Breakfast On The Go, DJC Style

I have a dirty little secret.

Turns out, Drunk June Cleaver is not completely unhealthy. Shocking, I know. I take vitamins every day, use the stairs instead of the elevator, walk instead of take the bus, try to eat mostly raw fruits and veggies, etc, etc, etc. Granted, the raw thing is partially because I cannot cook in my new kitchen thanks to a very cheap and overly sensitive fire alarm. It goes off when I shower, when I use the toaster for more than the thinnest of slices of toast, or when I boil water. SO MUCH FUN!

Being that I work in a restaurant, I need to have a breakfast that is high in protein so I don’t suddenly become starving halfway through lunch. While you are chowin’ down on something delicious, but your trusty Maitre d’ is standing at the front door with a growling stomach and four more hours to go before she can grab a sandwich. You are tucking into a perfectly crafted meal while the lone reservationist watches the clock in hopes that the vultures won’t totally destroy family meal while she’s on a long phone call (sup, lone piece of bruised lettuce!).

Luckily for you, dear reader, Drunk June Cleaver is a crafty girl and through some research and experimentation, I have come up with the perfect solution:

Open-Faced Fried Egg Sandwich: Microwave Edition

Ingredients:
- egg
- butter
- cheese
- deli meat
- toast

Directions:
- Preheat a plate in the microwave for 2 minutes
- When the plate comes out, dab a small amount of butter on the plate and let it melt
- Crack your egg on to the melted butter
- This next step is crucial: Very gently poke a hole in the yolk of your egg. Failing to do this will cause the egg to explode and it is notoriously difficult to clean up
- Microwave for 45 seconds. Continue nuking for 15 second increments until the white is set and the yolk is to your preferred consistency
- Assemble: Toast, then slice of cheese, followed by a slice of deli meat (if you so desire), and adorn with your microwave-fried egg

Pro Tip: This can all be done the night before! I very lightly butter the toast so it won’t go stale overnight and ever so slightly undercook my egg so it doesn’t get gross when I reheat it in the office the next day. Service with a coconut water and espresso latte and there’s nothing in the world that can stop you! Well, except maybe, hour 15 of a double – oooof

Drunk June Cleaver’s Budget Tips

As you may have learned by now, Drunk June Cleaver isn’t the richest dame in New York. She is, however, completely obsessed with stretching her dollars. Below are a few Pro Tips that have come in handy over the years (I should mention that I am an obsessive reader of thekitchn.com):

1. Buy real maple syrup vs. the faux stuff like Aunt Jemima. Not only will it basically last forever on the shelf if properly sealed, but it will last for AGES in the fridge after you’ve opened it. Notice a little mold on it? Don’t worry! Just scrape off that mold and then heat the syrup to 180 degrees (just before boiling) and it’ll kill off the germs and bacteria. Pour it back into the bottle and put it back in the fridge and you just got a few more months out of that sweet, sweet goodness. (By the way, Grade A just means it is lighter and Grade B has a more robust flavor, it doesn’t say shit about the quality of the syrup).

2. When baking something that includes a sticky ingredient like honey or peanut butter, measure the oil (butter, veggie oil, etc) first, then reuse that measuring spoon for your sticky ingredient and watch it slide right on out.

3. Speaking of sticky, eat local honey. It’ll help you build up immunity to local pollens and will cut down on those expensive Zyrtec bills.

4. Learn to poach an egg. Seriously. Eggs are so cheap, so healthy, so versatile, and so filling you won’t even notice how few calories you can afford to consume! The Velveeta, Top Ramen, and Wonder Bread diet is delicious, but not so good for you. Switch it up and enjoy something like asparagus, parmesan, and an egg. Or make polenta and top it with a poached egg and the leftover marinara from the other night when you ordered mozzarella sticks for delivery during a moment of weakness. And, yes, you can poach an egg in the microwave. Yes, you can make your polenta in the microwave too.

5. Turn your windowsill into an herb garden. Do I really need to explain this one?

6. Befriend the bartender. This works best in divier bars where buy backs are gonna happen. Don’t use the buy back as an excuse to tip less, though! Tip 25% on the beers you ordered and adjust according to how many you got for free. I don’t usually recommend sleeping with the bartender though as, for most people, that will backfire. Girls, most of you suck at sex without feelings and things will get weird and then you’ll have to find a new bar. Guys, that lady bartender is already on to you and probably not gonna blow you in the kitchen after the porters have left. Stick to being just friends.

7. Sign up for those obnoxious emails from places where you like to shop. Nine times out of ten, you’ll just end up deleting the email and that’s annoying, I know, but trust me here. I delete pretty much every single email I get from Banana Republic, but this past November they had an absolutely incredible sale – some items were 40% off! And that’s how, with the use of a gift card I had hoarded, I got $400 worth of BR stuff for a mere $65.

8. The occasional subscription box. Drunk June Cleaver is not a very girly girl – she’d much rather drink beer at a bar and talk shit with the guys during a football game then put on a pretty A-line skirt and some pumps. She does, however, have a terrible addiction to nail polish and a Julep box is $19/month for 3 bottles. A bottle of Essie or OPI in the drugstore is $8.50. Do the math. (She also has friends with addictions to legwear who have enjoyed legwear subscription boxes or DIY Pintersty friends who love those boxes, etc)

9. Dump your cable. You don’t need it and libraries are free. Bonus: If enough of us do this, maybe the Kardashians will finally go away!

10. Become a VIP or, at least, really good at sneaking into VIP areas. Seriously, guys, there is so much free shit in VIP. (And, yes, DJC is a VIP. Suck it.)

Drunk June Cleaver: Not Really Sure What To Say.

As reported by the Richmond Times Dispatch, at 6:53pm on Sunday, March 23, Richmond Police responded to report of a dead body on the 4800 block of West Seminary Avenue on the Northside of the city. A roommate had found Dave Brockie, age 50, upright in a chair. Brockie is better known to most as a founding member of the wonderfully over-the-top band GWAR and for his character, Oderus Urungus. Foul play is not suspected at this time and no drugs were found in the home.

Drunk June Cleaver is absolutely devastated to learn of such a great loss. Growing up an hour southeast of Richmond, GWAR has been a part of my life for longer than I can remember. While I didn’t grow up in a household that played their music, I certainly had plenty of classmates who had personal connections to the band and who allowed those connections to bleed into my life. A staple on my college radio show, the source of plenty of pranks, and my favorite bit of Empire Records, GWAR quickly found a special place in my heart (I’m a sucker for the facetious). To me, Brockie was the glue that held the band together – the founder and the longest reigning member – GWAR just won’t be the same without him. I cannot imagine a football season without his Twitter commentary on the absurdity that is his (and my) deeply loved Washington Redskins. I cannot imagine a GWAR without Oderus. I suspect the autopsy will uncover years of hard living, after all, I can personally attest to Dave’s ability to drink huge amounts of booze. I can also personally attest to his brilliance, his fabulous sense of humor, his generous heart, and the wonderfully adorable smile that took over his face when he is really, truly happy. He was a great supporter of artists and people who were brave enough to stand up for just causes. GWAR, clearly, should have played the Super Bowl halftime show this year.

Former GWAR bassist Mike Bishop has been quoted as saying to Style Weekly:

“Dave was one of the funniest, smartest, most creative and energetic persons I’ve ever known. He was brash sometimes, always crass, irreverent, he was hilarious in every way. But he was also deeply intelligent and interested in life, history, politics and art. His penchant for scatological humors belied a lucid wit. He was a criminally underrated lyricist and hard rock vocalist… A great frontman, a great painter, writer, he was also a hell of a bass guitarist. I loved him. He was capable of great empathy and had a real sense of justice.”

Drunk June Cleaver couldn’t agree more.

Drunk June Cleaver chooses to believe that the cosmic Master has called back the leader and last missing member of The Scumdogs Of The Universe, Oderus Urungus, and that his slave, Brockie, in his feeble human body couldn’t survive the trip to Scumdogia in Syntho Womb 5 (or maybe just couldn’t survive the general mess that happens when all of GWAR spends all day eating chili cheese burritos) but along the way, the World Maggot was rediscovered and thus was the end of Oderus’s slave/buttboy and our friend. May Oderus live another 50 billion years [or whatever the equivalent is in Scumdog years (at the time of disappearance, Oderus was a mere -13 and just entering puberty)], terrorizing the universe. One can only hope that the Cuttlefish of Cthulhu that was sawed off by the Charlotte, NC police (and possibly held on to for a while by Tipper Gore) will return as Oderus’s offspring and new bassist for the current incarnation of GWAR. Until then, we can all take comfort in the fact that every human has a little bit of GWAR in them and none of us would be here if The Scumdogs hadn’t fucked the apes to create humans. Every time you use hairspray, remember fondly that humans over-using hairspray woke The Scumdogs from their sleep in exile on Antarctica 30 years ago. Had they not awoken and uttered the sound “ggggwwwwaaaahhhrrrgghh,” GWAR wouldn’t be here.

Drunk June Cleaver, will remember fondly Dave’s sweet smile, crude sense of humor, genuine excitement, enthusiasm, all-embracing warm hugs, and sweaty kisses. DJC will love him always. Rest in peace, friend. This whiskey swilling, Hampton Roads girl is glad to have met you and heartbroken that you have left us.

 

Just a little note.

I want to apologize for my absence, particularly after my Valentine’s post. I promise, despite working in restaurants for so many years, I am not bitter. Today’s vocabulary word: facetious.

Today I bring you a simple tip to help you better live your life.

If you are on a tight budget and moving, don’t think you can just schlep things across town on the bus using your enormous hiking pack and a rolling suitcase. It won’t work. It will take weeks and you will end up in cabs to make it go faster which, ultimately, will cost just as much as hiring movers. Your whole body will hurt and you won’t sleep. Trust me.

Now, can anyone do me a solid and send me a recommendation for a good, cheap massage that isn’t one of the places in Chinatown that mostly just serves to beat people into submission? If you need me, I will be buried under the 72,000 blazers I didn’t realize that I own, clutching a bottle of rye.

A Few Words About VD

I hate Valentine’s Day.

I don’t hate it because I’m single. I like being single and have chosen to be single. I don’t hate it because a few years ago I realized that the last time I had a boyfriend spend time with me on Valentine’s, he was only spending with me because he had gotten in a fight with the wife he failed to mention he had. I dumped his sorry ass when I found out and moved on to something better. I only sort of hate Valentine’s because of the shitty chocolate companies and Hallmark. Mostly, I hate Valentines because of you, Average Citizen.

Yeah, you.

I hate it because you allowed Hallmark and Russell Stover to commercialize and popularize a non-holiday. Mostly, though, I hate it because you all act like dicks on the day. Yeah, you heard me. You are all dicks. Don’t yell at me on the phone three days before V-Day because you can’t get a reservation at the most popular restaurant in New York Fucking City. It’s your own fucking fault. You idiots are the reason why we filled every goddamn table within three minutes of opening our reservation lines. Don’t yell at me when there is a 2-hour wait for a table in the most popular restaurant in New York Fucking City. You idiots are the ones holding shit up because you are lingering over a cup of coffee, struggling to find the energy for the mandatory 17,000,000 hours of foreplay you expect to happen/are required to perform at a James Deen level.

You know why you are all acting like dicks? Because you have come to expect the day to be one of romance and grand gestures and yet none of you actually put any godforsaken effort into producing either. You don’t even write actual letters to your loved ones! You let the Gold Crown do it instead. You don’t take the time to cook your sweetheart their favorite meal, instead you yell at a stranger when they don’t have the reservation you want or they give you a wait time quote that that is longer than you want. You don’t spend the day letting your loved one know how much you love them and why you love them. You are, instead, just going through the motions.

Spending money does not equal love.

But, ohhh! It has always been a holiday! St. Valentine blah blah blah! No. Don’t even. There may have been two or three dudes with that name that died on February 14th. He may have been martyred in the mid-200s (or 197 or 496 CE), but didn’t appear in texts until 450-530 CE. Not to mention the Catholics have several St. Valentines. Like, A LOT. Some of the early stories about St. Valentinus are more about valor than love. It was such an obscure and minor story in the whole canon, that it’s entirely likely that it was made up to supersede a pagan holiday that fell around the same time. (There is little to no hard evidence of that, there is just the circumstantial: early Catholic rulers did that shit A LOT.) Geoffrey Chaucer was the first person, really, to associate him firmly with young love in 1382’s Parlement of Foules. For the record, Chaucer may have not even been referring to February 14th since the poem was written for Richard the II’s wedding to Anne of Bohemia and they got married in early May (at the ripe old age of 15!). Due to changes in the calendar, he could have also meant late February/early April. Either way, he referred to birds doin’ it and not a lot of English birds (of the feathered type) were getting it on in winter during a mini-Ice Age. It also appears as though most of the legends surrounding St. Valentine didn’t even show up until after the guy was introduced to the chivalry and courtly love obsessed medieval English. But what about the relics!, you say. They were found in the 1830s and in 2003 – I’ll let you do the math there. He isn’t even on the Catholic General Calendar, guys (the Anglicans, meanwhile, love that shit and have had him in since the beginning). Shakespeare also wrote about it during a weepy Ophelia scene in Hamlet and, as we should all know by now, Shakespeare has had a little more influence on our understanding of history than he probably should have. (Example: Richard III? Probably not a villain. Actually, it seems like the folks in York really loved him when he was alive. He had scoliosis, but he certainly wasn’t Laurence Olivier’s hunchback and probably looked totally normal and like a total babe in his armor).

And that “Roses are red, violets are blue” jazz? Yeah, that goes back almost 500 years. You are even less original than you thought.

You really want to show a person that you love them? Do something for every day that you love them. Don’t wait for some arbitrary day in February that’s built around myth and commercialism. Send flowers because of the way her face looks when she’s smelling a bundle of daisies. Send chocolates because that blissful moment when a chocolate first melts on his tongue wraps him in comfort and pleasure. Take her for dinner on a random Tuesday because that blue dress makes her feel sexy and confident. Cook him spaghetti and meatballs because it reminds him of a beloved grandmother. Make love to each other because you crave each other’s flesh. Kiss each other because you miss the way the other tastes when they aren’t around. Write love notes just in case you ever forgot to mention just how special that person is to you. Revel in the fact that to someone, the nape of your neck after a shower smells like home no matter what day it is. Don’t wait until February 14th to make some grand gesture. Show some originality and make the grand gesture on a Thursday because you just can’t wait anymore. Don’t drop six bucks on a red card covered in glitter that’s just going to get thrown in the trash. Trust me, a crayon and the back of an old gas station receipt are often more than enough.

If you are alone on Valentine’s Day, don’t sweat it. Odds are you were single on the 13th and will be on the 15th too. Being single does not make you a failure. Use your time as a single person to figure out what you want out of life and what you want out of yourself. Use it as a chance to better yourself – to learn, to grow. Use it as a chance to spend time with you friends. Use the day as a chance to embrace platonic and familial love. Stop stressing about romantic love. You’ll find it and you’ll be lucky enough to find it on a day that isn’t built on myths, commercialism, and ridiculous expectations.

And for fuck’s sake, don’t take your stress out on the poor stranger that just wants to help you get a table. Remember, you are being unoriginal and so is the person that has been holding your table for 2+ hours. Remember that person you are screaming at is a person – a real human being with real feelings. It isn’t that person’s fault. It is your fault. Be an adult. Be polite. Be original. Love because the person you love inspires you to love, not because someone told you to love.

PS: I also blame the diamond industry, but I blame them for a lot of things, so let’s not get into that.

Penny Pinching Cuisine

I have two jobs and work no less than 60 hours a week. If I am lucky, I get one day off a week. Unfortunately, I made the grave mistake of taking a job for which I operate as an independent contractor. This means I have to pay my taxes quarterly and for the month that those taxes come out of my accounts, I am left picking coins off the street in hopes that I’ll make rent (ok, not literally, but I did have to ask my mom for a loan of $20 so I could do laundry this month). The first luxury to go when this happens? Grocery shopping (when you live on a tight budget, this IS a luxury, btw).

Don’t think I’m whining, by the way. I love my jobs and I live in a really nice apartment in a really nice neighborhood …granted, that’s because I used to be rich and then I got screwed by my landlord, but I digress. I just want to explain the background of today’s lunch: a meal born of necessity and inspired by the weather. The weather, by the way, is fucking freezing. It makes me endlessly glad that I don’t, in fact, live in Downton Abbey/Tara/wherever that American Girl Doll Kirsten lived/Dolley Madison’s White House/etc where this shit would be normal all winter (‘sup, Mini Ice Age?). Normally, my 230 sq ft apartment is roughly the same temperature as the face of the sun, but this year, the apartment that pumps hot air into mine is, unfortunately, vacant and unrentable (remember that part where I said I got screwed by my landlord? Yeah, I’m not the only one), so, this winter, it’s not quite South Pole cold, but let’s go with arctic tundra cold nonetheless. As far as temperatures go, I’m starting to relate a little too much to Jewel’s family on that Discovery Channel show (except, I have indoor plumbing and don’t eat bear).

I should also mention that I’m on a wedding diet. My sister is getting married in October and I have to wear a sleeveless dress in front of people because I’m the Maid Of Honor. Choosing pasta (sup, Trader Joe’s $0.99 mac’n’cheese!) every night is out the window. Not that this is necessarily the healthiest – but also not the least healthy option!

And that is the story of how I found myself bundled in a scarf and gloves in addition to my red flannel onesie, on a stepladder, digging through the back of my freezer and the top of high shelves in my tiny kitchen. The results of my search: polenta, tomato paste, frozen sausage that was about to croak. Dinner, ladies and gentlemen, is served.

Andouille And Polenta With Tomato Sauce

The Sauce:
- tomato paste
- water
- spices

The Polenta:
- polenta (Duh)
- water
- salt
- butter

Directions:
- Scrape your pathetic can of tomato paste into a pot and add two cans of water to thin it out
- Season the sauce according to your tastes/what you have on hand. I opted for garlic, onion, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, sugar, and a splash of creamy milk
- Let sauce simmer so flavors can marry while you prepare the polenta according to the package, since some types of polenta vary (roughly: 3 cups of boiling water + a tsp of salt, then stir in a cup of polenta & let it do it’s thing for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is gone and then cover and let stand. Something like that). I added a touch of butter for creaminess.
- Prepare the sausage according to package instructions (mine allowed me to nuke it for 2 minutes, because I buy the good shit), then cut into medallions or chunks
- Assemble!

Granted, now, I have tomato sauce on my jeans but, fuck it, I also had a delicious lunch. And will have delicious lunch for the next three days. Obviously, you can fancy it up with veg and different kinds of meat, fresh parmesan, real tomato sauce, maybe an egg, but I don’t have any of that right now, so you can suck it. <3

If I had those things, though, I probably would have prepared it a little differently. Instead of cooking dry polenta, I would have opted for the tube of polenta, sliced thinly and cooked in olive oil until crispy on the edges. As soon as they come out of the pan, hit them with salt, pepper, a liberal grating of fresh parmesan, and torn, fresh basil. I also probably would have cooked the sausage in the tomato sauce if it was real sauce and not something you were completely winging and desperately hoping that it wouldn’t murder you when you tried to eat it. I definitely would have fried or poached some eggs to put on top.

I also would probably drink it with a nice red wine, but I’m at work so let’s go with: Diet Coke and the sugar-free instant chocolate pudding that I found in my fridge this morning.

Chicken Pot Pie For The Incredibly Lazy Or Incredibly Cold

It is cold in New York. Really, really fucking cold. When I left for work Monday morning, the “Feels Like” temperature (and, let’s be real, that’s the important temperature) was -17*.

NEGATIVE SEVENTEEN

And my brand new winter coat? The tracking information has said “In the warehouse awaiting pick-up” for a week. I’ve never been more glad that my father demanded I buy thermal underclothes from Cabela’s before I went off to college. They may be 10 years old and a little too short in the sleeves, but thank goodness for silk.

Combine this cold with the fact that I’ve been out of state for two weeks and one of my resolutions for 2014 is to rely on Seamless.com less, and it doesn’t leave a whole lot of options for dinner. Not only that, this weather demands something warming and comforting. I pulled out my step ladder and had a good search. My find revealed the following: a can Campbell’s creamy chicken and dumpling soup and a nearly-expired tube of Pillsbury Grands which can only mean one thing. I present to you:

Chicken Pot Pie For The Incredibly Lazy Or Incredibly Cold

Ingredients:
- 1 or 2 cans of a creamy chicken soup
- refrigerated biscuit dough
- flour
- If I had been shopping, I probably would have had some chicken and frozen veg on hand which make a perfect addition

Directions:
- Heat the soup gently in a small sauce pan, adding a tablespoon or two of flour to thicken the soup (you can also do this by adding a paste of flour and milk if you fear a floury flavor)
- Pour into a pie pan
- Top with biscuits
- Bake at the recommended temperature on the back of the biscuit can

Pro Tip: Allow biscuits to get a little darker than you’d normally cook them or you risk soggy, doughy undersides. Or you can bake the biscuits halfway while you are thickening your soup. Whatever, it’s your dinner. You do what you wanna do, I’m not gonna judge.

Pro Tip: If you living a building like mine that is roughly 100 years old (my landlord has provided 3 different possible dates of construction), it’s gonna get insanely cold when it’s been in the negative temperatures all day. Leave the oven door cracked after you turn it off and it’ll help warm your cozy, less-than-300-square-foot apartment. It’s easier to eat without winter gloves on and blankets pulled up to your chin.

The Ideal Pairing:
A tea hot toddy. Earl Grey seems to be the classic tea people turn to, but I suggest a cinnamon tea (Harney & Son’s Hot Cinnamon Spice is a favorite of mine) or a chai-spiced tea. It’s the easiest and most comforting of cocktails:
- Brew a cup a tea
- add an ounce or two of bourbon (use a good bourbon that compliments the flavor of your tea)
- 4 or so tablespoons of lemon juice
- honey to taste (usually a tablespoon or two)

Can you think of a better cocktail when you are cold? Or when you have a cold? Ok, actually, a wintry Mint Julep might be an even better cocktail when you are sick (strong, hot peppermint tea + bourbon + sugar or honey). Either way, it’s good for you: tea has antioxidants, lemon has citrus, honey is magical, and whiskey has antioxidants too (and can lower your risk of stroke and dementia if you have a wee dram every day). You’re welcome.

History Student Enchiladas

When I was in college, I fell in with a fabulous group of fellow History majors and we started a monthly tradition of Taco Night. Granted, we didn’t always have tacos, but we usually did. It is cheap and something that meat-eaters, pescatarians, and vegetarians can all agree to. It’s easy for people to pitch in and who doesn’t love Tecate and tequila? It was during one of those nights that my friend Z bestowed upon us his recipe for enchiladas, so now I give to you:

History Major Enchiladas

Ingredients:
- tortillas (flour tend to work best)
- 2 cans of enchilada sauce
- a package of string cheese
- a large glass casserole/baking dish

Directions:
- Preheat your oven to Betty Crocker
- Unwrap your sticks of string cheese and wrap individually in tortillas
- Fill the pan with your cheese & tortilla wraps (fill the pan enough so that the pressure keeps them from unrolling)
- Adorn with your desired amount of enchilada sauce (if you wanna get fancy, reserve some of the sauce to heat and pour over your freshly baked enchiladas)
- Bake until the cheese is melty
- Enjoy!

If you really wanna get fancy and you aren’t a vegetarian like Z, cook a can of shredded chicken with a little taco seasoning and then add that to your string cheese before rolling in the tortilla.

The Ideal Pairing:
Tecate with lime and tequila with lime and/or a margarita. Corona is for suckers and I’m convinced even Jimmy Buffett doesn’t drink Landshark. I only had PBR in my fridge and that seemed to work pretty nicely. After all, it won the blue ribbon.

Merry Christmas To All, And To All A Good Pun

Merry Christmas To All, And To All A Good Pun

I just cannot get over this picture of Prince George dressed as a reigndeer* and getting tiny stuffed corgis for Christmas. Is ERII not the CUTEST great-grandma in this pic? And kudos to the wine maker who get in the shot label out! But, mostly, don’t you want to squish George and those puppies just a little? Even my heart of ice and stone melted a little for this one.

*Get it? A REIGNdeer?

According to The Mirror, this image belongs to Shloer/Alison Jackson, but the pun is all me, baby.

How To Fix Anything: Roller Ball Ink Pen Edition

Your Paper<3Mate blue rollerball stopped working? If you are like me, it’s probably because everything in your life is completely frozen because it just too damn cold. If not, it is likely not writing for one of three reasons:
1. You are using shitty paper
2. Your pen is dead
3. A little crust has dried and is blocking the ink flow.

Here is how to fix it!
1. Stop using shitty/shiny paper
2. Chuck it
3. Lick it a little.

You’re welcome.