Friday, June 29, 2018

Count the Miles Before They Pass You By

A very dear friend came to visit me. Me! America's Least Wanted. Or so I feel like half the time. But full transparency, I have very shoddy friendship skills.  I have been shamefully slow to learn how to be mindful and considerate of others, which is an odd flaw given what a worry wort I am.  I've always been quick to acknowledge my downfalls but in these last years finally put effort into making them better.  This was no ordinary friend either.  In my life she has proven to be one of those very important people that shared in a significant time in my life.  We became roommates in San Francisco.  I was heading to 30 and she was just coming off 21.  We worked together at Leopold Records in Berkeley.  We have a mass of mutual friends.  We are connected in not just time but in worlds of people and scenes.  Music retail, San Francisco - Los Angeles migrants, inter connected networks.  But mostly we had an amazing friendship that was not abusive or one sided, nor convoluted.  You know, like most of my relationships.  We bonded on music and ideology. Time seemed to slow down for those precious years.  My fondest memories are of our countless long talks, laughing, going to live shows and just being, but doing it together.  Somehow, and maybe because it was such a crucial period, we broke apart abruptly and haven't seen each other in 28 years.  28 years!!!
To my delight she is now a full fledged foodie of the best kind.  She's a girl with a voracious appetite like me, something I truly admire and respect, especially in women. 
Dinner at Olea Mediterranean Taverna - Tapas galore.  One more spectacular then the next.  Cool location.  Special. Thoughtful. The most fun I could have without drinking. Delicious. Spicy Sautéed Calamari with Pancetta   $15
calabrian chili aioli, cannellini beans, spinach wine, scallions, cilantro
Flash-Fried' Brussels Sprouts - honey, lemon, crushed red pepper
Sauteed Shrimp -  five large shrimp sauteed your choice of three different ways.  Below - Falafel-crusted Artichoke Hearts - sweet and sour Turkish eggplant salad, tahini-lemon sauce  
Fried Green Olives - coated with breadcrumbs, flash-fried, tzatziki and harissa, Almond-Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates
Boquerones al Vinagre - marinated white anchovies, toasted almonds and arugula 
Sauteed Halloumi Cheese - sheep & goat's milk cheese from Cyprus, harissa, romesco 
The story is partially of finally getting to this amazing locavore restaurant down the street for one of the best meals I've had in forever.  And actually planning a successful walking day in the city for a visitor. Including the Brooklyn Bridge, the High Line, Central Park for chocolate croissants and getting lost in Wall Street.  Unfortunately, In my excitement to upload, I erased all of those amazing picture memories.
The High Line

Blue Velvet and Strawberries and Cream slices - best cake ever!
Did I mention it was a full moon?
But it wouldn't be right to focus on the food or sites because this girl is such a bright light. She's a woke human. People throw that word around but I can say she makes me understand the term.  I often miss my California friends because they are deep thinkers.  Maybe it's all the sun but they seem to stay on a self documented journey.  Journey, the term I normally abhor but only because its been so misused.
I won't tell her story but I can say it's one of the more interesting ones I know.  She has come through an incredible world of mystery and exploration.  She beat some tough odds and puts in the effort to keep the positive moving forward.
She was there through my harshest realities but always with this amazing support.  Having years to digest my own past this visit was especially rewarding to stand together smiling, happy for the moment, which is something I never dreamed of so many years ago.  I can only liken it to a pick-up truck crash I was involved in back in Indiana.  A group of friends out smoking and dranking and having a blast along the back roads just outside of town across the Ohio border.  Next thing we know the truck is tumbling like dice and we're all scattered out in a corn field.  I blew out the back window.  I don't remember much after that except for hearing my shoes crunch in the snow walking to the nearest farm like a zombie.  Next I recall is being in the quietest smallest hospital I assume just overnight but it could have been 2 days.  I came home with broken ribs and no recollection of where my other friends had gone or how I'd gotten home.  To this day I still don't know what happened.  I can barely remember who I was with. 
But this time I can remember and am able to hold on to Lisa in the real flesh and blood.  Not just alive but well. Not just a memory but in the present.  The best place!  And hopefully the future.
Paquena for breakfast Burritos and Chicken Chilaquiles
The best photo!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Classic BLT

I brought out the toaster in order to whip up a classic BLT on wheat bread. I added avocado for a little creaminess.  Nostalgic food is as rewarding as seeing a cat sitting on a chaise window seat. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Breakfast Burrito

I'm calling this a breakfast burrito because of the flour tortilla.  It's not flat enough to be a quesadilla and it's filled with scrambled eggs, sausage, jalapeno peppers and Swiss cheese.  So it's lost in technicalities but it was good just the same.  Toasted on a cast iron pan, topped with the last of the guacamole and salsa.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

I'm Gonna Make You Mine

I'm not sure if I've ever noticed a recipe like this so I'm claiming it as my own, although I may have written about it before.  I brown seasoned chicken thighs in a heavy pan and then while pan is on med-high I pour in all the ingredients including water or stock to get up the bits and flavors from the browning.  You add everything you would to make a hot sauce; onion, jalapenos, garlic, whole tomatoes, cilantro and also brown rice. You don't have to add any oil because the chicken fat will handle the load. Cover the pot and put in 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes and it becomes a nice Mexican dump casserole.  All that flavor absorbs into the rice.  I would salt it afterwards.  If you're not a rustic type, you could blend all the ingredients (except the rice) beforehand so it's more of a comprehensive sauce. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

What's So Obvious Now, Was Just as Obvious Then

Another omelette gone scramble mid stream.  I'll keep trying but realize it's a lot to do with the pan.  All my non-stick pans stick, thanks to the almighty slayer of all things nice. 

Went to see the Hereditary movie at Alamo Drafthouse.  Did not thrill and delight after the first 20 minutes unfortunately for me.  So much potential and great ideas though.  I did love the set design and cinematography, the actors. I like to believe I should be a highly paid talent scout for major young screen stars as I always notice them early.  Like with Nat for years and now his brother Alex in this movie. It's all intuition, you know like the way Trump understands climate change.  And apparently it really is the same because on further inspection, these Wolff boys have been on the main circuit for years, had a TV show, a band and come from famous parents.  My only craft was to notice their presence which is not a big stretch.
When I'm not imagining non existent skill sets, I like to watch P run the steps at Fort Greene Park.  After tagging along numerous times I got the similarly brilliant idea to join him. What a great, super quick but embarrassingly obvious idea for me.  It's four levels and if you run up and down 4 times with only a short breather in between each, you feel the benefit. 

 Image result for getting a brilliant idea gif

 He's all alone with those nasty push ups though.  

Friday, June 22, 2018

Baked Sweet Potato

The genius move here was to slice the potato length-wise then face down onto the baking sheet.  Cuts the baking time in half and also gives an amazing caramelization on the potato.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I Still Ain't Found What I Was After

Midwest Pizza Salad
I like this idea.  A real Midwest theme. Toasted leftover pizza crust served as bread crumbs.  Egg, turkey pepperoni, iceberg lettuce, green apple and bleu cheese.  A homemade honey-lemon dressing hand mixed in a bowl to get everyone coated, then lots of freshly cracked black pepper.  I feel like this salad was carved right out of a summer picnic memory even though no such salad was ever served and I never attended picnics but always intended to. 
I'm always big on kitchen sink type of salads.
Back here on planet Brooklyn, Spike Lee was filming a movie on our street and we got a chance to witness him coaching a couple of female actors on how do a scene.  And then how many times it takes to get one small shot when cars and randomness continue on. How many people does it take to make a movie?  Too many. 

A walk in Fort Greene Park and a stroller invasion of nannies and rare non-working mothers. 

Another summer spent far from the Midwest and lightning bugs, chain-o-lakes, riding in cars with the windows down and drive-in movies.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Oh Tell Me What Am I Without You, By My Side

Depression is a dirty little whore. She'll get in bed with anyone who is feeling shitty. And her friends are the bad crowd.  I used to hang out with her but I've been trying to shake her for several years now.  She doesn't take a hint and seems to get happiness in bringing me down. 
Hell, she's been around so long I sort of forget who I am without her.  If I'm not dreading, fearing or loathing then what am I?  I have a ton of happy, humorous moments as many sad people do but at my core, I can't say what if anything lives there.  Whatever it is it's filled with discontent.  Joy also, hope as well.  Fear takes up so much space I should charge it rent.  I worry a lot.  Sometimes it becomes debilitating, although age gives tools to fight many of these soul crushers.  If you know better but you don't know WTF, then there you will find me.
Chicken with Mushroom over Polenta