Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
After the tortillas are made, I shallow-fry them in oil to help them hold together in the casserole (this also helps rehydrate cast iron pans after making the tortillas).
For the enchilada sauce:
Heat in a medium sauce pan over med-low:
3 T oil
Add and saute till tender:
1 onion, chopped
Add and saute one minute:
1 clove garlic, minced
Add and stir till browned:
3 T flour
Add and stir:
2 T chile powder (I use Fernando's chile moldo puro)
1 t salt
1 t cumin
1 t dried oregano
2 c cold water
Cook over med-low until thick. If it is too spicy for your taste, you could add 1 cup tomato sauce.
Spoon about 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of a baking pan. Lay six tortillas in the bottom of the pan (yes, despite making my own tortillas, I am too lazy to roll them...you gotta pick and choose). Sprinkle on a generous layer of shredded cheese (I used cheddar, but Monterey Jack is good too). I also added a layer of steamed Swiss chard because we have bushels of it in the garden and I'm running out of ideas of what to do with it.
Lay the other six tortillas on top, pour on the rest of the sauce, sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 till all hot & bubbly.
I served it with rice and some gorgeous pinto beans that we grew (and of which I'd show you a beautiful picture, but I'm still having photo issues!!) from a small bag of seeds someone gave us for free. They were easy to grow (apparently--the garden is C's job) and yielded just enough beans for one potful. They simmered all day in the solar oven and came out really fat and delicious. I saved a few to grow more next year.
Afterword: After slaving over this meal one night and serving it as leftovers the next, I brought home dinner from a sandwich shop the following night (we had parent-teacher-conferences and no time to cook). The kids were practically dancing in their seats eating the ham Italians that took me 10 minutes to order and pick up. While they ate the enchiladas (with lots of milk for the mild spiciness), they certainly did not dance, and did not sigh about what a wonderful dinner it was after it was over, like they did with the sandwiches.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I could not believe it when I got my fall issue of Brain, Child last week and there was Catherine Newman’s name boldly displayed on the front cover. Again. For like the third time in the last year.
Don't get me wring--I don't have anything against Catherine Newman. Actually I adore her. When I read anything written by her I never fail to come away wishing I were cozied across the kitchen table from her, preferably with something delicious she has cooked, and written about, between us. And she has an amazing ability to write about absolutely nothing and make it seem really vital (this issue’s essay is about boredom). It helps to quell the anxiety that every bit of creative nonfiction needs to be earth-shattering.
I don’t in the least begrudge her success (if you, like I, measure success as being regularly featured in a niche magazine). But three essays in one year? Is no one else submitting anything worthy of publication? Why have I not submitted anything in the last year (other than the fact that I haven’t written anything in the last year)?
And why is it that not one of those three or four essays and twice as many short story snippets that parade through my brain on my daily commute and at night as I drift off to sleep has made its way to paper (or pixels)?
I blame my basement--I have become driven by a visceral drive to clean, sort, declutter, organize and make livable and usable our underground realm. I have convinced myself that once I have the house organized and under control, when I have routines in place, then I will be able to settle down and write. I am convinced that I’m being held hostage by all the junk below grade, and once I can release myself from all of that, I will be free.
But what if I’m really being held hostage by my own desire to clean up that junk? What if it’s just one big procrastinationary tactic that, once fulfilled (if it will ever be fulfilled) will be replaced by yet more ways of avoiding the blank page (organizing digital photos, landscaping our five acres, raising pigs and chickens)?
I read this article last week: A Working Mother’s Guide to Writing a Novel by Mary McNamara. Check out number 1--writing for three hours a night after the kids go to bed (time I currently use to: work on the basement, brush my teeth, plan my outfit for tomorrow, read, sleep). And number 5--a daily goal, “You have to write Every Single Day,” McNamara writes. “Two hours is ideal. One is better than nothing...” Er, how ‘bout 15 minutes? Does this blog count? And number 7--the willingness to give up a lot of stuff: “me time,” lunch with friends, hobbies, vacations. Probably obsessive organizational binges too. Maybe I could write a novel about a woman in her basement sorting through various-sized yogurt lids and 2001 Quebec tourism brochures. If I didn’t die of boredom writing it, I’m sure my readers (if it found readers, that is) would die of boredom reading it. Isn’t there some rule that you have to actually live a life in order to write about it?
Then last night, while C read to the kids, I idly picked up a book I had started to read months ago--Raising Happiness by Christine Carter--and put down again after the part about the10-step conflict resolution process (show me a mom who can calmly follow ten steps to get to the bottom of Johnny hitting Georgie over the head with a brick and I will give her my kids). Anyway, last night I read the part about “growth mindset” versus “fixed mindset” and learned that people who are really good at things are because they practice those things every day and that it takes about 10 years of practice to get there. Which means, if I start writing every day now, I might have something to show for it by the time I’m 47. If I wait another year, while I get my house in order, I’ll be 48.
After everyone went to bed I thought I’d browse through a few blogs before turning in myself, but could not get connected to the internet. So instead I opened a document that held a few sentences of an essay I’ve been marinating for a few months and, putting one word down in front of the other, I wrote.