Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'd Like to (Blank) the Academy

Ugh.  Torture.

Seriously, if they're looking to close Guantanamo, just show the prisoners the first 20 minutes of this year's Oscars.  If they know where Bin Laden is, we'll have him by sundown.

Now, I love me some Neil Patrick Harris.  And I really love me some singing Neil Patrick Harris in shiny tuxedo pants. (And...how do you know that the Neil I keep referring to in my blog isn't Neil Patrick Harris?  Ok, it's not - though the idea of Neil Patrick Harris cooking me a pork roast is too funny.)

What wasn't funny was his opening number.  Brilliant at the Tonys.  Hilarious at the Emmys.  Painfully embarassing at the Oscars.  Plus, Neil Patrick Harris dancing with a showgirl is like handing my Mom your Blackberry.  It's fun to watch, but she has no idea what to do with it.

Also, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin - yeah, they got funnier as the night went on, but that opening sketch dragged.  Not funny (though the Damn Helen Mirren/Dame Helen Mirren joke tickled me.)  Oh, and scowling at Goerge Clooney isn't any funnier now than it was in 1983 and they did it with Jack Nicholson.

Plus - were there any surprises?  Mo'Nique.  Christoph Waltz.  Blah blah blah.  When the biggest surprise is the adapted screenplay award, you're in for a dull evening.  I wanted me some Rob Lowe dancing with Snow White.  I wanted Whoopi in whiteface.  I wanted a surprise victory for Morgan Freeman and a speech dedicated to the teacher who inspired him when he was just a poor girl from Harlem with two kids and an abusive mother.

The most entertaining thing that aired all night was the McDonald's Filet-O-Fish commercial (seen it a hundred times, could watch it for hours.  Gimme back my Filet-O-Fish.  Gimme my fish.)  That, and the fact that they've cut the discussion the Scientific and Technical Awards to a four-second group photo introduced by poor Elizabeth Banks, who should have just come out and said, "Apparently I'm not big enough to present an actual award, so here's a group photo from last night's Dork Dinner.  Hope you get a real Oscar someday!"

So, now I'm in Vegas.  Why are the flights to Vegas always full?  The economy's in such deep decline I routinely get upgraded on the way to LA and San Francisco, but Vegas is packed.  With an average passenger weight of 265 pounds, not counting hairspray and velour, these flights are nightmares in the skies.  It's really disoreinting - on other flights, the passengers drinking at 8 am are either alcoholics or fearful fliers; on the Vegas flights - who knows.  People get on board and they're on vacation.  Manners go out the window.  The ladies next to me had four drinks a piece - before 10am (and NOT Bloodys or Mimosas) - and sang the Gilligan's Island theme song.

By the way - I do finally have a new recipe for you this week.  Neil made a delicious Mexican Pulled Pork to accompany the Oscars, and it was delicious.  He based it on a Food Network recipe, but he changed it up a little.  I'll reprint it below.

The big event of the weekend was my sister's surprise birthday party.  She'd kill me if I posted the pictures of her dancing on the table.

But I like to live on the edge.

Yes, it's a blurry mess, but...if the shoe fits.  (In all seriousness, Happy Birthday, Rach ---I'm glad you had a good time.)

Speaking of having a good time, Neil and I are celebrating our anniversary on Thursday - five years ago we met, struck dumb with nascent love (and way too much alcohol), and managed to exchange phone numbers and spell our respective names correctly.  It's true, folks, love really can find you anywhere. (Hey, it found me, totally trashed, in a bar on 19th street.)

So we're heading to Hawaii to celebrate.  Neil's never been (and he hates to fly, so it's sort of a gift and sort of torture - like our relationship.)  If you've got any suggestions for dining on Kauai, let me know.  We're headed out in April, but you can expect a post to rival the Mediterranean Cruise when we return.

The Last Word:

Do This, New York:

Make Neil's Pulled Pork (by the way - they go a little crazy with the lime juice, here - I don't think it needs that much.  Oh - and add a little more salt.

3 medium or 2 large russet potatoes to equal about a pound, peeled and diced

1 (2 to 3-pound) pork loin

1/2 yellow onion, whole, plus 1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, smashed

2 bay leaves

12 ounces raw chorizo, casing removed and crumbled

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped (seeded and ribbed for less heat)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram


For serving:

16 corn or flour tortillas

Lime wedges

1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves


Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Add the salt, bring to a boil and cook until tender, 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

Place the pork in a large pot of cold water. Add the onion half, the garlic, and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently until the pork is cooked through and is no longer pink in the center, about 45 minutes. Remove the pork from the water and set it aside until it is cool enough to handle (discard the cooking liquid). Using your fingers or 2 forks, shred the meat into small pieces and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute crumbled chorizo until completely cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a paper towel lined plate. Add the chopped onions to the chorizo skillet and cook until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shredded pork, the tomatoes, and the chipotle chiles. Cook until the tomatoes break down and release their juices, about 5 minutes. Return the potatoes and cooked chorizo to the pan. Stir in the vinegar, thyme, marjoram and salt, to taste. Continue to cook over medium heat until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

While the pork cooks, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tortilla and warm for 10 to 15 seconds. Flip the tortilla over and continue to warm until the tortilla is pliable and heated through, another 10 to 20 seconds. Place warm tortillas in a tortilla warmer or on a plate, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside; repeat with the remaining tortillas (or warm the tortillas in the microwave: stack them on a plate and cover with a damp cloth; microwave for 30 seconds and keep them covered until you're ready to serve).
To Serve:

Place the pulled pork in a serving bowl or bring to the table in the cooking pot. Arrange the limes, avocado, and cilantro on a platter. Pass warm tortillas so each diner can fill a tortilla with some of the meat and accompaniments. Squeeze lime juice over each serving.

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