Saturday, October 16, 2010

I come from Indiana with a blanket on my knees

Mexican Pork and Sweet Potato Stew. I found this great picture of a stew in Woman's Day Magazine. I tweaked the recipe because I had the time and I just fell in love with these ingredients together. They look like the fall leaves. The recipe is great for cooks in a rush to get dinner on the table.

Me, I have nothing but time on the weeknights so I took that time, did it up right. Red and green peppers, sweet potatoes, pork, corn, garlic and onion - that's good stuff. Instead of a store bought salsa, I went ahead and made a homemade roasted tomato chipotle salsa that really made the difference. I wanted a thick hearty stew, so I also added about a 1/4 cup of fine corn meal and a bit of cornstarch to thicken. I kept the spices simple but upped the amount of cumin and also added a 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. The cumin and cinnamon with the pork is a warm blanket. I like blankets. I like to be warm in the fall with a blanket on my knees.

I totally get the blanket over the knees reasoning. I ride my bike all week to work and back and when the cold weather hits, my knees are the first ones to need some nursing. The best thing is to be a little cold indoors and have a nice blanket on my lap and my legs propped up on a stool. That's livin'. I think part of me has always been an elderly woman. I have been able to relate since I can remember. Even as a little girl I loved sitting on the steps facing down the hill looking out over the creek and woods behind our house and just sittin', listening, and being calm. I'd stroll down to the corner and visit this old man and his little chihuahua Lana, named after Lana Turner. Then I'd sit some more and listen to his stories. My friends used to call me grandma in San Francisco. I still liked to tear it up and burn it down but there was that side. Now at work, my coworkers tell me I have a musk that attracts the old birds and I love it. I love the old folks. I'd take an aged couple over newlyweds any day of the week as customers. They have been kicking around a long time. That's to be respected. They know things we don't and you see it in their eyes. They aren't caught up in their egos and they aren't afraid of anything anymore. They are no longer working so there is a calm to them that is foreign to some. They're not uptight. They don't have to be somewhere in 20 minutes, like most people in NY. What's not to like? These are my people. They like calm and quiet. I like calm and quiet and to relax in a chair with a blanket on my knees.

This stew is that blanket.

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