All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

sweet potato lunch

Yesterday the day stretched out before me, with no appointments, no work, and the joy of a whole day to do anything I wanted. The rainy mist softened the bones of the lonely tree branches, devoid of leaves; a morning walk was quiet and fresh.
I came back from my walk to a sparkling kitchen ( which I had cleaned at 6 am), pulled out a squash and gorgeous sweet potato, and peeled them. Roast or saute? Ginger or rosemary? I decided on a slow, long saute. The kitchen was heady with the earthy sweet smells of sweet root vegetables, olive oil, rosemary and garlic. I picked up Thich Nhat Hanh's book of essays, and started reading one called "Transforming Our Compost". I read:
"Traditional (Buddhist) texts describe consciousness as a field, a plot of land where every kind of seed can be plants - seeds of suffering, happiness, joy, sorrow, fear, anger, and hope. Store consciousness is also described as a storehouse filled with all our seeds. When a seed manifests in our mind consciousness, it always returns to the storehouse stronger. The quality of our life depends on the quality of the seeds in our store consciousness.
We may be in the habit of manifesting seeds of anger, sorrow, and fear; seeds of joy, happiness and peace may not sprout up so much. To practice mindfulness means to recognize each seed and to practice watering the most wholesome seeds whenever possible.
During each moment that we are aware of something peaceful and beautiful, we water seeds of peace and beauty in us.....
The length of time we water a seed determines the strength of that seed. If we stand in front of a tree, breathe consciously and enjoy it for five minutes, seeds of happiness will be watered in us for five minutes, and those seeds will grow stronger. During the same five minutes other seeds, like fear and pain, will not be watered."

The cubes of squash and sweet potato were caramelized perfectly. I heaped them onto a plate and ate a lovely lunch, looking out at the mist, thinking about the squash from Abenaki Farm I was eating. Abenaki is run by couple with four children, and they grow the tastiest vegetables I've ever had. I thought of the long, rainy summer we had, and the family nurturing this squash and smiled. Joy. It does indeed chase away the fear and sorrow that sometimes threatens to ruin our day.
To make:
2 cups sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cups winter squash, peeled and cut into chunks
olive oil
garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a skillet, add squash, garlic, and sweet potato. Cook on medium high for about five minutes, turning the cubes so they are browned and caramelized evenly. After five minutes, turn heat to low and cover skillet. Check skillet a few times to stir the cubes. When they're tender, sprinkle fresh rosemary on top, and serve.
Have a wonderful day - and don't forget to water your seeds.
Top photo featured in photograzing!


Barb said...

Your zuni stew and the sweet potato lunch look quite tasty - love the photo of the trees. Our trees are losing their leaves fast, but fall is such a beautiful time of year.

katrina said...

Thanks, Barb - I was happily stuffed after these two dishes - funny how I don't seem to eat much meat, but never miss it.

This fall has been the most beautiful I remember ever up here. I wonder if the month and a half of rain had anything to do with it? It rained much of July and early August - the trees must have liked it - unlike the humans...

Martha said...

Love sweet potatoes in any form -- and love to mix sweet potatoes and winter squash! These look terrific.


katrina said...

Delighted you enjoyed the recipe, Martha! I'm sure I'll be making these for many, many lunches & dinners - they're satisfying in that mashed-potatoes-with-lots-of-butter kind of way, but obviously much healthier!

katrina said...

This post was, in part, a reaction to hearing about several friends losing jobs, losing money, having to put a house on the market, no health insurance, on and on. When I read this essay about fear, it completely changed my inner climate, which had been in some turmoil. Now I feel we can do it - we can all get through it, and we can also help one another as best we can.