Simple Folk

“I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills….” I don’t remember the words but awakened singing it this morning. I’m a song a morning kind of gal.

Memorial Day makes me think of my grandfather, who fought in WWII. Also of a dear friend’s brother who flies or drives a thousand miles “home” to be in the town parade and play Taps at the cemetery.

We are spending the weekend at home with our dog and not venturing too far. Tonight I made a gorgeous NY strip with olive oil and Borsari seasoning. My husband cooked it just right, I let it rest and I still have a few ounces of my smaller steak to slice and make him breakfast tomorrow. Steak and eggs, of course.

With the steak was a baked russet potato with a smidgeon of butter, salt, pepper, sour cream and sliced scallion. Also new asparagus, steamed then dressed with just a touch of butter, salt and pepper. A great meal.

Our task this weekend is to weather-strip our front door. It turns out that many neighbors open their windows (we’ve not since early February) and bugs come in to visit me. Of course since childhood bees, wasps, gnats, mosquitoes, everyone comes to see Dee and not necessarily in a good way. Perhaps that’s why dogs and cats come to visit.  Interesting thought. We had a pact in an old neighborhood that I’d handle stray felines and canines and another would take care of anything avian or reptilian. It worked. And yes, I did find the iguana who’d been missing for three months and was freezing and called him asap and it worked out.

My husband just heard, hours ago, that a dear canine friend of ours has surprisingly just been diagnosed with bone cancer. We all love you, bud and will do our best to help you in the days ahead.

People always extend platitudes such as “it’s for the best,” “God has a plan,” or “it’s better this way, she’ll be happy.” No such thing. That’s only what we tell ourselves to make us feel better.

If feeling better is the key I get to clean out a full refrigerator Saturday morning and take out trash. Also it’s pizza night so if I pick up some mushrooms I’m good to go and will make dough mid-afternoon. Only 00 Italian flour now. We’re spoiled.

I’m in fake “hot water” with my butchers as I did not give them a sample of my signature Pedernales River Chile, originated by Lady Bird Johnson and served at the Pedernales Ranch in 1962 to JFK and 5,000 guests. It was the most requested document at the White House that year.

Unfortunately the recipe fails on certain counts. I grind my own meat, rough grind, Texas style. The recipe does not include, nor do I, beans. There are no beans in TX chili. It calls for chili powder. In 1962 that was a watered down mixture. I use pure cumin, ancho, chipotle, sometimes Aleppo peppers and oregano. I use more tomato and add tomato paste and cook it 2-3 hours over a low flame, stirring regularly.

I use a sweet onion and several garlic cloves minced, to start, remove to a large pot then brown the newly-ground meat (yesterday it was chuck and short rib) in batches, salting as I go and draining before adding to the big pot. Add ground tomatoes and spices and simmer, partially covered. Taste and add more salt, pepper, spices or tomato paste as needed.

Add lime and serve with lime wedges, sour cream and of course corn bread on the side. Every once in a while I like to let my Texas in-laws that I’m taking good care of their son. He loves my steak, and chili, and even roast chicken from time to time!

Keep cooking. Enjoy the long weekend but remember our veterans while out on the boat sipping a beer….. Dee







One response to “Simple Folk

  1. It’s getting warmer so Zoe, age ten, is making me take her out before and after meals. When it’s cold and snowy/icy she wraps things up quickly. So take care of your best friends who need to go out during the day! Dee

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