Mother Teresa said, "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." It's the small things of life that become the very foundation of it, the stones that pave the way, giving the bigger things of life a solid place to land. Those daily rituals, those mundane routines, those humdrum things we do almost without thinking at all: wash that dish, pack that lunch, run that errand, park that car, pay that bill, make that call, walk that dog, prepare that meal. The small things make up the essential things; they become our everything.
The big things of life, however, come so unpredictably, often unexpectedly. They catch us off guard and take our breath away. They blow in and bring great change, bittersweet change -- sometimes joy, sometimes grief, sometimes both. And when this happens, whether cause for celebration or despair, we return to our little things to ground us once again, to bring us comfort and normalcy and peace in the midst of it all.
Food is one of these small things. The daily act of feeding ourselves, feeding others, becomes so conventional that we forget the extraordinary power it has to heal and restore, to sustain our tired bodies and bring ease to our weary hearts. We forget the fact that food celebrates with us and grows with us. It draws people together and offers us that much-needed common ground. Whether in the background or the foreground, food is always there, paving the way forward. Sometimes the smallest, most normal things in our lives are the most special things, the most sacred things.
"We can do small things with great love." Even the quickest meal, the simplest recipe, can be made with great love. Love for the ingredients, love for the act of preparing it, love for the place where it's made, and love for those you serve. This uncomplicated recipe for garlic sesame snow peas is vibrant green and springtime fresh, truly highlighting the ingredients. It only takes about five minutes from start to finish and you'll have a flavorful, healthy spring into summer side dish. Make it with great love.
Garlic sesame snow peas
Serves 2-4 people
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil (or other mild flavored oil)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces snow peas
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons soy sauce salt to taste
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the coconut oil to melt, followed by the sesame oil. Saute the garlic, one minute, until fragrant, but not brown. Add the snow peas and sesame seeds and continue to saute, stirring and tossing frequently, about three more minutes, until peas are vibrant green, hot and crisp-tender. Pour in the soy sauce and toss until well coated. Season with salt to taste (if needed). Remove peas from heat and pour into a serving dish. Serve promptly while hot (can add more sesame seeds on top prior to serving).
Fresh sugar snap peas can also be used in place of snow peas. Add one to two more minutes of cooking time for snap peas, as they are a little larger and require more time to cook through.
Maya Evoy lives in Nikiski and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com.
Alaska From Scratch