02 November 2014

Stick to it

Well, this was a relaxing weekend over here, waking up to the extra hour and all, and thank God, because I spent the latter part of the week complaining how hard it is to do everything and deal with stuff and go to jobs and manage your time and fit in a downward-facing dog and cook. My mom, in the car, which is where we've had more discussions in my life than any physical place, gently informed me I'm spoiled and some people get up at 5 am to get it all in. **Smiles** We were celebrating her birthday, so I resisted a challenge except to say, "What? I know no one who does that." "I do," she said. We were driving in the glorious section of Hudson County where you cross over Route 78 to go from Jersey City to Hoboken, the Holland Tunnel sign awkwardly huge and close to the edge of the land. I am thankful to be in this car right now, I thought. I am thankful for all things that help. 

Our tone then shifted into how it can take a few weeks to get acclimated into a personal flow outside the parameters of a new job, semester, season, sport, etc, and it can take a little adjusting to move beyond feeling like you're always racing to catch up to some invisible thing or be motivated to do the things that bring you joy outside of the parameters that provide you with pay so that you experience a payoff in the hours that you are not located within those parameters. Some people are better at this than others. Clearly since I find the need for italics and notes on this here, I experience ins and outs with this topic. Like anything, maybe it starts with giving yourself a break and knowing what makes you feel best and sticking to it. I bought flowers today. I made granola and another batch of tomato sauce with some San Marzanos I found. And I made more scones, which always makes everything right.

I've been revisiting these Buttermilk Scones for the past few weeks and tossing in different add-ins in place of rhubarb. Pictured above, following a lead from the beautiful Vanilla Bean, I tossed in about 1/3 cup 'dry-roasted,' diced apples and a few pieces minced candied ginger. And as pictured way above, we went with cinnamon, a shake of cacao nibs and a few pieces of shaved dark chocolate. Making the dough in a free moment during the week and pulling out on a weekend is something that takes any so-called weekend baking pressure and spins it around. No need to dirty bowls at 10 am. Instead preheat the oven, let the scones bake a few extra minutes, and shower. Or sit on the couch. Or write, read, cuddle, etc. You do what works for you and you stick to it. 

I found a few other little gifts in the kitchen this week. A head of broccoli, fresh from the farm stand, floret-ed and prepared a la Melissa Clark--Garlicky Sesame-Cured Broccoli as she calls it, was a revelation. It not only holds up in the fridge a day or two making it ideal for scooping onto a lunch plate or container, but unbeknownst to you, you are eating raw broccoli, something I know I never consent to under most circumstances. But in this ceviche-style application to the good old magic tree, broccoli is tossed with a dash vinegar and salt then spices and garlic are heated in olive oil on the stove just to fragrance, and a spike of toasted sesame oil Asians it up just a tad. It gets poured on the florets and left to sit out for an hour, or chill up to 48 hours, and it's then there for you. 

And finally, I took home my first butternut of the season from the market: I chunked it, tossed with a quartered shallot, glug of olive oil, sea salt, coarse pepper and a little bacon grease and roasted it up on two trays at 400 for a good 35-40 minutes. The tender results from such a simple, hands-off act are fall on a plate, filler for your fridge and proof that you can do things and they can be just darn good and easy. When I lived with my mom a few years ago she would always chide at me when I cooked, "make double" as in, if you're going to bother at least have a lot. I hated that, I was always afraid I'd make a mistake and cause waste. I think I am finally coming around to silencing that fear. If you are going to break down a butternut, you best roast the whole thing.

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