Arroz Con Pollo With Apples

You will need:
2 large Granny Smith apples
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
6 tbsp olive oil
1 green pepper, coarsley chopped
1 yellow pepper, coarsley chopped
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)*
1 cup fast cook (minute rice) long grain rice (N. uses minute brown rice)
2 cups chicken broth

*Quite obviously, if you want to turn up the heat, use chipotle chiles, jalepeños, or habañeros.

Quarter, core and slice the apples into 1/4 inch thick pieces, set aside. (Do not peel.) Season the chicken with the salt and black pepper. In a large (deep) skillet, heat the olive oil; add the chicken and cook four minutes per side or until it is golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan but save the oil. Cook the bell peppers (and hot peppers, if using), onion, and garlic in the oil until tender, about ten minutes. Add the tomatoes and apples to the pan; cook eight to ten minutes longer. Add the paprika and red pepper; stir well and add the rice. Stir over the heat for two minutes; add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

It seems to me that if your skillet is not big enough to hold all of this, you could heat a large pot and dump the whole shebang into that when it starts getting too full.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, arrange chicken over everything, and cover. Cook for twenty minutes or until liquid is absorbed; serve with sour cream.

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Moloch

Immolation

This was not the sin
for which Carthage must die.
The scale is sometimes disputed
by historians; it is difficult to say
which exactly was the practice, and which
the demonization of a defeated foe.
Cartago delenda est.

Reason alone states the plausibility
of child sacrifice in an era
where the unwanted
(the extra mouths, the daughters instead of sons)
might be exposed; at the core
of the story of Abraham taking Isaac to the mountain
is the expectation that children are an expected sacrifice.
For numbers, it is impossible to know
as the infants were sacrificed in fire.
Little remains.

The rich folk of Carthage
were said to have blamed their defeat
upon the substitution of the children of the poor
for their own; Human nature is to look for the greatest gain
with the least personal inconvenience.
Even in their desperation, they did not sacrifice themselves
but their children.

Children are the gateway to fear.
One always dreads the things that might come to be:
the stranger on the road,
the inattentive driver,
the disease that a parent cannot end.
The fear that your child might be the next to be chosen
could be balanced against the feeling that the worst has fallen.
A parent could relax; no more woe.
That fatal piety echoes in our legacy of horrors; we shrink from the thought
of children in the fire.
Not that. Never that.

Never the children in their mothers’ arms,
headed towards the showers.
Never the victims of chemical weapons
(looking just as our children do when asleep
but still, so still)
Never in our own communities.
Not ours, at the least,
victims of the triumph of fear over hope.

Cartago delenda est,
lest we be forced to think
that in some ways, we have progressed no further
than the sacrifice of children to the blazing fire.

October 25, 2009

Apple Bars

You will need:
2 small baking apples, grated (about 2 cups)
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup dark raisins

Preheat oven to 350º. In medium bowl, combine apples, eggs, sugar, margarine, and vanilla; mix well. In a small bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Add raisins and stir; add spice mixture to apple mixture. Spread into greased 9″ square baking pan; cook for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.

Tomato-Onion (Savory) Pie

You will need:
Frying pan or wok
Oven or toaster oven big enough to take a pie
Sharp knives
One frozen pie crust
One medium yellow or white onion
One medium to large tomato, or a couple sauce-type as in Roma would be best
Cheddar cheese
Small can of black olives
Olive oil
Dijon mustard

Prepare the frozen pie crust according to the package directions for a one-crust pie. (In other words, pre-bake it so it doesn’t become a soggy mess.) Slice the onion into fine pieces. Over medium heat, fry the onions in a little olive oil, turning constantly until soft and almost caramelized. (You can turn the heat down so as to prevent burning – it will take longer.) Spread a thin layer of dijon mustard in the pie crust. Dump the onion in on top. Wedge the tomato (cut from the center) and arrange atop the onions. Grate cheese on top; spread some black olives on the cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes in the oven (at the temperature directed by the pie crust directions) until the cheese is melted and the tomato warmed through.

I have to warn you, it looks horrible. Gallery of Regrettable Food level horrible. But it tastes so good that one gourmet-loving friend of mine who was brave enough to sample my leftovers declared that he’d always be up for it.

Serves four people, unless they’re really hungry.

Ugly Heads and Mother Holle

The Old Stories

1. “You will bathe every day
in milk and rose petals,” she said,
“If you convince your father to marry me.”
The girl complied. After all,
the woman had been nice to her before
and it would be good to have a mother again.
And for a little while, it was milk and roses,
but soon enough it became cold water
and hard bread for breakfast.
The father believed the woman when she claimed
it was because the girl was spoiled.

Blood is thicker than water.
In that, some people find
the strength to lift them higher. Some
the chains that bind.

2. Two daughters sat on the well’s edge.
The favored daughter had finely carded wool,
the unlucky, dirty flax. And when the thread broke,
as the mother knew it would,
she was thrown into the well as punishment.
In the magic land at the bottom, she spoke softly
and politely, and won favors and jewels for her courtesy.
Of course, she would never have dared otherwise at home.
Some coping strategies look like good breeding.

Blood is thicker than water.
In that, some people find
the strength to lift them higher. Some
the chains that bind.

3. When he found out her lies,
he threatened her, that she might give his children back.
She brought back the son, but
when she called for the daughter, she would not come,
preferring to spend the rest of her life as a mackerel
rather than allow her stepmother to change her again.
The wisdom or folly of that course
is known only to the mackerel.

Blood is thicker than water.
In that, some people find
the strength to lift them higher. Some,
the chains that bind.

4. Some variants of the tale
have the brothers changed back
after seven years’ privation by their sister.
No smiles, no laughter, no speech.
At the end, she might have forgotten how to connect.
But in the old Irish tales, the swans are only changed back
after decades or centuries,
only to die of extreme old age.
Some hate resounds through the centuries.

Blood is thicker than water
trailing slowly down the page.
In the end, the truest stories are all
about blood.

September 30th, 2009