I should be writing. Instead…salsa. And more salsa.

salsas

No recipe here.

Just the patience to wait a whole day as the massive tomatoes sat unclaimed on the table in our staff room.

Those babies would not go to waste. I owed it to them.  I pounced.

On most cool wet Friday afternoons, I’m more than willing to camp out in the living room with fresh Italian roast and a treat [most recently, thanks to my wife, Yotam Ottolenghi’s Semolina Lemon Syrup Cakes].

But these tomatoes called for quick action.

Standard ingredients in the salsa on the right…onion, garlic, chili powder, pepper, salt, cilantro, cider vinegar, sugar. I left out jalapenos.

The salsa on the left called for experimentation. I added sumac, a favored spice in Middle Eastern/Turkish dishes, for a lemony touch, a tablespoon of  sweetened black vinegar to join the usual apple cider vinegar, and some smoked salt.

I can’t deliver a fair verdict on the flavors until I’ve let the ingredients meld, but once again, when the culinary gods call, my writing takes a back seat.

I should be writing. Instead…playing on Labor Day.

Not in order of completion…

Exploring another feature of the iPhone/iPad app Clips.

And a visit to nearby Avery Park for breakfast and cruising the rose garden…

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And there’s the undying need to bake. This time: blueberry-cinnamon coffee cake

Photo to follow? We’ll see…

 

I should be writing. Instead…dining out.

rhubarb pie lattice

The end of a week.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m retired…for the weekend, at least.

And we aimed for Gathering Together Farm for dinner.

Meanwhile, on the topic of eating and writing, here is a Bon Appetit article, 9 Authors on What They Eat While They Write.

 

I should be writing. Instead…adding to the family.

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We liked the name ‘Milo’ from our previous searches, so ‘Haswell’ became ‘Milo’ today.

He had no problem taking the reins of jumping into the front seat. Uhhhh, no.

But he’s fitting in nicely. Lots of energy and seems happy with our backyard and likes to do errands.

 

 

I should be writing. Instead…lending a hand.

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An added bonus to assisting others…

I helped the owner of an over-the-fence rental locate her property’s water shut-off valve. Maybe this is a side hustle I need to explore.


Milo the One-Eyed Dog…an update. No sooner had the vet cleared him for adoption than he was snapped up by someone else. Hey, as long as he’s cared for in a loving home, that’s good with us.

 

I should be writing. Instead…the shelter dog search continues.

We met Milo yesterday.

He’s a true survivor.

A sweetheart transfer [not an official term ;->] from Maui, within a week’s time, he had his eye removed [optic nerve had failed], he was neutered, and he withstood and actually just shrugged off an injury from a vicious attack from another dog at the facility.

He needs to be at the shelter for another post-surgical week, but how can a life like this not burrow its way into one’s heart?

Milo the One-Eyed Dog…

Seems like he needs a good family of dog lovers…dog-obsessors, even.

I have no idea where I could find anyone like that, assuming I avoid looking in the mirror.

Photos from Heartland Humane Society

I should be writing. Instead…it’s time to adopt a dog.

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I’d take all three of these guys.

Yep, once he/she arrives, there will probably be umpteen ‘I should be writing’ opps.

boo retirement

Boo was my career counselor.

We lost Boo over a year ago and I usually need more healing time, but as the years progress, I realize I can’t be dawdling on this. I want a dog’s spirit, loyalty, and companionship in the house. Not to mention the entertainment value.

Note: My wife is actually spending more time on the local shelters’ websites than I am. Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s harder to live with a dogless me. 😉

 

 

I should be writing. Instead…blueberry muffins, with variations.

muffins horizontal

I was going to launch a mini-rant against technology this afternoon [Safari and WordPress weren’t playing nicely], but I redirected toward wholesomeness. And comfort. And calories.

After all, frustrated writers don’t rant; they bake.

In my case, blueberry muffins. A new recipe. A simple one, since I just wanted something straightforward so we could squeeze in a little afternoon coffee. Never mind that the temps outside are in the high 90’s. When the need for ‘fresh-baked’ arises, I spring to action. [Well, not exactly ‘spring’. That would imply flexibility…agility…youth.]

Breaking news from the kitchen–[Hey, if CNN can do this 24/7, so can I.]…They’re halfway done and they’ve already earned the ‘They smell goood’ pronouncement from my wife and they look like they’ll turn out ‘normal’—a relative term in my kitchen.

What constitutes ‘normal’?

These muffins [here’s the recipe] will form fit to the muffin tin. That’s about it. Anything less than that, I add the word ‘mutant’ to the title.

Today, three of these little hummers are traditional, I’ve added a sweet ginger jam to two of them, and one of them has nary a blueberry. [Yes, a blatantly forced rhyme.] I populated it with ’60% cocoa’ chocolate chips. My wife…ever so subtle. When muffin fixins emerge, you can bet she’ll saunter by and plop some usable form of chocolate onto the counter.

Impressions

  • Good ‘blank canvas’ recipe. I will gladly reuse this as my muffin base. Add cinnamon, etc. for stone fruit muffins. Add peanut butter to join the chocolate chips. You get the idea. [Thank you, Joanne and Adam Gallagher.]
  • I used muffin-top tins today to shorten the cooking time. Again, I wanted quick results. In the future, I would use traditional tins for more moisture.
  • Ginger jam: Yep. I’d repeat this. The marriage of blueberry and ginger definitely worked.
  • Chocolate chip muffin: I bungled this one. The muffin was fine, but someone [me] turned out to be chintzy with the chips. [Divorce proceedings imminent…]
  • Everything tastes better when it’s served on my favorite ‘dog plate’.

I should be writing. Instead…butternut squash soup.

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In keeping with the whole ‘putting off till later’ theme, here is some breaking news: Merriam-Webster’s thesaurus doesn’t grok the word procrastinate.

Moving on…

I had gained so much procrastinative ** momentum from my earlier foray into non-productivity that I sauntered into the kitchen. Imagine that.

Shockingly, I chose to cook healthy.

I had no intention of opening a cookbook, of course.

I chunked up the squash the day before, knowing full well how exhausting it would be to both prep the squash AND cook it all in one fell swoop. Pretty obvious that I’m not into swoops–energy requirements too steep.

I heated up some olive oil, sprinkled in some za’atar, 21-Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe’s, salt, and pepper for a quick blooming, added chicken broth, and then the squash. That reminds me. It might need a dash of white wine.

butternut squash soup
the ‘before’ photo. 

After a severe pummeling with the hand blender, I might finish it with a little milk and then sprinkle some grated Asiago cheese into each serving.

Turns out I didn’t bother with either the milk or the Asiago. Plenty of flavor to stand on its own. It doesn’t mean I won’t try them with the leftovers, however.

While I didn’t use a recipe, if you stayed with me this long, you deserve one to consider. I like the idea of adding some ginger to the mix.

Thanks for reading. Go make some soup. On your own. No cookbook. If I can do it, so can you.


**Yep, it’s a word. No way did I think so when it flew off my fingers onto the keyboard.