May has been a torturous month.
For the past five years, I endure a vicious series of incredibly invasive medical tests on the anniversary of my heart transplant in 2010. When I get the “all clear” after five years (ie. no signs of rejection or vascular blockages), they leave me alone. Unfortunately, over the last five years, and decade before that with an extended illness that was life changing, I’ve had so many of these kinds of tests that I’ve developed scarring inside. This makes any testing more painful than necessary. I had my testing in the first week of May and have spent the last couple of weeks trying not to scream.
I cook. I eat. All of these don’t change. I focus on the best ingredients possible from the nicest people who raise their animals or crops with the greatest respect for the earth. When my mind is overwhelmed with dealing with pain, I cook on auto-pilot for awhile. That generally leaves little brain space for blogging. I’ve posted bits on Instagram during that time, trying to bring my body and mind back to some level of homeostasis.
The first thing I do to level myself is to connect even closer to nature. Smile at a wild hare hopping through a park. Get “lilac drunk” on the headiness of spring blossoms.
Finally, after taking a slower walk through the park to take in the variety of blossoms, the early morning warbling croaks of ravens in distant trees, my brain finally found a place for the weeks of pain. Pain isn’t always a bruise or physical abrasion, but sometimes the pain lingers in your head and takes over. It’s a matter, for me anyways, of finding a means to categorize its effects, learn from it and carry it forward with a compassionate sense.
This all was a part of how last night’s Grilled Asparagus Guacamole evolved over the last few days, both within the inspiration in my own mind and the love and compassion that farmers have for the earth and the fruits of their labour. Enjoy life. Enjoy this recipe. And stop for a little “Lilac Therapy” when it’s needed. It’s a short season. The time is now 🙂
Grilled Asparagus Guacamole
For the “Flax Egg”
2 Tbsp flax seeds
2 cups water
In a small pot, bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Add the flax seeds, reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer without stirring for 20 minutes. Strain away the seeds and reserve the liquid. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. It will have a egg-like thickness to it.
For the rhubarb compote:
1/2 cup fresh rhubarb, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp water
Add the rhubarb and water to a small pot. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer for five minutes. Uncover, stirring occasionally, and reduce for a further 7-10 minutes until thick. Set aside to cool.
For the Blanched Pea Shoots:
1 cup fresh pea shoots
In a medium pot over medium high heat, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the pea shoots and blanch for 1 minute until slightly softened. Take out of the boiling water and immediately plunge into ice water to cool. Set aside.
For the Grilled Vegetables:
1/2 sweet green pepper, stem and seeds removed, quartered
200g/8 oz fresh asparagus
1/2 jalapeño pepper, halved, seeds removed
1 medium green tomatoes, thickly sliced
4-5 spring onions
2 Tbsp oil
Add all of the vegetables to a large bowl, drizzle with the oil and toss gently with your fingers. Grill over medium high heat until dark on all sides (about 5-7 minutes for most of the veggies. The spring onions only need 2-3 minutes).
For the Grilled Asparagus Guacamole:
Reserved Flax Eggs
Reserved Rhubarb Compote
Reserved Grilled Veggies
Reserved Blanched Pea Shoots
1/2 cup cold pressed oil (extra virgin olive oil if you have it pressed nearby. I’m using a cold pressed camelina oil lately because it’s pressed in a neighbouring province regularly and it’s both delicious and extra nutritious 🙂 )
2 tsp salt
In a blender, add the Flax Eggs, Grilled spring onions, peppers, jalapeño, green tomatoes and Rhubarb Compote. Purée until smooth. Add the grilled asparagus and blanched pea shoots. Purée again until smooth. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the oil to make a thicker, smoother emulsion. Season with salt to taste. Serve with flatbread chips (I baked cut strips of flatbread wound around an inverted muffin pan to make “dipper chips”).