Monday, February 23, 2009

Bridal Shower

Perhaps, in a distant café,
four or five people are talking
with the four or five people
who are chatting on their cell phones this morning
in my favorite café.

And perhaps someone there,
someone like me, is watching them as they frown,
or smile, or shrug
at their invisible friends or lovers,
jabbing the air for emphasis.

And, like me, he misses the old days,
when talking to yourself
meant you were crazy,
back when being crazy was a big deal,
not just an acronym
or something you could take a pill for.

I liked it
when people who were talking to themselves
might actually have been talking to God
or an angel.
You respected people like that.

You didn't want to kill them,
as I want to kill the woman at the next table
with the little blue light on her ear
who has been telling the emptiness in front of her
about her daughter's bridal shower
in astonishing detail
for the past thirty minutes.

O person like me,
phoneless in your distant café,
I wish we could meet to discuss this,
and perhaps you would help me
murder this woman on her cell phone,

after which we could have a cup of coffee,
maybe a bagel, and talk to each other,
face to face.

by George Bilgere

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vermillion Quinoa

Serves 4-6 as a main dish

This quinoa is lovely when served with poached eggs or steamed veggies. It can be accompanied by avocado, hummus, or a simple drizzling of oil or sprinkling of herbs.

1 bunch of steamed beets, chopped, about 1 1/2 - 2 pounds (see instructions for beets below)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
3 scallions thinly sliced
Chicken stock
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For the beets: Remove greens and reserve for another use, leaving a 1-inch beet top. Wash beets thoroughly. Place beets in steamer basket set in large saucepan with 1 inch of water. Bring to boil; steam over high heat until beets can easily be pierced with thin knife, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on beet size. Reserve steaming liquid in a large liquid measuring cup. Cool beets slightly, and remove skins. You may want to use dish washing gloves while removing skins to avoid staining your hands.
For the quinoa:
1.While beets steam, heat olive oil on medium in a small pan. Add scallions and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, 3–5 minutes. Reserve.
2. Add enough chicken stock to the cup measure containing the steaming liquid (from the beets) to make a total of 3 cups of liquid. Add liquid and quinoa to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste quinoa to test for doneness. The grains should be translucent and the germs should have opened.
3. Mix in the chopped beets, scallions, zest, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning.

** Quinoa pronounced KEEN-wah) is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal as it is not a grass. It’s appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is high (12%–18%), making it a healthful choice for vegetarians. Unlike wheat or rice quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source. Easy to digest, quinoa is also a good source of dietary fiber and gluten-free. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered as a potential crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.
* Be careful not to let the pan run out of water while steaming the beets. Place marbles below the steamer basket before steaming to make sure you won’t forget; they will stop jiggling when the pan is dry.

Recipe by Cristina Paul

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

Life can only be understood backwards, but it has to be lived forwards.

— Søren Kierkegaard