Monday, November 22, 2010

Lemon Rice

As a matter of fact, I have made this more than once. Because I've actually made it twice, and because I'm very ADHD (less H, more D), that qualifies it as an old family favorite. Can you substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth? You know you can. 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I say classy-up your rice to show everyone how much you really care. Nothing says "Oh girl I care," like freshly grated lemon zest. It's aces, as far as I'm concerned!

LEMON RICE

Ingredients
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cajun Chef Cayenne Pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup Falcon medium grain rice
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (or parsley)
2 tablespoons butter

Steps
Heat the broth, salt, black pepper, cayenne and garlic in a heavy saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon zest. Let stand, covered, for five minutes. Add the dill and butter and gently stir to mix. Serve warm. Serves 4 to 6.


Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Rules (Of The Road)

 A very funny thing happened a few weeks back. I was navigating my typical morning work route - a route I've traveled over 4 years now - and was the first vehicle in the left lane of a double-lane right merge intersection (y'all know the one: Rice Mine Road Extension turning right onto Highway 82, it's in front of Buddy's). Both lanes are directed by a green arrow. The lane on the right has a yield sign. The lane on the left is turn-on-arrow only. I know this because there's a sign at least 4 feet high and 4 feet wide that says "Right On Arrow Only."

Because I drive a go-cart, I am quite keen on defensive driving: one miscalculated error and suddenly I'm the albacore in the can. So on this morning, I was sitting there waiting for the light to turn green, thinking the things I normally think ("I wonder how pole dancing would work for the next benefit I organize?" "Who do I have to sleep with to get a little liposuction?" "Did I put on deodorant today?") when suddenly I was jarred to reality by a blaring horn. Initially I thought the light had changed and I was late in my reaction but something told me that wasn't possible, since I'd actually just arrived at the signal (hence my first position in line).

So I looked in my rear view mirror to see a small, white-haired woman in a mid-size sedan. She was flailing her arms at me and mouthing the word "Go!" and then pushing the back of her hand toward the right, as if I were swine and she was sending me to the chute. I was flummoxed. I looked to the left, and certainly the oncoming traffic was not as heavy as it had been, but I am a rule follower, and I was in a very clearly marked lane. I am not a.) risking my life b.) risking someone else's life or c.) getting a ticket because Louise is late for bridge. And because I'm a gentleman who has a high degree of respect for matronly women, I politely pointed to the sign and shook my head no.

Well honey, let me just tell you, apparently that was the invitation she needed to tap into her rage. Never have I seen a Q-Tip so animated, so opinionated, so "There's NO ONE COMING!" Goodbye Louise the bridge player, hello Ellen Burstyn diet-pill addict in "Requiem For A Dream." I wasn't looking to go head-up with anyone that morning, so resisted the urge to get out of my car, walk back to her, thump her upside her roller set and say, "Yo, chill out Louise!" Instead, I obeyed the traffic signal, got onto the highway, merged into the right lane, waited for her head-shakin' distraught self to come up beside me and, because I'm nearly 40, gave her the finger with a clearly mouthed "Fuck You" for effect. Mature? No. Impactive? Yes. Suddenly she got all Miss Tuscaloosa "Well I never ..." as she drove along.

I immediately thought of following her to her destination, calmly inquiring as to her urgent need to progress through traffic, and caution her on aggressive antics since technically she could get a shiv for that, but decided to leave it alone. There is a moral to this story, however. A thorough understanding and review of the rules of the road is probably always important. I do believe re-testing for driver licenses is a good thing, because we only retain so much information and knowledge. I grew up with skilled drivers for parents, who placed emphasis on knowing the rules of the road, and also took driver's education in high school so, for a long time, I was very capable of reciting rules and how they applied to certain scenarios, and how I practiced them as a driver. Lately, however, I've been a bit foggy on a few - probably the result of the sorostitutes I endure daily because in their universe, driving is more freestyle - so I've dug around and unearthed the official Alabama Driver License Manual and am giving it a thorough review.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mango Tango



Mangos. You need them. And here's why.

A few months back my friend C Diddy and I got our shopping on one Saturday. While our primary goal was to hit up Urban Outfitters, I also had a Bed Bath & Beyond trick up my sleeve. Reason? At that point, it was actually an olive pitter, because of course life is too short to not have one, and all you ever have to do to realize this is attempt to make olive tapenade with just your paring knife and a mild hangover. However, upon entering the kitchen kingdom and seeing the hand appliance Wall O'Plenty, I knew my life would not be complete until I also had an Oxo Good Grips Mango Splitter. In fact, I gasped and said, "Clayton, I think I would eat more mangoes if I had this mango splitter." 

In the summer of Aught 5, I was visiting my family in Mobile (Wilmer, to be precise) from Arkansas. I was freshly single, maybe still a little stunned, and my aunt and I decided on a random Saturday afternoon to utilize the mangoes I'd brought with me from my kitchen, since they'd have otherwise rotted by the time I returned from the trip. We opted for mango margaritas. The first batch was so amazing - she, myself, my mom and my sister unanimously agreed - that we jumped in her car and ran up to the Wilmer produce stand hellbent on finding more for pitcher 2. We did. They were equally as memorable. In fact, it's those moments I always remember first about family and friends: random, unplanned, spontaneous occurrences that engage us at our root level and serve no purpose other than a framework for love, respect and admiration. We all need to feel those moments more. And speaking of roots, mangoes grow deep in ours. My grandmother was a native of St. Cloud, Florida, which is near Kissimmee (which she pronounced "Ku-sih-ma,") and her love for mangoes was demonstrated by her discerning standards for selecting them. She was with us on the afternoon we decided to mix their magic with tequila and Triple Sec.

In the same vein, one of my best friends who spontaneously appeared in my life a little over 3 years ago informed me he was bringing mango margaritas to an outside event in his hometown of Atlanta a few summers back. I knew from experience that was an arduous task (there's a reason why mangoes are so good - the effort of peeling them can be rather daunting). And so when I showed up at his house to help, I wasn't surprised to find his kitchen an orange mushy mess, and his forehead beading with sweat and his face full of Mango Regret. The margaritas? Stellar, of course. I won't ever forget that day either. After 3 I challenged a complete stranger to an Indian Leg Wrestling match in Piedmont Park. Fueled by my special ingredient, it was short work.

I share with another aunt a gift/curse as a Zodiac Cancer/Leo + Chinese Year Pig. I represent the Cancer Pigs. My mother discovered this for us just a few months ago, actually. Earlier this year we were having a mutual preening (read "group therapy") conversation and I said, "You know, I'm just always seeking a better system." She wholeheartedly agreed. As it turns out, we are both prone to invest in appliances and tools that make a job more efficient and easy. My mother uses the same sad little potato peeler she has had for 45 years, despite the fact I've bought her several others over the years. That's what makes the world go around, of course. But if you're prone to avoid mango consumption because you're intimidated or put-off by peeling them, I highly encourage adding the Oxo Good Grips Mango Splitter to your kitchen arsenal.

And if you do, I hope the resulting stories are as rich in love and memory as the fruit is antioxidants. 


Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Cloud

For me there are 2 things: documents and more documents or, as I like to call it, Shit I Have To File. In life, we all have crosses to bear and I must say apparently I've done something really wrong in previous existences because all I want is everything neat and organized (and preferably out-of-sight). You'd think with access to a relatively bright intern I'd be able to accomplish this but all I tend to get are vacant stares, gum-smacking, "How do you want me to do it?" questions, and general push-back. This is the problem with Millenials, folks. Love them like whoa for their fierce confidence and sense of self, disappointed in their inability to self-start. I have faith, of course, that one day this too shall pass and we'll evolve to a place where it's easy to place information and, more important, access it. As such, I've been increasing my use of Google Documents over the past year or so and I must say I've been fairly pleased. This is all at a personal level, of course, but it is my hope that eventually I will also have a tag-able/shareable/venerable system that a.) I don't have to deal with and b.) if I do have to deal with it it's easy and makes sense.

In other news, my porch spinach continues to waffle on the "Girl I'm just not sure I can make it vs. I'm A Little Engine Who Can!" fence. I am holding it accountable for surviving but not entirely confident success is our destiny. I hope it is, though. I need more rich in iron and anti-oxidant food sources in my life!


Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!