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RDJ-- Slow Cooked Chinese Chicken Stew, 03-11-00  Recipe du Jour
 Mar 10, 2000 19:22 PST 
Volume 3      Number 61

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1 pound chicken thighs -- boneless, skinless
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2   teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 each onion -- coarsely chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms -- sliced
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 (14-1/2 oz) can chicken broth -- divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 each red bell pepper -- cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 each green onions -- cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups hot cooked rice -- optional

Toss chicken with five-spice powder in small bowl. Season with red pepper
flakes. Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion and chicken; cook and stir
about 5 minutes or until chicken is browned. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook
and stir until chicken is no longer pink. Combine 1/4 cup broth and
cornstarch in small bowl; set aside. Place cooked chicken mixture, remaining
broth, bell pepper, and soy sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low
3-1/2 hours or until peppers are tender. Stir in cornstarch mixture, sesame
oil, and green onions. Cook 30 to 45 minutes or until juices have thickened.
Ladle into soup bowls; scoop 1/2 cup rice into each bowl if desired. Yield:
about 6 servings.

Per serving: 330 Calories (kcal); 15g Total Fat; (40% calories from fat);
16g Protein; 33g Carbohydrate; 50mg Cholesterol; 612mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2
Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

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By Walter Mills

    Fade to Black

If I hadn't bought the CD maybe my furnace wouldn't have gone out in the
night while we were still deep in the January cold spell.

But I had gotten obsessed with the one song back around November when I
began hearing it on the radio station, an old song I had not paid much
attention to when it came out, then suddenly I was singing it all the time,
trying to remember how the words went, waiting to hear it again. You know
how it is with a song that gets in your head. Sometimes you want it to go
away, like those tunes on televison commercials or radio jingles. They have
a hook, and they catch you, and you squirm.

The other songs though are the ones that get beneath your skin into the
blood and nerve, or open the sluice gates of memory, or tell a story you've
been waiting to hear. Music and words are powerful when you put them

So my wife bought me the Springsteen CD for Christmas, the one called
"Tunnel of Love", and I fast forwarded through it past a lot of good tunes
to the one I was waiting for.

Then the two guitars started, kind of soft and sad, and Springsteen began to
sing in his rough working class voice about a man whose life has "slipped
off track":
"Woke up this morning the house was cold
Checked the furnace she wasn't burnin'
Went out and hopped in my old Ford
Hit the engine but she ain't turnin'"

I had played the song and hummed the refrain as I washed dishes after supper
every night for a week. "One step up and two steps back", I sang along like
I knew what he was saying. Then in the morning I woke up and the house was
brutally cold. I went downstairs and checked the thermostat and the gauge
lay over on its side at 50 degrees where it could go no further. Down in
the basement I hit the reset button and the furnace roared. As I walked
back up the steps it wheezed and died.   "The furnace she wasn't burnin'".

I didn't bother to jump into my old Chevy pickup; the engine hasn't been
turnin' for a few months and I've watched the tires slowly deflate and sink
into the gravel of the driveway. Someday soon I'll have to do something
about that. "One step up and two steps back".

Upstairs my family was looking kind of blue and pinched, huddled around the
breakfast table like the family in Van Gogh's 'The Potato Eaters'. "No
luck," I said and called for the furnace repairman while the cold seeped
through the shuttered windows.

The losses in the song mount up and anybody who is closing in on middle age
has got to recognize some of themselves in the words:
"When I look at myself I don't see
The man I wanted to be
Somewhere along the line I slipped off track"

Not many of us have fulfilled the dreams we had when we were young. Most of
the losses are invisible; we don't even tell our wives or husbands. Still,
we try to do our best. It is only in the popular magazines and sitcoms on
television that everyone else but you is living the life of constant
self-fulfillment and men of 50 have thick black hair. If we're lucky the
rest of us take two steps up and one step back, and comb our hair across the
bald spot.

I didn't make it to the Springsteen concert the other night and maybe it's
just as well. The furnace repairman came and fixed the problem for about
the price of a single ticket. While I washed the supper dishes I played the
"Last night I dreamed I held you in my arms
The music was never-ending
We danced as the evening sky faded to black
One step up and two steps back"

I stayed in my warm house and listened to the CD and dreamed I was there at
the concert. And the evening sky faded to black.

(The above column originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times and is
copyright 2000 by Walter Mills. All rights reserved worldwide. To contact
Walt, address your emails to wmi-@vicon.net)


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Do you remember?

Bruce Springsteen

Woke up this morning my house was cold
Checked out the furnace she wasn't burnin'
Went out and hoped in my old Ford
Hit the engine but she ain't turnin'
We've given each other some hard lessons lately
But we ain't learnin'
We're the same sad story that's a fact
One step up and two steps back

Bird on a wire outside my motel room
But he ain't singin'
Girl in white outside a church in June
But the church bells they ain't ringing
I'm sittin' here in this bar tonight
But all I'm thinkin' is
I'm the same old story same old act
One step up and two steps back

It's the same thing night on night
Who's wrong baby who's right
Another fight and I slam the door on
Another battle in our dirty little war
When I look at myself I don't see
The man I wanted to be
Somewhere along the line I slipped off track
I'm caught movin' one step up and two steps back

There's a girl across the bar
I get the message she's sendin'
Mmm she ain't lookin' to married
And me well honey I'm pretending
Last night I dreamed I held you in my arms
The music was never-ending
We danced as the evening sky faded to black
One step up and two steps back



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