Tag Archive: Spinach

  1. As to fix

    68 Comments

    Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks-8 Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks_1

    We need more storms. The garden loves it and so does my spirit. When dark clouds build out West over the mountains I put a kettle on for afternoon coffee, throw open all the downstairs windows, and ready my reading chair with a book. Elizabeth Gilbert shared once in a TED talk how early cultures believed they had a genius, “a divine spirit that came from a distant and unknowable source,” that waited to pounce on people with “moments of brilliance… showing them new ways of doing things, bestowing new songs to their ears.” Gilbert described how the poet Ruth Stone often could look out, standing on the farm, and see a poem come barreling toward her over the landscape. It was chasing her, and she had to get up and run, as fast as she could, back to the house before it passed through her, blowing onward to find another poet. Ideas don’t always come sweeping over me with genius or brilliance or poetry, but I have found that if I sit and be present to a good storm, the thunder can shake loose new perspective in my heart that I usually need urgently, badly. Like Ruth, I have to be diligent and be waiting in the ready to capture that perspective fully.

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    And so, last week, I found myself  wrapped in an old blanket in my reading nook, and tried surrendering to the energy of the storm. I was distracted about an earlier email from a reader that had left me unsettled and self-conscious about where I find myself pivoting from in this point of life. I know she meant well, truly, but her advice was somewhat bruising. I acknowledge and accept that by publishing parts of my life for the world to read, I make myself open to judgement and critique — both of which happen so rarely I feel silly even bringing it up — but it does reflect on the tricky business of having a blog. We, as writers, may feel a distinct and coherent story building month to month, year to year, but most often what our readers experience are “al a carte” moments, snippets of this phase and that. We, me, you, don’t always get the full picture. We can’t. And that’s okay. It’s not supposed to work like that. All that we are and all we believe cannot be packaged and delivered consistently in 1,000 words or less, so we chapter it all out, and continue, in earnest, to practice non-attachment and patience with those we invite into our lives (and living online spaces) — lives that are very much in-progress and under construction. This experience, of course, is magnified 10x in the flesh with strangers and friends and those we share toothpaste. But anyway…

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    Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks-16

    My point in sharing this singular, harmless experience with a reader is to spotlight how, gulp, I too sometimes walk dangerously into the book of someone elses life, mid-chapter, and assume a level of authority or perspective based on the information I think I’m bearing witness to. Por ejemplo… Shaun and I have friends who have recently separated after a year of marriage and honestly I’ve been terribly hung up about it. Not about the divorce at large — as I don’t believe destinies or soulmates to be fixed things — but just about the loss on an energetic level for all of us young folk in love, angsty, and in becoming. There is a sense of sadness and realization on the whole, in life, not all good fights can be won… and it kinda blows. I look at these friends falling apart and see ALL of us falling apart, as we do, as we grow as individuals and in partnership and community. “No!!!” This was my knee-jerk reaction. ”Don’t let it break! WORK like fucking hell, friends! Relationships are hard!” It wasn’t until shaking the dust of that earlier email that I really realized how my consternation about the situation is entirely related to my own heart, my own struggles, and how when I look at these two beautiful people, wishing so desperately that “it all” could be fixed, I’m really just seeing the ways I want to fix myself. A bit of nemesism, really. And we do this, as humans, so often. We try to fix people as we would like to fix ourselves. We see our own lives mirrored back to us in the lives and choices and pain of others. We want them to be okay, we NEED them to be okay so we can be okay, too.

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    We see only what we see. Every day we get the opportunity to observe and take part in the lives of others, in the middle of their perfect and un-perfect chapters, with our opinions, often well-intentioned, knowing only what we know. I think it’s important, every single day, to try and step back and ask ourselves how much of our experiences with others are projections of our own desires, expectations, attachments. We have to remember that nothing needs fixing. We were put here to love, and that’s pretty much it.

    So here’s what I’m thinking. Let’s all make a pact and try, really hard, to check our attachments at the door when experiencing the journey of another. It’s going to be hard. I know. Especially because half the time we don’t even know we’re caught up in the first place. Let’s try not to fill in the gaps for them. Not try to play out the before and after. Let’s just be with people, where they are, and love them, without judgement. Let’s be real with ourselves and recognize when and how and why we get caught up in the compulsion to mend. That’s where the genius is, people. Storm or not. Let it barrel on.

    Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks-26 Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks-27 Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks-28

    Grilled Carrots over Lentils with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce 

    • 2 bunches spring carrots, stems reserved for garnish
    • 1 1/2 cups french lentils 
    • 1/2 cup carrot greens, chopped
    • 1 large handful baby spinach
    • 1 handful parsley, chopped
    • 1/2 cup chives, minced
    • 1 shallot, minced
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • salt/pepper to taste

     

    Horseradish Yogurt Sauce

    • 1 1/2 cup full fat yogurt
    • juice of 1/2 lemon
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 tbsp (or more) grated fresh horseradish
    • dash of salt

    Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Cook lentils until al dente, nearly 20 minutes. Rinse and set aside.

    Rinse the carrots and remove stems. Toss with olive oil and salt. Roast on the grill or under the broiler until blackened and soft through the center (10-20 minutes, depending). Set aside.

    In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt and lemon juice. Grate garlic and peeled horseradish root on a microplane grater over the yogurt. Add a dash of salt then taste. Do you need more horseradish? If you’re like me, you like the kick and will need to add more. Cover and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

    In a large mixing bowl, toss together cooled lentils, olive oil, spinach, parsley, chives, carrot greens, shallot, and salt/pepper. Distribute the lentil salad on a serving platter and top with grilled carrots. Fetch sauce from the fridge and drizzle yogurt generously over the carrots. Garnish with carrot greens.

    (Serves a crowd)

    Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks-29 Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks-31 Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks-36 Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks-38

  2. Crumbs on the Floor

    48 Comments

    Sweet Potato Curry Quinoa Bowl from Happyolks.comSweet Potato Curry Quinoa Bowl from Happyolks.comSweet Potato Curry Quinoa Bowl from Happyolks.comBack in the kitchen again; things are well with my soul. There are no pressing questions that need attending, no decisions that need making. I answer only to the boil, simmer, crackle, melt. From where I prepare vegetables I can see children with kazoos across the yard and I can hear the new neighbors moving furniture upstairs. I wiggle my toes on the linoleum and I can feel a few breadcrumbs leftover from before Christmas. It’s good to be here, good to be home.

    January has lived up to it’s reputation. Turbulence. Upheaval. Shifting. Stirring. The boozy eve of the new year has long since passed, but it wasn’t until today that it felt like the glass ball actually stopped dropping. I fell in love (or lust?) with a new city on the first, my intuition took a sabbatical around the third and by the thirteenth (until, well, yesterday) I was scrambling on the floor searching for my good sense. New places, new faces, and new ideas shook me in ways that were at once thrilling and dislocating. A strong under-toe of emotion leeched at my ankles. Panic set in. Suddenly I found myself clinging to things in the temporal world to validate and repair the disequilibrium I felt at my center.

    Who are you? What will you do? And, where are you going? 

    I held on. I pushed away from the ledge. I wrote. I forgot. I remembered. On the plane home I let it rush in. We (humans) can be so hard ourselves when we get off track. We fight those ugly parts of our being so fervently without stopping to look at the mess and think about it before cleaning it up. I’m generally in the “one foot in front of the other” camp of life wisdom, but sometimes it’s okay not to move at all. Just sit. Kneel. Stand in the kitchen with breadcrumbs on the floor. Just be there. Just swim in it for a little. See what comes up.

    It may take a day, three, or a whole lunar cycle. It settles. I promise.

    Sweet Potato Curry Quinoa Bowl from Happyolks.comSweet Potato Curry Quinoa Bowl from Happyolks.comSweet Potato Curry Quinoa Bowl from Happyolks.com

    Sweet Potato, Curry, and Quinoa (in a bowl) 

    Serves 2-4 (we’re hungry folk)

    • 1 cup fair trade quinoa
    • 4 medium sweet potatoes
    • 1 large red onion
    • 1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
    • large handful of spinach
    • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup currants
    • 1 clove garlic
    • fresh ginger
    • 1/4 cup curry powder of choice
    • 1 tsp sea salt

    Scrub potatoes. With skins on, cut into 1″ cubes and lay out on a baking sheet. Toss with a bit of oil and salt. Bake at 475′ for 20 minutes. Combine two cups of water to one cup of quinoa (remember to rinse first!) in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 12-15 minutes until water is fully absorbed. Remove from heat.

    Roughly chop red onion and saute in a large saucepan with the ghee until softened. Add minced garlic and grated ginger to the onions and saute for a bit longer, adding stock if it seems to stick to the pan. Remove from heat. Add sweet potatoes when they are just beginning to brown and crisp on the edges. Add a cup of stock and the curry powder, stirring to coat. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes, adding stock, a bit of ghee, and some salt to develop flavor. Add some well chopped spinach and toss to barely wilt.

    Serve over a bed of quinoa with a sprinkling (or more) of currants.

    Sweet Potato Curry Quinoa Bowl from Happyolks.com

  3. A Seat at the Table

    41 Comments

    My parents never arranged a separate kid’s table and a grown-ups table during holiday meals. The youngsters ate what the adults ate and participated in the same rituals of passing the biscuits, hoarding the gravy, and holding each others warm, eager hands in gratitude for another meal, another year in good health and humor.

    Such a simple act of inclusion, a seat at the table. An act of affirmation, really… You, yes you, young one, have a unique and important way of looking at the world.  There is so much to be grateful for during the holidays, but a seat at the table has been a gift I’ve probably undervalued until lately.

    Respect was a reciprocal value in my house growing up – give respect, receive respect. Our opinions and perspectives were encouraged but more importantly, my parents invited us to the table and then they listened. They had enough respect to sit with us and walk alongside us in our crazy ideas. I know better now, as I’ve aged, that some people never get a seat at the table, no matter how old they are. I get it now. I’ve been on the outside, I’ve seen and felt what it’s like for youth to be dismissed as naïveté. Even now when I don’t get “a seat at the table” (figuratively speaking) I remember this. I give thanks for this. What a gift it is to for people to take us seriously.

    Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the table is there at every moment of each day to sit, stand, walk beside someone and give them room and respect to speak their truth. Through the rest of the year who will you invite to a seat at the table? Invite them. Just sit there. Really look at them. Hear their story. Reach out to the younger folk in your clan too – see them, affirm them. They’ll remember.

    This turned out to be much more festive than I first anticipated while wandering the aisles at the market today. I imagine it would make a great holiday side, but an even better weeknight meal turned sack-lunch. If kale isn’t your idea of a party dish, try spinach instead.

    Pomegranate + Kale + Pearl Onion Orzo 

    • 1 large bunch of kale (or two, if you’re a go-getter)
    • 2 pomegranates
    • 2 cups pearl onions
    • 2 shallot bulbs
    • 2 1/2 cups orzo

    Olive Oil + Orange + Honey Dressing

    • 1/3 cup good olive oil
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • juice of 1/2 an orange
    • 1 tsp raw honey

    Bring 2 medium-large pots to a boil with a bit of salt. In the first pot, boil pearl onions for 7-10 minutes. Remove, allow to cool, then remove skins. Set aside. For the second pot, boil orzo with a splash of olive oil for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Remove, strain, but do not rinse.

    Break open pomegranates one at a time, massaging out the seeds into a large bowl. Pick out the little white fibrous bits as you go along. This  can be a bit messy for the first time pomegranate handler, wear an apron! Alternatively, you could purchase pom. seeds in the produce section of your grocery. Once finished, return to the onions. to remove skins, cut off the bottom stem portion and peel the rest with your fingers. Cut in half and toss with the seeds in the big bowl. Finely dice the shallots and stir with the seeds and onions.

    Rinse out the onion pot and bring another bit of water to heat. Remove kale leaves from the tough spine and chop until very small bits. Not quite a mince, but a good chop. When the water is almost to a boil, immerse the kale and blanch for no more than 1 minute. Remove, strain the water, and toss with the pomegranate, onions, and so forth.

    Slowly stir in cooked orzo, 1 cup at a time. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, salt, orange juice (a little pulp is great too), and the honey. Pour over the entire bowl and stir again to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Let's get in Touch

I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.