Then

Posted in farm, food, nice things, seasonal with tags , , , , , on October 22, 2012 by bosquechica

After a particularly unpleasant week, the weekend brought me rest and work and numerous small satisfactions. The summer clothes are put away, the winter clothes brought out. The pellet stove is operational, the bosque is bright with fall. I spent both Saturday and Sunday in full-on cooking meditation.

Like meditation, cooking requires a focus on the present: 1/4 tsp this, 1/2 cup that, oven preheated to 350, cut, stir, blend. When the mind wanders, bring it gently back to the task at hand, to the present moment. Here are some of the things I made:

Blueberry-apple pies
Cauliflower mushroom soup
Butternut squash soup
Cauliflower planks, oven roasted with panko-parmesan crust
Tatsoi, simply sauteed with garlic

Unlike sitting meditation, cooking meditation is a dynamic form of the art. With the body continuously engaged, the mind can stay in the moment, can set aside discontent and desires equally. When the chatter starts, bring the mind, the breath and the body back to the spatula, back to the onion. Focus on the smooth texture and the warm orange color of the of the soup as you stir. By the time dinner is served, I am happily mindless (or is it mindful?) and completely present. And with meals-ready-to-eat for the entire week to come. What a deal!

I find that I often need to remind myself to be grateful for weekends (thank you, unions!), for my beautiful home, for the bosque as it changes and the cranes as they circle overhead. I am grateful also for my own common sense and for stopping my whirling stressy thoughts for awhile. Stand, breathe, cook. Not a bad mantra, really.

Presumptive resumption

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 14, 2012 by bosquechica

Image

Having been gone for almost 18 months from Trees, I hesitate to say I am back. But I find myself thinking about this site fairly often, so here goes.

My mom died on September 27th. My handsome barn cat, Chipper Jones, died about two months ago. We went to Spain in September, for 17 days. I’ve taken to working out 6 days a week, with dramatic improvement in fitness, health, mental, emotional and spiritual balance. I’m leading meditation group(s), and developing meditation and yoga classes for people with neurological disorders, for families of children with autism, and for caregivers and teachers to manage stress. I’m working on the road still, doing rehab therapy with home-bound people from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and points north. It’s still a great job, in spite of the heavy driving and the long days. I learn a lot.

The little farm continues apace. We have had a record year for fruit – apples, pears, plums, apricots and grapes in abundance. We’ve got half grown guinea keets just learning to get along safely outside of their coop. It’s almost November, and yet we haven’t yet lit the heaters, or put the swamp cooler to bed for the year. Tomorrow begins the real first baking of fall. Beef stew, apple pies, extra for friends and family. I made green chile stew on Wednesday, with mild green chiles from Wagner’s here in Corrales, and it was a fine batch. Recipe, perhaps?

All in all, this has been a challenging time for me and for us. The stress of aging parents and aging self carries significant weight. What I see and feel is that taking good care is what keeps me sane and loving. I am fortunate to have the strength, the resources and the support to set myself on this path.

And perhaps to write again here in this little corner of the blogosphere.

Pictured above is a plate of roasted veggies, taken last fall. Inspirational, innit?

Huevos Rancheros like nena used to make

Posted in family, food, recipe, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by bosquechica

Only better. I’ve modified this recipe to suit my own taste. No relatives are allowed to complain about these changes unless they’ve tried it. Consider that either an invitation or a threat.

So. “Huevos Rancheros” is Spanish for “Ranch Eggs”. That’s all. It means different things in different regions, and this version comes from my great-grandmother, Isidra Ybarra y de Valle, of Sabinas Hidalgo in the state of Nuevo Leon, in northern Mexico. I think she made it up, though – per family report, she had no domestic skills at all until the family moved to the United States in 1915 and, apparently, did not bring their cook with them.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 sweet yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 guerito chiles, bottled in vinegar
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • eggs
  • olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • shredded Mexican cheese (cheddar, jack, asadero blend)

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add diced onions and garlic, sautee until clear and soft. Add diced tomatoes, sliced guerito chiles. Cook on medium heat for about five minutes. Pour some of the liquid from the bottle of gueritos into the skillet, add four cups of water. Bring to a full boil, then reduce to a medium heat. Add cumin and oregano. Reduce to a fresh vegetable soup consistency – brothy and chunky, but not thick! When your kitchen is steamy and smells of chiles and vinegar, drop the eggs in the broth and poach them. Spoon the warm broth, the tomatoes and chiles over the eggs to seal in the heat while poaching. Turn gently once for a fully poached egg white.

Heat corn tortillas in skillet. When warm and soft, place tortilla(s) in a pasta bowl, spoon the eggs and huevos over the tortillas. Top with cheese, and pour the rest of the soup over the eggs.

 This is a very spicy version of Huevos Rancheros; the gueritos are sharp and quite delicious, if you like heat and you like vinegar. They can be found in many grocery stores in the Mexican food section or sometimes in the condiments aisle.

The changes I’ve made have included taking the time to reduce the broth, and the cheese is an addition that complements the chiles and restrains the heat just slightly. For some reason, my mom has always served this with rye krisps instead of tortillas. This makes no sense to me, and I can’t imagine what she was thinking. Corn tortillas – that’s the way it ought to be done. This recipe makes 2-4 servings.

Try it, let me know what you think. I assume I will not be sent to family recipe hell for my changes, or at least not for long.

Salud!

Forgiveness, revenge, release

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by bosquechica

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” —MLK

These words, from Martin Luther King, Jr., have been traveling around the internet ever since the news of Bin Laden’s death came out on Sunday. It’s interesting, I think, that vengeance and redemption and forgiveness seem to be a part of the collective conversation at this moment.

I have been reflecting on what Laurie and I have often observed about human nature, which is that forgiveness is at the top of our brains. The flowering of human endeavor lies in our ability to forgive, to care for and nurture our fellow humans, our animal cousins, the very earth and water and air. It is also true that war, tribalism, retribution and violence are hard wired in the core of our brains – these are survival and crisis responses, and as such, we are relieved and in some ways satisfied when we hear that a Bin Laden is dead. And yet, every time someone rises above those impulses – as MLK did, as any number of spiritual leaders have done – it is a gift of grace. This is a good time to focus on grace, and to start to release the anger, fear and division that have driven us as a culture and a nation since 9/11.

Red chile-spinach enchiladas

Posted in food, recipe with tags , , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by bosquechica

 

This is a favorite dish in the sunny southwest and can be made mild to hot – know how to choose your chile! It’s possible to buy a quart or two of prepared red chile sauce at any number of New Mexican restaurants and Mexican grocers throughout New Mexico. If you are sadly unable to acquire your sauce RTE, I’ve included a basic recipe here. Don’t used canned enchilada sauce – it’s just wrong. This sauce does not have tomatoes in it – it is a very basic sauce made with a roux and the chile puree. New Mexican enchiladas are typically made flat, not rolled. Quite like a lasagna with ooomph.

This recipe is easily assembled once the sauce is ready. The baby spinach does not need to be pre-cooked, just layer it along with the other ingredients. This recipe makes 8-12 servings.

  • 1 lb. fresh baby spinach
  • 1 to 1.5 quarts red chile sauce
  • corn tortillas
  • olive oil
  • Mexican shredded cheese blend, to taste

Red chile sauce:

  • two cartons frozen raw red chile puree (Bueno)
  • olive oil
  • flour
  • garlic
  • onion
  • cumin
  • oregano

The sauce: Cook the onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add flour and brown. Add the thawed red chile and whisk until you have a smooth, creamy texture, adding water as needed to adjust the consistency. Stir in the garlic, onion, oregano and cumin.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a  9×12 baking dish. Dip corn tortillas one at a time in the warm red sauce then lay flat in the dish (two-two-two covers the bottom). Add a layer of uncooked spinach. Cover with red sauce, sprinkle cheese blend on top. Repeat: tortilla-spinach-red sauce-cheese until pan is full. Last layer will need to be compressed a bit and covered with the last of the red and a dash more cheese.

Bake, covered, for one hour. Uncover in last 15 minutes to give a little crisp to the top. Let rest a few minutes before serving.

Wish I had a picture. In the absence of one, I’ll fill in with a picture from Jemez Springs and will pop in a picture of the dish next time I make it. This is a healthy, sustaining meal, good for the mouth and not particularly difficult. The spinach is fabulous with the red sauce. A favorite at Chez Bosquechica.

Have una cerveza, some guacamole and chips while you’re cooking. Life is good, que no?

Mexicans, Muslims and Gays – oh My!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on August 19, 2010 by bosquechica

This just in from the Wizard of Foz. Film at 11.
I don’t like this forest! It’s – it’s dark and creepy!

Of course, I don’t know, but I think it’ll get darker before it gets lighter.

Do – do you suppose we’ll meet any wild animals?

Mmmm – we might.

Animals that – that eat straw?

Some – but mostly Mexicans, Muslims and Gays.

Mexicans! Muslims! and Gays! Oh My!

Grabs the remote. Changes the channel. Ooh. Same report on every channel! Every newspaper! Every blog! Every radio program! Must be bad!!!!!

Straw Man again: Be very afraid. Hate everyone. Government bad! Neighbors bad! Healthcare bad! Education bad! Bad Bad Bad aaaaaaaaaaah

How can you argue with logic like that?

Press Release

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 22, 2010 by bosquechica

 

Deepwater Horizon

BP announced today that in a move to improve their public image, the company will be disbanded and reorganized with a new emphasis on environmental accountability. The new company, Hubris Oil, will go public on Sept. 11. Mark Crassus, CEO-elect of the newly formed multinational corporation, unveiled Hubris’ mission statement:

Humble Oil put a tiger in your tank; Hubris lets the tiger out.

Crassus expects the new venture to launch an aggressive online and on-air campaign, encouraging all Americans affected by the recent events off the Gulf Coast to invest in a secure future with Hubris.

(Folk singer in the background, fade away)

        As I was driving that ribbon of highway 
        I saw above me an acid rainbow  
        I saw below me the dying algae
        This land was stained by old BP

        This land was your land
        this land was my land
        from the Chugach Forest,
        to Chandeleur Island
        from the gulfstream slaughters
        to the toxic waters,
        this land was made for you and me

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