Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shatner 2.0 Maybe?

I've heard an ugly rumor that there's supposed to be a "T.J. Hooker" movie. I'm not fucking around. I mean if "Rise of the Dragon" is going to be for all intents and purposes a sacrilegious remake/update/reboot of "Enter the Dragon," then why not a fatassed Cannuck gripping onto a car hood for dear life....AGAIN?

For one thing, I doubt that there is a mass production level of vehicular shock suspension short of the military that could support the greatness that is Shatner. By "greatness," I mean "hypnotically morbidly obese ass crack."

While Shatner languishes in cable television Hell with his "edgy" face-to-face interview show, he at least had the smarts not to take part of J.J. Abrams' batter-fried glitter dipped demon cock that is the "Star Trek" reboot. How massive was this clusterfuck of special effects, Wagnerian music, and childhood memory assrape? It was so massive that Harlan Ellison (one of the most iconic figures in the Star Trek firmament and the man who wrote the "City on the Edge of Forever" script) said he'd love to work with J.J. Abrams on a sequel. For those who don't know, Harlan Ellison is an angry old fucker with unimpeachable genre writing history. He's long bristled at the pervasive insistence that he as a writer must use technology more advanced than his MANUAL typewriter. I lost all respect for Harlan Ellison when I heard that, and when I heard that Shatner resisted the lure of being in one more "Star Trek" movie, I gained a little bit more respect for one of the greatest singers of our time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Organic Vegan Tofu Summer Rolls

After whipping up a Thai-inspired noodle dish, I decided to take things a couple steps further and attempt Summer Rolls and not Spring Rolls because I was trying to stay as far away from deep fried as possible. As Dennis Hopper said in a "Saturday Night Live" opening monologue, "There was always one thing I stayed away from - fried food. Laugh now, but that last donut killed Elvis."

To tweak my earlier recipe, work from that, but with the following adjustments. Read through this recipe from beginning to end before starting because some of the later sections overlap.

N.B. All ingredients should be organic. If you can find organic toasted sesame seed oil, I tip my hat to you.

The Sauce
Non-emulsified peanut butter
1 large lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
grated ginger (to taste)
powdered cayenne pepper
toasted sesame seed oil

Using a tea strainer to catch the seeds, juice the lemon into a large bowl. Discard the seeds, but toss the pulp in. Add three to four liberally heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter along with a few pinches of salt and a few dashes of toasted sesame seed oil. Depending upon how masochistic you are, use a few shakes of chili powder along with the diced garlic cloves and mix well. The sauce should be rather thick. Set aside and prepare your veggies:

3 green onions, diced
1 large carrot, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 fistful of fresh basil w/ stems, minced
1 small fistful of curly parsley, minced
1 slightly larger fistful of cilantro, minced
A few handfuls of roughly chopped up organic raw peanuts, shelled (duh)

After mincing, dicing, and grating up your veggies, mix them together and mix in a couple spoonful of the sauce. It won't mix as well as you'd think, and you will eventually need some more toasted sesame seed oil (you did save some, right?).

N.B. Organic raw peanuts aren't as difficult to find as you would think. They are more expensive, however, and they're smaller than conventional peanuts, but they're tastier and absofuckinglutely worth it in my mind.

If you're feeling artsy-fartsy, you may want to use a few extra big ass basil leaves in between the filling and the rice paper wraps. I was just nervous about fucking up the rice paper wraps having never worked with them before. More on those later.

Tofu,My Brothas & Sistas
1 pound extra firm tofu, drained & diced

Heat up a wok, but do NOT add any oil yet. Using a good sharp kitchen utility knife, slice the block of tofu into about 4 - 5 sheets before cutting into smaller cubes. Toss the tofu into the wok and sear until it begins to stick to the pan (depending upon your wok and how hot it is, this should take a few minutes). Add in a couple spoonfuls of the sauce and add in a few tosses of the toasted sesame seed oil. Mix so that the sauce and oil is evenly distributed. Remove from heat and toss into your veggies. Mix thoroughly. If you have any sauce left, mix that in with a couple shakes of toasted sesame seed oil. You want the mixture to be chunky but not unwieldy.

The Noodles
I used a box of Annie Chung's Pad Thai rice noodles. They don't have to be that particular brand I guess, and from what I saw at Whole Foods, the different Pad Thai rice noodle packages all seemed about the same size.

Start boiling water for the noodles in a deep pot right before you heated up the wok. Once the water reaches a rapid boil, toss in the noodles. Cook for about 5 minutes, then drain teh noodles in a colander before returning to the pot to "shock" cool them down in ice cold water. You may have to drain again and shock the noodles again until they're cool. At that point drain the noodles well, and return to the pot. Cut them up with a pair of scissors. The reason for this is that you want them to be small enough to be spooned onto the rice paper skins. Mix the cut up noodles into your veggies & sauce mixture.

You're pretty much done except for the last part.

The Rice Paper Skins
Finding these wasn't too difficult at Whole Foods. You might also find them easily at a Vietnamese or Thai grocery store.

While they look stiff and mildly flexible, After soaking them, they're easy to use. They don't tear all that easily, so don't be frightened by their filmy nature after soaking them. You'll need a small shallow pan of cool water. Soak the rice paper skins one by one in the pan for a few seconds. Place the wet, filmy skin on your plate, spoon in the noodles & veggies mix, and wrap it up as you would a burrito.

With some practice, you should be able to wrap these up to set aside in a container for another meal or picnic. The mixture should serve about 4 hungry bastards, and you should still have some leftover skins. Keep the leftovers dry in a bag.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Organic Vegan Buckwheat Noodle Tofu Salad

I was debating what to title this. It's not really Thai, but I suppose it's "Thai-inspired." It's incredibly easy to make, but you'll need to get things in order to pull it off quickly.

N.B. Ingredients should be organic whenever possible. The only thing I wasn't able to find organically was the toasted sesame oil.

1 package Buckwheat Noodles (three bundles)
Non-emulsified peanut butter
3 large green onions
1 handful curly parsley
1 large lemon
1 large carrot
4 cloves garlic
ginger (to taste)
chili powder (to taste)
1 pound extra firm tofu
fresh basil

NOTES: The peanut butter I used was organic from Woodstock Farms. It was non-emulsified with a layer of oil on top. This means you'll have to stir it up in the jar before using. It also usually means that this kind of peanut butter will be a wee bit looser than conventional peanut butter (great for sauces, but not as great for a PBJ sammich). I've also found that it's a bit looser than freshly-ground peanut butter.

Heat up a wok, but do not add oil. Dice the tofu and sear the tofu until crispy. Stir every now and then to prevent sticking to the wok. While the tofu is cooking, Put about three big heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter in a mixing bowl. If I had to guess, I'd say use about 2/3rds of a cup. Juice the lemon and remove the seeds. Mix that into the peanut butter. Add the toasted sesame oil. Add salt, chili powder, and freshly grated ginger to taste. This mixture should have the consistency of a thick sauce, so you may need to add more toasted sesame oil. When the tofu is crispy, place it in a bowl to cool.

Start boiling water for the noodles in a large pot. While you're waiting for the water to roil, mince the garlic and add to the sauce. Grate the carrot and mince the parsley and green onions. Add to the sauce along with the tofu. Mix together. Boil the buckwheat noodles for a few minutes until al dente. Drain, and then soak for about a minute in ice cold water. Drain again. Return noodles to pot and then mix in the sauce. Roughly chop up a couple handfuls of fresh basil and add.

Serves 4.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Goddamn, I Hate George Romero

Ain't much in life that can put a smile on my face easier than a bunch of zombies. I love zombies, and more specifically, seeing them get fucked up with shotguns, baseball bats, chainsaws, garden tools - anything.

You'd think that because of my penchant for the undead, that I'd love the movies of George Romero.

You'd be dead fucking wrong.

George Romero is revered as the Godfather of horror movies having churned out "Night of the Living Dead," "Dawn of the Dead," "Day of the Dead," and a bunch more. The problem is that he was too fucking stupid (or stoned or both) to copyright "Night of the Living Dead." You can find a shitload of different legal releases of "Night of the Living Dead," and Romero ain't gonna see more than a squirt of piss off of them. He also freely admits to ripping off Richard Matheson's seminal vampire novel I Am Legend as the "inspiration" for "NOTLD."

OK, so he's an idiot and a thief. Big deal. So's George Lucas. Maybe he can churn out a decent zombie movie, right?


I looked around for "Dawn of the Dead," and I found out that there were at least three different edits of the movie. The special effects were apparently deemed too gory to get an "R" rating from the MPAA in 1978. I finally saw a fanedit (and no, I'm not telling how or where) of "Dawn of the Dead" that incorporated all three different cuts, and I don't necessarily have a problem with the gore or the cheesy makeup. The pacing sucked. It looked as if Romero bit off more than he could chew. There was no real consistent sense of impending doom from the undead. There were a few memorable bits but on the whole, it was boring as fuck. I'm not buying into the praise of "DOTD" as a critique of modern consumerism. Zack Snyder handled that a LOT better in his 2004 remake, and the remake was a lot scarier. No, Romero failed to understand the transition from the claustrophobic environment in "NOTLD" to a wide open shopping mall in "DOTD."

In 1996, Capcom released their "survival horror" video game "Resident Evil" (known in Japan as "Biohazard"). There were monsters, traps, and VERY hungry zombies. Speculation began almost immediately about a movie, and while it took a long time to make through "development Hell," 2002 saw the first "Resident Evil"-inspired movie. It and the subsequent movies weren't entirely faithful, but it could have been a lot worse. George Romero was the fanboy favorite to direct, and I remember there was some outrage that he wasn't actually going to direct it. The "Resident Evil" movie was far from briliant, but I can't imagine how much it would have reeked of fomunda cheese if that overrated Roger Corman-knockoff directed it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Super Godfather Fighter Turbo!

I remember when Electronic Arts released their first game based on Francis Ford Coppola's movie series, "The Godfather," Coppola himself shit a brick in protest bitching about it being too violent, yadda yadda yadda.

Firstly, I strongly feel that Francis Ford Coppola is a huge fucking bitch, and I would love precious little more than to bludgeon his ass with a lead pipe, and that's before I'd get creative with his suffering.

Secondly, I'm assuming that one of the reasons he may have bitched about the game was the money he stood to make off it in terms of licensing.... unless he didn't stand to receive a piece of the action in licensing deals in which case he's free to disparage the game because he doesn't stand to make all that much dough from it. Marlon Brando's last work was literally for "The Godfather" video game. That's one Hell of a "va fangu" to Coppola's "artistic vision."

Thirdly, the movie series was incredibly violent for its time. Carlo Rizzi getting a royal asswhooping, Sonny getting perforated on the Causeway, Moe Greene getting shot through the eye - what was that, fucking Sunday School? I guess the Bonnano family (upon whom the book and subsequent movies were based) ruled the Mafia with hugs and kisses, right?

Finally, Coppola's vision of Mario Puzo's epic crime novel The Godfather was a bastardization of the source material. The first two movies were great, but it's a little known fact that there was a shitload of finished footage (75 minutes worth) that Coppola hacked out of "The Godfather, Part II." This footage was re-edited AT COPPOLA'S BEHEST (while he was filming "Apocalypse Now") He did this in order to make a television version of "The Godfather" to raise money for "Apocalypse Now" which was apparently insanely over budget. The first two movies were re-edited chronologically from when young Vito Andolini left Sicily to Michael Corleone pondering what's left of his family empire. While this was a wonderful achievement, it was still a tribute and reinterpretation of Mr. Puzo's original novel. You may wonder why this re-edit hasn't seen release in ages (outside of being on Bravo every now and then). I'm guessing it's because NBC may have a stake in the home video rights, and they're not playing ball. Any claim Coppola wants to make about being true to the source material is rendered fucking moot by his own greed.

I would like to see Coppola squirm and bitch even more with a Godfather fighting game. None of this "work your way up the Corleone crime family chain of command" shit. I mean an honest-to-God fighting game like Capcom's "Street Fighter" and Bandai Namco's "Tekken" series. Between the three movies, there's a shitload of main and ancillary characters. You might have to prove yourself by training against Al Neri, Sal Tessio, Rocco Lampone, Michael's unnamed bodyguard, and the formidable Luca Brasi. You could pit Sonny against Carlo Rizzi - AGAIN. Mamma Corleone could beat the fuck out of Fredo with a rolling pin. How weird (and yet oddly satisfying) would it be to have young Peter Clemenza fight "Fat" Clemenza? I'd love to see Apollonia Vitelli Corleone unleash her Sicilian rage against Kay Adams Corleone. There could be handicapping like if Connie Corleone got to fight Carlo Rizzi, she could have a 25% - 50% power bonus (tough shit Carlo. That's what you get for cheating on your wife and beating her). If by some randomization Mary Corleone had to fight Vincent Mancini, she'd fuck him afterwards.

But most of all, I'd like to see a gang beating of Mary Corleone Sofia Coppola.