Haven’t been either cooking or writing for the past week. I’ve been on the road collecting my mother and her roommate for a stay with us in the tall trees. Every time I return to the Bay Area I am again reminded of the crazy drivers prevalent in the area. Twice before I arrived I was nearly hit. Freeways are like destruction derby only I believe destruction derby might have looser rules. Horn honking has become somewhat of a stoplight game. While waiting for the light to change everyone honks at the person next to them or those in front of them, as if in doing so the light will somehow change more quickly. Bizarre.
Stores on the weekends are mob scenes. Pushing and shoving customers cram into cashier lanes and circle parking lots like birds of prey hoping to spot an afternoon meal. One thing I will say for the lack of available parking spaces, it allows you to get your exercise in while hiking the two miles required to get to the front of the store.
Speaking of exercise everyone living there seems to be getting some. Fully geared bicyclists clog the bike lanes along the roads, water bottles poking from back pockets and futuristic helmets pulled on their heads. A seemingly endless line of Spandex reinforced joggers pony tails jiggling through holes in their hats, puff along the sidewalks. Huge sections of the stores are dedicated to sports attire. It appears nobody shows up for a walk or a run without the appropriate clothing in place. This is California one is to remember, and looks definitely are everything. For as good as they look exercising they drop the facade when visiting the market or convenience store, opting instead for pj’s and a pair of clogs. Got to love this state. There truly is something for everyone.
I spent last week searching web sites looking for interesting activities not requiring a lot of walking. When mobility problems are a reality for some of the participants the amount of things to do not involving walking becomes a far more limited playing field. Not wanting to simply go out to eat all time, as I don’t want to have to use the jaws of life to extricate myself from my jeans, other solutions needed to be found.
Everyone visiting our area seems to want to include a trip to the casinos. Before moving to the new house, the city we lived boasted two Indian casinos within the city limits. Passing them every day I rarely stopped in to deposit my money. I’m not saying we never visited, but mainly when company came to call. Historically, not being one to be given things without a little work involved, I would be equally as lucky standing in the parking lot shredding my bills into confetti. However, I do love Las Vegas, and enjoy Reno. Comparing these two gambling meccas to local casinos is like comparing artichokes and calves liver. Totally different program. Las Vegas is an adult theme park replete with slot machines. Both my mother and Doc love to go to the local fare. The last time we took them I believe Doc invested $5 in the slot machine. When that disappeared, which took about five minutes, he announced he was tapped out. Sigh. Mother is another story entirely. Have to watch her, or she’ll have the house mortgaged and be looking for the pink slip to her car.
Back in my twenties my husband and I took my cousin and his wife, visiting from Alberta, to Las Vegas. Youth being what it is we didn’t think to make reservations at a hotel ahead of time, simply hopping in the car and heading east. On arriving in town we quickly discovered there was an OB/GYN convention in full force and all the major hotel chains were fully booked. Not having brought a speculum with us, we searched for rooms available in the smaller motels along the strip. They were to be found, for a price. Pooling our money we took a room at a small hotel off the main drag eclectically adorned with a large elephant in the courtyard. Hints of the pachyderm’s original pink paint were still evident where it hadn’t peeled through to the white plaster below. A large neon sign blinked on and off all night outside the window, and the bed apparently had been stuffed with machine parts and rocks. A sign pointing down the hall read ICE. 110 in the shade we followed the arrows to a locked freezer laced with cobwebs next to a stack of cracked plastic ice tubs. The air conditioner, admittedly worked, though humming at decimals just below a jet engine. Leaving for dinner we were fairly certain we overheard a prostitute and her “date” making a deal for the evening outside the room next door. I slept on top of the bed with my clothes on. All this luxury for $125 a night.
Little time luckily was spent in our room. We stayed up well into the night pulling the handles on slot machines and handing our money to black jack dealers. All in all it was a profitable night in tinsel town. Not on our side naturally, but the casinos weren’t going to have to close up shop any time soon. Around 3:00 a.m. we ate at an all you can eat all night buffet. Everything in Las Vegas is all night really. Alcohol flows 24/7 and ladies missing half their clothes can be seen handing out drinks to weary looking gamblers barely before the rooster crows.
Once while going across country by car my husband and I found ourselves in Ely, Nevada around 6:00 a.m. Needing coffee to keep our eyelids from drooping we stopped at a large hotel indicating food was served inside. Ely, on Highway 50 touted as the loneliest highway in the U.S., stuck me as a place people went when they didn’t want to be found. I can’t substantiate this with any fact, simply something I felt. Inside we found a long counter inhabited by mainly men. Some were drinking coffee and others enjoying an early morning eye opener. A friendly bunch we bellied up to the bar and had some of the best bacon and eggs with crispy home fries we had along our travels.
So, this week we will be off with the heavy hitters betting our whole $5 on the big win. I’m sure we’ll be comped a room for our troubles.
These little hens were requested by my guests. Always a hit.
Baked Cornish Game Hens
4 Cornish game hens
1 cup melted butter
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
12 mushrooms, dusted and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup melted butter
1 lemon, quartered
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine all ingredients except hens, lemon, and 1/4 cup melted butter in mixing bowl.
Wash hens and clean well. Dry thoroughly Season hens inside and out with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff equally with butter and vegetable mixture. Place 1/4 lemon in each cavity. Spray 13x9x2″ casserole and place hens in breast side up. Drizzle with 1/2 cup melted butter rubbing over hens. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic salt.
Cover with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove cover and brown under broiler.
Serve with wild rice.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over med.heat. Add onion, celery and garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender.
Add broth and wild rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover tightly and cook for 25 minutes.
Stir in the brown rice. Cover and cook for 20 mins. or until the rice is tender.