Sacred Music Friday: God Is Here!

First Plymouth Church, Lincoln Nebraska. You may recognize the hymn tune, Abbot’s Leigh, as being more commonly associated with “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken.”

tacos with chicken marinade

I had a boneless chicken breast in the freezer and four corn tortillas on the counter. (We generally make our own tortillas these days, but Terry uses store-bought when she makes enchiladas.) I decided to do something different.

chicken tacoI chopped up the chicken and marinated it using a marinade that originally came from Mom on Timeout. The marinade contained soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar. rosemary, spicy mustard, black pepper, and garlic powder. Not exactly Mexican.

Nonetheless, I baked the tortillas using my mold to make taco shells and cooked the chicken in a skillet. I took both to the table along with taco toppings: olives, chopped green chilies, onion, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheddar, and guacamole.

It turned out well. As I said, not exactly Mexican, but it was good. And the nice thing about the marinade is that it would be easy to adjust it to get the taste that you want.

thoughts on the cancelation of The Chew

Perhaps you saw the news in late May that ABC made the decision to cancel The Chew and replace it with another hour of Good Morning America. Since I write so much about food and cooking here I would be remiss if I didn’t have something to say about that, especially since the program was, as best as I can tell, the inspiration for one of my favorite cooking programs, The Kitchen.

The Chew logoI am not a big fan of The Chew, so I am not really mourning its loss. And it’s not going away immediately. The farewell episode will broadcast Friday June 15. After that there will be two weeks of pre-taped new shows. For the rest of the summer reruns and repackaged shows will air. Good Morning America will replace the program in September.

In retrospect I suppose it’s not a surprise that The Chew was cancelled. The show’s two biggest stars are gone. Daphne Oz left on her own late last year. Mario Batali was fired after serious allegations of misconduct arose. That left Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, and Michael Symon, all of whom are extremely capable and talented, but none of whom offered the star power of the two departed hosts.

I have my Food Network and PBS cooking shows so the cancellation won’t leave a hole in my cooking or my television watching universe. The biggest question for me is what the new program will be called. The time slot in question is 1:00 pm Eastern and noon Pacific, so they’re really not going to call it Good Morning America, are they? We’ll see.

Cajun chicken and rice skillet

Cajun chicken and rice skilletI was looking for a midweek dinner using the “one skillet” search in my recipe database. I found this Cajun chicken and rice skillet recipe from 12 Tomatoes.

I pretty much followed the recipe as written, t though I omitted the onions as Terry can’t do onions. I did cut the recipe in half.

It turned out well. It was very tasty and quite filling. I could have made it with half the rice. I almost forgot the tomato paste but that got thrown in too.

It’s one that we could do again.

appreciating our immigrants

I am sick of, and I am sickened by, the attitude the current administration takes towards immigrants. All of us privileged white middle class women and men are descended from immigrants. It’s just that some immigrants have arrived in the United States more recently.

My cousin Keith, who is an astute researcher and marketer, recently wrote the following about today’s immigrants:

quoteImmigrants who come to America, legally or illegally, start and succeed at more small businesses, send a higher percentage of their children to college, and commit far fewer crimes than natural born Americans.

There’s more. But you get the point.

Cities and towns of all sizes are home to restaurants that we patronize and enjoy. Here in Hemet we have Mongolian, Japanese, and Thai cuisine, with an Indian restaurant due to open soon. They are run by hardworking individuals who are often underappreciated.

Eden Eats photoFortunately there are those who understand and value this. Eden Grinshpan is the host of Eden Eats, a short-run program that originally aired on Cooking Channel. You can still find the series on the Genius Kitchen app. Each week Eden visits a different U.S. city and seeks out the best immigrant food. When she went to Austin Eden didn’t go near TexMex or festival food. What she did do what visit an Ethiopian restaurant and an European bistro run by a Hungarian family. She partied with the Austin Filipino community and then visited a Lebanese bakery and a Cuban café. When she did seek out Mexican food she found a food truck whose owner serves authentic Mexican dishes from the interior.

Penzeys button and spicesThen there is Penzeys Spices. Owner Bill Penzey is a long-time champion of progressive causes. He speaks out against gun violence and in favor of teachers and marriage equality. He has also taken a strong stand in support of immigrants and the value and richness that they bring to this country. He has made some very generous promotional offers to underscore his belief that immigrants add to rather than detract from the fabric of our American society. Many of his spice mixes reflect the diversity and breadth of flavors around the world.

Let’s set aside bigotry and ignorance. Instead, let’s pause and take a moment to remember all that immigrants contribute to this country.

Secular Music Friday: Abraham, Martin and John

This week I am remembering that it’s been fifty years since the assassination of Robert Kennedy. I wrote about this on Wednesday. That brought to mind Dion’s classic song. Robert isn’t included in the title, but he is remembered in tear-inducing final words of the song.

quoteHas anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

We must continue to carry the flame.

flour tortillas

I continue to work on my tortilla making. I have not yet figured out how to make corn tortillas that do not spilt when we have fajitas. I have tried adding more water, adding olive oil, and even adding (horrors!) vegetable shortening. All to no avail. I refuse to add lard, by the way.

tortilla makerSo, I thought, maybe try flour tortillas. I found three flour tortilla recipes which I saved. I tried this one. I cut the recipe in half and used fresh milk rather than dried. I used my tortilla press rather than a rolling pin (of course). I pressed the press as hard as I could, but the tortillas still came out thick. They didn’t split, to be sure, but they were too thick for tortillas.

I told Terry that if we make falafels again we know how to make our own pita bread.

La lucha continua. (As it does in far more important aspects of today’s society that are much more critical than my own personal tortilla struggles.)

fifty years ago

I want to acknowledge that today is D-Day. That’s important to remember. It is especially on my mind this year as I am reading a book on the literary and art scene in Paris between 1940 and 1950. It was not long after D-Day that Paris was liberated, though the war would go on for another year. But more on that down the line.

Robert KennedyWhat is on my mind today is what happened fifty years ago. On June 6, 1968 Robert Kennedy died. He was shot in the early morning hours of June 5 after declaring victory in the June 4 California presidential primary. I had a paper route in those days, and as Don McLean sang about how he and his paper route intersected with events in the larger world, so did I and mine.

On Wednesday June 5 I got up, as I always did in those days, at 5:00 a.m. to fold my papers and I was not completely awake. The assassination was late enough that it was past the deadline for the main front page news story, but still early enough that the editors could pull out the promotional material above the masthead and replace it with a large headline: “Kennedy Shot” and a few paragraphs about what was known at the time. Below the masthead was a headline that reflected Kennedy’s victory in the California primary. It was very disorienting and it took me a little while to process what had happened.

I have a hard time believing that it has been fifty years. It has been though. And it was one of those events that changed the course of American society.

the continuing Microsoft saga

I wrote recently that I was not pleased with Microsoft. When I applied the infamous Windows 10 April update to my laptop it could no longer see my desktop, something which I heavily relied on.

MicrosoftMore recently my desktop demanded that I apply the April update there. I had no choice but to comply. After the update I wanted to see if anything had changed with respect to my laptop. I found that if I manually entered my desktop’s name in my laptop it could see the two folders that I had shared. That was a start, though annoying that it did not find them automatically.

The other annoyance is that the recipe database on my laptop does not find those folders on my desktop when I try to do a backup (even though they’re there in Windows Explorer on the laptop), so I can no longer do a backup directly from my laptop to my desktop as I did before. I have to go through a couple of iterations.

Except that this evening Windows Explorer found the shared folders automatically and the recipe database saw them as well, so today all worked as I would expect.

We’ll see what happens next time. Microsoft does indeed aggravate.


Cajun blue cheese burgers and corn

Memorial Day dinnerWe had a very enjoyable grilled dinner for Memorial Day.

I bought 93% ground beef at the grocery store and mixed in Penzeys Cajun seasoning. I shaped the patties to match the sourdough bread we had on hand. Terry grilled the burgers and we put blue cheese on top.

Terry also grilled an ear of corn that we split. I made an orange, tarragon, and basil butter seasoning mixture which we brushed on the corn.

Perfect for Memorial Day.