I knew we were in the final stretch today while in the market I picked up a bag of garbanzo bean flour and actually hesitated, wondering, will I be able to use all of this by the end of May? As I write this, Shaun is taking pictures of a surfboard and an old printer for craigslist. At the front door there is a bankers box of pots, glasses, and towels for goodwill that we’ve somehow accumulated over the past few years. Books are stacked for sorting, graduation announcements strewn about the table waiting for stamps.
By now it’s probably a good time to tell; we’re moving to Colorado. The Mountains are calling. We’re going where our heart is, not where we think it “should” be. And that feels so darn great. Many of you have been trying to trace our steps since January, and I should give you all gold stars for your patience as I danced around in circles making and un-making up my mind. Brooklyn? DC? Portland? San Francisco? Denver? It has been a long, tiresome, soul-stretching process. Shaun and I honored it, and each other, by digging through the thicket privately. But there is more…
… since (most of) the whirlwind has subsided, it’s time to let everyone in again. We’re going to Colorado, and in a way you’re coming too (!!). To that, I have to stop and say thank you. Your love, encouragement, and wisdom has enriched my life in more ways than I could possibly put into words. This whole blog thing completely blows my mind. I’ve probably been more vulnerable with you, in this space, than I have ever been with some of the people I call friends in real life. How is that? How does that happen? I think I’m still figuring it all out. Thank you for coming into my life with your unique perspective and light, week after week, and thank you for letting me into yours.
This is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart. I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart. (e.e cummings)
Here’s the thing. If you have an hour to kill on Sunday afternoon, try the pasta yourself. But because I love you, because I carry your heart with me in my heart, I urge you to take some shorcuts here. How do I put this lightly, gluten free pasta is… frustrating to work with. Time. Patience. Practice. I set out to make fettucine, but failed miserably. Determined to not let the dough go to waste I made bows, instead. The first batch was too thick, but on second go, I got a great size and texture. If you’re feeling gutsy, try it. I love the nutty taste of chickpea pasta, but I think whole wheat spaghetti, brown rice shells, or any other type of pasta would go brilliantly with the lemony, herby peas.
Chickpea Bow Tie Pasta with Spring Peas
2 cups garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp water
1 lb shelled peas
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lg. lemon, juice and zest
basil, large handful
mint, large handful
1/4 cup olive oil
optional: roasted pumpkin seeds, parmasean
For the pasta, add the flour to a large bowl, making a well in the middle for the eggs. Crack eggs and slowly begin to whisk with a fork, incorporating the flour until you get a shaggy ball. Add a little water to pull together the scraps. Turn out onto a ULTRA floured surface (on the first go, I went straight onto the cutting board, bad idea, second go, I used an old silicon mat underneath the flour to prevent sticking). Roll out until 1-2 mm thickness. Cut vertical strips, 1/2 inch thick, then cut horizontally every 2 inches until you have made small rectangles. They should look like stubby, short sticks of gum. Pinch at the center of rectangle on the long-side to create the bow. Set aside. Repeat. Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook in small batches for 2-4 minutes.
Place shelled peas into a heavy pan. Add minced or grated garlic and the olive oil. Saute for 5-7 minutes. Tear or roughly chop up the basil and mint, add to peas. Stir to coat for for 1-2 minutes. Add zest of the lemon and the juice just before you toss in the cooked pasta. Finish with a bit of salt, roasted pumpkin seeds, and if you’re into cheese, a bit of fresh parmesan.
Mostly just a quote today. There is a ping-pong match going on upstairs. Lots of thoughts. Ideas. Beginnings and endings always get me riled up. Maybe it’s all the coffee. I would recommend holding off on calling me anytime in the next ten days. I’ll probably bulldoze the conversation with things like how corporations should not be considered ‘persons’ with constitutional rights equal to real people, failed institutions in Guatemala, the movie 50/50, or how I almost ran out of gas again. I can’t always keep the crazy in check. And maybe that’s okay. I love this quote in all its affirmation. Get crazy. Get reckless.
“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.” J. Didion (again, I know, what can I say, she’s amazing)
Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke) Orecchiette
Pairings suggested by Nigel Slater, Tender
12 oz dried or fresh orecchiette (or other pasta of choice)
1-2 lbs firm ‘chokes
1 head flat leaf parsley
pat of butter or ghee
Jerusalem Artichokes, Sunchokes to some, are stubborn buggers to clean. If Nigel Slater hadn’t warned me otherwise, I would have been tempted to just be done with the caked on mud and peel the darn things. I’m glad I was patient — Cooking the ‘chokes with their skins helps preserve their crispness and earthiness. Just make sure you spend a good ten minutes scrubbing the tubers or else dinner is likely to be on the gritty side. I washed them, sliced them thin, then rinsed them again to dislodge the soil from the deep notches.
Once you’ve sliced them thin, throw them in a steaming basket for about 5-10 minutes just to loosen up the fiber. While you wait, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, bring a bit of olive oil and butter to a sizzle. Transfer steamed ‘chokes and sauté for about 10 minutes to absorb the fat and slightly brown. Kill the heat. By now the pasta water should be boiling. Cook per packaging instructions until just past al dente. Remove. Strain. Rinse. Let dry. Then toss with the ‘chokes.
I LOVE parsley, so I used a whole head of leaves, chopped roughly. But a heaping cup or so would do. Toss into the pot of ‘chokes and pasta. Add juice of 2 or three lemons, a good shake of salt and pepper, and a few lugs of olive oil. Toss together to coat. For the omnivore, Slater suggets adding chopped bacon or seared bay scallops. Find another great recipe using ‘chokes here.
I was seventeen, Shaun was closing in on nineteen when we went to the cabin. The idea wasn’t our own, rather a gentle nudge from a friend who knew we needed that trip more than we realized at the time. I’m thankful for his wisdom. Although we had been dating for nearly a year, I don’t think it was until that trip that we really saw each other. Saw each other’s heart; the joy and pain and the fear that lay tucked beneath the surface, the façade we for different reasons clung to.
There were swings at the cabin, up the hill from lakeshore. It was barely raining that day, and we sat on the swings and let the wind fill the silence between us. We were both confused. I remember starting to cry, feeling that nudge again coming with the rain. Shaun turned to me and said “you’ve got to let me in.”
I attempted to start this post with a question, how many people in your life really see you? Following it with another, now how many people do you really see? I felt stuck — wanting to make a point about how often we go through the weeks and months surrounded by people believing we see them and know them, when in reality we don’t really at all. But that would be the obvious question.
I dropped Shaun off at the airport earlier in the morning and felt a pang of sadness that we will be spending another one of his birthdays apart. The morning was crisp when we hugged goodbye, and the clouds considered a bout of rain. I drove away and thought of the cabin. Five years. It felt like a long time ago. I thought about how far we’ve come as individuals, as a couple. I thought about what today would have been like if we had put off that trip to Alaska and his grandparents cabin.
The better question is this, who do you let see you? Why do you (we) hold back from allowing people to really see us for who we really are? We must work to be present and truly see others, but we must also work to trust that it’s okay to let others see our own true selves too. It’s scary. I know. But we may be seen when we let ourselves be seen. Maybe not always, but when we do, there will be opportunity and occasion for people who do want to see us, and we will not feel alone.
To make Pumpkin Gnocchi, you’ve got to use your inherent culinary intuition. Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s difficult to quantify ingredients without knowing the variety you’ve chosen and how much it will yield. Here are some rough guidelines:
1/2 of one med/large cooking pumpkin, we like Musquee De Provence
2 (ish) cups of unbleached white whole wheat flour
1 egg, or 2 if your pumpkin gives you more than 2 cups puree
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
A few sprigs of thyme
(optional) freshly grated parmesan
Cut open your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Wrap one half, and store for later. Cut remaining half into slices like you would a cantaloupe. Depending on your variety, you may be able to peel the skin, otherwise carefully remove with a knife and cut skinless pumpkin into 1″ cubes.
Toss pumpkin into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until just softened, adding more water if necessary. Strain softened pumpkin into a large colander, and again through a fine mesh sieve a few cups at a time, pressing out the liquid with a wooden spoon or spatula. Resturn mashed pumpkin to the dry saucepan and add a pat or two of butter. Return to the stove over low heat for about 5 minutes to just melt the butter and evaporate the remaining water. Transfer to a food processor and blitz until smooth. While blitzing, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Turn pureed pumpkin into a large bowl. Add egg(s) and salt and pepper before folding in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. When you have added enough flour to produce a dough like consistency and forms a ball, turn out the ball onto a floured surface and knead a few times, adding a bit of flour if needed, until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Take a small section of the dough and roll out into a thin rope. Cut into 1″ sections and make indents on four sides with a wet fork. Repeat with remaining dough. Warning, this makes A LOT. Place half of the finished gnocchi on a floured baking sheet and freeze for up to two hours before placing them together in a freezer bag.
Place gnocchi a dozen at a time in the boiling water. Cook until they all float to the top. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan with butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme to medium heat until the butter melts and you’ve coaxed the aroma out of the herbs. Set aside. Repeat boil process with remaining gnocchi. Toss in the butter/oil mixture, and enjoy.