Sunday, January 29, 2017

On Fried Rice

As I am retired from performance entertainment cooking, most of my culinary activities are focused on making food for local consumption (that would be Wife and I). It is an interesting challenge since we are both eating much less than we used to. But it's an interesting challenge to build good tasting and enjoyable meals but keep the quantity down.

About six months ago I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal about fried rice. I've never had much success making Asian fried rice so I was intrigued. The author (who I don't remember) talked about how fried rice was this great tableau for using leftovers. Well that resonated because one of the hallmarks of my new cooking life is trying to make use of everything. What this author said was critical to successful fried rice was cooking each ingredient separately, seasoning each ingredient as you cook them, and then assembling them in the end with whatever overall flavor you desired. AND what was equally interesting to me was when the author talked about seasoning each ingredient separately, all he was talking about was the use of salt and some sherry wine.

So I started to experiment. Cook each ingredient separately, Season with just a touch of salt and sprinkle of sherry wine. That includes the rice itself. I took each ingredient I cooked and when they were done put them on a sheet pan. Then at the end I would create a flavor base. The first one was just some of my homemade Malay curry paste and some soy sauce. Then add all the cooked ingredients to mix with the flavor base and reheat.

The results have been spectacular. As a result we probably have fried rice now every other week. I've played around with the flavor bases. I tend to make them using prepared Asian condiments and sauces I've got in the fridge. However, the one constant is a Vietnamese or Thai shrimp paste. You don't use much of it but it gives great depth and it sings Asia.

If you use a lot of rice and have leftover rice, I strongly recommend this technique.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Sick :(

I was supposed to go to Los Angeles to day for business. But during the night I had horrible reflux. I thought it was because we drank and ate a bit more than usual (a friend had come over). But after having taken the usual stuff for it, I still had a horrible time sleeping.

I had to get up at 4:45 to catch my flight and was tired. But off the airport I went. I didn't feel like eating or drinking anything. I was sitting waiting for the line up to board and I'm feeling really not so great, cramps in my stomach. With about 5 minutes before boarding, I decided to pull the plug. I went up to the check in desk and let them know I won't be taking the flight. I start walking out and realize I am going to hurl. I made it to the men's room and proceeded to puke my guts out - check off one new travel experience, throwing up in the airport - and then drove home. It was still only 7 AM when I got back. Spent all morning just curled up on either a couch or on my bed, exhausted. Definitely feel a bit better this afternoon and this evening.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Shadow Boxing or Road Warrior Lite

I should have called it Road Warrior Rusty.

I'm doing some business travel this week seeing my clients in Chicago and LA. Getting out of Albuquerque on Monday morning was a bit of headache.

It was kind of like the great travel battles of yore between the Magical Unicorn Pony God of Travel and mighty Road Warrior de-I.  Accept it really wasn't. It was more like MUPGT seeing the old rival who's sort of become a respected friend say:

      "Hey de-I old man. You're looking good. Want do some light sparring for old times sake?"

I was taking a flight the connected through Denver and there was snow there which screwed up flights so my flight out of Albuquerque was going to be 3 hours late causing me to miss my connection and I had a dinner meeting to make. But a quick call to the United Premier Gold desk and they had me on a direct flight to Chicago that left at Noon and got me there in time for my dinner. I ended up going back home since I had 5 hours to kill. I had a little more excitement as the new flight was scheduled to be 30 minutes late but just as I was leaving home again, I got two updates that said No, we're actually leaving on time. But in the end there were no problems.

I really didn't have a tremendously difficult day on Tuesday - 3 meetings - but I was beat. I remembered how I would do weeks of this type of stuff each month 10 years ago. Clearly that is all in the past. I don't need or want to be the road warrior. Some one asked when commented on this trip, "but aren't you doing all kinds of travel still?" And the answer is yes, but it is for pleasure and there is a huge difference in traveling for pleasure and traveling for work. For one thing you don't have to work when you get wherever you go! And you are on your own schedule and don't have to worry about getting anywhere for anyone else. And you are basically having fun. So yes, it is definitely different.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Banned from cooking

Banned from buying wine


Our freezer is filled to the brim. When I got back from our last trip, I went on a cooking binge. I made pot roast, braised Malay beef, chicken fricassee, lasagna, pizza, stock...all of which filled our freezer to overflowing. Hence the auditing and accounting department said - NO. No More Cooking. Not until we eat what we already have


While we were in France, we bought wine, I had numerous cases ordered that arrived just before we left for our last trip. Every slot in my cellar is full. The command came down from auditing and accounting. NO No More Wine Purchases. Not until you drink what you already have.


I am eating...I am drinking...This is going to take a while.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sorry...Not Sad About 2016 And Looking Forward to 2017

My goodness there has been so much rending of garments and dousing one's self with ashes about the horror of 2016. You will forgive me if I say I think people have no perspective whatsoever.

Okay it was a pretty tumultuous year politically and the results weren't what many people hoped for...but you know, these kinds of ebbs and flows of political winds of change have happened all the time. I dare anyone to pull the editorial and opinion pages of newspapers and go back 10 year, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, 50 years. What you will read is DOOM...GLOOM...All we know is coming to an end. No one in the moment EVER thinks that their time is is always GOING TO HELL!

Let me tell you, I certainly know people who had illness and death in 2016. I know people who had setbacks. But by and large the vast majority of people I interact with had a pretty damn good year in 2016...certainly better than they had in 2008 and 2009. Personally it was GREAT year. My transition was complete and we just enjoyed living in our new life state. My kids had good years. Many of my clients had good years. Prospects for most of those who I touch personally are looking good.

And if everyone focused more on what is going on with those you actually touch and can affect rather than rant and ruminate on things they have no ability to affect at all, they would see that there is plenty to be thankful for, plenty that is good going on, and plenty to be doing to continue making it good for everyone.

Did we have a major volcano irruption wiping out whole cities? Did a plague hit us and wipe out a major portion of our population? Are we starving? Are we being systematically assassinated like those in Aleppo? I don't think so. Get perspective. Focus on those you actually touch and affect. See what you really have and you will see it is pretty damn good.

I'm planning ton having a great 2017 and I could give two hoots about whose doing what to whom in Washington. It isn't going to stop me.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Family Visit

As I mentioned in my last post, Wife and I have gotten quite used to not having family with us for holidays due to the great distance between our children and ourselves. So it was quite the surprise a number of weeks ago when Daughter #1 told us that they had expiring frequent flyer miles that had to be used this year. AND while they could use those miles to get somewhere, they wouldn't have the funds to actually stay and do anything. So they asked if they could come and visit us right after Christmas and through New Year's Day.

So we did have family this year! And it was great. We went up to Santa Fe and visited this crazy place called Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return...don't ask me to describe it. It's like some gigantic maze with more layers of things to find than you could imagine. Next we went to a big indoor game place that had ton of arcade type games, pool, bowling, laser tag, and a gravity course.Another day we went out and took the grandchildren shopping. This was followed in the evening by a visit to Albuquerque's big Christmas light show called the River of Lights. We spent a day cooking and eating. We played lots of board games.

I brought the #1's to the airport this morning at 5:00 AM. It was a delightful four days that we have so infrequently with our family members.