Saturday, June 30, 2012

And I Looked and Saw That It Was Good

I put everything I learned about making eggs in my back pocket and set out to create super quick fried scrambled eggs with onion and turkey kielbasa cubes to put in between toasted Thomas' Wheat English Muffins with thin-sliced Swiss cheese.
And it was good!!
Breakfast Sammies!
This was a just a little hold-me-over-snack until we had lunch with J late that morning.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Me So Hungry

We're not doing beef much anymore at all. P says he's starting to feel it not in a good way. Its too expensive anyway.

But not on this day. PathMark decided to give us a little break. I think it was supposed to be stew meat but I sliced it up real thin and tenderized it a bit.

Bok Choy, mushrooms and onions and a little soy sauce cornstarch slurry at the end.

Give it up!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

And You Wear it Well

Turkey burgers with carrots, corn and apple chunks on wheat bread with cheese and sweet onion.

I took the corn off the cob and added these sweet grape tomatoes and cilantro. An awesome threesome just like you'd imagine.

Garlic infused breakfast potatoes as a side with a shot of vinegar and Frank's hot sauce.

This is one of my favorites. It's the black tee shirt and jeans of the dinner meals. Always feels right and you can't go wrong with this combination.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Don't Let Me Hear You Say Life's Taking You Nowhere

Still craving the salads but now sort of needed a bit more substance. This is the transition salad. Lots of hard salami, eggs, green apples, cilantro, red onions, garbanzo beans and Cotija cheese. I added crackers and a huge glass of iced seltzer mixed with cranberry juice and lemon.

I want to take what I experienced in Arizona, all of it and use it to transform. I've reached a turning point of sorts in my life, my cooking, my everything. Everyone there and everything gave me a little something and I want to use it all to make something good. My life needs a little more substance.

Turn the Meat Around

I love ground turkey but sometimes I worry I'll run out of idea for how to use it. Turkey burgers always sound good as does turkey chili but then the list starts to fizzle out.

In reality there are many dishes to make but during the week, food revelations don't always come so easy so its best to write down ideas when they do come for later.

I'm learning out loud see because that's not what happened this day. On this day I was faced with ground turkey or was it pork? No actually it was turkey sausage. Doh! I'm behind on my post and now I have to think back. Anyway, point is, faced with pork sausage and no ideas. But I did store an idea from visiting my dad. He used carrots in his cold salads and I remembered how much I like carrots cooked, cold or otherwise, and they're so cheap. So I thought I must get some and put them in the next dish at home.

And I did along with whatever else I had in the fridge which was celery, also super cheap but I love it and onions. Braised celery is amazing and should be served more. On top I chopped cold salted cubed tomatoes. A huge dollop of Srirachi sauce. Holluh!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Back home from my trip to Arizona. Sad to leave my folks and glad to see our little apartment, water my plants, pet the cats...

My dad made great food but when we were left to forage for food on our own after P got there, we made some bad choices. I don't regret them but when we came back we needed some vegetables in the worst way. Salads were in order. First night I made a couscous salad with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and a lemon vinaigrette.

Next day a pasta salad with zucchini, carrots, salami, cotija cheese.

The the next night a black bean, tomato, cucumber, celery, Kalamata olives, green and red onion salad with Cotija cheese, lots of lemon and EVOO, a little oregano and salt and pepper.

Back to life.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Holy Moses, I Have Been Removed

The last day of my trip to Arizona was spent driving around south of Tucson to visit an old mission and to see the border town Nogales. The actual border..the fence!

Man, kind of a thrill to touch that thing. Actually I think I was too scared to touch it. Afraid they might get confused and shoot me or deport me.

The desert is the calmest most beautiful state of extreme warmth I've ever known. It was so hot my ears quit working I think or it was so quiet that nothing was making a sound. The brightness of the sun and your body's inability to move quickly in that type of heat made it all very dreamy.

Allegedly I have some Apache Indian blood in me and I could feel it running hot that day! I felt like I coulda mounted a big 'ole spotted horse and started howling as I rode off.

The mission was breathtaking and I read every post in the museum but all I can remember was there was a Father Kino, who was Italian and he had a hell of a time there doing whatever it is they do when they set up missions.

Back to that fence and Nogales. Man, the other side of the fence is intense. It's like a shanty town. The American side is mixed but mostly fairly nice little houses. The town itself is quiet and unassuming, whatever that means.

That fence sort of blew my mind.

Why? Multiple possible reasons. History. There was excitement. For what I don't know. There was fear. Of being trapped on the other side maybe? There was curiosity. I've been to Mexico twice but barely remember because I was super young.

There was a sense of finality to the states that I've gotten when I've seen the oceans on both sides. This is the end, my friend - that's all she wrote.

We were also human animals suddenly with a restriction. You can't go past this fence. You can't climb this fence. You can't put something through this fence.

Matter of fact even though we didn't even cross the fence into Mexico, they still have the right to check us at a station a mile away just because we got 'near' the fence.

That fence messed with my head.

Arizona is pretty cool.

We didn't eat that whole day trip.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I'll Follow the Sun

My mom and dad and Minnie Me. Everyone was happy this day. My mom had just handed Minnie over to my dad. 'Hold the baby' she said. She asked me to go make her a bottle. The whole thing was so cute and hilarious that we all couldn't help but just laugh and enjoy the moment. Minnie went along with it. She probably almost believed she was a baby at this point.

Went to Tucson to visit my folks. My mom was six months out of a full hip replacement and rehab after falling again. Almost exactly one year before she fractured it and had a surgery. But damned if that woman didn't look twice as good as when I'd seen her last. Even with the dementia and all she's had to endure, she sat there as the most amazing person I'd ever met.

Tucson after Brooklyn is an adjustment in every respect. The pace, the temperature, the brightness, the scope of land you could see...the people. Most people were white without accents, even the cabdriver. A blonde woman that talked to me the whole ride home about global warming. You don't quite get that in NY but who can afford a cab. All the grocery checkers were white, the gas station attendants, the fast food restaurant workers. There were however tons of Mexican-Americans and assorted other groups, so it was diverse. It's just I haven't seen white people in these types of jobs in a very long time. It was nice.

I'm also not used to seeing Mexicans fully integrated into the community. Second and third generations, just like me who grew up in the states and who went to school right along side everyone else. In New York, especially Brooklyn, most folks are coming from their countries, not born here and the Mexicans don't speak a lot of English and work the back of house restaurant jobs and the service jobs and they don't really mix as much.

The heat was hardcore but there was something really beautiful about being outside and how still and peaceful their yard was. I needed a break from New York and at the time this small house deep in some neighborhood was about as far away as I could imagine.

I stayed at the house most of the time taking care of my mom. Every morning and every afternoon my dad would make breakfast and dinner. They had a routine and I had no problem falling right in.

My dad made homemade chorizo which was kind of off the hook. I stepped out and had fried eggs most mornings with the full mexican monty of beans, tortillas, salsa, a fresh jalapeno pepper. My mom always had Cream of Wheat or oatmeal with fruit. A big bowl. She'd take an hour but she'd eat the whole thing with a half of cup of coffee.

My dad and my niece were both discovering black beans. My dad just couldn't get his mind around them. Said he couldn't stand looking at them. My sister doesn't like them either. I love black beans and can eat them everyday. But my dad gave it a shot and made a bunch that we ate until he just couldn't look at them anymore and threw them out.

My mom had another hospital scare with firefighters coming to access her and then a long painstaking trip to the emergency room just to keep her for a couple of nights in my opinion only to soak her insurance and fill our heads with gloom and doom. At least 4 people asked me including an 18 year old with a clipboard, 'in the case her hearts stops'...and I couldn't hear anything after that but asked in the same tone you'd ask if you want cream or sugar in your coffee.

One night Minnie looked funny, sick and weak and my dad told me she had cancer and wasn't expected to last very long. We wrapped her up and I gave her some chicken and water and she passed that night in her sleep. She stared at me so long that night, I knew where she was going and I tried to tell her not to be scared. It must have been confusing for her. But she seemed to want to be near my mom and I suspect Minnie felt bad for leaving her. They gave her a little funeral and buried her in my niece's backyard. She was a sweet dog and loved my mom and dad very much. She always stayed awake until they both went to bed and barked when someone was at the door. R.I.P. Minnie.

My dad made chicken enchiladas that were heaven on earth. The sauce was perfect, the cheese-tortilla-meat ratio was on the mark and he made a whole sheet pan! Life was good again. His salsa is still unmatched and I honestly haven't tasted better anywhere.

When they finally let my mom out of the hospital it was Father's Day and so we wrapped her up and put her in the front seat, went to steal my dad and took a little drive. He moved there years ago but because of his age, mom's condition and the fact that he shouldn't drive much, never really had a chance to see much of Tucson. We saw not a lot but enough to see that's its a cool town. People seem happy there and I dug the pace.

I left them much the same as I'd started out, dad watching Fox 5 news at full blast sound. My mom telling me about the tree she climbed outside with her brother.

I hate leaving them. I loved being near them and eating with them, sitting quietly, laughing, talking. The serenity in that home made me less scared of my own life and for what's in the future for them.