The Secret to Finding Miracles plus Cornbread, Figs and other yummy things
Maili's Note: I have both a recipe blog as well as an email list that I send out to "Recipe Testers." I often include my blog posts in the "Recipe Testing" as well as other things I'd like to share. This is a copy of the email I sent out this morning. The list originally began as a group of ten of my friends who literally did test the recipes for me and gave me feedback. As it grew I kept the name even though most just read and make the recipes as opposed to officially testing them.
As summer comes to a close tomatoes are at their ripest and figs are in baskets at the Farmer's Market. So I want to be sure to share the Tomato Technique from the Fiddle Diet. Often I will make this tomato salad to accompany Flank Steak and Baked Potatoes. I know it doesn't sound like diet food but I've lost weight every time I've had it for dinner and it is obviously filling. I have 3 or 4 ounces of flank steak, a small baked potato WITH real sour cream and salt and then the tomato salad. Then of course some kind of yummy fruit for dessert. The next day I usually make a big Arugula salad with leftover flank steak and green beans and whatever else I have on hand as well as the tomatoes and their juice as the dressing. A double bonus meal I like to call it! Sometimes leftovers make the best things! I haven't been on the Fiddle Diet in over a year because I lost the weight and then never gained it back. Perhaps at some point in the future I'll try to lose five pounds but right now I'm content and eating whatever I want so that is great. At some point I do want to get more Fiddle Recipes as well as menus up on the blog but right now I'm focused on Homeschooling my oldest daughter and then helping my youngest daughter with all of her public school needs and busy after school activities.
Figs are now showing up everywhere around the Farmer's Market so it is time to make The Gina Salad. I love warm fruit on a cold salad. The contrast is magnificent.
And if you can still get some of the end of summer peaches I've also been making a grilled peach salad. I use a grill pan instead of the actual grill. I cut the peaches in fairly big chunks. use firm peaches. Then I cook them for a bit in a simple syrup (Simple Syrup is SIMPLE and the easiest thing in the world to make. Get some sugar and put a little water in it until the sugar dissolves. Traditional simple syrup is 50/50. I usually make a more concentrated one with more sugar and just enough water to dissolve the sugar.) Then once the peaches cook for a few minutes in the simple syrup then I put them on the grill pan and they caramelize like creme brulee. Then I put the peaches on a sheet tray in an oven until just before I'm about to serve the salad so they will be warm when the salad is served. I use a mixture of greens, usually with something spicy like Arugula mixed in as well. The dressing is one of my very best creations and has no oil in it. The acid is lemon. I cook sliced peaches and tons of fresh ginger with some sugar in a big saute pan. Then I squeeze lemon juice over all of that. I let it cook for awhile and then let it sit for awhile in the pan. You want the liquid leftover from the pan to make the dressing for the salad. The cooked peaches themselves are delicious and you can use those for a dessert or over ice cream or as a compote in the morning. But the liquid is the precious part that makes the salad. And you can make that part in advance. Toss the greens in the liquid, put the hot peaches on the greens, put some great roasted almonds on it and then drizzle more dressing over the warm peaches. You can add cheese if you want. Perhaps a Manchego or something like that would be good. (And I know I just gave you a recipe without measurements but some of you like to cook by technique. Eventually I will photograph and measure this.)
I know quite a few of you follow daily Hollye Jacobs inspiring Brookeside Buzz blog. She wasn't a poetry fan until her bout with FBC but now her blog is filled with poetry as well as quotes that move me like quiet, peaceful and comforting prayers. Here are two recent ones that filled me with peace.
The Peace of Wild Things
The Desiderata of Happiness
My daughter, Katherine, wants me to make Cornbread today so I thought I'd share Auntie Colleen's recipe for Cornbread again even though many of you already make this all the time.
Finally, I want to share this article from Martha Beck on Finding Miracles. This is an article for all the skeptics out there. Martha Beck is a regular columnist for O Magazine and one of my most favorite. She has written some of the best articles on parenting, coping with life and finding joy. She tackles every possible tough subject with humor and brilliance. (She has I believe 3 degrees from Harvard.) She has a great term called WIG (Wildly Improbable Goals). http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Wildly-Improbable-Goals More proof in the power of positive thinking and all you can do with your hopes and dreams. But the the article I'm pasting below is on Finding Miracles.
This has been a year of Miracles and transformation for me. The gifts that have come despite the pain we have endured are truly miraculous and truly more than "just coincidences" in my life. Sometimes miracles are hard to see but that "glass" in my life is much more than half-full. It is actually overflowing if I can remember to open my eyes and and fill my heart with gratitude for the abundance there is. I know there are bumper stickers that say S*#! HAPPENS and we are certainly know that it does. But I saw another bumper sticker last week that said GRACE HAPPENS. I can give you a perfect example of both. Last month I went to the Maroon 5/Train Concert with my girls and five other families. To have all the parents and the children equally enjoying the music together was a miraculous moment. Melissa Madeline just said to me again last week "I feel so lucky that I got to be there." The music made us happy before the concert but now when we hear it we all think back to those magical moments. But something else happened too that wasn't so great. We got home from the concert at 1:30 AM. We were exhausted and couldn't wait to get right into bed. We opened the door to The Little House and it smelled awful! Horrendously awful! Princess had thrown up five times on the carpet. So all three of us have to deal with the smell AND clean up the horrible mess. Definitely not want any of us wanted to do. So if I look back at the 24 hours of that day the majority of those hours were great and then there was the one really yucky hour. But we dealt with that yucky part and went right back to the magical part. And if it wasn't for me purposely trying to recall that yucky part of the day to tell you my life has a bunch of reality mixed in with the magical parts, I truly would have only been able to recall the magical parts. Because when I hear the music now I only think of the magical parts and that is the key to the overflowing glass: face and deal with the "S*#!. Even laugh at it. It will be cleaned up and over before you know it and then you can go on to floating around in happiness thinking about all the good parts.
And since we're talking about Angles and Miracles I guess I should post our favorite Train song: Calling All Angels
Grace, Peace and Blessings to all of you!
The Secret to Finding Miracles Where You Least Expect Them
Oprah.com | From the December 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine