Friday, September 29, 2023
Thursday, September 28, 2023
I made a fusion dish tonight, out of my head, with food that originates continents away from each other. Actually I amalgamated elements from three recipes and pulled some ideas out of the ether for good measure. I thought that a Thai approach would blend favorably with the unique favor set of the Peruvian pepper.
Did it work?
Yes, I would have to say it did, after a quick save from my wife. But caution and care is needed to find the appropriate middle ground.
I patted some chicken dry and then gave it a salt, garlic and onion powder and Peruvian aji panca rub. Added a bit of paprika and cayenne. I was cautioned not to use black pepper as it fights with the delicate flavor of the aji amarillo. Did add a healthy dash of red pepper, for a little more heat.
I dredged the organic thighs and drumsticks and cooked them in a bit of oil, skin side down for six minutes in an enameled cast iron skillet. Flipped them and cooked them for another ten minutes, until the thermometer showed the internal temperature reached 165 degrees.
I proceeded to add a healthy couple of tablespoons of aji amarillo paste, the basis for so many wonderful Peruvian dishes.
I let it cook for a few minutes and finally added a half cup of chicken broth, a can of coconut milk and a squeeze of half a lime.
I added the chicken back into the pot and let it simmer for about twenty minutes. Added a little butter to the broth.
About this time Leslie came home and I asked her to taste the sauce.
She thought I went overboard on the citrus but had an easy fix, adding about one and a half tablespoons of brown sugar.
This was the perfect balance, the flavor melded together wonderfully, just what the doctor ordered.
Thank god she was there to save me from myself, knew exactly how to make it work.
It's not easy, especially for a beginning cook like me, to make disparate food elements mesh with each other but these did. I made a pot of rice, ladled the sauce over everything and added organic cilantro.
One of my base recipes called for the addition of heavy cream to thicken the sauce.
Others add greek yogurt, feta or parmesan. We have done that before.
But she thought that this was fine the way it was and I did too.
Just have to watch the lime next time or forget it completely.
I think that the next time I make this or something like it, I will fry plantains again, I think it would be a great finishing flavor set.
Fallbrook is not exactly a culinary hotbed but there are good things around to eat.
My favorite used to be Delos's shrimp diavalo at La Caseta, Robert's pork normandy at Le Bistro, both now long gone.
I love Rosa's camarones de mojo de ajo but it is almost too much food. I am a freak for Trupianos penne rustico.
Here are three nice dishes to try around town. At least I really like them.
Ken sent me a picture from an epic trip he is on that took him to Yellowstone, Colorado and Utah and many points in between. He took this great video off the Shafer Trail at Canyonlands, at an unnamed gooseneck we shot together a few years ago.
When we were on this rugged jeep trail together, we saw bighorn. He wasn't as lucky this time. ( I guess the file is too big for blogger.) Here is a pic of the spot I took.
Kip was in New Mexico and sends back some photos he took near Jemez Springs, one of my favorite spots in the Land of Enchantment.
Tim Ratican summited Mt. Whitney the other day. I think the climb is getting harder and harder for him as he gets older. Welcome to our world, Tim!
Terry DeWald sent some pictures he took with his wife at South Island of New Zealand a few years ago. Very interesting geology.
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
This small poster has always been one of my personal favorites and has hung in Leslie and my bathroom for over thirty years. I love the strong orange cast shadow on Pan's head and shoulder as a counterpoint to the dull olive green.
In Greek mythology Pan was the son of Hermes and Penelope.
It is a symbolist work. My interpretation of it is that the wildman Pan figure is looking at an opium poppy flower, which has been cultivated, with some measure of bemusement. Man confronting his animal nature and passions. Opiates were in vogue in the latter half of the nineteenth century but their effects were double edged and bittersweet, to say the least.
While people of the time like Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale who took opium appreciated the dreamy vision granted by the narcotic, people's addictions were indeed swift and severe.
Look at the ghastly ogre like faces in the flower petals. Definitely a foreboding warning of its perils.
I was thinking of this slightly horned figure the other day. The Feuilleton website shared an image of it.
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
How is Trump publicly stating that he hopes Mark Meadows stays loyal on Meet the Press not witness tampering? * New bullshit from Donald about whales being killed by windmills. * Amazing that such a large part of the GOP platform is protecting the right of politicians to lie, dissemble and misinform. * GOP targets researchers who study disinformation. * Free speech chutzpah.* GOP spreads falsehoods*
So now we have an ex President who wants to hang his ex general for treason for telling the Chinese that things were calm after January 6. Oh and put the head of Comcast and NBC in jail too. I ask my bros on the right if there is no new low that would be too low for them regarding 45 and I hear crickets. Or how fun it is to troll you libs. He can't wait to seize power and start the paybacks against his political opponents. And most conservatives won't say utter a peep. That's just Donald, as if laws, decency and morality no longer matter or apply when it comes to one man because he is so damn cute.* Interesting commentary at the right wing Dispatch, are we numb to Trump?
I could not see them with my naked eye. Now if I had four arms or eight arms like an octopus I could take a picture of the black screen that shows them clearly but I am bibrachial, (the scientific term for having two arms, I looked it up.) By the way, Tetrabrachius is a medical term for a person born with four arms (apparently it can happen from incomplete twinning) or for a four-armed monster.
Never know what you are missing out there...
Monday, September 25, 2023
I created a pretty hard crossword puzzle. If you think you know sixties music, give it a shot. You might want to print it out, it will be easier to fill. I don't think even Wagman can solve this one. You really have to know your stuff.
I have just returned from an excursion that was fruitless financially but certainly had its aesthetic and spiritual rewards. Unfortunately, they don't pay the mortgage. Ultimately I drove about twelve hundred miles back and forth to Reno, Nevada. I think a short backstory is in order.
A very nice client sold me a couple pieces of navajo jewelry a year and a half ago. She told me at that time that she believed that her cousin owned a valuable piece of Mexican artwork by the most prominent Mexican muralist of his day.
She asked me at that time if I would be willing to travel to Carson City, Nevada to look at the artwork. I said "Sure, why not?" About a month ago she asked me if I was still game. I try to keep my word and said that I would, it would give me a chance to visit the Eastern Sierras and Mono Lake again.
She sent me a picture of the artwork, very similar to a series of pieces the artist produced between 1935 and 1941. It looked promising but it was a very bad photograph.
Sky was cloudy, a few patches of snow still remained on the peaks from last winter.
I enjoyed watching a pair of ospreys flying to their nest that sat on a far off tufa.
I went home and went to bed, forgoing dinner as Leslie had packed me a really nice bag of food for the trip and preferred to just snack on an apple. I was pretty exhausted.
It doesn't really bother me to miss a shot some place if I have snapped great pictures there in the past. I have some lovely shots of Mono Lake taken when the light was right.
The good old intermittent reward. It means that failure is a constant part of the game. Somebody on Next Door asked me how I got so many great shots the other day. My pat answer, long periods of waiting and getting absolutely nothing. It is the truth. You take what the universe doles out and sometimes the pickings are quite slim.
Got up at 4:45 in the morning and made my way back to the lake for the 6:45 sunrise. Thought it would be packed with photographers, I was actually alone for two hours. The obsessive one.
Still not great light but did what I could.
I was happy to be there. I didn't have to take a shot. The air, the beauty, the calm, it was just what I needed. In fact the two greatest shots of my trip I was happy to just see and take in, never even bothered to grab the camera. One was a big buck standing there looking magnificent.
No tricks, no color or saturation added, just nature. Which is enough.
Sun finally did choose to come up. It does so every day with regularity but sometimes I'm not so sure...
Unfortunately, there were no clouds and a bit of the Bay Area smoke had filtered down to the area, making it less than optimal for photography.