Monday, June 25, 2012

Stammering Forth:Salad with Avocado Dressing

"...and in the meantime, this side of Paradise, it is our speak with our heart...and to bear witness to, and live out of, and live toward, and live by, the true word of his holy story as it seeks to stammer itself forth through the holy stories of us all." Frederick Buechner

Cooking alongside someone lends itself to sharing stories. You read, question, laugh, bump elbows and reflect as you seek to create something out of the avocado, the garlic clove, and the olive oil. Recently as we launched into a brand new recipe, my daughter Amber asked, "What if this turns out to be awful?" I said, "That's okay, what if it does? That's just part of the experience." As we are trying a new recipe we often speak our memories of times past in the kitchen, both the culinary mishaps and the flavorful masterpieces. However, when I answered this particular question last week, I knew and perhaps she did too, that I wasn't just talking about cooking.

It's a mystery but cooking and sharing stories helps me to stammer out what I believe in, regret, hope for, and love. The firmness of the wood floor, the coarseness of countertop and the smoothness of the heavy wooden spoon grounds my senses and brings me to the present. Attention is required as well as the ability to let go of the outcome. When I share the kitchen experience with friends and family, I find myself speaking with my heart and bearing witness to the much-larger-than-me holy story that wants to find its home in the world. I find myself listening to the stories of others who enter the space. Sometimes we stammer, sometimes we flow but a warm and cozy kitchen with wafting fragrances provides a space where we realize what needs to be said. We are, all of us it seems,seeking to speak with our hearts and make sense of our crazy holy stories.

This effort, the latest from my treasured collaboration with daughter Amber, didn't turn out awful. In fact, it was very good. The dressing needed more kick though because I added the spices and I ALWAYS tend to be too skimpy with them. I need to follow the example of my more adventurous daughter and toss them out with a generous hand. When we were eating and evaluating, I admitted this. "Mom," she sighed, "you're such a Mennonite."

The dressing is creamy and rich and pours like little waterfalls over the greens. The crisp bacon on the top was a wonderful addition. It is a great summer salad!

Salad with Avocado Dressing
4 small very ripe avocados
1 cup light sour cream
1 cup fat free half and half
1 T grated onion
1 dash (a big dash) cayenne
1 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 T lemon juice

mixed greens or romaine
grilled chicken pieces (I used leftover grilled chicken that I had marinated with southwestern spices)
strips of crisp bacon

Layer each plate with greens and chicken pieces.
Pour dressing over the salad and lay bacon strips on top.

Stammer forth and spice liberally,

1 comment:

  1. Ellen - I just recently found your blog and I love the concept (and I'm sad that it looks like you haven't posted and may not post for a while). I hope this comment reaches you though. I wanted to let you know that Herald Press is releasing a 65-year anniversary edition of the Mennonite Community Cookbook.