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Thursday, June 11, 2009

EARLY IN THE WEE HOURS..AS EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD DREAMS...


Yes, one can feel quite alone when it is 4am in the morning, and it's not as though you don't WANT to go to sleep.

You SO would love that.
You SO would have loved that hours ago...

But you are a person that quickly learns survival techniques when needed...

If you want to work nights and make the big bucks, you gotta stay up the night
before you begin your stretch, to make sure that you sleep before you work the
next night..
The following days to sleep take care of themselves...

Simple..

Or you would think so, yet honestly, it appears as though many do not adhere to that simple technique, hence the incredible number of night shift employees literally falling over in an almost unconscious state...

I have actually heard slight snoring, thinking that it was one of the many patients,
only to turn around and see the head nurse in a slightly catatonic state...

This is simply not going to be me...I would rather suffer the night before, and
stay awake during my shift...

I have never been a "public" sleeper...
Kind of a private thing for me...
Any extremely vulnerable state is and this is no exception...

Drooling is just not attractive, unless controlled, (i.e. my avatar of red lips
with a slight drip of drool...that's artistic...if not downright fabulous..)

As far as an uncontrolled amount of drooling, I will avoid it as long as any self respecting woman can!
(Hence the difficulty in TRULY getting any serious sleep on a plane...)

So, here I am writing a new entry at a peculiar time...

Lucky for you, I am going to post three really great recipes...
You're gonna love em...trust me....

Why?

Well they're all three what I like to call "summer friendly" ones...

Two of them are cool and tasty beverages....

What's not to love about that during these sweltering times? (and it's just beginning !)

For those of you that don't have 100 plus degree weather for months on end, then
as we like to say in these here parts....
Bless yer little hearts! (this is Texas slang for you know what...)

I digress...
Back to the beverages....

One of them has alcohol, or as we say in the hospital biz...ETOH
Gotta love that for brunch...
You know you do!

(I used to as well, but do try to stay away from it these days, unless a large
nap is on the menu after brunch)
Something about a cocktail or two at 1PM...Not the same effect as an evening one..

Well, honestly, I find a great Bloody Mary hard to pass up...
Where I live, great and spicy Bloody Marys are the standard at a lot of places...

I still contend though, that the VERY BEST SPICY Bloody Mary (my favorite) can
be found in Manhattan...

Yep, Manhattan in the Flatiron District at Bobby Flay's restaurant, Mesa Grill...
Try not to miss a Brunch opportunity there when I am visiting...

Always a toss up...Norma's or Mesa? Two favorites...

Now I also love a place that my family likes to brunch that has a "Bloody Mary
Bar"...

Very nice, all set up with the "fixins" and after you get your vodka and
ice from the waiter, you go to the "Bar" to make your own version with a large variety of great ingredients...

I KNOW that it is why we love this place for brunch, though the small jazz band
and the food IS delicious as well...

I will also post a beverage that is non alcoholic and wonderful..
Peach Iced Tea...the very name screams SUMMER

Finally a very refreshing Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken, Arugula Pesto, Feta
Cheese, olives, and seasonal red, yellow, and any color grape tomatoes...
We have Emeril to thank for this one...

These recipes work well for a light brunch/lunch.
Round it out with some great crispy rolls and maybe a light fruit dessert...You decide...

I'm thinking Key Lime Pie, but then again, I've been on that same note lately,
so do take that into consideration...

SOUTHWESTERN BLOODY MARY (VERY SPICY)

6 SERVINGS

3 CUPS CANNED VEGETABLE JUICE
2 TABLESPOONS FRESH LEMON JUICE
1 TABLESPOON MINCED FRESH CILANTRO
1 TABLESPOON WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
1 TEASPOON FINELY MINCED SEEDED CANNED CHIPOTLE CHILIES
1 TEASPOON GROUND CUMIN
1 TEASPOON SUGAR
2/3 CUP CHILLED GOOD QUALITY VODKA (LIKE GREY GOOSE OR CHOPIN OR BELVEDERE)

ICE CUBES
6 CELERY STALKS WITH LEAFY TOPS
6 FRESH RED CHILIES

MIX FIRST 7 INGREDIENTS IN PITCHER.
CHILL MIXTURE UNTIL COLD, AT LEAST 2 HOURS OR OVERNIGHT (BEST)

MIX IN VODKA

FILL 6 TALL GLASSES WITH ICE.
POUR BLOODY MARY MIXTURE OVER.

GARNISH WITH CELERY AND CHILIES





PEACH ICED TEA

3 ORANGE PEKOE TEA BAGS
4 CUPS COLD WATER
5 (5 OUNCE) CANS PEACH NECTAR (ABOUT 3 1/3 CUPS), CHILLED
1/4 CUP CHILLED SIMPLE SYRUP OR TO TASTE

SIMPLE SYRUP
1 1/3 CUPS SUGAR
1 1/4 CUPS WATER

PEACH SLICES AND BASIL SPRIGS FOR GARNISH

PLACE TEA BAGS IN A QUART SIZE GLASS MEASURE OR HEATPROOF BOWL.

IN A SAUCEPAN BRING WATER JUST TO A BOIL AND POUR OVER TEA BAGS. STEEP TEA 5
MINUTES AND STRAIN THROUGH A SIEVE INTO A HEATPROOF PITCHER. COOL TEA AND CHILL, COVERED, UNTIL COLD, ABOUT 1 HOUR.

STIR IN NECTAR AND SYRUP. SERVE TEA OVER ICE IN TALL GLASSES AND GARNISH WITH
PEACH SLICES AND BASIL SPRIGS.

TO MAKE SIMPLE SYRUP:
IN A SAUCEPAN BRING SUGAR AND WATER TO A BOIL, STIRRING, AND BOIL UNTIL SUGAR
IS COMPLETELY DISSOLVED. LET SYRUP COOL AND CHILL, COVERED. SYRUP MAY BE MADE 2 WEEKS AHEAD AND CHILLED, COVERED.

YIELD: MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS
CAN DOUBLE OR TRIPLE



PASTA SALAD WITH ARUGULA PESTO, GRILLED CHICKEN BREASTS, AND FETA

1 LB. BONELESS, SKINLESS, CHICKEN BREASTS
OLIVE OIL
SALT
PEPPER
EMERIL'S "ESSENCE" SEASONING
1 BUNCH FRESH ARUGULA, TOUGH STEMS REMOVED, WASHED AND SPUN DRY, PLUS BABY ARUGULA, FOR GARNISH
1/2 CUP PACKED FRESH PARSLEY LEAVES
1/2 CUPS LIGHTLY TOASTED WALNUTS
2 TEASPOONS MINCED GARLIC
1/2 CUP GRATED PARMESAN
1 TEASPOON FRESH LEMON JUICE
1/2 TEASPOON SALT
1/4 TEASPOON GROUND BLACK PEPPER
1/4 CUP EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1/4 TO 1/2 CUP OLIVE OIL
1 LB. PENNE PASTA
1 PINT RED GRAPE TOMATOES, HALVED
1 PINT YELLOW GRAPE TOMATOES, HALVED
1 1/4 CUPS CRUMBLED FETA CHEESE (BEST TO USE GOOD QUALITY)
1/2 CUP ROUGHLY CHOPPED PITTED OLIVE-CURED OLIVES

PREHEAT A GRILL. DRIZZLE THE CHICKEN WITH OIL AND SEASON WITH SALT, PEPPER, AND ESSENCE. PLACE ON THE GRILL AND COOK UNTIL COOKED THROUGH, ABOUT 4 MINUTES
ON THE FIRST SIDE, AND 5 MINUTES ON THE SECOND SIDE.
REMOVE THE CHICKEN FROM THE GRILL AND CUT INTO CUBES.

IN A FOOD PROCESSOR, COMBINE THE ARUGULA, PARSLEY, WALNUTS, GARLIC, CHEESE, LEMON JUICE, SALT, AND PEPPER, AND PROCESS ON HIGH SPEED UNTIL THE GREENS ARE FINELY CHOPPED. WITH THE MACHINE RUNNING, ADD THE EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL AND 1/4 CUP OF
THE OLIVE OIL IN A STEADY STREAM AND PROCESS UNTIL SMOOTH.

BRING A LARGE POT OF SALTED WATER TO A BOIL. ADD THE PASTA AND COOK UNTIL AL DENTE.
DRAIN THE PASTA AND SHOCK IN AN ICE BATH AND PLACE IN A BOWL. TOSS WITH SOME OLIVE
OIL SO IT DOESN'T STICK.

TOSS THE PASTA WITH THE ARUGULA PESTO TO TASTE. LET COOL WITH PLASTIC WRAP, AND REFRIGERATE UNTIL WELL CHILLED. TOSS THE CUBED CHICKEN, RED AND YELLOW TOMATOES, FETA, AND OLIVES TO THE PASTA, AND TOSS TO COMBINE. ADJUST THE SEASONING TO TASTE, AND SERVE GARNISHED WITH BABY ARUGULA.

SERVES 4-6 MAINS

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

NEW RECIPE, BREAKFAST, ELOISE, AND A PASSION FOR ROOM SERVICE






I am absolutely NOT a breakfast person, nor have I ever been.

Now by that, I mean that I do not like to eat directly upon rising.

My stomach must wake up first. This takes at least a couple of hours.
There are three times when I DO love to eat breakfast, though.

1. For Dinner
2. For Brunch (late)
3. Room Service in a fabulous hotel

Ah, Room Service...gives me the chills just to mention it..

I adore Room Service, especially for Dinner.

It's terribly decadent to chilax in a beautifully decorated hotel room, order a
must-see movie on the tube, put on a plush hotel provided bathrobe, and order Room service....

Room Service Dinner with a very Dry Martini...Nirvana


Then there is Breakfast Room Service.

I do less of this, but have been known to do it, as it gives me time to get ready for whatever I am doing for the day.
Breakfast brought on a gorgeous cart...
Perfect start to the day!

I ALWAYS order the same, but very much adored Breakfast....

I LOVE a fruit, granola, and yogurt parfait...Almost every Hotel that I have stayed
in, has a version of this.

It's pretty, light, and satisfying, and you almost feel as though you are having dessert for Breakfast...

With the addition of two beautiful silver pots containing hot freshly made coffee and another with cold water,
a fresh flower in a small vase,
sometimes the addition of a homemade muffin,
real silver flatware and cloth napkins...
Hmmm...and all I have to do is sign?

I love that they want to pour your first cup...

I am, and always will be,
A "LUX HOTEL DIVA"

There is no denying it,
or any end to it.

When making plans for a trip, the Food and the Hotel are MAJOR COMPONENTS...

(A big apology to my family, who don't claim to know where I came from, as I
was not raised to be who I am today.)

One must realise that "Eloise" was my favorite childhood book.
When I first visited "The Plaza Hotel" in New York, I felt like I was home!
"Eloise" was everywhere!

My first little friend!

www.eloisewebsite.com

I dreamed of living at "The Plaza" just like Eloise.
Eloise first introduced me to Room Service and Lux Hotels.

It's all Eloise's fault...

Why they even have "Eloise Weekend Packages" at the Plaza...

Completely outrageous, of course...


Question...

Have you ever had dessert for Breakfast?

Oh C'mon now, let's get real...

I can't be the only one...

I remember that on a talk show one time, Sylvester Stallone, who is big on keeping
his body healthy and very much in shape, mentioned that if you ARE going to eat dessert, that you should always consider eating it in the morning, so that you can burn it off the rest of the day.

I have never been a huge believer in the "don't ever eat after a certain time" etc, because I have a friend that is a Dietitian who promises that your body does not know what time it is, and that the calories one takes in and burns has nothing to do with the actual time of the day...(This is somewhat nice to think about working night shift!)

I HAVE certainly, in my time, had dessert for breakfast..

That last piece of Limeade Pie? (Yes, I CAN plug my recipes on my own website! See previous post "Renaissance Women Post a Poem and a Pie", (great picture, poem not
too shabby either...)

You Shameless Wench!

Back to dessert for Breakfast....

How bout a quickly heated up piece of last night's Apple Pie?

I also have had a couple of homemade cookies with coffee, and sometimes if available, a piece of cake...

I like savory breakfasts, but more so for dinner or brunch (late)

Ever had a really great cinnamon roll for breakfast? YUM!

Now, none of these are very healthy, grant you, (save the parfait.)

I am now going to post a recipe for an addition to your other "go to" Breakfast recipes/traditions.

I think that it solves the dilemma of trying to have something healthy (yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, nuts), and having your Breakfast sweet as well.

This one comes from Caprial and John's kitchen, those wonderful chefs in Oregon..

BREAKFAST FRUIT CRISP

SERVES 12

TOPPING:

1 cup flour
1 cup granola
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts or pecans
1/4 cup coconut (could delete if you don't like...SHAME ON YOU!..See "Coconut Cravings")
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter

FILLING:
2 pints raspberries or blackberries
2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 cup sugar
Pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnish:
2 cups vanilla yogurt
Fresh mint

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the topping place flour, granola, nuts, coconut, vanilla and brown sugar in a medium-sized bowl and mix well. Add the butter and mix with your finger tips until
the mixture resembles a coarse dough. Set aside.

For the filling, place berries, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and vanilla in a large bowl and toss to mix. Place in a 9x11 inch baking dish. Crumble topping over berry mixture.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

To serve, place the warm crisp on plates and top with yogurt and mint...

YUM!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

MISERY LOVES POETRY


Last night I went to dinner with some old friends.
We meet on average about 5-6 times/year to catch up with each others lives.
It is almost always enjoyable, as dining with old friends tends to be.

I woke up yesterday from one of my MANY daytime naps,
(working nights screws up your sleeping system completely),
and realized that I would rather get another flu shot then go to dinner.

The inevitable, "how is your new job?"; "how are things with you?" questions were just not something that I felt like dealing with.

If I could have just answered "THEY SUCK!", and be done with it, I could have handled it.

Unfortunately people always must know the details...

I'm upset about the "details"...
I'm trying to get away from the "details"...
The "details" are making me miserable...

No, it's not the patients, even though at times they can get to be a bit "much" (refer to previous post...)

In a "Cliff Notes" version of my new job...

It is sort of like a milder though still potent version of "Lord of the Flies"

Remember that book?

Thematically it basically hones in on the "world" that one lives in, being run by a bunch of hoodlums, and no one is around to monitor their actions, etc.

Unfortunately it is like one big maniacal dysfunctional family that does NOT want new members...

One finds that out pretty quickly...
They cannot wait to let you know that you are "NOT LIKED"...
That pretty much sums up the new job...

Why, I have even gotten used to some of the nurses, who as I previously mentioned, would be a "shoo-in" in the Salem "Zombie Parade" next Halloween...with a little makeup job, who knows?
With very little coaching, these women could drop right into juicy roles in "Dawn
of the Dead Part 12"...

Well, unfortunately, I NEED this job...
If you have never HAD to stay at a job where you are quite unhappy, you cannot imagine what it feels like...

Almost like what I imagine an unwilling prostitute must feel like...

You have to be careful not to completely lose your humility...your spirit...the very eccense of who you are...

Frankly, this is all a bit too much for me at this time of my life...

Thank heavens that there are books...dreams...
Sometimes they are the only things that can get you through these difficult periods
in life...
So...
Favorite books as of late...

A THREE DOG LIFE by Abigail Thomas

NOT BECOMING MY MOTHER (and other things she taught me along the way)
by Ruth Reichl

JULIE AND JULIA by Julie Powell (reread because the movie is coming out, with a screenplay by Nora Ephron, starring Meryl Streep as a young Julia Childs)

SAVAGE BEAUTY (reread because I love it) by Nancy Milford about the life of
Edna St.Vincent Millay

And my newest favorite...didn't want this one to end!
I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI
by Giulia Melucci

Now for the dreaming part...it's not really dreaming...I just have not decided...
though "dreaming" about it always makes me feel better...

In the Fall I will go somewhere that makes me feel happy...

I just got through telling my older son that one should be "happy" wherever they
are..as happiness is INSIDE!
Well rehearsed parental BS...

Anyway...

I may go back to Boston perhaps, or very possibly, Montreal and Old Quebec City...
Am researching it now...MUST get passport

Don't get to take a very long vacation until Fall...
Until then, can only take 3 day off...

Plenty of time to fly to San Francisco, or visit my friend in Colorado

ANYTHING!!!!!

MUST ESCAPE WHENEVER POSSIBLE!!!!

Sorry this was not a more "cheerful" little passage....

Must revert to telling you stories of interest from the past until the present
is a prettier picture...

And now for the poetic side of me....




A POEM FOR THE PITIFUL
(or how to write something completely childish and feel much better afterwards...)


So you say
they don't like me.
Well, it's not
hard to see
that hurting
one's feelings
comes easily
to thee

Wish I could
tell you
"just go
get in line"
with all of
the rest of
the ignorant
swine.

But finding
a job
is too hard
to repeat.
I guess I'll
stay here
amongst
big smelly feet

I'll listen
to banter
so childish
and vain,
then come back
tomorrow
for more
of the same.

I vow
to be silent.
Don't have
much to share,
with those
who are rude
and are
missing
some
hair

Okay,
so it's not nice
to call you all
"swine"
With hair that is
thinning,
and smelly feet...
Fine!

A "Tet for a Tat"
Isn't that
how it goes?
One MUST not forget
to make
fun
of your
nose...

Is that one
a fake?
Oh c'mon
say it's so.
Tis a pity
the face
that must
wear it,
ya know..

Ah,
NOW I FEEL BETTER!
Why didn't I see
that poetry works
in such
strange ways
for me?....

Much better
than fighting
and stronger
than wine.
Don't care
if it's silly...
For laughter's
DIVINE!!!!