Ham thrown at Paula Dean’s Head

Yes, Paula Deen was hit in the face with a ham (and I’m really trying my hardest to hold back laughing hysterically).

While helping unload a truck of Thanksgiving food donations at Hosea Feed the Hungry, I guess someone decided it would be good idea to just throw the hams out of the truck and one of them hit Paula Deen smack in the face.

Deen is said to be doing OK and did not suffer any major injuries.

Deen told WXIA-TV that the ham “hit me full long in the face and ’bout knocked me cuckoo, but I’m fine.”

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…and there’s video.

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Boob Jobs for Chickens

The other day I was lounging on my couch watching horrible reality TV shows and they all seemed to be about breast implants!!! Like the Real Housewives of whatever city where women are obsessing about their boob jobs, and then Addicted to Beauty about MORE people addicted to plastic surgery and boob jobs, and suddenly it all just becomes too much for me to handle. I decided to turn off the tv and replace one screen with another and check my email – and what do I have in my inbox? An email about CHICKEN PLUMPING and how companies are INJECTING chickens to increase their weight! Because CLEARLY the chickens need some work done too!

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Culinary Institute of Amazingness

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When I told Gansie I was going on a work trip to Hyde Park, NY (home of FDR) she immediately screamed,

OMG that’s where the Culinary Institute of America is!! You have to eat there!

Luckily, the client had the same idea and made reservations at the Institute’s St. Andrew’s Cafe.

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When we were driving to the restaurant, it felt like we were at a normal college campus, except all of the students were walking around in chef outfits.  And the campus is gorgeous with one building that looks like an Italian villa. There are 6 total restaurant on campus, but I was pretty stoked about the one we went to because it had blooming tomato plants and herb gardens growing around the entrance.

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The food was absolutely amazing!  I ordered the Pan Seared Salmon (medium) with Saffron Pasta and Tomato Broth, Haricots Verts, Feta Cheese, Kalamata Olives.  The pasta was in large ribbons and literally was the best pasta I’ve ever had in my life (I mean I love saffron) and the salmon just melted in my mouth (is that weird?) Everything was seasoned to perfection. I literally don’t know how I managed to hold myself back from licking the plate (which I am prone to do). Well, I did use a piece of bread to basically wipe up every last morsel of deliciousness.

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NORA! Organic, Local, Seasonal, Sustainable, Austrian

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For all you organic, local food, seasonal food, farmers market lovers, you need to know the name Nora Poullion. She not only initiated the farmers markets in DC, but she also started the very first certified organic restaurant in the nation, Restaurant Nora.

January marked the 30th anniversary of her restaurant, so obviously she is waaaay ahead of her time. She’s essentially the lesser known Alice Waters. She came to America from Austria when she was 21, and discovered how horrible the agricultural practices were over here. All of the agribusiness, pesticides, hormones, etc. absolutely shocked her (rightfully so).

So when she started her restaurant she knew she wanted it to serve organic food. But it was the 70s, before organic was a known word or even a positive word, she went out in her car searching for organic farms. And although it was extremely difficult, she made it happen! She started the chef-farmer connection and farm to table idea at a time when no one had even considered doing such a thing. She’s a bad-ass in my eyes.

Having worked on a documentary about her for the last few months, I have become a firm believer in what she stands for – the production of food is connected to EVERYTHING: our health, our environment, our well-being. I have also enjoyed learning Nora’s quirks, and think I have her accent down pretty well.

Anyway, the documentary, NORA!, is premiering this Sunday at the Environmental Film Festival. If you’re in DC come check it out at the Carnegie Institute (16th and P) at 6:30pm.

Photo: VideoTakes, Inc

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Holy Moly, Skillet Meals by Bertolli!

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As ES’s resident microwave expert, I’m constantly looking for shortcuts to make cooking faster because frankly, sometimes I come home after work and I just don’t want to devote 1 or 2 hours to prepping and cooking dinner.

So recently, we were sent some of Bertolli’s new Skillet Meals, and let me tell you, in complete seriousness, they are AWESOME!!! Located in the Frozen Food aisle (maybe my favorite aisle in the grocery store I’ll admit) the Bertolli Skillet Meal provides a complete meal for two, ranging from Shrimp Scampi Linguine to Chicken alla vodka and Farfelle to Italian Sausage and Rigatoni – and all you have to do is throw it in a Skillet for TEN MINUTES! And that’s it!! It’s ready! And I swear to you it’s soooo freaking good.  I even got Vio into it (she says she CRAVES it now!!) and if she says it’s good, then believe me, it is!

I also love it because all of the meals contain vegetables, such as asparagus, tomatoes and zucchini – and the ingredient list contains no scary five syllable words that you’ve never heard of, it’s all straight forward, good ingredients. I would prefer if they offered a meal with whole wheat pasta, but for a frozen meal, this is TOPS! Plus on their website, they even provide wine pairings for each meal. Bertolli is definitely frozen food gone classy!

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Friday Fuck Ups: How Do You Say Fire in French?

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I think Friday Fuck Ups should officially be just called Liza Fuck Ups. Yes, I did this. I caught the brie on fire… And yes, I did this twice in one week… I know…So Vio was hosting an appetizer party to go along with watching top chef, and I decided to bring over a round thing of brie, and top it with crushed pecans and brown sugar – YUM RIGHT! I wanted it to be ooey gooey fresh out of the oven, so I brought it over to Vio’s to heat up there.

My directions said to stick it in the broiler for 3-5 minutes, so I stuck it in, went into the living room and chatted, came back into the kitchen opened up the broiler and OMG!! FLAMES!!! MY BRIE WAS ON FIRE!!! I just sort of sat there staring, not sure what to do, then I mildly shouted umm the brie is on fire!  Fire!

Thank GOD Vio came in and dumped flour on it (as you do with a greese fire I learned) and the flames went out immediately! That could have been VERY VERY bad!!! Not only had I ruined the brie but I had completely smelled up my friends house (and then I proceded to spill not 1, but 2 beers on her rug).

6 days later…

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Friday Fuck Ups: Choked Up

artichoke1.jpg Last week nothing was going right and everything was frustrating me – it was one of those weeks. So what was the the final straw that led to my inevitable breakdown? Stupid fucking dipping sauce for my steamed artichoke.

I didn’t want to go to the store so a mayonnaise dip was out, and I just wasn’t in the mood for butter – I wanted something new, something delicious, something that would bring me out of my terrible funk. So after literally searching for an hour online I found a recipe for Lemon Mustard dip that miraculously included random ingredients in my fridge – corn starch, vegetable broth, garlic, water, pepper, mustard and lemon juice – Easy right?

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