True Detective, Paella Recipe, Blacklist, Aztecs, Dogs, Thanks and Other Stuff in No Particular Order

It has been awhile since my last blog post, so with the rain coming down outside, I figured this would be a good time to get caught up.  Some might think clearing the backyard storm drains, removing the leaves and other debris that have blown into the pool, or maybe even starting work on the taxes should be a higher priority.

Nah, I think I’ll spend a few minutes on this while finishing my morning cup of coffee, relishing my Aztecs new offense in a very convincing victory over Fresno State last night and trying to decide how to cook up the fish fillets on the counter.

First off, thanks to all who have called, commented or sent emails telling me that you liked the last post about our dear old Rainy.  Most of you I don’t know as I have no idea who reads my blog other than those signed up as followers, but the story of a great dog struck a common chord with quite a few folks, so thanks.

As mentioned before, Rainy had become “bi-residential” as a result of spending most of his time with Ryan and Julia and his loss weighed much heavier on them since they had made him their “baby” through a well orchestrated dogknapping orchestrated by daughter-in-law to be Julia a few years ago.

For a month or so following Rainy’s passing, they resisted the temptation to “borrow” young Jack, the springer pup I obtained from Springer Rescue late last spring for several reasons, including the fact that I found him irressistable and thought he might develop into a nice hunting dog alongside Gus.  Knowing that Rainy would not go on forever and that there would be some big holes in our hearts when he was gone, I secretly figured that Jack, despite his youthful rambunctiousness would be good medicine – not a replacement – but just the right tonic when it would be needed most.

That time came Thursday when Julia called and asked if she could take Jack home for a sleepover and to maybe keep him through the weekend.  According to her, Jack is “just perfect” when he visits them.  Gus would disagree because Jack is almost constantly a nuisance to his older brother (only in the sense that they are both field bred English springer spaniels) in one way or another, whether it is tugging at his ears or tail or trying to share in the retrieve of a pheasant when hunting.  Gus has the sweet heart of a giver while jack who is not yet a year old is pretty much a taker.

In any event, to those of you who sent or merely thought good thoughts for us following the loss of Rainy, thank you.

Should you be one of the legion of people (I believe there are three of you) who await my pronouncements regarding the little or big screen, I’m sure the title of this blog must have proved titillating, particularly if I introduced you to Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown.

Upon the recommendation of friends, we began watching True Detective, and we here at stately Brown Manor pass it along with the highest recommendation.  The storyline has been compelling and Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey have been terrific.  With just one episode left after tonight, we can hardly wait for the finale while at the same time hating to see this mini-series come to an end.  It is my understanding, that just like the old tabloid of the same name, True Detective will follow with other stories and lead actors down the road – but it will tough for them to top this.

As much as we like David Spader and have enjoyed Blacklist, I’m afraid it has been going a little over the top, not unlike 24.  Getting hooked on these types of series is bad enough, and I understand that to do so it is always necessary to entirely suspend our concept of reality, but there comes a time when I have to stop and say “really?”

And finally, I’d like to share with you a recipe that was first shared with us by friends and is notable because it is not only so good, but is so damned easy and will make your guests think you spent lots of time and money preparing it – which you won’t.

Poor Man’s Paella – Trader Joe’s Style

The basic recipe requires that you combine two items from Trader Joe’s: one bag of their Chimichurri Rice (a spicy Peruvian blend of seasonings, vegetables and rice) and another of their Seafood Blend (calamari, shrimp and scallops).  Cook both of them as directed on the package, stir together and you will have the very simple and delicious Poor Man’s Paella – Trader Joe’s Style.

Trader Joe’s Poor Man’s Paella – The Sporting Life Style

I’ve never felt comfortable with just two dirty pans in the sink after preparing dinner, so I have taken the liberty of expanding the basic recipe in order to make it necessary to finish an entire bottle of wine before undertaking the the cleaning of the kitchen.  The Sporting Life Style is still pretty simple, but involves the addition of several easy to prepare ingredients and the use of a paella pan (a large cookie sheet with a raised edge in order to contain the juices will do) to make it appear to your guests that you really did prepare and are serving them a true paella.

To pull this off, simply add many or most if not all of the following: shrimp, clams, mussels, cooked langostas, fish, spicy chicken wings, slices of spicy link sausage, cooked frozen peas and okra.

The clams and mussels are available frozen in quick and easy to cook bags, the cooked chicken wings are widely available and the fish and extra shrimp can be added when you cook the seafood blend.

Mix all of these cooked ingredients together (including the juices from the clams and mussels) in a bowl, dump them onto a paella pan and cover with foil.  Just before your guests arrive, place the pan in the oven or a BBQ to heat.

Serve with a hearty red Spanish wine and like me, delude your guests into believing you are a terrific cook – The Sporting Life Style. 


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