Christ is Risen!
Hello my dear ones! The photo above sums up pretty much the last few months what I have been striving for: trying to be deep in prayer. I have not written for many months, please forgive me. I tend to get muscle spasms, sciatica, and back pain; I was in no mood to do much cooking and test the recipes that I have wanted to make. God’s will, it would appear, was for me to take a break and pursue my creativity in other areas. If you follow my art page on Instagram, you will see that I’ve been hand lettering wisdom from the Saints and Bible. These have been my recipes the last few months. Perhaps my soul needed restorative broth soup made from heart warming prayers. 🙂
The last 49 days we were in Great Lent, which is another reason I didn’t pursue cooking instead pursuing the lessons from the Old Testament and Gospels.. my soul was hungry for these “recipes” for virtues. Typically, my husband and I fast all year round from the foods one is supposed to fast from during special fasts; Great Lent being the most intense. If you have medical issues, talking with your spiritual father is the way to go and ask for his advice is what I have been told. But for the most part its intense. Fasting from food is not the only thing we fast from. We practice trying to fast from our passions and work on developing virtues. Watching “Man of God” in the beginning of Great Lent really helped in guiding me how the Saints lived. St Nektarios reposed nearly only 100 years ago; and with more current saints such as St Nikolai Velimirovich, St Justin Popovich, St Luke of Crimea to name a few… The saints help us on our path fasting from earthly things and going deep into our hearts. I love the spirit of Great Lent and wish it would last longer but then we would not really appreciate it, would we?
Despite my physical ailments and my hungry soul, I found some time to whip up some dishes. I was so excited I couldn’t contain myself from not singing the Paschal hymn! Despite getting cuts left and right from God knows where and why and plates coming out of the refrigerator and falling on the floor and breaking, nothing could dampen my spirits, not even the back pain. What a joyous day Pascha is and the days that follow! If I had a large enough kitchen, I would have cooked 5x more variety of recipes as tapas style. I narrowed it down to a handful because cooking in a small kitchen with small counter space makes it difficult and time consuming (also not having a large enough refrigerator to store the food).
I knew I wanted to choose only in season ingredients as the highlight of my recipes. Think sugar snap peas, beets, radishes, scallions, asparagus, sage, rosemary and spring greens. Refreshing. Invigorating. Gentle. Slight sweetness.
Recipes I chose out of several dozen for Pascha:
- Spring Frisee Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette from Forks Over Knives
- Kleftiko from Plant Based Magazine
- Spanakorizo from Bon Appetit
- Hummus from Pure Vegan
- Asparagus Tarts inspired by Bianca Zapatka
- Radish & Scallion Salad made by my mom
- Roasted Beets & Lemon Cashew Cheese Tart (can even turn this into a salad; toss beets in cheese and toss with arugula instead of wrapping in a tart) adapted by
- Asparagus Pesto
For brunch for us lovely two, we had fresh baked tarts and asparagus pesto with Easter shaped pasta. 🙂
The best part about all of these recipes was that I was able to recycle the ingredients, for the most part.
- For the asparagus pesto, I used the trimmings from the asparagus tart recipe. The bottoms are still edible they just need a longer cooking time. I tossed it with fresh sage and thyme, salt and pepper. I roasted them for about 15 minutes tossed in olive oil at 425 F. Then I just added cashews, hemp seeds, lemon juice, non dairy Parmesan cheese from Trader Joe’s. I used this pesto in my asparagus tart base instead of what Bianca suggested (though she does say you can get really creative with the tarts, so I got creative in my own way! 🙂 )
- I used a lot of lemon juice in my recipes; before I juiced them, I zested them and reserved them for some recipes, one of them being the Spanakorizo. Some people prefer, like my husband, with less or no zest and have lemon juice instead. I happen to like the peel in it. Feel free to get creative with that.
- I cleaned the sugar snap peas well and chopped them diagonally. You can eat snap peas whole.
My go to recipes to bring to large gatherings always includes hummus + another dish that tastes amazing in the season. For spring, my go to recipe is radish and scallion salad, which is basically chopped radishes and scallions mixed into plain vegan cream cheese; I use Trader Joe’s vegan cream cheese, Kite Hill’s, or Violife…just to name a few! But now! I have a new go to dish in the spring. The spring frisee salad with the strawberry vinaigrette. You can use berries in season for both whole and in the vinaigrette. It doesn’t even feel like you are eating a salad.
If you need a plant based Easter basket for next year, here is what I put in my lovely basket:
I’ll be adding the recipes in the next few posts. I hope you enjoy them!
With peace, love and joy,