Tag Archive: Sprouting

Sprouted Lentil and Cucumber Salad

I brought sprouted lentil and cucumber salad to a potluck dinner at a neighbor’s house last night. The host had spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen. I commented that perhaps it wasn’t right that I’d brought a salad that only took about ten minutes to prepare. Then I thought about what went into my preparations. First, I grew the cucumber. Then – sprouted the lentils. One of my friends said in response to my saying I’d sprouted the lentils, “Elizabeth, you know there are the Whole Foods and The Harris Teeter. You don’t have to make your own sprouts.”
(Oh, you can just imagine, dear reader, my initial unspoken response in my head.)
“Yes, I do know that,” I responded, but there are so many reasons to do your own sprouting.”
1. Especially in winter, home sprouts are the freshest greens you will get.
2. No salmonella with home sprouts. (This got an enthusiastic back up from a fellow guest who was now thinking maybe she should start sprouting.)
3. Cuts way down on plastic waste. Consider how sprouts are packaged for supermarket sale.
4. Cost savings–a very inexpensive food instead of one marketed as a high-cost gourmet specialty food. (The conversation took on a life of its own; I no longer needed to be the advocate).

The Recipe:

Peel and seed a cucumber or two. Cut into 1/2″ or slightly larger dice. Mince about 1/6 cup sweet onion or white and pale green part scallion (or more or less to taste). Add a couple of generous handfuls of lentil sprouts. Use more sprouts than cucumbers if serving as the main feature of a cool summer light meal instead of as a side salad. Splash with olive oil and then toss to coat. Add a little balsamic, red wine, or sherry vinegar. Toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste. I also added minced cilantro and jalapeno because the main course was enchiladas. For an Italian version, try with fresh basil and a little green or red bell pepper. For a Spanish style salad, use parsley and replace the vinegar with lemon juice. Think of your own variations and don’t be shy about sharing.

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Winter Gardening, Vikalpa Samskara, and Bhavana

My cherished friend Cynthia for who there will be a memorial service on Wednesday often said that her favorite time of year to garden was winter.  She was not only a passionate gardener who had established an exquisite ornamental garden over a period of decades, but also a scintillating intellect.  In winter, of course, she would tend the houseplants and have flowers from forced bulbs, but that was not “winter gardening;” it was just having some beauty in the house. Winter gardening for Cynthia meant sitting in her nice warm house, reading stacks of gardening books and seed and plant catalogs and planning ways to enhance and develop the garden come the new growing season.  Cynthia did not practice yoga or meditation although she asked about yoga and exhibited her habitual, engaged and polite intellectual curiosity about my practice out of friendship.

After I took care of the house plants this morning, I sat down with a gardening book and read it while I had my morning hot drink and thought of Cynthia saying this was the best gardening time.  This time last year, I was marveling that I had chard to eat from the garden and espousing the joy of sprouting indoors in order to have fresh food year round (still sprouting and recommend it to all especially this harsh winter).  This year I cannot even see the containers (see picture below after five days of melting and before another coating to come this afternoon), much less any plants outside, so spring gardening will be a completely different experience than it was last year.  I go back, then, to my books.  I read about edible container gardening for climates where spring starts later than is typical for DC.  I think about what I can start indoors and whether I will want to start with different plants.  In the space of time when I cannot actually garden, I develop my intellectual knowledge so that my garden skills and experience can still develop.  When I am out in the garden this spring, digging in the dirt, watching things grow, I will experience with joy in my very being the subtle and not so subtle differences from a dry, warm winter and a cold, snowy one throughout the whole growing season.

This pulsing relationship among practical experience, study, and joyous understanding is our true practice (sadhana).  Steady practice includes not just actual doing of postures and meditation, but also repeated study for enhanced intellectual understanding of what we are experiencing (vikalpa samskara), and joyous, non-intellectual contemplation with heart and spirit (bhavana) of the burgeoning of combined experience and study.  When we appreciate on the mat and off that there will be times for practical experience, times for study, and times just to rest with a rich fullness of contemplation of the fruits of experience and study for the joyous recognition of beauty and consciousness, then we will never be empty.  We will not suffer from the confinement of a blizzard or an injury because we will know that it is time to shift our focus from being on the mat or on our meditation cushion or out of the garden (or whatever it is that is your work or hobby or course of study) and more to studying what others can teach us in words or demonstration.  We will know that the more we enhance our practice with both practicum and book learning, the more we can move towards an ever refined and steady abiding of whatever is our passion in our hearts.

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Yum — Fresh Sprouts

Unable to wait another 3-4 weeks before the first baby greens can be picked, I’ve been sprouting indoors.  In 2-4 days, with just a little attention, you can have the taste of spring in the smallest and darkest of spaces.  I had a good on-line experience getting spout supplies from the Sprout People.

Tonight I made sprout slaw.  I chopped some red cabbage, minced some onion, added an equal volume of  “French Garden” sprouts (clover, arugula, cress, radish, fenugreek, and dill).  Dressed the slaw with sherry vinegar, dijon mustard, unsweetened soy milk (if you drink it, you could substitute milk or yoghurt — I just like to cut the amount of mayonnaise), vegan mayonnaise (you can make your own if you like–sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t), and sea salt.  Went fabulously well with rice and beans (yes, my diet is still under the influence of the trip to Tucson).

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