Saturday, November 30, 2013

God of All Harvests: a Thanksgiving poem + Kale-Apple-Lemon Salad with Honeyed Sunflower Seeds

God of all Harvests
By Barbara Molinari Quinby, MPS
©2013 Catholic Relief Services,, used with permission

God of sun and God of rain,
In you, there is no dryness.
In you, no weed chokes the root.
No blight withers the leaf.
No frost bites at the blossom.
And, so, we pray for farmers and their harvests everywhere.
In you, seeds of tears yield a bountiful harvest of joy.
May the rice farmer in Madagascar know such bounty.
In you, seeds of truth and courage yield a bountiful harvest of justice.
May the coffee farmer in Honduras know such bounty.
In you, seeds of compassion yield a bountiful harvest of wisdom.
May the cacao farmer in the Philippines know such bounty.
In you, seeds of hope yield a bountiful harvest of fulfillment.
May the vegetable farmer in Haiti know such bounty.
In you, seeds of love yield a bountiful harvest of forgiveness and reconciliation.
May the cassava farmer in Zambia know such bounty.
In you, seeds of the Gospel yield the glorious harvest that is our salvation.
God of all harvests, bless all planters everywhere:
All who sow and all who gather,
All who nourish and all who weed,
All who thresh and bundle and bring to market.
And bless all harvests.
Sprinkle your living water on our fields, on our relationships, on our communities, on our hearts.
And kiss us with the light and warmth of your undying sun.
May all our harvests reflect the Harvest that is to come.


Oh, kale. You are just like the rest of us. You start out prickly and tense and tough.


And then after a little TLC, you're soft and sweet and ready to be friendly.


Who are we getting friendly with? Lemon dressing, honeyed sunflower seeds - though a cup of granola instead worked just fine at the Thanksgiving brunch I hosted this week - some fresh herbs and a chopped apple or two.


This is basically autumn in a salad bowl.

Massaging kale is impressive. It reminds me of how blessed most of us are to have hands.

My salads classes love this salad.

My brunch guests devoured it more aggressively than they tackled Aunt Judy's Egg Casserole and some superyum pumpkin muffins.

I wish I could eat some right now but instead I'll settle for popcorn.

Kale-Apple-Lemon Salad with Honeyed Sunflower Seeds
Yield: 6-8 servings

For lemon dressing (which, by the way, tastes great on just about anything), stir together:

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil or sunflower oil
1 tablespoon honey (or agave nectar or 2 teaspoons sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For seeds*:

In a dry skillet, toast 1 cup raw sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds). When aromatic and slightly golden in color, add 1 tablespoon honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stir until well coated and then transfer them to a plate to cool.

For salad:

Clean, remove stalk, and shred or tear up one big bunch of kale (any kind of kale will work). Place torn leaves into a large bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and massage with your hands until it is soft and almost cooked in appearance and texture, 2-4 minutes. Add 1 or 2 apples or pears, chopped into 1/2" chunks, the seeds (which might be all stuck together in one clump, but once you toss them with dressing and massaged kale, they'll break up nicely). Optional additions: a couple tablespoons of chopped mint, chives or scallions. (At brunch and in class I usually do a mix of mint and scallions.) Enjoy and feel healthy! Happy belated Thanksgiving!

* In case you skipped my ramblings at the top - note that a cup of granola is a lovely substitute for the sunflower seeds. That's what I added for crunch on Thanksgiving and it gave the salad a decidedly brunchy flare.

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