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Monday, October 23, 2006

Recipe time!

Gather 'round, TWoPers, it's recipe time with Clare!

Blue Cheese and Caramelized Shallot Dip

6 large shallots
1 1/2 T oil (NOT olive oil--you want something that doesn't have a lot of flavor)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
4 oz crumbled blue cheese
Veggies and crackers (for dipping)

Slice the shallots into thin rings. Over medium heat, heat the oil in a medium-size frying pan. Once the oil is hot, add the shallot rings and cook gently, stirring occasionally until the shallots are wilted, golden and caramelized, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the shallots from the pan and allow to cool on a paper towel-covered plate.

Add the crumbled blue cheese to a bowl and smash into smaller bits with a fork. Add the sour cream and mayo to the blue cheese and combine. Add the shallots once they are completely cooled and the excess oil is drained. Stir shallots, blue cheese, mayo and sour cream together to combine thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and chill several hours to combine flavors. Serve with crudites and crackers for dipping (I like baby carrots, broccoli florets, Belgian endive, sesame crackers from Trader Joe's, and kettle-cooked potato chips).

Gus's Bacon and Horseradish Dip
(So named because I brought it to a party at Gus's once, so he is with whom I associate it.)

7 strips bacon (6 for the dip, 1 for the chef)
1/4 cup horseradish, drained well
1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream

Fry the bacon over medium-high heat until browned and most of the fat has rendered. Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a paper towel-lined plate. Once drained and cooled, crumble or cut the bacon into small pieces and set aside.

Combine mayo, sour cream and horseradish in a small bowl and add cooled bacon pieces. Stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap and chill to allow flavors to develop. Also good with veggies, crackers and chips.

Not that you really asked for that one.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I said this on Monday about this douchebag, and the estimable Jessica Coen saw fit to reward me today (her last day!) with a Gold Star Motel about it.

I think Billy Corgan said it best: "Today is the greatest day I've ever known."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Justin Strzelczyk, burritos, and me

Hello, Deadspinners. Thank you for coming over here.

This story is entirely true.

As you might or might not know, I went to Pitt, and I used to live around the corner from Mad Mex in Oakland. Late one Sunday night, I sat at the bar by myself and ordered dinner and a drink. A gigantic, refrigerator-sized man came in, sat next to me, and started chatting me up. I had worked all day and I wasn't in the mood to be flirty (I was still in my work uniform) but I figured I'd be polite and talk to the guy. He says his name is Justin and I ask him what he does for a living.

"I was a football player."
"Yeah? That's cool. For whom?"
"The hometown team." He pauses, and says real viciously, "You know it?"
"Hey, give me some credit: I might be from Philly but I still know who the Steelers are. I live in Pittsburgh, right?"

So we talk some more. Mostly, he does the talking. He tells me about how he ruined his knees playing football, and how he's taking acting lessons now (he does a soliloquy from Henry V), and how he loves his little girl and boy, and he doesn't really get along with his ex-wife, and he's drinking and drinking and drinking and I just feel sorrier and sorrier for him. I don't even stop him when he reaches across the bar saying, "You don't need this" and stabs a forkful of burrito off my plate.

When he finishes eating my dinner and drinking a sixer of Coors Light, he slides off his barstool and slurs that he's going to walk me home. I'm no waif, but I didn't want this huge, intimidating guy to know where I lived, so I told him I was going to pay my tab and I'd meet him outside. I paid my check (the bartender, who knew me, comped my dinner since she knew I didn't eat it) and when I left the bar, he was nowhere to be found. I admit I was relieved.

Two summers later, I'm watching a sad segment on Inside the NFL about what happens to linebackers when their bodies are shot and they're no good anymore. The man being interviewed, himself a former Steeler (I forget who, you can tell me in the comments), mentions Justin Strzelczyk's fiery car wreck. I'm like, "God, that name sounds familiar." I put two and two together, looked him up on the Post-Gazette web site, and was horrified to find the story of how he died.