Saturday, April 22, 2006

April: Blink and you'll miss it...

Where has April gone? More importantly where have I been? April has been this amazing month of passage for me. Passage from one career to another. Passage from safety and security to the unknown. Passage from a stagnant reality to a dream filled future.

Amidst all this passage, I made a wonderful discovery... Mindfulness, basically being in the present moment. (Better definition) When I was in college, I would often go to this amazing arboretum by my dorm and spend an hour or so walking around and looking at the trees. I would always end up at the stream watching herons with their slow dance or leaves floating and dancing on the water. I found so much peace there.. In fact I am sure this twice weekly habit was responsible for me surviving grad school with a full time job. At any rate, I was sure the magic was in the place, not in my actions. Then lo and behold while reading a blog(of course), I realize that the peace I experienced was from mindfulness... something I can do anytime and where.

I immediately set out to do 10 minutes a day.. Which I have revised to 5 minutes a day.. (Hard for me to sit still that long) I hope to work it up to longer time.. but so far I have discovered it is not the amount of time but the act. In short, mindfulness is like the Buddhist form of natural Prozac or Xanax.

I breathe, I sit, I am still, I see, I hear, I breathe, no judgment, I just am.... and for however long I do it, I am good enough.. stress free, judgment free and perfect..

Monday, April 10, 2006

Food as Art

There is something amazing about the fresh taste, scent and texture of simple dishes. So many dishes require items found only in catalogs or the "expensive" aisle of your grocery store and quite frankly don't live up to expectations.

I love simple dishes with basic ingredients I have on hand or can purchase within my food budget. Yesterday we set off in search of a coop owned grocery store rumored to be south of our home. Like some juicy gossip... Friends whispered to me how reasonable the prices and how amazing the meat selections. At some point in these gossip sessions, I should have gotten the address... Because as fate would have it we never found the place. Instead desperate for a new culinary experience we ended up in a large Asian grocery store. Taking home exotic snacks and some lovely green beans.

Tonight I will be cooking something warm and comforting for a friend who lost her mom. My mom was believer in the healing power of a well cooked casserole and I carry on her beliefs. The secret to a good comforting casserole is to have all the flavors blend into something soft, savory and soothing. Casseroles should be served very very warm and the texture should be even throughout with no strange crunchy things. My friend is a vegetarian with a wheat allergy, so this casserole contains cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and brown rice baked in a simple cheese sauce. I carmelize the carrots with a small bit of sweet onion and add a dash of cinnamon to the cauliflower.. Some how it all works and the result is an edible equivalent of a cleansing nap.

Currently for my own palate, I am on the hunt for sharp sweet fresh tastes to herald the approaching spring... Luckily I found this recipe for Asparagus Risotto with Poached Egg(click and scroll) on my favorite food porn site, delicious days...(by the way the whole point of this post was to share this recipe)