Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Killing Too Many Things

So I got back from Peru about Feb. 7. My legs were pretty bad. Went to the surgeon--whom I've written about as a fantastic doctor and a genius surgeon, Dr. Ford at Huguley Hospital in extreme South Fort Worth--and he had to put me on an antibiotic regimen. I don't know why but that had me loopy. He gave me some basic codeine for pain, but I wasn't using them much, so I wasn't loopy from those. If I took them at all it was just before sleeping. So I don't know why I was off-kilter: Maybe the infection? Maybe the pain? Maybe just remembering last year when the infection nearly took my leg with it. Don't know.
    What I do know is that I couldn't think. I could hardly do anything but stare at facebook, not something I generally spend more than 20 minutes a day doing. I got an assignment for a cover story and couldn't even imagine how to begin working on it: Who to call, how to start. I was all sorts of lost for a few weeks there.
    Well, the antibiotics ran out about 8 days ago and I'm clear-headed since then. Morgan got the new book out on Amazon.com (sapo in my soul; buy it please), I'm full steam ahead on the cover story--late already but shaping up to cover a couple of angles I've not seen on the subject, which is what I always want to do--did two short news pieces and a good column for Skunk Magazine in my regular Drug War Follies slot--and am working on an interesting freelance story due in two weeks.
    About the only thing I could do, the only real anchor I had, was my cooking. And I did cook up a storm: Since I've been back I've made a white clam sauce with shrimp over thin spaghetti, a couple of hot roast beef sandwiches on good sesame-seeded French bread with freshly roasted red peppers topped with pepper jack cheese melted just so perfectly (the couple is because I made it for Madeleina and me). I've made shrimp with red pepper, garlic, scallions over rice; I've made lamb tagine with couscous; I've made two barbeques for the whole family. I cooked whole red snapper with the head on, doused in lime and cilantro. We had fresh-cooked chicken wings with homemade sauces. We ate hummus I made with organic garbanzo beans, and roasted chicken with sliced new potatoes. Tonight I made Boots, the Wonder Dog, chicken livers--dusted in organic flour and seared in olive oil with garlic and tomatoes and onion. That was so good I even ate one myself! I also tossed in some left over steak and a small bowl of leftover chopped meat Peruvian style: seared with garlic onions and broccoli and cauliflower and zucchini and yellow squash and spinach and a lot of achiote and white vinegar. And we're having meatloaf made with  a mix of ground pork and beef into which I put ketchup, fresh parsley, 4 eggs, organic bread crumbs, sea salt and butcher ground black pepper, along with sauteed garlic, onion, scallions, celery, and tomatoes. I'm gonna make a topping of ketchup (cheating, I know) and cider vinegar with a bit of brown sugar. (Don't eat a lot, and never serve with a starch on the side.) We'll have that in an hour.
    Oh, and there was also some sword fish in a lemon caper sauce; scallops in the blue cheese/lime I've been dreaming about; salmon made in a sort of Chinese way, with ginger, garlic, scallions, sesame oil, a bit of teriyaki with the skin absolutely candied and the meat still pink. Served with stir fried bok choy, Chinese cabbage, daikon radish slices, red pepper rounds, sliced mushrooms and who knows what else I put in there?
    So I was in a daze. I'm out of it now. I cannot believe I could cook that way in the condition I was in. No cuts at all. No yelling, no nothing. Just being my own self as a chef and being patient, asking the food what I could do to eek out not just the flavor but the spirit of it all--which has a lot of extra flavor and general goodness.
    The only thing I'm not happy about is how many things died for me and mine. I mean, that's a lot of killing on my hands. And I don't just mean the meat and fish and shrimp. I mean the garlic, the onions the zucchini...they were all happy before my demand caused their demise. I'm sorry universe.

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