Thursday, February 28, 2019

Slow Ride, Take it Easy

A quick tip is to smash your avocados up instead of slicing them for your burger because you know that slip and slide dance is no fun when you just need to get that bad boy inside your mouth. Better yet, make a fast guacamole and add an instant flavor explosion to make it easy to enjoy every bite.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

It's What the Devil Wanted, It's What the Devil Wanted From Me

So I got my hair cut in a snow and ice storm.  Felt like I was walking across the tundra to save my soul. In a dramatic girly kind of way I was.  Believe me I have no delusions of anyone caring.  Even if just for myself, getting my hair cut is a big deal.  I've always had a deep connection to it especially the locks that frame my face.  Something about seeing it in my peripheral view has been irrationally important to me ever since I was very young. Perhaps the slightest residual of culture left from my Indian blood.  I've wanted a modern shaggy mullet, a style I dreamed up until if finally started showing itself on real sites.  I got my little example pictures, strapped on my snow boots and marched over to Badlands, the bad ass hair salon complete with girl-power stylists.  Hair styles used to stand for something in the way fashion could really mirror  a time in society and culture.  
The first thing people asked me afterwards is why did you do that?!  Ugh.   
Lately I get this closed in feeling, the way you feel in a crowded elevator or subway train...that you've been on for 10 years!  As if any moment I could just start barking or trying to claw my way out.  But I'm pretty quiet and reserved these days, which is annoying only to me.  It's hard to express yourself in a society where after 50 you're expected to just shut up and go sit in a corner and watch.  So how do I break free from these invisible shackles on my behavior and psyche?  Society and the media really only cover my age group when we pass away.  There is no template for where to go next if you did make it to this point.  I just do what I'm told by the girl below. 
Baked Shrimp foil packet

Desperado, Why Don't You Come to Your Senses

Tender Beef Tenderloin
I'm not the expert on large pieces of meat but I know some things.  I don't cook them as often because you either need a plan or a bigger freezer when you're only cooking for two.  I've screwed up beef tenderloin before so here's what I've learned, here's what I know to be true:
- you must allow your meat to come to room temperature, takes a good hour or so.
- always pat dry before adding rub, oils, etc.
- brown it on all sides first
- oven temp is high, like 450-475, so roasting time is quick, 20-25 minutes.
- let it rest for 15 minutes, tented
And it desperately calls out for some type of fatty condiment.  I'm not a huge fan of lean meats, because well, they're just not as fun.  Even juicy and tender like this, for me it's slightly boring and one-note.  And clearly I overcooked the broccoli.  Nothing worse than a dull colored vegetable.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

She's Fast, She's Lean, She's Frightening

Sometimes you remember people by a way they cooked their food or a technique that they taught you.  I had a roommate that was remembered for a hundred different things.  One minute she was strung out on the couch with her boyfriend, the next she was whipping up some elaborate dinner.  She was frightening, sometimes funny, often super harsh and mean or quiet and mindful.  But within all of that, she would kindly teach things she learned that were helpful to get on in life. She taught me how to garden, to marinate meat, tips in baking.  She showed me how mayonnaise over rice and broccoli is amazing.  Some condiments are so versatile but we never used much in my house.  Mayo is one of them.  Actually, looking at this if I would have mixed in a big squeeze of lemon juice and whisked a bit I would have a nice drizzle.  But basically its the same great taste you get with artichoke and Mayo.  The broccoli and rice just love a dab of that creamy tartness.  And in this case, so did the pulled pork. 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

New York City Blues, East Side West Side Lose

A good breakfast for me is like a long shower when you really need one.  Just imagine if you couldn't take a shower to get off the days grime and stank.  You really get a mental rebirth of sorts.  Maybe it's all your pours being opened and refreshed.  Whatever it does scientifically, a shower most definitely helps mentally as well as physically.  And eggs, bacon and potatoes really prepare me for the day.  Anyone that gets both should be a very grateful person and try even harder to make a great day.
On a lesser day, tired, a bad dinner and a late night subway ride home due to rain; (writing this in June btw).  As I was coming up from the Lafayette G stop in a robotic line up the flights of stairs to the street with a dozen other phone zombies, I noticed a rat on the steps.  Most likely a tween, not quite full grown but not a baby.  I was about to step on it but then saw it last second and was able to jump and overt it.  It didn't move.  I had such a quick but disturbing reaction.  I barely saw that it had blood on it's little head, most likely injured and dazed.  I just fast tracked it a few steps away before trying to look back.  No one else saw it!  I ran ahead and actually asked the young girl in front of me, 'Didn't you see that rat on the steps?!' and of course she didn't hear me because as everyone else these days, she has headphones in both ears.  She didn't see it, she tells me quickly.  And said she was glad she didn't before returning the buds to her hear holes.
But I saw it.  And I didn't do anything to help it.  Rats in the subway are plentiful but usually they're not right at your foot.  This one was so adorable and in my memory now it was staring up at me as my cat does when she is looking for a good rub down.  Did I really see it's eyes looking at me or did I imagine?  It was most likely seriously hurt.  It was in the middle of the steps going outside but if it didn't make it, which it probably didn't, it was in a bad place for an injured rat to be.  I pass giant smashed rats every morning on the roads on my bike. It's pretty crazy how huge they get and it also surprises me how they can do so much but get run over by cars so often.  You'd think they're smart enough to feel the vibrations on the ground and get out of the way. 

And I'm disgusted now considering how mangled and horribly disfigured they can be on the road, I usually only wow at the size or how it looks like sick art.  I hardly ever felt any compassion. If these were cats or even squirrels it would be so different, but it isn't different.  These disease carrying nuisances are still living things that are on the earth with us.  Maybe this was one slight cog turn in the wheel of my own private evolution.  I have now included NY city rats in my circle of love.

This comes on the heels of trying to really get that we are all connected on this planet, all the living things.  So even the people we despise and know are doing horrible vile things, we must accept that they are part of us as well.  That no one living being is separate.  We have 97.5% shared working DNA with rats.

My bud says they're just doing their time, possibly from a previous bad life so acknowledge them but know that it's just a cycle.  It's a short life and they'll get theirs in the next round.  I like that too. Just acknowledge them but let nature take it's course.  It would make sense too that NYC would be overpopulated with rats if that were the case.

Check the crowd of German firefighters saving one dirty sewer rat in the video above.  

Friday, February 22, 2019

So Close, So Close and Yet So Far

I went to the diner to meet my bud and chat about life, enjoy lively conversation and address a topic that had been bothering me.  I was wrestling with one I knew would not be popular, the cancelling of Ryan Adams.  There were rumblings of this upcoming documentary but Leaving Neverland had not aired yet so Ryan was up next on the chopping block.  Who knew what was at our doorstep.
This was a few weeks ago and my first thoughts were just to protect the music, as if I was leaving a burning building and had to prioritize.  I felt protective of that music, and of the songwriter, the musician.  But then the actual man, I figured would need to deal with his own issues.  This was a personal matter, everyone would see it that way.

And then the last month happened.  It didn't happen to me, it happened to that man.  But the musician and the music also took quite the blow. I find the whole concept of erasing people completely barbaric and beneath us.  I don't see the value or benefit of being vindictive.

This New York Times story on canceling people is a good read but the best thing I got out of it was the attached video commentary.  She makes valuable points.  And btw her Michael Jackson video I disagreed with but again her points were well made.  We just differ on opinion.
This canceling goes along with our desire to sweep bad people under the societal rug. Out of sight out of mind. Look how poorly it's working in our prison system.  And if you believe we are all one like I do, this is just us looking in the mirror and not being able to cope or forgive ourselves for our own weaknesses.  To own up to the fact that we all do bad things from time to time.  Demonizing the perpetrators only helps convince ourselves that there is miles of distance between us and them.  When in reality as she mentions, we are often both in the span of our lifetime.
In her overview of this subject Kimberly Foster takes on the problems of adopting this ethos as a society.  How change is never off the table if one is alive.  How no one should be thrown away. She speaks of restorative justice, which you would think would be a top ranking idea for enlightened individuals.  And in my opinion the biggest disservice we do to ourselves is to believe we have the right to take another person's liberties away.  That anyone must prove to us that they are worthy to have a career that they've already earned.  Just because it can be done, doesn't make it right. 
I have struggled to let this topic go.  It has somehow gotten beneath my skin.  This man, albeit flawed if the stories are true and I don't doubt they are, was stripped of his life's work in a sense overnight.  For me, this was like watching a neighbor get shot on the street.  And then realizing these shootings have gone on now for awhile.  You knew shooting a man in cold blood is wrong no matter what he did. How is it possible that this has transpired without dispute?  And then Michael Jackson was next.

Yes it is time to wake up and do something different about men's treatment of women in many cases, but this is not it.  We are going in the wrong direction.  The anger Ms. Foster speaks of is real.  The crap that women have endured is monumental in working environments and its disappointing when it's someone who's work you admire.  Let's act rationally.  Let's own our own crimes too.  This time the public has committed the violation.
another great article on the subject
I could not help but connect this story to another I am studying.  This notion that perhaps other humans had developed to a certain level several times on this earth but always somehow offed themselves or were taken out by some means, only to start from scratch again and again.  On one hand if you look at the last 6000 years it appears we've made stellar advances in science and inventions. That we really evolved quickly in relation to time.  How it seemed for a minute we were right on the brink of turning a major page in our evolution.  And then all the sudden it feels like we're just spinning faster. Nothing feels like it's moving forward.  Maybe for all the attempts, progression was always just a few generations away.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

This is a great idea for a hot or cold day.  Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps.  I made a very quick yogurt-Tahini sauce with lemons and a side cucumber tomato salad.  The key to making them taste different then burgers is to really amp up the spices.  Cumin, Allspice, Coriander, Red Pepper Flakes and fresh herbs.  The heat of the spice with that cool yogurt sauce is divine!
Also if you make a little extra, you could take one of these to work the next day and the salad marinates overnight.  I added some Cannellini beans to make them more hearty.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Open Up, Everything's Waiting for You

There was a minute this year when P was making dinner it felt like a lot of times, when in reality it was probably just 4 or 5 but they came in succession.  But when he did, turns out he is way better with meat, like cuts of steak and chops then me.  I've always been a little intimidated after a couple hundred failed attempts. But in my defense, it was more likely my cheap buying habits then cooking methods.  Instead thinking I would transform shoe leather from the sale isle or get a family pack of something instead of buying two good pieces, like he does.  But that's how I role, always cutting corners, trying to save, for what, God only knows.  I hate spending money.  Sometimes I think I'd pay money just to not have to go buy things, which is basically our Amazon membership fee. 
However I do what I call fantasy spend all the time.  I love going online to pick out the boots I would buy if I still gave a shit, or the dress I would wear if I ever felt the desire to put on a dress again.  The heels that would show the muscles in my legs or the perfect spring jacket that I could wear to brunch.  And I could buy them sometimes but its better just wanting them.  Getting things sometimes is not all that rewarding.  Except for this steak with pre-dinner cheese and crackers.  That was pretty cool. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Baked Chicken Tenders

I made these sweet little baked chicken tenders with a spicy Panko crumb.  After breading, I put them on a sheet pan with bell peppers, broccoli and chick peas to roast. 375 for about 30 minutes.  All atop a quick corn meal masa.  So good with little effort.

For breakfast a poached egg over black beans, tomatoes and Feta cheese.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Let's Face the Music and Dance

Black Bean Soup.  Don't underestimate the flavor punch of a great soup.  I love canned black beans but made from scratch, it's another level for sure.  A few hours and you have a few meals in a bowl. If You Need a Recipe, This is a Good One!
The thing about beans is you really need to add the flavor and don't be shy with the spices and seasonings.  Black beans love Cumin and that smoky Chipotle pepper in sauce, or use fresh jalapenos or roasted peppers.
It only happened a couple of times but my mother made these huge vats of beans for our restaurant back in Indiana and you know, she must have made hundreds over the years.  There were certain steps to getting her refried pinto beans just right and hers were always that, seasoned just right.  But once in a blue moon she forgot to salt the beans properly and let me tell you, there was nothing worse than getting that huge hot combination platter set down in front of you and digging into the beans and rice, and tasting the blandness of an unsalted pot of beans.  My mom's food was so consistently perfect that it was tragic when this happened, like time stopped in that restaurant.  I remember being shocked, like she could not mess up, it just wasn't in her.  I admired her so much for that steadiness.  People think recipes are solid, that you just follow instructions but food has variants. Love, care and consideration goes in. Sometimes the jalapenos are super hot, the tomatoes have no flavor or the avocados are not quite ripe so adjustments needed to be made.  She took it all into account and when that plate came, you never had to wonder if the rice would be amazing because it always would be.  The only danger was that at times it could all be too good, that you'd overeat to the point of total discomfort because she hit it out of the ballpark. Her famous hot sauce was sometimes so off the charts and addictive that you couldn't quit eating it even after you had your fill.  So much so that other restaurants began buying it to serve at their establishments.
I have none of that unwavering talent.  I really have to concentrate and even then I botch it up half the time.  Maybe that's how I can celebrate every good dish and mom never thought much of her art.  She wasn't even a fan of most of the foods she made.  She loved fresh lightly dressed salads on small plates. Heavy foods were not her thing. I love both which is both a blessing and a curse.
new haircut - the modern shaggy mullet. Both cute bang in the front, wild layers in the back.  A cut to showcase my diversity of lameness. 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

To Show You What You Need to Live

57th Birthday
 February birthdays are good and bad. Good because you really need something to celebrate during the harsh days of winter.  Bad because the weather can be so brutal and the thought of going out is not attractive. In fact the general disposition of most people in February is grouchy.
So Alamo Drafthouse was my choice again for probably the 3rd year in a row.  Morning movie with breakfast tacos and coffee.  A short brisk walk downtown to Citypoint nice and early for an 8:30 movie, the best kind.  When your mind is sharp and aware. They were showing an animation festival and we were to get ideas for the movie we're trying to make together but are lacking motivation. 
I cleaned up in vinyl this year!  Each and every one of these is a gem.
But one of my favorite things to do is to lay in bed and read or watch stupid videos and get burgers delivered to me while in pajamas!  
 Burgers fries and a orange vanilla shake just like a dreamsicle!!!

Let it be noted that the more time passes, the less you worry about the future and the more you appreciate what is happening in the present.