Archive for January, 2012

January 8, 2012

Memory Lane: Chard and Beans

I’m back home in my cozy New York apartment after six hours in a cramped airplane middle seat with no TV.  So much for choosing the airline with personal TVs that puts “You Above All.”  On the bright side, the lack of DirecTV gave me some time to take a few naps, do some puzzles, and clean up my computer’s hard drive. Wow, that sounds super cool. Really though, it needed to be done. I haven’t organized anything on my computer in years. I found pictures of old dishes I considered writing about, task lists I wrote on some of my busiest of days, screenshots from various research endeavors, old papers from school, and snapshots from special occasions. It turned out to be a fun trip down memory lane, looking back in the kitchen of my old apartment and visits to places around the world.  After a weekend full of sharing old stories with my family out in California, and now again simply looking at some old computer files, I’m reminded that stories don’t always have to be shiny and new to be exciting.

So, for a series of ten posts, I’m going to take a step back into 2010 and 2011.  Whether it’s from trips I’ve taken, restaurants we’ve tried, or some food we cooked up in the kitchen, I’ll share some of my fondest food memories not-yet-shared from the past year and a half. To kick it off, I’m starting with my absolute top go-to recipe.  One that I almost can’t believe has never made it’s way on here, but I sort of can because, after all, this is not purely a recipe blog.

Memory Lane #1: A Recipe  – Chard and Beans

The photos below are from my first week in the new apartment.  If you look in the background you’ll see our entryway mirror still on the ground, not yet hung up on the wall.  I’m sure I made this dish because between our repainting, rearranging, and redecorating, it was so easy to whip up and the beans make it a really satisfying meal.

My first attempt at this recipe happened when we got Swiss chard in our CSA pickups last winter.   I found a recipe online, and modified it a bit because (1) I’m personally not a great fan of garbanzo beans and (2) I didn’t have any green onions at the time.  The aromatic lemony sauce that forms from wilted greens, shallots, tomatoes, and lemons is one that I adore, and I can easily eat this dish every week.

First up, put a couple of drops of olive oil in a pan with a diced shallot or two and some halved little tomatoes.  I only use 2 or 3 grams of oil, but you can use more if you like. I’ve used a whole tomato and diced that instead of the little ones too – either way works.

Let that cook for five minutes or so until it becomes fragrant and the shallots are turning translucent.

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January 6, 2012

Goodbye, Grandpa

I’m writing this post from 35,923 feet up in the air, zooming above the clouds on my way out to California.

airplane map

I need to learn a better way to share this information with people in conversation.  Whenever I’m telling someone face-to-face that I’m heading to the airport, I’m inevitably met with an excited, “Ooo, have fun! Where are you going?” Problem is, it’s not always a pleasure trip.

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January 1, 2012

A New Year

I don’t think New Year’s resolutions are terrible.  I think the way a lot of people go about them sets themselves up for failure and that’s the problem.  Resolutions should be a result of reflection of what you really want out of this year, and out of your life as a whole.

One of my goals since the summer of 2010 was to become a healthier, fitter version of myself.  I’ve had ebbs and flows of commitment to this goal, so really January 1st is as good a time as any to remind myself that this is something I want.  It’s not something other people want for me, or something I feel pressured to do by others.  It’s something I really want. 2011 was full of changes for me, from recommitting myself to spending my time well and taking big steps in changing my life to lead one that leaves me feeling more fulfilled and happy in the days to come. It wasn’t born out of a date on the calendar, but a feeling inside that time was slipping away from me and I wasn’t doing things that make me happy or the world a better place to live. So, it’s time to re-acknowledge these things.  I don’t want to set goals of numbers and figures, but ideas.

1. Focus on health.  Not in a way that’s boring or tedious, but in a way that reminds me of the good flavors of wholesome real food and the intrinsic energy I feel when I move more.  On this quiet, winter morning when all I could think of were pancakes, I shifted my thoughts to sweet, delicious fruit, which always gives me pep. I could always have the pancakes later if I still want them, but once I had the clementines, the pancakes became a distant thought.

2. Drink more water.  An item under the category of health really, but worth recognizing on its own.  When I drink more water, I eat better and feel better.  Lately I’ve been sliding back to more iced teas and hot cocoas and less water.  I want to remember that the sugary teas and cocoas are a treat, and not a daily one at that.

3. Appreciate myself for who I am.  Sometimes I beat myself up over little things, or replay events trying to fix them. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t help. I’m sure there are things I can do better in the future, so I’d rather focus on that than reliving what’s done.

4. Spend time doing good things.  Not everything has to be world-changing, but I do like having an impact.  If the things I spend my time doing are a vapid time suck, they’re pretty pointless.

and most importantly

5. Wake up each day grateful that I have the next 24 hours ahead of me to do things that are exciting and good. Be appreciative of this time and don’t let it go without gratitude.

I keep writing and rewriting what I want to say about this point, but I’m having trouble putting it down in words. Maybe I can come back to it, because I can’t seem to do it justice.

Here’s to you, readers and friends.  Here’s to a happy, healthy new year.

Clementines on a plate