CatDecenzo’s Weblog

Just some mundane madness

The Lemon Sea Bass Caper


LemonSeaBassI rarely measure anything (my husband’s glad about that), but I had some nice sea bass that I wanted to cook up. If you need measurements, cookbooks and mathematical equations for cooking, you’re at the wrong place.  Head on over to the cooking channel, otherwise, a little dab’l do ya….

Combine some olive oil, lemon juice, capers and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Save a small portion in a separate bowl.

Cook up some spaghetti or fettucine in boiling water. Drain. Toss into that large bowl w/lemon/caper sauce.

Lightly flour and salt ‘n pepper a few pieces of sea bass (mine was skinless).

Heat light layer of canola or vegetable oil in bottom of a pan (I used my black wrought iron pan) till  really hot but not smokin’! (Drop of water will sizzle in pan..but so will your face, so back off)

Saute sea bass about 2-3 minutes on each side. (Meanwhile, wander on over and preheat the oven to 425 degrees).

Throw entire pan into the 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes (or if not ovenproof pan, saute a little longer on each side until fork tender).

Plop the spagetts in a really pretty serving dish. Add sea bass around the top (I divided the fish into portions). Drizzle small portion of saved lemon/caper sauce over the whole thing.

Damn, that’s eatin’.


August 21, 2009 Posted by | Recipes/Food | , , , , | 1 Comment

P(r)etty Thieves

BrewfestI’m glad to see the whole Harvard-professor-break-in incident is finally off the media radar blip since the peacemaking at the brotherly brewfest between Obama and The Players.

I had a similar incident happen in my neighborhood, but it was I who was the star player, and I couldn’t exactly cry racial discrimination in my very white-bread neighborhood. And I didn’t get a beer out of it, either.

Recently, I drove my very suburban SUV into my very suburban garage, only to have the garage door revolt on me, plummeting down its tracks as it attempted closure, popping and screeching loudly as springs sprung, wood splintered, tracks warped and the entire door collapsed in a crooked cave-in halfway down its descent, dangling a mere six inches above my car. The Mister and I sprinted to manually shove the door up just enough to back my car back out of the garage – just in case demon devil-door wasn’t finished with its destructive forces – and watched as it proceeded to buckle and slam down to the ground only seconds after we extracted the car.

Luckily, the company that installed the door accommodated us with an appointment the next morning. As The Mister headed off to work the next day, I hung around waiting for the door man. Knowing they would need the serial number and dimensions off the door, I proceeded to tiptoe with my morning coffee in my bare feet out into the garage to scribble down numbers, whereupon I slammed the mud room door behind me. Freeze frame. I winced as it occurred to me that hubs had decided to lock that inner door – which we never do – to thwart off anyone getting in through the now semi-exposed garage (how? by morphing through the slits of the quarter inch door panel gaps???). He’s a bit anal when it comes to safety. It’s an occupational hazard…post cop syndrome.

There I stood, locked and confined in an empty garage on one of the sultriest, muggiest days on record…with no exit access in sight. I immediately went into Suburban Survival Mode, gazing at the tools, garden equipment and 260 cans of alphabetized canuba car wax, wondering if they would find me in a few days in a prone position with the headlines reading “Woman Attempts Suicide from Carbon Monoxide Fumes, but Forgets Car.”

phone_resizedI immediately flashed back to moving day into the house, when my husband insisted on putting yet one more telephone in the house, choosing his man-room garage. I snidely mumbled something about overkill, as he judiciously ignored my attempt at emasculating him and proceeded with his TimAllenesk task of installing yet another toy, grunting with pride.

Ah-ha! The phone…yes! I have a neighbor with a key to my house. I’ll just call her and she’ll pass the contraband…er, key…through the crippled garage door and I’ll be free! Wait… I don’t know any phone numbers without my speed dial or directory on the upstairs phones. Sigh. On to Plan B.

It was then that my brain went into uber-logic mode, and I remembered she had called me only a day or two earlier. I picked up the phone to view “previous callers,” and was able to auto-dial her.

Angel108My little Tatooed Angel of Neighborly Necessities brought the key over, peered through the slat, snapped her finger and shouted through the pane, “Oh no you diiiiiin’t!!!” Snorting the entire time, she finally slid the key under the door. Jiggling the key in the lock, I soon realized she had an older key, as we had recently installed a new lockset. Dohhhhhh. On to Plan C.

In unison, she and I hummed, “We shall overcome.” Hell, we’ve raised children…this should be a cakewalk. She then proceeded to get on all fours, scraping her knees on the cement driveway, with her rear end jutting toward the neighbors, whereupon she lifted one panel of the garage door off the ground as I shimmied on my back out of the small access like an elephant squeezing through a turtle’s birth canal.

coverlargeTrying not to pee in our pants, we laughed loudly enough to raise the dead, and we envisioned nosy neighbors peering out of their windows at the two women who looked to be breaking into the townhouse. “I cain’t be sure, officer….they looked white to me, but with the shadows from that Mandevilla Vine and all, I really couldn’t identify them in a court of law…”

I was finally able to phone my husband from her house. (Darn, what’s his number again?) He eventually appeared with THE key, like a white knight ready to save the damsel…his masculinity now intact. But he hesitated for a split second before letting me in, saying, “And what was that ‘overkill’ comment about the garage phone????” Oh mea culpa already…

And it was only later that my neighbor smacked her forehead with a duhhhhh! and said, “Oh, wooops, I just realized I had brought you the key to the OTHER neighbor’s house!”

Well, at least if we get caught next time – breaking into the other neighbor’s house – I’ll willingly offer up my AARP identification card to the arresting officer…..without resisting.

August 17, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Random, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Want Some Cheese With That Whine?

I have a sister who travels quite often, and one of her more vexatious sayings to us siblings who journey on trips-from-hell only once or twice a year is, “You don’t get out much, do you?” And I can tell you, I emphatically and unequivocally snap, “No, and I like it that way.”

My family is split between the East and West coasts, so although I immensely love the break from the Virginia heat and the chance to get out to the Pacific breezes of California, the travel itself is now as attractive a proposition to me as getting a bad case of athlete’s foot.

I recently headed out on USScareways, whereupon we sat on the tarmac after the latch to the cargo holder came flyin’ right out into the butt-cracked maintenance man’s hand. There I sat, huddled next to a family of the mixed-Asian-persuasion whose little children were scattered about in different rows at windows A, D, and F, nowhere near their parents or each other, but bellowing to each other nonetheless.

pomeranianAnd what to my wandering eyes should appear, but a Prissy Pomeranian encaged at one of their sized-two feet. And every time the maintenance man slammed the cargo door in their attempt to reassemble it, Little Prissy yapped loudly. “Are they serious?” I says to myself. “Is Prissy with us for the entire four-hour flight (now going on five)?” I was only hoping they weren’t considering having him for their mid-flight snack.

Surprisingly, Prissy’s yap became white noise after awhile, blending in with the screeching landing gears and clanking of the glass bottles of alcohol which people were now scrambling to pay a pretty penny for…

I envisioned – and slightly hoped – Sneezy from the Center for Disease Control would be on board when – to add insult to injury – the kids took rat-dog out of her cage to play with her, while the parents gazed back lovingly at their precious cargo-less canine. I watched the veins on the passenger’s head next to me pop out like his blood pressure just spurt coffee through his veins as he and I both flung our heads around like Linda Blair’s head in the Exorcist to see if any of the flight attendants were going to approach the darlings and remind them to shove the little shit back into its cage. No such luck. I think they were too busy reaching their arms out of the fuselage to hang on to the bungie cords that were holding the cargo door shut. So Prissy continued to jump and yap to her heart’s content.

Since the cargo ordeal delayed us for hours, I knew that I – as well as many others – would surely be missing our connecting flights in Phoenix. Rumblings were heard throughout the cabin, but I’m a pretty good grin-and-bear it kinda gal, and knew the worst that would happen is that I’d end up in a hotel room somewhere with big, white, marshmallowy pillows and lots of miniature shampoos and conditioners to steal (sister’s words repeating: “You don’t get out much….”). And as predicted, they shuttled us to the nearest hotel, and I settled in for the evening and planned to head out early in the a.m. Unfortunately, I needed a PhD to figure out the alarm clock (which I soon realized was broken) and the one radio station that did come in was blaring the Mexican Hat Dance. I reached for the phone to request a wakeup call, but none of the dials on the phone worked. I crawled out of my nice, soft Hotel 990-count sheets and headed down to the desk to relay the problem, wherein the gal – without making eye contact – snapped “Well, when d’ya want to get up??” Too tired to reach over and bitch-slap her, I just quipped, “5:30…and bring a bottle of Tequila.”

After my long, relaxing five days on my actual vacation, I assumed the position again and headed back to the airport to return home. If I can just make it through this one long leg, I thought to myself, and get to Charlotte for my connecting flight, I’ll be home a mere hour after that. I could already smell my Yankee Candle nightlight and feel hubby’s cuddly arms as I pictured myself crawling into the fetal position after a bad case of Travelitis.

The flight was smooth, it took off in a timely manner, and I sat in leather-rich empty seats engulfing me with glorious room to spread out. My happy feet plopped down at the Charlotte airport and I headed to my gate…the connecting flight was heading out at 7:30 p.m.

But there it was, in bright neon lights, like a fire-breathing dragon, screaming DELAYED until 11:30 p.m!! My shoulders dropped to my knees, I breathed a heavy sigh, and said, “Self, there’s only one thing to do at a time like this. Hit the bar.”

Again, being a flexible kinda gal, I thought there’s only one thing more comfortable than sitting at home drinking a beer, watching pre-season football shows, with hubby by my side and a big warm bowl of chili. And that’s sitting at an airport bar, watching the pre-season football shows, drinking a beer, eating a big warm bowl of chili, with not one – but TWO – guys on either side of me. The only thing I had to avoid was the spittle flying from their mouths across me as they grumbled about the economy, and both entertained me with their creative ideas on how to start a revolution. I purposely didn’t take their names down and, just for the record, I wasn’t there…

Coffee, Tea or Banana Cream Pie???

Coffee, Tea or Banana Cream Pie???

After the hours dragged by, I finally shlupped myself onto my connecting “express” (snort) flight, a tin can with wings, with seats that smelled like old sneakers. The only thing that could, and did, make the night any worse was the flight attendant, who looked like she hadn’t washed her hair in six months, and was so abundant in the booty that she took up the whole aisle and had to walk sideways to prevent impailing our elbows into our cheeks. As I rose to head back towards the lavatory, she abruptly snapped, “If you’re lookin’ fer a blanket, we don’t have iny.” Still lacking my bitch-slap reflex due to exhaustion, I said, “No, I’m just headed to the lavatory.” She then said, “Nope, doesn’t work. They’re working ownit…” I returned to my seat, where I did work up the energy to turn my toes toward the aisle, hoping she would flail face-down into her ice bucket next time she wandered my way…well, if nothing else, I could always use her as a flotation device if something happened.

Relics Found in Airline Lavatory

Relics Found in Airline Lavatory

Now I’m home, only slightly oxygen deprived, and I am glad to stay put for awhile. And I’ve learned a few things about travel: always fly non-stop; carry a pooper scooper; and don’t…ever… eat a bowl of chili before boarding a flight.

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Random | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment