Friday, February 22, 2008

Adult Onset AD/HD

I think that I have adult onset AD/HD. I am so easily distracted that it is embarrassing. My mind is like a fleeting butterfly, lighting on one pretty flower after another. Working as a substitute teacher fits because I seldom do the exact same duties twice. Today, I am in the Second Grade class room; tomorrow, I am in the Calculus class; and after that, I have to tackle History. I might go back to the Second Grade next week, or the week after, but by that time, they have long since conquered whatever skills we were working on during my first visit and have moved on to new challenges. It all fits my lack of focus. It suits the craziness of my mind.

But, the craziness of my mind caught up to me today. I had a free day, and am home alone. I decided it was the perfect time to try some recipes from my "to cook" pile of printouts from online sources, and possibly even revisit some old favorites in an attempt to get good photos with the blessing of natural lighting. Being alone, I could cook while the lighting was at its best and snap my photos without concern about real meal times, or even proper menus. I could do one of my favorite with my food.

Actually, all of this started last night. I knew that I had no real plans for today, and mixed up a batch of meatballs to make Steamed Pork Dumplings. I had prepared these for the infamous Chinese Buffet Birthday Party and had always wanted to make them again and snap a photo. With them chilling in the fridge, I decided this afternoon to venture into the unknown and try a new soup recipe. The Fresh Pea Soup that was featured on the episode of Barefoot Contessa with the Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches was calling my name. Those sandwiches were awesome, and the soup did not disappoint, either. It is vivid with fresh flavor, and heads will only spin for joy with a taste of it.

This success led me back to my pile of recipes, and I my sweet tooth jumped on a quick Cinnamon-Cheese Danish created from refrigerated cinnamon rolls and a cream cheese filling. It was easy to throw together, and while it was baking, I decided to start steaming those dumplings that had been patiently waiting in the fridge. This is where my AD/HD grabbed a hold of me; I couldn't just stick to one task at a time. My focus was rapidly shifting.

The recipe that I used for the steamed dumplings began as a Pork Ball recipe. For the party, I wrapped those naked little meatballs with wonton skins and steamed them for a better presentation. However, to be true to the recipe, today I left a few bare to be steamed on their own for the photo. A little water was added to a saucepan, and my steamer insert was placed on top. When it came to a boil, the little pork meatballs were tossed into the steamer, the lid replaced, and the timer set. All was well.

The steamed Pork Balls were done just about the time that the Cinnamon-Cheese Danish came out of the oven. I plated the appetizers and readied the glaze to drizzle over the danish. I was a goddess who could do anything in the kitchen. Life was good as I grabbed my camera and headed into the dining room to perch the danish on the window seat in the afternoon light for a photo.

I was happily snapping away with my camera, shifting the plate just a little, moving the spatula in and out of the line of sight, adjusting the blind to get just the right angle of lighting, when suddenly from the kitchen came the awful squeal of the smoke alarm. Holy buckets of pork balls! What was wrong?

I rushed into the kitchen to see smoke rising from the stove. How had I missed the house filling with the scent of burnt pork fat and smoke? Why in the world hadn't I turned off the burner under the simmering pot of water and the steamer? Yep. In my intense rush to snap pictures of the warm, just from the oven danish, I had left the heat on high under the pot for steaming the dumplings. AD/HD had struck.

I quickly pulled the pot from the stove and tossed it into the sink of dishwater. Then, my attention turned to the squawking of the smoke detector. I waved a dishtowel in the air in an attempt to clear the smoke and stop the chirping, but it had no effect. The pups and I were all in danger of going insane if the obnoxious noise continued, and I quickly drug a chair over to try to reach it. No go. I have always been height challenged, and this was no different. My mind raced to remember where the ladder had been stashed...was it in the basement? upstairs in the spare bedroom? down the street in the storage unit? I didn't know. I opened a window and grabbed another chair to stack on top of the first. Climbing on top, I STILL couldn't reach the screaming smoke alarm. Frantically, I scooped up the tiny little step stool from beside the stove and placed it on top of the pile of chairs. Ignoring my fear of unsteady high places, I scrambled up and FINALLY reached the still yelping monster. I pressed the button to silence it without any effect. WHAT?!?!? I ripped it from the wall and dismantled the batteries. Finally. Silence.

I know that I had to look like Lucille Ball in an episode of I Love Lucy during all of this. If there had been a hidden camera in my kitchen, I would surely be raking in the cash from America's Funniest Home Videos. I shifted my focus for a second, did something stupid, and paid the consequences. However, there was no real damage, except to my ego. The scorched pot and steamer are both stainless and are cleaning up well with the help of some oven cleaner and elbow grease. The smoke has cleared from the house, and the smoke detector has been reinstalled on the wall with batteries intact...ready for the next bout of stupidity.

Nobody would have to know about the drama of the day, if I didn't write about it here. However, I don't mind laughing at myself. I know that I am often silly and unfocused. It's OK. In fact, I think it is almost expected of me from those who know me well. Even now, as my AD/HD mind continues to race from the laundry going downstairs, to the emails to which I need to reply, to what color to polish my toes, to the State Dart Tournament in Rapid City, to political primaries, to my Scrabulous games on Facebook, to housecleaning plans for tomorrow, it will only briefly rest for a moment On My Plate as I enjoy some Steamed Pork Dumplings, but that's OK, as long as the moment is just broken by another crazy thought and not an incessant smoke alarm.

Steamed Pork Dumplings

1 pound ground pork
3 green onions, finely diced
2 slices whole wheat bread, made into breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
wonton wrappers

In a large bowl, combine the pork, spring onions and breadcrumbs.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Shape into 40 smaller sized meatballs. Refrigerate for 1 hour (or overnight, if that suits your schedule).
When ready to serve, wrap each meatball in a wonton skin, moistening the edges and pulling up around the meatball in a kind of bundle.
Steam for around 10-15 minutes. Serve with sauces for dipping.
Makes 40 appetizers.

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