Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Unfolding: Roasted Artichokes with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

Last night, I dreamed about my yoga teacher.

If you are lucky, you have had a wonderful teacher in your life.  Maybe you have had several.  I had an 8th grade Algebra teacher who made math speak English to me, an 11th grade English teacher who fed my ravenous appetite for books, a 12 grade English teacher who helped me to craft my writing, a professor who read my senior thesis all the way through even though I wasn't his advisee, a graduate school professor who believed in me and helped me to get a doctorate by helping me to put the dissertation in perspective.  And now, I have Bonnie (or AmarJyothi).  Though I'm by no means an expert, I have taken my share of yoga classes.  I have never had a teacher like her.  She manages to make the class extremely challenging and extremely approachable.  She speaks in English, not yoga speak, but she also speaks to the spirit.  If I had a guru, it would be Bonnie.

I can only manage to get myself to yoga class once a week, if that.  But I have long dreamed idly of doing teacher training.  The 200 hour commitment, while daunting, seems like such an amazing opportunity to go deep.  And yet, part of me has wondered if this interest in teacher training is just because I have a good teacher; after all, part of the reason I majored in English as an undergrad was because of those high school teachers ... when we're searching, we want to be like the people we most admire, don't we?

There is an information session in a week and a half.  I finally got up the courage last night to send Bonnie a note, ask her how good one has to be in order to embark on that journey.  She didn't tell me to do it or to not do it, but her answer was straightforward and simple, just like her instructions in class: "The immersion is to take you from where you are to where you want to be."  Then, with a winking emoticon, she told me I should ask current participants about how mean she is.

I don't know if I have time for a 200 hour commitment, and if I want to give up time on the weekends, the only time I have to spend with Ian.  I need more information (though Bonnie gave me the names of some current trainees whom I could ask about the time commitment and experience).  But it's been fun to play with the idea more seriously than I ever have before.  Imagine.  Unfolding.  What could happen?  Am I crazy?

In India, the lotus flower is considered sacred as it represents the uplifted spirit in the middle of the materialistic environment. It represents the yogi who is living in a worldly environment, yet radiating beauty and spirituality all around. The lotus flower comes from the mud, rising with its long root to the surface of dirty ponds.  It's artichoke season here in Jersey, and though it's in the thistle family, not the lotus family, artichokes, too, rise up out of muddy soil to offer up a beautiful surprise, all folded up inside layers.  Maybe I won't be a lotus.  But I could aspire to be an artichoke.

Roasted Artichokes with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

6 baby artichokes (or one 15-ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium Roma tomatoes, diced and drained
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil and drained)
1/2 tablespoon agave nectar or other sweetener (I used hardly any)
1 15-ounce can cici (garbanzo) beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons lightly chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1. Wash artichokes and remove tough outer leaves. With a knife, trim stem and cut off the top ½ inch of each artichoke. As you go, place artichokes in a large bowl of water with 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Let trimmed chokes soak in lemon water for 20 minutes (this helps preserve their color when cooking).
2. Preheat oven to 350˚. Remove chokes from lemon water (turn upside down to drain thoroughly) and place in a lightly oiled, shallow ceramic or glass baking dish (not metal); sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender, 30 minutes for small chokes and 45–60 minutes for medium and larger ones. Remove from oven and cool.
3. Heat oil in a large, nonstick or heavy skillet on medium heat. Add onion and saut√© until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes,, sun-dried tomatoes, and agave. Stir. After 1 minute, reduce heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes. Add beans, basil, and olive oil, combining well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Cut cooled artichokes in half and place in a large bowl; add bean-tomato mixture and toss lightly. Serve.
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  1. this sounds wonderful -- i do love me some chickpeas.

    and three cheers for yoga teachers who speak english! after all, the folks in india making this stuff up understood the words they were using. it grates on me when language is used to make things mysterious or confusing. (although i have a massive soft spot for that "dth" sound in hindi and sanskrit. i am completely crushed out on that sound and the way it feels in my mouth.)

    thanks for signing up for Come and Eat -- starting next week it will be a weekly event, and I hope you'll keep playing!

  2. Came over from the Come & Eat list - love love love your blog. Great recipes, can't wait to try some of them out!


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