This weekend, we're time-traveling.
We're going back. (To Daylight Savings Time.)
It’s finally here.
After four months of seemingly-perpetual darkness, Daylight Savings Times arrives Saturday night, the first domino to fall in the genuine onset of spring. We’ll sacrifice one hour of sleep this weekend (and, if you have kids, probably a week or so of completely screwed up internal clocks), but in return we’ll no longer be coming home from work in the dark. We’ll have time to be outside in the evenings. Time to have a cocktail on the porch. Time to grill out for dinner.
Hey, that gives me an idea.
7) Sometimes unsettling things you see on the internet are actually pretty solid ideas.
Did you ever see that video of someone extruding meat through a two-liter soda bottle? I recall a wave of horror sweeping through my Twitter feed the day the video first spread widely, a revulsion at the admittedly-unappetizing visual of raw meat being treated like Play-Doh (or worse).
Here’s an earlier version of the process depicting in that video (which, to be honest, I can’t remember where to find):
I have to be honest with you: when I see something this unusual on the internet, I absolutely have to try it. This, combined with inspiration from longtime reader @kbuts, got me itching to make Kofta Kebabs.
So, here’s what I used":
1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground beef
1 small yellow onion, grated on a box grater
1-2 tablespoons finely-chopped parsley
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon each cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg garlic powder
Mix all of these together in a bowl using a potato masher (or your hands). Cut the bottom off of a plastic soda bottle, and stuff the mixture into the top. Squeeze it in using a soda can or other snugly-fitting cylinder. Thread a soaked wooden skewer or metal skewer through the spout, and extrude the meat, pushing the skewer in as you push the meat out with the cylinder.
I regret that I did not take pictures of the extruding process, but my hands were covered in raw meat. (The things I do for my art.) I tried to hand-form kebabs with the last bit of meat that couldn’t be extruded, and: it didn’t work nearly as well as the bottle did. It really did do a great job of getting smooth, evenly-shaped kebabs that weren’t too tightly-packed. The internet was right.
You could bake these at 425F, but it’s spring outside! It’s time to fire up the grill! I grilled these on high for about 10 minutes total, turning occasionally, and:
I served this with pita, orzo, and the whipped feta that I featured in an earlier newsletter.
The outside cooking season is finally here. Let us rejoice, and embrace weird internet cooking videos.
6) Let’s transition our drinks, too.
I wanted something vaguely complementary to this dish for this week’s cocktail — something that hints at a greener, fresher season, even though we’re only now shaking off the winter. Also, I had a bunch of parsley left over from the recipe, which is always the case after buying parsley.
So, as I am known to do, I cracked open The One-Bottle Cocktail, a book that I’ve been mixing my way through for the better part of a year now, and I searched for “parsley”. (I, uh, cracked open the e-book.) Wouldn’t you know it, she’s got a cocktail for that!
Behind The Field
2 ounces vodka (she notes you can substitute gin, so I did)
3/4 ounce of a simple syrup infused with star anise
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
2 sprigs fresh parsley
Muddle the parsley in the bottom of a cocktail shaker; add the vodka/gin, syrup, and juices. Rub the rim of a chilled couple glass with a sprig of parsley, then strain the drink into it, garnishing with more parsley and a star anise pod.
It’s not crazy photogenic, but it’s clean and crisp and played perfectly off the rich meat of the kebabs.
5) I get by with a little help from my friends.
I like to keep my music recommendations fresh and varied on here, but I can’t always stay up on what’s brand-new. Occasionally, I’m going to lean on friends to keep me in the loop.
This week, I’m taking a suggestion from my former (and future? Stay tuned?) podcast co-host, Joe Kelly, who turned me on to Allegory, the new album by veteran Detroit rapper Royce Da 5’9”.
Royce Da 5’9” dropped Allegory a couple weeks ago, and it’s a certified instant classic. Sound-wise, it draws a lot from jazz samples. The best comparison I can make for non-rap fans is — if you like Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, this album is for your ears. Side B is a polar opposite album from Side A — his verse on ‘Thou Shalt’ is one of the best rhymes I’ve ever heard. Dude does moon-saults over the beat. — Joe
I took Joe’s recommendation, and I was hooked off the second track, “Dope Man”, which has a certain, surely-intentional Curtis Mayfield vibe to it:
4) Poetry, a thing I do not generally understand, can be exhilarating in the right hands.
I’ve never really understood poetry. Perhaps that just means I’m dense, but I’ve rarely found something that connects with me on the emotional level that it’s supposed to. That said, several years ago I picked up a book by one of my favorite Twitter follows, Dr. Eve L. Ewing (@eveewing), and… it finally hit.
Electric Arches, her 2017 debut collection, is a visceral, lively collection of poems that takes us from the streets of Chicago through space and time and the arrival of aliens, bending reality and elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary. I loved it. Perhaps I don’t have the poetic language to say why, but I did.
3) I KNEW IT WAS RIGGED. I KNEW IT!
Millions of Americans, myself included, were captivated by the possibilities when McDonald’s launched their hugely-successful Monopoly game promotion in the 1990s. You might win a free order of french fries, but you might also win a million dollars, or a Dodge Viper! (There was nothing cooler to 10-year-old me than the idea of a Dodge Viper).
Of course, I never won anything, and realistically, my parents wouldn’t take me to McDonald’s enough to even try to fill the lesser categories. Someone won, though, surely. Some lucky fool peeled a gamepiece off a Super-Size Coke and got the surprise of a lifetime, right?
It turns out that there was not a single legitimate winner of the restaurant chain promotion’s biggest prize for years, because the game was rigged (unbeknownst to the company). This is the focus of HBO’s hugely entertaining, laugh-out-loud-funny documentary series McMillion$, which airs the finale of its six-episode run on Monday.
It’s got everything you could hope for! Cartoonish mafiosi! Hilariously dated television ads! More than all that, though, it’s got FBI Special Agent Doug Mathews, a Jake Peralta-esque character of sheer buffoonish joy. I cannot possibly do better justice to Agent Doug than my friend Brian Grubb did over at Uproxx recently. Read that, watch the show. It’s tremendous.
2) We’re springing forward, but not that far.
Doubling back to terrific Twitter follows, I’ve long been a fan of Dr. Katie Mack, an astrophysicist who goes by the handle @AstroKatie. Dr. Mack is excellent at putting junk-science headlines in their proper context and explaining the physical truths of the universe to layperson dummies like me.
She recently guested on the podcast The Big Story to throw some cold water on the notion that humans could decamp to living on Mars if we screw up Earth too bad. The verdict? There’s basically nothing we could do to Earth to make it less hospitable than Mars would ever be. The episode is titled “Why Mars Is a Lovely Dream That Will Also Probably Kill Anyone Who Goes”.
It’s a fun listen! I swear!
1) And now, what you’re really here for: Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of Friday!
Reader Megan B. gets us started with a TERRIFIC-named dog:
This is my dog Rigatoni during her first visit to my childhood home over Christmas. She settled in quite nicely. I love her.
RIGATONI I LOVE HER TOO AND I ALSO LOVE PASTA. Also it’s possible that this picture got rotated in sending but honestly Rigatoni is rejecting the idea of a horizon right now so I’m just gonna let it ride as it is.
Next up, @treynottray shares a dog who’s going through some things right now:
This guy is a little depressed to be rocking the CoS, would feel better if he were featured in his favorite newsletter. (Would also feel better if his dad got off his ass and made one of the newsletter's recipes.)
YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF, YOU’RE A GOOD DOG.
Reader Jacob B. shares:
Love the Action Cookbook newsletter. Please see picture below of our very good boy Chandler keeping his eyes on the road (while thinking about all of the delicious food in the Action Cookbook newsletter, of course) in the car as always.
Okay well first flattery will get you everywhere with me, but also WHAT A GOOD DOG.
Finally, reader @cammmmfryzel writes in with an incredible pair:
Hey Scott! This is my 5 month old pup Miles, who wants to introduce you to his new girlfriend Millie. As you can tell he's smitten with her and thinks she's the bestest girl to go along with him being the bestest boy.
THEY ARE BOTH THE BEST. (Tied with all the other dogs today, of course, who are also the best.)
Thanks for all of your submissions, it’s a genuine joy to have an inbox full of good dogs which I’m slowly working my way through. If you’ve submitted, trust that I have every intention of getting to your good dog, too!
I appreciate you spending a portion of your Friday with The Action Cookbook Newsletter. This is always a fun edition to assemble, but it’s made so much more fun when I get to hear that you’re making these recipes and enjoying these recommendations. If you’re not yet signed up for regular emails, please do:
And if you know someone who might enjoy this in their inbox, please share!
I hope you have a terrific weekend and don’t miss that hour of sleep too much. It’ll be worth it when the sun stays up.
— Scott Hines (@actioncookbook)
if you enjoyed Royce da 5'9", I highly recommend any Bad vs Evil.