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I'm about to take an Emeril Lagass oyster stew recipe prisoner for this communique on why you should always scan recipes for ingredient lists, cooking times and methods, then ignore almost everything they say and just do whatever the fuck you want.

Before this article on 10 ways recipes are undermining your cooking came along I never knew discussing this sort of thing was a thing, but now that it is, hey, let's do this.

The recipe

Emeril Lagasse's oyster stew

The (alleged) ingredients, with notes on what I sub in or out and when in [brackets]

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick), plus 2 tablespoons butter [this is bullshit; you don't need a plop of butter at the end; if anything, it dilutes the finished product]
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour [he adds it at the entirely wrong step in the process]
  • 1 cup chopped onions [I sub shallots or use shallots and onions; sometimes also leeks, bok choy, and/or green onions]
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery [completely unnecessary; stew tastes just dandy without it]
  • 2 cups milk [results in a thin, runny base. I worked in a restaurant where oyster stew was made with milk, and it was a disaster. I use half cream and half milk or half half-and-half and half milk - just whatever we have on hand.]
  • Salt and cayenne [go light on the cayenne unless you want a burning tongue; can be skipped altogether; for milder flavor I'll use paprika; I only use course sea or kosher salt]
  • Fresh black pepper [I use this and a peppercorn medley which adds allspice, coriander and All the Pepper Colors]
  • 2 dozen oysters, shucked, drained and liquid reserved [works and tastes just fine with half this many but the more, the merrier]
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic [I usually double this and don't chop it, except to get it small enough to mash up in the mortar and pestle]
  • 1/4 cup chopped finely chopped parsley [not even needed; tastes better with fresh basil chopped and sprinkled on top - and we grow our own]

The directions, with what I actually do in [brackets]

Oh God help me *drinks an entire liquor store's worth of vodka before going on*

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. [OK, so far I'm just playing along here, and it's fine. This will be the last time you see me this complacent, so enjoy it.]
  2. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. [Nope, nope, NOPE, what the hell is he even doing? I haven't even cooked the veggies yet. NOPE.]
  3. Add the onions and celery and cook for 2 minutes. [OK, so far I've melted butter and begun cooking shallots and celery, or shallots and onions without celery, or just shallots or onions, or onions, shallots, and celery. Sometimes I'll even throw in some green/orange/red/yellow bell peppers. But I never add flour before cooking the veggies, literally never. And I stir in garlic after the veggies finish cooking but before the next step, heating it no more than 30 seconds to a minute so it doesn't get bitter.]
  4. Stir in the milk and oyster liquid. [Nope, nope, NOPE, what the hell is he even doing? This is the part where I finally add in the flour! NOPE.]
  5. Season the mixture with salt, cayenne and black pepper. [Nope, nope, NOPE, I do that only after stirring in the cream and milk, or half-and-half and milk - which I haven't done yet, because I'm still stirring in the flour. NOPE.]
  6. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. [This is when I stir in the cream and milk or half-and-half and milk and add the spices, then bring to a simmer for about the suggested time, except sometimes I'll throw the oysters in now as well, but a lot of times I'm drinking or otherwise distracted so I'll forget I could just toss them in now.]
  7. Add the oysters, garlic and parsley. [Nope, nope, NOPE, I add the garlic after sauteing the veggies, which was many, many steps and often at least one drink ago. The oysters might already be curling in the stew at this point, so it's just a matter of tossing the parsley or basil in now.]
  8. Bring the liquid back up to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the oysters curl. [Half the time, they've already curled, so I'll skip this and the next step and the subroutines they involve.]
  9. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and remove from the heat. [Nope, nope, NOPE, no butter gets added now. NOPE.]
  10. Ladle the soup into the terrine. [We don't have a freakin' terrine, pardon my French, so just ladle it out of the pot.]

  11. So yeah, sometimes following recipes can suck for some pretty obvious reasons.

    But if you can suss out...how do I put this...how to work around them, they can help by suggesting what I refer to as "flavor profiles" and giving you other ideas to work off of, like rough quantities and approximate cooking times.

    To give an example of how I'll (deliberately) mix things up, sometimes I'll make oyster stew by combining Emeril's original recipe with his Creole version (which I think is not his nor is it truly Creole; if it was truly Creole, then the cayenne would be in it, not in his other recipe). Which means picking ingredients from both lists (but I normally just add the bacon and white wine and otherwise keep ingredients and proportions the same as above) but using the techniques that I bent to my will in the above recipe to cook the resulting combination.

    When I really want to change things up, I'll use ingredients from another recipe altogether, which adds cooked, crumbled sausage into the mix but is otherwise too bland to use in anything other than combination with Emeril's original recipe.

    What none of these recipes even hint at? That fresh-squeezed lemon applied at the table makes any oyster stew taste truly out of this world. And that if the stew comes out a bit on the thin or bland side (using my steps, it shouldn't), a drop or two of Tabasco at the table is a good flavor lift. And to cook oyster stew in a cast iron pan because nothing else tastes like it...

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[personal profile] marahmarie

Oklahoma, for helping us gain at least four seats so far this year.

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[personal profile] marahmarie

NSFW, your kids, your ears, your eyes, your brain, or in general. Author promises to cough up a "cleaner" version in "about eight hours" but if they ever have I can't find it, so here, enjoy.

Highlights from the Net Neutrality Day of Action: there were none. It sucked. No seriously, we (and I *do* mean "we") went so much more all-out five years ago for SOPA/PIPA (so many websites were either temporarily or completely inaccessible - including yes, Dreamwidth) that the underwhelming nature of today's "Just click the little X next to each little "just joking, BUT" message to close it" - and that's if a website even had a message because most major so-called "participants" did not - almost made me pass out several times from the sheer drudgery of it all.

It's been too hot to take my own advice and just go for a fucking walk (which is sort of a difficult thing for me to pull off nowadays, anyhow), so I had little choice but to try to slog through it.

I mean, the most exciting thing I saw all day long was my own DW, which I turned into something else for this highly anticipated, yet underwhelming worldwide event (Dreamwidthians will need to "view page in original style" or toss or suppress Dreamwidth's cookies to see the end result properly, or at all), because I still recall, unlike much of the intertubes, how to conduct an online protest, and real protests - not this fake pretend shit people do nowadays ("Oooh, I changed my profile picture"), all the lazy clicktivism they indulge in) involve actual effort and sacrifice, two ideas no one's interested in pursuing anymore, to the point where I feel like a freak and somehow wrong for even bothering.

Sorry/not sorry, but if taking just one day to let a truly impactful message get across - even if it means risking the loss of some online visitors, some money and the likely, at-most temporary loss of a few codger's so-called "goodwill" - is too much of a chance for people to take, then I hope they don't come crying to anyone when what they were so unwilling to do - stand up, really stand up for what they want and believe in - results in all the damage they feared and more actually being done.

With a Republican-controlled (aka: business-controlled) House and Senate and Russian-controlled/Republican-flavored Orangado at the switches, this is not the time to be uncaring or flippant about anything that matters as much as Net Neutrality. Let's see people post twee little cat memes once our currently unfettered access to the Internet is cut off by the very ISPs being cat-memed as I speak. Oh fuck, that's right: they won't be able to, not unless they "buy" the imgur package (includes AOL and MSN!) for an extra $39.99 a month, subject to multiple, super-restrictive ToSes and cancellation without notice at any time, yippee.

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[personal profile] marahmarie

Easy enough to remember: the morning after Prime Day (July 11th) we'll wake to the Net Neutrality Day of Action (July 12th - wait, is this bad timing? I hope not). Google and Facebook, among many other sites, have decided they're all in, so be prepared to not know what you'll be preparing for, because the Internet is the only place where we can pull off something akin to April Fool's Day any day of the year.

I myself have something planned, but an inability to spill my own secrets keeps me from sharing much on it, so here's fair warning: all I can say is I've already checked Dreamwidth's ToS and I think I can do what I've been planning, which is a slightly modified version of what Dreamwidth did some five years ago over SOPA/PIPA (archived Dreamwidth SOPA page). Five years later I can't believe we still need to fight for such basic rights and principles, but here we are.

So I'll be going all out; once the 12th rolls around you'll know why you can take me pretty much at my word.

In the meantime, I've been subscribed to the Fight For The Future newsletter (https://www.fightforthefuture.org/), which brought us this update over the weekend:


The last few days have been intense.

On Thursday, over 100 big-name YouTubers with 150+ million shared subscribers took a stand for net neutrality in an open letter to the FCC and Congress.[1] Later that same day, Google and Facebook surprised everyone when it was leaked they would be joining the day of action after months of silence.[2]

Then, on Friday, streaming giant Spotify and cloud storage leader Dropbox announced they too would stand alongside over 60,000 Internet users, thousands of other sites, and over 100 subreddits to make this day one of the largest protests in history.[3][4]

Think about every website or app you use in the course of a day – for music, video, storage, news, and others. We guarantee that many of them are now part of this day of action.

To truly win this, and save net neutrality, we really need to keep the pressure up. If we make this big enough, we can send shock waves through Congress and the FCC and keep them from doing Team Cable's bidding. July 12th is the day we show them them that opposing net neutrality is political poison.

But we’re running out out of time. July 12th is only a few days away and we need you to do everything you can to make this day of action huge. Here’s how you can chip in:

  • If you have a website, run a widget on your site that encourages your visitors to take action. See examples and get the code here (or use the Cloudflare app).
  • If you have a mobile app, send a push notification linking to BattleForTheNet.com so your users can easily take action. The dating service OkCupid will be messaging all their users this way!
  • If you’re on social media, join the “Twitter Brigade” and opt-in to tweet at key moments, change your profile pics and spread the word to all your followers using these resources.
  • If you’re a video creator, post about net neutrality on July 12 linking back to BattleForTheNet.com, or use our simple 30-second video bumper (see files here).

To truly win this, and save net neutrality, we really need to keep the pressure up. If we make this big enough, we can send shock waves through Congress and the FCC and keep them from doing Team Cable's bidding. July 12th is the day we show them them that opposing net neutrality is political poison.

If we don’t, throttling, blocking, and new fees for Internet users will be the new normal. And we simply can’t let that happen.

Every day we have new reasons to hope and believe that we will win this.

Don’t believe me? Think about this for a second: this protest has gotten so big that, on July 12th, it is entirely possible that all of your friends and family will experience this day of action one way or another. That’s crazy, right?

But you have a crucial role to play in making sure this happens.

Please help us make the best of this historic opportunity. We’re counting on you.

For the Internet,

Josh, Laila, Joe, Sarah, Evan, Holmes, Tiff, and the team at Fight for the Future.

Footnotes:

[1] https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/6/15930170/youtube-stars-net-neutrality-letter-fcc

[2] http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/06/tech-companies-to-join-day-of-action-protest-to-protect-net-neutrality/

[3] https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/8xa84k/spotify-google-tons-of-other-companies-will-protest-to-save-new-neutrality

[4] See full list of participants here: https://battleforthenet.com/july12

Dreamwidth prevents us from running scripts or modifying backend files (to oversimplify things a bit), but there are other ways to protest. We can: change our profile pictures and blurbs, add info and image-only badges to our sidebar custom text areas, post about the fight for Net Neutrality on or before the 12th, and stand in solidarity by taking our DWs offline that day via one-day friends-locks and so on (I'll be in the "and so on" group; please join in however you can and spread the word so others can be ready to participate).

Obviously, clicktivism and slacktivism can be essential activities for raising awareness - much as I'm doing with this post - but they're not a great way to actually get things done, so don't stop at sharing this post (or simply the info contained within it) across Dreamwidth and other social media sites; you should also click here for concrete information on how to contact the FCC and Congress to register your complaint against ending Net Neutrality - let's make positive change happen.

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