I’ve got a number of cookbooks to my name, about a dozen, plus about another dozen cooking magazines (e.g. Quick Cooking, now sadly defunct). Then there’s my recipe box, which grows fuller and fuller. And let’s not even start talking about my Pinterest boards (let’s just pretend I haven’t pinned over 1k recipes…).
But how many of those recipes have I actually made? A very small fraction, truth be told. I love to read the recipes, look at the pictures, admire the methods and fantasize about the produce. And then I put the book away, close the Pinterest window, shut the magazine. And walk away. Maybe I’ll eventually make it. But probably not.
In that spirit, I’m going to share a recipe with you that you probably won’t ever make:
Ingredients – Ravioli
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 c cottage cheese (the poor man’s ricotta– higher fat is better), strained (you want mostly curds, not whey)
1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes (I make my own using this method– I also add some Italian seasonings for umph)
salt & pepper
(1/4 c freshly grated parmesean is a really nice addition, but I didn’t have any this time)
Ingredients – Asparagus
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into ~3″ pieces
4 Tbs butter (do not substitute margarine or oil here– for a brown butter sauce to work, it really does need to be butter)
1/2 c chopped walnuts
handful of chopped parsley (I used dried this time, but fresh really is much better)
- Prepare your pasta dough by mixing together the flour, salt, oil and eggs. This video will help you learn the traditional ‘well’ method. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, prepare your filling. Simply mix together the cottage cheese, egg, tomatoes, salt and pepper and optional parmeasan and set aside.
- Cut the dough into hunks and roll out into thin sheets. If you’ve got a pasta press, lucky you! I just use a rolling pin and lots of elbow grease!
- Once your dough is rolled out nice and thin (if they are too thick, they can end up too bready when you cook them), spoon out rows of scant tablespoons on half of the sheet. Then fold over the sheet to cover the filling lumps and press the dough around the filling to help seal the pockets. Then you can either cut between the ravioli pockets (make sure they are very sealed!) or use a ravioli stamp, like I did.
- You can either freeze these ravioli, refrigerate for a few days or go ahead and cook them now.
- Bring your water to a boil and melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the asparagus, stir to coat and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Once the water is boiling, add the ravioli to the pot (I use a slotted spoon to add and remove them) and cook. They should take 4-5 minutes. I also prefer to do this in multiple batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. They need to be able to move around freely in the boiling water. Once cooked, remove to a serving dish or individual plates.
- Remove the asparagus from the saute pan and add to the ravioli. Juice the lemon and add the juice to the butter left in the pan. Stir in the pepper (freshly ground is best– about ten twists), then the walnuts, then the parsley. Toss to coat, then pour over the asparagus and ravioli. Top with grated parmesean and additional parsley, if desired.
So let’s be real. You’re not going to make that tomorrow night. You’re not going to make that Saturday night. You’re going to look at the picture, think about how delicious it must be with the bite of the lemon juice and the nuttiness of the asparagus complemented by the walnuts. But that’s all.
Why am I so sure that you’ll do just that? Because it’s what we all do. Even me, someone that loves to cook. And we don’t just do it with recipes. Really, that’s probably the least of our worries. It’s really much more of an issue that we do that very thing with our Bibles. We are really good at reading our Bibles (or maybe not), but that’s all we do. We close it, put it away and immediately forget what we read.
For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.
Have you ever noticed that we don’t really do that? When we walk away from a mirror, we don’t forget what we look like. We remember how our hair looked, our makeup, if it covered up that blemish or if everyone is looking at the dark circles under our eyes. But then, we also spend a lot more time looking in the mirror than reading or listening to the word.
Psalm 1 describes believers that aren’t like us and describes those believers that “delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” How great! Look what a great promise! Look how fruitful and beautiful we can be, if delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night. But then, that’s a high order.
One of the reasons it is so easy to just read the recipe and then walk away and think about it no further is that it really doesn’t matter. Even if we actually do ever make the recipe, all that has changed is tonight’s dinner. But then, why is it so very easy to do the same thing with scripture? Well, likely because it doesn’t really feel like it matters either.
To say that really is sacrilege. No joke. To claim that the Word of God is fairly useless is sacrilegious. And that should bother you and it will bother you because it is obviously wrong. Anyone that considers him/herself a believer should feel in his or her heart that his word matters (Jesus knew the Torah and Jewish scriptures like the back of his hand. He wants the same from you). So, why then do we live as if it doesn’t? Why do we let our Bibles collect dust? Or, if we do actually read it, why do we close it, put it away and forget what we read? Or, if we do actually remember what we read, why don’t we put it into practice?
Probably because we don’t actually believe that it has much effect on our daily lives. And I don’t really think there is much that I can say to convince you otherwise. So instead, I’m going to challenge you to live a life a bit more similar to Psalm 1. Give it a try. Dip your roots into the word and see what fruits develop.
Reading and applying scripture is the easiest way to welcome the Spirit into your life. You put yourself into his sphere and welcoming him into conversation with you. Reading scripture with your own heart in mind, comparing it to your heart, your experiences, your pains, your joys, you will find that it is way more relevant to your life than you think. God wants to speak to you through his word (He left it to you for a reason!)– so take the opportunity to not only read it, but also to truly listen. Take it into your heart and apply it to your life.
Here’s your challenge: find an application for everything you read. Then “hide [his] word in [your] heart” (Psalm 119:11). I highly recommend that you read and meditate on Psalm 119. And never forget that “The Bible is meant to be bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions.”