Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Combining Passions and Kissing Self-Censorship Goodbye

In two weeks I will be celebrating Meals with Morri’s 3rd Anniversary. Three years of recipes, change, and growth under the “delicious, nutritious, and gluten free” banner.

But that’s the thing: it isn’t simply about being a gluten free blogger anymore.

With the start of grad school and deciding to live in Malta to gain experience in the sustainable development field, I’ve noticed, with disdain I might add, how little blogging I’ve actually been doing since, well, life happened. And it’s not that I don’t cook. I do. And it’s not that I don’t have anything to say. I do, and do so quite loudly. But so much change as left me overwhelmed and depressed at times, and the last thing I want to do is resent my passions by feeling obligated.

As the three-year mark looms closer, I realized I’d been censoring myself on this site. Why? Because gods forbid I make someone uncomfortable with what I write. Gods forbid someone among the thousands of readers who read and test my recipes get so upset that they stop reading Meals with Morri forever. All my life, everyone’s opinions of me mattered and I would harshly internalize when I did or said something ‘wrong’.

I promise you, this rant has a point.

I’ve kept my activism and Meals with Morri aspect separate, when in reality it was through blogging during my studies in conflict resolution that kick-started my passions and what I wanted to do with my career. Through blogging, I learned about sustainable development, climate change, responsible agricultural practices, holistic health, public policy, food politics, yoga, rock climbing, positive body image, and more. Suddenly, the idea of bringing food into my conflict resolution practice didn’t seem so ridiculous.

Which brings me back to my self-censorship. At one point early on in my blogging career, I actually went back and softened up certain words or phrases that seemed ‘critical’ (I stopped using the word ‘hate’ at some point). I wasn’t spouting hatred and “I’m right, you’re wrong” nonsense; I was simply offering my critical opinion of where I stood.

So with the three-year mark coming up, I began to ask what I had to show for it. I have almost reached 100,000 pageviews and seen all over the world with 231 blog posts, and am planning new pages that emphasize my passions. I have a series of ideas in how to broaden my horizons (within and outside the MWM boundaries), which includes: foodie videos, getting published on other sites, reflections on activism, and interviews with compassionate individuals in various fields.

Qarabaghli mimli fil-forn (Maltese translation: Stuffed Courgettes; inspired recipe here
4 Large marrows (roughly 1 Kg or 2 lbs.)
1 Large red onion
1 Garlic clove
2 Dried Bay leaves
2 Large tomatoes
2 tbsp. Tomato paste
300 g Ricotta*
2 Large eggs**
4 tbsp. Grated Parmesan cheese or Kefalotyri***
Olive oil
Fine grain white corn polenta
Sea salt
Cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F, and lightly coat the baking dish with olive oil.
Cut the marrows lengthwise in half and scoop out the insides with a teaspoon.****
On either side of the marrow, coat with the olive oil that was used in lining the dish pan.
Fry the onion, garlic, bay leaves, and tomatoes in some olive oil until soft, followed by the tomato paste to cook for a further few minutes. (Be sure to remove the bay leaves!)
Add in the ricotta and mix thoroughly, allowing it to cool slightly before adding the eggs.
Season to taste preference (although the cheese was salty enough for me).
Fill the marrow halves with the cheese-veggie mixture and then lightly sprinkle with the polenta (roughly 1/4 tsp. per marrow) followed by the grated cheese.
Bake for about 45 minutes until the marrows have softened and the mixture has firmed and slightly browned on top.
Serve hot (although delicious cold) on top of potatoes, rice, beans, or whatever you’re craving.

Makes 8 stuffed marrows. Servings vary depend on meal type.

Vegan Options include: *300 g drained and mashed (although not smooth) cooked black beans; ** 2 Flax eggs; *** 4 tbsp. Nutritional yeast

**** The recipe called for using the pulp, but I found that I really didn’t have the space for it in the recipe. Since this recipe is apparently great with baked MDP’s, I suggest finely chopping the pulp and sauteing it with potatoes along with onion and garlic. Also, to keep the halves upright, I sliced a small sliver from the outside.

No comments:

Post a Comment