2021 Update: Rubin & Bernstein PLLC and Mark Rubin
Hey there. On March 16, 2020, I attended an in-person settlement conference at the Pima County Superior Court. Lots of sanitizer cleaned surfaces. No masks. The case settled but, even then, none of us should have been in the courthouse.
Since March 17 I have been at home. Not completely – I have been in the courthouse maybe 10X since March 16, and I did try a case on Election Day, and I drop by the office briefly every several days – but the work life unfolds differently. Lots of phone calls and emailing, Zoom meetings, and many, many work-arounds to avoid personal contact.
(Confession: Max Atticus Finch – pictured here moments after midnight on Sunday morning, after mooching popcorn during a home showing of Darkest Hour with Leigh and her brother Ted – goes to work every day. His driver picks him up, at about 9 a.m. and returns him soon after 5 p.m. In either direction, I get or send documents which require a wet signature, along with the daily deposit. Max thinks he runs the place, by the way, and that if he was not there, there would be no there, there or anywhere else.)
Leigh and I count our blessings. We’re healthy and safe. We have a great staff. They take care of us and our clients, carefully. That allows us to focus on our health while we, at the same time, make ourselves available to solve problems for our clients and help seven households make ends meet. Somehow, in the strangest of times, we manage!
None of which reflects the intended purpose of this post. Yes, I changed the title to reflect the first four paragraphs. And, before I move on, I do need to mention holiday giving. Sharing treats in December, as a tradition, comes from who knows where. In COVID times, with fear about what might be travelling with homemade or home baked this or that, and lots of families really struggling, we decided not to send treats and, instead, share our good fortune with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Many local charities meet first order needs: we chose the Food Bank because it represents a chance – efficiently – to help those in need, in lieu of our usual tendency to shares tamales and cookies with those who lack not so very much.
I write to discuss food. It keeps me sane in these crazy times! Truth be told, I think an artist lives inside me. No patience for learning real skills, like painting, photography, or sculpture. But, I can craft something that looks okay and tastes better, or vice versa, or both or – too often – neither.
Two purchases in 2020 have mattered, one much more so than the other. First, I replaced my Kitchenaid Mixer. I had mine since 2002. It bounced when I mixed bread dough. For years. I stepped up and got the six-quart model. Amazing! Stable and solid. Now, I batch pizza dough from time to time with ease. Bread gets made 2x per week.
The other purchase? A new Instant Pot with a built-in air fryer. A two-in-one machine. Nice, although I have not yet used the Insta-Pot feature. Leigh and I live a block apart and share. She shines with bean and rice dishes, so I use the pressure cooker feature less often. But, the air fryer? Every day!
The cooking gives me pleasure. That said – and with due consideration for sharing – I am determined to make grocery store visits rare. Too much food – often, impulse purchases – needs to get eaten. So, what you see represents some of the past few month’s efforts. Also, the photos and descriptions reflect a reminder that Mark Rubin Writes purportedly focuses on Food, Law, and The Rest aka the Affairs of the Day. (Stay tuned for a tough post very soon, re: an impoverished Republican Party and Trump Administration.)
I made “meat” loaf recently. Quotation marks? Impossible™ Burger and Beyond Beef®, combined with sautéed machine-chopped mushrooms, sautéed mirepoix, bread crumbs, Italian herbs, and an egg. Very tasty, although it needed more umami punch. The alt-meat delivers on the fat and mouth feel fronts, and the mushrooms delivered both moisture and flavor, but it needed more. Tip: refrigerate before slicing.
The clam bake represents a repurposing of a failed dish: Rhode Island seafood chowder. Rhode Islanders do their chowder with a clear base, using oil and butter. No cream – or worse, flour-based thickeners – and no tomatoes. I did the dish using frozen clams and bottled clam juice and with added water I ended up with almost tasteless broth. Broth drained, frozen corn and shredded mozzarella added, and I had a casserole. Note the shrimp, interloping. Very nice! (If this one gets a next time, bread crumbs and more cheese will top the dish, and I will cook the corn before I add it.)
I buy gorditas for snacking and light meals. Meaty mushrooms and a bit of grated cheese here. Light and full of flavor!
I have been on a pizza binge. Leaping forward! I understand hydration now and find a 65% ratio – water equals 65% of flour, by weight – makes a pliable yet crisp crust. (A gram scale matters, for precision.) I am using Don Guerra’s pizza blend, and I can feel the value when I take the dough out of the mixer. Smoother and more stretchy than bread flour dough.
The pies here use salami and mushrooms. I am almost totally pescatarian these days, but for the salami here and bacon in the black beans. I would give up the salami, but the fat really adds flavor to the pizzas.
Be well. Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2021.
P.S. Wear a mask. Distance. Get vaccinated when you can.