Iris the Idiot’s Kitchen: Samantha Irby FTW.

Samantha Irby, proprietress of the gut-bustingly (literally) hilarious bitches gotta eat, is a chef after my own heart. Also: she is a much better person than I am, because she licenses her work under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-ND 3.0). This means I am perfectly free to steal her latest for the Palace and its Many Tens of Loyal Readers™ to enjoy. Thanks, Sam!

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easy human meals to make in your tiny joke kitchen.

samanthakitchenyesterday morning i had a lunchable for breakfast. don’t worry, it was the bologna and cheese kind so it was v v healthy. here’s the thing, though: I REALLY LIKE TO COOK. the problem is that 1 cooking for myself is kind of boring and 2 it kind of sucks when you threaten to knock mixing bowls and shit off the counters of your miniscule galley kitchen every time you turn a goddamned hip. i used to housesit all the time for wealthy people and their snooty purebred dogs and the best part of that life, hands down, was spending a week or two in a big ass top chef kitchen. i’m talking: gleaming pasta makers, towering walk-in pantries, every tool to be found in the sur la table catalog. it was like living in a tv show, but without a red-faced british dude yelling about what a donkey i am because i accidentally double-dipped my tasting spoon. (lol “accidentally.”) THIS IS MY WEALTH OF COUNTER SPACE, Y’ALL. well, half of it. the other half is across from it and has a dish drain and all my tax documents and shit i gotta return to zappos and boxes from nutrisystem piled on top of it. i don’t have room to make a goddamned thing. except for a mess.

i keep trying, though. ugh it’s still kind of the beginning of a new year, which means we all gotta pretend we care about ourselves until it’s warm enough to wear a bathing suit in public then realize it’s not worth it anyway and go back to eating cheetos for dinner because fuck it. and nothing goes with a brand new maybe this is the year i get skinny gym membership like trying to cook your own balanced meals. at the end of every december i start feeling bad about having spent the eleven months prior getting 99% of my calories from carbohydrates, and this guilt propels me into relatively-healthy eating for at least the first three months of the year. but 1 i’m kind of lazy 2 i hate grocery shopping and 3 i work all the goddamn time and just want to watch tv with my water-logged ankles propped up on a wedge pillow when i get home, not burn calories chopping vegetables for a wholesome dinner. but in case i drop dead i want whoever finds my body to know that sometimes i go to whole foods. i mean, they’ll have to kick a lot of dusty slim-fast boxes out of the way first, but once they do? EXEMPLAR OF HEALTH.

so every now and again some humorless drone is all WHY YOU AIN’T GOT NO FOOD ON A BLOG ABOUT BITCHES EATING and i’m like, uh well i sometimes do? but it’s more about the jokes and stuff? and then we stand around awkwardly shifting feet without making eye contact while trying to figure out a way to gracefully end this painful interaction, after which i go crawl into a guilty little hole to rethink my life choices. so this is a post about food. all made in my tiny-ass kitchen while i texted fools and kept leaving the room to watch tv.

nutritious, grownup ramen-type bowl.
cooking oriental foods is always terrifying to me because, other than a couple raggedy old packets of soy sauce left over from delicious takeout meals, i don’t keep a lot of asian spices and shit around the casa. occasionally i’ll buy calrose rice in case i throw together a ghetto stir fry or whatever, but i don’t regularly have turmeric or kaffir leaves just lying around in case i all of a sudden become inspired. i have a general idea of how much basil is too much basil or when to lay off the cumin, but i don’t really know shit about star anise. (wtf is that even.) this noodle pot is an easy way to feel learned and cultured without the danger of seriously fucking your tastebuds up if you measure incorrectly or fall asleep while the shit is cooking.

you need:
miso paste
tom yum paste
chili paste
solid chicken bouillon paste
soy sauce
sriracha
noodles of your choosing (i use medium-sized flat noodles)
assorted vegetables (i used pre-cut trader joe’s broccoli carrot slaw and pea shoots because i’m fucking careless and don’t want shaved-off bits of my fingertips in my broth. you could also use shelled edamame, napa cabbage, baby corn, spinach, or whatever you have the patience for.)
tiny frozen shrimp (or: cooked shredded chicken, cooked sliced sausage, fried tofu, whatevs)

here’s what to do with it:
bring some water to a boil in a both a saucepan and a kettle.
while you wait, scoop a teaspoon of each of the pastes+bouillon+soy sauce+sriracha into a little bowl, add a splash of hot water and mix it together with a little whisk.
the pot noodles i use cook in two minutes, so i drop them into the water once it’s boiling, hover impatiently while shifting anxiously from foot to foot, then dump them out under cold water and drain them. once they’re mostly dry i put the noodles in a mason jar BECAUSE I AM ADORABLE, add my defrosted shrimp (to defrost: rinse under cold water until rubbery then pat dry), pour over the paste/soy sauce mix, and top with vegetables. then i pour water from the kettle i set to boil at the beginning of this whole thing (remember that?) over all of it, stir a couple times, then let it sit for a few minutes with the lid on before maxing all the noodles and meat then getting mad at myself when all i have left is salty broth and bits of cabbage.

egg muffins.
i don’t always love eggs? but they’re cheap and they last for-fucking-ever and you can’t make cookie dough to eat straight from the mixing bowl without them, so i always have a couple hanging out in the back of my refrigerator. breakfast for me is always the hardest because i need to leave my crib at 645, IN THE FUCKING MORNING, and i can barely get a stretch and a shower in between the alarm clock and the train which means i definitely am not cooking shit before work. i envy you coffee and newspaper in the comfort of your own home people. the last time i ate breakfast in my own crib was never. when i still had the taurus i was that bitch trying to smash a bowl of milk and cereal at every red light, but now with no ride i have to, like, be prepared. or spend $17 every day at starbucks.

so these aren’t really muffins as much as they are portable egg clumps with cheese and shit in them, but they are easy and delicious and you make them in a muffin tin so whatever. i just throw in whatever old meats, cheeses, and vegetables i have dying a slow death in my produce drawer, then bake and freeze them. and since you make a bunch in advance you have ready to go breakfast options all week.

you need:
assorted chopped vegetables. i am partial to: spinach, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, corn, green onions, and broccoli. but for real you can use whatever tastes good to you.
chopped tomatoes
grated or crumbled cheese, whatever you got
green chilies or jalapenos
fresh coriander, whatever herbal shit you’re into
you can add chicken or other lean meats or tofu
6 eggs beaten with 2 tbsp milk, black pepper to taste

here’s what to do with it:
preheat the oven to 400 and grease your goddamned muffin tin. (i use pam, the coconut oil kind) add vegetables of your choice along with cheese (if you choose, and why wouldn’t you?) to each cup, then pour the beaten egg mixture into each cup.

place the muffin pan on the center rack of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins are light brown, puffy, and the eggs are set. let those bitches cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. loosen gently with a butter knife if they seem to be sticking. eat immediately or let cool completely before storing them in plastic bag in refrigerator or freezer. they can be reheated in the oven or microwave and eaten in the shower while trying to catch another depressing weather report on the morning news. or so i’ve heard.

curried tofu.
i adapted this one from the homie martha stewart. i don’t like to cook a lot of meat at home because it’s messy and a ton of work, also because achieving the perfect sear on an expensive cut of grass-fed beef is not what i want to come home and do on a random fucking wednesday. there are basically fifty-eight minutes between the time i peel off my eight layers of winter outwear and the time empire starts, and i refuse to spend a single one of them tying up a fucking chicken.

you need:
1 container (14 ounces) firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon curry powder
coarse salt and ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1 box (10 ounces) frozen green beans, defrosted
4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (3 cups)
cooked calrose rice, for serving (optional)

here’s what to do with it:
halve tofu horizontally; then crosswise. (GOD I HATE GEOMETRY; also, you should have 4 equal squares). cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles. arrange tofu in one layer on a baking sheet lined with 3 layers of paper towels; cover with three more layers. place another baking sheet and a bottle of wine or something heavy on top. let tofu drain until towels are soaked, about 20 minutes. so this part is kind of irritating on paper but it really isn’t as hard as it looks. you can slice your onions and mince your garlic while the tofu is draining to save time.

heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. add tofu and cook, turning once, until golden-brown, maybe 10 minutes. remove from pan to a plate then reduce heat to medium. add remaining tablespoon oil, onion, and curry powder. season generously with salt and pepper. cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

reduce heat to medium-low. add coconut milk and 1/2 cup water; bring to a gentle simmer. return tofu to skillet. add green beans and tomatoes, cover, and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. serve over rice if desired. (true story: i always desire the rice.)

sausage and kale stew.
soup is kind of depressing to me. like if i order a cheeseburger at a restaurant and my companion across the table orders a bowl of soup for dinner it’s like, “bro…? are you sick or something? should we leave? why aren’t you getting any goddamned food!?” and then you gotta sit there and watch that motherfucker eat SOUP, one of the least appealing to foods to watch being consumed. insult to injury: pretending that that gross, wet slurping isn’t killing you a little bit on the inside. especially since most soups taste like the flu. but at home you can make stew, which is the perfect remedy to both bullshit ass weather and the gaping hole of starvation left in your gut when you try to pass off soup as a real goddamned meal.

you need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 12-ounce package fully cooked chicken sausage links, sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 box of low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bunch kale leaves, torn into 2-inch pieces
kosher salt and black pepper

here’s what you do with it:
heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. add the sausage and cook, stirring once, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. stir in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. try not to eat handfuls of sausage directly from the pot.

add the beans, broth, and tomatoes (including the liquid) and bring to a boil. then lower the heat and add the kale and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. simmer, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. THEN IT’S DONE. super quick, right? i like to eat mine in a bowl the size of a cauldron with a heap of shaved parmesan on top, but i am a human with minimal self-control. seriously, every time i make this i can barely get it all cooked before i start “tasting” the hell out of it. eat yours how you see fit. i wouldn’t judge you if you just got in bed with the pot.

!!!BONUS!!!
i get rul tired of people talking to me about water. snoozapalooza. it’s boring and it tastes like crushed dreams, but bitches is always trying to tell me about their supple, luminous skin and hydrated muscles and healthy kidneys. YAWN. but i will drink it if there’s vegetables and fancy grass floating in the shit. bottle of evian? no thank you. glass of filthy tap water with a withered sprig of mint and half of a decrepit old lime? JESUS GOD MORE PLEASE. every time i take a sip of water my dry ass hair whispers “thank you” while praying for rain, yet i only drink it because michelle obama told me to. and even then there better be some dandelions floating in it.

here are some delicious flavor combinations you can try, according to people who get paid to think about that kind of thing:
strawberry, basil, and lemon.
blackberry and sage.
pineapple orange and mint.
grapefruit and rosemary.
pear and ginger.

i am on day three of the 96oz of water a day challenge. i cannot stop peeing. my skin looks the goddamned same.

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Iris the Idiot’s Kitchen: Lemon Velvet Cupcakes with candied lemon zest.

lemonvelvetcupcakesThis here little blog project of mine never ceases to amaze and inspire, amirite? I refer of course to the comment left by some d00d named Kenny a couple weeks ago on a particularly and perpetually popular Palace post entitled Iris the Idiot’s Kitchen: Cakeman Raven’s Red Velvet Cake:

Definitely the best red velvet cake. I also am planning to use the cake recipe as a base for a lemon cake. The cake itself is so moist and flavorful, I can stop thinking of the different variations of this cake I can make. Again using just the cake and omitting the cocoa and red coloring.

Naturally, I swooned and gushed in reply, “Ooooh, lemon velvet cake. Zest? How much? Do tell plz!” But alas, my new BFF Kenny, who is obviously some major motherfucking cake genius, had gone silent. Still, thoughts of magical lemon velvet cake haunted me in my dreams and drifted in and out of my consciousness to the point of distraction. Enough of this madness, I finally declared! I MUST HAVE THIS LEMON VELVET CAKE! I MUST HAVE THIS LEMON VELVET CAKE RIGHT NOW!

Instead of making the layer cake I practiced with cupcakes, so I could make half-batches and so my neighborhood friends could easily sample my experiments. My first attempt turned out well enough, but just did not quite have the citrus bite I was looking for. The second batch was damn near perfect, except I wasn’t really happy with the garnish. I tweaked it again, and I am very happy with this recipe. Ecstatic, even. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flourlemons&orange
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 organic* lemons
  • 1 organic* orange
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) freshly squeezed lemon juice, approx. the juice of one lemon

Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • OPTIONAL: 3 tablespoons Limoncello

Candied lemon zest:

  • 4 organic* lemons
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Organic citrus is highly recommended: standard supermarket fare usually has a wax coating (and probably some artificial coloring too), rendering it less than ideal for zesting.

Yield: 24 cupcakes (or one three-layer cake).

zester<—This is a zester.

Use it to scrape the outer peel off of citrus, taking as little of the white pith underneath as possible.

IMPORTANT SAFETY REMINDER: the zester is not recommended for use in the Bedroom without advanced-level training.

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DIRECTIONS

Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with cupcake papers (for layer cake: lightly oil and flour three 9 by 1½ -inch round cake pans).

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. After sifting, whisk the mixture in the bowl so that the dry ingredients are well blended.

Zest the lemons and orange into another large bowl, and whisk together the zest, oil, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and fresh lemon juice. You can use a zested lemon for the juice.

papercupbatterUsing a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake papers (or for layer cake among the prepared cake pans). Hack tip: pour batter from the mixing bowl into a creased paper coffee cup, and use that to fill them.

Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake until the edges are slightly golden brown or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time. (Note: this batter does not rise very much; it is extremely moist and dense. If you want a taller layer cake, make a double batch and add more layers.)

donecupcakesRemove the cupcake pans from the oven, and allow to cool for ten minutes. Use a spoon to gently extract the cupcakes from the pans and transfer them to a cooling rack. (For layer cakes, run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up.) Let cake cool completely before frosting.

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Frosting:

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, sifted confectioners’ sugar and softened butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Turn the mixer back on to low. Add the vanilla (and optional Limoncello), raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy and well incorporated—you may need to scrape down the bowl again, or just stir it up by hand. Store frosting in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff before using; alternatively, if it is already thoroughly refrigerated let it sit out of the refrigerator for a time. You want the consistency to be thick enough to stack up, yet creamy enough to spread smoothly. The frosting will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Yield: enough to frost 24 cupcakes (or a 3-layer, 9-inch round cake). And then some.

cupcakezestCandied lemon zest:

With a peeler, remove strips of peel from lemons, without the white pith. Cut the strips into thinner strips: they don’t have to be perfect, but you’re going for something like thin spaghetti.

candiedzestingPut the strips in a medium saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then let them cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the strips in a strainer, and set them aside.

Refill the empty saucepan with 1 ½ cups sugar, 1 ½ cups water and vanilla. Bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until all of the sugar is dissolved. Put the lemon strips back in the pan and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the syrup is moderately thick, approx. 10 to 15 minutes.

zestcookingcoolingzestNow at this point recipes for candied zest typically say to transfer the strips from the pan onto wax paper or parchment to cool. This turned out to be a hopeless disaster: they became so stuck to the surface that the process of peeling them off rendered them dull (with trailing strings of candied glaze) instead of glossy. YMMV of course, but I found that using a dinner plate worked better. I used a fork to transfer them to the plate, and to transfer them from the plate to the cupcakes as well. Hack tip: when transferring the strips to the plate, use the fork to twist them into curls. They tend to keep that shape after they cool.

Frost the cupcakes, top with candied zest, take a bite… and thank Vishnu for Kenny.

cupcakeprojectNOTE: For optimal freshness and flavor, keep cupcakes (or layer cake) refrigerated, and sit out to bring up near room temperature just before serving.

Recent reads.

library4The Staggeringly High—And Shockingly Under-Reported—Rate of White on White Murder. Allon, J., AlterNet (Aug. 2014). (“36 percent of those killed by whites are women, a far higher percentage than what you see with murderers who are black.”)

Video Game Reviewer Is Contacting the Mothers of Her Online Harassers. Aran, I., Jezebel (Nov. 2014). [Hahaha. Awesome. -Ed.]

8 Ways You Can See Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in Real Life. Emspak, J., Live Science (Nov. 2014).

Police Behaving Badly 12.1.14. Tony, The Shoops Roost (Dec. 2014).

The Ferguson Masterpost: How To Argue Eloquently & Back Yourself Up With Facts. Manduley, A., [smut & sensibility] (Nov. 2014). [h/t Tony].

Tiny 23,000-year-old limestone ‘Venus’ unearthed in France. Agence France-Presse via Raw Story (Nov. 2014).

Former Philadelphia Police Officer Ray Lewis Explains Why He’s Standing With Protesters In Ferguson. Levine, S., The Huffington Post (Nov. 2014).

7 hipster ‘superfoods’ that aren’t really that super. Barrett-Ibarria, S., Raw Story (Nov. 2014).

A Student Has Died After She Confronted A Group Of Men Harassing Teenage Girls. Mack, D., Buzzfeed (Nov. 2014). [Remember, people: street harassers are only trying to make the world a better place by giving compliments! -Ed.]

The Long, Dark Shadows of Plutocracy. Moyers & Company, youtube.com (Nov. 2014). (VIDEO). [h/t nubs]

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PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Recent reading.

library4
There’s Been HOW Many Pipeline Spills in Alberta in The Last Four Months?? Gwennedd, Daily Kos (Nov. 2014). (“Our main media, CBC, does not provide any coverage of the many, many spills and gas releases that happen every month, nor the efforts to clean up the messes. They’re simply not considered news.”)

Darren Wilson Breaks His Silence: I’m Sorry, And I Would Shoot Michael Brown Again. Badash, D., The New Civil Rights Movement (Nov. 2014). [#sorrynotsorry -Ed.]

Near-collisions between drones, airliners surge, new FAA reports show. Whitlock, C., The Washington Post (Nov. 2014).

Barack Obama, Ferguson, and the Evidence of Things Unsaid: Violence works. Nonviolence does too. Coates, T.N., The Atlantic (Nov. 2014).

Do not judge a person, until you know their story. oldnerdybasterd, The Meta Picture (Nov. 2013).

The Feminist Vampire Movie That Teaches ‘Bad Men’ a Gory Lesson. Barcella, L., Jezebel (Nov. 2014).

The Debunking Handbook. John Cook, J. and Lewandowsky, S., Skeptical Science (Jan. 2012). (pdf)

‘I can’t think of a time when it was worse’: US abortion doctors speak out. McVeigh, K., The Guardian (Nov. 2014).

Women find their voice in Ferguson protest movement. Pearce, M., Los Angeles Times (Nov. 2014).

I Belong to Me: Learning Agency & Consent Outside Christianity. Kelly, D., Patheos (Nov. 2014).

Everything We Know So Far About The Oil Rig Explosion In The Gulf Of Mexico. Atkin, E., Think Progress (Nov. 2014).

Violence isn’t the answer, unless I’m asking the question. Cromwell, I., Crommunist (Nov. 2014).

Man stabbed 9 times after asking catcaller to stop harassing his girlfriend. Kutner, J., Salon (Nov. 2014).

Battered Victim Marissa Alexander Back In Jail On Plea Bargain – Florida Injustice Wins Again. Salzillo, L., Daily Kos (Nov. 2014).

No One Wanted to Talk About Bill Cosby’s Alleged Crimes Because He Made White America Feel Good About Race. Traister, R., New Republic (Nov. 2014).

Bad Teeth, Bad People: Another Way Privileged America Shames The Poor. Parker, E., If You Only News (Nov. 2014).

5 Thanksgiving Disasters You’re Probably Not Prepared For. Cheese, J., Cracked (Nov. 2011).

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PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Reading.

library4

Wrinkles in Spacetime: The Warped Astrophysics of Interstellar. Rogers, A., Wired (Oct. 2014). (“Most Interstellar viewers will see these images—the wormhole, the black hole, the weird light—and think, ‘Whoa. That’s beautiful.’ Thorne looks at them and thinks, ‘Whoa. That’s true.’”)

World’s Longest Snake Has Virgin Birth—First Recorded in Species: An 11-year-old reticulated python produced six babies without mating. Qui, L., National Geographic (Oct. 2014).

School Shooter Identified as Freshman Football Player. The Wall Street Journal via Associated Press (Oct. 2014).

GM’s hit and run: How a lawyer, mechanic, and engineer blew open the worst auto scandal in history. Penenberg, A.L., Pando Daily (Oct. 2014).

S4E7 – #GamerGate. Olson, D., Chez Apocalypse (Oct. 2014). (“A look at Base Assumptions as a critical tool as applied to the GamerGate movement.”) (VIDEO) (FIVE STARS. -Ed.)

Palestine2Ferguson Contingent Shows Power of Unity. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (Oct. 2014).

There’s a surprisingly strong link between climate change and violence. Mooney, C., The Washington Post (Oct. 2014). (“Bottom line: In an ever warming world, expect more wars, civil unrest, and strife, and also more violent crime in general.”)

Easter Islanders also made voyages to the New World. Graham, K., Digital Journal (Oct. 2014). (“Rapa Nui people met with early South Americans, well before Europeans came visiting.”)

Entitlement Culture War. Thibeault, J., FreeThoughtBlogs (Oct. 2014).

You already have bed bugs. Now get ready to deal with rat mites. Holmes, D., Pando Daily (Oct. 2014). (Jeezus. -Ed.)

Which Foods are the Worst for the Environment? Berger, M., The Weather Channel (Oct. 2014).

20 Things New Yorkers Older Than 40 Did. And will never do again. It was a great time to be a New Yorker. copyranter, BuzzFeed (Jul. 2013). [h/t Josephine.]

Houston Man Charged with Raping Teen, Toddler, Both of Whom Now Have HIV. Edwards, B., The Root (Oct. 2014). [TRIGGER WARNING: rape, child sexual assault.]

Evo Morales: A Bolivian idol. Bolivia’s president talks about the country’s ongoing socio-economic transformation and his third term in officeAl Jazeera (Oct. 2014).

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For the Quote collection:

I have no regrets – in fact, I am pleased to have expelled the US ambassador, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and to have closed the US military base in Bolivia. Now, without a US ambassador, there is less conspiracy, and more political stability and social stability. Without the International Monetary Fund, we are better off economically. -Evo Morales, Bolivian President

When the United States was in control of counternarcotics, the US governments used drug trafficking for purely geopolitical purposes …. The US uses drug trafficking and terrorism for political control …. We have nationalised the fight against drug trafficking. -Evo Morales, Bolivian President

Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy. -Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

The issues are too important to be left for the voters. -Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.” … But since the Freedom of Information Act, I’m afraid to say things like that. -Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. -Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations (Meeting of the “40 Committee” on covert action in Chile 27 June 1970)

Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. -Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. -Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true. -Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

The war is just when the intention that causes it to be undertaken is just. The will is therefore the principle element that must be considered, not the means… He who intends to kill the guilty sometimes faultlessly shed the blood of the innocents…In short, the end justifies the means. -Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

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NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Recent reading.

library4Walmart heirs working to kill affordable rooftop solar power. Clawson, L., Daily Kos (Oct. 2014).

DHS raids investigative journalist; seizes confidential list of whistleblowers. Site Staff, Police State USA (Oct. 2014). (“I never in my wildest dreams thought something like that could happen in this country.”)

This Teacher Gives Money From His Own Pocket To Feed His Hungry First-Graders. Gregoire, C., Huffington Post (Sep. 2014).

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. 2014 Annual Report. (pdf)

Black teen in white foster home pepper-sprayed by police who mistook him for burglar. Kaufman, S., Raw Story (Oct. 2014).

Consensus: 97% of climate scientists agree. NASA. (“Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities.” And the other 3% are either employed by the Koch brothers or work at Jeezus-y places. -Ed.]

Germany is killing its economy – and Europe’s, too. O’Brien, M., The Washington Post (Oct. 2014). [It’s the austerity, stupid. -Ed.]

The Homeless – 39 Questions For Your Reflection. O’Connor, M., Kindness Blog (Oct. 2014).

For the Palace Quote collection:

weirdosareyourtribeWhen you find people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them with glad cries of “Me, too!” be sure to cherish them. Because those weirdos are your tribe. -Sweatpants&Coffee (via)

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NOTÍCIA: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Recent reading + quips for the quote collection.

 

library4

How the War in Syria is About Oil, not ISIS. Gibson, C., The Anti-media (Sep. 2014).

Mentally ill NC inmate dies of thirst after water denied during 35-day solitary confinement. Gettys, T., Raw Story (Oct. 2014).

Study on reproductive rights and domestic violence: Being denied an abortion “tethered women to violent men”. McDonough, K., Salon (Sep. 2014). (“A groundbreaking study on the effects of unintended pregnancy on women’s lives reveals the dangers of denying care.”)

The big “middle class” rip-off: How a short sale taught me rich people’s ethics. Lyngar, E., Salon (Sep. 2014). (“So many of us are clueless about business and finance. Here’s why that’s just the way the investment class likes it.”)

Most People With Addiction Simply Grow Out of It: Why Is This Widely Denied? Szalavitz, M., Alternet (Sep. 2014).

Scalia admits: Government can promote religion over non-religion. LtPowers, Daily Kos (Oct. 2014).

ACLU Sues To Stop Alabama From Putting Pregnant Teens Who Seek Abortions On Trial. Esselink, J.A., The New Civil Rights Movement (Oct. 2014).

Latest Scientific Evidence Should Be Death Blow to Artificial Sweeteners. LeVaux, A., Alternet (Sep. 2014).

Ancient Oregon Caves May Upend Understanding of Humans in America. Voice of America via Reuters (Oct. 2014).

13 things Cary Elwes revealed about ‘The Princess Bride’ in his Reddit AMA. Todd, C., Entertainment Weekly (Oct. 2014).

Inequality is killing American babies. Matthews, D., Vox (Oct. 2014). (“Higher postneonatal mortality in the US is due entirely, or almost entirely, to high mortality among less advantaged groups.”)

Mayors: Against the Wind. Pearson, G., The Parallel Parliament (Oct. 2014). (“One of the insights you discover in researching how successful mayors around the world operate is that virtually none of them claim to run their respective cities like a business.”)

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For the Quote Collection, let’s hear some wise words from Antonin Scalia, US Supreme Court Justice:

We do Him [God] honor in our pledge of allegiance, in all our public ceremonies. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is in the best of American traditions, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I think we have to fight that tendency of the secularists to impose it on all of us through the Constitution. -Antonin Scalia

Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. -Antonin Scalia

The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state. -Antonin Scalia

Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive. -Antonin Scalia

I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over nonreligion. -Antonin Scalia

It’s a long, uphill fight to get back to original orthodoxy. We have two ‘originalists’ on the Supreme Court. That’s something. -Antonin Scalia

Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. -Antonin Scalia [This is a very brave man, indeed! -Ed.]

You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My god! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the devil! Most of mankind has believed in the devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the devil. -Antonin Scalia

What can they do to me? It’s even better than academic tenure — I get life tenure! Antonin Scalia

Ugh. Christ, what an asshole. Fucking gross. On a much brighter note, please enjoy these from Sean Carroll, cosmologist and physicist:

I wish to argue that religious belief necessarily entails certain statements about how the universe works, that these statements can be judged as scientific hypotheses, and that as such they should be rejected in favor of alternative ways of understanding the universe. -Sean Carroll, cosmologist and physicist

Consider a hypothetical world in which science had developed to something like its current state of progress, but nobody had yet thought of God. It seems unlikely that an imaginative thinker in this world, upon proposing God as a solution to various cosmological puzzles, would be met with enthusiasm. -Sean Carroll, cosmologist and physicist

We are looking for a complete, coherent, and simple understanding of reality. Given what we know about the universe, there seems to be no reason to invoke God as part of this description. -Sean Carroll, cosmologist and physicist

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Acquisition of links and bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual. Especially not with that fascist shitweasel Scalia. Personally mooning him remains at the number 1 spot on our bucket list.

Recent reads, new quotes.

German universities scrap all tuition fees. Charter, D., The Times (Sep. 2014). [Christ, what a socialist nightmare. -Ed.]

White House exempts Syria airstrikes from tight standards on civilian deaths: Amid reports of women and children killed in U.S. air offensive, official says the ‘near certainty’ policy doesn’t apply. Isikoff, M., Yahoo News (Sep. 2014).

Police Chief Asked Medical Examiner to Change Autopsy Report To Match Officer Testimony, He Does. Vibes, J., The Free Thought Project (Sep. 2014).

US jobs that returned after 2008 recession pay 23 percent less. RT.com (Aug. 2014).

20 percent of American workers have lost their job during the last 5 years. RT.com (Sep. 2014).

World wildlife populations halved in 40 years – report. Harrabin, R., BBC (Sep. 2014). (“The society’s report, in conjunction with the pressure group WWF, says humans are cutting down trees more quickly than they can re-grow, harvesting more fish than the oceans can re-stock, pumping water from rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them, and emitting more carbon than oceans and forests can absorb.”)

US and Afghanistan sign security deal: Pact allows 10,000 American troops to remain in the country and raises hopes for improved US-Afghan relations. Rasmussen, S.E., The Guardian (Sep. 2014). [This has worked out so well in Iraq. -Ed.]

Reality TV star Jessa Duggar blames the Holocaust on the theory of evolution. Dolan, E.W., Raw Story (Sep. 2014). [WHAT. -Ed.]

Haredim refuse to sit next to women on El Al flight, causing ’11-hour-nightmare’. Blumenthal, I., Jewish World (Sep. 2014). [Does it make me a terrible person that I go out of my way to brush up against Haredim on crowded subways? Probably. And yet I have no intention of stopping. -Ed.]

Stop Interrupting Me: Gender, Conversation Dominance, and Listener Bias. Kirkpatrick, J., Women In Astronomy (Jul. 2014). (“Having a seat at the table is not the same as having a voice.”)

How a Black Gay Mormon Kid Lost His Faith. James, G., The Root (Sep. 2014). [TW: rape, homophobia.]

Woman working 4 jobs to make ends meet dies while napping in car between shifts. RT.com (Aug. 2014). [The American Dream! -Ed.]

The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater. Erica, Northwest Edible Life (Aug 2012). [OMFG LOL. -Ed.]

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For our world-renowned QUOTE collection, some words from Elie Wiesel [h/t SJ]:

Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our lives will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.

War dehumanizes, war diminishes, war debases all those who wage it.

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

None of us is in a position to eliminate war, but it is our obligation to denounce it and expose it in all its hideousness. War leaves no victors, only victims. [Not so: America’s Owners are the victors. -Ed.]

A destruction only man can provoke, only man can prevent.

No human being is illegal.

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NOTE PLZ: Acquisition of quotes and links for the Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

MOAR reedz 4 Ur infotainment.

Coke and Pepsi concede that maybe soda is bad for you. Ferdman, R.A., The Washington Post (Sep. 2014).

Skeptical Spectacle: Mansplain in the membrane. Lubchansky, M., Medium.com The Nib (Sep. 2014). (Webcomic)

Andrew Cuomo wants to endorse a Republican, of course. kos, Daily Kos (Sep. 2014). (“Cuomo has worked hard to keep Republicans in power in the [New York State] Senate, from signing their aggressive gerrymander into law, to conspiring with corrupt rebel Democrats to keep Republicans in power.”)

Alaska reporter outs herself as pro-pot activist in epic on-air resignation: ‘F*ck it, I quit’. Gettys, T., Raw Story (Sep. 2014). [with VIDEO]

Why you’re wrong about communism: 7 huge misconceptions about it (and capitalism). Myerson, J., Salon (Feb. 2014).

The Forsaken: A Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens Are Being Cast Out by Religious Families. Morris, A., Rolling Stone (Sep. 2014).

So why does Cracked CONSTANTLY push Feminist propaganda so hard? Bowie, S., Cracked (tumblog).

@RichardDawkins…We Are Not Allies. Hevenstone, N., Atheism, Music, and More… (Sep. 2014). (“I’m no longer above working alongside religious people to achieve those goals. Malala Yousafzai is a Muslim. John Fugelsang believes in Jesus. Melissa Harris-Perry is a Unitarian Universalist. bell hooks is very spiritual. Kelly Barnhill is Catholic. Nelson Mandela was a Methodist. And yet I would rather fight alongside all of them for social justice than Michael Shermer and Penn Jillette and Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris for even just atheism.”)

I survived an illegal abortion. Moreland Johns, F., Boing Boing (Sep. 2014).

Rape trauma: Why cops may think victims are lying. Research » Reaction to trauma can account for fragmented, sketchy stories. Smart, C., The Salt Lake Tribune (Jun. 2014).

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NOTE: The acquisition of links for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization, source or individual.

Iris the Idiot’s Kitchen: Finger Sandwiches. From Hell.

fingersandwiches02Mothers Day brunch 2014.
Lovely and delicious and a HUGE fucking pain in the ass.

It has become family tradition on Mothers Day for Your Humble Monarch™ to make finger sandwiches for her mom, sister and nieces—and now, for her Amazing Lover™’s mom, too.

Don’t ask me how this shit got started. It’s not that I don’t know, it’s that I really don’t want to talk about it. Suffice it to say that rather than take everyone out to brunch one year on Mothers Day, I decided I’d try my hand at finger sandwiches this one time, and, well, everyone loooooved them and now it’s A Big Fucking Thing. Relatively speaking, though, I’ll take making finger sandwiches for the moms in my life once a year over, say, bearing and raising actual children. Jeezus.

Yes, they are quite delicious and truly lovely. But beyond that, there is absolutely nothing to recommend finger sandwiches whatsoever. The process of making them is ridiculously time consuming, and that’s to say nothing of the work of gathering the ingredients in advance. They are also expensive, particularly if you’re an unrepentant food snob like I am and just have to use only the best quality ingredients one can find. They are neither vegan nor vegetarian, nor gluten free, nor dairy free, nor salt free—in fact, anyone eating them is practically begging for an instantaneous cardiac arrest. Furthermore, making these little fuckers unleashes an ungodly mess, transforming your once-tidy kitchen into what looks like the scene of several simultaneous biblical plagues (plagues, by the way, which you will have neither the time nor the energy left over to clean up). But in my opinion, the very worst sin of the finger sandwich, by far, is the enormous amount of food wasted: we are talking waaaay beyond mere decadence here, and into the realm of unforgivable evil.* So let’s get started, shall we?

First, one must decide on the sandwiches. There are plenty of books and online resources for amazing finger sandwich recipes, and I definitely don’t want to discourage you from exploring them. But I’m really more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-hey-I-wonder-if-pepperoni-and-cream-cheese-would-make-a-good-finger-sandwich-OMG-yum! kinda gal, so I’ll just take you through this year’s menu:

  • pepperoni & cream cheese on semolina, roasted red pepper garnish
  • cranberry almond chicken salad on raisin pecan bread, cranberry garnish
  • egg salad on potato bread, parsley garnish
  • ham & brie with apples on rye, parsley garnish
  • pickled tuna salad on whole wheat, parsley garnish
  • cucumber & cream cheese on white, parsley garnish

CHOOSING BREADS

In general: consider different colors and especially textures of breads, and pair sandwich ingredients accordingly. For example, chicken salad is chunky and heavy so only a hearty and dense bread can stand up to it, whereas potato bread is very soft and delicate and can just about hold a thin layer of egg salad without collapsing. Likewise, multiple ingredients add up, so a stack of ham and brie and apples needs a much sturdier bread than a couple of thin slices of cucumber.

Advance prep tip: if you intend to trek all over your entire county procuring various breads from particular bake shops (see: “unrepentant food snob” above; see also: “idiot”), or worse, make these breads yourself (?!!! What.), you can freeze the loaves when they’re fresh and defrost them right before you’re ready to start assembling sandwiches. Do yourself a favor and request the loaves be machine-sliced if possible: that kind of slice uniformity is pretty much unattainable by hand slicing, and it will save you time.

CHOOSING SANDWICH INGREDIENTS

In general: Make sure to choose spreads, salads and sandwich fillings that you like, since you’re going to be eating most of it anyway out of the towering piles of scraps you will generate. You will require a metric fuckton of butter (I prefer unsalted but YMMV). For sandwiches that do not contain cream cheese, estimate about one stick (4 oz.) of butter per loaf of bread. You may also/instead find you need an equally absurd quantity of cream cheese; estimate about one package (8 oz.) per loaf of bread. In any event you will need a small amount of cream cheese in order to affix garnishes to your sandwiches. (Until, that is, you inevitably say fuck it and start “garnishing” your sandwiches with colorful cocktail toothpicks or whatever else you can scrounge up around your house. Candy corn? Wine corks? Origami paper? Get creative! Practically anything beats carefully selecting, cutting, dipping in cream cheese and perfectly applying fresh little parsley leaves to dozens of sandwiches. ffs.)

The magic key to this whole finger sandwich thing really is the butter and cream cheese. The critical property these substances share is their ability to create an impermeable barrier between the bread and the sandwich filling, such that no soggy bread shall mar your Mothers Day. Thus, the butter (or cream cheese) must be properly applied to your bread slices thusly:

breadyep^Yep.

Nope:

breadnopeAdvance prep tip: If you do nothing else in advance, set out your metric fuckton of butter and/or cream cheese to soften overnight. Unfortunately, most of these sandwich fillings cannot be prepared very far in advance. Most do not survive freezing very well (except for the pepperoni and cream cheese sandwiches, which seem to do just fine). But what you can do the day before you assemble the sandwiches are things like buy fresh parsley, hard boil and peel eggs for egg salad, cook and dice up chicken for chicken salad, wash and drain fruits, vegetables and fresh parsley—anything you can think of, really. Tomorrow’s gonna suck.

ASSEMBLY & CUTTING

In general: This part will take all fucking day, so clear your calendar, make room in your refrigerator, and open a nice bottle of wine before proceeding. Pour a glass, and repeat as necessary throughout the day.

pepperoni & cream cheese on semolina, roasted red pepper garnish

pepperonicrcheese

  • 2 loaves semolina bread (about 12 slices each)—I like LaBrea
  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese
  • 1/2 pound slicing pepperoni (available at most supermarket deli counters), thinly sliced
  • roasted red peppers, sliced into small strips (for garnish)

yield: about 24-30 finger sandwiches, depending on size and shape of bread slices.

Spread a layer of cream cheese evenly onto each slice of bread. Completely cover every slice of bread with one layer of pepperoni. On half the slices, spread a thin layer of cream cheese, then press them together with the remaining slices, lining up the crusts as much as possible (the cream cheese in the center will hold the two layers of pepperoni together). Slice off the crust and discard, then slice into shapes as desired. Thoroughly blot small strips of roasted red pepper on paper towels, and apply one to the center of each finger sandwich with a dab of cream cheese.

HOW TO CUT A WONKY-SHAPED LOAF INTO PERFECT TRIANGLES:

cuttingtrianglesscraps? nom nom nom…

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cranberry almond chicken salad on raisin pecan bread, cranberry garnish.

cranberryalmondchicken

  • 2 small loaves raisin pecan bread (about 10 slices each)
  • about 1 ½ sticks (6 oz.) butter, softened
  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 3 cups (12 oz.) sliced almonds
  • 1 package (5 oz.) dried cranberries
  • mayonnaise (start with two heaping tablespoons, and gradually mix in more little by little as necessary until ingredients stick and hold together well)
  • salt to taste
  • tiny amount of cream cheese for attaching cranberry garnish

yield: about 18-20 finger sandwiches, depending on the size and shape of bread slices.

Set aside some dried cranberries for garnish; chop up the rest. In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, almonds and chopped cranberries. Mix in mayo in small amounts until the mixture holds together well. Add salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate.

cranberryalmondchicken2Spread a thin layer of butter onto each slice of bread. Spread the chicken salad mixture evenly onto half the bread slices. (I find a fork to be helpful here.) Press the rest of the raisin bread slices onto the chicken salad, lining up the crusts as much as possible. With a sharp bread knife cut off the crusts and discard, then slice each remaining sandwich in half or thirds: I end up with diamond shapes, triangles and trapezoids. It doesn’t matter—they’re all pretty. Affix a cranberry to the top of each finger sandwich with a dab of cream cheese (NOTE: I use more cream cheese here than I normally would because I like the way the white sets off the color of the cranberry. I am weird.)

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egg salad on potato bread, fresh parsley garnish

eggsalad

  • one standard sized loaf of potato bread (about 14 slices)
  • one stick butter (4 oz.)
  • one dozen large eggs, hard boiled
  • mayonnaise (start with two tablespoons, and gradually add more little by little as necessary until texture is creamy)
  • salt to taste
  • parsley leaves (for garnish)
  • tiny amount of cream cheese to attach garnish

yield: about 14 finger sandwiches.

Chop the hard boiled eggs up into little pieces and put them in a mixing bowl. Add the mayo, and thoroughly mix it all up with a fork, adding more mayo gradually if necessary until the mixture is evenly creamy. Mix in salt to taste, cover and refrigerate.

Spread a thin layer of butter onto each slice of potato bread. Spread the egg salad evenly onto half the bread slices (I find a fork helpful here). Place the rest of the bread slices on top, and press gently. With a sharp bread knife cut off the crusts and discard, then slice the remaining square in half, either diagonally to make triangles or straight down the middle to make rectangles. Affix a leaf of parsley to the top of each finger sandwich with a dab of cream cheese.

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ham & brie with apples on rye, parsley garnish

hamapplebrie

  • 2 loaves seedless rye bread (about 12 slices each)
  • about 1½ sticks (6 oz.) butter, softened
  • 3 packages (7 oz. each) thin-sliced deli ham—I like Applegate Naturals Uncured Slow Cooked
  • 3 wedges of brie
  • 3 green apples: golden delicious if you like sweet, granny smith for more tart
  • fresh parsley, for garnish
  • tiny amount of cream cheese to affix garnish

yield: about 24 finger sandwiches.

Spread a thin layer of butter onto each slice of bread. Core and slice the apples into thin sections, and cover half the bread slices with a layer of apples. Remove the wax coating from the brie wedges, and slice/spread/press a layer of brie more or less evenly onto each apple layer. The goal here is to make sure the apple slices are sealed between the butter and brie (take that, American Heart Association!). Thoroughly blot the ham slices on paper towels, and layer them evenly onto the brie. Place the remaining bread slices onto the ham, and press gently. With a sharp bread knife cut off the crusts and discard, then slice the remaining square in half. Affix a leaf of parsley to the top of each finger sandwich with a dab of cream cheese.

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pickled tuna salad on whole wheat, parsley garnish

tuna

  • 2 loaves of whole wheat bread (about 12 slices each)
  • 2 sticks (4 oz. each) butter, softened
  • 2 large cans (12 oz. each) and 2 small cans (5 oz. each) of tuna, well drained—I like solid white albacore in water.
  • 3 Tbsp. sweet relish
  • mayonnaise (start with two large tablespoons, and gradually add more little by little as necessary until tuna/relish mixture holds together)
  • salt to taste
  • fresh parsley, for garnish (alternative: slice of baby gherkin pickle, thoroughly blotted on paper towel)
  • tiny amount of cream cheese to affix garnish.

yield: about 24 finger sandwiches.

In a mixing bowl, combine tuna, sweet relish and mayo. Mix well with a fork, breaking up larger chunks of tuna and adding mayo if necessary until the mixture holds together. Add salt to taste, cover and refrigerate.

Spread a thin layer of butter onto each slice of wheat bread. Spread the tuna salad evenly onto half the bread slices. (I find a fork helpful for forming an even layer.) Place the rest of the bread slices on top, and press gently. With a sharp bread knife cut off the crusts and discard, then slice the remaining square in half, either diagonally to make triangles or straight down the middle to make rectangles. Affix a leaf of parsley (or slice of baby gherkin pickle) to the top of each finger sandwich with a dab of cream cheese.

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cucumber & cream cheese on white, parsley garnish

cucumbercrcheese

  • 1 loaf white bread (about 12 slices)
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese—at least.
  • 1 large cucumber (or 2 small)
  • salt to taste
  • fresh parsley for garnish
  • tiny amount of cream cheese to affix garnish.

yield: about 12 finger sandwiches.

Peel and slice the cucumber: slices should be just thick enough that they hold their form and are not floppy when you pick them up. Spread them out on paper towels, and press another layer of paper towels on top of them to blot thoroughly. Remove the top layer of paper towels and sprinkle the cucumber slices with a dusting of salt. Set aside.

Spread an even layer of cream cheese on each slice of bread. Completely cover every slice with a layer of cucumber. On half the slices, spread a thin layer of cream cheese, then press them together with the remaining slices, lining up the crusts as much as possible (the cream cheese in the center will hold the two layers of cucumber together). Slice off the crust, then slice into shapes as desired. Affix a leaf of parsley to the top of each finger sandwich with a dab of cream cheese.

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STORING

After you make each type of finger sandwich, cover them with plastic wrap, and store in sealed containers in the refrigerator until ready to plate and serve. I use plastic takeout food containers I’ve saved, and stack up the sturdier sandwiches in a cake storage container (with plastic wrap between layers). They will stay fresh for a few days.

PLATING

Place paper doilies on a serving platter—this helps keep the bottom layer of bread from getting soggy. Make a first layer in the center of the platter with your sturdiest finger sandwiches, and build a pyramid with the rest of the sandwiches from the center up and out from there. As much as possible, try to keep the most delicate ones out from under heavier sandwiches or multiple layers. Pick a pretty one for the very top. A few berries (strawberries or raspberries) add a nice splash of color.

BONUS TIP: I’ve picked up some really nice platters at my local thrift shop very inexpensively. They add to the presentation and make a nice Mothers Day gift. Along with the fucking sandwiches.

platters

Thrift shop platters: cheap, for realz.

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*One of the best ways I’ve found to mitigate the unconscionable wastefulness of this craptastic undertaking is to have friends, lovers or kids around to nosh on the mountains of crusty scraps and delicious fillings you will inevitably end up with. It’s best to plan such visits in shifts, because as I said this will take all fucking day. If anyone asks whether they can help or bring anything, say unhesitatingly “More wine.” Alternatively, you can just toss the leftover scraps into a big bowl rather than into the garbage, and keep them covered and refrigerated. They’ll be good for a few days, and kids apparently enjoy picking through your garbage and eating it.