Real Cooking

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CHERYL JOST
Well, I’m miffed. I wish I could tell you all about it, but to be fair to the other entity involved, I’m going to have to let it pass-for now.

No, I’m not mad at Keith. The fact is, I’ve never even met the person who’s currently annoying me and, other than a couple of e-mails, she doesn’t know me from Adam.

What has me going is the rudeness I sense from this person. I only asked a couple of simple questions, and since she is the person that is suppose to field questions, I didn’t think I was crossing any line. And the things she said about the people in Hillsboro-well.

Maybe she was having a bad day, maybe she’s under too much stress, maybe she’s just a-OK, I’m letting it go. Or trying to.

It seems the older I get, the less tolerant I have become. For some reason, I can’t just let other people’s uncivil actions slide by. Is it because I’m a mom, I wonder? Or am I becoming a crotchety old woman?

The other night-one of the many I now spend at the Sports Complex-I was in a position to overhear a group of girls my daughter’s age talking to one another. I really don’t think I’m much of a prude, but the language these young ladies (?) were using to communicate with one another ticked me off.

At the time of the incident, I was watching the 3-year-old son of our team’s coach, so perhaps I was even more alert to the sounds of foul words drifting on the summer air.

I stared at the girls until one of them finally noticed and then I asked, “Do you really believe that I can’t hear every word that you’re saying?”

“Uh-oh,” was all that was said in return. I can only imagine what names they had for me as they walked away from where I was standing.

And no, it wasn’t any of the girls who played ball that night, so most of you can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

I know, kids will be kids. But if you catch either of my two acting like that, please feel free to step in and put them back into line.

I understand that one coach did just that to a group of high school freshmen who appeared to conspicuously ignore one of their former teachers who had come to one of their events.

The teacher, one who always has enjoyed a good relationship with students, just wanted to say hello. The kids couldn’t be bothered. The coach stepped in.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of time, you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, but you can at least acknowledge someone’s existence and give them the respect they deserve,” the coach said.

Bravo, coach.

I’m sure there have been instances when I have not appeared to be polite in my dealings with others. Most of the time, it’s probably because my mind is preoccupied with other matters, or because I’m trying to beat the clock just once more.

But I have to admit that I don’t bother to “make nice” as much as I use to. I try to treat people with respect, but honestly, there are some people I just try to avoid because, well-sorry if this sounds too blunt-because I just don’t like being around them.

I don’t go out of my way to make trouble. Really. But I don’t turn away from it anymore, either. I’m not into pretending these days-acting like everything is fine when it’s not.

So, what’s the bottom line? I’m getting old and crotchety. It must be so for just this week we received a flyer in the mail from an insurance agency addressed to “senior citizen.”

Surely that was meant for Keith; he’ll reach 50 before I will.

Watch out. Before too long I’ll be yelling at kids for walking across my lawn.

* * *

Last week’s recipe for The Kirby House’s coconut bread called for some coconut flavoring to be used. For the best flavor, the Kirby House recommends using Stirling Gourmet Flavors available over the Internet at www.stirling.net.

Does anyone know of a supplier in the area that carries Stirling products?

* * *

This recipe is perfect summer eating. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of “blackening” your steak in the kitchen, just throw the meat onto the backyard grill for a perfectly delicious alternative. The Chicago Chop House restaurant serves this salad accompanied by sauted mushrooms and roasted red-skinned potatoes. This produces two large main dish salads.

Blackened Steak Salad

For spice mixture:

1 tbs. paprika

2 tsp. ground black pepper

11/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

For salad:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

6 cups mixed salad greens

1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 (5-6 oz.) beef tenderloin steaks, each about 1/2 inch thick (may substitute any tender beef steak)

3 tbs. melted butter

6 tbs. crumbled blue cheese (about 3 oz.)

1 tomato, quartered

Blend all of the spice mixture ingredients together. Whisk oil, vinegar and mustard in large bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Add greens, bell pepper and onion and toss to coat. Divide salad between two plates.

Spread spice mixture on plate. Coat both sides of steaks with spice mixture. Dip both sides of steaks into melted butter. Heat heavy skillet over high heat until very hot. Add steaks and cook to desired doneness, about two minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to cutting board and let stand for two minutes. Thinly slice steaks crosswise. Arrange steak slices on top of greens. Sprinkle with blue cheese, garnish with tomato.

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