Month of July: “Purple Citrus Sweet Perfume” Recipe: Mung Beans with Caramelized Onions and Nigella Seeds

Abby’s brother introduced me to a beautiful blog written by a widow who lost her husband to cancer last year. Her writing was so exceptionally clear and honest. It touched me deeply. She had included a poem from Mary Oliver reminding me of another poem of hers that I have loved for many many years. This moment seemed right for sending it out into the void. The poem always makes me cry and today it caused me to become acutely aware that I am not ready to let go. Not yet.

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees are turning their own bodies into pillars of light,

are giving off the rich fragrance of cinnamon and fulfillment,

the long tapers of cattails are bursting

and floating away over the blue shoulders of the ponds,

and every pond, no matter what its name is, is nameless now.

Every year everything I have ever learned in my lifetime leads me back to this:

the fires and the black river of loss

whose other side is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know.

To live in this world you must be able to do three things:

to love what is mortal: to hold it against your bones

knowing your own life depends on it: and, when the time comes

to let it go,

to let it go.

Mary Oliver 1935-2019

Ingredients: 9 ounces of dried mung beans, soaked in cold water overnight, 1/2 cup olive oil, 3 large onions thinly sliced, 4 shallots finely chopped, 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, sea salt and ground black pepper, 8 sun dried tomatoes chopped, 1 tablespoon of nigella seeds toasted.

  1. Drain the mung beans and place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes, until tender. Drain in a wire sieve.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onions and saute for 20-25 minutes until soft and lightly golden.
  3. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup oil with the shallots, vinegar, parsley and mustard in a bowl and season. Add the bean and toss in tomatoes. Top with the cooked onions and sprinkle the nigella seeds. Serve hot or cold.

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