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Monday, May 28, 2012

Bolting cilantro, lilacs, memories & dear friends

Rebecca in Sedona
My cilantro was about to bolt so I hurried to harvest & prepare a cilantro/mint/ginger chutney I first tasted in an Indian restaurant with my college roomie, Rebecca, in Sedona, Arizona 5 years ago.  The recipe below works great with veggies, chicken, lamb and curries.  The aroma of the ginger, garlic, cilantro & mint recalled to mind the delightful day spent with a dear friend climbing rocks and exploring the wonders of Sedona and finally feasting on curry with this yummy chutney.  Sedona is a mystical & magical place as is the land of friendship.

Curious how plants can call to mind the magical times in our lives.  Dear Rebecca sent the email below about lilacs & her grandmother, a remarkable woman.  I met Nanny when she was in her 80s and recovering from an auto accident.  She was more energetic than we two gals in our early 20s and explained that the secret to recovery was bone meal & keeping on-the-go.  What a gal!  
Rebecca’s Lilac Email:
When I was young, the lilacs blossomed the end of May. Nanny's backyard was filled with them, fragrant vases filled our homes
and were lovingly placed by headstones.
Time passed and Mom always reminded me of the Rutland Herald's poignant piece, Lilac Time.
There's a nice NPR reading of the prose here

Lilac Time
"Now is the brief season of the lilac bush, modest and enduring symbol of the depth and permanence of New England traditions. It has given a name to color, perfume, poems, songs, story. Translated into many languages, its name is upon the lips of millions in many lands. Yet it remains unspoiled by such widespread fame. It is still the sturdy, wholesome dooryard emblem of the New England home.
"With what eager anticipation has it been planted at the threshold of new, bravely begun homes. With what poignant grief has it been left behind for long bitter migrations from whose hardship and loneliness homesick thoughts have turned in anguished longing.
"To what strange and distant homes have its roots been transplanted, there to grow blossoms and, in turn, be abandoned again.
"On this very day in mountain pastures and along deserted roads, over the graves of dead homes bloom the lilac bushes planted by the founders of those pioneer households. Many of those graves would be otherwise indistinguishable, their timbers long since buried, their cellar holes filled in and grassed over.
"Were it not for the steadfast lilac bush, there would be nothing to mark that here once dwelt human souls who shared happiness, sorrow, hope, and despair.
"Who lived there, whither they went, or what their adventures nobody knows. No descendants make annual pilgrimages to remember and decorate these forgotten graves of the homes of ancestors.
"But each year at this season, the lonely, faithful lilac bush blooms again and lavishes its sweetness in memory of the hands that planted it."   

Cilantro & Mint Chutney
Grind the following in a food processor: 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro 
1 cup chopped mint 
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped 
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped 
1 tablespoon green chilies, chopped 
2 tablespoons coconut flakes
1/4 cup lemon juice 

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