Saturday, April 11, 2009

Symbol of a Never-Ending Journey

Traveling shows us new ways of living, thinking, and viewing the world. Such is the case with this business card whose logo I chose 4-5 years ago. It took a trip to New Mexico before I learned how appropriate this logo was to my current writing focus.

While visiting Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa two falls ago I met the resort's general manager and we traded business cards. I had only recently begun to put a major emphasis on travel writing when he pointed at the spiral in the logo's center and asked, "Did you know this symbol means 'the journey'?" My jaw dropped as I thanked him for the information.

Since that meeting I have seen the spiral many times throughout the Southwest, from Petroglyph National Monument outside of Albuquerque to Enchantment Resort in Sedona's stunning Boynton Canyon. But the most beautiful representation of the spiral I've seen, so far, was in the lobby ceiling at Taos' El Monte Sagrado resort.

The enormous crystal mounted in the center seemed to produce palpable positive energy and I took every opportunity to stand below and gaze at it. And, each time I see another spiral during my travels, it seems to verify that I've chosen the right writing - and life - track.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Black Bean Cornbread - Take II

If you follow this blog regularly, you know my household is making some dietary adjustments because of my husband's recent heart procedure. I wrote my recipe, Black Bean Cornbread with Quick Chile Sauce long before we had to watch salt, sugar, and fat intakes (see 10/24/08 entry). But with leftover cornbread, black beans, and low-fat organic mozzarella on hand, plus a quick grocery run to get canned green chiles, I revised this recipe a bit to make it more heart-healthy.

Black Bean Cornbread - Take II
Makes 5-6 large servings

1 red onion, diced fine
2/3 pan cornbread
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 can black beans, drained

2, 4-ounce cans diced green chiles
(VOE- Interesting thing about these green chiles versus
the green chile sauce I previously used; 15 ounces of green chile sauce has 15% of the
RDA for salt, while two cans of chiles only has about 6%)

4 sandwich slices of low-fat mozzarella

Saute red onion over medium heat until limp; set aside. Puree green chiles in food processor; set aside. Slice cornbread in half between top and bottom 'crusts.' Place slices in a 9 x 13 baking pan beside each other.

Spread black beans evenly over cornbread and then spread red onion over beans. Spread green chile puree over beans and onion. Top with mozzarella.

Bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour. Garnish with cilantro and serve with stir-fried zucchini.

Four Forks For Chocolate

Tell me about your favorite chocolate dessert. Here's one of mine:

On a cool spring night in Fredericksburg, Texas, we sat down for dinner at Bejas Grill and Cantina, beside the main drag. Earlier in the day customers enjoyed their food on the small patio but, tonight, brilliant hued walls and huge, brightly-colored paintings surrounded us in the packed dining room.

Huge margaritas arrived, icy cold with just the right amount of sweetness and salt rim. Everybody seemed to order something different, from my Portobello and Squash Enchiladas with a light cream sauce to Shrimp & Mango Enchiladas and Chicken Baja Tacos in soft corn tortillas.

Conversation bounced along the walls and hard-surface floor as we pushed back our plates. Because of our upcoming drive home and schedule the following day, nobody requested a to-go box. But several of us ordered - and shared - dessert. As usual, my tastebuds craved something made with cacao; in this case, a decadent Scharffenberger Chocolate Cake.

Moist, dark, spongy and doused in a thick layer of chocolate 'icing,' this cake provided the ultimate end to a thoroughly satisfying meal.