Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's Cooking Behind The Shades - what to cook for Indy

Good morning - As we all know the New Orleans Saints are going to be playing against the Indianapolis Colts in the SuperDuperBowl down in Miami on Sunday February 7. Now picking out different apps or dishes to make to represent New Orleans & Miami is like shooting fish in a barrel. It's coming up with something to represent Indianapolis or the great state of Indiana that has me bamboozled & perplexed. So far the only Indiana things I can think of  are Corn, Milk, the Indy 500, Breaking Away, Hoosiers, Notre Dame & the Touchdown Jesus. Not exactly an "In the know" type of list, is it ?

So here is what I need from you - HELP !!!! If you have a recipe idea, I would love to hear it. If you have a theme or an inspiration I can steal & follow, bring it on. Thanks and there will be pictures & prizes on game day.

That's what's cooking behind the shades for now - 12 more days until kickoff




Monday, January 25, 2010

When 140 Characters Just Isn't Enough

There once was time in my life when I actually wrote a lot and it wasn’t in college despite the fact I was an English major. At least I was an English major the last time I flunked out of college. I think. Parts of the 1980’s can be a bit hazy at times but that is neither here nor there and most likely is a potential topic for another blog at another time. (It’s deja vu all over again but now I am getting way off track).

Anyway, as I was saying. I used to write a lot over at the ghetto of social networking more commonly known as MySpace. You could count on my posting at least two to three blogs a week there about football, travel, food, LOST or my real specialty - everything you could ever want to know about nothing in particular. Those were my favorite blogs to write because I tend to look at the world differently than most of the folks I know, yet in a way in which most people can relate if they twist their minds right. Certainly not unlike the way that I write 140 characters at a time on Twitter and that may be in & of itself the whole problem here.

Ever since I joined Twitter and really started tweeting last summer, I have quit writing blogs. Not entirely quit but certainly not written them with the same frequency as before. (I will pat myself on the back and point out that I did pick the New Orleans Saints to win the SuperDuperBowl last September and I did name all 34 winners in my College Bowl preview but everything thing else I have written in the past six to 9 months has been nothing more than a rehashing of stuff I had written before. Not exactly awe inspiring from either side of the page and not exactly satisfying for me.) I found that I got lazy thanks to Twitter and when a thought popped into my head, I would just spin it out in 140 characters and move on without a second thought. But it’s those second & third thoughts that I have now found that I miss the most. I have come back to the realization that sometimes 140 characters just isn’t enough. That sometimes even 140 words can’t be enough. (Don’t worry, I am nowhere near the possibility of 140 pages – that’s for my dead in the water for the past 20 years novel idea). That I really need to come back to blogging. Consider this your fair warning. Your “shot across the bow” so to speak. Swampy is back.

And that is view for now from Behind The Shades…

Monday, January 11, 2010

Revisiting Season 5 of LOST - one blog at a time

Three weeks until Season 6 of LOST begins – Three weeks until the Final season of LOST begins – Three weeks until questions begin to get answered or so we think. Last year, as I have done every year, I wrote my own blogs before reading everyone else’s more excellent blogs about what we had just seen & how I saw it. Hindsight is almost always 20/20 or better and as I have started rewatching season 5, I thought I would go back and take a look at what I was thinking at that time too. I am not horribly wrong a lot of the time and not entirely right either. I am just a fan who doesn’t read spoilers, doesn’t play the off season games and doesn’t look for anything that is not actually shown to us on the screen. With that being said, here is my blog covering the 2 episode Season 5 premier from last year. have fun telling me how stupid I am….


Thanks to a heavy dose of real life in my real life I never quite got around to writing down the LOST blog for the season opening 2 hours that I had banging around in my head and now with episode 3 bearing down on us, I thought I should get a few quick thoughts down for us to all ponder…


PREVIOUSLY ON LOST… - easily the best 3 words spoken on TV…


I had that clock back in middle school – yes, I’m old…


Skipping record – symbolism & foreshadowing all wrapped up in one – of course it is always easier to see after the fact…


OSAMA BIN JACK – pill addiction has not been kind to Jack – I still wish he had jumped off the bridge…when last we saw Jack he was looking at the dead body of John Locke and Benjamin Linus had appeared on the scene. Now it’s Jack’s job to try and get the gang together and put on a show in the old barn, oops – I mean, and get them ALL (including a dead Locke) to return to the island. Good luck with that - Kate hates him almost as much as I do & Hurley is at Shady Acres and doesn’t trust Jack. Even when Jack cleans himself up, he looks like hell. If I worked at a hospital, I would never let him anywhere near a medicine cabinet, so I am stunned that no one tried to stop him when he brought in the dead Pakistani on the couch. I am glad that Jack has been shown to be wrong and I will kill the writers & producers if they have Jack be the hero in the end…


KATE – she will never go back to the island – especially after Claire came to her in a dream (which may have been reality but on this show, who knows ?) - so when the lawyers show up at the door demanding a blood sample from Claire’s kid, we all know she is going run, it’s what she knows – we don’t see a lot of Kate but we do see her go to meet Sun for the first time since they left the island – Sun doesn’t blame her for saying she would go to get Jin on the freighter but not being able to do it but does she ? The accompanying flashback could be viewed that way but you can also see Jack pulling Kate back to the chopper. Could Sun be blaming Jack ? Wasn’t I talking about Kate ? Who is the mystery client that wants the blood sample ? The obvious choice is Ben so he can make Kate realize that the island is the only place she has left to run so that means it will be someone else though I don’t think it was Sun…


When did 323 become a Southern California area code for mobile #’s ? I didn’t think it was back in 2007…


SUN – she has a second conversation with Widmore only this time it is in a locked room in Heathrow Airport where she very succinctly says that she wants to kill Ben. She also talks to Kate as we mentioned before. The one thing I noticed was that Sun looked really thin & harder when her hair was up but then I would probably be that way too if I saw my husband blow up (or did he?) and had to raise a newborn child all while lying to the world and plotting revenge against Ben & her father – though I keep hoping that she will also blame Jack…


HURLEY – hasn’t Hurley always been the voice of the viewer and the key to our understanding ?  Will we ever find out what his numbers really mean ? Were we ever clear on why the button needed to be pushed every 108 minutes ? Would you have even a semi-normal chance at life if Cheech were your dad ? Is it any surprise that he can see & talk to dead people ? He told Sayid that if Sayid would ever need him in the future he wouldn’t be there yet there he is driving him around and then letting him be taken to Osama Bin Jack. And how about that look in his eyes as he was handcuffed by the police as a way to escape from Ben…oh yeah, Libby says hi…(second best three words on TV)


Neil was wearing a red shirt – any surprise when he becomes expendable ?


SAYID – when last we saw him, we thought he was working for Ben but based on his comments to Hurley about not trusting Ben, he may be regretting that decision. Loved it during the fight scene that he fought through a coma inducing tranquilizer dart, smacked the bad guy with the convenient frying pan in the kitchen and then killed him with a dishwasher. Yet another reason to hate washing dishes in my book. Osama Bin Jack does bring him back to life at the end of the show with a drug cocktail that he probably brews up at home everyday anyway. I really hoped that he would choke Jack to death when he came to but no such luck. I think it will have to be Sayid that somehow saves Hurley from the cops but we shall see.


Does Lapidus have to go back to the island too ? If Desmond goes back, does Penny have to go too ? If Penny does come with Desmond does that throw off the island’s feng shui so it skips to a Barry Manilow song ? With the island jumping back & forth in time, will Nikki & Paulo make a cameo reappearance ?


SAWYER & JULIET -  LOVED the first hour where Sawyer’s biggest concern, other than when & where the hell they were, was finding a shirt. He assumes the leadership role well. He interacts well with Daniel, spars well with Miles and seems to have already bonded with Juliet…and Juliet has taken a somewhat secondary role for right now but as they skip through time, I can’t see how her knowledge of the island & the Dharma stations doesn’t help them.


How did I not say “WEDDING RINGS !!!” as soon as I mentioned Desmond & Penny ? Well I did when I was watching it but not when I was typing it.


Who is the lady in the butcher shop ? When did she make it off the island ? Why did she make it off the island ? How did she make it off the island ? Haven’t we seen her before ?


BEN –  so he isn’t in charge ? Is the lady from the antique shop really Mrs. Jacob ? Why is she wearing Dumbledore’s robe ? Is Ben losing his touch ? He wasn’t able to talk Hurley into joining him and he even had trouble with Jack. Even butcher lady didn’t seem to have full loyalty to him. We knew his power base was crumbling back on the island but did it also translate to off the island as well ? He certainly seemed like a lackey at the end as he reported his loss of Hurley to the cops and as he begged for more than 70 hours. I don’t expect Ben to be down long. He has a way of slithering back to the top and once he gets to the island, things will be different.


Richard isn’t any different but then again, Richard has never been any different. I am still convinced that he one of the crew of the Black Rock. His knowledge of the island is too great.


DANIEL – He is first seen in the opening bumping into the video doctor (name escapes me at breakfast) down in the Orchid right after the accidental discovery of the Wheel by the construction workers. He is definitely present day Daniel (and he is the only Dharma worker with a beard) and he gazes upon the holes in the bedrock with some knowledge as to what must be done. This scene will be repeated in a future episode. Daniel is easily the most important character next to DESMOND at this point in the story. He is the only one (besides Richard) that understands what is going on right now on the island and the only one that can do something about it. If you remember from the most excellent Season 4 episode, THE CONSTANT, Daniel wrote at the end that Desmond would be his “constant” in his notebook and he remembered that before he went and knocked on the hatch door. We never did hear his mother’s name back at Oxford but we can’t help but think that it is the antiques lady. (mmm – that Red Herring was tasty)


And then there is LOCKE  - He finds himself alone in the jungle. He witnesses Eko’s brother’s plane crash. He gets shot by Ethan. He is given the compass that points North and that will be Richard’s “constant” once they meet again and he saves Sawyer & Juliet from the former Dharma guards in a very Others like manner as he strides from the jungle. Richard told him that in order to save the island, he will have to die. As we saw at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, Locke will make the ultimate sacrifice for the Island.


So where does that leave us ? It leaves us with a ton of questions and me with no time to answer them until I get delayed at the airport later today as I try to fly home into a snow & ice storm. So talk amongst yourselves. Answer each other’s questions and tell me what I missed.


Quietly hoping I don’t have to land in the Bay of Bayonne…swampy abides…


and that is the view for now From Behind The Shades……



Monday, January 04, 2010

What's Cooking Behind The Shades - Planning the SuperDuperBowl Menu

The NFL Regular Season came to end last night when the Cincinnati Bengals rather than showing up in the freezing cold for a meaningless game decided to take the night off to go see the tree in Rockefeller Center & to see who survived the plane crash on Desperate Housewives. That's all well & good but what does that have to do with cooking  or food you may ask. Well that's certainly a good question and I am just the man to answer it for you.
Super Bowl Sunday or as I prefer to refer to the spectacle, SuperDuperBowl Sunday, is virtually an unofficial national holiday. Friends & Family gather in front of large screen TV's with piles of food in front of them or on the buffet by the kitchen while they watch the game, the commercials and the myriad of illegal 100 square pools & various other sundry side bets they have going. The game itself is invariably remembered more often for the commercials & food than it is for the final score so it has been my goal ever since I learned how to cook for myself (thanks Mom) to have a more than impressive spread available during the viewing of the game.
Now when it comes to planning the menu, I begin as soon as the SuperDuperBowl is over. What worked ? What didn't ? What did I hear about in the days after the game that other people had that I want to have ? What have I tried t other parties or restaurants that could be fun to twist ? What city is hosting the SuperDuperBowl ? And of course, which two teams are playing in the big game because we need to make sure that we have some regional representation in the cuisine. So let's look at this year's teams and let's see where we might be headed since I need to start planning NOW !!!
NFC Teams
New Orleans Saints - crawfish pies, alligator chili - 2 dishes that have made the menu in the past - we could see some beignets this year too
Minnesota Vikings - hmmmm - deep fried walleye cubes ? deep fried snickers ? Lutefisk ? (I hope the vikings lose)
Dallas Cowboys - something tex-mex or maybe bbq, perhaps the Texas Crabgrass will reappear on the menu
Arizona Cardinals - Phoenix.....ummmmm......I'll get back to you on this one
Green Bay Packers - Cheese, cheese dip, port wine cheese & crackers, a stilton perchance ?
Philadelphia Eagles - no cheesesteaks, no cream cheese, going to have to think on this one
AFC Teams 
Indianapolis Colts - ummmmm - I know they celebrate with Milk at the Indy 500
San Diego Chargers - some hawaiian fusion, seafood, maybe a mexican influence while keeping it light or perhaps a zoo platter of exotic meats
New England Patriots - clam chowder ? a lobster roll ? baked beans ?
Cincinnati Bengals - they tell me that chili is big in Cincy so maybe I tie in my gator chili if they play the Saints
New York J-E-T-S jetsjetsjets - bagels with a schmeer ? hot pastrami sliders ? dirty water dogs ? street meat ?
Baltimore Ravens - Crab cakes or crab dip - could tie in with the Texas Crabgrass though I would shoot myself if I had to sit through Baltimore & Dallas in the SuperDuperBowl.
And of course, since the game is in Miami this year, we need to do something with a cuban influence to it.
I have also already decided that I have to try and recreate the Tennessee Tailpipes from Fat Annie's Truck Stop in NYC and I will obviously make my honey orange chicken wings too along with a tray or two of corn muffins and mini sundaes in phyllo dough cups (a MUST according to the swamprats). Those are givens.
So that's What's Cooking Behind The Shades for now. Please help me fill in my culinary blanks and give me some other suggestions too. I am open to try just about anything.....once.