Tuesday, July 19, 2011

pulling one from the archives

 Ok tomorrow they are predicting a heat index of 115 in the Chicagoland area...  When I heard that I couldn't help but think of this post, it always makes me smile to myself. 

I will have something new tomorrow evening, but thought you all might enjoy this one!

I am going to blog on a slightly different subject than I usually do but stick with me for a little bit I promise to bring it around in the end, today I am going to talk about cars, specifically ones that I have owned. These days I drive a Toyota Rav4 I really love the way it feels to drive; it is comfortable, has air conditioning that works the sound system is great, good gas mileage I spend about 3 hours a day in it and think that all around it is a wonderful car. It is also the first grown-up car that I have ever had. The car that I was driving when I met Kris was a 13 year old Mercury Tracer, my mom had given it to drive me while I was going through my divorce, this car and I have about 1000 stories.  From changing a tire at 3:00 am (in a tux no less) to two lug nuts flying off on the way to work one day, people often ask me to share some of these stories, most of them are funny in a dark sense of the word.

Let me describe the car here so you get a good picture, it was an inexpensive car that was 13 years old it had a banged up fender from a small accident further damaged by falling off a jack at the above mentioned 3:00am tire change (turns out that you should park on a level surface when you change a tire). It had one hub cap; the lock on the driver's side door didn't work so I had to unlock it from the passenger's side to get in. The air conditioner didn't work at all in fact, because it had a tendency to overheat if the engine idled for more than a few minutes, I kept the heater on low all the time. Oh and the transmission was a mess, I had to start this automatic transmission in first gear and work it up to drive. It had a maximum cruising speed of 60 mph which started to become frighteningly fast on the $22.00 tires that I put on it.

Short side story here, one day I was parked on the street outside of work and somebody walked past all of the cars in the area, looked at mine and said to himself "Four bald tires, banged up fender, no hubcaps... yeah we break into this one we got it made!" Broke out my window and took all of the cash from my ash tray (almost $3.00) and a CD player with a Hello Kitty Motif (retail value $12.99 at Wal-Mart). Because I live in a rather nice suburb I decided to replace the window with a Hefty Force Flex bag, not just any crummy old garbage bag, just until the weekend when I could get an appointment for a mechanic to make fun of me while he replaced it. The next day, parked in the same spot someone actually tore open my garbage bag window, I have to assume just to kick me while I was down.

I mentioned above that the heater had to remain on at all times if I got caught in bad traffic, even on a relatively cool day, the engine would overheat and I would end up pulled over on the side of the expressway while it cooled down a bit. About four years ago the Chicago area was suffering a heat wave similar to the one we have going on now. It had been in the mid 90s and humid for several days and I was trekking home on a Friday after work, hot air blowing on my face. My afternoon commute is usually about an hour but due to construction I was looking at almost two hours that day.  I was listening to one of my favorite radio programs the hosts were just starting to mix their drinks on air (a regular Friday tradition on WLS AM) when they cut to he weather.  "It is sunny out there today and HOT the temperature is 93 but when you figure in the heat index it feels like 115."

That was it!   I was about to explode!  I screamed in anguish and pulled off my tie, took off my shoes and socks then unbuttoned my royal blue dress shirt so that maybe just maybe I could take a little just a breath of air that didn't weigh more than I did and make it home alive.  A full 45 minutes later I pulled into the lot of my favorite liquor store and was met by an angel.  I walked in  wearing untied dress shoes (no socks, I just couldn't do it) and an unbuttoned shirt, undershirt exposed, I was covered in sweat  and was greeted by a wonderful woman who said to me just as the automatic door opened, "would you like to try a spicy cucumber margarita?"  

I could only think, "cold, wet, YES!"  I got my little paper Dixie cup of margarita then picked up my Vodka, came back and got another paper cup of margarita then went to get a couple of bottles of wine then just one more drink on my way to check out.  OK maybe I wasn't in hell...  I picked up a copy of the recipe put it in my binder then lost it ... until last weekend!  As recipes often do in my house it had vanished without a trace then suddenly resurfaced just when I needed it most, during our current heat wave.
I know what you are thinking, "Spicy Cucumber Margarita?  did you cook off some brain cells in your trek to Binny's Beverage Depot?"  My only answer is, you try it and tell me.

1/2 cucumber diced
1 or 2 slices of Jalapeno about 1/4 inch thick (be careful here)
1/2 cup Taquila
juice from 2 limes
1 TBS Triple Sec (to taste really I don't like it sweet)
a handful of ice

Kosher Salt 
Chipotle Chile Powder

Put the cucumber and Jalapeno slices in a cocktail shaker and muddle with a wooden spoon then add the next four ingredients and shake until ice cold.  Poor the salt onto a saucer then sprinkle a little chili powder on that, be careful a little goes a long way.  Moisten the rim of your glass and dip into your salt mixture, pour the mixture over ice and enjoy.


  1. I love the story! Made me laugh. And yeah, I think a heat wave like that makes margaritas necessary.

  2. Do you have a photo of that car? I think I like your cucumber recipe better than mine--or at least in a different way.

    Keep cool!