Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Tale of a Stereotype: The German Doctor

Not all German doctors are like the one I'm about to describe. His German traits--his insatiable desire for order in particular, to the point where he listened to not a word I said--impressed me. So much so that I'm cancelling my next appointment after I see another doctor who will, I'm reasonably confident, offer different advice.
I developed a pain in my knee that seems arthritic or a "a sign of degeneration" according to an MRI and an X-ray, and wanted to see whether any treatment apart from the one I'd already been trying--cross trainer, ballet stretches, stationary bike--might help. Since the doctor I wished I'd gone to initially was on vacation, I picked someone vaguely in my neighborhood who had stellar ratings on Jameda. Glancing at the disk on which every X-ray trained on my bones appeared, he insisted the one he needed wasn't there. I assured him it was; he yelled for his assistant, an efficient young woman who rolled her eyes at me when he complained that the right material was not there, when it was, and quickly found what he needed. She was seated beside him on a physician's stool with rollers. The minute she'd brought up the material he needed, he grabbed her around the waist and rolled her out of the way.
    Oh, and when he examined me, he pressed down on my kneecaps. Which hurt. I'm certain the kneecaps of a teenage athlete would have hurt, but he insisted my age was to blame.
    We talked about my cancer diagnosis, and I made clear the findings of the MRI, namely that cancer wasn't to blame.
    "Sie brauchen ein Ordner!" he yelled. "Sie sind Tumor-Patient!" (You need a loose leaf notebook. You're a tumor patient!")
    Germans love their notebooks. Every bill, every pay slip, every insurance contract, every medical form, every this, every that, gets placed in plastic pocket and filed in one of those notebooks. Most Germans have shelves and shelves of notebooks. I have around three.
    He thought every single letter I've ever gotten about my cancer diagnosis, from 2016 on, should be filed away in a big notebook. What he thought of me, personally, for not being fond of notebooks, was written all over his affronted face.
    Every time I have a CT scan, my whole history appears along with whatever's new in my diagnosis. No need for notebooks. He did not like my pointing this out.
    "Dünne Frauen!" he yelled, shaking his head. Thin women--by his standards, I'm thin? Me with my 62 kilos and my belly fat? The very sight of me seemed to irritate him.
    On the way out of his office I noticed that his receptionist is obese.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Donald Trump's Wonderful Memory



Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.
Can our POTUS repeat that? You bet! How does he manage this cognitive feat, demonstrating his vast competence as Master of the Universe?
1. Who's the most important PERSON in the world? Oh, so easy.
2. What does the most important person in the world enjoy grabbing? Now this was a bit harder. He had to get from "woman" to "pussy" but he managed.
3. See #1. Easy-peasy.
4. Camera. Like a mirror, only you have to wait a little bit! But so much fun! Yes, you have to wait, and I don't like that, but then you get to see yourself.
5. TV. Watches it all the time! Gimme 'nother cheeseburger, cutie. Look, there I am. Look, there I'm talking. Look at my nice hair and my face. Oh, my face! Can you resist me? Commmeerrre, baby.






Friday, July 17, 2020

We All Can't Breathe

The corona virus, the tweets of a monster, the staggering number of racist killings, make it hard for all of us to take anything like a breath. When we do, we're not relaxing, just pausing between bouts of anxiety. When Yeats wrote, 

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity,


he was living through the end of World War I, the Easter Rising, the quickly-crushed Irish War of Independence--all while his wife,  Georgie Hyde-Lees, was almost dying, a victim of the 1918 flu pandemic. She lived to give birth to two children, one of whom became a painter and set designer, the other a barrister.

There's the passionate intensity of a Trump rally and there's the passionate intensity of a peaceful demonstrator. Then there's the passionate intensity of a looter. There's a passionate intensity of Anthony Fauci telling the truth. He doesn't lack all conviction, but we are all losing hope in our ability to hear him. I'm happy to be in Germany, where most people do wear masks in public places. There's always the droplet-spraying toddler on the tram, the old guy with his mask slung around his chin and his finger up his nose, the angry young man shouldering his way through with no mask and a can of Red Bull or Beer, but these folks are not the majority here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Lynching of George Floyd

I never thought things could get so bad that a white police officer's knee could lean on a black man's neck for eight minutes while the handcuffed man lay motionless.

That is what happened on the evening of Monday, May 25, at about eight o'clock in Minneapolis.
"No weapons were recovered from the scene, police said," writes Libor Jany, who has worked for the last seven years as a crime reporter for the Star Tribune


George Floyd was yanked from his car, put on the ground, and rendered unable to breathe by officer Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis police department. Chauvin's knee remained on Floyd's neck while Floyd said, "I can't breathe. Please, Man." Bystanders begged the officer to stop, pointing out that Floyd's nose was bleeding, that Floyd wasn't moving, that Floyd was human. Floyd asked for his mother.

 George Floyd's hands were behind his back in handcuffs before the police officers put him on the ground. 

Somebody who "looked like" or "might have been" George Floyd paid with a fake twenty dollar bill, says one account, or a forged check, says another,  in a convenience store. George Floyd was forty-six, says one newspaper or forty-seven, says another.

Four officers were fired, including Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao, who remained standing and made no attempt to stop Chauvin or to check Floyd's pulse.

Another black man, Eric Garner, died on a sidewalk in Staten Island in July, 2014. It took until 2019 for Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who held him in a chokehold as Garner said, "I can't breathe," to be fired and lose his pension benefits. Pantaleo sued the police department, demanding to be reinstated. Eric Garner didn't have a gun and didn't threaten anyone. The poet Ross Gay memorialized Garner:

A Small Needful Fact

Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.

In May, 2018, the poet Sharon Olds memorialized Trayvon Martin, the unarmed African-American high school junior who was shot in Florida by George Zimmerman, who was acquitted.

For You

In the morning, when I’m pouring the hot milk
into the coffee, I put the side of my
face near the convex pitcher to watch
the last, round drop from the spout,
and it feels like being cheek to cheek
with a baby. Sometimes the orb pops back up,
a ball of cream balanced on a whale’s
watery exhale. Then I gather my tools,
the cherry sounding-board tray that will rest on my
lap, the phone, the bird book to look up
the purple martin. I repeat them as I seek them,
so as not to forget—tray, cell phone,
purple martin; tray, phone,
martin, Trayvon Martin, song was
invented for you, art was made
for you, painting, writing, was yours,
our youngest, our most precious, to remind us
to shield you—all was yours, all that is
left on earth, with your body, was for you.




Saturday, May 16, 2020

"Science Plays the Subservient Pimp": On Trump and his Beleaguered Medical Advisors


 In 1938, the world is exploding: Hitler elects himself Oberkommando (High Commander) of the German armed forces, Trotsky and Mussolini are skulking about, Kristallnacht and the Anschluss are happening. In England, E.M. Forster reflects on the widening dangers in language remarkably fitted to the roles into which Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci are forced by the Trump administration:  

Tolerance, good temper and sympathy are no longer enough in a world which is rent by religious and racial persecution, in a world where ignorance rules, and Science, who ought to have ruled, plays the subservient pimp.

Ahmaud Arbery gets shot for jogging while black. Meanwhile, POTUS works hard to prevent citizens of Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S. In our medical meltdown, he  wonders whether disinfectant, which "knocks it out in a minute!" would "do something" by injection or ingestion. Randy Rainbow sings: "Just a spoonful of Chlorox makes the temperature go down," and deep in the bottomless dark, we're whistling along with him.

Like so many writers, Forster was trying to find truth in an age that, like ours, seemed devoted to the reverse. 

At least Fauci and Birx are now wearing face masks. Standing behind Trump, they are portraits of common sense and symbols of the ways in which Science has been muzzled, leashed, forced to heal--indeed like a subservient dog, if not a pimp. The two have drawn the line at pimping for POTUS: they just won't say it's okay to open the country, and I'm wondering how long he'll let them stick around. His version of the story will be that they're disgruntled employees, their message "not acceptable."

In Forster's essay, "What I Believe," the portrait of Science as the submissive procurer, tiptoeing around the despot, seems visionary. Forster wasn't just writing about the despots of his day--he was looking to a future  he knew would be marred by a similar set of events. And in that seminal essay, he offers the sad perception that,

Tolerance, good temper and sympathy--they are what matter really, and if the human race is not to collapse they must come to the front before long. But for the moment they are not enough, their action is no stronger than a flower, battered beneath a military jackboot.

It's an odd metaphor: tolerance, good temper, and sympathy as soldiers rushing to the front to defend truth. These traits are so often defined as non-combative, but Forster's right to activate them, and equally right to see that the ruthless jackboot of a demagogue--it's almost as if Forster had looked into a crystal ball and seen the current American president--is almost certain to crush the good.

Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their world. I'll take Forster's prescription at the end of the essay too--he rejects religious faith for Montaigne and Erasmus. Fight the good fight, whether books or religion give you strength. Support Fauci (thank you, Brad Pitt!) and Birx (who epitomizes style, substance, and fantastic scarves). I love you both so very much.


Friday, May 8, 2020

Gorgeous Garbanzos

Yes, beans again, but these beans are so pretty. I'd always enjoyed chick pea salads with any old thing we had around--chopped cucumber, cherry tomatoes, scallions, oranges, but I settled on this version since one of my kids didn't want raw onion in the salad. You will need:

Olive or canola oil--any oil you like. Not butter, though.
Red onions
Scallions
Cherry tomatoes 
Oranges
Limes (Lemons will do)
Balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a pan, add chopped red onion and scallions:
While these colorful aromatics are sizzling, juice an orange or two, and add the liquid to the pan. Same with the lime or two:
Swimming in orangey-limey juice

Rise and drain the cherry tomatoes and add them:
After that, drain and rise the garbanzos and put them in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder. Pour in the tomato-scallions-red onion mix. Slice and add chunks of oranges, zap in some Balsamic vinegar, taste. You might want a bit more salt. Enjoy!

Worthy of Some Women's Magazine!



Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Cancer-Patient's Guide to Finding Out You Don't Have Covid-19 in Ten Steps, Most of Which are Difficult

The catch is inevitable--this method is the last you'd like to try. But it's effective!
First, have some condition like cancer requiring you to get a CT scan every few months. 
Second, go sip that cocktail of radioactive somethingorother, chalk and water, the stuff that lights up your insides so the CT scan perceives lurking carcinogens, in case they're there. 
Third, reflect on the fact that you've lifted your face shield and mask to drink that stuff, but have done so in an empty waiting room--how it ever emptied out, you'll never know, but wish that someone were Watching Over You in a good way (but if they are, they never talk to you--which is unpleasant). 
Fourth, lie on the scanner --the technician asks you to close your eyes, but you think she says hold your breath, and do so. You can still see. No harm done?
Fifth, see your oncologist, who's sitting less than six feet away, but your mask and shield are back on and you somehow think "she doesn't count," and lean further forward to see your scan.
Sixth, perk up when she says, "your lungs are clear!" And that's the first thing she says, after giving you the thumbs up sign.
Seventh, listen with alarm and interest to the story she tells: some physicians--but not in this hospital!--ordered scans and found, while looking for cancer cells, the characteristic signs of COVID in the lungs. Yes, in asymptomatic persons, persons manifesting no coughs, no fevers, nothing. But your lungs are just fine. 
Eighth, reflect: unless you've contracted the illness while sipping your CT cocktail and the bug just hasn't shown up yet.
Ninth, head home happy you're COVID free and also, for the moment, cancer free.
Tenth, Schedule a Zoom virtual cocktail hour with your pals. As you lift a goblet of red wine to your lips, consider how much better it tastes than those two liters of Chalk De Luxe you drank for the CT scan.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Olive-Lemon Meatloaf

This is easy, fun and delicious. Assemble the following:

About half a kilo of ground pork (or a little over a pound. Or more)
One large egg
A bunch of scallions
Garlic cloves (lots--to taste)
Purple onions (or red)
Olive oil
About 300 grams of Feta cheese (Around 5 ounces)
Grated Parmesan (about the same amount)
Container of cherry tomatoes
One large lemon, washed
Medium-sized jar or can of black olives
Garlic powder, cayenne pepper, the salt of your choice

This is not one of those recipes requiring precision. A little more of this, a little less of that--you're fine. I make this in a big round casserole, but you can use a loaf pan.

Pre-heat the oven to about 190º. Mix the meat and the beaten egg together; add pepper, salt, the feta cheese broken up. Use a fork to break it into bits and mix in the meat. 

Set aside. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan. Chop and put into the pan the scallions, the garlic, and the red onions. While they're cooking (and you're occasionally stirring) grate the rind of the washed lemon onto a plate or cutting board and add to the onion-garlic mix. Keep stirring. Squeeze the lemon and add the juice to the pan. Keep stirring. Drain, rinse the olives and add. Pour the contents of the pan into the meat mix into the casserole. Sprinkle grated Parmesan over the top. Add the tomatoes. Bake for about an hour; you can kick the heat up at the end if you like the Parmesan crispy ant the tomatoes imploded. Just check to make sure nothing burns; depending on how much meat you use, the meatloaf may be done sooner or later.
Just before the Parmesan and the tomatoes

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Critical Mom Posts More Poems

They're part of a series about my husband.





Waking at Night



This nighttime sky holds winds, waters

A distant plane—

The moment goes on,

Another moment enters,

Exits, yet another

These moments

Continue coming,

Continue going,

Beside me, you are not.



Ancient, forgotten feeling,

So long gone, returns.

Three a.m. outside

Winds rushing,

Waters running,

Clouds waiting,

No voices, no dreams






Bedside Table



Your photo is beside me,

I pick it up, talk to it,

Hold the white frame with both hands

Kiss the glass face

Your smile, your eyes,

Your tie, some little piece of dust

In your hair? I’m actually

Reaching to brush it off?

Every part of you is there but you

I do my usual bedtime thing—

Pick it up, talk to you

As if you could hear me

But the more I tell you things,

The more you’re not there.






Going the Stairs



He was a bit out of breath,

I was the nagging wife:

“Lose a little weight,” he was

Tolerant, slapping his

Beer belly, we were still quite

Happy.



Halfway up, he paused to breathe, brought

One foot up, waited, then the other,

Hand gripped the banister.



Unable to complain, he let me pretend.



Long past what the point of

Endurance, he would not

Let me carry the tank



When he did,

I still didn’t know

A day would come when

He couldn’t walk—when

He would say, “The

Dying process

Has begun.”




Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Critical Mom Posts Another Poem


 The April poetry marathon continues: here's a recent one: 

The Shoebox

It’s labeled Ankle Strap Sandal: Giraudon
Now filled with “Shoebox Greetings,”
(A Tiny Division of Hallmark)
Cards you sent me in 1991
When some shrink was saying,
Forget this man, finish grad school.

I order each one
By postal cancellation. They all
Begin with “my dear” and end
With “Love,” but
It was only sheer luck— you would say God
That the walls fell, that you came to me,
That we married, had this life,
The Shoebox Greetings, the photos,
The children, wall around me, hold
Me together now that you
Exist in memory only.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Inspired Vegetables

I'd forgotten how good baked mushrooms can be--I'd planned to toss them in olive oil, add a little balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and chives that did fine in our garden planter over our climate-changey non-winter. And I did mix all of the above, then noticed we had a yellow bell pepper and a couple of Roman tomatoes. Why not add those--color, flavor, vitamins. So I did--and baked them all at 220º C (about 425ºF) for a bit longer than they needed, because the chicken drumsticks on the upper shelf needed a longer incubation. But they look fine--they only need around 20 minutes, but they're fine with more too:
Notice the garlic press to the right, trying to upstage the veggies

"Feeling Blue" Berry Pie

It all starts here:
A friend in New York has COVID--mild, she says, and I lie awake hoping she has an oxymeter--which you can get online for less than 35 euros, and which, if you have any symptoms, you should have. Tells you how your lungs are doing before you suspect things are going south. Which I hope they aren't, as I mix and roll out the dough--same recipe as yesterday's for star-studded apple pie. The round hunk above is half the dough, and you roll from the middle out, going in all directions, until you have something big enough to fit your pie plate, which should be around 9 inches wide (23 centimeters).
Berries do better with citrus than spices. So pour your 500-gram container of blueberries (around 3.5 cups) into a big bowl and add a cup of sugar--raw sugar is best, but any will do. In a pinch you could use maple syrup. Add the juice of one whole lemon and dot with a bit of RAMA (or butter):

You can see the raw sugar and a bit of the RAMA. Possibly I should have added a tablespoon or two of flour, but the sugar may caramelize more this way. As COVID spreads, as mail servers crash, as ZOOM flickers, as the bad guy gets more orange, LET THEM EAT PIE!
Finished Product

 Yeah, probably should have thrown in some flour with the berries: 
But this did taste good.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Star-Studded Apple Pie: Another Leftover Special that Turned out Great

We had a whole bowl of apples that were getting wrinkly. I told the teenagers they were perfectly fine, especially for cooking, but they didn't believe me until I made this: (the before picture)
Now here's the after--and it made a great breakfast:
The recipe's pretty close to the one in the Fanny Farmer cookbook, but I did tweak it a bit. Madame Farmer advises the cook not to mix the crust too much--if you do, you won't get all the little flubs of flour and grease that give the pie character. Or so she thinks. When the teenagers are hungry, here's what you do: Pre-heat the oven to 220º Celsius (about 425ºF). Get out the food processor and dump in the following:
Two cups of all-purpose flour plus a half teaspoon of salt. Mix with fork before you add the other ingredients which are: 2/3 (or even 3/4) cup of RAMA margarine or butter. We have vegans in my family, so I used the RAMA. Then add two or three tablespoons of chilled water--I put a half cup of cold water with ice cubes in the fridge before I started assembling the ingredients. And a bit of ice fell into the mix as I was measuring out the water. 
Process the flour mixture until it's a big doughball. Divide in two; roll out one on a floured board and put in a lightly greased pie plate. 
The apples: first, put a cup of sugar, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a half teaspoon of salt, two tablespoons of flour, and a dash of nutmeg into a bowl. Mix well. 
Peel, core and slice into the mix about six apples. You're okay with five. You can add raisins if you like. Mix well. Dump into the pie plate that's already got the crust in it. Put a few more dabs of RAMA or butter on top. Set aside. Roll out the other half of the dough, cover the apples, press down. Punch a few holes with a fork. Use any leftover bits of dough for decoration; I got out the Christmas cookie cutters and made starts. Put pie in oven. After ten minutes, turn down to 180º C. Bake for at least another thirty minutes--I usually leave in for about fifty. 
Yum!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Garlic is the Secret of Stir-Fry (and Other Tips for Cooking in Corona-Times)

If you have a wok, it should never see a meal without garlic. Red onions if you're somehow out of garlic, but how could you be? It's the very first thing I always make sure I have enough of.
Here's how I cook:  I look at what I have and type those items into Google, adding the word "recipe." But hint: I always have good ingredients. I can't imagine a kitchen without the following:

Enough garlic to sink a battleship
A hunk of fresh ginger
Red onions
Bell peppers
Tomatoes
Scallions
Bananas
Apples
Berries
Olive oil
Plant oil
Coconut milk
Peanut butter
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
"Variety" salt--you know, the kind that comes with rosemary or thyme and a few other fancy things in it. 

It's also always good to have other green veggies around: broccoli, spinach, peas. Frozen versions of these are just fine, especially now. 

The recipe pictured above was easy. I knew I had a pack of boned chicken, and figured it wasn't quite enough to satisfy the energetically hungry eighteen-year-old. But then I remembered we had a massive garlic sausage in the fridge, and I felt inspired. Assemble the following:

Wok
plant oil (rapeseed oil, sunflower oil)
Dish of chopped garlic. Lots. There's never enough.
Sliced yellow bell pepper (other colors will do. The green ones never taste as good to me)
Blanched asparagus (in other words: rinse, slice into chunks, throw in boiling water for, like, three minutes; drain).
Sliced garlic sausage
Sliced hunks of boned chicken
Garlic powder, salt, or "salt with benefits," any fancy kind. 

(On the side, of course, you've got the rice stoked away in the rice cooker.) Any rice. I like sticky rice, so I opened a pack of black glutinous rice, realizing I didn't have time to soak it for hours and steam it in the bamboo steamer. I put the rice in a bowl, poured very warm water over it, stirred and drained. I did that five times. Then into the rice cooker it went, with exactly ONE cup of cold water to the ONE cup of rice. So the rice was all taken care of by the time I put oil in the wok and threw in the garlic. Then the sliced peppers. Then the sliced sausage. Let all that sizzle. Throw the asparagus into the boiling water. After three minutes, drain it. Add the contents of the wok to the asparagus. Set aside. Throw a little more oil into the wok and let it get hot. Now, throw in the chicken pieces--which you've sprinkled with garlic powder and any kind of salt and pepper you like--and stir fry. When the chicken's almost done, which takes about three minutes, throw in the asparagus-sausage-garlic-pepper mix. Stir. Serve with rice and white wine: 





Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Critical Mom Posts a Poem #1

It's the cruelest month: the tree surgeons came with their crane to remove a very old and beautiful ivy-covered conifer. Between the ivy and some romantic lichen gracing its bark, appropriate backdrop for Hansel and Gretel heading home after dispatching the witch, the poor tree was leaning forward--oh, very far forward, even farther since the last storm. Since I didn't want the thing collapsing on the house, where it might have gone through the roof, my daughter's room and the fish tank, it had to go. It's also the cruelest month because I've signed up, as I do every year, for the poetry challenge--one a day, all month long. I'm posting one of them, below: 






The Four Watering Cans of my Apocalypse



There are, really, four around the house

But they don’t come anywhere near the plants

Whose dirt stays dry as my eyes.



I water the plants when I’m crying.

Usually I’m yelling.

When I’m really hoarse,

Too tired to scream,



I get more honest, grab the handle,

Fill the can, pour some little something

Into those poor plants,

While a little something pours from my eyes.



You’re dry as dust, ashes,

Under the pink and purple pansies

In your Bavarian grave

I needed all four cans.



Slashed the dead leaves

Went for the weeds, wild beasts

Provided the water

But they’re still plagued by the woman

Who would rather cry than water them.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Beans, Beautiful Beans


I'm revising a novel while trying to figure out electronic teaching via Moodle. The teenagers, lovely people when they aren't ripping each others' heads off, are not enjoying quarantine. In other words, I didn't have time to soak the Brazilian beans. But I had three 400-gram cans of black beans, red bell peppers, red onions, garlic, scallions, fresh cilantro, salt and pepper. That's all you need. Throw a little olive oil in the pan, hack the peppers, let 'em sizzle, chop the onions, throw 'em in, garlic likewise. Lots. Around a tablespoon of cumin. Yum. Stir. The onions and garlic need time to get a little transparent before you add the drained, rinsed beans. Also a little water, maybe a cup. Doesn't hurt to add a tablespoon or so of any vinegar you can reach, red wine being best, but I used apple cider vinegar to good effect. Salt, pepper, plenty. Stir, toss in a bay leaf or two. Let boil, turn down. Cover and while it's simmering, pour yourself a glass of red wine. Sip and contemplate life. Slice the scallions, likewise, but gently, the coriander. Add, stir, cover. This is what you get:

Genuinely easy--ten or fifteen minutes.




Feel free to have some taco chips with this.
Meanwhile, you've made rice. I rinsed the leftover sticky rice and used half of that, half risotto rice, which turned out fine. Slice lime, squeeze over the plate of rice and beans. Pour yourself a little more red wine, watch the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy, feel your blood pressure sink.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Chick Pea De Luxe in Corona-Land

It's warm here--over 66 degrees Fahrenheit, and I've started, but hardly completed, the moth-proofing. I was lazy around dinner time, but did throw something together: a surprisingly delicious chick pea salad--yes, with canned chick peas.  Ten-fifteen minutes prep time:
One nicely chopped red onion
At least two cups of mini red tomatoes
A chopped yellow pepper (any color you like, actually, or substitute cucumbers)
White vinegar
The juice of one large orange
The juice of one lime
A little salt
Fresh ground pepper
Olive oil
Salt mix of your choice--or basil--whatever.

Voila (added steamed broccoli, a little cous cous, and a glass of red wine):
 
Remarkably satisfying

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Chicken Delight in Corona-Land: An Easy Stir-Fry for Another Cooped-Up Day

Assemble the following:
Wok, chopping board, three bowls (two big, one small)

Ingredients: Two packs boned chicken breasts, two or three packs spinach (or any vegetable you like), fresh red onion, garlic, ginger, scallions, vegetable oil, cornstarch (not mandatory), seasonings (garlic salt is fine--you could use soy sauce after the stir-fry is done).

Wash the spinach and drain.
Heat oil in the wok--should be hot but not smoking
Chop or grate the onions, garlic, ginger--add to wok, stir, turn heat down.
Chop the chicken and put in a bowl; add around two tablespoons or cornstarch and garlic salt. Stir and set aside.
When the onions look transparent, add the spinach to the wok and turn the heat up. Stir and turn spinach for a few minutes until done but not soggy. Put in one of the bowls; set aside.
Add a drop more oil to the pan and put in the chicken. Heat can go up while you brown one side; you can also use this moment to chop scallions if none of your children are demanding things at the time.  Set the chopped scallions aside in the small bowl, stir and turn chicken, add spinach mix and turn. Add scallions, stir and turn. Done!
I paired this with red cargo rice--added a teaspoon of dark sesame oil to the rice cooker. Once the food was on my plate, sprinkled on soy sauce.
Red wine--good for the heart!
Enjoy.