Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Baby Won't You Keep Me Happy?

Admittedly, this could look much better visually but I didn't have time to let it set before serving it up.  This was an after work quickie.  Zucchini Lasagna with sausage baked in a light tomato sauce with lots of garlic and basil, green bell peppers and onions.  Just a bit of real mozzarella on top and Parmesan to finish.  All the layers of thin peeled zucchini absorbed the sauce and kept it's silky pasta like texture during baking.
Someone posted about their soul mate the other day, the struggle in 'finding' them.  I find myself so bothered by that term and annoyed by some people's ideals about love.  But I ask myself why?  I am in love and should add the word still, since it's been over 25 years.  I found someone who continues to be an even better friend each year.  I find him compelling and mysterious. I learn from him and he still amazes me quite often.  I respect areas where he is a better person than me.  He's definitely smarter in several ways.  When I met him there was a ton of electric energy and I felt all of those things that make you feel crazy in love.  And through the years there are several new layers of admiration and affection.  It's all very pleasantly surprising.  I don't take it lightly.
So why am I so down on romantic notions of singular spiritual partners floating around out there for each of us?

For one, the science doesn't add up.  Geographically speaking that would mean impossible odds of finding yours.  The world is big.   Just too many logistic obstacles to this theory.  Nope, nope, nope.  But my main quip is probably with the fairy tale imagery itself.  The one shining person that comes in your life and has all this power.  It's creepy.   I do heavily believe in chemistry though.  When I walked into the record store that my now husband worked in a million light years ago, I felt like I'd been hit by a mack truck.  Every bone in my body had to make contact with this person.  Didn't feel like a choice. I was giddy and dizzy for months and months and also felt a little sick for years.  I was in love.  I've felt similar chemical reactions before.  I was dead wrong more than a few times.  I once trolled a guy that worked at Tower Records for about two years simply because he looked like a young Neil Young.  He wanted nothing to do with me.  The closest I got was luring him two doors down to check out our promo room at Leopold Records in Berkeley.  I sat paralyzed listening to his very soft super effeminate voice as it dawned on me the object of my affections was not straight, nor was my blind heart going to turn him anytime soon.  That crush lasted about two more long months and then it died a sudden death.
I guess the difference is that I believe love between two people is a constant conscious choice.  You do need the initial chemistry, that mysterious, magical element of unknown origin.  That must remain true as in real.  Real, not formed from some fabled notion involving perfection.  We must continue to work with it, like dough, monitoring the levels, kneading it, letting it rest.  In other words, this is a live thing, this love stuff.  Just like faith.  Your partner is choosing you over and over each day as you are them.

But then again, this just might root from my childhood resentment of anything Disney as I never got to watch any of the movies.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Don't You Forget About Me

My incredible, talented, and insanely fit niece came to visit with her family from Arizona.  I had no misgivings and absolutely understood and accepted that I would completely blow it in the fun department because I'm me. But I never even considered that my food selections would fail.  I have learned several lessons through the years that I did not apply to this circumstance. You cannot trust the city to provide like it usually does seemingly by pure magic.  No, when you have guests the city will act up on you.  Whereas there are always amazing little stands, trucks and pizza when you just need a bite but suddenly here I had this poor family so desperate for milk that they had to go into a Starbuck's.  No bodegas to be found.  No wondrous happenings, just endless walking until we were all exhausted.
Rosa Mexicano Union Square - Funny thing about this place is we have gone to it in several of it's reincarnations and it's never been great.  But the space has good character so it has a really pleasant feel to it. Perhaps in another lifetime.  Why would I think anyone from Arizona would appreciate New York Mexican?  Clearly an area they have a bounty of choices and one where we're not exactly leading the culinary world.  Mainly though, my focus should have been on ALL the foods that we do excel in.  No, I take them to a Mexican chain restaurant.
Everything looks good enough and it didn't suck to be fair but it sure didn't entice and delight.  Still, not a horrible place to take a small family because of the high ceilings and lighting. Also, it's loud enough.  I don't like quiet unless I'm with one person.
Black Forest Brooklyn for breakfast.  Again, normally really great and we did try to consider the space and comfort for the kids but the menu options fell short. Unfortunately the pancakes were not what sweet Lela had in her mind.  More the french thin rolled variety.  She was a very good sport about it.
Little girls are so enchanting.  I was lucky enough to be a part of her world for one afternoon.

Patrick's was certainly a lot of food but somehow just didn't cut it that day.  Too much salty dry things together.  This needed a sauce. Right now it looks awesome to me though.
I will always remember certain out of town trips as a very young girl.  These kids have seen so much and are very adventurous.  But I hope that there was something about this place that they can keep with them forever. Be cool if it had anything to do with me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Red Quinoa

Just leftovers but look how pretty that red quinoa looks.  I don't really get much taste distinction so I cooked it in chicken broth which definitely helps but still it's pretty on the plate.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cauliflower Cucumber Dill Salad

Cold raw cauliflower, cucumber tomato salad with red onions, and dill.  Usually I use red wine vinegar and olive oil but this is actually a great time to use some of that super tasty leftover juice from your expensive designer pickle jars, especially the hot varieties like McClure's.  Why not recycle all that garlicky goodness? This also works well for quick potato salads and dressing for roasted potatoes.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Is It Hard To Make Arrangements With Yourself?

If you've 'almost' given up white flour products, then zucchini boats are the closest thing to pizza arousal as you can get. Something topped with more appropriate amounts of melted cheese and sauce.  It's all psychological game wars this changing of eating habits.  And thank goodness roasted vegetables really do taste exceptional.  But when you're hungry, your mind must believe the reduced calorie dish will ultimately be just as satisfying.
Roasted Zucchini and tomato sauce with basil, some sausage over a grainy brown rice.  Just a slight amount of sharp white cheddar and Parmesan.  It's all so damned perfect.
It's a handsome dish that photographs well and tastes just like it looks.  And why wouldn't you choose something that was better for your body and mind?
So why do I still crave greasy NY pizza so badly?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

That's the Time, I Feel Like Makin' Love to You

Black Rice Pasta with Asparagus
Black Rice pasta with shiitake mushrooms, lightly steamed asparagus, chicken sausage and just sesame oil and lemon on top.  Surprisingly silky.  Visually kind of stunning. An afterwork afterthought for a quick dinner.
Bright, colorful food does so much for the whole body and soul.  Physically you feel revitalized instead of drained and heavy.  Mentally that helps to keep you upbeat and light with your thoughts as well.  And for someone like me, staying out of the drudge, the super heavy dark thoughts can be a daily struggle.  Actually it's a constant grind because you can't 'unknow' hard things, even for a second.  But you can focus on other truths.  Like a moment of goofy laughter or that feeling you get when you hear an amazing song.  How your cat can remind you there is still innocence when you watch her play by herself.   For me, how perfectly content I can actually feel when I'm in my tiny kitchen ready to cut some fresh vegetables, smash some garlic, squeeze some lemons and rinse off some greens, hear the sound of onions hitting a hot pan.
My relationship with food is romantic at times.   Similar to love making, eating involves all of your senses.  The anticipation of this experience is almost as great as the deed itself.  I see this bounty of colors which tells me this is fresh and will revitalize my body. The scent stimulates my appetite.  The taste excites me and gives me happiness and as I continue I feel so grateful and content.  The first bite, the penetration so to speak is fireworks going off in your mouth, it's all the flavors sliding down your throat, chewing the mixture of firm and soft textures, the bite of the asparagus, the woodiness of the mushrooms, the silky pasta.  The emptiness of your belly subsiding, and all the working together of your brain with your face, your stomach, your core, your little buddha-like soul.  It's a slow drive. It's a happy ending, it is satisfaction.  And then pictures leave a memory.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Leftover Plate

Leftover plate 
1/2 a burger, chicken and rice, corn, potato salad and avocado.  Damn!  Eat much?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I'm Draggin' the Line

Dill Yogurt Potato Salad
Red potatoes, celery, pickles, dill, Stone ground whole grain mustard, yogurt, dash of cayenne pepper, salt.  Used a 1/4 cup of the juice from the pickle jar on the potatoes right out of the heat so they would absorb all the great tart pickle flavor. Light and airy.  Perfectly cool with a bunless cheeseburger and a huge chunk of watermelon.

A creamy potato salad doesn't have to be packed with fatty calories to be great.  Just like these now commonplace lines in the sky don't have to be laced with chemicals that are harmful when they reach the ground and fall upon all of us humans.  Nope.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Let Me State the Position, Ladies First

I got this recipe from a Woman's Day magazine.  I'm looking at one right now.  They keep coming because I can't for the life of me figure out how to stop the subscription.  They've made it impossible.  But today was the first day I really put any thought into the title.  Woman's Day.  I like the sound of a day just for women.  I like the sound of a day just doing womanly things. I guess today would be that.  It's a day off after a long stretch.  I can't speak for most women or any really, just myself.  But I don't especially feel all that feminine most days but others I get it, I go there to that tender place.  I like things to be really clean before I can relax so I usually spend part of my day off scrubbing the entire apartment.  Sweeping, mopping, and dusting the funk out, replacing the stale air with a new vibe.  I brush my cat.  I water my plants.  I play music that makes me feel things.  I make tea and hand wash my underwear.  That can feel pretty femmy.  I fantasize about keeping it feeling just like this always. No male energy, no dirty tools, dusty equipment or boxes of random bullshit.  Would that be great?  I think I'd still invite P over all the time but then he could go back to his own little place where he doesn't put his toilet seat down, and where he doesn't wipe down the sink after he's finished. Where his popcorn kernels never get on my clean cotton sheets.  Where he can wash his glass only to the smudgy stage and still drink from it.  Lots of fantasizing in a woman's day.

When it's all done I take a long shower and use all the good creams, tonics, and take my time. The key is to feel renewed and refreshed.  I air dry my hair, put on only loose cotton clothes that make me feel good. Then and only then can I write or watch a movie, make some good food, truly unwind.  But the best part is just the quiet kind of peace created when everything is all nice.  The gentle breeze, hearing the birds outside and the fan oscillating.  I text my sister back and forth.  Eat a piece of fruit. Everything smells good and I don't hate myself. That's my Woman's Day.