😌🤸🏻♀️🤘🥗Mantra, Movement, Mudra and Munchies!
I see you, Spring and I love your abundance of tulips, bursts of lilac and wilds of green! Your beautiful distraction is calling for a new and refreshed practice for balance, mental clarity and focus. As many of you know, dear readers, each season I offer a specially themed yoga delight, with the opportunity to dive deeper into the richness of the practice and enjoy a seasonal vegetarian meal in community. This April’s Spring Renewal Deep Dive was ripe with intention to move forward, release any accumulated gunk from winter’s heaviness and make room to open and receive.
Hence, the 4 ‘M’s: Mantra, Movement, Mudra and Munchies!
The Mantra 😌we chanted throughout class was: OM NAMAH SHIVAYA (om- na-mah shee-vah-yah). It’s ideal for Spring and whenever you’re feeling disconnected, imbalanced or simply need that reminder we’re in relationship with and interconnected to all living things. You could add the Mudra 🤘we worked with too! Apan (or Energy) Mudra: thumb, middle finger and ring finger come together, with the other fingers extended out (on both hands). This mudra has a balancing effect on the mind, inviting serenity and patience. It helps us tap into the power and pleasure of springtime, of new beginnings, of tacking and shaping visions of the future. The asana, or Movement🤸🏻♀️had us flowing and moving stagnant energy, thoughts & feelings throughout the practice. A fantastic way to continue this energy shift is doing a few sun salutations every morning. It gets your heart, blood and energy pumping so you’re ready to tackle your day with clarity and mental focus.
And now, for the Munchies 🥗!! Enjoy some recipes from our lovely community lunch! All were carefully thought out and selected for their seasonal ingredients. Choose one or two you liked and enjoy again this Spring with friends and family.
Seasonal love to you all this glorious Spring🌷
Classic Potato Leek Soup (inspired by The Joy of Cooking)
8 leeks, sliced (tops and tails removed and keep most of the green stalk)
7-10 Yukon Gold or any yellow, creamy potato
5-6 cups stock (i use Better Than Bullion brand, No Chicken Base)
4 tbls unsalted butter
3 tbls fresh chopped dill
Salt & Pepper to taste
I use a large Dutch Oven to cook this soup and any wide soup stock pot works just fine too.
If you’re using chicken stock, add to the soup when the recipe calls for it. If you’re using the Better Than Bullion, you’ll add 5-6 cups water to the soup pot and follow the instructions for how much bullion to use. based on the 5-6 cups water you’re using.
Peel the potatoes and quarter them. Set aside
Clean the leeks really well before slicing. I cut top and tail then slice in half lengthwise and run under cold water to remove the hidden dirt within the layers.
Melt the butter in a large pan
Slice the leeks as you would scallions, add to the melted butter in the pot and sauteé on med-low heat until soft. Once soft, add the chopped potatoes and mix well. The add the stock and bring to the boil. Once boiled, simmer on low heat for about 30 mins or until potatoes are super soft, the leeks will be too. Add 2 tbls of the dill and stir in just before turning off the heat.
Once soup has been removed from the heat, use an emulsifier right there in the pot, to blend the soup to a lovely creamy texture. Stir in the remainder of the chopped dill, add plenty of salt and ground pepper and serve!
Ricotta Spring Pea Tart (inspired by Cooking from the Farmer’s Market)
1 rectangle of frozen puff pastry (there are usually 2 in a box)
1 1/2 cups shelled English peas
1 cup fresh whole milk ricotta (drained if needed)
3 tbls chopped mint plus a handful of small leaves for garnish
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
2 scallions (green onions)
fresh squeezed lemon juice from half a lemon
Dash of salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400
Place puff pastry on a lined baking sheet and bake until puffed, then remove from oven and top with another baking sheet and bake until golden and crisp-about 10 mins-them remove backing sheet and let cool
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the peas and cook for just 2-3 mins. Drain and rinse under cold water, keep 1/3 cup aside and place the rest in a food processor. Blend the peas with the ricotta, a tsp or more of the chopped mint, dash of salt, and a quick squeeze of lemon juice from the other half you haven’t used, until the pureé is smooth-ish–you want to keep some texture to it. Stir in the lemon zest and add sat and pepper to taste.
In a separate bowl, combine the chopped parsley, 2 tbls mint , onions and the reserved peas. Season with the lemon juice.
Spread the ricotta mixture over the cooled puff pastry and top with the parsley mixture. Garnish with whole mint leaves
Cut into squares and enjoy! Serves 6-8
**EXTRA! Here’s an idea for what you can do with the other sheet of puff pastry: Bake as instructions suggest then add sliced strawberries and sift powdered sugar all over the top. A delicious, light Spring/Summer dessert!
Crispy Quinoa Veggies -(inspired by the fabulous, Tusk restaurant in Portland)
I use a Wok for cooking this dish
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp ginger, finely diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 spring onion, the whole thing, including the green stem, chopped
3 tbls olive oil
1 tbls Allepo chili pepper
1 bunch asparagus tips
a bushel of green beans, (about a pound) tops removed
8 brusselsprouts, thinly sliced
1 bunch broccoli rabe (also called rapini), stems chopped, larger florets halved
1 bunch radishes, sliced
Topping: Spinach-Pesto, Crumbled goat cheese, sea salt flakes (Maldon brand is excellent)
First, let’s crisp the quinoa: Heat the canola oil in a wok on high heat. Add the quinoa and be sure the oil fully covers the grain (so you may need more than the 1/4 cup)
Watch carefully so as not to burn and after 4-5 mins, use a slotted spoon to remove the quinoa & place in a paper towel-lined bowl. Set aside
Save the oil for future use in another recipe, then use a paper towel to wipe out the wok and remove any residual quinoa.
Now, let’s cook the veg: Place 1 tbls oil in a hot wok with the garlic & ginger, simmer for a few mins, then add the onion and cook for just a few minutes. Then add all the vegetables with another tablespoon or two of olive oil and toss with tongs until the veggies are well mixed and coated with oil. Continue cooking on high heat, add the chili pepper and continue tossing the veg so they don’t burn. Remove from heat after about 7-10 mins cooking time, or according to your preference. You want a crispness to the veg, being careful not to overcook. Once cooked, mix in the crispy quinoa and place the veggies on a platter to serve then top with a few generous dollops of pesto, the goat cheese and a few pinches of sea salt flakes. (I like Maldon Sea Salt Flakes)
This dish can be served warm or at room temp. I’ve eaten it cold the next day and that’s good too. Spruce it up the next day with more goat cheese and/or pesto and any leftover crispy quinoa.
Avo-Chick-Beet Extravaganza (inspired by Soframiz by Ana Sortun)
4 large golden beets
1 cup dried chick peas soaked overnight in a large bowl, with peas completely submerged in plenty of water. (or cheat: use one sm. can chick peas)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon
1 large leek sliced only up to the more fibrotic green stalk (discard the tougher green stalks or place in freezer for making veg stock later)
5 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 tbls water
2 store bought whole wheat pita bread, cut into small squares
2 tbls pine nuts
2 large ripe avocados
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 tbls whole mili Greek yogurt
1 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tbls fresh dill leaves
A couple pats of butter
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Cut off the tops of beets and cover with cold water in a pot and bring to boil on high heat. Cook about 15 mins or until you can pierce shallowly with a fork. You don’t want to be able to put the fork all the way in. We’re just lightly softening them up here on the boil, so they roast faster in the oven. Take the beets out and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, cook the soaked chickpeas in a large pot or cast iron skillet, with water (peas totally submerged in the water) until tender. Add a generous dash of sea salt to the pot and scoop off foam that rises to the top as it cooks. Allow about 30-40 mins cooking time. Once cooked, drain off most of the excess water, keep about 1/4 cup of it and place in a separate bowl with its liquid. Add half the garlic and 1/4 lemon juice and stir. Set aside
Preheat oven to 400
When beets are cool enough to handle, remove the skin with a knife and chop beets into small-ish, bite sized cubes (to your liking) Place the chopped beets in a bowl, add a tablespoon or more of the olive oil and toss. Once coated, place the beets on a large enough lined baking sheet, spread out evenly. Bake 10-15 mins (or until soft but still firm) Once beets are cooked, set aside as as and sprinkle salt and the dill over the beets as they cool.
*keep the oven on
Now for the pita: Take a couple rounds and cut into bite-sized squares. Place in a bowl with 3-4 tbls olive oil and mix together using your hands so all bread is coated. Transfer to a baking sheet for a quick pop in the oven for about 7 mins.
Time to sauteé the leeks with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium to low heat util soft and tender, not caramelized or burnt then set aside.
Use a smaller pan to melt the butter and toast the pine nuts (about 5 mins)-carefully watch so they don’t burn.
So, now you’ve got your chickpeas, beets, pita, leeks & pine nuts all cooked and ready for assembly.
Let’s make the avocado tahini spread.
Scoop your avocados into a food processor with the tahini yogurt, cumin and remaining garlic, lemon juice and pureé until smooth. Taste it-yum!
Time to put it all together! I used a big lasagna dish, but you can use whatever platter, or serving dish you like, so long as it’s a little deep and has sides.
Scatter the pita bites on the bottom of the dish. Ladle the chickpeas with their broth over the pita bread. Sprinkle the leeks on top, then add the beets and top with the pine nuts and generous dollops of the avocado spread.
Coconut Dark Chocolate Yum Balls (inspired by Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan)
2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
3/4 cup cane sugar
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 package dark chocolate chocolate chips (melted)
Preheat oven to 350 & line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
Heat all ingredients (except for the chocolate) in a medium saucepan on low heat, stirring continuously until all the sugar has dissolved and the batter starts to stick together in a thick paste. Take off the heat and let mixture cool for 5 mins
Scoop 12 evenly sized spoonfuls onto baking sheet and bake for 15 mins or until tops are slightly golden. Let cool.
Melt the chocolate over stovetop, then dip the bottom of each Yum Ball into the chocolate and place back on lined baking sheet. (chocolate side down) When all are dipped, place the tray in the fridge to let the chocolate solidify.
Keep up to 3-4 days in fridge if there are any left!