Pignoli Cookies

Non-Sailing post warning: This post has nothing to do with sailing, sailboats, boats, nautical knowledge, or seamanship. Moreover, this post may cause sudden bouts of baking, higher than usual cholesterol, and even causing people to like you despite your mediocre personality.

I was asked to make a short recipe type video for a Corinthian Yacht Club event, so I chose pignoli cookies. These pignoli cookies are the simplest and best-tasting cookies I know how to make I learned from Mary- an elderly (in hindsight, she was probably 60) Italian neighbor in Queens when I was 10 or so. Several of the neighborhood kids were recruited to help her cook during the holidays in exchange for the variety of cookies, cakes, and baked clams. Yes, I know- baked clams don’t seem to fit, but they were so good!!

Anyway- here’s the video.

Although this is a sailing-related blog, COVID gave me an opportunity to put on a few pounds. So, you can find some other good recipes by clicking these links: bagels, butterflied shrimp, tater tots, french toast, and NY style eggrolls.

The Best Way to Learn is by Teaching

As the Grandest of Grand Poobahs of The Lodge of the Dense and Mentally Questionable– once I learn even a rudimentary skill, the best way for me to make it stick in my sugarless-gummy-bear of a brain is to find some poor soul to whom I can teach that skill.

So, having had basic sailing skills beat into my brain by repetition, and several ego-bruising incidents, I got it in my thick head that I want to teach others to sail.

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Shrimp, Bacon, Grease- All One Really Needs. (well, and sailing, but back to that topic next post)

(oh, and this thermos)

Lums Chinese, Flushing, NY, (1978)- My earliest memory of butterflied shrimp and pure food-happiness. A decadent, visceral feeling of joy as oil burned a crooked path down my chin exploding in my mouth into wondrous flavors of shrimp, bacon, egg, scallion, topped with a savory ketchup based sauce and onions.

Joy Island, Bay Terrace, NY (1981 through my departure from NY)- The perfect pubescent boy version of butterflied shrimp. Less onion, more bacon, bigger shrimp, and topped with the orange goo of a sweet and sour sauce. Heaven on a plate. Best when mixed with the msg laden roast pork fried rice.

Tiburon, CA, (2020) – Bored. Hungry. Still in quarantine (sort of). Well, what is one to do under such trying circumstances . . . let’s make some butterflied shrimp!

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Surplus of Time=Scarcity of Motivation

I’ve got nothing to do and all day to do it. [any Styx fans?]. The COVID pandemic and resulting lockdown have taken me– and I suspect most people– through a series of moods that are finally culminating in pure and simple boredom. This blog itself is an archeological record of initial boredom resulting in experimental cooking, premature planning for future events, and general musings by somebody entirely unqualified to share musings.

But the truth is that the unqualified musings were only a small part of what has actually been a relatively pleasant period without much airplane travel, a lot of family time, and some cool developments.

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Good Seamanship Begins at the Dock

Looking out at the bay and watching the sailboats often leads me to be jealous of the sailors on those boats. Then, because I am a cynical jackass, I find myself wondering if they really are sailors. That is, do they meet my imagined qualification of practicing good seamanship, or are they just an accident waiting to happen.

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Quarantine Craving- New York Style Egg Rolls!

A New York egg roll is not really Chinese food. It is a regionalized version of an Americanized version of Chinese food. A genuine experience of eating a New York egg roll should first burn the roof of your mouth just enough to be sensitive (as opposed to the molten lava/cheese burn of a genuine New York slice of pizza that ought to leave a piece of skin hanging from the roof of your mouth) and cause the crispy egg roll exterior to be a painful irritation with every bite all while at the same time a single drop of hot oil meanders down your lip to your chin leaving a 2nd-degree burn trail. But, this foodie version of self-flagellation should be overwhelmed by the crunchy explosion of the shell, followed by the natural crunch of cabbage, the savory flavors of tiny shrimp (possibly sea monkeys) and bits of discarded roast pork, all melded together with cloyingly sweet duck sauce as the Chinese mustard also seers your sinuses to the point of tears.

I needed this experience to stave off zombie-apocalypse depression. So, I set out to make them and share the relatively simple recipe here with you.

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Premature Passage Planning

Quarantine got you down? Social distancing a drag? Family togetherness a bit too together? Why not mentally check out, and plan that 2022 voyage from the South Africa to Grenada with me? Well, that, or you can have another deep and meaningful chat about feelings, express your gratitude for quarantine togetherness through improvisational dance, or your love of life by learning the oboe.

Me, I’ll plan that passage (ocean crossing).

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