Thursday, March 17, 2011

Connecting With Japan in Christ Church, New Zealand

If I were a religious fundamentalist, I’d say that God was punishing the world for being greedy. Since I’m not, I’ll question whether climate change is playing a role in the seeming proliferation of natural disasters. Since I’m not a scientist, I’ll have to leave that to the scientists. In the meantime, while the horrors of Japan’s earthquake, tsunami, and possible nuclear meltdown dominate our thoughts, I’ll reflect on the self-guided peace and justice walk that we took in Christ Church, New Zealand. Who would ever think on that pleasant summer day that the two countries would share similar horrors in such a short span of time.

On that day, we looked at the peace symbols which had connected the two countries. The World Peace Bell Association in Tokyo gifted this peace bell to New Zealand in 2005.

This plaque remembering the bombing victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki sits under a purple plum tree inscribed in English, Maori, and Japanese.

Also inscribed in English, Maori, and Japanese are the words “May Peace Prevail On Earth” on the Peace Pole given to New Zealand by the Japanese members of the Society of Prayer for World Peace.

 All these events have really reminded me of how much we all over the world are all connected. As we pray for the Japanese people, let us try to figure out what we need to do to avert a nuclear disaster and other disasters in the future.

While I think about these events, I again retreat into cooking. The New Zealanders are great cooks so I bought a New Zealand cookbook while I was there. They, too, have their quicky cookbooks. This recipe is from their 20-minute cookbook 100 Favorite 20 Minute Dishes by Simon and Alison Holst. This time I tried their recipe for Grilled Chicken on Lemony Orzo. My adaptation feeds four. It took me somewhat longer than 20 minutes, probably because I was getting used to the recipe and their metric measurements.

                                                Grilled Chicken on Lemony Orzo

1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast cut in pieces
1 lemon zested and juiced
2 tbsp minced garlic
½ tsp minced chili powder
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup orzo
2 ½ cups boiling water
2 tsp chicken broth
2 zucchini diced
½ red bell pepper diced
10-20 kalamata olives (optional)
feta cheese to taste (optional)

  1. Marinate the chicken with half of the lemon zest, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, parsley, chili powder, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Heat the second tablespoon of olive oil in a large, lidded pan. Add the onion and sauté until soft. Stir in the orzo and remaining lemon zest. Then add the boiling water and instant stock. Cover and simmer for about 8 minutes.
  3. While the orzo is cooking, quickly grill the chicken 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Stir the vegetables, olives, and any remaining lemon juice into the orzo mixture. Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes longer. Then remove from the heat and stir in the feta cheese.
  5. Pile the orzo mixture onto serving plates and top with the chicken. It’s good with a simple green salad or tomato salad.

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