Saturday, November 21, 2009

Caramelizing your dreams... Delicious.

I made a delicious meal the other day - if I may say so myself. I recently rented a cookbook from the library (A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen) and found a recipe for the slow-cooking, caramelized onions. This recipe required me to open up a bottle of wine (thank you, online directions!) which I completed successfully.
After slicing the onions, you cook them for a few minutes (until soft) in butter or olive oil, then add white wine to the pan and let the onions simmer for about 30 minutes. Then, the lid comes off and you stir constantly so that the "brown goo" (book's words!) gets incorporated into the onions for another 25-30 minutes. Sorry that there are no measurements, but that's not really my cooking style. I mean, who really wants to clean out a half-cup, and a whole-cup, and a teaspoon... when estimations rarely* mess up?
*Note: ALWAYS measure baking powder and baking soda. ALWAYS. Or it's gross.

There's the browning onions. Cooking these onions meant I had to use them, so my next thought was "What can I eat these with?" So I cooked up some Giant Eagle tri-color tortellini, red bell pepper, and broccolini. That's a real vegetable! When the tortellini was almost done, I put the veggies into the water to steam them.

I paired it with white sauce from More with Less (yes, you knew that was coming...) which is just some melted better, some flour (really, measurements here just make it thinner/ thicker. I think it's 2 T of each?) After that gets all clumpy (yum?), you add in 1 c milk (ooor you add in some dry milk powder and water without measuring and just spend the rest of the cook time trying to fix the consistency) and I also added in some cheese and the caramelized onions to make the pasta sauce. I broiled bread with butter and garlic powder for garlic toast, as you can see in the background.

And it was delicious. Sprinkled with parmesan.

You might be asking yourself, "Julie, why are you doing this food thing? You are not as good at photographing, much less cooking, as Bakerella, Joy the Baker, Technicolor-Kitchen ... (insert other good ones in the comments!) And you don't really redeem yourself with the so-called "writing skills" either."
To you, I say ... "So what?"

Just kidding. To you, I say - there's a metaphor behind this one! Sometimes, you have a great idea - something you really want (like caramelized onions). And you can daydream about caramelized onions, but there are some logistical things you have to think through first. Such as, what does "dry white wine" mean? Answer: cheapest wine at Giant Eagle. And "What time is okay to buy wine on a Monday morning since they don't sell it on Sunday evenings?" Answer: At least 8:40 am! Beyond the logistics, there are accompaniments. I started with my idea of the gooey, sweet, brown onions, and compiled a healthy(-ish) meal. I needed a grain, some vegetables... And I wanted it all to taste good together.

It was an analogy for this dream of forming a community/ household that's intentional about forming relationships with each other and with the community around. I've got a few conversations scheduled with pastors to start the conversation, but I'd love to hear more thoughts. I've got the dream - and it has the potential to be better than caramelized onions. I do need to think through the logistics (set it up as a 501-3c? Contracts?) and through accompaniments, like what it would look like. Some of you have started to send met other programs - keep doing it! I'm welcoming knowledge, advice, anything but a "this is stupid and onions give you bad breath anyway." (Time to quit the metaphor? Fine.)

My mother and I are enjoying each other's company and cooking a pre-Thanksgiving dinner tonight, including:
Butternut Squash with Mustard Vinaigrette
Stuffed Turkey Rolls with Cranberry
And for dessert... This. That's right. I did it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Intentional living/ Christian community

"God is not satisfied with the state of this house [the world], and he calls us to share in his holy dissatisfaction.

In our hearts he wants dissatisfaction and hope to kiss. He wants us, every day that we live, to embrace the gospel promise of a world made new. He wants our lives to be shaped by uncompromising honesty and undiminished hope.

He wants us to face how bad things really are, not as survivalists but as restorers. He wants to pick us up in his hands and use us as the hammers, saws, and screwdrivers of a brand new world. He wants us to believe that because of what he has done there is hope for new beginnings and fresh starts.

...One day his work will be over and the world will be completely renewed. In the meantime, he calls you and me to live in this broken-down house with hearts of patience and eyes of promise. He calls us away from paralyzing discouragement and the nagging desire to quit. He welcomes us to live in the patience and grace that only he can give."

- Paul Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.20-21

I'm going to use the phrase "on a kick" but realize that, as a marathoner (har har), "kick" is more like an ongoing, long-distance thing. Metaphorically, I'm not kicking a corner shot (enter appropriate soccer term?) but kicking an ultra-marathon in the butt. That said - I'm on a kick to be in an intentional living/ Christian community. I have sat at my computer, drooling over certain websites and examples, but recently realized
I can do something about this, after someone asked me "Why don't you do something about this?. (I want to make that the subtitle, but little blogger doesn't allow for subtitles. Or italics in the titles. Enter subtitle in the middle of the entry.)

I agree with Tripp's quote and think that an intentional community would help create an environment of hope and restoration. Hopefully, I can get some Columbus conversation started about this!

Friday, November 6, 2009

So much joy!

Currently, I'm sitting in a swimmer house in Grand Rapids under a blanket (not a Snuggie. How will I survive the weekend without Megan's?) I visited Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit yesterday - it was amazing. There was so much joy radiating from the educators, students, their kids, and the principal. The student who gave me a tour was very friendly, and interested in psychology - really talking and working with people. I thought it was great that she got to do everything she did. Hopefully, I will share more, but the point of this post is following... If you want more information on the fact that the students for biology had to CATCH their own chicken to dissect from the farm, you can watch this video. Formaldehyde is bad for pregnant women, so dissections had to be - fresh? live? There's a term for it.

Before I appear to be a rude guest (I already skipped out on the 6:15 am dryland session) - does anybody have interest in coming to the OSU/ Iowa game this weekend? I think I have tickets.