Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 06/06/16: Blood Draw, I Felt Graceful, Slow Food

1. I arrived at LabCorp today without an appointment, read another installment of Seabiscuit while I waited my turn, and, after a while, Angela with her accustomed kindness and efficiency, drew another monthly tube of blood from my arm to send to the transplant center in Baltimore. It's not a high achievement to stay on schedule and get this done every month, but, still, I find it satisfying each time I get it done.

2. Everything seemed perfect during today's water aerobics session. Our instructor, Marcia, who is always jolly, seemed in especially high spirits and her high spirits were contagious as one shared smile spread across the pool. The water warmed me, seemed to make my movements smooth and, for the first time in decades, I had this slight sensation that I possessed a sliver of physical grace. I didn't want this session to end, so as the others filed out of the pool, I spent about ten minutes or so doing an agility drill I learned when a high school freshman when I was on the football team, a drill I enjoy much more in the water than I ever did on land.

3. It all started Sunday morning when I soaked cashews for over eight hours and put the nuts and the water into the blender to make cashew cream and added the cream to the vegetable broth, teff, and corn grits boiling and simmering on the stove. I stored the grit/teff/cashew cream mixture in my new 7 x 11 Pyrex pan overnight so it could firm up and then, today, I peeled an eggplant, diced it and roasted it; I peeled half a dozen tomatoes, dropping them in boiling water and then plunging them in a bowl of ice water and removed the skin; I roasted cumin and coriander seeds, let them cool, and crushed them into powder with my new mortar and pestle. I took the grits out of the ice box and cut them into eight rectangles, heated oil in my new 12" cast iron skillet and fried the grit cakes. After I sauteed diced red onion seasoned with the cumin and coriander powder, several roasted garlic cloves, paprika, and red pepper flakes, I tossed in the peeled tomatoes I had diced along with the eggplant with some water and let that mixture simmer for about a half an hour. Soon the Deke and I spooned the eggplant/tomato/onion mixture over the fried teff and grit cakes and topped it off with unsalted roasted peanuts, and we thoroughly enjoyed our first helping ever of Crispy Teff and Grit Cakes with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Peanuts.

Talk about slow food! This meal took nearly thirty-six hours to prepare!  I'm very happy I made this.. Each bite was unique from every other, depending on which spice asserted itself, and the combination of peppery spices and garlic with the more bland, but corn-y and nutty, grit cakes balanced each other tastily.

Will I make Crispy Teff and Grit Cakes with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Peanuts again.  YES! The one thing I'll work to improve is how I fry the cakes:  I want them to be more crispy than I was able to make them on this first go around.  I have confidence I'll figure it out.

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