God spoke to me today…audibly.

The message was on Isaiah 61, a proclamation of the Lord’s Favor.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has annointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, the proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, who comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garmet of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks origheousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

I thought of MD, who shared her story of abuse and forced sexual labor by her parents.  Her courage and survival serve as an inspiration, but she’s much much more than her story. Her pursuit of justice and self-empowerment point to Christ’s saving and redeeming power.  As Jesus was annointed to be who Isaiah 61 describes, so have we been annointed to bring the good news to those around us because of our mourning, spirit of despair, brokenheartedness, poverty, and our own story of devastation.

The pastor called us to pray for the person next to us.  In the embrace of a woman I’ve never met, I felt compelled to pray for her freedom as she uttered words in a different language.  I had a sense that she was alone in her faith.  I praised God for her boldness to believe in what she did despite potential persecution.  I looked around.  I was surrounded by other presumably single people; people sat in every other seat or walked in alone.  There were 1 or 2 couples, no babies, no children.  I wondered how many of you in this room also did not have someone to come to church with?  I sensed a hunger for truth that was transparent.  People came as they were, not in the way they were expected to.

No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.

One day, the walls that bound MD to her small room will no longer confine her.  Can you imagine the freedom to enjoy the presence of the Lord without the boundaries of society and sin?  Barriers will be removed, and we will see that all we need is Christ.  Do we live in a way that leads to eternal significance?  Or are we comfortably living somewhere between heaven and hell, enslaved in the pursuit of truth but not choosing to see it because it means we must change and respond?

As I walked hand in hand with P, after filling out a restraint order against her pimp, she asked me to pray.  At that moment, I saw the change to bride from brothel…we are made holy and cleansed by the washing with water through the word, and presented to Christ as radiant without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Be encouraged.  Know you’re not alone, and that He is making you into a radiant bride all over again and for eternity…

Unleavened bread to remind us of our poverty and persecution, a history of slavery and freedom. The bitter herb, which I used green garlic (in cream cheese) reminds us of the bitterness of slavery.

In honor of earth day and Easter, I cooked green things to celebrate new life!  I treated myself to Viburnums.

Green and white shades of delicate flowers...too bad they didn't last long. Off to the compost bin after 3 days!

Green and wheat mandu (dumplings) with pork, tofu, chives, green onion, and napa cabbage filling.  Steamed and pan-fried…

I miss folding these dumplings with my grandma and mom...

Ready to be dipped in sauce!

For Easter Sunday, one way to talk about Jesus is to cook lamb.  haha  A great conversation starter.  “Did you know the Bible calls Jesus…”

Globe artichokes from California, trimmed. Those *$#! prickly ends tore up my fingertips when I mishandled them!

Stuffed with breadcrumbs, pine nuts, parmesan, anchovy, and garlic mixture

Recipe can be found on http://www.marthastewart.com/344951/stuffed-artichokes.

20-30 minutes of roasting in wine will give you this! Make sure the stuffing reaches all the nooks and crannies!

Ad Hoc's creamed corn with lime zest and cayenne

Stuffed artichokes, roasted thyme marble potatoes, and lamb chops marinated in garlic, thyme, mint, salt, and pepper

Even my secular Easter creations are into Jesus!

They're eyeless now...but I will be attaching small black beads soon.

Where did the story of the Easter Bunny come from anyway?!

Though I love Thomas Keller, the food I cook from Ad Hoc is pretty rich.

= Gaining weight.

Heidi Swanson’s recipes are light and waistline friendly.  The following recipe perfectly suites my Asian tastes.  I love soba noodles and black sesame!  Who knew making a black sesame paste could be a great 양념, or seasoning!  Throw in some crab meat and eat it as a meal…

btw “Otsu” is an antiquated Japanese word meaning “strange, quiet, chic, stylish, spicy, witty, tasty, romantic…” (how those words are all related I don’t know).  It’s also a city in Japan.

Small serving size of buckwheat soba noodles.

  • 1 tsp pine nuts
  • 1 tsp sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup black sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ Tbsp natural cane sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp mirin
  • Scant 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar – I used regular rice vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Fine-grain sea salt
  • 12 oz. soba nodles
  • 12 oz. extra-firm tofuI omitted this because I didn’t have any on hand
  • EVOO
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  1. Toast sunflower seeds and pine nuts over medium heat until golden.  Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast for a minute or so.  Make sure you don’t burn them!!  Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush the mixture; the texture should be like black sand.  I used my spice grinder. 
  2. Stir in the sugar, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and cayenne pepper.  Taste and adjust if needed.
  3. Cook soba noodles in salted water.  Drain, reserving some of the cooking water, and rinse noodles under cold water.
  4. Reserve a heaping tablespoon of the sesame paste, then thin the rest with 1/3 cup of the hot noodle water.

    Thinned out black sesame paste with noodle water.

  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, half of the green onions, and the black sesame paste mixture.  Toss until well combined.  Serve topped with a tiny dollop of the reserved sesame paste and the remaining green onions.

    Dollop of goodness on top!

    Check out Heidi’s other recipe similar to this.

My obsession with Ad Hoc culminated on my birthday, when my boyfriend took me to the restaurant!  Although it wasn’t fried chicken Monday, I knew I’d lick my plate clean whatever the menu was that day.

Cool folder with menu inside.

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