Dirt Road Ramblings…Coninued

Sep 16


I thought it important to introduce ” My Advisory Committee ” ; as you can see by the image herein . These six ladies..however  I must note  ,  that it is seldom successful to have them occupied in one spot for any length of time . Red , Jane , Thea , Edith Piaf , Lacey , and Amelia always have an opinion to express . One needs to just stop and listen and it will come forth . Of course it is only conjecture what those opinions are – truly at any one time ; not unlike many of the bright , intelligent and engaging women I know and have known . Common sense says we must not compare chickens with humans (and I don’t ) ; but it is easy to see that each has her own personality and uniqueness .  There is something very solid and extremely satisfactory about their tenure as “My Advisory Committee ”  ; although I am sure I know not why!

I have never really been a Champagne fan . I know it is the preferred celebration beverage ; considered by the gentry and visible  society as the only acceptable action  to mark an important occasion or  awards and accolades for accomplishments . Frankly , I have never been one who is in that company . Give me a good California zinfandel , some crisp German whites , or a significant glass of Bordeaux and I’ ll concur with  whatever is necessary . However , I may have to alter that statement somewhat  . Watching the film “The Tourist ” on a recent evening , I can’t get the image of Angeline Jolie gently sipping Champagne from a very tall crystal flute ….. that projector keeps running in my head . Enough said.

I have a tough time finding a cooking show of the new crop that I can stick with for more than 5 minutes ; but I am really enjoying “Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong ” (Cooking Channel TV ) . The premise is to travel the Mekong River from it’s source in China and on for thousands of miles until it empties into the sea . The dishes he cooks along the way are amazing -sometimes cooking a dish on an unsteady river boat , in a rice paddy or in a simple rustic peasant kitchen .  Fabulous!  Still love Jacques Pepin and  ‘Essential Pepin ” on PBS …and of course Laura Calder “French Food at Home “.

THINGS  THAT ARE GOOD :  ** Take raw blanched almonds , layer on a sheet pan or cookie sheet , put in a preheated 400 degree oven for 3 minutes ; remove and move about so the other side is facing up , return for another 3-4 minutes . Remove and cool . Toasted almonds are “THE SNACK “. No salt or other seasoning is needed . Wonderful ! Just make sure you don’t leave the stove or you will burn them for sure. ** Fresh French fries made the way 60 plus years ago …. with rendered beef fat !  Not very PC today , but OH SO GOOD . Some restaurants make them with duck fat nowadays and they are good…but not like made beef fat. ** Overripe bananas go into the freezer ; put in your smoothies or use as for Banana Bread . MMMMMM! ** Saturday mornings in North Beach -a beer and tomato juice plus a Sardine Sandwich made on sourdough heavy rye bread  with thick slices of red onion , mayo at Mike’s Pool Hall on Broadway across from Enrico’s and Vanessi’s . **Grandma Emma Jane’s Texas corn bread sticks made in an ancient moulded cast iron baking pan ;  she first filled with bacon grease and got smoking hot in the oven . One eats them very satisfactorily with a bowl of pinto beans made with a bit of salt pork or a left over ham bone  (crumble when stale in a large tumbler and fill with cold milk-eat with a spoon for a late night snack . WOW! ) ** Grandma Emma Jane again…she would not eat any part of a watermelon but the very center-The Heart . That is very luxurious and she deserved it . A true “Pioneer Woman ” who raised 7 kids on the farm in SE Texas ; without running water , electricity and having to do laundry in the huge black cauldron on an open fire in the yard that Grandpa would often forget to clean after scalding hogs at butchering and ham time. **Pancakes with Maple syrup for dinner . ** Real Caesar Salad needs quality anchovies ( not paste ) , the freshest lemons and garlic , the best red wine vinegar , perfectly made croutons , completely washed and dried Romaine hearts , and most important of all – a large naturally turned bowl seasoned for many years and from some uncertain pedigree or source ! Please don’t go cheap with a pasty and dry Parmesan-style cheese  ; only use an imported Italian quality cheese .

Healthy endeavors bring nights of sound sleep and days of light and wonder.

Ross Pullen 2012



My Advisory Commitee



  1. Daniel Werner /

    Hey, Ross.
    I almost always found a thing or 2 to keep in your posts. Today’s was unusual in that I have made a number of notes to keep. I had forgotten about Mike’s Pool Hall. And bananas into the freezer. And, Ah… Vanessi’s! And the TV references.
    Keep it up, my friend.

    • Thanks a bunch , Daniel. It’s so much fun taking these small journeys back…but even better when someone else connects too!

  2. Ice cream and bread! Esp. homemade Caramel Ice Cream between slices of a nice brioche. Hmmm. I might have time for that before I go to work….

  3. Chantal /

    For lunch today: The season’s first apples dipped in soft goat cheese from the farmer’s market.

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