Sass & Bite

"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you" Oscar Wilde

Month: January, 2014

Words of Wisdom

“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on — it is never of any use to oneself.” –Oscar Wilde

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1. Some people say “function over form”. I say, go for both.

2. They don’t have to tell you if they’re really a cop.

3. Please don’t specify “toenail polish” or “fingernail polish”. It’s creepy and unnecessary.

4. Don’t be that asshole who stops their cart in the middle of the aisle.

5. Blue pens are for lawyers and the intellectually inferior.

6. Sometimes, guys are gay. Sometimes, they are just hipsters. Sometimes, they just have a weird affinity for cardigans. It can be hard to tell. It’s like there are no rules anymore.

7. If you are passed by a minivan on the freeway, you need to A) speed the fuck up, and B) reevaluate your life.

8. Do your best to not get on my shit list.

Fleur de Sel Caramels

So here’s the good news : I found my camera connecter-cable thingie.

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The other good news (for me) is that between these pictures and the pork-filled sticky buns and chocolate vanilla custard cake from Portos that people delivered during lunchtime, there’s a lot of delicious things in and around my mouth today.

There’s not really any bad news here. I just tend to start commonplace or mildly interesting sentences with “so here’s the good news” or, “the good news is”, which I’ve come to realize confuses some people. And yet I persist. Story of my life.

Anyway, I made these at Christmas; because I see one side of my family on Christmas Eve, I often make something breakfasty they can have the next morning — scones, a loaf bread, whatever — but since this year I was working and interviewing in the days leading up to Christmas (spoiler alert: this is what adulthood is like. Am currently brainstorming occupations that have Christmas vacation but that pay better than teaching and don’t involve large rooms of children), I couldn’t get it together. So I went with caramels instead, mostly because I’d been meaning to make them for a long time, partly because one batch makes a lot, and partly because I figured that in the midst of a season where everyone is getting sweets constantly, these were good because you don’t need to eat them right away.
Not that it stopped me, but you know.

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These pictures are not good and for that I apologize

I did have a slight mishap, by which I mean near-total disaster that was a time-consuming pain in the ass to fix, but whatever. The caramels are difficult to cut neatly and attractively, and cutting them in the pan was problematic, as was getting them out of said pan, but I finally did it. Kind of. However, it only got worse when I placed them all in a container until I could come back and deal with them, at which point they had all melted together in a giant, mostly-solid mess that I then had to pry apart.

Like, what is this? Even the picture quality is shit. This is a failure on every level.

Like, what is this? Even the picture quality is shit. This is a failure on every level.

Obviously, since I had left this little endeavor until Christmas Eve, I had to slave all afternoon to fix it so I could take them to my aunt’s house to distribute. So do as I say, not as I do: I would line the baking pan with slightly-greased parchment paper or waxed paper, so you can lift it out and cut on a flat surface rather than fighting with the sides of the pan. If you still run into trouble and they come out all ugly and misshapen, the good news is: microwaves. I put some on a plate, heated them for like 8 seconds, and then reshaped them by hand in the wrappers. I’m deeply suspicious of reheated foods, but there was no difference in taste or texture that I could discern.

I also finished them with sea salt and some with chopped almonds. Chocolate drizzled on top after they’ve cooled would probably also be rad. Wherever your heart leads you.

FLEUR DE SEL CARAMELS
from Mark Bitman, in the New York Times

INGREDIENTS :

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, more for greasing pan

1½ cups heavy cream

2 cups sugar

½ cup light corn syrup (I know. But I had corn syrup to use up and not enough time to find a new recipe. Not my first choice, but I think we’ll survive)

Pinch sea salt

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract, optional (I’m pretty sure I forgot to do this. It was still good)

DIRECTIONS :

Lightly grease a 9″ square baking pan (or better yet, line with wax paper, or parchment paper and lightly grease that) and set aside.

Combine everything except the vanilla extract in a broad saucepan or deep skillet and turn heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.

It will bubble and darken; continue to cook and stir the mixture until it is dark gold, nearly brown, and measures 245 degrees on a cooking thermometer. This will take longer than you think (or it did for me, since I’m used to making toffee, if that helps you as a reference). If you don’t have a thermometer, Bitman says it’s ready when a small piece of it forms a firm ball when dropped in a glass of cold water.

Stir in the vanilla, if you’re going that route, and pour into the baking pan. Sprinkle with sea salt if you want, or nuts. Allow to cool, then remove from pan in a block and refrigerate, but not for too long, since the mixture should be cool enough to not be too sticky, but not so cold that it’s solid; good luck gauging that better than I did.

Use a sharp knife to cut the caramels and wrap in plastic, waxed paper, candy wrappers, etc.

People Who are Somehow Gainfully Employed While My Resume is Probably Being Automatically Deleted by Some Intern Somewhere

Sometimes I marvel at the people who have managed to get someone to pay them to theoretically do a job. Especially when it’s a job I was rejected from. A short list of those people:

1. The 25-year old who asked me what the word “peculiar” meant.

2. The cashier who, when I handed her a $20 bill and 18 cents to pay for my $18.18 purchase, asked why I was giving her extra money, because now she would have to give me money back. I gave her the benefit of the doubt — God knows I have my ditzy moments — and pointed out that she would have to give me money back anyway, because even without the 18 cents in coins, she would still owe me $1.82, but this way she could just give me two dollar bills instead of a bunch of coins.
And she could not grasp this concept. I had to explain to her twice how I wasn’t just pointlessly handing over piles of money she would just hand right back to me, at which point she did us both a favor and pretended she understood and just rang it up.
How do I know she was pretending? Because as I was halfway out the door, she said “Ooooooh. . . . I get it now”.

3. The man who told me how, when he was starting out as a PA, he was known for taking twice as long as every other PA at doing everything — because he frequently went shopping, took naps, went to Barnes and Noble to read, or hit up Starbucks when he was supposed to be out doing things.

4. The girl I went to high school with who thought that Inglorious Basterds was the true story of how World War II ended.

5. The waitress who was a total bitch from the get-go, then took our orders and didn’t bring my friend’s beer and disappeared for a half hour. When he finally got her to come back so he could tell her, she left and came back five minutes later, saying, in the snottiest voice possible, “We don’t have it anymore. That’s why you didn’t get it”, with an unspoken-but-very-clear “you total fucking idiot” tacked on the end.  And then stomped away without taking his order for a different beer.

6. Whoever is responsible at the Starbucks on Lankershim for ordering supplies and making sure they have things like, um, cups. And travelers. You’re Starbucks, how do you run out of these things?

7. The lifeguard who admitted to me that he frequently took naps behind his sunglasses while on duty.

8. The girl who I was trying to arrange an interview with who doesn’t understand the difference between “by” a certain time and “after” a certain time, and whose email was riddled with other typos, including but not limited to, her boss’s insistence that her employees have “good atention to detail”.

Did I say 9 Hour Days?

I meant twelve. Ten to twelve.

And yet, I am having a great time.

In other news, I would just like to add that today I was temporarily denied entrance to the parking lot the studio rented for us to use during the show, because the attendant insisted I was not on “the list”.

“The List” he pulled out was a list — for the theatre, completely unrelated to parking in any way —  of the names of seven executives.

Written on the back of a Coffee Bean napkin. 

By an intern.

Five minutes before this.

With my help.

See again: on the back of a napkin.

And there went ten minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

At My Age, Lauren Bacall had Already Modeled for Harper’s Bazaar, Starred in Several Movies, Had a Torrid Affair with Humphrey Bogart, and Got Him to Put a Ring On It

This is just a quickie.

I really have nothing for you people — I’ve been working at least nine hours every single day for the last week and it will not end for several more days, followed by coming home and doing more work. This is not a complaint, this is merely an explanation for my silence.

The point is that I am only here because today I came to the startling realization that Girl Scout Cookies are now being sold.

This is significant not only because they are the tits, but because it is proof that I have yet to switch to the adult method of measuring the year, which I assume is just a blur of responsibility and unspeakable boredom punctuated by the occasional 3-day weekend.

This is opposed to my life-long habit of thinking of the year in terms of school, which puts Girl Scout Cookies on Sale as the signal for Basically-February.

Last Basically-February, I was mercifully close to graduating college.

Which I did in March.

Which means that as of this date — when someone, somewhere, is able to purchase cookies from a small girl outside of Trader Joe’s who is really only in it for the prize beach towel — I finished college nearly one year ago.

Which seems like a very long time for someone who has accomplished as little as I have.

And I didn’t really realize it had been that long.

And despite the length of this little rant, all of this went through my head in the space of about 2.7 seconds today.

Also, I would just like to share with everyone the fact that when you google-image Girl Scout Cookies, like 43% of the pictures are of weed. So.

Weird Things I See as I’m Minding My Own Business in My Everyday Life

Walked past El Pollo Loco and saw a man exit an ambulance-type vehicle and then enter said El Pollo Loco, headed towards the back, carrying one of those biohazard coolers designated for transporting human organs.

Am both terrified and intrigued.

People of Pinterest: A New Series

I’m starting a new series here on SassandBite. I’m calling it People of Pinterest, and it will showcase the idiocy, unjustifiable smugness, and creative use of grammar and spelling that are so often posted in comments and on captions by every internet bully, basement-dweller looking to anonymously pick a fight with strangers, and self-proclaimed health expert on the wondrous site that is Pinterest. Enjoy. 

First up, this little gem:

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I laughed.

And then I desperately wanted In-N-Out.

Seen at the Golden Globes: My Future

I look at Emma Thompson and I see my future.

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Overheard at the Golden Globes

70th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

NBC’s generic/miscellaneous red carpet coverer lady, on Kerry Washington, who announced her pregnancy several months ago:

“I would never say this about any woman, but she does look pregnant”.

What.

Soy-Garlic Salmon with Japanese Marinated Cucumbers

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Maybe it’s the post-holiday sugar coma and craving for lightness, maybe it’s my enduring love of chopsticks, but I’ve been really into Japanese food lately. Well, Japanese-inspired, if we’re being honest, cause I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t do this to their fish. And there’s been a healthy amount of chile sauces on my tofu, which are Chinese. So basically I’m a fancy fusionist is what I’m saying. Look out, world.

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This is my go-to recipe for salmon. I’ve been making it since I was 13, when I ate it at my Filipino best friend’s house and forced her mother to teach me. She didn’t use exact measurements, so neither do I, so these are approximations. Don’t be scared — just go by taste.

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The salmon itself may be only vaguely Japanese-inspired, but the marinated cucumbers are more legit. They’re really light and refreshing, what I would call tangy-sweet, and really easy, because what I mean by “marinated” is “thrown together in a bowl and let it sit while you make you everything else, or forget until the last minute and just let it hang out for five minutes”. If you’re really enterprising, you can also keep them in a jar overnight.

Finally, the toasted sesame seeds sound like an annoying extra step, but it takes no more than 1 minute, literally. It really gives them that final depth of flavor that rounds everything out. So don’t skip it. If I can be un-lazy enough to do it, so can you.

SOY-GARLIC SALMON AND JAPANESE MARINATED CUCUMBERS

Ingredients (Salmon) :

1 salmon filet, preferably skin-on, about 2 lbs.

~2 tbl. low-sodium soy sauce

~2 tsp. olive or sesame oil

2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced

Ingredients (Cucumbers) : 

1 regular cucumber, or 2-3 Japanese or Persian cucumbers

2 tbl. rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 tsp. cane sugar

pinch sea salt

1 tbl. sesame seeds

Directions: 

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking. Place the fish skin side-down on the foil.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, olive oil, and crushed garlic. Adjust to taste. Spread on the salmon, and place in the oven. Bake 25 minutes, checking it and rotating halfway through.

While the salmon cooks, prepare the cucumbers. To toast the sesame seeds, set a skillet over medium heat and put some sesame seeds in it. No oil, just the seeds. Heat for about 1 minute, occasionally sliding the pan around to move the seeds, until they’re lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat. (See, wasn’t that simple?)

Whisk together rice vinegar, sugar salt, and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Peel cucumbers and discard the skins. Use the vegetable peeler to continue peeling the cucumber into thin strips, going around until you get to the seeds, which you can eat or discard. Pat the strips slightly dry and place in the marinade.

Serve salmon and cucumbers over brown rice and get out your fanciest chopsticks.

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