Friday, January 13, 2012

In Praise of Sour Cream

Let's say you discover a package in your PO box and when you open it you discover it is something called pimenton de la vera--accent mark on the O. You are quite happy you waited until you returned home to explore further.

Oh, a new seasoning, you think to yourself. You also think, I hope people don't imagine that they have to send me something just because I sent some of Richard's their way. Even so, it is a thrill to get packages in the mail.

On this outing I actually had two packages. One, which is unrelated to sour cream, was a gigantic candy cane from a factory in Scribblerville New England. It is remarkably artful and I've even seen pictures there on Scribbler's blog showing it being made. This is going to last me a little while. Well, maybe not too long.

Mmm mmm, the people at Tucks Candies, famous since 1929 -and rightly so, know how to make a candy cane like none I've ever seen or tasted. You think you will bust teeth to look at it, but just a gentle bite and you have a delightful mix of flavors like no candy cane ever. It is crunchy but not a jaw breaker. It has a little mint and maybe a little licorice, not sure, but it is great.

Here is the chief elf making my candy cane. I stole the pic from Scribbler who was conducting industrial espionage at the candy factory for the Grinch, I think. Or possibly for some secret TSA mission.

Excuse me while I take another nibble.

OK, so I get home and decide to check out the little tin my food (and other things) snob friend picked up in Spain. I mean "snob" in the most complimentary sense of the word. The woman is a friggin genius so she has reason, sometimes, for this eccentricity.

La Chinata is the brand, I think. My spanish works in Mexico, but not so much in Espana. (little thing over the n). I don't need to look up what Pimenton (accent over the O) de la Vera means. It means you've just been french kissed by El Diablo while he was in a very hot rage. I did not know this before I explored this spice.
So, once I got the tin opened--I like things in tins with the circle shaped cap--I thought I'd just dip my finger in and sample a pinch. Mostly it did not stick to my finger so I unsanitarily touched my finger to my tongue then poked it in the container. Then I licked my finger.

Holy smoke! I only ingested a bare few thousandths of half a gram, I swear. I mean like the equivalent of about four grains of the good salt. Instantly my sinuses cleared, my brain unfogged and steam gently exited through my ears and eyes. If you have family members who have trouble waking up when you need to get them going, just dab a miniscule bit of this Devil's kiss on your finger and stick it in their snoozy little mouths. Then run.

Fortunately I have some sour cream on hand. It is a great soother when dealing with hot peppers and such. I dug my finger in that and stuck a nice dollop on my tongue. No time for fancy spoons and formalities. The cool thing is I could feel the flavor and heat even after that, but it wasn't hot in the way that burns your tongue, even though it was as potent as could be, and the effect that lasted was quite pleasant.

I will experiment with this in my ever evolving quest for non carnivore hermit dishes of incredible tastiness and artful display. I may even share such delights with wild-women, should they happen by, when the mood strikes. Or not.

I would say that one could use this french kiss of the devil regularly and not go through this 70 grams in five years. Maybe even ten. It does not appear to take much.

Another interesting thing is that it tends to do something to the palate that clarifies and enhances the flavor of a candy cane made by Tuck's. You eat the candy a few minutes later, although mixing the two at one go could be an interesting event. And Tuck's candy canes go well with popcorn made as it is best done--on the stove top.

I fear, if not for the sour cream, my tender senses may have run amok. As it was, the whole experience was enjoyable and leaves me eager to create some sort of Mexican tortilla extravaganza or another remarkable breakfast creation which you just can't get these days.

It certainly was nice of these crazy people to send such delights. I've never had the likes of either item. Quite dissimilar except that both fall in the food category, and both are extraordinarily high quality items. So, if you are in a quandary about what to get a non carnivore in the way of edible things, Tuck's candy and cattleprod-in-a-can from Spain.

This thing is going quicker than I had planned. I have to save some to go with espresso in the morning.

+++++Wait a minute!!! I investigated and it says this spice is smoked paprika!! Well my taste was kind of hottt, and now I'm confused. So, assuming it is all the fault of me being an ignorant non-carnivore, and maybe it is smoky and not hot, I just had to repeat the taste test. IT IS HOT! But I do now taste the smoky part and it is amazing. Thank God for sour cream, again.

Open Mic in Santee

Normally I'd be on the other side because I like to be able to see the guitar player's chord hand, but in these things you just kind of end up where you end up and don't waste time worrying with it.

Open mic at the coffee house/deli is not like open jams of the good old days. Mostly it is a little gathering of old codgers who socialize and like to play. They get up on stage, play and sing old folk songs, mostly, and then the next one gets up to do it.
There was a group consisting of three very dissimilar people who had something special.

The oldest guy, maybe 60ish played a big drum--one of those African things I think, kind of a tall drum. --, another guy, maybe 40ish, played a bass acoustic guitar, and the third guy, a Mexican looking guy about 25 played electric through a tiny VOX amp.
They were great, with an unusual sense of dynamics, how to make less be more. Total class, and great vocals.

Enough about them. Cliff, the other guitar player up on the hill--the one who has been around this area forever, and is quite the p[layer songwriter, and I played a few tunes.

The troube with open mic like this is that they can only let people play 15 minutes or they can't give everyone a shot. By the time we quit, I felt like I was yet to settle in. We only did three tunes--maybe 10 minutes. Since neither of us could see the time, Cliff figured don't risk being rude. Half the place knows him and wouldn't mind but it is good to be considerate.
However, it is like a tease situation. Kiss but don't touch.

Even so, it was worth doing. It gets a little notice and notoriety.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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