Saturday, October 23, 2010

what i want

I walked through Cotton's this week, hoping to find some inspiration.  I haven't been cooking and I miss it.  I miss wanting to cook.

I've been busy doing other things, like making these cookies for a special event.......

......and helping my friend Beth photograph the beautiful jewlery she makes.  She's an artist, she is, yet doesn't even know it.  Here's my treasure of a little sterling spoon she made for me. 

The weather here has been gorgeous and so, as sheets of cookies would go in the oven, I'd go out to watch the crows. 

They come every day to drink the fresh water Spoke so diligently puts out for them.  I watch those big black birds take big sips before throwing their heads back to swallow.

They aren't tame enough for me to get a close photo so you'll have to trust me when I tell you that their wing spans must be three feet wide.  Seven of them have hung around all spring and summer but they're mild-mannered, eating at dusk along with everyone else. They leave the peanuts for the bluejays and the sunflower seeds for the cardinals, choosing to eat the tiny, round, hard seeds that no one else wants.

I've been listening to the late night owls too.  One outside our bedroom window starts around 1:00 am.  Hoo-hoo-whoo-hoo.  Hoo-hoo-whoo-hoo.  Sometimes another owl answers from far away.  I lie in bed, trying to remember the lyrics.....

Soft through the dark...
The hoot of an owl in the sky
Sad though his song
No bluer was he, than I

The moon went down...

In Cotton's, I walk endless circles around the tables and crates of local produce before I spot, of all things......peanuts!  I laugh because suddenly, I want to cook. 

There are scallions in our fridge and a Hatch in the freezer, so I grab a few bell peppers and I'm out the door, home in time for the robins' afternoon baths.

Peppers and Peanuts with Steamed Rice

cooked white rice
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
3 bell peppers, any color, cored, seeded and chopped into chunks
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into inch size pieces
1 hot pepper like Hatch or Anaheim, seeds and membrane removed, and cut into chunks 
2 cups water
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Chinese chili pepper sauce
Hoisin sauce
Unsalted peanuts, shelled and roasted

In a hot saute pan, pour a tablespoon or so of oil.  Swirl the pan to coat with oil and add the peppers.  Cook about 10 minutes, stirring often. 

Add two iced tea spoonfuls of pepper sauce and a little water.  Stir to combine and cook over medium low heat, continuing to add small amounts of water at a time.
Cook for 10 or 15 minutes, until the water is gone or the vegetables have softened a little.

Add the scallions, garlic, and a heaping soup spoonful of Hoisin sauce.  Cook until hot, adding a little water if it appears too dry.

Top with peanuts and serve with steamed rice.

The Night We Called It A Day
Matt Dennis and Tom Adair

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