January 31, 2011

No spider eating required

Survivor starts February 16. If you want to play along with Jill and me, here are the rules:

1. Pick yourself. (Kelly Taylor style!) Check out all of the contestants in the first episode. Choose who is most like yourself. This is not the person you think is most likely to win. This is the person, out of the entire group, that is most like you. Jill usually picks a blonde, I usually pick a brunette. If there's someone kind of mean and snarky, I tend to pick her as "myself." Your pick doesn't necessary have to look like you, or even be the same gender. There just needs to be some kind of shared connection. Last season, Jill's Survivor Self was an older ER doctor with short red hair, but they had the same name.
Previous Survivor Self picks:
  • Tocantins -- Me: Erinn, Jill: Sierra.
  • Samoa -- Me: Laura, Jill: Ashley
  • Heroes vs. Villains: -- Me: Parvati, Jill: Courtney
  • Nicaragua -- Me: Brenda, Jill: Jill

2. Pick your alliance. This rule is new. After you've chosen your Survivor self, you can pick two additional players to be your "alliance." You'll want to pick people you think will make it to the end. They do not need to be on the same tribe as your Survivor Self. (Remember: this isn't real.)

  1. The person with the Survivor Self or Alliance member that lasts the longest wins. There is no prize (other than the title of Fake Sole Survivor), so the scoring doesn't get anymore technical than that.
  2. No cheating by looking up spoilers. (I say this mostly to myself, as I love looking up spoilers.) You can look them up after you make your picks.
  3. Picks must be final before episode 2. Use cbs.com/survivor to look over the bios for all of the Survivors. Episode 1 rarely features everyone, especially when there's a returning cast member gimmick like this season. Be prepared for The Russell and Rob Show, at least until they get voted out.

January 19, 2011

I swear I'm not turning this into a food blog

But I found another really tasty recipe. This is even better than the Tuna Tarragon Salad, because it's SO GOOD for you. Less than 300 calories a serving, and only 5 grams of fat. The recipe makes two servings. (Source. As if I could make up my own recipe.)

Cantonese chicken and corn soup

1-inch piece of fresh ginger—peeled
3 cups chicken broth (I fancy up the broth by boiling it with 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, 1 onion, and 2 sprigs of parsley for 30 minutes, then straining out the vegetables.)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
¾ cup canned creamed corn
1 oz (30g) dried rice vermicelli noodles
1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour) mixed to a paste with 1 tablespoon water
½ cup skinless rotisserie chicken breast—finely shredded
1 scallion (spring onion)—thinly sliced

CRUSH the piece of ginger with the side of a large knife blade, keeping it in one piece. PUT the ginger, stock, soy sauce and sesame oil in a saucepan and bring to the boil. REDUCE the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, then remove the piece of ginger. ADD the creamed corn, noodles and scallion and simmer for a further 3 minutes. STIR in the cornstarch paste and keep stirring as the soup thickens. ADD the shredded chicken breast, warm through, then serve.

P.S. I know I should take pictures of these recipes. I actually did take one of the pasta salad, but according to Jill it looked like maggots. I swear, it didn't taste like maggots. So I figure the recipes are better without my pictures. Though the actual picture of the pasta salad can't be worse than repeated use of the word "maggots" in a post about food.

Look, here's a picture of this lovely soup.

(I didn't take this picture, but it really does end up looking like this.)

January 6, 2011

Tuna Tarragon Pasta Salad

This is my new favorite recipe. If you've ever been to Sweet Tomatoes, they have this in their salad bar. I got the recipe from here, and when I made it, I only used shell pasta, I didn't coat the pasta with oil, I didn't put in celery, and I used regular black pepper instead of white pepper. DELICIOUS.

1 tablespoon salt
5 cups small shell pasta
1 1/4 cups penne pasta
1 cup spinach fettuccine (3-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 (6 ounce) cans tuna in water
2 cups sweet pickle juice (small jar contains about 1 cup)
1 3/4 cups mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups sweet pickles (diced)
1 cup celery (diced)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons dried tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  1. For the pasta: In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a full boil. Add pastas and cook for about 10 minutes until al dente. Immediately strain pasta and cool by running cold water over pasta in strainer. Drain pasta completely and place in a bowl. Coat pasta with canola oil to prevent sticking.
  2. For the dressing: Place tuna in a large bowl and break down into small pieces. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and thoroughly whisk to combine.
  3. Combine the dressing and cooked pasta and mix thoroughly. ALLOW SALAD TO MARINATE FOR 8 HOURS! After 8 hours, top with more pickle juice and salt and pepper to taste.

January 2, 2011

Crash and Burn

You ever start listening to a song over the restaurant speakers or at a store in the mall and get this overwhelming feeling I know this song. Not just realizing you'd heard it before somewhere, but knowing that this song was significant to you on some emotional level, many many years ago. It overwhelms you like some potent, long-forgotten aroma. You can't figure out the name or or the artist, but you can sing along to all the words. Then you get embarrassed, because the song is super cheesy, but you know at one point in your life, you truly felt that this song really spoke to the anguished depths of your teen-aged soul.

Jill and I were eating at Red Robin when this song came on (link to youtube video), and we both shared that similar moment. And omg I just watched the video and he does sign language. Remember in high school and seminary when adding sign language was really the super special cherry on top that launched a musical performance from dab-your-eyes spiritual to so-uplifting-that-I-would-be-terribly-ungrateful-if-I-did-not-share-my-testimony-with-you-right now! (Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh. But I blame my aversion to overt spiritual manipulation on the girl who taught relief society lessons in college using Enya songs and clips of the World Trade Center being attacked.)

Once we figured out what that song was (is it from a Disney movie? is it used in some epic amv? why do we both instantly react to this song?), we laughed over our awkward sentimentality:
Jill: I do not want to tell you about the memory associated with this song, it's too embarrassing.
Me: Was it about Adam or Chad?
Jill: Neither. It was about Jesus.
Song: When you feel all alone / And the world has turned its back on you / If you need to crash then crash and burn / You're not alone
Me: Yeah, I can see that.

Disclaimer: I still kind of love that song, and may have watched the music video more than once today.