Monday, October 26, 2009

Spicy Butternut Mango Soup or yet another swampy recipe using fruit

The following recipe was adapted (ie: stolen) from Everyday with Rachel Ray so obviously now it is considerably better than it was in her shill of a magazine.

And yes, for those of you who remember my other successful recipes from my site, it does incorporate FRUIT……

Spicy Butternut Mango Soup

2 tablespoons of Vegetable/Canola Oil

1 Onion – chopped/diced

2 ½ lbs of Butternut Squash – cubed

2 tablespoons of Brown Sugar

2 teaspoons (heaping) of Chipotle in Adobo

3 cups of Vegetable Broth

2 Mangoes – chopped

1 cup of Buttermilk

Salt & Pepper to taste (I only use Hawaiian Sea Salt)

Garnish with whatever you feel like garnishing with – I garnished with a spoon myself


Saute the onions in the oil over low to medium heat until translucent. Add the brown sugar, chipotle in adobo & butternut squash cubes and stir until incorporated. (I like that word) Add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then back to a simmer until the butternut squash cubes are soft. Add mango and let simmer a few minutes before pureeing in blender. Return to pot and add buttermilk. Serve & Garnish.

If it sucks, which it didn’t for me, then blame the editors of Everyday with Rachel Ray. If you like it, then it was my changes to the recipe that made it a success.

Looking at an empty bowl from Behind The Shades….swampy abides

The World Series - A Mets fan's biggest nightmare

Yankees vs Phillies. Could it possibly be any worse ?

As a Mets fan who works in NYC with a plethora of Yankees fans, having them win yet another one would be comparable to finding out your new proctologist is Kamala the Ugandan Giant.

Of course the only good thing about Philadelphia is leaving it. Hoagie Haven in Princeton makes better cheesesteaks too. (Try a #17 with the works, trust me) I have hated the Phillies & their arrogance almost as much as their hockey brethren, the flyers. That says a lot right there.

So I think the best thing for me with regard to this year's almost winter classic is to boycott & ignore it. Look for this blog to talk about anything but the World Series.

Looking at a bleak next 2 weeks from Behind The Shades.....swampy abides

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Fly Me ! I'm Swampy !" - my latest take on air travel

It was “up, up & away” for me again today as I was once again winging my way across the not so friendly skies. Back in the 1970’s, perky stewardesses from National Airlines innocently smiled and invited us to “Fly Me ! I’m Cindy !”. Flying in America was classy & fun. Nowadays however, common decency & decorum have disappeared and the airlines have grabbed their collective crotches like an erstwhile Michael Jackson while telling passengers to “Fly This !”. Air travel now has all the glamour & appeal of a bus trip to Gary, IN. By the time I land tomorrow night back in Newark, I will have achieved Platinum Elite Status in my frequent flyer program and all I can say to that is “whoop-de-doo !”. While it does mean that I will get a few extra perks when I do fly like warm cashews & wider seats, it also means that I will have spent way too much of my time on airplanes. I really don’t think that I am telling anyone anything earth shattering or that they don’t already know but it makes me feel good to vent and so vent I shall.

As I mentioned earlier, there was time in the history of air travel where flying was seen not as an entitlement but as more of a privilege. People dressed nicely and they were civil to each other. Now a great many passengers look like they just rolled out of bed and put on whatever didn’t smell that bad from the dirty laundry pile in the corner. Don’t even get me started on those folks that insist on taking off their shoes when they get on the plane. This isn’t your living room folks. Put them back on. I really don’t want to see & or smell your feet.

A quick aside, I read this morning that researchers at the esteemed Oxford University had successfully implanted a memory into the brain of a fruit fly that told it that tennis sneakers smelled bad. Why I ask ? I would think that any single cell organism or above on the evolutionary chain would be able to figure that one out. I do wonder if there is a way to employ this technology on those inconsiderate folks that take their shoes off on the plane ? But I digress…..

The airlines certainly haven’t helped any with their nickel & diming of passengers with their increasingly petty & loathsome fees for “extras” like checking luggage. These obscene charges have resulted in larger & larger bags being considered “carry on” by a great many of my fellow passengers. Bags so fat that they can barely roll down the aisle. Bags so big that they can’t possibly fit into the overhead getting repeatedly jammed & jammed into the overhead thus holding up everyone else trying to elbow their way down the aisle so they too can repeatedly try to jam their bag into a too small space before some other schlub gets to it first. Don’t forget that indignant passenger with the oversized bag who barely makes it onto the flight who finds that all the overheads are already crammed to capacity with other passenger’s crap and they will have to actually gate check their monstrosity. I am sure that there is a special circle of hell for these people but I am not sure where it is because the gate has been switched 3 times in the last 15 minutes.

Another quick aside, since this is now the 2nd time in a week that I have had the pleasure of seeing “UP” on one of my flights, who took all the pictures of Carl & Ellie in the “Stuff I’m Going To Do” section of Ellie’s scrapbook ? But again I digress….

The nickel & diming really only starts with the baggage but also extends to the food that is ‘served’ on some airlines. Free is few & far between and what is free really isn’t going to get a Michelin Rating unless we are talking about how it resembles chewing on a tire. What they try to sell you isn’t much better so a great many people have taken to bringing every type of concoction they can get past security without it being classified as a missing Iraqi WMD. Just the aroma of what the folks in the row behind me 2 flights ago would have been enough to send a fruit fly in search of a rancid tennis sneaker no matter what had been implanted in their brains.

The one group of people I do feel sorry for in all of this mess are the flight attendants. Now I have never been on a flight where the flight attendant had actual control of the flight or where they had any say as to whether air traffic control was going to put the plane in an interminable holding pattern or where they had anything to do with your middle seat getting double booked but they do catch all of the heat. Listen people, it’s not their fault. Blame Mother Nature for the turbulence. Blame the airlines for overscheduling flights in & out of airports that can’t possibly handle the traffic. Blame your fellow passengers for not gate checking the bag that they stuffed Grandma & 2 of the kids into so they wouldn’t have to pay extra for a seat thus delaying the “pushback” from the gate. Blame the surly gate agent who has been yelled at by every other over entitled passenger for double booking your seat. Just leave the flight attendants alone. It’s not their fault that someone else grabbed the last pillow or bought the last bottle of overpriced Heineken. They want to get off the plane as much as you do. Trust me.

And that is the view for now from Behind The Shades……until next time, swampy abides….

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back from Orlando with thunks on Survivor, Football & a whole lot of what not....

So I spent 4 days last week in Orlando inside a convention center at an industry conference that was only slightly less painful than being boiled in oil & eaten alive by starving cannibals. At least I flew first class there & back.

My hotel was under construction when I got there so that meant no free appetizers, breakfast or snacks on the executive level. I would have been better off at a DewDrop Inn or a Motel Sixty Nine. I am getting so spoiled.

Anybody watch any football yesterday ? I am wearing my Memphis Musician tie today because I have some friends up in the beantown area who are singing the blues today. Guess that walking talking touchdown tossing Ken doll couldn’t beat the extra from Next of Kin and the rest of his motley crew in the seriously ugly brown & mustard uniforms. I did dig on some of the players twisting their vertical striped socks so they looked like barber poles. I liked the scoreboard at the end of the game better. If the sun were actually out today, it would be orange with blue streaks.

Finally watched Survivor this weekend and stop the presses, the idiots at FOA FOA finally won a challenge. Natalie, the blow up Barbie doll, who had yet to say more than one coherent sentence in the past episodes actually stepped up, talked & delivered. Russell may think he has that tribe under his thumb but I have a feeling that Jaison may be the start of an undercurrent of rebellion. Without his redneck minion from the other side of Hell, the outlaw hillbilly, Russell may find the going a bit trickier even for the holder of an immunity idol.

Over at Club GALU, Sister Detroit was actually making herself out to be even more of an outcast and even more disposable for the yoga crew than Shambo & her magnificent mulletness. I think the only thing that actually saved Shambo this week, beside the fact that she is a graduate of the Dr. Doolittle Correspondence Course in Conversational Chicken, was the fact that Club Monica & her itsy bitsy purple polka dot bikini was so pathetic in the challenge that her yoga crew had to save her from being targeted by Captain Dreadlock for elimination. And props go to Eric for finding the other immunity idol by using her royal mulletness’s hidden clues against her.

And don’t think we haven’t seen the last of that vagabond chicken either. I am willing to bet that it shows up in a few weeks when Russell sacrifices a goat or something….

(but seriously, nobody cares what I think – you should all just click now on the link to your left for the Bitchy Survivor Blog by ColetteLala – she slays & flays)

It has been my experience that most double standards are a one way street & I am heading the wrong direction.

I missed Top Chef this week but finally got it recorded last night so nobody tell me who was told to pack their knives. Of course that assumes that anyone is actually reading my blogs and we know that no one is because kharma is a bitch that way.

Protesters in the street outside my building ? Really ? Why ? Did they actually find out that I was back at work today? I may have to send someone down to find out. It is Columbus Day but that shouldn’t have anything to do with it. I think.

The Yankees beat the Twins and the Angels swept the Sawx. This is the best case scenario for us yankee haters in that the Angels have had their number this year with the exception of the final series in California. And by the way, they are still the CALIFORNIA Angels to me, none of this Anaheim Angels crap.

I love cooking in the crackpot on lazy Sundays. Threw in some pork shoulder with red & green peppers, carrots, butternut squash, sweet & white potatoes, apples, apple cider, some bbq sauce and some woostershistershiresauce. Dang tasty over some yellow rice. Guaranteed the wife & kids won’t leave an leftovers for me.

Dancing with the Wannabe & Never Were Stars is on tonight and I have read that the ratings are off dramatically. It is either because they have a mix of real nobody cares celebs or that Julianne Hough left the show. My $$$ is on the latter.

I had to scrape frost off my windshield this morning, guess that means that those final 10 habaneros I picked on Saturday were the final 10 habaneros I am going to get to pick this year. My garden was pretty much a disaster but I am just going to blame George W. Bush for it all anyway. It seems to be in vogue again.

I know I am few days late on this one but you can check my twitter feed if you want from Friday for verification but I did say that the Nobel Peace Prize did seem to me like it was a consolation prize or one of those pathetic little league participant trophies for losing out on the Olympics. I still can’t believe that the Power of 3 that was Barack, Michelle & Oprah couldn’t bring the games home to Chicago.

The weather is cooling and the boots are chilling but I do not have a boot fetish…

I really love watching Amanda from CHOPPED struggle on the Next Iron Chef – every time someone criticizes her she looks like she is constipated….

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving !!! (think they know they are celebrating 6 weeks early ?

This past Saturday was my fake ID birthday from high school. It says I turned 48.

And a week from today my sobriety will finally be old enough to legally drink.

I had 25 voicemail messages on my phone when I came in this morning. I really wish I had a delete ALL button.

A reporter from Channel 5 asked me if I thought the tickets at yankee stadium were overpriced. I told her you couldn’t pay me enough to go to a game. I don’t think I will be on the 10pm news.

It’s 3pm and there isn’t a realistic chance in hell of me actually doing anything productive in the next 2 hours. I already cleared out all the emails from last week and reassigned any real work I might have had. Now I am trying to figure out what to watch/listen to on Hulu before it is time to leave.

And on that thought, it is perhaps best to say that’s the view from Behind the Shades…..until I am bored again and you are looking to kill some more brain cells…..swampy abides

Thursday, October 01, 2009

just because I didn't feel like doing anymore work today

No one in my family wanted to walk through the front doors of the church with me last Sunday. Did they really think I was going to get struck by lightning ?

Of course the Pastor was more than happy to shake my hand after the service. I did make sure to check and see if I still had my watch on when he was done.

I have to sing & dance in the play my middle swamprat volunteered me to be in. This could get ugly. Damn you Youtube !

Isn’t just plain terrible that I HAVE to play golf for work tomorrow ? Yeah I know, you feel my pain.

Just watched last week’s premiere of FlashForward on Hulu – it was okay but certainly not worth ditching Survivor. I will stick to watching it online for now.

I made my killer vegetable cheese soup last weekend so now I need to come up with something else to make this weekend. I am thinking butternut squash or pork loin but really it will probably be more like Chopped in that I will open the Freezer and see what I pull out.

Speaking of Chopped, one of the female judges, the stern blonde – not fat Alex Guarnaschelli, is going to be one of the 10 competitors on The Next Iron Chef. I really hope she tanks but I have a sneaking suspicion that she will do well since she only lost to Bobby Flay by 1 point in Battle King Crab.

Speaking of Iron Chef, the Chairman’s nephew is paired up with Lacey Schwimmer on Dancing with the Wannabe Once Were Never Will Be Stars and he doesn’t look half bad. He should be getting some strong cult viewer dial-in support. I am torn between wanting him, Natalie Coughlin or Louie the Snowboarder to win. I think I want Louie to win because he is dancing with Julianne Version 2.0 and she is kind of cute and fun to watch.

Speaking of fun to watch, I m loving ABC’s Modern Family starring Al Bundy. I will boil it down in a nutshell for you, Al dumped Peg and got a trophy wife, Bud turned gay and Kelly got smart and married an idiot. How can you not watch this ?

How can you also not be watching college football. The season seems to be in one big shaker and the AP rolls out a new & completely different Top 25 every week. I guess the writers are waiting for the BCS computer to tell them what the rankings should really be. Just keep the Big 12 & The Big 10 out of the National Championship game – PLEASE !!!

Drop the Puck !!!!

Dianne Birch is one of my favorite free download finds from StarCrooks. Check her out if you get a chance.

Speaking of StarCrooks, I will miss the free coffee once our offices moves uptown to that deluxe apartment in the sky-yi-yi-yi….

Roman Polanski deserves to be in jail. Anyone who defends him & his actions obviously does not have a daughter. I have 2 and people like him scare me to death.

I’ll be back on the road again next week which will mean nightly updates from my hotel. Or maybe not. It really depends on how lazy I am.

The Broncos will upset the cowpokies in Denver on Sunday and my undefeated season prediction will still be alive and the sun in my world will still be orange with hints of blue.

My habaneros are finally kicking in even if they are late and that is the view for now from Behind The Shades……swampy abides…..