corned beef and cabbage on Saint Patrick’s Day. It takes all the flavor right out of everything.

So what DID I end up doing??

Corned beef sandwiches with coleslaw and Havarti cheese on pretzel rolls with fries.

Viola: Corned beef, cabbage and carrots (in the slaw) and potatoes (fries). Untraditionally traditional. ๐Ÿ˜€

Star Wars: How Did Grievous End Up Wheezing In Ep. 3?

One of the most annoying parts of Episode 3 for me (listening to him wheeze), and it was never explained in the movies. That got me to thinking that some folks out there might not know the whole story there…

The answer lays in the the original (2005) Clone Wars mini-series on the Cartoon Network, and how it tied directly to Episode 3.

The 25 episode series covered highlights of the time between Episode 2: Attack of the Clones and Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. During that series, Grievous is shown to be nearly unstoppable as he takes out Jedi in various outposts around the galaxy…

Then came Episode 25.

Episode 25 led right up to the events of Revenge of the Sith. The series literally ended with Palpatine’s staged abduction and the escape to the separatist fleet above Coruscant. Grievous was in command of the “kidnap” team and took out a few Jedi along the way. Then… at the escape shuttle… he met Mace Windu.

BAD things, man… BAD things:

ONE “hit”… Just one. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜„ ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Which just goes to prove; there’s two people in the universe you don’t screw with: Mace Windu and the Batman.

This from a 1987 issue of Justice League comics. Blue Beetle busting a gut over it totally makes the scene. ๐Ÿ˜€

And THAT is the story of how Grievous joined Weezer and ran from Coruscant like a screaming little school girl.

That story has been “retconned” since then thanks to comic book authors at Disney’s Marvel branch wanting to put their spin on things AND Lucas deciding he could make more money with a second edition of the Clone Wars. Still, nothing else really explains the wheezing and clutching his chest in Revenge of the Sith.

Trivia Bonus:

Diehard fans know this, but Samuel L Jackson’s lightsaber had “BMF” engraved on it.

A little Pulp Fiction added to the Republic. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sort of Authentic Pho

AKA “What the Pho” ๐Ÿ˜€ To get that joke, one must understand the correct pronunciation of the dish: F-uh, as if you’re starting to drop an f-bomb.

OK, enough bad humor.

I call this “sort of” authentic Pho because I bypassed the painfully slow process of hand making the broth by boiling beef bones. I got the recipe from an issue of “Cook’s Illustrated Best soups and Stews from Around the World”; one of the various ‘best recipe’ titles that Cook’s Illustrated cycles through in it’s publishing.

I changed a few other things from their recipe as well.

First is that they advocated boiling a pound of hamburger in water to make extra flavoring for the ready made broth in the recipe. The trouble here is that they wanted the hamburger thrown out when you strain the broth to get the solids from the spices out. I’m not big on wasting food so it stayed in. Blasphemy to purists I’m sure but again, I’m not going to waste a full pound of beef.

If you want to go the easy route and still get strong beef flavor out of the broth while not using ground beef, drop a packet or cube of low sodium beef bullion into the broth.

Second is we both are not fans of soy beans, so we left those out. ๐Ÿ˜›

Let’s Get Cooking

First, this will make 6 to 8 decent sized bowls of Pho.

I’m going to proceed under the premise that readers also don’t feel like spending 8 hours boiling bones to make broth and will likewise use store bought bone or beef broth and optionally add beef bullion to that.

As an added tip to avoid having to later pour hot soup through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth, I highly advise putting most of the solid spices into a tea defuser / tea ball / cooking infuser like this one I got from Amazon:

no endorsement implied or made, there are plenty of options out there

You MAY actually need a pair of them given all the ginger and such that is supposed to be added to the broth.

Oh and as an added note, much like my recent Chile Verde recipe, this is too much good stuff to fit in a normal sized Crock-Pot. You’ll need a jumbo one or a decent sized soup pot.

My Modified Version of the “Cooks Illustrated” Recipe:

First the Ingredients

2 Onions, quartered through root end

12 cups of beef (or bone) broth. This works out to 3 of the standard 4 cup cartons sold in the U.S.

1/4 cup of fish sauce

1 (4 inch or 10 cm) piece of Ginger, sliced into thin rounds

1 Cinnamon Stick

2 tablespoons of Sugar

6 Star Anise pods

6 whole cloves

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon black whole peppercorns

1 (1 pound or 453 grams) boneless strip steak, trimmed and halved

14 to 16 ounces of rice noodles

1/3 cup of chopped fresh Cilantro

3 Scallions, sliced thin

Optional Ingredients and Garnishes

Bean Sprouts

Fresh Thai or Italian Basil sprigs

Lime wedges

Hoisin Sauce

Sriracha Sauce

Ingredient Notes:

I actually left out the sugar accidentally and didn’t miss it at all. I also added a couple cloves of pressed garlic to the broth because garlic addict. ๐Ÿ™‚ A little extra cilantro got used as garnish as well. Finally, of the list above, the lime was the best garnish to me in terms of really accenting the flavor. Just go light and work your way up.

Oh and as for the ginger… I have NO idea how much that’s actually supposed to be. Their description makes it sound like ginger comes in neat little log rolls. Trust your cooking instincts there is all I can advise. Our food turned out fine.

I put the ginger, star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick (after breaking it into 3 pieces) into the defuser. As for the pepper, I used coarse ground black pepper instead and added it directly to the broth. One teaspoon will not overpower a full pot of Pho broth.

Lastly, with the 8 onion quarters, 6 of them were supposed to be cooked with the hamburger that was added to the broth and later filtered out. Using this more direct method, you could drop them into the broth and let them simmer, fishing them out later with a ladle or slotted spoon, OR save an onion and just add some onion powder or dehydrated onion to the broth. Neither are ‘official’ since Pho broth is supposed to be pure liquid, but the final product tasted great to me.

The remaining half an onion is supposed to be sliced super thin to add to the finished Pho. I used a mandolin for that .

Not this type:

This Type:

Yes, I know… More bad humor, LOL. Cooking should be fun though.

The Cooking Process:

Cooking can be relatively fast with this method, but I advise slow cooking to let the broth simmer and fully absorb the flavor from the spices. Ideally an hour and a half to two hours.

Start by adding the broth, optional bullion, onions (if so desired), black pepper and two cups of water to your soup pot. Put the spices into the defuser as noted above then add the defuser to the liquid mix. Heat the mix on high and bring it to a hard boil briefly. Once it hits a hard boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer. The magazine says 45 minutes. I’m a huge fan of low and slow however.

While the broth is simmering, put the steak into the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes. The goal is to get it to be cold enough to be firm and easy to thin slice, bit not actually frozen. If you’re lucky enough to have a deli slicer for meat at home, cutting the beef into thin strips will be super easy. If not, a properly sharp knife will do the job fine once the meat is firm.

Getting the meat as thin as possible is important because traditionally the meat is cooked in the bowl by the sheer heat of the broth.

Next up, while the steak is firming and the broth is simmering, we deal with the rice noodles. They take a little different process than wheat based pasta.

First place the noodles in a large container and cover them with hot tap water. Soak them until they’re pliable; about 10 to 15 minutes. Once they’re pliable, drain them then put them into a pot with 4 quarts of boiling water until almost tender. This will only take 30 seconds to a minute. Immediately drain the noodles and divide them among individual bowls.

Turn back up the heat on the broth to bring it to a rolling boil again. While it’s reaching that point, divide up the steak and shaved onion into the individual bowls. Serve immediately along with the previously listed extra garnishes and some extra fish sauce as a possible additional garnish.

A Couple Final Notes:

First, if you’re like me and have issues with potentially getting scalded by soup being dished out at a rolling boil… You can bypass the need to do that by cooking the rice noodles till fully tender. Also, you’ll want to spread the steak pieces out on a plate and microwave them for 30 seconds or so; until they’re losing the red and are light pink. Bring the broth back up to the point it’s just starting to boil and then add it to the bowls as above. The noodles will be soft and the steak pieces should finish cooking also while still being very tender.

Next, for those who get apoplectic over the idea of eating red meat (like my mother), I’m told that there are restaurants out there who substitute chicken broth and chicken breast for the beef ingredients and it supposedly works fine. Never tried it. I’m just putting it out there as an option for those with dietary restrictions or preferences. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lastly, a warning! If you’ve never used Fish Sauce before…

We bought the Hokan brand in the center of this pic

It smells like dead fish that’s sat out in the sun decomposing for a couple weeks. The quarter cup that’s added to the broth quickly loses it’s scent and adds just a hint of flavor to the dish. I certainly wouldn’t want an open bottle sitting on my table as an added garnish though. “How It’s Made” (a TV show that walks viewers through the creation of various things) says fish sauce is used in Asia as a substitute for salt.

The process explains the smell…

That being the case, I’m tempted to try soy sauce as a replacement.

Either way, the food turned out spectacular. My first time making it, but we will definitely be making it again. Is it official, purist Pho? I don’t know. Tastes good however. ๐Ÿ˜€

Things I’ve Learned About Tennessee – Part 2

AKA The Need for Speed

Speeding is pretty much an issue anywhere nowadays it seems… Except Hawaii! Gawd to they drive SLOW there! Tennessee is no exception. With hours of travel time between the major towns, the Interstate speed limit goes up to 70mph (or 112.6 kph). People will go faster than that too. Half of them will do about 80 to 85.

Unlike California though, most of the drivers are reasonably courteous. The only unwritten rule is that if you’re in the fast lane and somebody is coming up behind you, move over to the right (if you can). Well, technically that’s actually the law in most states also, but see if anyone follows it most places… Most drivers in Tennessee are fairly courteous though, with 2 exceptions:

1: Around Nashville – There’s just too many people from too many states (damned Yankees) moved there, and too many different styles of driving. Generally, it’s not heinous however.

2: Georgia Drivers – MAYBE it’s because (having lived there) I know that the law there gives drivers 15mph over the speed limit before they will ticket them. Whatever the reason, Georgia drivers be all like:

Then again… I didn’t drive like THAT, but when I moved Ginger to the new house, I *may* have gotten her up to 93 mph (150 kph) at one point… Well, because… Mustang!

Ever Wonder What Happened to Harry Potter?

Oh sure, you got that brief blurb at the end of Deathly Hollows where he’s sending the kid to Hogwart’s, but what REALLY happened to him? I’ve got the scoop!

After Harry graduated, he tried to pursue a boring 9 to 5 job in the mundane world but quickly bored of it. He traveled to Vegas and quickly became THE act to see on the strip with his magic.

Unfortunately, his unbelievable and unequaled act also earned him the jealous wrath of Penn and Teller, and a few other stage magicians. A vicious smear campaign on social media and elsewhere led to Harry being ran out of town on a rail.

He took the remainder of his savings and settled into small town Tennessee where he opened a couple of gas stations with convenience stores. He’s lived there quietly ever since. His stores are super popular, as they always seem to have everything in stock, and his gas prices have been described as magically, almost unbelievably low. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And now you know the rest of the story…