“I must learn to love the fool in me–the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of my human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my Fool.”
― Theodore I. Rubin
Sunchoke Soup with Cracked Black Pepper
1 pound sunchokes, peeled and chopped
2 cups peeled, chopped potatoes
6 tablespoons olive oil or butter
2 sweet onions, chopped
4 medium cloves garlic
Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
9 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup whole milk (optional)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Peel the sunchokes and the potatoes. Cut into dice-sized chunks.
Heat butter or oil in a heavy-bottomed large pot. Add onions, garlic, and thyme, and stir until the onions begin to brown. Add the broth. Stir. Then add potatoes and sunchokes. Cook covered for 5 minutes, then uncovered for 15 minutes until chokes and taters are softened. Add apple juice and lemon juice, cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in milk.
Working in batches, transfer the soup mixture to a blender, remove the middle-nob so that steam can escape and cover with a paper towel as to not burn yourself with soup splatters. Puree until smooth in batches, each time adding some of the butter to the blender. Serve with a healthy amount of fresh black pepper.
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 GribricheAdapted from Super Natural Everyday
1 lb broccoli florets
1 lb fingerling potatoes
1 sweet onion
4 eggs, hard boiled
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.
From the start, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to make Happyolks an extended dissertation on current events, politics, or world affairs. My studies in international affairs keep me on the treadmill circuit of strategy, policy, issues, institutions, outcomes (you get the idea), and this blog is sort of a refuge from the demanding and complex focus of my school days. If you’re a visitor to this site, it’s likely that you are searching for yummy recipes and pretty pictures as a form of escapism too. The hour we spend researching, planning, and preparing a meal can be incredibly meditative and rejuvenating after the over-stimulation of our busy days. Careful mincing, flash searing, and watching the broiler are all tasks that require our full presence and attention. Subsequently, our brain sends out “hold the phone” signals to our endlessly swirling thoughts and emotions about the events of the day. Shaun is often bewildered that the first thing I want to do after a twelve hour day on campus is to break out the peeler and knives. He will ask, “don’t you want to relax for a minute?” Like any woman on a mission I respond, “nope, I just need to chop.” Ahh… Exhale. I hope you can relate to this feeling, because creating a nourishing meal should never be stressful.
I run into a problem with this promise though. No, I don’t want to discuss politics. But when I read things about the international system and food supply that have direct implications for our foreign brothers and sisters that are imposed by health food consumers like you and me, I can’t hold my tongue.
Recently in the New York Times there was an article published on how quinoa’s global success has created negative consequences on the grain’s indigenous cultivators in Latin America, particularly Bolivia.
Quinoa, a plant related to beets and spinach, is a nutritional powerhouse known for its ideal amino acid profile and anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s one of the few plant foods that provide a complete protein making it an ideal grain for vegetarians, athletes, and the rest of us for that matter. The demand for the crop has grown exponentially and at first, the surge raised the incomes of the producers in the hemisphere’s poorest countries. Great right? Well, not really. An increase in demand has destined Incan quinoa harvests to go straight to the global free market for export, not local consumption. The price of local quinoa for Bolivians and other Latin American citizens is now too costly to consume, and malnutrition in these areas is on the rise as locals turn to packaged and processed foods that they can purchase within their tight budgets.
The Bolivian government claims to be in the process of legislating domestic policy to increase the affordability of local quinoa, but it’s on us too as health-conscious consumers, to limit our consumption and only purchase products that are produced sustainably and fair trade certified. If we can’t afford the fair value price of the grain, then we shouldn’t consume it. Tough love, I know. But you vote with your wallet. Food policy around the globe is tragic, truly it is, and Bolivia isn’t the only country that bears the cost of our unprecedented standard of living. Bananas in Nicaragua? Hello. For Latin America and beyond, If we all take small individual steps, we can reverse these exploitative and unbalanced patterns of the world economic system — and really, they’re easy to take in the kitchen. Idealistic? Sure. But it matters.
So, quinoa lovers out there… here is a recipe that honors this beautiful “lost Incan” grain and the hard work it took to produce it. Please be a conscious consumer and use fair trade, certified organic products! Baby Artichokes and Hearty Veggie Quinoa
1 basket of Baby Artichokes (if you’ve never seen ‘em, then go with the canned version, the hearts taste better anyway!)
1 basket cherry tomatoes
1 ½ – 2 cups fingerling potatoes, halved
3 small shallots, chopped roughly
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup of pitted Kalamata olives, halved
Large handful of Italian parsley, chopped
Zest of ½ a lemon
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for roasting the artichokes
Salt and pepper to taste
If you find baby artichokes at your local farmers market or Whole Foods, chop off the ends and about ½ inch off the top and peel away a few of the outside leaves. Cut in half, and toss into a pot with a steaming crate. Steam for 12 minutes until nice and soft. If you don’t have baby artichokes (and unless you live in San Diego, that’s probably the majority of you) break open a can of artichoke hearts and rinse. With your prepared artichoke variety, toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and set aside. Turn oven on to a high broil setting.
In a small pot, prepare the quinoa according to the package instructions. Like rice, it’s a 2:1 ratio, grain to water or vegetable broth. Bring water and grain to a boil, then reduce heat and cover for 12 minutes. Remove from heat when finished.
Meanwhile, using the same pot that you steamed the chokes in, refill with a bit of water and steam the potatoes until tender. Set aside. In a sauté pan, over medium heat, sauté the shallots and garlic in some olive oil until golden (3-5 minutes). Add the potatoes, cherry tomatoes, olives, and parsley and stir over low heat. Add a little lemon zest and a bit of the olive liquid from the jar if you feel the mixture is too dry. The oven should be ready for the chokes, so send em in for about 5 minutes or until they are lightly browned on the edges. Add chokes and olive oil liquid to the sauté pan, removed from the heat source, and stir. Finally, add the quinoa, a few sprinkles of salt and pepper and garnish with a few sliced almonds.