Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving Toast

A Thanksgiving take on avocado toast.  Smashed avocado, jalapeno, garlic and salt & pepper over toasted pumpkin corn bread.  Love!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What Else Should I Be? All Apologies

I'm confused, is it weak to need people? Before I reach out to anyone lately I think first, what do I really want from them and am I right to ask?  Usually I don't bother because it feels all letchy and feeble to be in a position of vulnerability.  I tire out before I even begin to understand my inclinations.  I was taught not to ask for support. My mom and dad had a real thing with not bothering people, leaving people alone was sort of the most charitable thing you could do.  I try to just join the humans when I can be cool.  Usually I believe you have everything necessary inside yourself or you should anyway.
But if you test that same theory it doesn't work with food.  I need a beef steak once in a while, no apologies.  This is fact.  I desire pasta but white flour products proved to be like a bad boyfriend, toxic to the gut, so now I suppress that urge but in my heart I know I could get down with a huge heaping bowl.  Pizza makes me happy.  Tacos are gifts from God.  All of this doctrine is tight.  I never have to question my stomach.  But your mind is another animal all together.
I felt the need to find something to do with Thanksgiving leftovers incorporating a pound of ground pork that I had thawed.  Homemade pork meatballs with turkey gravy hit mountains higher than my expectations and the cranberry relish mixed in with the brown rice made the perfect bite.
These pork meatballs hit the spot.  In place of bread crumbs I used the residual pumpkin corn bread stuffing with all the built in magic.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Love Me Tender, Love Me Sweet

Sweet Potato Kale and Sausage Soup

Soup base with onions, celery, garlic and stock.  Cubed sweet potatoes, then cooked sausage and fresh massaged kale leaves thrown in the last stretch of cooking.  Yes, gently massaged kale leaves.  Helps tenderize and sweeten the bitter green.  See even vegetables benefit from a 10 minute rubdown.  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Baby Come Back

Leftover Thanksgiving plate with open face cheddar apple turkey melts.  Love the tastes of this season, the rosemary, thyme and sage, cranberries.  The stuffing and the way shredded turkey tastes when it's reheated with a little butter, salt and pepper when it gets that slight crisp.  Lord!  Also just having all these amazing finished dishes in the fridge to pull out and play with to make new meals for a few days.   Good times.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Years Ago My Heart Was Set to Live, Oh

Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner 2016
For me, when planning out important food, the menu is often tied in to current events.  I suppose how some feel about fashion. The thanksgiving meal was planned with a general sentiment in mind.  This year, due to all the intolerance and what I see as super poor behavior on both extreme sides of the political movement, I thought it might be good to go back to the classic plate.  Cut it back, take it home, to the basics.  Before all the fiddling. Get to the core of it's positive creed. But in today's light, which meant I had to incorporate what I've learned as far as healthier cooking, better ideas. See if it held up to convention.  I kept everything completely homemade.  I didn't add any hipster side or trendy vegetable.

Thinking back on it now, makes me realize just how rooted cooking goes for me.  It's sometimes my only way to work through thoughts and make sense of my present.
Herb Roast Turkey with giblet gravy, Cornbread sausage stuffing, homemade green bean casserole, mashed Yukon and sweet potatoes, Citrus kale salad, and pecan pie with whipped cream.
The salad was very bright with pomegranate, avocado and orange in a very tangy dressing.  The potatoes were not deprived of butter and whole milk, roasted garlic and some roasted sweet potatoes mashed in as well.  Cool color and silky AF as the kids say.
Butter and herbs were slipped under the skin and cavity of this sweet bird.  Something very therapeutic about rubbing down your meal on Thanksgiving morning.  A little quality time with your sacrifice.  I eat meat with enough guilt but not enough to stop yet for any length of time.  But the T'day bird is special and meaningful.  It does represent an offering of thanks for me.  When you start remembering what you are truly thankful for, you can get a little misty.  And it ain't always the Hallmark card variety.  Whatever your belief leanings, I love the idea of a holiday that promotes gratitude.
I even fried my own battered onions for the Green Bean bake and made my mushroom sauce, hand selected the freshest green beans and mushrooms from the good market.

As a side note, Aretha tore the shit out of that national anthem I don't want to hear Nothing else about that!   Had me standing at attention bawling with deep respect and humbleness.  A national treasure. Too lengthy my ass....Sit yo ass down!!! as the kids also say at work.
P doesn't like sweets, or mushy things, so no pumpkin pie.  But the cornbread was baked with pumpkin in it so no Holiday flavor was left behind.  Quite proud of that actually, really great with red apples and sausage.

I'm not so much a baker but I managed to make my own crust and the pie came out really caramelly and I whipped the cream up fresh...highly addictive.   
The turkey was moist, the giblet gravy was finally what I taste in my mind, made from the stock of the neck and perfectly thickened with the drippings from the turkey pan.  The cranberry relish benefited from oranges and apples as well as real unsweetened cranberry juice with just enough sugar added to taste.  All in all, a successful plate incorporating my strategy to surviving these next four years. Keep it honest, basic, and be committed AF to living.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pan Seared Chile Lime Shrimp

Chile Lime Shrimp
I just love when something is so easy yet can feel so special.  I love when you can eat it with your eyes first.  I love anything with lime in the title.  And shrimp.  Did I mention shrimp?  And broccoli steamed to just the right tenderness where it keeps all it's green and has a tiny bite.  So good!
Pan seared chile lime dressed shrimp with broccoli over brown rice.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's A Livin' Thing, It's a Terrible Thing to Lose

Houseplants on a window ledge in Brooklyn. My two Christmas cacti purchased years ago at PathMark. All good intentions.  Now like me they strive to stay alive among the fumes and soot that falls on them.  They get good sun but it only helps to shine emphasis on their dying flesh.  God bless them though, they both bloomed for the holiday.
Chicken Sausage Cheddar Scramble with Sriracha sauce for breakfast.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ooh Baby, I'm a Wild One

Area Woman Acts Surprised Each Day to Hear How Husband Hates Job
Desperate for Humpday fun, local Brooklyn gal makes a silly fuss on a plate and calls it Salad Bar dinner. Naively hoping her mate will be equally giddy about it when he returns home from work, she greets him at the table with goofy smiles.  When he immediately falls into his familiar lengthy rant explaining exactly why he hates his job and how it's ripping out his soul, ignoring the vast selection of add on condiments, she quietly folds, making her concerned face and proceeds to act completely surprised and shocked to hear this enthralling news.  Cuz, marriage.
I made the basic salad with shredded lettuce, carrots, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers with a garlic lemon vinaigrette. Then you could add crumbled bacon, eggs, avocado, cheese & salami to your liking.  Yep.  It was a paleo party.  I'm a real wild child.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Give Me Hope, Help Me Cope With This Heavy Load

I realized today that the whole country feels like a dysfunctional family unit.  I guess Trump would be the obvious abusive member.  And the political game itself fueling the rage.  When you live in a house that is sick, you don't know who you can trust.  You learn certain coping behaviors.  You unconsciously fall into a role.   I am familiar with this feeling but I couldn't quite place it until this week.

I remember when I could afford therapy or believed answers to life's problems were secretly given to people with degrees. I still respect the work and the people who do it.  I believe it can be very helpful, I just choose not to do any more drudging of that nature.  I have gone onto other means of figuring my existence.  Luckily I got in years of it early on though and still reap the benefits.  So much that I consider myself proficient and well versed in spotting broken dynamics in groups.

My role is that of the Adjuster or what they call the Lost Child in this political mess.  I escape by attempting to be invisible.  I daydream and fantasize, read a lot of articles, watch movies and listen to and submerge myself in whole albums and bodies of work.  I deal with reality by withdrawing from it.  And some of these traits have helped me to write and take photos, to concentrate on cooking and understand music that I could never sit still long enough to take in before.

But it is essential that I stand up and dust myself off, wipe my eyes and live my life again with no apologies. I've dealt with asshole bullies before.  I've lived through tons of disappointment.  I've walked among haters and trolls.  I know how to find balance and I will do it again. But this time I want to extract more happiness and composure and not feel I've left any portion of myself there on the floor.  This election has served as a sped up replay of past injustices and pointless stupidity endured.  This too shall pass.

So you might think I jumped right in and made something spectacular that night.  Wellllll.  Not exactly but it was really healthy and fortifying.  Black Rice with tomatoes, spinach, zucchini and Beyond Beef Spicy Beefy crumble.  Was great with a huge dousing of Sriracha Sauce.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Ain't That Peculiar

Stay with me on this one, because it's slightly quirky.  A Yam Hoagie.
Okay, not eating bread (except when I do), thus the baked yam with olive oil, and generous salt and pepper, a little sausage, tomato, onion and cheese.  You can eat the skin so basically it folded and...hell, you gotta try new things.  And honestly, very gratifying.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

And For Every Hung Up Person in the Whole Wide Universe

A quick but noteworthy pantry soup of kale, potato and sausage.  Revved up boxed stock with carrots, onion and celery.

Earlier that day we treated ourselves to a brunch at Black Forest Brooklyn, where the coffee is deep and rich and goes down like liquid gold.  Omelettes with potatoes and salad, table at the window with the morning sun shining in.  I love when you're so fresh and awake that you have all these fun and interesting topics to speak about and nothing is sad or can ruin your mood.  We covered every current topic, all the thoughts and assumptions we made all week that we tucked back in our mind waiting for someone sane to share them with, make sense of.
We, two people that have never imagined ourselves in mundane anything, are both in atypical humdrum jobs that we say we hate and probably do, some. Maybe a lot.  Two people that have always found ways around convention have found ourselves somewhat trapped in work weeks and daily grind. I keep praying this too shall pass and hopefully before I do. We also appreciate things could always be much worse and people are suffering real atrocities. So instead of whining like old crypsters, we try to hold each other up. But in the bleakness is often mass amounts of humor and material.  We trade horror stories and jokes, always trying to one up the other in gross or crudeness.  And one of the blessings of being in such oppressed environments is that when you're out you feel such a strong sense of freedom that echoes throughout your entire body.
Don't know if it was part of the humor but P let me wear my cheaters with the tag sticker on the left corner while ordering from the young waiter.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

You Say You a Got Real Solution, Well, You Know, We'd All Love to See the Plan

We try not to order whole pizzas anymore so we order slices and then cut them in two.  Sometimes I tell Patrick to pick them knowing he'll bring home much healthier choices than I would.  And almost every time he brings back at least one oddity wedge that I have to sit and ponder.  Usually I end up loving it. Still when craving pizza, automatically I think of pepperoni, big NY drippy slices, too much cheese and lots of tangy sauce. There's nothing nutritious in my equation.  Vegetables and pizza are contradictions. Veggie slices are not quite the dream I imagine but this one was amazing.  Perfectly grilled bell peppers, broccoli steamed to the brightest perfection and then as a 'this can't work' surprise, sweet potato sliced very thin.  That tiny bit of roasted sweetness just hit that cheese in it's G-spot!  Amazingly right. No sauce but a nice thin layer of cheese and good olive oil.  The crust is more of a cracker consistency, which I love. I admit, a better choice.
And afterwards, even though a bit indulgent, the gut doesn't revolt. 
Speaking of revolting, someone that I love dearly got their pick this election.  Trump was thier choice.  One they made consciously and clearly.  It was not a matter of the lesser of two evils but instead for them, the only way to break the cycle of bigger government and perceived or real corruption within the Clinton administration.  In the early stages I defended them by saying they are just reading between the lines when Trump so eloquently states his positions.  They heard much needed action around controlling borders instead of Mexican immigrants being rapists.  Their fears of terrorism were soothed when he talked about not allowing in more refugees.  I assume they squirmed many times listening to him though.  I hope they did.  I heard nothing from them after all the female comments and scandals.  Calling women pigs and rating them by numbers.  Nothing after mocking a disabled person or picking a fight with the parents of a dead soldier. This was someone running for our highest position!  What were they thinking then? I know I just felt sick to my stomach.  I was so self assured that no christian conservative would EVER have any of this. I can't speak for them and I'm not yet ready to speak to them but I imagine their priorities were far away from all those social issues.  They must have been so very focused on the end result.  A 'by any means necessary' approach against Clinton. I do believe, I have to believe if I ever want to sleep again, that for them, it was all about blocking Clinton.

I was not a Clinton supporter, nor was I a'gin her.  I really wanted to feel the woman power but you have to be honest, she did not speak to me and I did not find her especially sincere or bring female traits that I admire.  However, I didn't need her to be my bestie, just to keep us safe, make sound decisions, be trustworthy and not take away my social security.  I tried to fall in line, gathering a case for my own eventual support. But being a woman in the work force, I could see big blunders in her campaign as well.  I thought she was smarter than this?  She seemed so out of touch with today.  Her old school line of thought that just working really hard is key and listing past accomplishments was so outdated.  We needed to hear what she was going to do 'differently', how she stood out and why.  Even how being a woman mattered. How she would really represent change for more people, and for God's sake not give us speeches that could have come out of a handbook. Instead she pointed to a chart of a straight line.  I didn't want to hear one elite tone come from her lips but I did, I heard a few.  Bernie won my heart and confidence.  There was conviction in his voice and I felt such a burst of fresh air.  He was speaking to us, not at us.  He was with us.  He was one of us. And he pointed out huge issues that needed to be changed and in fact the whole game had to, a revolution was needed. After that, nothing felt right about Hilary for me.  As a matter of fact, I felt semi-bullied to vote for her, truth be told.  Even up to her ending speech I had so many doubts.  Was she trustworthy? One of my basic requirements.  I read dozens of articles and then their debunk counterparts.  I am not someone who's paid a whole lot of attention to these things in the past.  I was off getting laid and having fun.  Something I want to get back to doing again and quickly.  Was she going to keep us safe?  Folks that seem to live and breathe this information were sure that she would not.  Did I get a sour taste in my mouth when she spoke of her connection to the black community?  Yes. Did I squirm a little when she played the woman card at inappropriate times?  Yes.  What choice did I have when my media stream screamed for me to pull the trigger on hate and intolerance.  I panicked.

In the end, I did vote for her, albeit begrudgingly.  So today, given a week to mope and ponder, some time even spent consoling the wounded who truly believe the world around them has changed and behind every half smile could lurk a closet racist ready to take away every right they've fought so hard to acquire. I have to wonder if I myself committed the exact same wrong doing as my Trump supporter who was just trying to keep Clinton out. That special person who was deaf to the hate rhetoric and the belittling of women and soldiers and Muslims.  That person who somehow stepped over all the crushed spirits of gays and blacks and children who knew the adults would surely crush a bully.  That person who was fighting for what their eyes see each day, lack of jobs, people doing the right thing but not making ends meet, the democratic party blind to the middle and working class who's cities are falling, our infrastructure crumbling but our leaders are making millions off speeches to the corporations that are killing us.  The liberal elites who seem to care more about the rights of our guests then their own people who need attention and help too. Somewhere in the middle, a lot of people are earnestly desperate for change.  So I have to ask myself, was I so noble to appoint and accept who was only the better masked evil?  I am not in a position to pass judgement on a Trump supporter.  However I am in a position to judge Trump and every moves he makes while working for me....and you.