Routine can be boring.
But not for me.
I thrive on it.
Very hot, early morning, American-style coffee, a soft-boiled egg, and a toasted sweet roll with an assertive amount of cold unsalted butter.
Morning on blog work, phone calls and organization of day.
Then a walking trip around downtown, perhaps carrying a printer for a cleaning, stopping at the a T-station to update my monthly train pass, at the bank to refresh my singles and fives, lifting weights.
The walking trip always including a stop at the Thinking Cup on Newbury Street where I order a cup of ice and a very hot two-shot cappuccino at about 1.00pm while enjoying the luxury of reading. Ice, not iced water. I love ice-cold water which is only cold enough if the water added doesn’t rise above the ice. Not fair to lay that description on a barista. Simplified as “A cup of ice, please,” and adding water myself.
The walk home always includes a stop for food shopping.
At home, my main meal [from 4 to7pm depending on company.]
Whether dining alone or with company, this meal always terrific, always eaten with wine, occasionally liquor, most often a terrific gin and tonic [recipe on website.]
A short nap, thirty minutes max.
Either a car trip out or desk work.
If desk work, done with one of the Boston sports playing. Boston sports only.
At some point, sleep.
Anything but boring.
Friday, October 19, 2018
My 192nd consecutive posting.
Boston’s temperature will reach a high of
and it will be cloudy.
Dinner is at a small French Bistro on Newbury Street, cousin Lauren’s belated birthday celebration.
Quiz Question of the Day:
Can you describe a simple cooking method that lends itself to repeated use without getting boring?
Answer: absolutely! Be sure to read the last part of the recipe that describes its flexibility.
Swordfish Seared-Broiled garnished with Cacciatore Sauce
1 ½ lb piece of swordfish.
Turn on the broiler.
Make sure an oven rack is very close to the flame.
In a fry pan, add 1TB of Asian Oil [recipe: Always on Hand on this website] or another oil.
Put the frying pan into the oven on the top rack to it get very, very hot.
Be careful handling this pan.
The handle will be very, very hot.
Mix a multiple-spice powder:
½ t each: cumin, curry, ginger, garlic, and salt
Add 1TB of Asian Oil
Brush both sides of the fish with the mix
When the frying pan is very hot, 3 or 4 minutes under the broiler, set the swordfish in the skillet and return the skillet to the broiler.
One side of the swordfish is being seared while simultaneously the other side is being broiled.
Cook for 5/6 minutes.
The fish cooks wonderfully fast, retaining much of its juices while getting an appealing color and deliciously charred taste.
Thinly slice aromatic vegetables: 2oz each of bell pepper, fresh fennel, onion, and chili to taste, softening all in a frying pan with 1TB of Asian Oil. Salt to taste.
Separately, chop an 8oz heirloom tomato and fry it in a ½ T of Asian Oil, touch of salt, until dried of most of its water. Scrape the tomato into the softened aromatic vegetables.
Spoon the pan sauce over the swordfish.
Note on the utility of this recipe:
This recipe works for steaks, other fish, or other foods that lend themselves to broiling or searing.
The recipe also works with a variety of pan sauces and/or a variety of oils and/or other multiple-spice powders.
Make it your own.
Here is the second part of my experiment incorporating a generous number of illustrations in my manuscript, hitherto without any illustrations.
Would appreciate any comments.
I am using Chapter Seventeen of the manuscript as the subject. I presented the first half yesterday, and here is the second part.
To update you, after being kidnapped and held for five weeks by minions of the devil and forcibly addicted to heroin, Dee has been rescued, has gone through a very short recovery, and is now reunited with her friends. They are having dinner at a lovely restaurant.
6.00pm, Saturday, 4 February, 2017
Beside their table an assistant to the sommelier secured a tray stand on which he set a tray with a decanter and short candle which he lit. On his assistant’s heels, the sommelier arrived carrying a wicker cradle in which lay the bottle of Petrus.
The sommelier pulled the crumbling cork, careful to avoid a jolt that would disturb the decades of accumulated sediment caked along the side on which the bottle had lain undisturbed for those many years. Holding it horizontally at its base, he took the opened bottle from the cradle and positioned the shoulder just below the bottle’s neck over the candle flame illuminating the steady flow of wine into the decanter. When the first particles of the sediment reached the neck, he abruptly ended the pour, setting the almost empty bottle straight up on the table, a proud headstone to a world-class wine.
From the decanter, he poured Dee an ounce and a half of the rarity, she swirling and smelling it, looking over the glass to her friends with a grin, saying, “Amazing,” taking a sip, holding it in her mouth while she sucked in air to heighten the bouquet, finally swallowing and saying after savoring the aftertaste, “Oh goodness. Heaven. Please pour, and please pour yourself a taste as well.”
“No, merci, mademoiselle. C’est trop cher.”
“But you must. We want and need your opinion, especially of a wine that’s ‘too dear.’” So, after pouring for each of the girls, he took a wineglass from an unoccupied table and poured half an ounce of the Petrus, swirling, smelling, sipping, swallowing, his eyebrows knitting as he sorted he wine’s properties.
“Tell,” Dee cutting short his enjoyment of the aftertaste.
Gleaming eyes belying judicial face, he told: “I find the wine extremely rich, with enough alcohol and tannin to balance. Certainly at its peak. It possesses a good deal of tobacco and chocolate in the aftertaste, long and lingering. It possesses the unique gestalt of a brilliant, bottle-aged, world-class wine,” smiling, “Is that a help, mademoiselle?”
“Certainement. Merci.” After a short bow he withdrew, leaving the girls to spend the next moments tasting, exclaiming, and appreciating the unique moment.
Lori-Baby, “Dee, you were telling us about your plans to move,” Dee’s posed puzzled expression eliciting a sharp, “Dee!” from Laini.
“Oh yes…our new lawyer Isabel Guffy…looking for an apartment…with one extra-large room,” raising her glass, looking first into the deep of the bowl of the wine and next around the edges, checking the saturation, comparing the hues.
Laini, “Dee, why are you doing this? ‘One extra-large room?’ What’s that?”
Setting her glass down, bracing her wrists on table’s edge to hold her as she leaned forward, closing her fists, Dee looked at each of them. “Large enough for four beds. So hard to understand?” causing each of the three to suck in air, speechless, until Laini, “For us, for sleepovers?” she now leaning forward as well, Lori-Baby and Stella beaming.
Dee’s black eyes glistening, “I think we can move past Skype calls and sleepovers, my dears,” none of the three breathing. “War is on. I need my dearest friends, my best allies with me twenty-four/seven. Time we became roommates.”
“Dee,” Laini, “You’re not saying…”
Dee, “That all of us should relocate to Boston? Laini, great idea!”
Simultaneously, “Get outta here,” Lori-Baby, “Way to go,” Stella, “Yes, yes, yes,” Laini, all of them pushing their chairs away from the table, rising to surround Dee, taking turns to bend over and cheek-to-cheek hug her. Dee thought that one of two of the group might have also shed a tear; although it might have been three; maybe. Maybe, yeah. All four of them crying a little; giggling.
The next two hours sped past, the girls in such deep conversation that if the staff served them more food and if they ate it, none of them could ever recall; or if a patron the unfortunate victim of a failed Heimlich maneuver, his body carried out of the dining room on a stretcher by three medics, so absorbed, the girls, by the details of setting up their communal living not one of them noticed.
How to convince parents? Only Dee could – the others to wait for her lead. When would they move? Right after the end of the school year. Rent? No, own. Aunt Clara all the way. Transportation? Their feet, taxis, limousines, the T. Closet space? A problem in the first, temporary apartment; but they’d buy a new apartment and custom build plenty of closets for themselves. Visitors, boyfriends? They’d work it out. Meals? Always together – the point of roommates. School?
“I have another wild idea.” They waited. “I think we should all apply to Buckingham, Browne and Nichols, here, in Cambridge.”
A pause. Laini, “Wow, you think so?” Dee nodded, letting the words sink in. Laini, “But BB&N is so hard to get into. Four of us? Well, you’re a shoo-in; but still, three of us?”
Lori-Baby, “And all girls? Schools are gender conscious.”
Stella, “And in our junior year? Few seats are ever available.”
“We bring a lot to them. And we’ll get recommendations by the yard, including the mayor of Boston, urging the school to take us as a public service. Plus, each of us has a BB&N parent, Laini’s parents both graduates. And none of us need financial aid. A biggie.”
“And my dad does pro bono financial consulting for them,” Lori-Baby.
“Worth the try, I suppose,” Laini.
Dee, “The biggest problem – the application deadline is just two weeks away; and the applications take a lot of time and energy. Shall we try for it?”
Dessert on its way when the Mrs. Billingsley and Morgan found their table, two chairs added, tea ordered, the parents sitting after vigorous hugs and kisses for Dee.
“Goodness. I’m so underdressed. I knew the place was posh but this is really lovely,” Mrs. Billingsley.
“Was the dinner great?” Mrs. Morgan.
“Oh, yes,” Laini.
After some happy small talk, Mrs. Morgan announced, “Dee, we had a talk with your parents on the drive to Boston. They told us you’d be telling the girls about your plan to move to Boston. Such a big step. But if anyone, you can do it. Good luck.”
“So the parents think that for the remainder of the school year, starting next Friday, you guys could have a regular Friday night sleepover in Boston, in Dee’s new apartment.” The girls listening, not reacting. “We’ll come get you on Saturdays. Won’t that be a hoot?” Mrs. Billingsley.
“Oh, yes. Great,” the general response, although lacking the enthusiasm the mothers might have expected for a generous idea.
Dee, “Maybe we can think about an occasional Sunday afternoon pick-up. We’ve been talking about hosting family Sunday afternoon dinners in town. We’d shop, cook, and serve. It’ll be great fun for us.”
Mrs. Billingsley saying slowly, “That does sound like fun, Dee.” Thinking. “We all love formal dinners.”
Mrs. Morgan, hesitating, “Dee, is there more to this? I mean, it does sound like a great experience for all of you, but am I missing something?”
Mrs. Billingsley, like her peer, sensing something radical hidden in Dee’s suggestion, helping her peer-ally find her way, “I think we’re hesitating because if the girls are here in Boston for the entire weekend,” like solving a problem of logic, “And they’re in school during the day…”
Mrs. Morgan, “They’ll be spending more of their free time in…” seeing all four girls rapt in her words, pausing.
“Can we take it a step at a time? Try it to see how it works?”
Mostly recovering, Mrs. Morgan, “Of course, my dear,” forcing a smile, saying, “Are you all ready for the ride back?”
Outside the restaurant, after vigorous goodbye-hugs from each parent, Dee introduced Lt. Sam to the mothers, the three seamlessly falling into an adult chatter. Dee looked up from the group and across the wide and busy Massachusetts Avenue. There, on the opposite sidewalk, stood Blondie, looking back at Dee and her group, smiling. Stella followed Dee’s eyes to him, looking back to Dee, she nodding, Stella returning to stare at him. Laini and Lori-Baby followed Stella until they, too, spotted the stalker. Four pairs of eyes glowering; no one moving.
The valet arrived with their car and the Tyngsborough group drove off.
Sgt. Jesse jumped from her chair just outside Dee’s room at the Spaulding and the elevator disgorged Lt. Sam and Dee. She asked Dee, “Good time?”
“All day,” Dee.
And she high-fived Lt. Sam, “Nice work, man, today.”
“Amen. And the same to you.”
“So the two of you still have your jobs?”
“Dee, we’re friends of yours. And in this city, among the Boston Police, that puts us on a pedestal. The whole department wants you to get more involved with the police.”
“Thank you. Right now, I have to rest. When I’m ready, I’ll certainly let you know. Unless…”
Lt. Sam, “Unless?”
“Unless you come across another case involving points.”
Alone, Dee changed into her pajamas and lay on her back on her bed reliving her kidnap, rescue, recovery, rehabilitation, stalking, confrontation, and reunion, anticipating her impending relocation, not fighting welling tears of joy shed in honor of the beginning of a new life.
Followed by thoughts of lost radiance, of separation from her parents and Fritz, of putting her girlfriends in the path of a powerful enemy. Joy and hope turned to sadness and fear, of coming challenge, of inadequacy. Now a different flavor tears: of loss, of doubt, and of failure. And the sad tears mixing with the tears of joy, together, enough tears to drench her pillow. But not enough to bring relieving sleep.
Friday, October 19
And so “Good Morning!” my friends.
Enjoy the day.