I’ve been getting some fantastic-sounding spam lately. It’s all the same when you open it, but the subject lines just plain sing to me. There’s “into a caustic verbal 6”, “musing scoundrel”, “multiple sclerosis sniffle”, “Australian deliberate barter”, and others. Of course when you open them there is an ad for a rather unpoetic pink plastic… toy. The kind that makes my spine hurt just thinking about it.
The other day I got a very non-spammy impromptu invite to dinner at a friend’s house. The message was thus:
I’m cooking porkchops. Dinner’s at 6:30. Here’s my address if you can make it.
To which I responded:
Googlemapping you now. Will be there as soon as humanly possible. What can I bring?
CL is a funny and fun girl, whose wisecracks are truly an example of cracking wise. She currently lives with LG, who is not only a lovely person but owns a veritable menagerie. She has 2 conures and a labradoodle, which both sound like good spam subject lines. A conure is a species of parrot that can be rather loud and nippy. They are also quite beautiful. As in, pretty birdie wanna touchie!
I approached one in the livingroom and began stroking its ruffly neck with one finger- CL’s roomie LG chose this moment to come up behind me.
“Yikes. She usually doesn’t let people get that close to her. She bites,” said LG. I yanked back my hand and almost took LG out.
The ‘doodle, meanwhile, was trying to sniff my nethers, as dogs are wont to do, and since LG was apologizing and pulling him back, he treated each attempt with the same kind of ferocious persistence, which pretty much sucked. Finally, convinced that I was mammalian and not much of a threat, the ‘doodle gave up, but then decided I was totally threat-y and started barking. At the same time, the conures began chirping- timing it just right so that the ‘doodle sounded like it had swallowed a squeaky toy:
bark, BARK! (sqwee!)
BARK! (sqwee!) bark! bark! BARK! (sqwee!)
This was a very amusing recital that claimed my attention for a good minute or so- here was our very own urban jungle with a exotic birds and a big, hairy beastie! MK showed up just as the fun was wearing off, bottle of Smoking Loon red wine in hand, and graciously agreed to head back into the night to help me hunt down dessert. We went to the closest grocery, where we found an egg custard pie. Yummy! It turned out to be lightly sweet and not at all heavy- in fact we nearly finished off the whole thing. That’s a recipe I need to find and try out. It must require a delicate hand otherwise, as CL pointed out, you’d be stuck with sugary quiche.
When we got back, dinner was ready. CL had prepared an amazing meal of pork chops, green beans and couscous. We ate to the accompaniment of chirps, sqawks and barking that made me think of a Gerald Durrell book- namely, My Family and Other Animals. A good read if you need a break from the urban jungle.
1/4 cup reduced or low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbsp garlic paste or fresh garlic
1 tbsp ginger paste (may substitute fresh ginger)
4 1-inch-thick pork chops
1 tbspn garam masala
1 tbspn EVOO
2 ZipLoc freezer bags
The night before:
1. In a bowl, stir together soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger and EVOO.
2. Put one freezer bag inside the other and place pork chops in the freezer bag(s). Pour soy sauce mixture over chops.
3. Refrigerate overnight.
At dinner time:
1. Set the oven to broil at 350F.
2. Place chops on pan covered with tin foil and sprinkle with garam masala.
3. Broil for 10 minutes a side.
The porkchops were fragrant and tender. Broiling is my new best friend after this.The ‘doodle thought so too. He’s a rescue pup, very affectionate and sweet, but also, in the end a dog. A dog with needs- specifically one to fill his tummy. He followed his lovely nose and went after the foil, which was in the garbage. He went after it with his usual dogged (hah!) persistence. In fact, his training failed him rather spectacularly and he ended up wearing the top of the trash can.
We enjoyed the ‘chops too, but on a plate and accompanied by CL’s own couscous:
Cat’s Delicious Couscous
2 cups reserved vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups whole grain couscous
1 tsp EVOO
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Pour vegetable stock into saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Add couscous to the reserved vegetable stock and tightly place lid on saucepan. Let steam for 10 minutes.
3. Add olive oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Fluff with fork.
Delicious. Especially with a menagerie.