Spring Lightness

by Joan Greenblatt

BlackbirdOne winter I had an interesting experience. I fractured my ankle and spent two months healing. Each afternoon I needed to rest and would sit on the couch looking out into the garden, as light streamed in through the back windows a small blackbird with a long tapered tail came by to visit—he came out the same time every day and sat on a post. Once in a while his mate sat nearby, but mostly it was me and the blackbird, sitting and watching the fading afternoon light. Those silent, slow afternoons were when I felt the real healing taking place.

When spring arrived the blackbird didn’t returned, and there was no time or need for me to sit and watch the afternoon sun. I imagined the bird filling its nest with straw to ready itself for whatever the spring would bring. Lightness that comes from savoring each moment as it unfolds, accepting what life brings as contentedly as a little blackbird sitting on a post, without any expectation, is what that little bird continued to teach me—even in his absence.

So to celebrate spring, I created a few simple and wonderfully light meals that take only moments to prepare.

Tofu Egg Salad Wrap (Serves 4)
This is a very quick and simple dish to prepare.
2 C firm tofu, mashed
2 T soya or egg mayonnaise
1 t mustard, prepared whole seed
1 T tamari or soya sauce
½ t turmeric powder
dash of cayenne pepper
2 T dill, chopped small
½ C celery, chopped very small
2 tomatoes, de-seeded and cut into small chunks
4 whole wheat tortillas
Optional: ½ C cilantro, chopped very small

1. Mash first seven ingredients together with a fork or in a food processor, don’t over process. Mix in celery.
2. Fill a warm tortilla with ½ C of filling; add 2 T tomatoes.
3. Top with chopped cilantro
4. Fold bottom up and then flap each side over each other.

Guacamole Tostada with Fresh Salsa (Serves 4)
A most simple and complete dish.

1 avocado
2 T lemon juice & 1 t lemon zest
½ t coriander powder
½ t cumin powder
cayenne pepper, pinch
½ t salt
4 corn tostadas
Salsa & Shredded lettuce

1. Mash first six ingredients together with a fork or in a food processor.
2. Spread guacamole mix on corn tostada.
3. Top with salsa and lettuce.

Roasted Red Pepper & Mushroom, Asparagus & Feta Baguette (Serves 4)
We were very busy one day and had to put something together in moments. Some steamed asparagus were waiting in the refrigerator; with a few additions this sandwich revealed itself.

2 T olive oil
2 red peppers, sliced thin
10 button mushrooms, chopped
16 asparagus, pick the thin stems, steamed until tender
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced very thin
1 C feta cheese, grated soya cheese can be substituted
½ C basil leaves, chopped very small
4 whole wheat baguettes

1. Stir-fry red peppers and mushrooms in olive oil until tender.
2. Heat bread by brushing it with olive oil and toasting it in the fry pan you sautéed the pepper & mushrooms in.
3. Layer the bread with the pepper & mushrooms, 4 asparagus per sandwich, ¼ C cheese, basil. Top with cucumber slices.

Fresh Salsa
The trick to really good salsa is using very firm tomatoes that have not been refrigerated. Cut the tomatoes in half and de-seed. Cooking the onions makes it easier to digest.

4 tomatoes (plum are best)
1 onion, chopped; optional: lightly sauté in 1 T olive oil
½ C cilantro, remove leaves from stalk
½ – 1 green chili pepper, depending on how hot you want it
½ t salt

Blend everything together in a food processor. Don’t over blend; it should remain a bit chunky.