Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I'm Going Back to Indiana

Enchilada Casserole
I forgive myself for these misconceptions because after all I am a Midwest girl even though my Mexican ancestors are turning over in their graves.  Mocking lasagna I layered homemade enchilada sauce, with corn torts, beef, beans, then corn and more enchilada sauce, topped with sharp cheddar cheese then baked.  Afterwards I laid the slice on a bed of cool crisp iceberg lettuce with chopped sweet onions, tomatoes and cheddar cheese.  A perfect memory of my moms home style enchiladas but with a goofy twist that saved me lots of work.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Pasta Primavera

Garlic, freshest vegetables and pepper flakes make this so just right.  Salt and ground black pepper finish along with some grated Parmesan.  I don't eat white flour pasta but when I do, I try to convince myself it's healthy.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Population Me

Once in a blue moon this happens.  Had a day alone and coincidentally was off work.  P went to see his brother.  With freedom comes responsibility.  Immediately I went to off limit foods.  White flour pasta, bread, cheese.  But stay with me here.  I am in the second half of my life span.  The cruelty of health and social stigma towards jelly bellies on women forbids me to languish regularly in my love of pasta and fatty foods.  These things I give up for society, my marriage and also that I won't get raging migraines.  But I've been so good for so long and tomorrow is never promised.  Once in a while, a gal just needs her fun.
Silky Linguine Carbonara.  Is there anything so perfect?  I added sweet organic cherry tomatoes pan blistered for a slight sweet.
Recipe for one hungry gal (with leftovers):

1/3 box of linguini fini - boiled to al dente
4 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy
4 cloves of garlic sliced Goodfellas thin

red pepper flakes
1 egg
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 reserved pasta water
7 or 8 cherry or grape tomatoes

Boil water and cook pasta.  Meanwhile in separate large pan cook up bacon and set aside.   Drain pan and keep 1 tablespoon of bacon fat.  Cook tomatoes until they burst.  Reduce heat, add garlic, cook one minute add pepper flakes.  Drain pasta but remember to reserve some liquid. Add pasta to pan with garlic and pepper, along with crumbled bacon and stir and toss it around. In a cup crack one egg, add pasta water and the Parmesan, whisk.  Add to pasta. Stir and toss again. Salt & adjust seasoning, serve & immediately.  Enjoy instant life improvement.

Took a pal that morning to see Good Time at Alamo Drafthouse Citypoint Brooklyn.  I thought the director was great.  I am not sure the acting lived up to all the touting but I will say Robert P was believable.  He didn't suck.
Alamo doesn't mess around.  They will remove you for taking pictures or having your phone light on.  So I took these in the dim light of the credits.  Breakfast Flatbread, so good!  And Edamame hummus with pita chips.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Come Tomorrow May I Be Bolder

Shredded Salad
At one point in my life I had aspirations to be a guitar shredder.  I felt I had the mental angst to pull it off.  I could hear the guitar talking in my head, hear the way I would play. I was so moved by guitarists and it moved me to pull what I had out of my gut and out of that amp.  It seemed feasible I bring my skills to life.  I had moments.  However, after years of practicing scales alone in my room, guitar lessons with disinterested stoner teachers, and then more after I moved to California - nothing happened.  Well, lots happened actually but I didn't become exactly.  I was lucky to play guitar and sing in some bands and to have a very short lived feeling of being a real musician on stage, even getting paid. But at the very same time my entire view of music, guitar, tone, sound, lyrics - everything was changing drastically.  It seemed I had missed quite a bit of musical growth after high school.  I suddenly found it impossible to learn further without first doing a lot of listening. But the new sounds were so fascinating and realizing how much great stuff I had never heard, I kept on listening instead of playing.  Now 30 some years later, I'm still receiving but the guitar has become a dust collector.
It's a regret but hell I don't need another reason to be disappointed in myself.  We're all stocked up here, even my under-stock is full of dissatisfaction. Instead my spin now is that later in life I will pick up an instrument and learn post retirement.  It could happen.  And I truly believe it will.  I still have that need to push something out musically.
Shredded Iceberg lettuce is one of the last great cheap joys.  It's the straight man in your perfect comedy.  Whatever super spicy or fresh or tangy accompaniment pairs exceptionally well.  Like these spicy pinto beans with nectarine salsa.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Lord Lift Us Up Where We Belong

I finally bailed my sweet Dave Scott out of the repair shop.  They were holding him down at the Bike Truck on Hoyt Street.  The charge was outrageous but the kid did not lie when he said it would feel like a whole new bike.  The gears are smooth and my brakes actually halt the wheels.  Something that is shocking when you've been Flintstoning those stops for months.
Deluxe tune-up, brake pads, new cables, bottom bracket, chrome cassette, new chain, rear derailleur and they even took him a bath!
I made a celebratory meal to welcome him back.  Black & Pinto Bean Cheese Burgers with Nectarine Salsa.

Earlier that day I had a bowl of my leftover Corn Chowder Soup.

The best feeling was lifting Dave back up where he belongs, at home here with me.  Get some rest buddy, we gotta work tomorrow.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone

I rode the subway the morning of the solar eclipse to work.  I was getting off early to finally break my sweet Dave out of the shop.  I had dropped him off the Tuesday before.  Brooklyn shops are morphing from generic kid bike stores to cool hang spots with art galleries, organic food and drinks, general hipster breeding grounds.  I've always liked young, slacker type guys.  They tend to be kind and like good music.  This might be the natural progression job since the music stores have closed.  The new dream job for life-avoiders.   I came in a little nervous, reluctant to give my guy over to them.  I've been burned before.  Although usually super friendly and seemingly well meaning, they aren't the most reliable kids.  And this was a relatively new shop to me.  I recently broke up with Red Lantern after they forgot about me, never ordered a necessary part, neglected to call me back after several promises and in the end, said they couldn't help me.  First time I ever had to wheel the old boy back home.  I loved Bespoked but they moved too far away.  Then there is The Bike Shop in Carroll Gardens.  I don't date them, just do quick hook ups for flat tires or air.  At one time it was only Atlantic Bicycles, now we have plenty of boutiques.  But I really good one is hard to find.

I've been riding Dave unyielding all year.  No tune up through winter and now here we are at the end of summer.  I've been pulled off of him, he's fallen. We took him to who P calls 'the Mexican' to fix in the city. That lasted a week and now I have to hold my gear in place while riding.  My brakes stop like patent leather shoes sliding on the asphalt.  Basically I should have rushed him to emergency, the shape he was in. The kid at the front who had the kind disposition of a Quest Love reassured me even with the full tune up, he would be ready for pick up the next day.  To me that seemed way optimistic looking back at the mechanic, and they were busy.  I made sure to point out the seriousness of my gear problem and that my chain was stretched out like the vaginal walls of the town whore.  My cables were coughing up exhaust pipe phlegm and my wheels weren't true.  
They called me that night and on further inspection, it looked like he needed a part ordered in and then later possibly a new rear derailleur. But no problem in getting it done by Thursday. They'll call me.  Thursday and Friday came and went.  Saturday I called.  It was next in line to be dealt with a different guy tells me, probably be ready by 5pm.  They'll call me, a phrase I was really starting to resent.  Is this because I'm a girl, I thought?
Enough is enough. I need my Ironman Dave Scott back home! I took the stinkiest subway to the bowels of Boerum Hill and walked with purpose to the shop while the midday sun slowly baked my brains.  I see Taj, I say it slow ike Taaaahjjjh because that's how it was pronounced to me.  I want to think Taj is my bud now but again he tells me, It's not ready but if you want to come back around five, it's next in line to be fixed. It's almost done really.  A quick story is told about how Angel started it, then didn't work for 3 days but now he'll really finish it.  Is Angel working today I ask? No he says, but the owner says he can do it.  Some more bullshit is spoken just enough to confuse me enough to walk out of there, again without Dave.  What the hell man, it's hotter'nshit out here and I'm walking again?  Is this because I'm a girl?  Do they get that it's hell riding the subway?  Do they know how much you rely on that bike?  Why didn't I get all Brooklyn insistent up in there? I remind myself, because you're a pacifist.  Nothing in regular day to day life needs to come to fisticuffs.  Truth be told I am situation-ally ambidextrous.  When faced with choices in life, I can usually easily go either way.  
Make lemonade I tell myself! Now I can go watch the eclipse!  I couldn't find last minute glasses so I took the online tip to do backward selfies to capture the magic.

I saw something... for a second and lots of folks with the glasses were clapping and shouting.  It didn't turn dark as I had hoped, just a little dim for a second. 

Later that day I had time to prepare a beef stock corn chowder that shined.


  • 1 Tablespoons bacon fat
  • 1 whole Onion, Chopped
  • 4 slices Bacon, Cut Into Pieces
  • 1 whole Bell Pepper, diced 
  • 1 bag frozen petite white corn
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups Beef Stock Or Broth
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup Grated Sharp White Cheddar 
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped chives
  • 3 large russet potatoes, cubed


in a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon onto a paper-towel lined plate. Drain all but one tablespoon fat and cook the onions, garlic and pepper, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes and beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
When potatoes are tender, whisk flour into almond milk and stir into pot. Add corn, cheese and bacon and bring soup back to a boil, cooking until cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes more.
Season with salt and pepper generously, garnish with chives and serve.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Spinach Salad

Another day, another salad.  And certainly nothing to get hung about.  Just ask Monkey, who is calling for a day of lounging and nothingness. At least until I have to go to work....

Speaking of, they've really let the grounds go to hell by the prison.  The soccer fields have weeds sky high.  Must be all the extra rain this summer.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Danger There's a Breakdown Dead Ahead

I remember asking years ago how people know if they've had a break down because I was pretty sure I'd had at least one.  If they don't end up in the loony bin it may be similar to having a stroke.  You can have one and not realize it until much later.  As I look back on July I think possibly I had a micro mini shut down.  I lost a brother from a distance, witnessed dying via text and phone, pictures, a horrible way.  To be so damn useless to someone is gut wrenching.  He was going through so much, with loving family mind you, not alone, but in the end how much can anyone really go with you in the pain, the fear, the discomfort.   I have never showed signs of being an empath before but suddenly I felt like a barnacle on the side of each griever.  I grasped the deep sense of loss in my sister in laws eyes as if she'd handed it to me to feel the weight.  The sorrow only my older sister could know sending her little brother over.  My dearest sis who called him her good friend and had a strong bond, I could not even bare to hold her lest the damn break.  And everyone, the grand kids, the aunts.  It's as if for that brief period I was in their shoes one at a time.  I had never truly went through an entire Catholic funeral for someone I loved, experiencing a wake and seeing the body, the open casket, touching his hands.  That was tough enough but this new sense of ascribing to these folks in mourning was overwhelming.  Not to mention being in an instant social situation with family members and people that I knew from childhood.  For an introvert like me that threw my whole being into a state of shock.  I left Fort Wayne 34 years ago and even though we've traveled there a few times, I felt like this was my first time back as a sister, an aunt, maybe an adult.  Seeing my old house with my sister and niece brought on all kinds of emotions.  Then a week later I traveled to Tucson to visit my folks but of course that is never an ordinary visit.  My mother was showing signs of deserting reality for good.  Yes, she's been doing that for many years but you'd be so surprised at the levels, the depth of someones leaving.  She stood staring comatose for much of the first afternoon and before the trip in videos and pictures I had seen. I expected the worst.  It was amazing just how much she perked up for us, a little gift.  But she told me she was so tired and looked at me straight in the eyes as if she was saving up her clarity to get that one message out.  Its as if she can't find her way out of this life. It breaks my heart.  I want her to stay but also want her to find rest and peace. My sister and I were to provide some respite for my dear niece who is pregnant and looking after our parents.  My dad had just lost a son. I figured we would need to be upbeat for him but also comfort each other as this would probably be our only visit with each other for who knows how long.
I'm recovering now, almost two months later.  But I hope to take with me the extra caring and compassion I felt at that time, the ideas to be more considerate even from a distance. And gratitude, so much gratitude.   As always, I'm a work in process as we all are but I want to strive for movement in the right direction.

Green Grape Organic Rotisserie Chicken again this time with butter beans and rosemary and a brussel sprouts salad with mushrooms.  Two meals, too much money but you can't take it with you when you go.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

One of These Crazy Ole Nights

This was a super fast lunch and boxed dinner for work.  If I work late I prepare and think ahead as the staff cafeteria closes before I take my meal break.  And as crazy as it sounds for New York, there is absolutely nothing close to my work except water, lots of water.  Fast food, as in throw it all in the pot and run to get ready.  Brown rice, chicken stock, cilantro, large garlic clove and two links of chicken sausage.  I topped it with fresh cut tomatoes and a big squeeze of lemon juice after 45 minutes of cooking time.  I ate that and then packed some for later.
It was all going so well.  I had plenty of time to meander to work.  Wasn't going to be late. Who would have thought that night someone was going to call me a retarded bitch and I would deal with the tallest, nuttiest (not in a good way) Swedish family that I ever could have imagined.  Anyone in retail knows that certain nights, just become these themes.  Everyone you encounter will be cut from the same crazy cloth.  Sometimes good, oftentimes bad. And this was one of those nights.  My first customer argued with me from hello and then complained before begging me for help.  Two guys demanded immediate assistance and began barking orders, called me honey and grabbed my arm. First of all, I hate being touched by strangers especially ones I don't like.  I stiffened and did not budge.   After that it just went downhill.  There was a lot of bad behavior on both our parts until it ended in name calling.  As in calling me a retarded bitch.  Of course I couldn't respond verbally.  That was tough I have to be honest. The hardest part sometimes of dealing with the public.  I just sat and focused on my part. I provoked them.  They were assholes no doubt but every response was a direct kick to their egos. And I knew guys like that would not take it well.  It was a retaliation but I know better.  I'm supposed to be cooler than that.

At the end of the night, we became crazy busy with tons of commotion at the check in desk.  I hear people screaming, I turn to look and there stood these 4 giant blondes of different ages and sizes.  All unrealistically upset and berating my coworker.  I step in as the calm one.  What seems to be the problem was all I could get out before they all transferred their shouting in my direction.   Then inter-arguing became a thing, the two women were told to be quiet or else the tall good looking male would just put an end to this whole thing!  So dramatic.  He has to be the gay designer I tell myself.  Oh Lord help me.  When the designers argue openly with their clients, it's such a tough road to the end of that sale.  All the while the older man was shooting questions at me like bullets as if none of this chaos was taking place less then a foot from us. However, he couldn't be bothered to listen to my answers. There was more shrill voices until somehow I turned that boat around at five minutes until closing. By the end, they each thanked me more than once and wanted to shake my hand.  What's with all the touching??  I pray they don't come back and assured them it is impossible to request me as we work varied schedules.  I think ahead like that.