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Friday, May 25, 2012

Bistecca Pizzaiola

2 tbsp olive oil (I was a little more liberal with it than 2 tbsp)
4 small steaks
2 cloves garlic, thinly chopped
Salt and pepper
28 oz can peeled tomatoes, chopped and drained
1 tsp oregano
Pinch of crushed red pepper

Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat and add steaks.  Brown on both sides and then put aside on a plate, sprinkling with pepper.  Add garlic to the leftover oil and cook for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and seasonings including another sprinkle of pepper and salt.  Cook for about 20 minutes, lowering the heat just a little until everything thickens just a bit.  Place steaks back on the tomatoes, cook until desired doneness, flipping once or twice.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Writing Hurdle

In the beginning, all I wanted to do was write.  However, as a child it wasn’t quite put into words that way – I wasn’t aware it was something that I wanted to do, I just did it. I wrote really bad lyrics with no music  for songs that would absolutely never get made.  Sadly, they did get sung from time to time much to the chagrin of my dog – the only one I would ever allow to hear me sing them.  My musical ability is and always has been completely null and void since I had no interest in practicing the guitar, the drums or the trumpet.  All of which I attempted at some point and time.  I made it through my one and only recital playing my drum by watching the child next to me and following along.  I was told I did really well, somehow I doubt any of us were truly on-beat anyway.
When I reached sixth grade, I wrote a poem which received a wonderful reception when I read it in front of the class.  It may have been the only time in my middle school years that a wonderful reception was given to me about anything at all.
In the years following I wrote several movie scripts but, again, nothing worth pursuing in even the slightest way.  There was also a poem for which I won an Honorable Mention by the New Jersey Poetry Society. 
After that, my writing fell off the map.  It became nothing more than wishful thinking and for a time it barely registered in my thinking at all.  For nearly a decade, it took a backseat besides the minor one night attempts here and there.  The attempts were so “here and there” that I would venture to say that the space in between those attempts was probably years.  There were many reasons for this, none worth mentioning right now.
The only accomplishment I had during those years was the publication (online) on an opinion page of the Philadelphia Inquirer, which can be seen online at  Other than that, I tried my hand at restaurant reviews with no success at all, mostly because I needed to have a following for that.  I was spending WAY more than I would have ever brought in just trying the places out.
There was also my last blog, in which I spent many, many hours producing all sorts of different posts, mostly about me, myself and I.  Some were good, some were bad.  Some were planned out and carefully written, many of them were very stream of consciousness. 
Oh – and did I mention the book I turned out in 4 or 5 months?  Yeah, I’m reworking that now.  I put it down for nearly two years and decided to pull it out from the bottom of a drawer just recently to start the editing process all over again.  There was also that short story that I loved but now when I read it I feel pretty disappointed.  A few of my friends loved it but when I read it, I think there’s something good there but I don’t think the story itself is well-written, I think it just sounds bland.
Meanwhile, I’ve written several papers for school, which have made me happy enough since they involved both reading and writing. Meanwhile, I’m simply working on a few ideas, none of which I feel confident enough in as of yet.  And so, this leads me to the point I’m working on getting to.
If Malcolm Gladwell’s assertion that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to reach mastery in a particular subject is true then I still have a long way to go.  Yet, for the first time in my adult life I feel truly up to the challenge.  I’ve started reading more again and I’m working toward putting more time into actually working on my writing overall.  I’ve scaled back my going out time and started spending more time at home.  I let Mio Amante know that I’ll need more time to read and write.  He’s happy to comply – especially since he’s hoping I’ll have a bestseller somewhere along the way.  (Though he was a little unsure of why reading is a necessary ingredient to a writer’s success – oh how I love thee.)
I’m working on it.  That’s all I can do.  With any luck I’ll have something worth reading in the next year or so.  Right now I’m struggling with the feeling that my writing is even halfway decent but from what I understand this is a very important mental step in a writer’s success.  The trouble is breaking through it and continuing on anyway… we’ll just have to see about that one but I am pretty sure I’m up for jumping the hurdle.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All-Season Grilled Chicken

So - I haven't posted anything in just about forever so here it goes... another recipe.  Tomorrow I intend (or will try, at least) to post a real post.  Something about my writing.

All-Season Grilled Chicken

12 oz chili sauce
¾ cup red wine vinegar
1 & ½ tbsp prepared horseradish
1 & 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
4 chicken breasts (or chicken of your choice, of course)

Mix together all ingredients besides the chicken in a bowl then add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 5 minutes.  Grill or broil the chicken, basting frequently with the remaining marinade until chicken is done, about 30 minutes.  Heat remaining marinade in a small saucepan and serve hot along with the chicken.