Saturday, 30 June 2012

Gay Chicken... Dip

Spend the day on YouTube if this is your kind of gay chicken
I was introduced to the idea of "Chicken Dip" back on the Bubba The Love Sponge Show when it was still on Howard 101 on Sirius.  Sure, it had Bubba's name on it, but these straight guys seemed genuinely addicted.  I just had to figure out what they were going on about.

I'm quite a ways from Tampa, so I haven't been able to try the original, but after looking at the ingredients and several similar recipes -- many of which made me recoil in horror -- I thought I'd come up with my own more healthy variation.

It's really quite simple to prepare, with only 5 ingredients (in bold below) but it does require a food processor.  The end result is a moderately healthy, chunky dip that has always disappeared quickly at get-togethers.

Here's how to make it:

1. Roast a chicken.  One of my favourite ways to do this is to cut from one side of the neck through the back to one side of the tail (know what ?  Chicken butt) and lay it flat.  I like to roast mine with some veggies, like carrots, bell peppers, and a tomato or two (yes, I am aware they are technically a berry and thus a fruit like me).  I also like to get some seasoning (dry or wet) under the skin when I cook it like this, but don't go too crazy.
2. After it's ready (meaning, roasted safely and left to rest), enjoy some roast chicken.  We don't need much for the recipe, a single breast, or both for extra chunky, and maybe a wing or two, depending on the size of the chicken.  In fact, it's probably best to use leftover chicken from the fridge, so put it away and go to sleep.
3. Break a package of cream cheese into a few chunks so it fits into the food processor.  Fellow gays can use the low-fat option here.

Here's where my chicken dip radically diverts from others.  Because (thankfully) I've rarely endured chicken wings at Hooters (only a gay could say "thankfully" here, though we all seem to enjoy breasts and not only on chickens if you know what I mean), I learned to expect carrot and celery sticks as a mandatory part of the chicken wing experience:

4. Add about 3 decent sized carrots, peeled, and about 5 celery stalks (I break the ends of each stalk backwards and pull back to remove the most fibrous strings).  Roughly chop the veggies into about 1 inch pieces and throw them in with the cream cheese in the food processor.
Not easy to find (in Toronto try Highland Farms)
5. Add the heat.  I use about half a large bottle of hot sauce but I'll leave this up to your tastes.  If you skimp here you'll likely have problems processing unless you add another liquid.  Probably because of the veggies, even the "I don't like hot food" crowd doesn't usually have any complaints, though.  I usually mix Frank's Red Hot and Louisiana Hot Sauce.  I like them both for different reasons, ok ?
6. Start by pulsing the cream cheese, veggies, and hot sauce together until the mixture starts to become unified.  You might have to scrape down the sides of the food processor.  Then run it for 10 seconds or so to get the mixture relatively smooth.
7. De-bone and take the skin off of your chicken wings and breast(s) and chop the meat into the size of chunk you'd like to see later on your chips.  If you'd like to include any fat or chicken skin (bad gay, but I'm there with ya'), chop it up separately and throw it into the food processor and give it a whirl with the dip mixture first, but keep your white meat chunks separate in a large bowl.
8. In the the large bowl, fold the dip mixture from the food processor and the chunks of chicken together ("fold" is gay for gently combining to preserve your chicken chunks).
9. For best flavour, heat the finished dip  on medium in a saucepan to a boil, stirring frequently, before serving.
10. Let it cool a bit, then put it in bowls (if you're sharing there will be a run for it so split it up) and serve with whatever you've got that will stand up to a dip like this.  I usually go with multigrain tortilla chips.

Yum.  This was my lunch today and I'm looking forward to the leftovers.

Most other recipes call for some sort of Blue Cheese, either in chunk or salad dressing form.  Unlike some I don't hate blue cheese, but I also don't need it (or its added fat and calories) to have a Buffalo Chicken experience.

"Well, I never !"
Others out there also call for still more cheese, usually in the form of shredded cheddar.  There's little reason for it and I'm not sure how it fits-in with the original Anchor Bar favourite flavour.

There you go -- not a typical recipe, nor a typical blog post from yours truly, but if you try it I think you'll agree that this is not your typical kitchen project, either.  Make it your own if you must tamper with perfection, but in whatever form it takes, this seemingly simple creation will be with you forever.  It's a crowd pleaser that won't leave your party goers lethargic, and that's a noble goal in this summer heat.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Dear John (Lithgow)

Are you still wondering if this will be good ?
I just had to thank John Lithgow as personally as I could for his performance in The Columnist on Broadway.

Yes, I'm over 40 but I only recently visited New York City for the first time.  I didn't come from a rich family.  We all had to put in long hours in the family business.  Our only family vacation consisted of a one-week drive to Florida.  The Plymouth overheated every 1.5 hours.

Here is my fax (yes, I had to send a fax, from the Plymouth) to his publicist:
I just wanted to thank John Lithgow for the moving performance while visiting Broadway for my first time ever.
I was in the first row balcony for the matinee on May 26 for The Columnist and it was an incredibly moving experience for me.
Thank you Mr. Lithgow. You are truly an inspiration. 
ed green

I used to think of myself as some kind of "Imagineering" robot machine, absorbing a net search like nobody else, ready to cyber-realize any single place on Earth.

I just didn't expect to experience what I did in Manhattan.

First of all I found a clean city.  That was a huge surprise.

I also found extremely nice people everywhere I turned.  There were only 3 street beggars in 6 days, and they were all courteous.  In Toronto today it's more like 3 every mile.

Though I met new friends and had a lot of fun interacting with them, I needed Saturday afternoon in Manhattan to be all mine.  When I got to the TKTS booth, I had two plays in mind: Venus in Fur, because it came highly rated, and The Columnist, not because I was a gay guy (I had no idea what it was about going in), but because of one single reason: John Lithgow.

I believe the kidz say... "ZOMG"
As an amazing bonus, only the best reason to watch Stargate Universe, Captain Matthew Scott (umm, is everyone named Matthew hot or what ??) played by the sexy hot and hotly talented actor Brian J. Smith was almost naked on stage, almost within reach.

It was John Lithgow's performance that drew first a tear from my eye, and then the water works.  My shirt was literally drenched.  Lithgow's portrayal of Joseph Alsop (a true story from the Kennedy era) was the most moving performance of my stay in NYC.

That's saying a lot.

I really do want to run away to NYC now.

I fear that I'm now a New Yorker and there's nothing I can do about it.  I'm going to give the Toronto theatre scene a good ol' college try, and if they need me, I'll volunteer.

Maybe the next NYC bum asking you for change will be a handsome Canadian ex-pat, trying to get $80 together for his next Broadway fix.

If it's me and I smell bad, just say so.  I want to be fresh if I bump into John... or Brian.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Happy Gay Days Orlando 2012

I remember hearing Mike Morales on the Howard Stern Show denying that he visited Disneyworld during a period of time known as Gay Days.  He allegedly even, gasp, wore a red shirt, signalling in this event that he was indeed a queer.

My, how far we've come.

Mike has come out on-air since, and I've come out to my friends and family too.

It's important for people close to you to know who you really are, and it's important for the cause of human rights to have our friends and family members as supporters, too.

Everyone knows someone gay, whether they know it or not.

And despite all the rumours, being gay does not automatically bring with it a wild lifestyle.  Public displays of affection are probably more rampant in the hetero world, for instance.  And I've never seen anything happen in a public bathroom, not even in the gayest of gay clubs.  The most gay act I've seen in a bathroom is a bunch of sopping gays rushing straight to the mirror to fix their hair on a rainy night out (yes, I was one of them).  The urinals and stalls were empty.

Sexuality is an orientation.  Your orientation reflects your predominate preferences and desires (we'll leave true bisexuality -- and I do believe it really exists -- for another day).

Lifestyles -- slut, prude, outrageous, conservative, committed, happily single -- come in all orientations.

For Gay Days Orlando this year, the "Florida Family Association" -- tagline, "Defending American Values" -- is again hiring planes to drag air warnings in and around the Disneyworld resort during Gay Days Orlando.

They are concerned that those icky gays in their red shirts are going to be leaving gay stains all over the Mad Teacups and the other rides at the park.

They are worried that untarnished traditional Christian children might witness happy same-sex couples holding hands with love in their hearts and living their lives without guilt or shame for who they love.

They are selfishly worried about more, but never mind all that, let's turn this back to us: they think we're all sinners and we are going to hell.  And that's just mean.

I just left them the following message of support (follow the link to let them know your thoughts):

Most gay people are probably:

- cleaner than you
- more respectable than you
- and more importantly, nicer to people than you.

Gays gentrify neighbourhoods, increasing property values and community safety. Most GLBTs have learned to embrace everyone of all religions and personal preferences.

Can you say the same about yourselves ?

It's time. Learn to embrace all humans equally, and not just those in your own congregation.

You can't shame away the gay, all you can do is shame yourselves.

In my years on this Earth, I've been a witness to many different communities including "traditional family" and religions ones.  I am proud to say that being a part of the gay community has taught me tolerance and acceptance like no other set of values I've seen before or since.

If joy, the quest for true love, and the lesson of acceptance is hell, then turn up the heat.