Foodie Tuesday: Don’t Mess with Success

I do enjoy my meals. I like ‘meeting’ new treats to eat. I love the companionship of people, at table and around the virtual kitchen, who bring new savor to any food I get to eat.

And I will likely never tire of those particularly delicious favorites, comfort food and classics that are too good to fail. A cold seafood salad like the Louis (or Louie) need not be fiddled with in any way to thrill the palate. Lettuce, when it’s topped with the traditional olives, tomatoes and hard-boiled egg, is in need of nothing further than sweet shrimp or crab or both, and perhaps a squeeze of lemon juice, to be one of the most refreshing and filling and tasty luncheons imaginable.Photo: Crab & Shrimp Louie

I may tweak the old familiars to extremes from time to time, like a couple of diner cooks did with the nice variant versions of mac and cheese I’ve enjoyed a couple of times lately with Dungeness crab, one of them adorned with bacon, leeks and basil (and served with a nice crispy tuile of parmesan on top), or I may prefer to keep them magnificently purist-friendly and old-fashioned to the nth degree.Photo: Dungeness Mac

The beloved BLT is another of those that can take on any number of changes and added ingredients and offbeat preparations with panache, but is so gloriously perfect in its simple original form that when the tomato is absolute perfection in its ripe fruity brightness, the lettuce as crisp and clean as a green leaf newly sprouted, the bacon crisp, smoky and salty and piled almost too high for a monster’s jaws, and the mayonnaise spread just-so on the delicately crunchy toast, there can be no need for any other version. Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato are friendly with ever so many good add-ons, from avocado to mint or cilantro, cheese, boiled egg slices to grilled peppers (sweet or hot or both), and—avert your eyes, tender purist souls—grilled pineapple. But sometimes, when the stars and the aforementioned traditional ingredients of B, L, and T are in perfect form and proportion, it’s de trop beyond the crassest imaginings to monkey with proven perfection.Photo: BLT Perfection in Ponder

Either way, I’m kind of hungry right now, even though the household cooks served us fantastic grilled cheese followed by a fine berry pie a while ago. Did I mention classics? Delicious magnificence? Guess it’s time to stop dreaming and head for the kitchen again.

Wild Wings

 

photoI’m blessed to have ‘peeps’ that do, in fact, peep to me. Sitting at my desk and looking out the window at avian neighbors that stop by to enjoy the all-you-can-peck buffet I keep full just across the patio for our mutual enjoyment. I’ll let them do all of the actual dining, as despite my occasionally nibbling seeds willingly, I don’t often lust after hot pepper infused suet and desiccated mealworms garnishing the grain-and-nut munchies. Shocking, I know.photoThe birds visiting are mostly permanent and part-time residents of our backing greenbelt, and there are regulars and also unique and unexpected friends making occasional appearances to brighten the day here. We see plenty of the common local Bewick’s wrens and chickadees, softly hooting mourning doves and robins and the like, and every one of them is a delight to see and hear. I love even the ones soaring high enough overhead that they never come close enough to snack at our feeders, too: floating vultures, keening hawks, and a majestically flapping heron or two pass by on occasion. The hummingbirds, mostly Black-chinned and Ruby-throated little charmers, buzz around, chittering and bickering over the deep blue blooms of the blue sage, and make my heart flutter almost as ridiculously quickly as theirs.photoBut I think perhaps my shallowness is evident in my taste in birds as much as anywhere. I’m especially taken with those that are showy and exaggerated, all the more if they’re full of mischief and play. The cardinals that spend a great deal of time here, one mated pair in particular, are a bit shy and skittish but when they settle onto the feeders they are a show no matter what, between the female’s magnificent airbrushed-looking feathers with their blush of coral and red, and the male’s brash scarlet suit. And more recently, our patio’s been adopted as the dining place of choice for some mighty splashy jays. The blue jays I grew up with in the Northwest were much more often the darker (though also dramatic and gorgeous) Steller’s jays, but what we see here are the more brightly bold black, white and Blue Jays, and they are a grand entertainment indeed.photoThe jays that visit us are prone to squabbling and banging around in the feeders, eating like winged pigs and strewing seed hulls and detritus all over the place, flying heedlessly around as though they hadn’t a care in the world, and then taking fright at the slightest shadow, suddenly veering up in an explosive launch and leaving the feeder swinging. I can’t often get to my camera in time to freeze their fantastical and pretty foolery for later enjoyment, but I never fail to find them immensely entertaining and wonderful to see. Each moment spent watching them cavort in the sun and shade makes me feel a bit more as though I myself could take wing and burst across the wild blue sky.