Category Archives: Humor

A Tale of Two (Thanksgiving) Dinners

It was the best of dinners, it was the worst of dinners, it was the age of entertaining, it was the age of cooking, it was the epoch of presentation, it was the epoch of preparation, it was the season of isolation, it was the season of socialization, it was the autumn of family, it was the autumn of folly.

A man, let’s call him Tim, realized that it was late October and thus, was time to begin the laborious process of planning to host his family for Thanksgiving dinner and he began to despair.  He loathed the hours he was about to spend planning, shopping for, preparing and, most of all, cooking the family feast.  For it was the cooking that relegated him to the loneliness of the kitchen while his family conversed, laughed, reminisced, and reveled in each other’s company.  Yes, Tim despaired mightily.

Another man, let’s call him Roger, also noticed that the porch pumpkins had arrived in his neighborhood which meant the time of giving thanks was not too far behind.  However, he did not despair, instead, he rejoiced.  He rejoiced because it meant his far-flung family would soon converge upon his home and he would be immersed in the warmth that is his family, if only for a short time.  Roger would spend little time planning, shopping for, preparing or, best of all, cooking his dinner of thanks.  For you see, Roger, years ago, had discovered a way to host his large family for Thanksgiving while spending every precious moment in their company.

Tim, days after the trick or treaters rang his doorbell and accepting of his fate, began preparations for the fourth Thursday of November.  He counted the confirmations, planned the menu, and then trudged to the local, oversized supermarket to play grocery cart bumper cars with soccer moms, octogenarians, and other work-from-home dads.  He, as always, purchased the staples: a frozen bird, potatoes, rolls, corn, green beans, pumpkin and apples pies, and canned, gelatinous cranberry jelly.

Roger, days after moving all the time-keeping devices in his home back an hour, began his preparations for turkey day by turning on college football, grabbing his laptop and logging on to MagicKitchen.com.  He then browsed their extensive Thanksgiving menu, located and purchased everything his family requested, from appetizers to apple pie.  This simple process took him a total of 30 minutes, but 15 of those minutes was spent yelling at the TV as his alma mater was losing once again.

When the Pilgrim’s favorite holiday finally arrived, Tim just wanted to get it over with, rather than enjoy it.  He got up at 6:00 AM, after imbibing a bit too much the night before, to baste and shove the bird in the oven and then began to prepare the sides, to include mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.  By the time the guests arrived, he was exhausted, still slightly hung-over and began to resent the very kitchen he had so loved after it was remodeled.  That resentment stemmed from the fact that he was trapped in that kitchen along with the new granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and Italian tile floor, cooking for the family whose company he so enjoyed.

A few days prior to Thanksgiving, Roger’s entire meal from MagicKitchen.com arrived at his door, fully cooked and flash frozen.  He then placed it in his freezer until just prior to feast time.  Next, he simply heated it to the necessary temperature and then served it, buffet style, to his guests.  Prior to that, he spent his day conversing with his siblings and parents, playing board games with his nieces and nephews and watching football with his dad and father-in-law, and a grand time was had by all.

The moral of the story: ‘tis better to spend time with family and friends on Thanksgiving then to spend time with kitchen appliances.

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Surviving the Back-to-School Madness

(Written by a 51-year old as if he were eleven)

There I was, two weeks ago, wasting the day away playing video games with friends, hanging at the pool, sleeping in and generally not having a care in the world.  Then it happened…school happened, and all heck (or, as dad says, “hell”) broke loose.  My summer, care-free world was suddenly turned upside down.  I was expected to follow a new, bizarre schedule that forced me to get up at 7:15, get myself ready for school (since, as mom says, “I’m now in 6th grade and it’s time I started taking care of myself”), keep track of all my assignments, go to trumpet practice, get ready for baseball practice, take care of our lazy cats, AND still find time to play video games.  I’ll tell ya, it ain’t easy being eleven.

And to make things even tougher, since I’m “growing like a weed,” none of last year’s “school” clothes fit me this year…duh!  So, my parents drug me to the store, on a school night, no less, to shop for clothes which is big time BOOOOORING!!!  What the heck happened to shopping online?  Then, with all of my and my brother’s activities after school…oh yeah, my parents claim to be busy as well, but, come on, dad stays home and plays on the computer all day.  He claims he’s writing, but I mean really, who would read the drivel he writes?  Anyway, we’re all running around like chickens sans (French for “without.”  I just learned that) heads in the evening stuffing food down our faces and trying to find all the things we need for wherever it is we’re going.

Sidebar: you know what would help around dinner time?  Healthy and great-tasting meals delivered to our house that could be kept in the freezer and then re-heated in minutes.  That would be much better than scarfing a burger and fries in the back of the family truckster on the way to some practice or game.  Wait, dad has talked about writing for just such a company…one that creates just such meals and ships them right to your door.  What’s he call it again?  FantasyKitchen.com?…no.  MiracleKitchen.com?…no.  MagicKitchen.com?…That’s it!  Why not use MagicKitchen.com to ease the back-to-school madness?  I’m a frickin’ (dad would use another word) unappreciated genius!

Other things the folks could do to help me out, cuz Lord knows I need it, would be to:

  1. Get all the things I need for the day ready the NIGHT BEFORE. They could get my backpack ready, put my trumpet by the door, lay my clothes out, and have anything else I need for the day ready to go.  Oh, wait, I’m guessing they’ll tell me to have all that stuff ready myself…crap.
  2. Car pool! Instead of taking and picking me up from every practice, lesson and game why not use the neighbors to help out and make, like, a neighborhood uber?
  3. Place all of my upcoming events on a family calendar and force me to look ahead a day so I know what’s coming up. Man, I hate responsibility!
  4. Try to create some semblance (that’s a “dad” word) of a routine so I know when to do homework, when to practice trumpet, and when I can kick serious butt on the x-box. Maybe even create a check list like, mornings: get up, get dressed, make bed (UGH!), feed cats, eat breakfast, play Street Fighter IX (sorry, that’s mine), head out for the bus.
  5. Yeah, I know bag lunches can be healthier than school lunches, but simply buying lunch at school means one less thing my poor, dear old mother has to deal with.
  6. Allow me to start to take responsibility for my own life and don’t freak the F out when I make a mistake, like leaving my trumpet at school when I have lessons later that day. I can’t believe I just wrote that, but at some point, I’ve got to become an autonomous being (another, what I like to call, “dadism”).  Simply set expectations for me and create rewards and consequences for when I succeed and/or fail.  Believe me, I’m going to do plenty of both!

Back to school can be as frustrating for me as it can be for my parents, but helping me transition from my lay-about summer routine to my hectic school routine will make life easier for the whole family, don’t cha think?

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Cool Ways to Stay Cool During the Dog Days of Summer

What the heck are the “dog days” of summer and where did that term originate?  Well, avid readers, I am not only paid exorbitant amounts of money to write these blogs, I am also expected to do a bit of research too.  The term comes from the heavens, or, more specifically, a star constellation called Canis Major.  That constellation has a star within it called Sirius, which is the brightest star in the sky.  This star and constellation, which is shaped like a dog and follows Orion the Hunter across the sky, played a significant role in the ancient Egyptian calendar and its significance was them passed on to ancient Greece and Rome and then, to us in the form of that classic Al Pacino movie, Dog Day Afternoon.

When Sirius rose in the Egyptian sky in late July it usually signified a time of excessive heat, drought, bad luck and general malaise.  Since Sirius was, and still is, part of the Canis Major constellation, this month to six-week period during which it was, and still is, visible in the night sky from late July to late August came to be referred as “dog days” as a result.  And the term has been with us ever since.  Now, take this vital information and go amaze your friends with your depth and breadth of knowledge.

As for staying cool during the dog days, here are a few tips that don’t involve just sitting around in air conditioning:

  • Take a sheet of blanket, place it in a large plastic bag and then put it in the freezer for a few hours. Then, take it out and wrap yourself in chilled comfort or take them up to bed with you.  For added cooling power, dampen the sheets slightly prior to placing them in the freezer.  I like to think of this tip as being the opposite of Kramer’s idea (Seinfeld, season 7, episode 20 “The Calzone”) of placing clothes in the oven prior to wearing them…just don’t burn them in a pizza oven!
  • Just as some warm their beds up at night during the winter months (why don’t we have a term for the coldest days of winter, like “penguin days?”) with a hot water bottle, you can cool it down with a frozen water bottle as well.
  • If you’re using a fan, place it in an open window and flip it depending upon what part of the day it is. During the cool of the evening, have it pull that cool air into the house.  During the heat of the day, turn it around and create an exhaust fan that pulls the hot air out of the house.  There is also the tried and true method of placing a roasting pan of ice (ironic that…placing ice in a roasting pan) in front of the blowing fan.  A large, shallow roasting pan works well as it increases the surface area of the ice that the breeze is blowing across.
  • Another use for a kitchen pan or bowl and ice is to fill one with ice water and then sit in front of the TV or computer with your feet soaking in it…just don’t later use it to make some mac and cheese.
  • Every so often, during the course of the day, run your wrists (or any other pulse point, but wrists are the easiest to access) under cold water for 15 seconds or so. That cold water will cool all that blood that passes through your wrists so close to the skin’s surface and then circulate it to other parts of the body.
  • Pull the curtains or blinds on the windows of your home that are receiving direct sunlight. Think of how hot your car is when you first get in it after it has sat in the sun all day…well, the same phenomenon occurs in your house also.
  • Keep your moisturizers and perfume or cologne in the fridge. I think this is self-explanatory, no?
  • Acquire (buy, beg, borrow or steal) a chillow. It’s a memory foam cooling pad that can be inserted into the pillow case of your favorite pillow.  Check it out here: https://new-chillow.myshopify.com/

As always, stay well hydrated, wear light, loose clothing, avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages and ensure that you check on your elderly friends.  If you are one of the elderly, ensure you have someone to check in on you, especially during the doggiest of dog days.

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A MagicKitchen.com Fourth of July Story

George and Martha were in no mood to host yet another Fourth of July barbecue at their suburban Virginia home they liked to call Mount Vermin (when they first moved in they had a slight mouse problem and the humorous name stuck).  The patriotic couple usually had a dozen friends and family members over for some steaks, sides, dessert and, of course, copious amounts of ale.  However, as the Fourth approached this year, George and Martha dreaded all the prep work required to host the gathering and they despaired.

George, a former military officer, and Martha, who had inherited a tidy sum of land and money from her first husband, discussed the issue after their dear friends, Alexander and John, inquired about their annual picnic.  Martha complained first.  It seems she was not looking forward to compiling a shopping list of all the necessary items, food and otherwise, required for the party and then making an hours-long visit to the market to purchase said items.  The thought of wandering up and down the endless aisles in search of steak, chicken, potatoes, vegetables, and various ingredients for her homemade desserts simply made her fantasize about living on a luxurious Southern plantation.

And she was just getting warmed-up.  She then had to haul it all home and then prepare all her signature dishes, like scalloped potatoes, rice pilaf, green bean casserole, cherry pie (George would provide the cherries from a local tree) and Dutch apple pie, among others.  After all the prep work, she then had to spend several more hours in a sweltering kitchen cooking it all.  George, in an effort to assuage her stress in times such as these, always referred to her as “the first lady of the kitchen,” but this year, she was having none of it.

George, not to be out done, then began whining about having to make his secret barbecue sauce for the meats as well as his ultra-super secret chili recipe that their guests, Abigail and Benjamin, so enjoyed.  He also bemoaned the fact that during most of the party he’d be tied to a hot grill, stirring the chili and flipping chicken breasts as Thomas and John’s cousin Sam, harangued him not to overcook their steaks.

Then, just as George was about to call Playicello (where Thomas lived and worked teaching kids how to play the cello) and cancel the whole thing, Martha, while surfing the net for frilly bonnets, came across a food delivery service called MagicKitchen.com and all was saved.  As she perused the site, she was amazed at all the delicious dishes they had to offer and it was all prepared and pre-cooked by certified chefs and then delivered right to Mount Vermin.  All they had to do was heat it up and serve, buffet-style.

She then quickly and easily ordered the hickory-smoked beef brisket, beef chili (which looked far better than that made by George), buffalo chicken artisan flatbread, crab cakes, and apple-smoked boneless pork and those were just the entrées.  For the sides she chose barley vegetable pilaf, French green beans with mushrooms and cream sauce, rosemary potatoes, and scalloped potatoes (which couldn’t possibly taste better than hers, could they?).

As for desserts, she selected Dutch apple pie, raspberry rhubarb pie, cinnamon-raisin bread pudding, and some gourmet cookies.  Voilà, done and done.  The food arrived just as promised and Martha simply placed it in the freezer until needed.  As for the party, Martha and George, for the first time, were true hosts rather than cook and wait staff and they were able to mingle with their guests and celebrate the Fourth of July as if they had something to do with the founding of the country.

Post-party, all their guests raved about the food and thoroughly enjoyed George’s tales of his military exploits, except for a few British guests who seemed oddly put-off.

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The Obscure Origins of April Fool’s Day

You’ve all heard the stories, right?  From the fooler or foolee that executed or was victimized by the ultimate April Fool’s joke.  Hell, it was only a year ago that I regaled readers of this blog about my wife and her mother “fooling” me into believing that we were on the verge of birthing triplets, to include ancestral proof and an ultrasound video of the trio.

Another classic April Fool’s story was applied on a national scale when sportswriter, George Plimpton, wrote of New York Mets fireball pitcher, Sidd Finch, in the April 1, 1985 edition of Sports Illustrated.

Plimpton claimed that Finch was raised in an English orphanage, studied Buddhism, and could throw a baseball an astounding 168 miles-per-hour.  Mets fans were ecstatic, networks and newspapers rushed to interview the yoga-practicing phenomenon, and batters feared for their lives.  And it was all a hoax conceived by Plimpton, Sports Illustrated and (gasp!) even the Mets were in on it.  All involved came clean in the April 15th issue.  But where and how did this tradition of fooling people begin?  And why on April 1st?

Let’s answer the second question first.  The month of April is named after the Greek goddess of wit, mirth and laughter, Aprilis.  Aprilis was the daughter of Aphrodite (goddess of love and pleasure, among other things) and Dionysus (god of wine, parties and ecstasy among other things).  With a lineage like that, it’s easy to understand why Aprilis was fond of a god-awful good time.

Zeus eventually tasked Aprilis with making him laugh at other’s expense.  In other words, he had Aprilis use her significant humorous wit to develop and initiate practical jokes on the other gods and goddesses.

Aprilis once famously replaced Hades’ fearsome, three-headed dog, Cerberus, with a fluffy, three-headed bunny named Mazeménos, which roughly translates to “cuddly.”  Simultaneously, she convinced her father to replace the deadly waters of the River Styx with wine which the damned promptly used throw a massive party during which they all became thoroughly inebriated.  Hades failed to see the humor in all this.  However, Zeus laughed his ass off.  Now that we know the answer to the first query, let’s tackle the second.

During the Renaissance, when the artists, authors and royalty of Europe re-discovered the works of ancient Greece, some came across the stories of the heretofore obscure minor goddess, Aprilis.  One future king who reveled in the exploits of Aprilis was Henry VIII of England.

Before Henry wed six different women and had two of them beheaded, he was an impetuous youth with too much time on his hands, which could probably be said of many princes.  After all, he had an older brother, Arthur, who would ascend to the English throne rather than Henry.  Therefore, as the second born male heir, Henry was pretty much left to do as he pleased.

Young Henry quickly fell in with his father’s court jester, Stephen.  A quick word about Renaissance court jesters, or “fools” as they were sometimes called.  They certainly were not vacuous, dim-witted men prancing around in tights and a four-cornered hat complete with bells, juggling beer steins while telling crude jokes.  A Jester was, in fact, a highly intelligent individual chosen for his rapier-like wit and ability to challenge all at court with his biting sarcasm and humorous insults.  Sounds a bit like the goddess of wit, mirth and laughter, does it not?

Anyway, young Henry and Stephen had a grand time “punking” any and all members of Henry VII’s court.  And Stephen, with the protection of the young prince, was able to get away with murder, so-to-speak.  Even after Henry’s older brother, Arthur, died in 1502, making Henry next in line to the throne, he kept Stephen close and used him as an unofficial adviser.

However, this relationship displeased many at court, including Henry’s father who considered Stephen a nuisance at best and a corrupting influence on Henry at worst.  Eventually, Henry VIII’s father had the Duke of Leister accuse Stephen of treasonous activities.  A show trial ensued and Stephen was locked away in the Tower of London in 1508, never to be seen again.  His fate, to this day, remains unknown.

After Henry VIII ascended to the throne in 1509 and throughout his reign, he never forgot his childhood friend who could so easily make him laugh.  As Henry wrestled with the affairs of church and state, he often remembered those carefree days spent with Stephen as they roamed the halls and rooms at Windsor Castle and Hampton Court.  It is believed that largely due to these memories, Henry desired to set aside a special day in which practical jokes were not only accepted, but encouraged, in honor of his first and only true friend, Stephen.

And what better day to celebrate the memory of Stephen, than on the first day of the month named after the goddess of wit, mirth and laughter, Aprilis?  So there you have it, the long, convoluted and somewhat touching story of the origins of April Fool’s Day.  And yes, this entire story is a total work of fiction in the tradition of the tale of Sidd Finch.  I have no idea of the true origins of April Fool’s Day as I feared if I did know the true facts, they would seep into this fictionalized version.  Happy April Fool’s Day.

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Deals for Every Season

For this blog post I was asked by the powers that be, aka “the Man,” (who in this case is a very pleasant woman named Melody)…anyway, I was asked by Melody to highlight MagicKitchen.com’s special seasonal deals that are located here http://www.magickitchen.com/seasonal-special-deals.html.

However, she gave me free rein (her mistake) to write about these deals as I saw fit.  And since I recently rediscovered 1980s rap music, I decided to write a song, or “flow” about MagicKitchen and their awesome seasonal deals.  If you’re not a rap fan, don’t worry, just think of it as a Shakespearean sonnet…ok, I just re-read it…I wouldn’t use “Shakespearean” to describe it.  If you do like rap, then just lay down a phat beat and let it flow.  Play this one below, for full effect.

Deals for Every Season

Lookin’ for a good deal, with profound appeal

Not forced to chase it in your automobile.

Then MagicKitchen’s for you, no drive through,

Just delicious meals that will soon ensue.

Delivered to your door, not from a store,

But prepared by a chef, perhaps named Steph.

Prepared with fresh ingredients, we’re always expedient

And to your needs we’re quite obedient.

The meal’s flash frozen, then it goes in

A container that’s been chosen

To deliver your food, with proper attitude

And little to no ineptitude.

Seasonal deals we got, they’re smokin’ hot

Just check our site, that’s the upshot.

Deals change every season in this age of reason

So take advantage, it’s not like it’s treason.

Beef Bourguignon- tender beef & mushrooms in wine sauce. -gluten free

Specials depend on the holiday.  It’s like a buffet

That’s so easy to order, it could be child’s play.

Could be for Valentine your herr or fräulein

Wants a romantic meal he or she can’t decline.

So check our page, don’t disengage

From our meals that stick to your rib cage.

Peace, out (insert mic drop here).

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Quit Messin’ Around: How to Eat Healthier in 2017

Yes, devoted reader, it’s time to set yourself up for failure once again by making a non-specific (eat healthier) and unattainable (cut out ALL junk food) New Year’s resolution.  Those two reasons, setting broad and impossible to achieve goals, are why 92% of all resolutions made are doomed to failure.

Look, a resolution is nothing more than a goal and we (or someone else…think boss or significant other) set goals for ourselves all the time, either in our professional or private lives.  And the rules for goal-setting also apply to end-of-year resolution-setting, and they are: make your goal/resolution as specific as possible and make it attainable.  Therefore, let’s combine those two rules with your vague resolution to eat better in 2017.

vegetables-449950_640Rule number one: make your “eating better” resolution as specific as possible.  Instead of “I resolve (sounds like you’re on the floor of the Senate) to eat better in 2017,” resolve to “eat five helpings of fruits and vegetables most days of the week…that would be four or more for the numerically challenged out there like your esteemed author.  Why only “most” days of the week?  DUH!…remember rule number two…make your goal achievable.

Or how about printing a list of healthy “superfoods” you’ve never eaten and resolving to try at least one item on that list every week of 2017?  Better yet, turn it into a checklist, then, check each item off and make a few notes about that item, such as “If anyone is trying to torture me for information, just threaten me with Brussels sprouts and I’ll tell them everything.”

Ok, last example of a specific goal: “I resolve to eat at least one meal per day that contains

Flaxseed
Flaxseed

no processed foods.” Like a meal comprised of roast chicken and potatoes with a side of green beans.  In fact, we here at MagicKitchen offer a number of meals that fit this category in our portion controlled and signature meals sections.  It’s a great way to keep your resolution as we do most of the work, all that’s required of you is to heat and enjoy!

Rule number two: make your goal achievable, but not too easily achievable, there must be an element of resolve (hence the term “resolution”) and sacrifice involved.  Please don’t resolve to adopt a diet of nothing but kale, honey and quinoa for all of 2017.  My guess is that you’re going to fall off the wagon with that resolution.  How about, “I resolve to

substitute either kale, honey, or quinoa for an unhealthy item I usually eat at least every other day.  Or if you can’t stand kale, (which is perfectly understandable), try one of these new superfoods for 2017.  And then track each time you make that substitution on a calendar.

Here are a few other tips to help you achieve your specific resolution that involves eating healthier in 2017:

  • Take a grocery list to the supermarket and stick to it.
  • Choose fresh or frozen food over canned.
  • Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans from MagicKitchen.com
    Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans from MagicKitchen.com

    Plan ahead by making menus and, as with the rule above, stick to them!

  • Don’t drink your calories…stay away from the sugary drinks.
  • Patrol the edges of your grocery store where the fresh produce, meats, dairy and whole grains are located.
  • Try out MagicKitchen.com complete meals for a change of pace. No rules, no sign-ups, no commitments required, try one or many.
  • Eat a lot of different colors when it comes to fruits and vegetables.
  • Replace dessert with fruit or at least add fruit to your dessert.
  • Accept the fact that you’re going to backslide a few times during the year…get over it and then get back on the horse or wagon or both. I’m not sure which.
  • Publicize your resolution to all who are willing to listen and tell them to nag you throughout the year. Also, write it down and stick it to both the doors of your fridge and pantry.
  • Finally, remember that doing something towards attaining or keeping your resolution is better than quitting and doing nothing…little steps matter!

So, good luck as you resolve to eat healthier in 2017 and remember to follow the two main rules (and various tips) and perhaps you’ll be part of the 8% that successfully stick to their resolutions through the entire year. May your New Year be a healthy and happy one!

 

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The Solution for Those Who Hate Cooking in Summer

fireinpanThere’s a reason two of the more popular kitchen clichés involve the word “heat” (“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” and “That’s taking the heat out of a hot kitchen”).  And that reason is because it can get frickin’ hot in the kitchen, especially during the summer months.

Think about it…it’s 90 degrees out there with 87% humidity and you’ve got the stove cranking at 425° and two boiling pots going on the stovetop.  That combination tends to cause one to sweat their (fill in the blank) off!  The grill does offer a solution, but there’s only so much grilled meat, seafood, and veggies one can eat.  The solution, obviously, is to have some cooked meals delivered to your home via the magic of MagicKitchen.com.

Lasagna without using the oven!
Lasagna without using the oven!

Every so often, during the summer months, wouldn’t it be nice to have a delicious, non-grilled meal, already cooked, waiting for you and your family in the freezer?  You bet your a$$ it would!  No marinating, no firing up the grill or oven, no prep work, no time spent cooking in a kitchen that doubles as a sauna in summer, no worrying about over or under cooking the entrée…the “no” list goes on and on.

Beef Pot Roast dinner, just heat in microwave.
Beef Pot Roast dinner, just heat in microwave.

The only work required by you is to simply place your pre-prepared and cooked meals in the non-heat producing microwave, watch it spin for a few minutes, and then present the meal in a pleasing manner to friends and/or family.  You can then, if you so desire, simply brush off all the praise heaped upon you for spending so much time and effort in a hot kitchen to prepare such an awesome meal…or you could simply tell them our little secret… cooked meals delivered from MagicKitchen.com

Custless Spinach Quiche
Crustless Spinach Quiche

MagicKitchen offers quite a variety of foods not usually eaten during summer, but are still missed none-the-less.  Sure, August is a great time for summer salads and grilled salmon, but there’s only so many summer salads and grilled cuts of fish one person can eat.  How about a nice change of pace with an appetizing Stuffed Peppers with Marinara Sauce, or Chicken Marsala, or crab cakes, or lasagna, or crustless spinach quiche?  And best of all, they come right to your door, frozen and ready to enjoy after a few minutes in the microwave.  Simply check out MagicKitchen.com’s extensive cooked meals delivered menu, select what appeals to you and then wait for the FedEx truck to deliver your delectable dinners all while not sweating your (fill in the blank with a different body part from the first fill in the blank) in a tropical kitchen!

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Here Comes Shark Week: Your Fears can be Delicious

shark-surfThere’s a commonly held belief…rule, really… held by surfers that one should never eat shark.  It’s a karma kinda thing…why tempt fate by eating what might someday eat you out there on the waves.

However, the vast majority of us do not surf, therefore, we are in no way bound by the surfing rule regarding sharks.  And since the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is upon us once again, we thought this week would be the perfect time to confront your fear of the ocean’s greatest predator head on…with your teeth, in fact.

So, as you violate Bruce’s (the great white from Finding Nemo) rule of “Fish are friends, not food,” there is one important rule that we would like you to follow.  And that rule is when you’re in search of the shark for your Shark Week viewing party, ensure that it’s a sustainable species as the horrible practices of shark finning and factory fishing have decimated many species of sharks.

makoThe Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program recommends the spiny dogfish shark from California, Oregon or Washington or the common thresher or smallfin mako sharks from California or Hawaii.

If you’ve never eaten shark, most find it lean, mild and meaty.  It tends to be denser than tuna or swordfish and doesn’t flake as easily.  Most recipes call for the meat to be marinated prior to cooking to add some flavor, tenderness and to prevent dryness.  As one might expect, steak is the most common and easiest way to prepare shark.  So we thought we’d give you two variations on this method: shark tacos and shark kabobs.

Shark Tacos

 Marinade

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tbsp. crushed mustard seed
  • ½ tbsp. minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • Cracked black pepper and sea salt
  • 1 lb. shark steaks, 1 inch thick
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup finely shredded cabbage tossed with 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro and a pinch of sea salt
  • Tomatillo salsa (either prepared or purchased)
  • sriracha

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a shallow bowl, sprinkle steaks with sea salt and marinade for 20 minutes.
Grill, broil, or pan fry the shark steaks until they flake easily with a fork, usually 5-6 minutes for each side.  Roughly flake steaks with a fork.

To serve: placed flaked shark meat in warm tortillas and top with cabbage, chilled salsa and sriracha.

Shark Kebabs

Marinade

  • ½ cup rice wine
  • Lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp. peanut oil
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ½ lbs. shark steaks cut into 1 x 1 inch squares.
  • Large mushrooms
  • Onion wedges
  • Red and yellow pepper wedges
  • Bamboo skewers

shark-kebabsMix marinade ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold shark meat and allow to marinade for two hours in refrigerator.

Alternate meat, onions, mushrooms and peppers on kabob skewers and grill or broil 10-15 minutes while marinating liberally and often with remaining marinade sauce while rotating a quarter turn every 3 minutes or so.  Shark meat should fake easily with fork when fully cooked.

Kabobs can be served on a bed of rice of your choosing.

Tbruce-sharkhus you can see, there’s no need to get a bigger boat, fish CAN be food rather than friends, and unless you plan on carving up a wave any time soon you can certainly enjoy some shark without the fear of the roles being reversed.  So fire up the grill and enjoy!

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Today is National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day

There are  lot of strange holidays, and this is one of our favorites. Celebrate your klutziness!

disaster1A klutz is someone who is clumsy, which can be truly dangerous in the kitchen.  Here are a few true kitchen disaster stories to celebrate the day. If you’re a kitchen klutz, save time and energy and buy some MagicKitchen.com meals instead!

It even happens to real chefs:

Clark Frasier And The Great Cheese Explosion
As anyone who’s attended a state fair can tell you, few things can’t be deep-fried. There are caveats, though — just ask Clark Frasier, the co-chef and co-owner of Maine restaurants Arrows and MC Perkins Cove. He once attempted to make a Latin-inspired cheese fritter, whipping up a farmer’s-cheese filling, encasing portions of it in dough and placing the little packets of deliciousness in the deep fryer. When they’d turned a beautiful deep gold color, he removed them — and then the explosions started. One fritter blew up and hit the ceiling, another went off in Frasier’s face and burned his lips. When the gooey blobs had disaster2settled, Frasier figured out that the dough he’d used was too tough, so the moisture in the cheese couldn’t release into the oil (and, therefore, shot out with a vengeance all over the kitchen). With a little research, Frasier might have known that it would’ve been better either to use a softer dough or just to fry the cheese on its own. Lesson: If you’re trying something brand new (and it involves hot oil or another potentially dangerous cooking element), do a quick Google search to make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for disaster.
-Huffington post

Here are a few stories from the Internet:

-my aunt put a few cans of baked beans in the oven to heat. She didn’t open them first, and they made a huge mess when the cans exploded.

My disaster moment came the day I disaster3thought it would be a good idea to save some dishes and just brown the veggies for my crock pot meal in the crock on the stove. When it cracked it sounded like someone had shot off a gun next to me. We ate out that night.

oh my. my husband (before we were married) and I were making some food for a group of friends we were having over. he was in charge of the rice. easy, right? … he had gone out and bought a 1kg bag (2lbs) of rice. he thought this would be a good amount to cook, suitable for the 10 people that were coming. he later called me telling me the rice would not stop “growing” out of the pot! they filled up 2 or 3 more pots with the rice that was overflowing and were scooping it with a dustpan since it was all he could find that was big enough to curb the disaster! i laughed for months. now, he laughs too

-It was my first year being married and my husband and I were spending it alone in Minnesota without any relatives or the normal family traditions to comfort us. I had planned dinner to be a combination of the best of both of our family favorites until the dog jumped up, knocking my elbow, sending the casserole across the room and eventually taking out a house plant and a freshly baked pie. I thought the world had ended.

We hope you enjoyed these stories, let us know if you have any of your own to share!

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