Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye celebrates a birthday today March 12. She is a poet, author and songwriter. She was born in 1952 to a Palestinian father and an American mother. Although she regards herself as a “wandering poet” she calls San Antonio her home. She is considered one of the leading female poets of the American Southwest.
Nye’s literary work reflects her travels and her experiences in a family of mixed religion and culture. She explores diversity in all of her poetry and fiction weaving in personal stories against the background of cultural confrontation.  After the World Trade Center attack in 2001, she became an active voice for Arab-Americans speaking out against both terrorism and prejudice.
Nye has edited and written many poetry anthologies. One of her best-known works is The Same Sky, a collection of poems from around the world. She has won numerous awards and fellowships including 4 Pushcart Prizes, Jane Addams Book Award and Paterson Poetry Prize.
I have an opportunity to hear Naomi Shihab Nye give a presentation and participate in a writer’s workshop in April. It should be an enriching experience.
This poem comes from A Maze Me Poems for Girls. The book is a collection of free verse poetry that celebrates girls.

Life is a tangle of twisting paths.
Some short.
Some long.

There are dead choices
And there are choices.
And wrong turns,
and detours,
and yield signs,
and instruction booklets,
and star maps,
and happiness,
and loneliness.
And friends.
And sisters.
And love.
And poetry.

Life is a maze.
You are a maze.
And amazing.
Lose yourself in nature and find peace
My friend Suzanne wanted to share her recipe adapted from Ina Garten's recipe Roasted  Mustard Potatoes. She made the side dish with sweet potatoes instead of fingerling potatoes. Her recipe fits right in with island cooking since sweet potatoes are a really popular side dish here.
Ina Garten's recipe Roasted Mustard Potatoes serves 6
  • 2- 1/2 pounds small red potatoes (or small Yukon Gold potatoes)
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cut the potatoes in halves or quarters, depending on their size, and place them on a sheet pan. 
  • Remove the ends of the onions, peel them, and cut them in half. 
  • Slice them crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick slices to make half-rounds. Toss the onions and potatoes together on the sheet pan. 
  • Add the olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper and toss them together. 
  • Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the potatoes are lightly browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss the potatoes from time to time with a metal spatula so they brown evenly.
  • Serve hot sprinkled with chopped parsley and a little extra salt.

Suzanne's adapted recipe  serves 3-4

Suzanne cook's notes: sweet potatoes do not crisp up as much as regular potatoes because there is more moisture in them
  •  l-2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 TB. mustard
  • 1 tsp.salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper 
  • 3 TB. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
Use a 13 x 9 pan and toss cubed sweet potatoes and onions and place in a single layer
Follow directions in same order as above from Ina's recipe 
Be sure to turn potatoes once or twice during the cooking process

This is a photo of sweet potato fries which are often served as a side. And rather addictive I might add. 

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