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Greens, Buddha's Hands

Had some miscellaneous pix I wanted to post so you’re now getting the unrelated results.

Greens. Everyone loves their greens! Spinach, kale, chard, lettuce, arugula (does that go with lettuces? don’t know), mache, mustard greens, turnip greens, greeeeeeeeens!

I have not been a fan of greens myself. I drench them in dressings, hide them in soups and now pulverize them in smoothies. Actually the smoothies are acceptable to my taste buds. As long as I add sweet fruit and obliterate the heck out of the greens.

green smoothie

Green smoothie trying to fit in

So green smoothies are now a regular part of my diet. At least a couple times a week.

I’m proud of myself.

A little.

Next item:

What the heck are these?

Plate of Buddha's Hands

We are friendly!

BUDDHA’S HAND CITRONS! That’s what. Like a cross between a lemon and a squid. Very high cool factor. Mr. PR and I were watching that cooking contest show, Chopped, one night. And a Buddha’s Hand Citron was one of the surprise basket ingredients. And Mr. PR’s eyes almost bugged out.

“What’s that?!!!” “That’s so cool!” “Can I get that?” “I want that!”

Meaning, he wanted to plant one of those in the fruit orchard. Even though it was already too over-planted because he wants one of everything at the exotic fruit trees nurseries all over Southern California. But he hadn’t seen THAT. So we had to find and buy and plant THAT. I have to admit I liked it too. Cute little strange-fruit bush.

I like citrus trees a lot. Evergreen, ever-bearing, fragrant flowers, grows nicely in our area. What’s not to like? And unlike the other pesky fruits, you can store the fruit on the tree and harvest them when YOU want. Not all at once when they are ripe, like stone fruits. And the critters don’t care for them, so you don’t have to mess with bird nets and so on. Very polite, these citrus.



What’s a miscellaneous post without pictures of the weiner dog?

Here you go:

Little punim

Look at that Punim

And look at that punim some more:

Little punim

Nice profile

I could really look at that punim all day long.

But at some point I have to shower and stuff.

Ciao for now!

Chimichurri For Your Taste Buds

Chimichurri sauce. I was first introduced to it during a South American-themed cook-along. Participants posted recipes they were interested in, or thought others might be interested in. We could choose among the posted recipes or not. But we had to cook a South American dinner on a chosen night, then post about it.

I chose grilled beef skewers with Chimichurri sauce, some kind of rice dish, and mojito cocktails. I knew right away that I would like the Chimichurri. It had fresh, strong flavors. I have to have strong flavors, I’m half Korean! My husband just rolls his eyes when I bring out the kochu-jang – Korean red pepper paste.

Anyway, while Chimichurri isn’t a hot sauce per se, when I make it I do make it on the spicy side by adding extra onion or some jalapeno pepper. To me, Chimichurri has become a foodie word that encompasses just about any sauce that contains fresh herbs pureed with other stuff to make a vibrant, fragrant condiment. You can make it whatever you want. You can use it to accompany any food you want. Do your thing. You can’t mess it up. You can use the fresh herbs of your choice. Parsley, cilantro, oregano, thyme, mint, basil, etc.

Take your fresh herbs, singly or in combination, and then add the secondary ingredients: onion or garlic or shallots or peppers or any combination of those you like – are you getting the picture yet? Do. What. You. Like. After those aromatic ingredients, you add oil and vinegar. But you don’t want to make an oil emulsion, so just add them both before blending in a blender or food processor. Salt and pepper are the final common ingredients.

My first Chimichurri recipe:

Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 cup lightly packed chopped parsley (ideally, flat leaf “Italian” parsley)
  • 3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 2 T fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 T shallot or onion, minced
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • 3 T sherry wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar
  • 3 T lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree.

And here’s what I made last night for my salmon:

Chimichurri in the Making

Small food processors suck - get a big one!

  • A couple handfuls of cilantro
  • Half a medium onion cut into quarters
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • S&P

Add everything to the food processor and puree. I need a bigger food processor – this little one is sooooo noisy. I have to pulse, pulse, pulse to get things pureed so my eardrums don’t fall out. (Is that possible?)

Chimichurri Pureed

Pureed and Ready.

Notice the cute mini orchids in the background? I grew those!

I found that making small batches is best. I tend to make things in bulk – I figure I’m doing the work or turning on the grill so I might as well make that huge batch of whatever. And it does turn out okay to have a container of Chimichurri sauce in the fridge. But now I’m trying making small, fresh batches that get eaten in one or two meals. It doesn’t take much time, really.

Try some fresh herb puree with your steak, chicken, fish, eggs, in soups, as a salad dressing. Grok would have loved it. You’ll love it. Make some today!

The Ping Pong Chronicles: Part Two, Good Form

Ping Pong lessons. Lessons on how to play ping pong. What? Why would anyone need lessons? Can’t you just pick up a paddle and hit the ball? What’s the deal?

Listen up, Grasshopper! This ain’t your basement ping pong. Oh, no, my dear. Far from it. You don’t even know what you don’t know. It’s like that.

But I’m not a sporty girl. I don’t DO sports, never have. When a ball comes flying at me I duck and run for cover. What am I doing here?

Let’s see:

No previous sports experience. CHECK!
Lack of innate ability. CHECK!
Bad eye-hand coordination. CHECK!
Slow reactions. CHECK!
Middle-aged. CHECK!
All-around wimp and pansy. CHECK!

Just the right person to start a new sport!

After buying the ridiculously expensive paddle and rubbers, I embarked on my lessons with the first coach, Mr. Cha, at the Korean ping pong club nearby. Mr. Cha, like all the Korean players at the club, started playing in elementary school in Korea, where he was drilled, drilled, drilled mercilessly by some old-school coaches. And he was prepared to teach me the same way – with endless multiball drills. These are intense sessions where the coach hits balls to the player, one after the other seemingly endlessly. (There is typically a basket of balls next to the coach.)

Multiball is Fun!

Multiball is Fun!

The balls are fed to you rapidly until the coach runs out of balls. That’s the cue for you to grab a pick-up stick and fetch all the balls so you can start multiballing again. (I don’t know if multiballing is even a word – probably not.)

Watch this baby, Jamie, in a multiball drill.

Before drills, Mr. Cha had to show me how to hold the paddle properly, how to swing a basic forehand, how to position my feet and how to move my body during the swing. So many pieces of the puzzle just to hit a little celluloid ball.

After I was shown the basic forehand, I learned that I had good form. Good form. Remember that. Good form was the clincher, the drug, the motivator to keep me going with this craziness. “You have good form!” “You look good!” Everyone in the club agreed, “she has good form, wow!” “Looks good!”

Yeah, I think it was an evil conspiracy to lock me in to taking more lessons and getting deeper in the madness. I looked good! I had good form! I was a natural! How could I not continue? Bwa-ha-ha! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!!

To be continued…