Wednesday, March 31, 2021

One Minute Feels Like a Lifetime, Baby When I Feel This Way

An inordinate amount of photos of my dinner

If it takes too long to make your take-out decision choice then you probably should not be ordering for delivery.  If nothing sounds that tempting or it all feels too fatty and expensive, then unless you have absolutely nothing to make in your home, get your tired arse in that kitchen and make something yourself.  Eating can be a wonderful, sensual experience, but it doesn't have to be such an occasion.  It's okay if you just put something in your belly to get on with life from time to time. And that applies in other areas of life I suppose. 

Foodies struggle with all this romanticism, the way the perfect food is going to make them feel in our souls, deep down to our core.  The true enjoyment and vital satisfaction of the ideal meal, from the first perfect bite to that moment that you realize you're full but you allow yourself to keep going, just a little bit more.  The level of craving we get for a particular meat or herb, and then having it!  All senses are activated.  I hope to always enjoy food in this way. 

But it's not always possible, as was the case on this day.  I considered Thai, Chinese, pizza, burgers, even the Korean chicken spot but could not pull the trigger.  In the end I made these pizza burgers and finished them under the broiler with tomato, onion, pepperoni and two cheeses.  I had half a bag of frozen hash browns that served in place of french fries.  Plopped on a bed of lettuce turned out to be the best choice.  I knew what I was putting in it, I could control the fat and the best part, it didn't cost me a thing.  

However, life is short and getting shorter.  I believe here and there, you DO need to get yourself what you want and how you want it in order to continue with the mundane in life, all the uneventful, routine minutes of the days that must happen in order to move through time and space.  

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Oooh, It's a Sunny Day Outside My Window

Fried Rice with Brussels sprout leaves - magically nutty!

It's gorgeous outside, possibly a little too nice. I'm not ready for spring yet!  I was feeling cavey, needed to be cozy and warm.  I wanted to watch movies all day in the dark on the couch with a soft blanket.  If I had one, I'd put a Do Not Disturb sign on my head. 

Making a double batch of rice is a great idea always but especially when you lack energy, you will be so glad you did.  You can get very creative, or you can always do a quick stir fry, the most forgiving dish ever.  A great use of leftover vegetables.  I had a few big Brussels sprouts, so I separated the leaves and then quarted the small cores.  Along with an egg, sesame oil and soy they provided such a vibrant nutty addition to this already awesome dish.  

Monday, March 29, 2021

You Used to Think That It was So Easy

Chickpea Burgers with Cauliflower Mash
Even though I've made a ton of bean burgers, it's always good to read a recipe or watch a video.  I figure I  might learn to throw something in that I haven't tried yet.  It's important to cater your spices to the bean.  In this case, Chickpeas pair well with cumin, turmeric, mustard even.  Fresh herbs especially pop here.  You don't need egg as a binder if you mash them up thoroughly but you can add one in, along with oatmeal, breadcrumbs, nuts or seeds to stretch the filling.  Finely chopped vegetables (carrots are a a good choice), garlic, and onion, complete the ingredient list.  This time I used green onion and they were even more delightful! 

And guess what? You can make them on a sheet pan!  20-30 minutes to bake and you have yourself a bunch a burgers to feature as you like, when you like.  In a pita, on a bun, wrapped in lettuce!

The amount and variety of recipes out there will surely satisfy your tastes.  These are economical, interesting, super easy and dare I say, fun to make with all the smashing and mixing with your hands.  I mashed up cauliflower and added some butter and lots of cracked black pepper to go alongside. 

If all life were this easy... 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

And You Wear It Well

P's 58th Birthday - who's man is this?!😜
On his special day, P's desire was to sit like a human in the sun and have a Guinness and a shot of Jameson's.  For me it was a reason to comb my hair and a chance to try out the appetizers at the new bar that took over Mullane's around the corner, FancyFree.  I planned to attempt Chile Lime Shrimp Cups so I just got the Fried Pickles, which were in a light Buttermilk batter, perfect bar food.  With my side eye, I caught a good glimpse of Vegan Nachos and Fish Tacos that looked delicious.  It's nice to get your desires met and support local business at the same time especially when we've lost so many of our long-standing neighborhood joints.   
Sitting in the sun, talking and laughing, felt like such a privilege, nostalgic almost.   Such a backwards world we live in right now,  walking up to the corner bar masked and then removing them in order to sit in the same airspace.  But remove them in public we did, for the first time and had a blast.  You were supposed to pay by scanning the QR code but several Mr Magoo attempts along with confessing to the waiter that I was 'retarded', proved I was not yet ready for human consumption.  Thank goodness he was gracious and said he was a comedian so I could not offend him.  Of course that quickly turned into a ball joke marathon on the walk home.  
Anticipating failure, I baked these shrimp with all the seasonings and made a lime sour cream chive dip.  

Girl, you have no cupcake tins so how you gonna make cups dude??  Did I say cups....I meant Chile Lime rolled wontons!  Yes, that's the ticket!
Never underestimate the glory of a great Wedge Salad with a cool bleu-cheesy Ranch dressing and lots of real bacon bits
He also requested a steak.  I get nervous with important meats but about 5 minutes on each side, screaming hot pan and lots of butter, garlic cloves and rosemary made it easy.  I should say, the biggest key to success is a good piece of meat, patted dry and room temperature.  The rest is by feel.  Simply seasoned with tons of freshly cracked pepper and salt.   I love the quick spooning of the butter onto the steak in the last minutes making you feel like a professional. 
Boneless Rib Eye and smashed buttered cauliflower

Guinness mustache

Friday, March 26, 2021

Mr Blue Sky's Up There Waiting

Big rains brought budding trees!  Time for a spring rice bowl.  Lemon and garlicky olive oil seasoned this cool salad over warm rice and vegetables. 

When I see the first buds on the trees, I want to scream Wait!!! I'm not ready for you yet!  I need to have more dark cavey time!  And it listens, by not coming all at once. Instead giving us scattered gloomy days to get in the last of our sulking. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

What Is and What Should Never Be

Brown Rice Bowl with Chicken Sausage & Vegetables
Outside of special occasions, I've fully revamped my cooking style and thinking.  Mainly, I'm looking for meals that will also serve well for lunch or a 2nd revamp the next day.  Another criteria is that it can sit warming in oven for hours as we're eating on different schedules.  Everything is changing, the city, the borough, our lives again, jobs, schedules.  One thing that stays solid is Sheet pan dinners, my quarantine savior meal! SPD's check off all of the boxes and continue to be my go to method.   

Sheet Pan-Demic Dinner!

All of the new skyscrapers have been worked on unnoticed during the shut down but are now taking shape around Downtown Brooklyn. 

I was told this one will be the tallest building in the borough wrapping around the Dimes Savings Bank...
What will be the finished product
That looks like Dubai landed on the Fulton Mall and I'm having trouble understanding who thought this would be a great idea.  Have they been downtown?! It makes no sense, much like everything else right now, completely ridiculous on every level.  Even before the Pandemic this was an odd, grotesque addition, but now it feels like we've just lost all control of reality completely.    

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

But You're Tryin', You're Cryin' Now

Before all the good greens pop back into the markets, this Caesar Roasted Romaine is an interesting side.  Yes, you can roast a salad green!  Parmesan, anchovies, a little lemon and oil tops it off after 5 minutes of roasting face down.  You can pick it up with your hands so it's perfect to eat with soup if you're trying not to eat bread.  Romaine is a tough lettuce, so she stays crisp. 
Writing this end of April, and at the beginning of my shift today I spoke with one of the young boys, a writer and fellow biker in my department.  He's at the age (30ish) he thinks he knows everything and I'm at the age that I realize how dumb I was at 30, but not fully comprehending how my foolishness continues.  We have lively discussions on consciousness.  I went on about how I do much of my spiritual 'work' on customers, practicing being present, being calm and someone that leaves you feeling good about the world, not the opposite.  He agreed it was a good place to hone your chi, but said he had no interest in being that to 'these people', that he saves his good side for the deserving.  Then we got into the idea of who is worthy.  A few minutes passed before we got totally slammed.  So after all that hot air was spewn, and as the universe tends to do, my first planning appointment was two women, one a white, absent minded lesbian contractor and the other, an older African American lady, homeowner, the client.  God bless them, okay, but I'm saying....dumb as rocks the both of them!   I'm no Einstein so when I call it, it's fairly severe.  All the things I said just a few short moments ago, slid down the drain like dirty dishwater.  

Later, an elderly Italian gentleman, very hard of hearing and very hard of head was my next appointment .  He knew everything, he said, annoyed at my questions, but could answer none of them.  A challenge.  I found myself in a constant struggle to stay cool and raised my voice more than I care to admit.  

The end of the shift we had a surprise out of the blue occurrence, where we were each pulled aside by some new manager of something or other, on the floor mind you, and told if we were to keep our current position. Gulp.  NOWHERE in the universe had this been a question I had time to ponder.  It was a complete jolt.  We knew the managers were being reorganized, and several lost their jobs the previous days, so the scene was already quite somber.  I was spared but more than a few in our department, including said morning buddy will be moving to another area of the store.  A huge cloud of thick fog blanketed the space as each processed their news.  The one coworker who manages to find misery in each of life's moment, but who was also spared, spread an extra layer of negativity instead of comforting the one's we're losing.  I was no better,  I struggled to stay the last minutes of my shift and could not run out of there fast enough, not bothering to say anything remotely consoling.   All proving I'm full of shit because staying in the moment, reacting positively and accepting what is, is very difficult.  I stayed riled until later that night.  

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

So You Think You Can Tell Heaven From Hell?

Cauliflower Asparagus Broccoli Soup
Vegetable Soups are more refined looking if you blend them smooth.  They feel and taste more sophisticated as well.  I do love a thick broth but I like chunky vegetables and meat, so instead I mashed the cauliflower until it thickened the lot.  But I served with a dollop of sour cream so that one could blend it in for extra creaminess.  
I felt like I needed to make a medicinal concoction to help ground my core with real food, that included green colors, herbs and earthy mushrooms.  It sounds odd but my gut has sensed this emptiness in the air, as if a big chunk of something good dissolved from the planet leaving all this void.  The same as when they took all that trans fat out of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Do you remember the first time you noticed it was missing from your favorite fast food?  It tasted good still, and it was clearly chicken but all that magic was gone. I can't pinpoint it, maybe there aren't appropriate words to describe exactly what went away, but the world feels so altered, and more so each day.  I thought this notion would fade after I became well but it hasn't. I wanted to believe the virus was distorting reality and now I read they are linking more psychological damage cases but other than moments of stupidity, I feel pretty intact.  So, I'm not sure what to think but the feeling's gotten stronger.  It's not sad, it feels more like what once was important, is no longer real. I would say the hollowness of society is visible somehow.  Where is all the stuuuuff? 
It's not just me, because I've polled friends and many agree, they notice something too.  I'm not sure anyone is obsessing about this, however, I have noticed many of my pals are downright depressed. People are going  through it.  Spending so much time in isolation surely had an impact but could it have affected energy in such a profound way as to shift reality?  It's not an outrageous thought that we finally did something to upset the delicate chemistry balance and this is causing a reaction in our brains or how we're interacting with the environment.  We're delicate creatures when it comes down to it, operating on a tightrope of chance.  It probably would only take a slight shift to throw us all into chaos.  Of all the horror stories you read about global warming, they never mention what can happen to our bodies or minds during all of this. Regardless, there is something so undeniably off right now. Lately, I wake up hoping the magic dust is back but when I realize it's still gone, I get a little spooked. 
But you can't live in fear of the unknown and God knows we could use some changing.  It would be great if it's not world destruction though.