so seemingly small,
to the whole universe
as tiny whispers
like the sounds
of butterfly wings,
and the clear voice
of the living truth.
It all began on a wintery day this week as massive snow flurries were flying. We got an idea that we wanted to make something warm and hearty for lunch—ratatouille! We didn't have any eggplant, or zucchini (traditionally used in ratatouille), but had carrots, onions, parsnips, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Ideas started flowing, and soon a new version of ratatouille was being devoured for lunch. By the time we had cleaned our plates, we were already talking about having it again for dinner, and we did! For a more complete meal, serve with Sunflower Seed Cheese, or a salad, or Baby Seed Cakes.
Ingredients for Ratatouille
12 sundried tomatoes, soaked
1 cup water
20 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sweet yellow onion
1 tablespoon South River Azuki Miso
1 small clove garlic
1 teaspoon Herbs du Provence
1/2 teaspoon powdered fennel
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
4 bay leaves, finely ground
1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Directions for Sauce:Soak sundried tomatoes in 1 cup water to soften.
Blend all ingredients in until smooth and creamy.
Pour into a 4 quart cooking pot. Set aside while you prepare the veggies.
2 cups zucchini ribbons
1 cup carrot ribbons
1 cup parsnip ribbons
1/4 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 medium sized, super fresh white mushrooms, chopped
4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
Directions for Veggies:Scrub all veggies.
To make ribbons, slice veggies lengthwise using a good quality vegetable peeler. (We use a Messermeister, available online or at Sur La Table.)
Chop tomatoes, thinly slice red bell pepper, and chop green onions and mushrooms.
Add all veggies to the pot.
Warm over a low flame to 100 degrees, or until it feels warm to the finger.
Transfer to a large casserole dish, and place in dehydrator at 145 degrees for 45 minutes. Turn heat down to 120 degrees, and warm for one hour.
Serve immediately (warm the plates first because they cool quickly).
Soup Variation:Combine sauce with one additional cup of water, one cup zucchini ribbons, one cup chopped tomatoes, and three tablespoons chopped green onions. Heat to 115 degrees.
A Little Story: Two Small Cooking Disasters
Last weekend we had a busy schedule and I had two cooking disasters! Some days are just like that—you know, when the kitchen muse has gone south for the winter!
Veggie Ribbons before adding sauce and dehydrating I made two dishes that normally are delicious: truth be told, the wild rice salad from last week's Healing Feast came out less than satisfying because I started adding different things that weren't in the recipe, and mixed the avocado dressing into the rice before eating. The result was that it looked awful, and it tasted mediocre. I made a mental note: make sure to dollop the avocado dressing on top of the salad! We were planning to share it with some friends for dinner, but our evening got cancelled due to a broken water pipe under their kitchen sink. Honestly, I was relieved that nobody else had to see that salad!
The second disaster came the next night with a big casserole dish of blueberry "pie" that was made for a friend's surprise birthday party. Of course, I wanted the dessert to be perfect and beautiful, but life had another scenario in mind.
The frozen blueberries I'd used didn't set up. (Fresh blueberries always set up!) In fact, they remained quite liquidy. And the gorgeous pink strawberry puree and sprinkles of ground cashews that were artfully laid on top became completely engulfed by the slopping blueberries during the 25 minute drive to the party.
Imagine me in the front seat, while Rex is driving, with the pie in a basket on the floor wedged between my feet. And it's almost completely dark outside so I can barely see a thing. As we went around endless curves, and up and down hills, or as Rex put on the brakes, I would tilt the basket with my feet this way and that—along with bending over to lift the dish one way or another—to try to create a kind of gimbal so that the contents wouldn't spill over the edges!
When we finally arrived, the once beautiful pie was reduced to something that looked like road kill, but the people at the party graciously ate it anyway. Rex thought it was because blueberries are a real treat in winter. People commented that it was good—and most of it was eaten—but I wasn't sure if they really liked it, or if they were just being very, very, kind! All said and done, food presentation does count for a lot!
We think the muse came back two days after our cooking disasters because the idea for the ratatouille "came upon me," and within minutes we had an delightful new dish warming in the dehydrator which we later scarfed down with glee!
I've been humbled by my recent mistakes—little teaching experiences to be sure—and in this light, we wish you well with your food adventures, disasters and all!