High school reunions not for me

By September 14, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

The other day I was chatting with a colleague and he mentioned his 20th class reunion was coming up.

“You going?”

He frowned. “Nah,” he said. “I see everyone I want to see from high school. What’s the point?”

Exactly what I was thinking.

Shockingly — at least to me — my 20th class reunion is fast approaching, too, and I’m already getting Facebook notifications about it.

I have nothing against get-togethers of old friends and classmates. But a formal, organized reunion where I’d have to wear a name tag and dredge memories of trigonometry class and run into ex-boyfriends? I can think of other things to do that night.

It’s not that I don’t want to see my classmates. In fact, I enjoy running into familiar faces at the mall, grocery store and, most recently, at Rainbow Drive-In. I like catching up, hearing about their kids, what they’ve been up to, who they wound up marrying. But I’m not sure about an entire evening devoted to doing that with, oh, 125 people, many of whom won’t remember me, anyway.

I used to think high school reunions would be fun, a chance to reconnect with old friends and — isn’t this why we all go? — to see how everyone turned out. Did the prom queen get fat? Does the quarterback still have hair? And will my ex show up — and try to talk to me?

You envision — or hope — it will be a lot like “Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion,” where the two friends pretend they invented Post-Its, perform an elaborate dance number stick it to the popular girls and run away with the rich guy in a helicopter. It’s not a bad scenario.

Why do people go to class reunions, anyway? People — like my colleague — always say if those people really mattered that much, they would have kept in touch all these years. Is it the nostalgia? Is it to reconnect with old friends who don’t have Facebook accounts or email?

Anyone?

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Postcards: Blue skies in Madison

By September 13, 2011 Postcards

Blue skies over Madison, Wisc. today, with temperatures in the 80s. It won’t be like this in a couple of months!

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New TV shows worth watching

By September 12, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

It’s not every fall I’m excited about the new lineup on TV.

But I have to say, I’m pretty stoked about a few, particularly NBC’s “Up All Night,” premiering Wednesday.

Not only does it star three of my favorite comedic actors — Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph — but the story just works. Applegate plays a successful career women/wife turned mom, Arnett her stay-at-home husband. Both are new parents, saying the kinds of things we only quietly think.

And then there’s ABC’s throwback “Pan Am,” starring Christina Ricci and airing Sept. 25. It looks like a nostaligic period drama — simliar to AMC’s “Mad Men” — that, if the writing is stellar, could be that must-watch Sunday night hit.

Both have all the makings of becoming classics.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been excited about new shows. Like set-the-DVR-if-I-had-a-DVR excited.

I felt that way about ABC’s “Lost” in its first season, “My So-Called Life” on MTV, and — I’ll admit it — the new “Hawaii Five-O.” But I can’t remember too many seasons where I’ve actually punched the premiere date in my iPhone.

Any shows you’re looking forward to this fall?

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Did This: Rice Fest 2011

By September 11, 2011 Food

It’s not everyday you get to cook alongside an award-winning chef.

I got to do that — and eat everything in sight — at yesterday’s 2nd annual Rice Fest at Ala Moana Beach Park.

Not only did I make the rounds and sample the “rice-ipes” from vendors like Grandma G’s Kitchen, Kat’s Sushi and Shiga’licious, but I got to help Chef Mavro’s George Mavrothalassitis with his famous Keahole lobster risotto. (See recipe below)

I can’t complain. I was eating one of my favorite things — rice — with some of my favorite people. See what event looked like:

Rice love fest

Picture 1 of 18

Who doesn't love rice? This annual festival is all about celebrating one of Hawaii's food staples.

Keahole Lobster Risotto
George Mavrothalassitis, Chef Mavro
from “The Hawaii Book of Rice” (Watermark Publishing)

Hot vegetable broth
8 cups water
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
4 cloves garlic
1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, fresh thyme and parsley, tied together)
Sea salt, pepper and ground red pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and simmer for half an hour. Strain broth and cool.

Lobster
1 pound whole lobster
8 c. hot vegetable broth (above)

Put lobster and broth into saucepot. Bring to a simmer; do not boil. When the lobster turns red, it is ready. Remove lobster, reserving broth for the risotto, and immediately cool the lobster in ice water. Keeping the tail shell on, cut the lobster between the joints into five sections. Remove the meat from the knuckles and claws, dice the meat and place on the side.

Risotto
1/2 onion, minced
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup white wine
Hot vegetable broth (above, as needed)
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In a cast-iron pot, saute the onion in one Tablespoon of butter until translucent. Add the rice and cook for about two minutes. Add the wine and cook until the rice absorbs the wine. While cooking, add hot broth, a little at a time, stirring constantly to prevent the rice from sticking to the pot. The rice has to be firm and tender and not stick together. Add the diced lobster meat; remove from heat and immediately add the remaining one Tablespoon of butter and the olive oil. Reheat the lobster tail sections in the remaining warm broth. Arrange the risotto in the center of a platter. Top with the lobster. Serve immediately.

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Today’s happy shot

By September 11, 2011 Happy Shots, The Dog Dish

I can’t resist this face.

20110911-103927.jpg

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