Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I'm cold, but you can't make me -

Hmm. Where to begin? How about here:

Two weekends in a row, we've shuffled our way down to New York, for various reasons. By the end of the second, the Eldest turned to me and asked, plaintively, "Can we go back home now?" Sure, kid. No problem.

But by the time we got out the door, tempers were flaring.
child: I don't wanna wear my gloves! I don't like my gloves! Nooooo!
mama (clenched teeth, mentally counting audience members and adapting accordingly): Okay, then don't wear them. This is a choice you can make.
child: But I don't want to wear my coat! NOOOOOOO!
mama (teeth beginning to crack, jaw aching): okay, no coat. Be cold. This, too, is a choice you can make. But we're leaving now.

(five minutes later, in the car)
child: I'm cold. I want my coat and my gloves and my hat. I'm cooooold.
mama (grimly): Your coat and gloves and hat are on the floor of the car, where you flung them.
child: Why did you let me put them there? I'm so coooold.
mama (with a certain amount of satisfaction): This was your choice, and not my problem.
child: (wails)
Man (furiously): This is not my problem, either, but I'm driving. So everyone get their grumpies out RIGHT NOW.

pause, while mama and child consider this. Eventually,
mama (carefully): Does 'everyone' include you?

Mama and Man burst into laughter. Meanwhile,
child: I don't understand why you are laughing. Stooooooooop it! I'm coooooold!

More laughter, with the underlying tempo of insulted huffing from the back seat.


In the bathtub:

Mum, why do we have Purim?

A maternal voice spins a tale of careless, silly kings, a woman afraid of admitting her heritage and a vizier with a nasty case of anitsemitism.

Do we have kings?

Carefully, the mother explains about the varying levels of people responsible for the nation, the states, the cities, and how we each choose, or vote, to give these people power. Or not.

But no king?

No. No king.

Then we can do whatever we want!

Sigh. No. I'm still in charge, the mother reminds the child, who grumps and refuses to get out of the rapidly cooling tub. Case in point, perhaps?

Dinner tonight, which I did not eat until it was cold, being off to Mayyim Hayyim, an experience I'm surprised to be able to recommend. I thought a mikva was supposed to be, well, rushed, slightly unpleasant and very, very chlorinated. Hm. Must reevaluate - preferably over another bowl of this:

Monk's Curry
adapted oh so slightly from the rebar modern food cookbook, pg 48, 184. Serves at least 4, assuming they eat eggplant. Most of mine, apparently, do not - anyone up for leftovers? When I got home, the house still smelled heavenly.

1 block tofu, cut into cubes
1 can coconut milk - I used the lower fat kind
4 Tb green curry paste (what, you don't have any? see below - it'll take you all of six minutes - four to chop, one to blend)
1/2 cup water
2 potatoes, chunked
1 Tb brown sugar
2 carrots, sliced
2 Tb soy sauce
1 onion, sliced
4 Tb olive oil
1 eggplant, cubed
6 oz mushrooms - plain are fine
4-6 baby bok choy, quartered
1 bunch scallions, sliced
juice of 1 lime
4-6 kaffir lime leaves

Heat a wok or deep skillet, toss in olive oil and heat. Saute eggplant, mushrooms, onion until browned a bit - don't feel obliged to let them cook through, though. Dump in a bowl and set aside.
Pour about 1/3rd the can of coconut milk into skillet, adding curry paste. Stir, letting heat up. When it starts to bubble, add lime leaves, water, potatoes and cover. Simmer gently, until potatoes are tender (about 8 minutes).

Add sugar, soy sayce, mushrooms, onions, eggplant, carrots and the rest of the coconut milk. Refill the coconut milk can with water and dump that in, too. Cover and let simmer until carrots are tender (about 10 minutes).

Add tofu, bok choy and scallions - cook until bok choy is wilting and sauce is thickening. Hopefully, this will happen more or less at the same time, but if you have to choose, stop when the bok choy is ready. Add lime juice before serving, a handful of basil leaves (if you like).

Serve with rice.

green curry paste
I kow understand the sad shake of Ian's head when he arrived in my kitchen and found it to be curry paste-less. A jar of this stuff is now perfuming my fridge, and I'm planning my next dip into it already. The notes on the recipe say that it's good for "Thai coconut curries," which as far as I can tell, means any curry with coconut milk. I might be wrong, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

1 Tb whole coriander seed
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp peppercorns (I used mixed, for a milder flavor)
4 cloves garlic
2 inches fresh ginger root, sliced
1 chopped onion
2 stalks lemongrass, outer layers removed (ruthlessly) and chopped as best you can (barely)
4 scallions, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
6 kaffir lime leaves
juice of 1 lime
1/3rd cup olive oil
optional: 1 bunch cilantro

Before you use your wok/deep skillet for the curry, roll the spices around in it, over low heat. Once you can smell them (a minute? two?), they are done. Let them cool a minute, then drop them in a food processor. Blend until the rattling sound sounds less like pebbles and more like sand. Call that 'ground.'

Toss in everything else. Blend until you are tired of it - our paste is more chunk than paste, but I suspect it is just fine that way. Keep it in a jar in the fridge until you need it. Or open occasionally to huff.


mother in israel said...

MH sounds like an interesting idea, but it doesn't do anything for me. My friend just told me that I am just less materialistic than most people, and I shouldn't judge people who would want to leave their babies to go on vacation to Bora Bora, because I am not normal. So even though MH is supposed to be spiritual, maybe it's really materialistic? My mikvah isn't rushed, at any rate. I should really post about it.

joy said...

We've discussed this paste of yours and decided: now Ian can come back and cook for you. Shall we consult calendars? :)

mama o' the matrices said...

m.i.i., the concept of an attractive mikvah goes hand in hand, I think, with a refusal to approach the experience as mundane and frankly a bit of a PIA. My experience with the bigger mikvaot is that they were purity factories, processing women. Or so I felt, and this doubtless colors my approach to MH.

joy, dear one, don't kid me here - I can think of little I'd like more. Even if Ian doesn't cook! Or anything else on the infinitely long list of Things To Do with the j.i.c. Except coffee and chocolate. That *must* happen.

joy said...

It's true, I should not jest about such matters. It is a Long List of Things To Do on both our parts. *sigh*

dykewife said...

thank you for posting the information about the mikvao. i'd never heard of it before.

i have a few questions you do the ritual frequently? can you do it anywhere (like in a lake when you're on holiday)?

i love the recipe. i've stored it away adn will be looking to make it sometime after the beginning of the month when we get more groceries in the house.

mama o' the matrices said...

dw, my parents are famous for my mother's ritualistic skinny dipping! I find it hilarious, actually...

The ritual is typically done about a week after you finish your period, at which point off you go to soak in a tub, clean behind your ears, and finally, dunk in a pool of water mixed with rainwater/running water.

So I guess the next question is, how often do you get your period? An ob/gyn I know says that she feels that with modern medicine, this is entirely up to the individual. Or in my case, up to a combined influence of my dear Dr. Shapiro and the happily nursing toddles.

Bless 'em both.

Enjoy the curry!