When you love Thai food, and a friend tells you she's meeting her relatives at a Thai restaurant tonight, you might find yourself digging out that little used wok from the back-right corner space under the cooktop cabinet.
Your mouth was probably watering before you finished reading her afternoon email. Crispy fried corn patties! Rice noodles with peanut!
Let me guess; you settled on cooking a fried rice dish for dinner because it's a dish that would only require a quick dash to the store for a bottle of fish sauce...
And what's a little severe thunderstorm when you need fish sauce?
Thai Style Fried Rice with Shrimp
4 to 5 tablespoons canola oil
1 large sweet yellow onion, sliced
6 scallions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
8 peeled and deveined tail-on shrimp
3 eggs, cracked but unbeaten
6 cups chilled, cooked rice, preferably day old
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tomato, cut into wedges
a handful of cilantro, leaves only, chopped
grilled slices of fresh pineapple, optional, see below
Heat the wok or a large pan over very high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and drop the onions, frying until they begin to soften. Toss in the scallions and cook for a couple of minutes more.
Make a well by pushing the onions to the sides of the wok and add another tablespoon of oil. Put in the garlic and the shrimp and cook in the center of the pan for a few minutes.
Stir it all together.
Once again, push the ingredients to the side, add another tablespoon of oil and the eggs. Cook the eggs until scrambled then stir the entire mixture again.
Add the cooked rice and stir it to break up any clumps. Sprinkle the sugar over the rice, spoon the fish sauce over the rice, and stir to mix. Add the soy sauce. Stir.
Add the tomatoes and the cilantro. Stir and serve.
Less than a week from today I will have written this blog for a year.
Monday I'll bake some yummy thing to proudly post, or I'll buy one of those beautiful cupcakes from Whole Foods on Abrams. I'll take a picture, then gently peel away the paper wrapper and eat the entire cake myself, savoring every bite. I've earned it.
That's how I like to do things. Earn them. Sweeter that way.
I've earned you readers. I know because you come only by choice.
You see, it's getting ca-ca-raaa-zy out there.
With all good intentions, I've been told (on more than one occasion) that I need this and that for my blog; this for that purpose or this other thing for that other purpose. And oh, if I only had such and such!
Links and Feeds and Facebook and Twitter... Letting you know when I've posted my most recent thoughts could be only a vibration away!
It might be time to stop.
We've talked about a lot this year, celebrated the days and all that they brought. Overwrought days too. You came, you read, and I thank you.
They say when you retire, there aren't enough hours in a day. It's true, there aren't. I want to maybe teach cooking classes to women at Hope's Door. I want to finish that book. I want, I want, I want...
But yet, I want to keep showing you pictures like these Lamb's Ears which we've let bloom to their heart's content this spring.
We still haven't talked about Pat Conroy at the Dallas Museum of Art, or Roy Orbison's lyrics. We haven't made a Limoncello Lemon Tart and I haven't shown you that funky McDonald's I discovered in East Dallas. I'm not sure I told you about the Mark McKenzie Quartet's kick assswingingversion of The Way You Look Tonight...
And, I'm still converting those grainy photos of Italy because they're beautiful to me and I want to share them.
So, we'll just see how it goes. Or if it goes.
I can tell you though, if the blog continues, don't expect ringtones alerting you to posts, any time soon. Nope, not even a beep. Uh, I mean, tweet.
You'll have to visit the old-fashioned way. I like it like that.
We're to have an unusually warm day today, 95 degrees. I like days like this if I'm 'out back' in my garden boots, hose in hand and spade nearby. That's just what I've planned this Mother's Day; I'll weed the day away. I'll weed the pain away.
I bought our first summer hibiscus yesterday; a big blooming, pink one, on sale at my favorite nursery, Plant and Planters. They have a resident cat. I love them for that. They also have a sense of humor...why throw away broken pottery when you can find a spot for it?
As I was paying for the plant, my pocket angel fell onto the counter. I've carried her with me since she was given to me last Christmas; a random act of kindness, thrown in among coins for me to discover. (Sandra buys my Limoncello, I buy her chocolates.)
The angel reminded me of a vow I made to myself years ago. I was going to try to be more like Mom. Random acts of kindness came naturally to my mother. I'd spot them so often as she'd tell me all about her day. This was the story, the day I vowed to do better.
My mother frequented a neighborhood discount store. She'd get some good bargains there; Lance Peanut Butter Crackers for my dad (only Lance would do) and stacks of paper towels.
One day close to Christmas, she found herself third or fourth in line to pay. The checkout girl on duty that day, whether by birth or accident, was terribly disfigured. Mom watched the girl hold out a candy dish, offering some to each person she rang up. Everyone refused, most unwilling even to make eye contact.
When it was her turn, and the girl extended the dish to Mom, she of course, thanked her and took a piece. But with what I know was natural ease, she then surprised the girl and said, "You know, I missed lunch today. Do you mind if I take another?"
Bold but quiet. Always thinking of the other person, showing it with random acts of kindness. I wanted to be like her. I had to practice. Have I? Am I?
The answer came to me later in the day as I was pulling a numbered, paper tab from the machine at the seafood counter, at Central Market. A gentleman just behind me was reaching for the machine as I finished. He seemed to have family with him so I told him I was in no hurry, take my ticket, which would bounce him one ahead of me. Then I pulled #71 and headed down toward the clams to wait my turn.
I ran into the man again, over in the bakery, and he thanked me. I realized his gratitude wasn't about any amount of time I might have saved him. It was simply about the unexpected, random act of kindness.
Like the night before...
I was at a local seafood joint, having dinner before heading around the corner to hear the quartet. (Need I say...The Mark McKenzie Quartet.) Chris, the young and talented bartender, entertained with details of his upcoming trip to Cancun, to be followed by a few days Vegas. (What I heard at Fish City Grill will stay at Fish City Grill.)
It wasn't Chris' fault that my order of hush puppies arrived as I was finishing my meal. The quartet I knew, was already ten minutes into the first set, so I offered the hot puppies to the group of four beside me at the bar. They happily accepted as I rushed out the door and I was happy to see them later, at the wine bar, heeding my advice to check out the music.
Such a long way to go but I've two little random acts of kindness to celebrate this week. It was a good week.
Had you been here, you'd have seen me stick my nose deep in the pages for that first whiff of ink on new paper. Ah... Then I'd do it again. And again. Probably again.
For me, the smell of a new book ranks second only to puppy breath.
Reading My Father is a memoir by Alexandra Styron, daughter of the famous novelist, William Styron. Yet it wasn't her father's familiarity (favorites being Sophie's Choice and Darkness Visible) that made me want to read her story. It was the cover photograph. Does she miss her dad, too?
I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
Diving Into The Wreck
With this opening, I sense where we're going and I can't wait. I reread the quote. I smell the book again.
Thirty pages later, I place an Il Tesoro label inside, marking the page. It's a small one from the stack of wine bottle labels I use as bookmarks, often leaving them in library books as gifts for others to find. I go to bed wondering about Adrienne Rich.
The following afternoon passed at my desk, cleaning files, clearing memory cards. I check my blog. Is anyone reading? Just the usual number, with a new reader in Slovenia, another one in Lithuania. How do they happen upon 3906? Will they return?
Sipping a second cappuccino, I catch up on a couple of food blogs I like; No Recipes, then Orangette. Orangette is talking about Adrienne Rich and Diving Into The Wreck. What?!?!
I lean in as if proximity will help me process what I just read. Orangette is talking about Adrienne Rich and Diving Into The Wreck!
In a span of just a few hours, two writers have introduced me to a forty-year-old book by a poet I've never read.
I did read E E Cummings, a line still vaguely remembered about the medicine (cure) being in her long, unbraided hair (as braids were let loose in bed). I read some classics. But when Diving IntoThe Wreck came out in the early 70's, songwriters were my poets. I guess that's how I missed Adrienne Rich.
I rushed to place Diving Into The Wreck on my library list.
I believe each day gives us something; a few minutes of afternoon light casting intricate shadows on a dining room wall, or a delicious Pesto because the basil got knee-high.
Maybe some things broke my heart.......
I write about them all.
My name is Becca. I live in Dallas but I left my heart in Florence, Italy. I'd like to thank you for reading.