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Recipes

To Boldly Go…

A couple of weeks ago, the world lost an explorer whom I’d never taken the time to get to know while he was alive. And I wish I had.

I’m referring to Anthony Bourdain, chef, explorer, and travel personality. Perhaps someday he’ll be the Patron Saint of Trying New Things for the First Church of Hedonism; I don’t know. Regardless, I’d heard of him but had no clue about what he did. My understanding of contemporary culture has some holes in it; I know.

After reading some short tributes to him, which praised his adventuring spirit, I decided that I should check out some of the tribute reruns of his program, Parts Unknown, that were showing that weekend on CNN. And while pieces of it drag, most of it is fascinating, as he explores and reveals little nooks and crannies of the world that are easy to miss when you’re on the Interstates or in the air. It doesn’t hurt that he seems to have had a very good crew, camerapeople and editors/producers.

Along the way I discovered that he and I were both working in restaurants on Cape Cod in the first half of the 1970s. He fell in love with it; I decided I really never wanted to work in food service again. So it goes.

I started off the year committing to doing one new creative thing a week. I managed the better part of four months on that before falling off the wagon. I’m going to try something different and perhaps less constraining – to do one new thing every week. Try a new recipe. Try a restaurant I’ve never been to. Go to a new place. Hopefully I’ll still do the occasional new bit of music and/or video. It beats sitting in front of the computer all day.

Though I think I will draw the line at seal eyeballs and warthog rectums.

I’m already getting ideas, just as I drive around. There’s a Cajun place about halfway from here to Port Charlotte that I keep driving by. There are tons of restaurants up and down US 41 within half an hour of here. Hell, there are probably two or three waterfront restaurants in the area I’ve never been in.

Last week, I made Mongolian beef for the first time from an Internet recipe. It came out awesome. One of my Facebook friends helped me remember that one of my favorite foods in Key West is a Mongolian beef (bulgogi) taco at Garbo’s, and that gave me a couple of ideas for other ways to fix it for meals. It’s a crock pot/instant pot recipe, so it’s not hard to do. Give it a try.

One of Mr. Bourdain’s other shows had him in South Carolina, and along the way he stopped at a very interesting BBQ place. I’m going to be up that way next month, going to visit my brother, so I think I’m going to drive out of my way to find that restaurant and try their ‘Q for myself. I’ll let you know how it is.

Sail on, Mr. Bourdain. May you spend the next however-long exploring marvelous places and cuisines, where everything is delicious and nothing hurts.

Drinks Inspired by Variations on a Song

Today’s tasty concoction was inspired by me riffing off an old 60’s song, “Wild Thing,” by the Trogs. My creative brain kicked in and came out with:

“Wine thing…you make my head ring…you make everything boozy (or blurry)…”

So I decided to come up with a drink called “Wine Thing.” I figured it had to be deceptively strong, with enough sweetness to increase the odds of a hangover, should one drink too many of them. Here’s what I came up with:

Wine Thing

Into a 12 ounce glass, combine:

  • 1.5 oz white wine – I used Chardonnay; you can try something stronger and sweeter
  • 1.5 oz brandy (for fortification – I may try vodka and report back)
  • .5 oz raspberry syrup – sweetness, masks the alcohol flavor
  • 3 oz lemon-lime soda, like 7-up

Add ice. Consume with care.

As an alternate, I may try it with Cruzan Raspberry Rum instead of the brandy and/or the raspberry syrup. I’ll let you know how that works out for me. πŸ™‚

 

New Drink: Green Flash

I’m still refining the recipe, but here’s the basic idea:

green_flash_drink,jpg

In an Old Fashioned glass, combine:

  • 1 shot dark rum
  • 1 shot orange juice
  • 1 shot pineapple juice

Stir. Add a dollop of grenadine syrup, which will fall to the bottom of the glass. Float a half-shot or so of absinthe on top. You can either sip the absinthe off the top, or stir the drink before consuming.

I expect I’ll be doing more research on this one.

 

Blue and Tasty

What is both orange and blue?

What looks like Windex, but tastes like a creamsicle with a kick?

Picture of an Orange Bluetini

Orange Bluetini

I recently came up with this rather tasty concoction, and thought you might enjoy it too.

In a martini shaker, add:

  • 1 part Blue Curacao liqueur
  • 1 part Pinnacle Whipped Vodka
  • Ice

Shake until cold, and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a strip of orange peel, running it around the lip of the glass first to release the oils.

I find the flavor delightful. The Curacao and the orange peel definitely give you a good orange flavor and “nose;” the Pinnacle Whipped adds some creaminess to the mix.

This concoction is best enjoyed with the cheese and crackers of your choice, while watching a sunset by the ocean. I may need to spend a few hours researching exactly which appetizers it goes best with.

Daffodils in the Morning

Spring is rapidly arriving here in the Bay Area! Fruit trees are starting to bloom, and the bulbs are starting to break through and flower after their long naps.

Picture of daffodils

At this time of year, daffodils greet visitors to my house.

Some of the first flowers to rear their lovely heads are the daffodils. Ours start to show up in early to mid-February, and by now, they’re in full bloom and starting to pass their peak.

The interesting bit about daffodils is that, without a period of chill and darkness, they can’t bloom. I think that may be true for people as well.

Think about it. Contrast is one of the most powerful tools available to the artist for a reason. Nobody oohs and ahs for hours at a picture of a polar bear in a snowstorm. πŸ™‚ But a picture of ocean water, with many different shades of blue and green, always changing…that fascinates folks. Including me.

A picture of the ocean

What makes looking at the water interesting is that it is always changing, and the contrasts between light and dark, blue and green.

Without winter, we wouldn’t appreciate the spring *or* the tropics as much.

Without the occasional challenges and sadness in our lives…we wouldn’t appreciate the joy.

And those challenges, if we choose, can become the vehicles by which we consciously learn to shift into a happier place no matter what we’re in the middle of. It’s a lesson I’m still learning.

I’ve written songs as a result of some of the challenges I’ve been through, and sometimes they help me in the challenges of the present. Sometimes, they help other people with *their* challenges – as the old song goes, “It’s still the same old story.”

One of my older songs, “Clueless in Key Largo,” was about the challenge of love lost, and the opportunity to heal that in a beautiful place.

One of my newer songs, “Looking at You,” is in many ways about that challenge having been met and beaten. With style.

It’s still the same old story.

New Drink Idea!

I came up with a new idea for a drink this morning, while cooking up a “breakfast skillet” of potatoes, onions, garlic, and cheese. I wanted something sort of like a mimosa, but I didn’t have champagne and wasn’t feeling like drinking this early. And fruit juice was too heavy by itself. Here’s what I did:

Daffodil in the Morning

In a tumbler, add ice if you want. Then add:

1 part orange-pineapple juice

1 part fizzy water (mine is lime-flavored)

Mix. Serve with brunch.

It’s tasty, not too heavy, and I’m not going to need a late morning nap because I had too much champagne. πŸ™‚

Here’s what it looked like this morning. You can add your favorite garnishes to make it prettier, or serve it in a champagne glass with a strawberry in it if you want it to look more mimosa-like.

Picture of new drink - Daffodil in the Morning

Daffodil in the Morning