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Happy 2021 Everyone!



For the most part we have survived a year of being grounded, both political sides protesting and associated destruction of property by both, and here we sit, shaking our heads saying WTF was that.

So now we move the year another year forward and set our Resolutions. We’re going to tell everyone in our world how magnificent we will become this year. We’re busting out of our cocoon. The world hasn’t seen our unwavering power that we are prepared to unleash. Why this year, well last year had obstacles (you see a pattern yet?). Surprise Sparky, there are always obstacles.

Instead try the old adage “..don’t tell the world what you intend to do, show it”. Many years we have great intentions, we tell everyone about them, and that is as far as it goes. I propose that we talk less. We us too many words and yet say little. Let us all stop that.



So what about my resolution?


I do not make them and have no use for Yearly Resolutions. Instead, I Resolve to use my energy and skills in a way that will better my life and those around me (pets included). I Resolve to be the best version of me that I can be, and perhaps everyday that might be a little better than prior day.


Also we are set to welcome in the year of the Ox on February 12th, 2021, so here is an Oxtail soup that you can make to get ready to usher in all parts of 2021.


Chef Joe’s Oxtail Soup

Ingredients:

2 lbs Oxtail – trimmed and cut into 1-1 ½” pcs

3 Tbs Olive Oil

1 ½ C Flour – for dredging

2 Ea White Onions – Medium Dice

3 Ea Carrots – Peeled, and Medium Dice

4 Ea Celery Ribs – Medium Dice

3 Tbs Tomato Paste

2 Tbs Thyme

5 Ea Cloves Garlic – Smashed and Rough Chopped

½ C Red Wine – Heavier the tannin the better

6 C Chicken Stock or Bone Broth

Process:

1) Pat Dry the Oxtail, Salt and Pepper each side and dredge in flour, shaking off excess.

2) Heat a Heavy Pot over high until you see wisps of smoke.

3) Swirl in the Oil and reduce heat to Medium. You want the heat high enough to fry the Oxtail but not burn it, so you may go between Medium and High during this process.

4) Brown all sides of the Oxtail. Cook in batches if needed. Once brown remove Oxtail onto a plate.

5) Once Browned, Add Onions, Carrot, Celery and Garlic. Sautee for about 2 minutes until Fragrant.

6) Add in Thyme and Tomato Paste and mix until the Tomato Paste is heated through.

7) Add in the wine and bring to a strong simmer and let it reduce by half.

8) Add in Stock or Bone Broth and Oxtails, then bring to a simmer.

9) Simmer for about 2 ½ - 3 hours until the meat willingly falls off the bone.

10) Remove Oxtail so you can separate the Meat from the Bone. Throw away the bones.

11) Rough chop the Oxtail meat and return to the pot.

12) Adjust flavor with Salt and Fresh Cracked pepper.

13) Serve with Toasted Bread, Naan, or even Rice.


Alright folks. It has been 4 years and here we are in another nail biter. The country has been on a simmer since the last Presidential Election and now that we can express ourselves through voting, some of us are about to boil over. So have we learned anything before we enter into another 4 years of looking in the rearview yelling about yesterday instead of staying focused on the now or what direction we are moving. I’d say no.

See, it didn’t matter who won the last one or who wins this one. There is a group of people out there who preach love and tolerance, stand behind there BLM and Hate has no power here yard signs, that feel it is alright to only act out of emotion. Online they are working to ruin anyone that doesn’t agree with them, in person… well generally doesn’t happen unless they can form an entitled mob, then they destroy things and call it change. The best part about this whole thing is that they are the group that preaches Love, Tolerance, Compassion, Understanding and the Age of Woman. Well hell, if that is the Age of Woman then Tesla sign me up for the one way to Mars.

Will the next 4 years be better? Only if you make an effort, however if you continue to bandwagon, pout, and throw tantrums, then it’ll be the same. I guess what I am saying here is that the POTUS isn’t the problem… YOU ARE! And I stand behind that. If you feel it is alright to shame, destroy someone’s property, or just be an All Around Asshole because your little granny panties are in a bunch because your favorite pony didn’t win, don’t call me, don’t speak about me, and I will happily do the same. I am for the side of my fellow Americans who work everyday to make the next even better.




Red White and Blue Cookies – borrowed from sixsistersstuff.com

Ingredients:

· 1 stick butter, soft

· 1/2 cup brown sugar

· 1/2 cup white sugar

· 1 egg

· 1 Tablespoon vanilla

· 1 1/2 cups flour

· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

· 1/2 tsp salt

· 1 cup white chocolate chips

· 1 cup dried cranberries

· 1 cup dried blueberries


Method:

1. Combine butter and sugars and mix for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.

3. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in white chocolate, cranberries and blueberries.

4. Put cookie dough, covered in the fridge for a few hours.

5. Scoop onto parchment lined or greased cookie sheet and sprinkle very, very lightly with kosher salt.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until edges are lightly browned.

7. Freaking Enjoy It!!

As I am moving my odometer forward another year and looking around for inspiration to the next steps forward for myself, I must look at the lessons of my past. I revisit memories of conversations and engagements with folks I haven’t seen in easily decades. Some were mentors for me to move forward and some were mentors for me to move away from. All had valuable lessons, the kind I think everyone should go through. So as I sit here my mind starts to workout what is a Hero and Where are they?

Easy Pickings

A hero is someone you look up to for qualities you wish to attain. Throughout my various adventures I have always tried to pick out the biggest, baddest, smartest mamajama to study and emulate. Watch and learn to see what makes them the center of their environment, and what keeps them there. I mean life is very simple, you either show up or you do not. However you have to be careful, just because they may have several traits you like, they will most certainly have traits you don’t like as well. It is the simple balance of everything. Nothing is infallible. That being said I then to look further into human nature to find even deeper connections for heroism. Because this shallow level of heroism will only get you so far, and frankly most times it is based on appearance over knowledge.

Imagine an environment where you are praised for your technical skills but told based upon your appearance you cannot move forward. Yes folks this still happens and it is not based on Ethnic or Genders.

The Overlooked

Like mentioned above, life is about showing up, and in turn I would guess that Heroism is the same. Then I look even further, to a kid whose parents are barely making ends meet. They do not ask for anything they don’t earn. They live like immigrants, work hard, stay in the background, and don’t make a fuss outside the walls of the house because your actions reflect on your family. Be seen and not heard, help those around you but never ask for help, and always remain truthful. I think of watching a parent putting a guitar on layaway for their kid, and doing the math in their head to make sure they could pay it off before the layaway period ends and they would have to forfeit their money. A set of parents that leave around sun up and barely make it back as it sets. These aren’t people that you will see publicized, but they are the people that make it possible for you to not do the things you don’t want to.

These are the silent heroes.

The Redefining This kid is my hero!

So the next question is, if our world needs a hero and we

know that they are faulty, then who can we trust for that role. Well the answer is simple, it just requires you to think a bit differently.

It’s you! Do you want me to be the hero of your story or in your world? No, and neither do I. Since we all experience the world different, wouldn’t that stand to reason that your world is different than my world, and while the coexist perfectly, you should become that hero you need. Now don’t get me wrong, still look for mentors and folks doing extraordinary things that keep you pushing your own limits or what you thought or hoped to be possible. That is the only way we truly grow. Also by filling your view and setting your sights on the best traits that you aim to grow into, then you are working towards excellence. And please understand that your ending version of those goals will probably differ from how they started or you envisioned. That’s because you’ve changed since starting down that path, hence everything has changed with it, and that is a great marker for growth.

Secretly I was hoping that I would figure out the route I am going to take for the next journey or even the next set of goals to focus on and move forward, however as of today I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. The only thing I know is that I want you to be the Hero of your Story and Me to be the Hero of mine.

Don't be a Sidekick like Tim, be the Hero of your story. But we still like Tim.

Thank you all for reading!

Chef Joe

 

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