chicken thighs with macaroni

Mise en place

* burned chicken thighs leftover from teriyaki chicken fail
* red bell pepper
* jalapeno pepper
* spring onion

* 1/2 package of large size macaroni
* 1 jar of nacho cheese dip
* butter and milk

Odd. Unconventional, but I like it. The red bell pepper comes through beautifully with delightful snappiness and sweetness. The teriyaki flavor on the chicken and the sweet red bell pepper do not fit precisely, they're weird, and I like them a lot. The flavors derail mouth-expectation. 

Maybe I shouldn't have made so much of it. 

chicken thigh teriyaki fail

Teriyaki sauce is simple equal parts soy sauce and mirin, another saki product that is sweet.

The thing with mirin, though, is that it comes in different forms like wine does, dry and sweet. The sweet kind is best, but how's a Westerner to know? Buy experimenting, that's how. Be willing to add sugar if you end up with the dry kind. 

You can also flavor teriyaki however you wish, with chile, garlic, or ginger, honey, etc. Obviously it comes prepared in various flavors. But honestly, it couldn't be simpler. 

Mine is major fail.

Not just regular fail.

I burned the H-E-double chopsticks out of this. 

I prefer my chicken overcooked.

Did I just now say prefer? I meant to day demand. 

So after browning stovetop for crispy skin, I burned that too, then the whole pan with the sauce went into the oven. I took up a Photoshop project and lost track of time. My sweet sauce was burned black. The sauce actually carbonized on the chicken. Sweet, sweet carbon. The sweetest carbon ever!

The thighs are delicious but my teriyaki failed miserably. 

scrambled eggs, green chile

Eggs prepared as a failed sauce. Whisked continuously in a small pot with generous butter watching the eggs solidify on the bottom, and whisking it in, and tilting the pot off the heat, lifting it off where necessary to prevent large curds from forming. Sour cream added when the eggs dry to desired thickness and two types of shredded cheese whisked in off the heat. Salt added at the end.

The chile is leftover from yesterday. The pork chunks are so tender they can be smashed to shreds with the back of a spoon. The shredded bits behave as a mop and absorb all the liquid.

fudgesicles with banana and peanut butter, peach popsicles

I measured the amount one popsicle mold cup can hold. Turns out to be 1/4 measurement cup. Then multiplied by 10 (molds) to get 2.5 measured cups. 

And came up 2 short by  mold cups. 

So that means the original 1/4 measurement was wrong. I read on another site they hold 1/3 measured cup. So that other site is right and I am wrong. See how mathematical measuring goes? One wrong move, even slightly, and boom, you're out by two full units. I'd have been better off by filling one popsicle mold cup 10 times with water and dumping it into another larger container and simply noting how high up the sides of the jar that the water goes, without caring at all about what the measured amount ends up being. Because the number is irrelevant. What is relevant is what works for accuracy. Not what intervening contrived for measuring purposes arbitrary number that is. Stated differently, the measuring unit can be anything, even something that's not a number,  including one of the popsicle mold cups.

It's like fitting a pallet of boxes through a door. What you need to know is if the pallet of stacked boxes will fit, not what the measurements of the door width and the pallet width are. The scientifically agreed number in inches or centimeters is irrelevant. A string with no numbers on it can confirm if the pallet will fit. 

To compensate for my 2 cup molds shortcoming  a ripe Colorado peach was smashed with lime added and that turned out to fill precisely the two empty cup molds.

The fudgesicles with banana  and peanut butter are much better than the peach. 

A little bit of peanut butter goes a very long way flavor-wise so only a single teaspoon was used. One banana flavors all eight. The chocolate is commercial chocolate milk because the chocolate within it is homogenized with the milk and it does not separate as it freezes as Ovaltine will. 

green chili, tortilas

But the chili is red.


Green refers to the color of chile used, which is hot green Hatch. 

There are also two regular size tins of roasted tomatoes. 

Roasted chiles and roasted tomatoes, so the faint flavor of singed vegetables.

This is easy to make. 

Much easier than in the past. I don't know why I imagined I needed to use a large roast and produce a large pot of it, chop up vegetables for an hour and make it a whole day endeavor. It's not necessary.

A small pork roast is cut into pieces and browned in a large pan then transferred to a pot with water.

Then onion are garlic are softened in the same pan, the moisture partially deglazing it. Water from the other pot is added to deglaze completely, and the color picked up and returned to the pot, and this largely determines the depth of darkness of the chili. Spices and herbs are added, they add a bit of color as well. Then near the end tins of tomato are added just to heat through and that turns the whole thing red.  Boom. Done. Just like that.

Pork cooks quickly compared with beef. Some cooks remove the pork and shred it with two forks before adding other ingredients. 

A lot of people like tomatillos and posole, sometimes corn. Other things can go into this too like potato and carrots. It can be thickened with masa powder for a very good Old World flavor.

Oh! I added one bottle of beer along the way. A dark ale. 

It's very good. And it can be eaten several ways. I can have this with eggs if I want to. I can use it fill or to smother a burrito, I can use it for nachos. I can even make ravioli with this, or use it top a pizza. I can use this chili as sauce for vegetables. I can pour it over rice or with noodles. Just because it's Mexican doesn't restrict me to Mexican dishes. I can eat it with potato chips if I like. Possibilities are endless because it has in it the things that I like.

potato soup

I ate another butayduh.

That's how my friend's mother says potato. My friend goes, "MA! How many B's are there in potato?"

* 1 potato
* 1 quart beef stock
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 sweet onion
* 2 celery stalks
* 1 jalapeno
* 1 garlic clove
* 1/4 teaspoon cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
* 1/4 teaspoon tarragon
* 1/2 cup heavy cream to silken the finish

shredded potato, ground beef patty

Cop out lunch.

See, all I wanted was a potato and I didn't care what form it takes.

This is shredded and tossed into a large pan. Mostly to test the pan. Butter. Salt/pepper garlic powder. Total cop out. It fries outstandingly. Best pan ever. Flipped as a giant pancake. Then broken up to expose the un-fried center and kept doing that moving it around. And it hit the spot. One potato makes a whole meal.

The hamburger patties are preformed and I'm not going to buy those anymore. There is nothing to recommend them except for convenience. While I have grass fed ground beef in the freezer. I can make my own patties that are much better.

At the meat counter I chatted it up with a woman. By appearance you wouldn't even approach her. She did appear unapproachable. But I intruded into her private psychic space anyway and within seconds she was telling me all about her home life, her food situation with her husband and what she had planned for dinner. She bought ground round for tacos. For her husband. Her meal is separate. And I thought, so I said, "How considerate. Now that effort is the mark of a solid marriage." I didn't know what I was talking about. Her marriage could be on the rocks for all that I know. But she confided she's vegetarian but recently began craving meat. So that separate food situation might not last much longer. Vegetarians are actually flexible sometimes. Not all of them get sick from one molecule of meat like a Hare Krishna acquaintance and his wife. While others behave disgusted with the habits of others, like another blusterous confused philosopher acquaintance, who then on their own and out of the blue abruptly switched. You should have heard all his argumentation and all his awful disparaging quips. about other people eating meat. And then his ridiculously lame excuses and his dismissals when he reverted back. Back at the counter,  the whole time we chatted I was wondering why she didn't buy the grass fed instead of specifically the ground round. After she left the meat guy agreed, the higher fat content is better. All the other prepackaged options are like 95% lean and I keep visualizing thin and gaunt pathetically malnourished cows where you actually have to add oil to cook it. Imagine, buying ground beef then adding olive oil or butter just to have sufficient fat. That's what these things are like. They should shrink more. With fatty beef I can add bread crumbs to retain the beef fat like tiny internal sponges.


oatmeal with strawberries, pecans, raisins

It takes longer to assemble this than it does cooking it 3.5 minutes in the microwave.

That inconvenience can be overcome by preparing ingredients in advance in a large batch for future use incrementally. And that is very convenient. But it must be used in reasonable time due to evanescence of ingredients. 

Oatmeal is terrible without salt.

Oatmeal is improved with brown sugar.

I really like raisins in oatmeal. The giant multicolored jumbo kind, not the rinkey-dink regular black kind.

And pecans add a fantastic crunchy texture to boring gray mush.

Oatmeal is nothing without the body that butter contributes. For oatmeal has no fat of its own.

And cold whole milk is a very nice contrast between temperatures. 

Cinnamon contributes a faintly exotic element.

So what could be better than all that? 

Berries! Or fruit. Colorado peaches are ripe at the moment and their window is quite small.

This is 1/2 cup dry oatmeal with nearly 2 cups of water. And that's 10X more than you get in those ridiculous packages of instant rolled, steel cut, steamed, instant oatmeal flavored with dehydrated marshmallows. There is no comparison. Those things are for people who don't know what food should be. Even for camping this prepared in advance is much better. I shouldn't have even mentioned those things. (I've had a few packages of those sitting in my pantry forlornly for over ten years. There is simply no point to their existence. But there they are. How did they even get in there? It must have been an unseen enemy. Maybe it was that time a malevolent being took over my body and did things I wouldn't approve.)

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 feel 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. 

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