Gardening in this sandy earth is proving more difficult than I expected, so I am, we are, loving every little piece of veggie that comes out of our little space. Color wise, I’m in love with these Black-Green tomatoes and flavor wise the verdict is still out … The first taste, G claimed Amazement, and I claimed A Little Mealy, and the 2nd day he claimed Meh, and I thought it was Lovely. Maybe there are just days when the look of the thing does actually win. In any case it’s all about the learning experience … So I love this trajectory too … xoox
Chanelling my mother! I don't know what that means exactly, but I love being a minister's daughter and using language like this. :) The Nutella cake from Nigella Lawson's How to be a domestic goddess is one of my favorites and I can't make it anymore if I want G to enjoy it with me, so finally, I found a gluten free version of the crust and filling so amazing that you would never know it's gluten free. This is exciting. :)
The Spinach Cheese Balls are a long time family favorite and the cupcakes from Nigella Lawson's "How to be a domestic goddess" somehow were not all that goddessie. So not a recipe I would use again, although SO fun to make. A quadruple recipe of Beef Chili was amazing ...
It was all meant with Love of course, and these foods became a behavioral learning curve into and within a relationship. I suppose I always knew that I don't play the role of wifie very well - which is not meant to criticize those who survived the 1950's and the strict gender roles - but this food was me and G figuring out how I can support him to throw a huge party. My role as dinner party hostess I can do "better", but with that I felt like I could control everything. Daunting is this new kind of party where I knew two weeks ago, control was not something I was going to have. And isn't that just the thing that always pisses me off the most. Lack of absolute control AND my introvert self just caved, and it is in fact true to learn in action, he has more extrovert in him, especially when it comes to his favorite hobby, which is not mine. This is where the rubber hits the road when we talk about 'fake dealbreakers' ... Me sort of being there for him doing one of his favorite things ... What I value in him is not his ability to throw 9 hour parties (which have to do with his favorite hobby), although I see how it is a kind of Joy he is creating for adults, when adults already have a hard enough time playing. Ultimately this is me working on myself and how to expand myself ... I'm in new terrain and I could have chosen to stay the same and safe from growing pains. This day was filled with so many ingredients, but the main one is my/our sense of imperfection ... Almost like a vulnerability hangover, - as Brene Brown calls them ... To put ourselves out there in different ways wholeheartedly and kind of totally failing - me, not him ... And having that be just okay, trusting that deep down the attempt to be amazing was seen and understood more than the things that could have been better. Just another lesson on earth school .... I suppose I am grateful. But I still think I prefer being perfect. Sigh.
OMG sex and cabbage rolls. What can I say, cuties ... make sex and food your base. There are variations on this, of turning all of life into one big sensual moment. Follow the feel goods I've been advised from my Spiritual Guide, which I thought was what I do, but I can crash it too. How magnificently we turn our bodies down. And then there is Love, which is more complicated than even the most delicious of easy-energy-fitting-people-connections ... Love involves communicating and voicing needs and not always in the most cute and adorable ways. Grrr. It's not like I stop to read Thick's lessons in the middle of all my exploding feelings around needing down time and creative time and at the same time having a huge to do list before my week sucks me in ... Cooking is always the best way to be in the moment ... Slow me down.
What I love about this recipe is the dried red currants, apricots, pine nuts, parsley from the garden. I'll call it Currant Apricot Cabbage Rolls instead of rice stuffed cabbage rolls because there is so little rice compared to everything else. I love the Swiss chard, the Spinach and the center of the cabbages chopped into little pieces to add to the stuffing. I added red hot pepper flakes, white pepper because G is trying to up my tolerance for hot, a taste bud goal that's easy for me to avoid. I love adding ground turkey to the tomato sauce cooked from scratch. I love how translucent they look as a roll ...
So this is my ode to the things that grounded, inspired and grew me today. xoox
Recreating that domestic bliss I grew up with .... House chores, being present at home ... Cooking a new favorite that can work with his crohn's and celiac, a dish that is healthy and has amazing flavor - sautéed chicken meatballs with spinach and tomatoes over spaghetti squash ... Also a huge emotional find, two kinds of real German bread (for me) in our grocery store and the bakery in Mountain View near us ... Very similar to the box that Ikea sells of Swatzbrot with very similar few ingredients ... Loving the view of the dense fog from the 2nd floor, it feels like an East Coast winter, cozy and loving life at home with G ... xo
What is it about men and imitating Julia Child's voice? G and I are starting to watch all Julia Child shows we can get our hands on, and tonight I spent listening to G recreate her sing-song beautiful voice, while he made this ice cream ... Strangely, a memory of my father too, imitating Julia Child ... The latest ice cream of ours is a Spicy Chocolate Ice Cream. Like a frozen mousse with raw eggs, amazing chocolate the usual creams, plus cayenne pepper and cinnamon .... This and watching G be happy and the infusion of taking things lighter with a pleasure factor, I think it's one of life's perfect happinesses ...
Diana, the sheltered warrior princess who becomes and is Wonder Woman, is introduced to ice cream for the first time as an adult and her response is:: "It's wonderful" (she melts, and turns to the vendor to convey) :: "You should be very proud ... "
The most perfect moment, words, feelings for ice cream ... :) I'm adding this to fit the theme ...
A beautiful red ice cream maker as part of my birthday month, our first mint chocolate ice cream made by G, for us. This gift even more amazing because G didn't grow up with Northern German love of the color red ... Although Swedes love it too, so I'm not sure why his Mor Mor didn't connect to red-love ... Anyway. Doesn't joy and happiness start with food? The answer is yes, silly. Remembering an old family friend who for years juiced her diet in an attempt to avoid surgery on a cyst on her spine ... It worked for the longest time and then surgery was still needed, and she did heal from this. After it all, she came to the deep rooted feeling (!) that a pleasure factor with food is so valuable, and so she stopped the juicing regiment and let in desserts and fish soup (pleasure for her). I remember being relieved. I'm not totally ignoring health and science here, just being careful to push back against rigid rules around diet ... This one sits well with me, Grossmutti's phrase alles in Maßen, everything in moderation ... This one is amazing for the senses ... We recommend eating it by candlelight.
I love finding flavorful dishes that are with a few simple ingredients, preferably from my garden ... As of this moment I've created another to-do list. Having a constant set of to-do's lists is so often perceived as a negative, but really, when it comes down to it, life is good good good, if we have a running list of things we want to do. Think of what the opposite would be, ja?
Here, then, is my first Mint-To-Do-List:: a Fresh Mint and Chocolate Ice Cream :)
Cooking .... is one of my Things, and so it comes a complete surprise to me that I have not been able to adapt into my new setting with beloved-G when it comes to finding recipes that both of us can eat, and are ... well, orgasmic about. Quite frankly. Almost at our one year anniversary - sweetness in tact - we finally found not the first, but one of very few recipes we both love. LOVE. Homemade ramen noodle soup, with Bok Choy instead of kale and so much room to play with the veggie options. Simple, yes, but completely satisfying. Posting the inspiration, because this one was hard-worked for. Next ideas, Moroccan stew with a zillion spices, and White Miso soup with seaweed, always made from scratch ...
Coming home again to find a thriving garden, one strawberry and lots of cauliflower-broccoli's .... One bean and bean vermicelli soup later I feel that much closer to being back in my life here. These are the steps towards processing all that happened and seeing my people for the first time in four years ... Super grateful.
Okay I'll just say it. I miss my gluten filled recipes. I miss this amazing yeast pizza crust that always felt so satisfying to make because of that rising moment of the dough. I haven't figured out how to be a dual food household to the point where it feels like good rhythm, because I do love cooking for both of us too ... All of which to say that in this process of settling into living in the one diverse household, there are moments when I miss the old way that I was ... It just seemed simpler.
In reality ... A GF pizza does work and the veggie preferences are manageable and of course I can eat fresh salads to give myself that food choice. Every problem has a solution, and we are finding them. There is flow.
Change takes effort ... growing something new takes effort ... I'm just owning up to the tiredness of it all sometimes. And careful not to have my story be that the old way was simpler. It wasn't. The new way is just me and my growing pains. I seem to have deep moments of feeling the transition - this is my resistance towards becoming someone new, and when I see these old photos my brain tells me the before was simpler. I'll just notice this ...
The new way includes a magical man who continues every single day to make me more expansive and a really just better version of myself. I want to say that he is much more magical than I am - his left-brained+right-brained self that creates the Wonder that he is, and my right-brained+right-brained me creates a total fucking disaster. But this can't be true, and my left brain is just fine.
One of the ways I think he's magical is that he teaches me the art of being a great team. It doesn't sound very romantic, but that is what Couple-dom breaks down to. So many elements, yes from the sensual and physical but also to the I want to eat some Gluten. Something that RESEMBLES gluten. So tonight we threw together a gf pizza with our fabulous stand alone freezer and fed that desire with an amazing bought crust (which I WILL learn how to make from scratch someday), tomato sauce, his homemade chicken curry thai food as another layer of sauce flavor, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil from our basil plant.
I love realizing in this very post-pizza-eating-moment, that this is why it can be amazing working on a team. And that the team you are working with makes all the difference. This simple thing about wanting a certain kind of food, having a partner who brainstorms about how we can make it and then the mutual satisfaction of loving the meal. 'You started this moment', said he, when all I thought I was doing was whining.
With "team" I mean a two person marriage or partnership team, and wider ... I do think that the same elements apply to the personal life teams and the professional teams, as I continue to put my toe into what could be cold water .... and find warm and balmy ... My own epically slow and careful selection of a man in my life can only reflect what intentional and awake companies go through to select their teams. Test run them all - we do with dating and love and sex - as partners/teams of two. (I even did a test run of the non-monogamous community and it failed, and that is a altogether different post). It is so special to learn here and now why a team can be exceptional, and why it can be flat, or crumble.
There has to a self awareness, an emotional intelligence first. Just like love, connection and contentedness isn't about beauty or money (or the 5,000 fake deal breakers, as G calls them, the superficial things we go for in relationships), good teams are not about the Perfect Appearance or a person's List. There has to be a buoyancy of spirit. There has to be a Seeing, Knowing. An uncomplicated Yes!, a sense of love or liking the thing, maybe a kind of inspiration ... An essential happiness in the setting, no matter what it is ... Even within tiredness, because there will always be tiredness ... A large heartedness too.
Love and connection and amazing new things, whether it's a new relationship or a new team happen the in the most surprising of settings and between the most surprising of combination of humans. It's never the logical conclusion, it's never the straight line, it's never about the Externals. It's not black/ white, rich/poor, beautiful/not-beautiful, educated/non-educated, or same/same. There always has to be that Recognition, that moment of recognition ... And there has to be that mutual belief IN the Yes. I have had the strangest of professional Yes's in my life, where the most amazing careers have happened, but they ONLY happened because who was doing the seeing on the other end, and then just the tiny detail of FINDING EACH OTHER. Doesn't the universe / God just have the most amazing sense of humor.
Back to This Moment. I love that I am having hands-on experiences of magic team connection(s!) in wider places than my head, and that my imagination is matching my outer world, once again ... And more, I love that I can pull this out of me when I am bone tired because my little caterpillar self just became a tiny bit larger today. Grateful to be here, with G and others on my journey ... and all this from a pizza craving. See?? Doesn't is always begin with our body knowledge ...
I live in a (beloved!) gluten free household now, so this is me trying out recipes that I have loved from before, and substituting gluten free flour for flour, rather than starting from a new and unfamiliar recipe ... Hmmm. Happily, this one worked. It claims to be a German cake recipe, not one I grew up with, so I don't think it's Northern German, but such LOVELY flavors - butter, sugar and apples! .... O, and the Bundslau pottery plate is from Opa ... What a sweet memory, to look for stores in Northern Germany that sold Polish Bundslau ... This pottery gift created a heart memory ...
Finally real food. Two weeks of cottage cheese, granola-esq food and coffee and tea to get me and G through our FluCold, this week we get to have real food. Sage sautéed in butter is heaven. Adding ground chicken some thyme to the ricotta and mozzarella layer helps with flavor ... Substituting zucchini and tomatoes for noodles for our Gluten free household works ... Leaving out the chicken stock so that this doesn't become a soup was a good choice .... It's all pretty soft flavors and I'm loving it but G isn't 100% ... So it's possible that I'm missing ONE good ingredient. On the other hand I don't want it to be a pile of garlic ... But I would be open to a lot more Sage and butter ...
A natural (non-hybrid) citrus fruit, how fascinating. I finally stopped ignoring this stand in my local Asian food store, believing these were just oversized Grapefruit. The size is amazing, the inch thick skin to peel is a mini-project, and then slicing them the long way and flat to see how gorgeous they are ... all worth it. But the flavor - a cross between grapefruit and orange - pretty much a slice of heaven. And a perfect perfect metaphor. Tons of work and maybe even loud audible complaining to get to the sweet and juicy and rewarding Inside. If I remember I'll add photos of the cut pieces ... But for today they are just fun to look at and am avoiding the work of the peeling. (Another good metaphor.)
O my word, here is a fabulous memory ... Just over 200 days ago G was still new in my life and I remember it feeling a little risky cooking and baking him an entire meal in my home on something like date 3 ... I remember how relatively new it was to learn how to trust myself on that level in an interactive, real dating kind of way ... I remember how intentional and "awake" he was ... The whole experiment being that for the things you want in life - the things you wrote intentions for - paint it in your head and heart, you have to show up, be vulnerable, do the test drive, over and over and again ... So there you go. The world's yummiest dessert produced the world's yummiest boyfriend.