Saturday, October 28, 2017

Wait!!!! I Forgot to Tell You What We Ate!!!!

Wait a minute!!!! I just wrote about all the guests that were here in the last three weeks, but I didn't tell you what I fed them!!!!! The first crew, in for 3-7 days, I already forgot what we ate. But the woman who came and stayed here for my 10-day sapo course--and my friend, the journalist who came at the same time but didn't take the course, they ate pretty well. I served my lime/parmesan chicken. I served couscous with lamb tagine; I served salmon and talapia; I served sliced steak with veggies; I served chicken parmesan with good thin spaghetti. I served hot roast beef sandwiches on good bread with freshly roasted red peppers and ghost pepper, pepper jack cheese. There were poblano peppers stuffed then roasted with yellow rice, seasoned chopped beef with veggies and good cheddar. There was a huge brisket with roasted potatoes and onions served with au jus.
And there was salad and hot spinach in garlic, and asparagus steamed and then sauteed with a bit of butter and balsamic vinegar. There was broccoli, a melange of zucchini, yellow squash, tomato, garlic, green onions.
There was papaya with lime, and mangos, oranges, tangerines, different types of pears, various apples, organic bananas.
There was smoked cheese and blue cheese, and fresh mozzarella, still wet. There was hummos and chips, fresh avocado, and fresh guacamole. There was salmon salad.
There was birthday cake and there was really, really good double chocolate and banana chocolate chip gelato.
Not on the same day, of course. But man, that was good eating. I love cooking.

Absolutely Pooped!

I'm sort of dead. It's Saturday afternoon at about 4:30 and I am sitting at my desk. Just came in from a walk around the yard. Checked out the rebuild on the chicken coop that friends did--fantastic--and stood on one of the two bridges that cross the seasonal creek and thought about how I should paint it again, and soon, before winter sets in. But then I thought, no, I am too pooped for that. The why of my exhaustion was the appearance of a lot of guests at my doorway the last three weeks. Two weekends ago I had a medicine weekend here, where former guests of mine from the jungle get invited to three or four days of feasting, fasting, and medicine work. I think 9 showed up, all of them fantastic, but still a little tiring, if just from trying to get and keep the house clean, buy and make food for them, do a couple of ceremonies and such. They give much, much more than they take, but it's still tiring.
Then, three days after most of the guests left, a new guest came in to take my course on Sapo, a 10-day intensive course on the ins-and-outs of the indigenous Matses' medicine, sapo, frog sweat. On her heels came a reporter friend who was also staying for the duration, though she wasn't taking the course. Both of them were exemplary guests: They washed, cleaned, helped out and did a million things I normally do myself. But it was still tiring because I was concentrating on the course for all those days. And on the last two days of the course, 14 people came in for treatment with the medicine--all invited, but still a bit tiring.
They both left late yesterday and I had a good, deep sleep. I let myself stay in bed till 7 AM, pretty late for me. And now I'm lonesome with no company, exhausted from all the company, and lonesome because no one is needing me now. No one is looking forward to what I'm gonna cook. No one is here to show me how to turn the darned television on. No one is here to serve cat food or dog food.
So I'm pooped. I hope to break out tomorrow, because everybody left a lot of great energy here for me to use. Thanks all. It's been a helluva three weeks!!!

Saturday, October 07, 2017

And Then Came Meatloaf

I don't know if I've posted this before, but someone brought it up on FB and I liked it, so here goes. Hope I'm not boring you to death with something you already saw.
And then came Meatloaf
Not the singer, the food. I was dying for the second piece of swordfish I've got in the fridge. Bought it a few days ago, it's still cold and fresh. Got capers, organic scallions, organic red peppers and plain old onions and garlic in olive oil to go with it. Was thinking of having it on a bed of spinach, no starch.
Then I got to the store and happened to see some ground pork. Yes, pretty horrible, but I got to thinking about meatloaf. Not the singer, the food. Though I did start singing Two out of Three Ain't Bad in the supermarket. It's okay, they already stare at me for my half-gone right calf, so I don't care.
Okay, so with Madeleina getting off at 8 tonight, I thought she won't be in the mood for fish. She will not have eaten anything but an apple and an orange all day and she'll be starving. So I went with the meatloaf instinct: "I want you, I need you, but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you, but don't be sad, cause two out of three ain't bad..."
So I guess I was crying while picking up the chopped chuck to go with the minced pork. No veal. I have my limits. And no bacon today because Chepa had me make breakfast for the family Sunday and it included bacon, sausage, biscuits, sausage gravy, pancakes with blueberries and bananas, eggs, home fries, potato latkas--all of it made from scratch except the bacon and sausage.
Forget that. Let's get me back to crying about the meatloaf song. So I came home, put 2 pounds of pork and two pounds of chuck into a saute pan on high heat to brown it and get rid of as much grease as possible. Then I drained that. While that was draining I put three tablespoons of freshly minced garlic in olive oil into the saute pan with a diced red onion. Followed that with six stalks of celery, each cut into six lengths and then diced. Followed by several minced, fresh, roma tomatoes. Followed by those magic organic scallions--six of them minced. Why six of everything? I don't know. Maybe six is two times three and two out of three ain't bad? Damn that Meat Loaf!!!! He's gotten into the kitchen in my brain!!!!!
Okay, calm down. Have a sip of wine--vintage 2014 Cabernet....raw junk.
Anyway, put some breadcrumbs into the drained meat. Added vinegar to the veggies to make a sort of ketchup and added them to the meat. Added actual ketchup, sea salt, butcher ground black pepper. Chopped some good curly parsley finely and put that in. Let it cool. Added four eggs, raw. Mushed it with my hands--washed better than in a hospital--and then put the damned stuff into two baking dishes lined with a bit of olive oil to keep things from sticking, and put the baking dishes on silver foil in the oven at 330. That will give me an hour. I'll raise the temp to 400 for the last 15 minutes to crisp the top--and yes, on Madeleina's orders I'll spread a bit of ketchup on the top...but NO BACON, OKAY Madeleina? I'm fat enough!!!!
That will be done by 6:15. It will settle by 6:45 and be ready to serve by 7. Madeleina will get here at 8 and it will be perfect. We'll have it with a salad and broccoli. Dessert is gonna be ice cold fresh watermelon.
Bon Appetit! I hope you all are loving your food, your bodies, yourselves in some way that's similarly wonderful. (I'm sorry pig, cow, celery, garlic, scallions, olives for the olive oil, onion, tomatoes, grapes to make the vinegar, salt, peppercorns. Even the wheat to make the breadcrumbs, and the parsley. I'm not sure if I'm sorry about the eggs since they were never gonna be chickens. Doesn't mean they weren't having a great life. I'm just not sure about that... .)
And if you can't love yourself the whole way, remember that two out of three ain't bad... .

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Guns don’t kill people, but they sure help people kill people

On Sunday night in Las Vegas, during a concert by country and western star Jason Aldean, a middle-aged, well-to-do white guy with a receding hairline sat at a window on the 32 floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, and started shooting with automatic weapons into the thousands of people at the concert below. In a matter of 15-20 minutes he’d killed more than 50 — that number is now 59 and climbing — and wounded 527. Some of the wounded might have gotten hurt in the human stampede that started after people began getting shot.
   I got the news in the middle of the night when I woke up from a fitful sleep and decided to sit at my computer for a few minutes. My heart sank. My first thoughts were of the people in that crowd and how that 15-20 minutes ended the lives of so many and changed the lives of thousands and thousands of others who knew the dead and injured.
   My second thought was of a friend of mine from Fort Worth who had written just hours earlier to say she couldn’t believe she was in Las Vegas. Then I thought of two friends of mine who helped build that club and of another friend, from north Fort Worth, who owns three cupcake stores on the strip. Were they safe? Had they been at the concert? Were they walking on the street and caught in the stampede?
   I’ve only heard from two of them. The one who had just gotten to Vegas was next door when the shooting happened and saw the people running and was shaken up but okay. The woman who owns the cupcake places is okay too. The friends who built the club I have not heard from as yet.
  All of us are asking “why did this happen?” We’re not likely to get an answer. The police and FBI say the killer, Stephen Paddock, had an absolutely clean record. His brother in Florida is dumbfounded. One of the gun dealers who sold Paddock some of the dozen or more weapons he had in his hotel room said Paddock seemed perfectly normal to him. Paddock himself can’t answer because the SWAT team that burst into his room said he was already dead from a self-inflicted gunshot. And he apparently left no notes to explain why he did what he did.
   He certainly didn’t just snap: This was well thought out, a planned action. Why?
   Here in Texas, as in Nevada, we’ve got open carry. Supporters say that you need a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun. That would not have helped in this case. It might help sometimes: The guy at the gas station on the corner is always strapped because he is determined not to get robbed again. Understandable.
    A little less understandable are the people at the Walmart and HEB in Burleson, walking around with semi-automatics hanging from their shoulders. It’s the law and I’ll live with it, but I wouldn’t hold my breath imagining that those guys are really going to save us if a problem crops up. In fact, I actually get the heck out of any aisle they are in because I don’t want to get caught in the line of fire of anyone who thinks they’re going to be a hero.
   While we don’t know they “why” of Paddock’s hellish rampage, we do know the “how”. The how involves guns. Paddock’s guns didn’t kill those people but they sure helped him do it. So what do we do now? Nobody wants to take people guns away, but there must be some room for making changes in our system to see that the future Paddock’s of the world do not get their hands on weapons that can do so much destruction and killing so quickly. Do we bother to close the “gun show” loophole? Do we make it illegal to manufacture or sell semi-automatics that can be easily converted to full automatics? Do we just put our heads in the sand until the next mass shooting, or the one after that? That’s what we have been doing. This was, after all, the 272 mass shooting in the last 274 days and we have not done anything yet. We, as a nation, have not even started a conversation about it.
    Our president’s spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee, said it’s “premature” to discuss guns. President Trump said “we’ll get around” to discussing guns. Meanwhile, Congress is set to vote on a bill this week that would legalize gun silencers.
   Not good enough. I don’t know what’s good enough, but anything would be better than keeping our heads in the sand.