double cheeseburger with jalapeño.

Burger Fi.

See, now what you've got here is two whole beef patties presented with their own b-b-q sauce and a veritable salad.

I realized that I can order jalapeño as an addition and that changes everything. What a smart thing to do. 

The dark green stuff on the bottom is jalapeño. It's actually spread all across one layer. There is also lettuce on top, mostly washed out by light. 

chicken breast strips in duck sauce, corn with jalapeño.jpg

This is two pantry tins and one small prepared frozen chicken breast. What a cop out! Just a few fresh vegetables would change this right up but tonight it's just slumming it by combining corn and jalapeño.

Even so, with a few chefery touches even two tins and one frozen breast can turn out very nicely.

It takes a small pot and a small pan. Both are started with butter. The corn is drained mostly and dumped into the pot with hot butter. 

The pan of butter is spiced up with whatever strikes you that moment. My choice invariably includes chile powder of one form or another. And salt. And from there it can go in any direction. Earlier I was thinking about sage but then dropped it later and went with oregano instead. But it could have had cumin, coriander, cinnamon, clove, or any of the anise-y flavored spices and herbs. Turmeric, garlic and ginger powders, those sorts of things. 

So the butter in the pan is spiced up heavily, a little too heavily for each piece of chicken.

The chicken fries until it is cooked through, a few minutes. The pan is deglazed with wine. This not only dissolves the bits on the pan it also produces the magic of butter and wine combined. I used Japanese sake. Duck broth that was chilled earlier from the roasted duck earlier is poured over the seasoned cooked chicken pieces in the pan. The coating that is covering each chicken slice is lifted off the chicken bits and mixed into the broth. Butter, wine, reduced duck broth, spices. 

Meanwhile the little pot has butter, tinned corn, tinned hot jalapeño. Plus the duck sauce from the chicken strips. The mixture is pleasant. 

See? That there is what you call technique.

roasted tomato and red bell pepper soup with dumplings

This is the soup that is sold nowadays that comes in soft packages like quarts of milk and that are slowly taking the place of tinned soup.

The dumplings are full of butter cut into pats and smashed into cold flakes coated with flour the same way as pie crust except this has baking powder and baking soda to react with the acid in sour cream, the only liquid used this time, instead of buttermilk. The dumplings are loaded with tarragon. They are light as air even with all that butter and they are wonderful.

The thing is, I just now saw Jacques Pepin make this same thing from scratch. He cut and boiled red bell peppers and then tomatoes and then he ran all that through a food mill. I think he added cream.

And the whole time I was going, "Come on, Jacques, take it from the people who originated the tomato and chile peppers. They'll tell you to roast both items for deep flavor." No matter how fresh and wonderful his ingredients, this soup is better because the tomatoes and pepper are roasted.

duck soup with tofu and angel hair pasta

The chilled stock, made the same way as chicken stock with random vegetables, is ten percent fat and ninety percent aspic, a very good sign of heartiness, still its flavor is fairly two-dimensional. It has plenty of body so pequin chile flakes are added, the tiny very hot bird's eye type of chile, along with a few tablespoons of honey and these two items along with generous bay leaves and dry tarragon leaves expand the flavor profile considerably, challengingly and interestingly.

potato dinner rolls

The dough is simple more simple than preparing morning coffee. 

1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 level tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup potato flakes
1 + 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt added at the second rise

This goes so quickly it's mind blowing. The dough rises very quickly 

These were intended as slider rolls but they came out too large for that. I never ate one straight out of the oven as a dinner roll before so I never appreciated how much flavor and body the potato contributes. They are very good dinner rolls. 

Win. Recommended.

Maple Leaf roasted duck

The duck has boiled water poured over the skin to tighten it. The skin is punctured repeatedly to drain fat, without  poking the meat. 

* orange zest
* half an orange for the cavity
* half an onion for the cavity
* crushed garlic
* heavy thyme
* olive oil

All that rubbed inside and out.

The salad is from Taste of Philly across the street and I must say it's very good. 


It's almost over.

Joint aches, eye-aches, headaches, barfing water, weakness, creating accumulative messes in my wake, inability to bathe or to walk or even to stand. I lost a full stone, actually, nearly twenty pounds.

And those were my favorite pounds, too.

Yesterday I worked myself up and walked across the street to a small urban bodega for a gallon of milk and that was the hardest thing I had done in a week. I'm still recovering from that effort. On the way I passed an old man in a wheelchair outside, the weather was amazing, he was outside for the air, his feet bandaged in hospital splints, as I passed I said, "Hello."

He responded, "I got the scooter here and you can barely walk!"

He felt guilty about being better appointed. Apparently I looked bad as I felt. Even to a guy who looks very bad. I tried to stiffen up and make myself presentable. But I added to the milk-attainment chore by ordering a sandwich from Taste of Philly beforehand and the guy there wanted to chat it up longer than was comfortable. I could feel my energy draining. Then the convenience store, nearly next door, was completely empty save for the son of the owner working the counter who also wanted to chat it up unusually lengthily. He kept going on about irrelevant incidentals. In both places I'm using their counter to hold myself up. I'm right at the edge of my ability, they're both blithely carrying on unaware that I'm sinking. Then across the street again, the old man in the wheelchair again on passing asked what my problem is. Propped up on two sturdy wooden canes I said simply, "Flu." He wanted to conversationally review the entire history of flu. I had to say, "I'm losing it. Gotta go. See ya around," and continued along home with the old man still talking behind me.

I've eaten a few meals in a row. I prepared a batch of cheese and macaroni with bacon and jalapeño. Standing the whole time where the day before I faded in the head, I could feel my face drain standing at the sink and my body dropped into the trash bin spilling trash across the kitchen floor. I had to stay down with the trash and with the water running until I could force myself back up and turn it off. The trash stayed until I had strength to sweep it up. My back still hurts a bit from that.

Apologies for not posting. There is nothing to post. I didn't make or eat much of anything.

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