Sunday, May 31, 2020

Well There's Voices in the Night Tryin' to be Heard

It seems like after the virus, life has changed in many, many ways.  My perspective is certainly very different.  We went for a ride in the Paddy Wagon, as I call P's car to get the engine running a bit and figured it was a good time to stop for some McDonald's Double Cheeseburgers and fries, get a coffee.  We were close to Red Hook, so we got out and had a little waterfront picnic.  The next day would be my first back to work and a reentry into the social world.  And that world was still trying to make sense of the tragic murder of George Floyd.
Ol' Mr Dave Scott got a bath in the sun later, something I've wanted to do for 3 years.  He has new tires and is ready for action again after a 2 month hiatus.

All night I kept hearing embers of social unrest outside and couldn't sleep while texting with people and reading news about all the elevated situations erupting around the city.  We'd been to the window several times already, as sirens and fire trucks were flooding our ears, random screams and other times banging that sounded like gunshots.  We saw a woman come tearing down the street being chased down and finally captured by about 5 cops, handcuffed and hauled off while her friend shrieked like she was dying.  Little off-shoots of protesters that had come away from the main group down our street.  Around 1am, I went to the window after feeling some impending funk.  It was fairly dark and I couldn't see clearly at first.  Immediately fear flooded my head as I heard trash being thrown onto the street, glass smashing.   At first thought was full chaos in the streets on closer look was a couple dozen young teenage boys on bikes.  They were throwing things half heartedly towards the cops, not reaching them, even though they could have.  They didn't break any store windows, only shattered bottles on the sidewalk.  They lit a fire on the corner that we thought was a building but turned out to be a bunch of garbage.  At that point I was calling this disruptive-lite.   I wasn't sure how to see it.  Felt best just to go to sleep and not try to have an opinion.  This was a great example of one of hundreds of mere barnacles on the side of the real protests and one that was happening a block away at Fort Greene Park that night where police vans were ignited and thousands gathered.  There were so many scenes to experience on these protest nights in New York City and others all across the U.S.  Depending on what you watched, video footage, tweets, Instagram posts, news reports or if you protested yourself, you could come away with different viewpoints.  A lot went down and I think it's important not to mingle all the hangers on with the actual protest movement.  Still some of those, like these kids, to me, are part of the rage that has to go somewhere.    

Saturday, May 30, 2020

High on the Peace Train

With my leftover Polenta, I made a tamale pie.  The sauce was a homemade Chipotle BBQ, with toppings of ground beef, onions, broccoli, fresh tomato and cheddar cheese.

That looks like an insane amount of cheese when actually it was only 4 ounces, not including the bleu cheese I threw on top to finish but it's all about the visual.  I'm still riding the 'Hey, we didn't die from COVID happy train' so a little extra cheese is allowed.

I loved this for a few reasons.  One, is it lasts for a couple of meals and you can freeze it.  I enjoy Polenta a good deal and it's easy to make a double batch especially if you're going to do all that vigorous stirring.  I love all one pan dinners.  Now that it's warmer, you could do this in a cast iron pan stovetop very easily.  It only needs to heat and get crispy on the bottom.  Many combinations could work, buffalo chicken, pepperoni mushroom, all vegetable and different sauces.

Friday, May 29, 2020

I'm Not the (Gal) They Think I Am at Home

This was my first day back on the bike post COVID.  It felt incredible and freeing.  The mask is a little cumbersome but for someone who talks to themselves and likes to sing while riding, its been a cool bonus.  With a big spaceman helmet, dark sunglasses and mask, I could be anyone and therefore I choose to be no one and love it! 
I made some Chipotle charred boneless chicken thighs atop a bed of polenta and a very cooling nectarine salsa cruda.  Even though the nectarines were not yet ripe, this plate shows the fresh signs of spring have penetrated into my kitchen.

In the spring there are never ending salsa options, especially when you add in fruit.  You can change the vegetables, the fruit, the citrus or vinegar, the herbs and each combination becomes magic.  I don't think you can screw up if you start with something bright like tomatoes.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

It's Coming Up, Like a flower!

An idea grows in Brooklyn.  An idea for a more amazing all bean burger.  This burger fail today sparked my creative thoughts when I had ran out of eggs for a proper binder and it fell apart.  This time I was doing a 1/2 meat - 1/2 bean burger but am always amazed at how much I love full black bean burgers.  Today, I tried Black Eyed Peas and because this one fell apart, the beans got super charred on the sides of the pan and took on such a wildly appealing texture and flavor.  As I went to clean up I found myself picking up these bits like chunks of food gold.  So tasty!  That reminded me how the butter reacts with beans and if you can get that just right char, the spices also bloom perfectly.  I love adding onions, carrots, herbs but the next step would be to find the exact type of bean that would serve best.  So far black beans but only because I've been so successful and rarely try others.  I imagine pinto beans would be a little too mash potato like unless I add in some crunch.  I'm thinking of instead of adding raw oatmeal, I could toast it first in spices and maybe that could add some more meaty feel.  Regardless, this was a good mental firestarter and reminder to get in that test kitchen to perfect the ultimate bean burger.  Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Only My Love Does It Good To Me

Coincidental Taco Tuesday 

Carnitas Taco
Pollo Yucateco - Chicken and Bean taco from the Yucatan
This was my plate, fortified with my own beans and rice
Al Pastor Taco on the far left - the one I wanted to try the most but didn't get to taste because I waited too long and 'someone' ate it.
Corn Esquites - Corn in a Cup!
Guacamole con Totopos - the best chips!!
I kept walking by this taco place that is just down the street, looking in longingly, after breaking up with my other taco joint.  Actually, they left me, the ole' Corona shut down.  So I'm feeling vulnerable, wounded, and slightly hangry.  I'm looking for a new love and I've seen Tacombi around, I mean it's a local chain, but a nice looking one.  Finally, today walking by earlier I saw the sign and considered it a sign - Easy taco enjoyment! Order online.  I just had to pull the trigger and invite these tacos to my mouth for dinner.  It was as easy as internet dating. I placed my order online and walked the two blocks to go pick up the sack and didn't even have to go inside.  I could totally get used to this type of introvert food pick up. They have a table that faces out, like all the local places that opened and the only human interaction is stating your name loud enough through your mask that they guy inside can hear you.  Every time I've walked by this place it's been packed to the gills, mainly because it's across from BAM but I often get timid to try new places that have any kind of complicated ordering process or I think will feel like walking into a party where everyone knows each other, except me.  Boo hoo! No, my nonsense actually goes beyond that.  I've been freaky uncomfortable where I have to feel good about the whole building, doorway, entrance, signage, tables and layout in order to try a new place.  Their tables looked so close together, so that and the large crowds have kept me away.  I do love their interior style and colors, very festive.  They started in the Yucatan as a VW van but grew exponentially here I see.  
I will definitely go on a second date as Tacombi showed promise and the price is right.  The corn tortilla was fresh, loved the texture.  Great guacamole and the chips were best ever.  The tacos overall were dressed beautifully and each had unique flavors.    

Monday, May 25, 2020

Tell You, It's All the In the Way You Feel

Purple Sensation Allium

Our neighbor's garden blooms
Biggie Sandwich
A repeat of yesterday's meal but this time with added turkey, pepperoni and Italian dressing!  I'm starting back to work on Monday in some capacity but in this brief period between getting sick, recovery and getting that call back, many days were slight repeats of the one before with minor differences.  You need that sometimes in meals, a day where you don't have to make something new happen and where repetition is welcomed.  Actual living has been interesting and hard to apply that same theory.  Work usually dictates limitations but to have this social restriction and mass closure of almost everything, yet all this free time, requires maneuvering through new territory.  You pick what you can do, and most of the choices are pretty awesome.  You have time to do yoga, take long walks, to write, paint, talk to people, cook.  But, the energy you get from living your daily life and interacting usually feeds all of that creative juice.  So it's not without its challenges but for me perfect timing to pull resources from our inner core.  No, I don't mean the internet but instead that incredible wealth of life that sits inside our heads just to the left of our mind. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

At Last the Sun is Shining, The Clouds of Blue Roll By

Spicy Chickpeas - If you aren't, you must
Way back when we didn't eat right at all, I called these health sandwiches and made them when our bodies cried out for fresh and raw food.  Avocados, cucumber, tomato, red onion, baby spinach, herbs on 12 grain bread. 

Kale Chips and hummus
1st watermelon of the season!
In harsh weather states, your body is like the spring flowers, awakening and coming back to life finally in May.  Before the intense heat and humidity hits the city, perfect weather and scenery prevails.  The feel of a that ever so gentle cool breeze on your face or seeing vivid colors in areas where it was just black and grey forever is always a miracle to me.  I can't believe we don't have to pay for it.  One might say, live in California and you get it all the time but some of us need the physical and mental torture of winter to believe our wretched souls deserve the stunning beauty of a tall purple iris or a rose that's both orange and pink!  For me, it's the yearly reward for a battle fought against the winter demons.