Friday, March 20, 2009

Anniversary: One Fine Day

Who would sit through a plot as preposterous as ours,
married after years apart? Chance meetings may work
early in stories, but at operas, darling, in Texas?
A bachelor pilot, I fled Laredo for the weekend,
stopping at the opera from boredom, music I least expected.
Of all the zoos and honky-tonks south of Dallas,
who would believe I would find you there on the stairs,

Madame Butterfly about to start? When you moved
four years before, I lost all hope of dying happy,
dogfighting my way through pilot training, reckless,
in terror only when I saw the man beside you.
I had pictured him rich and splendid in my mind
a thousand times, thinking you married with babies
somewhere in Tahiti, Spain, the south of France.

When I saw the lucky devil I hated—only your date,
but I didn't know—he stopped gloating, watching you wave,
turned old and bitter like the crone in Shangri La.
Destiny happens only in plays and cheap movies—
but here, here on my desk is your photo, decades later,
and I hear sounds from another room of our house,
and when I rise amazed and follow, you are there.

by Walter McDonald from Blessings The Body Gave

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vanilla Bean Brown Rice Pudding

Serves 6 to 8

¼ teaspoon table salt
1 scant cup medium-grain brown rice
1 vanilla bean pod
2 1/2 cups soy milk
1 – 14 ounce can coconut milk
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon maple sugar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon honey
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup golden raisins
generous 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Bring 2 cups water to boil in large, heavy-bottomed pot (at least 3 quarts) or small soup kettle (4 to 5 quarts). Stir in salt and rice; cover and simmer over low heat, stirring once or twice until water is almost fully absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Using a paring knife, halve the vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into the rice and add the vanilla bean to the rice as well. Add soy milk, coconut milk, sugar, agave nectar, honey and cinnamon stick. Increase heat to medium-high to bring to simmer, then reduce heat to maintain simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until mixture starts to thicken, about 45 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent sticking and scorching, until a spoon is just able to stand up in the pudding, about 15 minutes longer.
3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract, raisins, and ground cinnamon. Remove cinnamon stick and vanilla bean pod. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. Garnish with extra raisins, shaved chocolate, unsweetened shredded coconut or nuts. (Can be covered with plastic wrap on surface of pudding and then refrigerated up to 2 days.)

**The vanilla flower is the only member of the orchid family which produces an edible product. Vanilla beans are picked green and flavorless. Then, they are cured over a period of several weeks.
*Freshness is key when selecting vanilla beans. Look for moist, plump vanilla beans that have a bit of sheen to them; avoid beans that look like dried or shriveled. If you do happen to have dried out beans, grind them in a spice grinder and store them in sugar, which will absorb its flavor.

Recipe by Cristina Paul

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner.

- Colette