Connect deeply to your family. And then to heal them, you must feed them. 

Beef / June 30, 2015

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Cara, Jennifer, Lenis and Nicole.

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Me, my brother in law Robert, and my sister Corynne.

PictureMy mother, Lenis and my niece, Nicole.

I am melancholy and philosophical today. We buried my cousin last week after a long, painful and noble battle with bone and breast cancer. She was only 67. And she was the true expression of family. And now we have to find a way to patch the hole she left behind.

The older I get the more I understand how vital it is we know where we came from. It is the only way to reconcile all the things we are with all the things we can be. Possibilities exist among the familiar, and home is carried with you during every decision you make.

Is your family perfect all the time? Of course not. They know you and they’re not afraid to call you out! That’s allowed because they were your fans before you knew what cheering meant. They were your advocates before you had a voice, and they are certainly your mirror when you need to see yourself clearly.

The paradox is that the cycle of life is most profoundly felt when someone very close to you passes on. Why? Because the sting of loss punctures more deeply, the celebration of birth is more miraculous, and separation becomes proof that we are meant to help each other to thrive. You are riding a swirling tide of maturity when you revisit your kin; floating ever higher in rank as you take your place among the senior generation. Bluntly faced with the prospect that someday you will also have to pass the baton. It reinforces our resolve to look ahead instead of focusing on what has already past.


PictureMe, Ted and Lenis.

As you might guess, when I am visiting family, the cooking is my job. Which is good because doing what you love heals you. But most of all I was honored to be able to nourish my family. And what better way to celebrate life than to gather those remaining around the family table. Then all as it should be as we feed those who surround us; connected, seeking to understand, more divine than at any other time.


Fresh Plum Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

6-8 firm, sweet red or black plums, cut into slices. No need to peel.
1 large or 2 medium small cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced
½ small sweet white onion, sliced thinly
1 C loosely packed chopped Italian parsley


Dressing:

2 T mild oil, like canola or sunflower
3 T red wine vinegar
3 T honey*
Salt and pepper


Directions:

  • Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Whisk all ingredients for dressing and dress salad about 5 minutes before serving. To wilt the ingredients add dressing and chill for a couple of hours.
  • I found I wanted to drizzle 2 Table spoons more honey over the top before serving for a perfect sweet/savory note.

Country Dilled Meatloaf and Gingered Yams

Serves 6-8


Ingredients:

Meatloaf:

2 lbs 85% lean ground beef
1 medium shallot, chopped finely
1 C sliced white onion to place atop meatloaf as it cooks
½ yellow pepper chopped
1/2 orange pepper chopped
1 t fresh dill chopped
1 egg
2 slices of wheat bread
¼ to 1/3 C 2% milk
Dash of paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 t Salt and ¼ t black pepper


Gingered Yams:

3 very large yams, about 4 C, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 T butter
¼ C cream
Salt and pepper to taste


Direction:

  • In a small bowl, crumble the bread or chop with a sharp serrated knife into small cubes. Add the milk and mush with your hands until it is a wet paste. In another bowl add the room temperature beef, egg, peppers, shallot, spices, dill, salt and pepper. Combine well. Add the bread mixture and continue to mix until incorporated. Place all on a foil covered cookie sheet, forming into a large log about twice the length as width. Cook in a 375 degree F oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until juices are running and edges are brown.
  • Create a sauce by combining ½ C catsup, ¼ C chili sauce, 1 T soy sauce, 2 T brown sugar. Blend well, heat and serve.
  • For yams, cook in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until very soft. Drain, mush with masher or use a hand-blender and puree along with the butter, cream, ginger and salt and pepper until very smooth.
  • Plate all with a sprig of fresh dill and my Plum Cucumber Salad.



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