Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Smoothie & The Roach Spray

Hi Folks! Normally, my postings are related to my cooking, recipes and such but my first love is firefighting. It's what I've always wanted to do. My Dad was a firefighter for 41 years and I always dreamed of following him into the "family business." Well, in April I will be entering my 17th year in the fire service, serving the citizens and visitors of the city where I live.

Firefighters, Paramedics, and Emergency Medical Technicians encounter some bizarre stuff when we are helping out the general public. Now don't get me wrong, I'd never make fun of someone's misfortune because everyone has their own opinion of what constitutes an emergency & usually we are encountering people at their worst but some stuff is downright funny.
I have been toying with the idea of writing a book when I retire about my experiences as a firefighter with a working title of "You Can't Make This Stuff Up!"

I'd like to share two stories with you below that are experiences as a result of working in a first responder engine company. First responders, in my city are either an Engine Company or Ladder Truck that responds with firefighter/EMT's to a medical incident when there isn't a medic unit in close proximity, to provide needed EMS skills until the medics arrive or because the nature of the dispatch requires a first responder company (forced entry, lift assist, & such).

After you read these two stories, I'd like you to give me your honest opinion on what you've read. It will help me decide where I want to go with this. If there's a positive response, I'll keep my dream alive and keep adding to this massive MS Word document that I keep on a flash drive and ask others for some of their stories too & maybe I'll post a story here once in a while. If the response isn't that great then I'll keep adding to my MS Word file and have some great memories to reflect back on after I retire.

Names, actual fire companies, and locations have been omitted, or changed to protect the innocent.

The Smoothie

Early one morning, right after my fire company came on shift we were dispatched for a "Trauma Assault" incident. The dispatcher also notified us that this was a domestic incident and police were being dispatched & we were to await the police before entering the home. When notified to wait for police, you get a little on edge because you don't know what you're going to encounter & domestic incidents are always unpredictable.

 Our engine goes out the door, lights blazing & sirens wailing through the streets of the city en route to the incident, preparing for the worst & hoping for the best. As we turn onto the street where the incident is located we see a few police cars already on location. We pull up, the driver stops the apparatus and we dismount. I grab the medical equipment and we see a circle of police officers and a man who is sitting on the step, holding a blood soaked towel against the side of his head. I take a look at his head and see a six inch by four inch laceration & the biggest lump I've ever seen. I begin to treat the injured man, cleaning and bandaging his wound, taking care to make sure I stop the flow of blood because head wounds are the worst bleeders.

My lieutenant says to the closest police officer, "What happened?" The police officer smiled and said, "You've got to ask him" & points to the man holding the towel against his head. The man says, "You got to understand, I'm a player! Last night I was out doing my thing & I came home and wanted to do my thing again, with my lady. She smelled some stank on my hang-low and got mad. We had a fight and she hit me with a smoothie!" My boss says, "A smoothie? What the heck is a smoothie?" The man replies, "A smoothie! You know, the thing you smooth the wrinkles out of your clothes with!"

His woman hit him in the head with the clothes iron!

Well, the woman was arrested, the medic unit arrived and took the man to the hospital where he undoubtedly received some needed stitches and we got back on the fire engine and we went back to the station ready for the next call.

All in a day's work.

The Roach Spray

One night I was working in a firehouse in the heart of the inner city when we were dispatched on a first responder call for an overdose/poisoning. The address of the incident was a high rise housing project that this fire company had been to quite often.

Upon arrival, the lieutenant told me that the elevators might be out of service and we would probably have to hoof it up the steps. Sure enough, he was right & we began our ascent to the 9th floor. Once we got there, the lieutenant knocked on the door, announcing, "Fire Rescue!"

A woman answered the door and said, "He's in the bathroom." The lieutenant says, "What's going on here? Why did you call?"

The woman says, "I'll tell you what happened. We were having an argument and he tried to put his hands on me so I sprayed him in the face with the roach spray!"

We go down the hall to the bathroom and all we see is this man, on his knees with his head in the toilet. I think that maybe he got sick from being sprayed in the face so I say to him, "Hey buddy, what's going on?"

The man lifts his head up, dripping with water, and says "The can of bug spray says to flush your eyes, so I am flushing my eyes. What's it look like I am doing?!"

At this point, the lieutenant, myself and the other firefighter just started to spontaneously laugh. We walked the man downstairs where we were met by the paramedics. We related the information to them, they chuckled and took the man to the hospital for treatment and we went back to the station.

Like I said, You can't make this stuff up!

I hope you have enjoyed reading these stories as much as I have enjoyed sharing them. Please take a minute to post something in the comments section below or on my Twitter feed @

Friday, January 18, 2013

Roast Chicken w/ Brandy-Vanilla Butter

Roast Chicken w/ Brandy-Vanilla Butter

4 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft
1 tbsp brandy (Christian Brothers works well)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 3 1/2 to 4 lb chicken, patted dry with paper towels

preheat oven to 400 degrees (or metric equivalent)
In a medium sized bowl whisk together butter, brandy, vanilla extract, sugar, 1/2 tsp sea salt, & 1/2 tsp black pepper until you form a smooth, supple compound butter. In the beginning it will seem like the butter mix is curdling but keep whisking until the ingredients submit to your whisking and form a well mixed compound butter.

Season the inside of the cavity with the remaining salt and pepper. Loosen the skin at the neck and carefully slide your fingers underneath, slowly lifting the skin from the meat. Divide the butter into fourths and take 1/4 of the compound butter and reach under the skin smearing the butter all over the meat. Be generous and reach down as far as you can, trying to get all the way down to the thighs.

Take another fourth of the butter and repeat the process on the outside of the skin, top and bottom, repeating until your fourth of butter is gone. (Think hot oil massage!)

Grab another section of butter and rub all over the inside of the cavity until the butter is gone. Work it into every section of the cavity, including the front and rear entrances. Lube it up good! 

Take remaining butter and roll in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator.

Place the chicken on a baking or roasting rack set over a baking dish or roasting pan. Roast for one hour. Remove from oven and rub the outside of the chicken with the remaining butter until the butter is gone and the bird is dripping. Return to oven for fifteen minutes.

Remove from oven and set on a cutting board for ten minutes to allow the juices to return to the chicken then carve and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

North African Stew


  • 6 skinless chicken thighs cut into 2" cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 2 cups carrot, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 1 large eggplant (about 5 ½
  • cups), peeled and cut into large dice
  • 2 zucchini (about 3 ½
  • cups), halved vertically and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 head cauliflower florets (about 5 cups)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 14 1/2-oz cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 14 1/2 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 cup dried currants or raisins
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½
  • teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 14 1/2 oz can chicken or vegetable broth


1. Place all the ingredients in a 6 quart slow cooker and stir to mix well.2. Cover and cook on high heat for 8 1/2 hours.
3. Verify seasoning and serve over couscous.
Note: If a thicker stew is desired, place 5 cups of the stew into a blender and puree until smooth. Then, stir puree mixture into the stew.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Little Help

Hi Folks! Today I'd like to go off the beaten path a bit. I have a friend. Her name is Alice. Alice used to be an emergency room nurse until medical issues forced her from the profession she so dearly loved and now her sole income is disability payments from Social Security from which she runs a household, and as a single mom, raises a young daughter.

As everyone know, times are tough for all of us right now and for Alice, it's no different.

Recently, Alice's dog, a German Shepard named Pete has taken ill and has some lung issues which are causing some serious veterinarian bills that Alice simply cannot afford. This woman has had it hard and she loves this dog like he's one of her kids. I am asking for some help to cover a bit of Pete's medical bills. Both Alice & Pete could use a little of that pay it forward attitude that makes our country so great.

Alice has a Paypal account and if you'd like to help out, donations can be sent there.

Alice's email for transaction purposes is

Thanks in advance.