Monday, April 18, 2011


This identity theft stuff is getting old.  And I'm getting madder.  And just like Bill Bixby's Dr. David Banner told the reporter who was tracking the Hulk:  "Mr. McGee, don't make me angry ... you wouldn't like me when I'm angry" - I am saying to the little thief who is disrupting my personal financial life - "my name is Inigo Montoya ..." 

Oops, wrong speech.  I am saying that this mild mannered persona I present to the world is merely a front.  Beneath this petite and placid exterior is a fat lady with a bad temper and a worse attitude.  Be advised:  the investigation is ongoing, and when we find you, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

Hey, I said I had a bad temper, I didn't say I was stupid.

I've gotten some feedback from yesterday's post.  I thought I was so clever working Benoit Mandelbrot and Mandel Bruce "Mandy" Patinkin into the piece about Jewish baking, and then my friend Jenny reminds me of one other - Howie Mandel!  How could I have forgotten Howie?  He was a lot funnier in his younger, stand up comic days, even before he was a regular on "St. Elsewhere."  I still crack up at his handbag routine.  From 1985 People Magazine:

"Mature men do not place surgical gloves over their heads and blow them up on The Merv Griffin Show. They do not make prank phone calls trying to book gigs for their troupe of acrobatic hamsters. And they do not sport gigantic hand bags, five-fingered plastic monstrosities that hang on shoulders—see, it's a hand bag. Get it? Mature men do not do these things, but Howie Mandel does, and in his mind he has never left the sixth grade. "My greatest fear is growing up," Howie says.

The truth is, Mandel, 29, can act like a grown-up; he does that every week on St. Elsewhere. As the alert emergency room medic, Dr. Fiscus, Mandel portrays the son his parents always wanted. The real Howie appears on the current Cinemax special Howie Mandel: Live From Carnegie Mall. In 26 minutes he performs 52 skits in a California shopping mall. Here's Howie plunging his hand into a goldfish bowl—sushi on the cheap. And here's Howie putting one of those anti-shoplifting devices in an old lady's purse. The alarm buzzes! Now she's under arrest!"

Howie Mandel - Fits Like A Glove - Vinyl Album

Can you imagine today's OCD Howie Mandel with his billiard ball head, plunging his hand into a goldfish bowl?

Speaking of stand up comics, I've got one of those in my family.  My godson Peter, by day a hardworking guy with a normal job, three great kids, and a child support payment, and by night the best comic in Nashville, Tennessee and dare I say, the whole southeast? He's wild and crazy and creatively profane, and "coalesces the vapors of human experience into a viable and meaningful comprehension."

Pete also maintains a blog, "Messed Up Parenting Tips" which will teach you everything you wanted to know about what not to do with your kids.   Even in our slightly wacky family, Peter is what you would call "sui generis." ( I love when I get to show off my expensive law school education.)

On the food front, I am pondering just what to do with a bag of frozen tilapia fillet.  Cory mentioned he might like fish and I just happened to have a bag of very nice tilapia that I picked up a while back at BJ's.  He said he didn't feel like beef, and I responded that was a good thing since the price of beef was prohibitive.  I don't have a lot of variety in how I prepare fish, and I view that as a failing on my part.  I can fry it, stuff it, pineapple salsa it, bake it with mushrooms and sour cream, pesto it, and bagna cauda it.  Nice, but boring.  Maybe I need to invent a new stuffing.  Tilapia is like the blank slate of all fish, and a single fillet is pretty unsubstantial, so a jazzy topping could make the dish.  My brain keeps working around to a recipe for scrod that Kathy used to prepare years ago, when we were young and going to each other's home for dinner and conversation was the best entertainment of all.  I miss those days ...

Kathy's recipe brings to mind a Greek Fish Plaki, with a delicious array of Mediterranean flavors.  I also remembered a dish I prepared from one of my Tabasco cookbooks, for Red Snapper Veracruz, and that's another possibility.  Since we're going out to dinner tonight, and the tilapia needs to defrost overnight, I have time to find the perfect recipe.  If I can't find it, I'll just invent it. 

And dinner was wonderful.  No matter how often I go to a Japanese steakhouse, I never get tired of watching the food get cooked in front of me, and I always enjoy the chef's performance.  We were at Kobe's on 192 in Kissimmee, right across from Stepford ... I mean, Celebration.  We shared a table (and a very big bottle of sake) with very friendly Canadians as well as two local young ladies, also friendly.  Danny was our chef-entertainer, and he excelled at both.  Rob and Cory had their usual, the lobster, steak and shrimp combo, while I went all lobster, all the time, and a glass of icy cold plum wine.  I guess we've been going to that particular Kobe's since we moved down here, and it still seems fresh and new, spotless clean, and great food. 

I finished my Passover shopping tonight.  One box of regular matzoh, a jar of gefilte fish, and two apples to make charoses.  Now I'm really ready for the holiday.

Ira and Deety have been having a spat for the past few days, and I don't know what to do about it.  I hate when my kids fight.  Earlier I had one on either side of my computer, pretending to ignore each other.  Yesterday Deety was hissing while Ira pounded her head with his paw.  I think they've just reached detente.  Let's hope it lasts.

While thinking about the tilapia, I kept coming back to Kathy's recipe, and while I can't find it (I did uncover a treasure trove of hidden recipes, but that's another blog post) I happened upon that Fish Plaki recipe in my copy of The Complete Book of Greek Cooking.  It's official name is Psari Plaki, with plaki being a method of cooking, usually with onions, tomatoes, parsley and olive oil.  There's also celery and breadcrumbs, and it comes very close to my memory of the scrod dish.  Damn, I can see the recipe in my mind's eye, handwritten by Kathy, so why can't I find it?  

I will be tinkering with the psari plaki recipe anyway, as I don't have all the necessary ingredients, but I do have one ugli tomato and it will be a magnificent addition to the dish.  Ugli tomatoes actually smell like tomatoes.  They taste like tomatoes.  They are the tomato's tomato.  And they are essential to the success of this dish.

Cook like there's nobody watching, and eat like it's heaven on earth.

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