Monday, November 14, 2022

#23 of Things To Do Besides Write: Make a Big Tasty Bowl of Vegetables

#24: Eat it.

Hello. I bet you thought you'd never hear from me again here. I am as surprised as you are!

But I took advantage of my updated iPhone camera, checked to see that my Flickr account was still valid, made a delicious salty, spicy pile of kale and potatoes, and figured all that was enough to check in.

It is snowing today in Minneapolis and I like it. We shall see whether I still feel that way later when I'm having shoveling-plus-perimenopause-plus-tail-end-of-flu-induced hot flashes, or tomorrow when my bum left shoulder flares up as a trade-off for clear sidewalks.

Here's what's new:

1. Two of my children are now big brave skiing, running, mountain biking, algebra-crushing, day-brightening, urban middle-schoolers. On the food front, the older is vegetarian and her brother continues peanut immunotherapy and has outgrown the vast majority of the allergies. The peanut thing is cool: he eats two peanuts every day and - more importantly - the tolerance he's built protects him against death by chocolate-made-in-peanut-facility, e.g. KitKat and regular M&Ms. So Halloween was extra fun this year. Rounding out the bunch is my kindergartener. He is the most like me: a little bananas, needs a lot of attention, feels both beat and emotion in the music, enjoys the thrill of a battle and security of making up. Sugar addicted, prone to respiratory illness. Abso-f*!@ing-lutely hilarious. He is allergic to eggs and always hungry and eats like four things. Super fun.

2. I resigned from my law job this summer and am trying to become a writer. Goals are (1) to one glorious day get paid for this thing I do, and (2) to write a novel. In the meantime I am wrapping up a short story that I started last January, and I dabble in highly melodramatic poetry.

3. I'd like to make a new blog - a container for my random poems, things I read and really like, scenes whose deletion makes me cry a little bit, reflections on God and prayer and children and public education and monogamy and lost dreams and finding new ones and writing and theater and all those things that preoccupy me besides food.

4. Until then, here is a deleted scene from my story:

Ellen hears about the film from Allie. It’s January and a Friday. Ellen’s family is wrapping up their first week back to normal life after a jam-packed winter break. Ellen can almost taste the Rombauer Zinfandel she and David will share when the children finally go to bed tonight. She polishes off the soy milk she pours over her kids’ whole grain cereal, preps lunches, collects socks, gloves, and permission slips hiding beneath couches and radiators. David is on outdoor duty this morning, testing the limits of their recent splurge: a cordless snow blower. They manage to get everyone fully bundled and out the door by 7:30. Ellen stands by the door to the garage, waves good-bye to David as he backs out of the driveway with their three kids, snug in their barely-family-friendly Nissan Leaf. She ignores the sink full of breakfast dishes and their preschooler’s ripe, sweaty flannel pajamas on the kitchen floor, and sits down for a minute with her coffee. She wraps her hands around the warm oversized mug and enjoys the silence, keenly aware of its brevity. She admires a ray of long-lost morning sunlight coming through her east-facing picture window, and wishes it didn’t shine quite so deliberately on her dust-coated wine rack. She checks her phone, re-reads Allie’s text. OMG. METADATA. YOU WILL DIE. She makes a list on the back of one of the eight glittery masterpieces that came home in Luca's backpack yesterday:

soy milk
dust - kid chore?

5. My days look a lot like that scene except no one named Allie ever texts me and we upgraded from the Nissan Leaf a few years ago and I don't want to talk about it.

I do want to talk about the delicious veggie stew I just devoured though! It's all the things your body wants when it's on the mend from the flu, gearing up to spend the next two weeks fighting for its life to shed middle-aged columnar epithelium and the stubborn stroma to which it's attached, and relishing its first full-day break from children in twelve boogery days and as many clammy, croupy nights. Hooray for school and wellness and hand sanitizer!


What a treat to use hot peppers and make the house smell of garlic and ginger and know that nobody will complain because the hot peppers and house are all mine for at least a few hours.

Untitled Untitled

The recipe is inspired by The Wednesday Chef, which was inspired by a recipe in Meera Sodha's East cookbook. I have forgotten all my rudimentary HTML skills and apologize for the layout of this post. This is all v. humbling indeed.

Untitled Spicy Kale and Potatoes
One bunch kale thick tough ribs discarded, leaves roughly chopped
Oil or ghee
Half an onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated ginger (about an inch chunk to start with)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Half a can of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or chili powder (I used Kashmiri chili powder)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon agave nectar or sugar or honey or whatever
1/2 cup something creamy (I used cottage cheese; original recipe calls for coconut milk)
1/4 cup water
1 large potato, chopped into 1 cm cubes

Note from a former cooking class instructor: This is a recipe where salting as you go makes a difference! Measure out your teaspoon and then add a quarterish of it each time you add something flavorful or something that needs salt in order to be flavorful - onions, then ginger/garlic, then tomatoes + spices, and then finally with potatoes before covering.

1. On a medium flame, heat 1 teaspoon ghee or oil in a pan or pot with a lid and add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium flame, until soft and sweet.

2. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add tomatoes, spices, salt (if you are doing your salt all in one go, now is the time), and sugar.

3. Add the kale to the pan and stir to wilt. Add the cottage cheese or cream or coconut milk plus water, stir. Add the potatoes and stir to submerge them as much as possible, then cover. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes.

Makes 2-3 servings.

I hope you like it. I'm so glad we're both here!
xo E-NC