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Moroccan Lamb and Chickpeas with Couscous

Blinky doll

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I had a pack of ground lamb in the fridge, so this is what I made. It turned out amazing! I hope my future customers will love my Middle Eastern/Italian/Asian flavours as much as I do. Enjoy!

Moroccan Lamb & Chickpeas

Moroccan Lamb & Chickpeas

Moroccan Lamb & Chickpeas with Couscous
1 pound lean ground lamb
olive oil
1 medium onion, frenched
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (I used Indian pepper, which is VERY hot. Use cayenne as a sub.)
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried apricots, small dice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lime zest (about 2 tsp)
1 can (15 1/2-oz) chickpeas, drained
S/P to taste
couple splashes water if it gets dry
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice of half lime

2 cups Israeli couscous (I like tricolour), prepared with chicken broth and juice of half a lime

Put about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet (with lid) on Med Hi. When hot, toss in the ground lamb to sautée. When lamb begins to brown and has released its fat, add in onion and garlic. Stir and reduce heat if the veg is starting to brown. Add in spices, raisins, apricots, tom paste and lime zest. Stir in chickpeas and turn down heat to Med Lo. Put lid on skillet and stir every now and then. Add a splash of water if it gets dry.

While that is simmering, prepare the couscous. As I mentioned, I added the other half of the lime juice and used chicken broth for mine.

Turn off heat, check S/P levels and stir in cilantro and lime juice.

Serve over couscous. Wine pairing: Gewürztraminer

It’s that time of year…

Blinky doll

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

for introspection, angst and Fear & Loathing™.

Actually it’s not bad this year, but today I’m feeling a little maudlin. I didn’t sleep well for one thing and Missy has been waking me up at 1am for some reason.

When I think about my family, there are few good memories. I’m mostly struck by the selfishness of my parents and the sad waste of my brother’s life. What triggered me today was a piece on reviving cast iron skillets. Weird, I know, but it reminded me that my mother has my Gran’s (her mother) cast iron skillet, perfectly seasoned and ready to use. I’ve asked her for it so I can learn to use it and she won’t let me have it – despite the fact that she hasn’t cooked in several years. I cook every day, but NO I can’t have it because it’s HERS. Which is typical of her. When she handed me my great grandmother’s (her grandmother) fresh water pearl necklace, I almost passed out. I think that she’s starting to realise (at the age of 72) that material things are not as important as sharing history. I had to practically rip the family photos out of her clutch to scan them a couple of years ago. She’s convinced that I sell everything on eBay. Why she thinks anyone would WANT old family pictures is beyond me. I think it’s a control thing. She’s always been very controlling towards us kids – which is the reason why she has nothing to do with me and focuses all her energy on my brother, who is compliant. I joke that I put post its on the things I want from up there when she dies, but I really do. I will have the Oriental secretary, for instance. And that goddamned skillet. The rest, I know, is going to my brother the Saint. I’ll get nothing from the estate, of that I’m certain. He’ll get all the land, the buildings, everything. I guess he needs it to raise his grandchild which I’m sure he’ll be stuck raising. Eh, whatever. I really *would* sell that shit. I don’t want to live up there. If it were up to me, I’d demo the lot of it and plow up every foot of the 17 acres. Start fresh. What really chaps my ass is that it’ll end up in the hands of my useless niece eventually.

Anyway, my family does not make me feel warm and fuzzy, they make me feel anxious and stressed out. They are energy vampires and it sucks out every bit of energy I have to go up there. But go we shall this weekend. It’s a surgical strike, in and out. I’m sorry, Nutsville friends, but my family RUINS any kind of fun I’d like to have when I’m up there. I try to make plans to see people, but when they are done with me, I don’t feel like socialising. It’s THAT BAD. So I apologize in advance for not following up with the Cantleys and the Blues. :(

And then I saw a post from this day in ’03 when I announced Missy Kat was joining us. That was ELEVEN years ago. It’s hard to believe. But it reminds me that she’s old now and I’ll be saying goodbye to her in the next few years. UGH. She’s been MY cat. She torments and soothes me. She is my shadow. I’ve never had a cat quite like Missy Kat. She’s doing fine, but when I’m maudlin, I think about death and losing the ones I love. I do the same with Nick. When my brother’s friend Aron died at work a few months ago, it shook me to my bones. One day I say goodbye to Nick as he heads to work and I never see him again? I’d probably lose my mind. I don’t know why I think these things, but I’ve always been a worst case scenario kind of girl. It’s my Scorpio nature to think about death and dying I suppose. Bleh. Bad habit.

That’s it for my rambling this morning. I’ve got numbers to crunch and money to find. BTW, if anyone wants to loan me $15k or knows a rich person who’ll loan me $15k, you know how to get ahold of me. We need just a bit more money for the pub. Actually $10k would do the trick. Anyone? Bueller? ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blinky doll

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve had a head cold for 10 days now. It’s in its last stages but I’m ragged out. I called and told the family that we’re not coming up there this weekend. I just can’t face the damn Black Friday traffic and the bullshit.

We’re scheduled to go the following weekend of Dec 5. It’s like a bandaid, you just gotta yank it off and be done with it. Bleh.

Got the LLC going for Player One and got my EIN (Fed Employer ID Number for payroll taxes). Talked with the broker yesterday and looked at the property again. Rob went with me and overall, he gave it a good bill of health, other than it being “big”. The previous owners walked out and left EVERYTHING. That place is CRAMMED with kitchen equipment, smallwares, you name it. On top of that, we got into two of the three trailers of shit in the back lot to find MOAR bar equipment, dozens of boxes of glassware, all the patio furniture and who knows what else in the third trailer. The door was stuck on that one, so we couldn’t see. Overall, it’s shocking how much CRAP is in this place. But it’s good, because it’s looking more and more like a true turnkey, outfitted right down to the plates. Crazy!

We’ve also decided that the SBA and other banks can suck it. Nick reminded me that we can borrow against our 401k to the tune of $25k, so there ya go. We have the money to get started on a shoestring. All together we have about $46k of available funds between cash, 401k loan and credit cards. WE CAN DO THIS. We can get started up with a small menu and small bar, then ramp up with a Kickstarter. Why not? Several other restaurants have done this successfully in ATL. IT WILL WORK.

It’s been very exciting to realise that we don’t need the help of asshole banks. FUCK THEM. Nick and I have very wide self sufficiency streaks and this suits us just fucking fine. We want to make it or break it on our own terms. Even if this fails and we have to pay back the 401k loan ourselves, the payments are wee and it won’t hurt us that badly.

And finally: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Rob’s smoking us a turkey breast and I’m going to make smashed garlic potatoes with gravy, cranberry compote, brussels sprouts hash, peas w/ onions and a bourbon pecan pie. :)

Rage Against the Machine

Blinky doll

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I just wish every bank, mortgage company and all other money hoarding institutions were dissolved. THEY are the reason this country is fucked up. THEY are the reason the economy sucks, there are no jobs and everyone is fucking broke.

EXCEPT the money hoarders themselves, of course. He who has the gold makes the rules.

We have about $50k in assets. We have credit cards with about $8k+ available credit w/ no balances. We have no debt!! Nick makes $65k for fuck’s sake!

Yet we can’t qualify for even the most modest loan to start up our business. Nothing. Nada. We don’t “qualify” according to SBA standards. What are those standards you ask? GOOD QUESTION. I got lame ass excuses like “not a good business to go into”, “you have had a bankruptcy”, “your score is 150 and it must be over 170 by SBA standards” and the best: “your credit cards are too full”. Really? Zero balance is too full for you, huh? Credit in the 700s is too low for you, huh? You don’t like to fund restaurants, huh? Funny, that is not what I was told in the goddam class I paid $140 to attend. The SBA claims to exist to help small business, but apparently ONLY if your small business is already started up and profitable.

I am so fucking irritated with this country. The fucking money hoarders fucked everything and everybody without lube, but I am the bad guy for saving myself. We got rid of horrible debt and a house worth 30% of what we paid for it TO START OVER. And we did! We are over three years out, debt free and our credit scores are good. But does any of that matter? NOPE. Donald motherfucking Trump has bankrupted MULTIPLE times. I’ll bet HE can get a fucking loan.

The very entity that is supposed to encourage new business startups [SBA] doesn’t want to lend money to the people who are trying to START UP a business! They want you to have six months under your belt first… Um. It’s hard to have six months of business records when you can’t get the money to start the fucking business. Chicken and egg. Old white men fucking over EVERYONE.

I just hate the whole fucking racket. The American Dream is a fucking LIE. You can do everything RIGHT and still have nothing to show for it. We are pretty much fucked at this point. We have the idea and the know how to do it, but with no money, we can’t get started. It’s a bitter fucking pill.

I WILL NOT GIVE UP. There has got to be a way to make this happen. Traditional banks can eat a dick. We’ll just have to find another way. Anyone need a kidney?

Broke motherfuckers start up businesses every day. Broke motherfuckers borrow money every fucking day. It’s too bad I’m not black and I can’t prove my Native American status. Just being female is not enough to “qualify” for any help whatsoever. It’s ridiculous. THIS is why there are so few white female entrepreneurs. WE CAN’T GET ANY HELP!!

I’ve given myself a headache. A rage headache. And I still can’t make my pub happen. This sucks ass. >:(

Hi! Looking for Drink & Draw Decatur?

Blinky doll

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

If you’ve searched and ended up here for Drink & Draw Decatur, don’t despair! You’re in almost the right place!

I am the wrangler who runs the show and wrangles all the cats involved in making Drink & Draw happen.

But what you’re really looking for is the FB page HERE. It has all the deets for attendees and models. Protip: models can contact me at misangela at telepath dot com.

I am not setting up a website for this event, I’m too busy to add a site to my roster of things I take care of right now. If you’re not into FB (like me), then follow the Twitter feed: @drinkndrawATL .

While you’re at it, you should like our pub page and follow that Twitter, too. @PlayerOneArcade Site for this will be up soon. :)

What it’s like to be GenXer in 2014

Blinky doll

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

This post was spurred by this Salon article from 2013.

GenX article @Salon

It’s Salon, which means it’s not reliable as a news source, but this article feels pretty spot on to me:

“The Xer in midlife is facing the opposite midlife than the Silent Generation,” Howe says. “The Silent experienced claustrophobia. Xers experience agoraphobia — everything is possible.” – Neil Howe quoted in Salon article “Generation X gets really old: How do slackers have a midlife crisis?”

I do not feel like the dude in Falling Down. I do feel agoraphobic. I feel like I’ve been let down by the “American Dream” touted by my parents. They would tell me “you can do anything you want!” then ridicule my college degree and advise me to get an office job when I kept changing “careers” to try to make the best of what I had. I feel resentment at them for still spouting that bullshit at me, EVEN AS THEY GO INTO THEIR LAST YEARS BROKE AS FUCK from refusing to change. They were in the building business and they got crushed. My brother now has a shitty county job that pays less than $30k/yr and he supports ALL of them. He sat around for 4 years spending their savings before he got a clue that he might have to find a new career. My parents fought him all the way. This is my brother all right:

“Studies reveal that a disproportionate number of us are sandwiched between dependent children and aging parents – fending off economic stressers while juggling a heavy load of family responsibilities.”

My brother supports his useless 17 year old pregnant daughter and two sickly parents. He’ll be supporting his grandkid, too, since his daughter is good for nothing just like her mother was. He feels trapped and he is. But it’s his own fault for allowing our overbearing mother to run his life. I really wonder what will happen when she’s not around to tell him what to do. My brother will be 47 in January and he’s never had an independent life. I couldn’t save him, though I tried very hard. They all resent me because I saw the trap and I fled. None of them were smart enough to do that, so naturally I’m the bad guy.

My parents tell me that it’s MY FAULT that my $100k home became worth $40k. THEY ARE FULL OF SHIT. And out of touch. My father actually said, “There wasn’t a housing bust! I don’t know what you’re talking about! You’re lying! Houses are selling great in Knoxville!” Uh, right Dad, I made the whole thing up and Knoxville fucking TN is immune to the ills of the WHOLE GODDAM COUNTRY and you lost all your retirement money to invisible gnomes. Right. He probably thinks this because he has lived his whole life in a 10 mile radius. They all have. Small towns, small minds. It’s amazing how real their fantasy world is to them. They must work really hard to ignore the news that is on their TVs that are on 24/7. This is why I call them militantly ignorant. It’s hard work to ignore reality like they do.

I have had to start over in my life. And over. And over. I’ve been fucked by the Boomer’s “American Dream”. I went to college. I settled down and bought a house (Nick did this, too). What did we get? BANKRUPTCY. We bankrupted and started fresh three years ago – but we paid off our fucking student loans, at least. It was the best thing we’ve ever done – despite my fucking family telling us we’re losers for not sticking with a failed investment that was killing us with stress. Despite my father (who has always been an entrepreneur) telling me I’m crazy to start up a business and I’m doomed to failure (arcade pub for those new to this blog), that is precisely what I’m going to do. I’ll succeed to spite him.  The last paragraph of the Salon article really does sum it up:

“If we’re going to make the country a better place, more suited to our values, we need to do it ourselves. Middle age is, if nothing else, time to shift out of second gear. If we can’t take a break from the urban farms, put down the knitting and home brewing equipment, and step into politics, business and other kinds of leadership, we’ll deserve our reputation as the generation that never quite showed up. Rather than the sound of silence, we should be hearing our voices – and they should be loud and angry.”

The Boomers are clueless about who we Xers are and the constant stream of CRAP that we’ve dealt with. But I think we can become the leaders we need to be on our own terms. I think if more of us would take chances, we could get something done. There’s no one left to take chances but US. The Millennials are certainly not ready. We’ve got to stop playing it safe and get out there. It’s hard to do, I can attest to that. The fear of failure is real. But when it comes down to it, we have no choice. It’s start over again or live in a box under the interstate. Nick’s Boomer era job is ending. We must reinvent. If there’s anything that Xers are good at, it’s THAT.

Friday 5 Nov 7 2014

Blinky doll
1. What is the sweetest thing you've ever done for someone else?
I secretly had Nick's grandfather clock (belonged to his mother) repaired as a surprise for him. I've paid for someone's meal behind me at the drive thru.

2. What do you wish people would do for you?
I wish people would send me surprises in the mail. Cards, pressed pennies, anything really. I love little things like that.

3. What are your simplest pleasures?
I really like to cook. Making pickles is hella fun for me.

4. What makes you feel all warm & fuzzy?
Lots of things, but the love between two people can make me choke up - my own or other people. The love for my kitties, too.

5. How do you define love?
Love is the knowledge that you have someone who is there for you no matter what. Pretty, ugly, nice, mean, drunk, sober, WHATEVER. Love is having each others' backs.

Curry Coconut Beef

Blinky doll

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

This is a slow cooker recipe. But I start off by browning the beef, which gives much more flavour! This dish has the perfect amount of curry spice. Really delicious!

Curry Coconut Beef by Angela

Curry Coconut Beef by Angela

Slow Cooker Curry Coconut Beef

1.5-2# chuck roast cut into 6-8 chunks
1 large yellow bell pepper or 4-5 minis, large dice
1 large onion, large dice
1 med carrot, sliced very thin on the bias
1 small box cremini mushrooms, quartered
Sauce
1 Tbl garlic paste (or 4-5 cloves, pasted)
1 Tbl ginger paste (or 2 large chunks, minced – but I highly recommend buying paste from the Indian store)
2 Tbl red “all purpose” curry paste (or whatever type you like)
1 Tbl fish sauce
1 Tbl brown sugar
.5 tsp salt
.5 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dry cilantro
1 tsp dry mustard
.5 tsp coriander
.5 tsp red pepper flakes
1 14 oz can coconut milk (not light)
juice and zest of one lime
Condiments
2-3 scallions sliced on the bias
1 lime cut into wedges
2-4 Tbl fresh cilantro, chopped

Brown beef in oil in a hot skillet. While that is browning, cut up the veg. Turn the beef to brown on all sides and season with salt and pepper. Turn on slow cooker to HI and spray with nonstick spray. Put about a tsp of olive oil in the bottom. Put half the veg in the bottom of the cooker. Mix together all sauce ingredients until curry paste is dissolved. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce over the veg in the cooker. When beef is browned, dump all of it in the cooker with pan drippings. Add in the rest of the veg then pour over the remaining sauce.

Let cook on HI for 3-4 hours, until beef is fork tender. Serve over basmati rice with scallions, cilantro and limes for garnish.

Angela’s EASY Almond Madeleines

Blinky doll

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I started with Julia Child’s recipe for madeleines and decided it was too fussy. However, if you want to make the typical madeleine, just use Julia’s ingredients with my method. It’ll work fine. NOTE: When I ordered madeleine pans, I got MINI Madeleine pans, so I had to fix the temp and cook times as well. This recipe is for MINI Madeleine pans. If you use regular pans, the cook time will be longer and the yield fewer. Also, I have a shitty electric oven that doesn’t hold temp well, so overall your mileage may vary. Don’t leave them unattended or they’ll burn.

Mini Madeleines by Angela

Mini Madeleines by Angela

Angela’s Easy Almond Madeleines
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
one bag slivered almonds (2.25 oz), ground very fine in a processor or blender; about 2/3 cup
1 stick (4 oz) melted butter (I use salted, if you don’t, add pinch salt)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
powdered (icing) sugar for topping

Melt butter in microwave, stir and set aside to cool a bit. Beat eggs in a bowl and add extracts. Stir together flour, almonds and sugar in a medium bowl. When butter has cooled so you can touch it, add it to the dry ingredients and beat in. Add eggs to butter flour mix and beat in thoroughly. The mix should be very thick and sticky, but still pourable. If it’s too dry, add a little water half a teaspoon at a time to make it gooey. If it’s too loose, add flour a tablespoon at a time until it’s gooey. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set up.

When the mix is chilled, preheat the oven to 375F. Spray the pans (you should have TWO) with nonstick spray and put about a TEASPOON of dough in each divot in ONE pan. The dough should not fill the divot, only about 2/3 of the way. They rise A LOT. This recipe will fill two pans, more or less. I fill and bake one pan at a time and keep the dough in the fridge until the first pan is done. Cold dough helps with making them crispy and rising in the center.

I bake one pan at a time in the center rack for about 10-12 minutes. My oven sucks and will not cook both pans at once and I have to babysit them to avoid burning. They are done when the hump forms in the middle and starts to look dry, and the edges are medium brown. I’d advise keeping a close watch until you know how your oven will cook.

Pull from oven, let sit a minute, then turn out onto cooling racks. Sift icing sugar over both sides while warm.

Yield: about 36 mini madeleines

SBDC Class

Blinky doll

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

So, that class we attended last night was put on by the University of GA Small Business Development Center. Sounds great, but it was just so-so. Of course we were the only white people there, which did not surprise me. It’s odd how white people won’t use the public resources available – although we got this lead via some hipsters, so I guess it’s generational. The class was half black, one quarter Hispanic and one quarter white. I’m sure we screwed up their usual ratios! LOL

The dude that did the class was an old white man who is apparently unaware of the internet and/or social media and how you can use that to promote yourself these days. He was also kind of an apologist for the banking industry, which of course pisses me off. He droned on about how important biz plans are, the banks won’t lend to you unless you have stellar credit (but it’s not the bank’s fault!), you should use LLC, blah blah. He did give us a couple of leads for SBA loans and a microloan organization.

But when it came to marketing and research, he actually suggested that for a restaurant, you should have focus groups and go door to door polling whether they’d like your type of restaurant. ?? WTF is he on about? He owned fucking dry cleaning stores, what does he know about the food business? Precious little, apparently. He didn’t seem to think the quality of food was very relevant. Gods.

He was annoyed with me because I was giving the 3 restaurant people in the room tips as we went along and even answering questions that he could not. Too bad, old man, I happen to have more knowledge than you in certain areas. I think he is used to being the only person in the room with a clue. To be sure, there was one old lady in there that was an IDIOT. An absolute luddite who was financing her son’s (grandson, probably) business but didn’t know what the internet was. Um. ? The kid is doing clothing rental via instagram and is doing pretty well for a 17 year old! Hope he doesn’t spend all of granny’s money. But he probably will.

Anyway, it was a long powerpoint presentation with the pp slides printed out for us to make notes next to the slide image. Exciting. I guess I remembered more than I thought about the business classes I took long ago. Or maybe I just know this shit via osmosis from Rob. In any case, other than the SBA bank connection and the templates for the various documents, the class was very VERY basic.

I would recommend taking this SBDC class if you are totally new to business. The info is solid, just not very up to date as far as internet marketing goes. It’s run by old white people, so, keep that in mind.

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