It's been a heck of a year, this 2015, and I sure can't think of a better way to close it than right here, in this paradise called Hawaii with the people I love the most. We arrived here the day after Christmas, the first one in ages that was busy in a 'just right' sort of way; one that didn't seem to scar me like the usual running-around-like-a-crazy-woman kind of way that it used to.
I attribute this to the fact that my kids are older now, and they understand fully (though they are not always fully appreciating yet) the new nod towards having fewer of all things (not just our approach to food), in order for what we do have to shine brightly and to fill more space and provide more fulfillment than a million shiny new things ever could. This year we got a small tree, wrapped up a small number of extremely well thought out gifts, enjoyed a wonderfully cozy Christmas meal with beloved family, and packed our small bags for this epic holiday in the sun, surf, and sand. I honestly can't think of a better Christmas than this in my history. If this is a sign of things to come with older kids then sign me up, for real!
On arrival, with the cupboards bare and the excitement high, I made this salad with a few bare bones and what I could get up the street before the big shop could be attempted. We've 10 hungry folks to feed here, and my job as always is salads, more salads, and ensuring the house is well stocked with ripe fruit for salsas, guacamole, and smoothies. It's a role I relish, as finding perfectly ripe Sharwil avocadoes, strawberry papayas and apple bananas might just be one of my favourite things in the world - especially when I'm right in the heart of it all, and I can buy them for literally nothing compared to being at home. But back to this salad, as it's a reminder of what can be done in a pinch, with a few key ingredients, and perhaps a little sunshine (real or imagined).
And as for this business of another new year? Staying simple, focused, and more real than ever is shaping up to be the goal for 2016. The kind of real that leaves time for life things, like listening to a song that matters in ways you can't measure*, reading a book that could change entire paradigms for peace, new perspective and lasting happiness, or simply taking some much needed time to centre yourself, even if it's just fifteen minutes. Eliminating negativity, focusing on what's working, and relishing time with good friends, opportunities to make a difference in community, and for just loving being alive. Happy New Year beautiful people! Giant sun-burned hugs to you all. See you all on the other side. xox
*If any of you are Natalie Merchant fans and/or love music, I can't recommend watching her self produced memoir about her album Tiger Lily more highly. It's touching, real, and a reminder of how each of us has a unique talent to give - and by giving freely of ourselves lives can be changed in ways we can't measure. I needed kleenex for this one believe it or not, quite a lot of it. You've been warned ;)
Chickpea Salad with Sweet Onion, Arugula + Olives:
- 3 cups dry chickpeas, soaked
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 2 cups pitted and sliced kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup Mirin
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 cups arugula
First, put up the chickpeas to soak in plenty of clean water to cover for 12-24 hours, then rinse and drain. Cook in a large pot of boiling water for 45-75 minutes until the chickpeas are really soft.
Chop the onion and parsley and drain the olives. Once the chickpeas are cooked to a buttery softness, drain and rinse briefly. While the beans are still warm, toss them in the oil, Mirin, salt and rice vinegar. Allow them to marinate until room temperature, and then toss in the onion, parsley and olives. Just before serving, mix in the arugula leaves and serve with extra salt, lemon wedges, and black pepper to finish.