This just kills me

My best crop. Lemons. Harvested today.

This tree is at least 30 years old. I treat it badly. It always produces. If only I needed this many lemons. And Meyer lemons at that. They taste weird. Good for savory, weird for sweet.

St Julia forgive me

For a recent family event (my great-nephew turned 12—I am so old) I made Mac and Cheese using a recipe from Cooking Secrets for Men (linked here) The recipe called for a pound of butter. Now I like butter as much as the next guy but I really could not imagine using that much here. I used 1/4 of a pound (one stick which seemed like a lot to me) for a pound of pasta.

I know, Julia Child, as my friend Charlie says here, insists that there’s no such thing as too much butter. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. As it was there was a can of cheddar soup, a cup of sour cream, half & half, and buttermilk, respectively, as well as more than a pound of cheese.

It was a hit. The recipe says it serves 4. Forty more like.

This luscious stuff

Cream-cheese-and-blueberry-preserves stuffed French toast. Mixed the cream cheese with the blueberry preserves, made sandwiches, tucked them into a casserole, doused them with egg, milk, brown sugar and vanilla and gave them a good overnight soak. Baked for an hour, half the time covered then not.

Served with Wisconsin maple syrup.

The photographs do not do it justice I was in too much of a hurry to jam it into my yap. So so so good.

Recipe (sort of) here

WWWW?

Every time I make something like this, which is not often since I rarely have sandwich bread within my grasp, I wonder . . . What Would Wendy Want? She and her picky husband do not like tuna melts or grilled chicken salad sandwiches. This was a grilled cheese and sliced chicken sandwich. I’m not sure how this may be different than the chicken salad grilled sandwich that they do l not like aside from the fact that it’s not “salad” but I wonder.

FYI, I used mayo on the outside of the sandwich and it was perfect, as you can see.

Theoretically this should have been delicious

And it was good but not the flavor-bomb I was expecting. I love olive nut spread (dip?). It’s a family favorite and when my sister sent me this link I was enthusiastic. (Well, sorta, I was sick at the time but it registered with me anyway.)

Olive Walnut pasta (recipe here). I had farfalle, olives and walnuts, so, OK, go. I was just recovering from whatever the hell was trying to kill me and this seemed pretty easy. And it was.

The recipe called for castlevetrano olives (I mean, really?? And they were supposed to be “torn” instead of cut, can we be any more precious?). I only had the kind of olives you put in martinis but I like the flavor of them better than castlevetrano olives which, to me, have almost no flavor at all. The recipe also called for garlic and lemon zest. I did not use them. In my lexicon lemon and garlic have no place in olive nut, as we call it.

This is vegan but, I dunno, I think it would have been better with cream cheese. I will have to work on that, removing it from the vegan realm notwithstanding.

Just back from Death’s Door

I got 4 different vaccinations in December (coulda been January, the days all blend together when you’re retired) and yet I got some sort of something or other that totally knocked me for a loop. I know it’s bad when I have no interest in food. Making or eating. My one foray into cooking other than rice and chicken bouillon was a can of tomatoes and pasta. My mother used to make it when I was a kid and I loved it. She’d have used elbow macaroni and that would have had a better pasta to tomato ratio but farfalle was all I had. It solved my hunger issue but not my cold/flu/plague problem although if I can make food, eat it and write about it I figure I’m on the mend.

Hold on to your hats

I’ve stumbled upon the perfect way to boil eggs and get the freaking shell off. Isn’t this exciting!?!

I know that in the past I have subscribed to the Cook’s Complicated, er, Illustrated egg steaming method but recently Sola El Wally (or however you spell it) had a NYT YouTube video (see here) in which she cooks eggs every whichaways, including hard boiling. It’s a fascinating watch, I mean, who doesn’t want to see a half hour of fun egg cookery. But the real eye opener was her method of cooking and peeling hard boiled eggs.

I’ll boil it down for you.

Get a large pot of water a-boiling. Put your cold-out-of-the refrigerator large eggs into something you can lower into the water so you don’t splash or burn yourself. Boil 9 minutes for jammy (best for eat-right-now) or 12 minutes for deviled eggs (solid cooked yolks). Take them out of the water and put immediately into large ice water bath, let sit for a second until handleable and then tap the eggs to crack the shells and put back in the ice water for an additional few minutes. They peal like magic. I’ve done more than 10 like this now and 100% of them peeled perfectly.

Don’t buy these

Since I am a sucker for (among other things) any kind of pickle. I popped for these expensive kosher halves which are pickles sold in the deli section of my supermarket. I always wonder with this sort of thing if the people who make them taste them?

If they had they’d know that they taste like the drawer in my upstairs bathroom smells. Not exactly revolting, but not edible. And despite the claim on the label that they are “super crunchy,” they are not. They may have been “freshly packed,” though, whatever that means.

I fed them to my garbage disposal.

Mexico, last thing(s)

At first I thought I was just old, yes, OK, I am old. I can admit this as much as I dislike it. But the altitude of Mexico City is more than 7,000 feet. For reference, Denver is 5,000. I was having a hard time breathing and at the same time experiencing bouts of dizziness. After I figured out that it was the altitude and not a stroke it was easier to deal with the periodic reminders of my age, health failings and infirmities.

So so so much beauty. Everywhere.

Yes, Chinatown in Mexico City. It is exactly 2 blocks long.

These were all taken with a block or two of our hotel. Art deco, classical, colonial, art nouveau and modern, among other styles I am not well informed enough on which to comment.

There is also a great deal of modern architecture in Mexico City. This is MUAC, the contemporary art museum complex part of their university which is massive, like 10 times the size of UW.

Generally speaking I prefer to visit old churches since they have more, you know, hocus hocus but this modern church, part of a monastery in the Coyoacan neighborhood, was intriguing. Then we went and had beers. Seemed about right.

And that’s about all I have to say about it. “It” being Mexico. I think.