Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Never trust your car to anyone to whom you have given birth

My first memory of being in the driver’s seat of a car was when I was 10 or so and my mom would let me warm up the car for her.  I felt so cool sitting in that seat and turning the key.  Of course, I couldn’t just sit patiently while I was sitting there waiting for her.  Nope, I was a curious little kid and I had to turn knobs and push buttons.  A twist here and the windshield wipers swished back and forth.  A pull there and the blinkers started blinking. 
A push of that button and I reset the odometer . . . *O*M*G* . . . I was toast!  Try as I might I couldn’t get it back to the way it was.  It was hopeless . . . I was in for a beatin’.    I scooted over to my seat and sat quietly with my seatbelt buckled and my hands crossed primly in my lap.  Mom got in the car and off we went . . . she didn’t notice.  Thank the Lord, I was saved. 

There was another time when I was asked to wait in the car while she ran an errand.  This was some time later and I must have forgotten the odometer incident.    So there I am, sitting and waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting . . . bored out of my mind.  To this day I couldn’t tell you what compelled me but for some insane reason I released pulled the shifter and put the car in neutral.  The car started to roll forward.  There were other cars parked further ahead and I was headed straight for them.  PANIC . . .  this would be then end of me for sure!  
I scrambled over to the driver’s seat and stomped on the brake . . . JUST IN TIME!  I managed to get the car back in gear and into my seat before she got back.  Again I sat quietly with my seatbelt buckled and my hands crossed primly in my lap.  Mom got in the car and off we went . . . she didn’t notice . . . AGAIN.  Once again I was saved.  Halleluiah!

Then there was the time when I was 15 and my father asked me to move his van . . . wow!  This was going to be so cool; I was actually going to drive!!  So, I hopped in, turned the key, put the van in reverse and promptly backed right into a light pole.  Thankfully, I didn’t damage the light pole.  Unthankfully, I put a big honkin’ dent in the rear bumper.   Yeah . . . you could probably say that he was less than happy about that.  

When I was 18 I inherited the old Ford Escort . . . inherited isn’t the right word . . . my mom made be buy it from her.  $500 she made me pay her for the car . . . and I had to pay for my own gas and insurance.  I can tell you, I was none too happy about that!  I had to get a job to pay for it . . . imagine that!  However, looking back now, I appreciate it because I know what it means to be responsible for something and to pay for it and it was mine.

Anyhoo . . . I only had the car a short few weeks.  When I was passing through an intersection and another car turns right into me and smooshes the front of my brand-new-to-me car . . . yes I had the right of way and no the jerk didn’t have insurance.  Cry?  You bet I did.

My next car . . . a really brand new one this time . . . was a 1988 Ford Mustang in bright regatta blue, standard shift with a puny-ass engine.  What did I care?  The car was cute and *I* looked cute in it. 

I’ve had a few cars since but none better than my current car; a 1997 Honda CRV.  I’ve had her for almost 15 years, she’s got over 150,000 miles on her and she’s still rockin’ and rollin’.  I love her.

So, what is the point of me telling you all of that?  Nothing, I just thought I'd share . . . 


Fried Plantains

-          2 Cups Water
-          3 Cloves Garlic, Smashed
-          2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt, Plus Extra For Seasoning
-          1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Or Canola Oil
-          2 Green Plantains

In a large (12-inch) saute pan, heat oil to 325 degrees F.  Peel plantains and slice crosswise into 1-inch pieces.

Carefully add plantains to oil and fry until golden yellow in color, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. (The oil should come halfway up the side of the plantain).

With a spider or slotted spoon, remove the plantains from the pan and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, standing them on their ends.With the back of a wide, wooden spatula or a glass press each piece of plantain down to half its original size.

Combine water, garlic and salt in medium size bowl.  Place the plantains in the water and let soak for 1 minute. Remove and pat dry with a tea towel to remove excess water.
Bring oil back up to 325 degrees F and return plantains to pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a dish lined with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Serve immediately.

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