Tag Archives: Cooking

Friday Fictioneers… HOT STUFF

chopsticks

 

HOT STUFF… A Drabble for FriFic

In a brownstone three flights up… the sound of food being spit out.

“Good God, Ethel, what the hell is this?”

“It’s my new ‘culinary de force’, Cheryl. I’m bringing excitement to my cooking.”

“Excitement!  Inedible, it’s so damn hot. I hope you meant ‘du jour’, because I don’t want to taste that again.  And, don’t pull that pouty face with me!  What did you put in that soup?”

“It’s my new thing. ‘Rooster Sauce!'”

Ethel proudly displays a bottle of Sriracha.

“Rooster sauce my ass, Ethel. There should be a Dragon on that label. One word… ‘Moderation'”

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friday-fictioneers

 

Check out other stories inspired by Marie Gail Stratford‘s photo see Rochelle @ Friday Fictioneers

俳句… HAIKU BOMBERS #2… St. Paddy’s Tacos

          Quill Shiv has a new Haiku writing prompt… A photo of Saint Patrick.  
My result:
                         You can make your own
                         corned beef, cabbage and salsa
                         at the taco bar.
Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos… In 1986, back in my Restaurant Days, I went to work for Jerry Franco.  Jerry was a bit of a culinary impresario on the Sacramento restaurant scene.  He had just reopened The Town House on 21st Street, down the block from The Sacramento Bee newspaper.  The Town House had been a Mexican Food tradition, and had been sitting empty for a few years after the owner retired.   Franco had opened in a blaze of glory, courting the news hounds and the denizens of California State Government. Having just left a job managing The Fabulous Fifties Cafe, I was ready to mingle with and serve adults.  So I went to work for Jerry as a waiter/bartender/manager.
It was a fun place to work, and we did some crazy promotions to try to make the The Town House a success.  Big lunch business, big after-work bar business.  He kept a few Mexican items on the menu, along with the ‘Upscale Designer’ dishes he came up with.  Each Happy Hour, we featured a Taco Bar, where the patrons could make their own tacos, to wash down with their Martinis and G & T’s.  For me, that taco bar was a pain in the ass, since I had to leave the bar and run back in the kitchen to replenish the supplies.  But the tips were pretty good as long as the food held out.
Saint Patrick’s Day was coming up, and The Town House, along with every other bar and restaurant in Sacramento… no, in the United States… was looking for ways to make some money off one of our more important Drinking Holidays.  I had the bright idea to put corned beef and cabbage on our Taco Bar for the day.  Jerry agreed that it was a brilliant idea, and gave me full credit, in case it bombed.  Getting free publicity was not too difficult, since we always made sure to ‘take good care of’ certain writers from up the street.  Low and behold, we saw some nice mentions in the gossip and the What’s Going On In Town sections of the Bee the day before, and our Happy Hour was packed that St. Paddy’s Day.  In fact, two guys drove down from Hangtown at lunch time to try the CB&C Tacos.  I had to plead with the cook to make some for them.  At Happy Hour, the idea was well received, lots of new people came in, and best of all… Mr. Franco even stuck around to help stock the Taco Bar.
So, when I saw the photo prompt for this week’s Haiku… for some reason, I thought of those Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos, and working at The Town House.
About 4 months later, I left for the Neon Restaurant Lights of Chicago.  I later heard that the Town House had closed and that Franco was the chef at a seafood joint in Cape Cod.  Last time I was in SacTown, it was a gay bar.

The Speakeasy #140… ETHEL & CHERYL WRITE A STORY

Peggy Wente: Globe and Mail columnist in alberta

ETHEL & CHERYL WRITE A STORY

‘I found the tracks in the deep snow between the trees.’  Okay, that has to be the first line to start our story.  Not over 750 words, okay Ethel?”

“Wait a minute!  What are you talking about, Cheryl?  The first line has to be ‘Pass the basil, would you?’.  You were late and I’ve already started the story.  It takes place on a TV cooking show.  Here, take a look.”

“Pass the basil, would you?”   “Basil! What are you a @#☠%^#✴︎& Idiot!!!”   “I think it goes in spaghetti, Chef.”   “But you are not making @#☠%^#✴︎& Spaghetti!!!  I asked for @#☠%^#✴︎& Lo Mein!!!”   “Sorry, Chef!!!  All noodles look the same to me.”

“For crying out loud, Ethel, you misread the instructions!  They are introducing the prompt painting with the ‘basil thing’.  It has something to with the story in the painting.”

“What story?  They aren’t cooking in the painting.  I don’t see any basil anywhere, just a skinny-ass dog and some people having a meal.  Okay, let’s figure out how they’re using basil, and I’ll save my cooking show story for later, I think it’s hilarious.”

“To each his own, Ethel, but it’s not about cooking.  If we want to be writers we need to focus, especially since we’re going to win a prize, we want it to be good.”

“Okay, let’s think outside the box here.  We can have ‘the tracks found deep in the snow between the trees’ be the dog’s.  And, we can have the cook find them!”

************************************

speakeasy2

While surfing the web, Ethel came across a writing challenge called The Speakeasy #140, always on the hunt for something new, she enlisted Cheryl to help her.  Here are the instructions she came across:

This week our sentence prompt, provided by last week’s winner, EA Wicklund, must be used as the FIRST line in your piece. And the media prompt is a painting.  

Pass the basil, would you?  

The painting this week is Isabella by John Everett Millais. It’s the first painting he did in the Pre-Raphaelite style and it was inspired by John Keat’s poem Isabella, or the Pot of Basil. Be sure to click on the image to see this painting in its large format because there is a lot going on in it.

John Everett Millais: Isabella, 1848-49..

  • Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
  • Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
  • Your piece must include the following sentence as the FIRST line: “I found the tracks in the deep snow between the trees.

***********************************

Incidentally, to read some damn fine Sci-Fi, check out Wicklund’s Fairy Taleseric

Suzanne Purkis runs the speakeasy, and can be found at  Apoplectic Apostrophessuzanne

SAINT PATRICK’S DAY REVISIT…

TedBook

          Quill Shiv has a new Haiku writing prompt… A photo of Saint Patrick.  
My result:
                         You can make your own 
                         corned beef, cabbage and salsa
                         at the taco bar.
 
Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos… In 1986, back in my Restaurant Days, I went to work for Jerry Franco.  Jerry was a bit of a culinary impresario on the Sacramento restaurant scene.  He had just reopened The Town House on 21st Street, down the block from The Sacramento Bee newspaper.  The Town House had been a Mexican Food tradition, and had been sitting empty for a few years after the owner retired.   Franco had opened in a…

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Friday Fictioneers… COOKING WITH THE ANCIENTS

photo-15

You are bound and determined to leave the modern world and go back to basics on this one.  She will be impressed.

You stop cleaning the BBQ long enough to check progress in the bucket. The clay has to be the right consistency.

‘Hell, a turkey is too big.’ You decide duck over chicken. Not so much to cover, sounds more exotic.

To pluck or not to pluck… that is the question. You decide to pluck, and cover with lettuce.

She is coming over at seven to a table with candles and flowers.

You serve up a steaming clay egg.

*************

I have changed the last line of my story, from ‘black’ egg to ‘clay’ egg.  The duck in question is cooked in clay and brought to the table and cracked open.  I think people thought I meant a burnt duck egg.  

This week, our FriFicMuse Rochelle, has tempted us with a photo taken by the Aloha Man himself… Doug MacIlroy .  After seeing this photo, I now know where the Keck Observatory obtains the fantastic photos of the distant planets in the Universe.  To read what other writers see in Doug’s garage, click here:

To see the Adventures of Doug and Ted… click here:  ABOVE THE CLOUDS  and here: KING OF THE MOUNTAIN … Hey!  This is my blog!

俳句… HAIKU BOMBERS #2… St. Paddy’s Tacos

          Quill Shiv has a new Haiku writing prompt… A photo of Saint Patrick.  
My result:
                         You can make your own 
                         corned beef, cabbage and salsa
                         at the taco bar.
 
Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos… In 1986, back in my Restaurant Days, I went to work for Jerry Franco.  Jerry was a bit of a culinary impresario on the Sacramento restaurant scene.  He had just reopened The Town House on 21st Street, down the block from The Sacramento Bee newspaper.  The Town House had been a Mexican Food tradition, and had been sitting empty for a few years after the owner retired.   Franco had opened in a blaze of glory, courting the news hounds and the denizens of California State Government. Having just left a job managing The Fabulous Fifties Cafe, I was ready to mingle with and serve adults.  So I went to work for Jerry as a waiter/bartender/manager.
It was a fun place to work, and we did some crazy promotions to try to make the The Town House a success.  Big lunch business, big after-work bar business.  He kept a few Mexican items on the menu, along with the ‘Upscale Designer’ dishes he came up with.  Each Happy Hour, we featured a Taco Bar, where the patrons could make their own tacos, to wash down with their Martinis and G & T’s.  For me, that taco bar was a pain in the ass, since I had to leave the bar and run back in the kitchen to replenish the supplies.  But the tips were pretty good as long as the food held out.
Saint Patrick’s Day was coming up, and The Town House, along with every other bar and restaurant in Sacramento… no, in the United States… was looking for ways to make some money off one of our more important Drinking Holidays.  I had the bright idea to put corned beef and cabbage on our Taco Bar for the day.  Jerry agreed that it was a brilliant idea, and gave me full credit, in case it bombed.  Getting free publicity was not too difficult, since we always made sure to ‘take good care of’ certain writers from up the street.  Low and behold, we saw some nice mentions in the gossip and the What’s Going On In Town sections of the Bee the day before, and our Happy Hour was packed that St. Paddy’s Day.  In fact, two guys drove down from Hangtown at lunch time to try the CB&C Tacos.  I had to plead with the cook to make some for them.  At Happy Hour, the idea was well received, lots of new people came in, and best of all… Mr. Franco even stuck around to help stock the Taco Bar.
So, when I saw the photo prompt for this week’s Haiku… for some reason, I thought of those Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos, and working at The Town House.
About 4 months later, I left for the Neon Restaurant Lights of Chicago.  I later heard that the Town House had closed and that Franco was the chef at a seafood joint in Cape Cod.  Last time I was in SacTown, it was a gay bar.

SOMETIMES IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS…

I made some toast today, and immediately thought of my mother, Edna.   I love Orange Marmalade.  I put it in a lot of things, and when I put it on my toast, I use a spreader I got from my mother.  It was a spreader I grew up with.  In fact it is older than I, as  my mom got it from her mother.  When I say I got it from my mother, that’s not exactly true.  My mom died almost two years ago, and anyone that knew her knows she was very well-organized.   (In fact, she would put J. Edgar to shame… there were files on everyone… from me all the way down to Ula)  She had made arrangements to have everything of any value, monetarily or sentimentally parceled out to her family.  My sister Marja helped her organize at the end and I know my mom was very grateful for the help and maybe more importantly the company, as my Father had monopolized everyone’s time and energy, and my Mother got the short end of the stick so to speak.   I will be forever grateful to Marja for that.

So, everything was pretty much decided about ‘what went where’.

As I was helping my sister’s dispose of things… giving things to our Mom’s helpers and friends and us taking some things… “Hey, I need a storage container that size!” (anyone knowing our Mom knows about storage containers!)… I came across this spreader in a drawer with about 5 other spreaders… God forbid we would run out of spreaders.  My Mom had a lot of duplicates… I guess that’s what happens in 90 years of life.  The cabinets were almost sagging off the walls with the weight of all the dish sets.

But, back to the Spreader… This one spreader, was one I used when I was a child and had advanced to making my own toast and sandwiches.   I used it every time I went to Sacramento to visit.  So, I pocketed it that day.   Every time I make toast or a sandwich I think of my Mom.

Tonight, I’m going to The Palace Theater to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo… I will think of my Mom, as she loved to go to the movies more than anything else.  I saw more movies with my mother than anyone else in my life.  She would go to see anything with me.  She said she wanted to see ‘Sin City’ (my daughters were aghast when they found out I had taken her to see ‘Sin City’, I said “Hey she really wanted to see it!”) so we went.  But, I was the one who really wanted to see it,  found out later she really didn’t like it and was just looking out for her son (I know that feeling myself), and I loved her for that… she was my Champion in life.

The perfect day for my Mom, was to go to Arden Fair Mall.  Have lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen or the Cheesecake Factory… actually her favorite was to get a Polish Dog in the Food Court… then we would browse Barnes and Nobel looking at books, maybe buying a few… well always buying a few… then on to the show in the Mall or nearby Century 21.  That was our day… and in the old days when she was in good health we would sometimes go to 2 shows.  So I saw a lot of movies with my Mom.

Of the all things of value she wanted me to have, it is the little things that spark memories… those are the most important.  Because it’s the memories that are most valuable in our lives.

I used to hear people say “I miss and think of my mother every day”… I now know what they mean.   Although I may not think of her every day, there are so many little reminders, it’s hard not to.

Photos are great reminders… I have a lot of my Mom… here’s one of my favorites.

                                                       Washington, DC  ~ 1942

STIR-FRY and THE WOK…Chinese Cooking Revisited

You know how one thing leads to another?  Well, yesterday my sister Mariya gave me some  snow peas from her garden.  I thought ‘what in the hell am I going to do with these’, and then remembered that I liked snow peas in a stir-fry.  So I went to the grocery store and picked up some veggies to go with them.  I forgot to get some tofu, and that bummed me out when I started cooking,  remembering  I liked tofu in my stir-fry.  I used to do a lot of stir-fry!

See, when I was in the middle of my mid-life crisis in the late ’70s I figured out that a great way to score with women, was to invite them to my house and cook them dinner.  I wasn’t wrong.  Unfortunately I only really knew Mexican and German cooking and they were not showy or sexy enough to impress.  So, I took cooking classes.  (also a great place to meet women)  I signed up for classes at William Glen in Sacramento.  A gourmet food and cookware/lifestyle store, they held classes in a kitchen/classroom at the back of the store.  Those guys were no dummies, as after class you had to pass all the merchandise to get out of the store… no easy feat to escape the cash register.   The instructors were first-rate… I took Italian from Biba Caggiano and Chinese from Martin Yan.  I decided that Chinese would be showy and Italian sexy.  My first class was Chinese taught by a young woman just arrived from Taiwan.  She lived in Chinatown in S.F. and came to town to teach the class.  She was very shy but a good teacher.  The recipes she gave the class were hand written and I still have them.

I took two classes from her and became quite adept at The Art of the Stir-fry, or so I thought. But, it was a lot of fun and I did like to show off.

I always served warm Sake (I know, not culturally correct) with Chinese and red wine with Italian.  And, always Ambrosia for dessert.  (I didn’t dress as a chef for my dates… I know you are thinking ‘What a Dork’)   A funny thing… years ago after I moved to Friday Harbor, a friend invited me to dinner at her house and did a stir-fry with tofu and stole my heart.   I’m thinking the tables were turned… had she heard my secret?

So yesterday I dug out my wok (which I bought on the way out of William Glen after my first class).  I don’t think I have used it for 10 years and was very unpleasantly surprised to find that it was all rusty.  And I don’t mean a little rusty… I mean a lot rusty.  I was ready for a little cleaning, but I ended up having to sand the rust out.  An hour later I had a clean if unbroken-in wok.  I paired some grilled chicken with a sesame orange glaze and the meal was a success.  Next up… The Mongolian Fire Pot!

So, it guess woking is a little like riding a bicycle… although I don’t remember as much food on the floor.

♨ ♨ ♨ ♨ ♨ ♨ ♨ ♨ ♨ ♨ ♨ ♨ 

moonshine

 

Back when I was new to blogging, and writing anything, I posted this… it was my 5th story.  I thought my friends at the Moonshine Grid could use a little food.

 

DESSERT DISASTER: The Dangers of the Internet!

Having been been away from home for some time, I was looking forward to a trip to the grocery store, or market as some would say, to stock up on goodies.  Of course DESSERT is a must, and I had to get my favorite… Marionberry Cobbler from the Willamette Valley.  And, that leads to Hand Churned French Vanilla Ice Cream to top it off!   After a trip to the Frozen Food Aisle I made my way through check out and headed for home.

Leaving my grocery bag (the reusable kind of course) on the backseat, I took some artwork I am preparing for the County Fair inside the house and decided to check my e-mail… two hours later I remembered the food.

Well, I took my time putting everything away ( being involved with facebook by now), having forgot there were frozen goodies involved.  By the time I dug out the cobbler and ice cream they were thoroughly melted.  And, to make matters worse, the cobbler was on end… meaning it had all slid together at one end of the container.  Well, in the fridge the ice cream went and I mixed the cobbler together and put it in the oven, figuring I would not cook it as long since it was no longer frozen… Hey Great!… more time to check out something on the computer.  Well, I cooked it about 1/2 hr. too long and it was an interesting brown colored crust.  The good thing was that the ice cream solidified enough to spoon out somewhat whole.

Tasted semi-okay and better than nothing I guess… Another example of the Dangers of the Internet!

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