“ We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. ” — Anais Nin
Shaved & Curried Cauliflower Salad
1 extra-large head of cauliflower
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
1 cup celery leaves
1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 orange, for juice and zest
1 shallot, minced
2 Tbsp preferred curry powder
Red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven for 400′ F. Using a mandoline slicer, shave the cauliflower into large pieces. Place on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil, curry powder, juice of half an orange, and orange zest. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the edges brown and crisp. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, combine celery leaves, parsley, mint, shallots, and apricots. Mix in warm cauliflower and dress with additional orange juice, a lug of olive oil, and a bit of salt to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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
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.
Last week was a mess of skipped beats. I don’t know if there was something going on with the moon or if my tightrope is undergoing some growing pains, but man alive. Unanswered voicemail. Empty gas tank. Wrong books. Forgotten homework. Burned oatmeal. Molding oranges. Tardy client meetings. Parking tickets. Toothpaste explosions. I seriously was banging my head against the keys trying to write something wise, eloquent for the Beet Cake. Nothing.
When we threw Tex, our new foster in the tub this morning after a long, wet walk through the park I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched a million little hairs fling from his back and cling to the walls and fresh towels. Oh dear. In the next few days I’m sure I’ll spot some white wisps stuck on the mirror and chuckle again at the beautiful absurdity of it all. Pure goodness. Pure madness.
Weeks like these keep me humble. They keep me loose. Learning how to ride a bike with a rusty chain is the whole point of being young. You can’t really afford a new one but you make it work. You just keep peddling. Shaun and I have a pretzel shaped magnet on the fridge that reads: “blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” It’s especially appreciated in times like these. I love how we both try to hold each other up to this standard when the circus rolls into town, announced or otherwise. He dragged me out in yoga pants, NorthFace hoodie, top knot, and rubber wellies at 9 pm to hit a bucket of balls on the fairway Saturday night and I tell you what, I’ve never felt more silly and more perfectly human. It was great.
Embrace the skipped beats. Life is nothing, boring at best, without them.
This weekend we took Sprouted Kitchen’s mini calzones for a spin, adding butternut squash, and lemon zest. So, so good. The fact that on my calendar I have “meetup / Sara (SK)” marked for friday makes me think that I’m on track to one day do lunch with Oprah Winfrey. Sara has been a constant source of inspiration as I’ve built and grown into this space. Her grace and encouragement has meant more than I think she may ever really realize.
My parents never arranged a separate kid’s table and a grown-ups table during holiday meals. The youngsters ate what the adults ate and participated in the same rituals of passing the biscuits, hoarding the gravy, and holding each others warm, eager hands in gratitude for another meal, another year in good health and humor.
Such a simple act of inclusion, a seat at the table. An act of affirmation, really… You, yes you, young one, have a unique and important way of looking at the world. There is so much to be grateful for during the holidays, but a seat at the table has been a gift I’ve probably undervalued until lately.
Respect was a reciprocal value in my house growing up – give respect, receive respect. Our opinions and perspectives were encouraged but more importantly, my parents invited us to the table and then they listened. They had enough respect to sit with us and walk alongside us in our crazy ideas. I know better now, as I’ve aged, that some people never get a seat at the table, no matter how old they are. I get it now. I’ve been on the outside, I’ve seen and felt what it’s like for youth to be dismissed as naïveté. Even now when I don’t get “a seat at the table” (figuratively speaking) I remember this. I give thanks for this. What a gift it is to for people to take us seriously.
Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the table is there at every moment of each day to sit, stand, walk beside someone and give them room and respect to speak their truth. Through the rest of the year who will you invite to a seat at the table? Invite them. Just sit there. Really look at them. Hear their story. Reach out to the younger folk in your clan too – see them, affirm them. They’ll remember.
This turned out to be much more festive than I first anticipated while wandering the aisles at the market today. I imagine it would make a great holiday side, but an even better weeknight meal turned sack-lunch. If kale isn’t your idea of a party dish, try spinach instead.
Pomegranate + Kale + Pearl Onion Orzo
1 large bunch of kale (or two, if you’re a go-getter)
2 cups pearl onions
2 shallot bulbs
2 1/2 cups orzo
Olive Oil + Orange + Honey Dressing
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
juice of 1/2 an orange
1 tsp raw honey
Bring 2 medium-large pots to a boil with a bit of salt. In the first pot, boil pearl onions for 7-10 minutes. Remove, allow to cool, then remove skins. Set aside. For the second pot, boil orzo with a splash of olive oil for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Remove, strain, but do not rinse.
Break open pomegranates one at a time, massaging out the seeds into a large bowl. Pick out the little white fibrous bits as you go along. This can be a bit messy for the first time pomegranate handler, wear an apron! Alternatively, you could purchase pom. seeds in the produce section of your grocery. Once finished, return to the onions. to remove skins, cut off the bottom stem portion and peel the rest with your fingers. Cut in half and toss with the seeds in the big bowl. Finely dice the shallots and stir with the seeds and onions.
Rinse out the onion pot and bring another bit of water to heat. Remove kale leaves from the tough spine and chop until very small bits. Not quite a mince, but a good chop. When the water is almost to a boil, immerse the kale and blanch for no more than 1 minute. Remove, strain the water, and toss with the pomegranate, onions, and so forth.
Slowly stir in cooked orzo, 1 cup at a time. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, salt, orange juice (a little pulp is great too), and the honey. Pour over the entire bowl and stir again to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.