Thursday, October 17, 2019

I Ain't Dead

I'm alive, but my laptop died a rather sudden and dramatic death. I'm in possession of a new (secondhand) laptop, so am in the process of moving bookmarks, work, etc. I've been trying to manage using my phone, but Blogger just isn't compatible with it-therefore the radio silence. I apologise for taking so long to answer comments. I appreciate everyone taking the time to visit and leave messages.

I'm off to get caught up with everyone's blogs.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Vic the Butcher's Beef Brisket-Recipe

As Rosh Hashanna is coming up (Sunday at sundown) I thought it might be a good time to offer up a brisket recipe for anyone faced with a giant slab of meat and no idea how to cook it. I've been a vegetarian since the early 80s, and I understand how intimidating that can be. Maybe this is your first year hosting the dinner, maybe you just bought a brisket because it was inexpensive and now you don't know what to do with it?  It doesn't matter why you need to cook it, if the fact is you're confronted with what looks like a terrifyingly large cut of beef.


Hopefully, your butcher has cut the brisket into a "Flat" and a "Point." The point is, as the name suggests, the pointed side of the brisket. The point has less beef and more fat, so I have it wrapped for the freezer and keep it for a smaller family meal during the year. It does well with "Oven-barbecue" style recipes, and that sort of thing. If your butcher hasn't done this, just whack it about 1/4 of the way down and wrap it tightly in freezer paper. Some butchers will sell you just the flat, but at significantly higher cost. You do what's best for you. If you're buying an already trimmed flat, look for one with a good layer of fat. because brisket is a tough cut of meat, you'll want that as a sort of insulation for the several hours of roasting. You can always trim it away after cooking. The fat that melts into the roasting pan juices can be cooled and skimmed when solid and used for roasting potatoes-and it keeps forever in the fridge. Fat is your friend.

The only way you can ruin a brisket is by cooking it at too high of a temperature. As cuts of beef go, it is quite forgiving. Essentially, you want some fat and some liquid to slow braise it. I use wine for the liquid, but there's no reason you couldn't use grape juice, or broth. If you're preparing this for the High Holidays, I'll warn you that people tend to prefer what they grew up with. In other words, this isn't the time go get creative with sriracha sauce, It might be delicious, but you still have the point in the freezer to experiment with later on in the year.

My mother wasn't terribly interested in cooking. That's not a criticism, it just wasn't her thing. What she lacked in skill was balanced out by the fact we had a great butcher who would write down recipes for her. Everyone should have a butcher like Vic. I'm pretty sure Vic was Italian, but when you work in a Jewish neighbourhood you get a feel for the local tastes. His holiday brisket recipe has been standard in my life for more than 50 years. This is a textbook illustration of the expression, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I've resisted the urge to tweak it over the years as you can't improve on perfection. Vic is probably long gone, but if I have anything to do with it, his brisket recipe will live on.

The beef needs to marinate 24 hours in the fridge. I do it right in the roasting pan so it can go straight to the oven. Make sure to leave space for it. I also like to cook it a day ahead as cold brisket is easier to slice thin, and you get a chance to skim the fat off the gravy. Re-heating the slices in gravy keeps them from drying out. If you're planning to serve roasted potatoes, the flavoured fat is a nice addition.

You Will Need:

About a 5 lb. piece of brisket, fat on
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cups concord grape sweet wine (Mogen David (or if you were our housekeeper, "Morgan Davis" which sounds like a law firm) is my standard, but anything works) divided
1/4 cup corn oil
2 teaspoons salt
An entire bottle of chili sauce (I prefer Bennett's but in Nebraska we can only get Heinz)
2 large onions, quartered and thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 large carrots, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
a good grind or two of black pepper
1 bay leaf

Lay the brisket in a deep roasting pan, fat side up. scatter on the onions, garlic, and carrots. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 1 cup of wine, corn oil, salt, sugar, pepper, and bay leaf. Empty in the bottle of chili sauce and the use second cup of wine poured into chili sauce bottle to get out the rest. Pour it all over the brisket.

Cover the roasting pan tightly with foil and let marinate 24 hours in the fridge. I never bother turning mine, but if you do, just remember to have it fat side up to cook.

Cooking day:
Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the entire foil covered pan in the oven. If it has a lid, use that as well. You want a tight seal. Cook 2 hours at 325 degrees F. Then, reduce heat to 300 degrees F. for remaining two hours. At this point carefully remove it from the oven and check for tenderness. Be careful not to give yourself a steam burn opening the foil. A fork should easily pierce the meat. If not, stick it back in for another half hour. Carefully remove the brisket from the roasting pan to a plate or baking sheet to cool before wrapping tightly and placing in the fridge overnight. Strain out the vegetables from the gravy and reserve (those onions and carrots are full of flavour and you'll want to serve them later with the sliced brisket). Chill the liquid gravy. When it is cold you should be able to skim the solid fat easily. The beautiful orange colour it gets from the wine and chili sauce makes the most gorgeous roast potatoes.
The cooked vegetables

The pan gravy. You'll skim that fat when cold.

Use a serrated knife to cut the brisket thinly against the grain. Re-heat in a pan with the gravy and some of the vegetables. Brisket keeps well, and makes a lovely cold sandwich on the holiday challahs with raisins. You did bake challah, didn't you?

Thanks, Vic for another successful holiday brisket!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Look What the Postman Brought From Bibi

Not only am I going to be dining on fancy dates from the UAE, I'm going to smell delicious as well. There's a third bag of dates not shown because we've already devoured a good portion. Lugging all this from Nepal must have been a hassle, and just wanted to say how much I appreciate it. Blogging has introduced me to the most wonderful people.

Thank you again, Bibi!

In other news, Goodylands will be going live sometime in the next few weeks. I'm still building the site, but hopefully you'll soon be able to dress like Goody because she'll be selling you vintage clothing. I'm focusing on plus sizes to start, though eventually I'll include straight sizes as well. I might do that as a sister site, or on ebay. I've never liked being forced to scroll through listings that won't fit my big ass, and I'm guessing other fat people feel the same. I'm going to be offering larger accessories as well. As it gets closer to launch, I'll keep you updated. Right now I'm focused on learning to use a steamer, taking decent photos, and trying to make the Shopify store not look like someone in their 50s made it (yes, I'm aware of the running jokes about baby boomers that can't use tech).

I know this blog has been neglected of late, and I do appreciate everyone taking the time to come here. If you're primarily interested in outfit photos, I post those most days on Instagram. I'm @goodymcgoodface. You can view the posts without joining though you won't be able to comment. I'm also on Tumblr as @goodymcgoodface, though who knows how long Tumblr has left as a site. I really use that one to re-post things that amuse me.

That's about it for now. Thank you with your patience as I switch gears yet again. 

Thursday, September 05, 2019

 We have a winner!
Congratulations, Beth!
I know I have your address somewhere in my email but can you re-send it to me so I'm certain it gets there?

Thank you to everyone that entered. Let's do it again next year!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Giveaway Time

Giveaway time!

This year's State Fair cookbook (with last year's winning recipes, many of them Danny's) will be open until midnight CST on 4 September 2019. Contest is open worldwide. Leave a comment to enter. I am offering the same giveaway on Instagram, but please, one entry per person so either enter here or there.

Good luck!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

You Spin Me Right Round

You know he has a bong inside that jacket.
Buying a new phone finally lit a fire under my rear end to start converting my vinyl records to mp3s. Ultimately it is so much easier to store them in iTunes on my phone than burning CDs, but it turned into much more of a project than anticipated. If you think my vintage clothing collection knows no bounds...well, the records ain't much better. Oven the years I've whittled it down a bit, keeping only the very loved or difficult to find. That's still an awful lot.

Some of those records haven't been played in over 40 years. Some longer. Not really knowing the condition of the vinyl, it made sense to play them volume up so I can catch any skips as they transfer. I wasn't prepared for just how emotionally draining it would be! I also wasn't prepared for just how downright strange my musical tastes have been over the years. I'm spared a good chunk of the 80s and beyond as I switched to buying tapes and CDs to play in the car, but I'm sure those were equally bizarre. I know they say you can judge a person by their books and record collection but please...don't?
There's young Jen with her very own phonograph. I was so happy to get that little player as it meant I wouldn't have to use the hi-fi in the basement/family room that was the territory of our territorial cat, Snoopy (yeah, they named a cat after a cartoon dog. You need more evidence for why I'm such a fucked-up mess?). That cat hated me. To be fair, Snoopy hated everyone except for the old man and that was only because he could be counted on as a steady source of human food he wasn't supposed to have. That cat lived on salami sandwiches. But then I got the Mickey Mouse phonograph, and life was good.
Here's a picture of one I grabbed off the internet. The sound quality was reasonably OK for such a cheap thing.

Privacy in the household I grew up in was rare-you couldn't even expect to go to the toilet uninterrupted. I did find that they tended to leave me the hell alone when I was in my room playing records. Whether this was due to my taste in music being so offensive they kept a distance, or because they were able to know exactly where I was, and what I was doing, isn't clear, but unless someone needed something, I was generally left to enjoy music alone. The incentive to buy records was strong. If I was needed they'd just scream up the stairs loudly enough to be heard over the music. Eventually our neighbours got sick of that, and encouraged us to get a second telephone line so I could be screamed at over the phone. I suppose it was a little better.
"Kids, go upstairs so I can yell at you over the line"
Danny's been my technical support figuring out how to do all this transferring, an undertaking I wouldn't attempt without a teenager to offer helpful observations like, "Click the square box, the universal symbol for stop",  accompanied by a hard roll of his eyes. He's also been on hand to offer commentary like, "That's the WORST thing I've ever heard in my life" followed shortly after by, "I take it back, THIS is the worst thing I've ever heard", followed by, "This is the soundtrack for storming Area 51". He likes opera. I gave him my old man's,  Maria Callas Sings Famous Puccini Heroines record. He snorted at that too. Kids.

How I wish it were possible to go back in time and tell my younger self to take better care of her vinyl. Hardly alone in that, I suppose but had I known 40+ years on I'd be transferring recordings, I might have, at the very least kept them in the sleeves rather than scattered across the pink shag carpet of my room. Occasionally I'd change the needle on the phonograph, but I doubt I ever properly cleaned anything. Younger self, you have a lot to answer for.

More than the records themselves, what excites me going through the boxes is finding receipts and price tags from now defunct record stores. Wax Trax!, 2nd Hand Tunes, Hep Cat Records- all the places my youth (and money) were spent. The best record store I  can no longer remember the name of, was down the street from my elementary school. Honestly, it was more a head shop that sold records than a proper record store, but they had great stuff you just couldn't get otherwise.

When I was about I dunno, 11 or so, I was asked what I wanted for my birthday. I probably just wanted to be left alone, or at least not be trapped in conversation with the adult child that called herself my parent, so I told her I wanted a Frank Zappa record. I don't know why. I certainly didn't care for anything he'd done up to that point (Help, I'm a Rock?!) but that's what I told her, and after unsuccessfully trying to buy a Frank Zappa record at Montgomery Wards, she ended up at the head shop down the street from my school. In hindsight, it is kind of funny that there was a head shop down the street from an elementary school but eh, it was the 70s.

The way she liked to tell the story, the hippies working in the place were amused by a 40 year old woman buying a Frank Zappa record. 'I told them it was for my daughter, and they asked how old she was. They all gave me funny looks when I told them."  Yeah, no wonder. I guess she didn't look at the track titles on the back of the record or she might not have brought home something called, "Give Me Your Dirty Love." Oh well, I still have the record and now it is a family heirloom of sorts. I offered it to Danny, but he rolled his eyes. Hard.

Since I'd already splashed out on the phone, I went ahead and bought some decent Bluetooth headphones. I loathe ear buds, and the ones that came with the phone were downright painful. In some ways it is like hearing these old records for the first time. I used to laugh when friends would insist some recordings were better with headphones, but perhaps they were right. I'm sure by the end of the year what's left of my hearing will be destroyed😀 but it will totally be worth it. I still don't want to listen to Dark Side of the Moon though. Sorry.

So many of these records evoke time and place in my life in a similar way to perfume. I thought it might be interesting to combine the two and see if I can come up with some interesting writing freed from the constraints of a review. Maybe not, but I trust readers will let me know if I've miscalculated the comic value of child abuse my youth mixed with the music and fragrances I loved.
Alright kids, let's rock and roll. I'll see you on the flip side.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Heat Was Hot

When it is -40 F. in January, feel free to quote me but, I am so over summer. Sure, I live in Nebraska which probably has the worst climate in the United States in all seasons (with floods and tornadoes for added excitement) but this year broke me. It has been so hot going to the pool is pointless as it would be like bathwater. Yes, we have central air conditioning (unlike the farm), and yes my car's AC works (unlike the Mighty ford Tempo I drove for years) but day after day after day of sitting indoors with the lights off, curtains closed, unable to use the oven wears on a person after a bit-even if the room is cool. Oh, I know we made this mess, and we're going to be living with it probably forever, but I'm not doing a very good job of adapting to the new normal. 
I don't know how to dress in this heat. Natural fibres, I guess. 
It has now been a full 6 months since I've stopped blow drying and straightening my hair. I'm still not convinced I like it, but it would be pointless trying to do anything with it in the heat and humidity, so a nice break anyway.

Outfit Particulars:
Silk skirt-Goodwill (I think)
Straw bag-World Market
Earrings-Thrift World
Bangles-all over
Hobe coil bracelet-Thrift World
Fragrance-Bvlgari Omnia Coral (probably the only Bvlgari I like. I bought two large bottles just in case they discontinue it).

Enough moaning about the weather-thanks for indulging me. Let's talk about this dress instead. The material is a nubby, lightweight acrylic that mimics towelling/terry cloth without the weight and bulk. 
It doesn't show well in the photo but there's red blanket stitching around the neck, arms, and hem. The fabric belt is original to the dress. I'm wearing vintage Napier lucite beads here because white accessories on a white dress feels so 70s to me. Red beads would have worked too, but I can wear those all year. If there's one thing I still like about summer, it is wearing white. I went with beige shoes and bag because you can over-do white. I like the matchy-matchy look, but too much can look comical. Hopefully this was a good balance. 

Outfit Particulars:
1970s dress-New Life Thrift
Napier necklace-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Norell (I mean, what else could I possibly wear with something this 70s?)

Keeping with the 70s for a bit. This is...not me. Not, at all. Still, finding this set in perfect condition for practically pocket change made me think it was worth a try. I do wish the tee were a bit larger, but that's life. The applique on the shirt matches the skirt, and the lining also matches. The amount of work and detail is amazing by modern standards.

 Outfit Particulars:
1970s top and wrap skirt-New Life Thrift
Vintage handbag-Goodwill
Vintage shoes-yard sale
Vintage glass (or stone) bangle-Goodwill
Shell earrings-World Market
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Estee. Sigh. I found a cheap bottle and thought I might enjoy it. I do NOT! Not even a little. Oh, it brought back memories...none of them good. *shudders*. That's what I get for trying to cosplay a 70s suburban mother.

 This skirt is about three sizes too large, but the print was too good to resist. It is home sewn, and rather badly, so it needs a bit of work. I think it is worth it. The fabric is a sort of barkcloth with a shiny finish.

 Outfit Particulars:
Vintage raffia bag-Goodwill
Polka dot Lucite bangle-Salvation Army
Fragrance-Balenciaga Ho Hang (kinda meh, actually. I like the first 10 minutes, then it sort of mellows into boring).

 Helloooooo *taps lens* do you know how hot it is outside?!

 Hot enough that I wore a patio shift dress out and about! With slippers. And my hair in a banana clip.
Outfit Particulars:
Mexican embroidered shift dress-Thrift World
Cha Cha bracelets-both Goodwill
Slippers-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-L' Air du Temps

My hemline started rising with the mercury.
This is on the short side for my tastes, and I'm not a fan of cap sleeves. I am however even less a fan of 100F temperatures. 
I've probably mentioned it was kind of hot around here lately. Did I forget to tell you about the heat? Oh, OK, never mind then.

Outfit Particulars:
1980s dress-Hand-Me-Ups
Shoes- K Mart about 12 years ago
Fragrance-Knize 10 (not obvious in hot weather, but I like it)

 Know what else I did?
"I know what 'ya did!"

That's right, Beet Poot! and if you want to kiss Beet Poot (or anything else) go HERE and get yourself a shirt. 
Oh, and meet Bubbles. He screamed at me across the Goodwill, so I brought him home. He lives in my garden now between the nasturtiums and the cardoon. 

You knew there'd be a tropical print dress in here somewhere, and here it is! 

 I'm not convinced that basket was intended for use as a handbag, but when has that ever stopped me?

 Bought this gold headband from a costume shop. It was supposed to go with a Greek Goddess costume. I find such great accessories in unlikely places. I bought a few wigs recently as well, but they will need to wait for cooler weather.
Outfit Particulars:
90s dress-Goodwill-I think?
Bangles-all over
Earrings-Yard sale
Vintage straw Qualicraft shoes-Goodwill
Basket-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-Balahe (it doesn't get more tropical than that. Gosh, I love that one)

 The very second the heat broke, I went into full Summer Goth mode. This skirt looks like a vintage petticoat, but it is modern, and has a zip in back. The taffeta and lace are nicely put together. Paired with an 80s rayon top with gold flecks throughout, I was able to get a somewhat dressy look without being over-dressed for daytime. I really loved how this one came together, and would definitely repeat the outfit exactly the same. That's rare that I want to do that.
 Outfit Particulars:
Skirt-New Life Thrift
Betsey Johnson belt-Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings-Sears, before they closed
Fragrance-Aramis (yeah, again with the leather and cumin in the heat of summer. I don't know why!)

 I already shared this on Instagram, so if you were offended by a fat old lady in a swimsuit, I'm afraid I'm going to offend you again! Know how you "Get your body swimsuit ready?"

 You put on a swimsuit. There, you're ready! If you needed proof that ultra running won't make you thin-here 'ya go! I can however run an absurd number of miles day after day. I really love this swimsuit but unfortunately, it has some latex in the elastic and it just isn't worth the rash. Sigh, I've only worn it twice. I have others, but they're not hot pink. Of all the stupid allergies I could develop late in life! I can live without mangoes, bananas, avocado, etc. but latex in clothes is a real problem. Ah well, summer is almost over anyway...I hope!

I don't know if putting myself on the internet is encouraging if you've been feeling shy of wearing a swimsuit in public, but trust me, no one cares what you wear. Truth. And if you're my age, they absolutely don't care what you're wearing (or what you've waxed, or of you've polished your toenails, etc.). Go, have a good time and for heaven's sake-wear something YOU like. With any luck, it won't give you a contact dermatitis.

I'll leave you with some views of what's blooming in the garden.

And that's about it from here. Danny is off to High School in a couple weeks, and I'm preparing for life to be very different around here. I'm not looking forward to waking him every morning at 6 AM. Teenagers can be hard sleepers!

I hope your summer is treating you well.