Friday, April 22, 2011

Red Tents and Red Curry

Thanks to Keiko for the Stylish Blogger award (my second)!  I've learned so much about blogging and advocacy from her; if you haven't seen her blog, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  She is one classy lady.

Keiko wrote, a while back, about her Red Tent Temple,  a place where, as in Anita Diamant's The Red Tent, women gather for shared sisterhood, even if that shared sisterhood doesn't (as it does in the Bible) entail the experience of a monthly menstrual cycle.  I was struck by that post at the time, wishing that there was a Red Tent somewhere around here.  As ICLW (IComLeaveWe, a monthly commenting and new-blog-exploring love-fest organized by one of my other blogging mentors, Mel Ford, over at Stirrup Queens) begins, I've been thinking about that post again, since ICLW has become an occasion, for me, to enter into dialogue with other women, and to celebrate the feminine ... a sort of "virtual Red Tent," if you will.  I've noticed, as I look over the list of participants, how few men there seem to be participating in ICLW.  Just today, I was with two friends at a park where our children were playing, and we found ourselves discussing uteruses and labia like you might talk about the weather.  I can't imagine my husband talking about, say, prostates, with other men, nor do I think I'd be as comfortable talking about my body with men.

I'm curious: do you know the gender of the bloggers you follow?  What is the gender balance of your blogroll?  What is the Red Tent equivalent for men?  Or should our intimate spaces be more inclusive?  Is there a real Red Tent in your community?  (And can I come visit?)

I made red curry this week, as a way to continue working on our bounty of produce, and perhaps it's a fitting tribute to the virtual Red Tent in the blogosphere this week.  Thai curries are easy (provided you're not making your own curry paste from scratch, which I don't), they can be healthy, and they're incredibly versatile.  You can substitute in other vegetables that you like; just make sure that you cook any root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, etc.) longer, and leave things like beans or peas or zucchini until the end.

Red Curry

4 t. canola oil, divided
14 oz extra-firm tofu, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes (I used baby corn in place of the tofu because my husband is not a tofu fan)
1 lb. sweet potato, cubed
1 14 oz. can lite coconut milk
1/2 c. vegetable broth
1-2 t. red Thai curry paste
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed/cut
1 T. brown sugar
2 t. lime juice
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, quartered

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and cook, stirring every 2 or 3 minutes, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, broth and curry paste to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potato is just tender, about 4 minutes. Add the tofu, green beans and brown sugar; return to a simmer and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the green beans are tender-crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in lime juice and salt. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

The Stylish Blogger award requires that you list seven things about yourself and nominate 15 other bloggers.  Since it's ICLW, I figured it would be a good excuse to (re)introduce myself in Q and A format.  This time, with a food theme.  Just because.
  1. What's your favorite thing to eat?  Some days my body craves greens, and I love a big salad with walnuts, dried cranberries, and goat cheese.  I enjoy Indian and Thai food.  Then there's sweets: lately I've been craving chocolate, tiramisu, and cheesecake.  I rarely dream about slabs of meat, though.  That's my husband's job.
  2. Do you actually post about everything you cook?  Mostly.  There are some boring things I don't post.  And I don't make something new every single day.  But we are pretty adventurous eaters, and I like breaking bread (or cake, or soup) with other people.
  3. What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?  I guess it depends on your perspective.  I ate brains once as a child.  And turtle.  Neither of which were by my own choosing (my father thought it was a good sport to make me eat things I would never touch if I knew what they were).
  4. What is your guilty pleasure?  Peanut butter, eaten with a single chopstick.  Sometimes dipped in raisins, sometimes dipped in high quality chocolate chips.  You'd be surprised at the number of things you can eat with a chopstick.  Maybe someday I'll write a book about it.
  5. Why "Half Baked"?  Is this a food blog?  Well, roughly half of what I post here is baked.  And my ideas are sometimes half baked.  And my daughter, until recently, was also partially baked.  Now she's fully baked, though.  Or at least baking on her own.  So no, this isn't really a food blog ... it's more of a food-and-life blog.  See my tags at right for the IF backstory.
  6. What do you want to do with your one wild and precious life?  This blog was supposed to help me figure that out.  Someone (who reads this blog, bless her!) actually paid me for my baked goods last week; that was pretty cool.  Writing wouldn't be so bad, either.
  7. Where do you get your beautiful pottery?  I confess, I am sort of a sucker for pottery.  Bill Campbell is one of my favorite artists, but I tend to collect things in that style.
  8. Bonus: Will you send me food?  Maybe, if you're really, really nice to me.  Baked goods can travel well.  ;)

Now, for the bloggers!  It's so hard to choose ... I always like to make sure that I give awards like these to new people, so that lots of people get exposure.  And this is the perfect week to visit new blogs.  So what I'll recommend is that you go here and pick someone to give this award to!  Some of my most loyal commenters are also people you should go visit, and give some love ... I'll give this award to them, too (I already gave 9 others the award recently, so look them up!).  :)
And I'd love to hear what you have to say about Red Tents, real or virtual, about the gender balance of your blogrolls, or about curry.  ;)  Happy ICLW!
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  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Justine! As for men and the Red Tent, I'd say (at least with the men I know) the Red Tent is a sports bar and/or any place where they can chat over a drink. But I doubt they would ever be chatting about labia either. ;)

  2. actually, from what i hear goes on in the locker room at my husband's work i'm willing to put money on the fact that men DO discuss labia. just sayin'.


  3. I love that book...I remember reading it and thinking "why don't we have those around here?". I would say that 90% of the blogs that I read are written by women, and 100% of my commenters are female. It's interesting...I guess that blogging is a very connection-driven world which appeals to women. I see it very clearly these past few days...I've been too busy to read other people's blogs, and have therefore had very few visitors to mine. I love nurturing the connections made via the blog world, so starting right now I'm building some time into every day to get myself inside that red tent.

  4. Awww, thanks for the award lovely lady and my blog is mostly ladies.... about 98%, lol.

  5. I was shocked and delighted to find you'd enjoyed cookedheads as much as so many other heart-eyes wide open blogs.
    Thank you, for the praise and the other bloggoodies I'm now seeing for the first time.

  6. Oh Justine, I have been thinking so much about all your posts lately, wanting so badly to respond but being stuck without commenting access (I don't even try on my iPhone - they always come out all wonky, if at all).

    First of all, congrats on being featured in Mel's Weekly Round Up! That is awesome! Your blog is so amazing. I feel like I'm always wanting to bookmark your recipes to show my partner (he does all the cooking, which I love). We have a CSA box too and your recipes always seem very relevant to what we have to work with. (I for one get VERY sick of chard and kale, very sick indeed).

    As for my Red Tent, well I have to be honest, I just deleted the only male-authored blog on my reader and it was only there for little over a month. I found the author on Twitter and thought I'd give him a try but he just wasn't for me. All of my blogs are written by women, for women (or so it seems to me).

    I've never been very good at maintaining friendships with women. Never. As a woman who has always wanted to have children and "settle down" I didn't find many like minds in my area, which is very progressive. Most of my girl friends think I'm kind of crazy to want to have a baby "so young" (I had my daughter when I was almost 30). They all have "high-powered" jobs and stay out late in big cities drinking cocktails with sophisticated names and getting cabs home. That was never my thing, I always wanted to have kids and stay at home reading a book while they slept (I stayed home lots and read books even when there weren't kids there sleeping). Then I experienced TTC struggles and my ectopic pregnancy and suddenly none of my friends could relate. That is why I found shelter in this community, where people understand me and can relate to me. And while I told my closest girl friends about my blog I doubt they read it because it doesn't mean anything to them, as they don't share similar experiences.

    I don't know where I'd be without my virtual Red Tent - surely I'd be more lonely and less happy. I'm sure of that. I am forever grateful for this space and the women I've met here.

    Thank you!

  7. No, I don't have a red tent, although the blog would be a kind of virtual red tent. I do think it is a marvellous idea though. It makes one wonder at all the things that used to be essential to a community that have been lost in this so-called modern world.

    Your curry looks fantastic. But I am going to say au contraire, my friend, we do make our own curry paste from scratch, and just throw the whole lot in the blender! Perfectly simple. :)

    My blogroll is mostly RPL women and a few other sites that I really enjoy. I have followed a few male bloggers from time to time though. I love their perspective.

  8. @Andie: I want your curry paste recipe. ;)
    @Esperanza: agreed!
    @Kate and Pie: too funny ... and perhaps too true!
    @Stephanie: you might have one closer than you think ...

  9. Thank you so much... you're so sweet :)) Love your recipe.. YUM :) Happy Easter to you... love always xoxo

  10. Thank you so much for the link! I'm looking forward to checking out some of the other winners' blogs.

  11. Wow, I didn't realize how much work this would cause you when I chose your blog, but...

    You've been awarded the Stylish Blogger Award - AGAIN!! Check out my page for details! Congrats, thank you for sharing your story, and Happy ICLW!

  12. Hooray for Red Tents! Do you mind if I share this with my RTT here in Salem? I'm sure they'd love to read about your support :) I can also email you TONS of info about the RTT movement itself and how you can start your own, if you're so interested :)


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