Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Story

This is a page from my son's story I rescued from the recycling bin. He and his friend are writing it together. It is a totally collaborative process. Most of what I've gleaned about the story is from conversations in the car on the way home from school like this:

“So,” Son says, “Clayton is equipment and technology—"
“Wait a minute, Clayton can’t be both equipment and technology. Those are two huge things,” Friend says.
“Okay, then how about Clayton is equipment and Reggie is technology and communications. That’s the same thing, anyway,” Son says.
“Dude, we already said Clayton is technology.” Friend sounds exasperated. “Clayton has to be technology. Reggie can be equipment.”

The story is not for school or any other adult-initiated agenda. It is their thing. For that reason, I have been incredibly restrained about interrupting or asking questions. I have not asked to read it. To protect the fragile nature of a work-in-progress, I purposely made the photo above small so it can't be read. To be honest, I didn't really understand much of the above page, except that it's about some kind of firefight up in the clouds with a pilot named Matt.

I am really fascinated by their writing process, which involves mostly writing separately but also some writing sessions together, with his friend on his computer and my son on his laptop. Sometimes when my son gets home he is so eager to begin writing that he rushes downstairs to begin, without a snack. During our car rides there are a lot of negotiations like the one above, and also about editing, the narrative flow, the narrator's voice, and other meaty topics. I look forward to reading it at some point, if they let me. But now I am enjoying observing the writing of it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Pulled Pork Sandwich

The cover of Gourmet magazine has been making my mouth water ever since it appeared in our mailbox a few weeks ago. (To see the cover photo, go to the end of this post.) Inside the magazine, a funky-fashioned twenty-something model stuffs this delectable pile into her mouth while another whittles carrots. I had a whole fantasy invented about the curly-haired Caravaggio boy with a bowler hat gripping a bowl of peach ice cream...The only way to discharge my obession was to make the sandwich and eat it myself. But there was no chance I was going to hover over a charcoal grill for six hours to produce the ultimate North Carolina barbequed pulled pork. Luckily, at the end of the recipe, there was a grudging tip on how to roast the pork in the oven. I modified it further, and here is the result. It's not barbequed, but it got high ratings from everyone in my house and the teenage boys each ate two sandwiches. Apologies to any real North Carolinians who are offended by my San Francisco busy-mom version.

Modified Gourmet Magazine North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich
Serves 2 middle-aged adults and two teenagers with maybe enough for burritos the next day
3-lb bone-in pork shoulder roast
1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
2 tsp. salt (divided)
2 tsp. pepper (divided)
6 hamburger buns or rolls (preferably bakery-made, or high quality)
coleslaw (see recipe to follow)
Take roast out of the refrigerator an hour before you plan to roast it. Pat dry and rub 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper all over it, and let stand at room temperature.
Heat vinegar, sugar, and 1 tsp. each salt and pepper and stir until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put roast in a roasting pan and cover with parchment paper and then foil. Roast, covered, for 1 hour. Then pour 3/4 cup vinegar sauce over it, and roast, covered, for 1 hour more. Pour remaining vinegar sauce over it and roast for approximately 45 minutes more, covered, or until roast is fork tender. Drain juices in bottom of roasting pan and put in refrigerator, to separate fat. Put roast back in the oven uncovered for approximately 30-45 minutes, until meat is browned. Remove from oven and let cool until it can be handled. Shred meat with two forks, and transfer to a bowl. Skim fat off juices and serve with sandwiches. Warm buns or rolls in oven briefly, then serve pulled pork and coleslaw piled in buns, dressed with juices, as desired.

1/2 green cabbage (approx. 1/2 lb.), cored and cut into 3-inch chunks, then shredded
1/2 large green pepper, finely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all vegetables in a large bowl. Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, then toss with slaw. Chill for about an hour before serving.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Blog!

One year ago today, I started my blog. I really didn't know I would stick to it for this long, but I'm glad I have. I love exploring this new art form, keeping writing and staying in touch with those who read it. Thanks, readers, for reading.

We are celebrating the opening of our Persian Princess poppy today. I like to think that the heat triggered some deep genetic memory of the hot air of Persia, and she opened to embrace it. With a bloom five inches across, she commands the garden today.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Some Mysterious Things

I went for a walk on the beach today since we're having a glorious heat wave. I didn't have my camera with me, otherwise I could have taken photos of some of the things I saw. (The photos in this post were from another, earlier walk on the beach, but I think they can be included as mysterious things, too.) I saw lots of severed crab legs and bodies distributed all in a row along the wave line. I saw scads of ladybugs, crawling in the sand and huddled on rocks, spread along blocks and blocks of beach. In some places they were so thick, I had to step carefully so as not to crush them. I saw a driftwood sculpture that from far off looked exactly like a person running. And even weirder, once I had passed and looked back at it from the other side, it STILL looked like a person running. I saw another driftwood sculpture that from far off looked exactly like someone doing revolved triangle pose (for the yogis). But from the other side, it just looked like a log.
Maybe the crabs and ladybugs were due to the heat. We are so unused to it, everything seems strange. My son reported the pine cones at his school were bursting open and scattering their seeds. The wind was blowing the wrong way. My Bubble Bath roses shriveled and dried and turned brown in one day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mom Pancakes

Here is today's breakfast plate, created by my great family. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Red Gate

Red gate on the hill:
Is it only the wind that
Passes through it now?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New Potatoes

We harvested the potato crop, all 2.75 pounds of it. These potatoes were not planted lovingly and fussed over. My husband threw a couple of leftover potatoes that were clinging to last year's volunteer plants into the bottom of our new raised bed last fall, before we filled it with nursery mix. They were the first things to sprout this winter, before we had even planted the radishes and lettuce and carrots. Maybe because they were in the ground so long, they started to decline a few weeks ago, so we dug them up. It was like uncovering buried treasure--in fact, it was uncovering buried treasure. As we dug, rich, golden orbs fell glowing from the shovelfuls of crumbly earth. I admit I shrieked a bit. I didn't expect such a yield from a few volunteers. Volunteers are not chosen: they choose to grow, where they want and when they want. They are consistently the hardiest, most vigorous, most self-sufficient, and most successful plants in our garden.

Here they are washed and ready to be roasted with salt and olive oil. Is it because they came from our garden that they tasted so fresh, tender, and potatoey? Me, my husband, and our older son ate them all for dinner with baked Alaskan cod with chermoula sauce. Oh, it was good.
This is what the potato root looks like with little potatoes just forming on it.

And here's a plate of our radishes for an appetizer. Good things come from inside the earth.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Birthday Sun

Solar energy
squirting out, yellow, shouting:
A new one is born!