Thursday, January 29, 2009

Boring Salads, Sci-Fi, and Flatiron Steaks!

Tonight was a night for beef. Not pork. Beef. But before we get around the the beef and the specific cut thereof, we must discuss another boring salad.

The remainder of the Campari tomatoes accompanied some mixed greens, goat cheese, and pecans. I'm wondering if I should even bother mentioning the salads anymore. Maybe instead I could use the beginning portion of each blog entry to run an entry from my new Sci-Fi Serial: Space Phalanx: The Human-Zzintar Wars.

It was the year 3519. Mankind's reach into the stars had grown to encompass the Milky Way and several adjoining galaxies. Baron Tzar-liki, the Kin-Taru warlord, had sent a massive amount of insectazoid combatants to meet the humans in fierce interstellar battle.

Space conflict, initiated by the evil Mentarillian insectazoids, ran rampant throughout the entire known universe. Many starships set off from the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies to fight against the evil insectazoids. Fewer than many returned back from battle (because they had been killed by the insectazoids).

It was said that a human would be born that could finally give the insectazoids a proper thumpin'. That man was named Kintaur Rosenbaum, and this is his story . . .

Stay tuned for more of Space Phalanx: The Human-Zzintar Wars, coming soon!

For dinner I made some flatiron steaks. Why flatiron steaks? Two reasons: 1.) they were cheap. 2.) That's the building where the Daily Bugle is. That's where Peter Parker works, dog!

I was initially tempted to shape the steaks like the Flatiron building and cook them that way. After further consideration I thought that maybe that might be a little tacky. Maybe!

I boiled up some of the farm potato and turnips with some carrot, steamed some broccoli, carmelized some shallots and garlic in a pan, and barely seared the steaks on both sides.

Overall the steaks were delicious and surprisingly tender for the low price. It's all about value in this new economy!

For dessert we had some caramel macadamia popcorn I received from Jen's mother for Christmas. The first three ingredients in the popcorn: brown sugar, corn syrup, and sugar. That's right. Popcorn is the fourth ingredient by weight in this popcorn. That's how you know it's going to be good.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rising From Mediocrity (with Campari!)

Last night I wanted to go to bed at 7:30PM but instead I was a trooper, made an extremely mediocre salmon dish for dinner when Jen got home late, then went to bed at 10:00PM.

Tonight I had a bit more energy so dinner was moderately more inspired! With our last farm share yet to come my inspiration has been noticeably lacking in the weeks past.

For the salad I bought some Campari Tomatoes because they looked good. That got me thinking, What if I made a salad dressing using Campari? So I cut up a Honeybell Tangerine, mixed it with some Campari, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of agave nectar. I poured that over the sliced Campari Tomatoes and and greens. I wouldn't call this dressing a triumph. Jen enjoyed it quite a bit but I thought it was an experiment that turned out okay at best.

For dinner I made some sweet potato gnocchi with garlic, shallots, white wine, turkey stock, tomato, and broccoli. This dish had the opposite effect as the salad being more popular with me than with Jen.

Given that we're all done with dinner at the super early hour of 9:00PM we are looking forward to picking up our Rock Band game which we've been ignoring for the past week and a half.

Intrepid Bunyips is about to melt your face with intense rhythyms and tasty guitar bass licks.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

All-Star Dinner

This week Jen had the pleasure of going to everyone's favorite state: Utah! While she was off hanging out with her peeps in Salt Lake City I was living the bachelor life back in New York. I spent the majority of this time blowing my nose as I was was suddenly hit with a terrific cold. Luckily it was quick-moving enough that I was still able to function, go to work, and make uninspired meals.

One such uninspired meal began with leftover tofu, the remaining basil pesto from the fridge, greens, and some toasted naan bread. I rolled it up and ate it like a sandwich. A vegan salad sandwich.

But cleaning out the fridge was not the only thing I did while Jen was away. I also tended to my crops.

As you can see, the thyme in our AeroGarden is practically taking over the apartment. Just look at how tiny it makes FDR's head look!

Jen returned late last night, too late for dinner. This morning we wasted several hours on Sporcle and were suddenly hungry. I quickly whipped up some miso soup for lunch and then we watched Ghost Town and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a fantastic afternoon double feature!

For dinner was Jen's favorite: roast chicken, an official welcome home after her journey to everyone's favorite state.

After dinner we started watching the NHL All-Star Game. The commentators on Versus talked about how Montreal is synonymous with hockey. I do not think that word means what they think it means. They're also talking a lot about how the ghosts of the old Montreal Forum have somehow traveled to the new arena and they're all watching the game. It's unclear exactly how they accomplished this. Perhaps it was via some sort of supernatural bus line. Undead Greyhound, perhaps?

I can't wait until the intermission tarot card reading!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Something's Fishy (Maybe It's The Fish Soup!)

Saturday we were invited to an impromptu dinner at Joe & Ryan's. It was a pretty cold night. I think they ran out of degrees that night. The walk from the car to the apartment was a brutal, tooth-clattering affair but when we walked in the view of the crackling Duraflame Log and the smell of the tomato soup filled the air.

The dinner was fantastic. We had little truffle-buttered grilled cheeses, herbed white beans, roasted carrots and parsnips and carrots, and a hearty tomato soup with goat cheese. Their new apartment is great. I'm not sure what I enjoyed more, the fireplace or Independence Day playing in the background just low enought that you couldn't quite make out the dialogue. Strangely, I've never actually seen Independence Day but I think I understood the plot pretty well. I can't believe that Will Smith was one of the aliens! And Bill Pullman couldn't possible have been the president. They wouldn't let the president fly a fighter jet in active combat against aliens! The president must have been that little girl that Bill Pullman was holding and comforting through 50% of the movies.

Leftover osso bucco makes one of my favorite dishes, Veal Ragout. I simply reheated the leftover osso bucco, gently removed the meat from the bones and served the sauce over some egg noodles with a little truffle oil and grated Parmesan. It made a great snowy afternoon lunch.

Tonight, on a snowy evening, Jen made some fish stew. Mediterranean fish stew to be precise. What makes it Mediterranean? I don't know. The tomatoes, maybe? The tomatoes that are in no way native to the Mediterranean. Yeah, that must be it.

I also had a glass of pastis and we both shared salads made with a drizzle of fresh orange juice (the rest going into the soup).

Sadly we opened one of our olive tapenade jars from France and it had gone bad. We both had a little on some baguette before determining that it had gone well past its prime. Hopefully we don't die from eating ancient tapenade.

However, if we do, you will know the reason why this was our last blog entry. See you later on in the week! We hope!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cold Night, Hot Stew, New Words!

With temperatures dipping down into the single digit numbers, today was thought by many to be the coldest of the year. At least in New York City. Our radiator which we've only used twice in four-and-a-half years, was very slow to start this afternoon so it was a great day to make something which required the oven to be on for many hours. That something was Osso Bucco.

First off we had a salad with the remainder of our farm greens, some red onion, and some pecans. For dressing I used the remainder of the yogurt dressing that Jen had made the other day. There were about two tablespoons in a gigantic bowl in the fridge so it served a dual purpose of being delicious and getting that damn bowl out of the fridge.

I cooked the Osso Bucco for about three hours using some remaining turkey stock and turnips, carrots, onion, and parsnips from the farm. When it's eight degrees out there is nothing quite as delicious as some steaming hot stewed meat. I just wish I had cooked it some sort of cast iron cauldron. Sort of like the one Yoda had on Dagobah, except the stew would invoke a more positive from the Luke character (i.e. Jen).

Somehow I feel like I lost control of that last paragraph. Let's continue!

The wine I used in cooking the Osso Bucco (and in drinking with dinner) was a wine called Archetype. It even said on the front of the bottle: "Archetype: the quintessence of shiraz." This wine thought of everything! It even had a dictionary definition of the word archetype on the back label just in case I didn't know what that word meant! If I hadn't read the back label I would have assumed that archetype meant: a poor example of shiraz that is actually 51% cabernet. I think I may keep the bottle for this one so I have a reference in case I forget what the word archetype means.

I like a wine that teaches you vocabulary.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Blog Is Mightier Than The Swordfish (I Know, Weak)

Tonight I had some elaborate plans for dinner, however, things came up that made them devolve into something notably more pedestrian. That something was me re-installing The Sims 2 after a couple of years after not playing it. It runs as smooth as butter on the new computer. Unfortunately one thing lead to another and I ended up putting dinner together last minute. As always, The Sims causes one to neglect things in their real life to focus on making successful lives for their Sims.

So it goes.

I made a repeat salad of beet, blue cheese, and mixed greens. The blue cheese is the only thing that wasn't from the farm. I must say, the blue cheese was even more delicious after reading this ridiculous piece of vegan propoganda horse crap the other day. That article may have been more effective if they used some "Live Science" that wasn't known by the average person in 1753.

For the main course I marinated some swordfish steaks in the still remaining Seggiano raw basil pesto. I browned them in a pan, tossed in some of the farm chard, baked a potato, and boiled some carrots. In retrospect I should have peeled the carrots for the picture. They look quite dull with the skin still on but after peeling it back they were beautiful bright orange and yellow.

After dinner we had intentions to play Rock Band 2 but it was getting late and Jen got sucked into The Sims.

There are precious few farm vegetables left from our winter share. It looks like the next three weeks may again bring us to cooking largely with non farm vegetables. There's only one more winter share pickup to go. Then it'll be about four months until the farm share gets started back up.

What does one blog about if there are no vegetables? I guess we may have to find something interesting. What a drag!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Char! Pescetarianism!

I heard a rumor recently that char was the new black. I was also told some ten years ago that if I was to cook for the emperor of Japan, I should cook char. Granted, that was in a pamphlet handed to me by the International Char Lobby (or whatever they call themselves) but still, it has stayed with ever since.

When I spotted some fresh char on special today I knew that I would have to take it home for dinner. Not because I was expecting the emperor to stop by (though it wouldn't be entirely uncharacteristic -- dude owes me twenty bucks) but because I thought it might make a nice dinner.

More on that later. First, a boring salad!

Jen's mother got us an Aero Garden for Christmas (much to Jen's father's dismay) and we hooked it up on Saturday. So far, we don't have any herbs, but we have had a fair amount of light. It puts off a shocking amount of light. When I got home from work today and saw the light gleaming from the table my first thought was that someone had broken a hole in the wall. If I'd been thinking clearly I'd have realized that even if someone removed the wall entirely it would not bring any more light into our apartment's sad, dark alley window.

For the salad I used some remaining farm greens, other greens, farm beets, leftover blue cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper.

I roasted some of the farm vegetables (garlic, onion, baby carrots, turnips), and some other vegetables I still had in the crisper (parsnips, celery). When they were just about done I tossed in the char fillet and roasted it with the veggies for another 15 minutes or so until it was just a little underdone.

To accompany the char we had some extremely unremarkable dry white wine. After dinner we even had a delicious cupcake (not pictured) that was made with some unholy bright blue buttercream frosting. Nothing so wrong ever tasted so right.

So, overall, I'd have to say that if I was serving dinner for the emperor of Japan, I may choose to serve him char. I may also go for salmon because I am not convinced that his highness's palette is refined enough to tell the difference.

Char on!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Salad Days

Today was a work day for both me and Nate -- him officially and me unofficially. While Nate toiled at Whole Foods, I have been sitting in the couch writing stories for work -- Nate benefits from getting to be around coworkers and being officially paid for the day, but I get to have "The Empire Strikes Back" on as I write. Decide for yourself who wins in this scenario.

Anyhow, since Nate was away, making dinner for myself fell to, well, me. I had a few parameters:

1) It's incredibly cold in our apartment today, so I wanted something warm
2) We had delicious leftovers in the fridge that it would be a shame to waste
3) As has been the quest lately, I wanted something filling and delicious that would come in under 500 calories.

What I decided on met, more or less, all three. Using greens from the share as a base, I made a standard salad by adding chopped red onion, sliced celery, diced pecans and half of an apple from the share. I warmed up some of the blue potatoes from yesterday, as well as the remaining slices of pork, and put them on the salad. I also made a dressing for the salad with some of the plain yogurt, lemon juice, horseradish, a splash of hot sauce, a sprinkling of sugar and salt and pepper, along with a drizzle of olive oil. That, along with a sprinkling of some of the cheddar, made for a pretty good warm winter salad that was satisfying (at least so far, but it's only been 15 minutes or so), leftover-intensive, and, if my calculations are correct, a shade under 400 calories. Now, if the salad also put away the supplies used to make it and did the dishes it was made on, that would be the greatest ever. But you can't have everything!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Scotty Does . . . Eat Vegetables

Today was promising to be snowy day so I headed out early with my good friend Scott to pick up the third month of our winter farm share. We headed out in early morning just as the snow was beginning to fall.

This month we got blue potatoes, apples, pears, salad greens, kale, carrots, beets, turnips, onions, and garlic.

Scott, the drummer of rock bands Scotty Don't and Badfish, was visiting because we were fortunate enough to win a contest. As the winners of the "Win A Dream Dinner With The Drummer Of Scotty Don't" contest we were able to have Scott over for dinner and cook for him. This was a great honor. Earlier in the summer we'd won the "Have The Drummer For Badfish Be A Groomsman At Your Wedding" contest. Earlier in my life I'd also won the "Have The Drummer For Badfish Sit In The Seat In Front Of You In Fifth Grade" contest.

It's starting to look like some of these contests may have been fixed. I swear, I'm just lucky.

We started off with some cheeses (aged cheddar, Arina, and Danish Blue). We also had some Roogle wine. Scott, however, did not partake because he had to drive. Now, that's responsible rock and roll!

For the salad I used the mixed greens and cooked up some of the baby yellow beets. I also used a little goat cheese and pecans. Scott claimed to never have had a beet he liked before.

That's because he'd never had a beet cooked by me. My patented boiling technique is legendary.

I also made some "fried" calamari (actually baked) that were quite good served with a sauce I made out of mayo, ketchup, whole grain mustard, cider vinegar, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.

For the main course I simply boiled some of the blue potatoes and made a nice pan roasted pork tenderloin. The calamari sauce also worked well with the pork.

Before dinner we played a little Rock Band 2 where Scott, not impressed with the drums, did a solid job on the guitar. I think he may have learned a thing or two from my drum fills on "Chop Suey."

Then, after watching the Ras Trent video several times and giggling like a pack of little girls, Scott was on his way and our dream date was over.

Luckily I think we may be in the running to win the "Go To See Jesus Christ Superstar With The Drummer Of Badfish This April And Maybe Hang Out Too" contest. Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

400 Calories or Less

In an ongoing quest to work through some of our leftovers and aging pantry/freezer items, tonight was another quest to see what I could quickly throw together after work.

I started with a simple salad. I marinated some leftover tofu in some of the Seggiano vegan pesto we had left over in the fridge. I topped the salad with a few pecan halves and sliced shallots.

For the main course I carmelized some shallots with a little garlic in a tiny amount of olive oil. I sliced up some crimini mushrooms, cooked them down a bit, then used the juice they released to steam some chicken breasts. On any normal day I may have hit that sauce with a touch of butter to thicken it up, but not today. I just added a little white wine to finish off the very simple sauce.

Since I don't live in some magical part of the world this dish was notably lacking some desperately needed fresh herbs, specifically thyme and sage. I didn't bother using their dried counterparts. I just wasn't in the mood.

Along with the chicken I repurposed some of the goat cheese, cranberry, and apricot raviolis as well as the remaining butternut squash from last night.

Jen ran the tape and figured out that the whole dinner was only 376 calories. None too shabby. We figured out that if we had cocaine instead of dessert it would serve a dual purpose: 1.) It has 0 calories (I think). 2.) It would curb our appetite thus resulting in an ingestion of fewer calories overall. It's a pretty sound plan.

I think we're really getting the hang of this healthy cooking thing. Now we just need a supplier.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year's Revolution. HEALTH Revolution!

Attention, Veg-adies, and Veg-entlemen! Tonight the phoenix of our holiday eating and somewhat indulgent diets exploded in a glorious multi-colored flame only to be reborn as a health conscious, quasi-hypocritical phoenix of lofty goals and expectation for the new year.

Did I go too far with that metaphor? That might have been a meta-five. ZING!

I used up the rest of the mixed greens in our fridge in conjunction the remaining mozzarella and the leftover cilantro chutney from last night's Indian take out. I wasn't sure if this was going to work but it was actually quite delicious. A few almonds on top of the salad really finished it off.

I poached some sole fillets in white wine, lemon, bay leaf, salt, pepper, a touch of hot sauce, salt, pepper, and a little Old Bay seasoning. I steamed the broccoli, boiled and mashed the butternut with salt and pepper, and baked a potato. The butternut from the farm was quite delicious. Jen wished that she was a baby so that she could eat lots of it. I'm not sure why she can't do the same as an adult.

After dinner Jen crunched the numbers to discover that the total caloric value for the meal was 430 calories.

To accompany our dinner we made some white wine spritzers. Jen's logic is that if you add a lot of sparkling water to some white wine it's like you get to drink more wine!

Now we just have to figure out a way to add seltzer water to chocolate fudge. I'm going to get into my culinary lab and get to work on that.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

An Unexpected Pleasure

Today I had the pleasure of traveling through three of the five boroughs and a good number of seedy locations in New Jersey. I got home a little later than expected to receive a call from Paul with a brilliant idea. He and Caolan would come over, we would exchange Christmas gifts, and we would play Rock Band 2. This was a pretty good idea. Our average month for exchanging Christmas gifts over the past five years had probably been April so to get it done by Epiphany is progress worthy of note!

When I got home I was shocked to discover that the computer parts I'd ordered yesterday had already arrived. I was somehow able to clean the apartment, build my new computer, and have Windows installed before Jen returned home from work and our company arrived. (The 1.5 terabyte hard drive format would take the remainder of the evening).

We got (and gave) loads of great presents including the DVD of The Librarian. This was a great surprise because I had no idea I wanted it. I didn't even know it existed! Now I can't wait to watch it!

With the sudden guests and the loads of Rock Band to be played we ordered out from Kismat and enjoyed Chicken Tikka Masala, Saag Matar Paneer, Kobi Aloo Matar, Aloo Bengan, Samosas and Naan.

Afterward Meow Meow Frijoles's Mach IV lineup rocked out. This is a fairly atypical Tuesday evening for us after work. I was assuming I'd make some sort of soup out of the remaining butternut squash but instead we had an action-packed evening with presents, Indian food, and good old fashioned Rock and Roll.

This Saturday we'll be getting our next Farm Share delivery. Only one more winter share delivery after that. Perhaps we should change the URL to until June.

Just a thought.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rock Shrimpster!

Last night we had a party. Well, more like an open house. People came in shifts and ate food, drank wine, and played Rock Band 2. The priority of these items tended to fall in the exact reverse of the order listed.

I would like to say that our menu for the party was chiefly inspired by the items of food that we were looking to cook. However, that statement would be false. While we didn't verbally acknowledge it I think we selected the items for our menu mainly based on what would be the quickest, easiest, and -- most importantly -- allow us the most time to play Rock Band 2.

Having very little to do we fired up the Wii pretty early and our band (which recently changed its name to "The Intrepid Bunyips" after a trademark dispute and subsequent bitter court battle) worked hard to generate 100,000 fans which, realistically, means we can make upwards of $60 per gig.

After several hours of rocking out our guests arrived and we had to provide them with food as promised. What a hassle!

We started off with a version of a dip we had at my cousin's house on Christmas day. It might have the greatest simplicity to ease of preparation ratio of anything I've ever made in my life. It's simply some cream cheese with some boiled shrimp and cocktail sauce but it's maybe the most delicious spread ever to accompany a cracker. Marvelous!

We also made pizza with shaved fennel and mozzarella. Yeah, that old hat.

After snacks the band Meow Meow Frijoles was born. We were a Dublin-based band that was able to buy a van and drive to Paris. That, you see, was all part of our rock and roll fantasy.

Tonight we had a great reprise of our shrimp dip as well as a mixed greens salad with shaved fennel, Arina goat cheese, and tabouli.

Jen used the meat which we'd intended for our tourtière to make Swedish meatballs. They were quite delicious. Jen's goal was to have them be close to as good as the Ikea Swedish meatballs which, as we all know, is the gold standard for all Swedish meatball recipes.

We also had some more of the leftover pizza and some of the pate from New Year's Eve.

Then Jen hid behind a plant. The perfect end to a perfect evening!

Friday, January 2, 2009

More Latkes and Rock and Roll

Jen's getting a little stir crazy from staying in the house for the past few days. I, however, was delighted to return home from work early (though not early enough since it was technically my day off) and have a quick lunch before settling in to watch the NHL Winter Classic that Jen had TiVoed. Falling asleep on the couch during the game while the Red Wings soundly destroyed the Blackhawks and it began to snow outside our window may have been one of the highlights of my life so far.

It wasn't all fun and games. We had work to do. Unicorn Babies needed to gain more fans (or money, or something)so that we could hire a merchandise manager (or something) in our game of Rockband 2. We were able to master a few songs and put on an abysmal performance of Bon Jovi's already abysmal "Livin' on a Prayer" to catapult our band to performances where we inexplicably gain 3,000 fans per show but somehow only clear $60. The burn on my hand has made me need to revert to jazz style drumming or "cooking eggs." That has added a new element of challenge.

As we have company coming over tomorrow we decided to clean out the fridge as much as possible. We had a salad of mixed greens, avocado, red onion, horseradish, celery, lemon, and olive oil. That made use of a number of space wasters. Oh, and I guess it was fairly tasty as well.

For dinner: more latkes! We got rid of the rest of the batter for dinner with a little apple sauce and sour cream.

We even polished off the remaining Clairette from New Year's Eve which maintained it's fizziness pretty well.

I'd love to continue talking about all this nonsense, but the fact of the matter is that Unicorn Babies has some gigs booked in Austin this evening. I've got to run so I can lay down a nasty jazz-style beat to backup a Fleetwood Mac song.

Did I mention that my drummer is named Toad King?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cooking in the New Year

I was planning on updating the blog last night but I ended up getting too wrecked. Not drunk, physically destroyed by my attempt to make dinner and do fifteen things at once after getting home from work. The results left me unable to type or do anything requiring two hands. More on that later! <-- nice teaser

The night started off poorly. While peeling some of the remaining potatoes from the farm I dropped one into the garbage can. After coming up with a long string of creative curses I was interrupted by Jen's optimistic appraisal of the situation. She postulated that the potato would be fine if we just washed it off. While that is probably true I converted her to my way of thinking when I removed this comically dirty potato from the trash.

I should have been able to sense the palpable foreboding in the air after this incident.

Jen served up some of the Pate Rustignac we'd gotten in Paris. Jen wasn't as taken with it as I was and that may have had something to do with the weird coagulated fat that it was packed in. While the fat was a little off-putting I found it to be delicious on slices of bread.

For the next course Jen made the Tagliatelle from my stocking with a little of the Clairette, some shrimp, scallops, garlic, lemon zest, and seafood broth (also from my stocking) that I'd enriched with some lobster shells.

We determined that the Clairette was a little too sweet for dinner so we corked it up and opened a bottle that had been given to me by some coworkers. This was much more dinner appropriate. Things were really shaping up after the potato debacle!

Jen also prepared our third course which was a classic winter salad for us: mixed greens, lemon, goat cheese, pomegranate, and pecans.

For the main course I seared some beef tenderloin steaks and accompanied it with a lobster bordelaise sauce and truffled mashed potatoes (one of the few remaining farm share items left). Unfortunately during the plating of this meal, tragedy struck.

I took the filets out of the oven and put the pan on the stove. Then, while rushing around and plating up the entree I foolishly picked up the 350 degree pan in a shocking recreation of a restaurant injury I sustained in 1996. Unlike the 1996 fiasco I was not a terrifically inexperienced cook. I wish I could blame the 5 ounces of Champagne I'd consumed for this injury but unfortunately it was just good old-fashioned careless stupidity.

As I reprised my cursing from the earlier potato incident`I ran my hand under the thankfully freezing water coming from our kitchen faucet. It was then that I started to smell burning accompanied by a fearful scream by Jen. I turned around to see one of our nice towels from France on fire. As I held my hand under the water I threw the towel to the floor and stomped out the flames.

That made the plating in the previous picture the last real thing I did that evening. This was likely the most painful burn I've ever gotten. No amount of aloe or ice could completely dull the pain, even accompanied by four Maximum Strength Tylenol and half a bottle of Champagne.

I tried leaving my hand off the ice but I could only stand a maximum of 45 seconds before I had to clutch at the ice again in desperation. While I was no longer able to type in this state I was sort of able to eat with a fork, with my left hand, if Jen cut up my food like I was a tiny child.

Jen had made some chocolate chewies earlier in the day and I enjoyed a couple of them while I polished off a little brandy to further dull the pain. I was pretty sure that the worst of the evening was behind me until the ice pack I was holding broke open and spilled all over my pants.

Then, thinking the worst was again behind me, we somehow lost the TiVo remote and we were forced to watch FOX coverage of the ball dropping which was probably the worst TV coverage of anything I've ever seen in my life. The guy actually started telling some lame story, missed the beginning of the countdown, then had to catch up at around the eight or seven of the countdown. Then they cut to a horrible Robbie Knievel stunt which they filmed at such a poor angle that it made it look like he didn't jump anything at all.

At some point in the evening I fell asleep holding a fresh ice pack. Luckily my experience had taught me that burns hurt like hell but the pain only lasts about six to eight hours. By the time I woke up in the middle of the night the pain was 95% gone. I woke up this morning with a stiff and sore hand but I had regained the ability to type (and complain).

So it was a great start. Get ready, 2009! This is gonna be my year!