Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Theme: Soul and R&B
Siobhan Magnus is singing Through the Fire. It is pretty funny that Usher is worried about her wardrobe. He was right to be worried because she is wearing Greek Goddess meets Rocky (she needs to be in a boxing ring with those boots). And how appropriate since the performance was a bit rocky. The scream at the end is becoming her trademark, and I am not so sure it worked. Can you say overkill?
Casey James is singing Hold On, I’m Comin’. Usher thinks he is cool with a tool, his guitar! First time this song has been performed on Idol. You know Casey is serious when he pulls the hair back. He got game. Looking sharp, he is belting out the Southern style R&B. He rocked his great song choice. RED HOT!
Michael Lynche is singing Ready for Love. He is singing to the ladies, again. Mellow and low key. I think this is the best I have seen from BIG Mike. I liked that he controlled the performance towards the end of the song, instead of getting crazy with the vocals. This is the type of album I would expect from him. Would I buy it? No, but I would expect it, and I am sure he would sell some albums.
Didi Benami is singing What Becomes of the Broken Hearted. Even before she begins, I am thinking this is the most overdone song out there. Where is the originality? I doubt she will bring anything original to this song or performance. Not a good outfit choice for her as it made her look big around the hips. I am just not buying what she is selling. It just didn’t feel sincere.
Teflon Tim Urban is singing Sweet Love. Lord have mercy! ROFL about Tim singing this to Usher! Wrong song for Tim to sing--absolutely, positively the wrong song. Why do teen boys think they need to sing diva songs? Tim Urban, you will never match the depth of emotion Anita Baker achieved on this song. He might survive with those shirtless pics floating around online and being the Vote for the Worst Candidate at votefortheworst.com. Vegas called and they want their village idiot lounge singer back.
Andrew Garcia is singing Forever. Wow, Andrew got his groove back. It was interesting, relevant, and engaging. I truly liked that version. He has pulled himself back from the brink. That was GOOD. Now, that is American Idol worthy. Very cool.
Katie Stevens is singing Chain of Fools and revealed that she once stalked Usher until his bodyguard pulled her off. I think I am going to have to start a list of divas that you should never attempt: Aretha, Mariah, Celine, Whitney, & Tina to start. Attention all future idols, take notes here, please. The good news is she didn’t murder it. The song wasn’t even close to her generation—she is better when she sticks to more youthful songs such as the Rhianna song she sang. What type of artist is she??? She is closer to Miley Cyrus than she is to Aretha Franklin.
Lee DeWyze is singing Treat Her Like a Lady. Ummm, I like that gravelly voice. It’s rough and raw, and it rocks. Oh yeah, he is definitely a star. If his confidence keeps growing, he could give Casey and Crystal a run for their money. Best song of the night so far. That will be the first single on his album.
OMG, Crystal Bowersox is rocking the stilettos. What happened to my earth mother??? She is singing Midnight Train to Georgia. I loved her, hated the backless outfit. And she really didn’t need the backup singers. Say hello to top nine Crystal, you will be back next week. One positive about her is she seems versatile. Now, go back to the guitar and stay true to who you are.
Aaron Kelly is singing Ain’t No Sunshine. I still can’t believe he is only 16 years old. He has a killer voice, but I am not sure he has the life experience to really feel this song. Was it great? No, but it was very good.
Hands down best of the night—Lee DeWyze.
Bottom three: Tim, Katie, and Didi—I predict Didi will go home.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Butternut Squash and Roasted Poblano Pepper Soup
1 tablespoon corn oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 roasted poblano chiles, peeled, deseeded and chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups cooked butternut squash
3 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
To prepare the squash, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash on a baking sheet and add about 1/2-inch of water to the pan. Bake uncovered in a 400 degree F oven until squash is easily pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool and then scoop out the flesh.
Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Stir in poblano chilies and cumin; cook about 3 minutes. Add squash, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Cool and puree in small batches in a blender. Strain if desired.
Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and/or chopped cilantro.
Recipe courtesy: Chef Jim LaPerriere, Slocum House
2 butternut squashes
1 poblano pepper (you can adjust the spice level by adding more or less roasted pepper, but generally speaking, poblanos are rather mild.)
1/2 a white onion
1 small white shallot
1 whole head of garlic
3 very skinny carrots (or one or two larger ones)
3-4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock. (In this case I used a vegetable stock that I made before our vacation using a large number of carrots, hoping the carrots would add to the sweetness of the soup. I think I was right.)
Preheat your oven to 375ºf.
Slice squashes lengthwise, so you can scoop out the seeds. You can cut them down a little more if you'd like, to fit on your pans and maybe cook a little faster. Drizzle with olive oil, salt lightly, and place on a baking sheet in the oven.
You know what? Do i need to describe the whole process? Everything gets drizzled in olive oil and roasted at the same time in the oven. I wrap the onions, shallot, and garlic individually in tinfoil, and leave the seeded, halved pepper on a baking sheet, along with the carrots. Keep an eye on the pepper and remove when it becomes blistery and begins to blacken.
Just peek in on everything every once in awhile and make sure nothing's burning. Pull things out as they finish (The peppers will finish first, then the carrots, then the shallot probably, then the garlic, then onion, then butternuts, probably.) Just keep poking everything until it's mushy. Let everything cool so you can handle it easily, and heat up your stock while you wait.
Bust out your blender or food processor, and put a large pot aside for the finished soup. Begin blending the ingredients (duh, don't forget to peel your butternut) in steps, adding warm stock as needed to get it smooth. Dump it all in the big pot and stir it up really well, adding more stock if necessary to thin to desired consistency. Put over heat if necessary- letting all the ingredients cool can leave you with a lukewarm soup. Serves 3-4.
Last night I happened to carve a pumpkin and I cleaned and toasted the seeds. I tossed a handful on my dinner salad and garnished my soup with them, too. All I did was wash them, let them dry overnight on a brown paper bag, and then coat them with olive oil & salt, and then toasted them for 10-15 minutes at 375º.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
If it is Tuesday, it must be American Idol!
Hold on to your hats people, Seacrest in!
The theme tonight is songs that appeared at the top of the Billboard 100 list. The mentor is Miley Cyrus.
A mentor at 17??? We shall debate this later.
Lee Dewyze singing the Letter by the Box Tops. Miley’s words of wisdom: “Give them a few notes they wouldn’t expect from you.” Lee, c’mon man, you chose a song from the 60s. Could you not find anything at #1 that most of your audience would know? Apparently, he is going for the votes from the 80 and over crowd. I didn’t count, but I think there were more than a few notes that surprised me and not in a good way. The judges were blowing some serious smoke, except Simon, who was the only one who called him out, and Simon was right on the money.
Paige Miles singing Against All Odds by Phil Collins. Miley’s words of wisdom: “As long she watches her pitch, she will do great.” Ouch, forget about pitch, she is out of tune. She is all over the place with the wrong notes. I think this is one of the hardest songs to sing, so I am surprised she chose this one. You need such control at the beginning of this song or it sounds horrible. Each of those beginning notes needs to be right on—none of them were. She is definitely not top twelve worthy. Definitely, definitely! Odds are she will be voted off.
Tim Urban singing Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen. Before this even begins, I will say I have serious doubts about anyone who takes on Freddie Mercury. And it begins—oh Tim, Tim, Tim. Can you say cornball? Alvin and the Chipmunks covered this, as did Diana Ross and Brian Setzer—on a spectrum from Alvin to Queen, which end do you think he falls closer to? No hints. Go ahead, admit it. His tween brigade better dial their little fingers off tonight.
Aaron Kelly--ahhh, he has a crush on Miley. He is singing I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith. Even with laryngitis and tonsillitis, he sang better than Paige and Tim. Miley was right; he has a great voice, more mature than his years. That song worked for his voice. I am seeing an Aaron and Miley duet in the future!
Crystal Bowersox singing Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin. I don’t think there was enough of her in the performance; it was more an imitation of Janis Joplin toward the end. I wanted her to make the song her own, and it didn’t go far enough for me. But I still love her. Wonder how much that autographed guitar would go for on Ebay? It was good. If she wasn’t going on the Idol Tour as part of the top 12, I bet she would be playing the Lilith Fair Tour.
Mike Lynche manhandled the Cyrus. LOL. And she drew a heart in the air for him. It’s LOVE! He is singing Percy Sledge’s When a Man Loves a Woman, which is listed as #54 on the Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time—dedicated to his new love Miley. YEP, he will be coming back next week. He is definitely crooner material.
Andrew Garcia singing I Heard it Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye. Miley’s words of wisdom—“Learn the words.” I liked him better without the guitar. It opened him up more, but I didn’t think this was the best version of the song I have ever heard. I am worried that he won’t have the fans to pull him into the top ten, and a part of me doesn’t even care. It was average. It didn’t inspire me. Good lord, he peaked with Straight Up! One hit wonder!
Katie Stevens singing Big Girls by Fergie. She is pulling her face too much. I think this was a good song choice for her. Finally, she chose a song with attitude, and I think that is what her choices have been lacking. It was a little pitchy, dawg. She ditched the baby doll dresses, and got edgier. This was her best performance to date.
Casey James singing The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News. Something was bothering me about this performance tonight. He should definitely go the country route, and he doesn’t seem to want to. He sounds okay, but it was almost too cute-sy with some of his facial expressions. I went to two Huey Lewis and the News concerts in the 80s. Yes, I am a product of the eighties. I rocked the polo with the collar up and multiple swatches on the wrist, and I felt like I was in a flashback to my high school days. Was it current? No. Will he be around next week? Of course.
Didi Benami singing You’re No Good which hit #1 with Linda Ronstadt. She needs to pick up the tempo. It was a dragging at the beginning. I didn’t love anything about it. If you have to defend your performance after the judges rate you, then there is a problem.
Siobhan Magnus singing Superstition by Stevie Wonder. You gotta love this girl because you just know people made fun of her on the playground when she was little. Her stylist does an amazing job each week of turning her from geek to chic. I was wowed by the performance. She probably could have chosen a better song. She is doing the Adam Lambert screaming thing, again. I hope this doesn’t turn into a one trick pony thing. It was okay, but it wasn’t great.
Usually I do a best of the night, but this week, it is hard to choose one because I don’t think there was a best. Many were just good, but not great. Aaron, Casey, Crystal and Mike were the strongest tonight of a weak field.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Okay, so I have to say I have an addiction. I am addicted to magazines, specifically home magazines. I love them all, each and every one. If I had to choose one thing to occupy hours at a time it would be reading home magazines. My favorite is sadly no longer printed. It was called Home Companion and was published by Mary Engelbreit. It was home with an artsy style. It was such a creative magazine. But I digress. This is the one I am currently glued to: Veranda.
Friday, March 19, 2010
This recipe is from thepioneerwoman.com, but I altered it slightly by making it BBQ.
4 pounds (up To 7 Pounds) Pork Butt
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon (to 2 Tablespoons) Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
3 cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon (to 2 Tablespoons) Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons (to 3 Tablespoons) White Wine Vinegar
¼ to 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
1 whole Onion (I used a smallish red onion, but any type will do.)
2 cups KC Masterpiece Hickory Brown Sugar BBQ sauce
2 cups water
Rinse and pat dry the pork shoulder.
To begin, just throw the dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar and brown sugar into a food processor or blender. Cut one onion into quarters and put it in the food processor with the spices. Blend mixture until totally combined and then pour it over the pork butt.
Now rub it into every nook and cranny of the meat, tucking it under folds and in crevices. Let no stone go unturned. Then, place the pork into a roasting pan and add a couple of cups of water. Cover tightly and roast pork at 300º for 4-5 hours, turning once every hour. When it is fork tender, crank up the heat, remove the lid, and roast it, skin side up for another 15 to 20 minutes to get the skin crispy. When it’s done, let it rest for 15 minutes before shredding. After shredding, pour warmed BBQ sauce over the pork. Serve on buns with extra sauce.
This recipe can be altered to get a Mexican version of pulled pork. Just omit BBQ sauce and serve with tortillas and mexican condiments.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Idol Results--The Cranky Pants Version
The Judges' Save is Back! Any contestant can be saved up until the top 5 with the votes of all the judges.
Jumpin' Jack Flash, David Cook has lost more hair. Anyone wanna take bets on how long it will be before he is bald? I think they teased (how’s that for old school beauty shop terminology) it up way too much in the back. But rock on DC, we love ya anyway.
This tidbit was kind of a surprise, hat tip to Wendy Williams--rumor has it Ellen hired her own writers because she didn't like the Idol writers. I wonder how many of the judges' comments are pre-scripted???
Some singer I have never heard of performs. Her song didn’t make me want to get to know her. NEXT!
Ryan’s interviews of the contestants bug the hell out of me. He is stalling and trying to stretch this 15 minute show into an hour with stupid questions.
Kesha performs. She wants to be Lady Gaga but does not even come close. Her voice is annoying…blah, blah, blah. I want my Gaga.
Down to Paige and Lacey, and it is Lacey. A twist—the departing contestant can pick the song she wants to sing to try and impress the judges into keeping her.
No save tonight. Goodbye Lacey Brown.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
You gotta break some eggs to bake this cake, so let’s start crackin’ Idol!
The Theme…Rolling Stones
Michael Lynche wearing a lavender scarf (really Big Mike, lavender???) in the intro. video and singing Miss You. His falsetto falls flat for me. What is up with the weird dance moves/shaky, shaky leg thing? I think he made the song his own. I didn’t really think of the Stones when I saw this performance. I just noticed he is literally twice the size of Ryan. I think he will be back next week.
Didi Benami and Mommy Benami! She is singing Play with Fire. I was thinking she played the piano, and this song would be so effective as a solo, stripped down performance with just her at the piano. She seemed to stumble on the lyrics. Something was off about that performance. I am afraid the voters might flame out instead of firing up. This was kind of forgettable.
Casey James singing It’s All Over Now—with a country rock edge. Hair down tonight with the unshaven look and a hint of chest—he is just throwing his sex appeal out there. Careful, Casey, don’t hurt ‘em. Somehow, I just think he needs to be in leather pants. Vocals were okay, but I am sure he will be back next week. As I type this, I am sure my friend Deb is dialing like mad for him!
Lacey Brown is not a true red head. She is singing Ruby Tuesday. Wonder what the church thinks of this outfit—tiny mini-skirt and thigh high leggings? And what is going on with that top for heaven’s sake—off the shoulder beigy/peach lacy top mixed with the black and white stripes…huh? Hated the outfit, hated the song performance. She is not someone I would want to hear on the radio over and over.
Andrew Garcia’s dad thought he would be a custodian…because he collected keys. Well, his chosen profession does have something to do with keys. He is singing Shelter. I think he starts too high with his notes at the beginning. With this theme, there is always the chance of being compared to the original, and I was just thinking Andrew’s performance lacked the Mick Jagger energy. I think Kara was right on the money on this one.
Katie Stevens’s fans made Katie on a Stick! She is singing Wild Horses. Okay, my opinion of this song being performed is going to be tainted because I got Susan Boyle’s album for Christmas, and if you have heard Boyle perform the song, you will never forget it. Katie did okay, but she was no Susan Boyle, and I don’t think she will inspire a zillion hits on Youtube. Katie needs to cut her hair and get rid of that “good little girl” image if she wants to be the next American Idol.
Tim Urban is singing Under My Thumb. This whole performance has a Davey Jones from the Monkees meets Reggae vibe. In face, I think he has Davey Jones Hair from the 70s. You go, Tim. It was too campy—I expected Marcia Brady to run on stage at any moment. Eleven year old girls start dialing now; he will need you in order to stay.
Siobhan Magnus is just too nerdy to be the next American Idol based on that intro. She is just a strange little girl. She is singing Paint It Black. The little black dress and combat boot combo just reinforces that strange little girl image. Ouch, my ears are bleeding from the screaming end of that song. Good lord, child, Randy can’t keep from laughing, despite how hot he says it is. If this is going to be the standout performance, we are in trouble kids.
Lee Dewyze is singing Beast of Burden. Yeah, I love that song. Ummm, Bette Midler covered that and I loved it. He is downplaying this song, and I think it is working--not as raw as I thought it would be from him. I really thought he would let it rip, but he kept it low key.
Paige Miles is singing Honky Tonk Woman. Really???--she totally rewrote the lyrics, and it didn’t work for me. I don’t see her having the life experience to sing this song. According to wikipedia, this song refers to a dancing girl in a western bar who may work as a prostitute. So Paige, you thought you could pull this off? Good thing you played the laryngitis card.
Aaron Kelly is singing Angie. He got a new do! Spiky and hip. I have to say this is the best I have ever seen him. He hasn’t been one of my favorites, but he is growing on me. I think he has had one of the best performances of the night.
Crystal Bowersox is singing You Can’t Always Get What You Want. I immediately know what type of album she would put out based on her performances every week. I think this girl knows exactly who she is, and, better yet, who she is as a performer. She rocked it. She has such confidence and maturity on stage. I am in awe. I think whether she wins this competition or not, she gets a record deal.
Best of the night: Crystal Bowersox & Aaron Kelly
Monday, March 15, 2010
Barbeque Baked Beans (The name is misleading--no baking involved. It is prepared on the stove top.)
8 oz. bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 tsp. salt
3/4 cup Barbeque Sauce (go with your favorite, but maple mesquite or brown sugared is best)
3/4 cup water, plus more as needed
2 cans (each 15 oz.) kidney beans, drained and
2 cans (each 15 oz.) pinto beans, drained and
1 can Great Northern beans
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until golden but not crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 7 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the salt, pepper, BBQ sauce, the 3/4 cup water, and the beans. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Uncover, stir the beans and add more water to achieve the desired consistency. Continue to cook, uncovered for 5 minutes more. Serve warm. Serves 8.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Silk-Tie Easter Eggs
Materials and Tools
Small- to medium-size raw eggs
Glass or enamel pot
Silk ties, blouses, or boxers, cut into pieces large enough to cover an egg
White sheets (or pillowcases or old tablecloths), cut into pieces to cover silk-wrapped eggs
3 tablespoons of white vinegar
Tongs or spoon
Silk Tie Easter Eggs How-To
1. Cut silk into a square (or a piece) large enough to wrap around a raw egg.
2. Wrap a raw egg with a piece of silk, making sure the printed side of the material is facing the egg. Silk can still be used if it doesn't fit perfectly around egg.
3. Place the silk-wrapped egg in a piece of white sheet, pillowcase, or old tablecloth and secure tightly with a twist-tie.
4. Place the egg(s) in an enamel or glass pot. Fill pot with water to cover eggs completely. Then, add three tablespoons of white vinegar.
5. Bring water to a boil, turn heat down, and simmer for 20 minutes (longer if you plan on eating the eggs).
6. Remove eggs from water with tongs or spoon and let cool.
7. Remove silk from cooled egg.
8. For shiny eggs, wipe with vegetable oil after completing step 7.
Silk goods such as ties, blouses, and boxers can be purchased at rummage sales or thrift stores. Silk can be reused on eggs.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
If you stopped by today looking for a recap of American Idol, I am sorry to disappoint, but lightning hit our local station and knocked the broadcast of AI off the air. Oh well, in the mean time, check out my next post on decorating. Enjoy! P.S. For those missing the food posts, I will be putting up some great things next week.
One Dish Dude
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
This is Ladies Night and this is American Idol
Katie Stevens—singing Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson. Okay, idol wannabes, stop singing Kelly. Her voice is so unique, not a one of you imposters can pull it off. Don’t make me curse, dammit!~oops, see what you made me do! Whiny and warbly, I hated it. Utterly forgettable.
Siobhan Magnus—singing House of the Rising Sun by the Animals. A Cappella beginning baby, very nice. She looks hot tonight and has such control. I am impressed. She nailed it. Simon is being a British douchebag tonight!
Lacey Brown—singing The Story by Brandy Carlyle. Technically, I think the song was on, but the performance just didn’t sparkle. This girl doesn’t scream POP IDOL, and I can’t imagine her drawing big crowds in a concert. She seems older than she is. I just don’t enjoy the quality of her voice, but she seemed to hit all the right notes. She looks a little like an ‘80s prostitute.
Katelyn Epperly—singing I Feel the Earth Move by Carole King. Okay, so she has Carole King hair. She didn’t bring anything new to the song, not updated one bit. I found it a bit karaoke. Movement??? Anyone feel any movement—earth, furniture, bowel??? Anyone? Tell me people, are you feeling it?
Didi Benami—singing Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac. I kind of liked it, but really, who can do Fleetwood Mac better than Fleetwood Mac. It was sort of ethereal. She didn’t seem to have the confidence she should have (especially after the torture she received last week)—she didn’t look like she was having a good time. I expected her to break into tears at any moment.
Paige Miles—singing Smile by Charlie Chaplin. I think she sang this song because she knows she will need to smile when her heart is breaking as she is voted off this week. This song needed a modern touch, and it just didn’t feel like it was from this century. I am not smiling because my ears are bleeding. Train wreck!
Crystal Bowersox—singing Give Me One Reason by Tracy Chapman. My GAWD, this woman can sing anything. I love her. She rocks my world with that electric guitar and soulful, raspy voice. Can we all just agree that she should win this contest and go home? I mean seriously folks, she stole the show.
Lily Scott—singing I Fall to Pieces by Patsy Cline. She should not sing country—nothing about her says country. Wrong song choice. Sorry, you are no hillbilly, Lily. Leave it to Dolly and Loretta and Faith and Wynonna. I think you need to be singing some Cyndi Lauper.
Best of the night: Crystal Bowersox
Worst of the night: Paige Miles
Monday, March 8, 2010
5. Helen Mirren—call her a Dame please; she is so classy.
4. Sandra Bullock—will be playing the part of best actress tonight, and looking stunning doing it, except for the reddish orange lipstick.
3. Jennifer Lopez—nothing like a statement dress to get you noticed.
2. Sarah Jessica Parker, SJP, looking very retro chic. She never disappoints.
Tie for #1. Queen Latifah—just absolute glamourous perfection. She was fabulous.
Tie for #1. Zoe Saldana—this was so unexpectedly stunning, flashy and couture. Some will love it and some will hate it. I loved it!
5. Rachel McAdams—OMG someone spilled a watercolor palette on her dress.
4. Vera Farmiga—Ruffle me this! Too many ruffles; the dress is definitely wearing her.
3. Anna Kendrick—too washed out. Hmmm, a new clothing category, the Flesh Dress.
2. Charlize Theron—stole Princess Leia’s hair buns and transformed them into boob covers!
1. Diane Kruger—the black lacy parts break up this dress in an unflattering manner.