Wednesday, January 25, 2023

My Thoughts are With You, Holding Hands with Your Heart

Chimichurri Roasted Chicken

I mentioned a bunch of years ago, my Argentinian coworker came in with a jar of this magical, vinegary, herby sauce-like concoction, teaming with garlic and I fell instantly in love.  She was so cool to ask people to taste it, straight out of the jar around the staff cafeteria as she taught a quick Chimichurri 101 pop-up class of sorts.  Some were taken aback because it was so bold tasting but I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  She told me you should never use a cuisinart, and always gently chop the herbs, being careful not to bruise and smash the garlic for the finest mince.  There are about 4-5 cups of parsley in the recipe so this is a labor of love.  But I must admit, hers was and still is the best I've ever tasted.  I've made it a few times and maybe this time was able to finally get the balance right of vinegar, oil, garlic,pepper to herb ratio. But my confession is that I did use a blender. My rationing was that since I would bake the chicken, the delicacy of the sauce was not as important as if I drizzled it on top.  

That same night and since the oven was already going, I baked two chicken breasts with pesto and Parmesan, high heat 450, quick and hot.  Those were also delicious.  I also soaked the breasts in a salt brine beforehand for 15 minutes.

I think about that Argentinian family, as the mother, daughter and son all worked in the same store at one point.  The mother was my age and suffered no fools.  She was vibrant and emotional but never apologetic about her free spirit.  A hippie Spaniard, a new one on me.  She would dance and sing, never hesitant to be who she was.  Her daughter cut my hair and went on to work as a top stylist in Manhattan.  She was also a breath of fresh air.  She always announced when she had to poop. While working with me in my department, she got a giant colored tattoo of the Little Mermaid with vampire teeth and blood dripping from the mouth on her full front leg.  It was one of the ugliest tattoos and I cried thinking how she ruined her body.  She was so young and I often wonder how she feels about it now.  Such a smart girl, such a dumb decision.  Her brother had my name and had the best laugh and smile, was big and tall, always in a positive state.  It felt like an honor watching them interact and come together at lunch, joking around, sharing food.  The brother's soon to be wife also worked there.  Now they're all gone.  People come and go in retail and the environment changes, the past often feeling like the better times. 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

This Feels So Good and So Free and So Right

Do you ever 'frozen pizza' your dinner?  I'm in Brooklyn with currently 4 pizza restaurants within 1 block of my apartment, but yeah, sometimes I frozen pizza it.  The value is that you can add your own toppings, use up leftover bits.  You control the calories a bit more.  I added a big salad that I was able to toss together quickly.  And frankly, it's sort of fun.  On the cheese, I topped with a little leftover pesto and on the other I went hog-wild and added ground beef, pepperoni, tomatoes, bell peppers and black olives.  This was Paul Newman's brand and the crust was thin and better than expected.  
Amped up Paul Newman's Frozen Pizza 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

When The World is Cold

Crock Pot Black Eyed Peas with Smoked Turkey Necks
When it's awfully cold outside and there is nothing to be done about it, a slow-cooked pot of beans act as slow-simmering love in the house.  The best part is the ease of concocting these magical creations.  Sprigs of parsley, green onions, celery, carrots, jalapeno, stock, soaked beans and a turkey neck added to the vessel and 6 hours later a delicious hearty soup appears.  I took out the bones and shredded any meat, then mashed up the beans a bit in the pot to create the desired consistency.  
One bowl of this keeps you warm for hours.  This is great for lunch box meals and for freezing half for a lazy day.