Wednesday, February 17, 2010
WIPE THOSE TEARS FROM YOUR EYES!
Other than stubbing a toe, slamming a door on a finger or peeling onions, there are many things that cause a monsoon to emanate from my eyes! A song; a sad movie; a happy movie; a book; animal documentaries; man’s inhumanity to man; man’s inhumanity to animals: the soaring voice of Pavarotti; a beautiful sunset or sunrise; some trips down memory lane; an unexpected kindness; insensitive remarks; anger; frustrating people; inspirational people and moments. The list goes on and on - at this rate, it sounds like I’m crying all the time! There's never a drought around here!
Of course, movies such as “Out of Africa”, “The Way We Were”, “Message in a Bottle”, “P.S. I Love You” and “The Notebook” (also, the endings of “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and “Roman Holiday”, naturally; both I’ve seen a million times), for instance, cause an avalanche of tears - no light precipitation there; more like the “wet season”!
With clarity, I remember the first time I watched “Imitation of Life” starring Lana Turner, Sandra Dee and Susan Kohner. The year was 1959. Mum took me along to see it one Tuesday night…a school night. Once my tears began to flow, they couldn’t be dammed. (It was I who was damned!) It was such a sad, sad movie! Walking home, I cried all the way, still distressed! I think that was the last time my mother took me along with her to see a movie! She wasn’t game to attempt it again! I’m sure you, like me, have slunk out of the movies desperately trying to hide red, swollen eyes! Unfortunately, I viewed both “Beaches” and “The Horse Whisperer” at afternoon matinees!! I’ll never fall into that trap again! Hang on! I did! Back in September, I went along to a morning matinee to view “Mao’s Last Dancer”. All was going well until a scene in which his parents arrived to watch him perform with the Houston Ballet Company! That moment was enough to open my floodgates!
My Nana, who was a gentle, calm lady of Scottish heritage always said: “We, in this family pee out of our eyes!” Oh! Dear! I fear that is true…in my case, anyway!
Watching Olympic skaters Evgeni Plushenko and Evan Lysacek perform their stunning routines in the men’s figure skating definitely left me misty-eyed and in awe. Their performances made me speechless (something that doesn’t happen often even though I live alone – I do talk to myself – often (and answer) – and to my two furry rascals equally as often – and they answer me as well…so it’s a pretty gabby household on all accounts, but you know what I mean!
Plushenko performed to “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Spanish composer, Joaquin Rodrigo. This concerto alone causes me goose-bumps whenever I listen to it. It’s been a favourite of mine for many, many years.
Where was I? Oh, yes…tears. Back to onions…wipe those tears from your eyes…use a very sharp knife for chopping onions, peel under water (the onions, not you), or store onions in the crisper – that works in stopping the flow of tears - or have someone else chop them!
Onion & Artichoke Salad:
3 red (Spanish) onions, finely-sliced
75g (1/3rd cup) caster sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
400g can artichoke hearts in brine, drained and quartered
Place onions in a bowl, cover with boiling water and stand 10 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain on absorbent paper.
Combine sugar, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and cracked black pepper to taste in a bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add drained onions. Stir to combine and stand for at least 2 hours. Stir in artichoke quarters, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Beef with Onions (Chinese Cuisine):
500g (1lb) round, blade or skirt steak
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
3 tablespoons hot water
3 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese wine or dry sherry
1 egg white
2 large onions
2 tablespoons beef stock
Freeze meat until just firm enough to cut into thin slices; cut slices into strips about 1cm (1/2 inch) wide and 4cm (1.5 inches) long; put into a bowl. Dissolve bicarb soda in hot water; pour over meat; knead or beat with chopsticks or fork until meat absorbs the liquid. Leave overnight or at least 4 hours.
Combine the cornflour, soy sauce, wine or sherry; lightly beat egg shit and mix in well. Quarter the onions; cut into quarters crosswise into halves; separate the layers.
When needed, drain the beef strips; add to the cornflour mixture; stir well. Meanwhile, heat enough oil in wok or pan to deep fry the beef. Add the beef strips, a few at a time; fry for 1 minute, remove; drain. Pour oil from pan, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Add the onions; stir-fry until tender, but still crisp. Add the beef strips; fry, stirring for another minute. Stir in stock; cook, stirring for another half minute. Serve with rice – or noodles.
Stuffed Onions: (Or Stuff the Onions)!
4 medium onions; peeled
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup finely-chopped walnuts
½ cup wheat germ or bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 176C (350F). Slice about a half inch off the top of each onion. Hollow out a bowl shaped space to hold about 1/4 cup filling. Slice enough off the bottom to let onions stand upright. Combine remaining ingredients, except parsley. Place about 1/3 cup of water around onions. Bake 30 minutes, adding water, 1/4 cup at a time if needed. Stuff onions. Bake another 30 minutes or until softened. Garnish with parsley Serve warm.