Cooking the Homicide Way
Written by Maggie the Cat
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I have no real explanation for this. I just felt like writing them, so...well, that's about the only justification I can find. Sigh. I'm so sad.
"Cooking the Homicide Way"
1) Appetizers and Dessert with Kay and John
**The two of them are standing in the kitchen of the Waterfront. KAY has her hair tied neatly in a knot and is wearing a clean blue shirt and jeans; MUNCH is wearing his usual black as well as trying to tie on a black apron which reads, in stark white letters, "Neutron this bastard!"**
KAY: Hi. We're gonna--well, I am--gonna teach you how to make, y'know, nibbles. Starter stuff. Popcorn and Oyster Shooters. Munch here--(glances over at MUNCH, who is still struggling with the apron. Finally he brings the ties back around to his front and makes a knot across his stomach. KAY turns back, the look on her face clearly saying, "Why do I love this guy?")--Munch is handling dessert.
MUNCH: And, despite the myriad suggestions from our oh-so-subtle colleagues that I present a menu of Alice B. Toklas brownies or poppy-seed muffins, I've decided to stick with what I know best. Something familiar but varied, healthy yet tantalizing, a bastion of nutritional goodness and wholesome sweetness in a world awash with saccharine, artificialized desserts--Glazed Chocolate Carrot Torte!
KAY (aside): And if you think it sounds bad already, just wait till he starts listing the ingredients....
MUNCH: Oh, sure. Culinary criticism from Miss Jiffy-Pop. How long did it take you to invent /your/ recipes, huh, Kay? Sixteen seconds while you were walking up the stairs to the squadroom?
KAY: Why dontcha go start on your cake, huh?
**MUNCH moves off to the island counter, muttering to himself. KAY draws a deep breath and smiles, holding up a bag of popping corn.**
KAY: Here's what you start with. Pop as much corn as you want. (dumps entire bag into air popper) If you want more, go right ahead. That's the good thing about popcorn--you can eat tons of the stuff. Now, while that's all popping up, lemme show you the different flavours you can have.
**KAY moves over to a bunch of little bowls with spices and seasonings in them.**
KAY: Okay--this one's just salt. Kosher salt or sea salt are great, but put 'em through a grinder first.
It makes the salt stick better to the popcorn. If there's anything I hate, it's eating a whole bowl of kinda-salted popcorn and then finding a big layer of salt at the bottom. (Points at the other bowls) This one's some garlic powder and salt, and this one's, um, some butter with Worstershire and salt. You melt it all together. Oh, and you can always go the sweet way and toss 'em in cinnamon and sugar, kinda like cinnamon toast.
MUNCH (from across the kitchen): Enough about the glories of popped pig's food!
KAY (grimacing): Go ahead, John.
**Pan over to MUNCH, who has a bunch of ingredients assembled in front of a food processor.**
MUNCH: Well, to make this gastronomic and, might I add, /quite/ kosher masterpiece, we begin with three slices of whole wheat toast. Never mind Kay's retching noises--it all comes together in the end, okay? Now--we grind the toast into breadcrumbs, then mix three-quarters of a cup of crumbs with two cups of whole blanched almonds. Have you ever noticed how bland these almonds taste? It's like all the flavour is in the skin...anyway, you mix in a half cup of sugar, too. (Stares at ingredients whirling around in processor.)
KAY (calling from her station by the popcorn): Hey, you gonna grind those into liquid?
MUNCH (snapping to life): What? Oh, oh, yes. You know, this thing is really hypnotic! Now I know why it takes our cook so long to make any sort of sauce!
Um...so then you dump that out and mix nine ounces of chopped-up bittersweet--otherwise known as semisweet--chocolate with another half-cup of sugar.
Then mix the whole kit and caboodle together in a separate bowl.
**Back to KAY**
KAY: Well, while he's caboodling, I'll show you how to butter and salt popcorn. (Holds up a huge stainless steel bowl filled with popcorn) Here you've got your popcorn, right? Well, you take your melted butter and drizzle some of it over the kernels like so--(drizzles)--then you kinda toss the kernels in the bowl.
**She proceeds to toss the popcorn the way professional cooks toss vegetables in a skillet.**
KAY: Then you keep doing that till all the butter's done. Then you can toss it with the salt, and it'll all stick to the kernels and you'll have perfect popcorn, huh?
**Back to MUNCH, who's busily shredding six carrots in the food processor with glee.**
MUNCH: Look at this thing! It's your own personal kitchen monster! There's nothing it can't do, Kay!
/Nothing!/ (Turns it off.) Whew! That was exhilerating. Nothing like obliterating vegetables to get the adrenalin perking...(dumps the carrot with the chocolate/almond mixture.)
Okay, now we move on to the KitchenAid mixmaster here. Looks hefty enough--but it won't be as exciting. I mean, let's face it--(looks over his glasses)--nothing ever /is/, is it?
KAY (impatiently): Get /on/ with it, Munch.
MUNCH (consulting recipe): What's next...ahhh, eggs.
(Holds one up) Perfect ovoid balances of protein and benign cholesterol; little room-temperature, fist-sized embryos of pullards and paillards. (Cracks six of them with a series of one-handed flourishes into the mixing bowl) These get beaten until they're thick and foamy, at which point we add a teaspoon of vanilla, the great smoothener; a teaspoon of almond extract, the great enhancener; and one teaspoon of instant coffee, the great awakener.
KAY: Uh-huh. Pastry and Poetry, with Detective John Munch.
MUNCH (grinning): Then you add this egg mixture in three doses to the almond/chocolate/carrot batch (folds it together) and bake it all in a greased and floured twelve-cup Bundt cake pan. I know some of our other squad members have a problem with Bundt cake, but I happen to find it elegant and epicurean. So there. Bake it for sixty-five minutes at three hundred and fifty degrees. While my beautiful creation cools in the pan for fifteen minutes, I'll direct you back over to the alcoholic shellfish stylings of the enchanting Sgt. Howard....
**Back to KAY, who's got a bunch of oysters, shotglasses, and bottles lined up on her counter**
KAY (smiling): Thanks, John. Okay, for Oyster Shooters you're gonna need a bunch of fresh oysters and a shucking knife. (Holds one up and expertly cracks open a mollusc) Here you got your oyster. Make sure it's good. If it is, then drop it in a shot glass and dump in a little bit of vodka, a little bit of salt, some Worstershire, some beef- or chicken-stock if you feel like it, and pepper sauce.
Tabasco'll do fine, and you can even use the green kind if you want. Basically, you put whatever you feel like in with the oyster--my brother had a lime-tequila-jalapeno one once.
**KAY looks up at a bemused and curious MUNCH, who has sidled over into her screen.**
KAY: Want one, Munchkin? (hands him the shooter she just made and quickly whips up another for herself) Down the hatch....
**They toss back the shooters; KAY looks satisfied and MUNCH scrunches up his face.**
KAY: Didn't like it?
MUNCH: I don't know yet...I'll tell you when I hear back from my tongue.
KAY: Ah, they're an aquired taste. (Pats his arm affectionately) Now go make your glaze, huh?
**MUNCH hops over to his own cooling cake, poking at it and trying to seem as if he knows what the springiness means**
MUNCH: Perfect. For the glaze, we melt four chopped-up ounces of bittersweet chocolate, remove it from the heat and stir in three tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of powdered sugar. (Beats enthusiastically at the glaze)
**KAY comes over, since her segment is done, and watches MUNCH hold spoonfuls of glaze up to eye level, letting the chocolate drip in a long ribbon back into the bowl.**
KAY: Want some help frosting your cake?
MUNCH: Torte, Kay. It's a torte, and this is glaze.
If I were frosting a cake there would be a Betty Crocker box lying around somewhere.
KAY (rolling eyes): D'you need help or not?
MUNCH (hastily): Sure, sure. Here's a spoon for you.
**The two of them start spooning dark chocolate glaze over the finished torte. When they're finished, there's still a few spoonfuls of the stuff left.**
MUNCH: Ooops--looks like I made too much.
KAY (drawling): Ohhhh, I wouldn't say /that/, John...(leans up and whispers in his ear.)
**MUNCH turns, straight-faced.**
MUNCH: Well, that about does it for us. Oysters, popcorn, cake. There you go. See you, goodbye, have fun and Happy Hannukah!
**Pan away from KAY and MUNCH moving into each others' arms. Fade out focused on the pile of opened oysters.**
Next time on "Cooking the Homicide Way":
**FRANK and TIM standing side-by-side at the counter in the Pembletons' kitchen. FRANK, looking annoyed, is wearing an impeccable white chef's jacket; BAYLISS, looking blank, is wearing an apron over his clothes and a towering chef's hat.**
FRANK (scowling): Bayliss and I are going to handle the side-dish and beverage selections of this menu.
And /we/ are going to keep the show from degenerating into some sort of...of kitchen canoodling.
TIM (comes to attention): We are? Oh, but, Fraaaaank....
2) Side-Dishes and Beverages with Bayliss and Pembleton
**FRANK and TIM standing in the Pembletons' kitchen.
FRANK is holding a glass filled with a milky beverage; TIM is looking uncomfortable, mostly because the chef's hat keeps bumping against cupboards and the light fixture and damn near everything. Also, he's forgotten to bring a prop.**
FRANK (taking a sip of his drink): Mmmmm. (Faces camera) The Egg Cream was invented in Brooklyn, 1890, by a Jewish candy shop owner named Louis Auster.
Milk and eggs being considered "wholesome" and "easily digestible" foods, the beverage soon becaame extremely popular.
**TIM, standing behind FRANK, takes off his glasses and polishes them. When he puts them back on, he nearly knocks off his chef's hat. A short struggle to catch it quietly ensues, during which FRANK studiously ignores him.**
FRANK: So, popular, in fact, that lines to purchase the drink would form down the street and around the corner of the candy shop, which gave birth to the tradition of drinking egg creams while
standing--never sitting. (Smiles and addresses Tim without turning around) Tim? Would you like to give a little...background on whatever the hell it is you're preparing?
TIM: Oh, oh yeah. (Elbows FRANK for some room at the counter) I'm making gazpacho soup, which, as you all know, is Spanish. A Spanish soup. Oh, and it's served ice cold.
**After a few moments of awkward silence, TIM glances helplessly at FRANK, who makes an encouraging gesture.**
TIM(clearing throat and taking deep breath): Ummm...and...well, y'know, the funny thing about gazpacho soup is the name. I mean, I always expected it to have garbanzo beans in it, but it doesn't. It's tomato and cucumber soup. I, uh, didn't find out what exactly "gazpacho" means, exactly, but, uh....yep.
**FRANK is staring at TIM with an incredulous curl to his lip.**
FRANK: Get out of my way.
**TIM scurries away to collect his ingredients, making a fair amount of noise and hubbub behind FRANK, who ignores it all with typical aplomb and smiles.**
FRANK: I /was/ going to present an array of other seltzer drinks as well, but instead I decided it would be worthwhile to try out a few different Chocolate Egg Cream recipes and find a good one.
This first one here is the most traditional; it also contains the least amount of milk. (Picks up a big heavy fountain glass.)
You mix 2 ounces of chocolate syrup--Fox's U-Bet is recommended--with a splash or two of either milk or cream, depending on how much you like milk. I prefer cream, myself.
**He mixes it vigorously with a long teaspoon while TIM, trying to hold an armful of tomatoes, green peppers and cucumbers while shutting the fridge, has a minor disaster. He slips on a smashed tomato and goes down, clinging to the fridge handle for support as produce rolls everywhere.**
FRANK(blandly): You then fill up the glass with seltzer water. Club soda is allowed if you're in a pinch, but we're trying to make the real deal here.
(Holds up the glass and views finished drink with critical eye) Looks a bit watery....(tastes) And tastes a bit watery! The first recipe has been eliminated from the running!
**Meanwhile, TIM has collected himself and is setting up a chopping board. He then proceeds to chop the vegetables in a beautiful professional-chef manner, looking quite pleased with himself. The entire performace is wasted on FRANK, who is setting up the next fountain glass.**
FRANK: This next recipe has a whole lotta milk in it--equal parts half-and-half and chocolate syrup, to which is added two parts of seltzer. (Mixes it and holds glass up dubiously) I don't know about this one. That was a goddamn lot of chocolate in it.
(Takes cautious sip and makes a face) Definitely too much chocolate....
**TIM comes over and takes the glass from FRANK, sipping at it. He breaks into a grin and drinks some more while FRANK watches, disgusted.**
TIM: I like it!
FRANK: You /would./ (Moves out of the picture to make room for TIM's segment.)
TIM (stands in front of counter holding a bowl): Okay--what we've got here is four tomatoes, two cucumbers, one onion, and one green pepper, all chopped. Added to that is one cup of water, a quarter cup of olive oil--I know that sounds like a lot of oil, but trust me, it's needed--and four slices of torn-up bread. You're supposed to let this sit for at least an hour, but this is a cooking show and I didn't really have time. (Pauses to drain the chocolate egg cream.)
Um, basically, then you just blend it all. (Drags over a blender) Do it in batches so you don't screw up the blender and end up with gazpacho all over you and the kitchen. (Blends with great concentration.) Then you mix in a third cup of red wine vinegar, two cloves of finely chopped garlic, two teaspoons of salt, one teaspoon of ground cumin, and one eighth of a teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Then you cover and refrigerate for...(consults "Betty Crocker's International Cookbook") at least two hours.
FRANK: Good. Go sit down or something while it chills.
TIM (affronted): I think I'll set up for my next segment, thankyewverymuch.
FRANK: Fine. (Turns to camera, all smiles) This is the recipe I've been waiting to try. It's not exactly traditional, but I like to shake things up a bit. You get equal parts vanilla and chocolate syrups--about one ounce of each--and add three ounces of milk. Top it all off with cold seltzer--(spurts seltzer with fanfare)--and voila! A Chocolate-Vanilla Egg Cream!
(Pops a straw in and tastes it) Mmmm...perfect. These are the right proportions, my friends.
**Looks behind to the other counter, where TIM has just slapped the lid on a crockpot.**
FRANK: Come try this, Timmy.
TIM: (coming over and trying the drink): Mmmm, that's even better than the last one!
FRANK (peering at the crockpot): Tim, I thought gazpacho was served cold?....
TIM (scratching behind ear): Yeah...well, um, the thing about that is, I wasn't supposed to use all those vegetables. I was supposed to reserve some as garnish. So anyway, I decided to scrap the gazpacho idea and make three-bean chili. That's really more my style, anyway.
FRANK: So...tell us what you put in it. (Sips the egg cream, then gives the rest to TIM)
TIM: Well, I dumped in the gazpacho with red and white kidney beans and some pinto beans, then, ah, added some green onions, chili powder, seasoning salt--pretty much whatever seasonings I could find in the pantry--and some cocoa.
TIM: Yeah. Chocolate was really big with the indigenous Mexicans and it's in a lot of their recipes, so, yeah. Cocoa.
FRANK: Did you learn this from that ratdog Spanish teacher?
TIM (annoyed): Potato salad, Frank. Por favor.
FRANK: Right. (Addresses camera) Mary's recipe for potato salad is one of those homemade,
all-in-her-head deals. So basically, you boil up a mess of potatoes and some eggs if you like them, then cut them up and mix them with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, paprika, and mustard. That's what gives her potato salad its kick--plain old bright yellow French's mustard. I mean, don't put so much so the whole thing turns yellow; it's just for flavour. And you can add peas and carrots and whatever else gets you going, but don't add too much and ruin the damn thing.
**Goes over to TIM, who is setting up one of those sandwich makers next to the crockpot.**
FRANK: You're making waffles?
TIM: No, I'm not making waffles. This, Frank, is one of the most valuable appliances that any bachelor could want. It makes piping hot, nicely toasted sandwiches--
FRANK (dramatically holding his head and doubling over) Oh, Bay-liss! Don't tell me--
TIM (looking satisfied) --especially grilled cheese.
FRANK: Okay, okay. I've had enough of this. I'm sure every moron out there knows how to make grilled cheese sandwiches, Tim.
TIM: Not every moron knows how to buy them.
FRANK: We are /not/ going to get into this again. No.
Not now, not /e-ver/.
TIM (placated, now that he's pissed FRANK off with his passive-aggressive tactics): Okay, Frank. (Folds his fingers into the shoulder seams of FRANK's chef jacket) Could you make me another of those egg creams?
FRANK (secretly pleased): Another? You've already had two.
TIM: I like the way you make them.
FRANK: On one condition.
FRANK: Take off that God-awful hat. You look ridiculous in it.
**TIM grins and ducks down so FRANK can sweep off the hat, tossing it onto the camera and obscuring the lens.**
Next time on "Cooking the Homicide Way":
**MIKE is sitting perched with his legs dangling off the back of the "Case Closed", wearing a grubby barbecuing apron and clutching a pair of tongs.
Behind him, MELDRICK is drinking a beer, leaning one elbow on MIKE's shoulder.**
MIKE: Hey. They left the entrees for us to do--since it's obvious that we're the only ones who could handle a man's job--and so we're barbecuing.
MELDRICK: Speak for yourself, Gilligan. I ain't going near open flames if /you're/ tending them.
MIKE (smirking): Fine. You can stay in the galley and be the bitch....
3) Entrees and Salads with Mike and Mel
**Camera zooms in on two figures standing on the deck of the "Case
Closed." MIKE, respendent in stained, charcoaled apron, is firing up the
barbecue grill and setting up the flame burner extention jobby.
Standing about three feet away and looking severely alarmed, MELDRICK
clutches his beer bottle as if it could save him from any imminent
MEL: You sure this thing's safe to have hooked up on your boat,
MIKE: Meldrick, c'mon. Think about it. In the totally unlikely
event of a fire, we're surrounded by water. So yes, I'm sure it's safe.
(Shakes his head in mock disappointment over MEL's cowardice.)
MEL (not yet convinced): Sez you.
MIKE (batting eyelashes): Have I ever steered you wrong?
**MEL, moving over to MIKE and leaning close to him, is about to answer
when he notices the camera and straightens up, elbowing MIKE in the
ribs. They grin broadly, none too pleased about being interrupted.**
MEL: Oh. Hey. Didn't think we'd be on so soon.
MIKE (snarkily): Yeah, I thought for sure Bayliss and Pembleton
would take forever talking, like they always do.
**They chortle for a moment before realizing that they should continue
with the show.**
MIKE: Well, anyway, I caught a buncha rock cod this morning, so that's
what I'm making. Rock Cod with Marinated Peppers. Betcha didn't think I
could cook, huh?
MEL: I got nothin' but the greatest of confidence in your abilities.
(Chortles delightedly at MIKE's annoyed expression.)
MIKE: Whatever. Go screw around with your salad or whatever you're
making. Just stay out of the Master Griller's way!
MEL (peeved at being so summarily dismissed): Master Bator's more
MIKE (scowling): You wanna swim back to shore?
**MEL holds up his hands and ambles off down into the cabin while MIKE
hauls out two great big slabs of fish fillet, which he slaps down on the
MIKE: Okay. So you get your fish, you debone it and clean it--I like to
wash 'em with a bit of lemon in the water--and then you kinda let 'em
dry off for a bit. Then you brush 'em with olive oil and sprinkle with
salt and pepper. Since you should be using fresh fish, you don't need
anything else, like all that vinegar and teriyaki and other stuff that
people use when their fish is garbage.
**Leaves the fish alone and gets the side burner going.**
MIKE: Hey, Meldrick! Time to get the show on the road!
**MEL emerges from the galley with a saucepan and a box of couscous, his
glare daring MIKE to say something snarky. MIKE, to his credit, keeps
quiet except for a few stifled guffaws.**
MEL (belligerently): I'm gonna be making Couscous and Chickpea
MIKE: Chick-peas? What the hell are you using chick-peas for?
MEL: I dunno--Bayliss gave me a whole bunch of these damn garbanzo
beans, so I figured I might's well. Can't let good food go to waste!
MIKE: Meldrick, it's not good food, it's garbanzo beans.
**MEL ignores him and sets up a saucepan on the burner while MIKE leans
against the railing of the boat, folding his arms and watching with an
MEL: So you boil up a couple cups of water and some salt, then you add a
cup of couscous and remove it from the heat to let it stand. (He does
MIKE: That's it?
MEL: I believe in simple preparation, Kellerman. I don't need a whole
lotta fanciness to make my dish su-perb.
MIKE: Yeah yeah, you were just scared you'd screw it up and ruin the
whole thing. Move over, I gotta explain my peppers.
**MEL refuses to budge from in front of the grill, so he and MIKE
scuffle for a bit and end up both firmly planted in front of it, pressed
against each other.**
MIKE (trying to act as though he has all the space in the world):
So you get a couple of each color bell peppers--red, yellow, green--you
slice 'em into strips and soak 'em in some olive oil and lime juice for
a couple hours. I normally throw in a few chopped-up jalapenos too,
'cause I like things...hot.
**MEL tries to tamp down a grin and settles for folding his arms
MIKE (grinning): Just before you're gonna serve them, throw in
some cilantro. Grill your fish for a couple minutes each side, and
serve it with the peppers on top. And there you go!
MEL: Get them damn fish off the grill, Gilligan--I need room to create
**MIKE carefully slides each fillet off the barbecue grill, extremely
pleased with himself when he manages to keep them intact. He puts his
platter down on the cover of the burner extension and starts draping the
fish with peppers. MEL rolls his eyes, moving his carefully clutched
saucepan onto the cooling grill.**
MEL: Now see, all the water's absorbed, so you gotta fluff up all this
couscous with a fork. Then you add the garbanzo chickpeas, and some
green onions, and maybe some'a that bell pepper stuff....
**MEL leans over and swipes a huge forkful of peppers, unnoticed by
MIKE, who is squinting at the platter as if he's Michaelangelo. The
peppers are quickly stirred into the couscous.**
MEL: Yeah, that's lookin' good, that's the stuff. If you are that kinda
person who needs all kinds of colliding tastes in one dish, you can do
one'a them vinaigrettes and pour it on like salad dressing. Me, I like
to keep things simple.
MIKE (noticing the reduced pepper supply): What the....
MEL: Couscous and Chickpeas all done, skipper!
MIKE (narrowing his eyes): Did you steal some've my marinated
MEL (retreating below): What's that? You want a cold frosty one
to round out the meal? Sure thing, Mi-key!
**MIKE is left standing there with the bowl of peppers in his hand. He
sets it down and starts digging through the saucepan of couscous just as
MIKE: Ah-HAH!! (Holds up a string of pepper on his fork) You
did steal my peppers!
MEL (surly): I borrowed your peppers. You were gonna get
MIKE (slowly): I was, huh? Well...I'm not mad, Meldrick.
MEL (suspicious): You ain't?
MIKE: No. (Flicks the bell pepper strip at MEL; it hits his coat
lapel and sticks there, dropping timy grains of couscous down the
coat.) Not mad at all.
MEL (grinning fakely): Well, good. 'Cause you know,
Mikey--(scoops a handful of peppers from the bowl)--I would
hate for you to be mad at me. (Punctuates his sentence with
MIKE (nodding): Me too.
**They stand in wary silence for a moment, and then MIKE hurls a gob of
marinated peppers at MEL, who ducks behind the grill and shoots his
supply one at a time, well-aimed at MIKE's head. The two of them yell
and cavort as the camera pulls back for a long shot, ending in a cheesy
scene of the setting sun.**
**MUNCH is sitting at The Waterfront's bar, reading a copy of "The Joy
of Cooking." He looks up, smiles, and sets the book down on the
MUNCH: Evening, boys and girls, cooks and cookesses. If you enjoyed
this series, then you'll be squealing like pleasure piggies to hear that
there is a New! and Improved! second series to follow. Some of the
choice episodes will be:
**Cut away to montage of the following episodes, complete with bad
computer graphics for the titles and, for no apparent reason, a smiling
cutout of SHEPPARD behind each cook**
--"Mmmmm, I Like Peaches" with Paul Falsone
--"The Single Girl's Guide on How to Eat Weiner" with Laura
--"Corned Beef and Cabbage: The Staff of Life" with Stu
--"Mayonnaise and White Bread: Spicy Cooking" with Mike
**Cut back to MUNCH, who is looking distinctly nauseous.**
MUNCH: Oy vey. I can't do this. I refuse to be a part in the promotion
of botulism, do you hear me? You can get yourself another shill!!
**MUNCH stomps off-camera and is promptly replaced with CHRIS THORMANN,
who is lying in a filth-stained cot and has to be wheeled in by his
miserable whining wife.**
CHRIS THORMANN: Hi. Join me, CHRIS THORMANN, in "Cooking for Blind
Gormless Gimps: What Stains, What Doesn't."
**Camera Fade. Black Out.**