(I may be jumping the gun a little, but it's been so sunny and breezy and perfectly springish here at the cottage, it's hard not to! We've been taking care of all those spring cleaning and orgainzing projects that really have to get done before all the madness of festival season begins, and I'm starting to eyeball our little garden patch with thoughts of peas and tomatoes and fancy heirloom radishes.....so in all the ways that matter, it's springtime to us.)
With “California Shamrocks” on the brain, why not spend a little time this month talking about St. Patrick's Day, and more importantly the underlying theme of it: LUCK.
Sure, there's such a thing as being in the right place at the right time, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with those little superstitions that give us a feeling of being lucky.... but we get out of any relationship what we put into it, and that includes our relationship with our luck!
One of my favorite good-luck charms is a lovely polished green aventurine stone that I carry with me on important or stressful days. Green Aventurine is an excellent stone companion for luck in general, but it can also help attract prosperity and wealth, and improve one's chances in most situations.... from a promotion at work to a weekend in Vegas. It is said that you should never buy a lottery ticket without a green aventurine in your pocket, and it's one of the stones I keep in the booth-kit when we vend at events.
It is a stone that can help to release old energetic patterns and frustrations, making way for new opportunities and growth, as well as boosting optimism and confidence.
(We all know by now that we're never as lucky as we are when we feel good in our own selves.... like attracts like, and confidence in ourselves allows others to feel confident about us!)
As an easily workable quartzite, it is readily available as carved figures, display pieces, and my favorite of course.... beads! I love working with green aventurine as a focal piece in embroidered pieces, or as accent beads in a sumptuous fringe.
As far as St. Patrick's celebrations go, I've long been averse to overblown commercialism....especially where a holiday meant to celebrate the Irish-American part of my heritage is concerned. (Spare me the shamrock sunglasses and mardi-gras beads, please.) So while I might change out the tea-towels, and you'll probably catch us at the corner pub for an after-dinner pint & a bit of a craic, this isn't a huge celebration at the cottage.... more of a quiet observance.
Once we gave up meat, I knew I was going to have to come up with something to make St. Paddy's dinner special again, and potato soup just wasn't going to cut it..... it's taken years of experimentation and hideous failures, but I'm finally ready to share the cornerstone of our favorite March meal.... Vegan, Gluten-Free “Corned Beef”!
Vegan Corned Beef
1 or 2 blocks Soy-Only Tempeh ( 1 block will make about 4 servings)
(*I make 4x this quantity to keep on hand for tempeh emergencies)
1 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1 Teaspoon Ground Mustard
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
Pinch of Cayenne
2 Tablespoons Spice Mix
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
4Tablespoons Tamari (Gluten-free Soy sauce... regular soy sauce is also fine, if that's your thing.)
4 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar (Red wine vinegar is also fine here, and rice vinegar will do in a pinch, but save the balsamic for something else)
*NOTE: If you absolutely must have bright pink “corned beef”, you can add 1/4-1/2 cup of fresh beet juice to your marinade.... but that's a level of fiddling I'm not interested in, so I never bother. If you keep beet powder on hand, you could try tossing a little of that in for color as well, without the juicer-fuss, but I've never worked with the stuff, so I can't speak to it.
Mix up your marinade, and slice your tempeh.
For this, I like to keep it a little chunky, so I cut 1/4 - 1/2 inch slices, at a 45-degree angle across the block for visual interest and texture.
Toss the tempeh with the marinade and let it sit (chilled, please) 8-24 hours.
You can either saute your tempeh over medium heat for a few minutes on each side, or bake it at 350 for 40 minutes, turning halfway through. (Cover your baking sheet in parchment paper to make clean-up easy)
For St. Paddy's, I serve it with roasted cabbage and red potatoes, good mustard and a batch of my gluten-free soda bread. The leftovers make excellent sandwiches too!
I have one last REALLY IMPORTANT THING to share with you.... We're hosting a GIVEAWAY!
Head over to Instagram for everything you need to know to enter to win this beautiful handwoven Fairy Star Pendant! One LUCKY winner will be selected at random from all qualifying entries.
Contest closes at Midnight PST on 3/23, and the winning name will be announced at 4pm PST on 3/24.