Monday, November 16, 2009

green with envy no more

My Aunt Virgie makes the most amazing Chili Verde. Apparently, my mother had taught her the recipe and she made it her own. I always planned on having mom teach me, but before I knew it, it was too late and mom had passed away. Well, on a recent visit with my aunt, Graham got to talking with her about the infamous dish and made plans with her to have a lesson. So, one day we headed up with freshly roasted Anaheim chilies and pork in hand. Graham made a point of writing everything down despite the wine we were consuming.

So, last night we attempted it on our own and it was a BIG success.

35 fresh Anaheim chilies roasted and skinned *
5 pounds of cubed (1/2 inch) pork shoulder or country style pork ribs
15 garlic cloves minced
Vegetable oil and butter
Garlic Salt and Pepper
Water as needed.

* Please note, roasting the chilies is a core part of the recipe and the result will not be the same. It does require some labor and dedication to igredients, but it is soooo worth it.

Remove the stem, but retain the seeds and veins for the heat. I shredded the chilies by hand into strips.

Generously ‘garlic’ salt and pepper the meat. Toss with your hands to ensure even coverage.

Sprinkle ¼ cup of flour over the meat and also toss with hands for even coverage.

In a large heavy bottom Dutch oven type pan over high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and brown the pork in batches so they are evenly covering the bottom and evenly browned.

You will have bits browning on the bottom. Once all the pork has been browned, add water in ½ cup increments as needed to the pan and boil to pick up all the brown bits. Continue until the all the brown bits have come up and are now a brown broth.

Add back all the pork and the garlic to the broth in the pan and mix well to incorporate. Add the strips of peppers and mix again. Heat the mixture until boiling, and then lower the heat to a very low simmer and cover.

Occasionally stir for an hour and then remove the lid, increase the heat just a bit and then continue to simmer and stir for another hour.

Once the liquid/sauce is at the consistency of your choice, the chilies have broken down and the pork is fork tender, add salt to taste. By following the ½ cup water measurement, the consistency would lean more toward a broth consistency rather than a sauce/gravy consistency. To balance the flavor, add ½ to one tablespoon of sugar.

Friday, October 9, 2009

scenes from a wedding

So, last week was the wedding of two friends of mine, Glen and Marites. It was a community effort of friends and family that made it possible and I couldn't have helped two better people. I wish them joy, love and happiness as they venture out as man and wife. Since I was still feeling less than my best due to the flu, I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked, but I managed to capture a few good ones. Cheers to the happy couple!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

flu funk

So passes the THIRD day of bedrest due to the flu. I can only hope that I can at least look forward to a few pounds lost due to my inability to taste anything. I have kept Graham at arms length so he won't expose his daughter.... However, the darling man surprised me with frozen yogurt and a short visit. He's the best; what a lucky lady I am.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Burgers, Brew and a Brit

So a very impromptu happy hour was organized as Thursday has become the new Friday; a result of Governor Schwarzenegger furlough order. The group consisted of the usual suspects; Bob, Kevin, Graham and myself. We were later joined by our friend from across the pond, Anna (who also has the distinction of being my dental hygienist). Burgers and Brew was our happy hour destination….

This might be the part of the evening when we were 'discussing' the moral responsibility of The President.

Kevin forced me to endure the pain of having my picture taken... Other than my mother, only the DMV is allowed such a privilege.

What? Could it be? A bad picture of 'Mr. I Never Take a Bad Picture'...

Perhaps we didn't need the third pitcher....

The beer is almost gone and happy hour has officially ended. Many things were discussed, debated and a possible group getaway has been suggested. Let's drink to that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Prologue: Yes, I haven’t posted in a loooong time and yes I have many excuses reasons for my absence. But I won’t list them or use them. I am just going to post and let the chips fall where they may.

So, when I last left off, I had started a new chapter in my life. I broke up with my boyfriend, moved out on my own (all on my own; no dogs, no man in residence, just me and my stuff), and started dating a new man, Graham. And my family had a couple of losses this year, my Uncle Joe and my Aunt Dolores….so much in such a short amount of time. And so much of it has been good. My life is completely different than it was a year ago, but somehow, I am still the same person. Crap! How did that happen? Wasn’t I supposed to grow and evolve; have some epiphany that would bring me to nirvana? So, this gets me to the title of the post…doormat.

Am I still a doormat? Do I expect/demand that I am treated well by EVERYONE in my life or do I still give them full access to behave however they like? I am afraid that I haven’t been able to change this little nugget. And really, I only have myself to blame. I am a people pleaser, peacemaker, enabler…many labels and none of them Gucci. And let me say that for the most part, the people in my life are kindhearted, generous and loving. But that still doesn’t mean that I don’t want to change this facet of my personality. I really do envy people that can stand strong and demand nothing less than the best for themselves.

And for the record, I am completely aware that this all can be traced back to my parents. Yes, when you are the only child of addicts, you will become co-dependent, you will enable bad behavior, you will clean up the messes and hide the evidence, you will blame yourself for things you have no control over and you will spend the rest of your life with this knowledge. It is my baggage. And over the years, I have done my best to try to face it head on and get beyond it…but much of it is learned behavior. It’s like trying to write with your left hand when you are right handed. It’s unnatural and it’s frustrating and you find yourself going back to what you know; familiarity is comfort.

Recently, with some people, I have had to deal with this issue…yet again. Sometimes, I wish that I had the balls to say,

“Fuck it. You call me when you have figured out the RIGHT way to speak to me. Until then, consider me dead to you.”

So far, the balls have managed to elude me, but the dicks of the world have not.

Case in point…about a month ago I did manage to be extremely direct with someone, balls to the walls, no backing down…however, did I mention it was at work, in front of people, many people? Not my proudest moment…

My goal is somewhere between Mother Theresa and Mary Queen of Scots. So, rather than go back into therapy and subject myself to uncomfortable silence with my therapist, I am offering to you, my fellow bloggers, an opportunity to be my armchair analysts and let the opinions, suggestions, and ‘constructive’ criticism flow. .

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Lost Coast

Last weekend we took to the Lost Coast in the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, a truly mythical part of California where signs of civilization are nowhere to be seen. Itching to get out of town and away from my moving drama, (when I am ready to post on this, I will) we left town on Friday evening at 6:30 with a 5 hour drive ahead of us. Good thing I was properly trained by my ex-husband because this girl can set up camp in the dark and be enjoying the benefits of wine in no time at all. We stayed up for a couple of hours talking and enjoying the peace of the forest.

A previous camper...

The following day, we got a late start and took off for a hike after 2:30. And it was a challenging one… Unfortunately, my leg started to go out on me, but we at least got to the high point before we turned around and headed back to camp. I was able to capture a beautiful sunset….

On our final day, we took a little nature hike to the beach. The ocean was truly stunning and the sun provided the perfect light for the canvas of my camera


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm still here...

I have been having technical difficulties with my internet connection at my new place. I hope to have it back on track this week.

Miss all of you and your blogs. Hope to be visiting the blogsphere soon.

Take care until then!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Moving on...

Sunday was the BIG move. All my furniture, wash machine/dryer and remaining boxes were moved to the new place. It went pretty smoothly since I had the BEST help ever and I had moved a large majority of the little crap earlier in the week. So, thank you Graham, Kevin, Rick and Tina for lending a hand and some muscle. Much, much appreciated because I couldn’t have done it without any of you. Tina and I still need to go back this weekend to clean out the garage of the old place and dump some trash, but that’s about it.

We had started the move around 8:30 and finished up by 11:30…it was the fastest move I have ever undertaken. And so far, nothing appears to have been broken. But, I haven’t unpacked all the boxes…yet. Since the move was over so quickly, it allowed for some to catch the football game at noon and for some to work in an overnight camping trip to Salt Point and a day hike on Monday. The company, food and drink were just what I needed after a week of running around and packing…a moment “off the grid” so to speak…priceless. The weather was perfect and we found ourselves in t-shirts and tank tops in January no less! Incredible, truly incredible.

Tuesday I had my satellite installed and now, all items have been checked off the list for the new place. So, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I am looking forward to what this year has to offer. However, I did decide to give the New Year a “jump start” and join some local women, food and wine groups. The first event I am attending with the ladies is a cocktails and cinema outing on February 8th…sounds like fun! My first food group event is a Mardi Gras party on March 7…I need to bring some dish inspired by the spirit and food of New Orleans. So, I will have a little researching and experimenting to do. Luckily, the food and the wine group are organized and comprised of the same members…should be a ton of fun.

It has been wonderful to be in my new place and take time to breathe in and breathe out. The last year was full of so many ups and downs, challenges and rewards. And there were definitely times that I felt that my life was no longer mine, that I was sitting there watching it barrel out of control. Sometimes, drastic measures must be taken to take care of you. And once you know what you have to do, you only hurt yourself in delaying taking action. All of us need to do what is in the best interest of yourselves…this doesn’t mean that we are selfish or cruel, rather we are self preserving and no one should be faulted for making unpopular choices when left with no other options in our relationships with love ones, friends and family.

My choice to distance myself from my father earlier this year was not an easy one and I suspect that this will be an ongoing struggle for me. My father and I are still trying to work out our enormous differences and we may never get there. I have learned to accept this possible inevitability and any improvement will be a pleasant surprise. But, I am not counting on anything…. I have been around the block on this one, SEVERAL times.

So, I am still attempting to grow up as I head toward 40.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Almost there...

Well, I was handed the keys to my new place on Friday and so far my only furniture consists of a bed, a dining table and chairs, and a side table. The remainder of my furniture and the contents of my previous home will be moved this Sunday. Unfortunately, I won't have my computer and it's contents until that time. So, my posting has been completely erratic and I do apologize, but these things cannot be helped.

In the meantime, I am "camping" so to speak... I have all the necessities; lighting, a refrigerator, 30% of my kitchen, a stereo, the entire contents of my bathroom, some good books and a few bottles of wine. So, I can survive anything at this point...

I even had the opportunity to a cook an Indian meal in my new home on Sunday. I have been unable to really cook for a few weeks and found myself crawling the walls in need of a fix. It was the best therapy; music playing, a glass of wine and putzing around the kitchen as the aromas filled the air. It was extremely spiritual for me and it turned the house into my home.

Last night, I had myself a little carpet picnic of cheese, Italian salami, salad and wine. Kevin kindly hooked me up with an itsy bitsy TV to use and I was able to watch Seinfeld and kick back after work. Thanks Kev!!!

So, that's the 411 for now. Hopefully, I can get some pictures of my place up on my next post. Until then, hope the New Year is treating everyone well!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

girls' night

Sunday evening found Tanya and I in front of the television basking in reality television gluttony.... (Tanya has kindly extended a house guest invitation to me ; I have the BEST friends ever.) Anyway, spent from the previous evening's "Pajama Game Night", we were happily transfixed on the HD. However, unbeknownst to us, Tanya had missed a couple of phone calls from Sally. Moments later, Sally stood on the other side of the front door desperate for some estrogen energy and proclaimed..."I'm fucked up!" said in mid-tear. It was one of the funniest things I have seen in awhile.... And of course, Tanya welcomed Sally, it was some beer, wine and "cock" tales with the girls.

Plans are in the works for dancing this Friday. Keep you posted...