Monday, September 24, 2012

My Mom's Fried Rice

Of course no one makes it like Mom, but here's what I do after watching her for years growing up.

First a lesson on how to cook rice.

1. Wash the rice. Three times. Add water to cover the rice, swish it around with your hand then pour the water off, repeat. Repeat.

2. Add water to the rice. How much? Put your index finger in the pot and barely touch the top of the rice. Add water up to your first joint. Really.

3. Add a little salt, bring to a boil, stir occasionally. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and cover and let it sit for about ten minutes. Stir then turn off the heat, cover and let it sit for another 30 while you make the rest of supper.

OK, now you have perfect rice and there is almost always leftover rice.

The next morning, fried rice for breakfast!

You will need:

A little oil (any kind, sesame adds some flavor).
Chopped veggies. Green onions, carrot (finely sliced or shaved), onion, a little garlic, celery, bell pepper, be creative.
Chopped meats: Spam is the best! I've used leftover pork chops, roast beef, fish, shrimp, hot dogs... thin slice or fine cube the meat.
Eggs. 2 or 3 scrambled up with a little milk and garlic salt in a bowl.
Soy sauce.

Put the oil in the pan, add the meat and veggies and saute for a couple minutes (keep the veggies a little crispy at this stage, they'll cook more).

Add the eggs. Scramble until they just start cooking but are still a little soft and runny.

Add the rice and stir it all up. Douse with soy sauce and stir fry until the eggs are all done.

Eat and sigh.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pineapple Ginger Chicken

I made this up when I needed a quick meal. 5-10 minutes of prep. It is amazing!

4-6 Chicken thighs (depending on family size).
1 can crushed pineapple (in regular juice, not heavy syrup).
1 bottle Korean sweet chili sauce (or hoisin... any oriental sauce will work).
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh ginger.

Mix the ginger into the pineapple. Lay the chicken thighs on top of it. Pour some chili sauce on top. Bake at 350 for about an hour uncovered. Serve over rice (that you cook while the chicken is baking).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

No GPS for "Life"

I've come to the conclusion that most of life is managed by "muddling through".

I've made plans, gone to school to prepare, predicted the future based on data, prayed about it, felt the "Spirit" move, saw the "hand of God" in events and coincidences, made educated guesses, worked my ass off for a goal or a dream and rolled with the punches.  In the end, I can't say that any of it really mattered in the end.  But, the reality is I hadn't done any of that I wouldn't be where I am (for better or worse). 

The "will of God for my life" and the "providence of God" are mostly either delusions that I've poured my efforts into or amounts to spiritualized retrospectively revisionist history.  But that said, I still believe I am where I am by some kind of grace of God that accommodates my virtues and sins (regardless of my awareness of the difference) even as I write this sentence.  The fact of my faith (however small or great in anyone's estimation, including my own) is evidence of that grace.

I think most things in life are motivated by some tinge of virtue and compromised by some tinge of sin.  But, yes, sometimes sin becomes the motive and virtue is vestigial.  I'm not a "new age" Romanticist, I've looked long and hard into my mirror too many mornings to think I've always been evolving in a spiritual journey upwards.

At sixty I'm finding that I don't have any more clue about what I'm doing or where I'm headed than when I was six or sixteen.  In fact I think I had more of a clue back then, or at least thought I did. Of course the realization of that in itself gives me pause to pronounce that "where I am now" is all that good of a place either. 

For good or bad, the difference between six, sixteen and sixty is I have more history now.  The other difference is, because of history, I find that I don't NEED to have a clue now, nor do I really want to have a clue.  I'm perfectly OK with letting life play out and just being in the present moment. Uncertainty, unknowability, unpreparedness... they aren't tigers and dragons lurking under my bed ready to eat my arm dangling from the bedside.  I sleep comfortably with them.

So, for today I do what the day demands (to some degree of competency and with some degree of passion and commitment) and I go to bed tired.  I don't get too concerned about "big pictures" of things, predicting the future, spiritualizing the past, aggrandizing the present.  The only important thing to me is the word I speak to the person I'm talking to, the kindness I show to the person I encounter, the peace I bring into a room of people, the fulfillment of my duty to the person who pays for my time and talent so I can eat. Yes, even that is "spiritual".

I may not have "it" down, whatever "it" is.  I just know I'm not as concerned with making a difference as much as I am with just making it through the present moment with some kind of integrity and a sense of what is really before me rather than what is ahead of me.