Tuesday, December 30, 2008
1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of unsalted butter
1 cup of brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 bottle of vodka
2 cups of dried fruit
Sample the vodka to check quality.
Take a large bowl, check the vodka again. To be sure it is of the highest
quality, pour one level cup and drink.
Turn on the electric mixer.
Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one teaspoon of sugar.
At this point it's best to make sure the vodka is still okay.
Try another cup........just in case.
Turn off the mixerer.
Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl.
Chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Pick fruit off floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druid gets stuck in the beaterers, pry it loose with a
Sample the vodka to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something.
Check the vodka.
Now shift the lemming juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven.
Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window.
Finish the vodka.
Fall into bed.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Our big project was making our own ravioli from scratch. Here is our pictorial
All ventures work better with a bit of lubrication
C after chowing down on the fried duck skin cracklings
A whirlwind of activity with all of our children and their children plus AinA's English boyfriend from Amsterdam. No where near a representative sample of the festivities but at least a smattering
The sounds that International Woman of Mystery AinA is back in the house
(I will let her explain in her blog exactly what is going on in this picture)
Christamas Eve Buffet
With the Chicago contingent flying in on Christamas Eve and all the bad weather around the country, we opted for food we could just put out and have people eat as they so desired.
Here is our spread of Spanish cured ham and salamis. On the top of the counter is the homemade pate I made that turned out great.
No pictures of Pulisha and Tim de Buffalo but many thanks for their allowing everyone to come to their house for the four days since we are under construction.
Friday, December 26, 2008
One blessing for me from the organ donor connection has been meeting a few very special people who are also blogging. One of them, Terri, put this post on her blog yesterday. I highly recommend it to you.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
While I often do it after I meditate or while walking early in the morning, the most common time is when I step into the shower in the morning.
I start because I'm reminded of the incredible miracle of running water, clean water, warm water whenever I want it and being thankful for living in a time and place where this is a regular part of my life and how incredibly lucky I am to have this. Then I will go on mentally down a checklist sort of as follows.
I am grateful and give thanks for:
- Having a warm, dry secure place to live in
- Warm cloths, a car, nice furniture, a great house
- Living in a country where I don't have to worry about someone coming and destroying what I have
- Living in a time and a place and a country where my everyday lifestyle would be considered luxury in most of history and even in most of the world now
- Having not only enough to eat but haven been given the ability and means to enjoy the pleasuer of eating and drinking
- Being able to live in a place of spectacular beauty
- Having a wonderful relationship with my wife and children when at many times in my life it seemed that would never happen
- Being given the numerous challenges in life that somehow or another I have managed to get beyond and that have made me a significantly better person
- Becoming awakened spiritually and having that become the center of my life
- Being given the opportunity to donate my kidney to my sister with all the trials and triumphs that that entailed and what it taught me about myself
- Having been able to reconnect with my siblings and my father
- Work that I truly love and where I feel I am doing good
- Work where I can also excel and serve both my ego and my monetary ambitions
- Partners who are great people and a pleasure to be with and who share the same values I do
- Experiences that are allowing me to make the best of the current environment
And so on. I try to really feel the feeling of gratitude as I do this and keep that feeling with me throughout the day.
On this Christmas when I have my girls, their men and their children all here, I hope you are having a wonderful holiday and that your life will be filled with gratitude.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Since we are a mixed background family, Wife from the earliest days of our relationship made it be known that Christmas was going to be a part of our life. Of course our girls fully embraced this and now every year if it is at all possible we try to get together. I say this because we as a family usually are spread all over the place. Just three years ago we had daughters in Japan, the Netherlands and Chicago respectively. Now with middle daughter, Pulisha, living just a half a mile from us, it puts more pressure on the out-0f-towners to make the schlepp to New Mexico, bwahahahahaha.
Eldest daughter and matriarch in training, Motherrocker, in her blog makes snide references that the main focus of our getting together will be eating lots of food and drinking lots of alcohol. What let me set the record straight - that is absolutely true.
A novel event this year is that youngest daughter, Alexis in Amsterdam, (yes all three of my girls blog) has brought with her across the pond mysterious Boy Friend. This is a big deal. She's never brought anyone home before. She actually got her a couple of days before BF and you could tell she was on pins and needles. Come'on it's not like I ever subjected Son in laws Tim de Buffalo or John the Armenian to any type of abuse - right girls?
Anyway, I have been on my best behavior, a model of restraint and tact.
I called three people this morning on business and all three were gone until next week. Taking this as a cue I went to my boss who is a complete a--hole and asked for the day off. He reluctantly agreed. So I decided to use my day getting cooking done.
We have pizza on Christmas Day. No you skeptics not Dominos, home made pizza with the dough and the sauce made from scratch and the toppings all prepared by us as well. This year I'm upping the 'from scratch' quotient because I'm using tomtoes from Wife's garden that I processed in October.
So today's tasks included making the sauce, sauteeing mushrooms, onions, spinach, and italian sausage for the toppings. Wife was whipping up a couple of her confections. Both AinA and BF chipped in with help which reduced the load.
Another cooking project that I actually finished already was making a French Terrine as well. This involves making a forcemeat (think meat loaf filling) with various meats and pork fat, flavoring it, testing it (by cooking a bit), then letting it sit for a couple of days. You also marinate and let sit your bits that go in it, in this case pieces of duck breast, When ready to cook, one lines a loaf pan or terrine crock with bacon or thin sliced pork fat, spoon the mixture in, then cover with more bacon and seal with aluminum foil. The whole is cooked in a water bath for a couple of hours. When it's finished cooking, you put weights on it (cans of beans in my case with a piece of cardboard to even out the weight) and let it sit in the refridgerator for a couple of days.
All this has been done. I won't know if it is a success or a bust until Christmas Eve until we cut it open with the rest of our Super-Sized French Picnic Lunch Extravaganza.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
We went to one of my favorites, Custom House, a part of the Spring Restaurant Group. Both Custom House and Spring have been among my favorites because in my opinion they marry innovation with tradition. Custom House specializes in meat. Being winter, I was in the mood for something with plenty of braised meat options that would go with a good red wine.
For our first course Ricardo and I split an order of sweet breads braised with bacon (neither sweet nor bread by the way) and some duck proscutto with fresh mozzarella cheese and a confit of onion.while Lakeview went with a winter squash soup. The sweet breads were excellent. Neither Lakeview nor Ricardo had tried them before and both passed positively on them. The soup was very good as well but the duck proscutto was in a class by itself.
That's Ricardo's Short Rib Plate across the table - BTW along with that was a 'cream puff w/ a savory cheese cream filling - neat
Our wine was a very nice 2000 Margaux from Bordeaux, that I found at a pretty reasonable price. We ended up splitting a dessert (some sort of ice cream float thing?) that I don't remember too well with a couple of glasses of Sauterenes.
A great way to celebrate the end of our year.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I have chosen to be the sacrificial lamb. I am in Chicago for my weekly trip to my office there and in spite of all predictions to the contrary we've had six inches of snow today with it still snowing as of 10 PM. My partner Ricardo, has been trying to tell me all day - "Isn't beautiful?" And all I can say is I didn't move to the desert southwest because I thought snow is beautiful. Thankfully, I don't fly out until Thursday so hopefully O'Hare will be back to normal by then.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
It is not that people are upset, scared, concerned about what is going to happen to themselves and their families. That is perfectly natural. What is upsetting me are the cries that all of this is "unfair", and that this "shouldn't be happening". "Shouldn't be happening?" "Unfair?"
How did we get to a position where people assume that living in the lap of luxury by any historical or current international standard is a given? When people read about Zimbabwe or Somalia or Afghanistan or any of the number of other places that comprise the majority of the human race do they think they reading fiction. Do they stop for even a second to understand that they have been living in an incredible rare period of time when they are literally wallowing in luxury? This is mandated to us? We're supposed to expect that without having done anything to earn it it should just keep coming?
If you are a religious or spiritual person, I'd ask you this. Do you think God put you on this Earth for the purpose of having everything you want without worrying about it? Do you know the story of any saint or holy person that has ever achieved those higher states without suffering and sacrifice?
If you are a secular person, surely you believe in evolution, in the survival of the fittest. What happens to species that become over specialized, that can adapt to changing, harder, challenging circumstances? Oh that's right, they become extinct.
So what are we as a people going to do now that we are being faced with challenges - serious challenges - challenges that are going to demand sacrifice, fortitude, perseverance, will power, and a tolerance of pain and suffering. Are we going to huddle in groups a cry and whine because we are being challenged, because all the luxury we once had is going away?
Or are we going to understand that the only real growth, the only real reason for being alive is to respond to the challenges of life no matter how hard, no matter how long?
Thursday, December 11, 2008
But I should have known that there would be collateral damage because this is the computer world where nothing is really plug and play. First I had an issue with a storage device that I had bought just weeks before the new computer from the Apple store. Seems that the new Mac's firewire connection is a different shape. Why they should change it, I don't know. That means I have to use a USB connection. But there is some issue with power because when I use the USB connection the device keeps going on and off. That's frustrating but not I can deal with it.
I also found that they have changed the connection apparatus for hooking up an outside monitor or connecting to a projector and the one from the previous MacBook Pro will no longer work. So I'm going to have to lay out money for that.
Then there was a problem with the Syncing software for my phone. It required that I reregister the software and I can't find the old product code. So I bought the upgrade and installed that. Great. Except the new upgrade doesn't work with MS Office for Mac 2004. They didn't tell me that on the site selling the upgrade. As it turns out the Entourage program (Outlook for Mac) that I have has been on the fritz and I need to do the upgrade anyway. I just didn't appreciate the two hours I lost this afternoon trying to get this all figured out.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I have now raised the bar to a whole new level that has me wondering what can possibly outdo it.
Yesterday I was scheduled to give a talk to a group of asset managers on the topic of business succession - a good opportunity for me to troll for clients and referrals to clients. Got up in the morning to the airport, fly to Phoenix. I'm there in plenty of time. I go to the USAir Club and do some work. Grab a bite to eat and then head to grab a cab to go to my meeting. I give the name of the hotel and convention center where the meeting is to the cab driver. He looks at me strangely and say, "I don't know of anything named that in Phoenix - Las Vegas yes but not Phoenix."
I suddenly have a sinking feeling. I call my contact. "Ya were at the Mandalay Bay in LAS VEGAS." My talk is schedule a hour and a half from now. After thinking I would have to totally cancel, my contact calls me up and let's me know that there are almost hourly flights from Phoenix to Las Vegas. I'm worried about getting back to Albuquerque that night. I get on line and sure enough I can catch a flight in an hour and catch another flight home from Las Vegas that evening. I book the flight. Go to the kiosk and pick up my boarding pass and I'm at my place to give my talk just an hour and half late. My contact had moved the schedule around to accommodate me.
Other than eating a bit of crow for the 'planning' professional screwing up the planning and being out of pocket many hundreds of dollars to book the extra flights, the presentation went quite well.
Now what can I think of to top this?
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I usually stay away from this in the vast majority of my public discourse. I think I only have touched on it once in my blog right after my kidney donation operation. But during the times we are in now when I see so many going through so much pain and fear, especially those close to me, I am reminded of my own journey.
I've written about my history in dealing with crisis and talked about the emotional and tangible steps one can take to try and take charge of one's destiny. But on a deeper level it is important ot understand that things come into our life for a purpose. Through out much of my life I have learned that the things that were so painful, so difficult to deal with, were the things that ultimately, allowed me to become happy, peaceful, even successful.
So what do we do that thing that comes to our life is not pleasant? How do we react? What do we do with it?
A very sweet soul, Becky, who is another living organ donor with her own foundation, put a poen from a Sufi saint and poet, Rumi on her blog last week. The words are so apropos to this that I copied them for you.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
As reported yesterday, Wife went out and got the good semi-boneless leg of lamb (I love leg of lamb) and some great cheeses (I am a real Francophile from having studied there). I used a very simple Julia Child recipe with a mustard, soy coating.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I haven't posted any pictures lately of the renovation! How could I be so thoughtless?
Walls and ceilings are up. Windows are in and they are putting scaffolding up that will be in place until the last stuccoing. They're doing more electrical and plumbing. Unfortunately they won't have broken through until after Christmas.
Today is my birthday. Geez that means I have to change my profile on the blog. Got a bunch of birthday cards from business contacts using Plaxo. Not sure I really like this as it seems a bit artificial. Wife and I tend not to do much on our birthdays. I was late getting back from LA yesterday and early up today and was half way out the door when I rememberd, "Oh ya it's my birthday." Then didn't give it much thought.
Wife when I got back mid-morning is full into work, looks at her computer calendar and sheepishly gets up, gives me a kiss and says happy birthday. Then I said "Oh, I've got to get something out of the freezer for dinner." But she's feeling just a tad guilty so she asks if I want to go out (Friday night - no thank you) or if I want her to pick up a chicken from the grocery store. Puhlease - we're talking the Pewter Chef here - grocery store chicken is for exhausted I don't want to cook nights. So then she upped the ante to Popeye's Fried Chicken. Now I know shes getting serious because it is my favorite fast food chicken. But I said no because you can't pair it up with a good wine and I want to dig into my collection for a bottle worthy of my birthday. So I told her that I really want a leg of lamb and yes I know I will be the one cooking it and by the way I want some good cheese and bread too. So that's what it looks like it's going to be.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Brussels Sprout Salad
Open Face Prosciutto and Cheese Sandwiches with Pineapple Salad
Ramekins of Creamed Spinach with Baked Eggs
The sandwiches - I fried the prosciutto until it was crisp (think of it as super bacon), toasted one side of the bread in the oil from the prosciutto, topped it with gruyere cheese and put under the broiler. The pineapple with some raisins had been marinating overnight in a little rum and honey.
The ramekins - I made a killer creamed spinach from scratch from a Julia Child recipe, put it in the ramekins, put an egg in each one, covered with parmesean cheese and baked.
Cheese - camambert and a kick but gorganzola dulce (young smooth - sooo good)
Pictures (thanks to Agent W):
Just what the heck are they so smiley about anyway?