Weekend reflections

24 01 2011

Got up early this morning to write a longer blog post, reflecting on a relaxing weekend.

FRIDAY. How honored I was by a lovely visit from Karen who stopped by after taking her wife Pat to Buddha-Buddha in Hauula for a weekend writing retreat with Mark Travis. Karen and Pat are authors of Courting Equality and spend part of the year in Massachusetts and part of the year in Hawaii. We’ve traveled to Kahoolawe together more than once, and a couple of years ago they stayed in the studio to take care of Alice Brown, Ula and the garden while DH and I went on vacation.

Among other things, Karen and I talked about tai chi over lunch. She left and then I cooked for seven.

I like to cook, especially for others, so I invited my hanai mom Ivalee and her son David and his wife Cherie who live in Alaska, and my friends Becky and Susan. I’d not seen them in a while.

The rain stopped, and it would be a nice drive for them from Honolulu to the windward side of the island. We all had to go to work on Saturday, so it would be an early evening, I promised.

The rain started in December—see my post “Waterfalls and the wet season”—on the day of DH’s birthday dinner, and  most of the guests didn’t make it out. The weather made driving treacherous. I had a bit of food left, plus I’d gone to Costco for that party. I haven’t had to do major shopping since. I just had to look around the freezer and pantry for inspiration to create Friday’s menu. Which was:

Hummus and pita chips / pork casserole with prunes and onion / veggie lasagna / bread /mixed field greens with housewife’s dressing / sachertorte / coffee or tea

Afterward my foodie friend Linda said the menu was “ambitious.” That is often the case with me, and it did feel like TV’s “Dinner Impossible” at times, except that it was possible and I’d planned and envisioned well, figuring out when to prepare each dish so they would all come out at 6 p.m.

I had made all the recipes before. Hummus is easy, I learned from DH’s daughter. The recipe is on the jar of tahini, one of the ingredients. Just make up a batch now and then and keep it in the fridge ready to serve.

I baked the dessert first, giving it time to cool and to free up the oven for the hot dishes.

The pork casserole is more elegant than it sounds. I first made it at Sunset magazine where I worked a long time ago, and where I met Linda—so great that we’ve remained friends. It’s in Quick and Easy Dinners. It bakes in prune juice, but to kick it up a notch I substituted umeshu, Japanese plum wine. Choya brand in the green bottle with the green plums at the bottom is my favorite. It’s from the same fruit, right? 😉 DH always says, “You can make that again.”

While most of the diners are carnivores, Becky is not, so I always like to have something especially for her. The lasagna recipe was meatless. Three kinds of cheese, red pasta sauce and roasted red peppers both from jars would have been adequate to layer between the noodles, but I had some long eggplant to cook up, so I sautéed slices and added them.

The two main dishes baked in the oven at the same time.

I purchased the greens already washed and mixed to save time. To save money, I whisked the dressing myself, using a little olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice, a smidgen of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Minced shallots would have been great but I didn’t have any.

I learned to make sachertorte after sailing with Viking River Cruises to Vienna a couple of winters ago. It’s a classic, to be enjoyed with coffee in the ubiquitous coffeehouses there. It’s very chocolatey and meant to be slightly dry. Click on this word recipe.

What I hadn’t planned was a table setting, so I just served buffet style, and seven of us managed to gather around the coffee table to break bread together.

SATURDAY. I gave mini Reiki sessions at the Hawaii Wellness & Healing Expo in Aikahi Park. I do health fairs sometimes in addition to private sessions at my healing space. Although well advertised, the fair was tiny in terms of number of vendors and attendees. Faithful Lori, one of my Reiki teachers and now friend, stopped by with her mom.

There was a high booth vendor fee that I paid to get in, though it wasn’t an issue, really, because I wanted the opportunity to do energy work on people. Channeling Reiki helps me heal, harmonize, and balance myself as much as it helps my clients. There was no charge for folks to experience the Reiki; I worked on a freewill donation basis.

In the end, because of the low turnout, the sponsor gave me a free booth for next time! That will be at Koko Marina in the spring. Thank you so much!

DH, who helped set up and break down the Reiki tent, and I came back to the studio and crashed. In channeling Reiki, I have plenty of energy while with clients, using techniques to clear old stuff and refresh. However, it is work, and at the end of the day, as it is for everyone else, a warm shower and a good sleep are in order. Even the neighbors sipping wine across the driveway at happy hour couldn’t lure us from bed.

SUNDAY. Karen and I agreed to attend a lecture on tai chi chuan together given by Pastor Chris Eng at Waiokeola Congregational Church. The lecture was part of a “Ministry of Healing” series of eight talks. I will be presenting about Reiki at the church on February 13.

Besides being interested in tai chi, I wanted to preview the venue and audience. Karen and I practice Yang style, but we have different teachers and we thought hearing Dr. Eng’s perspective could only add to our knowledge. I said hi to my cousin Barbara who directs the church’s music and healing ministries, and I ran in to my friend Dorothy, a poet, from years past. She looks the same!

Because I don’t drive over the Koolau Mountains for just one thing, I went to Barnes & Noble across the street at Kahala Mall to spend a gift card. My bag included a book on bass playing, O The Oprah Magazine, and Your Chinese Horoscope 2011 by Neil Somerville.

The Chinese fortune reminded me that Rats such as I have a tendency to “become involved in too many schemes and chase after too many opportunities at once.” Haha! “If he [the Rat] can slow down and concentrate on one thing at time, he can become very successful.”

I am not a good multitasker. As 2011 is my year for “expansiveness” too, it looks like I’ll have to be disciplined as well and stay balanced in the upcoming Year of the Rabbit.

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke
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2 responses

24 01 2011
Rebekah's Studio

A gift is not a gift unless it is well received. I appreciate your enjoyment, and I’m sure other cooks would agree. Thanks for stopping by.

24 01 2011
Pat Gozemba

I like the “ambitious” aspect of the meal that you prepared. As someone who cooks little but loves to party, I’m always amazed and pleased when folks like you get ambitious in planning meals. I’ve always enjoyed your culinary coups!

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