Monday, May 31, 2010

Alice, Please Send Help

Here in the Bay Area where the sky usually denies any existence of clouds, after weeks of rain  the sun has finally appeared.   I sit on my patio with the Sunday newspaper and a stack of magazines from the computer industry that have been piling up on the dining room table either to be read or recycled.  I decide to catch up on what I've been missing, not a programmer but a technology scribe who writes user manuals and maintains content on web sites.  

My cat sits at the screen door meowing to join me, but  I try to ignore her  even though she's doing a great job of being pitiful. I'm not moved, especially since she's started using a large planter as her litter box.  Instead, I point to the pet door  and explain how she can lounge outside on the concrete steps leading to my condo. I've started talking to myself, but it's not myself. Is it? I'm talking to my cat. In awhile, she gets the message and leaves.  All I hear is my iPod from the living room and turn back to  picking out articles.  

With so much information, it's important to be selective, focused. But despite my best efforts,  I'm verging off on my own internal hyperlinks, my mind skipping along, looking for a lifeline. Now  I'm back again.  The magazines are filled with articles about mobile devices, security issues, big companies merging with other companies to get an edge on an upstart, software floating on a cloud and settling on a network, databases that are no longer relational but elongational.

Once I stood at the threshold of computer development. I've watched the Internet grow from the bastard child of the defense industry into an international communications megalith. Technology is moving at an incredible speed.   I'm falling down a rabbit-hole with a trampoline bouncing me off the wall. An old professor  appears and requests shrimp.  My grandmother has suddenly zoomed into life and says I can ask her three questions before she disappears. I keep bouncing. It's a good thing I've been going to the gym, but still, this isn't fun.  

I promise myself that I'll stop insisting that my pattern pieces  for this Bronx doll  fit together. But which way is the way and is there a way?  Alice, please send help.

Right now, I need to bring a dish to my Women's Salon, a group of poets and writers who share inspiration and food. I look in my refrigerator and there's not much there. I dig behind an empty plastic bag, which I'm not sure why I'm trying to refrigerate.  But I do find a pound of string beans that are beginning to go wrinkly, a perfect foil for my next recipe.

Au Go-Go Green Beans
A pound of use-to-be fresh green beans
A bulb of garlic
Red chile flakes
2 Tablespoons of sesame oil
Parsley (handful as in  a 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
A cup of so of garbanzo beans
Soft cheese (optional)

Put up a pot of water to boil. In the meantime, trim the green beans.  No need to wash.  Once the water boils plunge the beans into the cauldron. They'll turn a bright beautiful green. Keep them boiling on medium for about four minutes until crunchy. Drain.

While the beans are cooking, heat sesame oil in a large frying pan on low. (Better to heat the pan first on low before pouring in the oil.) Take about 10 garlic gloves (less if you don't like a strong garlic taste) and smash them in salt on a cutting board.  Dice into small bits.  Saute the garlic on low, keep stirring.  Make sure the garlic doesn't burn.  In about 2 minutes pour the drained beans into the frying pan.  Stir with a wooden spoon, coating the beans with the oil and garlic.  Keep it up.

Get two or three pinches of red chile flakes and add to the mix.  Salt.  Chop parsley (can be wilted) and throw into the pan. Keep coating.  Now open a can of garbanzo beans.  Add about one cup to the fry pan.  Keep the mixing action going.

Find some soft gunky cheese that you've ignored for too long and slice into small bits.  Toss into the fry pan and keep mixing until melted.  

Serve either warm or at room temperature.  Goes well with white wine.

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