If I inspired you, I've done my job!

July 15, 2012

We are all rivers…of Life Energy

When we are born we are charged with an electric energy. In the East it is called “Prana”, further East they call it “Chi”. I did not do enough research to give it a proper name, so I will just call it “Life Energy”. Think of it as a video game’s Life—we have this one life and we must use it wisely to make it last. Once it’s over, a person passes away of natural causes. If a person is murdered or dies abruptly in an accident, his Life forces dwindles slowly—much slower than in this dimension—in the other dimension as a heap of energy or better known as ghost.

The magic of this dimension we live is in the exchange of Life Energy between all beings. This force is the core in our social relationship with each other.

The trick is that this energy is dynamic and it flows as many streams through this dimension. When you give it, you make room for more to receive. This is, I believe, the saying “The more you give the more you receive” comes from.

So to keep this Life Energy in running you must give and receive. To give is as simple as make someone else happy, smile or do a good deed without expecting any compensation.
What happens when you don’t receive enough? That means individuals that love to collect Energy without sharing it surround you.

Consequently, these people accumulate so much of Life Energy that the flow clogs. But the more they get, the stronger their need to receive… not realizing there’s no room for it. So they suffer, they pity themselves; they crave attention from others and do anything to get it.

All they have to do to let go of some of the Life Energy they’ve collected and see how new batch flows in. For this is how life is—a constantly moving current of energy; don’t be a stumbling block… give it away!
Image Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12150532@N04/
We are all rivers—
Some of us run fast,
Others run slow.
Some of us run straight,
Others bend or bow.
But in the ocean
We all flow…

March 19, 2012

Playing Tag With Time & Fa-va-falafel Balls

What a beautiful weekend it was. Weather was unusually warm but much welcomed and appreciated. Everything seemed to pick up its pace. The Robins had arrived and were scavenging for early inch worms and communicating with each other in their melodic language. The buds started to look engorged and about to burst with new life. Even the Pussy Willow let out its shining silver paws. All were awakening. Time too soon?

I just can't seem to catch up with time. It's as if we were playing tag with it, running on a circle. As soon as I finish something and try to catch my breath, I feel the time's sly smirk on my back: I'm going to tag you now! I lost count of the laps it has ahead of me, and I think at this point I should exit the game. I am not a quitter, just trying to catch my breath…

Thus I'm a little late for a Meatless Monday then planned—and you will see why—I am still going to post this recipe today.

One of the questions from last's week Food Revolution's Twitter Party has stuck in my head. What would you grow if you can only grow one vegetable? My answer: beans. Just look at this amazing family of sprouts: there are so many varieties, they are growing almost in any climate and most of all, you can harvest them green or fully grown. Magic beans…

[I'm sure many have heard aforementioned words from me many times as I defend my vegetarian eating habits]

Today's magician: Fava Bean. Or Broad Beans, if you like. This miniature potato-looking-like variety usually grows in warm climate and is very popular in North African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. In Europe it has been served as a first spring vegetable when harvested in a pod, which becomes uneatable as it matures.
Full of vitamins, essential elements as its legumes cousins, this lumpish bean has one problem: it needs a lot of attention when preparing. May be that's why it is widely replaced with its more outgoing family members.
That's why I regret not posting the following recipe earlier, so if you decide to take a chance of Fava on Meatless Monday, you have time to give these smiley faces a proper attention.

And today I'm sharing an old time FAVArite of mine: Falafel. A perfect multi-tasker dish: you can eat it as a snack, plop it in a soup, toss with a salad or simply envelope it in pita for a tasty sandwich wrap. Oh, and it's a nice appetizer piece served with some creamy dip when you entertain!

You know, I like multi-taskers [by the way, it's not my term but of Mr. Alton Brown] and I used another one–a cookie scoop–to drop the batter into the hot oil. Hence, my falafels came out like balls, not like customary disks that created using a special falafel spoon [I never even seen one in person!]

Although this particular dish can be created with other beans, I prefer using fava beans. See, you need to shell each bean after soaking and believe me, this is where the size matters and the bigger the better, or the easier!
So soak your mature dry Fava overnight and let's begin. [Good news: you don't have to cook the beans after soaking]. When I first made falafel, I did cook the beans and ended up with a mush instead of batter!

Fava Bean Falafel Balls
Makes about 5 dozens
1 lb dry Fava beans, soaked in cold water overnight, peeled
2 t spoons coriander seeds
2 t spoons cumin seeds
2 t spoons peppercorn mélange [or just black peppercorns]
2 t spoons coarse sea salt
1 large onion, cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic, smashed
a handful of fresh cilantro, torn
1 t spoon baking soda
1 t spoon baking powder
4 T spoons rye flour [I used rye for extra flavor, you can use regular all purpose]
Vegetable oil [or any light, low heat oil for deep frying will do] about 2˝ in the frying pan
Food processor
Cast iron skillet
Small cookie scoop

  • In a food processor combine all ingredients [-] oil and process for up to 8 minutes until it is all chopped and of even consistency;

  • Heat oil to 350° F. Scoop falafel mixture into hot oil, one at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan. [I fried 12 at a time] and fry for about 5 minutes or until falafel balls are golden brown and float up to the surface. Repeat with the rest keeping the oil temperature at 350°F;

[If you don't want to use up the whole batter at the time, cover it with an air tight container and refrigerate up to a week, or freeze it in a freezer zip lock bag for up to a month]
  • Serve warm as an appetizer with some dipping sauce [plain yogurt with some crackled pepper] or use for salads, soups,  and wrap sandwiches.

What's your magic bean?

March 05, 2012

Just a Quick Afternoon Post

The sun was shining bright this PM and I was lured to go out into my garden to start "clean up" after snowless winter but I was deceived. It was still freezing out. But I could almost feel the Spring's fresh yet timid scent. So, after few deep cleansing breaths, I went back inside.

I wasn't planing on writing or photographing a post today but the same frisky sun beam that summoned me into the cold earlier was tickling my earlobes whispering some promises… I had to put it to use.

Making hummus today for Meatless Monday sandwiches I decided to take couple of shots in this bright sunlight.

So a new little blog post was born…
Toasted Sesame Seeds Hummus
makes about 6 cups

1 pack dry garbanzo beans, soaked overnight*
3/4 cup water, reserved from boiling beans
1/4 cup lemon juice (juiced from one medium sized lemon)
3 T spoons tahini (sesame paste)
4 T spoons olive oil
1 t spoon sea salt
2 garlic gloves, crushed

1 T spoon sesame seeds, slightly toasted on a skillet for 2-3 min
1 T spoon olive oil

  • After soaking the beans, drain and rinse them. Transfer soaked beans to the same pot (8 QT will do), pour over fresh cold water to fill 3/4 of the pot, bring to boil, lower the heat to med-high and cook for about one hour or until the beans are no longer crunchy. Once cooked, preserve 3/4 cup of the liquid and drain the rest. Let beans cool.**
  • In a food processor, combine garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt, water, olive oil and beans. Process for 5 minutes until smooth.
  • Transfer to a bowl with lid and refrigerate for a week. Use it as a spread with pita bread and vegetables or on a sandwich.
  • To serve, spread about 1/2 cup (or a cup; although a suggested serving size is 2 T spoons, in my house we eat it by cups) on a plater making little indentations. Combine toasted sesame seeds with olive oil and pour over the hummus. You can add some freshly ground black pepper, paprika or ground cumin if you'd like…

*If you rather cut the prep time, use 2 13 oz cans of garbanzo beans and boiled water. Skip the first step.
**You can prepare beans a day before and store it in the fridge, but no longer than 2 days.

Oh, and the promise from the sun beam was that the Spring will be here soon!