Introducing… Shishito

July 7, 2018

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The above photo was taken one early afternoon when I was feeling rather daring. It seems I could only find green things at the market. What could one do with Brussels sprouts, Spanish olives and shishito peppers? The sprouts were easy. Clean, slice in quarters, mix with olive oil, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and grate Parmesan cheese on top, mix with Panko — and roast! That appetizer will cost you around $12 in the local restaurant.

I found a large jar of sliced Spanish olives (with pimentos) hidden in the back of the frige. Do I toss or create? Not expired, be inspired. There was this interesting and easy recipe in the L.A. Times on ways to tapenade. So, with olive oil, garlic and fresh ground pepper and a hint of lemon juice— into the Cuisinart; pulse 10 times, and Viola! A quick, tasty and sure to please spread.

Finally, I would like to introduce you to the Shishito. Oh, you’ve met? Well, I was late in coming to that pepper party. Wrinkled and sweet, this pepper can be roasted, boiled or pan fried. You can pop them in your mouth, top off a salad, or dip in a soy sauce or a magic summer sauce made with plain yogurt, Dijon mustard and siracha. Either way, the Shishito is readily available year round and a great addition to the appetizer plate.

Enjoy!

 

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Life is Short; Cherry Season is Shorter

July 7, 2018

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I fell in love all over again with cherries in Washington state. They abundantly fill the tree lined countryside. Cherry pies, turnovers and ice cream toppings prevail on menus of every restaurant in the state’s small towns. To my surprise, dark cherries flood the markets in the OC for a ridiculous price of 95 cents a pound, but biting down on the juicy flesh while carefully avoiding a pit is not my idea of fruit filled enjoyment. Alas, a trip to amazon.com and I was introduced to a wealth of cherry pitters: single pitters, double pitters, multiple pitters and cherry olive combo pitters. I did not need one more gadget to clutter the kitchen or take up space in a cabinet.  But the truth is life is short and cherry season is shorter. So live it up while you can. Pit, eat, and be merry!

 

 

Bad 2 Fine 2 Great

July 6, 2018

We’ve all had those bad experiences at the airport: lost luggage, missed connecting flights and long lines at TSA. Those bad experiences are the ones that most often come to mind when traveling.

Fortunately, more often than not flying experiences are fine: endless pretzels, $7 mixed drinks or wine, and barely adequate leg room; forgettable and fine.

In recent years airports have modernized to calm even the most frayed traveler. There are over-sized massage chairs ($5 please), charging stations as well as expanded space for walking.  But the greatest improvements to airports have been the placement of art in public spaces and curated art galleries.

The public private partnerships with artists and local jurisdictions now offer an added level of appeal (and distractions) to airport wait time.

We experienced the full joy of the effects of art to the weary traveler during a recent vacation to Idaho at the The Boise Airport.  Under the direction of the Arts & History Board, art is woven into the landscape of the building. The walls, the ceiling and two art galleries provide an interesting display of the creative fabric that is important to this city as seen in the photos included:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/nf52Rb2gNCMrfh2k8

Boise arts are bold, daring and can be found throughout the city. In its historical and culturally rich beginnings to a strong Cultural Master Plan, Boise has made a name for itself in the arts scene.

Next time you have a layover at the airport, keep an eye out for the art. It can be your first introduction to a new city or your last memory from a long flight…

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Just a Touch

May 8, 2018

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It was the summer of sixty six. A group of high school students headed for a trip of lifetime which included stops in five European countries and ten days in the U.S.S.R. (CCCP). So many relationships and friendships were formed during those Russian Language learning days and black market exploration nights (a long tale for another blog). But for today I am fixated on the moment my eyes were drawn to Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, more specifically the focus of just the touch of two fingers. I remember being mesmerized by a simple moment of creativity when a touch would not only give life to Adam but to all of humankind, that trans-formative moment. Adam, unafraid, received the likeness of God. For now, I will let this sit with you.

I Call on You

May 1, 2018

First memories of prayer~prayer at mealtime: God is gracious, God is good. Let us thank him for our food. Prayer at bedtime: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Prayers in community: the Glory Be, The Lord’s Prayer, The Apostles Creed and the Prayer of confession. Prayers were memorized and never personal or meaningful. They were a means to the end. And yet, even to this day, repetition of these prayers are soothing.

Prayer is the conversation I have with God.  I talk, he listens.

Just as I cannot ask you to do something for me, I cannot demand that of God.  I cannot expect you to give me what I want or make things right for me. Nor cannot I expect God to give me what I want or make things right as I see them. But through conversation with God, we are in relationship. I can be me. I can become more like him. There is where understanding, wisdom, hope and comfort are found; in conversation with God.

As one who is readily distracted, prayer brings me back to God.

 

Monday Mournings

March 12, 2018

The dreams that keep  me up at night are similar to a spinning kaleidoscope. Thoughts, memories and images of a quickly fading past activating the brain stem through the thalamus to the cortex (of which, I have often said, I would prefer to remove at night for complete sleep).

On this particular dreamy morning, I could see my family history fading quickly. With the death of my father 30 years ago, the youngest of nine children, I have no connection to the legacy that was the Krupa family. All that remains are two photographs; my father as a soldier in the Korean War and another taken 32 years later of him seated on top of a slide with his then two year old grandson.

When mother was alive, I asked her gently, time and again to tell me her stories, to show me her photos. Her childhood was like a travelling show through the foster care system. With her two sisters and brother, they moved from house to house, seeking a home. That is all she would tell me.  I met the father who gave the siblings up after his wife died once, for a brief moment on his deathbed. Any of the photos of them do not exist. Any photos of my first ten years of life were destroyed by her two sisters. And the memories of my young life are quickly being erased. My mother died in July of 2017.

Memories of the last 34 years have been fairly well documented in large, yellowing photo albums and in the clouds. Yes, memories in the making are now in the cloud.

“Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you” (Bookends, Simon & Garfunkel, 1966).

Simmering Sunday

March 11, 2018

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Makeshift burner                                                                                                                                                                               cooks with gas                                                                                                                              home cooked meal prepared alas!                                                                                              Oh, the joy a pot can bring                                                                                                         Pasta water simmering.                                                                                                                    step by step we count the ways                                                                                              dining with construction delays.                                                                                                    dining out becomes a chore                                                                                                               I heard a raven, “Never more!”                                                                                        inconvenienced with the messes                                                                                             thankful for the Lord who blesses.

A Spectacular Saturday

March 10, 2018

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We have been without water in our home for 22 days. Outdoor plants have suffered. We have showered daily at the gym. Buckets were brought inside to flush a toilette at the end of each day. I would bring in water from outside, pour into a pan and boil water to wash a few dishes.

We’ve worked around the inconvenience. We have survived. And on this spectacular Saturday we awoke to light rain and a temporary fix in the plumbing. We have water. Who could ask for anything more?

Having just completed my first load of in-home laundry in three weeks, I stared at the modern comfort of a washing machine. As it filled with water, I gazed at a gift we have been given.

Yes, we have no appliances. We cannot cook. There is no flooring. And two commercial size moisture machines hum loudly in the background. But on the sixth day, she said, let there be water. And there is!