cheeseburger, potato bread buns

I didn't like this. 

Too big. Unwieldy. Bread too hard and too dry. Too much trouble to eat. 

shrimp omelet

What an amazing combination of herbs this turned out to be. I have never seen this suggested on any cooking show yet together they're extraordinary. I enjoyed this tremendously and my three-egg omelet was so easy to eat it disappeared before I was ready for it to be gone. I wanted more immediately. But after the unhappy episode I'm a bit wary of eating too much. 

* cilantro
* taragon
* scallion

This cheddar cheese is amazing. It's mysteriously powerful. A little goes a long way and this is a lot. Due to its power I find that it's better in combinations than it is by itself. 

Three large eggs. 

This dimpled greenpan (grayish white actually) is so slippery that I cannot fold an omelet in it. The whole mass just keeps sliding around. There is no friction whatsoever. And a bit of friction is needed to fold it to begin and to get it to roll out of the pan. 

shrimp with tomato, cucumber and celery

Doesn't that sound innocuous?

In addition to the ingredients in the title, this also has: 

* onion
* clam juice
* flavor from shrimp shells
* catsup
* jalapeño
* habanero sauce
* generous cilantro
* salt and pepper

But no avocado even though there is one just sitting there.

And it is not innocuous. 

These are the ingredients presented on YouTube by member FoodWishes for Mexican shrimp cocktail. Except these ingredients are not diced finely. They're all kept to large chunks. It was a good idea, and it does taste incredible, but today they lead to an unhappy experience.

Today I made a  series of food-related critical mistakes one after another in grazing mode involving this leftover combination and other of my all-time favorite things. This is spicy and hot. 

I don't know why the liquid thickens but so far, all four times, I think, it has. The host of Food Wishes tells his viewers to expect the liquid to thin as it chills due to the salt drawing out moisture. But mine does not. I like the sauce becoming thicker than when I left it to chill, but that is unique in the world of Mexican shrimp cocktails. Outside of my kitchen the liquid is always like water.

I ate all that's left all at once. That was for breakfast. And it was delicious.

But it's light and I was not satisfied. 

So I cut off a very thick disc of watermelon. About three inches. More than you ever get at a picnic. Standing there the whole time spitting out seeds into the sink. It was a lot of watermelon and I ate the whole thing all at once. And it was super delicious.

But that's mostly water and I was a bit full but still not satisfied. Not hungry, but not satisfied. So I mixed a Mason jar of milk and Ovaltine. A lot of milk and whole lot of Ovaltine. A full quart size wide-mouth jar. It was very dark with malted chocolate and I drank the whole thing all at once. And it was delicious. Finally I was satisfied.

But then I felt a bit weird. My stomach was heavy with liquids.

These three things all at once were not a good combination.

So I learned.

The hard way.

My stomach grumbled. I could feel things moving around inside my body. I became very uncomfortable. I laid on the sofa and I could feel pressure building inside my internal organs. Moving around down there inside my stomach that made me feel like a cow, and inside all the tubes down inside there in darkness. Moving around and grumbling. And moving and rumbling. My body was complaining. My body was active. It wouldn't shut up. My body was processing all I had just delivered it. And it was processing quickly. The liquids were fermenting.

I became flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. Parf. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. Ffffffft. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. Parf. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. This is insane. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. And flatulent. It's not going to stop. And flatulent. And flatulent. It's getting worse.

I'm telling you it was bad.

Grind, gurgle, bubblebubblebubblebubblebubblebubble, drain, shift, pffffffffff, gargle, boil, bubble, fizz, shift, pour, drain, foam, inflate, shunt, roll, roil, stir, rise, agitate, puff, deflate, bulge, pour, cook, ferment, grow, inflate, change, infuriate, bubblebubblebubblebubble, growl, rumble, roar, hiss, whine, squeal, yelp, snarl, wail, gnar, murmur, warble, expand, cackle, squawk, scowl, mewl, rasp, warble, quaver, croon, caterwaul, throb, stomp, caw, shrill, bark, burble, bray, whirr, pump.

I'm telling you it was horrible.

And a good thing I live by myself.

The mumbling and grumbling and noises and expulsions were terribly uncomfortable. This combination of liquid food was perfect material for fermentation. And the whole thing was impressively fast. 

Then finally painfully too uncomfortable to bear. I'm in real trouble. I sat up. And that really did it.

And finally explosive.

I hastened to the bathroom and whipped off my clothes and sat there on the toilet with gushes of liquid exploding out through my bottom. With my butt covering the entire seat as a cap I passed liquid material out my back end in gushes, loudly, explosively. Shooting out of me like a firehose and splashing back up onto my butt. An ugly sick disgusting firehose. I could actually fell my whole body draining, becoming thinner, and lighter as I sat there containing the toilet with my draining butt.

I kept flushing the obscene accumulation I was imagining down there.

In series these miserable floods passed out my body as my lower internal tubing continued re-pressurizing repeatedly, the expulsions becoming less violent as time passed. I sat there experiencing this evacuation for at least half an hour and realizing the pauses between explosions were lengthening and the expulsions were lessening to my tremendous relief. Actual physical relief, I laughed.

I laughed like a loon.

Because the obscene mess and the noise really was insanely funny.

Were anyone else around they'd be laughing too. At me. At the situation I caused for myself to endure.  Finally the drainage ended. Or at least seemed to. I knew I could sit there longer and still have more come out of me. I knew that was not the full end of it. The pauses had lengthened comfortably but that didn't mean the whole thing was done. There was still some fermenting material inside of me.

I stepped into the shower and rinsed my filthy body. I messed the floor with disgusting drips just getting into the shower. I saw the mess of very dark Ovaltine concentrations rinse off my backside and drain down the bathtub. I soaped up my whole body and properly showered. Then set to cleaning and decontaminating the bathroom, a full job itself. 

But still unhappily frighteningly flatulent. And this went on for hours. All day. 

By the time it all ended and the remnant nutrition absorbed and my body had cleared itself so rudely so messily I was hungry all over again. Really hungry. But wary of eating.

This wonderfully delicious shrimp combination is all gone now. 

And I look askance at the rest of the watermelon, quite a lot, actually, even though I still love it so.

And I have second thoughts about Ovaltine, still a favorite of mine since childhood. Even after all that dissuasive mess and ridiculous noise.

Maybe there's a lesson somewhere in here for me.  Maybe something about having my favorite things in combination and quantity all at once. Maybe I shouldn't do this for  breakfast. Maybe don't do this in morning. Maybe avoid eating in a darkened room. Maybe don't eat things during an historic eclipse. After all, the path across the U.S. was a mere one state north of here. They were both unusual things. That must be it. Maybe don't do this while watching a show about witches, Salem on Netflix was on t.v. I don't know. I'm confused. I haven't figured it out and I'm terribly slow on the uptake. 

light summer dinner, raw tuna, flavored rice, daikon, miso, red bell pepper

Yesterday a friend dropped by and we did this with a knob of daikon to add radish to a salad and I must say it really was good. Both of us liked it very well. 

This is not sushi grade tuna but I don't care. It's actually fairly low quality. Sushi grade will be five times this cost. And I suppose it is worth it. 

The miso is straight, not turned into soup. It makes a nice switch for wasabi. And I have jalapeños in the rice so the heat quotient is already met. 

And I don't know why I don't eat a lot more red bell peppers. I like them sautéed, dressed with oil/vinegar, and raw. 

Although stuffed bell peppers was never a childhood favorite, I'd probably like them now. But I never have made them. It sounds like a good idea. Mum made them with green bell peppers and I was all, "Ick." Mostly because they have the word "pepper" in them. So rejected by name. Same with anything with the word "sour" in them. Sour cream, for example, is just flat no. Who would ever want that? I was twenty years old before even giving it a try. And sauerkraut just sounds awful. So does sweet and sour. Hot and sour. Sourdough, yuck. Whiskey sour. Sauerbraten. Why in the world would anyone eat anything named sour? It didn't make sense. Well, same thing with pepper. From a child's perspective, those words will not do. I still have all that hard childhood determination yet to overcome. Sour doesn't mean actually sour, and pepper doesn't mean black pepper. I know that but the prejudice still lingers.

As a teenager a friend's mother ran a hotel. I hung around the place quite a lot. Her other older son saw me sprinkle pepper on breakfast eggs at the hotel. I was just imitating my dad. I had no idea what the pepper was supposed to do. I just wanted a few black dots like my dad. The older son sort of scared me. He said, "What is that? You can't even taste that." He mocked me. "Put more pepper on that." He was right. I couldn't taste it. I did add more pepper. And it did improve the whole thing. It takes a very long time for children to overcome their food prejudices and habits. They sort these things as they go. And it sometimes takes a person like that older brother to notice and set you straight. Or else you just keep chugging along in ignorance. And you won't believe what sets up in children's minds. Stuffed peppers is one such thing. My childhood self didn't like them. 

duck liver corn flake coating, sweet onion in broth, angel hair pasta with cream sauce

When we lived in Pennsylvania and again when we lived in Louisiana my father was separated from us for months for additional training in Biloxi Mississippi. As kids we just hated these prolonged separations. Our whole family order falls apart. The posting in Louisiana allowed for us to travel to be with him because it's like, what, one state over and very near on the Gulf coast to New Orleans, actually. Heck of a vacation that, we all went there a couple of times, and boy, did we ever get an eyeful. We saw the base, of course, and played on the beaches, went through all the shops, ate out all the time, had fantastic seafood, but one particular scene among many others sticks out for our childhood impressions. We didn't know what we were seeing.

The scene is an old Southern wooden house with very large stacked porches. It reminds me of Streetcar Named Desire. We're looking down at the activity on the street from a screened porch. It's hot and airy up there if not actually breezy. It's noon. Suddenly my sister goes, "Bobby! Bobby! Bobby! Bobby! Bobby! Look it! Look it! Look it. Bobby, come over here and look it this." She was very repeaty when she got excited. We both peered over the edge to a skinny man in his twenties, old to us, rather poor in appearance, barefooted, t-shirt, loose pants rolled up, sitting on the hood of a car and smearing peanut butter from a jar onto an onion and eating the whole thing like an apple. 

Like an apple! 

Smear, chomp. Smear, chomp. Smear, chomp. We watched him devour the whole onion. It was a very large white onion. And that was his lunch.

It blew our minds.

The bizarre sight left a lasting impression. Years later we still couldn't get over that Mississippi guy eating a raw onion. 

How could he even do that? Imagine his breath! We had no concept of Georgian Vidalia onions. And had we just known we'd have been a lot smarter a lot earlier. Those onions are very sweet.

But I learned they do not store very well. When you buy them you must use them rather quickly. No sitting around the pantry in a bag for a month. 

And they lack the onion essence that make the whole allium family so useful in cooking. Although very good raw. They're less interesting cooked.

Now a lot of places hopped the sweet onion bandwagon, notably Walla Walla Washington and Maui Hawaii, Imperial Valley California is one of the leading growers, Carzalia New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, North Carolina, and these here are from Colorado. They're not so sweet as some others but they sure are good and they lack the sulfur component that make your eyes sting.

After searing in butter then chicken stock is added to the pan and covered until the onion is cooked through. The remaining liquid becomes the base for the sauce. Heavy cream is added to that along with additional seasoning. 

The same pan is rinsed out and butter added again to fry the livers. That takes only a few minutes until the livers become firm.

The livers were trimmed and cut into pieces and coated before starting the onions and boiling the pasta which also takes only a few minutes. The activity in the kitchen is rapid for these few minutes. The longest things are the onion halves softening in broth and bringing water to boil for pasta. After that, it's on.

Don't you hate getting down to the bottom of your box of corn flakes to find tiny bits and flake dust, then have to just throw it away? You can relieve the stress of corn flake waste by saving it in a jar. Box by box until you have enough to do things like this with it. It contributes an appealing crunchy texture to an otherwise texturally uninteresting protein. It's also useful for cookies. Imagine brownies with a crunch to them. This crunchy duck liver is very good. I'm glad that I thought of this. 

I love it when the liver is included with whole chickens. I was surprised to see it inside the frozen duck. I appreciate that. It amounts to another whole separate dinner. 

blueberries with cornflakes and whole milk


This is bread dough carelessly brought to its shaggy state.

Let me tell you a secret about bread dough *whispers* if you would bring it together simply like this and then walk away from it and leave it alone for ten or twenty minutes then the dough will be much easier to knead. The reason for that is the water begins to destroy the flour by activating and releasing enzymes within the wheat that ultimately destroys it. The tight protein molecules begin to unravel and that right there is half the work of kneading. Within minutes of kneading the unraveled proteins stick to each other forming a network that actually holds in air. You can feel in your hands the difference between dough that kneaded immediately, tough and uncooperative, and dough that has rested, baby soft and nearly self-kneading, or better stated, dough that just sat there deteriorating molecularly. 

Man, am I ever bummed out. I bought three types of sausages for this but when it came to making it I could find only two in the refrigerator, and I tore that whole thing apart looking for the third package.

Therefore I was forced to compensate creatively.

I have on hand grass-fed ground beef that I can spice up ridiculously intensely, and I have excellent top quality bacon. I also have fresh jalapeño peppers and sweet summer onions, and frozen Hatch chiles. 

Sauce can be omitted. 

Or the sauce can be anything. Even tomato paste diluted with water. This is nearly one full small tin of tomato sauce. The rest will be wasted. Or maybe I can use it for dipping.

roasted duck, simple salad

I don't know what I'm doing. 

I have no idea how Chinese make this taste so great.

And I haven't a clue what to do with the package of orange sauce they stuff inside this thing.


Deliciousness comes by deeper shades? 

We'll be the judge of that.

It's tough. 

And I am so tired of tough chicken and duck. 

Therefore I must overcook it. 

Well beyond all recommendations. 

So don't follow what I do here. Because I just flatly don't know how to pull this off. I'd never think about serving this at a party. Not until I learn what's going on. 

Cutting this thing up was a disaster. Its stupid little short duck legs that show are actually a lot longer inside the cavity. And how this thing ever gets off the ground and flies when alive is beyond my comprehension. It's heavier than its silly little wings can lift by appearances. They must get terribly tired flying around up there. 

Its taste is almost gamey, but not quite. I can see children not liking it at all. Whatever flavor imparted onto it must be rather strong. And I did a lot of chewing and tearing without that much reward for the effort. 

I put the rest back into the oven and doubled the time. Perhaps complete torrefaction is the Chinese key to success.

I should mention, I looked for real olive oil. My best bet would be a small jar from California. The type that I found comes in a black bottle, and it really is very good. Much better than anything I've used before. The difference is noticeable. And that combined with rice vinegar in equal portions makes a fine salad dressing. Pure. Simple. Unadulterated. And sweet. I found best to drizzle from a spoon instead of trying to block flow from the bottle with a finger. How gross. And the side benefit is knowing the precise measurements, here, if you can believe it, two tablespoons each. That's not the ratio of oil/vinegar you read in recipes, but that's what works for me with gentle rice vinegar. 

steamed rice with roasted red pepper, baked beans

This is the last of the rice and beans and now that they're gone I want more. 

Right now.

The rice is steamed with a piece of kombu and that really does change it remarkably.

The roasted bell pepper comes directly from a jar. And when you think about it, expensive as it is, it's really not that much for a couple of red bell peppers already roasted as it is for two fresh red bell peppers. Especially red peppers in Maui. Jeeze, those things were expensive. Five dollars for one pepper.

The beans are not baked. That was lie. They were done much more quickly than that by pressure instead. And they have high quality bacon and not cheap @ss salt pork as Boston baked beans do, and they have brown sugar that is made with molasses, rather than straight black strap molasses as Boston baked beans do. And they're boiled from dried beans in half an hour under 7 LBS pressure rather than from beans soaked overnight and then baked all day as Boston baked beans are. 

Two things so basic. So fundamental. So unadorned. Together they make a complete protein. So easy to do. So inexpensive. I miss them already.

Today I saw a tiny woman of Mexican persuasion with a shopping trolly filled with prepared frozen dinners, and I thought, "Now here's a woman who does not like to cook." 

This is a meal she could do. 

I mentioned the woman I saw to another woman while waiting at the deli department, you know how you strike up casual conversation with strangers, and we both delighted in mocking her poor food choices together, bonding right there over our superior choices and our own useful talents. It was fun.

rice and beans

Rice is steamed with small piece of kombu seaweed for significant flavor improvement.

kidney beans with posole, sweet apple ham, Brussels sprouts

Beans and ham.

Dried posole takes twice as long to pressure cook as beans do.

The beans and posole are pressure cooked with beef broth, for speed. 

You know, brown sugar and rice vinegar make a great sweet/sour sauce, but added after the beans are already softened. When acid is added at the beginning of cooking beans then the bean surfaces toughen and they tend not to soften, unless you bake them all night. These beans have a small tin of diced tomato added after the beans are cooked. 

The Brussel sprouts are torn apart as if removing leaves from miniature cabbages. They too are cooked in brown sugar and rice vinegar while the bitter sprouts create a different flavor profile.

pizza, thick applewood bacon, hot Hatch chiles, 3 extraordinary cheeses

The pizza is actually quite large and not all that thick. The photograph is deceptive.

I'm getting really good at estimating flour.

The amount of water is one cup and that determines everything else.

I'm nearly completely out of white flour.

Four tablespoons of whole wheat that I milled myself here a long time ago were measured into a cup.

Then two tablespoons of semolina flour were measured into the cup. That nearly filled the cup.

The rest is a little over a cup of white flour, the end of the package. So it worked out very well. The dough did not rise as regular bread. Pizza is unleavened bread. It does rise a bit not fully as bread does. So the dough was stretched out rather quickly without any aging as usual. 

It's very good pizza with its three excellent cheeses, no mozzarella, which is like no taste at all, however a bit hot due to the chiles and a bit tough due to the crisped jerky-like bacon and sturdy by the variety of flours. Those things have a lot of salt so less salt was used in the dough.

I've been eating this thing all day.

farm tomato omelet, zucchini and yellow squash, Colorado peach, miso soup

Kombu is a large seaweed that is dried. When dried crystals form on the surface. Japanese cooks wipe this away with a damp cloth. They believe that rinsing under water will forfeit too much of its flavor while not wiping at all results in too strong an MSG flavor. I think the crystals are MSG. They taste like it. 

These brittle pieces were wiped with a wet paper towel. The brittleness instantly softens. They're dropped into boiling water with the heat cut off. So they sit in there and steep for ten minutes. Basically, it's kombu tea. 

This kombu tea is the difference between Japanese miso soup and American style miso soup made simply with plain water and it makes all the difference in the world. The kombu pieces swell and become somewhat rubbery. They're delicious on their own. And they contribute significant flavor instantly to salads and to steamed rice and fairly anything else you can think of. 

I sliced a portion into kombu noodles. What the heck. They're fun to eat. I like them.

Miso is like peanut butter except it's fermented. That's why it's so easy to eat and so nutritious. Bits of tofu and my kombu noodles and miso bits are sunken inside this bowl. 

Colorado peaches are extraordinary right now. 

I'm going to go down to the market and fill up my backpack with them then walk around to the businesses here and pass them out. Because it's a real shame to miss the window of opportunity.

I ate a slice of peach then a sip of Coke and the peach is sweeter and better tasting than the Coke. Back and forth I went like that staging a Colorado peach vs Coke war, and peach won every taste battle. But it won't be like this for long. No. Sadly, the whole thing closes down.

And the same is true for Colorado farm tomatoes. They're positively excellent right now. Ugly little tings. These two things are just tremendous. So it's tomatoes and peaches all day, every day, until the whole thing phases out and we return to horrible peaches and plasticine tomatoes. Look at me. I'm getting sad again already. I must hasten and o.d. on both. 

"Doctor! Doctor! What's the diagnosis?" 

"This man has o.d.ed on tomatoes and peaches."

"What are we going to do with him, Doctor?"

"Just let him go. He'll ride it out. It all passes too soon." 

They should make me cook at a nursing home. This meal is very easy to eat. 

And the strong flavors of jalapeño and mind-blowing cheddar cheese can blast through their dentures and past their dental plates. That's why they like sweet things and salty things, and strong flavored things. Their dentures are wrecking their sense of taste. They don't like things such as freshly ground pepper. The bits get underneath their plates and irritate them annoyingly. 

But this is extremely tasty and very easy to eat. The contrasts are splendid. 

But then some nutritionists will come by and say that some element or another disrupts their aging digestive systems and it'll be back to bland and unimaginative food all over again. That's why they die so unnaturally quickly once admitted. There is nothing to live for. If they were just taken shopping for their own food once in awhile then the endings to their stories would be improved. 

I just made that up. 

Because I was admitted to a nursing home one time for ten days recovering from an accident, a very nice place, and I got a good view of the picture. I despised their food. Even though it was very good. I still hated it. And I couldn't wait to get out and do my own shopping. Now just picking out my own potatoes gives me genuine joy.

Because that task was taken from me.

A friend came into my room and said, "The little yellow sign outside your room says, 'wet floor,' so I did." 

Is he naturally hilarious or what? 

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