8:11 am: Having fortified myself with 3 glasses of strong coffee with milk and an hour of HGTV, I determine I am adequately prepared to finish painting the living room by 7 pm tonight.
8:14 am: I suddenly remember that I’m making Seco de carne con tamarindo. I rush to the kitchen to begin cooking.
8:47 am: The achiote substitution from Food Geeks is a complete disaster. Rather than a subtly spiced achiote kind of thing, it yields a ghastly substance that resembles Italian Seasonings packaged salad dressing. Panic erupts.
8:49 am: Working from the philosophy of nothing ventured nothing gained, I add more garlic and a chipotle in adobe to the achiote substitution. It is brilliant, if I do say so myself. I add coriander, another chipotle and garlic clove to the blend, and start warming the pan to cook the onions and Hatch chiles.
8:53 am: Upon glancing into the living room, I realize the birds are gossiping about us. They have that guilty look about them. At least they have the courtesy to stop when they realize they’ve been caught in the act.