Wednesday, October 14, 2009

sheeekenne with artichoke bean sauce

If I were a food stylist, I would not tolerate the tomato juice puddle moving south along the plate...

I invented and cooked this delicious and easy dish this evening.

First, pick your 16 year-old daughter (following the blood type A diet) up from her piano lesson at 5 (knowing you must bring her to play practice at 5:30). Frantically dive through the kitchen door, open a can of Great Northern beans, dump them into a Pyrex measuring cup, and microwave for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, peel two cloves of garlic and throw them into the food processor. Drizzle about 2 or 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over that and process until chopped (but not necessarily smooth). Get a large jar of artichoke hearts out of the pantry, drain and rinse them, dump them into the food processor and process again until it's a greenish lumpy mash. Dump the hot beans on top, whiz the whole mixture a couple of times and drizzle more extra virgin olive oil, if you are so inclined. Sea salt (of course) and a grind of pepper should do it. Then pour about half of it into a dish, thrust the dish and a plastic spoon into your daughter's hand as she's flying back out the door, and toss a rice cake into her other hand. Drop her at play practice and come back to the kitchen.


Now get out a large skillet, pour in more extra virgin olive oil (I don't care what they say about not sauteing with it -- the food tastes better if you do it my way), slice another clove of garlic into the oil and slice one onion into the pan. Saute until soft and clear but not brown. Add two packages of boneless, skinless chicken breast that is cut into stir fry pieces (or bone, skin, and butcher it yourself, if you must). Stir until the chicken begins to brown on all sides. Add the remaining artichoke/bean mixture, warm it all up, and keep the pan on low while you boil pasta or steam rice. Heat some fire-roasted tomatoes (Muir Glen is my brand of choice for these) to serve on the side. Sprinkle powdered thyme over the chicken and stir it again. Then take some basil leaves and rip them into ribbons over the chicken. One last stir and you're ready to eat. Pretty darn yummy.

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."