Gingery kimchi fried rice

February 21, 2013 § 16 Comments

kimchi fried rice 1

Decidedly not a beauty queen this one.  She’s all lumpy and monochromatic.  But the frumpy exterior conceals a heart packed with flavor.

And truly, on most days at least, who really wants a gorgeous but high maintenance looker of a dish when in a few minutes you could instead have one of  the most incredibly easy and tasty lunches (or dinners, but I always seem to eat it for lunch) known to man.

And it uses up some leftovers too.  That’s always good.

fried rice garlic

I never used to like fried rice that much, actually.  I didn’t dislike it, I just saw no reason to eat it.  I never saw what others seemed to see in it.

So for years I would scrupulously cook rice in small quantities so as never to have leftovers.  Or, if there were leftovers, I would turn them into a porridge-like pudding for breakfast, and never think about the possibility that I was missing something. « Read the rest of this entry »

Brussels sprouts with kimchi

October 30, 2012 § 21 Comments

Well, sheesh.  What can you say really?  I must admit, I’ve been saying for the past several years that one of these days a hurricane was going to swamp New York, and then we’d finally really have to take the weather seriously and get over the idea that we’re somehow in control.  But, gosh, I never ever ever ever ever ever ever (ever ever ever ever) wanted to actually be right.

I hope all of you dear people on the East Coast are doing alright.

I was on pins and needles all yesterday, all night, all this morning, texting, and emailing, and waiting to hear news from my brother and friends in New York, my good friends in Boston, Joel’s aunt and uncle in New Jersey.  I sure wish something could actually be accomplished through waiting and worrying!  Thankfully, it sounds like so far everyone, though without power, is generally unscathed.

I guess that right there is a little piece of grace in the midst of another big old mess.  I try to hold on to the hope that there’s always something to be thankful for, and believe there actually is, even though I’m sure that hope feels like it’s slipped away a bit through their fingers for some people. « Read the rest of this entry »

Mango, avocado, and crab spring rolls

May 7, 2012 § 141 Comments

When you think about it, it’s remarkable, really, just how many opportunities we have every day to do something new.  Much of the time it doesn’t feel like it.  Our days follow patterns.  We have baskets full of habits and well-worn ruts that we comfortably cruise along in.

And actually, a certain amount of repetition and stability in your life turns out to be really important and healthy.  Which makes perfect sense.  Nature is full of rhythms and patterns.  We reside within them, and if completely rhythmless we feel jostled and jarred and seriously uncomfortable.

But if we don’t keep our eyes open to all the myriad of tiny dips and swerves within the patterns, it can be easy to feel trapped in some sort of mold that looks a lot like same-old-same-old.

I forget sometimes, that I’m the one making the decision to walk down the exact same street to get to the subway every time I go, when in reality, there are dozens of paths that run there.  The destination is the same – rhythm – but I can switch the route up – discovery!

Same with cooking.  We need to eat.  Pretty darn regularly, in fact!  And it’s easy to find ourselves making the same things over and over again.  Of course, I’ll be the first person to sing the praises of old weeknight standbys (did somebody say spaghetti?!).  They’re lifesavers.  But, it’s also remarkable to me just how very many things I’ve never made before, or techniques I haven’t tried.  Even with a decent number of years of cooking under my belt. « Read the rest of this entry »

Chive pancakes (that is, scallion pancakes with chives instead)

April 27, 2012 § 18 Comments

Life is grand friends.  Really grand.  I can’t stop beaming with pride from every cell of my body, and it’s because of this.

It’s a sourdough loaf.  It’s the little things, you know.  Isn’t she a beauty?  Perfectly crackly hard shell of a crust, spongey chewy interior crumb, those lovely blistered gashes and bits of charred flour.  I would shell out good money for a loaf like this, wrapped nicely in brown paper, at a bakery.  But I made it myself!(!!!) And I am fit to burst with how excited I am about it.

It came out of the oven just after 11 last night because that’s when it appeared ready to bake, and well, I haven’t stopped smiling goofily about it since.

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Lamb chops with coconut mint sauce

May 17, 2011 § 11 Comments

Gratulerer med dagen!  It’s Norway’s national day, so I’m all in a tizzy getting ready to celebrate, and I’ll get back to you with some delicious treat from the day, but for now I’m going to share this post, which I wrote yesterday but didn’t get a chance to publish…

As I’m sitting writing, I’m looking through the windows watching a couple of little neighbor girls outside playing in the rain.  They are a whirl of colorful rain coats and spindly legs, executing awkwardly graceful dance moves as they boogey around and over the picnic table, over and over again.  It’s sweet to see.  It’s giving me a better attitude about the rain, actually.  And, it also has me thinking about books.

I feel like I’m not a very good reader these days.  What can I say?  Something about the process of spending long days reading papers full of painfully passive sentences or obtuse allusions to social theory that I do not remotely understand (this, for example: “Structures exist paradigmatically, as an absent set of differences, temporally ‘present’ only in their in their instantiation, in the constituting moments of social systems…”  Do you understand that?  Because I don’t.) leaves me feeling rather loathe to crack open a novel at the end of the day, at least one that’s at all high quality since it’s almost bound to be depressing and require more thought than I’m willing to expend.

I have, though, been reading children’s literature.  These books are the opposite of convoluted, but still tell wonderfully engaging tales.  I just made my way through my favorite trilogy of dragon stories, and I suddenly remembered a book that I loved when I was younger that I might have to seek out to read again, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  Did you read that book?  It’s the story of Peter, a well meaning and generally well behaved fourth grader who has a younger brother called “Fudge.”  And, Fudge is a little hellion but somehow he almost always manages to be the one who gets the attention and gets his way because he’s so cute.

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Ginger-lemon congee with pork

April 4, 2011 § 8 Comments

What a nutty weekend!  This is how it went:  We went out on Friday night to see a dramatic version of the “The Grand Inquisitor”, a story from within The Brother’s Karamazov in which Christ comes back to Earth during the height of the Spanish Inquisition.  It was fabulous and fascinating…and my brain has been hurting ever since, puzzling over issues of freedom and peace and mystery and authority.  Then I had to work all day Saturday collecting more dietary data from scores of immigrant women and children, which is fun because they are all wonderful and inspiring, but it is also exhausting.  I came home at the end of the day to discover that a friend was going to surprise us with a visit for dinner.  So I scrounged together dinner, and we all stayed up too late talking about this and that.

Sunday was beautiful and sunny, perfect for relaxing.  Joel has decided he is going to learn to skateboard (I’m sure he would like me to let you know that he actually has learned by this point, after a couple of weeks of practicing), so we decided it might be a fun afternoon activity to go for a quick little excursion, him on his skateboard and me running alongside, er, actually I was more behind than alongside, but whatever.  In the spirit of exploration, we took a couple of turns we had never taken before, and the next thing we knew we were a teensy tinsy bit lost.  We stopped in a cafe to ask for directions and learned from the woman behind the counter that to get back to our car would be approximately an 8-mile jaunt.  Oops.  So, what had been intended to be a 4-mile run turned into a 12ish mile run, and by the end of it we were both thoroughly worn out.  And very hungry. « Read the rest of this entry »

Broccoli Ginger Dumplings

March 21, 2011 § 26 Comments

I recently learned the term “your growing edge.” I really like it. I had heard about your comfort zone, and your growth zone, and so forth before, but not the actual growing edge. The growing edge is that area where your zones are pushing out, your comfort zone expanding into what used to be your growth zone and your growth zone dipping a tentative toe into your danger zone. It’s the space right when you go from skiing speedily down a slope concentrating on tough terrain to plunking yourself on the ground and bursting into tears because you find yourself surrounded by trees and signs warning of cliffs and it’s just not fun anymore. Or when you’re learning to drive a stick shift and you know you can get your d@#$ car into gear and started when you’re in a parking lot, but then you’re on a (admittedly not busy) road next to the parking lot, with a bus bearing down on you and your blinker is signaling that you’re going left, except you kill the car 3 times in a row and find yourself feeling thoroughly mired in the middle of the intersection, and, well, bursting into tears. And of course, the growing edge includes bigger moments of growth, pushing yourself in your work, in your ability to face your fears, in your acceptance of others. Like your lengthening legs during your teen years, your growing edge can give you a little pain, whether or not it’s serious.

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