2015 Greenwood Car Show

2015 Greenwood Car Show

Today is the Greenwood Car Show and I wandered around an hour or so before starting work today at the Greenwood Library.  The cars on display were polished to brilliant sheens, and I was captivated this time by their reflections.  Here are some photos from my morning at the car show:

1938 Lincoln Zephyr hot rod

1938 Lincoln Zephyr hot rod

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Properly dressed for the day

Properly dressed for the day

Self-portrait

Self-portrait

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What Would Suffice?

June 23, 2015

“A life’s work is not a series of stepping-stones, onto which we calmly place our feet, but more like an ocean crossing where there is no path, only a heading, a direction, in conversation with other elements.”
— David Whyte, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

Inside Passage

Inside Passage

I have been taking some down time to do not much — read mostly.  These days, as I contemplate retirement yet am committed to my job for a few more years, I feel like I am on a threshold.  I am gearing up for a transition, but in my mind only because my routine work life, my outward life, has not changed.  I want to shape my retirement into something meaningful for me.  I don’t know what that is yet.  I am looking for role models.

Harold Bloom, writer, professor and literary critic, is still teaching at age 84.  “Certain mornings in midwinter my wife asks me: Why at eighty-four continue teaching full-time?  It is fifty-eight years since first we courted but fifty-nine years since I commenced full-time teaching in the Yale faculty.  I mutter that I fear breaking the longest continuity of my life.  Is that my deeper motive?  What can I know? . . . What remains to be done?  Talking with my wife, our friends (the few surviving), my students, is endless and necessary yet insufficient.  Yet what would suffice?”
— from The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime by Harold Bloom

Officially retiring seems to me to hold great potential for doing something true and deep.  For the first time in my adult life, I will have a small income from social security and a pension freeing me from working for someone else.  I should be able to do what I really want to do.  I guess I have a few more years to discover what exactly that is!

 

 

 

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Touched by Trees

June 15, 2015

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Trees
by W. S. Merwin

I am looking at trees
they may be one of the things I will miss
most from the earth
though many of the ones I have seen
already I cannot remember
and though I seldom embrace the ones I see
and have never been able to speak
with one
I listen to them tenderly
their names have never touched them
they have stood round my sleep
and when it was forbidden to climb them
they have carried me in their branches.

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"Lawrence Tree" painting by Georgia O'Keeffe

“Lawrence Tree” painting by Georgia O’Keeffe

Here are some beautiful books about trees:

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I think Overleaf is a particularly creative compilation of leaf paintings — pairs of individually rendered leaves, front view and back view.

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Butter chicken with basmati rice

Butter chicken with basmati rice

My friend Carol gathered several friends for a cooking demonstration at her house.  One of our colleagues, Jarnail, showed us how he makes his signature dish — butter chicken over basmati rice.  We  could tell he has made this dish thousands of times from his ease in assembling the ingredients.  From start to finish, it took Jarnail less than an hour to put lunch on the table.  And wow, it was incredibly good!

Other than a few special spices, Jarnail’s butter chicken and basmati rice uses ingredients that I commonly have stocked at home.  Now that I know how to make it, I hope to adopt this as my standby dish when we have company.

Ingredients

3 – 4 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 small container (6 – 8 0z) plain yogurt (I think Jarnail would have used a bit more if we had it on hand; he made do with one container)
5 Tbsp garam masala, divided
2 Tbsp ground ginger, divided
2 Tbsp garlic powder, divided
4 Tbsp cumin seeds, divided
3 Tbsp dried methi flakes
about 3/4 c oil (canola, corn, or other oil on hand)
juice of one lemon
yellow food coloring
3 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce
1-1/2 pt whipping cream (not heavy)
1 small onion or shallot
2 c mixed frozen vegetables
2 c basmati rice
4 c water
salt and pepper to taste

Cutting the chicken into chunks

Cutting the chicken into chunks

Mixing the yogurt-based marinade

Mixing the yogurt-based marinade

Mixing the Yogurt-based Marinade
(Jarnail said you could marinade the chicken overnight, 2 hours, or even less.  Since he whipped up this dish over his lunch hour, he allowed the chicken to marinade only long enough to preheat the oven.)

In a large bowl, mix together:
yogurt
2 Tbsp garam masala
2 – 3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1/4 c oil
about 20 drops of yellow food coloring
generous application of salt and pepper

Toss the chicken chunks in the marinade and allow to sit.  Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.  When oven is hot, pour the chicken out in a single layer on an edged baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake about 15 – 20 minutes until the chicken is about half done.

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In the meantime, start the rice and the butter sauce.

Basmati Rice

In a large pan on the stove top, heat 1/4 c oil.  Then add and saute:
2 Tbsp cumin seeds
sliced onion or shallots

Once everything is sizzling, add 2 c mixed vegetables.  Then add 4 c water.  Rinse 2 c rice and then add to pan.  Salt to taste.

Bring to a boil.  Cook at medium heat, uncovered, until about half the water is absorbed, stirring occasionally.  Then cover and cook at low heat until all the water is absorbed.

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Butter Chicken Sauce

In a large pot on the stove top, heat 1/4 c oil.  Add 2 Tbsp cumin seeds and allow to heat until sizzling.  Then add:

3 cans tomato sauce
1-1/2 pints whipping cream (Rinse containers of tomato sauce and cream with a small amount of water and add water to the pot.)
3 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp dried methi flakes (rub between palms before dropping into pot)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring to a boil and keep very hot (simmering), covered, until chicken is half done in the oven.  Add chicken to sauce and cook another 7 – 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Serve over rice.  Serves 6 generously.

Adding half-cokked chicken to butter sauce

Adding half-cooked chicken to butter sauce

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