What is the first thought that comes to your time when you look at the picture above?
Memories of an easier time? Airing laundry in public? Environmentally friendly? or Could it be the thoughts of the inescapable chore that has to be taken care of every weekend, the folding that comes later on or the piles of unfolded laundry laying on the bed?
As for me it brings thoughts those special moments spent with my mom. Let me explain before you think I am some sort of weirdo.
Not long ago back home a laundry person came home and took care of all the laundry needs. In recent years that has started to change with the advent of washing machines.
When I was a child mom was a busy with her profession and as was the case with most doctors, patients needs came first. I grumbled and complained and whined when she had to go attend to her patients. My brother who much younger than me handled it much better than I ever did. This was how it was for a long time even when we went home for holidays. She did double duty then.
Then a few years ago my mom retired and things changed. But you know how it is when we visit home, moms take it upon themselves to pamper and spoil. When grandchildren are involved it only gets worse. She is as busy as ever only now the profession is not there to make demands on the time.
Mom follows a routine, early every morning she climbs the stairs with the load of dirty clothes up to the terrace to the laundry room. There she separates the whites from the colors and loads the washing machine, while the machine runs she takes a few of the clothes over to the wash basin to soap and rinse. This routine rarely changes. When I am home I usually follow her to the laundry room. The rest of the household is still in the final hours of their blissful sleep before the heat gets to them. During the summer (where I lived and of course my parents still do, heat is a constant the seasons being hot, hotter and hottest) the early morning hours are the best with a coolness in the air and the occasional breeze. Your head is clear and you actually think straight before the heat starts beating down with a vengeance.
Those early morning hours with my mother selfishly were to be mine and mine alone before the world started making demands on her time. As she hung clothes on the line I followed jabbering and trying to make myself useful. This time is when we had our conversations on different subjects, gossiped and/or just enjoyed quiet moments together. Every visit back home I eagerly look forward to those moments.
Here during the summer months I wash the clothes and hang them out to dry and they immediately bring those memories back. I relish the quiet, contemplative moments this simple chore of hanging clothes brings and maybe I understand a little bit why my mom prefers to do them early in the morning. DDs sometimes join me and the activity seems to calm them too. Hopefully years from now this mundane activity would give them the same simple pleasure as it does me.
Miss you Mom and Happy Mother's Day!
Every culture/cuisine as we all know has their own version of rice and dal and it perhaps symbolizes the comfort food at its best. Few months ago on TV saw a Mexican Rice and beans dish cooked with whole pigeon peas and some sort of meat. I had puy lentils on hand and searched for a suitable recipe.
Mango-Avocado Salad (cut ripe mangoes, avocado with a dash of lemon juice)
This one on the Homesick Texan was the one that looked closest to what I had seen. I soaked the lentils for a couple of hours so they cook in the time the rice cooks.
The rice goes well with a side of Avocado and Mangoes. I was planning to call it salsa, DD2 correctly pointed out that it should be called salad.
Recipe Source: Mexican Rice from Homesick Texan
Mexican Rice with puy lentils with Mango-Avocado Salad
1. 1 cup of puy lentils soaked for a couple of hours and washed clean
2. 1 1/2 cups of rice
3. 4 1/2 cups of chicken broth (vegetable broth can be used)
4. 1/2 cup tomato chopped
5. 1 cup of onion chopped
6. 5 garlic cloves minced
7. 2 tbsp lime juice
8. 1 tsp black pepper
9. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
10. 2-3 tsp oil or butter
11. 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
12. handful of chopped cilantro leaves [optional, I did not add them]
13. salt to taste
1. In a pressure cooker heat the oil saute the onions till soft, add the garlic and saute till they are browned
2. Add the pepper powder, cumin powder and red chili powder and mix it in
3. Add the tomatoes and let them cook till they are mushy
4. Add about 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, the soaked lentils and rice, switch of the heat and let it sit for an hour or two [See note if you cannot let it sit]
5. Turn on the heat, add the rest of the broth bring it to a boil and let the liquid reduce about 8-10 minutes
6. Add the lemon juice, salt, cilantro, close the lid, put the weight on and let it cook in medium low heat for 6-8 minutes (the time depends on how much liquid is left, do not wait for the whistle). Alternately once the liquid starts to boil the contents can be transferred to an electric cooker and cooked to completion.
7. Switch off the heat and let it sit for another 10 minutes before the lid is opened.
Serve with Mango-Avocado salad or a tomato salsa.
1. Soaking the lentils is required so they get cooked in the same time as the rice
2. Soak the rice ahead of time if you do not want to let them sit and marinate in the onion-tomato sauce
3. If you do not want to use pressure cooker, cook on stove top but make sure the rice does not stick and keep the heat at low.
4. Care while adding salt because the broth already has salt.
This will be an entry to MLLA - 23 an event hosted over at The Well-Seasoned Cook by Susan who is also the amazing inventor of this event.