Saturday, April 28, 2012

Notes April 27, 2012

Photos this week are from Garin Park – about a mile from our house – one of the system of regional parks that run along the hill ridge line on the east side of SF Bay

 I am up to my ears evaluating end of year student teacher projects - so this weeks blog is a bit last minute... 

1.  It was a good morning for birds… It is the season of the mockingbirds!  They awake me each morning (and sometimes in the night).  They sing to protect their territory -  flying from high point to high point around their perimeter.  But it is their ever changing repertoire that amazes me most.   When its possible, I like to start my day with an hour or so of bike riding.  Today the sky was filled will swooping gymnastic swallows catching breakfast on the wing, as I rode my bike into Quarry Lakes this morning, overhead Riding further into a grove of eucalyptus trees, a hawk was calling her hunting cry – that long piercing call… Herons and egrets were lined on at the waters edge, patiently waiting … The sun is shining – spring is here!

Entrance to Garin Park

2.  First thing this week I want to plug a couple of web links…
 a. Beyond Outrage:  by Robert B. Reich

This book is a call for all of us  for who care about the Future of America. Reich uses well documents research to explain what has happened to our economy over the past 50 years and what it will take to fix it. He develops arguments in support the idea that our economy and democracy has been manipulated against the interests of average working people: and then offers proposals suggesting what we can be done about it.

Garin has grassy hills and oak filled canyons

I read the book, this week, and found it very helpful in understanding our situation – I give it high recommendation.  For less than $3 this book is a bargain. Can  be downloaded to your e reader…

b.  Second link: To give you a better understanding the Occupy Movement I urge you to explore some of the links on this site:  Here you will find documents that explain the goals of the 99% movement, and also a description of the methods employed.

3.  The majority of people that live in Fremont do not trace their ancestry to Europe but to Asia, LatinAmerica, and Africa. Of these groups the largest minority in Fremont are of East Indian origin.  (Many of these folks work either in high tech Silicon Valley jobs, in Medical fields, or commute into San Francisco to fill a range of jobs…  Judy and I have a special affinity for spicy East Indian food.  
Cirrus clouds, rocks at hill peak

When you hear the word “curry” – I hope you don’t think of “curry power” – this was a blend of spices created by the British during the years of their occupation in India.  It is not used by the Indian community.  There are many spice combinations  that can be added to vegetables and meat to produce a true curry.  Curries do not necessarily have to be “hot” – Chilli pepper is just one of many components and if you make your own, you can control how much to add.  We have a favorite Indian restaurant that we go for lunch because they offer such a nice variety of curries – each made with different materials and different spices.  You serve yourself from from large pots - what tough choices! . Yummy!  

Here is a recipe for making  curry from many different combinations of vegetables and meats… It’s a good starting point to home made curries – but you can also find a wealth of specific recipes on the Internet:

Advance Preparation: Prepare the vegetables, cut into bite size pieces and  measure the spices before you start cooking
4 servings
Lichens are a tribute to misty winter days

         2 tbsp vegetable oil
         1 tbsp Cumin powder
1 tbsp Corriander powder
          1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
          1/2 tsp Turmeric
                    ½  tsp whole mustard seed ( black mustard seed in most authentic) 
         tomatoes:  2 – 3 medium sized fresh is best, ½ can of canned tomatoes in a pinch
Green Pepper ( for milder curry ) or a jalapeno pepper or two ( be careful!)
          1 medium onion, chopped
          2 cloves garlic, diced
            1 inch piece of raw ginger, chopped fine
Buckeye tree in winter
      Select 2 or 3 vegetables from this list or improvise! (cut into bite sized pieces )   Chopped cabbage, frozen peas, Irish potatoes, Canned beans, carrots, Sweet potato, okra, zucchini …  Select a total volume of vegetables to equal about 5-6 cups (more or less )
           The final curry can be vegetarian or you can add cut up meat
Ancient acorn grinding holes used by the Ohlone Indians who lived here not so long ago - each hole is about 5 inches across and about 6 inches deep
1.    Heat the oil,until it gets hot, turn down to medium     ( use a cooking pot or covered frying pan)    
2.  Add the spices to the oil – heat the spices for 30 seconds in the oil, careful not to burn them
         3.  Add the cutup onion and stir well. Mix occasionally, cover. When the onion starts getting soft and translucent, it's cooked enough.  ( add a bit of water if needed to avoid burning)

Seasonal stream - will go dry in summertime
         4.  Add the garlic, ginger and green pepper, cook until the garlic turns light brown.
         5.  Add cut up tomatoes and stir. You want to make the tomatoes' water evaporate, so the sauce becomes as thick as spaghetti  sauce.
         6.  Add the other and meat – Think about the vegetabales you have selected – some may need to cook longer than others – so judge the timing before you cook.
         7.  Indians prefer  eating curry with ong grain rice or a flat bread very much like whole wheat tortillas… A spoon full of cool yogurt helps temper spicy food.