Monday, February 25, 2013

Red Quinoa and Tofu

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Feb. 25, 2013

Red Quinoa and Tofu

By Fred Owens

Red Quinoa and Tofu. Red quinoa has a nice nutty flavor and an earthy brick-red color. I made a stir fry to serve with red quinoa last night. Here's the recipe:

1-pound Firm Tofu, cubed and patted dry with a towel. Marinate with sesame oil, garlic powder, lemon-pepper salt and a dash of cayenne.

2-medium leeks. Slice and steam until tender -- if you put the leeks right in with the other veggies they won't get tender.

1-cup red quinoa. It cooks quickly with two cups of water. Set aside.

Heat the saute pan with generous oil. I used olive oil. Add the tofu on a high flame until it gets a little brown. Add -- but do not stir in, just add it on top of the tofu -- the leeks, some chopped green onions, a few broccoli florets and a bunch of chopped chard. Turn the heat down, let it cook for a while.

Then stir up the tofu amongst all the veggies, put a lid on the pan, and let it simmer for a bit longer.

Serve over the red quinoa.

We grew the broccoli in the winter garden. The chard was a gift from the carpenter's son. The leeks were bought at the Saturday farmers market in Santa Barbara.

I had a glass of Guinness Stout with this meal. Quite nice on a cold and windy night -- what passes for winter in Southern California.

Michele Obama Announces Best Picture Oscar Michele Obama will be the last First Lady. Changes in our marriage customs will make this role meaningless. The next President may or may not have a spouse, but that spouse will have a career in some non-political field -- an architect perhaps -- but will not play any social role at the White House.

The Next Pope. The next pope will come from Brazil or Argentina. He will be 60 years old, plus or minus. He will spend very little time in Rome, but will instead establish an informal second papal home in his own country...... The Italian cardinals will support this new Pope because he will not overthrow the status quo.

Girls go to College, Boys go to Prison.

Girls go to College, Boys go to Prison. This is not a good trend.

Young men are imprisoned at record rates because they do not know how to behave.

In the 1950s coherent and strong social controls compelled good behavior in young men leading to low crime rates at that time...... The social controls were abandoned in the 1960s and the crime rate soared. Since nobody could agree on what new social controls could be imposed on young men, the alternate solution was installed -- just lock them up.

There is no emerging consensus on what constitutes good behavior in our culture, so we cannot expect any choice but prison for our young men.

Other factors apply -- sentences are too long, non-violent drug offenders should not be jailed in the first place, and Private Prisons should not be allowed to infect justice with the profit motive -- but we still need to consider better social controls instead of prison.

First Class Mail. Conservatives believe that government is inherently oppressive and inefficient. I don't agree with that. I think government can do good things. First-class mail is a good thing. Rural residents -- many very conservative people -- have benefited for generations because of this subsidy. It costs more to deliver mail to out of the way places, and if Federal Express did this, they would simply charge more for rural delivery, but the Post Office charges the same whether it's across the street or down some distant gravel road out in the boondocks.

Same with power and electricity -- the big cities were wired for electric lights by private utilities, but it cost too much per customer to run power lines out into the country. So the government did that in the 1930s -- read about LBJ's early career in the Texas Hill country when he worked to get the lights on out on the farm.

But government is getting a bad name lately because they can't seem to do anything right. I don't want hear "our schools need more money because our kids are failing." I want to hear, "look at these wonderful children we taught." I want government to fix the roads before they build the bullet train. Why don't they do something that will impress the skeptics? -- do it on time and under budget -- that would get my attention.

In the future, society will be one-third celibate, one-third homosexual, and one-third pro-creative.

The first part -- one-third celibate -- is surprising but we're going to see a decline in Eros, or at least the genital variety. The root of Eros is the life instinct to reproduce. You cut that connection and first you have an outburst of wild sex, which is what we see now, but then sex diminishes -- because there's no need for it -- and celibacy becomes a voluntary and desirable status. Life is the root, Eros is the flower.

One-third celibate, one third homosexual, and one-third pro-creative.

St Mike's Mourns Fr. Robert J. Madden C.S.B., 1928~2013

Fr. Madden was my freshman English teacher at this small Catholic college -- part of the University of Toronto. After he retired from teaching he took over alumni affairs and he stayed in touch with me and a lot of my class mates.

After one class re-union, I came up with this much better idea --

What bothered me about alumni affairs, the fundraising, and the reunions, was that it was all about success -- achievements, milestones, things you brag about.

I thought we could do a little better at St. Mikes and make the events about failures. You were twenty pounds overweight, you just lost your job, your wife left you, your daughter is anorexic, your son is dealing drugs and you're clinically depressed. These things, at least some of them, have happened to all of us.

So you don't come to the reunion, and they don't put that sad news in the newsletter. And yet those moments are when you could really use a little backup from your classmates.

Success takes care of itself, but we ought to be there for each other during times of failure.

Those are my thoughts as they sent Bob Madden away to his celestial rest -- he was a very good man, and I miss him already.

My Old College Roommate. I might write a story about my old college room-mate. I knew him well, we roomed together for three years. We weren't friends in that sense -- we never did things together, but why would we? We slept in the same bedroom, or shared the same apartment for three years -- not much point in going out for a beer on top of all that.

So, anyhow, I have this story idea, only who would be interested? Nobody. They say a good writer can make anything interesting..... No, a good writer might discover that interesting bit, might reveal it, but you can't concoct it whole cloth. There's no make believe. Think of writers with fantastic imaginations -- Ray Bradbury and his sci-fi creations, but he was still working with human clay, picking up pieces of what he saw around him and molding them together into a story.

But that doesn't help. Even Ray Bradbury could not write an interesting story about my college room-mate. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn't even try....... Tarantino would find some violent and dramatic story and amplify it to extremes -- blowing up buildings, shooting people -- shock, speed, quiet shattered by screams of obscenity, relentless pressure .... he would ramp it up -- so what could Tarantino do with two boys on the farm in Nebraska? Picture this:

Tom Orent and his brother Dick, both sitting in recliners, watching TV on a hot evening in July in 1966 -- a away out in the middle of Nebraska, a few miles down a gravel road from a small town called North Loup -- called North Loup because it's situated on the North Loup River, a tributary of the Platte...... Tom and Dick out on the farm, got five hundred acres in corn, got a long-low super-modern high-tech barn that houses a pig-feeding operation with a few thousands hogs. They grow the corn, feed the hogs, sell the hogs, and grow more hogs again next year. Where's the story?..... The farm is pretty in places, some forested ravines run through it, where live a herd of deer that feast on the harvest corn, and provide venison for the winter freezer.

Pretty exciting -- Quentin Tarantino can eat his heart out, because I have the high-drama concept going here -- Tom and Dick on the farm, eating popcorn. You know what Michele Obama said, "you will grip your arm-rest a little tighter," with vivid scene likes this.

Fred Owens
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My blog is Fred Owens

send mail to:

Fred Owens
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Ventura CA 93001


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