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Ethics | Relationships | Dating

Things I need to know. How many of you out there have had, or heard, horror stories from dating? Or, you may even be the one responsible for them! Yeah, I can’t believe I just said that ~ but it’s true!

I am asking you, because these past several weeks my personal life became unraveled because I lost control of my being. Lost control what I believe in….”dating” can be fun and yet it can have some hinder agendas’…

I, for one, am aghast at some of the things I encounter personally and know what’s out there: a date who spends the entire evening texting a friend; or a date that are, “Social Media Whores” who needs to reprise themselves constantly with a twice daily dose of selfies; and those dates who expects “payback” after three dinner dates; another who only calls at 3am – when they’re already outside your apartment; And of course, a million of those who don’t call when they say they would.

So, you all think you’re a decent person! Maybe and you probably are. So what about the people you dated? But if everyone is so good and ethical, where the hell do all these atrocities come from??!!! Why do generally good people treat their partners, however lengthy or temporary, with a completely different (or absent) set of ethical standards? Where are YOUR ethics when it comes to dating? I’m so confused!

My blog is meant to establish some bi-lateral standards of ethical dating, yes people Bi-lateral to include both men and women, in gay, straight or combination of relationships. Dating is a collaborative effort, and there should be a common set of standards within which we agree and operate. Would you do business with someone without signing terms and conditions? So why would you go out with someone without an agreement on ethical dating standards?

We all spend so much of our life dating, that it only makes sense for us to be more strategic about the process. All relationships go through that wonderful honeymoon phase, but what happens after good graces have faded? And it does! Many relationships may continue down that path of happiness and bliss, however, some couples’ bliss turns sour (worst than grapes) as they get to know each other on a more personal level. Trust me, been there!

Everyone has feelings!!! And everyone has hopes, dreams, ambitions, and passions. There is something deeper within all of us that totally begs for respect and honor no matter who we are. Being accountable for being honest with ourselves and one another about our contributions to both the problems and the solutions…it requires a deeper level of transparency . . . accountability starts with self, agreed?! . . .

Interacting through words and behaviors in a way that honors the other and respects difference, we are all human and respect is an honoring of the dignity and equality of all persons. It involves communicating with each other and behaving towards one another in ways that demonstrate the value of the other person.

We all have opinions, don’t we? I do, I believe there are dangerous warning signs of relationship issues such as having a hot tempered person can be admirable when they are is defending your honor, but a relationship with a person who has a short fuse can be dangerous. Abusive relationships are never worth staying in, however, unfortunately many women do not recognize – or ignore – the early warning signs in a relationship.

If your partner wants to know of your whereabouts at all times, their jealousy might be something in danger of spiraling out of control. It’s sweet when your partner is thinking about and wanting to be with you, however, it is unacceptable for your partner to expect you to punch a time clock all the time. Be wary of such possessive behavior, and don’t be afraid to ask others of their opinions. If your friends have not met your partner yet even though you’ve been dating for several months, this is another warning sign. Abusive relationships often start with a fair bit of antisocial behavior.

Can you figure out the “ending warning signs in your relationship”? I thought I did, but do you know sometimes, a warning sign you notice in a relationship has nothing to do with abuse or neediness, but rather quite the opposite as your significant other begins to “phase out” of the couple, wanting to move on to other things. While a lot of breakups are mutual and drama-free, there are some that get very ugly before reaching a conclusion. It happened to me not so long ago and it is important to show respect for each other when you are dating, however, when things get difficult, many couples forget this level of courtesy for one another.

Withdrawal and avoidance from activities you once enjoyed can be a first red flag. If your partner is simply unwilling to spend time with you like he once did, then you may begin to suspect he has either moved on or is seeing someone else. This can be a hurtful assumption, so be sure to have a basis for your accusation before making it, but know avoidance can definitely be the beginning of the end.

In general your partner do not want to spend a lot of time talking about their emotions, and when a relationship is turning sour, you will find they are making such a minimal effort it is as if they have already left. They may put off conversations or do their best to prevent them because in their minds they may already be planning a breakup.

If your partner is putting you down, this can be another sign of a waning relationship. Responding negatively toward you is a hurtful tactic sometimes used to push a significant other away when they are no longer wanted. It may, in your partner’s mind, be easier for your partner to hold you at a distance through causing the blame to fall on her/his shoulders than it is for her/him to outright say what she/he is feeling.

Many have difficulty expressing their feelings, and being cruel is one solution. Treating your passions as stupid, making fun of the way you look, or not allowing you to complete a thought out loud are just a few of the “put downs” that may take place if you are dating a disinterested person who no longer has any regard for your feelings.

Lastly, a couple may find that their biggest red flag in a relationship is due to a severe escalation in their amount of arguments. Suddenly they fight about anything and everything, making it difficult to function as a couple. Fortunately, most couples do not resort to verbal or physical abuse, but many breakups occur due to too much arguing. Couples drift, and this can cause their life ambitions to take off on divided paths, forcing them to leave a once valuable relationship behind. If your partner is being argumentative, try your best to open up the lines of communication. However, be prepared for a potentially disappointing response.

Warning signs in relationships are not always obvious, but when it is time for something to end, you will probably know it. Unfortunately many women act as if they do not know until things have escalated to such a point that leaving is a much more emotionally painful experience than what was probably necessary.

My advice to you, you have value and love to give, and it is a shame to waste it on someone who is just going to throw it away. Never stay in an abusive situation, regardless. Your life is too valuable, and somewhere out there is a decent person for you who will treat you right.

Keeping Love and Passion Alive. Just saying! Tell her you love her and tell her she’s beautiful and buy her flowers (you don’t need a special occasion) surprise her! Take her out on a date and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money! Cook for her; make it a romantic dinner, complete with candles, flowers and a nice bottle of wine. Have interests of your own!!! That’s right people! Don’t get it twisted but keep it real and do make time for her. Encourage her to follow her heart’s desire; do find a common hobby or interest. Listen with your ears and your heart. Let her know you’re paying attention. And by all means, ask her what she would like to make your relationship better. Be open to what she has to say. Follow up your words with actions, important!!! Give her space (we all need to it); and finally people, please communicate, listen with respect. Repeat what you heard her say. Validate her points. Validate her.

Chef EdieM

Puerto Rican Pasteles

Pasteles have a long history, but they are still extremely popular in modern-day Latin American cuisine. They are very common at festivals, family gatherings and parties. This is a very labor-intensive dish; the very same reason why most people buy their “pasteles” from someone who has the experience and the patience to make these, like myself. Puerto Rican pasteles are much more labor intensive than any other due to the masa mixture which consists of a combination of grated green banana, green plantain, taro, and calabazas (tropical pumpkins), and is seasoned with liquid from the meat mixture, milk, and annatto oil (annatto seeds infused with olive oil). The meat is prepared as a stew and usually contains the combination of pork shoulder, potatoes, chickpeas, olives, and capers seasoned with bay leaves, recaito, tomato sauce, sofrito, fresh garlic, and annatto oil. The pork shoulder can also be replaced with chicken.

Assembling a typical pasteles involves a large sheet of parchment paper, a strip of banana leaf that has been heated over an open flame to make it supple, and a little annatto oil on the leaf. The masa (dough) is then placed on banana leaf and stuffed with meat mixture. The paper is then folded and tied with kitchen string to form packets.

Once made, pasteles can either be cooked in boiling water or frozen for later use. Because they are so labor intensive, large Puerto Rican families often make anywhere from 50-200 or more at a time, especially around the months of November throughout January, “the holiday seasons”. They are usually served with rice and pigeon peas (arroz con gandules), roasted pork, and other holiday foods on the side.

Let’s make this happen…

Masa:
12 green bananas
4 plantains
2-3 lbs. yucca
1-2 lbs. white yautía
1 large calabazas
¾ cups milk
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 tbs sofrito
2 tbs annatto oil

Filling:
3-4 lbs. of shoulder pork, skinned and diced into small tiny pieces
3 small Idaho potato, diced into small pieces
1 ½ cup cooked chickpeas or garbanzo beans
½ cup sliced Spanish stuffed olives
½ cup of sofrito
3-4 bay leaves
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper

2 batches of parchment paper to roll pastels
Banana leaves – cut into rectangles of 10” x 8” approximately
Cotton kitchen soft twine (pasteles string)

Let’s make this happen…

Masa…

1. Peel all vegetables, diced into small pieces and shred them using a food processor or the old fashion way you can use a hand grated (which will take you all night).
2. Add the sofrito, salt, annatto oil and milk to the masa mixture. Mix it all well to create a homogenous smooth mixture. The annatto oil will provide a bright orange color to the mixture.
3. Add salt to taste, or Sazon Goya con cilantro y achiote, Sazon Goya con ajo y cebolla (Goya seasonings).

Filling…
1. In large stew pot fill half-way with water; add salt and add pork. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cook for an hour.
2. Rise to medium heat, add the rest of ingredients and cook for another ½ hour.
3. Once everything is cooked, add the olives.

Assembling…
1. Place a piece of banana leaf on top of the parchment paper (it’s similar to butcher’s paper).
2. Take a little bit of the sauce of the mixture and wet the banana leaf.
3. Take a large spoonful of masa in the center of the banana leaf. Using the spoon, form a well in the center of the mixture;
4. Place about 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the well. Carefully fold the leaf over, in order to cover the filling with masa on all sides.
5. Fold the paper like a letter and fold in the sides to create a compact package. Set aside and continue making/packing them. Repeat this procedure until all the masa mixture has been used. You can now freeze or cook them when you are ready.

Let’s tie them…
1. Take two packs placing them on top of each other (facing two large ends together) and start binding them together with cooking string. Don’t tie to tight (during cooking they will expand).

Cooking

1. In a large pot of water add 2-3 doubles sets of pasteles into water; bring to boil for about 45 minutes or until the masa is cooked; (if pasteles are frozen, place them directly from the freezer onto the boiling water and boil for about 1 hour).
2. Drain them well when you take them out of the water (place them onto a plate and let sit for a minute or two) cut sting and unwrap.
3. Serve over rice, side with pork and salad or just enjoy alone.

BTW: Pasteles can stay in the freezer for up to three months if well sealed and wrapped!!

Enjoy!

Sweet Braided Loaves

“This recipe was handed down from my grandmother to my mother; my mother had told me stories that her mother made Sweet Braided Loaves during the winter months into early spring, because of cost efficiency and the loaves would last for days on. The Sweet Braided Loaves would be served with soups and stews. Back in the 50’s and 60’s living in “alphabet city”, known in Manhattan, NY that Sweet Braided Loaves were the common bread served with any dish. Throughout the years I made it for my son during the Easter Holiday changing the recipe from time to time.”

Read more: https://chefediem.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

1 PACKAGE ACTIVE DRY YEAST

1/4 CUP WARM WATER

1 CUP WARM 2% MILK

1/2 CUP SUGAR

1/2 CUP BUTTER, SOFTENED

3 EGGS, ROOM TEMPERATURE

1/2 TEASPOON SALT

5 1/2 CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR

1 CUP GOLDEN RAISINS

Garnish:  2 Tablespoon sliced Almonds, 1 egg, lightly beaten

Let’s make this happen…

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, butter, eggs, salt and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft an dough.  Stir in raisins.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough into six portions.  Shape each into a 12-in. rope. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under.  Repeat with remaining ropes. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  4. Brush with egg; sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire racks.
  5. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each).

Enjoy!

Sweet Bread

Chef EdieM

My Life in Boxes

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIRS OF CHEF EDIEM 11-18-87

These are series of short stories of my life, before and after my AVM surgery and recovery. Stories, from what I could remember for many years from notes to letters to myself; written on old Christmas wrapping paper used as scrap paper; paper towels, napkins and I even wrote on my clothing. I was strongly advised to write things down so I won’t forget. I’ve written notes during pre-op and post-op, part of my life story over twenty-eight years’ worth.  Silently I had put my life away in boxes for years, I never read nor looked at any my notes. I couldn’t, not until now.

I am a mother, a sister, an aunt, a lover, an activist – violence against children. I am a woman who adores life, who loves to cooks and going on cooking auditions, always intrigued with the unknown, enjoys writing, have a passion for the arts, and helping those less unfortunate as much as possible. I had endured sexual abuse since the age five and it continued into my mid to late teens. I can be raw at times, however still keeping it real.  I have a serious cleaning disorder, I brush my teeth in the shower, I swear, I spit like man and I dislike rude people. I am not different than the average person, so what makes me stand out from the rest of the population, I am a survivor of a right temporal Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) on my cerebellum. I had a Craniotomy 27 years ago.

PART 1:  The AVM

During my pregnancy and going on my third trimester my AVM became full blown during an outing at a public art show in Manhattan, NY. My surgery took place at New York Presbyterian/Columbia. During my “AVM recovery” I had to learn to live all over again-literately!!! I had an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain that can cause devastating effects and it began to bleed. Most likely the AVM had existed in my brain for many years, perhaps for most of my life. I was fortunate to have received superb health care from doctors at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia and from Dr. Robert A. Solomon, Clinic neurosurgeon affiliated with The New York-Presbyterian/Columbia – Neurological Surgery and University Hospital.

In the late summer of 1987 the AVM in my brain began to bleed, causing symptoms for the first time. I began experiencing headaches that, in retrospect, were more severe than ordinary headaches. I had a pounding sensation in the right side of head. I went to my doctor, and he thought I had a cold. I slept allot because I couldn’t take muscle relaxants for the pain due to my pregnancy, but it got worse.

Then, mid-September of 1987, Sunday; the internal bleeding increased and my symptoms escalated. “It was Art Show day, which I was really looking forward to. “I woke up with my head hurting really badly. As usually, my pregnancy didn’t allow me to take any medication only Tylenol; I drove myself into the city and while driving into the Holland Tunnel my head was pounding. I threw up in the car. I managed to clean up and parked the car in the village. Avoiding being negative, I remember saying to myself, “it’s the pregnancy don’t panic”. I met up with my friends, we walked for an hour, I drank allot of water because of the heat, then suddenly I felt really sick, I thought if I ate something it would go away. But it didn’t. While I was walking back to the vehicle I felt a pop on my right side than a burst of bright tiny dots appeared, than total silent was creeping on me. I decide to go home and rest. The following day, I called out sick from work, called my doctor explained all that transpired, I was advised to go to the emergency at a New Jersey Hospital. The hospital physicians ordered an MRI, which revealed that I was experiencing serious bleeding in the brain. The AVM, only one to two centimeters in diameter, was large enough to be life-threatening. I was then advised to abort my pregnancy and immediately needed to have surgery. Being confused scared and without knowledge of the AVM I immediately contacted a reliable sort, my sister–in-law, Marion Marin who strongly suggested New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.Immediately, calls were made and within days I was transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.

Doctors at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia stabilized me but decided that surgery on the AVM should be postponed after the cesarean section delivery. The risk of coma or death as a complication of surgery is much higher of brain the team wisely chose not to operate immediately after the hemorrhage occurred.

After spending three weeks in the hospital, I was able to go home. My doctor told me he was handing my case over to Dr. Solomon, a neurosurgeon who eventually would perform my surgery. I left with warm memories of New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.

I faced difficult adjustments in my day-to-day life. It was critical that no sudden movement cause the AVM to begin bleeding again. “When I was released from the hospital, they gave me information about what I could and couldn’t do,” “I wasn’t allowed to do anything that would cause my brain to be active. I couldn’t lift, couldn’t paint, or work out. It was torture. It was horrible.

On November 18, 1987, I was ready for surgery. Dr. Solomon, who directs the endovascular neurosurgery program at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, operated on me. Then, over a period of nine prolonged and difficult hours Dr. Solomon performed a Craniotomy procedure to remove the malformation.

Dr. Solomon told me that I wouldn’t have to worry about the AVM for now and that I should know since I already had suffered an AVM that I may suffer another in my lifetime, regardless the outcome. When I left the hospital it was kind of a shock; I was out in the real world where everyone wasn’t as nice. During this period I was working with a major trading firm down by the World Trade Center area and I lost my job after the surgery.

I personally felt left to battle the demons of the world by myself; my life as I knew it turned upside down. I was seen differently by people; couldn’t work and constantly being discriminated because of my seizures episodes caused by the surgery; memory loss, rudeness was the new for me! Rejections, loss of friends, and sadly some family members turned away from me because they could deal with me. I lost my faith and questioned it many times. I suffered serious disability- loss of memory, I had to learn to read and write; almost instantly become a single parent and surrounded by domestic abuse didn’t help; and finally I moved hundreds of miles away to fix my untamed life.

I learned over the years of recovery that it was up to me to grow, adapt to new beginnings and be able to look out of the box. Which I did, years later I briefly studied Paralegal while working for a law firm; I worked for the Government | Army and then decided to become a Surgical Technician. In the next few weeks will be taking my state board exam for my license and I will continue my education, enjoying my family and friends, cooking, writing, volunteering and eyeing a possible future in the field of nutrition, health. “I am so blessed to have my life back after 27 years.” life is good again not perfect but good!

Chef EdieM

Memories, My Life in Boxes

Ensalada de Bacalao | Cod Fish Salad with Mojito

Puerto Rican Codfish Salad | Ensalada de Bacalao

Ensalada de Bacalao (Codfish Salad)

Ingredients
2 lbs, dry/salted bacalao, desalted
4 white potatoes, boiled and cubed
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into rings
3 tomatoes, sliced
½ green bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 hard boiled eggs, shelled cooled and sliced
4 Fresh garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 avocados, sliced
1 small jar of red pimientos, sliced
½ cup Spanish olives ½ cup olive oil 1 tbsp of white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s make this happen…

  1. Rinse codfish under warm running water to rinse off excess salt. Then add to a pot of boiling water, let it boil for about ½ hour. Drain the water, add fresh water and boil again for 20 minutes. Drain and let it cool.
  2. Shred or pull apart into bite size pieces using your fingers. Set aside to let drain and cool again.
  3. Clean, peel and dice potatoes into large cubes. Boil the potatoes for only 20 minutes. Let potatoes, sit and cool.
  4. Boil the eggs.
  5. Place the fish in the salad bowl as the first layer. Add the other ingredients except for the olive oil, vinegar & hard boiled eggs. Make other layers with the codfish and all the ingredients until all is used up., salt, and pepper. Combine vinegar & olive and drizzle over the salad. Gently toss until all ingredients are well coated with the dressing. Add sliced boiled eggs, & garnish with red pimientos.

Serves 6

Pairing: Ice Cold Mojito

Mojito Ingredients: Original recipe makes 1 cocktail Change Servings

10 Fresh mint leaves

½ Lime cut into 4 wedges

2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste

1 cup ice cubes

1 ½ Ounces White Bacardi Rum

1/2 cup Club Soda

Let’s make this happen…

  1. Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice.
  2. Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture.
  3. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice.
  4. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with carbonated water. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired.
  5. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge.

Note: If you’re going to muddle the mint leaves in the glass, add a little sugar to it too. The sugar is an abrasive and will grind up the leaves very well

Mojito Drinks

 

 

Enjoy Chef EdieM

Coconut Flan (Flan de Coco)

Let’s make this happen….

• ¾ cup white sugar
• 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
• 1 (12 fluid ounce) can coconut milk (Goya)
• 8 eggs
• 1/2 cup fresh shredded coconut
• 4 oz Philadelphia original cream cheese

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place 1 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook gently, without stirring, but shaking occasionally until the sugar has melted. Continue cooking until the sugar has completely melted and turned golden brown; then add 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Pour into a large, glass baking dish. Spread the caramel evenly over the bottom of the dish, then set aside to cool for 15 minutes before proceeding.

3. Once the caramel has hardened, shred coconut over caramel.

4. Pour the condensed milk, coconut milk, cream cheese and eggs into a blender. Blend for 3-5 minutes until smooth. Pour into baking dish over the caramel.

5. Pour 2 cups of cold water into larger deep baking pan, then place glass baking dish into the larger baking pan. You want to prevent the burning of the caramel and helps keeps the flan from sinking. Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes or until set. When done, remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the dish to separate the flan from the sides. Refrigerate overnight. Place flat dish over baking pan, flip and enjoy!

Puerto Rican Rice & Pigeon Peas | Arroz Con Gandules

Puerto Rican Rice & Pigeon Peas | Arroz Con Gandules
Puerto Rican Rice & Pigeon Peas | Arroz Con Gandules

Rice and beans are a delicious staple in Latino community. If you have ever tasted Spanish rice and enjoyed it, than you will love this recipe. It’s a simple recipe that the whole family will enjoy. Make this flavorful dish at home with these easy steps.

Ingredients

1 medium chopped onion
½ cup sofrito
1 small can tomato sauce
1 medium can pigeon peas
1 tablespoon Manzanillo olives
1 teaspoon capers
1 cup of chicken broth
EVOL (extra virgin olive oil)
4 cups of extra long grain white rice
** 2 for 1 (2 cups of water for each cup of rice)
Garlic powder |salt |pepper to taste

Let’s make this happen:
1. In a saucepan add a bit of EVOL let heat.
2. Stir fry onions till tender.
3. Add sofrito for about 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add tomato sauce, rinse and drain beans, the raw rice and chicken broth and stir well.
5. Add enough water to cover the rice, (2 for 1) or about 1 1/2 inch above rice line.
6. Let boil (uncovered) on medium high heat until water evaporates.
7. Lower heat to low and cover with aluminum foil and cook for about 35 to 45 minutes. Serve.

Tip: Using a sheet of aluminum foil to cover your rice pot before putting on the lid helps & is a secret so all the rice cooks quickly.

Serving Per Recipe: 6-8
Enjoy!
Chef EdieM