Sunday, July 17, 2016
For some time now, the Lord has been teaching me how to cook. Believe me when I say that I am the last person on God’s earth that the Lord would use for hospitality, but He really has been doing it. The way it’s been working so far has been in the form of the Lord using me to meet someone’s need. The first time He did it was to provide a meal for a family who had been made homeless by a house fire. In that case, He taught me how to make Shepherd’s pie. Not shepherd’s pie, but Shepherd’s pie with a capital S.
Since then, He taught me how to make a number of dishes to bless a local family whose daughter was battling cancer, and a family at church who had an emergency need for meals.
In each case, the Lord prompts me every step of the way, from deciding what to buy at the store, all the way through to the finished meal. It happens almost effortlessly, step by step, with me having no idea what’s coming next until it happens, with me having no idea what it will taste like until I taste it. It’s all God orchestrating every aspect of it until it’s done. To the observer, I appear to know exactly what I’m doing when, in fact, I do not. In each case, everything just works out: nothing overcooked or under cooked, everything ready just in time for the next step.
With each meal that God has used me to make, I get better at it. The meals get more complex, more delicious, all while I know less in advance of what is to happen next. And it’s a complete and total blast!
I really do believe that what makes this all possible is the habit I have been making of learning to listen to His voice and to obey Him moment by moment, day by day. I have been practicing hearing His voice for years and believe me when I say that when you listen to Him and do what He says, life becomes an awesome, joyful adventure. It took years to get where I am in this, and please understand me when I say that I am not something special because of it. He is the One who’s special! I’m just a sinner saved by grace, learning to live the life He has given to me.
Today, Sunday, July 17, 2016, the Lord taught me how to cook a vegetarian meal for a wonderful brother visiting our church for the summer. I have never cooked vegetarian before and had no idea what to do. In other words, I was totally out of my element, more than ever before.
After church, the Lord told me to stop at the supermarket to buy what I needed and, of course, I had no idea what that would be. So, off to the supermarket I went. The first thing He told me to do was to grab three produce bags. From there, I went aisle to aisle, grabbing what He told me to grab next. By the time I was done, the produce bags had all been used and I was wondering what on earth He had in mind.
(what I bought at the store except as noted):
- 1 package spinach ravioli
- 1 medium goat cheese log coated in herbs
- 1 medium goat cheese log coated in cranberry & orange
- 1 bag shredded Asiago cheese
- 1 small bag shredded almonds
- 1 package scallions
- 1 large Vidalia onion (already had that)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 hot house tomato (still firm & tart)
- 1 bag parsnips
- 1 package wild mushrooms (shiitake, crimini & oyster mushrooms)
- 1 bottle Tessmae Organic Lemon Garlic marinade
- Fresh ground pepper (already had that)
- Organic thyme
- Fresh garlic (already had that)
- Fresh basil (already had that)
- Maple Grove Farms of Vermont citrus vinaigrette (already had that)
(what God told me to do step by step)
- Peel, rinse and slice up the bag of parsnips
- Place parsnips in sauce pan with an inch of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat & cook until soft
- After putting on parsnips, chop up the onion, put in frying pan with butter, 1 tsp or so of basil and a clove or 2 of garlic. Cook on medium heat.
- Immediately clean and chop red pepper and add to frying pan.
- Dump mushrooms in frying pan
- Sprinkle lemon garlic marinade/dressing over contents of frying pan (abut 1/4 cup); cover and cook on medium heat until cooked.
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Transfer contents of frying pan to bottom of large deep oven pan and spread evenly to cover bottom
- Drain parsnips and spread over top of oven pan
- Sprinkle the whole bag of asiago cheese over the oven pan
- Chop up tomato and throw in frying pan.
- Grind pepper over tomato fairly liberally; use your own judgment.
- Mince a half cup of scallions and add to frying pan.
- Add 1/4 cup of citrus vinaigrette to frying pan and cook on medium heat
- Place ravioli in pot of boiling water; boil for 4 minutes
- Use slotted spoon to grab ravioli from the hot water and transfer evenly to top of oven pan
- Scoop cooked tomatoes and scallions from frying pan and spread over ravioli
- Pour frying pan juices over top of oven pan
- Slice both goat cheese logs into thin slices and spread evenly over oven pan, intermixing herb and cranberry/orange as you see fit.
- Place in oven and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. It’s done when temperature is 175 degrees. God actually told me to take its temperature!
Preparation took about an hour with me moving from one step to another, one or more things cooking, never needing to wait for anything, never needing to do two things at once.
Serve, pray and enjoy! We fed 3 adults and 2 kids and had about half of it left over. The Lord told me to use the shredded almonds as a topping, which really added the perfect balance to the complex sweetness of the onions and parsnips, the mildness of the ravioli, and the sharpness of the goat cheese. Totally delicious!
My God is a great cook!
Final note: I have all of the other recipes the Lord has given to me and plan to post them as time permits.
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