Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hearty Risotto & Peace Beets

My once-Beatnik uncle sent me a link, http://www.intentionexperiment911.com/, because he thought I might like to participate in a guided peaceful meditation that happened on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. He was right, I immediately signed up. My hope was that a massive, global effort by ordinary people, like myself, would counter some of the violent impulses that drive otherwise ordinary people in this troubled world. Just like how I feel the all-consuming peace when praying together with many, as in a church or solemn gathering. I was hopeful that my mental and heartfelt focus on peace in Afghanistan would help in some unseen way.

At the appointed time, I got comfortable and followed the website guidelines to think about peace using all the senses. Visually, I conjured a verdant sun dappled forest scene, redwood and ceder trees. Next I allowed the chirping birds outside my window join this imaginary scene. A peaceful smell would have to be floral. I imagined the sweet, tropical whiff of plumeria. How would peace feel like if I could touch it? Water and air, so very precious to our bodies. I pictured a cool stream to dip my hand into and a light pleasant breeze to inhale. Lastly there is the taste of peace.

Probably nothing too spicy or tart. Bland? Creamy? Sweet? My favorite cookies would make too much noise crunching in my mouth, which strikes me as too aggressive an action to represent peace. I needed to think of a taste that didn't involve chewing. When do we eat, or drink most quietly? A breast feeding baby doesn't even have teeth yet and is perfectly at peace. Mother's milk has to be the taste of peace. Too bad we don't remember this taste after toddler hood.

Speaking of milk, I found a fake cheese that is fresh and creamy tasting: Lisanatti brand of Original Almond, The Good Cheese Alternative, Garlic Herb Style. The texture is right, it melts well too. Its practically fat free and very low calorie. I added it into a wild and whole rice mix to make a creamy delicious dish very like risotto. I call the next side dish Peace Beets, because it is made with equal part onions, which are the most prevalent and popular vegetable on this planet. Beets purifies blood and helps circulation. The red beets even looks like a heart. It will take more courage than might to build peace on earth, don't you think?

Hearty Risotto

1 cup Lundberg Wild Blend rice (or 1/4 cup wild rice and 3/4 brown rice)

2 cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoon margarine

1 teaspoon salt

4 ounces Lisanatti almond, garlic style "cheese"

Mix all ingredients into a large sauce pan except the cheese. Bring it to a boil, turn down heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Let stand 10 more minutes with lid on. Add cheese by cutting it into small pieces, waiting a minute or two then blending it all together.

Peace Beets

Equal parts onions and beets.

Olive oil (1-3 tablespoons depending on how much you cook)

In a large stock pot, boil washed beets for 30-45 minutes. Drain and when cool enough to touch, peel skins off of the beets. Meanwhile, peel and slice onions medium, thin. Heat them in a large fry pan, (or maybe you could use the large stock pot?) then add oil and heat another minute before adding the onions. Fry until they start to caramelize. Turn off heat, if beets are not ready yet. When beets are cool enough to handle, grate them into tiny pieces. Yes your fingers will turn red. By the way, eating a lot of beets might darken urination color too! Next mix beets with the onions in the pan. Heat through. Season to taste.

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