Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jung and Brussel Sprouts, Synchronicity

For the past several months, I've been attending Quaker meeting for worship.  Quakers have a unique approach to worship.  Worship involves sitting in silence, with an attitude of expectant waiting.  We sit in silence for an hour and listen for/to God.  It is amazing.

I've found that even if at first the silence may be uncomfortable, and I'm distracted, and the chatter in my mind won't turn off, by the end of the hour, I'm renewed.  Meetings for worship have taught me to be mindful, to be receptive to God, to NOTICE.

Since I've been more mindfully present in my life and in the mundane daily moments, I'm noticing patterns and coincidences that normally would pass me by.  This week, I've had an odd series of coincidences revolving around Carl Jung.

As I reread my journals last week in a personal celebration of my 30th birthday, I thought of my life as a giant spiral. Each year is a loop, like growth rings of a tree, but each ring radiates out from my core personality.  Sometimes there are spokes of themes that I revisit again and again, year after year.  When I mentioned this to my poet friend, Laurel, who wrote a series of poems on the spiral, she said, "I first came upon that idea when I was reading Jung."

Then the next night Kent and I were watching an old episode of Northern Exposure, and Chris, the radio deejay, was reading excerpts of Jung on the air.

Finally, I went to tutor a high school student this afternoon, and on his mom's coffee table was a copy of The Portable Jung.

I'm not sure that this sure what this all means, except that now I know I've got to read some Jung.  So I have reserved copies of The Portable Jung and Memories, Dreams, Reflections from the library.   Maybe this is just an odd coincidence.  Maybe the Divine is trying to tell me something. Or maybe, and I think Jung might argue, I'm experiencing synchronicity.  That is even though these events are causally unrelated, I've put them together to create personal meaning.

Which of course leads me to brussel sprouts.  Keep up with me here: causally unrelated things that I'm putting together to create my own personal meaning.  We had tempeh reubens for dinner last night.  The reubens made me crave brussel sprouts with tahini sauce.  It seemed like an odd, and quite unlikely combination.  I for one, was baffled at first as to why I would want to mix my brassicas--cabbage sauerkraut and brussel sprouts--with rye bread and sesame seed paste.  But, then it hit me, the first time I went through a Tempeh Reuben phase was in Omaha at McFoster's Natural Kind Cafe.  Not only did McFoster's make a might fine tempeh rueben, they also made a delcious tahini dressing with--you guessed it--roasted brussel sprouts.  So, perhaps my tempeh reuben/brussel sprout connection was not really synchronicity, but it's fun to pretend.  And, the pairing of tahini smothered brussel sprouts and reubens?  Quite in sync.

Tahini Sauce

This is really Kent's recipe--which is a riff on McFoster's tahini dressing.  He worked there as a server for a brief stint when we first met.  This is a fine accompaniment not only for brussel sprouts, but all manner of vegetables and salads.  It is paricularly delicious as a substitute for tziki sauce inside of felafal pitas.  Be sure to use roasted tahini as straight tahini is very bitter.

For the brussel sprouts:
To prepare the brussel sprouts, halve them, and fry cut side down in a generous mixture of butter and olive oil over medium heat until they begin to caramelize and turn golden brown.  Watch carefully as they can burn quickly. As soon as they are golden brown, add about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and cover.  Continue to cook until the sprouts are just tender, and the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes or so.  Toss or drizzle with dressing before serving.
For the sauce:
 1 large clove of garlic, smashed
1/4 cup roasted tahini
1/4 cup water, or more until desired consistency is reached
juice of 1/2 a lemon
dash of salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 T. fresh parsley

With a mortar and pestle, smash the garlic to a paste.  Whisk garlic paste with tahini, water, and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in parsley.  Serve.

This will keep in the fridge nicely for a couple of days, although you might have to thin it with more water.


MaryKate said...

I've been looking for a decent Tahini recipe. Definitely going to give this one a try!

Marlayna said...

It's good to catch up on your blog posts. I enjoyed reading about your journalling re-reading. I never have the courage to do that, because it always makes me cringe! The recurring theme in my mind lately has been "abundance," so may you find abundance in your intentional simplicity, and abundance in the silence.