Once upon a time, I’d have talked up a recipe for hot wings as being the best type of game day food — and we did enjoy these recently before a Chargers game. Unfortunately the Chargers have been playing so horribly this season, my husband — the world’s most dedicated sports fan — didn’t bother to turn the game on. And I’m glad, because he isn’t a happy camper when a team he likes, a team he’s been behind forever — the home team — is playing poorly. It’s intense. Perhaps you know a sports fan like my husband? Bless you.
My food magazines seem to pile up quickly these days so to encourage myself to sit down long enough to look at them, I make a small pile and carry them from one room to another thinking their physical presence will be a reminder. It’s not an effective plan on most days for obvious reasons, such as, I’m busy doing other things?
But last Friday the sun unexpectedly graced us with its brilliance burning through the June Gloom, and I found myself daydreaming out the windows instead of doing the dishes, listening to the dribble of water from the fountain on our patio my husband diligently worked on to get the large spout at the top to run well enough to fill the smaller ones. Will wonders never cease. It’s a nice sound that distracts me from the traffic just over our wall and watching the hummingbirds trying to bathe themselves in it is hilarious. I haven’t been able to get a shot of them yet, but give me a few weeks.
I give in to the urge to go out and sit in the warmth. The sun feels good, so I relax a bit and begin to thumb through the magazines remembering how much I enjoy the summer issues. Everything is fresh and the recipes are relatively uncomplicated.
It’s not long after I’ve had some time to make a mental list of my favorites that I email my best friend and invite myself and husband to dinner at her house. It takes a bit of arm wrestling to get her to agree to let me make the entire dinner, but she loves the recipes I mention, so dinner it is.
I make a quick run to the store for ingredients, do some easy prep, and everything is ready to pack up and take to her house for a night of food that comes one dish at a time — with wine, of course.
When’s the last time you grilled lamb? This recipe is truly delicious, and quite easy to make — even at the last minute.
I’ve been so busy lately, I barely have time to procrastinate which confirms what I’ve always suspected: planning is but a series of decisions about what not to do so that I can do what I’d like. Sometimes this is simply not doing anything — or anything significant, that is. In the case of my food life, that means I’ve come to a complete standstill baking my way through Peter Rhinehart’s The Breadbaker’s Apprentice. Although I’m not a foreigner to bread baking, it isn’t something I’ve ever done routinely, and so any excuse not to keep the original pace I set along with others in the BBA Challenge group keeps me from taking on the next recipe.
I suppose I could blame my delay on Bittman and his salads. After all, the hottest time of the year is finally drawing to a close here and so the ease of throwing a salad together after a very long day would keep most people from baking anything. Or perhaps it was that last gas & electric bill reflecting three completely decadent days of central air-conditioning. Honestly, I’ve slowed down on my salad production as well. Although I still cook most evenings, we don’t get around to eating until nearly 8pm, so the idea of photographing any of what I prepare doesn’t compete with flopping on the sofa, visiting with the resident menfolk, and staring at the television. No, the serious cooking usually happens on the weekend now, and last weekend seemed to feature roasted green chilis, or what are known as Anaheim chilis.
I love them. I love their glossy bright green color, the fresh crunch of a bite right from the raw chili, and the smoky aroma that fills our house whenever I roast them on the stove. Also known as California Chilis, Anaheims are featured in chili rellenos. They’re especially good added to anything with cheese or eggs. I usually keep a can or two in my pantry, but they’re so easy to make I usually also have a few fresh chilis around. Occasionally they sit on the counter longer than I’d planned and turn red.
Planned…yes, there’s that word again. I won’t tell you what I planned not to do last Sunday as I wallowed in my favorite room in the house, but I did make Bittman Salad No. 25, a Fresh Creamed Corn & Green Chili Casserole, some Pan Roasted Red Potatoes with Green Chilis and Onions and a Roast Chicken that sadly did not benefit from green chilis.
Let me know if anyone has made ice cream with green chilis and I’ll be first in line.
Having been a resident of San Diego for so many years, it’s impossible not to get caught up in our Chargers even though there always seems to be just as many fans in the stadium for the opposing team as there are Chargers fans. Lots of people who grew up elsewhere find their way here because of the weather and they rarely leave, but manage to hang on to their old teams enough to drive the rest of us crazy. Inevitably, a comment is shouted about something to the effect of, “If you’re loving your blinking bleebs so much, then why don’t you go back to where you came from…” when the visitors are winning, and their San Diego fans are loudly proclaiming their superiority on the field. Ah, the joys of being sports fans!
Being married to the most intense sports fan you’d ever imagine has helped me understand more about football than I’d have ever known otherwise. Unfortunately, he’s more of a cup-half-empty guy when it comes to sports, and suffers from knowing way too much — using all the statistics he naturally holds in his brain to calculate possibilities for their athletic demise. It’s a sight to behold, watching his intensity each week, often standing in front of the television with his arms crossed instead of slouched in a chair with a beer.
He’s not much of a beer guy. He likes Coke — and hot tea.
But he’ll be at the game today, so I’ll be home with our 16-year-old, cheering for our team with my usual it’s not over ’till the fat lady sings attitude when it comes to our Chargers. And no….I’m not planning on being the singing fat lady.
To spice things up a bit, I happen to have a bet going with a foodie friend Peter over at Kalofagas regarding the outcome of this game today. His pick is Indy, and I’m saying no way on that one. The Chargers are going all the way. They’re so due. Over due. Peter and I have agreed that should out team lose, we must admit our defeat, worship the winning team, and celebrate the winning city. I sure hope he’s studying about San Diego right now, because he’s going to have a lot to write about.
But now for some real spice.
How about a big ol’ pot o’ chili for the game?
If you’d asked me even at age 25, I’d have told you squash wasn’t something I thought I’d enjoy eating at any point in my life. I’d just begun to experiment with zucchini about then and that’s only because I had a small garden and harvested a few that were more than a foot long and five inches in diameter. I quickly became someone who could cook anything with zucchini.
It was the yellow and orange squash I continued to not like the idea of, and I think it may have had something to do with texture. When I saw it prepared, it was always soft and mushy, and ironically, sweet. It’s always been a challenge for me to consider eating meat or vegetables that have been sweetened…well, as long as nobody counts Sweet & Sour Chicken, right?
Thankfully, I’ve gotten past the few issues I’ve had with squash, so when I saw the copper pot full of glistening “Texas Beef Brisket Chili” on the cover of Bon Appetit last month and realized those orange chunks nestled up against the beef were nuggets of savory butternut squash, I knew what we were having for dinner and quick.
But there was just one thing…this dish was anything but quick. In fact, it was the epitome of slow and low — and just perfect for football watching on Sunday.