This week, in no particular order, I noticed:
- The true and unconditional affection of Fearless Fraidy Cat, as he snuggles up to me in a warm blanket of orange fur. I know that it's when he stops purring - completely at ease on my lap, totally asleep - he's truly at home. And I made that home for him.
- Our comfortable bed, with its down comforter and nice sheets, and the husband who went out of his way to find those nice sheets, for us, because he loves the home we've created together.
- The sharp air in my lungs as I run - each step longer than the last, heels pushing me along the pavement. The fact that it gets a little easier each time I run. I can climb Otley Road to the Cooperative grocery store now without looking at my watch every two seconds, hoping against gasping hope that time is up.
- The brilliance of an orange peel against the glittering gray of the pavement, glowing in the evening light
- A briefly, blindingly clean kitchen (which lasts about a nanosecond in our house - best to appreciate it while you can)
- The quality of the early morning light on the plowed fields, as viewed from the train window on my way in to York
- The City of York in general - the ancient mixed with the modern - the opportunity to walk, on my way to a training class, past the medieval city walls, over an 18th Century bridge, through Micklegate Bar, with a view of the 14th Century towers of York Minster.
- Clean, pure water and the feeling of it as it hits my stomach
I got lazy and didn't process the sesame seeds. It turned out fine, but looking back, I can see why they did it [picks bits of sesame seed and red pepper out of teeth]
3 seedless cucumbers, chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes (why? I don't know.)
1/2 cup toasted sesame oil (I used plain sesame oil, and I probably cut it by more than half - a little sesame oil goes a LONG way)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 scallions, coarsely chopped (I didn't have scallions. Ah well.)
- Cut cucumbers lengthwise into eights, then cut them crosswise into 2-inch-long sticks (In other words, make them into little spearses).
- In a large bowl, combine the sesame oil, vinegar, and a large pinch of salt. Add the cucumbers and toss well. Let stand for 10 minutes, tossing a few times (for any English readers who are cringing at the thought of tossing in the vomitorious sense, just stir the damn things).
- In a mini food processor, combine the sesame seeds, crushed red pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (that's a lot of salt. I recommend starting with 1/2 teaspoon and then up the quantity to taste). Process until the sesame seeds are coarsely chopped. (Or crush these ingredients in a mortar and pestle. Or skip this step altogether.)
- Add half of the mixture to the cucumbers and toss (ew) well. Arrange the cucumbers on a platter (or leave them in the same bowl you're stirring them in, like I did. No need to get all fancy. It's a freakin' pickle). Sprinkle with the remaining sesame seed mixture and the scallions. Serve. With or without toothpicks.