Saturday, April 30, 2022

Yes Is the Answer, And You Know That For Sure

Roasted Mustard Chicken with Chick Peas
Chicken recipes are a bit like the game Wordle that I am addicted to in the worst way.  Each morning I reach excitement levels far too embarrassing to share if I get the word on the second try because that's demonstrating special powers basically, right?  Yes, yes it is.
Today it took 3 tries, okay.
In Wordle you try to guess a random 5 letter word in 6 tries.  So when you consider that within the 2nd try, you can guess this one word out of millions of possibilities, it feels impressive. It even tells you on the screen, that's impressive!  You can make chicken I'm guessing hundreds of ways, but like Wordle, more than likely you will always use a couple of vowels and some consonants.  You'll match up your poultry with some vegetables, and a couple of key spices or herbs.  Here tomatoes, squash, chick peas with lemons, mustard and Turmeric.  
There are infinite possibilities but some combos are bound to yield a winner, so you stick with those. I know chick peas roasted alongside chicken drippings mixed with the citrus-y lemons create a refreshing bite, always.  Like most words will have an A or an E in them, but not all the time.  Surprisingly, squash cut in larger chunks stays juicy firm and if you're trying to lighten up without the starch of a potato, the zucchini is a nice sub.  
Usually, I like my chicken legs with their meat falling off the bone with a slight fork tug but get a good crisp on that skin with a high heat fast roast, and it's every bit as satisfying. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Come on and Save Me

While tending to her garden, my sis spotted a baby owlet that had fallen out of the tree while it's mother looked on overhead.  It looked to have a broken wing.  He managed to scuffle his way to the big vacant lot across the dirt road, where she figured he would be prime vittles for any of the assorted predators, so she became worried.  She needed to save that little guy, who between you and me, somehow magically....looks just like my sister in a cute way I can't describe, plus she loves owls.  She managed to scoop him up in a cat carrier and placed him near his mother who stayed in the tree watching.   
After a bit she let him roam around a little coop she devised and safe from the neighbor's cat, Charlie.  He didn't seem to be injured and the wildlife center couldn't make it out for hours.  After looking into the matter more thoroughly she surmised he was just doing what baby owls do and probably had it under control.  He seemed as curious of her as he of him,  She set him free next to the tree where his mother still stood guard. 

I hunted for dinner at the corner market, and found ingredients for a giant wok bowl of cabbage, snow peas, carrots, shaved Brussels sprouts and ground turkey.  I seasoned with ginger, garlic, Sesame oil and soy sauce.  

Light Em Up and Watch Them Burn, Teach Them What They Need to Learn

Springtime coming in strong 
Everyone take their seats and enjoy these lovely photos of spring blooming in Brooklyn before I tell a dark tale. 

This is a tale of the death of my old, warped, cheap-ass sheet pan that lasted forever and did me good for years, how I got a new cast iron one, that doesn't fit in my oven and how this is all related to the Johnny Depp Defamation case.   Good luck!  I have no idea how this will connect but it's a morning writing exercise for me and I aim to do well.

One night I came home late, was hungry but didn't want to make a meal.  I took some store bought chips and this odd pre-sliced jalapeno jack cheese that we never buy.  I put the chips, cheese and pickled jalapenos under the broiler to make quick no fuss nachos.  Only a minute passed before they suddenly became inflamed, like foot tall blazing flames pouring out of the broiler.  When I realized the fire wasn't going out even after I turned everything off, I yelled for help.  The blaze continued, getting even higher, it was wild.  Covering the combustion with wet rags didn't extinguish but finally after several frantic attempts, together, we put the fire out and were able to handle the pan.  No nachos were to be had this night and the pan was toast.  It was time, this had been coming for awhile. This pan was bad from the start, was never a quality product and I should not have used it to broil.  I was being cheap.  I continued to use it well beyond it's expiration date, after it warped, after it began smelling like kerosene.  
I bought a new pan, of sturdy cast iron.  Being 15" x 10" I was sure it would fit nicely into my 24" oven.  All was well. Only, it doesn't fit in my oven but I can force it diagonally, so I'll probably live with this nonsense for too long.  I don't learn easily or smoothly.

Amber Heard was always too young for Mr Depp and it was ignorant of him to start a marriage with someone who clearly was not the right fit.  Emotionally though, perhaps they were better matched as he seemed to be stunted in that area regarding jealousy and relationship behavior. despite his age.  They could now live out high school era shenanigans, for better or worse in the privacy of one of his many dwellings.  But when you keep ignoring blatant signs of actual trouble, you set yourself up for future blow-outs, like these blackened nachos.  It was inevitable this would end badly for them.  We all choose our own suffering in some respect, even though we can't see it all the time.  My pan was old and not in good shape.  The new cheese had some chemical perhaps they add to keep the slices from sticking and together they created a burning pit of fire.  

A gold-digging, psychologically-damaged hottie mixed with an aging, beloved actor who was primed to deal with his demons in the most dramatic, drawn out, drug-induced way possible is definitely a recipe for disaster.  
If I put this bitch in catty-cornered, she works but in the future I'll measure the inside dimensions.

And similar to my new durable pan that's near perfect, but doesn't quite fit, Johnny may not find or even choose the right woman the next time but it's how he deals with those obstacles that will determine if he's learned anything. 

It Ain't No Use in Turning On Your Light, Babe

Hot & Spicy Whole Roasted Jerk Chicken

Because the jarred Mole worked out so well, I tried this wet jerk seasoning on a slow roasted whole chicken and it was kind of awesome!

I feel immense excitement when there is a high profile event that is not too tragic that we can all participate in and experience together as a society.  I think it brings an energy fuel to the world.  The Johnny Depp defamation trial has taken over my nights and many daytime thoughts.

Call me crazy but I'm digging constipated, older bloated Depp more than his most recent personas.

There are so many gifts to feed off from this case.  I am reluctant to say that it's given me life this week.  I would hate to think I'm feasting off of anyone's pain so I am careful to treat all that I'm hearing with respect.  First of all Johnny Depp may be the absolute favorite actor from my age group. There are limited Hollywood stars that have given me so much joy in their movie portrayals.  And Depp imparts his own characters into each movie in the most gracious, creative way.  From What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Edward Scissorhands, to Blow to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Black Mass, Fear and Loathing, Sleepy Hollow.  I don't know how many times I watched Mortdecai, a brilliant treasure full of laughs.  There is not one I haven't treasured.  There is so much gold here and during the pandemic especially, we learned just how important it was to have these outlets with capable Hollywood stars that can carry you through the fantasy.  We also learned that bad acting, no matter how bored you've become, still rings false in your ears and is worse than complete silence.  Through his acting, Johnny invites you to escape along with him, as if you are in on the secret together. 

There are as many lovable characters in this trial, that it mocks one of Depp's movies.  I adore Johnny's sister and how they both speak like timid abused children, I just want to give them hugs and warm cocoa.  She loves her brother and I'd imagine she's seen some disgusting drug induced acts. It's a testament to his character that she is so loving and loyal after all of these years. 

Amber Heard does well as the psychotic, evil-doer.  From her demeanor to her body language, she gives off such creepy vibes. What is all that frantic writing she does when people are saying horrible things about her on the stand, posing like she's a psychologist evaluating their testimony.   I'd love to get a hold of that yellow legal pad and read her crazed ravings.  But admittedly, I am less concerned about the actual facts because obviously everyone is fine and will be fine.  This ultra rich Hollywood union that almost everyone predicted would have a bad outcome, are living out that drama.  However, we're all human and a lifetime career is being shattered, yet again by everyone's willingness to believe without verifying bullshit.  But within this pain, it is a wonder to have even a small glimpse into the real side of Johnny Depp.  For me it is a shiny marble to ponder.  

In the bigger picture, it is incredibly important that women not only, do not protest physical abuse if it's not true, but be punished if they do.  And it would be especially horrible if someone faked injuries, which may be the case here.  I consider that a very serious atrocity because this affects all women's ability to report violence.  Verbal abuse is apparent on both sides, although it feels more like the court revealed dynamics of an ugly booze filled toxic relationship along the lines of Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, more than abuse.  It's sad in the overall scope of things.  Alcoholism, and drug addiction is sad but again, with both coming out the other end of this dark tunnel,  there are funny bits as well. We're all stocked up on sad in this world right now, so its more healthy to focus on this case for entertainment value.  

I love Johnny's long rants and descriptions of life, how far he drifts from the question asked, but somehow makes his point in a poetic way, occasionally.   Apparently he is as captivating in real life as the roles he plays.  I'm enamored by his humbleness and kind nature.  I never payed attention much to his off-camera persona, but often envied his incredible talents.  Fellow actors, crew members and service people respect and admire him across the board, another testament to his character.  

I understand his idiotic texts, my husband and I share a similar type of exchange to entertain each other and fall out of the mundane.  But how vulnerable must it be hearing your own drunken, beyond acceptable, audio clips in front of the world.  For a couple to have their arguments recorded is a nightmare, especially during the first years together.  Those are not one's best times. 

The trial is also an amazing study into narcissism. Ms Heard displays all classic behaviors and if you're unlucky enough to have known one of these distinct personalities up close, you will see tons of similarities.  They are truly ones for the books and to acknowledge their unique dark traits is helpful in understanding humans. Because this particular personality type can really manipulate in such exaggerated ways that you begin to break down under the fight. They are exhausting beyond belief. 

Worthy of focus is how love makes you stupid, or what we sometimes mistake for love.  I guess I would call it lust or infatuation, intoxication. Love has nothing to do with it in reality.

Posing sometimes as a therapist myself, I think this might be one of those necessary evils for Mr Depp. Perhaps it was curative for him to play out these mother issues from childhood.  You can go on suffering forever, by why do it to yourself if you can do the work and get past it.  He'll be a better person from all of this.  And his nemesis came in a hot package.  

This might be the event that brings the political two parties back together.  Both republicans and demos alike agree this woman is a psychopath.  She is gorgeous, she is bright and smart but that girl has some big ass problems and no amount of I'm-not-crazy-suits and sophisticated up-dos will diminish that.  Johnny's a big drunk and at points has partaken in too many drugs at once, as I understand she does as well but nothing is convincing that he ever became physical.  But he needs to prove she is a liar to win this.  She will take the stand soon and that will reveal an even clearer picture.  #justiceforjohnny

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Oh, It's Full of Nasty Habits When the Bitch Gets Back

I can't remember the last time I had a taquito.  Mmmmm!
Mexican delivery from Maya Taqueria.  No disappointment was had, although one person in my party wasn't impressed with the mole tamale.  My Everything Shredded Chicken Taco was everything.  Big huge bite of stewed tomato-ey shredded chicken, guac, lettuce, red onions, cilantro and sour cream. In fact, this was a perfect combination plate.  After dousing the carne asada taco in hot sauce, the rustic corn masa flavor popped through on the tamal, each a unique oral sensation.  By the way, their chips are fresh fried, which makes the biggest difference. 

Have you ever been shamed on the spot?  I've once or twice been on the giving end of that but today, it was my turn to hang my head.  An older Asian gentleman who struggled a bit with the language came in 25 minutes before I was to end my shift.  It had been a typical whirlwind Saturday night at retail and I was ready to leave two hours before that.   He had a ridiculous amount of questions and answering back took a lot of effort to explain and be heard.  He was very nice but annoying.  Many of the answers he didn't need to know.  How do the lights connect? How do the drivers work. How are fillers installed?  What is a filler?  Ugh!  Yes, he had a contractor who would do all of this work.  Just purchase the correct pieces, I said, let the guy you're paying worry about all of those details.   No, he insisted on wasting more time getting my full name correct, which lead to other prying questions, which is always a big turn off for me.  What does it matter???? Call me anything, let's just get this interaction moving along, shall we?!  We get these clingers that sabotage so much of your time with their endless needs. I brushed him off, telling him I needed to finish a project, which I did.  Another sales person had extended him a free walk-in appointment, sitting with him explaining everything in detail, twice over and I suffered through listening to all of that.  So, for me, we gave enough already. 
My other coworker came back from lunch looking eager and refreshed.  A self described lover of customer service.  He also claims people adore him because he's a gay, white man with gorgeous green trusting eyes.  His words, I promise you.  I don't wish it, but I feel like that's inviting karmic trouble.  He instructed all the folks in the department to hand him irate customers as he is a whisperer of sorts.  Actually, he is very pleasant and has that butler like quality that is calming, but still, it's Brooklyn.  Before I could warn him, he immediately offers our customer further help.  Within two minutes he's siting down and commenced to redesign another plan, something i refused to do.  As I was leaving, I heard the man whisper something to my coworker to which he replied loudly, I am here for you. There is nothing more important than you.  I will make time.  I will answer ALL of your questions.  

I immediately pictured this coworker using this story to virtue signal to his friends over Spiked Lemonades on someone's deck before getting drunk and sloppy kissing on someone else's boyfriend... but then I felt bad.  I could have done better because he's right, that's what we are there for.  And we should always be kinder to the elderly, and it wasn't lost on me that he was Asian and they're getting targeted unjustly with senseless violence, so naturally, you want to be more considerate.   There were a lot of I's in my peers comments though and as I walked out to my bike, I realized yes, I felt a little bad but also there is something creepy about advertising your kindness. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

It's a Mixed Up, Muddled Up, Shook Up World

Chicken Soup with Crackers 
I knew a girl named Maribel in San Francisco.  I worked with her at a bike messenger company.  She was an immigrant from where I cannot recall but she was fair skinned and had long, gorgeous legs but the face and voice of a child.  She stayed south of Market Street in one room of a large house.  She had a hot plate, small fridge, a bed with a frilly pink canape and tons of stuffed animals.  She had a twisted sense of humor so we'd sit and laugh for hours about nonsense.  She had two doors, one solid and another a screen door on the second floor which she left open to allow the breeze to come through.  Everything was strange about her place and her for that matter. I admired her coming to the city alone, knowing no one.  She was brave and decisive and worked her way to managing the dispatcher's, who were a bunch of older bike messengers that were injured or tired of riding.  They loved her and often carried her around like a little kid.  I recall playing with her like your family dog would the pet hamster.  She fascinated me yet, I wasn't sure how to be friends beyond a couple of after work visits.  I wasn't a ruffle type of gal and despised pink, so we drifted.  

This week a woman named Maribel with I would have sworn the last name of my old friend, booked an appointment to plan a kitchen.  All morning I devised this fantasy of us catching up after all these years, her now living in New York, perhaps ending up with her Mr Big.  How fun it would be to see her little sparkling eyes again and hear what ever became of her.  Would she have gotten married and had children?  I do recall an older man, a sugar daddy of sorts in the picture that I was convinced was a pervert with a thing for child-like girls.  I hated to be cynical because she was head over heels and pined for his letters, that always included a wad of cash tucked into the folds.  She dreamed of being rich and having lots of things.  He made far-out promises that included too many someday's.  San Francisco had a market for any type of deviancy one would desire and I suspected she had fallen into the seedier side of opportunity.  But she wasn't a child, she was 25 and could make her own mistakes, like I did.  
Thawed Easter Dinner leftovers for lunch
It turned out this was not the Maribel of my past at all, but a current, unhappy customer who burst my little fun bubble with the sound of her familiar, nagging voice.  But it was good to remember little Maribel from the past. 

This past Easter, I had made a meal that became today's lunch.  Mashed potatoes and gravy at work tastes like heaven.  And pair that with roast chicken and asparagus, well it almost makes up for the boatload of crap one puts up with all day. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Sending You Forget Me Nots

Homemade Chicken Soup with a Shrimp Corn Salad

For this week's lunch box meals I made homemade chicken soup with cabbage and this spirited corn salad with baby shrimp.  Chopped salads and anything similar to a salsa cruda is always welcome.  Red onion, tomato, yellow bell pepper, celery, avocado, corn from the cob, herbs and a package of baby shrimp tossed in a bowl and dressed with a lime vinaigrette.  Every bite screams summertime! 

While I was cooking I became famished and had to reheat one of my left over peppers.  I paired it with rigatoni tossed in pesto. 

Next day's Shrimp Corn Salad lunch supplemented with a boiled egg

The best thing about living near Downtown Brooklyn is the plethora of competing produce markets, with quick turn over due to the amount of foot traffic.  I love picking up what's freshest and then coming up with ideas, like this salad.  
A very unexpected gift of pink roses from that guy that smells up my house.  New love victims would think, oh, how romantic!  Long-in-the-tooth love lifers thinks, Wow, what the hell did he do that flowers were in order?  Must have been pretty awful.  But also, how gorgeous!!  Humor and forgiveness could be the key to all relationship longevity.