Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Green Bean Casserole

It is not likely that when indigenous peoples of North America and European settlers sat down together to give thanks, they had crock bowls filled with green bean casserole topped with fried onion rings at their tables.

It is likely that green beans were among the fruits of the land gathered during bountiful summer harvests.  It is one of the foods which originated in the Americas.

People in Central and South America have eaten green beans for centuries.  Green beans made their way to Europe in the ships of 15th century explorers.  Green beans were expensive and rare, gained culinary popularity in France in the 1600's and eventually made their way into Midwestern USA casserole dishes with mushroom soup and onion rings.

Thanksgiving dinners give honor to many fruits and vegetables which are native to the Americas, In El Salvador, green beans are very often prepared with eggs.  This is one of our favorite dishes served at Casa Concordia in San Salvador.  Although I don't have Alma's exact recipe, this is a pretty good recreation.

Salvadoran Green Bean Casserole
6 eggs, beaten
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 small onion, diced small
3/4 - 1 lb. fresh green beans
Olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Optional dried oregano

Prepare beans by removing ends and dicing into small pieces.  Pour love oil into the pan - depending on your type of pan, about 2 Tbsp.  Add onion.  Saute for a bit.  Add garlic.  Saute until onions and garlic are just beginning to caramelize.  Add green beans.  Add a little more oil if needed.  Saute until almost tender.  Add eggs, salt, and pepper to taste.  Add 1/2 - 1 tsp. dried oregano if desired.  Cook until the eggs are scrambled.  Serve immediately.  Sometimes I add a chopped pepper (pick your favorite) for a bit of heat.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Sweeper Prayers

"What should we do with this big sweeper?" I asked my husband.  I had been cleaning out the garage, giving things to our grown kids and loading up pots and tools for the urban greenhouse project.  "Sell it?" he suggested over the phone.

We bought the sweeper just after we moved into our house.  Pulling it along behind our tractor mower has helped us gather up mountains of leaves and too-long grass over the years -- much easier than raking all of that stuff into the compost pile.

Now, I just wanted it gone.  Once we made the decision to downsize, to move to a smaller place in the US so we could spend significantly more time in El Salvador, I was eager to begin the process. So, I wheeled the sweeper down to the bottom of the driveway.  I tiptoed my dirty, garage-cleaning self into the house and grabbed a piece of scrap paper, a black sharpie and some blue painters' tape.  I wrote a note:

We will gladly accept a donation for this sweeper to support ministry in El Salvador.  If you would like to leave a gift, please leave it by the mailbox."

I taped the note to the sweeper, loaded some stuff into my car, and went inside to get cleaned up.  As I backed down the driveway some time later, I noticed the sweeper was gone.  "Wow, that was fast, " I thought.  My note was folded up next to the mailbox.  On it was a new message:

We took the sweeper.  I didn't have any money with me, so we will bring some buy later. Signed, a neighbor.  

Yesterday, I found an envelope stuck inside my screen door.  Inside was a lovely little note from the neighbor, wishing us well and sharing her email address in case we wanted to send prayer requests or share a blog or something.  And, inside the note, was $50.  I never expected a generous gift of $50.

I hope our neighbor gets many more good years of use from that sweeper.  I hope every time she sits on her tractor and pulls it along, she says a little "sweeper prayer" for the people of El Salvador.  I will try to remember, whenever I am sweeping the dust from my future Salvadoran floor, to say a little "sweeper prayer" for the good neighbor at home and for all who have slipped little envelopes into our door or mailbox or the offering plate over the years in support of ministry work in El Salvador.