roots and culture...

i love procrastination as it provides the best motivation to do all those important little tasks i keep neglecting... like organizing the beading supplies, making sure the socks are all in matched pairs, and pruning the houseplants.  what...?  i know i am not alone in this.  somewhere in the middle of the third activity, i noticed that my mini terrarium was looking a little rough after a long winter on a chilly windowsill.  some of the plants had grown too tall for the jar, and i even found a rogue fern that i don't recall ever planting. certainly there was nothing in the universe more pressing than getting this situation under control!

my first instinct was to remove and toss out the overgrown coffee plants. i've given up on trying to grow coffee outside of closed-containers, as they do not survive well with my water-when-the-leaves-start-to-wither approach, so it would have been more merciful to just put them out of their misery as soon as possible. luckily, i remembered the slightly taller glass vase rescued from a centerpiece at someone's wedding.  all that was missing was a cover that would keep in the moisture but still allow light to get to the plants.  one quick trip to the neighborhood Salvation Army store--i take my procrastination very seriously--and a glass saucer was found to perfectly fit the top of the vase.  

so, for a grand investment of 69¢, i rescued the overgrown plants and saved the day. but all of that only filled about an hour of time, so i had to find some other way to distract myself.

i tend to take for granted having grown up with cultural influences that are not the norm.  so, while something as all-American as tuna casserole would send me scouring cookbooks and food blogs for days, i can whip up a mid-week garlic-jerk roasted pork loin with rice and beans with nary an effort.

there are few products i would recommend with zero hesitation, and Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning easily gets my stamp of approval. the blend of scallions, scotch bonnet peppers, and spices is far better than any i've come across thus far.  sure, i could make my own, but that would just be absurd.

toss in a few cloves of crushed garlic, olive oil, ground cloves, salt and pepper, and you have a combo somewhere near perfection.  i added a couple long peppers to my signature blend of peppercorns and coriander seeds.  these were obtained from my favorite spice shop at the Marché Jean Talon, one of the most awesome places to hang out in Montreal.  they look a bit like unsuccessful pine cones, and taste like a cross between the more familiar black pepper and allspice.  they are rather pricey, so i only use them for special things.

the roast was rubbed with that combo and left to marinate for a few hours.  because of the scotch bonnet peppers, jerk seasoning ranks incredibly high on the spicy scale, and the longer you allow the meat to sit, the hotter it becomes.  i used about one tablespoon here, which resulted in something decently spicy, but not unbearable to the point of needing to place the fire department on standby.  if you want a truly intense experience, try using jerk seasoning on smaller, thinner cuts of meat where you can get better all-around penetration of the spiciness.  i tossed the roast into a 375°F oven oven and cooked uncovered, basting occasionally, until the meat thermometer said it was done.

this is one of those occasions where the inspiration for a meal came from a single ingredient.  in this case, the half can of coconut milk lingering in the fridge, left over from some recent experimental baking.  

saute onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil, then toss in the rice and (drained) beans, add coconut milk, water, salt, and pepper, then bring to a boil and simmer covered till done.  

there was a random butternut squash in the vegetable bin, so that managed to make its way into the meal, plus a salad to cool the tongue in between spicy bites.

and... after all that effort... after salivating for more than an hour while the most delicious smells poured out of my kitchen... i ended up eating just a few mouthfuls before i started to feel full, so i abandoned the meal to save room for coffee and dessert.  not only does the Iranian restaurant up the street make a-maz-ing kebab sandwiches, they also sell a fantastic assortment of baklava.  my favorite are the cigar-shaped ones.  who knew procrastination could be so satisfying!  

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