Call Me Otis

At 3:30 this morning Zoe the dog got me up by whining to get back up on the bed. So I’m up, I call it Otis-ing and I’m a master. And yes, she knows to come to my side of the bed and whine once and if I don’t get up right away she starts using her nails to scratch the wood on our bed. A half hour later she’ll have moved from the middle to my pillow. Usurper.

Fajitas. It’s one of our favorite meals. Yesterday I bought hand-made tortillas. I was concerned that avocados were quite hard but found the best one. I usually marinate raw chicken in lime juice, ancho chili powder and salt but a couple of days ago I roasted a large (4.25#) chicken on a bed of thyme and sage and that’s enough for at least three meals for us and one tasty chicken salad for lunch.

What made it was the salsa. With one barely ripe avocado I chose a ripe mango. Pit and peel both and mash in a bowl. Add one seeded jalapeno and large clove of garlic, both minced. I added a bit of salt and chipotle powder and juice of a lime and mixed. It was really good.

Toast the flour tortillas in a dry skillet and keep warm. Slice a pepper (color of your choice, yesterday I chose red) and one sweet onion and caramelize in oil in said skillet. I chunked the roasted chicken and added it to re-warm. For serving, have more limes ($.89 apiece now, I’m glad I’m not a Mexican restaurant), the salsa, some shredded cheese, sour cream and ranchero beans and let people serve themselves.

I know, Bobby Flay would have put honey in the salsa….. is there a bee lobbying group that pays him on the side? The mango was my “sweet” and the salsa was very tasty.

My next challenge is an American hors d’oeuvre for a Swedish dinner on Friday. A new Swedish neighbor is having us over for dinner to reciprocate for a meal I cooked for him. His father flew in from the old country to see him and we’ll take them to see two flight museums on Saturday, for fun.

Much of my cooking is inspired by other countries. One gent told me yesterday to make my authentic version of true Texas Pedernales chili, Lady Bird Johnson’s version served to 5,000 guests including JFK in the summer of 1962 as an “amuse.” I must say it was refreshing that in over fifty years on this planet I actually heard a non-gay man refer to an amuse bouche! Guess I don’t hang out with enough chefs.

I’m thinking of slicing and toasting a baguette and making a chicken liver mousse with sweet onion, a Jazz apple cored and peeled, toasted walnuts and a bit of cream cheese. All the veg are minced or food-processed, sauteed. Container of chicken livers, cleaned, is added, sauteed and flamed with cognac, then the entire mess, which at this point looks like baby vomit, goes into the processor and the walnuts are added in the last few seconds and pulsed. Salt and pepper, of course. Place in ramekins, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours to set. Serve on toasts.

Then in addition to a bottle of wine, we may also bring a local delicacy for the Swedes to taste, perhaps en route to the air museums. Remember the “mastitis blanket?” Look it up on this site. Our state is famous for its dairies and m-i-l has given me a wooden picnic basket with cows on it and I may just do lunch for Saturday.

My husband’s parents had a dairy for 30 years and sent the cows along to younger folk a decade ago and started a cattle ranch. But when dairy cows had mastitis they needed treatment so over the years they built up points and cousin Val the Vet got a mastitis blanket and I got the mastitis picnic basket.

Well, the basket has cows on it and even our coffee mugs have cows. First time I went to meet the parents I got up pre-dawn to use the facilities and mistakenly turned on the light. What did I see? Nine pair of bull’s eyes staring at me from about 15′ away. Freaky for a mostly city gal. They thought I was Jim’s father getting ready to feed them. I think my error awakened the household earlier than intended for a Thanksgiving weekend.

Where there is milk there is cheese so I’ll check that out for lunch on Saturday, a picnic if the weather ever clears. There is so much rain that parking garages are partially flooded. But it would be local and American and not what I cook from France, Italy, Greece, Mexico or elsewhere. Ciao, ta ta, Dee


3 responses to “Call Me Otis

  1. We bought an ottoman to put at the foot of our bed, as a halfway point (stepping stool) for Mookie. She can’t just jump up on the bed any more. It took three tries to teach her how to use it, but now she thinks it was her own idea.

    • Same is thought of for Zoe, who got me up at two this morning for a bed lift and we may have to re-arrange everything to make it workable. We’ve a sleigh bed and going over the wood without good clearance is not an option. If we move everything it must be easier for all of us. Kicking her off the bed after age ten is not something we wish to do.

    • Oh, poor (and lucky) Mookie. Zoe’s nearly crashing to carpet from bed now so we’ll find a solution,thanks.

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