Saturday, September 26, 2009

something spicier

I cook every night. It's a hobby, a necessity, economical and even expressive. It's a way to decompress after a day of work and spend time with Josh for something we both enjoy and need. It's a way for me to give Josh a wee bit of comfort when days are hard, lost in stress or business or just to add my presence to his day. I had the urge to share one of my favorite recipes. I realize it's faux Mexican food, but nothing pleases me more than the combination of Mexican flavors, especially the tang of lime juice tossed with fresh, creamy avocado slices or the earthy blend of cumin and coriander sizzling with a saute of sweet caramelized onions and crunchy, juicy peppers.

Pop a top off a Corona and you'll feel like you're sitting right in a Taquiera in the Mission. OK, maybe that's not completely true, but at least you'll have saved a substantial amount of money and transit time on a stinky bus, all the while achieving a healthy, hearty and flavorful meal.

Easily serves 4--or in the case of Josh and I, dinner at night and leftover lunches the next day!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup (I'm sure this blend exists somewhere in some form.)

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil - for sauteing
  • 1 onion and 1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 jalapeno pepper and 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 frozen or fresh corn
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock, 2 cups of water
  • 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of cumin, 2 tablespoons of coriander
  • 1 can of pinto or kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro, plus some for serving
  • 2 tortillas - heated in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 375 degrees or until crisp
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced - rub with a teaspoon of lime juice
  • Cheddar cheese and sour cream for garnish (can also add chopped green onions)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of salt (or to taste), 1 teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper

1. Chop up the jalapeno, pepper, onion and garlic and sweat the veggies out for 3-4 minutes in the olive oil. Add the cumin and coriander--mix well and let it saute until the onions and peppers are tender. Stir in the corn and tomato sauce. Mix well and add the broth and water. Bring to a simmer, add the salt, pepper, cilantro, beans and the juice of one lime. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

2. In the mean time, heat the tortillas in the oven, and once done, cut into 1 inch strips. Pit and slice the avocado and rub with lime juice.

3. Ladle soup into large bowls and top with tortilla strips, cheese, sour cream, cilantro and a squirt of lime juice. I add in the avocado slices around this garnish. Serve and enjoy!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The beginning

I realize it has been too long since I last wrote, and I realize it is only in the past couple of weeks I've come to terms with the changes that have occurred in the past three months. My previous postings were primarily grim, and as dramatic as it seems, that time period was probably the most dreadful I've encountered thus far. I also realize it takes incredible milestones for me to feel fulfilled, and those milestones amount to how I spend the majority of my time.

Despite my negative notions about Knoxville, I went back after that last posting to escape dismal San Francisco and to press closely against the breast of my parents' comfortable abode and to be among friends. The irony that resulted in the fact that I didn't want to go back to the city struck me deeply. However, I came back, and it was as if the elements of the universe were suddenly not against me, and San Francisco welcomed me, much to my hesitation to succumb to the belief that it was actually on my side.

One random day, the TV was murmuring during one of my desperate hours, and it was regarding "how to put yourself in the market during trouble economic times." I scoffed at the screen as some corporate cog yammered on about posting your resume on Craigslist. I was desperate, so I put one line of my resume on there, knowing that it'd never be that easy.

The next day, I get a call. This sounds like an unbelievable story, and trust me, it is. I attribute every part of this situation to luck. I'm not in the business of promoting encouragement, so don't use this hopeful story as a strategy to lay back and think the same thing will happen to you too, in time. The call resulted in a contract position with what I later realized was a great company. I started working as a technical writer in a field all too unfamiliar to me, a field that makes our world go 'round, a field that everyone of us has come to rely on--wireless technology.

I studied British Literature in college. What did I know about PANS, WANS and LANS? ZigBee, mesh or lighting? Turns out, I know nothing, but my daily routine is an exercise in learning.

This is how I spend the majority of my time now. Am I fulfilled? Mostly. I will never get full on fulfillment, though. After how luck struck my life, I'm not in the business of complaining anymore, either.

Though my life my sound like a living cliche right about now, I sit back, have my brain fried and thank my lucky stars for the people that truly saved my life.

Friday, March 20, 2009

the best of times, the worst of times

So we've all heard Dicken's opener a million times, but it suits so many purposes beyond the French Revolution. The application of literature to modern day-to-day events is one of the reasons why I've long been connected to the voices of the past. 

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.. "

 I decided to start this blog in an effort to document my days during this reign of terror that began December 10, 2008--the day I moved to San Francisco. Though I've travelled to over 20 international cities, I've never once witnessed a homeless person pee while sitting on the bus and seething at the mouth.

It has been 99 days since I walked off the BART and into a broken down Best Western. And I've found that this city is a terribly ugly and unsettling place, which is not only alienating, but alarmingly pitiful. 

This is my tale of moving to a city for the first time. It has captured Dicken's old creed time and time again. Stay tuned.