07 . 09 . 12
Summer storms are a new indulgence for me. Cozied in a reading chair by our front window I tend to my journal and a cup of cold tea. Torrents of rain bear down on the front walk and I visualize a release of stagnant memories, ideas, and beliefs being carried down the road with the leaves to the storm drain. Shaun is in the Domincan Republic, filming, and I sit alone, silent at my perch, letting the explosive energy of the passing thunder reverberate in my bones.
Thoughts pass, yet nothing lingers. I experience an excess of calm amidst the raging weather and am reminded, again, of my smallness. I am a speck of matter and energy in this massive, bursting earthplane of people, places and dreams.
During my months living at sea, I used to spend hours gazing upon the open ocean, begging the waves to teach me their humility and sense of time. Years later, in this chair and the throes of a summer storm, no begging is needed. I am both humbled and grateful for the gift of an unrushed hour to my afternoon. Tears form, then a smile. For the first time in a long time, I actually believe it will all be okay.
Tomorrow my morning walk will smell of fresh ideas, resolve, and renewed opportunity, the rain will have cleansed the world of todays mistakes and made space for all that can, and will, come next. Exhale.
// july 6
Cherry, Lentil, Fennel Salad
- 1/2 lb red cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 small bulbs fennel, shaved
- 4-5 small red beets, chopped
- 1/2 cup de puy lentils
- 2 giant handfuls of baby greens (kale, chard, etc.)
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, julienned
- 1 tbsp fresh mint, julienned
- 1/4 cup shallot, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- salt/pepper on hand
I’m going to make these instructions short and sweet, a salad is as salad does folks. Boil lentils for 20 minutes. Remove. Rinse. Cool. Set aside. Steam sliced beets for 10 minutes. Rinse. Cool. Set aside. Finely slice fennel and place in a small bowl. Douse with salt and massage with hands. Let sit for 10 minutes, rinse, drain. Pit cherries. Set aside. Toast pumpkin seed under the broiler for 2-5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine basil, mint, shallot, olive oil, and lemon juice. Stir. Pile in cherries, softened fennel, steamed beets, and lentils. Stir to coat. Cut in Avocado. Toss with greens (probably should use your hands to get everything good and mixed/coated). Top with seeds, salt, pepper.
** Sharley and Caroline, this one’s for you ladies. Thank you for sharing your kindness and light with me last week.
06 . 27 . 12
We have a backyard now, how cool is that? Shaun built me raised beds and I planted winter squash early last week, probably too many, but we’ll get there when we get there. Every morning I sit in the sun on an old red adirondack that the last tenant left behind and watch over blossoms and the beneficials as they do their good work. I’m bonding with the squash, seeing phases of my life in them. So eager, reaching their awkward arms to the sky. They want to grow up so fast. Every day I am astounded at their progress. So proud. Like a parent, I suppose. Worrying about the sun and the birds, trying not to smother them, let them just do their thing.
Just like the plants, I am reminded, the power within (within me, within us all) grows stronger with each new day. Keep watering. Keep nurturing. That’s it. I’ll be patient, trust that good things will come to fruit in the near future. In the meantime I will celebrate the small triumphs, fend off the bad bugs, and just soak up the time given to me. It’s summer, folks, let’s try not over think things too much. Take the time (make the time) to ride bikes, call your mom, take a hike, figure out the grill, play dominos, sing in the shower, drink beer at the ball game, laugh at yourself, be nice, and eat lots and lots of stone fruit.
Apricot Mint Couscous
- 2 cups Israeli cous cous
- 1 lb ripe apricots
- 1/4 cup minced shallot
- 1/4 cup green onion
- 1 large handful italian parsley, chopped
- 20+ mint leaves, julienned
- 1/4 tsp minced fresh jalepeno
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Save energy and spare your kitchen from extra heat in the summer by preparing your cous cous using this method. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Stir in dry cous cous. Cover and kill the flame. Let cook for 12-15 minutes. Strain, rinse with cold water, and let sit to dry while you prepare the rest.
In a large bowl, combine minced shallot, finely sliced green onion (white and light green parts only), parsley, and mint. Carefully remove the seeds from the jalepeno and mince as fine as you can. I used 1/4 tsp, but add as much as you like to amp up the heat. WASH HANDS and surfaces, immediately. It only takes one time rubbing your nose without a wash to remember this tip. Add pepper to the mixture. Slice the apricots in crescents with a paring knife over the bowl (8-10 wedges per fruit). Squeeze lemon juice over the fruit before stirring. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Finally, mix in the cous cous to completely coat. Serve at room temperature.
03 . 26 . 12
We sat on the runway together this morning, looking out the window to a city that doesn’t yet feel like home but beckons us both in ways we don’t really understand yet. Deep breath. Is this it? Is this the next step? The “what ifs” the “yeah, buts” drown out the emergency evacuation tutorial and screaming children behind us. Inside I feel ashamed of my insecurities around the whole thing, but I try to remind that these feeling are, in fact, quite normal. It occurs to me somewhere between Baltimore and Chicago that whatever happens, wherever we go from here, the fact that we’ll be going, doing, succeeding, and failing together is enough to keep me from losing my lunch.
When I find myself in moments of relative panic, I bring together all the absurdly supportive people in my life into vision, and borrow some of their love and light to lock-up the monkey that has become of my mind. This weekend especially, I think of Shaun. I love that despite the fact we’ve been together for six+ years, Shaun still says things that surprise the heck out of me. Little phrases that come out of nowhere that make me find him even more charming than when we first met. “Let’s winterize this place,” he exclaimed last week, slapping his hands together and going on a window-locking spree around the apartment. Sweet nothings aren’t much for me. He knows better than to buy roses from South America. I feel more connected when we’re both sitting at the kitchen island in our sweaty running garb eating eggs and avocado and scratching out budgets for the big road-trip come June on a water-warped legal pad. Shaun only buys red sharpies for some reason, and when he holds the cap in his mouth, adjudicating that we’ll need a cooler in the car for my homemade nut milk and allocating funds for fresh vegetables along the way, I know there is no one on this planet who I would want to climb a mountain or jump the cliff with.
We (humans, partners, friends, family) take turns carrying each other, cheering each other on along the journey. We prop each other up when things feel soggy, sick, or scary. I think most of the time, we don’t even know we’re doing it for one another either. When you become so close, so connected to someone it’s like the dance starts happening on its own and the very nature of our being can be enough to shed light, comfort, or set straight. Seeing Shaun hunched over Southwest Soduku, oddly, does just that for me. When we’re open to it, the innoncence and predictability of what might appear quite mundane can be enough to tickle us pink and shake away the dark parts of the big mystery. Our future destinations and any call to action seems so vast and unknown, except for each other. There will be great changes, but there will be great love. When everything feels like it doesn’t make sense, there will be red sharpies, and we will have one another to hold and tease and carry each other through. Exhale. It’s going to be a great ride.
Before deciding on this recipe for a blog post this week, I had no idea that I would be consuming so many potatoes over the next few days after. In fact, every amazing dinner and rich conversation that we spent with Shaun’s brother Cody and his love, Michelle, involved some variation on the nightshade. So it seems this post turns into my ‘ode to the potato and how it somehow became the conduit for so much good energy, so much love. Heidi uses mustard, tarragon, capers, parsley and a few other goodies in the original recipe. This may be a watered-down rendition, but delicious nonetheless.
Broccoli Gribriche Adapted from Super Natural Everyday
- 1 lb broccoli florets
- 1 lb fingerling potatoes
- 1 sweet onion
- 4 eggs, hard boiled
- 2 shallots
- 3 lemons
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- salt/pepper to taste
Preheat the oven for 400.’ Rinse and dry the fingerlings. Place on a heavy baking sheet and massage with olive oil and the minced garlic to fully coat. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. Halfway through the cooking process, toss broccoli with a bit more olive oil and lay flat onto another heavy baking sheet. Slice 2 lemons to 1/4″ thickness and lay on top of the broccoli. Sprinkle with salt/pepper and roast on the lower rack of the oven until they begin to brown 10-15 minutes. Remove both potatoes and broccoli from the oven and allow to cool for 5-ish minutes.
Saute the onions until browned and set aside to cool. Mash hardboiled eggs roughly in a large bowl with minced shallot, 3 tbsp olive oil, and the vinegar. Toss in the broccoli, potatoes, roasted lemon slices, and the caramelized onions. Stir to coat evenly. Squeeze the juice of the third lemon over the top, and add a pinch more of sea salt.
03 . 18 . 12
I feel like I’ve been awkwardly bumbling about here the last few weeks. Stalling. Filling the white space up with words that I can justify clicking the publish button with, but void of the kind of truth or vulnerability that I usually challenge myself to share in this space. It’s all part of the process, though. I think. I hope. Still learning what it means to be on the web like this.
While it excites me that there actually people (like you) who tune in each week to this nook, it is also sort of presses on that weak spot in my psyche that is constantly egging on to “be perfect.” Ugly business. You know, the virus of ”should be, should say, should do” that holds us all back from being our best, truest possible selves. Every so often when I get down to business writing here, I get stuck on an idea where it’s like, rats, I can’t say that or I can’t talk about this because I don’t want to offend or upset someone. There is a quiet nagging voice warning: “must be poised, must be calm, must be wise, must not ruffle too many feathers.” And okay, to a certain degree the conscientiousness is good – even necessary. The world would be a much nicer place if we all just learned to check ourselves now and then when we have an outrageously passionate thought. But too much editing, filtering, and accommodating makes me feel like a robot.
Yet, as it were, this week I did not feel calm. I did not feel rational. I did not feel yogic. So many things that made me want to light the kitchen on fire, really. There was not a stable emotion to cling to for more than a few hours as I boomeranged between elation, empowerment, anger, sadness, frustration, confusion, joy, and crushing heartbreak. I chopped off 10 inches of hair on Tuesday with unabashed lightness, yet on Friday my chest was so heavy with sorrow for all the suffering, depravity, and cruelty of this world that I could barely stand as Shaun held me in his arms. A mess I tell you; imagine me later over a cutting board shouting “Society, Society!” at the top of my lungs with a clenched fist of radishes just like Eric McAndless from the film Into The Wild when an article on Texas abortion laws push it all over the edge. Crazy person, crazy.
I have a food blog. We take pretty pictures and share healthy recipes. That’s nice. Sweet. But on the other side of the editing table is an intense passion for “stuff” other than vegetables that floods my veins with purpose, intention, and deep conviction. The perfection trap can’t even put up a fight today because right now my heart is too swollen, my spirit soggy with the weight of a million weary voices and divisive ideologies that I alone cannot bring together or make better. There is a lot I really, really don’t understand about the world right now. I’ll keep kicking here, but it’s hard to profess my great love for salad in this state.
So I suppose I’ll stall a bit more. Stalling with grace, hopefully. It’s what I’m holding onto through all of this and I think you should too, whatever it is you see in the world, your world, that concerns you. Grace is everywhere in everything. Grace during moments of distress. Grace for times of great joy. Grace through the angst. Grace in failure. Grace for the good fight. Grace for the radish-rants in the kitchen. Grace for the people and ideas and things we don’t understand. Lets just have some grace, sound good?
Greens, Herbs, and Roasted Radishes
- 3 bunches of radishes
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 1 head romaine
- 6 endives
- 1 avocado
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup shallot, minced
- 2 tbsp dill, minced
- 2 tbsp mint, minced
- (optional) smoked salmon
Rinse and remove greens from radishes. Halve or quarter (depending on the variety you go with) and coat with olive oil and salt and pepper on a heavy baking sheet. Roast in a 400′ oven for 20-25 minutes until blistered but not totally browned. Set aside to cool.
Combine chopped butter lettuce, romaine, and endive (cores removed) in a large bowl. Slice and dice avocado into cubes over the bowl, then add chunks of salmon (optional) and the cooled radishes. For the dressing: whisk together olive oil, shallots, dill, and mint with the lemon juice in a small bowl. Pour over the salad, add some sea salt and fresh pepper, and toss with your hands or wood tongs.
(ps) I’m giving away books on Facebook this week. Just because I feel like it. Hop on over to get in on the party.
02 . 26 . 12
Shaun hates it when I leave the blinds open when we’re eating dinner. People are watching, he jokes, it’s weird. For the most part I don’t mind if people are watching, we’re all watching something, waiting for something interesting to happen. Waiting to feel connected.
Looking in, we find relief to see ourselves reflected in the habit and nuance of another. We see something that reminds us that we’re not alone. We’re not crazy. We get to be heroes for a brief moment, anonymously validating that small thing, that big thing, that thing that didn’t make any sense. Real heroism doesn’t involve fancy acrobatics. It’s surviving. We keep going. We keep laughing. We keep working. We’re still here and that is something to look at.
Writing is like that. We leave the blinds open a little and share pieces of our humanity, that, hopefully, reaches a reader and holds them, even for a second, and whispers: you’re not alone. We write to liberate ideas and experience, we write to discover ourselves. We read to be validated we’re not crazy, we read to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves. There’s like this dance between the two that helps us not turn into a puddle on the floor. It’s amazing that a simple string of words can give us that connection, feed that longing for intimacy.
Everyone leaves their blinds open, figuratively speaking. Looking out, looking in, walking down the street, sitting at the stoplight. It’s not just in the writing, it’s everywhere. “It” being that messenger, that thing that speaks to the core of you and honors exactly where you’re at along the journey. Keep looking. The teachers, the validators, the writing is all right there in the window if you’re looking in.
Late Winter Salad – adapted/inspired from Ottelenghi’s PLENTY
- 1 head cabbage (I used local green cone cabbage)
- 2 heads radicchio
- 1/2 cup dill, minced
- 3 cara-cara oranges
- 1 cup dried red sour cherries
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup olive oil
In a food processor with the blade fitting, blitz the cabbage and radicchio to a fine shred. Dump into a large bowl. Sprinkle with a bit of salt to wilt a little. Mince fresh dill and toss into the bowl with the cherries. In a small bowl combine olive oil and lemon juice, mix together, then pour over the mixture. Toss together. Segment the oranges by removing the skin and pulp and cutting out slices between the fiber skins. The Kitchn has a great tutorial for segmenting citrus here
. Lightly toss the salad with oranges and add a little more salt/pepper to taste.