Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Blue Streetcar Bus Ride

While waiting near Lexington and Camden, I decided it was too hot for the Park or Jeep, so I hit up the VIA Streetcar Blue Route, for a ride around town.
The Streetcars are a nice lil vintage trolley like ride, even though you feel like a tourist and the shocks are like riding in a tank! The Blue Route, for $1.20 gets you a nice long loop around town, down Flores and thru King William, Hemisfair and back around to the Alamo.

On boarding at Camden and Lexington, the bus remained empty , except for one passenger. Once it hit the King William area, it loads up for the Alamo Hemisfair destination and then empties out again before hitting Martin. The Via Metropolitan Transit drivers get in a tunnel vision mode, just taking the same route and my driver was very quiet the entire ride. I say the streetcars should have music or included information about the city. But having a talking tour guide or running audio would be annoying.
The cons here are the limited air conditioning and you cant bring on bikes. They cater largely to walking tourist traffic and curb appeal. I seem to recall in the early years, they were open streetcars, but I may be wrong. The ride would be very hot that way, but somehow seems more reflective of a south Texas city. The Via Metro planners, and powers that be, are revamping and modernizing the routes for the Streetcars. I hope they include the east side of downtown. I hope they will include more of the money toward improvement, rather than adding too many routes. I mention this because i do see the streetcars empty alot of the time, during the week. The vintage feel of the old style wood seats and trolley feel is appealing, but could use some magnetism and modernizing!  

I hope to ride the newer Primo bus soon, with interior bike racks, wifi and fast service routes!  The streetcars are nice for a quick ride around downtown when you are on foot, without too much crowding or traffic.

Full Album of the Blue Streetcar Ride: 

Cooksterz, the rolling photographer, shoots photos and micro blogs through postings on Google+ Cooksterz on Google+
I just felt like blogging again. The unplanned bus ride to escape the heat, was a good place to start today.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cornbread Mesquite Sausage Pie

Cornbread Mesquite Sausage Pie

 A free recipe from Cooksterz. Tonights pie, always inspired with music, is a delightful home cooked Sausage, Red Potato, Pepper, Butter Bean, Cornbread Pie!  As I was preparing this,  a man pushing a wheelbarrow said to me, Remember that song Just a Bowl of Butter Beans by Lil Jimmy Dickens? Delightful old song to sing when you make this spicy delish dish. 
I used HEB brand mesquite sausage in this and fresh red bell pepper and jalapenos. Of course a can of Bush's Butter Beans , my favorite, is always a plus. I added a touch of honey and mozzarella cheese to the cornbread topping, because i like it that way. :D  

7-8 med size Red Potatoes (halved)
1/2 cup onion roughly chopped
One red bell pepper (long slices)
4 cloves garlic - sliced
2 fresh jalapenos (large) sliced
HEB brand, Mesquite Sausage (link style) 6 links
1 can of Butter Beans
1 cup grated cheese
1 tbsp honey
Cornbread - make your own or buy a box of Jiffy Mix. (requires one egg and milk)
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper

 Diagonally slice sausage and saute in a pan on high heat, remove sausage. Leave oil in pan and throw in the red potatoes, allow them to sear on side a bit, then throw in sliced red bell pepper, onion, garlic, jalapeno and salt/pepper. Cook on med, stirring, till all are browned a bit, then put sausage back in same pan. Lower heat to medium and add about 1cup of water and drained can of butter beans. Salt and Pepper here. Cover pan and let water steam up everything well for 10 min or so. Now preheat oven to 350°

Prepare cornbread mix to your liking/instruction. I like Pioneer Cornbread or the small Jiffy boxes. I then add a bit more flour, maybe 1/4 cup?, 1 large tablespoon honey,  about 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (i used mozzarella). Adding a few tblspoons of half and half will keep it moist too. 
Note: I find with cornbread mix, let the wet mixture sit just a while and then when ready, stir lightly before application. 

Pour sausage potato mix in a rectangle pyrex/glass dish (mix should have a bit of moisture/water to the gravy) spread it evenly and then pour cornbread mix over the top, and spread from the middle with a spoon , evenly over mixture. Bake about 10-15 min till cornbread is golden brown.  Be sure to sing the Butter Bean song, shown below :P

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bike Basket Pad and Pouch

I stitched my way to a nice padded lining for my Large Wald Bike Basket. The Trinity Stitch adds a bit of thickness to the liner. It's a great lift-off basket that fits either of my bicycles (cruiser or mtb) and is large enough without obstructing my view. A perfect size for one paper or green grocery bag trip up to Central Market HEB. (it doesn't like plastic bags!! ) The Pouch will hold a small camera or cell phone, or in some cases, candy. Delicious Candy :P The Lift-Off Wald Bike Basket can be purchased from  using his ebay auctions was fast for me! He also makes informative videos about his products which is a big plus for me!

Basket Pad - Liner is crocheted entirely in the trinity stitch. 
I used a ch 40, with 6.5mm , then switched to a 5.5mm for the remainder of project (keeps it from looking short on one side) This was a sturdier acrylic yarn. Use the trinity stitch for all rows. I add 4 double strands underneath the pad at mid corners and attached to bottom of basket. Edging would be a nice touch, but this gives you bottom protection and the full carry capacity. I hope you can read and achieve my pattern explanation attempt below.

Trinity Stitch: (multiples of 2)
Make desired chain. 
1)  sc in 2nd ch. Insert hook into same sc, and into each of the next 2 ch. pull yarn through all loops.
*ch 1  (trinity stitch) insert hook into the same stitch and into each of the next 2 ch. pull through all loops. Continue* across to the last stitch chain. sc in the same chain as the last stitch. Turn

2) ch 1, sc in next stitch. Insert hook into same sc, and into each of the next 2 ch (the tip of the last trinity stitch and into the loop created by last chain space.) pull through all loops.  *ch1, continue * with trinity stitch across to last stitch chain. Sc into the same chain as the last trinity stitch. Turn.

Repeat Row 2 until you achieve the length/width you would like. 

Pouch: starts with a oval sc base of ch 10 or so, cont sc around oval, for about 6 rows. 
Trinity Stitch in the round (turning after each row) for 4 rows. no pattern here, just free hand as stated. Finish with rows of Sc to height for about 4 or 5 rows.  Add 2 straps of 3sc width and add buttons! :D

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ugly Doll Month - Señor Caliente

Señor Caliente the Pepper - Doll #3
 A purple hot pepper does exist in nature. The purple "capsicum annuum." But this one exists because of my lack of green and red scraps. There are many crocheted Hot Peppers out there, mostly red and some with sombreros.  Señor Caliente Prefers his unique color and natural stemmed head. The stem was freehand single crochet, ending with some small bobble stitches along the crooked edge. His lidded eyes are a bit Oscar the Grouch style. My thought, if not for scrap shortage, was to make a "Salsa Trio" - including Señor Caliente the Pepper, Tito the Tomato, and Orlando the Onion. So Señor Caliente stands alone and proud. He is still crispy and perfect to slice up for some authentic Picadillo tacos. :D 

Hola! Me Llamo Señor Caliente

 Color, wasn't his strong suit. The heat of his latino personality really defined Señor Caliente. Preferring to sit along the veranda and listen to far away accordian and acoustic guitars, he knew someday he would be a spicy dish of composition himself, so he lived a happy daily life, though he dreamed of being a heroic bandit. Then one day whilst soaking up the sun and sipping Margaritas with his green Compadres, the shadow of a big cutting board came into his vision. There was no need to squirm, he accepted it bravely. It was his time. The time for Caliente to show his true flavor. Reciting the famous last words of Pancho Villa, he murmured... "Dont let it end like this. Tell them i said something."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ugly Doll Month - Tootie "Two-Lips" Johnson

"Tootie Two-Lips Johnson" Doll #2

Another Tuesday, another creepy little doll. Freehand using ovals rounds,, basic single crochet arms, square shaped (a little overstuffed) legs and curly antenna hair/head features. The center oval with the blue stripe, is her "console", or a place for inserting her card media. I laugh because the feedback I initially received from RL friends, was that the console looked somewhat sexual. Then all the bad jokes started like.... "Everyone needs a lil Johnson in Two-Lips" lmao and "I bet that Johnson would fit in her slot", and so on. I bite my blogger finger here and resist saying all the other sexually related quips. They were hilarious and caused a snorting laugh episode. I'll still maintain that It's her "console", because she is a bit robotical, yet has a Rotund body. I think it may be her short legs. They don't allow her to walk easily, or ride her bike often enough!

"Tootie Two-Lips Johnson"
Latent technology did not stop Tootie Two-Lips from carrying out her basic functions. C:\DISKCOPY She could still process SD cards and mini diskettes as required by her employers. Her console was dusty but operative. Preferring hearty meat stew and plum jams, over keeping her processors clean, caused some blockage in her system variables. Yes, Tootie was a bit rotund, but her spirit was as free as government cheese and her lips as sweet as 8gig of RAM.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ugly Doll Month - Messy Mel the Grimacer

Something about my scraps, and boredom, inspired me to make a few freaky ugly dolls this month. The first was completed a few days ago.

"Messy Mel the Grimacer" Doll #1
I did not write out the pattern here. Home spun Yarn for body and hair. It is a simple tube shape, continuous dc. Using Curly q's for the mouth, pom pom for nose and some Nubbie rounds, buttons for the eyes. The homespun yarn gave him a curly hair look. I debated teasing the hair. Took off a string bow and added a smart lil stove pipe style hat! I hope the next doll can measure up to Mel, whose personality I took a shine to. (For Doll #2 : Working on a rotund, but somewhat robotic, version of a female doll.)

"Messy Mel the Grimacer"
Mel was a man about town. The unkempt style was something he wore well while pedaling the city streets, artfully selling umbrellas and the occasional shoeshine. His lack of limbs did not thwart his enthusiasm. His grumpy disposition came from the hurtful comments and bullying, by those with greater ambulatory means.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Zesty Baked Tilapia

Zesty Baked Tilapia
by Cooksterz

I rarely write out my recipes, because i do not measure. This was an impromptu, "whats in the fridge" recipe and the combination was too good not to share! Using a medium spice kick here.

5- 6 Tilapia Filets - or alternate white fish
Carrots, Celery ( can use zucchini or broccoli as well!)
1/2 Onion
2 cloves Garlic
Lime Basil ( fresh - can use dry or substitute, but my fresh lime basil is great with this Fish)
Lemon Pepper
Thai Rooster Chili Sauce - or Chili Oil (alternative: jalapeno or serrano)
Tartar Sauce ( this is not for garnish, its for tang in the sauce)
1/4 cup Half and Half ( or milk alternative)
1/2 cup Water
Butter - Olive Oil
(Tomatoes optional for sauce)
Lemons (orange or lime will do too)

Clean prepare Fish, Slice Carrots, lengthwise in quarters. Dice onion, garlic , celery and fresh basil. Slices of half a lemon.

Place Fish in Bowl, season with peppers, salt, basil, 2 tsp olive oil, rooster chili sauce, or hot thai chili oil to taste, and squeeze remaining half of lemon. Place fish filets in a baking dish, lined with foil. Let sit 10 min while you saute veggies.

In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter. Add Onions, Garlic, Basil and carrots. Season if desire, and saute for 10 min or so. Till carrots become only a bit soft. Place saute mix on top of fish filets in baking dish.
In the same saute pan, reserve a few onion , garlic, add tbsp butter, 1/4 cup tartar sauce, lemon, pepper and about 1/4 cup half and half and water. If you like spicy you can add more chili sauce here, or add fresh jalapenos or serranos. I also like to add a bit of sea salt or tomatoes to the final sauce, for color. Heat on med high, stirring constantly, till sauce thickens briefly. Pour sauce on top of fish and vegetables. Topped with Slice Lemons or Oranges. Bake Covered at 375-400 for 20 min. Remove foil cover, bake for 5 min longer for a golden brown color. Garnish with more basil if desired.
Serve with Baked Potatoes, Rice or a Salad, for a Tasty, Spicy Tender, delicious Fish!