some cilantro

September 27, 2008

I’m listening to Swati and I’m doing OK.

David came by for some random cooking (recipe below) and the rockstar is on the verge of something good.  And me – something good might just be in the works.  Not sure – for sure – but maybe I just might be OK.

It’s Friday and I still left work after 7pm.  On my way home, I was walking into the grocery.  I had this idea for maybe some sort of paella – some cilantro – maybe some lemons – I wasn’t sure and then…

Who did I see?  A couple from one of my cases.  A man, easily recognizable by the shoulder-length black hair coming from his cap and his tiny woman with her hair pinned up.  I found them in the produce aisle.   I felt bold and tapped the lady – “Hola!  Como estan?” as I pointed to the both of them.  They smiled and touched me – the both of them.   “Hello, Miss!  THANK YOU.”

The City had brought a case against the man- and after a year and half of trial – the city LOST.  The man was the boyfriend of this woman.  A woman with 3 children.  He had gotten drunk at a party – she had, too – and they had fought in the early morning.  Someone called the police.  White folk showed up and this guy – he did not understand.  This woman, she didn’t understand it either.

Kids may or may not have been there – so a Family Court case was filed.  I picked up this case.

My clients were 9, 11, and 14 at the time.  All the kids said to me, it was just an argument.  “He does not drink so much – it was just the party.  Miss, they got upset.”

The man’s lawyer presented evidence.  The man, the woman, my oldest client – they all testified – OVER  A YEAR to tell the judge that what happened was a one time thing.  That the children were not there.  IT WAS NOT NEGLECT.   The man is really sorry, really sad that this happened.

The whole time, the man could not live in the home, he was not allowed to have unsupervised contact with the children who had come to love him.  The woman felt like she was breaking the law when she came near him.

The judge listened and she evaluated and she thought – and she dismissed the case. The man was allowed to FINALLY come home. 

After a year and half. 

The judge was LIVID.  She had kept the man away with her order.   The woman and the man – they embraced in court.  Tears in their eyes.  Tears in my eyes.  The judge almost had tears in hers. She threw down her hands when she gave that decision.

I saw this man and this woman in the grocery store tonight.  She was picking over produce, he was holding the hand basket at her side as she put in apples, carrots, and lemons.  They saw me.  They thanked me for believing.  Believing that SHIT HAPPENS.  And that people should not be separated for over a year because someone got angry just once and they had it out.  The kids had gotten mad because they did not like seeing momma cry.   (That is how things like this gets reported to social services.) Had everyone spoken English, I doubt this would have happened this way.

I see tonight, that after all of this, this man loves her.  She loves him.  Those children, my clients – they told me that. 

And L——?  Age 14?  She got on the stand and told the Judge, “Sometimes people fight, Your Honor, but they still don’t want to hurt each other.  He is really, really sorry.  I believe him. He is the only father I have ever had…”

Get away from these people, I just don’t feel safe. Get out of this place. Cause I would do anything for you, I wish there was someone who felt the same way. Whatever happened to honesty?

————————————————————–

RECIPE
CHICKEN AND RICE

INGREDIENTS

– 3 boneless chicken breasts – rinsed and patted dry – cut into bite-sized pieces
– SEASON ALL (or salt/pepper) to taste

– 1 large onion – chopped
– 1 red bell pepper – chopped
– 4 cloves garlic – chopped
– 2 small serrano peppers – chopped
– 1 cup frozen peas
– 1/4 tsp turmeric
– 1 tsp Curry powder
– 1 tsp thyme
– 3 bay leaves
– 2.5 cups broth (chicken or veggie)
– 1/2 cup tomato sauce
– 1 cup rice
 – 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
– salt/pepper
– 2 TB Olive Oil

-Fresh cilantro for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1.  Season Chicken with Season-All or salt/pepper in a bowl.  In a large pot, heat Olive Oil over medium heat and sautee chicken for 5 minutes.  Wash the bowl out  and set chicken aside.

2. In reserved oil/juices (add more oil if dry), sautee onion, garlic, bell pepper, and serrano peppers – until fragrant.

3.  Add Turmeric, Curry, Thyme, and Cilantro.  Stir well for about a minute.

4.  Add peas, stir.  Then add broth and tomato sauce.  Stir well for 3-4 minutes.

5.  Add rice and stir for a minute.

6.  Bring to a boil and then cover and lower heat to a simmer for about 30 minutes.

7. Check pot and if too watery, cook for 5-10 minutes more, covered.

Serve in a bowl with cilantro – chopped – on top.
Be thankful for the legal process, but understand the injustice.  Salt/Pepper to taste.

Serves 3-5

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