There’s a scene toward the end of The Great Gatsby where I believe Jordan comments that life begins again when everything gets crisp in the fall.
I’m not trying to wish time away, believe me, but when I walk outside and feel as if I’ve been hit in the face with a hot wet beach towel, I have moments of doing so. The half-hour morning walk with Oakley left me limp from the humidity. I’ll have to settle for the next best thing in the egg department: the hens at the farm where I usually buy mine have wilted in the coolest spots in their enclosure with spread wings, and are too hot to lay eggs.
Storms are en route, though. Some are saying this afternoon, a real possibility when the heat indices hover around 100 and the humidity is ridiculous. Others say tomorrow. I look forward to them, welcome them.
It’s a stay in the moment type of week. We have the last day care day at the place where Oakley’s been going the better part of his life before it goes out of business this weekend. A party’s been planned for staff, owners, and dogs the Sunday after Labor Day. Hopefully it will bring closure as we all make this transition. We all know that change is the constant in life, but did it have to be due to one person’s massive selfishness and greed?
Oakley will be four on Saturday. We just did an early birthday treat run to his favorite store, the mom (no pop) one that’s a little drive. He gets adored by the staff, greets the store cat whether or not he wants to be greeted, and charms other shoppers. And we get to support the shop owner and a small local biscuit bakery. It’s all good.
And when the weather breaks, it will be even better.
Oakley scared me this morning. He left food in his bowl, which doesn’t happen very often. Then I realized that I had committed the unforgivable transgression of incorrectly layering the egg, pumpkin, and goat kefir in the bowl before mashing them together. An additional dollop of goat sauce (what it’s called around here) earned my way back into his favor.
Drinking green jasmine tea. It’s one of the few greens that I enjoy, as is gunpowder green. Gunpowder green has roasted notes and the wow factor of unfurling itself into the full leaves when the water hits it. Very cool to watch.
Hubby came home, so I’ve been cooking. Scrambled eggs yesterday; almond and coconut flour muffins this morning. Turkey cutlets with rosemary, but do I want to do a rosemary and mushroom or orange sauce? After three weeks of cooking for himself, he really appreciates my culinary efforts and likely doesn’t care. I’m leaning towards the orange sauce. I have some oranges that need to be used up.
On this day in 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded. A note of Tudor nerdiness for the day. Other than wearing black and watching the episode of “The Tudors” where she meets her fate, nothing planned.
So we go on to this week.
I make a pot of rice about every two or three days. Hubby is of an ancestral background that uses it as the main carb dish.
Consequently, fried rice appears pretty frequently. This is how I do it…
Scramble one egg per diner ( in my case, one for me, one for Hubby, one for Oakley which I take out and keep to the side for him). They will wait patiently while you heat up a little more oil and stir-fry the onions and other veggies that take a while to cook. If you are using meat that needs to be cooked, add it now, too. Whey they’re almost done, add the veggies like the bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and baby corn (cut into smaller pieces if necessary) and if using, tofu cut into small squares. Now, add the rice and keep stirring. Start drizzling in the soy sauce to taste–in my case, when the rice turns medium brown. Keep stirring. Now return the eggs, add leftover meat if adding, and give it a good stir.
And now you have your own pot of homemade fried rice. Enjoy.
I made my weekly run to the market yesterday. I bought bread made with an antique variety of wheat (with a lower gluten content and kinder to my tummy) from a young woman whose father, I believe, comes from Paris and whose mother hails from Russia. I bought a small tub of marinated olives and peppers from a man who comes from Marseille and is patient with my dusty high school French. The tomatoes just might end up in a tarte, made with a pastry crust (spelt or gluten-free) and some goat cheese.
Kind of like the one I had when I went to the cooking class in France some years ago. We cooked and lived a la Francaise for an incredible week.
It’s going to be a while before I get back, but in the meantime, small everyday practices keep me connected:
- Flowers. I need flowers on my table. Nothing huge, but a $3.99 bunch from Trader Joe’s or the market can last for up to two weeks and go a long way.
- Whether I’m getting produce from the market or the store, I select very carefully. I engage in conversation with the seller about the food, where it came from, chat about recipes, that sort of thing.
- Making meals a little ceremonial. Having one without interference from the TV at least once a day, sitting at the table, and serving the salad as a first course, minor things to shift the focus.
- Focusing on the food. Ok, I have been known to read while eating if I’m dining solo. I do sometimes eat in front of the tube. But I try not to very often. Well, more often than I want to admit.
- Small touches, even with what seems like minor details, enhance the dining experience. Have you tried tuna and egg sandwiches? Most memorable meal for me was sitting on a bench eating one while watching motor scooters zip around the old quarter of Roanne (it’s near Lyon). Can of drained tuna, chopped celery and onion, two chopped hardboiled eggs, enough mayo to make it hold together. I had it on a sandwich roll, but it would be great on whole wheat with lettuce and tomato. Perfect when you are getting the first draft of a novel started.
The market I frequent may be in an asphalt parking lot surrounded by small stores, railroad tracks, and early to mid-20th century homes instead of being framed by medieval church spires and supported by cobblestones. Its spirit and intent are the same. And that is where I find my small slivers of France.