If there’s anything that I’ve learned about human relationships so far, it’s that each of us desperately needs the freedom to be who we are, in whatever part of the journey that we find ourselves in, in any given moment.
In being a wife, I’ve learned that in order for my husband to be able to realize who he is, and to continue to evolve and to grow, he needs my support and understanding, my encouragement, when he has the desire to ask his own deep questions about who he is, and his own place in the world; he needs the freedom to grown out of his old shell, and into a roomier one that’ll better suit him wherever he finds himself next.
And one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned through the amazing opportunity I’ve had of being a mother, is that no matter how much I’d like to provide all of the information and the protection that’s needed in order for my son to avoid making painful mistakes in his life, it’s not really my place to eliminate all possibility of that; that he, too, needs the freedom to grow in his own understanding (with guidance, of course), and to experience what his Creator has in store for him, and to slowly mature into his own adult life.
See, each of us needs to taste life in order to see what we think of it.
We need the freedom to experience the world around us on our own skin, in order to find out how it reacts and mixes with our chemistry, and to see how we feel about the circumstances which we find ourselves in.
We need the freedom to learn all of the valuable lessons that we’re here to learn, both pleasant and unpleasant.
It seems to me that so often we place so many stipulations and conditions upon one another out of fear of what may happen as a result of change.
But unless we release one another to find out how we’ve been made, and of what kind of “matter”, then we live only a partial existence, and never truly find out who we (or the ones that we love) are.
And that, to me, is not a full nor fully realized existence.
It’s keeping things held still, in limbo, like a snapshot.
You see, food doesn’t ask permission to be what it’s meant to be; it doesn’t ask us how it should taste or feel on our palettes.
It’s free to be exactly what it is, and because of that, it offers us so much pleasure in the way of each bite taken being perfectly unique.
A Smoked Sausage and Red Rice Skillet is juicy, savory, salty, smoky, tangy, bright and bold.
It even has a mild hint of sweet as it develops, because it’s given the opportunity, the time, the freedom, to evolve into a meal that deeply satisfies and is full of richness, aroma, and color.
And that’s exactly what we’d want and expect from good food, isn’t it?
To be given freedom to explore life’s nooks and crannies, and to find out all of the colors and flavors that make us up, is not only a gift, but a necessity.
As we evolve and grow, as we continue to change, we will certainly make mistakes and even question what in the world we’re doing here.
But unless we give one another the freedom to find out who we are, to develop, in a true and genuine way, then all we’re doing is simply holding life still, and allowing fear to take the place of love.
And I’d much rather take my queue from a delectable Smoked Sausage and Red Rice Skillet on that one, and extend not only myself but others the freedom to just be what we were created to be, fully.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Smoked Sausage and Red Rice Skillet with Charred Onions and Peppers
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4
• Canola oil
• 1 (12 ounce) package smoked beef sausage (or your favorite variety), sliced
• 1 white onion, quartered and sliced
• 1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
• 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• Black pepper
• 3 ounces (about half a tin) tomato paste
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 4 cups cooked rice
• 1 teapsoon paprika
• 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
• 1 tablepoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
-Place a large cast-iron skillet (or heavy bottom braising/Dutch oven-style pan) over medium-high to high heat; once the skillet/pan becomes hot, drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of oil, and once that shimmers, add in the sliced sausage, and leave it undisturbed for a couple of moments, in order for it to sear up on that first side; then, stir the sausage so that it can brown on the other sides for a few moments, and with a slotted spoon remove from pan and set aside.
-Add into the skillet/pan the sliced onion, along with the sliced red and yellow bell peppers, and allow those to char and become golden, for about 3-4 minutes; then, add in the garlic and a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, and stir to incorporate.
-Once the garlic becomes aromatic, remove everything from the pan, and set it aside with the sausage.
-Reduce the heat to low, and drizzle in a little more oil (about a tablespoon or so); add in the tomato paste and about ½ cup of the stock and stir or whisk to blend, allowing it to cook for about 15-30 seconds just to cook out the raw flavor and soften it a little bit.
-Add in the rice and sprinkle over the paprika, and stir so that it gets well-coated in the tomato paste/stock.
-Add back into the skillet the sausage and the charred onions and peppers, plus the rest of the stock, and stir to combine everything well.
-Finish by stirring in the chopped cilantro and parsley, and then check to see if any additional salt and pepper is needed (you can even add some red pepper flakes if you like it spicy), and serve.