Saturday, June 13, 2009

Real Reason

As you may or may not know I love Story People by Brian Andreas. I developed this affection for his work almost 20 years ago. In fact there is a connection to the Story People Blog on this blog - so if you haven't been go now! Many of his thoughts presented in his work really resonate with me. Today was particularly true. It is titled Real Reason. The words are as follows:

Real Reason
There are things you do because they feel right & they may make no sense & they may make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other's cooking & say it was good.

Okay is this not me in a nutshell - pecan please. The pattern of my life is connection and sharing time and experiences with people who are important to me. Of course when I am hosting or primarily responsible it is an event with - you guessed it food. My goal is to create a shared experience that brings laughter and warmth and all over good feeeling with a tingle in your heart from the love and a tingle in your taste buds.

Several weeks ago I traveled to WA to welcome baby Miriam and help the rest of the family get a little TLC and special Granna/Mama attention. It was splendid. We cooked through the week and made yummy meals. Jen wanted to see some friends so we made Mexican with puffy tacos, pork filling, mexican fruit, mexican chocolate cake and a side or two. We had sangria and guacamole - it was fun and divine.

One of the things Jen and Josh like to have me do when I am there is cook for them. I cook ahead as it were and prepare meals frozen so dinner is just a little easier. So Josh smoked brisket and a pork shoulder, I made spicy pork, marinated flank steaks in 3 different rubs and marinades, eggplant parmesan, chicken cordon bleu, mac and cheese, meat loaves, meatballs and lots of sauce for pasta. Notice that they are "comfort" type foods. Perfect for two stressed out parents who've wrangle work, kids and car pools and smiles and tempers. You just need something that rights the earth and helps you connect to what is normal or what you would like to see. It's hard in the middle of parenting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

After 10 days in Seattle Lee was pining for food - cooked by me. Her comfort food is penne with marinara sauce and cheese with a salad and bread. I can take the basic home marina and switch it around with vegetables in it - mushrooms, squash, artichoke hearts - pine nuts, or meatballs which she loves as well. Her absolute favorite Saturday night special is a ribeye grilled with a twice baked potato and an artichoke with a sauce of mayo and lemon juice for dipping. It's hard to go wrong with an appreciative eater like Lee. Just do not serve chef salad with delicately sliced meats and cheeses. She thinks you made dinner with cold cuts and that is a sin in the book of this Texan.

But back to Seattle. The time spent with my children is so dear. Jen and Josh are incredible parents. If we could bottle their patience we could make the world a more peaceful place. The boys are just full of life and adventure. Gabe is so funny and he is truly Mr. Goodtimes. At one memorable meal Eli announced he was going to use number 2 to push waste out. Gabe looked and listened and jumped announcing - not to be outdone - that he would use all the numbers to push out waste.

Part of the fun was a soccer game. Eli is a sports nut and soccer is his game. We went to see the Sounders play the Columbus Crew. Every day Eli would count down the number of days left before he could go. Each day the excitement was a level higher. Day of was most exciting. They donned hats and shirts in Sounders colors. Gabe and Eli had hats and sunglasses and Gabe wore ear phones to drown out the big noises. They were just present to every moment of the game. We took pictures and of course Eli refused to smile to torment his Granna. The game was a tie and much to Eli's chagrin Tyrone "X" was red carded and thus could not play in the game against the arch rival Chivas. Very fun to hear him spout knowledge about the game. Josh shared that he doesn't know where Eli gets his information but he is pretty accurate.

Miriam is a very cuddly baby. She appears to be so small after two brothers over 9 lbs each. She is a lovely blend of both her brothers. You can watch her for a while and see both Gabe and Eli's expressions on her face. She has very full kissy cheeks and her brownish hair is as soft as down against her head. She has a very nice demeanor which makes you want to just hold her and snuggle her all the more. Miriam is perfect for cuddling and nuzzling. What a perfect addition to our family!

It was apparent to me watching Josh and Jen that they are working to create a wonderful life at home for their family. Eating together, trying bites of this and that, thinking of games to keep little ones at the table for chitchat. Suddenly Josh grabs a strip of cloth used to tie the curtains back and announces he is a ninja. The boys jump up in delight and declare themselves ninjas too. The head ninja announces no ninja activities until baths and pj's are in place. The boys scamper upstairs to complete their tasks. I do dishes and after that's complete Jen and I rest on the couch awaiting the ninjas. Josh and Eli bounce down the stairs and then the smallest ninja appears. He is wearing a big magic cape, a fireman's hat and has a hobby horse tucked between his knees with his ninja head scarf in place. No pj's but big smiles and a heart full of play. Chapter two takes a little man back up the stairs for a more appropriate sleepy time costume and the ninjas go to bed.

I have never been so happy or so tired. It was incredible fun and after a rest for a week and a trip to the doc for a cortisone shot in the knee I am ready to go again!

One of the boys favorite treats is an outrageous apple. They are sold at the shops near Pikes Market. It's an easy treat to put together and it is outrageous!

Big perfect apples
short sticks to make a handle for the apples
Bag of caramels melted with 1/3 C. of evaporated milk
12 ounces Dark or milk chocolate melted (if you want to be true to Seattle try Theo chocolate!)
12 ounces white chocolate
Chopped pecans or crushed candy bars 8 ounces or both

Wash and dry the apples thoroughly. Assemble the apples with stick handles in the top of the apples.
Place each topping in it's own separate deep bowl. Carmel, then dark/milk chocolate then white chocolate, then nuts, then candy bars

Dip the apple into the caramel about 2/3 of the way down. Drip and rest is handle down on top of a glass with the uncoated apple touching the rim of the glass.

When firm dip in the milk chocolate not as far down but putting enough on so it drips down the sides of the apple. Rest as before until firm.

Repeat with the white chocolate but before the chocolate is firm sprinkle with nuts of candy or roll it in one or both.

Finally drizzle the chocolates over the top of each apples. Just to gild the lily do not dip.

Let rest until firm and enjoy. We cut each apple in wedges and share.

It really says I love you in the most real way - as if you need a reason for making something for someone you love.

1 comment:

  1. We are under a week until our trip to see you and Lee. I am getting very excited.