"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

Tuesday, March 6 2018

Keeping to the Lenten disciples of prayer, study, almsgiving and any personal challenges you have embraced, is hard work.  If it isn’t, then you haven’t stretched enough!  And hard work isn’t always pretty.  But the satisfaction of a job well done, the sense of accomplishment,  the growth possible, the beauty revealed, is worth it.  It is not simply about perseverance or concerned with end results, of course, as the journey of faith never reaches a final destination.

It is also about ‘seizing the day’, Carpe Diem, and making it count.  And how we approach each day is less about eternal factors, or even other people, but more dependent on our own attitude.  Does every little thing skew our viewpoint…bad weather, a poor night’s sleep, a lack of clean socks, a late bus, a $%3@* other driver on the commute, a mess of work awaiting us?

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Saying morning prayers is one way to offer the day to God:

Lord God, you have brought me in safety to this new day.  Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin or be overcome by adversity; and in all I do, direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (B.A.S. p. 131, adapted) Or this, with a Celtic tone: Creator of all.  I am your precious child, made in your image. This day I will walk in your Presence and, with your help I will be open to the opportunities you provide to witness to your love.   I will rejoice in this day, your gift to me. Amen.  Or sing along with Snow White:

Just whistle while you work (humming.. whistling)
And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place
So hum a merry tune (humming)
It won’t take long when there’s a song to help you set the pace
And as you sweep the room
Imagine that the broom
Is someone that you love
And you’ll find you’re dancing to the tune

When hearts are high
The time will fly so
Whistle while you work

Recipe: Risotto There ae as many recipes for risotto as there are Italian grandmothers.  Here’s one. Serve as a main dish with a garnish or as a side.  Also great the next day. It requires a bit of work, but whistling while you stir makes all the difference-try something from The Barber of Seville or The Marriage of Figaro!

3 Tablespoons olive oil; 1 small diced onion or shallot; 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½  cup white wine; 4 cups chicken stock, hot
a bit of butter, ¼ cup(or more) grated parmesan cheese(we use a rasp), parsley, salt

Options: add fried mushrooms, green  onion, cubed cooked butternut squash(1/2 cup), diced prosciutto; diced roasted vegetables; cooked seafood, such as diced shrimp etc.

Heat oil and saute onion, add rice and stir with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with oil and they begin to look translucent, but not brown.  Add wine and 1 cup of hot stock at a time, stirring after each addition until liquid is almost absorbed each time.  Taste rice before you’ve finished using all the stock.  It is ready when the grains are tender but still firm without being crunchy.  Stir in a bit of butter, the cheese, parsley, salt and any options you have chosen.

As a main dish, serve mounded in the centre of each plate; garnish with herbs, or a few sauted vegetables such as zucchini and red pepper.  Famously served with osso bucco. Offer more grated parmesan cheese.

Note: You can make your own chicken stock when chickens are on sale.  Just cover the whole chicken with water in a stock pot, add a carrot, onion, celery, if you have them.  Simmer for about an hour, without stirring.  Remove chicken and use meat for other dishes.  Strain and chill stock and skim off fat before using.