Monday, May 7, 2012

Take 10 - Odds and ends

Take 10

Odds and ends

With the price of gas so high, ($4.29/gallon in San José) I make a point of seeking the cheapest place to fill up, which just happens to be Costco, and the closest one to me is in Santa Clara. As you enter the parking lot, you can line up to access the pump of your choice. Sometimes there are about 5-6 cars in your queue, so as you wait your turn to fill up and after you have checked your messages on your device, you have time to look around. The other day, as I was waiting and looking around, I noticed something I had never seen. A man exited his car with a plastic shopping bag. He put his hand into the bag  and pressed the buttons on the pad through the plastic bag. He continued this way to remove the cap to his gas tank and then to lift the nozzle and insert into the tank hole. He kept his bag on until he was completely done and then removed the bag, threw it in the trash bin, got into his car and drove away. Was he a germophobe or just someone who hates the smell of gas on his hands ? I'll never know ! Looking to the right, still waiting for my turn and with still nothing better to do,(we do have lots of waiting time here in California, but people do it quietly and patiently, it seems) I noticed another man filling up looking very comfortable in his pajamas bottoms. Only, his pajamas bottoms. I am not making this up, I promise. This guy was shirtless, barefoot and with pajamas bottoms. How much more comfortable can gas buying get ? Other people would have taken a photo of both incidents with their phones but I couldn't. I am Canadian, after all. We are known to be the a polite bunch.

During a trip to Target, I purchased wine. Here in California, there is wine for sale everywhere, even in pharmacies so it is no longer a surprise to find cheap wine $3 a bottle as well as $20+ wines available for every taste, at various shops. No surprise there. The surprise however, came at the till. In Canada, to the eyes of the cashier, if a person could be under age, she will be asked for i.d. Here if you buy it, you have to show i.d., even if you should look to be 99 years old. No discrimination.So you do, no questions asked and no complaints.  Now again at Target, as I was purchasing cold medicine (dayquil/nyquil type) for David last week (my kind and generous husband has now passed on his disease to me, but I digress) I was asked for my i.d. Having nothing to hide, I handed over my brand new California Driver's License, which the cashier quickly proceeded to swipe like a credit card. Seems like it's standard procedure at Target. Needless to say I didn't even bother asking the Target employee, the reason for this and why she didn`t just glance at my birth date. They usually do it because it's company policy and no other reason is given. David thinks it's probably because it takes the reponsibility off the cashier and furthermore, it probably helps build Target's data base. There was a recent article in New York Times Magazine that explained how Target accumulated data on its customers to better target (pardon the pun) coupons and discounts sent to them. Elsewhere, at CVS pharmacy, when you buy such a cold remedy, there is a little tab attached to your receipt and here is what it says: Preventing Teen Cough Medicine Abuse. You must be 18 years of age or older to purchase medicine containing destromethorphan
and no questions or id required. I suppose the CVS employees are better judges of age or work under a different set of rules ! Hum ......

Have I mentioned, traffic lights in Silicon Valley are forever long. Probably due to the gazillion cars going through intersections, all day long, no matter what time of day. Where are all of these cars coming from and where are they all going, I sometimes ask myself as I wait, and wait having nothing better to do.... How long are these traffic lights, you ask ? Well... At major intersections a man could shave (electrical shavers please, guys), girls could apply mascara (two coats easily, ladies), one could eat a medium sized apple or a large banana,and this being California, it does happen !. I could go on and on but..... I still have to tell you about a yummy recipe.

Here is a great finger food recipe you could easily turn into dinner. We did and it was great. I will leave the choice of accompanying drink up to you.

Crab Salad in Crisp Wonton Cups

-For the wonton cups

18 wonton wrappers (thawed, if frozen)
2 tsps canola oil
1/4 tsp. salt

-For the dressing

2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbs. olive oil

-For the salad

1/2 pound lump crabmeat (I used canned)
1 stalk celery finely diced (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup peeled and finely diced ripe mango
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion (white and green parts)
2 tbs. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To make the wonton cups, brush both sides of the wonton wrappers with the canola oil and gently press wrapper into a mini muffin tin so it forms a cup shape. Sprinkle with salt and bake until brown and crisp 8 to 10 minutes. Cool cups and remove from the tin. To make the dressing, whisk together the lime juice and zest, the salt, the black pepper and red pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk until well combined. To make the salad, in a medium bowl, gently toss together the crab meat, celery, mango, scallion and cilantro. Add the dressing and combine. Fill each cup with the crab salad and serve immediately.
P.S. We are planning on trying this same recipe with a different filling like salmon, shrimp or chicken next time for a more potent flavor. I will keep you posted.

Enjoy !