Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I Think I'll Find Another Way, I'll Die Another Day

Added another type of bean and stretched my pantry soup to live another day.  A hearty soup is always welcome.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

It's More Than A Feeling

Mexican Meatball Soup with Pico de Gallo topping
First of all let me just say that its one thing to add rich roasted hot sauce to a soup to enhance the flavor.  But to add freshly made perky pico de gallo is another ballgame altogether.  The bright citrus hits the peppery heat of the soup and explodes in your mouth.  The tomatoes become juice bombs.  It's really quite incredible. 
I love black bean soup and it needs no help to be fabulous but I couldn't help myself to push the limits.  I baked tiny beef and oatmeal meatballs chocked full of jalapeno, garlic and sweet onion to throw in my pot along with a couple full spoons of Chipotle sauce and chopped peppers from the can.
A little cotija cheese on top for a salty kick.
P said this wasn't a soup, it was an experience.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Yeah a Blue Sunday, Blue with Shades of Grey

This was during the peak of my Chopped home episode obsession.  I had 30 minutes, only pantry items and one giant sweet potato.  I ended up with this pretty cool stew type dish using frozen green beans, turkey sausage, and chicken stock to make a thick broth.
I remember feeling as though I had won something that night.  For a cook to create something simple but special using common items can be tricky.  It can easily become questionable fare.  But this had great texture, taste and the presentation and color was pleasing.  Nobody will care but me and that's...okay.
When the world turns grey and cold, you gotta make your own color. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

I Wouldn't Mind If I Knew What I Was Missing

Yet another version of Chicken and Rice because you always need a few hundred in one lifetime.  Black rice braised with corn, tomatoes, potatoes and chicken thighs in a spicy stock. 
New eyeglasses after several hundred years of cheaters.  It's good to see I haven't missed much.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Ribbon in the Sky for our Love (Handles)

Beef Stroganoff with Veggetti Ribbons
This was most satisfying and came while in a food rut.  I reworked this recipe from the country cook website: https://www.thecountrycook.net/beef-stroganoff/
My Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced (about 1-2 cloves)
  • 1 pkg of portabello mushrooms
  • tbsp butter
  • tbsp flour
  • 2 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • squeeze of lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup yogurt, a dash of almond milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • veggetti ribbon noodles 
  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown ground beef along with the onions,garlic & mushrooms until thoroughly cooked.
  2. Drain ground beef to remove excess grease from pan.
  3. Put pan back on stove over medium heat (don't add the ground beef back in yet.)
  4. Add butter to pan and let it melt.
  5. Then add flour to pan, stir and let it absorb butter.
  6. Now add beef broth and whisk vigorously to remove any lumps, turning the heat up to high, bringing it to a boil for 2-3 minutes until you see it thicken slightly.
  7. Bring temperature down to medium and whisk in yogurt 
  8. Stir until mixture is thoroughly incorporated.
  9. Add salt & pepper. Keep tasting mixture until it is seasoned the way you like.
  10. If it gets too thick on you, just add a little almond milk
  11. Add ground beef back to mixture until reheated.
  12. Saute the veggetti noodles in a large pan for about 3 minutes add the thyme leaves, salt and pepper and serve with a squeeze of lemon.
If you're jonesing for pasta but your fat belly tells you to lay off, then this is a great alternative and it's really satisfying.  The yogurt gives a velvety slightly tart taste and you don't miss the sour cream.  A dash of soy sauce also helps.

In the spring, this will fill with a brilliant green waterfall and look fabulous in the middle of the block. I've admired it for years. I don't believe I've seen it in the winter before though.  It's a bit unsightly.

It's an actual tree at it's base, which is surprising and some of the branches are very thick.  There's no turning back with this weird experiment.  The birds are crazy for it by the sound coming from that side of the street though.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Keep Yourself Alive, Keep you Satisfied

Don't Forget the Gravy Blog
This breakfast is in dedication to a fellow foodie and Virgin coworker named Spike.  His food vision is based on late night and morning after cravings and different non-traditional combinations.  His blog is fun and just about the food experience. 
I connect on his view because I'm a lover of the leftover, so that lends itself to odd pairings.  I don't like to waste but I also see how a dinner item could match very nicely with breakfast if you have it on hand.  Like this tangy tomato salad.  And this spinach ricotta slice of pizza.  Generally not considered breakfast, but with an egg poached on top and a little extra cheese, it quickly became exceptional.  This breakfast was gigantic to mock a hungover morning type plate.  I was just extra hungry.
Foodies like Spike help us all to relax a lot about what constitutes a meal and how you eat it.  The significance of what you serve with what from a fresh perspective and the importance of feeding your own individual stomach desires no matter how silly it may seem to another.  And fittingly he is a drummer.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Won't You Please, Please Help Me

It's apropos to have leftovers after Valentine's Day to symbolize love lives on in it's less romanticized ways well after the roses die.  You appreciated your mate yesterday and now back to considering all the ways they take you for granted or how the chores are so unevenly divided.  How they can drop crumbs on the floor and not have one ounce of consideration to sweep or mop up a wet spill.   How they see you stressed but you are the one who is responsible for letting them know exactly what needs done in an easy to read list.  He's happy to do anything, just needs to be told, he tells me.  Isn't that convenient? Because he's 5, right?  I wish my week was put on a list, all the things that that need to be done.  Funny me, I just see with my eyes and do them.  I see a dirty sink and I clean it out.  I look at a yellow toilet and I get out the comet.  The litter box smells and I know it's time to change it.  The bedding needs refreshed and I get at it.  But P, he needs a list.  He couldn't possibly be expected to just figure these simple clues out himself.
But you know, it does work.  At least with P.  I need at least a couple of weeks if you give me a project.  I need to consider it, break it down, make a plan.  I wrote that I wanted the big AC put in the living room on the chalkboard last night and then next day, (writing this in May), he did it.  Just woke up and did it.  Granted, you must have a ceremony afterwards.  Take time to admire and compliment the excellent job, really highlight how brilliant it was done. The admiration lasts longer than the chore and needs to be repeated until he feels properly stroked.
Men and women are two different animals.  I'm convinced there is a major hardware system distinction.  The similarities are probably the majority but I notice the variations.  If there was a Google maps for the mind, you would see our paths to answers take completely different routes.  Its not just my husband, it's all men.  My dad, brothers, nephews, friends...even male cats and dogsI've known.  I was centering last night on a male coworker that does half the output that I do on any given night.  I often shake my head that he can just sit at his computer as if nothing is happening when we're busy and I'm handling all the quick sales in the department.  I'm running back and forth from the register...does he see me??  But I needed his help yesterday for a random project and when I asked him, he quickly jumped to attention as if he was thrilled to do it.  And I was like, if all I have to do is ask for help and I'll get it, then why don't I, always?  The answer lies somewhere in the opposition of the sexes.  The desire for men to see the need and want to help, to offer before being asked.  What is in women that we also need the emotional acknowledgement? I want him to first notice I need help and then in turn want to help because ferchrissakes isn't it damn obvious, sheeez! 
Image result for kristen wiig movie reviewer snl

Look Me In the Eyes, Unsatisfied

A week of work lunches from our staff cafeteria.  The long standing lunch-lady, Ms Megan has gone on to pursue other ventures.  In other words in the retail world, fired, for some nonsense reason they can't explain without sounding guilty of something illegal.  They screwed her but she was so unhappy, unsatisfied.  She longed to be back to her warm beautiful sunny home. And I felt for her with that.  Having to play mother to all these snotty, ungrateful kids.  She was a Nazi about what kind of meal you fixed though.  There were two choices in her mind, the entree or soup and salad and she fixed sample plates just in case you needed a visual of right and wrong.  In my mind though the combinations were unlimited. 
She put on a face when I got to the check out, looking down at my plate.  I usually try not to take more food than allowed, which was her biggest pet peeve.  But like above, throwing some steamed vegetables from the main selections into the tomato soup would send her into a spin.  She regularly yelled at the young kids for breaking the rules but she never quite knew what to do with me.  I always asked about her day and made sure to acknowledge her.  Not because I was sucking up but because she was an older woman and deserved to be respected.  Even when she would take off to the back room just as I was ready to pay and stay gone for minutes on end, completely ignoring my half hour time line.  Even when after these niceties she had the gall to tell me, 'you can Not take and put da cold meat on your salad Andy' in her heavy accent, which I loved by the way.  She was from Trinidad.
On this day I took the black bean burger and put it atop a bed of lettuce, added some salad fixings and took the complimentary bag of chips. 

And  I added the steak from the burrito bar to a big salad.  The new young gals who run the cafe neither care nor blink at my odd combos and sometimes charge me a dollar less not knowing what to make of them.  

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Do What You Want to Do, And Go Where You're Going To

Shrimp and Corn Chowder - Valentine's Day
The truth is I hate gooey stereotypical romance stuff but I always feel a little depressed on Valentine's day.   It doesn't make sense but I resent society's plastic definitions of love and passion.  Couples, straight, gay or otherwise generally bring a sneer.  Watching the young men walk down the street with their predictable dozen roses from the bodegas wrapped in that familar paper.  I just think we could all do a little bit better.  (P, if you're reading this....)  I have grown up a little so I keep my distorted facial grimaces to myself these days.  To me it's just another example of how no one thinks for themselves anymore and seems to be complacent just being told what to do, what to like, how to act, what to think.  It's Valentine's Day!  You get to be creative and show your mate that you appreciate them.  There are unlimited things you can do catered directly to them.
I made us a creamy shrimp and potato corn chowder with bacon replacing yogurt and almond milk for the cream.  This tasted special. Corn and potatoes, the crunchy bacon bits and the sweet shrimp.  This is a personal expression of love with effort.
Another rework of a recipe on Delish.com http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a50837/shrimp-and-bacon-chowder-recipe/
  • 8 oz. bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced, 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp. flour of choice
  • 3 c. low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 c. Greek Yogurt
  • 4 russet potatos, peeled and chopped into 1/2" cubes
  • I/2 pkg frozen baby corn kernels
  • 1/4 c. chopped green onions, plus more for garnish
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 lb. medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined, roughly chopped


  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown bacon until crisp. Transfer bacon to a plate and reserve fat in pan.
  2. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, 6 minutes. Add flour and stir continuously with wooden spoon until absorbed, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in chicken stock, potatoes, green onions, corn, Old Bay, salt and pepper and simmer on medium-low until potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add shrimp and simmer until pink, 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in half the cooked bacon.
  5. In a bowl add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and whisk in your yogurt until smooth and creamy before drizzling and stirring into pot.
  6. Garnish with remaining bacon and green onions.
Admittedly I could think of a million better ways to celebrate love and this was minimal effort but at least it was orginal.