Ever since Roberta Bixler slapped me in the face in 5th grade after asking her to be my girlfriend, I’ve been addicted to pain. Or rejection. Or both.
Waiting on the bus tarmac (playground at Parkview Elementary), bulky-ass Snare Drum in tow, I popped the question.
Would you be my girlfriend?
Does that mean no?
I asked in earnest. I’d seen plenty of people that got slapped and they still loved the person that slapped them. Who knew back then that No Means No? Yeah, Me too!
I remember that moment crystal clear, it’s frozen in my time-mind. It’s a basement for my rejection level. In my New-Now-Normal, pain is the sidecar to rejection. I can shoot it straight to just kick my ass. Or I can mix it in to make it last. Point is, I seem to have a knack for separating the pain from the rejection.
When I drive through the city at dawn, it’s desolation fills my soul with hope. I catch her like a lover surprised, the sun shiny and warm on her skin. Or the shadows hide her from my gaze. She catches my view and changes her face. She turns a corner and jumps a bridge, daring me to catch her falling.
The city provides an endless source of both fascination and inspiration. She’s a coy and fickle lover. I wonder if her personality is wished upon her by so many that she becomes whatever it is that you seek from her. She forces thoughts of freedom from you while clutching you desperately, strangling movement from life.
I made Winter Pie - two of them
I love cooking for persnickety eaters. My favorite ones are those that proudly proclaim, almost boastfully, I don’t eat vegetables! After cooking for crowds for almost 30 years, my inner dialogue usually replies, Yeah, I can tell.
The patron saint of modern cooking, Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin was the first to say it out loud. Now it’s fat-shaming. Wait until the full history of Covid is written. The sick and infirm occupy most of the graves.
“Tell me what you eat; I will tell what you are”
The Winter Pies I made give me a secret pleasure - they are loaded with veggies. I’m attending two Christmas dinners today, and bringing a pie to each as a gift. In attendance at each are some of my family members that fall into that boastful non-veggie eater category.
Easy to make and hard to forget.
Root vegetables - I used two of each: parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes. I diced into about half-inch cubes. Roast each veggie individually with slightly different spice - for instance, sweet potatoes with maple and brown sugar, parsnips had salt and pepper, turnips had some garlic salt and smoked paprika.
Shallots - I sliced and caramelized about a dozen.
Toast off some nuts, I used Pinion nuts this time.
Mix a large tub of Ricotta and small tub of Parmesan with two eggs in a bowl. Add onions and veggies.
Pour into pre-made (so I cheat - cut me some slack) pie crusts, top with some sliced red and yellow cherry tomatoes and the pine nuts.
Bake until the pies aren’t jiggly anymore, about 30-ish minutes.
I make these ahead of time and refrigerate for a day or so. The flavors have time to really get together. A quick heat-up while the turkey or ham rests, and the pies are ready to go.
I tell the picky eaters that a Winter Pie is just a fancy name for cheese pie. They know by now that my food usually has elusive names. Somehow that makes them feel so much better. Then they realize I’ve tricked them again!
Celebrate all that we do have this year, and spread some love around. It’s needed.
Hope your Christmas was great! L.A. weather looked amazing. Here's to a fantastic 2023!
Merry Christmas, Ric!,.have a great 2023!