And now, part 2, in case you couldn’t read the title above…
Oh yeah, there’s a part 3 too. Coming soon…
And now, part 2, in case you couldn’t read the title above…
Oh yeah, there’s a part 3 too. Coming soon…
I got a new job. Soon, I’ll be working in and moving to Nashville, Ill., where I’ll be taking over as the Managing Editor of the Nashville News. I am, of course, extremely excited.
Flora, where I live now, has been good to me though. I’ve met a lot of folks I’ve liked, mostly through work. I even met my wife here, but she doesn’t count for this, because I’m taking her with me. Sorry Clay County.
Anyways, I decided to do “Farewell Photos” images of some of those folks who I’ve really enjoyed working with and knowing around here. I’ll try to say a bit about each person or group, but who knows where this will go. The only real prerequisite here is that I like this person or group. That said, not everyone I’ve liked is here, so if you aren’t, don’t be offended. Also, this is just the first post, so there’s more to come. Here we go:
So I made some Shakshouka
Basically, it’s a eggs poached in a fiery tomato and pepper sauce. But let’s hear about the dish from the always-reputable Wikipedia:
“Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة; Hebrew: שקשוקה) (also shakshuka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, often spiced with cumin. It is believed to have Algerian and Tunisian origins
Shakshouka is a staple of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, and Moroccan cuisines traditionally served up in a cast iron pan with bread to mop up the sauce. It is also popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian Jews. In Libya, Shakshouka is a traditional breakfast meal.
In Israel, the dish has been said to challenge hummus and falafel as a national favourite, especially in the winter. According to some food historians, the dish was invented in the Ottoman Empire, spreading throughout the Middle East and Spain, where it is often served with spicy sausage. Another belief is that it hails from Yemen, where it is served with zhug, a hot green paste.”
Anyways, I basically adapted my recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s. Perhaps I ought to say, I used it as a guideline, because as usual, once I start cooking, I do what I want (Meghan hates that.)
Next, and yes, I’m doing this step-by-step…
Add Dem Eggs!
Use your spoon or what-have-you to create a little hollow for each egg, then gently crack into the sauce, and cover, simmering gently.
You’ll simmer ’til the whites harden up. While you wait, toast your pita. Or in my case, miniature pizza crusts that are the closest thing you have to pitas…
Ahh, and your eggs should be set…
Now, spoon some of that sauce over the whites and carefully scoop your eggs out with a slotted spoon. Or a non-slotted one, if you like. I don’t care what you do, they’re your eggs. Then, to serve, place them on a plate and surround with more of that wonderful sauce. Finally, add diced parsley and crumbled feta cheese to garnish. The feta doesn’t taste all ridiculously strong in this dish, so feel free to go to town. It should look like the first photo.
Eat immediately, sopping up excess sauce and unset egg yolks with the pita. You could cook your egg yolks until set if you want, but why? Enjoy!
So this weekend, we bought the dogs a gigantic bone to watch them play with it, for our own entertainment. After a while we had some good photos and I thought, “Nuts to just the bone pictures, we should put all sorts of stuff on there and introduce the whole family.”
You’ve already met me, I’m Alex. Here I am testing out a motel bed on a recent trip to Evansville.
Here’s my lovely wife, partner, and accomplice at international jewel thieving, Meghan.
Here’s Sookie. She was my dog for my lonely years before meeting Meghan, and now she’s our dog. She’s a bit hyper and is the “Alpha”, if you can call a 20-pound dog that.
And why is Sookie so happy in the above pic? The giant bone of course. Here’s her alternating between trying to figure the bone out and trying figure out how to get it, in its entirety, into her stomach.
The other animal I had before meeting Meghan, though not for as long as Sookie, is Edward, who we all have met time and again here on the ‘ole Blog. But here’s a new photo of my stunningly photogenic kitty.
Meghan’s little buddy before meeting me was the princess here, Laylah. She’s as sweet as a button, unless of course, you’re Bear, who will follow, then she’s kind of a B.
And now, Bear, as promised. We got Bear together. He was Meghan’s parents’ dog, but they had to move for a new job and Bear would not have done well in an entirely new surrounding, so we adopted him. He’s an entertaining pup, that’s for sure.
Finally, we have Sylvia, who Meghan and I adopted last summer, about this time. She’s “all growed up” now, but honestly, she’s still a very little cat. She’s a cutie though, affectionate, entertainingly vocal and gentle, so long as you’re not a fly.
So there’s the mob. Thank you, Internet, for giving me my soapbox to write about ’em. And I hope the rest of you like my pictures of my fam.
I’ve been meaning to make some homemade hummus for a while now, but I just hadn’t gotten around to doing it. But this Sunday, I was bored and I had all these pita chips and nothing to dip them in…..
So anyways, we got ourselves two cans of chickpeas (one labeled chickpeas, the other labeled garbanzos), warmed over the stove, with their liquid. Added to that is a half cup of tahini, juice of one lemon, half cup of olive oil, and salt, pepper and garlic to taste. The topping is cayenne pepper, chopped parsley, and more lemon and olive oil.
It was pretty awesome, BUT, it could be smoother. I don’t have an actual food processor. I used my chef’s pal (or some similar brand name) and there’s only so long my arms could crank the bugger. Still, the flavor was spot on, and much better than store bought. Also, warmed chickpeas = warm hummus, which is awesome.
My friend Michael just published a post on his blog…about me. I’m honored by him seeing me as an “Influencer” and I hope I can keep some good work and good thoughts out there to live up to it. Also, I tried to give props to just a few of those who influenced me.
Every artist is influenced by the world around them. The people, places and things that define my work are what the Influencers post is all about. I hope you find inspiration from what you read/view.
Shortly after moving to Flora is when I seriously took an interest in photography. Searching for photography programs is what led me to connect with Alex Haglund on Facebook. He struck me as a real laid back fellow with a true passion for photography and over the past two years he’s be an awesome inspiration to my growth as a photographer. This is what he had to say about his life as a photographer (unscripted and unedited; it’s a long post but worth the read!).
How did you get into photography (or a specific genre of photography)?
I’ve always thought photography and photographers were cool, but I got into it, I think, because of my…
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So 4th of July happened recently, and that means a lot of corn on the cob for BBQs and picnics. Our local Wally-World had it on sale for a quarter an ear, so even though we were a little broke right around then, we could get some awesome corn on the cob.
But how to serve it?
For that, let me take you back. It was probably close to 20 years ago, and I was at my Aunt Karen’s house in Atlanta. Visiting with me was my cousin Leonor. Leonor is half Honduran and half of the Polish/Italian mix I am on my Mom’s side. She always lived in the city of Chicago proper while when I was up there, I lived in Oak Park, a suburb. Close to the city (At the end of the block, actually), but still a suburb.
We were in my Aunt’s kitchen and I was going to have some corn on the cob.
“Wait, you should have that like the Mexicans make it,” said Leonor.
I already had margarine out, but when Leonor prompted me to get mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese, I was pretty highly suspicious.
“Put the butter on, then the salt and pepper, then the mayonnaise, then the Parmesan.”
“Bullshit!” I thought, or some less eloquent 12-year-old equivalent. “Mayonnaise on corn? Madness!” (I’m gonna hear it for that…Wife hates it when I curse on the blog)
Still, I trusted my cousin and hoped to high heaven she wasn’t just screwing with me. What do you know? The stuff was great! Later on, when I made my own friends on the Northwest side, I encountered the cornman, a guy with a food cart that served corn nearly how Leonor described it.
Give the cornman a dollar, though it’s probably more now, and he reaches into the steamer portion of his cart, comes out with an ear of sweetcorn, shoves it on a skewer and then proceeds to dress it with margarine, mayonesa, cotija cheese, lime, and chili powder. It’s completely and totally amazing.
Of course, if cornman corn flew under my radar in Oak Park, it’s completely wild here in the country, where people probably just think it’s weird, I know Meghan does, but then, she thinks ketchup is a vegetable.
My homemade version, which I made Sunday evening, uses the Parmesan because good luck finding cotija near here. I used Miracle Whip style “dressing” instead of mayonesa. I know there’s a difference, I’m not stupid, but I am, as I said, broke. This was probably the part about this that worked the least, and it was still pretty damn good. I also added ground cayenne pepper instead of sweet chili powder because I like setting my tongue on fire, and omitted the lime because I forgot. It’s a lot of different flavors that come together in an amazing way.
In the future, I’ll be trying this with real butter, because y’know, it’s already kind of a heart attack on a stick; then salt, fresh ground pepper and a bit of garlic, Duke’s Mayo (“The secret of Southern Chefs” and really great stuff compared to just about anything but homemade), followed by the cotija cheese, then good chili powder possibly spiked with chipoltle or something like that for heat, and finally, that forgotten squirt of lime.
Oh! I nearly forgot…easy way to cook corn for one: chop both ends off the ear but leave it in the husk. Toss it in the microwave for 5 minutes and it steams in the husk. No weird texture, just grab it with an oven mitt and give it a shake. The ear will fall out and will (ideally) leave all of the silk still in the husk. Try it out, I swear I wouldn’t lead you astray.