Stories, Art, Food, Teaching, Travel, and the other Loves of my Life

Stories, Art, Food, Teaching, Travel, and the other Loves of my Life
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do / With your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"

Thursday, December 16, 2010


This is just stunning. Hello, Winter Wonderland.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recent Excitement

Three of my fiction students asked me if they could "talk me into" teaching them a private class. An advanced fiction workshop.

These students are currently publishing. I mean, they know a thing or two about craft, and frankly, I didn't know how much they'd get out of my class in the first place.

But apparently, they liked it! And I am just GIDDY coming up with the readings for this class... I'm thinking a mix of theory, craft, readings, and some good ol' fashioned workshop.


Monday, December 13, 2010

What We're Having Tonight:

Errr, what we had Friday night.

There are about a million ways to make this dish, but this is the one I make 9 times out of 10. It's one of my favorite winter recipes, that only requires a handful of fresh ingredients so you can throw it together at a moments notice, and, for those of us from small towns in Northern California, tastes like home.

Posole: Feeds 6-8

-Pork chops, cubed (I used about a pound)
-Shredded cabbage (I just get the bag from TJs)
-Julienned radishes (Skip this if you're not up to dicing tiny veggies)
-One large yellow onion, chopped
-2 28-oz cans white hominy, drained
-1 3-oz can diced green chilies, drained (as hot as you like)
-1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (the authentic version would omit these, but I try to squeeze in a few extra veggies)
-4-8 cloves of garlic, diced
-4 cups chicken stock (even at my laziest, homemade stock is worth it. I mean come on the soup practically comes straight from the pantry.)
-Olive oil
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Chile de arbol to taste

-In a large dutch oven, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil over a medium flame until soft. Add the pork and cook until brown, about ten minutes. Add the green chiles and stir to combine. Sprinkle with chile de arbol, salt, and pepper.
-Add the hominy, tomatoes, and stock. Bring the soup to a boil for ten minutes.
-While the soup is boiling, fill bowls with a loose handful of the shredded cabbage and chopped radishes. Ladle the soup over the cabbage and radishes, let sit for a minute or two until the cabbage wilts. Serve with sour cream, lime wedges, and avocado, chopped cilantro if you're feeling fancy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Candlelight Thoughts:

Happy Hanukkah, to those who celebrate.

I sometimes think it's unfortunate that Hanukkah and Christmas fall so close together on the calendar. Hanukkah is a minor holiday, and yet sometimes it seems to get a LOT of attention and fanfare (I'm writing this shortly after finding a lighted spinning dreidel lawn ornament and BB&B) for no other reason than to show Christmas what's up.

Well. That's not my battle. We just have a simple menorah, a few dreidels, and a handful of gelt. But the simplicity is welcome at this chaotic time of year: what better way to spend the darkest nights of the year, than gathering with your loved ones and marveling at their faces in the candlelight?

Hanukkah is not meant to compete with Christmas. It's quiet, simple, just a slight departure from the norm. But it is lovely. Right when most people are frazzled with lists, wrapping, and breaking the bank, we get to lie back, order crab meat cheese wontons, and pretend it's snowing.

And, can I just say, if it were to compete with Christmas, Hanukkah would definitely win the decorations award. Blue and silver look way better than red and green. I mean, come on.