Friday, July 28, 2023

That's Why I'm Easy

Baked BBQ Chicken

Sometimes laziness breeds good ideas.  It's best to incorporate a green into your dinner but if you want to slide in a shortcut, as your rice water is boiling, add a bag of frozen kale, broccoli or spinach.  It's one less pan and the seasoning and garlic is already in the broth if you're like me and don't like bland rice.  Start by toasting the rice in oil and spices, then add garlic and finish with chicken broth.  You can finish with a splash of lemon. 

Yes, you should make your own BBQ sauce.  But bottled sauces are better and better in regards to sugar content, spiciness and flavor.  The specialty markets mark the good ones down and you'd be silly not to swoop in during those times.  This was a mustardy, tangy version with honey.  Life is hard, make it easier.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

You Can't Hide Your Lyin' Eyes

Cafe Luluc
Sometimes one needs excuses to eat out for lunch or breakfast.  Sometimes we just do it without thought.  I think the difference is, when we spend a little more to go to the nicer spot it's a thought.  And that is about the difference these days in a nicer establishment, a few dollars more. Like this highly desirable meal at Cafe Luluc on Smith Street in Brooklyn. Even the outdoor space is decorated much nicer, which in turns makes the experience that much more pleasant.  The quality of the food is better, although that doesn't always equate to better tasting.  This time it did, except for the beans and rice were just so, so.
The excuse this time was my new glasses that were waiting for me at See Eyewear.  They are larger and heavier than I thought, not flattering, yet people comment on how much they like them constantly.  Which is how I feel about them.  They look awesome, except on me.  The sales lady was so pushy I wanted to leave the second I met her and I should have, because the experience left me cold for that place.  So much that I didn't want to pick them up or get them adjusted.  I ran in and tried them quickly before rushing out.  The prescription was not even comfortable.  I end up wearing my reading glasses most days even though I allegedly need the bifocals. 

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Lazing On a Sunny Afternoon

Summertime Shrimp
A pound of shrimp in the summertime can become many things.  This could have been a ceviche,  nachos, a Mexican shrimp salad or made into tostadas.  I made a big batch of chunky avocado salsa with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos and green onions.  I grilled up the shrimp along with some small diced chorizo.  I had homemade hot sauce.  This was incredibly vibrant and delicious but it was not a proper dinner, nor was it just a snack.  It was an odd meal out of a Dr Seuss book, Summertime Shrimp Something or Other.  

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Goodbye to You!

National Thai in Fort Greene's Last Stand
Shortly after this order of Spicy Shrimp Noodles, National Thai, our neighborhood fairly inexpensive long-running take-out spot, has closed and gone the way of so many others.  I will miss them. 

P's Panang beef
Chive Fritters
all on a non-stop torrential rainy day

A fairly odd breakfast toast sandwich 

Saturday, July 15, 2023

First You Love Me, Then You Hate Me

Chicken in Mustard over Egg Noodles
This was pure comfort food.  The reason I stay away from many creamy dishes is the amount of fat that is usually added.  There is not a weekday reason to add a cup of sour cream or a block of cream cheese along with half and half or whole cream to your dinner, unless you're looking to get on that Statin drug asap.  This recipe only required 2 tablespoons of sour cream and I added the noodles to the pot instead of serving on the side, that way I didn't have to dress them in more butter. 
I subbed Italian Parsley for Tarragon and stock for white wine.
I could crawl inside there and fall asleep!

I'll call it 'creamy enough'

A Toasted Everything Bagel from Bagel Delight with tomato and Onion and Cream Cheese in the morning. Now That is a reason to eat an overly sufficient amount of Cream Cheese! 

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Break Up to Make Up, That's All We Do

Lettuce Cheese Burgers with Kale over Polenta
Using Romaine lettuce, and eating this as a hand-held turkey burger requires you to cut the patty into thin strips to lay down and fold into each of the lettuce leaves.  It's worth the effort to construct each bite even though it feels a little foolish at first.  Otherwise, it's more of a burger salad, which doesn't sound as sexy. 
When I know ahead of time which lettuce I'll be using, I form the burgers in long tubes so I don't have to break apart afterwards.  Either way, it's delicious.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

You Have to Believe We Are Magic

Amazon Frozen tamale for lunch topped with my hot sauce and side salad

There is game in trying to outsmart the higher food prices when meal planning for work, while still keeping it easy.  Instead of plating for dinner and only getting 2 servings, I opted to save the almost $10, 6-pack of pork tamales for lunch, when I only need to eat one with a side salad and can stretch the bag for a whole week of lunches.  

You have to believe we'll figure out all of this craziness of our current day life or you'll go mad.  It's a challenging time when our own system is eating us alive.  When prices increased for everything, but wages stayed the same for most.  When food is coming in smaller packages and lesser quantities, yet higher priced, so you're screwed twice and not in the good way.  

Friday, July 7, 2023

Give Me One Reason to Stay Here

Hot Sauce Chicken 
I've come to embrace the ease of this one pan chicken idea.  Vegetables, grains, chicken and then any type of seasoning spin works every time.  As long as you brown the chicken first, then add all else, bring to a boil and stick in the oven with tight fitting lid for an hour or so from 375 to 425.  
This time I used bell peppers and onions, tons of garlic, Mexican oregano, wild rice and a heaping cup of my homemade hot sauce, with enough chicken stock to cover.  

Tangy, zesty and spicy.  It's comfort with a kick. You can leave it until the chicken is falling off the bone, as I like it or with a little give.  You can put the chicken skin up and on top of all other ingredients if you like or bury it deep in all the juices.  Its versatile.  
Chilaquiles in Red Hottest Sauce for me
Castro's Breakfast Chorizo Tacos
That morning we headed to Castro's Mexican Restaurant for breakfast and I sweated out my angst with the hottest sauce on my chilaquiles.  The breakfast tacos, although very tasty, needed some accutroments on that stark white plate.  I'm thinking a little pico de gallo drizzled across the three would have cost nothing and improved the look triplefold.

Even though the service is questionable, I like this place because it's old timey and that's hard to find anymore in the neighborhood.  All the post COVID shut down restaurants are being taken over by high end establishments.  Two precious pizza restaurants serving martinis featured a standing host , an oyster bar, a pasta factory (no objection to this gem).  Two women opened an exclusive looking foofy eatery replacing the longtime Academy Diner and it serves scallops and beets with pistachio and horseradish.  I get that food is more expensive and restaurateurs need to fish for the people with big bucks, but this is a neighborhood that could also use affordable take out options.  

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Confirm Thy Soul in Self Control

4th of July Sausage and Pepper Lettuce dogs
Romaine lettuce acts as the bun for these satisfying sausage and pepper dogs to celebrate the 4th.  We passed on opportunities to get street fare dogs today, so this was the healthier fix.  

Nachos with cheese and jalapenos along with homemade hot sauce kept the festive feel going.
Don't underestimate the flavor punch of cheddar and fresh jalapeno, a little red onion. 
A little shout out to my dear brother David who passed on 7/2/17. Thinking of you and your knowing smile.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

You Can't Make Old Friends

The best smiles are the real ones!
Lunch with my bud at Junior's of all places.  Girl likes diners and grilled sandwiches, what can I say.  I'm not the amazing host that I would like to be but I know you give the people what they want.  If I recall the weather was sweltering heat with high humidity that day.  Unrelentless sun.  When you have to say, dang summer, you scary!  
I got the Turkey Reuben with thick cut fries and we we scored a good window seat in the back.
I believe H got the Swiss Melt.  They always give pickled beets, pickles and coleslaw to each table.  I hope that never goes away, like the free chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants did. 

But we cooled off in the AC, sat in the park a bit before melting and then hightailed it back to my place for some cold watermelon and an incredible chat.  I miss socializing so much but do it so little.  It is schedules and energy driving the downslope in outings but something definitely happened after COVID that leaves me even more apt to spend time alone.   This is not without logic.  I'm less apt to jump on the subway at night as every ride comes with some potentially violent lunatics.  Women are vulnerable and it seems like everyone that gets attacked by a machete or pushed off the tracks is my age.  It's a drag to go to Manhattan now.  It gives me bad juju.  I love my Brooklyn neighborhoods but it is healthy to get out and about.  When you spend time with someone you know and feel so at ease with, that's when it becomes apparent that you're missing out.  

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Can I Handle the Seasons of My Life?

Salad for Dinner
Kitchen Sink Summer salads with what you like over lettuce and a bag of chips.  In this case, blue corn chips.

You just need to provide a variety of fresh textures, some acidity, some creaminess and substance, like beans to stick to the ribs, in this case cannellini beans. 

Nieces and nephews are getting so much older, evident in these photo comparisons.  People who have kids understand this already but I can only look at relatives to realize how much time is passing.  Oh yeah, and that dern mirror.

With our big-eyed godson above, not sure about the year.  Now working for SpaceX (below).  Look how much hair we had! I still wear that same t-shirt btw.