Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

The Dog, the Cat, and the Voices

August 2, 2022

Dark-thirty at the DogHaus.

Tuesday is “Pay Your Dues Day” at El Rancho Pendejo.

Herself gets up at stupid-thirty to prepare for the first of two weekly 10-hour shifts at the Death Star, and somebody has to make her breakfast and lunch. I keep hoping this somebody will turn up and clock in, but nix.

So I crawl out of my coffin like a dime-store Dracula with the insomnia, head out to that kitchen, and rattle those pots and pans.

By this time Herself has brewed a cup of what she calls “coffee,” given Miss Mia Sopaipilla an amuse-bouche, and returned to her sanctum sanctorum. So I toast a thick slice of bread, slather it with Irish butter and French jam, and deliver it posthaste. Miss Mia gets a butter-finger out of this and another small helping of cat food.

Next it’s lunch, which is usually leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. But honey-chipotle chicken tacos with black beans and Mexican rice seemed a tad aromatic for a business lunch, and so this morning I whipped up a basic tuna salad and built her a sandwich with provolone, lettuce, and tomato, plus a side of watermelon chunks.

Miss Mia is always very interested in tuna or anything even vaguely tuna-adjacent, so she got a couple tidbits in the process.

After Herself hits the door running at 5:30 I’m free to do whatever. Going back to bed always seems attractive, but so does a midafternoon nap, and what the hell, I’m already up.

So I have a couple mugs of authoritative black joe and sit in the dark living room for a while, half-listening as the birds sing up the sun, Miss Mia snores on the back of the couch, and the voices in my head start tuning up.

This is the sweet spot of a Tuesday morning. No NPR, no Zoom meetings, no phone calls, no online exercise/yoga classes … just the Dog, the Cat, and the Voices. And the distant grumble of traffic, which is someone else’s bête noire.

Going nowhere fast is just my speed on a Tuesday morning. I’ve paid the toll and everything.

Piece of Cake

April 7, 2022

OK, I know you folks floating around out there in the Innertubes are dying to know all the deets about the exotic life of the retired velo-scribbler.

So, hold my fake beer and dig this:

Yesterday I went to Lowe’s for some lawn soil to spread over the recently seeded bare patches in the yard and gave ’em a good watering, then mowed the healthier bits of grass. Later I cooked up a big ol’ pot of jambayala.

This morning I toasted and tea’d Herself, who has a full day at the lab. Then I fed and watered Miss Mia Sopaipilla, giving her a few head-bumps in a sunny spot for dessert, and emptied her litter box.

Next I got a loaf of bread going and set about watering a few shrubs and one tree out front, using SuperDuper! to back up The Main Mac to an external drive, downloading an OS update, and washing the breakfast dishes (two cups of strong black coffee and one of strong black tea will lead to multitasking).

And now the garbage is going out. Boom! You can’t stop me, so don’t even try.

I hate to go all Hollywood on you little people like this, but I figure the few of you who still have jobs deserve to know how I’m pissing away your Social Security contributions on my rock-’n’-roll lifestyle.

Run!

March 19, 2022

The wind smears clouds like a finger over pastel pencil.

Running was the order of the day yesterday. Not from the Russians, or even from the cops. Just ’cause.

Mostly just ’cause it was all we had time for.

Another round of visitors was en route and I had been instructed to deploy my mad posole skillz. The cooking is not difficult but does burn a bit of daylight, even with Herself handling the salad, cornbread, and ice cream. So instead of a refreshing bike ride we did a half hour of the old hep hoop hreep horp along the foothills trails.

I was not at the top of my game, with seasonal allergies using my snotlocker for a speed bag and the Worm Moon wiggling into my REM sleep the night before. I don’t like taking drugs that don’t make you see things that aren’t there, or vertical blinds that make you see things that are there.

Next time we need window treatments I’ll stay in the kitchen where I’m useful, maybe whip up a batch of posole for the installers. Either that or go for a run or ride, come home just in time to sign the check.

Weather, or not

March 10, 2022

Looks like weather. Whether we get weather remains to be seen.

The best thing about riding trails on a cool, gloomy Thursday is that you will not have much company.

Herself’s elder sis and one of their longtime pals flew into town yesterday for a weeklong visit. I whipped up too much grub — turkey enchiladas in red chile, turkey tacos with homemade salsa fresca, and Mexican rice — and this morning I felt the need to balance my caloric budget. So I kitted up, grabbed the Voodoo Nakisi, and rolled out.

Water you doing up there?

The forecast called for wind and snow, which is why I decided to log a little dirt time on the Elena Gallegos trails, just in case they turn into ice rinks, mudslides, and/or drainage channels. The NWS did not sound particularly confident in its prediction, but hey, even a blind dog finds a Milk-Bone now and then.

I exchanged compliments with a couple cheerful hikers early on as we took different routes around the same rockpile. A third reluctantly stepped aside for me as I cranked cautiously up a sketchy bit of Trail 341 that most double-boinger types ride as a descent.

Putting a foot down and waving her through, I explained that I hadn’t ridden this section in a while and was likely to intercourse the penguin right about where she was standing. She complied and trudged on down the trail, mumbling something about having been denied “a little entertainment.”

She didn’t miss much. I cleaned that sumbitch right up to the rock garden just below where 341 intersects with the Pino Trail. That obstacle has me completely buffaloed. I nearly rolled the dice but figured that I’d been lucky so far and didn’t need to break any bones with the womenfolk off raiding The Duck! City’s thrift stores for their eBay empires.

Made it home without incident, tossed a light lunch down the gullet, and started a pot of posole for the evening meal, when Herself the Elder joined the throng.

I am seriously outnumbered here. Why, I can hardly hear the voices in my head.

What’s cookin’?

February 15, 2022

Today’s Wall of Clouds.

When I woke up without a big ol’ knife quivering in my rib cage I knew it was going to be a good day.

The morning clouds were back, which ordinarily makes for a great sunrise, but the iPhone’s camera was not cooperating, so you’ll have to settle for a less colorful snap from later in the morning.

At least I could step outside to take it. How’d you like to be jailin’ with Tobias “Julio Child” Gutierrez, who Duck! City police say spent Sunday slicing and dicing his way along Central? No thank you, please. And don’t give my homie anything sharper than a rubber spatula come chow time at the lockup. God only knows what he’s cooking up in that head of his.

Dude was riding a BMX bike, too, so, more positive press for cyclists. Yay. I bet he wasn’t wearing a helmet, either.

Speaking of cooking, we finally ate our way through a fridge full of Southwestern goodies that I started cooking back on the 10th — chicken enchiladas in green chile, turkey tacos, beans with chipotle chile, Mexican rice, etc., et al., and so on and so forth — and so today I will have to cook again instead of simply reheating leftovers. My suffering knows no bounds.

Let’s see here, what else is going on? Super Bowel? Didn’t watch, don’t care. Winter Olympics? Not watching, don’t care. There are very few actual sports in the Winter Games. If the winner is determined by a finish line, timer, or goals/points scored, it’s a sport. Anything that depends upon judges is a performance.

Especially if it happens in a courtroom. You have any idea how many times our man Tobias went to jail before Sunday?

Beans and rice, rice and beans, beans and rice

February 10, 2022

Back to basics.

Inflation rises, earnings fall.

Happily, literature has the answer.

There’s “On the Road,” by Jack Kerouac:

“You know what President Truman said,” Remi [Boncœur] would say. “We must cut down on the cost of living.”

And also, “Tortilla Flat,” by John Steinbeck:

Beans are a roof over your stomach. Beans are a warm cloak against economic cold.

Thus, yesterday I labored mightily and brought forth the plato combinado. Green chile chicken enchiladas, frijoles, and rice. Not pictured: The appetizer created by Herself; sliced avocado with halved cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and pepper. We will be gnawing on this carcass for days.

The mantra around here when money gets tight is “Beans and rice, rice and beans, beans and rice.” So there you have it. Go forth and do likewise.

Chili today, hot tamale

January 27, 2022

Sun’s out, but my guns are still in.

I don’t remember when or where I first heard that old gag. “Chili today, hot tamale.” It sounds like something the old man would’ve said.

He picked up some Spanish down in Panama and he’d toss fragments of it at me and my sis as a call-and-response joke come bedtime. We had to repeat each phrase after he uttered it. (“Repitan ustedes.”)

“Hasta la vista.”

“¿Como se llama?”

“Buenos noches.”

This last became “Buenos snowshoes” at some point. Lord, what white people will do to someone else’s language.

Anyway, it’s chilly today, so I plan to make chili today, from a Pierre Franey recipe. No tamales, though. Eso es demasiado como el trabajo.

Howling at the Wolf Moon

January 16, 2022

A nearly full moon and a bowl of jambalaya will spice up your dreams.

Eating spicy dinners as a full moon looms is a recipe for weird dreams.

The Wolf Moon won’t arrive until tomorrow, but it’s been howling at me for a few nights now, ever since I made a pot of jambalaya, a favorite dish adapted from a recipe by Judy Walker and Marcelle Bienvenu by way of The Washington Post.

Last night I dreamed I had been confined to an assisted-living facility, and was sitting at some sort of crafts table with a couple old biddies, one on either side of me.

I was trying to write captions for some photos — longhand, on paper, since I had no laptop — and the biddy on my left kept crowding me, piling napkins and letters and whatnot onto my workspace. The one to my right asked me what a young pup like me was doing in the old mutts’ home, and I explained that I had apparently gotten my bell rung in some sort of bike mishap and was being held for observation.

This led to a good deal of cackling, especially after they asked how I was paying for my stay and I said I had no idea. Certainly not by writing those goddamn captions, ’cause I wasn’t making much headway there. If Herself had thrown me over and the Repugs had finally croaked Social Security and Medicare I was in a world of shit. “Golden Girls” meets “Cuckoo’s Nest.”

When I woke up it was in my own bed and Herself was still here, so I made her toast, tea, and oatmeal just to stay on her good side. You never know. There’s a bad moon on the rise.

Winter is coming?

December 29, 2021

I’ve put more white powder than that up me snout on a weeknight.

I know, I know — don’t tempt the Fates, never let your blog write a check that your ass can’t cash, and so on and so forth.

But sheeeeeyit: You call this “snow?”

The Bread Box is baked.

The appalling lack of precipitation aside, it was not so warm outside today, and not so hot inside, either.

Our $20 garage-sale bread machine seems to have toasted itself after a year of medium-heavy use, churning out a bleak pan of something one might expect to find in the toilet at a dive bar on St. Paddy’s Day if the menu featured a questionable shepherd’s pie and some heavily stepped-on blow.

Thing is, y’see, I have about 20 pounds of Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour on hand. So I may be forced to learn how to bake bread the way me forefathers did, only without the dubious advantage of being knee-walking drunk.

Or I could just buy another Toastmaster on eBay.

X’dmas

December 26, 2021

This way to the Egress.

Well, that’s that. Another holiday crossed off the calendar.

I threw out my back just in time for the festivities, so I was not the usual jolly old elf as I tottered around the kitchen assembling Emeril’s chicken cacciatore and Martha Rose Shulman’s stir-fried succotash while listening to my favorite traditional Christmas carols (“Christmas in Prison,” John Prine; “Merry Christmas From the Family,” Robert Earl Keen; “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis,” Tom Waits; “Christmas in Washington,” Steve Earle; and “St. Stephen’s Day Murders,” The Chieftains and Elvis Costello).

Having a bad back is like having a bad dog. You can feed it and scratch it and take it for walks but you never know when the sonofabitch is gonna bite you.

Nevertheless, I persisted, and with an assist from Herself (lemon bars with whipped cream) we took a bite of supper with Herself the Elder and then relaxed with some 22-year-old standup from Marc Maron, Dave Attell, and Mitch Hedberg on Comedy Central.

Eye see you.

This morning it seemed some portal to another dimension had opened while we slept off the grub and giggles. You can see it up there to the right of the backyard maple.

And unless I miss my guess this other shot at right is either of the Eye of Sauron or Cthulhu’s bunghole. Red eye or brown eye, it’s not something you want to see before coffee, especially with a dodgy back that hampers your ability to flee in terror.

The sun is peeking out now, and I may go for a short hobble, see if I can jar all my scattered bits back into their proper places.

But I tell you what: If a chiropractor had beckoned to me from that interdimensional gateway, I’da jumped through it like a bad dog hopping a fence, howling, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn?” (“By any chance do you take Medicare?”)