Fitting

Dec. 8th, 2011 11:06 am
ar_wahan: (Default)
Today is my father's birthday. A few moments ago, I found his obituary from The Oregonian. (An old clipping randomly mixed in with other clippings of my mother's, not one on line.)

Thank you, Dad.
ar_wahan: (zen stella)
My Uncle Doug, my father's younger brother, died yesterday (there is a third brother, the youngest, but he has chosen to estrange himself from our family, and having met him, I am sadly grateful he is estranged). I got a call last night from a neighbor of Doug's wife (wife is profoundly hard of hearing and cannot use a phone, so she asked her to call me). Doug had the foresight to move two years ago into a retirement community so that if anything happened to him, there would be people to support his wife Beth.

They had no children.

The saddest part for me is that I had put off, put off, back-burnered, etc., etc. writing to them about our trip to Japan. Doug loved trains, and his passion was building model RR layouts both indoors and out, with entire villages, humorous little scenes with people in them, etc., and trains that ran around the tracks. He had "garden railroads" in Seattle that people (foreign visitors, especially, who subscribed to a garden railroad international newsletter that he edited) would want to visit. Sometimes an entire busload of people would pull up and want to see his layouts.

When we were in Japan, Samurai and I took many trains, and talked about how Doug would love this experience, and our photos. We wanted to buy him a model bullet train to add to his layout, and visited toy stores looking for one. We didn't find any. But in the airport as we prepared to head back to the U.S., we found a larger model, battery powered, that a child could control by remote control and race around the floor. We were in triumph at having found this! I could just imagine Doug playing with this toy in delight, and Beth grinning while rolling her eyes.

I had not yet sent it to him.

Friends, it's easy to put stuff like this on the back burner in favor of work deadlines, volunteer commitments, immediate family things (whether it is elementary school parent-teacher conferences or getting your child settled at college). Don't.

JUST DO IT. Now. What's more important?
ar_wahan: (cooking)
My MIL had a party today. We went, saw a lot of relatives of Spouse I've never met before, stayed there 6+ hours. This party was the idea of MIL and SIL K, whom readers with really good memories will remember is the "helpless about organizing or cooking" SIL. Meaning, at Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., she brings cheese and crackers, and does nothing, while SIL S and I labor away,cooking, serving, washing dishes, etc.

Well.

Samurai made a pie out of wild blueberries she had picked on our property, and I made a yummy recipe which I had requested after tasting the result at a July 4 party. We got to MIL's and found that while MIL and SIL K had said they would be grilling burgers and hotdogs, in truth they had only PURCHASED burgers and hotdogs. SIL S asked her arch-enemy (;-P) SIL K, who exactly would be tending the grill. "I don't know," said SIL K. So SIL S, with a lot of dagger looks, gamely took over and grilled stuff for about 40 guests.

In the past, I would have jumped in and helped her (and I did, a little), but I decided I have been the unofficial house servant/server/dishwasher for this family at its gatherings for too many years, and I was not going to do that again. I was going to be what I had been invited to be: a GUEST.

Samurai's blueberry pie was very good, and disappeared fast. SIL S apparently told people that the dish I had brought was "tabouli" (I like tabouli, but it was NOT tabouli). I ended up bringing a lot of it home and throwing it out, which was a shame.

And so, without further ado, is that dish:

ROASTED CORN AND BLACK BEAN SALAD

1 (1-pound) package frozen corn niblets, thawed
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt (regular salt works, too)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
5 tablespoons cider vinegar
another 2 or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3 Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained, rinsed
2 large avocadoes, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 450. In medium bowl, combine corn and 2 to 3 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Spread corn in ungreased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. (I did not have such a pan; I spread a single layer of kernels in a 10 x 12" pan.) Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until corn beings to turn light golden brown, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small jar with tight-fitting lid, combine salt, cumin, lime juice, oil and vinegar; shake until well blended.

In large bowl, combine chopped cilantro, onion, tomatoes, chiles, bell pepper, garlic, beans and roasted corn; mix well. Add dressing, mix well. Serve immediately or refigerate up to six hors. Makes 16 (1/2 cup) servings.

Someone at the party recognized the recipe and said it is not only a salad, it works as a dip for tortilla chips.

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