SAVORING the MOMENT

Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle

Saturday

Early spring reverie

A week since I posted anything new. Bad, bad blogger! Spent part of it in Sacramento, visiting old high school girlfriends. Perfect evening on the river, like it was summertime instead of early February.

Back home, I notice buds popping out on trees and shrubs all over the Bay Area. The birds are busy, darting among the tangled branches of the sprawling wisteria vine out back that is sporting a few fragrant flower clusters -- already!

Such signs of spring always gladden my heart, promising beauty and bounty as the light returns. Now, though, my happiness is clouded by concern. What if another storm comes through and blows off all the early blossoms? Not good for the fruit harvest, for sure. And the bees can't make honey without plenty of flowers.

Of course, in my privileged corner of the world, I don't really have to worry. Monterey Market, my favorite produce market in Berkeley, will continue to have way too much of everything at low prices. California supermarkets and farmers markets and roadside stands will still offer their wares to consumers, sometimes 24/7. I will continue to feast on the fat of the land, and to feed my friends and family well and abundantly.

So why this slight twinge of worry or regret, this haze on the lens as I gaze upon the sunlit winter garden. Chalk it up to existential angst in the age of global warming, I guess. And my awareness that there are so many in other parts of the world who don't have enough, who will suffer even more if the world food supply diminishes.

I vow to dance more, sing more, celebrate life with my heart and senses fully open. I vow to not overeat, overindulge, overconsume. "Live simply, that others may simply live" will be my motto this year.

Here's a recipe that is simplicity itself, and perfect for early spring weather... (from 15-Minute Vegetarian, which you can order from this blog--see the menu of books in the right-hand column).

Blessings and bon appetit!

PASTA IN BROTH WITH PESTO AND CHARD

7 cups (1.7 L) vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (115 g) dried cappellini (angel hair pasta)
6 cups (215 g) diced chard leaves
1/4 cup (65 g) prepared basil pesto
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Bring the broth, garlic, and salt to a boil over high heat in a covered stockpot. Break the capellini strands in half, then in half again, and add them to the boiling broth, along with the chard. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the pesto and black pepper and stir to combine.

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