Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Goodbye to John

Yesterday my friend John died after a long battle with cancer. Those who know me know what a devastating loss this is for me. John was more than a friend, he saw me as I am and got it and loved me for me, the whole package. John was a very complex man, but I got him, too. I can't think of anything to say right now except that I will miss him and I still can't quite get that he is gone. Here is a poem he wrote for me when we were "broken up." I laugh at that because it happened often, but I am so glad our friendship was never ending. Rest now, my darling, now you see the whole of the moon.......

Regretfully, Out of Touch

I always believed in you,
Perhaps even more than you do.
I scorched your heart, as you did mine
Scar tissue never heals right and is displayed
Like a battle wound of a lost campaign
Neither won or lost, oh the emotional cost.
Was it worth it? The price paid was too much
And now, regretfully, we are out of touch.

You got so close to the inside of me
That I could never face, and feeling left out,
I often do, I run away.
I felt you were so cruel to mention
So often the times I hurt you.
I push away what I love and find it hard to trust.
Regretfully, we stay out of touch.

I remember the sweetness of your breath,
The touch of your caress that spring.
It was like a dream, so close so fast
Wanting to make up for lost time.
I lived in hope for a while, rejoicing your smile
And then the battle campaign began anew
Regretfully, we were again out of touch.

Longing to hold you and to be with you
As I braced myself for a new attack
Perhaps the battles were the work of myself,
Once again my insecurity haunts me.
Longing to feel your hair and see the intensity of your eyes
You sip Earl Grey, I don’t say too much,
Except, we are regretfully out of touch.

Excuse me for not sharing the happiness of your new find
Not being in that state of mind, not willing to claim what is mine
I wander through the thoughts and fears of letting go
The lies of omission will not go away.
To say I’m sorry is not enough and not knowing
How to make things right, do I resign myself
To be forever, regretfully, out of touch?

John A. Macdonald

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It is really hard to type a thank you, and convey the feeling that you have in your heart.

My friend Bill Moran was a veteran serving in world war two. Bill, I am grateful. Thanks to all that have served to keep us safe and free. And a big thanks to the ones that continue to serve for the same reason. Bill I miss ya man. CF

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Season of Sharing and Thanks

Today my friend brought me a lovely home made flan. Lovely, delicious creation it was. Flan is one of my favorite desserts and this one was one of the best I have ever had. I started to think of how nice it was to have this given to me for me and my family to enjoy and how this is the season of sharing and thanks.

It's been a tough few weeks for me. My home was burglarized and that creates a huge amount of problems in it's aftermath; but everyone is safe and stuff is just stuff. I also found out that my dear friend, John, who has been fighting cancer for about 4-5 years now is heading into the end of his journey. He was always a food and wine man, however, the last few years he has been a devout vegetarian and has perfected his meditations. It saddens me that I will soon lose my best friend, concert buddy, confidante, debater, baseball game companion, and one of the best boyfriends I ever had. Oh, and a pain in the ass, too. But so am I, so we made a good pair. But I digress...

From the day I met John (I saw him across a lobby and said to myself "I want him!" I think I may have even pointed , hehehe) we always had something to talk about. We both were from Texas but lived in NYC. We both were in the hotel business (however, I was in college studying to be a nurse when I met him.) John LOVED wine and good food. We had so many wonderful meals together, at so many unlikely places, from roadside stands to 5 star restaurants. He turned me onto things, and I him. Back and forth, back and forth, we were, about everything. Music (he never could stump me, oh how he would try! Teehee), wine, food, world events, views on life. Passionate is definitely a word that would describe our relationship. But with passion comes good and bad. Argue? Uh, yes. Do anything for each other? Of course!

One debate we would often have is the topic of the taco. John was always cooking something, most mornings it was some sort of taco. Most evenings it was some sort of taco. I used to complain "Can we have something other than a taco?" John would take great offense to this since he saw every taco he made as a work of art, each different from the one before. John would ooo and ahhh over his tacos and I would just say uh, huh and eat them. It was almost a dance. He would use what ever delightful thing he had cooked recently as the innards to these tacos so, of course, he was impressed with them! And I must admit, they were darned good. Not that I would let on....

The last time I saw John, he came to visit me in July and we went to an Orioles game. He took pictures as he always does and I played handy assistant. It was wonderful; felt like I was wearing an old pair of favorite jeans. Whenever we would visit, the past year or so, we haven't really debated much. We share, he gives me "looks," I give him the "rolling of eyes," and we both knew that time was limited. As I write this, I tear up, fighting back the thought of what a loss I am about to endure. Who will I share with in the way only we can? The answer is: No one and everyone.

In this season of sharing and thanks, I give thanks for my friend John and all the wonderful memories I will have forever. I give thanks for all my amazing friends and all the experiences I have with them. And when I was presented with that beautiful flan today, I was reminded that sharing amongst friends is something that never stops......

OK, that's it for now. Just felt like sharing.....


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall Means Root Vegetables! From Farm to Table!

The air has been crisp and chilly here in Baltimore lately, mixed with a bunch of rain. A bunch of rain is always better than no rain if you're a Texan. We had a very nice summer with cool nights which is not common here. I was almost sorry to see the summer go this year! But here we are in fall and all that it brings.

My sous chef and daughter, Stella, went to a farm last week on a school field trip. She came home with a bounty of root vegetables that she had picked herself. After school she presented me with a big bag of vegetables and dirt and I wondered "what am I going to do with all this?" Cook something, of course! Stella had turnips, radishes, white radishes, dill, a few carrots and a huge sweet potato. So, we got busy! Tonight we made a wonderful dinner. I wanted to show Stella what great things could come from the veggies she picked at the farm.

For an appetizer we had sliced cucumbers with a homemade dip using the dill. For our main course we made Chicken with Turnips and Dried Cherries. We also diced up that monstrosity of a sweet potato and roasted it with olive oil, salt and pepper and rosemary from our garden. We will use the roasted sweet potatoes in a nice fall salad made with goat cheese and wilted baby spinach. The recipe is one from my friend Karen Macfarlane and we will post it tomorrow night after we make it. In the meantime here is the recipe for the Chicken with Turnips and Dried Cherries!

Chicken with Turnips and Dried Cherries

2 tablespoons Unsalted butter
4 Boneless skinned chicken breast halves -- (about 1. 5 each pounded between sheets of wax paper
1/2 cup All-purpose flour -- for dredging
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Turnips -- peeled/diced
1 small Onion -- chopped
2 teaspoons Maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon Dried thyme leaves
3/4 cup Chicken broth
1/4 cup Dried sweet cherries
1 tablespoon Chopped fresh parsley

Heat the butter in a large skillet. One at a time, dredge the chicken breasts in the flour and brown on both sides. Remove to a side dish and season with salt and pepper. Place the turnips in the skillet and cook, stirring, over moderately high heat until they are a light golden in spots; add the onion, reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the maple syrup, thyme and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, add the chicken, scatter over the cherries, partially cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through but still tender, about 6 minutes. Check the seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper, as necessary.Transfer the chicken to a warm platter, spoon over the sauce and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve piping hot.

We would have posted a picture of the dish, but my camera was stolen. Hence, here is a picture of my beautiful sous chef, Stella, in all her fall glory! I love her so; she is my heart and my soul and a very good cook! Grandpa would be proud!

Happy Fall from Nicole and Stella!!!


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