Saturday, April 30, 2022

Saturday 9--As Time Goes By

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Saturday 9: As Time Goes By (1958)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song begins with, "You must remember this." Do you often write things down to help you remember?

I’m a big fan of sending myself texts or emails.  If I really need to remember it, I put it on both my phone Google calendar AND my work Outlook calendar. 

2) The lyrics tell us that moonlight and love songs are never out of date. Tell us about something else that seems timeless.

A good meal, shared with loved ones never goes out of style.

3) Originally written in 1931, "As Time Goes By" is best known as the love theme from the 1942 film, Casablanca. According to the American Film Institute, there's only one song from a movie soundtrack that's more expressly identified with the film: "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz. What song reminds you of your favorite movie?

One of my favorite movies is Hidden Figures, the story of three amazing black women in the 60s who worked for NASA in the early days of the space program.  These women were GIANTS.  Anyhow, the main theme song of the movie is the song Runnin’, by Pharrell Williams.  It’s perfect, and I love it.  Have a listen….

4) This version is from The George Sanders Touch, an LP recorded by an Oscar-winning character actor. There is scant evidence that it sold well. Tell us about something you thought was a good idea at the time, but looking back, would have done differently.

Ummmmmm, getting married at 18 wasn’t the brightest thing I ever did.  But it informed the rest of my life, so I can’t say I would have done things differently.  I don’t want to change what I have now, and doing something differently would have done that.

5) This album was really something of a consolation prize for George. He worked with a vocal coach, hoping to win the romantic lead in the film version of South Pacific, but alas, the role went to a younger man. He had fun making this record instead. Have you recently taken lemons and made lemonade?

Oh yes.  Sometimes, you just gotta pivot.

6) He usually played suave but unsympathetic characters. That's why he gave his autobiography the self-aware title, Memoirs of a Professional Cad. What would you call your life story?

You End Up Where You’re Supposed to Be:  A Life

7) The night he won his Oscar, George Sanders accepted the statuette, bowed deeply and then, safely behind the curtain and awa from cameras, surprised onlookers by crying. Have you ever cried tears of joy?

Four times that really stick out.  The first time I held my daughter.  When I got an email from my daughter after 13 years of not hearing from her, and when my Mom decided to  move to New Mexico.

8) George Sanders wed perennial talk show guest and occasional actress Zsa Zsa Gabor in 1949. Sixteen years after their divorce, he married Zsa Zsa's less famous but also glamorous sister, Magda. After a month, George and Magda thought better of it and had the union annulled. Sam thinks this is one of the oddest romantic tales she's ever stumbled upon while researching Saturday 9. Have you ever known anyone who divorced one sibling and then married another? (Hallmark movies don't count.)

I can honestly say I don’t.

9) Random question: You're in a line of 25 people at the post office. How many of those other 24 are more patient at waiting than you are?

I never wait at the post office.  I use the self-serve kiosk during off hours.  I can’t STAND waiting in line.

Friday, April 29, 2022

I have a Hobby

For years and years, I felt I needed a "hobby".  People crochet, or knit.  They sew, or run.  Kayak, paint, throw pots, make candles.  I've tried a lot of these things, and nothing ever fit.  I tried felting, and crocheting, candlemaking, soapmaking, and cross-country skiing.  Nothing ever felt right.

Until cooking.  I've always loved food, and restaurants, and trying new cuisines, but my OCD really kept me from enjoying cooking for decades.  I finally got treated in the early days of the pandemic, but was so unsure of myself.  I subscribed to Blue Apron and Hello Fresh and Plated, and learned how to do the basics again.  It was wonderful, but I was still scared that things wouldn't be perfect.

As the treatment progressed (Luvox, an antidepressant that is very specific to OCD, in case anyone is wondering), I got more and more excited about trying out my new skills.  I bought a couple of cookbooks at the Goodwill and tried my hand at various recipes.  They came out GOOD.  Hubs loved them and I know I can trust him to be honest about food.  

Fast forward to today, and my mother says to me the other day, "well, you finally have a hobby" and I was like "what hobby"?  Cooking she says.  You really seem to like making all sorts of foods and trying new things out all the time (and Mom shares a lot of these meals with us).  I was floored.

I have a HOBBY.


Holy shit, that blew my mind.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Thursday 13--Thirteen Things That Will Make You an Amazing Home Cook

 Thirteen Things That Will Make You an Amazing Home Cook

1.           Butter.  Not just any butter.  Local-made butter, Organic grass-fed butter, or Kerrygold Irish butter will blow your mind.  Not cheap, but take a tablespoon and put it on a piece of toast.  To.Die.For.  It will improve anything you do.  Use unsalted for something that has a ton of salt otherwise (like something with soy sauce or another spice that includes salt).

2.           Interested in Asian Cooking?  Hit up Amazon and check out things like:  Korean Gochugang, Mother in Law’s Gochujaru flakes (if you can’t get gochujang), Kimlan Soy Sauces, Korean (any brand) toasted sesame oils, Szechuan Peppercorns, Big Boy Oyster Sauce, and Kum Lee Hoisin Sauce.  And, of course, Sriracha.  You can use all these ingredients in so many ways (stay tuned for a post about this), for example, Sriracha and Mayo are is a match made in heaven--especially in fish tacos or just plain fish sticks!)

3.           Interested in adding spice to your dish?  Amazon is your friend.  Dried Chile Arbol is a slightly less hot version of  Chinese chiles (like in Kung Pao dishes) or Thai Bird Chiles (which are so freakin' hot they practically killed my hubs).  Want to go the New Mexican route—Young Guns Produce red and green chile comes in every hotness you could want.  Best time to buy?  September, October, and freeze in small containers to use throughout the year.

4.           Love fresh produce but worry about diseases etc.?  Hit up your local Farmer’s Market—and buy organic.  Don't have a ton of money?  Lot's of Farmer's Markets these days accept SNAP benefits.  Highly unlikely you’re getting Listeria, and the produce will taste AMAZING.  Like the best lettuce ever in the history of ever.  I find that farmer’s market root vegetables are so much more sweet than commercial.  Blows my mind.  AND the selection is the bomb.  Try stuff--I hate broccoli, but thanks to a farmer's market, I tried broccolette (a hybrid that's not nearly as pungent to MYnose ) and love it!  And how cool is it that you get to support local farmers?  (Hot tip--the eggs are to die for).

5.           Let’s talk pasta shall we?  A lot of grocery stores these days are carrying high quality dried pastas (bronze dies, low heat) that will blow your mind.  Blow off spaghetti or penne and try a new shape like orecchiette or bucatini.

6.           Still buying the cheapest milk on the shelf?  Don’t.  Try something lactose-free and ultra-filtered and pasturerized, like Fairlife.  You won’t go back.

7.           Don’t cook everything in olive oil.  It has a relatively low smoke point, and if you want to do any sort of stir-fry, you need an oil that can hold up to that.  Avocado oil has an incredibly high smoke point, but is still healthy.  Check out your local Marshall’s or TJMaxx—their cooking sections often carry Avocado Oil at a discount.

8.           Menu plan like a champ.  This will not only get you great meals, but save you money.  Make a detailed grocery list, and FOLLOW it.  We plan all 13 meals in a pay period, and buy just what we need for the meals.  Lunches are usually leftovers, or sandwiches.  Breakfasts are also planned in advance (hubs doesn’t eat breakfast, and I tend to eat the same thing for two weeks at a time).

9.           Get a separate freezer and a vacuum sealer.  I cannot tell you how much money this has saved our two – person family over the years.  My parents gave us a freezer and a vacuum sealer as a housewarming gift in 2016, and we continue to use the hell out of them today.

10.         If you have a separate freezer and vacuum sealer, run, don’t walk, to your local butcher and inquire about freezer packs.  We split a freezer pack with my Mom last year prior to Thanksgiving, and are just now coming to the end of the meat.  The meat is extremely high quality, much cheaper than grocery store, and makes me want to experiment with cooking roasts.

11.         If you go for a freezer pack from a butcher, you WILL get a lot of roasts (many which can come out tough if cooked in the oven).  GET THYSELF TO AN INSTANTPOT.  Pressure cooking will change your life if you do this kind of cooking.

12.         Like fruit?  Don’t buy it fresh, hit up the freezer section.  Berries especially.  Every grocery store I’ve been in has big bags of berries, melon, etc.  These are great for a breakfast smoothie, or just thawed with a little Splenda.  Fresh fruit invariably goes bad in my fridge, so I don’t bother.

13.         Eat what you love.  Ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, eat what makes you happy.  I don’t subscribe (any more) to the “food is fuel” nonsense.  Food connects us to our ancestors, to our past, to our culture, and to our present.  Don’t short yourself by eating lettuce with no dressing every day for lunch.  Connect with your food….eat local when you can, eat global when you can, and ENJOY WHAT YOU EAT.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Cooking is Fun... And Easy!! Sheet Pan Mushroom Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles)


I got my second box from Hardcover Cook, and it’s stunning!  The cookbook is Korean American:  Food That Tastes Like Home, by Eric Kim.  The pantry essentials that came with this book are Jookjangyeon Gochujang Premium Red Chile Paste, Jookjangyeon Doenjang Premium Soybean Paste, Mother in Law’s Gochugaru Korean Chile Flakes, Badasoop Gim Korean Toasted Seaweed, Wadaman Roasted Golden Sesame Seeds, and Chung Jung One Korean Sweet Potato Glass Noodles.  WOW!!  So excited to use these beautiful ingredients, we hopped in the car and went down to Talin International Market in ABQ and picked up the ingredients for Sheet Pan Japchae (pg. 231).  Japchae is a classic Korean noodle dish.  I cheated a bit and used Japchae sauce from Korea rather than making my own.

I ended up adapting this quite bit—cause this was way too much for two people, and I wanted some carrot in there, as well as a little heat.  I hope you enjoy it!


3.5 ounces dried dangmyeon (sweet potato glass noodles)
1/2 pound mixed mushrooms (I used shiitakes and oyster mushrooms), stems removed from shiitakes, and sliced into ½” slices
3 large scallions, cut into 3-inch lengths
1-1/2 teaspoon gojucharu flakes (I used the Mother In Law’s Gochujaru flakes from the box, lovely warmth without burn your tongue spice)
Canola oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 garlic gloves, run through a microplaner
12 mini-carrots, sliced in half
1 small chicken breast, poached or rotisseried (I used 1 of the breasts of a small rotisserie chicken), chopped into bite-sized pieces and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper (optional)
Toasted sesame seeds for serving

Take the rotisserie breast and chop into small pieces.  Set aside.  Bring a pot of water (unsalted) to boil on the stove.   Put oven rack on setting closest to broiler and turn broiler on high.  Once water is boiling, add glass noodles and stir, once up to boil set timer for 5 minutes.  Throw all mushrooms, scallions, garlic, and carrots on sheet pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Gochujaru flakes.  Broil for 5 minutes and check.  Remove when nicely caramelized and soft.  Drain glass noodles, and add both glass noodles and chicken to sheet pan.  Drizzle with Japchae sauce to taste, and mix together using tongs.  Serve in a deep bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

This was so dang tasty, I can’t wait to have it for lunch as a cold dish tomorrow!

Gochujaru flakes, sweet potato glass noodles and Japchae sauce can all be found on Amazon.

Buen Provecho!!!