“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the Road is Life.” ~ Jack Kerouac ~
In Tucson this week, the body is, the mind is already ahead on the miles not rolling on yet. It was the hardest thing doing coming back to an urban environment after these past few days amidst a stage we belong to, amongst kindred spirits who understand the constant fever of the outdoor, of the road while never standing still for too long. Yet we have to wait a few days, it will be a short time to regroup awaiting for mail and other logistical steps in the making. My Friend Robin understands my own needs as much as I understand her own desires. We are very fortunate to have this ability to part and yet to never dismantle the present, “us”.
Waiting for mail was suddenly compounded with the fact of this Journal being migrated to a faster server by Go Daddy, which has been flawless these past years, this go around however never warning me it would be shut down for 24 to 72 hours. And “so what” I thought… yet, deep down all these past years programming myself to look and feel for the big picture seem to have vanished for only just a while. I have become impatient as if I have temporarily lost the key to my space. My own Human Nature does not cease to amaze me as my self control and disappointment toward myself started skating on thin ice. My outlet of the moment was to then hit the road for the day, Madeira Canyon and Box Canyon road, both under dark skies with the threat of rain. Cool down, patience, the big picture, no harm, "it’s all good" I have to remember.
Overland Expo could have lasted a week, maybe more, and yet I do not believe we would have had the moments available for us conversing with everyone present falling into "our Friends" category. All still leaves out the many would be Friends… the soon to be as they always are. Seems as I shook hands with a few I do not even right now recall, embarrassing moments, I apologize, the stage was too vast for us. Highlights do however remain. Harald and his daughter Laila from "Kanz Outdoor Kitchens", a dynamic duo, filled with expressions ranging from the laughter to the “should we call it?” normal relationship of a 13 year old going on 40 and a loving Father going on 13 with a passion for making Black Russian Tea. One of our readers was even present. Do you believe his name is Jerry Lewis?
Other memorable times besides the 3 "one pan cooking" classes I gave daily at 11am was meeting this Adventure Trio, Terry and Sandy traveling with Jake, their such young son. 9 years old now. Youth is always nostalgic for me. Lance is always present within their own presence. What a treat it is to travel as such, they live near Sacramento, California. Who knows, we might just visit them sometime soon and let Spirit unwind with some young blood. Nostalgic was also when entering the day care center where my ingredients for my classes were stored. I don’t know how many witnessed this beautiful mess and colorful chaos. It was worth the sight as much as any of the toys parked outside.
They were many more, the names are now coming back, sometimes names with no photos, never enough images throughout such events and the ones taken, well, maybe I need to learn how to smile on camera!
And since cooking a couple dishes, here are the recipes. Recipes truly meaning as I always think of them myself “templates” trying to pass on the knowledge of the physical and logistical approach, the timing, all based on the meaning “cooking first what takes the longest”, what is available when passing by the road stands, the market in the little village, what might be a left over into a forgotten zip lock bag inside a cooler. As for the classes, the meat used is optional if traveling without refrigeration as we ourselves do. Tofu, beans, canned tuna in spring water, all tasty substitutions or none needed also works well.
The first dish was a “Cracked Wheat with Chicken”.
Besides the cracked wheat itself, none of the other ingredients have any designated volume or weight measurements. A handful, one or two? Personal taste, experiment. The list is pretty much what I felt like mixing in, what looked good at the Market on the shopping day.
1 Cup cracked wheat
1 Cup water
1 Boneless skinless breast of chicken sliced thin. The thinner, the faster they cook.
Red pepper sliced
Green onions sliced
Dried apricots sliced
1 Yellow squash diced
Mrs. Dash spice
Sautee the cracked wheat with a couple tablespoons of olive oil for a few minutes, add the water, bring it to a boil, add the Mrs. Dash spice chosen, mix and cover turning off the heat. Wait a bout 5 minutes, the cracked wheat will then be fully cooked. Re-light the stove and add the chicken with another tablespoon of oil stirring till the chicken is mostly cooked. Holding back the parsley, a few red peppers, green onions, walnuts, raisins, add all the ingredients left and continue stirring for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover. Wait another 5 minutes. Add the parsley, the juice of one lemon and stir. Dish out as above loosely adding the left over peppers, green onions, walnuts and raisins for presentation.
The second dish was similar to the first one, again within the “one pan cooking” path and same ideology
“Rice with Pork”
.5 Cup Basmati rice
1 Cup water
Red pepper sliced
Green Onions sliced
1 mango diced
1 Zucchini sliced
Sliced toasted almonds
Mrs. Dash spice chosen
Sautee the rice with a couple tablespoons of olive oil for a few minutes, add the water, the Mrs. Dash spice chosen, bring to a boil and cover on low simmering. It will take about 10 minutes or when the steam stops coming out from under the lid. When the rice is done, leave the heat on, add the pork with another tablespoon of olive oil and stir till done. Uncovered, add the red pepper, green onions, mango, zucchini, cranberries, almonds, garlic and the juice of the lime holding back again some for presentation. Stir a couple minutes, cover and let it rest another 5 minutes. Uncover and add the cilantro and basil. Stir a couple minutes while turning off the heat. Dish it out adding the held back ingredients for presentation.
Enjoy and feel free for questions.
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Ara & Spirit
Be Safe and well
Peace, Love, Courage