My New Lover



I am currently having a love affair with Trader Joe’s Hot & Sweet Jalapeño Peppers. Like some other affairs, this one caught me off-guard and certainly wasn’t planned. My painting buddy Nicole told me about these fabulous peppers, just when I ran out of regular, old pickled jalapeños, and so I picked up a jar and gave them a whirl. Then they gave me a whirl.


At first, the sweetness threw me. I wasn’t sure I liked it. The sugary taste was odd on my weekly nachos. (May savory nachos.) But after getting through that first jar, I realized I liked it very much indeed, and swiftly moved on to a second jar.


I’ve now lost count of trysts jars and don’t give a rat’s ass who knows it. I’m even trying to figure out how to use the spicy, sweet liquid in a cocktail. If I figure that one out, I’ll let you know.


In the meantime, if you have access to a Trader Joe’s, I highly recommend these peppers. And if you don’t have access, well, too bad for you.

Head Cheese




Head cheese.


No – I’m not making an election referral. I’m talking meat, people. And I mean meat.


Head cheese isn’t for everyone. But it is for me. That’s why I made a pilgrimage to a great Italian deli earlier this week and the first item I procured was head cheese. The guy working the counter asked if I’d had it and I assured him that yes, I had. And that I am quite fond of it.


Truth is, I’m a sucker for the “odder” meats. Head cheese, blood sausage, offal – I love all of it. I don’t often eat those items, as they’re not as easy to come by as more ordinary, run-of-the-mill meats. And that’s too bad. For me.


I remember making Rumaki and taking it to a gathering a few years ago. As the host stood before the plate, droning on and on about how disgusting it was to eat a “filter” (liver), he very nearly consumed every last piece. Alternative meats are good. Even skeptics sometimes can’t help themselves.


Anyhoo – I’ll relish the head cheese I have on hand and that will do. I would encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and try one of the more crazy varieties of meat, but I’m guessing my encouragement would fall on deaf ears. We like what we like. Most folks haven’t been exposed to much variety. And that’s too bad. For them.

Nachos – How Do I Love Thee…



I am, of late, obsessed with nachos. You know nachos, right? They’re the things we order in bars? Drunk food? Tortilla chips, cheese, maybe some other good stuff?


I don’t order nachos out, not much anyway. Instead, I make them for myself at home. I lay out the chips and top each one individually and then I eat them right off the tray they cooked on. Sometimes there’s meat, sometimes not. But there’s always pickled jalapenos, cheese, salsa and sour cream. I’m not gonna give you a recipe, because your ass is grown and you can make your own damn nachos any way you want. But I do want to show you a photo of my nacho feast from the past week…




Yes. I love nachos. A jillion times over. Can’t hardly wait for this week’s batch.




The other day I woke up with a sore throat, along with a grand appreciation for life. It was an odd start to the day. My body definitely didn’t feel too good, and yet my mental disposition couldn’t have been brighter. Since I didn’t just meet me, I knew my mind was going to determine the course of my day, no matter how crappy my matter (body) felt.


I had to deliver some stuff I’d been proof-reading, as it was due for publishing… And can I just say something about that? I know some people get all excited when they’re about to undertake a pleasurable job or task, and I’m no exception. My engines are revved when I’m asked to get out my red pen to dissect the printed word. Seriously. I felt like crap when I worked on that package, and it was still fabulous! I wish there had been more of it to proof-read! But I digress…


So I delivered the paperwork, then walked back to the train, through Korea Town. K-Town is hopping and a lot of fun, but I wasn’t sure how lively it would be at 11:30 in the morning, so I kept my expectations kind of low. Plus, I was on the ill side of things, so there wasn’t much energy for raised expectations anyway. But I decided a pit stop, for medicinal purposes (ahem), was in order. Beer Belly more than satisfied that yen.


After my early lunch, I headed to the train station and made my way home. All told, I only walked a couple of miles, but I was fairly worn out from the outing (danged sick self). I tried to do low-energy jobs the rest of the day and mostly managed to pull that off.


Sometimes I tend to keep to the shadows in life. I don’t always interact with the world and I don’t always feel sunshine-y. During those times, the shadows are familiar and comfortable. Safe even. There’s nothing wrong with that, I know. But when I do venture into the light, even if my body isn’t quite well, I am often rewarded with joy and gratitude, just for being alive. My profound appreciation for both shadows and light is immense. As I’ve learned in painting class, you can’t have light without shadows, nor can you have shadows without light. I get it. And I’ll take both, thank-you-very-much.

Long Time, No See



The other day I was having lunch at a diner in Burbank. “Tallyrand” has been in business for a jillion years (57 actually) and I’ve been going there for at least 20. I wouldn’t say I’m a regular or anything, but I pop in from time to time, to enjoy the long-time staff and the pretty danged good diner fare. I know diner food isn’t for everyone, but I happen to love it. (Mister would definitely not agree on this one, by the way.)


So I was there at the Tally, having a fabulous burger, when I realized I could identify many servers by name. I’m not sure how that happened, as not one of them knows me by name. And believe me, they know a lot of their customers. I heard one guy at the counter saying he’d see them tomorrow. Tomorrow, people! That guy eats lunch there multiple days in a row. It’s good and all, but come on. Variety, you know?


Anyhoo – I felt rather anonymous, sitting at the counter. And I was good with that. The burger was aces, but too big for one sitting, so I boxed up half and took my leave. As I was stepping down from my stool, one of the long-term servers – Marti – said, “It was good seeing you again, Lady. Take care.” I smiled and assumed she was either just being nice or had mistaken me for someone else.


In the parking lot, as I approached my old car, I saw the manager looking her over. He smiled as I unlocked the door, asked me a few questions about the Volvo, and turned to go back inside. Then he stopped, faced me and said, “Victor said it’s been a long time since you’ve been here. Where have you been?” I told him I’d forgotten just how good the burgers are, but now that I’d been reminded, I’d be back. He smiled and wished me a good day then went back in to work. As I drove away, it occurred to me that maybe they did recognize me after all these years. Maybe I’m not as anonymous as I thought. And then I had a final thought: who the hell is Victor?

Summer Food



As we are smack-dab in the middle of summer, and especially as we’re riding out the “Heat Dome” here in the States, using one’s stove is not a good idea. Searing some ahi tuna, on the other hand, is quick and yummy. Throw it on top of a Nicoise salad and, well, a girl might need some alone time with it. I’m just sayin’.


I don’t have a recipe for this, as it’s something I make year-round without much thought. But this time I kicked it up a notch by including capers in the salad. Why I’ve not done this in the past is a mystery, as it’s so danged good. Honestly – the reason I’m sharing it here is mostly to remind myself to make it more often. I love salad. And yet I forget about it some times, and that’s a shame. Because salad doesn’t have to be boring or complicated.


Even as I type this, I’m making a mental note to eat more salad. Let’s hope my memory stores hold and that I actually honor this intention. Word.

Uh. What Day is This?



A few days ago, Mister and I were talking about “Amazon Prime Day.” Like you do. And he wondered aloud why the sale was held on July 12, as “12″ is not a prime number. Our math-themed conversation didn’t last much longer, but before it ended, Mister brought up “Pi Day,” which, as you know, is March 14, each and every year (as 3.14 are the first 3 digits of pi – but you knew that already). And then I got confused about which month and which day it was, and before I knew it, I was looking to today’s date and thinking how good some pie would be. It doesn’t make sense, I know.


Apparently, all it takes for me to steer toward good food is the gentlest of nudges. And that’s why today will find me working on my crust for some good-ass pie. Blueberry, I think. I’m already excited.

Accidental Selfie



Sometimes the unexpected happens. Like when you’re taking a photo of a beautiful spread of tomatoes and prosciutto. Tomatoes and basil you harvested from your own garden. Prosciutto you harvested from a local Italian market. Fresh burrata from the best maker in Los Angeles. And later, after you’ve devoured that fabulous platter of food, you look at the photo you snapped just before dinner and notice that not only did you capture the glorious essence of your dinner, you also got yourself a crazy selfie. I love when that happens.


Nice Haul!



This was my morning haul on Saturday. Nice, eh?


No need to answer. I already know.

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.