Sunday, September 20, 2009

Old Friends, New Spices

Sundays are usually reserved for catching up on sleep, running errands, or if you’re lucky, absolutely nothing. I was lucky enough to do all three this week when I was visiting with friends in Sonoma County.

I made my first trip to the North Bay during my extended sojourn in California. Sonoma County will always have a special place in my heart, being the first nest I made after leaving my college town upon graduation. I have to go back at least once a year to maintain my sanity.

My dear friend, Jayashri, lives in a house nestled in the redwoods of Cazadero with her husband, two teenaged boys and baby girl. We enjoyed an entire day of pushing the clock as late as it could go- sleeping in, drinking our breakfast coffee until noon, reluctantly getting dressed soon after, and heading to her son’s football game on a beautiful day in late September. Clocks should really just stop on Sundays. We inhaled a late-afternoon lunch and headed back to the house after the game to get some chores done.

Under normal circumstances, the jarring shift of relaxed day to adhering to an agenda would be unrealistic, and almost cruel. But transferred to a peaceful treehouse with an energetic baby and Rickie Lee Jones fueling us, and it was the best place to be. Along with no clocks, every Sunday should have a perfect moment or two for a few minutes.

You’ll be guaranteed that and more with Jayashri’s amazing popcorn recipe, great for an evening snack and pick-me-up. It must be accompanied with beer, good music, and remarkable friends, if at all possible.

Jayashri’s Super Popular Popcorn:

1 T olive oil
½ tsp Spicy Spike
1 c. popcorn kernels

1 T melted coconut oil (or melted butter)
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp liquid Braggs
½ tsp “Hing” (Indian seasoning, comprised of gum arabic, wheat starch and asafoetida)
¼ tsp cayenne

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil with Spicy Spike (a spice mixture with everything but the kitchen sink, including salt, vegetable protein, garlic, soya granules, celery, lemon and orange peel, horseradish, curry powder, red and green bell peppers to name a few…).
2. Add popcorn kernels and cover. Keep moving the pot to keep the popcorn from burning.
3. When the popping starts to slow, transfer to a large paper bag.
4. Add coconut oil and the rest of the seasonings.
5. Taste and let it change your popcorn experience forever.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dear John, Dear New York

Okay, New York. We need to talk. Things have been rocky with us lately. I’m giving my all to you and lately it doesn’t seem to be enough. I care about you, so I’m going to be completely honest. There’s someplace else. A place from my past. It’s California . I thought it was behind me when I moved to be with you. But truthfully, I don’t think I ever really let it go.

The thing is, I’m not ready to let go of you, either. I still love you. I think it’s best if we spend some time apart for me to decide what I need. Just for a while. If we’re meant to be together, it could make us stronger. Maybe a break can help you work out some of your issues with money and the way you’ve been treating people. We both need to decide if we can really make each other happy.

I’ll be spending some time back in California for a change of scene and society. I know you’re both completely different places, but the time apart will do us good. I need to appreciate you again.

In the meantime, you eat your food and I'll eat mine.