As I drove home from the CSA truck this week, I noticed cilantro, green onions and garlic scapes peeking out of my City Feed and Supply bag. (A gift from one of my best friends who has allowed Brookline, Mass. to become a second home to me these past two years). I realized I had leftover parsley and mint from dinner with my grandmother at home…and wondered if I could pull all of these herbs together in some way.
Chimichurri came to mind, and was exciting for two reasons….1. It’s rare to find an accompaniment for grilled meat that doesn’t include gallons of high fructose corn syrup. 2. We (Orthodox folks) had been fasting from meat for about two weeks, and the prospect of breaking the fast with a big hunk of animal and a delicious sauce sounded great.
First, I sauteed the green onions and garlic scapes in olive oil, with salt.
Then I tossed the mint, parsley and cilantro in the food processor with the scapes and the green onions, drizzling in more olive oil and lemon juice as it blended.
And added red pepper flakes after it emerged.
Because of the mint in the sauce, I wanted to maintain a Middle Eastern theme with the rest of the dish, so I marinated the meat in red wine, lemon juice and garlic, and braised the bok choy and radishes (also from this week’s pick-up) in a pomegranate juice-sumac combination (which made a yummy drizzle later as well)…and served them with pine nuts and olives, of course.
Then a friend arrived, with homemade sangria, and we broke the fast together, outside, held by the warm summer evening. As we ate, I recalled something I had read recently, written by Saint Augustine, “My will was perverse and lust had grown from it, and when I gave into lust, habit was formed and when I did not resist the habit, it became a necessity.” I realized, after considering this passage, that I want as few “necessities” in life as possible. I also realized that I love my church…for giving us opportunities many times throughout the year, to discipline ourselves, to break habits and redefine that which is essential.