Thursday, September 30, 2010

Salsa Verde

My friend Shauna introduced me to this recipe a couple of years ago. I'm posting it because this growing year has produced a lot of green tomatoes for me and this recipe can use them as a substitute for the tomatillos. I love the way her end product tasted largely because of the way she and her husband grilled the peppers. She cut them all up with the charred skin and all. Be sure to use bottled lemon juice and not fresh - this is important. You won't be sorry. Also, you can use a steam canner to process the jars using the same amount of time as is recommended here for the immersion method. Be sure to adjust time for your altitude. Happy Harvest!

Tomatillo Green Salsa

5 c. chopped Tomatillos (or green tomatoes)
1 1/2 c. seeded chopped long green chiles  (we used anaheim chiles,  and Luke roasted them on the grill along with the jalapenos)
1/2 c. seeded finely chopped jalapenos
4 c. chopped onions
1 c. bottled lemon juice
6 cloves of garlic,  finely chopped
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 TBSP salt
1 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in large sauce pan and stir frequently over high heat until mixture begins to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes,  stirring occasionally.  Ladle into hot pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner 20 minutes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So It Is

While unwinding for bed tonight, I go into my office to water the schefflera tree. Looking up, I notice a Lego fortress custom-built around its trunk.  I also notice dead leaves on the floor and as I extricate the creation from its place, a few more fall from the branches to join the others. Concerned, I take it up with Brahm, who is finishing dinner in the next room.

"Hey, dude, I don't mean to rain on your parade but I'm wondering if you can find a new home for your Lego fortress. I think it might be a strain on the tree."

"No problem, Mom," is his reply. "This parade has brought along umbrellas."

"Hey," I chime. "I like that." I pause to reflect on the different meanings of his insight, impressed with the wisdom my nine-year-old has just imparted.

"What do you like about it?" he wants to know.

"Well," I begin, grabbing a chair to join him, "I like how, for me, it means that even in a bad circumstance, I can change my attitude. I can be flexible and not let it get me down. It's like I have a back-up plan or something."

"Yeah," he agrees, seeing my point. "Well, my back-up plan has taken the shape of a Lego hideout in the fern in the mudroom."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Best of Las Vegas

Our Lego Explorers in The City That Never Sleeps:

 The Strip with Eiffel Tower in background

View from Hotel Aria

On coffee break outside the conference room

 Bellagio Fountain

 Workin' long hours

Droppin' nickels at the slots

On set

"Yeah, we've earned it!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Found on Church Pew

Which pretty much indicates that it was a Sunday School assignment (notice how brief and to the point it is). And nevermind that Brahm is his only brother. I think I'll post it anyway.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Takes One to Know One

The universe is continually confirming to me that what bothers me in other people is usually a reflection of something amiss in myself (see "Who Am I?" for more on this topic).

Take a morning commute from last week, for example. It seems that every year, no matter which route we choose, UDOT manages to plan some kind of major construction on the roads which take us to and from school. Add to that the innumerable amount of inconsiderate drivers in our path (Utah is infamous for this) and I guess it all became too much for me on this particular morning.

"Guys, " I say, directing my comments to the creatures in the back seat, "I'm really glad you're watching all of this because I want you to start learning now how not to drive." Even from the drivers seat I can still see their little eyeballs rolling to the back of their heads. This is not the first time they've had the "Look-at-All-of-the-Incompetent-Drivers-Out-There" lecture. Still, I persist. "I want you to learn how to actually use your turn signal when you drive. And when you're going to make a right turn at a stop, you must come to a complete stop first and then look to the left to see if anyone's coming before you proceed." No response. "And furthermore," I add, feeling encouraged, "when there's construction going on like this you must slow down and drive carefully. You never know when a worker is going to pop out from behind their truck and surprise you. Basically, do exactly the opposite of what you see all these idiot drivers doing."

There's a long moment of silence in the back seat which means, of course, that my wisdom must be penetrating their young minds. I allow it to sink in. But before I can let myself feel too satisfied, Oliver's next comment becomes a different kind of lesson all of its own.

"But Mom," he observes matter-of-factly, "sometimes you're an idiot driver, too."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Where In the World?

Last week Brooks left for a business trip to San Francisco. Knowing he would be gone all week, Brahm sent him with one of his Lego Storm Troopers just in case Brooks felt lonely and missed him. Being sensitive to others is not unlike Brahm. Two of his gifts are a strong sense of compassion and empathy for others. Brooks understands this. In fact, he knows just how much he and his son are alike in this way. So it shouldn't have surprised me (though it did) when this series of photos showed up a few days later for Brahm.

Bay Bridge Tunnel
Bay Bridge
Union Square
The Embarcadero
Taxi Drive
Down Town

Brooks is in Las Vegas this week. He didn't leave empty handed, either. Oliver sent him with a Lego Snow Trooper and Brahm, a sheriff (with handcuffs - a non-negotiable travel accessory, I'm told). We can't wait to see where they'll turn up this time...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hodge Podge

One of the best things I ever did in my garden was plant the strawberry patch. I expected small, pithy berries but instead have been completely surprised by the large, juicy ones we have picked all summer long. Bless Brooks for letting me tear out a strip of the front lawn where the berries now grow. It's the only piece of land we own that gets a full twelve hours of sun at the peak of summer. That's probably why they have done so well - that and all the TLC the boys and I have put into it. They have rewarded us with more fruit than we can handle - enough for pie, freezer jam, cereal toppers, salads, ice cream and fresh eating.

One thing I notice about myself is that I'm a very tactile person and enjoy a creative process that starts from scratch. This means that nothing makes me geek-out more than picking the strawberries right off the plant, washing and hulling them right into a pie shell that started out as a bowl of flour and butter. This recipe here calls for a cream cheese filling (a block of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of sugar and a couple tablespoons of sour cream or plain yogurt), a layer of sliced kiwi and a crown of berries covered in a corn starch-based glaze. No one here turned down a slice.

A month ago or so the boys and I were home camping out in the living room. This appeases my conscience some since I hate actual camping and they love it. We built a sheet tent, stuck marshmallows on sticks and "roasted" them over a fire we conjured from construction paper. All of the sudden we hear a storm pick up outside and were astonished moments later to see hail the size of gumballs coming down all over the neighborhood. Of course the boys run out and gather as many as they could while I'm giving Brooks a play-by-play over the phone (I love how he humors me by listening when I call him at work with stuff like this). Weeks later and I think there are still a few rolling around the bottom of the freezer.

And finally, Brooks gets his 9th consecutive "Dad of the Year" award by building these wooden artillery units with the boys. I came home from work one Saturday afternoon to find them all busy with a jigsaw and a sander only to proudly emerge a couple of hours later with what you see featured below. What's not featured is what Brooks later built - a wooden pistol with which to arm himself. Smart dad.

Memo to Children

The garlic press is not for Play-doh.