Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pear-Grilled Fig Salad with Goat Cheese


 There are moments when I'm aware enough of the blessed goodness in my life.  Maybe.  I know not everyone has a counter full of butternut squash, apples, onions, shallots, garlic, hundreds (literally) of tiny green and red tomatoes, and Bosc pears.  I know not everyone has a warm snug lying next to them come the cold, dark morning.  Or a reason to get up and do something with the bounty in the kitchen downstairs.  I probably don't truly understand it, but I get it.  My life hasn't been all rose teacups and long walks along the river with the dogs.

This morning I read a post on a blog I follow (there's a link in my blogroll at right, too).

leave it where jesus flang it

Margaret writes daily there.   It's a prayer journal of sorts.  She's an Episcopal priest on an Indian reservation in South Dakota and life's hard there.  The loss and the poorness and the hurt are hardscabble painful and it's her job to keep showing up for the difficult moments and beyond.  Today she writes about people nearby whose babies have just died...  And (having had babies who died) I understand where this is and where it goes.  What I am drawn to these many years later is twofold:

1. why...if we need each other so very badly through the crazy, hilarious, dipping, winding, bottoming-out life trek, and if church is meant to provide that for us...why are so many of us no longer part of that community?   Or, if we are a part, are those communities truly sustaining us? and 2.  a bursting grateful noise for all I have and all those who have loved me through the nearly killing losses.   I come back to the idea that to begin with thanksgiving is a perfect way to pray/live and I have to learn it all over again, all over again, all over again.   Even if God isn't a welcomed presence in your life, I think the settling of near-constant thanksgiving in our bodies is a positive way to breathe on earth.

Ok, well, yup----------

and......truly:

I'm grateful  to share a beautiful fall salad with you...speaking of that.  I often cook on the "Meatless Monday" protocol because it's healthy and it makes sense to me.  It's also a way to make me concentrate on most of the food on earth and, well, most of it isn't meat.

I spent yesterday late afternoon re-testing a soup for my book (Roasted Vegetable Soup with Sage) and as I got the soup nearly finished thought to make a little salad out of what I had.

Which was beautiful Bosc pears, goat cheese leftover from a dinner for friends last Friday night (I grilled figs and filled them with goat cheese, a drizzle of honey, fresh thyme and black pepper), and some arugula.  Sigh.  Here's how:

pear - grilled fig salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and arugula

serves 2 -3

  • 3 cups arugula
  • 2 ripe Bosc pear, cored and sliced (don't peel)
  • 2 ounces crumbled Goat cheese (leave out for vegan option)
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts (just put them in a small dry skillet for a few min.)
  • 4 fresh figs cut in half and briefly grilled* (or 4 chopped dried figs)
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon walnut oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper 

In a medium shallow bowl, place arugula and top with pears and goat cheese.  Scatter walnuts around the edges of the salad and add the figs at even intervals.  Drizzle all with the juice, vinegar, and oil.  Sprinkle evenly with a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Place bowl on table to admire your handiwork before tossing.  Serve at room temperature.  (If you need to make this ahead and refrigerate, you'll want to add the pears--which would brown otherwise-- and the dressing at the last minute.  It'll taste fine cold.)

*To grill fresh figs:  Lightly brush a grill, grill pan, or small skillet with a bit of olive oil.  Trim stems from figs and slice in half.  Place figs cut side down in pan and grill over medium heat just a couple of minutes.  Turn and grill on the other side.  Note:  How long you grill these will depend on how ripe they are.  The riper, the less grilling--   If terribly ripe, don't grill at all.



I ponder here at the idea of saying "grace."  I think grace is a difficult word to define and how it is we come to SAY it, I don't know.  We also "say a blessing."  Or "give thanks."  Or "bless the food."  Someone, somewhere I was, said a blessing I can't forget the gist of, but can't recall the exact words.  The idea was to be grateful for the food and for the nourishment to enable us to feed those without.
I'll think about it.  (If you know that blessing, leave it in a comment.)

A thought:  the blessing is also a moment to breathe in an otherwise complicated, swiftly flowing existence.  To pray and-- to eat-- in the moment.  To be truly awake and aware of what's before us and what will sustain us.  To be grateful for loving, preparing hands, the instinct to love,  the time to eat, and for the abundance.

Phew.  My blog is different today.  Beautiful fall winds and smiles to you,
Alyce

P.S. COMING TO A CHURCH NEAR YOU!  (MAYBE)  I think I forgot to share that our daughter  Emily is officially ready to receive a call from the Presbyterian Church, USA.  After over three years in seminary, she preached to the Committee on Preparation for Ministry (maybe I got that right) last Monday and they pronounced her READY. 

Speaking of being grateful


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