Broccoli Rabe, Shakshuka Style

This is a new brunch favorite of mine any day of the week. It is eggs baked over a vegetable stew in a skillet however this is a earthy green version minus the tomatoes. Another great addition is spicy sausage if you are so inclined. Enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 diced green bell peppers
  • 1 seeded and diced jalapeno pepper
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 pound of diced Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon diced fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch of diced broccoli rabe
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 4-6 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons of shredded Parmesan cheese

PREPARATION

Step 1:  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy 12- to 14-inch skillet; cast iron is best. Add onions, bell peppers and jalapeños and sauté on medium about 10 minutes until vegetables are tender and starting to color. Stir in garlic, cook for a minute or two, then stir in potatoes. Reduce heat a bit and sauté another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and add thyme.

Step 2:  Add broth and cook on medium-low until much of it has evaporated and potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add broccoli rabe. Cook, stirring occasionally until broccoli rabe has wilted, softened and reduced. Fold in chile flakes and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Turn off heat. Smooth top of vegetables and use the back of a soup spoon to make 4 or 6 evenly spaced shallow depressions in the mixture.

Step 3:  Light broiler and adjust a rack fairly close to the heat. Just before serving, break an egg into each of the depressions in the vegetables. Place skillet under the broiler until whites are set and yolks are still runny (they’ll wiggle if gently touched), 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Dust each egg with cheese and enjoy!

A Future to Believe In.

Wow what a YUGE weekend.  Sun in Aquarius. Freedom. Revolution. All the best vybes. We came together in community to march and raise our voices making history. We could not help but take a deep exhale of relief in knowing that there are millions of others like us around the world that are willing to take action to create real change.

I also sunk deep into Vedanta philosophy this weekend to try and comprehend how karma, that is how our intentions and actions influence our future, plays into our destiny. First consider the Law of Causation which is a cause for an effect and an effect for a cause operating at the physical, mental and intellectual levels. For example, if the physical body is well fed and exercised it would presently be healthy. If the body had no physical training and were sensually indulgent it would be sickly. Similarly, thoughts and emotions that are positive or negative would determine the nature of the present personality. So what we are now is a result of what we have been doing in the past, dating back from this moment. This is the Law of Destiny because it deals with our past and present status. Our destiny at any time is therefore the result of our past.  We reap what we sow. We are the creators of our destiny. We are the architect of our lives. There is no extraneous power controlling our life. The divine is a supreme power which enables us to think, desire and act but the quality of our activities is entirely our making. As petrol is to movement of all cars, the divine is the prime mover of all activities. But petrol does not determine the mode and course of their motion. It is the engine that provides the power in the car and the driver determines its direction or course. The human mind and intellect determine the nature and direction of activities. And then in turn fabricate destiny, not the divine, so the responsibility of our life therefore lies in our hands.

What we would be in the future would depend upon what we do from this moment. This is the Law of Karma which covers our past, present and future. We are not only the product of our past but the producer of our future as well. There are two forces operating in our life. The one from the past that has shaped our destiny, know as prarabdha, and the other which gives us the freedom to choose our action, purushartha. Our destiny at present is the effect of all our past self-efforts. Imagine a wall that is painted yellow. Apply a little blue paint on it and it turns to green. But if we keep applying blue over and over the yellow gets neutralized and the color turns blue. The blue paint is free will, our self-effort. The yellow paint on the wall is our destiny. Just as the blue in the hand is free from the yellow on the wall, our self-effort is independent of our destiny. But when we apply our self-effort against our destiny the effect produced is different. Keep on applying our self-effort in the same direction and in due time our destiny changes in the direction set by our effort.

It was a powerful day Saturday as everyone came together peacefully to unite for Human Rights. However this was the first coat of paint on that yellow wall. We all need to actively continue to participate and put self-effort into this cause to make an effect and change our world. Not once a month, not once a year, but daily in every single moment. Write or call your congressmen. Volunteer regularly in your community. Listen to others with kindness and an open heart, looking them in the eye, recognizing and honoring the divine inside each and everyone. It is our effort that makes the difference to our destiny. Feel the bern yogis, Namaste.

Moderation.

We are more than two weeks into the new year and it’s time again to accept the brevity of New Year resolutions. I am the first to proclaim they rarely stick yet year after year I would begin a drastic routine or new regimen that would somehow transform my life for the better. With each rotation around the sun I have realized these are doomed for failure not because of willpower but because fixation with being overly severe can create unnecessary rigidity and restriction…the exact opposite of growth and expansion I was attempting to obtain. Yoga Sutra 2.38, Brahmacarya pratisthayam viryalabhah, is about moderation and taking the middle path, the one of flexibility and balance. Inherently we all know this but why do we continue to set unrealistic goals every January?

We live in a society where happiness is equated with lavish comforts and enjoyment. Today’s world has become so extreme…it has to be epic, baller, monumental, or insane to be noteworthy. How easily we become sidetracked in fulfilling these sensory appetites that we lose sight of our original intent of finding peace within. When we fixate on sensory gratification we become bound to it. Moderation produces the highest individual vitality.  Too much of anything brings problems. Too little may be inadequate. Nothing is wasted by us if we seek to develop balance. By keeping strong and calm, aligned with our creative energy instead of our fleeting desires, we become resilient and cultivate true joy and health. Listening to our bodies and thinking about where to direct our energy we develop poise. And that’s what we really need going into this New Year. Shine on yogis, Namaste.

Greek Goddess Dip

This is a staple in my fridge…I absolutely love to dip sliced golden beets in it. The yellow and green hues remind me of the sweet warmth of summertime during these cold months. Oh, and it’s also truly amazing on salads and potatoes too.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

PREPARATION

  1. Place dill, mint, parsley, basil, garlic, scallions, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  2. With motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated.  Add feta and process until smooth; pulse in yogurt.  Taste dip and add more salt, if desired.
  3. Enjoy immediately or cover and store in refrigerator!

#meditateeverydamnday

New Year. New Intentions. And this year, 2017, I have begun a year long commitment to an ashtanga yoga practice. Why? So many reasons…strengthen my physical practice, go inward, generate prana…but in truth it is to meditate. I have trouble sitting for any length of time because shortly into it a small cramp, tinge or pain will show up.  Sure the mental aspect of meditation is the eventual challenge but finding a relaxed seat is my most pressing matter.  Our issues are in our tissues.

The great sage Patanjali revealed in Yoga Sutra 2.46, Sthira sukhamasanam, that posture is to be cultivated with the two qualities of steadiness and ease. However our physical bodies are ravaged with tension and physical and mental toxins resulting in this struggle to find a stable comfortable seat.  So we come to the physical practice of yoga postures to summon pain as our teacher.  Bending, twisting and folding cleanse the liver, spleen, intestines and various organs in the physical body. Longer holds access our emotional body. When we stop trying to avoid the pain we tap into our ability to transform tension into attention. Through focus rather than fidgeting we access ease. Asana provides us the vehicle to release the anxieties and neuromuscular patterning that have vitrified in place.

Tapas is the the heat generated by the yogic practice that burns off our impurities. When our will conflicts with the desire of our mind an internal “fire” is created which illuminates and burns up our mental and physical impurities. By learning to accept pain within the safe space of yoga we learn to create a pause between the stimulus of pain and the response in our body and mind that wants to avoid or run away. As the late BKS Iyengar so eloquently stated, “Life without tapas is like a heart without love.” This balance of tension and ease in stillness is the state in which we resonate in our own true nature, our own true brilliance. Shine on yogis, Namaste.