The Gluten-free Chicano cooks
Chile Verde Con Granitos Y Calabaza
Company was coming and the Gluten-free Chicano was busy as an agent provocateur at a peace rally. The Gluten-free Chicano wanted something easy but not ordinary. He had the perfect ingredients on the calendar—the day before, Frito Lascano held his annual La Pelada and the Gluten-free Chicano had 30 pounds of roasted Hatch chile in the refrigerator.
The fastest use of freshly-roasted chiles is soup. Remove stems and seeds, chop lightly then whiz in a blender. Add water or broth to keep the blades moving. Make a cup of chile paste. In a saucepan, heat the chile, stirring in broth, milk, half-and-half, or yoghurt, or cream, to produce the thickness you want. Serve in a fancy bowl with a chile ring garnish. Prep time: 10 minutes.
Serving soup is for a less engaged day. I decided to make a variation of Frito’s pumpkin soup. This distinctive stew gets chewiness from granitos plus texture from lots of meat. The bit of sweetly aromatic squash adds interest to the mélange of richly spiced vegetables. The chiles determine the chilosoness, so be prepared with habanero or other hot sauce if your chiles are not.
The preparation illustrated here at La Bloga and at Read! Raza came out famously. Gente took home plates, and I wanted to freeze some to make tamales.
Most Mexican food is normally gluten-free and this pork stew is normal. A non-meat alternative adds cubed papas in place of pork, and reduces cooking time to around half an hour.
Ingredients to serve 20 or freeze for later
3 lb boneless pork
1 bag diced nopales or 2 pencas
2-3 lb roasted green chiles
2 cups white hominy with liquid
2 cups diced orange winter squash; butternut, pumpkin
4 green onions
Onion, garlic, comino, salt
Cut everything to the same proportions.
Cube meat and squash to ½” or 1” cubes.
Dice/chop onion and nopales to size of grains of hominy.
Chop the chiles after removing stems and seeds.
Thinly slice 3-6 dientes of garlic.
Slice green onion into 2" pieces, chop greens.
Deep, wide sartén, or large saucepan. Medium flame.
Lightly brown the aromatics and squash.
Add pork and brown.
Add chile and its juice, mix together.
Add granitos and some juice, mix together.
Add green onion
Chop a big pinch of cilantro stems and leaves, sprinkle on top.
Reduce heat to lowest simmer.
Cover and cook two hours, stirring regularly.
If you added too much liquid, slightly uncover lid and it boils off.
When this chile verde is done, the pork is fork-tender, the base viscous and saturated with flavorful liquid.
Serve over steamed rice or puro chile in a bowl and the guests can come and go, walk around the room and talk of Michangelo.
|orange squash, white hominy, browned pork, nopales, green chile, green onion|
Laureate Lollapalooza, or the Laureate, for Example
Poet F. Albert Salinas had to split right after the Bluebird Reading at Avenue 50 Studio wrapped. He had time to point me to the website for Ventura California's Laureate Lollapalooza. An inspired idea is perfect for an out-of-the-way place like Ventura. Now gente will start visiting Ventura. Oxnard, Santa Paula, Fillmore, you're next.
One of those enchantingly beautiful places no one but the locals know, Ventura is a no-need-to-stop off the 101 freeway between El Lay and Santa Barbara. Now the Ventura County Arts Council and Groundswell Committee have come up with the plan to gather as many laureates as can accept the invite, and have them do a floricanto. Click here for the organizers' website.
Speaking of laureates, is the plural "poets laureates" or "poet laureates" or "poets laureate"? Ni modo. Here's California's Poet Laureate, La Bloga friend Juan Felipe Herrera, giving a lollapalooza of a reading at the 2010 reunion floricanto, Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow, at USC.
Speaking of Veteranos
Old Soldiers Home Wins Round One Against VA
Everyday abuse of Veterans is a synonym for politicians generally and the Veterans Administration in particular. In west Los Angeles, local politician Henry Waxman slickied land away from sick and injured Veterans to allow the Brentwood neighbors a rose garden walled off from the Vets.
Waxman's land grab is part of an ongoing exploitation of Veteran lands for private gain. Sounds illegal, que no? A judge recently agreed. Until the appeals, chalk one up for the old soldiers, the injured, the homeless Veterans.
For one Veteran's view, see Robert L. Rosebrock's column for "Veterans Today" where he celebrates the ACLU's lawsuit against the Veterans Administration.
On August 29, Judge S. James Otero issued a Court Order that was brief and explicit as a total of nine unlawful sharing agreements exploiting Veterans property were terminated in just nine words: “These agreements are unauthorized by law, and therefore void.”
Rosebrock's recounting of his comrades' years-long confrontation with VA tipas and tipos deserves widespread attention in a time of expanding war.
On-line Floricanto With Fotos
Bluebird Reading at Avenue 50 Studio is September's Second On-line Floricanto
La Bloga's On-line Floricanto has usually featured work selected by moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB 1070 Poetry of Resistance. This week's La Bloga On-line Floricanto departs from that model.
I have the immense pleasure of sharing poems along with my portraits of the artists reading their own work at the Bluebird Reading at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park, Los Angeles. This advances a goal for me. I've long held that still photography of poetry needs multimedia. It's not enough to show the dynamic 1/60th of a second moment in a poem's performance. Share the poem. Mejor, share the text and a recording of the poet in her his own voice.
Several of the Bluebird poets shared a favorite poem--in most cases it's the one they're reading in the foto--giving me the unbridled pleasure of joining camera to word in today's La Bloga On-line Floricanto.
Foto notes: I set the camera on manual. Against that bright wall--the gallery was dismantling the just-closed exhibit--the camera's metering would be confounded. In the gallery's dim lighting I set the ISO to 3200 and used F/5.6 at 1/60 sec. Using the 100mm lens, I planned to take a back row seat. The Bluebird attracted an SRO audience. From my far corner seat I was fortunate to find a few good angles to frame the reader.
|Jessica Ceballos, fortune smiles on emcee.|
On Sunday, she was emceeing the gallery reading she curated. Ceballos invited a strong corps of poets who attracted a highly productive open mic and involved audience. Ceballos, who hosts the Bluebird Reading at Avenue 50 Studio the second sunday of the month, counts the Bluebird series as only one of her poetry activities.
Saturday, the day before the Bluebird reading, she did it again. Jessica masterminds Poesia Para La Gente's traveling poetry readings, assembling poets to ride Los Angeles' metro rail system blatantly breaking the system's rules about disturbing other passengers, not reading on the platforms, not doing this and not doing that. There is, of course, a permitting process before one can break any of these rules.
A significant acknowledgement of Ms Ceballos' dedication and administrative skill--it's not puro fun--she got an MTA permit at the eleventh hour. The MTA cops put away the truncheons and ticketbooks.
In the portrait, Jessica's smile reflects fortune's, because the Saturday Poesía Para la Gente subway reading needed a videographer. At the eleventh and a half hour, a professional comes through and the underground reading will be featured in an upcoming documentary. The smile reflects that triumph magnified by Ceballos looking upon a jam-packed Avenue 50, gente sitting on the floor, standing in doorways, totally wrapped up in poetry.
the outside world is hard
all rough edges
harsh words too quickly released from snarling
or smiling mouths
how nice it would be
to imagine that nothing else existed
none of the structured inequities
the injustices we have been building for generations
how easy it would be
to forget all of that
and live instead within the moment of first kiss
the magic of first skin
no, not easy
it would take a heroism beyond what either of us knows
all that we have already seen
for us to remember how to close our eyes
we turn to each other
burrowing kisses into collarbones
creating a place where
we can come inside
sit for a spell
we cannot forget
what we have committed to do
but we can grant ourselves
within the grove of our encircled arms
-- just for a moment
and then remember
|Melinda Palacio is happy to stand in front of artist Margaret Garcia's large portrait. Garcia is Palacio's cover artist for "How Fire is a Story, Waiting."|
My grandmother caught the flame in her thick hands.
Curled fingers made nimble by kaleidoscope embers.
Fire burns hot and cold if you know where to touch it, she said.
i watched the red glow spit and wiggle as it
snaked down the thin timber, a striptease,
born out of the festive sound of a half-filled matchbox.
through orange windows framed by obsidian eyes, i saw the child she once was. A little girl who raised herself because her mother had a coughing disease. blood on her mother’s handkerchief didn’t stop her from dreaming.
Maria Victoria was going to be a singer with her deep, cinnamon stick voice.
she watched novelas in the kitchen while waiting for dough to rise.
her body, heavy with worry for two families and three lifetimes. she tucked Mariachi dreams under her girdle. lullabies escaped on mornings
warmed by her song falling into gas burners turned on high.
the flame on a stove was never the same. it had a bad hangover, didn’t remember the many matches lit when its starter broke down.
My grandmother rolled paper into a funnel,
stole fire from the pilot to light the stubborn burner on the right. Crimson burned blue on the white paper, its folded edges
curled black like a lace ruffle on a skirt.
the finicky flame can’t comment on its magic.
the thousands of tortillas and pancakes cooked over the years.
how i burned myself roasting a hot dog campfire style.
how a melted pencil smudged under my sister’s eyelid makes her beautiful.
My grandmother noticed the time, almost noon.
she needed to make three dozen tortillas to feed her family of thirteen. the show over, she blew the match into a swirl of gray squiggles, snuffed before it had a chance to burn hot on her finger.
Funny, how fire is a story, waiting.
A New Poem by Melinda Palacio
A lake disguises itself as an ocean.
He wants to see loneliness in its far away horizon.
She wants to see through him, search her fortune
on the other side, Chicago. The lake is not an ocean.
But nature shifts and changes color everyday.
A body of water, a twig that moves, a chameleon.
We are all shape shifters, she whispers and
stares over the vastness of the false sea.
The most beautiful blue is where the water is warmest,
sunken treasure and the sea monster Nessie live there.
He betrays one more secret, until, like another lost
Christian out on his luck, he forces her to believe he
is the first man to own bottomless blue eyes. Yes,
she reminds him, the earth is round.
|Cara Van Le|
Cara Van Le
even when we are
i keep my safety belt
and when i thought my mother was a good driver
i admired that whenever she’d suddenly brake,
her arm would reach across the passenger seat divide
to protect me. looking back, she never hugged me much
but was willing to break her body to keep mine going.
i drive, now. and it shocked me
when i realized that i
didn’t inherit this impulse
to reach across divides
to save somebody else.
my heart tightens when
i think of her flying across borders
and because of that
i have a name.
my feet touch the ground,
except when i swing
between this world
and the next.
she herself has not always felt free.
trapped between identities,
she casts wishes between
for fate to be kinder to her.
i used to
but now, i don’t blame her.
how could i ever imagine
every possible road
on fire and no choice left
but to run?
i can’t imagine it.
i can only live through it.
and it occurs to me now
that back then, even as her arm
compressed my little chest
hated wearing seat belts.
Watch her Mind
Watch her Mind
On and On and On
Watch her Mind
On and On and On
Needle Points of Light
Illuminating and Blinding Light
Illuminating her Secrets
Her Inner Frightening Secrets
Ruby Red Bloody Lights
Erase the Mind
Erase the Mind
Erase..Erase..Erase the Mind
Erase the Mind
Shut the Window
The last tiny opening
Void of Breath
White Light Space
Make Believe Space
This space can be
This World is Yours
This World is Yours
Breathe in.and out slowly
Over and Over again
In. and out slowly
Rolls and sings
The body breathes
The body calms
The body spins
The body Connects here
With this soul
This other one
This other better half
This better half of you
|Jessica Aldridge reads in a strong, forceful voice. Today's is her first reading in public.|
|F. Albert Salinas has a remarkable idea: the first Laureate Lollapalooza.|
F. Albert Salinas
Aztec warriors in bandanas and Dodger blue
chanted mantras, waved knives and guns
over tattooed tears, and told of time spent
beating a man until he lied and denied
he was witness to a recent homicide.
They boasted about how messed up they got before
hustling, robbing, stabbing, shooting, breaking,
taking whatever they wanted,
making one man yank the cord strung across the bus
because at the time
there were probably 12 of them
and only 4 of us
and he just wanted to get off anywhere
Brakes screeched first, and then
a boy dragged by his blonde hair.
He grabbed at anything he could
to keep from being pulled off onto
their street and into their city.
I heard a veterano say,
Nice watch, ese.
And sure enough, that gabacho had time
wrapped around his wrist
like he owned it.
Yeah, I heard the boy screaming
but when the bus jerked away
I wasn’t about to jump into his grave
so I tossed the first fistful
of dirt onto his coffin like anyone would and
turned away because
that watch, only worth about fifty,
was worth more than anything I’d ever owned
and maybe it was just his time go.
|Detrick Hughes joins the reading from Houston, TX. He finds the socal poetry scene exciting and wonderfully diverse. Houston sounds like a poetry badlands in Detrick's account. Where do gente go to hear poetry aloud, in Houston?|
In my seventeenth year,
dropped a loose moment. Watched it
sink to the bottom
of a paper cup
dressed with circles, colorful
balloons. A flask of MD 20/20,
Mad Dog to those
who cluttered corners
as weeds do when sprouting
between crooked concrete
cracks, drained. Three, four or more
tumblers until the bottle emptied
and everything tilted beautiful,
even the big girl
who oddly smiled and dipped
her hand in my pocket. She
offered a four minute slow dance
beneath the cool crooning
of Marvin Gaye's
hit, "Let's Get It On". Leaned,
I did, against the wall
from the house party. I knew
that Kool-Aid tasted somewhat funny.
Madrileños Do Shakespeare en Santa Monica
Look for more news next week at La Bloga on this Spanish-language performance. From the Broad Stage website, this quick word:
In 1533, the Spanish were enraged by Catherine de Aragon's divorce from Henry VIII. Eighty years later, Shakespeare engaged with the subject in his last play. Now four hundred years later, Rakatá, Madrid's premier classical company, re-imagines this play from a Spanish perspective, with the thrilling clarity they bring to their productions of Spanish Golden Age work. Don't miss what The Guardian UK calls "a supremely accomplished retelling of this most notorious episode in English history."