I’m back in the gorge. I’m back in my little white house, nestled deep in some of the oldest mountains on earth. I spend my cool mornings drinking coffee and reading, I spend my lunch breaks creeking, and I spend my evenings on front porches scattered throughout the little neighborhood. Thanks to the high amount of rain, the Cascades and other creeks in the area have been running a ton lately. I’ve been getting so many laps on the Cascades and its been marvelous!
My neighbors are all old friends. We are a bizarre bunch. We live in these tiny white houses they built for the workers when they built the dam decades ago. Its staff housing at its finest: we have the guy who enjoys grinding wheat and making homemade pasta, the girl who is studying to be a nurse and get out of the gorge, the guy who loves nothing more than to mow grass, and my Italian roommate from Chicago. We are a communal bunch. We work all day and at night we drift between each other’s houses and porches with beer, cigarettes, and crusty bread dipped in olive oil and vinegar.
The community is what I miss the most when I’m gone. We aren’t built to live alone. We didn’t evolve to all of a sudden be living so separately, in houses too big for one person with yards to separate us even more. We are made to live with each other, on top of each other, in each other’s lives. Here in staff housing, we experience the village way of living. We are a village within ourselves: a family unit created by choice. We drive each other crazy and adore each other.
And I’m making Mango Fried Black Rice all the time. I wish I had a good photo, but the truth is: think of globby black rice. Hard to photograph well. So just make it and enjoy!
Mango Fried Black Rice
-1/2 cup black rice, uncooked
-1/2 red onion, diced
-3 garlic cloves, smashed
-about a tip of your pinky size of ginger, diced
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-handful green beans
-2 stalks of kale, cut up
-1 teaspoon coriander
-1 teaspoon paprika
-1 tablespoon sesame oil
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-1/3 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1) Cook the rice in 1 cup of water (bring to boil, then simmer until water is fully absorbed, about 45 minutes). Set aside to cool.
2) In a pan, heat up the olive oil on medium heat. Sautee the garlic and ginger until fragrant, add the onion and sauté until soft. Add green beans and kale until cooked but still slightly crunchy. Dice the mango and add it as well. Pour the spices, sesame oil, and soy sauce over the mixture and wait until you can smell it all.
3) Turn the heat to high and add the rice, stirring to incorporate. Let it sit and get crusty, and then stir it every few minutes, but not often or it won’t get nice and fried. Bring the heat down and stir in the cilantro. Serve with fried tofu.