Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Take On the AinA Challenge Head-On

Dearest daughter numero trois (#3) put on her blog a violent expose of food blogs where she eviscerates the vast majority of them as nothing but a bunch of serial plagiarists who just take whatever they find on the internet, repurpose it and call it original, in spire of the fact that the things they are copying were copied from someone else who got it from a magazine, who got it from a cookbook, the original source (yay verification that cookbooks are the way to go from the beginning).  #3, as you can see, is not one for subtlety.  I have no idea where she would get this trait as we all know that de-I is the total master of tact and subtlety.

Anyway we're not talking genetics here.  We're talking food posts.  I have taken the AinA challenge and I am going to post today recipes that are totally original.  I defy anyone to find them elsewhere.  Both were improvisations.

(This is not so good French for Chicken Rental House Style)

I created this recipe at Lake Tahoe where I had bought chicken for grilling but didn't want to spend money on flavorings since we were only going to be there a couple of days.   I trusted that there would be some kind of flavorings at the rental house as there usually are things left by prior renters.  Indeed there were but it was an odd collection.  But it turned out great so I reprized it for some guests last weekend.
Start with a LOT of fresh garlic

This was for two small (3-4 pound) chickens

Use all those nifty knife skills you've gotten from watching all those cooking shows to break your chicken down into parts - much less expensive than buying the parts.

Here are the flavorings - the garlic, Southeast Asian Fish Sauce, turmeric,  and (not shown) oregano.  Olive oil, salt and black pepper also.

I used about a cup of the fish sauce and the olive oil, and a heaping tablespoon of the turmeric and oregano.  Salt and Pepper to taste.

Marinate for a couple of hours unrefrigerated.  Then grill as you like over charcoal or gas grill.

Sorry no pictures of end product...we were drinking :(


I just totally made this one up I love cabbage.  It is so disrespected but is so versatile and so sweet when prepared properly.  In this case I made use of two flavor mixtures that I concoct on a regular basis and have available in my kitchen.  And, yes, I did get these from another source, Saveur Magazine so you can get how to make them at their web site.

I started out with one large white onion sliced

And one cabbage sliced thin

I sauteed the onions until they started to caramelize 

Then I added the cabbage and let the cabbage cook down just a little (under a fairly high heat)

Here are my two stars

Berbere is an Ethiopian spice mixture with about 12 different spices and flavorings that is reminiscent of  prepared curry but not really at all.  It's pretty easy to make as for the most part you're just putting in already prepared spices and stuff.  I use it on all kinds of things.  It is a great rub for all kinds of grilled meat and fish.

Harissa takes more commitment.  It is found throughout Mediterranean North Africa and requires reconstituting dried red chiles, mixing them with flavorings and the sieving the whole thing to get rid of the seeds and skin.  I love the stuff.  I put it into soups and stews.  I put it on turkey sandwiches with mayo.  Yum.

I didn't measure how much I put in of the two but did take this picture so you can get an idea of how much.

Then you just cook it slowly for an hour or so.
The result is a lovely sweet (from the onions and cabbage), hot (from the two flavorings) side dish.  Great with the grilled chicken.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Still More On The Transition Process

I absolutely refuse to make any more statements as to how often I will make posts on this topic.  I started here and said I'd be quickly saying more.  Of course it wasn't quick at all.  Then I made a second post and promised I'd be quicker.  I wasn't.  I've been slower.  So no promises.  But indeed I'm ready to write again about this.

In the last installment, I went through the growing awareness view of realizing that you can't keep working forever, and (very likely) don't want to be working forever.  But you don't necessarily have a good idea of what you do want to do.  And what you think you want to do may in fact not necessarily be what you really want to do going forward.

I mentioned also last time that it is really helpful to have a guide with all this.  Doctors don't (or shouldn't) practice medicine on themselves and its hard to have good perspective on your life without someone, preferably with experience in these things, helping you sort through your thoughts.  I fortunately have had such advice.

It was an interesting process.  After I went through it I captured the concept in a formula:

X = Y1 + Y2 + Y3 + Y4 +…Yx

Where X is the total amount of time and energy you have available and the various Y amounts are the uses of time and energy.  The equation has to  balance.  If you are workaholic, your factors for work and business far outweigh your factors for family, outside interests, exercise, etc.  Most of us have very significant factors for careers.  Plus we get a lot of our status and recognition for our work roles.  When was the last time you were meeting someone new and they did not ask "what you did for a living?"

So when one retires...which is the commonest form of transition though not the only one...the amounts for the factors of work (what one does/one's skill) and business (what one has to do because of the job they have or the business they own) go from dominating the equation to nothing!  You say to yourself, "just what the hell am I going to do to fill that time?"  For a lot of folks the answer is, "I don't have a clue" and they end up running away from the whole issue.  Do this enough and fate (you get let go if you're an employee or you get sick or something or you business stops performing and goes under) makes the decision for you because you will always run out of time and energy eventually.

The key to transitioning as opposed to retiring is to realize that you don't have to take your career/business factors to nothing.  That there are options for modulating how you work and what you do to optimize the time energy outcomes and provide the type of enjoyment and self-satisfaction that should be our goal after a long and hard working life.

At some vague point in the future (see no commitments here!), I will go through specifically my personal thought process and how I reconciled my various Y factors to reach a new (and I must say) exciting new equilibrium for transitioning my life.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reminder of the Monsoon

Just pictures today...the fall back for the lazy blogger.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Across the Desert

After our drive down US 395 along the Sierra Nevada, we struck across due east into Death Valley

At the precipice

Precipice with Wifely Model in foreground

Nice example of horizontal sedimentary layer of rock on a discontinuity of older non-sedimentary rock

As we descend (and our brakes start giving out and we fear for our gasoline supply), the inviting environs of Death Valley

 A great shot of multiple rock layers that have been curved by tectonic, mountain making activity over the eons.

Sand dunes at the bottom

We've dropped from around 6000 ft to Sea Level

And looking in the opposite direction we were under Sea Level

Ummm, not sure what this is supposed to be

We're out of Death Valley but not out of the desert and won't be for the rest of our trip since it is all desert from Nevada to New Mexico

This was shot just north of Las Vegas and is a great example of basin and range mountain building.
As the ground is being pulled apart (eventually there will be a sea here), blocks of crust tip and form mountains.  You can see the originally horizontal rock layers that have been tipped almost 90% by the block movement, yet there is none of the waviness we saw of mountain building in the previous picture.

Documentary proof of Cheetos as the 'Official Road Snack' of de-I and Wife

This is on the Arizona and New Mexico border and I took just because I thought it was so beautiful.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Highway 395

As I mentioned in the travelog post we chose to take US 395 from Reno south along the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains.  Here's the pictorial documentation.

We saw this cool memorial to fire fighters

Attempt to use panorama feature of phone

 Lots of mountains and geologic features

A display of decals as far as the eye can see

More mountains and geology

The Mount Whitney Series
Highest peak in the continental USA

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Zombies Versus Plants - Tahoe Style

Wife found a way to connect with 3 year old 1.2.  Video games.  Wife was introduced to the game Zombies versus Plants I believe by 5 year old 2.3 when we were in Hawaii (though I may be mistaken).

Wife was a real hit with 1.2 once she showed him the game

Not to be out done, when we took the kids to the playground I decided we were going to do 'live action' Zombies versus Plants

1.2 sensing the danger of an approaching zombie tries to flee on his trusty sea horse steed!

Oh No!  It's to no avail as the zombie Grandpa catches him, sucks out and eats his brains :(

"Yum. Soooo tasty"

Now on to 1.1! Bwahahahahahaha

Arrrgh.  To fast for zombie Grandpa.

The Tahoe Queen

Lake Tahoe


Don't tell Grandpa to go to the gift shop with the grandkids if you don't want the consequences

Emerald Cove

Breakfast Pizza at a place in Alpine Meadows - a first

Wine Tasting at Noon in Truckee with Wife, Steve, and Lady Di