Thursday, March 31, 2016

Look Around, This is Your Hometown (Bar-B-Que)

Hometown Bar-B-Que Red Hook, Brooklyn
Barbecue so good that I rode home from work, and then came back into the neighborhood just to sample the legendary fare.  This platter of meat was everything and it was only one of many.
Someone had a camera that took tiny polaroids.  Interesting.  Why tho?
Warm and super delicious corn bread with just that right amount of sweet which is not much for me.
It's hard to get excited about chicken when there is brisket, beef ribs and pulled pork in the room but dress 'em up in these cute little pickled red onions and guacamole, smoke and char them on the grill and you know what, I think there is just enough room for you over here sweetheart.  Why don't you just jump right on that plate.
Did I mention some outrageous Texas style Mac and Queso? Whiskey sour pickles and Hometown slaw that held it's own amongst the brawn.
At the end shared bites of Banana Cream Pudding that I argued was made fresh.  This was a late night, semi-planned dinner, meaning we planned it but not sure who told the restaurant.  The Chef came out and instead of us ordering separate dinners decided last minute to just bring out a shit load of platters which quickly became my favorite idea of the night.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

And I'm Willing To Die for My Colors

Nerd Alert!  Every year I wait for the week that these trees go 100% white on Columbia Street in Carroll Gardens West.  About 5 blocks straight of angelic cottony overhang.  I ride my bike directly under the center and look up and it's like a shower of smiles.  It's a stupid busy street with tons of potholes so it's tricky and a little dangerous but it's worth it.  And even though they're beautiful during all phases, there is only a couple of days if not one where you could catch them entirely white.  One side of the street may have more sun and start changing more quickly than the rest.  Basically that is what happened this year.  I couldn't get that perfect shot.  But regardless, these blooms kick off the spring camera opportunities.  The flowering trees get you excited that things are really changing.  Not only the landscape but life is going to be filled with the solutions to solve all your problems.  Uh huh, it's all true! Spring is hope and change and fresh and new.  The dreary black and grey color scheme starts to morph into a less dismal view.  Nothing is impossible again.
And the food must reflect that as well.  I had some leftover steak that I cut into super thin slices to make a beef with broccoli over red rice.  
Yellow bell peppers and carrots helped to bring the more festive hues.
With my colors upon me one soldier stands tall.  I'm quoting Ice T.  I must be tired.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Look At All You'll Derive Out of Being Alive

Catching up with my posts from what seems like light years ago.  A grand day out. The perpetrators: Hope and Rodney.  I usually don't use real names but now I forget why not, so I guess there goes that. Our meeting spot: Ramen-Ya the West Village location.  Rodney found it and thank God for that because I can't handle the responsibility of picking Manhattan restaurants.  Way too many choices.  The most I could do was to get myself there on the agreed upon time.
Which I did!  I believe Rodney got the Musashi, Tonkotsu Pork Soup
Hope, the Yasai, the Vegetable Ramen.  Probably more vegetables than she's eaten in her life.
And I had the Kojiro, the Shoyu Spicy.   So good.  The broth was divine like the pee of 10,000 cherubs.
Moonstruck Diner for desserts and nonsense.  Carrot Cake that looked great but I couldn't tell if it was based off of Hope's facial expression after first bite.  I was gonna ask her but I had a warm pie in my face.
Apple...and ala mode, which did satisfy.
Oddly Rodney got a Banana Split Shake, possibly immediately regretting his choice.  I didn't ask. That can be a personal grieving moment.  Maybe it was good, who knows.  We were too deep in gossip at that point. During dessert he took us through the night of his heart attack.  Even though he tells it with humor and lightness, the sequence of events stuck with me all night.  How scary that must have been for him.  The during, the afterwards, the healing, the life change.  It struck me that we were all changed from who we were 10 years ago in profound ways but then again, the same kid-like schmucks we once were too.
Lovely, awesome, adorable schmucks.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Too Much Living Is No Way to Die, Loose String

Every year I make my boyfriend who is now my husband a special dinner for his brithday.  I think the best gifts are ones that are made.  I do feel that way but in reality I do it because the stuff he really wants cost a shit load of money and I wouldn't be qualified to buy, like a new mixer or special mics.  Basically I know there is not much I could give him that he cares about... so, I make food.  He doesn't like or feel comfortable making a celebration out of the day of his birth. But I think it's important to respect and reflect on the day, like any other big holiday.  So now having gone through like 26 of these, I'm still trying to wear my little party hat while being respectful of his wishes.  I think about this meal and choose specific elements just for him.  And if asked, I like to think I could lay down reasons for each one.
Okay, I'll tell you!  We don't eat beef on the regular, so I wanted to make a nice rib-eye steak, pan seared with no sauce or extras, just a well cooked, well seasoned steak.  I am not comfortable handling thick man meat on my tiny Barbie stove, but I researched for days and found a good recipe that could work giving my heat limitations.
I chose beef because it signifies something real.  To me it has always represented being alive and being strong.  Definitely a wish I have for him.
He had a major health issue a couple of years ago and I realized I could lose him.  More than that, I guess I realized that I will lose him one day.  That's some bullshit right there. A real eye opener but not just him but realizing people in my life are not guaranteed to be there.  A recurring lesson since. They are gifts in themselves.

He's been enjoying potatoes again so I made this Herbed Potatoes Anna with Gruyere cheese, super simple but deeeeelicious!  Potatoes are honest food and have the connection with the dirt and one's roots.
I started off with these baked stuffed jalapeno halves with fresh pico de gallo.  These are tasty little bites that I've been making versions of forEVer, like how long we've been together.  I used a small diced hard chorizo crisped up, garlic, sharp cheddar cheese and a little onion. If anything, this dish represents me.
I made a spicy Broccoli Rabe with Parmesan and pine nuts for the green. Broccoli Rabe is very bitter but invigorating and you always feel like someone shot you up with vitamins when you eat it.
For dessert I made carrot cake cream cheese bars which is a mash up of the traditional cake he loves and my desire for swirly things made into snack size.
I celebrate his birthday almost selfishly because I recognize that he's really a gift that was given to me.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Oh Lord Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Baked thin sliced potato chips with black pepper and salt are my new obsession.  Immediately doused with Frank's Louisiana Hot Sauce.  So good and better than bagged chips.
I prepared for P's birthday dinner the next night, prebaking the carrot cream cheese cake bars.  Love those one bowl recipes for non-bakers.

I pre-stuffed the jalapeno's to just throw in the broiler the next night. I had some leftover filling so I ended up shoving it in my chicken thighs.  Sharp cheddar, chorizo, onion and garlic.  Feeling all clever and resourceful. Well fed and grateful.  This is the disposition that I shoot for in my day to day.  I fail, almost every day but I will always choose this feeling above depression.
My hope is that people will remember me as someone who chose joy and laughter above what I fight against which is grief and sorrow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rosemary Potatoes with Sausage and Scrambled Eggs

Brunch. Rosemary potatoes with sausage and scrambled eggs.
Rich, satisfying and delicious.  Extra black pepper on the potatoes because that's the way they like to be treated!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Stewed Chicken in Tomatoes over Sauteed Greens

Stewed chicken in tomatoes over sauteed greens.

3 months is a long time.  Writing this in June.  Amazing how time flies but then again you see a photo three months ago and you feel like you've died at least three times since then.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Stepping Outside She is Free

Sometimes I wake up and everything is cool except for one thing.  I can't leave my house.  The thing is that I can leave, it's just that leaving becomes such a thing that I often don't.  But a lot of times I have to know, to get food.  In that case it becomes crucial that I find a way to leave or become extremely creative with stuff I already have in the house. #frozenvegetables, #cannedbeans.  This doesn't happen on days that I work, miraculously. Well, that's not true.  I call those, personal days. It's always fun breaking in new bosses to my fun world of neurosis.  It's good for them to be taught by a professional. I've been slithering out of things for 54 years.
The weird thing is that after I literally get out of the building, it's no big deal.  I'm not scared of being outside or anything silly. I can't even pinpoint the fear's origin.  In fact it's not even a real fear, it's just another facet of my oddness. It's like my little buddy at this point.  So one would imagine that I would just bite the bullet, and deal with a bit of discomfort before leaving.  But it's not really that simple.  It is a real thing, even if the thing is an unknowable.  It's like depression.  Sure if you got yourself going and moving and maybe exercising, you can pretty quickly pop out of your funk.  I do that all the time.  But that's the key missing element...the ability to get to the getting.  Show me the getting!!! Where's that confounded getting?!  Sucks, for some of us chosen few.  Could be much worse though.
I believe this was one of those days.  I was able to crawl to the fifteen dollar store on the corner and get zucchini.  Oh, usually on these high anxiety days I mysteriously lose my ability to cook. Its as if my skill level drops back to zero.  Most times I'm lost in the kitchen and make really shitty burnt meals.  I think this is common, she says nervously. Well it occurs regularly with me anyway. So I made baked chicken and a simple tomato sauce of zoodles.  And it sucked.  But it could have been worse.  And has been. #nonpostedmeals

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Drop It Like Its Hot

Drop Chicken Meatball Kale Soup.  So yeah, a start of chopped onions, carrots and celery, then good chicken broth and tomatoes brought to a boil.  Rolled little chicken balls dropped into the broth until almost completely cooked through before adding fresh torn kale leaves.  A little lemon juice at the end.