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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Thanks for Nothing?



A friend gave me a huge bag of cherries fresh off the tree in their village. A nice gift, right? You’re not looking at a bowl of cherries, but a bowl of cherries that I have painstakingly pitted. I’m not sure how long it took, exactly, but in dog years the family pet wouldn’t have made it to the end. It was more work than assembling a piece of furniture from IKEA, which should be the measure of all labor on the planet.

For years I have been trying to imitate a dish I used to order in a Seattle restaurant. As far as I can remember, it was chicken with cherries, vinegar, and rye seeds. I don’t think that I have ever really pulled it off in the many times I’ve tried to conjure up this dish in my kitchen. I’m too far removed from that restaurant in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle to be able to pull off a counterfeit, but I did make a pretty tasty dish last night.

The red wine vinegar is crucial in this dish. I don’t really know why, but if I had to venture a guess it would be to counteract the sweetness of the cherries. I also cooked this with a full head of cabbage, a couple of onions, and a cup of red wine.

I first began by roasting the back side of a whole chicken in the over. On the stove top I sautéed the onions in a bit of oil then added the cabbage and cherries with the wine and cooked this down. I added the vinegar to taste towards the end. When the bottom side of the chicken was cooked I took it out and placed it on top of the vegetable mixture and put it back in the oven to cook the top side.

When it came out of the oven the sauce tasted pretty amazing, as you can imagine. Then it occurred to me to make a rice dish from the stock created in this dish: a mixture of cherries, cabbage, wine, vinegar and chicken fat.

The rice was pretty good. The next time I do this I will make a paella in the following manner.

Paella con Cerezas y Pollo

Brown a cut up chicken in the paella. When the chicken is about half cooked, add pitted cherries and cabbage. Add some water or stock so this doesn’t burn. When the cabbage has been wilted add boiling water to the pan depending on how much rice you plan to make. Let this simmer for 30 minutes. Add the rice and mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until total cooking time for the rice is 15-17 minutes.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Anthony Bourdain 1956 - 2018 (Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1861)



I had never made the comparison before this morning. It only came to me after spending a couple of hours trying to wrap my head around his suicide. Now I see it clearly that Anthony Bourdain was the Hemingway of the TV generation. I don’t even know how or why this thought occurred to me. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that they were both famous and famous travelers. They both seemed to have it all when they gave it all up.

There are a few parallels I didn’t consider, like the fact that they both took their lives just before reaching their 62nd birthday (Hemingway: July 21 1899 – July 2, 1961 * Bourdain: June 25, 1956 – June 8, 2018). I don’t know, but I would imagine that they were both tortured by depression, a condition that I couldn’t imagine.

I’m sure that countless people have thought to themselves, “I wish I had his job.” That honestly never passed my mind, because I could have never done it as well as Anthony Bourdain did his job on TV for so many years.

I’ve been a huge fan of travel writing since back before I had ever traveled anywhere. Two of my favorites, Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson, are colossal whiners and I wouldn’t care to share a train carriage, canoe, tandem bicycle, or a car with either one of them, not even for the shortest of treks. Anthony Bourdain was probably the life of the party wherever he happened to be that day. I wish that I could have hung out with him to have a beer and some cheap food, like our coolest president was able to do in the above photo.

So not only will I never get that chance, I'm also denied the pleasure of following him around to places I've never even dreamed of visiting. Adiós, Anthony Bourdain.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sunday Music Obsession



A guitarist friend turned me on to this little ditty and thus cured me of my ignorance of François Couperin. If you absolutely have to talk about music—as opposed to simply listening—this is all the description needed, “subtle and full of poetry.” 


The "barricades mystérieuses" old Couperin was talking about were bras. It turns out that he could never undo the clasp in the back and it drove the old guy bonkers.



Thursday, May 03, 2018

Just Listen To Your Instincts



“Better late than never,” I’m here to say that “wise” old saying is bullshit. I think “never” very often beats out “late” for many things. For example, for whatever reason I finally felt compelled to read the instructions on my laundry detergent to determine how much I should put in each load. Before—in typical Me fashion—I would just slop in a very inexact and always varying amount. After reading the instructions on the bottle I still have no freaking idea because it says anywhere from one half to two caps of liquid detergent for a load, which was exactly how much I was dumping in before without measuring.

So yeah, “never” is definitely an option with regards to reading most instructions.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

I Should Win Something



If they handed out Nobel Prizes for black bean soup they would’ve handed one to me today. They don’t hand out Nobel Prizes for black bean soup, right? If so can someone call them because I can’t find my phone? At first I thought I ruined it because I had a can of chipotle peppers so I put in half, but I thought, what the fuck will I do with half a can of chipotle peppers, and threw in the rest, then I tried it and thought it was too hot, but it wasn’t.