Monday, November 1, 2021

Mi Unico Camino

Chicken Posole
May I offer you a magic potion for the soul?  If there was one dish, for me, it would be Chicken Posole made with chicken thighs.  I don't think I've made it the same twice, so that tells you it's easy to get the same results by different methods.  So, take another road, try it this way and then that because all paths lead to greatness.  This time I browned the chicken thighs first in a large pot, with a pinch of cumino seeds.  Separately, I broiled tomatillos, garlic, onions, Serrano and Poblano peppers to blacken.  Instead of pulling out the blender, I just crushed it all down with a masher (the oven will do the rest) and added it to the chicken along cilantro stems, Mexican oregano, about 6 cups of cold water, and a dollop of Better than Bouillon. Scrape up the fond on the bottom.  Bring to a boil, then stick the lidded pot in a 350 degree  oven until the chicken falls off the bone.  You should be able to take tongs and pull out the bone easily, that's why thighs are optimal.  Add a large can of hominy, fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime, let that just heat through.  Garnish with creme fresh, more lime and cilantro, avocado slices if you have them.  
If you like tangy heat, this will thrill and delight you.  The hominy is a soft lifeboat from the sensory over load that hits your tastebuds from that incredible broth created by the acidic fruity roasted peppers and tomatillos, not to mention the sweetness of the onions.
We need soft landings, we need medicinal aids.  I used to envy friends that seemed to glide through life but I've always been more interested in those who outwardly share their struggles, show them like battle scars in their eyes and smiles.  Each day some of us fight off our demons, like little soldiers developing new strategies and techniques, weapons against the blues or self defeating thoughts, especially during this time of year.  I think it's what life is about but words don't do the daily war justice.  We're lead to believe we're here to pursue happiness and I don't disagree entirely but I think the only road to get there is one fraught with hardship and broken hearts. If we don't welcome the grief, then happiness is not as fully felt, if and when it finally decides to show its elusive grace. 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Madness Takes It's Toll

Overnight Oats
This would have been ideal for summer, cold oat cereal all softened up and sweetened for you overnight in the fridge.  It's still amazing in the fall but as the cold comes in, a hot bowl of cinnamon-y fragrant oats pull double duty in warming and feeding you, giving you that belly hug that tells you there is still love in the world.  You could wake up and heat this, but without a microwave, that would take all the ease out of things.  Oats, banana, yogurt, almond milk, honey, and then whatever you'd like to add, stirred up in a jar.  What a wonderful idea.  When I heard 'overnight oats' in the past, I figured they meant crock pot steel cut oats but this is made for folks that need to grab breakfast and run.  If you were smart, you'd make a few of them in a row. 
I added cocoa powder and dry roasted peanuts to this one,
and banana, raisins and nuts to this. *tip, less yogurt is better, because 1/2 cup tastes too sour.

Every Halloween I get so excited to document all the creativity around the neighborhoods but this year it was slim pickins'.  Not sure if that is pandemic related.  Across the street each floor featured a pumpkin on their ledge and I wondered if it was coincidental or they actually spoke about it. 
This yard was basically Halloween in one shot.  The great pumpkin patch of Clinton Hill.  
I think this year was scary enough, that the need for spooky displays was less necessary.  No one wants to conjure spooky figures. Families had their share of the morose.  We've probably been here for some time but also considering that we're at a place where kids walking at night, knocking on doors and trusting the candy coming out of even businesses, feels like a fading memory.  It'll never be and never was a perfect world, but we're like the kid in the movie, in a stolen Halloween costume, gun in hand, trying to figure out who is the real boogeyman.  

Saturday, October 30, 2021

But You Move Me Honey, Yes You Do

Dried chick peas in the crock pot, or slow-cooker if you're fancy, along with smoked turkey necks, onion, tomato, garlic and thyme and then covered with water or broth.  I used Better than Bouillon.  Of course, salt, pepper, chili flakes, bay leaves and cumin.  Set on high for 6 hours and go live your life because your work here is done.  Seriously, this felt medicinal going down, as far as nourishment and fulfillment.  This is for when you need something real.  Real food.   
If I was smarter, I'd freeze half of these types of dishes because reality is wonderful, but in smaller doses, or in this case, portions.
After eating all this truth, one will likely crave some fantasy food, like pizza or something like loaded french fries or deluxe nachos.
It's the same with life in ways.  Like this nutritious soup, you come across some work whether it be actual or spiritual, whatever, and you go through it with vigor, make a little movement in your personal migration and then there's a break.  During that gap, that space where nothing is really happening other than you are resting up but awake, noticing the world, smelling smells, watching people, listening to the birds, feeling the sun on your face.  During that time you may need desperately to let go of all of it and get moved, get wrecked, notice lightness and silliness.  It's then that I think loaded fries are essential foods.