Confession No. 77 — Why you should never, ever use extreme words or phrases
I have a perfect record with the children whom I’ve helped to raise.
This particular accomplishment is not necessarily something that I’m proud of. But, I’m neither shocked nor surprised. The 5-year-old grandbaby is now among the mouths that I’ve fed who have claimed to hate me.
Yep. I’m batting 1.000.
I was three out of four for quite some time. And then it happened.
“We all have a bedtime,” I said “and yours is right now.”
“I want to watch TV,” he responded in a whiny voice.
“You can watch TV tomorrow — if you follow the rules tonight.”
And then the alligator tears started flowing.
“My stomach hurts,” he cried, trying to buy time.
“Mine does too, which is why I am going to pop myself some popcorn,” I responded. “And I can’t pop corn until you are in bed. Now, go!”
“I want some popcorn!” he continued to cry.
“I’m joking,” I responded. “I need to go to bed myself and I can’t do it until you are horizontal in your own room. I’m not going to battle you on this any longer. Go. Now. Or, you’ll regret it.”
It was at that moment that I raised my batting average.
“I hate you!” he shouted.
“Fine. I hate you more,” I said. “Maybe you’ll love me next time you want to watch my Netflix. You’d better hope I love you back.”
If you are a husband, parent — or the boss of 20-somethings — you’ve undoubtedly heard it. (Perhaps you’ve also heard these words bandied about in a timeshare pitch or pyramid scheme presentation.)
These are such all-encompassing words, which are … rarely true.
“Adam, you always complain,” my wife has said (countless times). “You can never just leave things alone and be easy-going.”
“Never? Really?” I would generally respond. “Always? Hmm.”
And then there are the words from the mouths of babes.
“Dad, you never want to watch me twirl my baton or listen to me play my flute,” my teen daughter said.
“You know I want to hear you play your flute,” I shot back. “I just don’t want to hear it at 10 o’clock at night.”
“Well then,” she countered. “Can you take me to Starbucks?”
“No,” I answered. “Never.”
Fortunately, people tend to come around … usually when they want something that I have. And how do I respond? I just make them promise that they’ll never, ever be rude to me again — or cast blame my way. Then I require them to tell me how perfect I always am.
And I’m sure they just hate that.
Over the past few years, I’ve been invited elsewhere for the Super Bowl. We’ve brought everything from a bag of chips to an elaborate salad. Though I’m not hosting a Super Bowl party in 2013 (I’m counting the days until Major League Baseball), this is what I would serve to my guests.
Marinated Pizza Skewers
Sure. There’s no crust. But, isn’t everyone on a diet still? These are easy and delicious, whether or not you are trying to get into a bikini by spring.
1 cup — Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup — Red wine vinegar
2 tsp — Dried Basil
2 tsp — Dried Oregano
2 — Garlic cloves
2 tsp — Kosher salt
1 tsp — Red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp — Fennel seeds
12 — Button or Baby Bella Mushrooms, cleaned and halved
24 — Mozzarella or Colby Jack Cheese, cubed (about 1/2-inch cubes)
24 — Grape Tomatoes
24 — Large Black Olives
24 — Bamboo skewers
Bring red wine vinegar to a light boil in a small saucepan. Add garlic cloves, basil, oregano, Kosher salt, red pepper flakes and fennel seeds. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
While vinegar mixture is cooling, assemble pizza skewers by inserting skewer through (one each): mushroom, cheese, black olive and tomato. Place in large (non-reactive) container to marinate.
When vinegar has cooled, add olive oil and whisk. Pour marinade over assembled pizza skewers. Allow to marinate for an hour, or up to three hours in the refrigerator.
This recipe makes enough marinade for about 24 skewers.
1 pkg (8 oz.) — Mexican melting cheese (queso quesadilla; Monterrey Jack), shredded
1 — Poblano pepper – charred, peeled and finely chopped**
2 TB — Cilantro, finely chopped
24 — Wonton wrappers
Vegetable oil, for frying
Combine cheese, chopped pepper and cilantro. Place about 1 TB of mixture in center of wonton wrapper. With wet fingertips (dipped in water), bring up edges of wrapper and seal.
Heat oil to 350º F.
Fry Poblano Poppers for about one minute, flipping them halfway through cooking to ensure even browning.
Makes two dozen appetizers.
Place poblano chile(s) on medium-low heat grill, or on a baking sheet in a 450ºF oven. Listen for popping sounds, after about 5 minutes (on the grill), or about 10 minutes (oven). Turn the peppers so that all sides are charred. Once black and blistered on all sides, place chiles in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This allows them to steam and makes for easy peeling.