Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Project, A Hiatus and Fall Vegetables

It's been a while, I know. I've been consumed with work on my photo website. You see, for someone who travels for pleasure rather than for business, and for someone whose passion is photography, I get a lot of complaints from people. "When can we see your pictures? When do we get to see the pictures of your trip?" You've got to understand, this has been going on since 2006 when I went to Vietnam. I had given 2 slide shows prior to that (yes - actual slides!) of my trips to the Galapagos and to Turkey. People seemed to like them. (No pictures of "Here we are in front of the Blue Mosque")

Now that I've gone digital - no slide shows. But people still want to travel with me without having to get on the plane, you see, and that's fine with me. I just haven't had a vehicle to share these images with others. I don't have a digital projector, and even if I did, I'd be clueless as to how to use one. So the best I can do is work on a website. That's something I know a little about, having created one for my business.

But a photo website is a little more complicated, it seems. It takes everything I've learned plus more. So I've hired a web geek to help me out. Of course, I'm not her only client, and it's been slower than I'd like it to be. But we are inching forward. To give you a tiny teaser, here are some school kids I photographed in Shalimar Gardens in Srinigar - the capital of Kashmir:
These kids, plus another group who sat in a big circle on the grass and clapped and sang for me, touched my heart. They were smiling and warm and they loved having their pictures taken.I asked the teacher who accompanied these kids "Do you have an email address? Do you have access to the internet?" I wanted to send them some of the photos I took. He said "No. But I have a cell phone!" I guess I was kind of shocked by that response. It wasn't like we were in a remote village. We were in the capital of Kashmir. It would be like being in Sacramento, here in California, or Albany in New York, and not having access to the internet. Not even in the schools. Can you imagine your kids going to school and not having access to the internet or email?

So I'm working on this website, and out of the Kashmir section of the website I hope to develop a project to take to Microsoft or Qualcomm here in San Diego. Get internet access to these kids and their schools and teachers and parents - either via cell phone or through computers. That way, when violence erupts, as it has since I've left, and the schools have to shut down, the kids can still get an education. I have no idea how this will happen. But I don't need to know how. I just need to focus on the results I want and keep working.

So you'll forgive me, I hope, for not posting too many recipes recently. It's not that I've been out of the kitchen. But I confess I've turned to store bought roasted chickens or cooked shrimp, and I've just been adding some side dishes. Like this wonderful recipe for roasted vegetables in harissa marinade. Perfect for fall, perfect for when I need to spend more time in front of my computer than in the kitchen.
Harissa is a North African garlic-chile sauce used to flavor couscous and stews.


1/4 C harissa
5 TBS olive oil, divided
3 TBS chopped cilantro
2 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS grated lemon zest
1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded
2 zucchini squash, halved
1 yellow squash, quartered
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together harissa, 3 TBS olive oil, cilantro, lemon juice and zest in a large bowl. Add veggies and toss to coat evenly.

2. Arrange veggies on a baking sheet, brush with remaining 2 TBS olive oil and harissa mixture. Roast 25 minutes or until veggies are tender, turning once. Serve over couscous or rice.

Kitchen Notes:

I didn't have asparagus, but I did have carrots. And I didn't like the halved zucchini idea, so I chunked mine. This dish lends itself easily to anything you've got in the fridge which could be roasted. If I had had any mushrooms, I would have thrown them in as well.

Addendum: If anyone has any bright ideas which would help me with my project, I'm all ears! You can contact me through my email. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.


Rachael Narins said...

You take the lovliest pictures...and it's wonderful you are doing so much and workind so hard to share them.

(And I *do* have the "here we are in front of the Blue Mosque" photo if you want me to scan it. LOL. We look delightful if not a bit...melty)

Love, love, love, love you.


PS - why are you not on Facebook? Eh? Eh?

Toni said...

Rachael - who has time for facebook? I have yet to find the time to respond to your Twitter invite!!

anya said...

The wish, drive, and determination to get those children in India school internet connection is such a compassionate undertaking! I believe once you are willing to make it true to life (and you are), you'll meet right people and learn everything you need to launge and process through the project!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Glad to hear the new project is going well. I hope you'll link us to it when its done--I'd love to see the rest of your photos!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Anya - I hope you're right.

Mike - I'll post a link to my site when it's up and running. Happy to share!

Alvin Gill-Tapia said...

Looking forward to seeing more of your photos.... Beautiful! Alvin

Unknown said...

Of course, you are forgiven!

Your photos are lovely and your writing is sensitive, Toni. I look forward to more.


Unknown said...

Alvin - Thanks so much! Coming from a fellow artist, I take that as a high compliment.

Mimi - Thanks. I'm working on improving both, and hopefully using them to do some good in this world.

Anonymous said...

OH that's such a wonderful project!! Good luck, and keep us posted. So worthwhile.

Unknown said...

Ann - Thanks!

Susan said...

Teaser, indeed. You have completely captured the childlike impishness of the girls in their black headscarves. I adore that photo.

Good luck with your project. Love your veggie dish. You are living dangerously w/ 1/4 cup of harisa. I approve. : D

Unknown said...

Susan - Living dangerously is sometimes a good thing! ;-)

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