Monday, May 13, 2013

A Yoga Retreat and Fun with Chives!

Enlightened figs basking in the glory of their existence

Reincarnated fire finding inner peace in the form of these magnificent leaves
with outstretched fingers embracing the light 

For Mother's Day weekend I got to go on a yoga retreat. (Retreat: a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax.) Well, the wake up gong sounded at 6AM so.......  But no, all the many activities available to you from 6:30AM till 9PM were optional, so it was as intensive or relaxing as you chose.

For example, at one point the friend that I went on the retreat with decided to participate in a two hour meditation class (she didn't know it was going to last 2 hours) while I decided to do a 5 mile exploratory walk on my own. It was on this walk that I took the two photos above along with many others. I returned sweaty but relaxed and rejuvenated just in time to see her staggering out of one of the buildings. "Where are you headed? What are you doing?" I asked. "The class just finished! I am exhausted. I need to lie down," she moaned. I knew then that I had taken the easier path even if it was 5 miles longer.

But if you are serious about connecting with God or the cosmic vibrations of the universe sometimes you need to work for it. One of the residents of the spiritual village who we ate a couple of our meals with, had made a vow of Total Renunciation! "Wow, what is total renunciation?" I wanted to know. There were different levels of renunciation with "total", of course, being the most extreme. It was, she explained, renunciation of the ego itself. (That is in addition to no sex, no marriage, no alcohol, and Shiva knows what else.) She told us that she spends 24 hours each week sitting in silent meditation.

We did yoga postures, we chanted, we meditated. We picked and chose the nuggets of spirituality that resonated with us and left the rest to the more devout.

The food they offered was vegetarian and delicious. When I told the staff upon arrival that I ate a gluten-free diet they didn't bat an eye. They cook almost completely gluten-free and always present gluten-free options. It is their standard operating procedure. So that was easy.

The grounds were bursting with flowers and buzzing with bees and song birds. I do believe I left with a more energized spine and an open heart.

Back at home the chives are doing their mad-chive thing. I had just been saying how you can only use so many chives...... But then, yesterday I made chive pesto and now I am not sure if I have enough chives! Why didn't I think of doing that sooner? All these years I've been under utilizing them although I sure do enjoy their blossoms in the garden.

Last summer I posted a recipe for arugula pesto which we enjoyed all through the winter as I froze quite a bit. The following chive pesto recipe follows a similar formula. Herb, nut, cheese, oil, basically. Once you know how to make pesto, you can make it with many things in many variations.
Chive Pesto
4 cups of roughly chopped chive greens
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
1 clove of garlic
1 to 2 oz. of dry cheese cut in chunks (I used an aged manchego)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil (depending on the consistency you like)
salt to taste
Place garlic, cashews, and cheese in a food processor and process until crumbly. Add the chives and the oil and process again until it looks like pesto. Open the lid and scrape down the sides with a flexible spatula and sprinkle in some salt. Blend again. Adjust salt and oil to your preference. Done! Try it on fish. We had it on oysters last night. So good.

I also filled a jar with chive blossoms and covered them with white wine vinegar to infuse in the sun. Oh what fun!

Enjoy!!! Namaste.


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