Today was not my day, and compleeeetely of my own doing.  Shrimp is in hand, as well as another bottle of the delightful Fume Blanc, but all the cheer has been consumed with pondering.

Didn’t get my Amazon Fresh order in by 10, didn’t want to go to Ralphs/Vons, no parking (as usual!) at Trader Joe’s, decided to fight the traffic on the 405 and head to Lazy Acres.  Everything was fine until I hit the checkout.

As I was swiping my debit card, a question arose in the back of my head.  Do I actually have money in the cash account?  In theory, yes.  In practice, I keep the cash balance low because I can earn 4% or more on high-yield bonds versus 0.10% in interest check–

**CARD DECLINED**

That answered that question.  But that was fine; I could put in an order to sell a few shares tomor–

“Ma’am, did you just try to use your EBT card?”

“Mmmm, no.”

“Oh.  I just asked because there’s a different amount here on the screen (points)…”

“Nah, I just have to transfer funds from my brokerage account.  I’ll use another card.”

It was only when I got back to the car that I wondered why that was the question…whether I had just used my EBT card to buy:

  • Jumbo prawns, $25.99/lb 
  • Grgich Hills Napa Valley 2013 Fume Blanc, $29.99/bottle
  • Fresh cut fruit container (2), $4.05 and $4.93 respectively
  • Sliced smoked turkey, $2.82 ($11.99/lb)
  • Ahi tuna poke, $16.99/lb 
  • Amy’s Organic Cheese & Pesto Frozen Pizza, $7.92
  • Organic cherry tomatoes, $2.99/pint

Who the fuck buys that kind of stuff on an EBT card?  Someone who enjoys starving most of the month?  When I was on food stamps (19 years ago, when I was issued something resembling Monopoly money), I’d wouldn’t have been in a Lazy Acres type of market generally, let alone blow my $65/month benefit on stuff like that.

Yeah, I have a pretty good inkling why I was asked.  There wasn’t enough Social Justice Warrior in me to get mad at the checkout line, nor in the car, nor now.  I’m just going to eat my poke, sip my wine, place my trade order, and ponder.  Scampi tomorrow, Hubert Keller’s macaroni and cheese the night after.

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cooking with whine: shrimp scampi

If I created an evolutionary line of cooking instructional videos, somewhere on the Mars Rover side would be Bruno Albouze (French private chef; expects his viewers to have knife skills), and somewhere on the knuckle-dragging side would be Kathy Maister (American Home Ec Instructor; teaches knife skills).

Which is not a dig, but an acknowledgement that we all have to start somewhere, and that’s where I found myself when reading about cooking (Alton) was not. quite. translating. into. edible. food.  Great production values, great animations, soothing background music, focus on basic techniques and the mise en place.  Kathy has it all, and is well-worth a visit for the recipes long after the need to learn technique has waned.

One of my favorites is her Shrimp Scampi, which I will not recount here but will make tonight (and add a photo, maybe).  Two Buck Chuck is usually the wine of choice, but tonight I will use some of the Fume Blanc, which should be as delightful with shrimp swimming in it as it is straight from the bottle like a damn wino in the glass.

I was going to whine about delayed logistics spoiling dreams of a lovely view and bergamot & grapefuit scented bath bubbles, but the thought of making scampi tonight has brought with it indelible cheer.  Plus, I’m freezing my ass off on the back deck – the now-working furnace beckons.

oatmeal pancakes



The kids love oatmeal.  They also love pancakes.  I love making food I don’t eat, especially when I can geek out.  I see a win/win/win here.

Pancakes could technically be called panmuffins, since you use the Muffin Method of construction: scale dry ingredients in Bowl 1 and mix thoroughly; scale wet ingredients in Bowl 2 and beat to combine; pour Bowl 2 mix into Bowl 1 (not the reverse!), then stir briefly until the dry mix is mostly absorbed, but lumps remain.  

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cooking when i don’t feel like it: chicken milanese 



I suffer from a strange reaction to food – when I cook it, I don’t want to eat it and when I eat it, I don’t want to cook it.  Multi-homed satiety has its benefits and drawbacks.  Tonight was a drawback, since I was full enough from lunch that I didn’t feel like cooking dinner.  But I have two stomachs in the house that don’t cook and therefore expect to be fed regularly.  What do?

Chicken Milanese, that’s what.  It’s fun because I get to play with the food, but not labor-intensive and incorporates downtime, so I can wash the prep dishes during Intermission and don’t feel like the kitchen was hit with a hurricane when I’m done.

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flat beer? make bread!

If I die, arrest this loaf for involuntary manslaughter, but let it plead down to a lesser included offense:



The genesis of this loaf can be pinpointed to July, when I went on a kidless mini-break and BackupMom held a BBQ at my house.  A pan of leftovers sits in the fridge commemorating the event (ewww), but that’s not the point.

During the BBQ, the partygoers stored lots of beer in my outdoor mini-fridge and drank it all.  Except one.  Which I found, open but otherwise unmarred, when I got a yen to make Breadtopia’s version of Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread featured in the New York Times…but had no beer in the house.

It’s been in a closed environment.  Alcohol is a preservative.  We won’t die when we eat bread made with it, right?

Right?

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magic-enough-for-me sauce



I like The Flame Broiler, which is to say, I am addicted like a smack addict to the marinade and magic sauce used on the meat.  They aren’t giving up the recipe; until then, a simple Korean(ish) BBQ sauce will do.  I was going to research a shitload of recipes and test them all out, but the first one I found was close enough to the stated ingredients and taste of the smack that I have called off the search.

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