25 February 2012

volcano climb for cristina

My performance in The Vagina Monologues this weekend is dedicated to the memory of beautiful Cristina Siekavizza. This story comes from her aunt Clara Molina Arntson, about raising awareness of domestic violence in Guatemala, and beyond. Thank you dear Clara, for sharing your journey...

"As soon as you asked me to write a few of my thoughts from my January climb of the Water Volcano in Guatemala in an effort to bring awareness of domestic violence in my country, I was glad to do it, because I hadn't had the opportunity to write down what this climb really meant to me. When I heard that the Ambassador to the UK in Guatemala was organizing a volcano climb for 8,000 people my thoughts were of disbelief, I never thought that she could gather that many people to do the climb. My sister had invited all of her 5 sisters to join her in the climb to bring more awareness to her daughter's killing this past July 2011. Yes, it is hard to realize that my niece has been killed by no other than her husband of 8 years. The man who we all thought was a great example of a religious man, the man who loved his children was the killer of my niece. We have evidence that it was him, there was a witness to his crime, none of us doubt that she is no longer with us, but to know that he is running from the law with their two children, ages 7 and 4 is the second biggest hit we all received.

The climb was an incredible feeling, I'm not much of a hiker or walker per se. I do workout and I keep myself physically in shape, but when I heard about the climb I was very concerned and scared at the same time and I thought about not making the necessary plans, which included airline tickets, arrangements at home, etc. inside of me there was always a voice telling me that I could do it and that I needed to be present for my sister, wondering how one more person would make a difference in the 8,000 registered was my excuse. I knew my sister would understand that I would always support her, but I didn't think I would be missing out on much.

My life has been changed by this trip, to see more than 16,000 people, women, children, men, young, old, handicapped, from all around the world supporting one cause changed my world. I was so glad to be there, we started at an altitude of 7,000 feet and were up another 5,000 (I did not make it to the top of the crater), but we did climb 5 hours up and 4 hours down. There were moments were my heart was beating so fast due to the altitude but I would say to myself “you have to keep going.” Physically I was never tired, I did not want to stop and rest at all, didn't feel the need to drink or eat, I did it because I knew I had to, but I was so excited to be there and loved watching everything around me. It was an incredible experience.

Domestic violence has taken another description in my vocabulary, it means so much more to me and my family, before my niece’s incident I did not understand how this could happen to a person, to a woman in particular. In the past if I would have heard someone scream I would have paid attention but I don't think I would have done anything about it because of fear, I don't think that for a minute now. I know that if I hear someone screaming and asking for help I would find a way to help out, I would never let their screams go unnoticed."

14 February 2012

fennel marmalade and coleslaw

Now a traditional New Orleans Po' Boy has some kind of meat and is served on a baguette. The women of Hearty Vegan Meals created one with a fried sweet potato layer, crusted with cornflakes and other interesting things, which sounds kind of irresistible, but I was seeking more simplicity. The sammy you see here has beautiful thick slices of baked butternut squash on sprouted grain bread (to up the protein content) sprinkled with nutmeg, and dressed with coleslaw and fennel marmalade from Hearty Vegan Meals. I've made the coleslaw three more times since and it's a winner.

Lucinda's column from Suzie's Farm newsletter this week talks about "fennel fatigue" but with fennel marmalade and roasted fennel on the menu, I don't think I'll ever tire of this delicious bulb. I love hearing her musings on the subject, just the same.


for the slaw:

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots

for the dressing:

1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh fennel leaf
1 tablespoon agave nectar
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Fennel Marmalade

1 bulb fennel, julienned, leaves reserved
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
pinch salt
2 tablespoons agave nectar

Add fennel, garlic, onions and salt to a shallow pan with a little water. Slowly cook until very soft and tender, and just beginning to caramelize, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add agave and toss to coat. Crank up the heat and cook for about 5 more minutes, until sticky and browned. I added a spoon of olive oil at the end to bring up anything good that stuck to the pan.