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I didn’t go to the store today because I fell in love with Jason.

I had no money, nor my driver’s license for that matter, as he took them along with my car this morning. We switched “horses” today, and my wallet drove away along with Jason into the horizon. Why was it in the car in the first place, you ask? It’s all Jason’s fault.

I was never the girlie girl who bought jewelry, handbags, shoes for every possible outfit, and all the other elements in THE ACCESSORY CIRCUS. I had a backpack, or a back pocket to store the stuff I needed when out and about. Then, while still living in New York, I met a girl as girlie as they come, who through her brains, charisma, and heart, was and still IS the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. Her name is Aveena and she’s a dear friend.

Aveena in Italy

It was under her influence that I finally went shopping for earrings, an extra pair of stilettos, sunny colored shirts (frocks would be pushing it), and a couple of purses. It took all Seven Dwarfs and two weeks at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to teach me how to carry myself in all that armor and look a tad less awkward than Ellen DeGeneres in her prom dress.

Flashforward a couple of years, I make myself at home in Baja enjoying the beaches and rollerblades, when this guy crosses my path at a Downtown art show and sweeps me off my feet with no warning. Meet Jason. We start hanging out on a daily basis, and I find myself carrying fewer things each time I’m with him… less make up, less clothes, less of a purse. I stick my driver’s license and a credit card in my back pocket to free my hands and alleviate distraction while with that boy. As the Friendship progresses and turns into a Flammable Romance, I no longer feel the urge to carry shit around. These days, I only leave the house with items that fit in one hand or in Jason’s back pocket.

So now you understand why I didn’t get the groceries today, because I fell in love with Jason. It’s annoying how disgustingly wonderful he is. He’s just the best there is, and I love him to pieces – from the top front to the back end.

Jason The Man

He’s also the reason I make an effort in the kitchen and come up with dinners like tonight: SEA BASS IN MUSTARD SAUCE WITH BUTTER-STEAMED FINGERLING POTATOES DUSTED WITH DILL. Consequently, YOU get those recipes! The Jason’s Fan Club suddenly no longer sounds like a joke. Feel free to send in your vote.

In the meantime, let’s get cooking. Get the following items handy:

–       1-1.5 lbs of fingerling potatoes, cleaned, skin on

–       2 fresh fillets of Sea Bass, washed and patted dry

–       1 tbsp of Dijon mustard

–       1 tbsp of whole grain mustard

–       2 tbsp of sour cream (organic, if possible)

–       1 shallot, finely chopped

–       1 tbsp of drained capers

–       salt + black pepper to taste

–       2 tbsp of butter

–       bunch of fresh dill, roughly chopped

In a non-stick pot, melt the butter and throw in the potatoes, sprinkle with salt, cover with a lid, stir around the whole pot and set on a low heat. The starchy bulbs will cook themselves in their own steam. However, make sure to give the pot a shake every so often, without uncovering it, to prevent the guys from burning their rear ends. It will take 20-25 minutes to complete the task. You can test if the potatoes are ready to rock & roll by sticking a tip of a knife inside one of them. If the tip slides in smoothly, you’re good. Next, sprinkle everybody in the pot with a bunch of fresh chopped dill, another pinch or two of salt and pepper, close the lid again, shake the pot around, and voila – you’re ready to serve the Fingerlings.

However, while they’re still steaming up on the stove, heat the oven to 425˚. Lay your fillets comfortably in a baking dish, sprinkle with salt and slather with the Mustard Sauce you made before.

Oops, have we not talked about that yet? Then grab a small bowl and dump you mustards and sour cream inside along with the shallot and capers, a dust of salt and paper, and mix them all up.

Your fish is ready to go into the oven to get warm and cozy – for 10 minutes. That’s it. Don’t put too much sauce on top of your fish, as you don’t want to overpower the delicate flavor of the Sea Bass.

It’s time to plate the dinner. If you think something’s missing, I bet it’s salt. Just a dash of salt brings the flavors out and the meal (any meal) starts making sense again.

Fingerling Potatoes

Speaking of salt, get rid of that nasty iodized salt that tastes like a high-school chemistry lab in a box, and replace it with kosher salt. It’s clean, healthy and as inexpensive as the other crap.

It took no more than half an hour and you just made yourself a Royal Meal … for no special occasion. Just celebrate because it’s Wednesday and begin the festivities with a masterpiece din-din your dining table has never seen before.

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I farted around all day today. I did nothing. I sat on the couch and watched Cosmo snore. He sleeps with his head resting on a pillow and the rest of his body curled up in a fetal position. I mean, is he a person? Frankly, I’m convinced my dog is an incarnation of my future child. The thought is just as terrifying as it is thrilling.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve had a few dreams with Cosmo as my son… sort of. Once, he came to me as a young boy with angel-like curly hair and blue eyes. I knew I was about to go through this ultra scary transition into a new world. Suddenly, I got a phone call and it was Cosmo ringing from THE OTHER SIDE. He explained to me that he wasn’t able to make the transition for me despite how much he wanted to. However, he assured me that he was there waiting for me on the other side with his unconditional love, trust, and comfort. Don’t say a word, I know…!

Another time, I dreamt that Cosmo was … a horse … stunning … a true stallion. We walked together through a field of grass where a group of youngsters was playing soccer. You ought to know that Cosmo in my waking life is an excellent soccer player. You must see it to believe it. Tens of hundreds have been amazed thus far, and news of his talents keeps spreading across the land. In the dream, my HORSE went after the soccer ball and started playing the game! The guys were getting irritated, as he was chasing their ball. I yelled “Please, stop playing for a second so I can get him and take him off the field!” I kept calling “Cosmo! Cosmo! Come here!” When I finally fetched him, he lay down on his back clearly making his belly available for scratching! I’m still talking about a horse here, pay attention; it was a BIG HORSE BELLY. After we got up, we walked side by side, and again I felt his love, like of a son for his mother. I asked him to carry me. He stood up on his hind legs, the beautiful horse that he was, took me in his ARMS and carried me with the utmost care and tenderness. It was AMA-A-Ziiiing. I felt his “arms” shake gently, which I instantly addressed asking if I wasn’t too heavy (the true woman in me spoke!). He simply replied “No”.

If you haven’t yet, you should call the authorities now. My straightjacket size is 8, but if you can fit me in a 6 you’ll really make my day! When I think about it all, I’m torn whether I should see a psychiatrist, go through a series of parenting classes or check myself into Cesar Millan’s Dog Psychology Center. I CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH! Bring it on.

JACK NICHOLSON

I don’t mean to get sentimental, but all that talk of Cosmo and being a mom, and then Jason falling asleep with his head on my belly makes me think of family, of home. HOME is the place I’ve always longed for, since I flew away from my childhood house when still just a chick with ruffled feathers and hay filling the space between my ears. For over a decade, I lived the life of a gypsy, scared of committing to one place. I broke into a cold sweat and my voice instantaneously rose three octaves when asked to sign a THREE-YEAR car lease.

Then I met Jason, and from DAY ONE we’ve been inseparable… uhhhh … sort of. Right off the bat, Guatemala kept us apart for two weeks. Then a Texas wedding got in the way, followed by more Texas interruptions that summer. Next, a Polish wedding across the ocean kept us high and dry for a week. And last but not least, Berlin rose like a WALL between us. It’s not the time apart, however, but the moments together that made us realize early on that I’m his PEA and he’s my CARROT.

For the first time in my adult life was I able to understand what HOME meant. Carried on memories wings, I traveled over the mountains and plains, over the ocean and back through time to my childhood days, back to the homeland in Europe, with all its customs and traditions, textures and fragrances, joys and sorrows. I finally appreciated my roots, my heritage, my own family. Suddenly, HOME wasn’t just the future house that My Love and I were to build together and the children we were to conceive. It all came together then, and my definition of HOME finally embraced where I come from along with what I bring into my future.

Hence, my urge to bring back the flavors I learned as a child into my life here in the US of A. It’s not an every day desire, but here and there I crave me some POTATO PANCAKES, or BARLEY AND MUSHROOM SOUP, or OPEN SANDWICHES just like granny used to make, and then the simple and delicious KOGEL-MOGEL to cure my sweet tooth. Nothing, however, and I mean nothing brings me back home faster than a fresh and deeply fragrant link of KIELBASA (or Polish sausage as you know it). Nooo, I do not make it myself. Are you crazy? I’m lucky enough to live in a multicultural city where there exists a Polish Grocery Store with Polish Kielbasa among other VERY YUMMY POLISH THINGS.

Kielbasa

When I first discovered the store in Santa Monica, I immediately packed Jason in the car and drove there to present him with the tastes of my youth. As soon as we walked in, we were enveloped by the strong and tantalizing fragrance of kielbasa. There were many kinds to choose from, and boy did we try them all. After that Polish overindulgence, we never went back.

Many months went by, we moved to a new home, and befriended our neighbors. Peter turned out to be Polish. Of course, we talked food and even fed each other many Polish meals that we tried to recreate. Today, however, Peter did more than just run over for a bowl of Sauerkraut Soup. He stopped by the Polish Grocery and brought back a few pounds of KIELBASA. When he walked into my kitchen, the whole room filled with the aroma of smoked meat. Cosmo lost his mind. He forgot he was a dog, stood up on his hind legs (sounds familiar?) and danced around Peter as if it was the only way he knew to walk, his nose glued to the plastic bag in Peter’s hand. Any minute now, I thought, he’ll speak up “WOMAN, GIVE ME A PIECE OF THIS THING THAT SMELLS SO GOOD I DON’T EVEN KNOW MY NAME ANYMORE!”. As soon as my dear neighbor left, I put my head inside the bag, got down on my knees, inhaled deep, and …lost consciousness. The next thing I remember, Jason was scraping my kielbasa-stoned body off the floor, the plastic bag the meat came in still stuck to my face…

It took a day or two to recover my senses, and only then was I able to slice the links in a civilized manner to arrange them on top of toasted bread, and embellish the sandwich with cheese, tomatoes, and pickles. My tongue, once again, afforded me a trip back home for a quick but delicious visit.

Sausage Sandwiches

If you live in Los Angeles, or only pass through at any moment in your life, make a point of stopping by J & T European Gourmet Food – the Polish Grocery in Santa Monica. They are located at 1128 Wilshire Boulevard. It will take care of your KIELBASA CRAVING good! That’s a promise.

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