Monday, February 2, 2009

Of The Terrible Doubt of Appearances

Of the terrible doubt of appearances,
Of the uncertainty after all, that we may be deluded,
That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all,
That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable
May-be the things I perceive, the animals, plants, men, hills,
shining and flowing waters,
The skies of day and night, colors, densities, forms, may-be
these are (as doubtless they are) only apparitions, and
the real something has yet to be known,
(How often they dart out of themselves as if to confound me
and mock me!
How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows,
aught of them,)
May-be seeming to me what they are (as doubtless they
indeed but seem) as from my present point of view, and
might prove (as of course they would) nought of what
they appear, or nought anyhow, from entirely changed
points of view;
To me these and the like of these are curiously answer'd by
my lovers, my dear friends,
When he whom I love travels with me or sits a long while
holding me by the hand,
When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and
reason hold not, surround us and pervade us,
Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom, I am
silent, I require nothing further,
I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of
identity beyond the grave,
But I walk or sit indifferent, I am satisfied,
He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.

by Walt Whitman

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew

Makes 6 main-dish servings

1-1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 3/4-inch pieces (6 cups)
1 medium red onion, cut in 1/2-inch wedges
4 teaspoons curry powder
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
12 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cinnamon stick
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
dash cayenne pepper
5 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 15- to 16-oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1/3 cup dried apricots, cut in half
1 deli-roasted chicken, cut up
Fresh parsley leaves

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In shallow roasting pan, toss squash and onion with curry powder and 1 tablespoon oil. Roast, uncovered, 20 minutes or until tender. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
2. Mince two of the garlic cloves. In 4-quart Dutch oven, heat remaining teaspoon of olive oil and cook 2 of the garlic cloves over low heat for 2 minutes. Combine remaining garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, rosemary, bay leaf, salt, paprika, peppers, roasted vegetables, broth, beans, and apricots. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Transfer three quarters of the soup to food processor or blender. Process or blend until smooth (do not process the cinnamon stick, rosemary, or bay leaf). Return to Dutch oven and simmer 20 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, separate chicken into pieces and cut the brests in half. Reheat chicken in the oven.
4. To serve, adjust seasoning if necessary. Then, top stew with chicken and parsley.

** Curry powder is a blend of spices that varies widely in composition. It has been used by Indians since ancient times.
*“Curry” is derived from the South Indian word "karhee" or "kadhi". “Curry refers to a sauce of any kind. "Curry powder" in the Western world has a fairly standardized taste, but there are many different curry flavor profiles in India.

Recipe by Cristina Paul

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

A Common but Terrible Predicament

Anyone who uses a public bathroom with any frequency must know the horrible shiver that that crawled into my guts when I recently entered a bathroom stall and saw pee on the toilet seat. It was too late though. The pee wasn't all over the place,nor was it a strange color or consistency - but it wasn't my pee. Moreover, there was a huge line behind me, I was aching with a belly full of tea and I had already walked in and latched the door. I couldn't turn back now. Once you latch - it's like a promise ring - ridiculous, but still a commitment has been made to follow through.

What to do? Do I clean that foreign pee or do I quickly squat and allow the next Jane who walks in to believe that I am a filthy creature? I felt my entire being was in flux. Why did I have to drink so much tea? Should I walk out now and risk a mini-walk of shame or having to use the loo (without readmittance) into the film at the Griffith Park Observatory's Planetarium? I know myself; I wouldn't be able to hold it through an entire film, no matter how brief. So I squatted and hoped the crowd would clear so that when I reemerged no one would be there to finger-point at my total misconduct.

Fortunately, the line seemed to have disappeared (probably while I was fretting over my options in the stall). So, I was able to sneak out, avoiding the stares of suspicious women in line. I guess life isn't so bad after all. After all, I have had many other encountes of the turd kind that have made me feel lucky to be alive today.