Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Oh, snap

January 6, 2023

An iPhone camera on full zoom is no match for a backlit hawk at daybreak.

Now and then I wish I still had a real camera. Like this morning, when I saw our friendly neighborhood Cooper’s hawk perched in a tree across the arroyo from El Rancho Pendejo.

He was looking for breakfast, and I was looking for … well, for what, I’m not certain. I wander a bit in the morning, peering through windows without my glasses on while muttering to Herself, Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and the voices in my head between large mugs of strong black coffee and small doses of the news.

Yesterday afternoon I was looking for dinner, and it was surprising how many basic items I was having trouble finding, even with my glasses on.

Eggs were back at Wholeazon Amafoods, so that long national nightmare seems to be at an end for the moment.

But the seafood counter was bare. Emp-ty. As in nothing atall atall. Maybe all the delicious fishies were booked on Southwest? Beats me. But I needed a half pound of shrimp for jambalaya and I waddn’t gon’ get it, me.

Also, the only andouille available had already been tried and found wanting; there was no basil for bolognese, unless you like your basil in huge plastic tubs when what you need is eight leaves; and there were no radishes for the salads, in tubs or otherwise.

Wow, this is really blossoming into a First World Problem, I thought. Someone should write a stern letter to the editor.

Somehow I managed to drop a couple hundy anyway before shoving off to Sprouts, where they had a single packet of basil, but in an unattractive shade of brown. Still, their sausage and shrimp were suitable, so, winning.

Sans basil, the bolognese is on the back burner for now. But the jambalaya turned out fine, lots better than what the Squeaker of the House is going to have to eat for the next two years.

But then again, maybe he likes the taste.

Bugged

November 29, 2022

Tea and oatmeal. Yum, yum. Maybe not.

Have you ever noticed that when you get sick, there’s no restorative food in the house, especially if you feel like maybe you could eat a little sumpin’-sumpin’?

If you’ve caught a stomach bug and have trouble keeping air down, as was the case the last time I fell ill in November 2019, you have all manner of delicious items rotting in the fridge because you dassn’t even think about food or it’s back to The Big White Telephone for another call to your old pal Ralph. Or worse.

But if it’s a case of Snotlocker Surprise, like the one Herself fetched back from Maryland via flying aluminum test tube, the cupboards are practically guaranteed to be bare.

I thought I had dodged this particular bullet, but nope. Shortly after the sis-in-law flew home I was hacking in harmony with Herself, thankful that the gals had loaded up on Kleenex during a trip to Costco and sleeping — well, “not sleeping” would be more accurate — in the spare room.

The Boss is past it now, it seems, and has toddled off to work. But I’m stuck here, making “Andromeda Strain” noises, slurping cups of hot tea, and wishing I had made a pot of chicken soup instead of turkey chili, which is pretty much it for medicinal purposes around here unless you count the bottle of Herradura Silver tequila hidden away behind the breadmaker, which I do not. I don’t think there’s a lick of chicken in there.

In case you’re wondering, given the events of the past couple of weeks, yes, indeed, I did take a COVID test and it was negativo, as we say south of the border. This means exactly jack shit, of course, but I’m going with it because this bug feels familiar. It has caught me between grocery trips before.

Food for thought

November 10, 2022

“Only a bonehead would try to predict what happens next. So, yeah — ‘Reply hazy, try again later.'”

“What do you think about the election?” the waitress asked.

“I’m glad it’s over,” I replied.

It’s not, of course. And it won’t be for a while yet, maybe not until just before the 188th Congress gets sworn in on Jan. 3, 2023.

When we finally get there, more than a few of the noobs — and plenty of the holdovers — will kick off the session by lying through their artificially brightened teefers as they take the oath of office.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

But before we cross that crumbling bridge over the Styx we have many a long, hard mile to walk, through a wall of sound that even Phil Spector would deem overwrought. Enduring the media’s dissection of the 2022 midterms will be like trudging through an animal shelter that takes in only werewolves, banshees, and howler monkeys, and whose keeper is La Llorona.

The National Kindergarten for the Criminally Insane may change hands after Jan. 3, but you probably won’t get bitten if you keep your hands away from the cage.

If the inmates do wind up in charge of the asylum, Sleepy Joe will get carpal tunnel from ripping their frantically scribbled Crayola fever dreams off the Capitol refrigerator. But he has a generous medical plan. And once he’s past the first few impeachments the rest of his shift shouldn’t be any worse than a casual lunch with Hannibal Lecter.

Speaking of lunch, the green chile chicken enchiladas at El Patio were delicious and the service cheery and superb, all as per usual. I paid my tab, left a preposterous tip, and took the scenic route home through the North Valley, with a brisk autumn wind robbing the trees of their gold.

Possibilities

August 10, 2022

Possibly rain.

Partly to mostly cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible.The Weather Underground forecast for The Duck! City

The gods are pulling my chain again.

Actually, they may be peeing on it.

We just got more than a half inch of possibility in about 15 minutes and Your Humble Narrator beat the deluge home by the chromoplastic skin of his mudguards.

I hadn’t intended to go for a ride. The original idea was to drive to Dick Missile’s Galaxy O’ Grub for a couple hundy worth of disco vittles.

But about halfway there I realized I was short one wallet (mine). So I pulled a U and in a cloud of blasphemy motored home, where I swapped the Subie for a Soma.

Some explanation is in order. I like to buy my groceries early, when most people are working, schooling, or riding their own damn’ bikes. This has the effect of broadening product availability, widening aisles, and shortening lines at checkout.

By forgetting my wallet I had squandered my chronological advantage over the Little People, so I thought I might as well go for a ride instead. Which I did. And it was very pleasant, thanks for asking.

About an hour in I noticed the clouds bunching up and darkening. As I looped around High Desert en route to El Rancho Pendejo things looked positively moist down by Four Hills.

“No worries,” I thought. “It never rains before noon, when it rains at all. Plenty of time.”

Uh huh. I felt the first few drops just off Tramway at Manitoba, and on Glenwood Hills Drive they were bucketing down in quantity. I had fenders on — all the Somas have fenders — but I had to mind my manners in the corners as I slalomed home at a quarter ’til noon, just in time for lunch, if I had any food.

“If only we had some ham we could have ham and eggs, if we only had some eggs.” You said a mouthful, brother.

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.

Spring, forward!

March 13, 2022

Them ol’ Sandia Mountains blues.

Today we take our text from the Gospel According to the Rev. Ken Layne of Desert Oracle Radio:

“Despair eats away at our souls. The most Orwellian thing we can do is wake up in the morning and say to ourselves, “I wonder how the war is going today.’”

I woke up this morning and said to myself, “I wonder where I should ride today.”

Yesterday was Herself’s (mumble-mumblest) birthday, and we celebrated with Herself the Elder, sister Beth, and pal Sue. The eating was medium-light and required assembly, not cookery: smoked salmon and shrimp, various cheeses and crackers, guacamole and chips, and a selection of desserts from the Range Cafe. I slapped a candle in a slice of key lime pie, lit ’er up (the candle, not the pie) and we all sang “Happy Birthday.”

Today, I feel like springing forward on a bike of some sort. The weather is supposed to be stellar and if you miss one of these days you’ll forever be one behind.

Watch this

May 14, 2021

I’m losing most of my bets with the watch on my nightstand.

Lately I’ve been posing myself a little challenge when I return to earth from dreamland: Pop open an eye, peer around the bedroom, and try to guess what time it is based on ambient light leaking through the vertical blinds.

I was doing pretty well there for a while. Nailed it once or twice. But lately I’m minutes off the mark.

I’m not sure who’s to blame for the decline in my batting average. Possibly the “Harvard elite with perfect hair” who’s apparently behind all the psychos shooting the mortal shit out of each other around town. He’s certainly broken into at least one head down at Peterson Properties, which has more eyes than Avalokiteshvara and knows more about what you’ve been up to than Santa Claus.

We remain unventilated by pistoleros here at El Rancho Pendejo, though we have endured a busy week. Last Friday we moved Herself the Elder from the Dark Tower to the Bermuda Triangle, an assisted-living house a little closer to us. It’s where Herself had wanted to park the old gal when she first came to town, but there weren’t any vacancies. Suddenly there were. So it goes.

Wednesday was our 31st anniversary, and as we were both thoroughly shot up vaccine-wise, we went out to eat at an actual restaurant, El Patio on Rio Grande. It was my first sitdown restaurant meal in more than a year, and it was spectacular. Great food, excellent service, and we didn’t get plugged or burgled or tagged or nothin’, Harvard elites with perfect hair notwithstanding.

Today we’re baking bread and pulling weeds. Probably still working off some of those tasty El Patio calories. Gotta keep in fighting trim for the next 31 years.

Just coffee, thanks

March 23, 2021

Food for thought.

One minute you’re having a nice chat with friends about comfort food, and the next some asshole is shooting up a grocery store.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve lost my appetite.

Sweet and savory

March 21, 2021

Looking NNW from the back yard.

We had quite the sunset going on last evening.

Earlier, Herself and I enjoyed a ridiculously warm bike ride for March — I’m talking short sleeves and shorts here — through the hilly, low-traffic streets of the northeastern ’burbs.

Well, unless you count Tramway, which is anything but “low-traffic.” At the northern end you do get rewarded with a sniff of the fixin’s at The County Line barbecue joint, though.

No BBQ at the rancheroo, however. Instead I tried a Sam Sifton recipe for the Cuban comfort food picadillo, largely because I had most of the ingredients on hand and was bored with tacos and other ground-meat dishes.

Didn’t have any dried Spanish chorizo, or even any wet New Mexican chorizo, so I substituted some mild Italian sausage, plus some Spanish paprika and half a jalapeño. Also, no stuffed green olives, so I made do with black olives. And lacking canned whole tomatoes I went with crushed, which made the dish a little soupier than it might have been had I been able to drain off the excess juice and hand-squeeze the tomatoes.

Still, not bad, not bad at all. Next time I might skip the cloves and nutmeg, dial back the cinnamon, and use a bit more chile. And I’m definitely laying hands on some chorizo.

Git along, lil’ Dog-ie

March 13, 2021

Looks a little weatherish to the north
from just below the Candelaria Bench Trail.

In mid-March last year I had a hitch in my gitalong.

All I was good for was a short stroll with crutches, or a slightly longer spin on the stationary trainer. A Darth Gimp boot gripped the broken bone like an ankle monitor. Only the mind wandered freely.

Today, with the skies darkening, the wind thundering, and the pollen scattering, I almost — almost! — decided to stay indoors.

And then I remembered last March. So out I went.

I needed a thin watch cap, mask, hoodie, henley, pants, wool socks, and thin gloves, but still. Outside! On a trail! And a rocky one, too, even worse than the one that took me down last February.

Even jogged a few bits, just ’cause I could. What a difference a year makes.

Up near where the climb to the Candelaria Bench Trail steepens, I saw seven deer peering at me from across a ravine. They’ve been thick as rush-hour traffic around our place already this year, peppering The Compound with poop.

I’m not certain what they’re after down here in the ’burbs, before spring has actually sprung. But like most Americans deer will pretty much eat whatever is convenient. Free will is an illusion, at least for certain foods.

Speaking of airline travel, which we were not, do not expect to see me boarding a flight to anywhere anytime soon until (a) The Plague is over, and (2) the drunks have a clear idea where the toilet is.