Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taos to LosAngeles

The view from our hotel window, yes indeed smog! Even though it doesn't show up in this picture we can see the HOLLYWOOD sign directly across from us. The Palm trees and other flora such as Bird of Paradise flowers blooming are a treat to see. Yesterday at the convention I saw a rather large hummingbird at one of the BoP flowers, really beautiful here from what I've seen so far. I'm currently hooked up to wireless at this Hotel and amazed at how easy this MacBookPro is to use!
The Convention was to promote American Airlines flying directly to Santa Fe starting in mid-November, which is great. As for Taos, we were invited to tag along as part of a rather large Santa Fe contingent. Here's a pic of our table with my altar set up and Joannie as usual working the phone, on the plane in the airport, all business for her all the time, (I think she drives and works at the same time too, Note to Joannie: You drive to work, not work while you're driving). There were probably 125-150 people at this thing and who was who I couldn't even begin to guess. Displays set up all over the courtyard were, a Santa Fe landscape painter, a contemporary potter, (actually letting people try the pottery wheel), a massage and healing herbal remedy area, & Santa Fe cooking school producing some rather delicious food. I tried the Lamb Chop, the Corn Muffin stuffed with shrimp, the calabaceta stuffed with tomato, and the cocktail a Tequila based Chimayo(???), yum to everything and yup I do like food. Other than the food area our Taos Altar Booth was THE BEST, and we were given the best location in the courtyard, in the center directly across from the stage. The food booth had the worst location stuck in a back corner, for over 3 hours we had no idea it was even there.
Taos Pueblo musician Robert Mirabal, was so gracious and wonderful, he even gave me a hug, jeez. He does have a whole lot of CDs to choose from so what to recommend I don't really know. Not to be negative, but like the new Bob Dylan Christmas CD, DO NOT GET the Mirabal Christmas CD, get one of the others!
When I noticed NM Gov. Richardson walk in to the courtyard, I NOTICED, he has some sort of aura about him, very strange, a definite presence to the man. He gave a great speech and was super to take the time out to come to this event, wow. This is my worst pic of him, so sorry sir, but I messed up the good ones trying to get the flashed eye look out, maybe I still need some training with the Mac. Here he looks as sleepy as I was at this point, Holly turned up after her wonderful day of shopping and walking on the beach, and we packed up the altar and headed off to a nearby Sushi Bar, good but not as good as Sushi by Hattorri back in Taos believe it or not, BELIEVE IT, the Taos sushi bar is better by leaps and bounds. Same on you LA Sushi! then we headed for desert at a another nearby restaurant which RC Israel highly recommended for a special desert which yes Holly ate and loved it, I opted for the traditional Tiramisu and an espresso. So far so good LA, just a bit of a let down on the sushi thing but traffic-wise rather like Chicago, very wide highways full of cars, sometimes moving along at a clip and sometimes slowly.
Got to go and see what today brings....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sweet and Savory 2 Recipes

As some of you may know we got an early frost in Taos during the month of September. Which absolutely killed my tomato and pepper plants. I picked the peppers and pickled the hot italian variety, picked a basket of jalapenos and brought those to Jen at Love Apple. The tomatoes though were still very green, and rather then eat Fried Green Tomatoes, I called my Mom. She told me not only to put them on the windowsill to ripen but to put an apple or 2 in with them. Needless to say, Listen to Your Mother! Yes, the tomatoes are ripening since mid September, and yes some just rot away, and the stubborn ones of the bunch just won't ripen at all, change is difficult even for tomatoes. The results with the ripe ones have been a treat because here it comes, the recipe: Tomato Confit
Slice 1/4 red onion thinly, and chop one clove of garlic, (a clove not the entire head), add olive oil to a saucepan or small cast iron skillet, (this has to go in the oven so not something with a meltable handle) put all of these into the pan and sautee on high while you chop up approximately 3 ripe Roma style Tomatoes, add this to the pan and continue to sautee a bit now ad one and 1/2 Tsp Balsamic vinegar, some salt, pepper and a pinch of Rosemary, add about 2 Tblspn of Olive Oil. Put this into the oven which has been heating up to 400/450 for 15 minutes. YUM
Spread on fresh Bread or onto Pasta, or on Pizza, (but still use a tomato sauce and cheese on the pizza), or use it as a side dish for meat. YUM

On the weekends we have desert, because when we have desert all week long we tend to put on a lot of weight. Thus being desert is only Sat/Sun or Fri/Sat at our house. Baking especially sweets requires paying strict attention to the recipe, as most people can tell you, I am not a one to play by the rules. When you make Chocolate Chip Cookies according to Nestle (the inventor of the fine treat) they tend to come out a bit slumped shall we say, spreading their way across the cookie sheet and not really all that wonderful. I split the batch into 2 parts half for one night ad half for the other. Get ready for wonderful, and in this case Butter everyones friend is the culprit.
Here's the recipe: "The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER"
1 stick of butter BUT hold back 1 TSP of the culprit, feed it to the cat or dog if you must
1/3 cup Dark Brown Sugar add 1 TSP Molasses,
(that's right just do it, why pay for that fancy expensive Drkst Brwn Sgr when you can do this)
1/3 cup White Sugar
1 cap full Vanilla Extract
(and yes you can make it yourself if you can find Vanilla Beans a t a reasonable price)
1/2 TSP Baking Powder
1/2 TSP Baking Soda
Beat this stirring vigorously, put your arm muscles into it, after all this is the only exercise I get
1 Egg Beat and stir some more
1 1/4 cups Flour mix this in until it's dough if it's too sticky you may add a bit more flour
but don't go overboard or your cookies will be stones
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
1/3 cup Nuts Walnuts or Pecans (absolutely no Peanuts I am allergic to them)
Mix some more and spread this onto a sheet of tin foil, divide in half, no you may not make the whole batch in one night, the next night you will have the treat of Hot Fresh Cookies.
Oven is on 325 the rack is at the top depending on your oven heating
Divide half the dough into 6-8 cookies, a true cookie treat awaits in 8-11 minutes
do not burn them or overcook, as soon as you see golden edges they are done, YUM

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Theft, I don't like it!

These 2 pics of the giant Kachina sculptures are the last remaining evidence of their existence, why! They've been stolen, like so many other items stolen whether they be items from inside the Churches of the world, (not just the Church that I sit here in the shadow of, which is kept locked when none of the Church people can keep an eye on things after hours), or out of someone's yard. One of my yard ornament Flamingoes was stolen a couple weeks ago from in front of the shop, and yes I'd like it back thank you very much. That's not all, the beautiful O'Keeffe charcoal that hung in the lobby of the LaFonda Hotel in Santa Fe was stolen this past Spring. It had been there since O'Keeffe put it there herself many, many years ago. I would go in to that lobby just to see that drawing an abstract "River" drawing that was absolutely brilliant. It made me think of how proud I am of the drawings my wife Holly makes, to me they are every bit as beautiful. It made me cry to see it had vanished and yes indeed the concierge ladies (if you are in Santa Fe and need to know where to find something the people that manage this desk are the smartest people to talk to) of the LaFonda told me it had been stolen.
I'll miss driving by these 2 Kachina figures, but I really hope they are returned.
Then too, why is a guy on the crimestoppers list not been arrested Edward Laird, he is known to have stolen the Van Gogh drawing out of a Santa Fe collection, among a whole lot of other stuff from other homes in and around Taos/Santa Fe. He was walking around as bold as ever here at the Ranchos Plaza shops a few weeks ago and tis is after his pic was on the crimestoppers website. At the time I had no idea, but noticed that the truck he drives was parked in front of Dennis Hopper's house just across the street. As soon as I was told that this was the thief guy I relayed what I'd seen and where his car was parked directly in front of the doorway of Hopper's place, everything seemed alright, but argh, a thief walking among us one recent Fall afternoon.
When I first began Two Graces a local woman with her very own shop a block away came into the shop that first Winter, Holly was working for me that day. When I got back to the store, I asked Holly if she had sold a bunch of the RELIGIOUS items I had up at the front of the shop, in those days the desk was at the back wall. Nope, very few sales hardly anyone had even come in except for this local woman. So, mad as a hornet I walked over to her store and as plain as could be there were my missing items, I told her I wanted them back and that it was mighty horrible for her to have taken them. Well, she bold faced lied to me and said they were brought to her by some local youths, (Blame the kids why dontcha), no youths in the shop that day by the way. I started to go around the counter to retrieve my things which still had my price tags on them with my own hand writing! She began to pile things onto the counter and hand it all back to me, I told her not to come anywhere near my place of business. Once I got back to my store I realized she had handed over not only the stolen items but some of her own things as well! Guess, I scared her pretty good, and no I did not file a police report, her brother owns the pawn shop next door to her shop is a big drug dealer and fence in the area and is politico connected.
Another time also at the first store, I was outside talking to a friend when some teenagers went in and ran out, yup they'd grabbed all my cash $77.!!! I immediately called the police who showed up so fast I couldn't believe it, described them and how much money they took. The police came back within 10 minutes, they had found the 2 thieves behind the post office counting the very sum I'd described. Nothing ever came of it as far as any prosecution goes, but the police needed to KEEP my money for evidence. Well, here's the good part 5 YEARS later I got a cal from the police that they have my cash in their evidence locker and would I mind if someone dropped it off to me that very day. 5 years later, needless to say they turned up with the long forgotten loot and I took Holly & I out to dinner with it, (yes, at Love Apple).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Robert, I did not spray paint that UFO

When we first moved here to Taos these UFO stencils were on a whole lot of cow crossing signs. It's really too bad they were all removed, they added a sense of humor and charm that is missing these days. Far too much homeland security paranoia.
Someone told me a story of how there was a person glueing small plastic cowboy and indian toys onto the middle of roadways years ago. People would go out looking for the latest edition of them to appear. Someone out there must have pictures of them and know more to this, I'd love to know more...
Anyway, this picture is posted here because I was asked to put a better picture of myself on my Blog page, so here's one I like, Robert & the beam me up Cow sign!