Egg and avocado burrito

My burritos are a bit stupid. The same things on the outside as the inside. 

        "¿Señor, si puedo preguntar, por qué haces esto?


        "Why did you do this?"

It's the stuff I wanted. It's the stuff I like. The stuff I have. Your burritos are always better than mine. How can I improve?

        "Just stop doing this. Whole Food is not a good exemplar. Mexican cheese. And beans."

Muchas gracias ... 

        "De nada." 

... por su ayuda.

They always say, "for nothing." They always say it. Always, always, always say it. Constantly diminishing their own contribution. It is built in. It goes with the language. Something about being politely modest. And when you go counter this simple construction with something like, "oh no, your contribution is incalculable" then you are the weirdo. 

So then, they say, "De nada." 

And you say, "No. This means the world to me. I shall contact my lawyer and have you written into my will." Or. "No. Esto significa es el mundo a me. Voy a contacto me abogado y ponerte en mi testamento." 

And he'll go, "Ha ha ha, you talk funny." 

I got the best help from Spanish speakers in Miami. I had to ask a bunch of people a bunch of different things. The Spanish speakers are particularly gorgeous. They thought I was putting them on but when they sensed I am sincere they took me up as a project and directed their attention helpfully and completely. They really wanted to help the little dope. That whole thing made me see them affectionately. This happened a lot.

Tuna and salmon with blackberries

The fat lines that showed when this thawed caused me to change my plans. I don't want to eat this raw.

Turns out that I didn't want to eat the tuna cooked either. I left over half of it. 

My favorite thing; blackberries. I wish that I had thought of these sooner. Half the tray has fuzz growing on them. Ew. The non-fuzzy ones are delicious. 

Brie en croute with pecans and brown sugar

Puff pastry. Two of these things come in a package. The seams were pronounced so the sheet was rolled out.

Apricot preserves on one side of the brie.

Very good I must say.

I had this only once a very long time ago. The person who made it urged me to try it. Fantastic. But he would not say what he did. Finally I surmised, "brown sugar" but he refused to confirm. 

And I always wondered, still do,  "What the f is that guy's bag?" 

That was before YouTube. Before internet. The attitude of secrecy is even more incomprehensible now.

Strawberry and orange sando

Sandwich --> sandoichi --> sando.

        "How do you know how much of this to use?"

We watched the Japanese lady spread this on each slice. That is how much we will use. Estimate for one slice and use that amount for both whipped cream and Philadelphia cream cheese plus a little extra, then spread it on both. Notice the second woman piles it in the middle and smears it to the edges that are eventually trimmed. The other videos do not follow this simple technique. They smear it evenly. They fail to trim off the crust. 

Look, if you going to copy the Japanese, then copy the Japanese. 

I think Japanese use 50% Fontina but I am not sure.

Japanese sando are made with Shokupan, their milk bread made with scalding water that gelatinizes the starch in flour causing the bread to retain moisture. Cut thickly.

I am using my own bread. Others use Texas toast. 

It is a matter of technique. 

Whipped cream is too light so that is made heavier with more substantial cream cheese.

The Japanese bread is pillowy and sweet while having significant chew, very different from foamy American Wonder bread. 

The sandwiches are wrapped tightly and chilled weighted for at least twenty minutes. 

Weighted. Smashed. The whole idea is to squish them and chill them in place. 

Obviously this is not a sandwich designed for its nutritional value. It is Japanese. It is designed to be cute.

So, sing a little Japanese song the whole time you are making these. You are not being a nutritionist, you are not being a chef, you are not even being a good parent, rather, you are being a girl, so put on a skirt, tie your hair into pigtails, sing your Japanese song and be a little Japanese girl making flowers out of fruit sandwiches. Who would even think of this?

A Japanese girl!

Hearts, flowers, whipped cream, sweet white bread; are you getting it yet? This isn't real food. This is girl food for a girl's tea party put together by girls being girls. For success, then tap your inner girl. 

        "I ain't got no inner girl." 

Then tap your inner idiot. 

And when you buy one of these sandos from a machine then you get only 1/2 a sando. 

What a rip off!

But it is not a real sandwich. It is a girl's tea party treat.

        "Did it taste good?"

"Oh man, I ate the whole thing. 

Video does not show how the filling is made. Video shows women working as team assembling these sandwiches. Goes too slowly. Speed X2 is good, or skipping does not miss anything. 

Liver pâté

         "Ai, mi mas favorito del mundo. Is it pâté de fois gras?"

No, it is not.

         "Is it mousse truffle pâté?" 

No, it is not.

        "Well what is it then? I am tired of guessing. I don't like these little guessing games you do all the time. Just tell me what it is."


        "Omg. Gag. Gross me out." 

No. It is. It's all the same stuff. The store was out of fancy pants pâté. The people there don't buy it anyway. They aren't out from selling so much, they are out due to pâté-desuetude. This spread will just have to do. This is for the president of the United States which is similar to pharaoh of Egypt except only 100X more intense and this time the guy's name is Donald Trump and he eats things like potato chips, taco bowls, steaks well done, diet Coke and two scoops. 

        "Two scoops of what?"

Of anything! When everyone else gets only one scoop. The unfairness of it is so obvious. OMG, are you kidding? That right there is indicative of the man's entire life. It shows people all around the man stooping to curry favor in small ways. In ALL ways. That right there is just so galling. 

        "Calm down. It's only liverwurst." 

Look at it this way. This pâté is for the pharaoh of the United States of America who doesn't appreciate the difference between a steak cooked properly and a steak overcooked by a hungover drunk who fell out of bed scratched his butt and said, "Let's fry this dead cow meat." 

        "This is chicken liver, no?"


        "There, done."

I told you, this is for the pharaoh of the United States of America. Color; bland. Doll it up.

I am really tired of your blueberries. 

Blueberries, strawberries. Standardberries. Isn't there ever anything just a touch more exotic?

You're pathetic. 

Please. Something just a little bit more substantial.

I give up.

Look at you.


Chili that is red from green chiles

Two of these packages were purchased but they turned out to be big so only one is used.

You don't see this again until the end but the pork with bone undergoes separate processing. It is seasoned with salt, a fast dry rub, and cut off the bone, trimmed, the pieces are too thick so they are cut to tiny bits then fried in stages to brown until they begin releasing liquid. Cooked in water along with the bones.

You don't see this again until the end but these small poblano chiles undergo their own separate processing. They are singed all around under the broiler, considered to have three sides, they are turned until they blacken and blister. Self-steamed to loosen the skin.  Picked clean, de-seeded and cut to pieces then added to the soup.

You don't see these tomatillos again until the end but these things are de-papered and cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces. 

Hey, what do you know. It's the end and we see these things again.

"We are familiar with this magic having seen it many times since the late 1940's and having used it ourselves in our Las Vegas show but it is always a pleasure seeing this done so well by new talent. Congratulations. Very nice. But sorry to say you did not fool us." 

I do not have tinned tomatoes. Boo, le hoo. 

But I do have regular ripe tomatoes. 

And I have four tiny tins of tomato paste. 

One half tin of tomato paste did not work to bolster the sick pale green gray color. It turned sick pink. Not cute pink. Sick puke-green-gray-pink. Ugh. So I added the remaining half and that turned the mixture bright red.   

Maybe I should have gone a tablespoon at a time but I was tired of stirring.

Flavor adjusted with one tablespoon of honey.

Chicken soup with dumplings

I want to use the last leftover chicken thigh. Hate to waste, don't cha know. But I do not have any commercial chicken broth. 

But I do have frozen chicken bones that I could use to make excellent broth.

And I do have some sort of experimental chicken bullion that is not powder, and is not goop in a jar, certain to be scientific as astronaut picnic supplies and wildly over packaged as pre-portioned cups of Jell-O Pudding Snacks. Weird. It's what the guy brought. Who knew? I thought the thing was going to be powder. 

In these small ways I go with the flow. Roll with the punches. Dodge and dive. Float like a butterfly and sting like an accepter of substitutions. Why not? 

At my little sister's house she made chicken and dumplings exactly as my mother did, and I mean exactly. The same reliable thing. Over and over and over. The exact same thing had crossed generations. Whole family thing. Big pot. Whole chicken. That's the main thing. Cooked in water until it falls apart. Standard mire poise plus potatoes. Standard egg pasta rolled thickly and cut into large squares. These large squares of pasta stick together sometimes and cook into clumps of three squares or two squares and those clumsy incompletely cooked things are my favorite. The flour that covers them thickens the soup. This pot of whole chicken soup really is something special. Even though the noodles are the weirdest things. My mother never made regular dumplings.

My whole family calls this "chicken pot pie." So when my sister said she was making chicken pot pie, decades having elapsed since the last one, naturally I was expecting a pie. 

As you do because pie is a pie and chicken in a pot is by no means a pie. So why call it that? 

I could not have been happier to see this chicken in a pot thing with odd square hand rolled egg noodle dough pasta. I could have cried. I marveled at her replicating fidelity.

Well, this is not that. This is not a whole chicken and it is not those odd square noodle "dumplings." It is only a thigh. And it is not broth from the bones of a boiled free range chicken. Rather, it is pantry broth concentrate in little pudding cups. Ew, weird. 

Everything else; muy authentico, I mean das echte Ding, Pennsylvania Dutch chicken pot pie. 

You are a peasant. You don't know what year it is because time isn't your bag. These things right here are how you start everything to begin building flavors because your world hasn't yet opened to chiles and to tomatoes and to a whole bunch of other cool things like all of the squashes and all of the corn and all of the nine-banded armadillos. 

Turns out this stuff is really good. You should buy some.

My whole thing tonight is about this potato. I want its role to be disproportionately large. Everything else is just decoration for this potato. And I picked the smallest potato. 

Leftover chicken thigh. I will use these onions too. 

I already have onions in this thing. This will be double onions. 

And these onions are dilapidated.

But also extremely flavorful.

One chicken thigh. This is all that I am getting.

Roasted poblano chile has no business being here.

Look at me. I am iconoclastic.

Sticking a Mexican ingredient into a Pennsylvania Dutch thing. And you talk about an odd-ass ethnic group to be, that is a strange one. Right up there with the Amish and Mennonites but not nearly quite so extreme. Mum said they spoke low German. For some reason she kept emphasizing that. I thought that she meant high-level German, proper German, grammatically correct German, contrasted with their Americanized careless German, but now I think that means high ground German and low ground German.

This chile has no business here. Yet I put it here. 

I have no business here in this western state, yet I was put here.  

This is not an ordinary egg. Well, it is. But now ordinary eggs are extremely careless eggs pooped out of chicken's butts by the millions. Billions I bet you. A dozen cost nearly $8.00, I think. Pretty soon the eggs will be a $1.00 each.

That doesn't sound so bad, actually.

To get how regular eggs used to be all the time we must turn to the local farmers who run their operation the way people have for centuries with all the improvements along the way. Those eggs will be a lot more expensive. 

If you like, see "homesteader" in YouTube search. There are several well known homesteading families that track their own activities. I've watched so many of these videos I've seen their kids grow up.

All that is why this is so yellow.

One whole beautiful million-dollar farm-tended egg to only 1/2 cup of flour. See, that is a lot of egg to flour.

* 1 gorgeous free range organic egg pooped out of a free-ranging grub-scratching chicken's cloaca, its all purpose channel.

        "Shut your mouth."

I am not making this up. I read it. 


Believe it or not, I read it in chicken-related books! I read it on chicken-related websites. I read it on chicken-related pamphlets. I saw it on chicken-related videos. 

         "Pffft. Like what?"

When the kids squat they are laying an egg. Out of the same hole that poop comes out. And pee. Mixed. The same hole used for chicken-sex. Multipurpose hole; pee, poop, having sex, producing eggs.

         "Stop it! You are grossing me out." 

This is a very good egg. It cost 63¢ which is incredibly cheap when you think about it. When you think about, um, all it's been through. 

        "Someone had to touch that thing and then wash it."

Oh man.

Remote memory. Mum is behind me. I am reaching into the nest under the chicken to feel for an egg under there. 

        "What happened?"

and I screamed and ran out of the chicken coop.

The smell of that chicken coop is permanent.

This soup and these dumplings are amazingly good.

No herbs. 

Peasants had tons of herbs. 

Sure. Why not? 

One time I read a whole big fat book about what peasants eat. 

I think it was called A Peasant's Feast.

There it is. Abe books, three pages back, The Old World Kitchen: The Rich Tradition of European Peasant Cooking. Oddly, a book with words. Not a pop-up book. That's very odd for my library. But there it is. I bought the book for $1.00. And I read it. 

I dismissed it being European peasants and pretended the whole thing was American. That worked for me. 

I learned that poor people back then ate much MUCH MUCH better than we do today and, frankly, I stopped feeling sorry for them.

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