Fresh from Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - December 14, 2023
Fresh Today… Broccoli, Beets, Carrots, Spinach, Kale, Watermelon Radish, Butter Lettuce, White Table Turnips, Sweet Peppers, Rosemary, Fuyu & Hatchiya Persimmons
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno.
This week we have more broccoli coming your way. This week’s soup recipe is similar to Panera’s, I can’t say it’s anywhere close to a knock off because I’ve never actually had the original. This recipe is written to be chunky, but if you wanted to you can blend some or all of the soup to make it smoother. Blending will give you a creamier texture without adding cream. I like to make blended vegetable soups for their ease of preparation. When you blend all of the ingredients up after cooking you don’t need to worry about cutting them up in perfect dice. This soup could also be made with cauliflower instead of broccoli, just substitute the vegetables in equal amounts.
Cheddar Broccoli Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
2-3 cups chicken or vegetable
stock or water
3-4 cups coarsely chopped broccoli
florets, stems and leaves
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
* Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and salt cooking for about 6-7 minutes. Turn the heat to low, sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir for 1-2 minutes. Gradually pour milk into flour mixture while stirring. Stir chicken stock and broccoli into milk mixture. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the broccoli is completely tender, about 20 minutes. Stir Cheddar cheese into vegetable mixture until cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
O Come, Emmanuel!
I consider this the most plaintiff and poignant of Christmas carols, but it’s more than a carol. It is a plea to God for deliverance that captures and mournfully expresses the desperation of the human soul and our despair over darkness, sin, and death. We are Israel – captive, lonely, mournful exiles. Like Jacob, whose name means deceiver, we wrestle with God. That is what the name Israel means. Jacob, facing death at the hands of his cheated brother Esau, sends his family ahead but remains behind, alone, to consider running – exile - and not returning home. A man appears and confronts him, and they wrestle through the night until daybreak. Jacob refuses to let go of the man until he receives his blessing: “Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome’… So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.’” Peniel means Face of God. Like Jacob, may we wrestle with God until He blesses us. May we struggle through the darkness until the day dawns and the bright Morning Star arises in our hearts, and we, also, are blessed and called by a new name – Jesus Messiah! Merry Christmas!
O Come, Emmanuel
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Pickling describes the process of preparation, and does not specifically refer to the vegetable, even though we are used to pickles being made from cucumbers. Pickling root vegetables in the winter makes a refreshing accompaniment to heavier stews and braised dishes. These watermelon radish pickles will turn everything in the brine pink. Try substituting turnip or carrots or beets in the same recipe.
Quick Pickled Watermelon Radishes
½ cup rice vinegar
½ cup water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar until sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Add the radishes and toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes before serving or store the radishes in a jar with their brine and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. They will have calmed down by then!
Just try to pickle me quick!
Metaphors of Soil and Soul…
The Beauty of Desolation
by Ronda May Melendez & Keith F Martin
Christmas is a season for giving and receiving. It is also a time for reflecting on what we are grateful for. I am grateful for seed and soil, life and growth, rain and sunlight. I am also grateful for darkness.
On Sunday, a dear friend taught me an ancient spiritual practice - reflection upon our consolations and desolations. I have marveled at the utility of this tool in a few short days of practice! As I reflected on the birth of Christ, I lingered on the fact that Christ’s coming into this world, a consolation to all, required His own momentary desolation.
I have marveled that His initial physical presence in this world began as a seed housed in the darkness of his mother’s womb. In that darkness came a joining and forming and knitting together of life - human and Divine, mortal with Immortal - in a way that had never before occurred. It was not just humanity receiving life through the breath of the Spirit of God but God becoming flesh to dwell among us and to be known by us, and then to be denied, rejected, forsaken, and laid waste on a cross to take upon Himself sins that were not His own. From a human perspective, He came to be devastated, to be desolate for our sake.
Was it the end? Praise God…it was not! It was the beginning of our freedom and our redemption from the darkness that holds us captive. His desolation became our consolation. If you feel desolate these holidays, rest assured it is not the end. It may be the end to your bondage, which will feel strange or even frightening, but it is not the end of you. The Christ child formed in the darkness of a human womb overcame human darkness so that we might have Light and Life in abundance. Our desolation ends in the consolation of Jesus – Immanuel, God with Us. For that I am grateful and rejoice. Have a merry, grateful Christmas!
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it…
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1:1-5, 1