Of Chickpeas & Chickadees

Give Us This Day

The authors of Redeeming Creation suggest that knowledge is the beginning of committed stewardship. They believe that if we know creation on a "first-name, right-name basis" (recognizing the difference between a chickpea and a chickadee, for instance), we may begin to love it and want to care for it. (p.98)

This reminds me of Jim Merkel's suggestion in Radical Simplicity— to go to the same outdoors secret spot every day for a year, to map the area... learn every plant and animal there... explore the soil...watch the insects...listen to the birds.

In both cases, the idea is to develop a rich and intimate knowledge of the world and its creatures, as a first step to caring.

So maybe you might spend some time outdoors this week (I've been doing this in below-freezing weather and loving it!) And maybe you'll see a chickadee (do they migrate? I don't even know.) In the meantime, I'll take care of bringing you the chickpeas...

Curried Chickpeas & Cukes

Curried Chickpeas

Fry 'til quite brown:
- 1 medium onion

Add & saute quickly:
- a couple of garlic, minced
- about a 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled & minced, or smashed using mortar & pestle
- 3/4 tsp. turmeric
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. curry powder (Shan is a good brand)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. onion seed (Indian name is "calonji")

Add & cook until very thick, like a reduction:

- 1/2 cup diced or pureed tomatoes
- water, about two inches high in pan

Mash above with potato masher, then add & cook about 15-20 min, or 'til thick:

- about 3 or 4 cups canned or cooked chickpeas
- water to cover
- salt & pepper to taste

- 1/2 tsp. garam masala
- small handful chopped cilantro
- good pour of olive oil

Serve with sliced cucumbers, yogurt, spicy cabbage, and rice or flatbread.

About Chickpeas: These lovely golden legumes have been shown to lower cholesterol. They contain excellent amounts of protein, fiber, iron (more than any other legume), calcium, and the B vitamins thiamine and niacin.

Cabbage with Cilantro

Spicy Cabbage

Saute 'til soft in small bit of oil:

- 1/4 diced onion

Add & saute 'til limp:

- 1/3 of a green cabbage, chopped
- small sprinkle of mustard seeds

Add & let sit covered a few minutes:

- about 1/3 of a chili pepper, minced (red looks nice, green works though)
- small handful chopped cilantro
- quick pour of olive oil
- about 1 tsp. of sugar
- salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

All photos by L.L. Barkat.

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Blogger Christianne said...

What a great idea! I love this thought about visiting the same space again and again in order to truly know it. It's in line with your smallness of scale posts, too: tune into one or two things to grow deeper into them.

This makes me feel better, too, about my tendency to get hung up on a couple things. Like, for instance, the hills surrounding the city where I grew up. They're glorious, velvety brown (or green, in spring when it's been rainy), and everywhere you turn, in a 360-degree radius, you see them. (And this is in overrun Southern California, no less! Do you guys know we have beautiful hills and mountains there?!)

Anyway, I feel like my heart gets a dagger stabbed straight through it every time I drive through my favorite canyon and notice the Evil Land Developers have severed out another chunk of my favorite hills to make room for another freeway pass or another homogenized cookie-cutter track home development. GRRRRRR!!!!

I guess you could say those hills are my "one thing" I've chosen to focus on and know for a long time now. I feel I can hear them weeping, audible only to those who truly choose to listen.

10:03 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Christianne, what a poignant response. I think that's the idea with creation care... if we don't hear the weeping, we don't offer the hand in comfort or protection.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Green Earth said...

You have given some inspired thoughts for my day and so well said.

Will try and make your great recipes. They are just the type of food I love to eat, best wishes, The Artist

2:41 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

That is a fantastic idea; I still have a few of these Favorite Places where I live and like the idea of visiting it daily to be acquainted with it. What I have always loved about where I live is that there are large stretches of land that are allowed to remain untouched by bulldozers & timber companies.

Sadly, these places are becoming fewer & further between. Where I see a place to be quiet & breathe deeply, developers see big profit potential by razing the land & putting in 300 new condos (I feel your pain, Christianne!). It is painful, especially considering that the natural beauty of the area is the initial draw for most of those who live in this corner of the world.

LL - thank you for another thoughtful post. I also look forward to trying this recipe - perfect for the cold, wet WA days!!

4:38 PM  
Blogger Christianne said...

I guess my Big Question is: Is there any way to stop this from happening? What would it take to get the Evil Land Developers to stop before our whole earth is demolished or erected into ugly man-made structures? Or, if it happens anyway, is there any way to reverse it afterward? Like, can creation be remade?

Maybe this is what God meant by bringing a new heaven and a new earth.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Christianne said...

Oh, and by the way, I totally know that your motive behind raising all these issues, LL, is to help us focus on what WE can do in our small spheres of life, and to help spread the word among other individuals likewise. But I still want to know if there's any hope of reversing this trend, what it would take, and whether creation killed can be reborn. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

11:55 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Green Earth... enjoy! Let me know if you need any further tips on preparation.

Kirsten... it pains me too, to see the developments overtake. Yet, I wonder, where will people otherwise live?

Christianne... as I said to Kirsten, I do believe people must have living accommodations. So the question is "what Kind?" Surely it needn't be ugly. And surely there could be requirements for regionally appropriate landscaping and green spaces left at certain intervals.

I read your question about re-creation and then had scrolled down to my own Wordless Wednesday. I was struck by the Ezekial passage under it (was God answering your question before you even asked it? Maybe.) "This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden..."

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This returning, again and again, is my game plan for developing more of a sense of place in my own life. I've lately been thinking that the place doesn't need to be unique for me to have a sense of it. I just need to be aware of its features.

Reminds me of how Henry Higgins fell in love with Eliza Doolittle . . .
"I've grown accustomed to her face.
She almost makes the day begin.
I've grown accustomed to the tune that
She whistles night and noon.
Her smiles, her frowns,
Her ups, her downs
Are second nature to me now;
Like breathing out and breathing in.
I was serenely independent and content before we met;
Surely I could always be that way again-
And yet
I've grown accustomed to her look;
Accustomed to her voice;
Accustomed to her face."

As I grow accustomed to the place I live in, I will love it and admire it and care for it as I should.

6:26 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Charity, I like that... returning again and again. And there needs to be attentiveness in the returning, yes? For, we can also be blind in the returning.

8:43 PM  
Blogger bluemountainmama said...

l.l. - i think you would really enjoy fred first's blog: www.fragmentsfromfloyd.com . he does what jim merkel suggested. he is a biologist and photographer, and most of his writings are about his little farm in southwest virginia and all the small wonders in nature there. if you stop by, definitely check out his photo galleries. great stuff!

and curried chickpeas! yum!!!! i was a vegetarian before i met my husband. sometimes i'm able to sneak tofu or soy into recipes, but he usually catches me! i HAVE been able to get him to eat curried lentils, begrudgingly though. i might have to make these just for me b/c they sound so good.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Can I come for dinner? Mmmmm!

9:24 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Any time. Just name your chickpea dish.

1:42 PM  

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