Lockdown: I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you

Slept okay Tuesday night but it was laundry night. So I was up at 2:30.

Refilling the drinking water and getting a Big Mac combo were routine, which is exactly what I want. Laundry was mostly okay, even though there were a couple of people in and out (not lingering in the laundry, the way I do) doing a ton of wash.

No beach. Too rainy lately. Dang it. So I stopped at Safeway when it opened, picked up a block of extra sharp Tillamook, some hot dogs, some chips, and some buns. Yeah, I felt I would need some quick meals this week.

Took a short nap before work.

Wednesday work was a little intense. My supervisor backed off a little but I knew I was behind and I wanted to get caught up, so I cranked my focus up and got the web stuff done, including some extra social media work I’m not expected to do but for which I’ve said I’m available. Almost all my work Wednesday was web work, with very little writing of the sort I normally do. Different. Not better or worse, and creative in its own way. Just a bit sugoi because when I know I’m late with stuff, I’m determined to make it awesome.

I made the Portuguese bean soup in the Instant Pot. There’s a recipe I’ve been looking at in the local FB IP group. Specific with ingredients but vague with amounts. I like that for a soup.

It came out fine. I intentionally overdid the elbow macaroni because I always think there’s not enough when I get this dish in a restaurant. Bad move. I mean, I expected the pasta to soak up the liquid, but I knew there was enough flavor in there that I could just add water as needed whenever I heat some up. I did not count on this amount of macaroni kind of making the overall dish pretty bland. I’m very disappointed in myself.

And I made a freaking ton of it. So I’ll be fiddling with it as I have leftovers for probably the next week. I’m going to have it probably two meals a day through the weekend just to avoid having to eat it racing against time later.

Good lessons. The dish has its roots in Hawaii plantation days, so it’s almost universally made with smoked ham hocks or ham shanks. I’ve seen recipes that call for both. Once upon a time these were garbage cuts (see also: oxtail), but our struggling Hawaii cultural forebears learned how to cook with them. Slow and low. Where there’s not much meat, there’s a ton of flavor if you know how to coax it from the bone and sinew.

Now, of course, since they are such an imprtant ingredient in very popular dishes, these cuts aren’t inexpensive at all. If you really want to go cheap, now you go turkey tails.

While I worked on the dish, I kept trying to figure out what the smoked ham shank reminded me of. I kept going to cured things like corned beef or pastrami, but then I got it. It tastes like a good ham, with perhaps a more intense flavor. I’m attributing that to the fact that it’s smoked, but maybe it’s the cut. I have very little experience with the cut.

I think the next time I prepare this dish, I’m going to try it with some real ham. It’ll be leaner and meatier, if a bit less flavorful, but I’ll be able to cut back on the Portuguese sausage because I’ll just use more ham.

I got to bed around ten, hoping to get up early and hit the beach if it didn’t look like it had rained much.

So, breakfast, I guess, was the Big Mac combo, but that really felt more like a delayed Tuesday dinner, which I skipped. Lunch was hot dogs with mustard, ketchup, and sauerkraut. I had a slice of apple pie for a snack. Dinner was the soup.

Crush Girl texted me to talk about her work. She’s been a little stressed. I’m worried she’s going to leave her job, although I think if it’s making her really really really really unhappy she should do what she thinks is best for her.

Sharon and I texted about some of the stuff we’ve been spending money on lately. Lots of Amazon for us both. I actually have decreased my online shopping, at least in frequency, trying to stick to one delivery every other week, usually coinciding with payday. But I got a delivery Wednesday only a week after my previous order.

Important stuff, you know? Like the sleep mask I was using is falling apart. A critical piece of my entire sleeping apparatus, since I sleep with the bedroom light on and Darth Vader works best for me when I’m on my back. So I got a new one. Also a birthday gift for Penny. And a set of strainers since I’ve been doing more baking. And a new external 2TB hard drive.

Sharon’s thing, a piece of exercise equipment that’s been difficult to get in 2020, she ordered it the first week of September and she’s only getting it now! Yikes.

I have a Twitter friend whom I’ve met in real life a couple of times who texted me a photo of Lay’s beer cheese chips at the supermarket. This flavor was around last year, so I was pleased to see it’s returned. I don’t know what this friend believes about life and death and why we’re here, but if she weren’t married I’d be super inclined to find out. Dang it.

Penny gave me a nice bottle of bubbles for Christmas this year. I haven’t popped it open because that’s a lot of wine for one person, and time is ticking with the fizzy stuff. When I make calimotxos I don’t worry about it much because it’s cheap wine and I know it’ll keep at least through a weekend. Bubbles are a little trickier to keep in the bottle.

I mention this because I think if things go a certain way Tuesday night, I’m going to pop it open and possibly finish the bottle. It’s not a super pricey bottle, so it’s not the expense I worry about. It’s the waste of some good American bubbles. I have a preference for sparkling wine; it’s what I almost always get if there’s a happy hour and it’s on the menu. I mean in normal times. You know that inexpensive La Marca prosecco? I love that stuff.

Feeling a little wrung-out. Need to get some seawater in me and on me by the end of the weekend.

If you’re in need of some connectivity, I encourage you to leave a comment and let me know. I’m down for it. Even though Jennifer sent me a bunch of links I haven’t commented on yet because I’m still getting caught up on that stuff. Blame work!

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