Thursday, July 31, 2014

Touch Me in the Morning

Somehow I began guessing the outcome of my day based on the mood of my Chinese laundry guy, when I drop off my load in the morning.  When he's in a great mood his smile lasts all day and I just know everything is right.  But many times he looks as though he carries the troubles of the world on his shoulders.  I've asked like 5 times and believe his name is Guy but I"m probably wrong so I never call him by it. Instead I just say 'hey!  how are you?'.  This is my modus operandi for most people, as I am terrible with names and my memory is even worse.  I think he has problems with his aging parents who also work there.  Not sure also if this is true just something I've presumed based on the fact that there are two super old people working there and it'd be weird if they weren't related.  The older feller mixes up our socks and we sometimes we get baby onesies or an oversized tshirt.
Unfortunately as I write this post, my Guy was depressed, looked tormented.  I'm getting a lot done this morning and felt like maybe it could be a great day.  I hope I can turn this around.   I'm no stranger to anguish.  As a matter of fact, every day off I have to hit the ground running or else that loud devil will nail me as he often does.  It's probably not the actual devil but one of his demon minions.  Why would he bother with me?  But for that matter, why is anyone messin' with my super cool, super hardworking laundry guy?  He's pure light.  All he does is work hard probably all for family.  He's getting very old and never takes time off.  I don't think he's spending any time on beaches.

I really want good things for him and his family.  That'd be funny if he based his day off of my frame of mind. Poor guy, no wonder he's depressed.  I picked up some items off the Weight Watcher's menu from the #1 Chinese Restaurant on Fulton.  First I was afraid no one ever did that so the food would be weird or they'd get the order wrong but it turned out so good.  The vegetables are perfectly cooked, at their very best with the bright green colors and bite, yet the sweetness of the steaming comes out.  Gorgeous.  A little Srirachi and soy is all it needed.  I hope the good times will last.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Look What You've Done For Me

You would think that someone who loves to cook would relish in decadent dishes on their days off.  For some reason, I rarely make anything special for myself. I don't take the time to make it pretty on the plate and sometimes won't even take the time to put ice in my drink.  It goes further where I like to stay uncomfortably hot, dripping sweat all day never putting on the air conditioner to get relief. I wait until all my chores are done before I pour myself a big glass iced drink.  It's like a mini lent themed torture routine that I've done for years and years.  You could see it as self loathing or just a reminder to be grateful for all the luxuries that we have in our lives, not to take anything for granted.
But once in a while I'll take that extra minute to do it right like this morning.  I poached my eggs delicately over top of a bed of fire roasted tomato sauce and spicy pinto beans. I put a little char on the canadian bacon, sliced a just-right avocado and dressed it with fresh squeezed lemon juice and salt.  Topped it off with my tangy tomatillo sauce.
I know it all could be different.  I am blessed in a thousand different ways but I also know one bad storm or one crazy terrorist could change everything in a heartbeat.  That plane that looks like it's flying too low to the ground in the gorgeous morning sky could be heading straight for the new Freedom Tower.  Those fireworks off in the distant at night could be bombs going off centered in Times Square.  That next system coming up from the south could take a left turn into the East Coast and devastate the city.  You could say I'm paranoid but it just may be being a realist.  Something could go down at any moment but instead of being scared, I'm trying to remember to honor what is good here and now.  And if my dumb ass thinks fretful perspiration or eating cold leftovers when I could make a huge plate of succulent goodness adds anything positive to the universe than who is anyone to judge me?

Monday, July 28, 2014

We Got Married In a Fever

When one thinks of their marriage day, normally thoughts of lots of family, a church, white fabric and lace, people fussing and general chaotic happy moments come to mind.  I've been dating and living with P now for 23 years and we decided it would be a great idea to finally get married since we've talked about it for about a thousand years and there would never be a time that made absolute sense.  So already, this was a bit different.  We didn't get married in a church but instead went to the Brooklyn Municipal Building to see the Justice of the Peace.  As with most things in Brooklyn, there was a line and anxious couples were to wait to see a woman behind a glass window that would somehow make them feel inferior.  Most of the romance was stripped from the experience until we finally got into the 'ceremony room' where we actually had to stand on a podium and hold hands and face each other and say whatever it was we said ending in 'I do'.  I usually black out emotionally during any true event so everything is in fragments but I'm pretty sure it was kinda beautiful.  Something profound struck me like in the Grinch (which my dad always called me by the way) when he finally understood the meaning of Christmas.  There was no time for cryin' as just as the tears were welling up, the civil servant pointed us to the exit door to usher in the next couplet.  We shot some very quick pics and shuffled off and out.

I was sick as a dog with a horrible sore throat and the sweats the whole weekend prior.  That feeling you get with a bad cold where you can't really hear or swallow properly and the only time you feel okay is when you're horizontal and not making a sound.  I was in bed for the two previous days trying to get healthy but instead it appeared to get worse and my voice was going out.  For the week prior, I felt this illness coming on like a storm.  My legs felt like they were made of iron and everything hurt.
We wait this long and the day comes and I feel like crap, look paler than normal and my eyes have that hollowed out grey tone?!  Thanks universe.
I had went out a few days before and found a cute sun dress that matched the bright blue colors in P's Western shirt he would wear that day.  Done.  I thought it would be nice to wear flowers in my hair like you see women do in the movies when there is no budget and it's an informal type ceremony.  But the day came and I did what I could to not look a hundred years old, flowerless.  
I thought it'd be a great idea to have burgers and shakes from the Shake Shack afterward with our witness to celebrate as it's a NY institution and there is a location right across the street.  We were going to stroll Governor's Island on bikes and take the ferry across the sunlit waters of the mighty Hudson.  But afterwards after being in heels waiting in a line in a brightly lit bad office building with drop ceilings and soaking up the local downtown Brooklyn flavor and smells, I felt the need to lay it down.  We got on the bus! back home, which itself is a funny scene and actually enjoyable at that time of the morning.  Why not do the whole city venture theme.
P allowed an elderly lady to sit after I nudged him to get his ass up.  We musta looked freshly something because people were staring and we weren't exactly dressed up.
We stopped at 67 Burger and hauled it back home to have a picnic in bed.  Honestly, the best idea ever!  And thankfully they had shakes and burgers I'm sure to match Shake Shack.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Only Prettier

She's not pretty but this was tasty.  Ground turkey and vegetables with black bean sauce.

This is why I hate waiting for people.  When you do wok vegetables, there is a moment when they are done and you need to plate.  Unfortunately, due to the fact that P was delayed like 15 minutes coming home, I had to let this sit on simmer until most of the life evaporated from the firm green broccoli and the colors faded.

It was much prettier without makeup.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Maybe I'll Do Things Right, Maybe I'll Start Tonight

Bangin' Bahn Mi Ground Turkey Burgers.  I just found a list of ideas that I had saved in a file named 'ideas' and one of them was to write about various stages of my discontent through the years.  Wow, sounds like a real page turner!  Another was to try to recreate the great Bahn Mi Vietnamese sandwiches we used to get at Nicky's on Atlantic Ave before they closed.  And before I gave up pork.  And before I gave up white bread.  And before I forgot about that list.  I write a lot of lists.  I find a lot of lists.  I need to spend less time writing them and more time knocking ones off.
A friend shared this recipe using ground turkey and it's interesting how you feel you have made just about every burger possible without cheese or a bun and then here comes along that one ingredient and combination that can make it so different, so special.  The Fish sauce really does make it.  Fish sauce tastes like the pee of a hundred little anchovies in your mouth.  As you'd imagine, it's salty. That and the Sriracha garlic hot sauce.  The pickled vegetables are pretty important though as are the condiments really.  The sliced jalapeno, sprigs of cilantro.  With the mayo on a crusty toasted baguette you could just leave me alone but honestly I didn't miss the bread. I've almost gotten used to the way a piece of meat between lettuce leaves you feeling.
The Vietnamese use so many of the same Mexican ingredients but their end is totally different and grand but in that simple perfect way.

Recipe from the Cooking Channel:
Banh Mi Turkey Burgers
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
For the Pickled Vegetables
4-inch piece daikon radish, peeled and grated
1 medium or 2 small carrots, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
For the Turkey Burgers
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 tablespoon Sriracha
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
1/4 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sesame or vegetable oil
For the Sriracha Mayo
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha
4 crusty rolls or 4 (4-inch) sections baguette, split open
20 sprigs cilantro
Sliced jalapeno peppers, optional
To prepare the pickled vegetables, in a medium mixing bowl, stir together the radish, carrots, vinegar and sugar. Cover the bowl and let the mixture marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. (This can be made up to one day in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.)
While the vegetables are marinating, prepare the turkey burgers. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the meat, Sriracha, cornstarch, fish sauce, garlic, basil, and some salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into four equal portions and shape each portion into a burger.
Place a large skillet over medium heat with the sesame or vegetable oil and cook the burgers, flipping once, until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
While the burgers are cooking, prepare the Sriracha mayo. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and Sriracha. Set aside.
To serve the burgers, divide the Sriracha mayo between the four rolls. Top with a burger patty, a scoop of pickled vegetables, 4 to 5 sprigs of cilantro and some sliced jalapeno (if using).

Sunday, July 13, 2014

You've Lost That Loving Feeling

Just leftovers with added peas and salad after work on the day of the World Cup Final.  I got off work right at the final moments of the game so as I was riding my bike you could literally feel something in the air, like an incoming storm.  Most of the restaurants and bars I passed along the way were packed.

I rode along and just as I was coming up along the section of Smith Street that was closed off due to the annual Bastille Day street fair, I heard the loudest roar and like a concert breaking suddenly all these people came pouring out onto the street so it became like a video game maneuvering through everyone.
The whole town felt so connected during these weeks of soccer.  All the people rooting for their countries and it was as if when the games were on, no one was a stranger.  Everyone just opened up like a flower and began talking to each other on the streets.  That unsaid barrier was lifted somehow magically.   The only time I recall this happening was after a big disaster, like 911 or the blackout.  I'm sort of sad to see it all end.

And about 20 minutes after it was over completely, like a worn out spell, that deadened unaware look came back on people's faces and everyone seemed to unplug and disconnect.