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Growing up in Poland, back in the 70s, I was caught between two worlds – one of the Catholic Church and the other ruled by The Communistic Party. One excluded the other…in theory. Both of my parents belonged to The Party. While for my father it was a career choice, my mother just fought for survival.
Those aspirations didn’t stand the test of time. My father’s very promising “career” dissolved in pouring streams of vodka, which also cost him his family, and life in general. My Mom, on the other hand, left The Party, dealt with the aftermaths, and then struggled most of her adult life to raise two kiddies as a single mother in a post communistic country. Worry not, she’s now happily remarried and finds zen among her roses and hundreds of other flowers in her gardens.
(Oops, this is getting personal… Consider it a warning.)
Before Mom got another chance at life, however, we lived a life of double agents. Officially, we were forbidden to BELIEVE in god, and consequently to practice any religion. Yet my fanatically Catholic grandmother would have none of that. She understood the risk of standing up to The Party, hence she took it upon herself to introduce catechism to her god-deprived grandchildren under the veil of her house. We were like the first Christians in the ancient Rome secretly praying and hiding away from the merciless hands of Nero.
(This reminds me of the most beautiful love story from the times of the Roman Emperor called “Quo Vadis”, written by a Polish writer Henry Sienkiewicz. The novel earned him the Nobel Prize, and was also adapted by Hollywood into a movie. Look it up. The book is a brick, but when you start reading you’ll never want it to end.)
Fast forward some 20 odd years, I’m living my American Dream in the heart of sunny California, with the Love of my life by my side and a happy pup, who’s only worry is to eat as much as he can get away with, and poop at least once daily. I no longer go to church nor pray as grandma taught me, but I still love Christmas and cherish those traditions. One other thing that she instilled in me (which has recently come back into my life as a recovered omnivore) is Meatless Friday. That’s right, a diehard Catholic won’t even have a bite of kielbasa on Friday, just like a Jew won’t use electricity after sunset as Shabat begins. While the Catholics follow the rule for the religious reasons, I myself do it for the health of our planet.
In that way, our household represents thousands – and hopefully soon – millions of families that protest against the massive meat production in America. It sounds like a joke, but all of the methane gas released by the corn-fed cows when they fart and belch hugely attributes to the natural imbalances and global warming we’re struggling with these days, not to mention the millions of gallons of water that are used to support the meat industry.
I wrote about these issues before, and I’m not here to preach. I’d rather entertain you with my monkey tricks and do some cooking. Still, I want to participate in spreading the word and thus raising awareness. We can all adjust our comfortable lives by only an inch to make a mile of a difference.
Now it’s time for the fun part. I took you on this whirlwind-time-travel-journey, shadowed by the godless Communists, alcoholism, and global warming only to talk to you about…eggs. Super duper healthy and scrumptious eggs for that matter.
We get ours organic and from the happy chicks that run freely and chew on nutritious grass and grains. I know it’s usually about 2 bucks more per dozen, but then again it’s money we WON’T be spending on medication. I reckon a healthy egg a day will keep the doctor away. Plus it tastes so much better than a pill.
Here’s a dish we recently enjoyed for breakfast, which could also be easily incorporated into a lunch menu, or even a Friday dinner for all I care. I married a squash, that’s been on everybody’s mind since the Autumn Equinox, with the good all-year-round eggs. Butternut squash would be too sweet in this meal for my palette, so I chose a beautiful green and orange Acorn Squash.
One beautiful fall day I raised the veg in front of my eyes and said out loud: “Today is the day”. I gave it a kiss goodbye and with a big, fat, super-sharp knife I cut it into wedges, removed the seeds, and lay it flat on a sheet pan. Then the wedges got showered with a mist of olive oil, salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence. Properly dressed, the beauty was put into an oven, preheated to 350˚, for circa half an hour. After the “sauna”, the lady took time to rest, cool off, and get ready to be stored away in the refrigerator.
The very next morning (and it was Friday) I offered I’d make eggs for breakfast. Eggs with a twist. The twist was the squash (duh!) scalped and cut in cubes, then incorporated into a mix of eggs on a heated pan, seasoned with salt, pepper, fresh basil, a touch of turmeric, and…grated mozzarella! For the final touch I roughly chopped a few scallions and dusted the eggs on a plate. Voila. Here’s your delicious, gorgeous, organic Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Acorn Squash, Mozzarella & Scallions…
The eggs were perfectly cooked, yet still soft. The squash was softly bound with the scramble by the elongated and omnipresent arms of the cheese. Each bite was gently set on a piece of toast, and then quickly lost in the depths behind our hungry lips. It was a breakfast of champions. It was a power-shot for the rest of that day. It was a manifestation of beauty and happiness on a plate.
May you all experience a Meatless Friday that will keep you satisfied and satiated on every level desired.