Monday, December 20, 2010

I Want Some Dadgum Buh-Scoddy



I believe it was the immortal Barney Rubble who once remarked, "'Tis the season to be sharing, Fred." In honor of the solemn or sparkly or solemnly sparkly holidays of December, I would like to share a cookie photo or two. Tonight, I tried out the "Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti" recipe from Veganomicon:







This puffed dough log, which has to cool for half an hour before slicing, looks pretty obscene. Trust me, the raunchiness is fleeting.



Sliced and delicate 'scotti, ready for another 12 minutes of baking to achieve ultimate crispness. Side note: I used chopped hazelnuts from the baking aisle instead of the whole ones the recipe called for. The Shop Rite produce department came up short *sad and confounded emoticon*. No worries, though; chopped nuts work fine as an emergency alternative.

A cookie attack cooling on the rack. This crunchy and rich cocoa density was totally worth the effort!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brunch with blog 'scuse me? (at Tara's)

Over the summer, Tara made us a great brunch before a mini road trip to South Jersey.


On the brunch menu at Tara's, a damn fine cup of coffee, tofu scramble with spinach (and maybe some other green), soy sausage patty, and toast. Add some late morning cartoons and you've got brunch perfection. If only Jem and The Holograms were on, I would have been in heaven.

On to the reason for this post:
I have been reading many of the other excellent blogs involved in VeganMoFo and I saw some insanely delicious looking tofu Benedict food porn:

ieattrees.com
www.cestlavegan.com
www.vegancooking.com
vegintraing.blogspot.com

...even the Girlie Girl Army

And so, Tara, I am just suggesting that next time we do brunch at your place, we make tofu Benedict. Maybe some fresh squeezed orange juice too?

Did someone say apple pie?




It's the last day of VeganMoFo and I'd like to share with you, my pride and joy, my strategy for a superior apple pie.

Disclaimer: This is not a recipe, it is a way of manipulating any apple pie recipe into what I consider a good apple pie. Constructive criticism is welcome.

I used to use the Pillsbury ready made dough, but since becoming vegan I just make my own. It's not difficult, it tastes more homemade, and you usually end up with a little extra dough which I'll explain why that's a good thing later.


I've tried out a few pie dough recipes, but lately I really like the one in Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Joy Of Vegan Baking. I use the 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, 1/2 cup shortening variation of her recipe. It gives you that perfect balance between flakiness and workability. If you don't own the Joy Of Vegan Baking, which I suggest you do, Martha Stewart also has a good basic pie dough recipe, just replace the butter with non-hydrogenated margarine. I add a little more sugar to both of these recipes because I like a sweet dough.


You need about 5-6 apples for a pie. I use only granny smith apple and I cut them as thin as possible. This is entirely up to your preference.


For the cinnamon/sugar/flour/nutmeg/salt mixture, I typically start with any recipe I can find just for the basics. I use the Pillsbury perfect apple pie a lot. Taste the mixture, keep the sugar and cinnamon out, add more cinnamon, taste it again. If it gets too cinnamony, add more sugar. Wait until mixture makes your mouth water just a bit, then it's ready! Put a thin layer of the sugary mixture at the bottom of the pie before the apples. Add a layer of apples, then more of the sugary mixture, continue layer by layer.


Sugary apple mountain...


Here's an easy way to make your pie crust look pretty.


Poke holes, make slits, have fun with it. Sometimes I like to put my initials in the pie.


When the pie is in the oven, to prevent the end crusts from over baking, I put some foil on the edges and then when the pie has about 15 minutes left in the oven I take them off to give it some color.


Now while your pie is in the oven and you have a little extra pie dough lying around. Take those extra pieces and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar or any leftover sugary mixture on top and pop it in the oven after the pie comes out. (My mom put a little almond milk on the dough before the cinnamon and sugar, but that's not necessary.)


After the pie, turn the oven temperature down a bit and cook them until they get a golden brown. This is the perfect treat while you patiently wait for the pie to cool down.


The finished product!


Look at that awesome flaky crust... LOOK AT IT! To the left is an equally delicious pumpkin pie yet again from The Joy Of Vegan Baking. On the right is my delicious apple pie.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HomeFoodz: Shop Rite is Awesome

There are few things more annoying than walking into a supermarket and finding that wilted produce and bottled water are the extent of the vegan-friendly options. Big reason to appreciate my local Shop Rite, which seems to get vegan-friendlier all the time and is even including Tofurkey roasts in its annual "rack up points, get a holiday entree" thingy.

When I don't feel like cooking a full dinner, here are a couple of Shop Rite offerings that come to my rescue:

Tofutti Pan Crust Pizza Pizzaz! Yummy as can be with or without toppings. I sauteed and seasoned frozen spinach and sliced a few queen olives for a flavorful, green touch.
The Shop Rite salad bar does it up nicely. I mixed a parsleyish, oniony salad with a bean salad, added a few stuffed grape leaves, and sauteed fresh spinach in oil and a heavy sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

How does your supermarket treat you? Lots of vegan goodies or disappointments galore? Found any big surprises e.g. Tofurkey sausage next to the hideous pork products? Please share!








Friday, November 5, 2010

Nanner Nirvana

I had been itching for weeks to try Vegan Brunch's Banana Rabanada (Brazilian French Toast) recipe, and figured I'd give it a shot as kickoff to my series of VeganMoFo experiments. I totally understand why this dish is traditionally served at Christmas; it's rich, sweet, and cozy. Like a beagle puppy who got his lil' mits on the winning scratch-off.

Two very ripe nanners, almond milk, vanilla, and cornstarch ready to spin. Shockingly, I remembered to put the lid on beforehand.

Whole wheat baguette slices soaking up banana custard. I could have face-planted in the baking pan at this point.


Sizzlin'....the kitchen filled with the scents of warm banana and vanilla, and all was right with the world. Eh scratch that - all was right in my apartment.





The final result, heavily dusted with cocoa powder and cinnamon and slathered in Smart Balance and maple syrup. The perfect partner for a cup of hot coffee with almond milk. YUM-O*


*The second image is available for rental if you go through the black curtain at the back of the Palmer Video.




















Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brunch with blog 'scuse me?

Brunch at Caravan of Dreams

Caravan is great vegan restaurant located on East 6th Street in the East Village in New York. This place is also an excellent option for brunch. If you order off the prix fixe menu, you get a house salad, coffee or tea, and sangria or juice with brunch. Apparently, this is the rare brunch spot that serves both red and white sangria, so the temptation to get crocked before teatime is a solid one.


Coffee and Sangria

A caffeine jolt plus some hair of the Smart Dog? You'll be dancing on your hangover's grave in no time.


House Salad


Mediterranean Brunch

That's a pile of awesome right there. Perfectly cooked greens, Spanish rice, and more seitan than you handle.


Country Breakfast Platter

Berries are mixed into the pancake batter. That's a fancy country right there.


Caravan Breakfast Burrito

A burrito jam packed with veggies and tofu scramble. The perfect cure for that Sunday morning ehhhh feel.


...and a look inside!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vegan MoFo 2010



It's everyone's favorite time of year, when blog 'scuse me? enters a month long food coma. We've been working hard all year to come up with some exciting Vegan MoFo content. Consider this our least lame Vegan MoFo ever! So what do we have in store for you?
  • Brunch with blog 'scuse me? - adventures with me and Tara to find the perfect weekend midday meal.

  • Cupcake Throwdown! - a friendly competition of vegan cupcakery.

  • Vegan food porn posts on our twitter and tumblr.

  • The blog 'scuse me? IMDB Bottom 100 Movie Club - where we watch the worst movies as rated by everyone's favorite internet movie database, discuss it on our facebook page, then post our reviews.
This month's movie: Troll 2

A story about goblins in the town of Nilbog who love to eat their "vegetables". The rare sequel that surpasses the original.

...and much more so stay tuned!

Check out more blogs participating in this year's Vegan MoFo!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The New Jersey Life of Macaroni Rascals


Episode 2: "The Jersey Shore" @ Yahoo! Video

As a trashy Jersey blog, we feel obligated to discuss our state's beloved fossil watch wearing orange trolls.

Some updates point by point:

  • Snooks has a book! A Shore Thing: How to Date an Oompa Loompa will be Nicole "Hold My Earrings" Polizzi's debut novel. Includes invaluable advice on how to deal with the beer shits and how to pretend you remember hooking up with the grenade grundle chode you wake up next to.
  • Sammi "Doorstop Toe" Sweetheart is rounding out Season 2 with the same whispery-voiced desperation we loved in Season 1. Brava!
  • Refer to Bullet Point 1! Lil' Snicks not only writes books, SHE READS!
  • C-c-c-c-CATFIGHT!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cocktails and Dinosaurs: News and Libations for the Weekend of October 1, 2010

Semi weekly/monthly/biannual posts that contain obsolete information no one cares about anymore, except for me.


I saw this guy last night or another spider-like man that pulls a rickshaw while doing awesome acrobatic things.
  • Max Weinberg and Conan O'Brien break off their longtime relationship as bandleader and talk show host. Rumor has it Max joined a collective created to defend New Jersey against MTV executives and the cast of Jersey Shore.*

  • Most Stolen Sign in NYC

  • The FBI finally found Waldo! ...but what about the man with the beard?

  • UN names Official Alien Spacecraft Greeter... I can't believe my dream job actual existed and I got snubbed by the UN!

  • Warm summer nights just got a little bit colder. Could the lightning bug be on the brink of extinction? They were my favorite bug to catch and then watch fly away and then catch again... help save them!

Cocktail of the Week:

I don't know what this is called but it tastes like a banana runt. It's a mixture of vodka, midori melon liquor, and pineapple juice. It is quite delicious if you like runts.

Next time, expect a less girly, less sweet libation and please give me suggestions.

Send any news tidbits and cocktails ideas to: monicatara@gmail.com

*By rumor, I am referring to something I made up and presume would be a great idea.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Things That Are Scaring The Crap Out Of Me Right Now

I was innocently watching tv tonight when this popped on to retard my sleep for the rest of the month:






The little white dog's uncharacteristic arm movements represent begging anyone who'll listen to mercy-kill him. "AND WE WON! (In my Snuggie)."

I've been really jazzed about this anti-proud-parent site lately. What terrifies me is that when I Facebook-stalk, I find at least one update or status comment in the identical vein. I am quickly getting convinced that when people in Generations X or Y conceive a child, they develop an as-yet-undiagnosed condition (I will call it UberLove Syndrome) that compels them to feel and speak the same child-centric way. But no worries - they wouldn't change a thing!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last but last least, here is the video for MGMT's new song, "Congratulations". Nothing says horror and sadness like an emaciated quadruped ostrich slowly dying in the desert.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sisterhood of the Traveling Crap

A list of the 20 Worst Chick Flicks of the Past 20 Years, ranked according to an average of critics' scores upon each movie's release, is now on Metacritic.com. Metacritic also offers its assessment of what defines a chick flick:

"...most if not all films that fall in the romance or romantic comedy genre are...considered to be chick flicks...any film that uses the word 'love' in the title - or, even better, 'bride' or 'wedding' - is almost certain to be a chick flick."

Duly noted; there are, however, several movies that fall within either category and are refreshing alternatives to chick flicks. In no particular order:

1. Bride of Chucky












Jennifer Tilly shines in a campy role as the Lake Shore Strangler's former lover, who joins him in killer doll form thanks to some black magic and a dream. Come for the nail gun murder, stay for the repulsive closing birth scene! As chick flicks teach, family matters.

2. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer








Girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, girl discovers boy murdered his mother in cold blood, girl doesn't mind, girl falls even more in love, boy mutters "I guess I love you, too", boy massacres girl and drops suitcase full of her body parts on the roadside. Loosely based on the confessions of Henry Lee Lucas, this blissful 80s romance features Rob Zombie favorite Tom "George Wydell" Towles as a buffoonish, incestuous rapist. So pleasant, I'm shocked the ads weren't pastel!

3. Corpse Bride















Victor's wedding plans are going fairly smoothly until the pesky, lovelorn corpse of a murdered woman gets in the way. Sort of an orchestral, decomposed My Best Friend's Wedding.

4. Meet the Feebles

Directed by Peter Jackson, prior to the 80-pound weight loss and obsession with CGI. A binge-eating, aging hippo thinks her marriage is just sublime (and performs a song called "Garden of Love" with cake in her cleavage) until she finds out her walrus husband is spending "quality time" with a cat. She gets miffed:




5. Love and Death on Long Island














John Hurt's finest work since his unfortunate lunch break in Alien. A prim, old-fashioned author accidentally wanders into a B-movie screening and develops a private obsession with a low-rent, BOP Magazine-ready actor. He eventually tracks the actor down at his home; things end with an excruciating diner confession, a seemingly 900-foot-long fax, and an emotionally tumultuous Jason Priestley.

Put some rollers in your hair, get the Purely Decadent out of the freezer, and enjoy all five!

Cocktails and Dinosaurs: News and Libations for the Weekend of FRIDAY THE 13TH!

Semi-weekly posts that were intruding on my happy hour schedule, but I'm bringing it back!


This is the Scott Pilgrim trailer with the panels from the graphic novel replacing the live action-ness. You should watch it. Then read the books. Then watch the movie. Do it.
  • ZOMBIES!!! Who doesn't love them? The comic book series, The Walking Dead, is being turned into a TV series on AMC. You won't have to wait long for zombies to invade your TV screen, but if October 2010 is too far way, you may want to consider finding your immobile somewhat rotten mate for life on ZombieHarmony.

  • How do I segue from zombies to Korean girls dancing with pizza? Oh, that should do it.

  • Wyclef Jean for President of Haiti. Who wouldn't support this? Maybe Pras, fellow ex-Fugee, who is supporting Michel Martell as the more "competent" candidate. Did Martell get nominated for Golden Globe in 2005? I don't think so.

  • Holy Shit!! The original lineup of Van Halen is getting back together to record a new album. When did money become more important than holding a grudge?

  • Johnny Marr is writing the theme song to the new David Cross TV series "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret" and you should follow the link to more links to the pilot and trailer for the previously mentioned TV series.

  • Countdown to the Polaris Music Prize 2010! Fucked Up won last year. Who will win this year? Check out the short list and let me know your predictions. I think there is going to be a five-way tie.
Cocktail of the Week: Sangria!!

Sangria is a great summer beverage. This one is from our favorite NYC brunch spots, Sacred Chow. Fruit is a great addition to any drink, add some wine and brandy and it really is perfect for any season.

Send any news tidbits and cocktails ideas to: monicatara@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Save The Geese... from the Velociraptors?


This goose and gosling are from Weehawken, New Jersey and hopefully a safe enough distant from New York.

Sometime in July, vegansaurus! (a blog I like to frequent) posted a story about the Canada geese in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Nearly 400 geese had been gassed "for air safety". If you need more of a reason to read up on the topic:

"According to local teacher and my new favorite person, Seth Kaplan: 'It’s really important to remember that the Canada geese that collided with Flight 1549 were tested by researchers at the Smithsonian and they were not populations that lived in our area,' and they say most of the Prospect Park geese are probably residents."
(vegansaurus!)

Then, almost a month later, this shows up on The Daily What:



Who is running Prospect Park right now? No, really... mass extermination plus bullshit signs equals... what?

Anyway, on August 12, 2010, there is going to be a demonstration at the New York City Hall from 12-1pm. RSVP now!! Read a better description of it at Supervegan.

Update (8/12/2010): In my haste to post something about the City Hall demonstration and my velociraptor confusion, I failed to mention a few important points about Goosageddon 2010.

From this New York Times article:

"Following the landing of U.S. Airways Flight #1549 on the Hudson River last year, New York officials crafted a plan to address the threat posed to aviation by Canada geese. Their plan, whose details were not available until now, calls for reducing the number of geese in New York State by two-thirds."

So from an estimated population of 250,000 Canada geese, they would like to whittle it down to about 85,000 geese.

This is from the nine-page report on New York’s plan to eradicate Canada geese on or around New York City airports:

“At John F. Kennedy International Airport there have been 676 reported bird strikes from January 2004 to December 2008. Five of these strikes involved Canada geese of which 1 strike caused substantial damage and 1 strike caused minor damage to the aircraft. At LaGuardia Airport there have been 410 reported bird strikes from January 2004 to December 2008. Four of these strikes involved Canada geese of which 1 strike caused minor damage.”

After 9 Canada geese strikes out of 1086 bird strikes in four years, three of which actually caused damage, government officials drafted a nine page report on gassing and double-bagging these clearly destructive animals!? I'm pretty sure this doesn't help rationalize it.

Because a $60 million aircraft was destroyed, 170,000 Canada geese must die.

And it’s not just New York. New Jersey also has a troubled relationship with the Canada geese recently “euthanizing” 133 geese in Mount Laurel, NJ.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Save This Show! And Some Other Stuff.

At first glance, one might say that evening tv is in a sorry state if I'm turning to a comedy series about an alcoholic, hypersexual gorilla puppet in a cloth helmet for emotional fulfillment. Well, cynics, MTV's Warren the Ape is actually good. Unfortunately, I and .0009 other people are the only ones who seem to think so. Come on, people, flip away from that rerun of CSI: Boise or whatever the eff they're making these days and watch! I don't want to see this get cancelled and find myself numbing the pain with The Kilborn Files.

In honor of Monica, this scene takes place at a comic book store. Sadly, no issues of Chew are to be found...



Find more videos like this on GREG THE BUNNY and WARREN THE APE

In other news...

There's a new series of commercials for HP starring Flight of the Conchords' Rhys Darby, aka the best person to ever live. Seek these gems out, and watch as his enthusiasm for technology is met with contempt by various jerks.




Last but not least, Mike Nelson and pals have recorded a new Rifftrax for John Travolta's OTHER polyester nightmare, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Blatant horsploitation noted.

"Faster, Gina!! FASTER!!!"


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Leave It To Bieber

Justin Bieber in 3D? And you thought movie theater floors were sticky before.less than a minute ago via web


For those of you who don't know Justin Bieber, he's Canadian and he has a twitter account. Those are pretty much the two most important things you can retain from this post. Oh yeah, and he shot Raaaaaandy in the knee and stole his song, "Baby, Baby".

According to twitter, he is currently on his My World Tour, where I can only presume he will not be making stops at North Korea or Germany.

This 16 year old Canadian twitter phenom is also currently working on an illustrated memoir. Illustrated!?!? The only thing that could be more awesome is a graphic novel about the life and times of The Bieb.


it isnt a memoir...i teamed up with this amazing photographer robert and he has been taking pictures behind the scenes from before the tour.less than a minute ago via web


Wait a minute, Bieb, are you trying to tell me that it's not a memoir and it's not even illustrated... And who's this robert character? Between you and me, I think you should stick to the graphic novel rumor I started.


Since my posts are better off in list form, I shall leave you with this video from Taiwan's NMA News (The only place for Sim-like reenactments of real-life events).



Lesson: Don't Fuck with The Bieb!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cocktails and Dinosaurs: Summer Edition

Semi-weekly posts that I suddenly became too busy for, then dropped off the planet, and then decided to bring back while sipping cocktails with Tara.



(via please don't feed the (inferno) artist)

  • Keanu Reeves eats sandwich, Sad Keanu is born and the internet will never be the same again.

  • Radio Douche: Brings Children to Tears. This week, Z100's Elvis Duran Show stooge Greg T came under fire for an "awkward moment" in which he brought a seven-year-old to tears at NYC's Central Park piano. Apparently, seven-year-0lds get all pms-y if told their musical performances are boring. Greg T acted insanely guilty for the alleged faux pas, unlike this guy, who has earned Blog 'Scuse Me kudos for takin' the tots to school.

  • "Put down the Corn Pops, dear, Mikey has diarrhea again."
    Cereal Recall? Toucan Sam says, follow your vomit.

  • So Kombucha Tea has enough alcohol to get Lindsay Lohan in trouble with the law and force Whole Foods to pull it from the shelves... time to start home brewing.

  • Sometimes I simply cannot get enough Nicholas Cage. I could watch Con Air until my brains burst forth from my eye sockets ejecting my eyeballs. I've seen it happen... Are you ready to watch the entire catalog of Nicolas Cage movies? Set your max number and "Cage you Queue". Just be warned, The Knowing can cause agitation, disorientation, and slurred speech. *Actual side effects may vary.

  • "Have I ever showed you these circa 1995 collectors Life cereal boxes?" Who said that? Tara... about 5 minutes ago. This feels like news you need to know... probably not.

Cocktail of the Week: Liquor Spritzers

A simple cocktail invented by Tara. Put all the fruit you own into a juicer, add seltzer water, vodka, ice and put it all into a frou frou glass.

Send any news tidbits and cocktails ideas to: monicatara@gmail.com

Thursday, May 6, 2010

That...Will Be Quite Enough of That

Remember the "suitcase college" days, when Thursday nights were the best nights of the week to unleash the booze floods? Who says the fun can't continue as one pushes 30? At the moment I'm sitting in my living room, listening to Genesis (Collins, not Sega) and sipping a cocktail I just invented called the Dishwater (scotch, orange juice, and cherries). I will have to order one for Monica during our upcoming Veggie Prom/Pride extravaganza.

Besides the aforementioned feeble cocktail recipe, I have two new movie reviews for you:

1. Stuart Gordon's 1986 horror film From Beyond has a lot of prosthetic makeup, puppetry, and Jeffrey Combs (in ascending order of fabulousness). A burly gentleman in a banana hammock grapples with a genitalia-shaped water monster in a sequence that should only take a week or two of therapy to purge from your nightmares. Combs' head is ripped off before he bursts from a monster's body in a rebirth scene that ends with an inevitable house explosion.
There is also some brain-eating:



This movie is a lot better than The Notebook.

2. Bruce Robinson's Withnail and I is one of the best black comedies ever. Two struggling actors (one ambitious and paranoid, one hedonistic and bitter) take a doomed vacation in the country, argue, and get mind-bogglingly drunk:




Two trench coats way up.

For those who care to share their fashion expertise, feel free to suggest what ensemble I should rock for Vegan Prom. Keep in mind that red food coloring and Karo syrup make a fine vegan substitute for pig's blood.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Unicorn Wishes and Tangerine Dreams



I once had a dream that I was a unicorn named Michael that shot laser beams from my eyes. My best friend, Snowflake, was a dolphin and we solved crimes together. I'm starting to feel like I'm not the only person who had this dream.
  • Do you remember a few months back when Neko Case did a pilot for adult swim called Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fantabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge? If not, you should watch it now before it disappears forever.

  • Vegan's rest easy. We now have a place to buy magical unicorn soap. Lather, rinse, smell the magic.

  • Are you having trouble telling that certain someone that you heart them more than rainbows and unicorns? Maybe this card is exactly what you need.

  • Lastly, in my random list of unicorn related items, have you ever done a search for the word 'unicorn' while on engadget.com? What could unicorns and computers possibly have in common? I think I'm on to something here.
Since I wrongfully lured you into this post with the promise of something about Tangerine Dream, here's The history of the synthesizer courtesy of the University of Saskatchewan student newspaper, The Sheaf, and the intro to Street Hawk:



[photo: from rainbowzombieatemyunicorn via The Daily What]