Praying for Whirled Peas

Tonight there was a Taize’ service at Holy Moly, preceded by a simple potluck dinner that included soup, bread, and salads. I contributed an Asian salad thingy that turned out pretty well, and I’ll forget what I did (and what I could do better for the next time) if I don’t get it down. I took it in a large covered salad bowl, which worked out great for mixing, transporting AND serving.

I didn’t have a lot of time to put it together, so when I was shopping I bought 2 packages of shredded cabbage mixed with carrots, and one package of shredded red cabbage. The proportions seemed to be fine – although I could have added a third package of shredded cabbage, there was plenty of room in the bowl. I threw in a handful of trimmed snow peas and some roasted cashews – I think for a future salad, sugar snap peas might be better, and either more cashews (for the saltiness) OR some of those savory toasted sesame cracker things would be better. Black poppyseeds, or maybe black sesame seeds might be good, too.

I threw in one package of cooked udon noodles – next time, two packages, and need to marinate them longer in a much more flavorful, spicier, darker version of the salad dressing.

Salad dressing was fairly standard – Good Seasons Asian sesame flavored salad dressing mix, with rice vinegar and half-and-half vegetable oil and sesame oil. I found a new product at Da Jool this afternoon – Kikkoman Ponzu sauce – which added a good tang and good color (otherwise I would have added orange juice to regular soy sauce and added a few more odds and ends). I think I used about 2 tablespoons of it in the end. Could use a bit more next time – maybe 2 1/2 tablespoons next time.

I used the normal amounts of vinegar and oil and water called for in the Good Seasons package directions, added about a tablespoon and a half of the ponzu sauce, shook it all up, and poured about 2/3 over the mixture of cabbages, peas and cashews in the big bowl. The noodles were cut up into short lengths before cooking – next time, separate the noodles by hand as they’re dropped into the boiling water. Use 2 packages next time, too. After draining and rincing the cooked noodles with cold water, I put them in a separate container and poured the last third of the salad dressing over them, along with another tablespoon or so of the ponzu sauce. I could have glugged in more ponzu, maybe even a little extra orange juice or even zest… and definitely could have stuck in a few drops of hot oil or other Asian-ish hot sauce, because the noodles could have used more color and more kick. Also, they’d need more time to marinate before dumping them into the salad – as it was they had about 15 minutes max. They didn’t really stand out from the rest of the salad, so that’s why I’d want them to have stronger flavor and darker color.

It turned out all right, though – David asked for seconds after I gave him a guinea-pig bowl to try out, and the large bowl had just one big serving left when I brought it home tonight.

The service itself was the exact same format as one we did 2 years ago for a Lenten program. It was a little disorganized, though, because we were hosting a joint service for 3 other parishes on our own, without much advance planning other than the choir practicing the music for the last couple of weeks. Fr. Lundberg was still on vacation and there was no one person that stepped forward to plan the service, so different people took responsibility for different aspects.

Cherry took care of the reading, because she’s often a reader; Doreen copied the programs (which included most of the music) and laid out the little handheld candles and set out the little sand-pots for people to put the candles into during the singing of the kyrie; a visiting priest had been tapped to lead the service since our priest was gone, so she settled the music cues with Harriet, the guest organist. Beforehand, Linda had organized It was a bit of a muddle at first, but once we got started, it went all right. Except for the part where someone was supposed to sing the “Kyrie Eleison,” but the music was left up to our imagination, and none of us knew what to do. Harriet hadn’t noticed the lapse until it was too late for us to rehearse something or copy something out of the Taize’ book, but she covered for us by playing a kyrie with a simple melody and we made that sound like we meant to do it that way.

So it seemed to please the folks that came from other parishes, and we sang and prayed for whirled peas, and it was good. Except for the extended “what’re we gonna do” panties-in-a-bunch session around the organist and the visiting priest, who had never met before that moment.

And next year, we’ll have our own priest organizing things and not have to huddle-muddle something up in 10 minutes between the end of supper and the beginning of a service that’s supposed to be quiet and contemplative. Oh, well.

Go, whirled peas. Peas for the whirled.

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