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Solzhenitsyn & Bruschetta

March 10, 2011

Matthew : 19 – 21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth & rust destroy, & where thieves break in & steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, & where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

De-cluttering prior to some home renovations, I came across paperwork, things I had written before we moved here 10+ years ago.


There was an extensive quote by Alexandr I. Solzhenitsyn from The Gulag Archipelago (NY: Harper & Row, 1974) that I had copied; I thought it might be if interest:

What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I’ll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusory – property & position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, & is confiscated one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life – don’t be afraid of misfortune & do not yearn for happiness… Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes & purify your heart – & prize above all else in the world those who love you & wish you well.

“Do not pursue what is illusory.” I have removed about a ton of stuff from my house – what was I pursuing to have collected so much that is now so easy to give away or discard? Maybe pursuing an illusion. Maybe someone else was pursuing an illusion – so many items had been given to me by someone with her own issues of deep, emotional pain; feeding a hunger, a hurt, an emptiness that I have never known. Whatever the reason, I feel that I have been cured from stuff-itis & have made it my goal to add nothing to this household without removing something that is already there. Nothing comes in unless something goes out!

Did you know that Solzhenitsyn was arrested days before the end of World War 2, where he had served as a front-line Artillery Captain, because he referred to Josef Stalin in a private letter to a friend as “the man with the mustache.” For that he spent 8 years in a gulag, taken away without due process, without ceremony – 8 years in a labor camp. Upon his release from the labor camp Solzhenitsyn served 3 years in exile in Kazakhstan, where he began to write while teaching mathematics. He won the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature exposing the realities of the Soviet gulag system.

Bruschetta of a Different Sort

A twist on the Italian regular – & an excellent way to serve greens to friends & family.

Sautéed Beet Greens


  • 2 Shallots, minced
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • Beet Greens from 3-4 large beets, rinsed well, drained, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup Chicken or vegetable Broth
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Sauté shallots with garlic in a little olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the beet greens; toss them in the oil mixture for 1 minute; add broth.
  3. Cover & simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid; squeeze in the lemon juice; season with salt & pepper.
  5. Set aside.


Bean Mash

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 4 – 5 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 can White Beans (do not drain)
  • 1/3 cup fresh Basil, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. In a pan, heat the oil over medium low heat; Add the garlic & cook slowly to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor.
  2. Add the beans; cook for about 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. Mash beans with fork or potato masher.
  4. Add the basil, lemon, salt & pepper to taste.

Serve the greens with the bean mash on toasted whole grain baguette slices.


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