Monday, November 26, 2007
Today I am passionate about SARK.
If you don't know who Sark is, she is Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, and she is one inspirational woman. I first became aware of Sark while I was living in San Francisco in 1987 and would read her cards and posters. Many years, books, events, cards, newsletters, and websites later, she is still going strong, relentless in her ability to inspire.
Here are some random "sarkisms":
"We are each directly or indirectly asked to fulfill our dreams and destiny. Sometimes we crawl there, or find ourselves stuck outside of our dreams."
"Leaps of faith can put us in a new spot we couldn't see from where we stood before."
"We deserve to be caretakers for our spirits and dreams, and this means truly sensing and listening four our most alive route. It may not be a common path, or a popular one, yet it will be clearly ours."
"When considering choices in your life, the 'most alive choice' feels like a bit of a risk, makes you giggle, or makes the hairs at the back of your neck stand up. It can be a simple and tiny shift, such as taking a new route. Or as large as moving your whole life somewhere you haven't lived before."
"Learn to fight your inner critics as fiercely as you would an attacker."
I am currently reading her book THE BODACIOUS BOOK OF SUCCULENCE and it is helping me tremendously - helping me to be motivated, to create, to trust myself and to love myself more deeply. She has written many other books which you can find on her website Planet Sark.
Sark's creative energies overflow and are very contagious. Reading her books leaves you wanting to jump up and create a beautiful world for you and for everyone around you. For wherever you are at in life, Sark can speak to that place, nudging you toward what it authentically you, toward your destination, toward love and peace.
Have a Passionate Monday, or as Sark says, "Let the world speak succulently to you."
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Insalata di Radicchio e Ceci/Radicchio and Chickpea Salad
radicchio (any kind)
ceci/chickpeas (canned and drained)
good quality olive oil
your choice of vinegar (I prefer red wine or balsamic with this recipe)
salt & pepper
Chop enough radicchio for the number of people you want to feed.
Use a small handful of ceci for each person. Put ceci in a skillet over medium flame and let them dry out well, stirring frequently so that they don't stick. When they seem like they are getting really dry and sticking, add a touch of olive oil and stir well. Allow the ceci, while stirring frequently, to brown. (Alternatively, you can keep browning the ceci without olive oil. They will stick and make a lot of mess in the pan to clean up, but it if you are trying to cut out fats, then this is an option.)
Using a vegetable peeler, shave a small amount of parmigiano and add to the radicchio. Add salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar to taste. Toss in warm (or cooled) ceci.
This is my entry for The Heart of the Matter, this month hosted by Lucullian Delights. They had a call for quick and easy recipes for this hectic holiday time, and I think this qualifies! Check out the round-up of other entries around Christmas.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until set to about a cake-like texture.
Bake for about 12 minutes (still at 350 degrees), then turn cookies.
Bake another 7-10 minutes until golden brown, or until toasted to your preference.
Here is the important part. Enjoy warm with a well-made espresso for an afternoon snack, just like I just did. While dipping your biscotti, think warm, wonderful, comforting thoughts of your mother, and smile at your fortune of having a mother!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Apples & Thyme ~ a celebration of mothers and grandmothers and time spent with with them in the kitchen
Event rules are as follows:
1. Post on your blog before 20th of the month about your mother or grandmother (or any other person special to you) and time spent with them in the kitchen that influenced how you cook and eat.
2. Include a dish which reflects the relationship.
3. Take a picture of the dish and/or person.
4. Include the words Apples & Thyme in your blog title.
5. Add a link to the Apples & Thyme's hosts blogs - Vanielje Kitchen and The Passionate Palate.
6. Please send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, but not both, with the following details: Your name, URL of blog, URL of your Apples & Thyme post and a 100 x 100 pixel picture for your entry in the round-up.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Valerie of 2 Baci in a Pinon Tree in Italy gives us a beautifully written account of her grandmother's cooking traditions and generous spirit, as well as a recipe for her Grandma Betty's Granola Fudgies.
Dolores at Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity shows us that we can have many cooking influences in our lives, not the least of which was her father. The recipe she shares is from her Italian side of her family, but its origins and even its name are a mystery -Touvlach or Toothlach. Can anyone help her figure it out?
Tina at Sweet Designs shares the story of her great-grandmother who was a big influence on her love of baking. Her snickerdoodle cookie recipe is full of good memories.
Sarah at What Smells So Good was one of the few entries to offer up memories of time spent in the kitchen with a male - her Dad. He sounds like a great father, and one who makes fool-proof pancakes.
From the South of France, Riana of Garlic Breath, brings us a classic Tarte Tatin recipe which came from her adopted grandmother who also taught her valuable skills in living off the land.
Cakelaw at Laws of the Kitchen brings us her mum's super comforting Rice Pudding along with recollections of growing up on a farm.
Chris from Mele Cotte brings us two of her favorite comfort foods from her mom's repertoire, along with a poem, photos and a wonderful description of a beautiful mother-daughter relationship.
It seems that last Thursday, the reality of everything I have been through in the last year, up to and including the passing of my mother, was weighing on me like a ton of bricks. I could feel the weight in my being, my mind and my soul. I suppose that is part of grieving. I kept trying to work, get things done, going through the motions without accomplishing much. Then I realized, I can't do anything right now except take care of me, or as my dad said, "Crawl under a rock and lick your wounds."
So, I asked myself what I felt most like doing, and it was curling up under a blanket with a book and hot chocolate. I am not a hot chocolate kind of person, in fact I rarely eat sweets. But then I learned these last few months that when times are tough emotionally, chocolate gives you that feeling of love. (I believe there is some scientific fact to this regarding serotonin levels, but this is not my forte'.) Getting back to my story, I did just that - curl up with a book and cup of hot chocolate. It felt wonderful to do that on a weekday at 4:00 in the afternoon. Then 5:00 rolled around, it got darker, and I asked my husband how he felt about me moving over to the couch with him, sharing my blanket and watching a movie with me, with popcorn of course! He jumped at the idea. I haven't made popcorn for years, and it added just that right amount of celebration and fun to the movie party. We watched a fun movie "Man of the Year" and welcomed in the evening smiling under a blanket.
I am slowly nursing myself back to mental and spiritual health.
It turns out that my friend, Inge, over at African Vanielje, spent Sunday being lazy, too. Check out her post on it here.
If you have trouble like I do being lazy, take some lessons from dogs and cats:
You ask, "Then what are you passionate about today, Jeni?" BEING LAZY! This is not something that comes easily to this always busy and moving woman, but I learned how healing it can be. I am sure that with the holidays upon us, things get hectic and we forget to care about ourselves. Try to find a small chunk of time to renew your spirit and nourish your soul with a little laziness.
What does a lazy day (or even a few hours) look like for you?
Have a passionate Monday (and Tuesday, and Wednesday...)!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Apples and Thyme ~ a celebration of mothers and grandmothers and time spent with with them in the kitchen
- Making pies - any kind of pie, with whatever was coming out of their orchard, bushes or vines.
- Peeling apples, spooning out the fruit to us as small children while we "tweeted" and pretended we were birds.
- "Unfastening Beans" as I called it when I was little - or shelling beans.
- Canning - she and my grandfather would can and/or freeze everything from their garden.
- Using the old, hand-crank meat grinder.
- Frying, frying and more frying.
- Always filling up a little jar on the stove with leftover grease after the frying. (Everything was cooked in some kind of pork fat usually.) Yummy!
I smile when I remember that she was always wearing an apron and often had a cigarette going while cooking. Even when she was very old and suffering from some dementia, she would have a cigarette either hanging from her lip or her hands or sitting in an ashtray next to the stove. We were always reminding her that her ashes were falling. (I wonder how many ended up in the food!)
One cooking tradition I have always maintained from her is fried yellow squash. Whenever I see the first ones hit the market, I slice them in thin rounds, toss them in cornmeal and flour, salt and pepper and fry them. I remember eating them as soon as they came out of the pan when she would make them.
She influenced me, like my other grandmother, to be patient, that cooking was a labor of love, not to be rushed, but to be enjoyed. Whenever I "unfasten" beans or peel apples, I sit, as she did, with a big bowl on my lap, in the quiet of the kitchen or the fresh air outside and work calmly at my task. It is very zen for me, and for her, it was her peaceful time, before the grouchy husband got home, before the crowd showed up for dinner, when she could truly be alone with her thoughts and peaceful surroundings.
Thank you Nana for passing on the feeling of peace that cooking gives me. Happy Birthday!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Based on a suggestion in a very good book Callings, a few years ago I looked at my life very carefully and analyzed the big decisions I have made, like those about love, jobs, career, family, moves. When I studied the decisions I made that were poor choices they had one thing in common - I was only listening to my head and ignoring my heart and gut. When I looked at the good decisions they all happened because I had specifically followed my gut and heart.
“The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” - Louis Boone
“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” - Grace Murray Hopper