By Carol Pearlman
Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa
Had the best day of my life on Sunday – worth every one of those thousand-dollar bills forked over to the bank for my condo – when I finally got to experience my beloved San Francisco family enjoying my new home in Vallejo. There was eight year old Nico, lounging in the swivel chair in front of the fire, doing homework on his iPad, his beautiful mama relaxed, leaning back on the fainting couch in front of the window, watching the sky change colors behind the cranes of Mare Island, my son comfortable on the sofa, engrossed in the New York Review of Books, and me and nearly-three-year-old Mila looking at books at my desk in the library, and drawing pictures on every page in my notepad.
We’d had an early dinner, which I spent the morning preparing, hoping they’d love it & enjoy it, and that it would make them happy – and it did. Mostly, I used what I already had in the house, except the pork, which I ran out specially to buy at Seafood City. I’ve been looking at this Philippine specialty in that shop for a long time, but never could buy such a big portion just for myself. Oh yes, this Jewess loves pork.
I made Quinoa Latkes, pureed purple yams, sautéed Dover sole, and heated up that fabulous, succulent, Seafood City “family size,” deep fried pork shank, which I served with a dribble of coconut vinegar. Last minute I made a salad of lettuces, plucked from my little garden planter, with avocado & one of those brown high-in-lycopene sweet hot-house tomatoes that come in a long package with cellophane.
Dessert was ready made, also from Seafood City: flat cakes of sticky rice steamed in banana leaves, with a coconut caramel sauce, another Philippine specialty, which they devoured so fast I had to fight for a taste. Drink was coconut water & fresh eau de Vallejo gurgling up through a GE filter under my sink.
I’m grateful to the Philippine Community in Vallejo who has brought a whole new culture into my life, with new people, tastes & experiences. And, I’m eternally thankful for that precious moment with my family, that I’ll never forget, & which will hopefully get the kids to ask to return to grandma’s house in Vallejo. Halleluja! I don’t need to wait until Thursday, Thanksgiving is now.
I walked over to the City Clerk’s office last week and found this sign on the reception desk: You, the customer, are the most important person in the service we provide. Not an interruption of our work. You are the purpose of our work. You, the customer are not an outsider. You are a fundamental part of our service. You, the customer, are not dependent on us. We are dependent on you. Bring us your needs, and we will do our best to satisfy you.” Below that, “City of Vallejo, CA,” with a simple graphic of a tree and a sailboat, in front of a big sun, over a green field & blue water.
Isn’t that the way all business should be run? Imagine if your telephone company adopted that policy.
I’d gone to the City Clerk to apply for a position on the Board of Beautification & Design. I have no special qualifications, but I’m a worldly old broad with a lot of experience, well-traveled, and call myself a poet. And, I want to be involved with this city that is so accessible to its citizens, and participate in making it a better place. Let’s see what happens. If no one else applies, I might have a chance.
While I was there, I walked over to the library and got myself a library card. Did you know the Vallejo public library offers homework help? And tutoring services, as well as a book group? What a town!
By popular demand, and by invitation only, I’m teaching “Healthy Cooking for One” in my home, starting in December. And, for VIB readers, right now, hereby offer cooking instructions for 2 of the dishes I served to my family on Sunday, and one more delicious cold weather dessert.
Those who say I see my cup half-empty need to learn how to read. I suggest the library’s tutoring services. And, btw, buy my book.
About 2 – 3 cups of cooked quinoa, 1 med. Brown onion, chopped fine, 1 egg, a big handful of fresh parsley, chopped, salt & pepper.
Put quinoa, onion & parsley in a bowl. Beat the egg in a cup with a fork & add it to the mixture. Add salt & pepper, mix well.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a large frying pan, when hot drop about 2 heaping tablespoons full of the quinoa mixture and flatten out a bit so it looks like an oval pancake. Put as many of these into the frying pan as will fit without overlapping. Leave them alone for the first few minutes, then peek underneath to see when the cooked side is golden brown. Flip with a spatula & fry until golden brown on the other side.
Place on a folded paper towel to drain while you cook the next batch.
When used as a side it needs nothing else. As a main dish, you could serve it with sour cream & apple sauce.
Purple Yam Puree
Wash & chop 2 big yams into 1 inch pieces, throw into boiling salted water, boil until tender when pierced with a tooth pick. Drain, return to the pot, add a good heaping tablespoon of butter, a nice splash of cream, a dash of salt & pepper, and mix. Use an immersion blender to turn it into a creamy, delicious deep purple puree. If so inclined, grate a little bit of nutmeg over the top. Serve with any meat, fish, or poultry.
Wash & core medium sized apples, or cut larger apples in half & core. Sprinkle with salt, lightly dust with cinnamon, and stuff each one with approximately one teaspoon of crunchy peanut butter, or for a change of pace, try coconut jam, which can be found in Seafood City. Pour about half an inch of water, or leftover wine & water, in a baking pan, add apples, place in pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender & melting. Serve hot or cold with cream – or without.
General advice: Use the freshest, best ingredients you can find, organic, if possible. Enjoy!