Sunday, April 30, 2006

zucchini blossoms and ramps

i'm in grad school and over the next two weeks i have a term paper, a final exam in phsycholinguistics, and a comprehensive exam covering the two years of ESL methodology and linguistics i have been studying. once all that's over, my church's street fair hits on sat. may 13. i'm the co-chair. i may call in sick on the 14th. i have had moments lately when i think, how did i get here? how did this happen?
i'm busy but not entirely overwhelmed. i think the good weather helps.

i went to the greenmarket yesterday. i swear i meant to buy honey, bread, and eggs. instead, i walked out with four or five bags and made the following meal, recipes below. i'm becoming much more conscious of eating locally and seasonally. i'm buying more and more stuff at the greenmarket. i'm also becoming more and more suspicious of the food industry - i.e. kraft, nestle, etc. this is so not how god intended us to live. we came from a metaphorical garden and we're pooping all over it.

mache salad with olives and lemon juice

fried stuffed zucchini blossoms

ramp and mushroom risotto

strawberry rhubarb pie

zucchini blossoms are the flowers that grow on the zucchini plant. they are yellow and fat and gorgeous. this recipe is a traditional jewish roman recipe.

friend stuffed zucchini blossoms
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/8 cups chilled seltzer or club soda
16 zucchini blossoms, pistils removed if desired
fresh mozzarella cheese

Vegetable oil for deep-frying
batter stand 10 minutes. If necessary, thin batter with enough remaining seltzer to reach consistency of crepe batter.
Stuff each blossom with some mozzarella, pressing ends of blossoms closed.
In a deep heavy skillet heat 1 inch oil to 375 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer. Working quickly in batches, dip blossoms in batter, coating each completely, and fry in hot oil, turning, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until golden and crisp. With a slotted spoon transfer blossoms as fried to paper towels to drain. (Make sure oil returns to 375 degrees before adding each new batch.)
Sprinkle blossoms with salt to taste and serve warm.

ramps are wild onions that grow on mountain sides only during late april, early may - you can harvest them for about 4 weeks so they are a major specialty. this recipe should take a few minutes of prep and the risotta takes about 20 minutes to cook. it's easy but you can't walk away from the stove and you have to serve it immediately.

i cup risotto rice
4 cups vegetable stock
bunch of ramps
handful of mushrooms
white wine
parmesan cheese
olive oil

saute the shroom and ramps until tender
add rice, heat in pan for about 1 minute
add one or two ladlefuls of stock, let simmer
stir and as stock gets absorbed, ladle in more, a bit at a time.
when almost finished, add a jigger of wine and grate some cheese on top.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

post-modern angst!

i've been on the vestry of my church for a year and a smidge now and i'm having trouble with my conscience. my church is over 100 years old, it is comprised of a campus of four buildings (church, rectory, parish house, apartment building for staff)and the whole of it is absolutely beautiful. however, all the money we raise at the church goes toward maintaining the buildings. they are an albatross around our necks. rather than making money for us, they cost - a lot! the roof on any one of these buildings is always falling apart (to the point where as soon as one is repaired, another one starts to fall apart!)our utlities have gone up, like everyone else's. something always needs extensive repair at my church.
we do wonderful outreach at my church. we have a shelter for homeless men in our parish hall. we have an after-school program. we have a summer camp at a very reduced cost. we serve dinner for the homeless every saturday night. years ago, the past rector created a seperate organization to handle the outreach, hoping that organization would get foundation money that a church might not.
unfortunately, it feels like that entity and the church are becoming "us vs. them"
christ taught us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give money to the poor, not put all your energy and hard work to keep a bunch of buildings going.
i'm getting the "emerging church" idea that church does not have to be in a building.
i feel like our outreach program could do a lot more than it does, but is having a hard time raising money because people give their money to the church first. and there are never enough volunteers.
i co-chair a major fund-raiser for the church, a street fair that's coming up next month. this is my 3rd year on this event. it's starting to upset me that all the work i'm putting into this event is not to raise money for our outreach programs, but to pay the utility bill.
i'm meeting with my rector to talk about it this weekend. maybe when i'm done with my vestry term, i should sit on the board of the outreach organization.

Monday, April 10, 2006

we're in the home stretch

i was talking with a fellow episcogeek the other day about holy week and easter coming up. i can't remember what direction our conversation went in that it led to him saying, yeah, well, the cross is not the focus of my theology - i'm totally paraphrasing here by the way but it was words to that effect. i didn't have time just then to ask him, but i will later when i get the chance, how he reconciles that, or, what is his focus?
because the same goes for me. i am still trying to understand the crucifixion, resurrection, "salvation" and all that goes along with easter. i can't even understand a metaphor for all this that makes sense for me - and i gladly accept anyone's comments on this.
post-modern, emerging church, sr. mary alternative ...

april is poetry month and i'm teaching poetry to my students and i've been researching some good poems for them (i really hate treacly kiddy poems) so i thought i'd post this (it reminds me of grace, which is a christian concept i can totally groove on):

'Hope' is the thing with feathers
by Emily Dickinson

'Hope' is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.