Friday, May 16, 2014

Ginger-Miso Baby Bok Choy

Oh, hello there. I'm writing here again so soon! With all the time off I've taken lately this is shocking and wonderful to me. I sat down at the computer today and I actually wanted to blog. Not write, which I do all the time and save on desktop files because they have zero to do with food or recipes and I have no other place to publish this sort of thing, so I just keep it to myself, which is probably for the best because honestly? I don't know anything.

I'm a thinker and slow processor, so when life happens which is all the freaking time, writing helps me process what exactly life just did. Sometimes, I'm completely unaware of what I actually felt and went through until I start writing. I mean, I'll intuitively know, but writing forces framework which gives shape and clarity which is so neat because before that it was just all jumbled up in my head.  

It's safe to say I've been in an accelerated learning time. It's thrilling and confusing all at the same time. I'm in a place where things make complete sense in my head but the second I go and try to put it on paper it gets all jacked up and comes out wrong. I've heard it said that you don't really understand something unless you can simply and successfully explain it to a 6 year old. So, I assume I'm in a gathering phase and just don't understand it all yet. Learning and soaking up but not yet ready to share. It doesn't make for the best writing.

Random picture time, because my husband doesn't read long text without the visual break up of pictures. Maybe you don't either? Please note this has nothing to do with my topic today but it just a tool of manipulation to keep you reading...Look at my cute babies!

The only thing I seem to not be confused about is the certainty that every single person I know is confused too. You know that story about the car accident? If a car accident happened in front of you, you'll see it totally different from where you are standing than the person across the street. It's possible that you can watch the very same accident and walk away with differing opinions on what happened or whose fault it was. I can't even tell you how many times this sort of thing has been demonstrated to me the past few months. Its like the universe has gone completely out of its way to show me this. The car accident thing is a metaphor--of course, for real life. I've been wrestling with this mostly because our minds are conditioned to see situations and people as either "right" or "wrong", but the problem is this is not the most beneficial way to see the world. In fact, we go around all our lives blending both facts and assumptions with downright falsities to get to place where we can be justified-or right, just so that we can live with ourselves. Sometimes we down right lie to ourselves so we can be free to believe what we want. The easiest person to fool is always ourselves. Just knowing this makes things easier and harder. I don't want to see non black and white issues as "right" or "wrong". I just want to have grace and leave space for understanding-or not understanding- it doesn't matter as long as there is space instead of walls. There's always another story, another perspective that also has value and merit. This may come a a shock to you but I am rarely, if ever, 100% right. :) It seems we're always a little bit right and a little bit wrong. And sometimes we don't even know what we are. We're just confused and trying to do the best we can. And that's okay too. But It's holy complicated Batman! 

So you see, I don't know anything. I'm leaving space (because it's my new thing-space) for the lessons to come into focus before I open my mouth in half formed ideas and theories. I do like the process though. I'm finding that for me, embracing questions instead of trying to find absolute answers is the way to go. I'm a tad leery of people with answers. Even well formed, thought out ones. Only because I've come to believe theres no one right answer for everybody. Some may identify with your answers. They may hear what you have to say and think "Yes! me too!" and it means you've found some common ground and connected and you all are likeminded. They are "your people" if you will. I think this is good and fine, just so long as its coupled with humbleness and recognized that your answer is most likely not the golden ticket -THE ANSWER- for someone else. And this, in turn, does not make them wrong. It makes them different. We can leave space for different, can't we? We can agree to disagree without thinking the other is ill-informed, undereducated, crazy or wrong.  

There is absolute truth, however, which is different. Truth can't be subject. Truth is absolute whether you agree or not. However, I think that people who have come to intimately know truth, not just believe in it, but a deep KNOWING of it by experience can see how it becomes simple and recognizable where it wasn't before. You have eyes to see. You know that you know and it doesn't need defending. Truth never does. Once you live in truth you are free to express it without worry for how it is received/perceived by anyone else. I just heard that today. This is real freedom, and since there is no need to convince other people of its existence you can relax. Everyone looking will find truth eventually. This is how I think you can live in the tension of relaxing into holding space, living in peace with our fellow man and all that hippie-ish jazz, but also holding on to yourself and beliefs solidly and being able to voice them- not shying away. I think people receive ideas when we're not pushing them or asserting that they are "better" or "superior" anyway. If they are better or superior, or what I like even better is, if they make more sense or bring peace and clarity, well then, they just will. You don't need to do anything else. The irony is we need to try so hard to find truth but once we have, it seems we need to only stop trying so hard. 

But excluding absolute truth, there is only perspective. And I can hold space for differing ones. 

Sorry, is this vague? My whole life is pretty vague so at least it's appropriate. I'm not talking about anything specific, just a season in life. Just my thoughts. Remember, I don't know anything really.

Oh and food! Yes, the food. I've never really known what to do with bok choy. It's one of those vegetables you read about and think "I should really eat that" but then you don't because, lets be honest, you don't make stir-fry that often and thats the only way you think of using it. Oh, but this way is so much better. Our Natural Grocers has been stocking the most beautiful baby bok choy and one day I just couldn't resist it anymore. I resolved to buy some and at least get it home. Only then would I worry about how I was going to prepare it. I scoured the far corners of the internets when I landed on this, the miso-butter-ginger-lime one. Because, I mean, really. Okay, so this is more of a method than a recipe. Exact quantities will vary depending on how many or how big your bok choy is. So it goes like this:

Ginger-Miso Baby Bok Choy
serves 2-4

4 baby bok choy, rinsed and cut once horizontally down the center
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about a tablespoon)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons yellow miso
fresh limes for serving

I never measure when I make this. If you are a non measurer type of gal, just think this: Equal parts miso to butter, and add some garlic and ginger. 

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium  heat. Add ginger and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add bok choy, cut side down. Add miso (it'll remain in a clump and not mix in right away- this is okay, just let it melt with the heat of the pan) and a few tablespoons of water. Let it heat up a few minutes, then cover with a lid and let everything steam together until bok choy is tender, about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle bok choy with a tiny pinch of salt (miso is salty already) and spread miso around the pan to combine and coat bok choy. Serve hot with lime wedges.

Don't mind this duplicate picture. Let me tell you how lame I am. I have to upload this picture from Photobucket instead of Flickr, which I've used above becuase i can't share my photos or blog to my Facebook page or Pinterest if I don't. my Flickr account won't let me share my photos and I have no idea why. I've tried all the techy things. I don't know. So for now I have to add a picture from Photobucket, which I won;t use exclusively because it washes out my pictures and makes food look anemic. Blogging has gotten hard and time consuming. Yuck.
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burgers

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Happy day after day after Mother's Day! I hope you all feel celebrated and honored. I'm sad to report it was a downright snowstorm here in Steamboat on Sunday. Ah, such is life in the mountains. It's okay. My hopes of sitting out in the sun all afternoon with a crisp sauvignon blanc was replaced by a cozy early breakfast with my family, followed by a planter pot full of herbs since we are renting and I don't currently have a garden of my own, and a bouquet that was made more special since my kids picked out different random flowers and had the florist make an arrangement out of it. Jeremiah picked the bluebell looking ones and pink rose. Isabella picked sunflowers and tulips.

I was also presented with a giant handmade poster from Isabella that said "Happy Mother's Day, We I love you" with stickers all over that said "Happy Birthday!" and two balloons that said "Happy Birthday Princess!" because, you know, it's the sentiment that really matters, not what you are actually saying. Everyone know that.

We took my mom out to lunch on Friday to celebrate with her. Kaylee and I had just gotten back from a run up Spring Creek in preparation for our 5k coming up. My lungs bled, I'm pretty sure, so to document the moment we snapped a selfie. Don't let the smile deceive you. My lungs are BLEEDING.

Then we came back to the house and rehydrated with a green juice.

In other mother related news, mine has started experimenting with actually styling her hair. My mom has never changed her hair style. Ever. Also, she never blow dry's or puts any product in (except for special occasions) Here, I'll prove it.




even 1971, for goodness sake (on the right)

Same length, same bangs. I can tell you this-she curled her hair in the 1981 picture and used a blow dryer for the 2008 one ONLY because she knew she would be taking pictures. You get the idea though.

But she started to rethink her hair situation after she decided to buy a wig. She hoped it would look like real hair. My mom is crazy. I did the cry/laugh for 40 minutes as she told me the story of watching the home shopping channel where the hosts all wore the wigs raving about how real they looked. It should be noted that my mom might have a small home shopping addiction. At first she was skeptical. She could tell the host was wearing a wig. But she couldn't decide if it was because she knew she was wearing one since that's what they were selling. Perhaps if they weren't selling wigs she wouldn't have even noticed? Curiosity peaked she decided to watch some more. Then she ordered one.

When she came over she announced "I ordered a wig. Just to see what it would be like. Because I mean, if it looks real, what an easy way to do it. I could look good everyday."

My laugh/cry begins when I realize she isn't joking.

"Plus" she continues "If I ever got cancer and went through chemo...I'd have it" Please note, she says this seriously like it's actually a plus.

The tears start rolling and my cheeks already hurt.

She tells me her plan is to just wear it one day when Dave (my stepdad) gets home from work and just see his reaction. She wonders if she can get away with it looking real. She wonders if he'll just think it's her actual hair. Like, will he even notice? I assure her he will definitely notice. For the first time in forever her hair will be sleek, blown out, perfectly cut, poofy and shiny. My mom naturally has very wavy horse-like hair. Oh, he's going to notice. Who did she think she was going to fool? I beg her to take a picture of her in it when it arrives. This is just the best thing to happen all year. I've got to see it. I promise her I won't post it to Facebook or anything. But I don't promise I won't blog about it.

She says what finally got her to make the purchase was that she had been watching the home shopping channel for a while when she heard they were selling out of some of the styles. She knew she had better get on the phone and order the cut she wanted first. She knew she wouldn't get what she really wanted if she didn't hurry. My mom is the prime target audience for home shopping channels. "Wait" I say through tears "You mean to tell me you ordered a wig you didn't even really want just because they were selling out?" She looks at me like ummm, yes, are you even listening? That's exactly why. Also, she says the seller lady announced she planned to wear the wig to an upcoming wedding. Oh, my mom thought, dang, if she can wear it to a wedding it must look good! She is not very ashamed about this. It's awesome. She's slightly embarrassed though and expects it to not look very real. Although holding out hope, she believes she'll have to return it. But she just has to make sure first. Try it on. Take it for a spin. She imagines all sorts of scenarios. Like will she have to work out at the gym with it on? What if people know its a wig and they wonder why in the world she would wear a wig to the gym? Who wears a wig to the gym? But then if she doesn't wear the wig all the time, then someone who sees her real hair at the gym might see her later that day in the grocery store with her hair all done, slightly a different shade of brown and then they'd know for sure she's wearing a wig. If she was going to do it, she'd have t commit to wearing it pretty full time. If not, if people started to catch on, then they'd wonder...Laurie has a full head of hair, why is she wearing a wig? My mother lives in a very small town. She sees the same people over and over. I told her she could just decide to not care what people think. She assured me she doesn't normally, but having people wonder if she was wearing a wig or not was a little too weird. She couldn't have people thinking she was crazy, or worse, be the laughing stock. One doesn't usually wear a daily wig just for the hell of it.

"Only thing is, I wonder if I wear a wig, if my hair will start to fall out?"

You guys. At this point, I start to get maniacal. Why in the world would she think her hair might fall out?

"Well, you know, from covering it up from the sun and air all the time?"

My side is aching. I'm bent over. I'm gasping for breath between fits of laughter. This sounds like logic my dad would use (he has legitimate brain damage though). It reminds me of the period of time my dad would only use Garnier Frutctis shampoo because he believed the plant extracts from the fruit (Fructis, ya'll) would stimulate his hair to grow in thicker. Then, every day he would sit in the sun and pour Fiji water over his head like he was watering a garden or something. It had to be Fiji brand because it came from tropical waterfalls, you know, and had mysterious powers that other normal water didn't. Still I think it can't be coincidence that two adults in my life would think this way. Do people with hair issues fall into this line of thinking? Is there any legitimacy to this? I have no idea. I just know it sounds like lunacy. And I haven't laughed this hard in years. My mom is dying too. We can't even talk to each other for five minutes.

It was probably the best day ever.

A few days later the wig came. She tried in on in her bathroom and snapped a few selfies. She sent me one. Are you ready?

Let's compare, shall we?

fake (wig):


WILL DAVE NOTICE? Bwahahahahaha.

She never worked up the courage to wear it out. She said it took her 20 minutes just to get her real hair pinned up and secured and for the wig to get on her head right. It was then she had a lightbulb moment. If it takes 20 minutes to get this fake hair on my head and I'm doing it just so my hair can look styled, why wouldn't I just spend 20 minutes styling my own hair? Yeah I know, you probably asked this question to yourself way back when this whole story started, but we're slow processors in my family. SO this is how it came to be that my mother showed up at my doorstep the other day with her hair done. I decided to take pictures of the occasion. She was a willing model.

*We don't need to call attention to her highlight situation. Don't worry, she knows*

Should we get a pensive one? She asked. No mom, you look too cute for serious shots. You can't tell as well in the pics, but you guys...she styled her bangs TO THE SIDE. This is new. This is Laurie, unprecedented. And it all came about from some wig antics. I'm so glad my mother isn't boring.

Ah, crap. I did the thing where I wrote about something else instead of food on the food blog again. This happens a lot. I think this fall when Olivia starts school and I gain a bit more free time I'll start another blog for this sort of thing. Hey, at least I'm writing.

I am genuinely excited to talk to you about these turkey burgers. Rumor has it Oprah asked for this recipe after interviewing Donald Trump at  Mar-a-Lago in Florida. She says they were the best turkey burgers she had even eaten. I have to agree.  It's the combination of the burger with the special sauce that makes it great. Topped with a melty slice of sharp cheddar cheese, these are heaven. Just make sure to prepare in advance. After you shape the meat into patties, they'll need to sit in the fridge to firm up enough to be grilled which takes a few hours. I just make these around lunchtime and place the patties on a baking sheet lined with foil and stick it into the fridge until dinner time. It works great. The secret ingredient in these burgers is mango chutney. Although I left it out when my sister was visiting because she was on a no added sugar diet and she didn't seem to mind. I mixed it into our patties though because I really do think it makes them special.

Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burgers
adapted from Bread and Wine, by Shauna Niequist
makes 12 burgers

1/4 cup scallions
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
Olive oil
4 pounds ground turkey breast
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Tabasco
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/4 cup mango chutney

Special Sauce:
1/2 cup mango chutney
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ketchup
2 dashes Tabasco, or to taste

(optional: melt a thick piece of sharp cheddar over the burgers. Serve in buns with the special sauce, avocado, tomato, and lettuce)

Saute scallions, celery, and apples in olive oil until tender. Let cool.

While the mixture is cooling, make special sauce. Mix chutney, mayonnaise, ketchup, and tabasco. Adjust for heat and then refrigerate until serving time.

Place ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add sautéed items and the remaining ingredients. Shape into 12 burgers. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or longer if needed.

Place on a preheated, lightly oiled grill set to medium-high heat. Grill each side for 7 minutes until meat is throughly cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes.