Smoke

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind, 
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves, 
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach, 
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow. 

Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, 
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands, 
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves, 
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

Bob Dylan

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Hello friends! Happy day after Thanksgiving to you! It was a non-traditional feast for us this holiday, celebrating with our cousin Zach. We enjoyed each other’s very fine company, along with margaritas, guacamole, green & red chile, pork & three kinds of wee sweet tamales. All made by yours truly, which was quite the endeavor! I started on Tuesday, so I wouldn’t be a manic maniac Thursday.

Grandpa would be super proud, especially noting the pork to masa ratio, as he nearly always lamented a lack of meat. It was my first time making tamales on my own. The last time was in high school, helping my mom. Much thanks to Tamales 101 for all the history (did you know they were among the first MREs?) and helpful advice! Greg and I decided that they’re the best we’ve ever had, which is wonderful, when Moreno’s and La Choza set such a high bar.

It was also the first time we’d ever had sweet tamales, more out of necessity than forethought truth be told, because there was SO much masa. Seriously. I didn’t have enough ingredients to fill them savory style, even when improvising with green chiles and cheese. I flavored the masa with vanilla and sugar in one batch, cinnamon and sugar in another, and sugar and chocolate chips in the third. You’d think our resident chocoholic would have been most excited about those, but he was dubious. They turned out to be our favorite, which was rather sad, as I made the fewest of them. Next time! The chocolate laden one is our final incarnation, made with leftovers and a sauce on the fly this afternoon. Delicious.

Finally to Zach’s creme brulee! It was egg nog flavored and muy muy delicioso. He and Greg did a fine job on the brulee portion. FIRE!

Oh, and here is my “recipe” for margaritas – my favorite in the land. Make a single glass or enough for a party. The sparkling water makes it slightly unconventional, but it is muy potente without it. Besides, bubbles are fun! If you are lucky enough to have some prickly pear syrup on hand, add it to your liking and be glad. The flavor and color are fabulous.

  • 3 parts sparkling lemon, lime, or lemon-lime sparkling water
  • Two parts tequila
  • 1.5 parts lime juice, fresh squeezed or bottled
  • One part orange liqueur (I like Gran Gala)
  • 1/2 part agave nectar
  • salt

Stir everything but the sparkling water together in a glass or pitcher, and taste to see how you feel about it. Add whatever it needs before adding the water. Sometimes the lime isn’t as flavorful, and I end up having it in equal proportion to the tequila. Maybe you like it sweeter. It’s your margarita. Do what you like! Another way I let go of convention is by adding salt directly to the glass. Salting the rim is a major pain. Sprinkle some nice sea salt in, stir, and taste. Add more, if you want. Enjoy!

Ecstasy

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Franz Kafka

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Hello from Jack Quinn’s, our favorite Irish Pub! This was last Saturday, and we were lucky to arrive at a sleepy enough hour to snag one of the very special booths, each cozy and enclosed, what an office cubicle dreams to be. The kind eyed with envy from passersby (been there!) and what I imagine would be taken by gangster types in days of yore.

It was a grand outing downtown, with an early dinner of Guinness for Greg, a Blarney Stone for me (Jameson, bitches!), and a shared feast of pretzels with beer cheese dip (the height!), amazing mussels, and a pork belly boxty. Oh, and a beautiful baked apple. Sooo much deliciousness and kindly service. Always.

We followed our perfect meal with JoJo Rabbit at Kimball’s Peak 3, our favorite theater that’s just around the corner. After loving Taika Waititi’s work in Boy, What We Do in the Shadows, and Eagle vs. Shark, we had rather high hopes. Sadly, it didn’t live up to our expectations, despite the fabulous Sam Rockwell and the scene stealing from he adorably funny Archie Yates. We’ll likely do a similar repeat this coming weekend to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. More high hopes…

A few weeks back, strolling a craft fair with my dear friend Bebe, I became smitten with a cache of felted wool acorns. Itching to recreate them, I collected acorn tops from neighborhood streets and bought all the makings – wool roving in 100(!) colors, felting needles, and a sturdy pad for all the stabbing. With my attention diverted by three books of every manner of cuteness checked out from the library, I have yet to complete an acorn (ha!), but I have made the cute peach and the wee mushroom and mouse scene. What I will do with them, I am not quite sure, but who cares! They are adorable.

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