Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Going for the One

Cravings are odd.  I just had to have refried, cheesy beans and sauced up rice today.  Out of all the fun foods to make for myself, there was nothing other than this for me on this day.  So yes, it's just a can of beans, to some, but first I toast the cumin, add minced garlic and onions, then as they become warmed through, I add a nice mild cheddar, a little sour cream. It all melts until it becomes creamy.  I whipped up some Mexican rice and added a ridiculous amount of homemade hot sauce, then used these low carb tortillas. like Nan, to scoop up every last morsel sans fork.  Eating food in the Indian style is sensual and different.  Opposite to different actually, it feels, correct.

It was very satisfying, and way too heavy but that's the point during these days, to indulge in impractical food fantasies that are specific only to me. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

So Let Me Uplift and Shift My Gift

Bacon and eggs.  Simple and perfect.
My friend was mentioning how we used to be cool, as we joked about being up in arms paying full price for seeing bands these days.  Comparing the difference in our lives from 20-30 years ago is a popular topic among my sister, as well as other girlfriends.  You can't help but center on the vast differences at times.   Well, I certainly remember having more money than I needed and my choice of footwear most definitely was more attractive.  Gone are the days of throwing myself into a cab after a free show, after drinking free drinks all night, after possibly being treated to a free meal at a nicer restaurant than I'd usually afford.  I have several friends that came from this music industry era, some still in it.  We definitely had a longer run than most, a stalled moment in time that was unique and special.  We stayed at that perfect age where it was appropriate to be so self absorbed and careless.  Each night we'd lap up all the fun the night had to offer and often were the ones to put it to bed. 
This week, I spent too many hours deciding if I should buy tickets for my current favorite artist coming to town and my answer was no because I desperately need new sneakers, a rain jacket, and assorted other items that are essential to living more happily.   I could afford it but practical reasons prevent me from being frivolous too often.  Its good to miss being frivolous.   
Yesterday, I got excited to take a solo walk stone sober in the morning hours and I even stopped to take a picture of this new bakery and boutique made just for pets!  Truth be told I'm a thousand times more chill and relaxed now, which I believe makes me even cooler than before. 

My friend is also a super neat lady, to use an out of date term, who now owns chickens in Nashville and sends me pics of them and even let me name one once.  
This was Vivian, the chicken.  When alive, she loved chasing bugs, being independent, a true loner, like me. Actually, she might not have died but just flown the coup.   

Saturday, August 28, 2021

We've Come Too Far to Leave It All Behind

It has become a tradition that when P leaves for a road trip, I must make a pot of comforting either girly pasta or this, my sister's famous meat and mushroom sauce.   Again, this is something we made growing up that was 'ours' alone, meaning my folks were both big cooks but never ever did they ever make pasta.  When sister broke out with this back when, I was in love at first bite!  Tangy, spicy, silky noodles!  I'm in, and have been and will be forever.  I make it when alone because it gives me comfort.  Makes me feel love and remember what it felt like to have sisters living within minutes away that I could go visit.  It seems like a dream now.  A world where I could get in my car, drive to my sisters's, eat amazing spaghetti, drink a few beers, get stoned, then drive home safely.  And this could happen whenever we felt like it, for a long period of time.  Now, none of my sisters are near.  Currently, communication with T is nil, nada, zilch, goose egg.  She wants nothing to do with me.  How does that happen?   How could I let something that cool slip away?

Back here in the now, being solo, I'm noticing different things in my path.  The nativity scene at the Red Hook church that I ride past, that was never taken down now has the baby Jesus strewn up on the roof of the manger and stays there to this day.  I wondered at first if it was vandalism, now thinking it may be intentional to show His rising.  The whole scene is most unusual.  
At work we're supposed to give people a QR code so they can 'rate us'.  They post it on a web page and also on the big screen in the back hallway.  Green means you did good, red is a bad, dissatisfied customer.  As a store, they affect our overall approval ratings and bonuses, allegedly.  It's something I refuse to do, because it feels demeaning.   But someone snuck in there and I found it hysterical that their comment was that I'm 'easy to spend time with'.  That might be the biggest compliment I've ever received actually and certainly lately.  Tombstone worthy perhaps. 

Friday, August 27, 2021

Well, You Coulda Been Anything That You Wanted to

Breakfast pizza!  Is there anything more fabulous?  Scrambled eggs, Italian sweet sausage, onions, sliced tomatoes, peppers, and lots of jack cheese topped this ready made thin crust.  10 minutes in the oven to melt and toast plus a couple under the broiler.  A slice of breakfast heaven!
What is it about pizza that brings such joy and excitement?  It's definitely the King of fun, feel good food. If pizza were an actor it would be Johnny Depp.  If pizza were a place, I'd move there right this minute.  If they made pizza t-shirts, I'd wear one everyday.  

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Now Get to Work, Bitch!

In continuing my work on the perfect lettuce burger, I roasted Poblano peppers, sliced into strips before shaping the burgers into oblong footballs.  This allows for the meat to run the length of the lettuce stem.  Since ground turkey has little flavor, I toasted the spices first then combined the ground meat with garlic and minced onions, shaped and cooked stove top, before putting under the broiler to finish.  
This time, I think I could have used a bigger wrap.  Romaine is good and sturdy but sometimes too skinny.  A big leaf lettuce would have worked better here.  But I will say, this does work if you call it a burger dog, as you must eat it like a hot dog.  

Thursday, August 19, 2021

September Gurls Do So Much

This was an end of summer type day when you feel the Fall season creeping in.  That slightly spooky chill in the air, the cloudy less sunny days and something you can't pinpoint that makes you want to lay in bed all day and feel the soft sheets on your bare legs.  A day off, a bed stay day, the best kind.   I got up only to chop and prepare a comforting corn chowder made in the Crock Pot. Potatoes, corn, carrots, celery, onion, cabbage, chicken bouillon, almond milk,  bay leaf,  low and slow for 6 hours. 
Had to add ground beef.  Had to.  And then a dollop of yogurt to finish with tons of black pepper. 

It's creamy delicious, lighter than a dairy based chowder with all the comforting mother's womb feel. 

Earlier a trip to the post office brought a side snack of nuggets and 1/2 a cheeseburger from McDonald's. 

 Crock Pot Corn Chowder

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Loving You Has Gotten Weird

A low key day off, it was morning and I was still in the bedroom lounging around.  I heard a song end, then a loud crack, like wood splitting coming from the living room and then a low 'oh shit....(pause).... oh no'.  I ran in and P had cracked his Martin guitar, the one I gave him for his 40th birthday.  The Mahogany wood splintered and dented, somehow he'd bumped it between his leg and the arm of a chair.  He turned it towards me to expose the injury and it was like looking at a bone sticking out of a wounded person at a car accident.   I was going to touch it and he flinched as if it was going to hurt.  I pulled back my hand.  Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry!  What happened, I asked.  It was a simple accident but one that somehow had never happened in all these years and he's not one to take good care of his things.  I felt the devastation, so I suggested a long walk to ease the anxiety.  We landed at the corner biergarten, where we talked about the guitar as if we were giving it a wake.  How special it was and how he'd rode with it on his back several winters to record at a friend's in sub-zero weather, took it to play in Europe, featured it in movies.  How it had been through so much.  
He got his favorite Guinness and I ordered a just baked giant pretzel with mustard.  As all the great stories came out about the history of the guitar, the mood lightened and we ended by ordering this amazing sampler plate of 4 different sausages, fries, sauerkraut braised in apple cider, spicy kale and German potato salad.  

This was the first day of the Vaccine Card Mandate in restaurants.  When we walked in, the first moments were awkward, feeling like a wild west gun shootout where every man has his gun pointed at the other.  We stood circling each other, P not realizing he didn't have his mask on, me struggling to find my card.  Apparently, our sudden appearance gave the waiter anxiety.  We were just wondering if we wanted to eat inside or out not realizing the new protocol.  They treated us like lepers.  The waiter said, I need to see your vaccine cards and as I was trying to signal P to put on his mask while finding my card I hear the bartender yell, 'you aren't allowed to eat inside without a Vaccine Card!'.  The place had one patron and it's huge.  Usually this would be enough to send me eff-you'ing right outta that place but we got ourselves together and presented the cards that look like something you'd get from a bubble gum machine and after that we were told, rather coldly, that everything was app only.  As I held the laminated QR code handed to me in a little metal holder, I tried not to let it spoil the little ritual we had going on ourselves. 
When the waitress came to clear the beer glass, P asked for another and she said, you can't tell me, you have to order it on the app.  Yesterday this place was booming with business, inside and out, waitresses and waiters alike running around serving the multitudes.  They even have tents set up in the courtyard and are so full I can barely walk my bike through the sidewalk coming home from work.  Today we don't even get to talk to them and the bill seemed much higher.  We paid on-line and left without any acknowledgement.  The food was great though.  This place has proved time and time again that it does not deserve our love, but we keep going back because it's close, the food can be delicious and they serve a particular type of Guinness that P loves.  
Days later, cleverly placed wood glue and you can barely see the break.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Gimme Gimme, (More)

I think the Pandemic has brought on some Pandemonium in regards to cooking and eating.   Meals are less structured.  Like this, a hodgepodge of leftovers.  Chicken stew, salad, pizza snacks and later, assorted fruit.   Sometimes you just have to eat what you have, including leftovers and not make a production out of things but its reflective of the chaos of the world right now as well.  In some ways, this meal makes perfect sense, for the time, although to look at it, it seems like something Britney Spears would serve.  
This is a meal that says, I'm a little bit crazy right now, I'm a lot hungry, I do like to have fun...but by the way, I'm out of my effing mind or bored, I can't tell. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

I'm Comin' in Fast

Possibly the fastest pizza snack ever recorded came on this day using pre-made thin crust, spaghetti sauce, cheddar cheese, turkey pepperoni and fresh tomato in a screaming hot oven...and done.  Thank you for coming, the exits signs are clearly marked for your convenience. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho!

A giant summer storm, the best kind, rolled in as I prepared Bacon Wrapped baked chicken burgers.  Sauteed cabbage with Balsamic Vinegar, bacon and sweet onions for a side. 

I haven't quite cracked the code for making lettuce burgers the most convenient to eat.  In the end, it's easier using the lettuce as you would flour tortillas, tearing off a piece and scooping your bite.  It depends on the lettuce but Romaine is sturdy and resilient.  I've shaped the burgers into logs, which could have worked better here.  There is something to the presentation of a giant burger though, so it's been a challenge to honor the institution yet make it easier to devour with lettuce as opposed to buns.  I have no problem continuing this important burger work.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

You Can Do Magic

Chicken stew with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, celery, onions & corn simmered in beer and almond milk

I made this stove top, by quickly rolling the washed and dried chicken pieces in seasoned flour and browning before setting aside and making a roux in the same giant pot with the fond.  After the flour was cooked, I whisked in a bottle of beer, almond milk, Better than Bullion, then simply dumped in the chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, corn, potatoes, cabbage, onions), and chicken, covered and simmered with lid and came back an hour later to an amazing, comforting, rich stew.  

Everyone jokes about the fact that many people have reevaluated their life choices in the Pandemic and are making major changes.  For me, I only see transformation in my cooking.  It has definitely steered towards one pot, one pan, less fuss meals and learning ways to throw everything in a pot, close the lid and come back to magic.  I have less energy for cooking on all four-burners and a giant clean up.  But it doesn't mean I want to skimp on flavor, so working in depth and layers of tastes in these quick meals has been my evolution process.