Good karma and the case of the missing purse

I believe in karma. I believe that in life you get what you give and that the rules of the universe fundamentally reward kindness, generosity, honesty and goodness. It is with that trust in humanity and the universal balance of good versus evil I go about my days. Sometimes blissfully trustful that things will always “be all-right.”

There is one thing in particular that continues to test this rule with me. I have a very bad habit of leaving (forgetting) my purse. I leave it in random places ALL THE TIME. In coffee shops, restaurants and stores. In schools, libraries, and gyms. I’m not kidding. It’s actually really embarrassing. I even carry a purse that has one of those super long straps so I can sling it across my body. It’s hard to leave something that is strapped to you, but somehow I still manage to do so.

For those of you who know me well, (this means you mom), you will likely roll your eyes and say to yourself, if her head wasn’t connected to her body, she’d lose that too! It’s likely.

But each and every time I have lost, (left) my purse – and it’s now easily 40 or more times – it has always been returned to me with the original contents still safely inside. That’s karma at work.

Today I have to thank my new community at St. Anne for tracking me down and returning my purse. When I received the phone call that it had been found in the gym and was safely locked away, I honestly did not know I had even left it. Woops!

Maybe I should stop carrying a purse or maybe I should just stop forgetting it. Either way, I’m grateful for good karma.

My Good Karma Bag

Sometimes a simple phone call (and ribs) can make your day

I come from a big family. A big Italian family. Growing up we never really had many friends. We had family. Cousins, uncles, aunts. Who needed friends when we had so much love, so much fun, within our own little circle of Italian goodness. Eventually our big family became really big. My cousins had families of their own, and so on. With such a big group, it was hard to stay connected. It’s still hard to stay connected. But just because things change doesn’t mean that they aren’t as important as they always were. When you are Italian, and a Petosa, family is family. And we are all very important to each other. I was recently reminded of this.

A few nights ago, I received an unexpected call from my cousin Mark. He called just to say hi, just to check in on me, and to (of course) ask me about a recipe for something I posted awhile back. His call put the biggest smile on my face. I have not spoken to him in awhile so it was great to briefly catch up. And talk about food. And life. And food. And love. And food. Which is kind of our life. So this one is for you, “My Marcus.” Thank you for calling to make my day. Cousins are special. And I am grateful for you. And for our little big family.

Ribs. With cheddar polenta. Yum.

Short Ribs with Cheezy Polenta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First, prep ribs
• 1 rack beef short ribs, about 2 1/2 pounds, cut into 4-ounce portions
• 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 dried ancho chile
• 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
• 6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
• 1/4 cup kosher salt
• 1 gallon water
• Cheddar Polenta, recipe follows

Next, prepare ribs
Season both sides of the ribs with the ancho chile powder. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Note, this is an important step. Plan ahead!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place a roasting pan over 2 burners on the stove. Add oil and sear ribs on all sides. Add the soy sauce, ancho chile, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, kosher salt, and water to the roasting pan, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and tightly cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook until the ribs are tender and fall from the bones, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Last, prepare polenta
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 2 cups milk
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup polenta
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups of water with the milk, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often with a large wooden spoon, until the polenta thickens, about 25 minutes.

Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the cheddar and Parmesan, and stir well. Adjust seasoning, to taste, and serve hot. Over the yummy ribs. Which will be perfect after 3 1/5 hours of cooking.

Note: Thank you JC for sharing this. It’s one of my favorites and is sure to now be a favorite of the entire Petosa clan. For those of you still on the January health program, sadly, this recipe is NOT for you.

I thought I loved you Steve Jobs

This subject is a little tired for me. Unfortunately as people within my network get through Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs, the discussion continues on.

First and foremost, I love Apple products. I’ve always loved Apple products. I financed my first computer, a Macintosh Classic, at the University of Washington bookstore. It took me a year to pay for it but it was worth every penny. That computer changed my life! It gave me the tools to be a designer, a communicator, an artist. Today, my company Rational Interaction, is a multi-platform interactive agency. In our studio, we have our share of PC’s, but Apple is our favorite, our preferred platform. For design, for development, for our own personal use. There is no way around it – we heart Apple. With so much love for a company, for it’s products, for it’s leader, it was devastating when I started hearing excerpts from the bio “Steve Jobs” about how Steve was as a person and how he operated his company.

So now, with a bit of time removed from his death and the biography, I’m actually pretty annoyed to hear Steve continually being idolized and “quoted.” Steve was a brilliant entrepreneur and self-promoter. He had an unflinching and intuitive design aesthetic that was a driving force within Apple. But he also stole the vast majority of “his” ideas from those closest to him, claiming ideas just told to him as his own.

I won’t even go into how he was as a father or a friend. Suffice it to say, in the end Steve was a jerk. Not just a jerk, but a BIG JERK. He intentionally made people cry. He belittled them. He exploited their weaknesses and took advantage of their kindness. Steve was a bully.

Understood Steve was a flawed individual. Really, we all are. But it’s the “meanness” in Steve I can’t quite get over. For somebody who brought so much delight and happiness with the products he delivered, I just wished he could have been a better person. Maybe it’s the glass half full in me, the eternal optimist, but I can’t help imagine what he could have done in the world if he actually had been kind, a decent guy.

I think the New Yorker summed it up well in this article by Malcolm Gladwell. Steve’s life was “messy”, and while he changed technology and product design forever, he was a “tweaker”, someone who didn’t create but rather refined other peoples ideas.

I will no longer idolize the person that is Steve. Instead, I will idolize the team that was behind him at Apple, the amazingly talented designers and engineers that are the “true” creative geniuses in the story of Apple.

Apple Desktop

My Apple Desk

Is the “I’m going to be healthy” resolution already getting to you? It is me. Two weeks in. That’s about right.

Is the “I’m going to be healthy” resolution already getting to you? It is me. Two weeks in. That’s about right.

Well, here we are, January 16, 2012 and I’m craving a bag of potato chips, a baguette with a slab of butter, and a salted caramel to finish. My willpower is fading. And fast. Tonight I tried desperately to bring new life to the Tupperware full of grilled chicken breasts that were sitting in the fridge on the fast track to becoming focker food. I do want to eat healthier this year. It’s important for my family, for myself. I get it. And I’m committed to it. That said, I love food. I love cooking. I love a great meal with an amazing bottle of wine. So if this healthy thing is going to work, I’ve got to spice it up a bit.  Surprisingly, my little experiment this evening worked. I took one of my favorite French recipes and lightened it up a LOT. I’m not quite sure of the calorie/fat count, but I can assure you it’s guilt free. And delicious! Try it for yourself. I know you are looking for things to do with those chicken breasts in your fridge.

Guilt free Savory Chicken Crêpes

Guilt free savory chicken crêpes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filling

  • 3 tablespoons butter. I always use salted, but whatever you have is fine
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallot
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cups finely chopped cooked previously cooked chicken breasts
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
  • Splash of your favorite dry white wine
  • 1 lb asparagus

Crêpes

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

First, make filling.
Heat the initial 3 tablespoons of butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until foam subsides. Whisk in flour and cook the roux, whisking, until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Gradually add milk and broth, whisking, and bring to a boil, whisking. Reduce heat and simmer gently, whisking frequently, until the sauce is silky and thick, about 25 minutes.

Next, cook shallot in a tiny bit of butter in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add this yumminess to the rue sauce, along with the cut up chicken breasts along with the thyme and white wine.

Blanch the asparagus and reserve to serve on the side of your crêpes.

Make crêpes:
Sift together flour, salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste into a bowl. Whisk together milk, whole egg, and yolk in a small bowl, then gradually whisk into flour mixture. Force batter through a fine sieve into a bowl.  Don’t skip this step. It’s key to assuring you have lump free crêpes.

Heat a dry nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot, I like to use the same one I cooked my mushrooms and shallots in, then brush very lightly with some melted butter. Spoon about ½ cup batter into skillet, tilting to coat bottom. Cook until underside is lightly browned, 6 to 10 seconds, then loosen crêpe with a spatula and flip. Cook until just cooked through, about 20 seconds, and transfer to a plate. Fill with the chicken filling, and fold crepe sides up. Serve with asparagus and a glass of white wine.

Healthy. Yummy. Goodness.

Enjoy! (That’s for you Max)