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Shall We Say I’ve Been Traveling?

Why hello!

A lot’s been going on here.  I’ve been traveling.

I’ve been traveling sounds much fancier than I went to Vegas, doesn’t it?  

I’ve been traveling makes me think of espressos and taxis and a nice view.

I went to Vegas reminds me of my sunburned feet, a hot wind, and a $16 gin and tonic.  It reminds me of the smell of hairspray and cigars, clouds and stars painted on vaulted ceilings, and the woman who sat at the pool, alone, with the name Justin tattooed on her left boob.

I went to Vegas, where slot machines hummed under the twinkle of chandelier after chandelier after chandelier.

I gambled away my gambling money (a very thin collection of bills reserved for this purpose) clumsily, like an amateur, until the only thing left in my purse was a melted tube of red lipstick.

I read in the pool until my fingers pruned and the corners of my book got wet.

And I walked with Scott through the casinos and diamond-studded malls until my feet were blistered and my blood-sugar was low.

ENTER my craving for a pickled tomato BLT.

They don’t have those in Vegas.  Vegas is full of things like wagyu beef carpaccio and apricot vacherin, and glamour with a warm sleeze glaze.  So I waited.

And now we’re home home home!  There’s nothing in the refrigerator but cold cuts and things in jars.  Pickled green tomatoes in jars!

Making refrigerator pickles is easy.  Have you done it?  This summer, I did–for the first time.  I refrigerator-pickled green tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, carrots, asparagus, green beans and garlic.

It’s all good in a bloody mary, but I save the pickled green tomatoes for my BLTs.  They take a BLT to the next level, y’all.

If you want to try it, use Food & Wine’s recipe for flash-pickled green tomatoes.  Let them sit for about 3 hours so they have time to get tangy.

To pickle other veggies (okra, asparagus, carrots, greenbeans) I’d suggest my friend Tasia’s pickled veggies recipe, which requires 3 days or so of refrigeration.

I’m also digging a roast beef sandwich with creamy chipotle spread lately.

I like blending spicy chipotles with cream cheese.  If I don’t blend them with something, it’s like swallowing a blow-torch.A little dairy mellows the heat of the pepper a little, and on a bagel egg sandwich or a stack of roast beef, it’s tops.

Here’s how to make it:

Chipotle Sandwich Spread

Ingredients: (for 2-4 sandwiches)

1 pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

3 tbsp. cream cheese

3 tbsp. mayonnaise


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined.

Serving suggestion:

Delicious on toasted bread with roast beef and lettuce, or on a bagel with chicken or turkey.

Thunder and Seymour are doing great.  Here they are on a walk.

You’ll notice the absence of jewel-encrusted collars from the Vegas Cartier.  It turned out that Scott the “scientist” and “mathematician” didn’t even know how to count cards.

I mean, COME ON.

39 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pretty sure the scientist and mathematician used all his nuclear energy on emission of charm 🙂

    August 12, 2012
    • I *knew* I moved to Alabama for a reason. It must have been the charm. 🙂

      August 12, 2012
  2. Mmm, chipotle and cream cheese (hold the mayo). Sounds like my new favorite summer sandwich as a base for cucumbers, red bell peppers, grilled eggplant, etc. Thank you.

    August 12, 2012
    • I HATE MAYONNAISE TOO!! HATE. IT. I was okay with this spread because of the cream cheese but other than a tuna sandwich at the airport, it’s the only mayo I’ve had all year. Although–I did make my own mayo last month, and I’m okay with that. It’s just olive oil, egg and vinegar, right? Which works for me when I make it myself and it turns out yellow. But not when it comes in a jar. Scott saw the homemade mayo and said “why isn’t it white?” And I was like BECAUSE IT’S NOT FAKE AND DISGUSTING, DUDE.

      August 12, 2012
  3. a #

    Oooh! I’ve always meant to figure out how to make my own chipotle spread, but I am way too lazy and non-experimental. Now I have a recipe! Hurray!

    I am a scientist. I can count cards. I would not be able to count cards in Vegas due to the multiple deck issue, but I am pretty awesome at Spades and Hearts (and occasionally Bridge, but I am waaaay out of practice).

    August 12, 2012
    • Wow! Have you seen the movie “21”? It’s based on the book “Bringing Down The House,” and is about a bunch of MIT kids who go to Vegas with their professor (Kevin Spacey) on a regular basis to count cards. I watched it before going. I couldn’t even figure out their system for counting cards when the explained it in the movie, so I was a lost cause. I did play single deck blackjack in Vegas, just because it’s what we stumbled on first. I don’t think I’ve ever played Spades or Hearts!

      August 13, 2012
  4. Your dogs are cuter than anything cute that there ever was. They deserve Vegas Cartier collars – I’m astounded at Scott’s lack of dedication to their decoration; one would assume it was simple for someone as apparently academically brilliant as himself could master counting cards or, failing that, make a foolproof plan to steal stuff in a major cool heist.

    August 13, 2012
    • Juls, I agree. He doesn’t seem to care that his dogs have no bling WHATSOEVER. If we don’t get some ice on those puppies, people are going to start to talk.

      Frankly, it’s embarrassing.

      August 13, 2012
  5. Just admit it. The woman with the boob tattoo was you, wasn’t it? No need to be coy. We’re all friends here.

    August 13, 2012
    • FINE, okay? FINE. And I’ll tell you something else: I wanted to put Justin’s full name on my boob but the tattoo people said my boob was too small. Gah!


      August 13, 2012
  6. You know, I think it’s good that you tried Vegas. It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry, the blisters and the empty purse and the lack of pickled green tomatoes. Cos now you have, like, even MORE appreciation for pickled green tomatoes. So, there’s that.

    August 13, 2012
    • I’m glad I tried Vegas too. Next time I’m going to bring a bag of fruit, jeans (the air conditioning in the casinos was insane), my own drinks, trail mix (it’s easy to get lost in those round casinos with no exits), and about 5 lbs of fake diamond jewelry.

      August 13, 2012
  7. vegas is fun experiment for 3 days – that is all you the mind and body can take in one trip LOL

    August 13, 2012
    • Agreed. I was there for 4 and Scott was there for 6! He had a conference on robots or time travel or something. 🙂

      August 13, 2012
  8. Amy #

    Glad you had fun on your trip. I’ve never been to Vegas and I can’t say I have a strong desire to change that. Those pickled tomatoes look sooo good! I usually just eat them plain but what a great idea to put them on a sandwich..i mean if you put pickles and tomatoes on sandwiches, why not pickled tomatoes.

    August 13, 2012
    • Amy, call me before you go to Vegas. I will send you a list of things I wish I had brought! Have you been to South Beach in Miami? I think I like South Beach better. But one thing was for sure– it was sunny ALL THE TIME in Vegas. You could get tan by the pool starting at, like, 8 a.m. You’re basically GUARANTEED a sunny vacation, which beats getting really excited to go to the beach and then sitting inside playing monopoly because it rains for a week.

      August 13, 2012
  9. My stomach definitely wants this sandwich in it 🙂 I should prepare it soon.

    August 13, 2012
    • Oh I do hope you like it! I ran out of bread this morning and am kind of bummed about my lunch possibilities now.

      August 13, 2012
  10. It sounds like you made it to Caesar’s Palace (viz.: “clouds painted on vaulted ceilings”). Isn’t it a trip? Did you see the M&M store? My inner six year old loves that place.

    August 13, 2012
    • Yes! That ceiling at Caesar’s was one of my favorite parts of Vegas. I just loved it! And the fake Trevi fountain in the middle, with the Italian restaurant right there, was so pretty. I DID see the M&M store and pointed it out to Scott because you had mentioned it. We didn’t go in this time because we were on our way to grab dessert. But I love how you can personalize them. Have you ever put someone’s picture on an M&M? I saw them once at a baby shower and thought it was a hoot.

      August 13, 2012
  11. ohhh YUM – Love all of your treats! And I agree about Vegas – I like room service and spas – that is it.

    August 13, 2012
    • Yes– room service and spas are magical. Hanging out in the 105 degree heat of Vegas felt more like doing Bikram yoga in a heated studio ALL DAY LONG. 🙂 But I’m still glad I went.

      August 13, 2012
  12. Welcome Back – the pups are looking great! Happy Monday:)

    August 13, 2012
    • Happy Monday to you too! Seymour now weighs 23 pounds. Up fro 10.1 when we got him! He’s growing like a weed. A cute weed, but a weed nonetheless!

      August 13, 2012
  13. katep #

    I’ve never tried pickled tomatoes, but it sounds like a good twist for our classic family sandwhich – Bacon, tomatoes, pickles, cheddar cheese, and mayo. Toast the bread. AMAZING.

    August 13, 2012
    • Yowzah, that is one heck of an awesome family sandwich. I don’t have a family sandwich, come to think of it, and I’m now realizing this is a major failure. I’ll have to work on one and get my parents and brother to adopt it retroactively, maybe when we’re all home for Christmas this year? Hmmm…

      August 13, 2012
  14. Diane #

    I recently had my first (and possibly last) Vegas experience. My favorite part was Patisserie Manon which is way off the strip, but on the way to Red Rock Canyon. I experienced my first French macaroons and I LOVED them. Good thing that bakery is all the way in Vegas.

    Love the idea of pickling green tomatoes. Keep the birds and bugs from eating them once they get ripe!

    August 13, 2012
    • Oh how I wish I’d gone to Patisserie Manon! We were going to rent a car and go see canyons and such, but decided to stay put in the end. I love real macaroons, too! Right before I left New York a French macaroon shop opened up ON MY STREET and they had things like Earl Grey Tea macaroons with orange filling. They were amazing (and expensive). When they sold them out of the refrigerated case, they’d say to wait a few minutes so it could come to room temperature before you bit into it. Like I was going to sit there staring at the little paper bag instead of digging in right away!

      August 13, 2012
  15. Tee hee! Did you see my post on my OCD with mayo?
    Pickled green tomatoes sounds interesting 😛

    August 13, 2012
  16. Mouthwatering photos!

    August 13, 2012
  17. Craft project: bedazzled dog collars. Do it. You’ll get us on Martha Stewart’s website. And she’ll do way more for your popularity than a robot that can’t count cards ever could. (Sorry, Scott.)

    Side note: I ate a cupcake for breakfast. And now I’m going to eat one for lunch. Not as cool as chipotle spread, but still…

    August 14, 2012
  18. Ooh, I love the idea of enhanced cream cheese over mayonnaise. I’ll have to try that. I have been wildly lacto-fermenting just about anything I can get my hands on this summer!

    August 14, 2012
  19. At first, I felt sad for the woman with the tattoo. Now, I admire her. Not because of the tattoo but because she was enjoying a poolside in Vegas…alone. That’s like eating in a formal restaurant alone. At first I think, “aaaaaaaaaaaaw. They look so lonely.” Then, I snap to and think, “Wow! I wish I had the guts to do that!” and admiration takes over and I no longer feel sad for them.

    I have got to hunt down some pickled green tomatoes! Not only do those sandwiches sound delicious, the images are enough to send me on a mission to acquire the ingredients!

    As for mayonnaise (the ‘fake’ stuff, in a jar…), I could (and have been doing so for more than 40 years) eat it straight from the jar with a tablespoon. (totally disgusting, I know. I used to peel the waxed paper off sticks of oleo and eat that too)
    I love making BLTs on waffles so that the mayonnaise fills all the pockets. I enjoy many sandwiches on waffles.

    August 17, 2012
  20. My inner pickled goddess is impatiently tapping my shoulder. I’m guessing she wants those pickled tomatoes. Or maybe the gin and tonic….

    August 17, 2012
  21. Sally #

    I’m late catching up here … I love your ‘I’ve been traveling’ it makes me think of Joan Didion. The sparseness and dryness just captures it. Love it.

    August 18, 2012
  22. cannot WAIT to make those pickled tomatoes and would give my right hand for one of those BLTs. we do homemade mayo too and can’t go back, despite a childhood of scarfing hellmann’s. you mention south beach – any food/activity recommendations? planning a [tasteful] bachelorette party there, and googling “south beach bachelorette party” was…a huge mistake.

    August 19, 2012
  23. i agree with Carol Anne: it’s good you tried vegas. it really does make you appreciate wherever you live WAY more once you return. I enjoy it for all that it is, which is a plastic paradise of ridiculous things you’d never do in real life. the only thing i ever wish i could take home with me is the pumped-in oxygen…i could use that, because it really does keep you alert and feeling refreshed.
    someday, i propose we go to vegas together and just nerd it up. who takes a book to the pool in vegas? we do.

    August 21, 2012

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