One of the blessings of spending hours in the garden is the time it allows for reflection. It seems to be where I sort out first world problems. I was thinking yesterday about how heart-broken I was when the girls left home. For those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning, you’ve had a bird’s-eye view of my journey. My life’s ideal was crushed, as one by one my three daughter’s chose to build their lives provinces away from me. My need to stay deeply connected to them was suffocating. Looking back, all that heart-ache was such short-sighted misery. My fixation on them moving prevented me from maintaining my own sense of well-being. My life became secondary to the life I wasn’t having…
Despite my pathetic hints for them to return, my daughters are following their own life’s compasses. They’re making their own choices and happily living with the consequences. When I finally accepted that the girl’s wanting to write their own stories was healthy and not a narrative on my mothering skills, my paradigm shifted. There’s something wonderful about being able to love your children without being responsible for them. We raised our girls to embrace life’s possibilities. As Ralph would say, “you plant potatoes – you get potatoes”
Releasing myself from the preoccupation of my daughter’s leaving home and embracing the joy they are creating in their new worlds has cleared the way, for me, to understand that they have their lives and I have mine. Unlike when they were young, there are boundaries in our relationships, now, to be honoured. It’s the honour that’ll keep us meaningfully connected.
Beet Greens are the thinnings picked from between beets. Instead of throwing them on the compost pile, they’ve become a sought-after early crop at farmer’s markets. I’m sure you’ve had them steamed with a little butter and splash of vinegar. A favourite at my grandmother’s table! My Beet Greens Bruschetta with Balsamic Glaze and Chilies is just an Italian twist on a Maritime family tradition. It worked like a charm!
BEET GREENS BRUSCHETTA WITH BALSAMIC DRIZZLE AND CHILIES
1 large bunch young beet greens, rinsed thoroughly
2 ounces guanciale* or pancetta, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 dried red chilies, crushed
Reggiano-Parmigiano, for grating
- Place a large stock pot with 2” of lightly salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Put beet greens in boiling water, beet end first. Don’t worry about pushing the green ends into the water. Boil beet ends for 5 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil.
- When oil is hot, add chopped guanciale or pancetta and sauté until crispy.
- Add garlic and chilies to skillet – sauté for 1 minute.
- Using long tongs, lift beet greens from stock pot allowing most of the water to drip off.
- Add greens to skillet and toss well making sure the beet greens are well coated with the olive oil mixture. Cook until most of the water has evaporated.
- Remove skillet from heat.
- Slice 6 large, thick pieces of ciabatta and place on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle bread generously with extra virgin olive oil then place bread under your broiler.
- When the top is nicely toasted, remove baking sheet from the oven and repeat procedure for the other side.
- Divide beet greens between the 6 slices of toasted ciabatta
- Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Grate Parmigiano over all and finish with a flourish of balsamic glaze**
* Guanciale is a specialty pork product made from the pig’s jowl.
** Balsamic Glaze can be found in the vinegar section of most supermarkets.
THE LOVE: This dish is rustic Italian at it’s finest. Don’t fuss with it – just have fun!
one year ago: strawberry rhubarb pie
two years ago: off to Italy
three years ago: fresh ricotta with strawberry rhubarb marmellata
Thanks for reading.