Poem of the Week: Wondrous by Sarah Freligh via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Wondrous, by Sarah Freligh

I’m driving home from school when the radio talk
turns to E.B. White, his birthday, and I exit
the here and now of the freeway at rush hour,

travel back into the past, where my mother is reading
to my sister and me the part about Charlotte laying her eggs
and dying, and though this is the fifth time Charlotte

has died, my mother is crying again, and we’re laughing
at her because we know nothing of loss and its sad math,
how every subtraction is exponential, how each grief

multiplies the one preceding it, how the author tried
seventeen times to record the words She died alone
without crying, seventeen takes and a short walk during

which he called himself ridiculous, a grown man crying
for a spider he’d spun out of the silk thread of invention —
wondrous how those words would come back and make

him cry, and, yes, wondrous to hear my mother’s voice
ten years after the day she died — the catch, the rasp,
the gathering up before she could say to us, I’m OK.

For more information on Sarah Freligh, please visit her website.

A big thanks to the wonderful Alison McGhee for curating and sharing these word gems.

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Vegetarian Singapore Noodles

I found this in Canadian Living Vegetarian and it’s delicious. For those of you who eat prawns, it’s an easy addition or switcheroo for tofu! This recipe is fast and easy and it heats up well the next day.

  •  8 oz rice stick vermicelli
  •  3 tablespoons sodium-reduced soy sauce
  •  2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  •  2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •  2 cups shredded napa cabbage
  •  1 1/2 cup drained and cubed Sunrise Extra Firm Tofu
  •  sweet red pepper julienned
  •  4 oz snow peas julienned
  •  green onions thinly sliced
  •  cloves garlic minced
  •  4 teaspoons curry powder
  •  1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •  1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanut (optional)

In large bowl, soak vermicelli in warm water until softened and separate, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar and 3/4 cup water; set aside.

In wok, heat oil over medium-high heat; stir-fry cabbage, tofu, red pepper, snow peas, green onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add curry powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper; stir-fry for 1 minute. 

Stir in soy mixture; bring to boil. Stir in noodles, tossing to combine; stir-fry until tender, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts (if using).

You can check out the full recipe here.

Thanks Canadian Living for your fantastic test kitchen!

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Poem of the Week: Possum Crossing by Nikki Giovanni via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Possum Crossing, by Nikki Giovanni

Backing out the driveway
the car lights cast an eerie glow
in the morning fog centering
on movement in the rain slick street

Hitting brakes I anticipate a squirrel or a cat or sometimes
a little raccoon
I once braked for a blind little mole who try though he did
could not escape the cat toying with his life
Mother-to-be possum occasionally lopes home … being
naturally … slow her condition makes her even more ginger

We need a sign POSSUM CROSSING to warn coffee-gurgling
neighbors:
we share the streets with more than trucks and vans and
railroad crossings

All birds being the living kin of dinosaurs
think themselves invincible and pay no heed
to the rolling wheels while they dine
on an unlucky rabbit

I hit brakes for the flutter of the lights hoping it’s not a deer
or a skunk or a groundhog
coffee splashes over the cup which I quickly put away from me
and into the empty passenger seat
I look …
relieved and exasperated …
to discover I have just missed a big wet leaf
struggling … to lift itself into the wind
and live

For more information about Nikki Giovanni, please click here.

Thank you Alison.

alisonmcghee.com

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Poem of the Week: Any Common Desolation by Ellen Bass via Poetry Mistress Alison

Any Common Desolation, by Ellen Bass

can be enough to make you look up
at the yellowed leaves of the apple tree, the few
that survived the rains and frost, shot
with late afternoon sun. They glow a deep
orange-gold against a blue so sheer, a single bird
would rip it like silk. You may have to break
your heart, but it isn’t nothing
to know even one moment alive. The sound
of an oar in an oarlock or a ruminant
animal tearing grass. The smell of grated ginger.
The ruby neon of the liquor store sign.
Warm socks. You remember your mother,
her precision a ceremony, as she gathered
the white cotton, slipped it over your toes,
drew up the heel, turned the cuff. A breath
can uncoil as you walk across your own muddy yard,
the big dipper pouring night down over you, and everything
you dread, all you can’t bear, dissolves
and, like a needle slipped into your vein—
that sudden rush of the world.

For more information on Ellen Bass, please click here.

alisonmcghee.com

Thanks to Alison for sharing these gems with the world.

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Poem of the Week: What to Do, by Joyce Sutphen via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

What to Do, by Joyce Sutphen


Wake up early, before the lights come on
in the houses on a street that was once
a farmer’s field at the edge of a marsh.

Wander from room to room, hoping to find
words that could be enough to keep the soul
alive, words that might be useful or kind

in a world that is more wasteful and cruel
every day. Remind us that we are
like grass that fades, fleeting clouds in the sky,

and then give us just one of those moments
when we were paying attention, when we gave
up everything to see the world in

a grain of sand or to behold
a rainbow in the sky, the heart
leaping up.

For more information about Joyce Sutphen, please click here.
alisonmcghee.com

A big thanks to Alison for finding and sharing these beautiful poems.

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Yummy Pad Thai

I’ve experimented with a few Pad Thai recipes and this one is simple, flavourful. The recipe is from a site called “Tastes Better From Scratch” that’s got loads of great recipes. I’ve made this a few times now and it’s been great each time. You can find a more detailed post here.

Picture from Tastes Better From Scratch

Ingredients

  • ▢ 8 ounces flat rice noodles
  • ▢ 3 Tablespoons oil
  • ▢ 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • ▢ 8 ounces uncooked shrimp, chicken, or extra-firm tofu , cut into small pieces
  • ▢ 2 eggs
  • ▢ 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • ▢ 1 red bell pepper , thinly sliced
  • ▢ 3 green onions , chopped
  • ▢ 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • ▢ 2 limes
  • ▢ 1/2 cup Fresh cilantro , chopped

For the Pad Thai sauce:

  • ▢ 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • ▢ 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • ▢ 5 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ▢ 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar * see note
  • ▢ 1 Tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce , or more, to taste
  • ▢ 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter , optional
  • Cook noodles according to package instructions, just until tender.  Rinse under cold water.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
  • Heat 1½ tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shrimp, chicken or tofu, garlic and bell pepper. The shrimp will cook quickly, about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until pink. If using chicken, cook until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes, flipping only once.
  • Push everything to the side of the pan. Add a little more oil and add the beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs, breaking them into small pieces with a spatula as they cook.
  • Add noodles, sauce, bean sprouts and peanuts to the pan (reserving some peanuts for topping at the end). Toss everything to combine.
  • Top with green onions, extra peanuts, cilantro and lime wedges. Serve immediately!

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Poem of the Week: Things My Son Should Know After I’ve Died, by Brian Trimboli via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

 was young once. I dug holes
near a canal and almost drowned.
I filled notebooks with words
as carefully as a hunter loads his shotgun.
I had a father also, and I came second to an addiction.
I spent a summer swallowing seeds
and nothing ever grew in my stomach.
Every woman I kissed,
I kissed as if I loved her.
My left and right hands were rival.
After I hit puberty, I was kicked out of my parents’ house
at least twice a year. No matter when you receive this
there was music playing now.
Your grandfather isn’t
my father. I chose to do something with my life
that I knew I could fail at.
I spent my whole life walking
and hid such colorful wings.

For more information about Brian Trimboli, please click here.
alisonmcghee.com

Thank you Alison for these poems.

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Poem of the Week: Antidotes to Fear of Death, by Rebecca Elson via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Antidotes to Fear of Death, by Rebecca Elson

Sometimes as an antidote
to fear of death,
I eat the stars.

Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
til they are all, all inside me,
pepper hot and sharp.

Sometimes, instead, I stir myself
into a universe still young,
still warm as blood:

No outer space, just space,
the light of all the not yet stars
drifting like a bright mist,
and all of us, and everything
already there
but unconstrained by form.

And sometime it’s enough
to lie down here on earth
beside our long ancestral bones:

to walk across the cobble fields
of our discarded skulls,
each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
thinking: whatever left these husks
flew off on bright wings.

For more information on Rebecca Elson, please read her fascinating obituary.
alisonmcghee.com
Words by Winter: my new podcast

Thanks so much to Alison for curating these beautiful poems.

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Happy New Year

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January 1, 2021 · 1:10 am

Tomato Coconut Curry with Cod

My sister and her boyfriend gave this recipe to me as a part of my birthday present. I must say, I’ve made it at least a dozen times since then. It’s super easy, and really yummy. You can find a collection of their discerning recipes on this website right here.

This photo comes from Epicurious also a great food website:)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus more
  • 1 2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup mild red curry paste
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 (5.4-oz.) can coconut cream
  • 4 (5-oz.) skinless, boneless cod fillets, patted dry
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Pour oil into a large wide saucepan and add shallot. Set over medium-high and cook, shaking pan often, until shallot is golden brown, 3–5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallot to paper towels to drain; season with 1/2 tsp. salt.
  2. Return pan with oil to medium-high heat and add ginger and curry paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until paste begins to stick to pan, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cream and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to burst and curry just starts to stick to pan, 6–8 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Season fish fillets all over with 1 tsp. salt and arrange over tomato mixture. Transfer pan to oven and bake until flesh is opaque all the way through, firm to the touch, and easily flakes when thickest part is pierced with a paring knife, 18–22 minutes.
  4. Transfer fish and curry to a platter. Toss basil with lime juice and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Scatter over curry. Top with crispy shallots.

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