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What’s the secret to a great city?

I wish I knew.

(A real-life city) is a malleable and teeming landscape, where ever-changing populations put our buildings and spaces to their own desired use. Some sights are familiar; others come and go. The thing they all share is the ground beneath our feet.

–John King, San Francisco Chronicle

Some say this the Golden Era of the Golden city of San Francisco. Other says the soul of the city is in danger of being lost forever.

Most of us who live here, know both to be true. What we don’t know is exactly how to pull from the best of these tremendous forces of change to unlock the secret of a truly great city that embraces all of its inhabitants.  In the abstract we know what a great city looks like. But in the real life sweat and swings of San Francisco, few of us are ready to admit, we have know idea.

We wish we knew.

The slow crawl to suburbia that defined the 20th century now has swerved and turned and headed straight back into the pulse of urban life. Our cities are dramatically changing, as is the expectation of what life can be like within them. Our commitment to city life has never been greater and for all the best reasons.

So we all moved back, but to what? That remains the central issue.

We know every city has a pulse. Each evolves in its own way. Decisions and investments will chart that course for better or worse. Building a sustainable, vibrant city for the vast swath of diverse people who call it home takes intentional effort. A city’s change doesn’t just “happen” though, for many of us, it may seem that way. We have a role to play. It’s an inspiring role, one with a passionate call to help define the place we call home.

We believe in the priority of home, of putting our expertise to work in shaping cities that work for all. We all have a responsibility to the ground beneath our feet.

  • To help those in need.
  • To be a source of care for those around us, by being polite, by paying attention to others, by doing what we can to spread the energy of joy.
  • To advocate for what we believe in and push for solutions.
  • To pay it forward.

Once upon a time, people identified strongly with a sense of place. They represented their hometowns and they lived in a manner cognizant of their impact on others. Today, such things are out of step with an epidemic of focus on self.

But for a truly great city to be the type of place we take pride in calling home, it takes more than self-interest. It takes a renovation of a long-lost priority of community.

Whether this is San Francisco’s Golden Age or the season of loss remains to be seen. The answer will likely be found in a basic approach of how we live with one another.

 

Don’t worry? Not easy but worth the effort

My bride comes by worry honestly. It’s woven into her DNA, a sort-of default status that her brain clicks to if she doesn’t give it a better alternative.

She married a guy who didn’t get it. For most of our married life, I was immune to worry, even at times when worry would have absolutely been the most sane reaction to the events at hand. But I had help. I drank. A lot. And that had an amazing ability to drown worry with bravado and recklessness before it ever got fired up.

Then I went to rehab. Guess what happened? I developed an anxiety disorder. The bride got the last laugh on that one — but alas, the bride doesn’t work like that. She simply understood better than I did the things I was feeling. She showed me all the empathy I lacked.

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I’m convinced worry has a toxic effect on our well-being. Eastern spirituality talks of it in terms of energy and aura. This is useful. A negative, worry-filled outlook colors everything else, seeping through our bodies with deleterious effect.

Rooting out the worry from our lives is one of the healthiest, hoof to head things we can do.

Now we both deal with worry in more proactive ways. I don’t drink. She tries not to ruminate and let her mind race ahead to a future of doom. We use our spiritual exercises in the morning to stay in the present and give the worry to God.

We also hike. It’s amazing how a trek past a gorgeous madrone grove (see above photo) can take your mind off the troubles you literally walked away from.

When I hike, my mind races towards gratitude. It just flows that way. The more grateful I am for the blessings of this life, the less room I have for worry.

I take comfort in the scriptures that reveal a God who, unlike me, shows tremendous empathy toward our inclination to worry. Jesus reminds us that God takes care of the worry-free lilies and birds whose needs are met. He sent his disciples out with nothing and said their needs would be provided. Before he left he gave a strong reminder:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled,” he said.

St. Paul strikes me as a guy who once suffered from some serious worry. But in one of the most tremendous passages of ancient writing (Philippians 4) he tells us “be anxious for nothing” and to simply pray instead.  From the barren loneliness of a prison cell he tells us the secret of contentedness.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” he wrote.

Paul had plenty to worry about and opted instead for joy and faith, which seems to have worked better than wine.

Don’t worry, be happy, the saying went. It wasn’t bad advice.

Dough thoughts: a time to pause

I must have needed the time to think.

It was Christmas Eve, the final few moments before the family’s arrival and the previous few frenetic days of to-do lists, Christmas carols and relative quiet would explode in the bustle, noise and complicated wonderfulness of family. I looked around my kitchen and bowls of dough were everywhere. Literally, everywhere.

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I hadn’t thought about all this when I planned my Christmas menu. Now, as I looked around, I realized I’d spent hours working with dough. There were pizza doughs, and pasta doughs and doughnut doughs and bread doughs.

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Dough was rising and baking and evolving around me as I slipped away into kneading thoughts of my own. Dough is my Zen Garden. I went there without ever really knowing why, like a well-trained horse wandering back to the ranch house without the need of a pull on the reins.

I think somewhere in the back of my mind I realized that this would be my family’s first completely non-alcoholic holiday. I think it worried me, though I never connected with that until a couple of days of later. I’m sure this is why I gravitated to the dough.

Later the family arrived and we ate pizza and doughnuts and bread and all the treats I’d been busily making. We crammed into our little house and played games and likely annoyed each other but I felt … congruent. I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be. I felt OK, and I think those moments lost inside my head, my forearms flexing and straining, my grip twisting and smooshing the flexible life in my hands had a lot to do with it. Nobody seemed to care they were drinking sparkling water instead of Pinot Noir. What a gift.

My yoga teacher likes to say, “the body knows what it needs.” My doughworks were my body’s way of asking the overbearing mind to step aside and let it have it what it needed.

Jelly doughnuts a lot like fried bread

The best breakfast in the world is a simple one. You take risen bread dough (as my Grandma Deer would say, “eh… just get the frozen dough) smoosh it into little pancakes and then fry it in olive oil. Top with Ricotta Cheese and freezer jam. Perfecto! As I’ve said before, breakfast is a vital part of my day, and this breakfast is the top of the top.

It’s been my favorite since Nonie’ made it for as a kid and it’s still my kids favorite and will likely be their kids’ favorites as well when they get to the important task of providing me bambinas and bambinos like they are supposed to do.

I don’t usually mess with perfection, but I did this year. I decided to make Blueberry Jelly doughnuts. I had never done this before, and Christmas morning seems like an odd time to be experimenting, but if I could smoke a turkey for the first time on Thanksgiving, I could do this.

As it turned out, the experiment didn’t fall too far from the lab. What I ended up with was risen fried dough with jam inside instead of on top. I missed the ricotta.

They were good though. Just a lot more work.

Here’s the quick version for those wanting to try these at home:

First make your dough and let it rise:

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Then roll it out and cut a bunch of little circles into the dough:

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Put jam on half the circles:

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Paint the edges with milk, top with the other half of the dough circles, and pinch the edges tight. Then smoosh the pinches back into the dough so it looks more like a doughnut than a ravioli. It took me a while to figure this out, but toward the end they took on the right shape.

Take all the extra dough and shape it into a big fat glazed doughnut and top with fresh coconut, Effin Artist’s favorite doughnut. Think of it like a tribute. You can then mail it to me. Tribute accepted, thank you very much.

Let all this rise for another 30-45 minutes, then fry them in very hot oil. They go quick and you don’t want black, just golden brown.

Roll in super fine sugar as soon as they come out and you’re done. Serve hot or the next morning and the next morning after that.

Enjoy. But then go for a hike or a run, because these are not good for you in any way shape or form except they taste EFFin delightful.

Visions of sugar plums, no… but visions of food delights to be sure

What’s a sugar plum?

I grew up in the urban areas of California. I didn’t really connect that the berries my grandmother used to make incredible freezer jam had to actually be picked by a person until I went to college and friends took me out strawberry picking. They grew up in a place where every kid made extra money picking berries. I was stunned by the whole experience, and still broke because I was the worst strawberry picker ever.

I think about this as the morning of Christmas Eve dawns, and I finalize my Christmas Menu 2013. Visions of this bounty of food — no sugar plums, sadly — dance in my mind. Life is full, expansive and curious. It only took me nearly half a century to wonder about a sugar plum.

I think I love the act of planning big family meals almost more than eating them. I love the details, the coordination, the scheduling and the shopping. I love the cooking, because all my kids will pop in to help. Even my wife joins in — she cooks like my father attended Mass: twice a year on Easter and Christmas and no questions asked about the rest of the year. It’s an arrangement that works well for us, because she cleans, something of which I’m less fond.

My to-do list is nearly finished, Elvis Christmas carols play in the background and the place looks great:

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Food and family. That blessing tops all others at the holidays.

As day breaks on these holidays I have so much, so very much for which to be grateful. Every bite of these meals will be one where I say grace over and over in my mind.

A blessed holiday to you and yours.

Christmas Menu 2013

Christmas Eve: Pizza night (per tradition):

Homemade Pepperoni, Margherita, and Combo, with a big green salad topped with cranberries and apples.

Christmas Day:

Breakfast: Homemade Blueberry Jelly Doughnuts, Pesto Scramble.

Lunch: Fried Eggplant with marinara sauce, antipasto platter and Italian deviled eggs.

Dinner:

Grilled Prime Rib… yes its Dinner. Thank you Dinner my steer. This night you fulfill your great destiny to be a holiday dinner no less.

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Fresh-made fettucine with either the family meat sauce or alfredo, baked Italian bread

Bacon- braised brussel sprouts (say that five times fast!)

Asparagus spears with lemon

Dessert:

Double-fudge with caramel cookie topped with homemade peanut butter ice-cream

Christmas cookies.

I’d love to hear what you’re planning for Christmas meals. Reply below.

A final note about the holidays. Readers of this column may note it is really a celebration of recovery. I’ve been sober now for 54 months. My wife has been sober for six. This is our first non-alcoholic family Christmas in…. well, ever. This is a true gift from God.

When I drank I couldn’t imagine life without it. I figured the fun would cease and desist leaving me a sad, empty diminished soul. The exact opposite occurred. Like Baby soaring high in Patrick Swayze’s arms, “I’m having the time of my life.”

Celebrate sober. You’ll love it. And as always, I’m here if you need an ear. Drop me a line if you are struggling with drugs and/or alcohol, especially this holiday season. I can’t do much, but I’ll listen.

Caramels and creativity go sweetly together

Do not re-invent the wheel is not a very useful cliche’ most of the time. In this day and age where everyone is writing and experimenting and inventing and creating and starting businesses and copying others and trying to find their little niche’, most everything has already been invented to some degree. If you don’t re-invent, you become a clone, not a creator and certainly not an Effin Artist.

By re-inventing the wheel we find our own explorations. Sure John Muir hiked it first, but it feels new and adventurous to us the first time we tread in his footsteps. The same goes for our creative expressions, whether they be on canvas or paper or baking sheets. Explore. Go off the trail. Re-invent. Discover. The journey beats the arrival. So, yes, re-invent the wheel… except for those times its just stupid to do so. Like the wheel. Let’s face it, that’s a good one. Don’t EFF with it.

Caramel, I discovered is the wheel of sweet creations. Folks have spent a lot of time getting this thing down and unless you have a masochistic love of frustration and failure, follow their lead.

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Before embarking on caramels of my own, I read a lot of different blogs about how to do it. Disclaimer: When I google something I typically skip the first page of Website powerhouses like the Food Network and the blogs that are so widely read you have to shift through ads like chopping through a jungle with a machete.

Once again, as usual, my bride disagrees. She goes to the ones with hundreds of reviews, reads those hundreds of reviews, and picks the one most celebrated. Then she follows the recipe like the Essenes. If I try to suggest a modification she threatens to banish me from the commune. It isn’t pretty.  She obviously agrees you don’t re-invent the wheel.

I like the blogs from un-celebrated artists like me, who do this for the love of the game. It may not be the most professional or glitzy, but it has heart. It has sweat and soul, still unmolested by corporate ads, (ASIDE: to any corporate advertisers out there wanting to populate this blog… just kidding?! see below… Apparently I’m a sellout.). just like my blogs, which are supposed to be short, I go against the grain and write long and longer. Screw them. I’m not People Magazine here, OK. Relax. Get some coffee, enjoy the read… or not. Really, it’s OK. Maybe next time.

Anyway….

In my search for caramel help, I landed on a blog more akin to my wife’s thinking than my own.  The simple video sucked me in. Soon I was following their footsteps and remarkably for me, staying on the path.

The folks at inspiredtaste.com know how to make the wheel. Their caramel recipe was spot -on and in the dozen batches I made I never varied. Ok, that’s not true. I Nearly Never Varied. I added a 1/4 tsp of vanilla by the second batch and then swirled in chocolate ganache by the seventh. But that’s it. For me that’s as coloring inside the lines as I get. I’m proud of myself for simply having lines to color in at all.

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So really, if you want to learn to make caramel, go watch their video. Whallaaaa! You’re an expert.  Don’t waste your time looking here for secrets. I didn’t invent the wheel.

I’ll say only this: Don’t stress it. It’s fun. Everyone makes caramel akin to splitting atoms. I’ve not split atoms, but it sounds stressful. Caramel is not… I repeat… not stressful. If it gets too hot too fast and turns too brown or hard, well as my daughter says, “that’s a first-world problem.”  You are only out some butter, sugar and cream, so try again. Besides, even hard, brown caramel is pretty tasty. Eating my less than brilliant projects is not what I call stressful.

I give a full recommendation to two key tips from the folks at inspiredtaste. 1) Put the lid on the pot as they say and screw that whole wet-the-sides-of-the-pan-with-a-pastry-brush thing most often advised. This is easier and more effective by far. and 2) Put the pan right back on the stove to boil water in it. This cleans it up in a snap, which is the one stressful part of caramels– cleaning– if you don’t do this step.

I made a scad of caramels and built up plenty of excitement on the ole email chain vying for the package winner this week. I laid out a big hint saying I wanted a bribe. I have several days free after New Year’s and wanted company to go snowboarding. Absolutely nobody took the bait. But my brother did take the bribe route and ordered caramels for 50 at his Christmas party. WINNER WINNER chicken DINNER! Soon the Test Kitchen as a football- watching, candy-wrapping sweatshop:

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The reaction from my loved ones was… well, let’s just say enthusiastic:

“DICK MOVE!”

“EFF off…. you sold out. If all it meant was cold hard cash, I’ll just go right over to Trader Joe’s…”

ME: “Effin Artist gotta eat!”

“I’m thoroughly disgusted.”

ME: “Wait, I’m confused. Effin Artist doesn’t gotta eat?! You callin’ me fat?”

“sellouts always have excuses…”

“Sorry I haven’t been getting your emails today, I sent them all to spam.”

Tough crowd, my family. We play rough. And on that note, we’ll move on from the Caramel and move into something less hostile (we hope ;-)). Next week’s test kitchen ingredient: Peanut Butter!

Effin Artist out!

Testing this week is like nectar of the gods

I have to admit, caramel intimidated me a bit when this week started. It seemed temperamental… exactly the opposite of why I do this nonsense.

The first batch of caramel was …. well … something other than caramel. It was gooey and tasted ok but looked white and slid around so I just made it into a sauce and served it at Thanksgiving in an apple crisp where it was good, but hidden.

So I knew what I was up against… Not to mention, expectations were high. Folks came hard after the caramel sweepstakes mailing to be sent out at week’s end (for those playing along from home, EffinArtists.com sends out a mailing each week to whoever bribes us the best…errr…. is the lucky winner of a surprise package of whatever we make for our test kitchen). Apparently, their confidence in me was, well, incongruent to use a term I learned way, way back before failing out of grad school.

Anyway, I do not shy away from a challenge. If caramel was going to mean mug me, then it was on. “Let do this!” I shouted as I walked into the test kitchen.

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I’m not even done yet, but as you can see from above, I made that caramel my … uh.. never mind. Let’s just say park bench and try not to lose our PG rating.

A few days into this project and I’ve given those worries the beat down. This stuff so far is bomb.com! Check out this gooey, gooey goodness…

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I can honestly say these cookies are so good I decided to make a list of top five best all-time cookies. These are on the list, which is still under development. I’ve lost at least an hour to pondering it, recalling cookies from days gone by. That was a good hour though.. ummm…

The bottom line is this stuff has game. To my lovely family vying for the surprise package at week’s end, here’s the translation: You need to step it up. I want a visit. Especially on Jan. 1-5 for someone to go snowboarding with me. So call me and make plans, then get in your car and head north. That’s the trump card this week.

Who says bribes don’t work?

Italian Zen garden has plenty of flour

I once tried pruning one of those little juniper trees. I basically turned it into a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. I like those sand pits with the little rakes that sit on top of desks, but my little recycled desk hasn’t enough room for my coffee cup. Pretty much everywhere I’ve lived I’ve had a fish tank or a fish pond just to sit and watch and decompress, but the pond is frozen solid under a blanket of unlikely snow and I didn’t get around to putting fish in it when I built it in October anyway.

The point? I like having a way to what I call, “zen out.”

For two decades Happy Hour was my favorite method, but thanks to 53 months and counting of sobriety I need a more permanent plan. So imagine my surprise when I rediscovered a truly wonderful way to zen out… and then eat something truly wonderful when I’m done.

I’m talking dough. I’ve truly rediscovered dough lately, and its like rediscovering my high-school pen pal twenty years later and realizing I’ve known my soul mate all along. There’s something about working with dough that settles me. I like the process of combining. I like the elusiveness of it, how each batch takes on a personality of its own. I like the multitude of outcomes — pizza crust, pie crust, cookies, coconut bread or my soul mate’s favorite, peanut butter banana bread– that each distinct batch of dough can become.

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I mostly like kneading the dough. My mind floats into a peaceful nothingness as I work the dough around and around in my hands. The process reminds me a bit of what I loved so much about wine (besides the more obvious reasons). It’s alive. It changes and keeps changing until eventually it declines and decays unless consumed. It’s art with a shelf life, sort of like us humans when you get right down to it.

I’m constantly in pursuit of the perfect dough. I pursue it knowing it will never come. But I still find myself mesmerized when I watch the process, like when I cut in butter to certain types of dough and it transforms from powder to crumbles to cohesiveness.

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I like the liveliness of how dough responds to touch.

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I like how it then leaps to life when left alone.

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When I was a kid one of my all-time favorite foods was Nonie’s fried bread. The dough would rise all night and then she’d fry it up in olive oil for breakfast. We’d put ricotta cheese and her raspberry freezer jam (sooooo EFFin deliciouussss!) on it. Next to Nonie’s raviolis, nothing is better.

When I grew up, I decided to start making it for myself.

“How do you make the dough Nonie?” I asked.

“Eh.. just get the frozen dough. It’s easier,” she said.

I took it at face value, even though from the age of 15 I was working with dough every night, spinning it above my head as I hand-tossed pizzas. I never really put two and two together that fried bread and pizza used the same dough. I bought the frozen dough in the orange bag that hasn’t changed once in 30 years and made fried bread for my kids as they grew up. They got older and I passed on the same message to them. Get the frozen dough, it’s easier.

Only now do I realize how much better something can be even if its not easier. I’m not just talking taste, because for fried bread, those frozen dough balls are really good– even if not so great for pizza. I’m talking about missing out on the process.

Nonie had a right to tap-out from making dough. She was retired and had spent a lifetime making ravioli dough six days a week for the restaurant her and my grandfather and my mom and my aunts and uncles all helped run. (I still have the proud burn scars on my foot from the restaurant kitchen when Nonie was babysitting me). They made raviolis by the thousands; the recipe from her says the serving size is 1,000 raviolis. For her dough was work. Hard work.

But for me its the opposite. Dough is a timeout from the work. It dirties my hands so I can’t pick up the cell phone or bang the keyboard. I lets my mind get lost and take a break. It zens me out like few things can.

Today in the mail a thick, heavy envelope arrived. I opened it up and found a clear white bag with no label. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. My 00 flour from Italy arrived. The silky fine powder is like the orchid of my zen garden, truly exceptional. I’m going to wait until a particularly anxious day before I break it out and make my own pasta from it….

….

Oops, drifted off there for a moment. Anyway, there’s plenty of flour in my zen garden, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Restored

Before:

Reclaiming living spaces is like reclaiming anything. Food to hungry people instead of a dumpster, plants in dirt instead of weeds, an item back to use instead of dumped. We reclaimed this little beauty with surprising little cost. Even most of the furniture came from Goodwill or garage sale.

via Restored.

The neurotic obsession with leftovers marches on

I can’t throw things out. I just … can’t …. do… it. We don’t have a garbage disposal, so I scrape my wife’s unfinished plate (mine’s always clean) into my mouth instead of the trash can. She sighs… and maybe winces. I’m not sure. I’m too busy eating.

It’s so bad that last week I launched a poll with my family. I asked if they’d eat a carton of cottage cheese that had an eight-day-old sell date. The results were mixed, but I knew before I started what would win in my mind:

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I crushed that cottage cheese.

So this time of year is especially challenging. My kitchen was absolutely full of rapidly declining shelf-life foods. My neurotic need to consume, not trash, this food heightened. Still, I live for this. I approached my fridge like a Sherpa attacks Everest. With confidence. Bigger the challenge, the better. And this year, was a big one. Consider:

We celebrated my birthday the day before Thanksgiving. My daughter’s new significant other launched himself into the heights of family favorites. He gave me what I immediately pushed into the top five of all-time best gifts:

fish

Ain’t it beautiful!

But it didn’t make my after-Thanksgiving mountain of leftovers any easier to scale. Because this wasn’t all he brought. Seven red crabs, two dungeness, this little salmon beauty and an even bigger, nastier more beautiful steelhead. I died and went to Atlantis.

So consider the leftover artiste` at work here… turkey smoked (with no idea what I’m doing), salmon filleted and smoked (my filet skills are worse than my smoking skills) all while making the massive Thanksgiving meal, and … crab, gutted and cleaned and all the carcasses made into stock, which is now happily in the freezer.

Not to mix my mountain-scaling metaphor here, but what the hell… this was my Picasso of hoof-to-head cooking … all with the single of goal of “thou shalt not waste.”

A first key move was buying a freezer off craigslist the day before Thanksgiving as a birthday present to me. One man’s trash and all that. Soon, the freezer was up and humming in preparation of my good buddy Dinner, set to be picked up next week. This key move set the stage for all that was to follow. Like my base camp at Everest (back to the old metaphor again…) or the canvas to my brush (using the Picasso one, for those keeping track at home).
Next, I stuffed that freezer full of fluff in true Poohian fashion. Nothing makes me happier than a stuffed freezer. It’s like yoga… “nowhere else to go, nothing else to do or undo…” just frozen in the perpetual present, not spoiling, not demanding attention, until I can use it properly. Zen.. karma… bliss…If it could be frozen, it froze. The turkey neck, wing tips, and a few parts I didn’t use in the stuffing went in, awaiting a chance when I want to make stock rather than have to.That was just step one. Here’s the litany of what followed:

– Turned the salmon into a decadent omelette. Turned the crab into Asian Won Tons. Turned the leftovers of both into the single best bowl of soup — crafted on the spot, flying without a net — that I have had in… well… since the last time I trekked down I-5 to nowhereville for Anderson’s Split Pea!

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-Turned the crab into stock, which went into the aforementioned chowda. Go Sox. (For the sports fans, wasn’t Johnny Damon enough… Ellsbury, a yankee… really? FML!)

-Turned the turkey into traditional sandwich, followed by warmed-up plate with warmed-up fixins (love the Green Stuffing!) followed by the first quiche I’ve ever made in my life (it only took nearly half a century to get over the whole real men don’t thing…) that my parents (noted quiche eaters) lauded. The quiche used the leftover pie crust, half the leftover fresh spinach, the leftover heavy cream, some of the leftover cranberry sauce (really liked this… painted it on the crust for a savory pop!) more of the leftover turkey and plenty of the leftover cheeses.

– Turned the leftover quiche into breakfast. Turned the leftover cucumbers and tomatoes and Romano cheeses and leftover salami into a couple of antipasto plates, which are a staple around here.

– Turned the leftover spinach and basil and ricotta into a vegetarian lasagna, which I then turned 2/3 of it into the freezer for future dinners, perhaps a side dish to Dinner someday soon.

– Turned more of the turkey and peppers and onions into a smokey Asian stir fry that turned into lunch the next day.

– Tonight I’m turning the leftover sausage into an Italian meatloaf and the leftover sweet potatoes into a risotto, served with kale chips from the frozen garden if they aren’t doomed by this ungodly cold snap (says the very cold native Californian).

– I still have a little more smoked salmon that along with leftover bacon and leftover pepperjack cheese will become an EFFin delightful grilled quesadilla for lunch today or tomorrow.

That leaves: spinach, peppers and basil, which will become a vegetarian something or other Thursday night… likely employing some of the leftover cranberry sauce. Cranberry bran muffins tomorrow will polish off the cranberries and use some of the extra cream cheese. The remnants of the turkey will snacked upon impulsively, dipped into pesto, until finished. No worries there.

So far I have only had to throw out three stalks of celery that turned a sort of doughy color, two rolls that turned the color of the celery and half a bushel of Italian parsley. The leftover potatoes and root vegetables are looking like Benjamin Button… at the beginning of the movie sadly and may find their way into the trash instead of the oven. Overall, not bad.
Whew… I’m tired. But full. I gained four pounds. I’ll be out this afternoon in the frigid air on my bike to punish myself. I’m buying a 12 pound bag of organic brown rice from a gal off Craigslist who said she bought way way too many (don’t ask, she said… so I didn’t). So I’ll lug the rice in my backpack and pedal the frigid hills around here to burn the calories. Notice I had no worries about leftover desserts. I killed those, hence the four added pounds.

I love leftover stories. Drop me a line with your hoof to head adventures any time!