I mean, all stereotypes aside, our lives are mostly similar to that of any other family — well, maybe any other slightly kooky family of outside-the-box-thinking, artistic mavericks with demented Chihuahuas. But our proximity to the nucleus of gay American culture — Chelsea 10011 — brings us into frequent and intense contact with all sorts of queer influences. (I'm using that Q-word in its co-opted, political sense. You aren't allowed to use it in this way unless you're queer too. Oh, and please stop using "gay" to mean "stupid," as in "That's so gay." There I am, on my soapbox again!)
Following on the (high) heels of last weekend's fabulousness — attending the opening and after-party of Priscilla, 50% of us in a dress — Peter and I were given tickets for this past Saturday night's "Big Gay Sing 3D" concert of the New York City Gay Men's Chorus. (One of my voice students is in the chorus and had an extra pair of tix.)
This choral extravaganza — actually more of a variety show — made Priscilla look like an NFL football game by comparison. The evening was chock-full of everything gay men (well, ones like me anyway) hold dear: hunky tenors, drag queens in beaded gowns, showtunes, emceeing by a huge out Broadway star, a diva songstress with pipes of gold, hunky men in pleather shorts, hunky baritones, hundreds of costumes and wigs, hunky men in Prince Charming outfits, campy humor, bawdy humor, hunky basses, Donna Summer songs, sequins, sequins, sequins, and hunky men in the audience.
(Oh, and hunky men wearing MPB apparel and the Debbie shirt, respectively. I gayed up Debbie's gorgeous creation with my tightest skinny Levi's and a pair of motorcycle boots. If only she'd made me a gingham codpiece to match.)
OMG, that hunky dancer in the pleather shorts. I found this pic of him on the web, but it doesn't begin to do justice to the sight of him in those shorts:
|George, my obsession of the hour|
I could barely remember what sorts of things straight people do. I seemed to recall that they ate, just like us, so that must mean that they cooked too. I decided to celebrate my openness to experiencing straight culture by cooking and eating my own meal. So, without even putting product in my hair, I
"Oh no!" you're thinking — he's going to the grocery store straight (!) from the gym again? He'll end up with a cartful of Dove Bars for sure!
But no, mistrustful readers, this time I came prepared to thwart my hunger-induced impulsive shopping tendencies. I had drawn up a list and was determined to stick to it. I had even specified the number of desserts (1) and cheeses (3) I was allowed to pick up. And, you know, this simple precaution did the trick. My only impulse purchase was a deodorizing bathroom cleaner with lime juice that was even on sale. (Our toilet has been evidencing our unwillingness to use harsh chemicals to clean it. 'Nough said.)
All right, those of you still with me after the toilet allusion, it's time to cook!
In the instructions below, I've printed the names of all the ingredients in Magenta, Queen of the Colors, to help you prepare your own shopping lists in case you want to cook along. (All the ingredients are simply what I had available and you can feel free to substitute at will. In fact, I insist that you come up with your own personalized variations.) We'll be making a dish of ground meat and okra which can be served over pasta or with your favorite starch. I was planning to serve mine with some Kitcheree I'd made the day before in my slow cooker using short grain rice and masoor dal (red lentils, but they turn light yellow when cooked). My recipe serves four generously.
Heat enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of a heavy large pot over a medium high flame. When the oil is hot, put in half an onion, sliced; 6 garlic cloves, chopped; and a 1-inch block of peeled fresh ginger, cut into tiny julienne strips.
Saute these ingredients until they brown lightly:
Add a quarter teaspoon of ground asafetida. . .
. . .and then a few seconds later, a mixture of ground spices that started as 5 cloves, a teaspoon of cumin seed, and 2 teaspoons of coriander seed:
Stir and cook the pot for a minute, then add a pound of ground meat. I used turkey this time, because that's what we'd had delivered from the Amish farm last week. It has that odd cylindrical shape because the farmers package and freeze it in tubes of plastic:
Stir-fry the meat until it loses its raw appearance:
Then add a few tablespoons of yogurt, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition until the yogurt is incorporated. I used a couple containers of spiced yogurt left over from a take-out Indian meal. I think it contained a small amount of salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne. You can use any yogurt, but low-fat versions tend to separate and don't add much richness.
When the yogurt is all incorporated, toss into the pot a parsnip and a turnip, diced.
Stir well, cover the pot, and let it cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid and add a pound of fresh okra, capped and sliced into 1/3" slices. I also added the greens from a bunch of radishes (optional). Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste. You could also put in some chopped fresh chili pepper (optional) if you wanted a more fiery dish. I did not, on this occasion.
Stir well, cover the pot again, and let it continue cooking for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid and add some chopped fresh herb. I used oregano.
Stir and heat through (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat and serve with some form of starch and perhaps a spicy condiment like mango pickle. Drink a nice manly beer with this meal and wear a simple, masculine thermal undershirt to the table:
Have a wonderful magenta week, everyone!