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Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Penny Found

I found another penny. This one was on my front porch and was caked with dried on mud. I rinsed it off while watering the flower pots. The date was 2003. That is the year I graduated with my Masters degree in Music.

I cannot really think of anything of great significance that happened in that year. Heck, isn't that enough?

Quotable Quotes; in the category Wait, you mean 18 years is not enough?

"Your schooling may be over, but remember that your education still continues." ~Author Unknown

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Garlic Fried Rice

Simple pleasures are best. How often have we heard that one? Very often it proves to be true!

Bill and I like to eat or take out occasionally from a Philipino restaurant in Chicago called Pampanga’s. Our favorite dishes there are Tocino and Longanisa. Tocino is a bacon-ey sort of fatty pork dish, redolent of garlic and spices and some sort of subtly tangy glaze. Longanisa are sausages (Bill loves sausage, all sausage), with similar spicy, garlicky flavors. Bill used to get an order of each and we shared them (I got all the pickle and papaya – I thought it was limp cabbage slaw until a friend set me straight). Since each order came with a generous amount of steamed white rice we did not feel the need to order any extras. Indeed, we both ended up stuffed and offering remaining bits of pork and sausage to each other when we had trouble finishing.

Once we ordered garlic fried rice. It was delicious. I don’t remember what we ordered with it – probably Tocino and Longanisa - but that doesn’t matter. I am talking of rice!

Essentially, this was leftover rice stir fried with bits of garlic. I decided to try to make it at home. I mean, how hard could it be? I gave it a try and it was good – but I decided to check it out anyway and googled garlic fried rice. Lots of hits came back but they were all about the same. The only real difference I found was that some recipes sauteed the chopped garlic in oil for only a few seconds, and others cooked it until it became brown and crispy. Try both ways, they should both be good.

Garlic fried rice seems to be a breakfast food and a means of using up yesterday’s leftover rice. Serve it with sausages and eggs, alone or with anything you usually eat for breakfast (or anything that sounds good). Or serve it with tonight’s Pork Adobo or stir fry or whatever! Three ingredients, one pan, it’s all good.

Garlic Fried Rice

Garlic, minced or chopped – 3 to 6 cloves or even more!
Olive oil or Vegetable oil, a few tablespoons
Leftover cooked rice (match the amount of oil and garlic to how much rice you have)Note: You can buy the garlic pre-toasted and add it to the rice, or use it as a garnish.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and stir and sizzle anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes or until it begins to brown and turn golden. You can let it continue browning or add the rice now. Stir and toss the rice, combining well with the garlic and oil. Press into a single layer and cover the pan. The rice should be heated through. You can continue to cook and toss until the rice begins to brown or serve as soon as it is hot.

Last time I made this I served it with Pork Adobo I had made that day. The rice was leftover Basmati rice I had made a couple days before and served with Keema (spicy ground beef, Pakistani style). The Basmati made a delicious garlic fried rice. Try this with any leftover rice – Jasmine, Basmati or plain old long grain. It has to be good.

Next time, I’ll tell you how to make Adobo. And garlic fried peanuts!

Quotable Quotes; in the category Some Things You Just Cannot Do Without!

“Without rice, even the cleverest housewife cannot cook”

Chinese Proverb

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Penny For My Thoughts

A few days ago I was walking with a friend when she found a penny and picked it up. She told me that when she finds a penny, she picks it up and looks at the date. She then reflects on that year and the things that had happened that had relevance to her life. Okay, whatever.

I was used to picking up pennies for good luck, and had even heard that if the penny was laying tail-side up, then picking it up could bring bad luck. Not that I believed in that much. A penny is a penny and worth just as much heads or tails up, so I generally pick up coins of any denomination. But this was the first time I heard about reflecting on the penny’s date of issue.

A few days later, I passed several pennies on the ground. I was in a hurry and there were a lot of people around so I did not stop to pick them up – but the next day, when I passed that spot, one of those pennies was still there. I picked it up and looked at the date. It was the year of my high-school graduation (we really don’t have to concern ourselves with the actual date, do we)?

I carried the penny for a few moments, reflecting on that year, before slipping it into my pocket. Graduation day was also the day of the choir picnic. We had spent the day at the beach, feasting on Kentucky Fried Chicken (nowadays they just call it KFC) and christening the choir director’s balding pate with soda-pop.

Of course, on the way home, the car I was driving (dad’s van, his pride and joy) broke down, stranding me and everyone driving with me. A long afternoon of guessing what was wrong, tow trucks, bent drive shafts and other headaches left me with the prospect of lengthy explanations to my dad, expensive car repairs and being late for graduation. My friend was hardly speaking to me because she wanted to wash, dry and set her hair for the event.

I took a shower when I got home and resigned myself to attending the ceremony with wet hair and a pair of cut off shorts that would not stay buttoned. At least I would have a robe over them for the ceremony. After that, I hardly cared.

When dad got home from work he looked at me, bewildered, and asked where the van was. I told him what had happened and where the car was, at a gas station 20 miles away from home. I fully expected to be blamed for the mishap and even to be expected to pay for the damage caused by the tow service. Instead dad floored me by merely saying “oh” and “I guess we’ll have to go pick it up tomorrow”.

That is when I finally broke down. Now that I knew there were to be no yelling or recrimination, I was able to let go. Dad watched for a moment then said “you need a drink” and went to prepare one for me (people of my age were legal at that time and in that place). It was my first sanctioned drink at home – a bourbon and water on the rocks. I am sure it helped.

Soon, my friend arrived in her dad’s red convertible (we knew exactly how to assign the chauffeur service, the right vehicle for the occasion) and arrived at the high-school in style, our hair air-dried and wind-blown. I remember little else about the ceremony except that my shorts would not stay buttoned and the principal mispronounced my name. Typical. There were a few other notable occasions that year – my first date with my now husband and a presidential election among them.

It was interesting to take that trip down memory lane, inspired by the date on a penny. I will keep an eye out for future coins and future remembrances. Maybe I’ll let you know about them, too.

Quotable Quotes; in the category Look What A Penny Can Do!

"To attract good fortune, spend a new penny on an old friend, share an old pleasure with a new friend and lift up the heart of a true friend by writing his name on the wings of a dragon."

proverb