Sunday, March 24, 2013

Soup Coup Chicken Stew

This entry is a follow-up in my Soup Coup series.

We had a rotisserie chicken for dinner early last week.  My kids pretty much scour the drumsticks for every last morsel, and that's about it.

After dinner, the dog promptly dragged the chicken off the table and onto the floor.  Wha?

All I could think was "Bumpusesssss!"

At any rate, I rinsed off the chicken and made chicken stew the next day.  Since we had just picked up our CSA share, the stew had an even greater variety of veg than it would have, and it helped me use up some odds and ends from the pantry and freezer.

Here's what I did:

Sauteed small onion, 4 stalks of celery, 1 bulb thinly sliced fennel with a few crushed garlic cloves in the bottom of my soup pot.  Salt and pepper.

1 c. white wine (an inexpensive Pinot Grigio)
2 bay leaves

Added a can of chicken broth, a quart of homemade veggie stock, and some water.

Added, chopped up:
3 carrots
3 small-medium turnips (First time I've cooked with turnips.  They smelled like nasturtium greens when they were raw.  Nice and mild in the stew, though.)
1 yam (peeled)
3 red potatoes

Salt and pepper. Thyme, marjoram, sage. Let cook until just about tender.

2/3 bag of frozen pearl onions
1/2 bag of frozen peas
The rest of the rotisserie chicken, shredded.

Let cook until it was all hot.

Added a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch mixed in with a few tablespoons of water, and 1 c. milk (I meant to get cream, but forgot.)

The stew wasn't thick.  I could have made it thicker, but didn't really care much about that.  I totally forgot to put parsley from out back into the pot.  It was getting late and the kids were hungry.

Served with artisan bread from Barrio bakery and butter.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What if My Teacher Website Wasn't so Ugly?

My latest Stories from School Arizona blog entry includes a flowchart (which I highly recommend, of course) and details my ideas for improving schools' ability to respond to teachers' needs for new technology tools.


Monday, March 18, 2013

In Praise of the Asian Market

Today, I realized a minor dream I've had to make bubble tea, homemade.  Luckily, I had an unsuspecting group of young, eager snack-takers this afternoon at our Creative Writing "Club" at school.

I should have taken photos of what turned out to be an overly complicated and messy set-up (typical me!), but I'll have to get the finished product photographed next time.  Suffice it to say there were many Mason jars and an empty sour cream container of various teas, homemade blueberry syrup, homemade pineapple syrup, syrup-preserved tapioca balls, a drippy can of condensed milk, and a slowly melting bag of ice.  Luckily, I did manage to include the huge customary straws and clear cups so we could see the pretty tapioca pearls at the bottom.  My students loved it despite mixed reviews on the flavor and texture of tapioca pearls. I felt like a genius, even though I suppose the Asians invented bubble tea.  My choice was pineapple syrup in the Tazo mint tea.  Genius.

Anyway, running to the store for the tapioca and giant straws ($6.99!!!) reminded me that I have been wanting to honor our little Asian market 'round the corner.

Apparently, it has not always been our little Asian market 'round the corner.  According to my friend Deva, who has been Chinese American her whole life, and from Tucson or Marana during much of her life, G&L Imports used to be one of the largest, most respected Asian markets in town.  I read somewhere else that it is one of the oldest. Now, times are a bit slower I suppose.  It shares an aging strip-mall with Desert Pet (another store I really like) and a martial arts studio.  The Hong Kong Dim Sum advertised outside is nowhere to be seen, but if you need your nails done there must be at least 20 different Asian nail studios advertised with simple white fliers stapled up outside the front doors.

Inside, G&L is an adventure.  I don't consider myself extremely adventurous culinarily, but if I was there would be plenty to work with here.  The Asian servingware, cooking utensils and kitsch is fun to shop, also.  You never know what will be in-stock or out-of-stock.  Finally, after months of peeking in, I scored myself some Asian soup spoons.

Although it smells a bit funky and the refrigerators never really feel quite cold enough, the discriminating shopper can find some good produce deals:  Shallots for $.99/lb (if you can handle a few moldy ones in the mix), pre-peeled garlic for a good price, fresh scallions, cilantro, limes, lemongrass, ginger, etc. at good prices and with good quality.  I always pause to peruse the various types of greens available, with at least three varieties of bok-choy and many other choys which I'd like to try someday (I was told by the proprietor that "choy" means "vegetable")  They also have great prices on various chiles and those little baby eggplants and that kind of thing.  Occasionally the produce is not the best quality, but most of the popular items are very fresh.

And then, of course, there is an entire aisle of rice, and an entire aisle (and then some) of noodle products.  I certainly would not know what to do with 90% of what they sell, but I have been happy with everything I have ventured to buy there.  The baby bok choy has become a staple of my pho and other dishes, and I enjoy my little adventures into new flavors at G&L.

G&L Imports   4828 E. 22nd Street, Tucson, Arizona

Saturday, March 16, 2013


it's neat to tweet
re: the kale chips
not the chocolate chips
that i eat

Monday, March 11, 2013

What I Learned this Week(ish) #6

1. I learned that my son and his friends have named their playground balls: Meatball, Ba-Ha, Blueberry, Mustard, Booger, and Booger, Jr.  Booger, Jr. is currently up in a tree. They also play with Base. Base is a floppy plastic base which they throw like a Frisbee. Ba-Ha is not called "baja" (like the word en espanol).  Ba-Ha is named after the sound you make when you drop kick it as hard as you can.

2. I learned the word "abattoir" from an article about the Romanian horsemeat that was identified in British and Norwegian "beef" lasagna and meat pies. Very cool word.  Will use soon.

3. Tree pollen counts are high. Misery. That has got to be what does it for me. I candt breade troo by node. The kids are coughing in their beds. And we've all had allergy pills.

4. I learned that the Tucson CSA now works the shares differently, and I could actually afford to join.  So for the next six weeks, I will be picking up our share of local produce and organic artisan bread at the old YWCA just as I have wanted to do for several years.  Just in time to move to Phoenix.  Hopefully I'll find a similar program there.

5. I learned that my little girl will wear her purple glitter Converse All-Star rubber galoshes every day. To run in, to walk in.  For her, they are perfect for every occasion. I am enjoying this phase.

6. Check this out.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

My House When I Sit to Grade on Sunday

A Sunday Sampler:

I have told my children that I NEED to get grading done.  I haven't brought a lot of grading home in the past several weeks because what is the point?  I can't get it done with my husband out of town most of the time now.  But quarter grades are this week, and parents and students want to know where they stand.

Keep in mind I was required to respond to all of the below.  Keep in mind this is highly fragmented because I should be grading right now and I don't have time to write down all my response. This all began around 12.  There was more before that...

Kid: "Mom, I did it!  I did it!  I got the gold!"

Kid: [Long long explanation of the way other kid got the gold out of the leprechaun trap]

Kid: "Mom.  Look at how much money I have.  Look!  Do you wish you had all this cash?  How did I get all these 20's?  Did I cash them out?  I wonder what I should do with all these ones?...."

Kid: "Hey mom?  Could you cash anything out for these ones?"

Kid: "Mom.  Do you like to have higher bills in your wallet at once?  Isn't it easier than having all those ones?"

Kid: "Mom, do you have like a normal, plain box for my leprechaun trap?"

Kid: "Hey, mom, a shoebox would work, right?  Roxy's kennel might work, but...  Ooh! a garbage can!

Kid: "I'm going outside with the hose..."

[Me, yelling: "You don't have ay clothes on!  What are you thinking! Put on some clothes!"]

Kid: "I need underwear."

Kid: "Is it lunchtime yet?"

Kid: "Mom, can I go outside on my bike?"

Kid: "I'm bored.  Ooh! Mom! Mom! Mom! Can I go on that computer uncle Bill gave me and see if I can get it on the internet? So what do I do? Plug it into the router?  Let's see, where's a USB..."

Kid: "So I plug this into into the net here?"

Kid: [dressed and wearing my sunglasses] "Mom, is there a certain kind of soap to wash trash cans?"

Kid: "Mom, can I buy a Minecraft account?"

Kid: "I'm going outside to do something."

Kid: "But why not?"

Kid: "I'm bored!"

Kid: "Can I walk the dog around at least?"

Kid: "Where's her leash?"


allofasudden a kid is standing in a plastic tub full of water with the hose on in 63 degree weather and a tank top and another kid has the drill plugged in with the wire crossing the path of the wet hose and he's got another plastic tub upturned to make a planting container but it's too shallow of a tub but the tub he wants is full of water with a little girl and a dachshund in it and I ask where his original tub went from when he was shoveling clay-heavy soil into it at the back of the yard a moment ago, but he's cleaned it out and filled it with christmas decorations so that he could use the other tub which is now filled with water and a little girl and a dog.  Aftermuchyelling we sort all that out and then the holes are drilled and  kids are off to the alleyway to gather gravel.  The neighbor tells them to watch out for transients gathering scrap metal and they bring their rock-lined tubs over for my inspection.  I remind them about the extra sand outside our wall.  That's wehre they are now, but the dog's collar is off and the flimsy temporary fence is taken down and an x-wing fighter, two little boy ties, nine socks, a blanket and assorted debris and a still-half-packed backpack from Camp Cooper litter the living room and can I get up a sec to check out the sand they shoveled?  A pile of laundry goes in and the dry stuff out of the drier first and onto my bed which has no sheets because I had to wash them because the dog peed on them really massively for no particular reason earlier in the week and the bed is also piled with about two weeks of clean laundry which we keep picking over to find our outfits for the day.  I think the dog is lonely since we had to put Markey to sleep. I call to refill prescriptions, the insurance is terminated and the pharmacist wants me to set up an online account for my son because there are no customer service phone hours on the weekend and he's out of his pills that help him focus at school all week.  The dachshund just jumped into the bin filled with water, ran through the dirt, ran inside, jumped on the couch, shook herself and slunk into her kennel when I started yelling.  Meanwhile I've been trying to clear off the table so I can sit upright instead of in an easy chair and spread out my grading so the kids don't htink I'm just messing around on Facebook.  I'm hoping it sends a message, but I've been trying to grade for 3 1/2 hours and have finished absolutely nothing, though I've started several things.  The recycling pile is out of control and needs to be taken out to the bin.  I'm about to give up and do dishes, mop the floor and collapse and have a good cry.

5:15 p.m.  So much for grading this afternoon, I guess.

8:20 p.m.  Note:  The piles on the right are "to be graded." My "finished" pile is that tiny pile above my computer.  Also about 40 more essays in Googledocs.  Ay, ay, ay.

 Of course, blogging is more fun, and I'd lose my mind completely without this outlet.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

i'm not the center of the universe, after all

So... apparently as a procrastination buffer against reading more under-edited literary analysis essays written by high-schoolers, i'm going to explore this issue:  Perhaps it is time we stopped capitalizing the first person "i."

Half the time, my students don't do it anyway.  Mostly out of the laziness of habit of never having to press the "shift" button in Microsoft Office, because usually it will auto-correct this common error.  At least, that's my theory. Most smart-phones fix it, too, and Google Drive marks the error, though it does not correct it on its own.

But perhaps "i" is a bad habit that should stay.  After all, now that we don't use Roman numerals on a regular basis, there really shouldn't be any confusion between "I" and "i" right?  I suppose there wouldn't be, even if they WERE Roman numerals.

In a sense, perhaps it makes sense to capitalize "I" since it stands in place of our own proper name when we write in first person.  However, "you" also stands in place of our addressee's proper name when we speak in second person.  Why am "I" superior to "you"(if indeed that is what capitalization implies)?  The best reason I can think of is that "I" am me and "you" are not me.  That is, "I" am intimately familiar with myself, and therefore more important to myself than "you" are.  So, why are "me," and "myself" not capitalized if "I" am so much higher priority to myself than "you" are?

Oh, so, you propose that it's because "me" and "myself" are objective cases, and "I" is the subject of a clause, which puts it in an overall more powerful position in the sentence. Therefore "me" has less power, less influence, and a lower place in the grammatical hierarchy than "I."

Okay. So why isn't "You" capitalized when it is the subject of a clause?  Ha!  The convention reveals that "you" inherently are objectified or disenfranchised when "I" am talking.  Stop interrupting!

All i'm arguing is that perhaps in a global society where we are all being forced to recognize how interdependent our lives are, "i" might let go of convention to let "you" and "them" know we all matter (or don't) equally.