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by jani crowbar

Observation: if you don't bother to wash the knife after cutting the jalapenos, subsequent cheese snacks will be piquantly tangy.

Followup: recent cheese snacks have been piquantly tangy, redolent of garlic, reminiscent of cilantro (so-called Chinese parsley! ha!), amusingly oniony, distractingly tomatillo-scented, and kinda rancid.

Conclusion: toss the cheese, wash the knife.

If you ate playdough and rarely made a distinction between fingerpaints and hair tonic, you probably are already a practitioner of hands-in cooking. If you're also cheap, lazy, hungry, and sort of vegetarian, then this is what I suggest you eat tonight, and then again tomorrow if the beans haven't clotted overnight. (You did throw some saran wrap over the pan, didn't you?)

Open up the can of black beans that's been sitting in the back of the cupboard. Dump 'em in the colander and rinse off that sticky black stuff (Iquor de Goya) real good. Chop up an onion, a fistful of cilantro, some hot peppers, some cheese. Put it all on a tortilla and put the tortilla on that thing that makes things hot. When it's hot, eat it with Cholula or Jufran Banana Sauce.

How about this one? I got it from a famous chef in exchange for a handful of magic beans. HAH! What a sucker. "Magic" my ass. OK. You buy a cross-section of a fish, something hearty like swordfish or tuna or even cat. Let your partner struggle to get the ****ing skin off the thing while you saute the onions, hot peppers, red bell peppers, and whatever tangy stuff is lying around, in expensive olive oil that comes in a cool triangular bottle. Hoist the piscine fragment therein. Now, more olive oil, some of that extra-virgin soy sauce, a few good splashes of cheap but heady red wine. Montepulciano has never failed me. Throw in some cilantro leaves, and then some more when the fish is almost done. Now would be a good time to take the sweet cornbread out of the oven... did I mention the cornbread? Serve fish over cornbread with leftover black beans and the rest of the Montepulciano. Eat it all now; it'll stink tomorrow. Maybe you should've saved those beans.

Here's a trick I learned in Kaohsiung, City of Concrete. Mosquito season is almost over, but if you don't print this out and save it for next summer, you'll be kicking yourself and I'll come over and help. The mosquito, you see, is the degenerate descendant of vampires, and has inherited their inexplicable distaste for garlic along with their lust for warm blood. Now, one clove of raw garlic about the site of the ball of your thumb, sliced thinly, is just about enough to cover half of a bagel. The cream cheese helps the garlic stick to the bagel, and also moderates the taste. Fresh-ground pepper is optional. Administer half an hour before you go to bed - don't wait til the last minute, or your toothbrush will reek. The vampire-proof cloud which now surrounds you should fade just as the rising sun banishes the mosquito to his tiny coffin behind the bookcase. But you may want to try this one out on the weekend, just in case.

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