Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Having Hope

I have hope.

There are many reasons why, but I have to share this one.  Eight months ago on a Friday, my daughter called as I was getting ready for work.

“Dad, can you come over? I need help.”

“Sure. What’s wrong?”

“I think I miscarried while using the restroom.”

I ran the two houses down and found her lying in the floor of her bedroom, shaking, and white while her ten month old crawled around her happily. After making sure she wasn't in immediate danger, we called the doctor. They told her that she should just come in on her scheduled appointment Monday and to bring the miscarriage material along if she could. I got a Ziploc bag and armed with a Qtip, weeping uncontrollably, did the hardest thing I've ever done.

So, why do I have hope? Because what happened was a rare complication and at 1:28 Monday morning, I helped her husband coach her as Samuel John was born. How can I not?   

What do I hope for? Well, many things. I hope to continue helping people, however I can.  I hope that my stories will find their way into people’s hearts and bring them enjoyment. I hope to continue surrounding myself with good people. I hope to find an agent who is one of those good people. (I have my eye on one...and I hope she sees the things in me that I see and sense in her.) In the end, if all my efforts come to naught, I don't think it will change my outlook. However if it starts to, if the hope within me falters, I'll just walk a couple of doors down and visit my grandchildren.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Some Hot Stuff

I love good recipes.  This one comes from a Guatemalan grandma who didn't speak English.  With my rudimentary Spanish, a lot of pointing, gesturing and laughter she shared her family method for making this delicious salsa. I posted a short version of this on Twitter, but after a bunch of requests, I'm putting it here as well.

Salsa Verde
Note: jalapeño vary in heat, so if it’s too hot, boil and add more tomatillos and onion.

Simple Salsa Verde: 8 tomatillos, 1 jalapeño pepper, 3 green onions, ½ onion, 1 clove garlic. ½ cup cilantro leaves, tsp salt, tsp lime juice (or lemon if that’s all you have) Reserve cilantro and salt and lime juice.
Remove loose outer skin and stem tomatillos, then wash them lightly.

Let’s talk about tomatillos. These little gems are bright green with a fairly tight, greenish brown husks.  They are tart and flavorful but as they ripen, they turn slightly yellow and the husks loosen.  This isn't necessarily bad, but know that they get sweeter as they mature, so you lose that tartness.

Stem the jalapeño.
If you want a very mild salsa, cut lengthwise and remove the seeds and internal ribs with a teaspoon. Be sure not to scratch your eyelid or suffer what our household calls “jalapeño eye.” If you want a deeper flavor you can roast the pepper over the flame of your stove until the skin blackens slightly. I do this for other salsas, but not this one.

Skin and cut your half onion
Any kind will work, I like sweet Vidalia onions. You want one about the side of a baseball. If yours is larger, don’t use half of it.  Lol (this is a very variable recipe.)

Cut green onions and your half-ish onion into a few pieces.

Skin your clove of garlic

Put tomatillos, jalapeño, onions, and garlic into a medium pot of boiling water and boil until everything is soft.  If you roasted your jalapeño, toss it in there too.

Drain then place ALL ingredients in a bowl.
Don't forget your cilantro, salt and lime juice. I never measure the lime juice, I just cut one in half and squeeze some in.  

Blend with immersion blender until smooth, Taste it to see if it's too spicy.  If so boil some more tomatillos and onion then blend them in. Or do what we do at my house and plan on having a batch of HOT salsa. YUM.  Put the bowl in fridge and let cool. 

If you don't have an immersion blender a regular one works fine, it just means you will have to clean something big instead of something small ;-)

Give it a taste once it cools and add salt if needed