Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 29


Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! I am dedicating this blog to summer. The picture, music, video, and recipe are all summer related and there is no DIY because people should take a break! Since I have been in a pattern of posting a little note about my week (and it might be good for reflective purposes later), it was a heavy work week with not many interesting things going on in my personal life (besides my car needing a new battery - EXCITING!). I spent the last 48 hours trying to set up interesting new projects that should make for great content on the blog - fingers crossed that it comes through. This leads me to a simple message about change: embrace it. I had a long discussion with a friend last night that was torn up about a decision they needed to make. There is only upside to this change - sometimes leaving behind comfortable patterns is the best thing you can do for yourself and longtime health. Enough of the deep thoughts, lets open the fridge and see what is leftover!

[The Back Window]

CREDIT: Coconut Records - The Summer

[Recipe of the Week: Fire Roasted Corn Salsa]
Credit: No Recipes

3 ears sweet corn shucked
1/4 red bell pepper, minced
1/4 small red onion, minced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1. Grill or broil the corn over high heat until it is speckled black on all sides, rotating each ear to make sure it roasts evenly.
2. Allow the corn to cool enough to handle. Use a sharp knife to remove the kernels of corn into a bowl, then add the bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, salt and dried oregano.
3. Stir to combine, taste for salt and adjust to taste.

[DIY of the Week]
It is memorial day, you should relax. Skipping the DIY this week.

[Video of the Week]


Thank you for reading, but I hope you are doing it on a device that allows you to be outside, in the sun. Actually, if you are on the beach reading Sunday Leftovers, have someone take a picture and I will post it on the blog (or don't). I will be writing an article about a Virginia vineyard (if I can get motivated) this week for Drinking Made Easy. If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Thursday, May 26, 2011

DME: Bloody Marys

( @DrinkingMadeEasy, #BloodyMary )

Drinking Made Easy FINALLY posted my article about bloody marys! I am pretty proud of this post because I inserted a little more of my personality than my previous efforts. Please give it a read:

Drinking Made Easy: Bloody Marys

Update: DME's likes are broken, here is the whole story...

Bloody Mary recipes are like assholes...everybody has one (except for a kid I knew in 4th grade, but that is a whole other story). The tomato and vodka based drink is universally recognized, yet encourages massive variation. Last month I read a short story about the American Chemical Society (ACS) publishing guidelines on making the perfect bloody mary. I was going to do a simple article and call it a day. When I started mentioning the idea to friends and family, everyone chimed in. Suddenly I was caught in a deluge of suggestions and my head started spinning.

Where did the bloody mary even come from? The drink seems to have an unlikely origin: actor George Jessel is credited with inventing an early form of the cocktail in the 1920s. He basically mixed equal parts tomato juice and vodka. Jessel befriended a French bartender named Fernand Petoit who added salt, pepper, spices, and Worcestershire sauce. The drink caught on and people started putting their own spin on it. The origin of the name is cloudy to say the least, but could also have roots in Hollywood (named after actress Mary Pickford). Eventually the New York School of Bartending published the "definitive" recipe as:

1 oz. to 1½ oz. (30-45 ml) vodka in a highball glass filled with ice.
Fill glass with tomato juice
1 dash celery salt
1 dash ground black pepper
1 dash Tabasco sauce
2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. horseradish (pure, never creamed)
Dash of lemon or lime juice
Garnish with celery stalk.

While the ACS doesn't refute any of the ingredients, from a scientific standpoint they suggest using fresh ingredients stating that the concoction deteriorates quickly. They suggest using cheaper vodka since the other ingredients will mask the alcohol's flavor. Finally, the ACS recommends spending money on superior tomato juice since it makes up the bulk of the flavor in the drink.

I decided to test out the recommendations and invited a few respected drinking buddies over to sample. One of my guests threw a curveball by bring a pre-made bloody mary mix (sans vodka) called Zing Zang. Of course there is a backstory to this mix: it is not available in the East Coast and he had to have his brother-in-law ship him a case from Chicago. I pushed my pitcher of homemade bloody mary aside and made myself a drink using the Zing Zang. It was good and not for those with weak hearts. The mix is spicy and features huge chunks of salt and pepper floating around. It tasted fresh and was very good.

I then shifted over to my own mix. All the ingredients were highlighted: the spice of the Tabasco, the sweetness of the Worcestershire, and the sinus clearing of the horseradish. Basically, the homemade drink was really good too, and it probably helped that I knew what was in it. The question remains, which one was better?

There isn't a right answer and there never will be.

If you grew up tossing sea salt and jumbo shrimp in your Bloody Mary, who am I to judge? If you prefer a salad in your glass over excessive amounts of vodka, that is your prerogative. If you want a drink so spicy that it melts the glass, you do what you got to do. The important thing to remember is the bloody mary allows for drinking to be socially acceptable on Sunday mornings which I am sure everyone can get behind. The next time someone hands you this delicious cocktail, don't think about how you would have made it or what is missing. Just appreciate the fact that if an old Hollywood drunk had not shared the recipe with a French bartender, you would probably be drinking fruit punch.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 28

( #SundayLeftovers )

Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Monday Leftovers! Sorry about the late post, I was attending my brother-in-law's graduation this weekend in the lovely Charlottesville, Va. The University of Virginia is a very cool place steeped in history and has a classic college town vibe. Glad I got to spend the weekend with my wife's family, but it Monday and time to get back to reality. Lets open the fridge and see what is leftover.

[The Back Window]

CREDIT: Chad VanGaalen - Sara

[Recipe of the Week: Braised Chicken Tacos ]
Credit: No recipes


2 pounds whole chicken thighs
3 small onions, sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
3 dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes in juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
juice of 1 meyer lemon (or juice of 1/2 regular lemon)


1. Generously salt and pepper the chicken on both sides. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil to a large heavy bottomed pot and heat until the oil is very hot. Brown the chicken in batches, leaving room between the pieces of chicken so they turn a golden brown on one side before flipping. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and repeat.
2. Turn down the heat to medium low, add the onions and garlic to the pot, and cover with a lid for 10 minutes. When you remove the lid, the onions should be wilted and cooking in their own juices. Use a wooden paddle to scrape up all the browned bits (a.k.a. chicken flavor) from the pan, then turn up the heat to medium high to burn off the liquid. When most of the liquid has evaporated, turn the heat back down and stir and continue to caramelize the onions until they are brown and glossy (another 20-30 minutes).
3. Meanwhile, tear up the chiles into small flat pieces and place them in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast in a 350 degree oven until they are fragrant, but be careful not to burn them as they will become bitter. Transfer the roasted peppers to a bowl and cover them with very hot water. Once the peppers are soft, transfer them to a food processor or blender adding in about 1/2 cup of the water they were soaking in along with the can of tomatoes. Puree the peppers and tomatoes until they form a smooth sauce.
4. When the onions are done caramelizing add the pepper puree, along with the chicken, cinnamon sticks, bay leaf and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting, partially cover with a lid and cook until the chicken falls apart when prodded with a fork (about 1 1/2 hours).
5. When the chicken is done, remove the bay leaf an cinnamon sticks, then use 2 forks to shred the meat. Serve with sliced avocados, lime wedges and tortillas.

[DIY of the Week: Credit Card Ear Bud Holder]

Check out this simple DIY for turning an old credit card into a proper ear bud holder (these things drive me nuts).

Unplggd: Ear Bud Holder

[Video of the Week]


That is all for now. I am pushing to get a few articles knocked out today, so be on the lookout. I don't know what the hell happened to my Bloody Mary article on Drinking Made Easy. Might have to go poking around. If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Its the end....

( #Rapture )

...or not. These rapture people should have to throw themselves off a cliff... only fair.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Philadelphia: North American Building 1904

( #Philly, #1904 )

Credit: Shorpy

The North American and Real Estate Trust Building taken in 1904. Also in the background is a clear picture of city hall.

Monday, May 16, 2011

D&D Movie?

( #D&D, #ZeroCharisma )

I was never much of a DND fan, but this looks pretty funny, kind of like Role Models but with real nerds and a much darker plot (I am doubting this guy gets the girl, or if there are women in this movie).


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 27

( #SundayLeftovers )

Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! I think it was a pretty good week for the blog and I was certainly given a gift from CBS Philly when they did a story on my old man. Posts are still a little light from last year's peak and I am not sure if I will ever get back to multiple post days because I don't want to rely on other people's work so much. Either way, I am looking forward to the next few months of stories. With all of that said, lets open the fridge and see what is leftover...

[The Back Window]

CREDIT: Tomer Hanuka

CREDIT: Breathe Owl Breathe - Across the Loch

[Recipe of the Week: Lamb Stew]
Credit: Simply Recipes | Elise

2-3 lbs of lamb shoulder stew meat, cut into 1½-inch cubes
Olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 dry pasilla chiles, chopped, stems and most seeds removed
1 Tbsp paprika
1½ teaspoon ground cumin
1½ cups chicken stock
14 oz of canned whole tomatoes, put through a food mill, or puréed
8-10 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley
4-5 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
2/3 cup raisins
Salt and pepper

1. Pat the lamb dry with a paper towel. Drying the lamb this way first will help the lamb pieces brown. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy, high-sided pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium high heat. When the pot is hot, add the lamb pieces in batches, being careful not to crowd them. Cook, turning as needed so that the lamb pieces brown evenly on all sides, for 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the onions, dried peppers and red bell peppers and stir to coat with the oil in the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.

3. Make a herb basket by placing the parley, thyme and bay leaf in the center of a doubled over cheesecloth square. Gather the ends and secure with kitchen string.

4 Stir in the paprika and cumin and cook for a minute. Add the puréed (or cooked tomatoes put through a food mill) tomatoes, lamb, chicken stock, raisins and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil over high heat, decrease heat to low. Cook, partially covered, for about 3 hours, or until lamb is tender.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over rice.

[DIY of the Week: Steampunk Mr. Potato Head]

Here is the first simple craft DIY in a very long time. The link contains complete instructions on how to make a Steampunk Mr. Potato Head. Its kind of awesome.

Instructables: Steampunk Mr. Potato Head

[Video of the Week]


That's all for this week! I have a pretty funny article about Bloody Marys coming up on Drinking Made Easy (I will post the link here when they publish). I also plan on doing a few travel posts in Virginia next weekend. If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Saturday, May 14, 2011

CBS Covers My Dad's 100 Foot Sausage...

( #JoeKnit, #CBS3 )

Image Credit: CBS Philly

CBS Philly covered the Italian Market's weekend festival and did an "interview" with my father. I put interview in quotes because we know my old man does really talk. Either way, it amuses me greatly that the focus was on his sausage. The best part is, I think the girl who wrote the article is kind of making the same joke.

Anyway... here is the article:
CBS Philly: Philadelphia Meat Shop Celebrates 100 Years With 100 Foot Sausage

PS: Mean Joe goes by Joe Knit at the Italian Market. I have heard a few reasons why and I will save them all for another day and another post.

Click Here to read more about Mean Joe.

Computer Joey: Easy Video Conferencing

( #Skype, #GoogleTalk )

I have been meaning to do a post about video conferencing for the last 2 months but school and work have gotten in the way. With the news about Microsoft buying Skype for $8.5 billion, people are talking about the service and video conferencing in general, so I thought it would be a good time to do a tutorial.

I tried Skype a few years ago and didn’t like it. I was not into the software and I always had problems with the video; but I will accept that things have probably changed a great deal over the last three years (and I suspect Microsoft will add many new features including Xbox functionality). Video conferencing never held much appeal to me until recently: I have a few friends who don’t live close and we video conference a few times a month (or we will let the cameras run while we are watching the same movies so we can see each others reactions).

Since I don’t use Skype, the service I have been using is Google Talk. Besides a small plugin, you don’t have to install any software and works on almost any computer. Additionally, if you have a gmail account, there is no need for additional logins. While this is a really simple set up, I will still walk you through it.

Before we get started, you obviously need a gmail account, if you don’t have one, go sign up and come back.

1. In order to video conference, you need a camera. Most laptops have built in cameras, but if you don’t have one, logitech seems to be the go-to brand for all things web-conferencing. I am currently using the C510, but the C310 is a little cheaper and will work well.

2. Once your camera is sorted out, you need to download the Google Talk Video Chat Plug-In. Click on the "Install Video Chat Plugin" button. Follow the directions based on your operating system (should only take a minute).

3. Once the plugin is loaded, go to gmail and log in. On the left side of the screen you will see the chat section. If you don’t have friends in your chat list, you can invite them by putting in their gmail address (in the text box shown below). If you do have friends in the chat list, look for a video camera icon next to their name - that means they have a computer that can video conference.

4. Click on the person's name and a new window will pop up (usually in the bottom right corner of gmail). If the person is available for video chat, a button with a video camera will appear in the upper left corner, click on it.

5. You can now video chat:

Skype's purchase is going to bring attention and improvements to all of the services—this is good news to consumers. I hope this tutorial was helpful and you find excellent ways to video conference. Try to stay off of Chat Roulette!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 26

( #SundayLeftovers )

Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This week we celebrate mothers (well my mother, I probably don't know your mom), we learn how to make a nice cobbler (maybe for your mother), and also how to make a desk (maybe also for your mother). Lets open the fridge and see what is leftover...

[The Back Window]


CREDIT: The Head and The Heart - Lost in my mind

[Mother's Day]

If you read this blog often, you know I typically find some snarky and cynical history or origin to the "Hallmark Holidays". While I am not a fan of the crazy inflated prices of mother's day brunches or generally jumping through hoops because someone said THIS DAY is the one to celebrate Moms, I still think it is a good idea to do something nice for your Mom and if this is the day you feel the need to do it, it is better than nothing - although I maintain you should try to do nice things for your mom all the time.

So for my Mom - thanks for all the mornings your drove me to school when I should have taken the bus, for all the lunches/dinners you cared to make instead of shoving McDonalds down our throats, for helping with homework, for supporting my crazy ideas, for cooking and helping out at parties that I throw (re: yesterday), and for the million other things you have done that I will not list because I am nursing a monster hangover (re: yesterday).

[Recipe of the Week: Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler]
Credit Simply Recipes


Fruit mixture

4 1/2 cups rhubarb stalks cut into 1-inch pieces (Trim outside stringy layer of large rhubarb stalks; make sure to trim away any and discard of the leaves which are poisonous; trim ends.)
1 1/2 cups strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons of quick cooking tapioca
1 teaspoon of grated orange peel

Cobbler crust

2 Tbsp white sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten


1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
2. In a bowl, mix the rhubarb and the strawberries with the sugar, tapioca, and orange zest. Let sit to macerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
3. In a medium bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons of sugar, the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter in with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the milk and egg until just moistened.
4. Pour fruit into a 2-quart casserole dish. Drop the batter on the fruit. Bake in a 350°F oven for 35 minutes until cobbler crust is golden brown.

[DIY of the Week: Desk]

When I moved into my house, my cousin helped me build a desk in a pretty useless wasted space of my finished basement. I am a big fan of building your own custom desk to fit the space at hand. Check out this simple DIY to give you some ideas.

The Cheap Geek: Build a new desk

[Video of the Week]

You all know how I love crazy Japanese videos. This one is from a prank show where there is a "haunted mirror"...


Like I said, hangover - talk to you next week. If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


( #Gamestop, #Culture )

Image Credit: HoneyBunny

I am not much of a gamer. I own all of the major consoles, but I use them for their media extender capabilities...and I bought a Wii because my wife wanted it for parties. I don’t buy games often because I just don’t have time to play them and I feel really guilty when I blow a few hours on the couch, so I tend to avoid them. I have also trained myself not to buy new games because they always drop in price a few months later (new or used) but by then I completely forget about them.

I decided to get a game on Sunday because I finished up most of my school work and I wanted to reward myself. I got it in my head to run over to a Gamestop, but then I hesitated because I don’t usually like the guys who work in there (30-something man-boys that make me feel like an asshole for not caring/knowing about video games). Allow me to expand and get very locally focused. The closest Gamestop to me is in Glassboro, NJ. Every time I go in there it is dirty, everything has been picked over and the staff is rude. An additional point about the staff: there is a guy who works in there that is/was a friend of a former friend. He looks like a ghost. Casper seems to have had a hard life and he does recognize me when I walk in (which is good). But the whole experience puts me in a dark place.

So this Sunday I decided to go to a different Gamestop. I have tried the ones in Magnolia and Voorhees and had similar (bad) experiences, but I never noticed the one on Egg Harbor Road (Washington Township) before. When I walked in, the place was clean and the kid behind the counter was actually answering a child’s question. As soon as they were done, he asked me if I needed assistance. I told them I was looking around for something fun and not time consuming. Another kid in the back started asking some questions and handed me a used version of Portal 2 which just came out and it was like 40% cheaper than new. I bought it and went on my way.

Why am I sharing this experience? Normally I bitch on this blog about bad experiences. I wanted to highlight a good one, getting away from generalized statements (shout out to Pat B!). What is the difference between the Gamestop in Glassboro and the one on Egg Harbor Road? Culture. Whoever manages the Glassboro store does not care and it shows in the physical apeparance and in their interactions with the customers. The person running the Egg Harbor Road location hired friendly people and takes the care to make the store presentable, so when the average customer walks in they don’t feel the need to put on a full body condom.

Local readers, do you have similar stories? Are there stores that are geographically close, but have totally different shopping experiences? If so, share them. Lets celebrate the good ones!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ryan Adams: Mini Show

( #RyanAdams, #ElRay )

A few weeks, Ryan Adams did a surprise show in the El Ray theater in LA. Someone caught the performance and thanks to the power of social media, here it is.

Song #1: Dirty Rain (new song)

Song #2: Everybody Knows

Song 3: Blue Hotel

Song 4: Oh My Sweet Carolina

Monday, May 02, 2011

DME: Upscale Beer Pong

( #BeerPong, @drinkingmadeeasy )

Image Credit: Joseph Mollo

Drinking Made Easy posted my article about a $750 beer pong table.
Check it out: Upscale Beer Poing

Update: The DME link is down, so here is the full story...

Beer-pong gets a bad wrap. Often associated culturally-devoid fraternity “bros”, many of my peers scoff when I suggest playing a round. Playing beer pong doesn’t have to be relegated to shamed exile in a dank basement, especially if you have one of these. A talented young man named Joseph Mollo created an extraordinary beer pong table that is not only classy, but offers new innovations to the game.

Drinking Made Easy had a chance to speak with the Mollo about his creation. The 21-year-old has a family background in woodworking that gave him access to tools and materials. He put those skills to good use with this recent creation: “I was inspired to build a table that would not only be an exceptional playing surface, but hold its own as a furniture piece when not in use. Its a conversation piece that draws attention for anyone whether or not they have had any beer pong experience.“

The table is comprised of quality wood and incorporates attractive lights into the design. Joe says it takes him 7-10 days to create a table from start to finish. This quality work comes with a hefty price tag - $750.00 (USD) plus shipping. Joe says “the cost is based on quality materials, time, and craft.”

Thanks to Mollo’s unique design, the table creates new game-play elements. Joe says “the table’s design introduces a new shot to beer pong called the skeet shot shown in the video I provided. The ball is thrown into the curve and launches off the opposing side into the cup for 2 cups. Swatting is encouraged (for all the traditionalists looking for a new).”

While the table may be expensive, the craft and creativity of the creator cannot be denied. It is a beautiful piece of furniture that any social drinker would be proud to feature in their home. Creators like Joe are will beer pong out of the frat houses and basements and into the parlors and game rooms of the masses. If anyone else has a customized table, let us know in the comments section, we would love to hear about your designs.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 25

( #SundayLeftovers )

Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! Good news my faithful (and sometimes critical) readers, I put the finishing touches on my last two papers for graduate school. I am betting on a revision for one, but I am pretty much done which means we will be returning a more frequent blogging schedule (I am sure this is the best news you have heard all week). Enough patting myself on the back, lets open the fridge and see what is leftover...

[The Back Window]

CREDIT: Ryan Adams - Your Name is on Fire

[Recipe of the Week: Slow Roasted Lamb Shanks]
Credit: Kitchen Daily


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 lamb shanks (about 4 pounds total)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 ribs of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 1/2 quarts low-sodium beef stock
1 pint of dark beer
1/4 cup grated fresh horseradish


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Set a large Dutch oven on the stove top over medium-high heat and add olive oil.
3. Lightly dredge each shank in flour then brown in the pot on all four sides - about 10 minutes total.
4. Remove shanks from pot and add onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Saute vegetables for 6-8 minutes until very caramelized. Add thyme, bay and season with salt and pepper.
5. Deglaze with beer and add stock. Nestle shanks back into the pot then cover with a lid and place in oven to braise. Cook for 2 hours until meat is just about falling off the bone.
6. When done, lift out shanks and set aside loosely covered with foil. Discard thyme and bay leaf.
7. Return liquid back to pot and set over high heat to reduce. Add grated fresh horseradish and reduce sauce by half - skim fat and discard

Serve shanks and pour over horseradish jus.

[DIY of the Week: Fighting Stink Bugs]

This weeks DIY isn't about making something, it is about fighting off Stink Bugs. They are ninjas at getting in your house and if you are seeing them now, there is a good chance they got in during the winter to hibernate and are now trying to get back outside. They originate from China and there are no natural predators domestically, which means they are multiplying like crazy. Did I forget to mention that they are highly resistant to commercial bug spray?

Check out this website for a few tips on keeping these bastards out of your house: Fighting Stink Bugs

[Video of the Week]


Check back tomorrow for my article on a really expensive beer pong table. More to come this week. Thanks for being patient while I took care of this degree. If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook