Reenie & Meg’s Shore House Improvised Margaritas

Yet another Fangirl Recipe!

This one is very straighforward. I mentioned that while I was stuck at home in quarantine I decide to teach myself to make cocktails and that I’m particularly proud of my margaritas.

Well, here’s a variation on that, story to follow the recipe

This was not the ones Meg and I Drank. This was me recreating the drink at home on Tuesday

Serves 2

2 Shots Gold Tequila
4 Limes
1 Shot Simple Syrup
1 Clementine
Ice

Add Ice to a cocktail shaker. (If you don’t have one, I’ve found travel coffee cups work in a pinch)

Add all ingredients to shaker and shake until chilled.

Strain into glasses over ice

Enjoy cirtusy sunshiney goodness!

Storytime!

So, this Sunday, I was at my family’s shore house. (Previously my grandmother’s but when she passed this winter, well, you know, it’s the family’s now) We were celebrating father’s day so in addition to my parents, my brother Mike and his girlfriend Meg and my sister Mary and my brother in law Joe were there.

As we were leaving the beach I told Meg that I’d make margaritas. I hadn’t made them in a while and they’re her favorite, plus it was 85 degrees out and we’d spent all day at the beach. That is PRIME margarita drinking conditions.

After we got back to the house and showered and got appetizers out, I went to work. I juiced 4 limes, I pulled out the tequila I had purposely asked my parents to bring for these margaritas. And then I sighed.

“There’s no triple sec!” I explained. “So I guess these are just going to be tequila and lime.”

Quick with improvised solutions, Mike suggested we use the electric tea kettle to make a quick simple syrup so we did that, and I knew that would solve part of the problem. I asked if we had any orange juice and got a sad head shake, but Mom, in her infinite wisdom said, “We have clementines!”

So I juiced a clementine, why the hell not.

I strained them into wine glasses. My parents and aunts and uncles are not cocktail people, so I can’t blame them for not having the proper glassware here. Except for my dad who drinks gin martinis (SO MANY MARTINI GLASSES) they mostly just drink spirits either on the rocks or with soda. Or just drink wine and beer.

Mostly the second one.

Anyway, I brought them back out onto the patio and explained to Meg what I’d done. I’m not a good culinary improviser. I learned cooking from baking, where if you deviate it winds up tasting terrible. This does not always work in regular cooking and ESPECIALLY in mixology, there are lots of chances to fix something, ways to get around a missing ingredient. Anyway, we cheers’d and took sips.

I am extremely proud of this concoction. It’s a little more light and tart than a traditional margarita, the sweetness is nicely balanced, and you don’t get the burn of the tequila, which is the main danger of an improvised tequila drink.

Happy Summer Y’all!

Marvel & Margaritas

One of my quarantine goals is to perfect the cocktails that I love, since I can’t go out and get them. (Total Wine having pre order is helping me in this goal.) I haven’t attempted my beloved Vodka Martinis with a twist yet, because I inevitably put too much vermouth in them, but I did get The Lemon Drop down, and on Monday, I decided to try a classic margarita. I usually just buy mix, but this time, I made it for real, ordering some tequila and tripel sec, and squeezing limes.

The drink came out well, and I was happy, but as I mixed it, I had a memory and decided to watch Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. For one thing, if I hadn’t already decided I wasn’t going to do Movie Season this year, I think COVID-19 had declared it so. (Black Widow isn’t opening on time, and that would have been the kick off) But back in the old days, before we got grown up jobs and apartments, Aless and I used to meet at Lucy’s, a terrifically mediocre and outrageously overprived Mexican restaurant on 34th Street before seeing movies. We would drink margaritas and eat tortas and nachos and put up with the indifferent service from cute waitresses in Hawaiian shirts.

Our movie going strategy switched when one time we couldn’t get decent seats at the 34th street theater so went for Lincoln Square instead. We went to PJ Clarke’s pre show and had a lovely time, and a few weeks later went back, and the bartenders remembered our names, orders and that we’d been going to the movies the last time.

Four years of Lucy’s and that had never happened, so we changed it up. It was more convenient as a meeting spot, and the food and service were better. But there’s still something about a classic, from the shaker margarita that makes me want to watch superheros. Then eat pancakes, we would go for margaritas, see the movie and then adjourn to the Tick Tock diner, also overpriced and mediocre YAY MIDTOWN, to discuss the movies. Important discussion were had there, like, “Is Cap a virgin?” and “Was Ryan Reynolds bred in a lab to play Deadpool?” and “Do we think Anna Faris would be a good Captain Marvel, because I kinda ship her and Star Lord?” (That last one hasn’t aged well.)

So I decided to watch those last two Avengers movies on Monday while I tried to make myself a margarita. The drink came out ok, the movies remain great. I also read Bob Iger’s auto biography The Ride Of A Lifetime this weekend, so I was in a Disney acquisition headspace. He’s really proud of The MCU, although that book is way less braggy and than it could be, and way more thoughtful than I expected. (He’s more fair to George Lucas than I would have been, “MOTHER FUCKER I GAVE YOU 5 BILLION DOLLARS AND APPOINTED YOUR ANOINTED SUCCESSOR AND YOU COMPARE IT TO SELLING YOUR CHILD INTO SLAVERY?” would have been my reaction. This might be part of why Iger got to run Disney for 14 years, and I write this blog.) (He’s still a coward for killing Stormpilot.)

This post may seem rambly, that’s because I wrote it while I was drinking margaritas and watching Avengers: Infinity war.

I continue to urge you all to stay home and safe. I’m working on some fun stuff here, I promise. I’m reading a whole bunch, binging Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (how long has it been since I reported on some Nerd Homework?) I’m sending as much love as I can out into the world, supporting local businesses and cooking hearty meals. Hope you’re all doing well, and when this is all over, I intend to make cocktails for everyone.

She Used To Be Mine

Last night I was curled up on the couch reading Maybe You Should See Someone by Lori Gotlieb (I’m not going to review the book, but OMG READ IT! So good!) eating a salad and I got caught up on my podcasts for the week.

I had a few thoughts, I could get myself set up with CBS All Access and watch Picard something I’d been looking forward to all week. Or I could throw some music on, and hold to my, “trying to watch less TV” plan which I’d failed miserably at this week. (I watched so much TNG in prep!) So instead I flipped on my phone to music and scanned, looking for a radio station or playlist.

And then I remembered I hadn’t listened to Kristin Chenoweth’s For The Girls an album she released in the summer. (I had listened to the duet version of “I Will Always Love You” with Dolly Parton from the album, because HELLO????) I searched her name and clicked it on. The book is about therapy and the ways we change and don’t. And I realized while a lot of writers I know did big “Decade Wrap Ups” and I didn’t.

At the time I didn’t have the bandwith but then I started thinking about the girl I was in 2010, and the woman I am now. I’m proud of who I am and the life I’ve built, but there are days when I miss her. The girl who never could have waited six months to listen to an album where her favorite soprano sings songs written by women.  Who would have talked about what the decade behind had meant to her.

But then I remembered how afraid she was. Of everything. Of her talent and ideas and interests, her body, her sexuality, her illness.

And then I’m so grateful for the past ten years. For finishing school and my time in Brooklyn and Tom Foolery and The Plaza and Comic Con and The Desk Jobs and Disney World and Marina and Montclair and Therapy and Meds and Yoga. And I’m grateful to myself, for realizing who I am rules. That I’m fun, that saying “I’m not feeling up to it” will not make the people I care about abandon me or hate me, that I can bond with people even when our superficial stuff isn’t the same. That you can outgrow people while still wishing them well, while others will grow with you and both things are beautiful and normal.

I also want to hug that girl, I want to tell her it isn’t going to look how she thinks but it’s still going to be wonderful. That she won’t have the wedding, house or kids she wanted (yet) but she’ll have dancing until dawn with the people she loves and a space that’s just hers and a wall full of smiling snapshots.

It’s been a nice ten years, is my point, and I’m happy to have grown up.

I’m behind on EVERYTHING

So you guys, I know I’m way way behind on stuff.

I’m planning on writing some fun, in detail trip reports for my week in California, I hope to get to them soon. (I’m still adjusting to East Coast Time, and I’m VERY BUSY at work getting caught up.)

But here are some highlights:

  1. I am wildly in love with the city of San Francisco. It’s my favorite city I’ve ever visited. I’ll detail why, but it’s so beautiful, and I don’t think I encountered one grumpy customer service person!
  2. You all don’t know this about me, since I changed before I started writing this blog, but I used to pretty much only drink Chardonnay and Miller Lite and the occasional margarita. After a while I just stopped drinking Chardonnay. BUT I REDISCOVERED IT THIS PAST WEEK AND I LOVE IT VERY MUCH.
  3. 10 days of togetherness and wine drinking would have at one point driven my siblings and I to murder. Now we just had a lovely trip. Growth!
  4. I have a fun new hobby where Mary and I pose like we’re on the cover of Vanity Fair as a joke, and some of those pictures actually turned out cool!

So those are coming! As are book reviews. (Though I barely read on this trip! Too much wine!) And more Supernatural. And hey, Captain Marvel comes out this weekend, that one snuck up on us, huh? And Winter Is Coming one last time, so we’ll have winners to track. And an ultimate winner. (I promise not to cop out and insist that we’re the real winners for having been given the blessing of Game Of Thrones…) There’s a few new projects to breakdown and start.

Seriously, with what may be the final movie season, my renewed interest in my own literacy, an unrelated project and finally, finally cracking the creative code on that family memoir I’ve always wanted to write, plus this blog just changing shape as I change as a person. (I went back and read some old posts, it’s a cool thing to do. What I’ve learned? I’m much much better about vocalizing anger than I used to be.)

 

 

2019 Monthly Resolutions: January: I’m Quitting Takeout

Hey Everyone! We made it through a month of 2019! Hooray!

So I’ve made a few broader resolutions this year (See below), but I’ve also decided I’m going to do monthly “habit making or breaking” resolutions, that will just improve my life incrementally. I started in January with quitting takeout.

Since moving out of my parents’ and living by myself, I’ve become increasingly dependent on takeout for my meals. I’m not talking about Friday or Saturday nights ordering a pizza or whatever, I’m talking two or three times a week.

It’s not a good habit to be in. It’s nutritionally questionable and definitely expensive. (One weekly tip to the grocery store is half what I was spending in takeout.) So I spent the month eating more healthfully, and creatively and spending less cash! Hooray!

It also helped me up my cooking game significantly. I’d improved a lot over the past year, but relied far too much on crock pot cooking, which required more energy and organization than I can often give. Just getting my basics down was massive for me. I can now tastily sautee chicken breasts quickly. I’ve burned rice a few times so always got nervous making it, but thanks Instant Pot, that one’s a snap now too.

Pan searing steaks is a regular thing I do now, baking pastas, and here’s the one that was really hard though. On Sunday, as I got ready for Rent: Live I was nervous. Mary and I have a tradition of Chinese food and wine as we watch these things, even when we’re on the other side of the country from one another.

I’d tried a crock pot General Tso’s Chicken a few times, and since I now have rice down (yay!) I wasn’t too worried about my main course, but the best part of Chinese Takeout is often the appetizers. Scanning my America’s Test Kitchen cook book, I landed on doing Scallion Pancakes. If I’m honest, I rarely, if ever, uses the Test Kitchen recipes. They’re often complicated and require equipment/space that I don’t have access too. I use the book for ideas and then head to Pinterest for a simpler recipe. I botched the first two, but made 3 excellent scallion pancakes. I also bought some frozen crab rangoon from the grocery store.

Moving forward, I’m still going to avoid takeout when I’m by myself. It’s always too much food to make the delivery minimums and not being able to split means I eat too much. Also, I’ll probably stick to pizza and Indian food. I have an OK chicken korma recipe, but it always comes out too sweet, and no storebought naan is as good as a restaurants. And a lack of a good real oven makes homemade pizza a non starter. Also sushi. For obvious reasons.

But having quick go to’s in the kitchen (Pantry meals, I believe they’re called) will reduce my need for takeout as well. I can make chicken and rice and a salad in the same amount of time I’m waiting for dinner to be delivered. So why spend the money/calories, ya know?

February’s resolution is to quit phone games. This is easy in execution. I’m deleting the aps from my phone. What I’m hoping to get out of it is reaching for more effective ways to spend my time. Writing, reading, continuing to learn to cook, etc. We’ll see how it goes.

Broader Resolutions And Check Ins: (I’ll be checking in on how the previous months resolution has carried over into my life moving forward here

  • Broader Resolution 1: Take Advantage of My Town – I’ve gone out a few nights and enjoyed the library more. I’ve also started going to mass and brunch! But frankly, my Grandpa’s hospitalization and funeral screwed up my rhythm here. Hoping to do better/have fewer relatives die in February. (I make no promises)
  • Broader Resolution 2: Read More! (But Fewer White Guys) – I read 6 books! 0.5 were written by white dudes! (Crisis was written by a white dude, but drawn by a Hispanic dude 0.5!) HOORAY!
  •  Broader Resolution 3: Exercise 5 Times A Week – HAHAHHAHAHAHA….yeah, this didn’t happen at all…

60 Books In 2019 #4: The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker

My grandpa, Grampy, we called him, passed away this weekend. Which means I’ll always remember The Golem And The Jinni, which I kept thinking, “he’d have loved this book,” as I read through it.

“It was a fine day that we came to this country,” was a favorite saying of Grampy’s, he’d affect a brogue, an accent that never quite suited him the way his natural Manhattan flat vowels and nasally tones did. But he was right, of course. America has been unfathomably good to our family, and frankly, to our people. My background is primarily New York Irish, (not to be confused with Boston or Chicago Irish, the culture is a bit different.) with smatterings of German, British and Jewish.

The children of immigrants, yearning always for both America and home. And The Golem And The Jinni is about that, and so much more. A Golem, a being of clay, created by Jewish mysticism, and Jinni, a demon of fire, from the deserts of Syria, find themselves in the great city of immigrants, New York, and find each other.

This is a wonderful book. It’s the closest I’ve seen to American Magical realism in a while. (I always hold up Shoeless Joe and it’s adaptation Field Of Dreams as the best examples.) Chava, the golem, and Ahmad, the Jinni, are magical beings in the very real Manhattan of the 1890’s, Chava making her way as a baker in the Jewish community of the Lower East Side, taken in by a kind retired rabbi and his activist nephew, Ahmad working as a silversmith in the Syrian community, lost in a time and place he finds exasperating and stifling.

In the end both realize there is a great deal of the old that needs to be given up, to make a new home, the knowledge forgone, but the worthwhileness of the new place, freed from old bounds.

It was a fine day we came to this country. Home should never be forgotten though, and I’m grateful to have family that’s centered so much of who we are around that connection to home.

Anyway, this book is awesome.

Up next is Circe by Madeline Miller. I know it was like the book in 2018, so I’m only a little behind on this one. (Seriously, y’all, I’m trying.)

Time To Get Personal: Body stuff (AGAIN)

I’ve written in the past about my body image issues and how they’re kind of difficult for me to navigate and my since puberty and kind of before even weight and fitness yo-yo-ing has been tough for me.

I had a major keeping control of my body victory last year when I ran my half marathon. I was so proud of myself. The problem was I didn’t sustain it. This was for very good reasons. (They were only OK reasons) but I quickly found, that with my depression and comfort eating, the [redacted] (numbers aren’t the point for anyone who isn’t me and my doctor) pounds I lost came rushing back, along with [redacted] more.

I was officially the heaviest I’d been in my life, wearing a clothing size I swore I never would, and generally unhappy about the food habits I’d developed. This was for both health and financial reasons. I’d become a “takeout every night” person, which is both BAD FOR YOU and EXPENSIVE.

I was frustrated, and as the cloud of depression lifted, I realized that I needed to get back on the horse. I didn’t want to go back to the “training for a big race and on Weight Watchers” days, but changes needed to happen.

I put my fit bit back on, I began paying close attention to what food I was putting in my body. (And cooking! So much cooking!) And suddenly I found something had changed in me.

I didn’t like sitting around and not moving, it made me anxious. I was craving fresh raw veggies as I walked in the door rather than starch and fat. I was saying “oh no thank you,” when servers asked if I wanted to see a desert menu. And it wasn’t even a struggle, I just really for the most part wasn’t interested in whatever brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was up for grabs.

When something was too sweet I bristled at it, starting to prefer salty and savory flavors, that mixed well with veggies and chicken.

What was happening to me?

Well, I guess I’m getting more healthy. This is good, for the most part but also kind of odd. Even just this past Monday, when after a weekend at the shore, I knew it would be a takeout night, mostly because my apartment was actually 100 degrees due to four days of shut up with no AC, I decided to order some fresh healthy sushi rather than pizza. (I did wind up with pizza last night, again, because too hot to cook…)

I have a clear goal in mind. Mary and Joe are engaged (YAY!) and I’ve decided that I’m not going to have to pay the extra $50 for a plus size bridesmaid dress, as I’ve had to each other time I was a bridesmaid. Granted, these dresses run small and consider double digits a plus size, but it’s a completely achievable goal, based on how I’ve been doing lately.

But mostly I’m just really psyched that I’ve turned a corner in my habits. It’s been a long road to get here, and I still treat myself occasionally, but this is a big deal.

I’ve got a year to go and a good amount of road to travel but it doesn’t feel impossible. YAY!