A Food Blog Dangerous for Computer Screens

April 3, 2008

I don’t know why I hadn’t discovered Thursday Night Smackdown before today, but it required the blog’s creator, Michelle Weber, to post a comment here before my eyes were opened. But when I ventured over to see what Weber’s site was about, my eyes weren’t just opened, they were bloodshot. I had to close my door to stop bothering my co-workers from my laughing. This woman is warped. Michelle is twisted. She’s profane. And she’s really goddamn funny. (And what do you know, she’s a lawyer, too — that explains everything/)

The premise of the blog is that each Thursday, Michelle attempts to cook something from her growing cookbook collection, and then chronicle her adventures on the blog. But this isn’t just a recital of the steps she took combined with a handful of gorgeous, back-lit photos with minimalized depth of field — this is in your face, full frontal, non-stop comedy. If you’re drinking something while reading Weber’s blog, you’ll spray it all over your screen and keyboard. I mean, anyone who can bring back memories of the classic Barnes & Barnes’ “Fish Heads” song combined with a creative way of frying up chopped tuna (fish lollipops, anyone?) is OK in my book.

The information is really good, too. Weber is instructive, but these are recipes and advice that you actually want to read.

Thursday Night Smackdown isn’t for everyone. It’s not for kids, that’s for sure (unless they’re Quentin Tarantino’s progeny). But if you don’t mind profanity, sarcasm, bombastic commentary, and just plain fun, then check it out. Even though we’re only in early April, I’m naming TNS as my Blog of the Year (and what an honor that is!).

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Asparagus in Season — Spring Officially Here

April 3, 2008

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I had to drop some stuff off at Poole’s Downtown Diner a few minutes ago, and while there, I asked Ashley Christensen what she had on the menu tonight. “Asparagus — first of the season,” she replied with a goofy grin on her face.

Oh, asparagus, how I love thee.

Asparagus is such a wonderful vegetable and goes well with so many things. You can roast it, steam it, stir fry it, grill it or boil it. You can add it to salads or make it the focal point of its own salad. It goes well with dairy, be it cheese or cream-based sauces. It makes a great filling for ravioli, and asparagus soup is a beautiful bowl of tasty green. One of my favorite dishes is asparagus topped with a poached egg and shavings of pecorino romano and lots of pepper. I’ve made asparagus and sour cream omelettes.

But what I love most about asparagus is its symbolism: asparagus represents to me the true beginning of spring. Strawberries will soon follow, and then the farmers markets will be filled with all sorts of goodies. The dull browns of winter’s root vegetables and heavy dishes will be replaced with the vibrant polychrome of summer’s bounty. And the flavors!

So head out to the farmers market and pick up some Spring — in convenient, tasty, spear-shaped servings.