So baby and I are in the habit of going, once a week, to the library.
At the library we check out two baby books (he likes the ones with feely patches in them) and one CD of non-irritating kids' music (it's a crap shoot sometimes, it really is).
This last week we've been listening to Cindy Paley's Zing Along. It's fun Yiddish music for kids, and let me tell you, I really think my Yiddish has improved.
So I'm sitting there, baby plumped down next to me with a plastic easter egg stuck in his mouth, listening to Cindy Paley sing about her Zeyde and Bubbe and all these nice songs, and I'm thinking, man, I wish I was Jewish.
Does this ever happen to you? Do you ever peep into someone else's life and, like a Charlie Chaplin orphan, press your nose up against the window and wish you were on the inside?
Even though your life, and my life, is perfectly fine. And the things I'm hearing in these songs, family, history, community. I have these things.
Are you ever jealous of things you already have?
Why is it so hard to appreciate what we have? Why is it scary to live our real lives, now? It seems so much easier to wait around for something great to happen, before committing to living life great.
So I was thinking, I'm going to try to stop waiting. I'm going to think of all the things I want to own or be, and pretend I already have and am. And see what kind of person that makes me.
You want to try it too? What do you want to be?
A rock star? A judge on the food network? A world-traveling photographer? A ukelele player? Are those just my dreams?
Let's be those things already.
And maybe the rest will come. You know, the outer trappings.
But you know what? Even if they don't, it's okay.
Because we'll already be who we want to be.
Shortcut Mole (adapted from um a photocopied page of recipes my mom sent me in the mail? It says sfmarkets.com in the corner, so maybe if you go there? Anyway, thanks mom! The recipe was awesome!)
You guys know how I am with chocolate. Sweet chocolate, well, there's a place for it, but frankly I see it as one of the least interesting incarnations of the sacred bean. Theobroma cacao. Did you know that means food of the gods? Focus. Mole is a fabulous, rich, dark, savory version of the good stuff. Mix it up with shredded chicken, stuff it into a fresh corn tortilla, and shut your eyes because they're crossing and it makes your face look funny.
4 chicken breasts
3-4 dried ancho chiles
1 dried chipotle chile
4 c boiling water
1 8 oz can tomatoes
2 T coconut oil
2 large white onions, sliced
1/4 c slivered almonds
14 cloves garlic
4 pitted prunes
1 T sesame seeds
1 whole star anise
2 corn tortillas, slightly charred under broiler or over flame (alternatively two handfuls of corn chips work too)
1 T pasilla chile powder or other chile powder
1 vegetable bouillon cube
3/4 t ground cinnamon
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 c coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
queso fresco to sprinkle on top, if desired
Put chicken breasts in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a low, steady boil. Cook about 20 minutes, or until done (cut one open and make sure it's not pink, and that the juices run clear). Remove breasts from water and let cool. When sufficiently cool, shred them with a fork.
Place dried chiles in a bowl; cover with boiling water. Soak until soft and cool enough to handle (about 15 minutes). Discard stems (and seeds if you don't like heat). Place tomatoes and softened chiles, water and all, in a blender.
Heat 1 T coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add half the onions. Stir about 5 minutes, until beginning to color. Add almonds, garlic, prunes, sesame seeds, and star anise; continue stirring about 5 minutes, until almonds start to brown. Add to blender, along with charred tortillas, chile powder, bouillon, and cinnamon. Blend until smooth.
Heat remaining 1 T coconut oil in skillet and add remaining onion; cook until lightly colored. Add blender contents. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 10 minutes. Stir in chocolate, shredded chicken, and salt to taste. Set aside 2 T chopped cilantro, stir in the rest.
If not warm already, warm your corn tortillas with a few drops of water to soften them, in a pan or microwave. Pour mole into serving dish, sprinkle with remaining cilantro and queso fresco, if desired. Serve immediately.