Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Try Not to Confuse it With What You Do to Survive

Quick-style semi home-made pizzas

A low band-width dinner.  No mozzarella, no energy.  Semi-home-made pizzas with cheddar cheese, Italian sausage, turkey pepperoni, green olives and canned pizza dough, spread into two crusts.  I spiced up a can of tomato sauce (in the can) by adding oregano, garlic and onion powder and red pepper flakes.  Stir it up, it's good to good, no need to heat it through, just pour it on the par-baked dough and spread thinly. 

I've watched some TikTok quickie meals lately that featured loads of processed crap thrown into a crock-pot as a quick dinner solution.  I'm all for time-saving measures, but I think we can do slightly better by grating our own cheeses, allowing limited processed salty additions and ensuring most ingredients in these weird concoctions stay real.  

Thursday, November 23, 2023

How Deep is Your Love?

Thanksgiving day spent solo as P drove back to spend with family.  When you know a day is supposed to be special, there is a bit of pressure to experience something unique.  As I was daydreaming out my kitchen window in the morn, which is a daily ritual while waiting for my almond milk to heat for the coffee, I began fixating on the backyard tree.  How alone it is out there, almost imprisoned between the buildings.  I wonder if it talks to the neighboring trees underground.  I wonder if it feels appreciated, or feels anything at all.  As I kept focusing on it, it seemed to become taller and taller.  I had to crook my neck to see the top.  I remember when the crew of Mexican tree-cutters came and trimmed all its branches after a storm broke off a giant limb that fell on my downstairs neighbor's patio furniture.  How long has it stood here?  What was it like as a small tree? Were the fences erected sometime years later?   I suddenly felt such deep respect and gratitude for this perennial giant full of stoic wisdom. 
All of these questions after a brownie bite and latte.  

This gratitude was all I needed in order to later make and enjoy this slow simmered ragu sauce over perfectly al dente spaghetti noodles.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

None But the Lonely Heart

Staff Cafe Turkey Dinner
I worked the night before Thanksgiving after it had rained and the colors were prominent and breathtaking.  I closed my department alone and felt a romantic type of loneliness.  Think Sinatra's, No One Cares album playing in the background throughout the day.  The managers usually serve up Thanksgiving dinner at the store in an attempt to show gratitude for our efforts, to acknowledge the underlings they ignore regularly, even greeting us by our names, while trying not to obviously read our name tags.  This year, though, there were not enough of them to run the store properly, so we served ourselves.  Other years we'd be beckoned to the back as if mom were calling us to the dinner table.  There were no such announcements and at times the bins were empty at the trough, like in my case by 5:30pm, no potatoes, only gravy.  I slowly grabbed a plate and approached the line as if attending a wake.  I served up baked ham and turkey, lingonberry jam, sweet potatoes, and green beans. A tasty plate of goodness that was appreciated as I would not be making any such dinner for myself.  And also a slightly sad but appropriate representation of our fading traditions and values.  Retail is dying a slow sad death. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

I Have Been a Fool for Lesser Things

Continuing my love of all things eggs, I made a ginormous puffy omelet, which I cut in half and since it was so fluffy and light, I felt it was appropriate to eat with bacon and buttered toast.  These are fun to make and require nothing but an arm workout.  Of course, you can use a hand-mixer.

Bad picture of exceptionally vibrant red trees in a row, in various stages of change.  It's interesting when nature creates beauty where it's least appreciated.  I sat and stared at these lovelies for too long. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

Lovin' You is Easy Cause You're Beautiful

Chocolate Chip Brownies - I had time to make these because I didn't slave over dinner.
Because....Freddy's Truck to the rescue again!  A beefy burrito

A fajita plate (chicken underneath the mound of fresh guac and lettuce, pico)
Carne Asada nachos - all from Freddy's Truck, our new obsession and neighbor. High respect for his talent with flavors and his prices are so insane.   Even if he raises the price, it will all still be well worth it. I couldn't make this heap of goodness
and there are enough leftovers to take for lunch the next day.

For breakfast, I did make poached eggs on avocado toast with chili crisp

It's finally looking like full fall towards the end of November.
I've already started working on my Christmas card but will be lucky if I get it sent out in time for the holiday as I am a chronic procrastinator.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

God Only Knows What I'd Be Without You

Brothy Chicken Noodle Soup
Hot and spicy broth for me is healing and revitalizing.  A hot soup should transform and cleanse.

Chicken and Noodle soup with spinach, mushrooms, and rich broth for the noodles to absorb and swim in. My signature broth is fortified with a cup of homemade hot sauce, freshly blended, very much like a sofrito and added to real chicken broth.  All soup is good right? But if you made the stock fresh, and everything you add to it is real and made for the pot, it truly can become medicinal and healing.  This soup and others like it have saved my soul many a cold day.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Come As You Are

Freddy's Food Truck tacos along with my homemade mexican rice.  I met my local vendor halfway by providing the side to a great lunch.  

Mike's Coffee Shop Counter Breakfast
For breakfast, we graduated to counter eating at the local diner.  This is an honor you feel comfortable accepting once you've patronized the establishment a number of times and have made nice with the waiters.  There we witnessed a very New York racist-esque banter between a fellow counter eater and the busboy in the humorous way that can only be funny when you witness it first hand.  New York must remember that which made it so very special was the ability for each individual of any race to speak to another in a brutally frank way with humor and slightly muffled love, in order to release a bit of the steam building in the melting pot, enough to relax and live with each other.  Trusting, a bit of rubbing will not break the other. This is of course most common in the blue collar working communities where we are put together in trains, work environments, and eateries.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

How Simple the Joys at our Finger Tips

How bad can life be when you find a pack of little non-stick pans for which to fill with baked goods and in this case, meatloaf!  Any new take on an old favorite helps take the doldrums out of the cold weather months.  Mashed potatoes and greens came along for the perfect ride.

When is the appropriate time to take down Halloween decorations?  
Sister's snowy view in Colorado
My two favorite trees of the fall bike ride this year.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

I See Myself in You

Shrimp and Sausage with Peppers over Tortellini
Not a concise meal but a mixture of delicious members each contributing to make a flavor-packed plate of bites that provide the umami level of pizza but the heartiness of a home cooked dish. 
I might similarly describe my recent obsession, a band named Geese.  Of course I'm two years behind, I'm old!  They are from Brooklyn and magically provide whatever was lacking in my life.  Their music is new, yet familiar.  They are raw, not soft and squishy like so much I hear now.  They can be grotesque and crude at times but then precise and spacey in others.  They present this evolved sound that was possibly born out of a lifetime consumption of selective serotonin uptake inhibitors in the water supply.  It plays right in time with our racing ADHD brains.  They work very well as a band even though to watch them play, they could each be on their own planet and that would sound right too.  They are hard to describe but whatever they are doing, it's working.  So well that I've not been able to stop listening since I found them.  
Geese, An American Rock Band
I have often wondered what type of modern music for lack of a better term might come out of today's youth that could appeal to my slightly older pallet.  I could live another lifetime and not discover all the bounty of artists that already exist so it's not essential that a new band come along but it's always stunning when they do.  From the moment Cameron Winter delivers his guttural vocal acrobats, to the mystifyingly bewitching riffs coming out of Gus Green's guitar, all balanced by the rock solid bass of Dominic Degesu, you are transported to the home of your restless youth, complete with all the uneasy, unruly feels.  Max Bassin plays drums like I dream of living. His strength and restraint leaves me awestruck.  He goes to battle every song.  I could watch him all day long.  
Geese give me goosebumps!

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

I Been to Sugar Town, I Shook the Sugar Down

Dark Chocolate Chip and Walnut Brownies
It's hard to know where these things are born but I awoke one morning with the idea and vigor to bake up some sweet treats for no other reason than to follow my whim.  As if rich, chewy chocolate brownies could replace the lack of sun needed to keep a bright outlook.  It doesn't, but it sure helps.  
Banana Nut Bread
And since I had extra chocolate chips, flour, eggs and nuts, why not use up these overripe bananas for a soft comforting bread.  I could take some to work and share with the guys and gals.  It was satisfying to create and bake and felt good to give as we approached the giving season, even though I know a few of those fecks don't deserve one single nut the way they act and treat me and others many days.  Sugar helps swallow down all the bad medicine we must take on a daily basis.  

Egg and chorizo breakfast taco