March 2020

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Hello from nanuck and his cowboy hat girlfriend! Greg’s words, not mine, but chuckle worthy and true, especially when you look at his shadow on the street. Very eskimo and cowboy.

Thankfully, we are still enjoying all of our dining in (Greg says it’s the best restaurant in town), the top photo the best pork chop of my life and the steak at the bottom topped with a Korean BBQ style sauce of wonder. I’ve been brining, smoking, then pan finishing just about all our meats lately, and what delicious magic it has been. Everything cooked to absolute perfection.

I found a no-knead bread recipe from King Arthur flour, which was crusty good and enjoyed over two days, and this week’s Sunday dessert was cake made with freeze dried strawberries, the frosting, too, utterly cheery and delicious! My ever-sensitive system found it all a bit much, sadly, so I am going to dial back the grains to one day a week. Too much information, I know.

We braved the world in the car on Saturday, the first time in 16 days, off to Target and Safeway (we have vegetables and greens again!), and felt positively weird to be shopping with such heightened awareness. I made a bottle of hand sanitizer with alcohol, water, a little avocado oil, and essential oils, and sprayed every cart surface liberally, and our hands, too. One small measure of control in our very unsettling times. So far, so good.

It was also nice enough to get work done in the garden and chat with neighbors as they walked or bicycled by. Everything is greening up, and the tulips should be beginning their show soon. How I am looking forward to that!

How cute is Greg enjoying a prickly pear margarita last weekend? I made tamales, red chile, and Anasazi beans to go with them, which was marvelous and photographed poorly, but who really cares with that dazzler of a smile?

How are you? We are at day 15 without leaving the house besides a dog walk. Our food supply is pretty good, except for fresh produce, with three apples, three carrots, and one jalapeno and poblano left. We have plans to get rid of our thorny blackberries (OUCH!!) and replace them with lettuces and spinach, maybe some carrots, too. Though I am sincerely hoping it will be a bonus rather than a necessity, but who knows? These are such strange times.

Our health is good, some sniffles after a super windy walk yesterday, so hoping that doesn’t equate to anything serious. I am worried for my friends in the medical profession, as they are already having meetings about not having enough personal protective equipment to get through the crisis, despite government reports saying there are plenty to go around. And then there is every last person suffering financially. I know my prayers mean not a whit, so we are helping those we can how we can. May it be enough to sustain them until government money arrives.

This is Texas Sheet cake, also made last Sunday (p.s. – If you decide to try it and don’t like a cloyingly sweet cake, cut the sugar in half – you won’t regret it!). My friend Whitney was the first (maybe only?) person to make it for me, way back when I was a whippersnapper of twenty-two. I remember being in her kitchen on Albion Street in Denver, us chatting while she washed dishes, waxing poetic about how easy and delicious it was. I hit the pause button the moment she said it contained cinnamon. My rather unworldly upbringing had never-ever put cinnamon and chocolate together. How weird would it be? Would I like it? The answer was a resounding yes, and now, twenty-six years later, I cannot recall the number of times I have made this fabulous flavor combination.

After lamenting the soy flour contained in the blue corn pancake mix we bought in Santa Fe, I ordered some plain blue corn flour (masa) from Gold Mine and made a batch of pancakes the day the box arrived at our door. They were delicious! If you’d like to try your hand at them, they’ve been added to my long list of pancake recipe combinations that can be found here. Enjoy!

Feeling grateful for our every day walks, this beautiful city, and every moment that makes me smile, like this wee one on his way to work!

Whenever I feel overwhelmed with the news, I think on my light and inspiration, my Great Aunt Mary (who would have been 112 on St. Patrick’s Day!). The oldest of seven, she lived through the death of every one of her siblings, save my Grandma Tess, by 1975, the youngest at the age of twenty-five.

Her faith was boundless, and she was the most selfless, loving, and giving person I have ever known. Though she suffered many a heart break and disappointment, she never let her feathers ruffle, never uttered an unkind word. A smile was never far from her lips, nor a chuckle or a prayer. She walked her talk to the utmost!

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As Strange

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true. I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.

Frida Kahlo


Hi there! More food, ha!

This was Saturday’s pizza, which was truly the BEST I’ve ever made, as in as good as Lombardi’s in New York City. The crust was light and chewy and the flavor perfectly balanced, a little yeast, a little salt. There was many a delicious sigh between the pair of us, I tell you.

What made it so good? Primarily, I think, the rise. I made the dough on Wednesday afternoon, with a very minimal knead (one minute or so, really just until it was no longer shaggy) before popping it into the fridge in a sealed glass container. I tried this to see if it would have the texture I like and be less of a bear on my tender tummy. With all I’ve learned about lectins and all that jazz, it seemed logical that the long rise would predigest a lot of what ails me. We’ll have to see, long term.

It rose only slightly in the fridge. Friday before bed, I took it out and set it on the counter, and it doubled in size by the morning. I made the pizza for lunch, and when I took it from the container it was bubbly and springy, like the New York dough of my dreams.

Another reason I think it was so fantastic is the fact that I started using a baking steel. I had a baking stone for a long time, but it was small and fragile. When I researched options online, this was much larger, pretty much unbreakable, and everyone who used the steel raved about it. It’s not cheap and weighs 15 pounds (!), but after considering the fact that my old stone was my third and could break at any moment, it seemed a smart investment. Boy howdy, was it.

Since I didn’t feel like grappling with it each time I wanted pizza, I left it in the oven when I bought it last year and haven’t taken it out since. As a result, I’ve ceased blind baking many of my pie crusts, as the heat of the steel is enough to do the job. More reason to LOVE it.

The pizza crust is crispier than it ever was on the stone, and I put it on a cooling rack while everything sets up to maintain the texture. I really cannot rave enough!

If you’d like to make your own, here’s my dough recipe, which makes two 10 – 12″ pizzas and can easily be doubled or tripled:

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

2/3 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)

1 2/3 cups flour – all purpose or bread

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water until foamy, about 5-10 minutes. If it doesn’t foam, start over with water that is a little cooler. If it still doesn’t foam, your yeast is probably dead and you’ll need to get to the store, pronto. Mix in olive oil and pour over the flour and salt. Mix with a spoon or your hands until it comes together, then knead until the dough is no longer shaggy but not entirely smooth. Put in a bowl with enough room to at least double in size and cover tightly. Place in the fridge for at least 24 hours, preferably 60 to 72. Punch down dough and divide into two balls. Roll, stretch, or cajole into your desired shape and thickness.

Top how you like. I mix a small can of tomato paste with garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt, until it tastes right, and divide it over the two pizzas. I only use fresh mozzarella, it’s got the best flavor and texture to my taste. A note, if you prefer using fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce (rather than the paste) and also use fresh mozzarella, this is A LOT of moisture. Go easy with the sauce and any other moisture laden topping, like mushrooms, the first time around. You really don’t want a sad, sad soup on top. The voice of experience talking, here. But don’t fret if it happens, you’ll get the hang of it!

Bake at 550 degrees, preferably on a steel, until it’s perfect. For me, it’s when the tomato sauce bubbles madly, usually about 4-5 minutes. Cool for a minute or two on a rack. Cut and eat and feel the JOY that is pizza!


I Am Not Okay With This: A teenage girl deals with the everyday as well as the complicated: friendship, high school, the effects of her father’s suicide on her family, as well as her budding and, as yet, untamed superpower.

Patrick Melrose: I am slightly premature on this one, only having viewed the first three of five episodes, but that, in itself, should be a major tell. Benedict Cumberbatch is positively brilliant as a man struggling to overcome the demonic hold of his wickedly abusive father and emotionally absent mother over his life. The first episode alone is worth a view. Horrifying in its intensity, it depicts his wild spiral into the madness of drug addiction.

Mr. Church: A man hired to be the cook for a dying woman and her child forges a lifelong bond when the original six months spans years. This was so sweet! I love you, Eddie Murphy.

In the Shadow of the Moon: A serial killer defies death and physics to kill every nine years while the cop on her trail nearly loses everything to capture her.

All the Bright Places: A high schooler mourning the loss of her sister befriends a boy struggling with his own past and present. Tender and ever so true.

ZZ Top: Like much of the music my dad listened to when I was a child, I cannot remember a time without ZZ Top, singing along to La Grange and Cheap Sunglasses before I even knew the name of the band. This one is on the lighter side – a fun and thougthful look at an equally fun and thoughtful band.

Anita: A young woman with down syndrome loses track of her mother after a terrorist bombing in Buenos Aires. Adrift and disoriented, she finds help among the equally broken and lost.

Youth in Oregon: A cantankerous man learns that a surgery to repair his heart was unsuccessful and demands to be driven to Oregon where he can take his own life via assisted suicide.

Blue Ruin: A homeless man learns the person responsible for the murder of his parents has been released from prison. A slow burn of a fil-um, sucking the viewer into a violent abyss, tense and sweaty and mad.

Beforeigners: A near future tale of people from varying time periods in the past who literally surface in water and have to adjust to modern life. One of them, a Norwegian Shieldmaiden, becomes a cop. Super funny and smart!


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