more on friends

photo 4Writing about friendship last week has brought more thoughts about that feeling of being connected to the world at large, in a nice way.

It is a simpleton’s mission to keep my daughter, a reluctant food shopper, engaged at Russo’s.  By sending her on some sort of white starch mission, I am able to get my business done while helping her to withstand the older ladies with expired shopping cart licenses, voluminous displays of mushrooms, and families mid-aisle carrying on phone conversations with their relations in Minsk.

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As she approached the Asian section to get some miso that was to be part of a marinated corn recipe I had found in the Times (see below for link), she needed guidance about whether to go with Koshi or Koji paste.  A kind and earnest looking man approached, recommending either, explaining that the flavor was the same, but one was “chunkier” than the other.  Both having imaginations sometimes too vivid, we chose the smooth.

He began to tell us how he used the miso in a ramen soup, a favorite with the younger crowd at our house, then shared a simple recipe.  We thanked him, zoomed around to procure all we needed, then left the store with that most excellent feeling I mentioned above.

It is easy to conjure up times that we feel isolated from others.  Lately, I have been reminded that if I can get past that feeling and just be present for these small interactions, the world becomes a place of limitless possibility.  And to go one step further and be that person, like the man at Russo’s, that takes off the armor and offers a small piece of them self to a stranger, one would embody the spirit of friendship.

On a somewhat tangental subject, my friend Debbie and I once went on a road trip. We loved to take runs in the towns and cities that we camped in, taking in all local flavors and often getting lost.  As we’re both fairly outgoing, we decided to have a contest to see who could get more “hellos” back while we were in motion.  Most details are now gone (people in Mobile were somewhere between surprised and quizzical, yet friendly, Santa Fe was lonely, New Orleans wicked humid, and Dallas fetid with a dead snake in our path), I do recall that Boulder was by far the warmest, with almost everyone replying with a hello and a nice smile, a look in the eye, while in Dallas, our chirpy hellos were interpreted as an intrusion on personal space. Hmmmm.

Back to the business at hand, here is the kindness the man at Russo’s gave us, handed to you:

Make the broth by combining 8 cups chicken broth (I’ve just done it with 12 cups.  Once I’m making it, I might as well make it), 1/2 lb Russo’s prepared teriyaki chicken wings, carrot ends, some celery sticks, an onion or two.  Put all in a pot that goes in the oven and cook for 10 hours at 190 degrees.  Remove all the junk.

Add 6 either teaspoons of miso, stir, bring to an almost boil and then add the stuff you want (we put noodles in first and then threw all the greens in when cooking was done) while reheating broth, just for a minute or two.  He suggested those big fat funky looking mushrooms that are all stalk and no head, and then little enokki mushrooms, as well as slivers of daikon, chunks of tofu and chinese egg noodles.  We’re going with watercress, baby bok choy, snow peas, tofu, noodles.  Here’s the finished product, rather yumtious if I say so myself.

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Here are the NYT recipes for pickled and marinated stuff.  Just made the bagna cauda (not enough vinegar for me), will try the corn later in the week.



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