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Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot
Saturday, May 13, 2006
I Cooked
Hey, don't laugh--this was quite an accomplishment for me.

For me, "cooking" generally means popping a pork chop or a couple of hamburger patties on the Foreman, shoving some tater tots into the oven, and putting a can of corn on the stove. Or maybe just boiling pasta and browning some ground beef to stir into a pot of Ragu. I generally don't do much more than that. Partially because I can't, and partially because I'm not patient when it comes to food. I want to eat supper now, not 45 minutes from now.

But tonight, for some reason, I decided to experiment and make an extra effort. What I'm about to tell you will sound incredibly basic, I know, but it was a big deal for me.

I decided I wanted chicken with angel hair pasta. I don't know why--it just sounded good to me. Usually I would either have just the chicken--put it on the Foreman--or just pasta with some sauce. Never mixed the two before. So I went online and found a recipe (actually the one on top after I Googled), printed it out, and bought ingredients. Such as olive oil, which I have never bought before in my life.

I put some olive oil and butter in a skillet. Chopped up a couple of boneless chicken breasts...actually cut them up into small pieces. Boiled some angel hair. After I cooked the chicken, I took it out of the skillet and into a bowl. Then, into the empty skillet, I put more olive oil and butter in, mixed in some chicken broth, some parmesan cheese, a bit of garlic (I didn't smash up the cloves very well), and a can of peas. Maybe I cooked too long or didn't use enough broth (2/3 cup), but the peas/cheese/broth/etc. formed sort of a lump. Well, not really, but it was solid. I thought it might form some sort of "sauce". What it really did was give the peas a certain flavor...but a really good flavor. Maybe it works better with another vegetable (the recipe suggested carrots and broccoli, but I hate carrots and broccoli).

The result was surprisingly good, considering I made it. Some angel hair, chopped chicken on top, and some sticky peas mixed around it. I ended up making too much, although it was so good that I had to force myself to stop eating.

I hope you're done laughing now. I'm sure this is all Cooking 101. The angel hair was kinda sticky, I suppose maybe I boiled it too long. Is there a tip to avoid that? Maybe putting something in the water?

Other than the trip to the grocery store and the cooking, it's not been an eventful day. I went to the library, where I had reserved the latest Jonathan Kellerman novel, GONE. I made Cheeseburger buy it so I could eventually borrow it, 'cause I was number 74 on the list, and I figured it would be Christmas before my name came up, but maybe the library got several copies. Cheeseburger trashed the book a bit, but I've read all the Kellerman books, and he's really the only author I make a point to read when a new one comes out.

Now that Evan Hunter/Ed McBain has passed away, that is. Reading the last McBain 87TH PRECINCT novel was a sad experience for me, as I realized how much his characters meant to me and how closely I had followed the peaks and valleys and events of their lives for the past 25 years or so (McBain wrote them for 50). And it's hard knowing that my relationship with those fictional characters has come to a brick wall, that it will never advance.

After watching the extras on Fox's awesome new THE TOWERING INFERNO Special Edition DVD the other night, I searched YouTube for Steve McQueen and found this TV commercial for the Ford Puma. The makers have taken old clips from BULLITT and placed McQueen digitally into the Puma. While I have mixed feelings on the notion of digging up dead movie stars and inserting them into commercials (I highly doubt Steve McQueen would ever have shilled for the Ford Puma), the spot is a nice homage to BULLITT, even copying the opening title style and using Lalo Schifin's terrific score.

One thing that fascinates me about BULLITT is that I have seen it at least a dozen times in my life, including once at the Orpheum Theater in Champaign on a double-bill with THE GREAT ESCAPE, and I still have no idea what it's about. Has anyone ever written a detailed plot synopsis of BULLITT? Is it possible?

UPDATE: I just found a detailed synopsis on Wikipedia. Sounds plausible!

Posted by Marty at 9:29 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, May 13, 2006 9:37 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (7) | Permalink

Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 11:48 PM CDT

Name: kt

i'm so proud of you!! peas - it's a veggie. yay.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 9:05 AM CDT

Name: ld

Shoot me that recipe. It sounds really good. As for Bullitt, I'm with you. Everytime I watch it I tell myself I'm going to really pay attention and catch whatever it is that has prevented me from understanding, "Why?". Not that I really need a logical explanation in order to enjoy watching a Mustang chase a Charger at 130 mph through hippie-infested streets.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 9:22 AM CDT

Name: ld

Oh yeah. To keep pasta from sticking, pour a tablespoon or two of olive oil into the water. Stir it occassionally while it's boiling to prevent clinging. Finally, rinse it good after you drain it. What makes it stick is the starch (or is it flour?) residue that comes loose when you boil it.

Then, manga!

Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 8:24 PM CDT

Name: Leon Phelps

The ladies like a man that can cook, dude. It's a definite way to impress them. Chefs are like rock stars these days. Can you imagine inviting some hot fox back to your mack pad, dimming the lights to "Seducto-Matic" mode, putting on just the oh-so-right music, chilling the wine and then telling her "Baby...I'll be right back. Gotta crack open a can of corn!"?
That's like making an immediate jump from being Fred Williamson to Ron Pallilo.

Monday, May 15, 2006 - 10:57 AM CDT

Name: RockGoddess

It's the starch that makes it stick. If you don't have olive oil around salt will do the trick. And once the water has been boiling for a bit, you don't need to leave the pasta in. The longer it stays in water the more the starch will come out. When you rinse, use warm water but rinse quickly.

I am impressed that you are cooking. Did you enjoy the process? Maybe we can teach you more.

Monday, May 15, 2006 - 12:18 PM CDT

Name: Di

It's always good to see the term "hot fox" back in circulation.

Monday, May 15, 2006 - 1:31 PM CDT

Name: Marty McKee

You got used to hearing it when you were in college. Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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