Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Voodoo Magic

I bet you assume I spend much of my time reading and writing. You’d be wrong. Mostly what I do is sweep. Actually sweep, mop and vacuum. Blame it on Voodoo-the-dog, a black dalmatian-mix who sheds like you can’t believe; Waldo-the-cat, who is huge and fuzzy; and a family fixation for renovating furniture, gadgets, barbecues, decks and whatever. My light-colored floors ALWAYS need work.

But get this—over time I’ve found the sweeping motion has become a therapy for a back and shoulders aching from the computer crouch. Plus, the Cajun jazz I play during the task (in honor of Voodoo) seems to refresh my buzzing mind. How ironic, that I used to pay a housekeeper to come every week to do the exercise that is helping me keep flexible. Now I can spend that housekeeping money on more projects and building materials that make even a bigger mess—Yikes!

But lots of projects also mean plenty of topics to hash over during leisurely suppers with wine on the refurbished porch or the new deck. (“What is the easiest way to paint that vintage medicine chest after we knock a hole in the wall to install it?”) It’s best if a sizable part of the supper comes from our raised-bed garden – another project. Swiss chard is my latest garden success. Stir-fried with garlic and strips of lean pork, (or a new local hit, Morningstar’s fake bacon.) Cook the fleshy stems first, then add the leaves at the end. Great tossed with angel hair pasta – or Asian bean threads. Sprinkle some chopped walnuts or peanuts on top as you serve it. My old fave, Cabernet is a worthy foil to the chard’s peppery flavor and the sweeter pork. Or if Cabs are too assertive, maybe a polite Pinot Noir that dances around the edges. If you are using just a little meat for flavor, try a sparking white or sparkling dry rose to balance out the chard’s strong character. Enjoy in good health.

BTW, what is up with the odd little ads on this blog? Maybe it’s because I don’t stick to a particular genre, but Google doesn’t seem to know what to do with the “Grape”. Ads pop up for all manner of things -- from a crane accident lawyer in NY, to a broker who sells restaurants to a distributor of rabbit repellent. The funnier ones tend to be at the very bottom of the blog—scroll down. Who knows, maybe this time I’ll get a New Orleans pig farmer. Cheers.