Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Monkfish McNuggets / Black Bottom Pumpkin Pie

I know it’s been a while since I hollered at you. I’ve had a pumpkin pie dogging me since the day before Thanksgiving, when I figured, “Hell, woman, you think these people be hurting for your pie recipe now? Them forward thinkers been pied up since Martha Stewart started polishing her ceramic turkey-shaped place card holders, mid-October. Besides, don’t you have something better to do than type out the back of the Libby’s canned pumpkin can with the minor addition of some bittersweet chips? You can't declare a new Malibu Stacy when all she's got is a new hat!”

And if an extra-guilty pumpkin pie hanging over my head and clogging up the works isn’t enough, I’ve been struggling to pump out a novel in a windowless basement, a task that’s going so well, I spent all of last Friday watching a skip-prone DVD of The Wire, praying that Greg wouldn’t arrive home unexpectedly to discover my shameful secret. (My newfound allegiance to The Wire may explain the attempt to tap into some street lingo a la your average HBO drug dealer...)

Sounds like an ideal time to indulge in some fast food.

Monkfish McNuggets

Purchase a couple of orders of Chicken McNuggets, carefully trace their outlines, scan this pattern into your home computer and print several copies of the template onto sturdy cardstock. (Hint: Look for festive holiday colors!) Reserve one of the templates for cutting your monkfish filets to regulation size. Customize the others using scallop-edged craft scissors, rubber stamps, and photographs from your summer vacation, and use them as gift tags for the home-baked goodies you’ve wrapped in raffia and bright dishtowels as seasonal surprises for neighbors, teachers, personal assistants, and other “helpers”.

Or, skip that step, and hack a half pound of the world’s most unsightly fish (poor man’s lobster!) into morsels of iconic size.

Dump them in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of melted butter and a fistful of bread crumbs. Give it a preliminary stir and then…

Chop up a couple of cloves of garlic and a quarter bunch of Italian parsley. Chuck that in there too.

Hit ‘em with a couple flourishes of the pepper bunny and line 'em up on a foil lined broiler pan.

Broil them for four minutes. Turn them over. Broil them for another four minutes.

If you think your children could be fooled into eating such a thing, double the recipe. If not, it’s Salmon a la Sven Holmberg and no complaining.

Damned if that pumpkin pie isn’t still hanging over my head like a butterfucking anvil.

Listen, I’d be much obliged if you’d absolve me of this crushing ain’t-posted-nearly-as-much-as-I-said-I-would guilt by making my chocolate bottomed pumpkin pie for Christmas. Just think, if you like the recipe, you can make it again come Thanksgiving.

Anyhoo, today, you’re getting a bonus recipe. Think of it as a tagless Christmakkwaanzukkas treat wrapped in a metaphorical dishtowel and a whole slew of high calorie New Year’s Resolutions*.

Chocolate Bottomed Pumpkin Pie

Buy a can of Libby’s Canned Pumpkin.

Make a homemade pie crust.

Follow the pumpkin pie recipe on the back to the letter except where it calls for evaporated milk, substitute sweetened condensed milk, preferably Longevity Brand. (It has the best label and any excuse for a trip to Chinatown…)

Scatter a generous handful of bittersweet chocolate chips over the piecrust before pouring in the pumpkin mixture.

Bake according to corporate standards.

* I resolve to be a more faithful blogger starting in January, when I will again find myself with time on my hands in some parental holding pen whilst the children participate in officially enriching after-school activities.

Also to write a novel, play the accordion, and polish off the children’s Halloween candy before 2008.