Green Bean and Chickpea, Parsley Salad

Life is learning.  To learn is to live.
I'm learning with salad.  Salad and I have a love/hate relationship.  I know it's good for me but I think it's lame.  I know that everybody likes when I post salad 'recipes' because we all think that we're better people for eating it... but I still think it's lame.  Sometimes, in my laziest moments, I will wash two or three big leaves of some kind of green and stuff them down my throat just to appease the salad pushing monster in my head.  The last few 'salads' that I made were disgusting.  There is always way too much of a good thing... even with salad.  I now feel that I have adequately explored the too much and am learning to keep it more simple.  My favourite salad used to be a chickpea and carrot adaptation from 'Moosewood'.  So I've kind of channelled that salad while adapting another one that I found online.  Wonder of wonders, I liked it.
This salad process has gotten me thinking.  I was out today with Kid #2.  It was his first day on a two wheeler bike.  I held onto the back while he worked to steer and watch where he was going and keep the pedals turning and balance himself.  Of course I can't let go of that bike but the reality is that he's not really going to be able to truly learn how to ride until I do let go.  The only thing that my holding is doing is keeping him from falling over and/or getting so frustrated that he stops trying.  Everything else he won't get until he can do it on his own.  How much of that learning do we carry with us throughout our entire lives?  I still feel like that's how I learn.  You can tell me.  You can show me.  You can help me.  Ultimately, I won't understand those things until I start trying on my own and making the mistakes I need to make in order to get it.  Cooking and baking are very much like that.  It's not something you just get... at least I didn't.  I've never been scared of it but I've also made my fair share of mistakes, disasters and ho-hum dishes.  At my best, I try to learn from the mistake and at my laziest I simply don't stop trying.  Effort - there it is.  Effort is required.  I have to try - I can't stop trying.  Like Kid #2 on his bike.  It's going to take him a few days but he'll get there.  All of a sudden I won't have to hold on to the back of the bike so that he doesn't fall over and then I'll let go... and he'll fall over but he'll get it.  Motivation will keep him getting back on that bike until he can do it without thinking.

I've made a lot of mistakes lately - a lot.  Fortunately for me, I have people in my life who not only love me but who stick around.  Mistakes are embarrassing.  I am muddling my way through learning new stuff all the time and I'm hoping that it's what keeps us alive on the inside - thinking, feeling (good stuff and bad), challenging and making efforts.  This salad was a lesson for me in simplicity (can we stop with the four kinds of protein in one salad, please), in humility (ok - that absolutely blew, let's try it again) and in satisfaction (this one sucks a whole lot less and maybe salad can not be lame).
I'm probably reading a whole lot into salad because I need to write some crap before I give you the recipe.  Whatever.  I'm not gonna write a book about it or anything but I did get a decent salad and it all made me feel very very healthy... Salad Pushing Monster appeased for another day.

Green Bean and Chickpea, Parsley Salad adapted from Simple Provisions

2 cups fresh green bean, trimmed and cut into about 1 1/2 inch lengths
1 400g tin (about 2 cups) chiced and cut into about 1 1/2 inch lengths
3 green onion, diced
2 med garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
dash of sugar
2 dashes of cayenne
2 cups fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (approx.) good quality feta, crumbled

Have a bowl of cold water and ice cubes ready.
In a saucepan bring about 3 cups of water to a boil.  Add in the green beans and simmer for 4 minutes.
Immediately drain the beans and throw them into the ice cube bowl for about 5 minutes.  Drain on a clean towel to dry them off.  Set aside.
In a large bowl or dish add the chickpeas (with extra liquid), green onion, garlic, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and cayenne together.  Mix well.
Add in the dry green beans and mix well.
Add in the parsley and mix.
Add in the feta and mix.
Check the taste and adjust if necessary.
Refrigerate for about 3 hrs.

Lemon Ice Cream with Mixed Fruit Mush

So Resting Bitch Face is a labelled phenomenon that I've only recently learned about.  It's a thing.  I'm not even joking... it's real and I know that because it's on YouTube.  The Urban Dictionary defines it as a person, usually a woman, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to.
Recently my sister and her family made it to town.  This is a big deal because they live in Calgary which is far from Toronto.  Of course, somewhere during the course of our conversations the subject of resting bitch face came up.  What I discovered is that not only do I (and probably both of my siblings) have serious resting bitch face, we inherited it from two of THE BEST resting bitch faces on the planet.  I'm sure that you can put the pieces together.  My sister and I high-five'd (?) each other and the conversation moved on from there.  However, I've spent the last few days mulling over the idea that when I'm not aware of it I quite probably look like a bitch.  It might be anger that comes through.  It might be disdain.  It might be boredom.  Doesn't matter how it's perceived, the real issue is whether I know it's happening and whether therefor I meant for people to perceive me that way.
It's true, there unquestionably are times when I purpose to give that look but the thought that I might not have meant it but conveyed it anyway was unnerving at first.  Then I read this article.  You know, a few days and a few articles later I think I'm ok with it.  The alternative is aggressively working to remember to smile... all the time.  It looks weird.  You've seen that person walking towards you, haven't you?  The one with the weird ass smile and you wonder what the hell they're thinking about.  That is not me.  Or, as the article goes, I have to try to pretend all the time... jeez - don't we pretend enough already?  I really don't want to spend my time pretending to be happy and nice to people I don't know because... well why?  At the end of the day, if I don't know I'm doing it then I have to be super committed to not doing it in order to change (I'm not) and in order to be super committed I have to be convinced that there is a good reason to motivate that change.  Making people feel better or giving them the impression that I'm a 'nice' person just isn't motivation enough for me.  So I'm ok with it, my resting bitch face or bitch resting face or whatever that 'unsmile' is.  We're cool.

I survived Kid #2 birthday party and made a kick ass cake to boot.  Check here for the recipe if you're into it.  She's got much better pictures than I do.

I got this message on my beer bottle cap.  Best end to my day.

Here's the contents of this week's Food Box... this is for you KT.

I made this ice cream.  I'm not going to apologize for giving you another ice cream recipe because I'm just not.  I wanted it to be with strawberries and you'll need to check my last post to understand why it's with mixed fruit instead.  No matter what, this ice cream had to be lemon for me.  It's creamy lemon, kinda like lemon curd ice cream.  I wanted to drink the custard.  I would honestly just make the ice cream and forget the fruit but if the fruit was roasted strawberries then it might be too good to resist.

Lemon Ice Cream with Mixed Fruit Mush  adapted from
serves about 8

6 egg yolks
2 heaping tbsp lemon zest
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 cup mixed fruit
1/3 cup sugar

Combine the milk, cream, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Heat slowly over medium heat until almost coming to a boil.  Turn the heat down to low.
Slowly add a ladle of the heated cream mixture to the egg yolks, stirring constantly.  Add a little more of the cream to the egg yolks.  Then pour the egg yolk mixture back into the cream mixture.  Stir over med/low heat until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon and stays separated when you run your finger through it (a candy thermometer should read 170°F)
Pour through a seive into a bowl and add in the lemon juice.  Cool custard a little then cover with clingfilm (place the clingfilm right on the custard so that it coats it completely).  Chill until the custard is cold (mine was chilled overnight).
Just before finishing the custard in the ice cream maker:  Combine the mixed fruit (rhubarb, blueberry, cherry for me) and sugar together in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and turn the heat down to med/low.  Simmer for about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid cooks off and the mixture is almost jam like.  Set aside to cool.
Finish the custard according to the instructions on your ice cream maker (Mine took about 20 - 25 minutes)
Remove the ice cream from the machine and loosely mix (I just did a couple of stirs to mine) the fruit through the ice cream.  Transfer everything to an airtight container and place in the freezer to harden.
Thaw for a few minutes to soften before serving.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

My Favourite Cookbooks

  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
  • Moosewood Cookbook

About Me

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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