Sunday, February 20, 2011

What do you want to achieve? She asked

     In the midst of "midterms" I found myself thinking about the future, rather than focussing on the present, oddly I wasn't nervous about exams, I was more nervous about not getting where I want to go.  Two weeks ago I took the cooking practical and passed, not with the grade I'd hoped for but a good grade nonetheless, I prepared a Navajo green chili stew (see picture and recipe below), my peers and other chef/instructors complimented me on it, however, the chef said the meat could have been a little more tender, hence the unexpected grade.   This past week was the written exam, not sure of my grade yet but I believe I did well and in the back of my mind it doesn't matter, all that matters is am I going to get where I want?   The question brought me back to baking class, the first day Chef asked us what we want to achieve with our education, an exciting question in my eyes, I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve.  When she asked me about myself and my hopes and dreams, wow!  I was honored to answer, thrilled I said: " I want to write about food, be a great chef, travel Europe, work in a French restaurant and have the chef yell at me in French, I want to learn new languages and be successful....I .....I .....I..... She smiled at my excitement, offered some advice and told me I can do it if I really want it.  I felt empowered, then life kicked back in and it all became mundane. 

      These days it's about "just doing it" and at times things feel new again helping to push me along my path, I've taken to going out and enjoying myself and I can see a bright future ahead, the Italian lessons are going well, "molto bene" I'm going to make it and should start conjuring a concrete plan as to how I am going to settle somewhere in Europe with two children in tow.  I"ll need  lots of money,   I have to obtain a job in the restaurant industry soon and have started working on that, so changes or more changes need to be made before graduation.  I am also considering a teaching license, it may be something to fall back on.  Where to settle first is also a question I have to answer,  Ireland has my curiousity, perhaps Dublin, but the truth is my first destination has to be where I can work almost immediately.   However things fall into place, there is no room for doubt, it's what I want to achieve. 

     Occasionally when I think of the actual traveling part nerves set in, I hate to fly, but it's necessary if I am going to Europe right?    Then I start thinking I've dreamed it so long, it'll become boring and every country will feel like I've been there and done that, but that thought doesn't last long, I'm in love with the idea of making friends abroad and learning more about cooking in the countries we visit and writing about it all, can't wait.   The "blind date" I mentioned went well at first, we both laughed a lot and that was great, but at the mention of my wanting to travel Europe after graduating he became withdrawn, of course he did, if the roles were reversed I would have gotten up and left, how dare I want a relationship and then go and lay that on him?  I might as well have just said "oh by the way I want to be in a relationship but uhhh it's only for a year cause I'm moving to Europe for a while" duh!   Amazingly he has called, we have lingering conversations about anything, feels like it's just going to be a friendship though, not romantic oh well.  I guess the "one" will know what to do, he won't be intimidated by my  plans.  Below find the recipe for Navajo green chili stew. Thank you so much for reading, take care!

Navajo Green Chili Stew

3 slices of bacon
1/2 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 pound of beef stew meat, cubed to 1/4"
1 quart beef stock or enough to cover meat
10 ounces of canned tomotoes, diced
1/2 cup diced green chiles
1.4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cooked pinot beans or pink beans
sour cream if desired

     Cook the bacon until crisp and dice it, set aside, save the fat, sweat the onion in bacon fat until translucent add the garlic.  Add the beef, brown it, add tomatoes, green chiles, oregano and cumin.  Add beef stock until meat is covered, season with a dash of salt and pepper.  Simmer for an hour, if meat is not tender enough by this time, simmer a little more.  Add the beans add bacon, season with salt and pepper.  You can garnish this with onions, green pepper and tomato in small dice (pico de gallo) a teaspoon of sour cream on top of that, some bacon bits and cilantro.   You can serve this with tortilla chips or rice or use it as a dip.  This is a really delicious dish and addictive, you can't have just one bite,  enjoy!
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