Earth Day and Passover | News, sports, jobs

Vegetables, beans and pasta (supplied photo – Yvona Fast)

It’s April 22. We are one month into spring. The snow is gone. The ice has been removed from the lakes. April showers water the ground and bring new life. On sunny days the crocuses open in our garden and lawn to greet the warming rays.

April 22 is Earth Day, set aside to celebrate the Earth’s bounty, encourage environmental awareness, and conserve our limited natural resources. It is a day to clean our air and water. It’s a day to focus on clean, local and natural food – as opposed to the factory food that fills most supermarket shelves today.

Before the 1940s, food was grown and purchased locally. There was the greengrocer, the butcher, the pharmacy, the soft drink shop/candy shop, the bakery and the delicatessen shop. Village shops were owned by someone from the community. What a contrast today: we buy most of our food from large, corporate chain stores.

To honor the earth, buy locally grown food – or better yet, grow your own food and compost food scraps back into the garden. Reduce food waste and compost vegetable scraps. Buying local reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the distance food travels to reach your table. Reduce meat consumption; Modern livestock farming makes a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

April 22 is also the first night of Passover – a holiday of freedom from oppression. Celebrate with the Seder meal, which reminds us of the long, difficult journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in Israel.

“The temptation is to close our eyes and wait for the worst to pass, but history tells us that the freedom to survive must be defended and for lies to stop, they must be exposed.” (Madeleine Albright.)

During the Seder, a book, the Haggadah, is read aloud. There are special songs, lots of food and four glasses of wine. Six symbolic foods make up the seder plate: Matzah, a shank bone, an egg, bitter herbs, charoset and karpas – a green vegetable.

Matza symbolizes the food that God miraculously provided during the long journey. The lamb was the sacrifice on the eve of the Exodus from Egypt. Maror are bitter herbs that remind us of the hardships and slavery of Egypt. Haroset is a sweet mix of fruit (usually apples), nuts and wine, made to resemble the mortar and bricks made by the Jewish slaves in Egypt. The bitter herbs are dipped into the sweet mixture and eaten together. The egg is a symbol of God’s redemption.

The karpas (Hebrew for green or vegetable) is dipped in salt water to remind us of the tears shed during the flight from Egypt. Usually parsley, celery, lettuce or spinach, it denotes the fruit of the earth, symbolizing hope and renewal.

Passover celebrates freedom. Earth Day celebrates our planet. Whatever your origins, enjoy the freedom to rejoice and work to make our world a better place for everyone.

“We praise God, Spirit of the Universe, who creates the fruits of the earth” is the blessing over the fresh vegetables. I think it’s also a fitting blessing for Earth Day.

Variable Greens and Beans

You can’t get more climate-friendly than this combination.


1 Tablespoon cooking oil

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 large bunch of chard, spinach or other greens

1/2 cup stock or water

1 15 oz. can of beans (such as garbanzo or cannelini)

1-2 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Grated cheese, for garnish (optional)


Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and pepper flakes.

Distinctive Swiss chard emerges from the leaves. Wash and cut the stems. Add to the skillet.

Stack the leaves and cut them crosswise into 1-inch strips. Add to the pan, along with a little stock or water. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Remove the lid and add 1 can of beans, drained. Cook, stirring to evaporate excess liquid, and heat through the beans.

Taste and season with salt, pepper and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Serve the cooked pasta and garnish with grated sharp cheese, if desired.

Serve with pasta or a grain such as quinoa, millet or rice.

Vary this by using other types of beans and/or vegetables – remember that tougher vegetables, such as collards or collard greens, will take a little longer to cook, so add a little stock after cooking them for 2-3 minutes, cover and cook until they be done.

Make a soup out of this by adding a liter of stock (chicken or vegetarian) when adding the beans.

Add a Greek twist by garnishing with crumbled feta cheese and sliced ​​olives toward the end. Add sliced ​​tomatoes for extra color.

Add cooked, diced chicken for extra protein.

Main course salad

Ideal for your Passover celebration or for a light Earth Day supper.


1 1/2 cups cooked beans (black eyed peas, garbanzo, or black beans)

2 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 small clove of garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion (or 1 bunch scallions)

1 Tablespoon cooking oil

1 clove of fresh garlic

1 small bunch of strong-flavored vegetables (mustard greens, kale, etc.)

1 head of leaf lettuce

1 bunch of mache, cress, spinach, lettuce or other tender greens

1 carrot, grated


Boil the bans until done, or use 1 can of beans.

Prepare vinaigrette. Stir together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in the bottom of the salad bowl. Crush the garlic with salt and mix everything. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add a clove of minced garlic and a small bunch of sharply flavored vegetables. Cook, stirring, about 10 minutes or until wilted.

Add lettuce, mache, sweet onion and grated carrot to the dressing; throw to combine. Drain the peas or beans and add them. Stir in the chopped cooked vegetables.

Options: Garnish with cheese (feta, cheddar or parmesan) or a chopped hard-boiled egg.

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Author of the award-winning cookbook “Garden Gourmet: fresh and fantastic meals from your garden, CSA or farmers market,” Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: writing and cooking. She can be found at and reached at [email protected] or at X: @yvonawrites.

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