Friday, December 29, 2017

Ever Gentle On My Mind

Homemade Split Pea with Ham is satisfying to your heart and soul.  I don't have flavor memories because my mom never made it but any homemade soup is real.  And that's all you really have to know about a soup.  The name should be the exact flavor; Tomato, Chicken, Butternut Squash, and here Split Pea and Ham.  That's exactly what you get.  But the garlic, onions, celery and carrot are pretty big contributors not to mention the ham bone broth itself.  They are in supporting roles to make the stars shine more brightly.
The pleasure of big rustic crunchy garlic rubbed toasted croutons make you feel like you've pleased the gods in some way.  Why else would you be allowed to enjoy such a perfect soup?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Leftover CHristmas Casserole

The key here is that all of these foods hung out the day before and now are best of friends.  They don't mind all piling in the car together.  Scalloped potatoes, Brussels sprouts big chunks of ham and roasted mushrooms, some added grated Parmesan heated until bubbly.  The leftover toasted bread heated alongside and don't forget the salad!

Monday, December 25, 2017

And It's Christmas All Over Again

Christmas Dinner 2017
I make my desserts the night before so that we can enjoy them with coffee in the morning.
P got his annual homemade Spiced Bloody Mary cocktail.  There is certainly an art to creating just the right amount of heat, spice and salt.  This was missing the necessary spiced rim on the chilled glass but it was dern close to being on the mark.
Pineapple Glazed Ham
This year my Christmas dinner was not as inspired or far reaching as previous years.  In general I could say that about the actual year.  My wish is that I can pump much more life into 2018.
A new side dish invented this year using our bounty of dried shiitake mushrooms from the 3Caps farm.  I'm calling this Scrappy's Indiana Toast in honor of a sweet little stray that now lives on the farm.
Baby Spinach and Pear Salad with bacon.
Skinny scalloped potatoes w/roasted poblanos.
I was supposed to make baked breaded Parmesan Brussels Sprouts but I ran out of time and decided to pan sear them, then roast off. 
All things considered it was a descent effort and reflective of my current state. 
Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Baked Bone-In Thighs with Red Rice

Simplest of preps.  Artichoke Hearts in their own vinaigrette, roasted tomatoes and lemon juice atop the red rice.  Seasoned baked chicken thighs.  The tanginess and acidity works well to bring life into the juicy white meat.  And the red rice has that bite and hearty foundation. 

Oh You Don't Know the Shape I'm In

I work retail so P going on another road trip Thanksgiving week was not a particular concern to me at the time.  That is until the actual day came.  That morning I thought I was surely the loneliest soul on the planet. And I have this weird pension for building on the theme.  I don't like being sad but at least it's familiar.  I kindled the fire by playing Sinatra on loop early and officially set the day to sludge.  I kept the room dark and tried to list all the things I was grateful for but instead considered all my failings until I successfully reached a melancholy coma.

I worked the night before and had our staff cafeteria version of Thanksgiving dinner.  It was interesting.  All the soul was beaten out of those potatoes long before along with everything else on that plate. The Lingonberry sauce was a great Swedish twist and to be honest overall, it was really cool they took the time to do this as they do every year.  Management even serves the plates with their best version of put on holiday cheer.  For some of us, this would be the only Thanksgiving dinner.

Thank goodness for a bud and a good idea to see Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz playing loud at a local theater.  And as a very special bonus it included Thanksgiving dinner.  The concert was recorded on Thanksgiving day 11/25, 1976, one of my favorite years.  How special to watch it on the big screen. And the food was actually really good complete with a slice of pecan pie at the end.  No pictures unfortunately as there is a strict no cell phone policy.  In fact we had to eat the entire meal in the dark, just looking at shadows and relying on your taste buds to identify the flavors. Roasted carrots, turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, a very interesting stuffing and cranberry sauce with a big biscuit.  Just enough to be very full and leave a little on the plate.
If I had to be without traditional family at least it was comforting to have Dylan, Van Morrison and Young live in 35MM film and not to mention my real bud to share the holiday.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Turn the Meat Around

What not to do 101:  Never make a sandwich with muted colors.  A sandwich should be visual striking. Since it's casual, you'll need it to be attractive and always put your best side forward.  This was actually delicious.  A fried egg and sausage breakfast triple-decker sandwich with cheese. However, you would never believe it until you had it in your mouth.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Too Legit to Quit

Chile Corn Pie w/Lime Dressing Salad
This would be so much more impressive if I could recall any one thing about it. That's the issue with getting behind on postings.  This could just as easily be someone else's life, dinner or food.  Although I recognize my love of iceberg lettuce and lime.
I believe I layered my chili beans, with ground seasoned turkey, corn, salsa and cheese then baked it.  I could have done a cornbread base and that would make the 'pie' description more legit.  But seeing as this was a Monday concoction, I'm sure I was just thrilled to have something that didn't suck on the plate.  These flavors always come together.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Been Getting To the Bottom of the Bottom Getting To Me

I'm a smart lady but certainly still dumb enough to do loads of stupid things.  Like play chicken with the older men that tend to ride those low bikes with banana seats that they probably borrowed from their 10 year old step son but still wanna ride the wrong way down the bike lanes and put us all at risk.  To them I'm saying, years of veering onto traffic to avoid hitting you has lead me to daring maneuvers lately where I let the chips fall where they may.  You wanna meet your thick-witted equal?  I'm right here pretending like I don't see you.  Some fifty-something girl just beaten enough to take my chances on a head on collision because I desperately need to win just one battle on this day.  You think you're the only one who's losing everything in this life?  There are a lot of us just hanging on to our better sides by a thread.  Don't think you own the market on crazy.  Daily torment comes in many variations.  And some of us are stacked way high.
On my saner days I understand higher concepts like relativity and civility.  How actions shape your character.  I'm grateful and calm. But if I'm having a bad day there's no guarantee that won't all go down the drain.
Last night P had a middle aged man in a nice suit confront him downtown in Manhattan. Walked up and started yelling at him.  He assumed P was a Trump supporter I'm guessing because of his Hamm's Beer hat.  P was offended that anyone had the self righteous attitude to get in his face regardless of his political leanings.  That guy was lucky that P kept his cool and didn't decide that this is the day he needed to let out his own anger and frustration at the world.  The people in the middle, the one's that live quietly and don't really want much but to be left alone are being challenged right now I feel.  We're the people you don't want to get riled up as we've kept it all bottled up inside all our lives.
We're being prodded to get in the game, take sides, to fight.  Whether it be by bullying behavior on the street, at work, on-line, the media.  It seems there is a push in every direction. 
But some of us are not meant to be billboards for causes.  Instead we interpret the information and communicate that back through music or paintings.  We write our findings or share a photograph, a film.  In our own way we convert and recycle the mass energy just not the way some folks expect it, insist upon it.  But if not given that outlet, we may just hall off and be your worst ignorant nightmare on the street one night.  Reminds me of that scene in Used People.

I went home and poured my vigor into creating a beautiful plate of food.  A well seasoned pork chop with baked apple wedges, an accordion potato served on a bed of spinach,garlic and tomato.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Braised Cabbage with a Mustard Vinaigrette

If you haven't tried then you're not really trying..... eat delicious food. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Only a Fool Would Say That

Roasted Cabbage with Chive Mustard Vinaigrette
If you would have asked me years ago I wouldn't believe I could ever praise a vegetable. If I've learned anything so far it is that any vegetable roasted in the oven is a caramelized dream.  And somehow the dowdy spinsters of veggies, cauliflower and cabbage end up shining brightest.  Roasted cabbage wedges with salt and pepper burst with vivid flavor with this very simple addition of a mustard vinaigrette.  I subbed green onions and cilantro for the chives.   
As the cold weather starts back up its time to get on board with these sheet pan oven dinners.  I can't say enough about the satisfaction of crinkling up that foil and wiping down one pan.   It's easier and better tasting.  And after summer's raw cold foods it's nice to get some depth flowing in your bite.
The burger roasted along side and the polenta patty was a tasty last minute idea to use in place of a bun.