Treat Yo’ Self!

 

 

The other day I thought I might want a treat. And then a few moments later, I thought I might need a treat. About an hour after that, I decided I would get a treat and there was no way anyone was gonna stop me from making that happen. That’s when I put one foot in front of the other and headed out the door.

 

There’s a corner shop near us, that is, as it happens, just around the corner. I sometimes go there for a cuppa, but their treats tend to be more along the lines of vegan and gluten-free. As I am the self-proclaimed Patrick Henry of the gluten-free craze (“Give me gluten or give me death!”), their baked goods don’t really do it for me. So I opted to walk to a different treat shop, about a mile away.

 

When I arrived, there was a bit of a queue. I guess the treat yo’ self mantra was heavy in the air that day or something. Once I reached the counter, I made the poor shop gal go through every single item in the pastry case, as I really wanted to know what some of those yummies were. Since I rarely go for treats, I wanted to get something that would be totally Baby Bear – just right. After a few minutes of perusal, I made my choice, payed the nice gal and walked home. Once there, I unwrapped a beautiful, gi-normous Red Velvet Cupcake and beheld its glory.

 

And then I ate the entire thing, all by myself. And it was good.

Grilling Season

 

 

It. Is. Here. Grilling Season. That time of year when we do our darnedest to cook our food outside, so as to not heat up the inside.

 

Mister and I took the cover off the old grill last weekend. I felt a bit rusty, but soon regained my grilling footing and all was well. Almost. You see, our grill’s starter hasn’t worked for a few years. And it has fallen to me to repair the danged thang. My efforts on that front have been limited to writing “gas grill starter” on the grocery list that hangs on the side of the refrigerator. After a list page has been filled, each item checked and the page thrown in the recycle bin, I have transferred “gas grill starter” to the next page. And so it has gone, for years. Years, people!

 

This week I decided enough was enough. I started digging around on the interwebz, looking for the specific part for the repair, when I happened upon a vid-ja on the YouTuber. Short and sweet, the dude in the video suggested most folks with faulty grill starters merely needed new batteries and not new starters. Da-fuh? Batteries? So I went outside, twisted the starter knob until it loosened and popped off, pulled out an old tiny battery, replaced it with a new tiny battery and pushed the starter. The old gal fired up in less than a second.

 

I feel like a dork, having not figured this out sooner, but I’m also grateful the quick fix worked. I can hardly wait to make pizza on the grill! Yippee!

Onion People

 

 

This post’s title may refer folks like myself, folks who love onions and wait all year for times like now – when we can lay our hands on Vidalias. And then we hoard them. Because dear, sweet lord! Vidalias are truly a gift from the gods.

 

This post’s title may very well be about people who are so complex, so layered, that we can spend a lifetime peeling back the facets of who they are, and still never be done getting to know them. I get the feeling my friend Cynthia is like that. And it’s so delightful to learn a little more about her, each time we interact. I like those people. Some may see them as always holding something back, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think folks like Cynthia don’t need to tell you every little thing about themselves in the first 5 minutes of getting to know one another. They’re honest. They just don’t need to spill all over you. That’s called confidence, friends. And it’s mighty attractive.

 

Then again, this post’s title may allude to people who stink. God help ‘em, because I don’t know what else to say about that.

It’s a Good Day for a Good Day

 

 

It’s Friday, friends, and it’s a good day for a good day.

 

Yesterday, Thursday, was pretty spiffy, too. We got new stop signs on our street, so now our scary intersection has a 4-way stop. That happened bright and early, and I nearly broke into a happy dance on the front lawn.

 

At the grocery store, I saw Elvis. Our paths cross every once in a while, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But it does make me smile to think that Elvis and I shop at the same Vons.

 

I needed to trim a couple of tree limbs and at first thought I’d tackle the job with a hand saw. Then I remembered the reciprocating saw and pulled that baby out. The task was handled, jiffy-quick and my arm was spared. Bonus.

 

Even though it was 80-something degrees out, I rode my bike to take care of a task (instead of driving). At some point there was a traffic jam that backed up for a couple of miles. I just kept to the bike lane and pedaled right past. I was home in record time.

 

A friend asked me to sing on a piece she’s working on. When someone believes in your abilities like that, it’s a pretty good feeling.

 

Mister and I had a salmon dinner that I’ve been making for decades and it still delivers. I do love good food.

 

When my head hit the pillow, I was tired and ready for sleep. A full, active day will do that for you.

 

It was a good day. And now, I think I’ll have another…

Howlin’ Ray’s

 

 

For quite a while now, Nashville Hot Chicken has been taking the country by storm. Though it’s been a staple in Nashville for decades, it’s only recently that the rest of us have come to worship at the spicy chicken table. And let me be clear here – this chicken isn’t merely spicy. It. Is. H-A-W-T.

 

Mister and I first crossed paths with Nashville Hot Chicken in our own kitchen. (You can read about that here.) Because the recipe we used provided our taste buds with such delicious heat, we were hooked. We’ve made the chicken since and we still love it.

 

Cut to last year and enter “Howlin’ Ray’s” food truck. The press on this was huge and social media was exploding with some of the greatest food porn around. I kept trying to hit up the joint, but schedules never meshed. They were only rolling around L.A. a few days each week and in case you’ve forgotten, L.A. is big, y’all. So if my bid-ness had me on the east side and the crack chicken truck was on the west side, it just wasn’t gonna happen. And it didn’t.

 

In the meantime, I had a nice email relationship going with them and knew that eventually our paths would cross. And then the “Howlin’ Ray’s” food truck stopped rolling. At first, I was devastated. (And remember – I hadn’t even had their chicken yet.) Then I came to understand a brick-and-mortar was in the works. Hooray! And so I, along with the rest of town, waited. The last week of April saw the shop finally opening.

 

Last weekend Mister and I headed to Chinatown for an introduction to “Howlin’ Ray’s” Nashville Hot Chicken. As the joint had only been open a few days, we planned for a wait. Which we got. And were fine with. Anyhoo – we and a diverse group of Los Angeles food dorks waited patiently for our lunch. And we were rewarded with some fairly magnificent food, I tell ya. All in, our wait was about an hour. And when our number was called and we beheld that gorgeous chicken, we didn’t even pause long enough to take a danged photo. We just dug in. And it was fabulous.

 

For anyone planning a trip to Chinatown for some “Howlin’ Ray’s” love, I offer this: medium is good. Mister and I both thought that level of heat was flavorful and bearable. We got some hot chicken to take home (1 step up from medium) and it was a bit too much for us. We felt that at that level, the heat overpowered the flavor. So medium it is. But do go. If you’ve never been to Chinatown, give yourself some time to stroll around and enjoy yourself. And take some tissue. “Howlin’ Ray’s” Nashville Hot Chicken will, in all likelihood, give you a bit of a runny nose. And you’ll be so glad for it.

Mister’s Summer Soiree

 

 

I don’t know why I haven’t shared this cocktail recipe, as it’s so friggin’ good!

 

Mister had something similar to this at an L.A. restaurant a few years ago. He deconstructed it at home and it’s become one of our faves. It’s super easy and super refreshing. Here’s what you’ll need…

 

 

White Vermouth, Club Soda (or Seltzer) and Lemon (or Lime).

 

Fill a wine glass with ice. Add 6 oz. White Vermouth and 2 oz. Club Soda. Squeeze 1/2 Lemon’s juice into glass and stir. Garnish with Lemon slice or wedge. And bam! What a lovely, simple drink. Yum!

 

Mister’s Summer Soiree
Author: 
Recipe type: Beverage
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1
 

Super-refreshing summer cocktail that’s easy and lovely!
Ingredients
  • 6 oz. White Vermouth
  • 2 oz. Club Soda (or Seltzer Water)
  • ½ Lemon (or Lime)

Instructions
  1. Fill a wine glass with ice and add White Vermouth and Club Soda.
  2. Squeeze Lemon half into glass and stir in the juice.
  3. Serve.

 

Thursday Memories

 

 

This is me in the late 1980s. Or maybe 1990. I’m not quite sure. Either way, this photo was taken before I’d learned to cook. That is apparent, right?

 

It’s funny to think about, but I didn’t always know how to cook. I always liked good food, but making it myself took time and practice. (A lot of time and practice, I might add.) I haven’t had any ravioli from a can in so long, I can’t remember when that stopped. And though I can actually imagine wanting such things (such as when I’m tired or sick), I probably wouldn’t buy them. I think the salt content alone would freak me out. I’m pretty much ruined for pre-made goods. I’ve spoiled myself with good food! Argh!

 

I guess if I really think about it, I was destined to learn how to cook. I remember standing by Granny Vera’s side and watching her make biscuits. The alchemy she practiced with flour, lard and buttermilk was astounding. And it worked every time. I never saw her measure a thing and yet those biscuits never disappointed.

 

Studying Granny Vera’s process hasn’t led to my being able to make her awesome biscuits. But I can make a mean Beef Wellington. So I must’ve learned something, somewhere along the line. And for that  I’m grateful.

Beauty

 

 

The other day, as I tried to navigate my grief over the death of Prince, I found myself at a supermarket, standing before a bin of the most beautiful peppers I’ve ever seen. They were striped and gorgeous.

 

Life is like that. You can be so far down in the dumps that you’d have to climb a ladder to see daylight, and something beautiful will appear before you, almost magically, to remind you that the world is made of more than woe. The trick is to actually see that beauty when it appears, to actually take it in. Otherwise, grief can consume you. And living is so much better than stifled existence. I swear it.

 

I didn’t buy even one of those beautiful peppers. But I knew enough to take a moment and snap a pic. I was able to understand what a gift that vision was. To appreciate it and the moment.

 

This is the last week of April. I’d like to try and spy with my little eye as much beauty as I can before May arrives. And if I’m good – and lucky – I’ll keep going, into next month. And beyond.

Running on Empty

 

 

Last week I came upon this empty fridge and it was funny. And sad. And stark. And clean. And then funny again, as the bubbles were left open to the elements (no cork) and the small plate on the top shelf held a single, shriveled jalapeno pepper.

 

I can’t remember the last time our fridge was this empty. And for that, I’m grateful. Truth is, we have plenty to eat. And when I think about that in a larger context, it breaks my heart. That’s why I offer to buy food for beggars. And why I often cook food for a monthly charity dinner. On those occasions, while my actions may actually be the most I can do, I feel as if I’m doing the least I can. It’s tricky.

 

But back to the empty fridge shown above. It wasn’t as sad as it may appear, as it was in a seldom-used kitchen in a large building. Only a couple of employees have access to this particular fridge. And a swell guy there told me the old jalapeno was his. He even planned to eat it. Absolutely no one stepped forward to claim the flat bubbles, however. And I don’t blame them.

She Sure Can Cook

 

 

Friday was Mister’s birf-day and he got a nice dinner. Saturday night found us ordering in – pizza. Sunday Supper was pretty spectacular, too.

 

 

I am sometimes reminded of the old song, “If You Wanna Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul. It’s not that I think I’m ugly or anything, especially because I have a loving heart, and that’s the sort of thing that goes a long way toward making a person reasonably attractive. But the truth is – I sure can cook. And Mister knows it. So back off, bitches! He’s mine and unless you’re prepared to bring it on the food front, you don’t stand a chance.