It’s like walking through a field in a snowstorm

Her Journal March 31, 2015

and for a long time I see nothing but the snow, but then in the distance there’s something, a tree or a figure or smoke, I just don’t know. I always have the sensation that I’m straining to see what’s in front of me. The snow lessens for a minute and I catch a glimpse of an idea, but when I get closer the light starts to fade. I squint constantly. It goes on like this for a long time. If I were taking notes they would read: I see something. A shape? I have no idea. It’s not exactly the stuff that literary archives are made of.

I am a compost heap,

Her Journal March 30, 2015

and everything I interact with, every experience I’ve had, gets shoveled onto the heap where it eventually mulches down, is digested and excreted by worms, and rots. It’s from that rich, dark humus, the combination of what I’ve encountered, what I know and what I’ve forgotten, that ideas start to grow. (I could make a case for the benefits of wide-ranging experience, both personal and literary, as enriching the compost, but the life of Emily Dickinson neatly dismantles that theory.)

How-To: Cook An Egg

Recipes March 15, 2015

You think it’s such a simple thing, but a perfectly cooked egg is actually kind of an achievement, particularly when you’re trying to get a specific result. Anyone who has served their share of rubbery scrambled eggs knows that well. That said, they’re also awesome. They’re cheap, they’re packed with protein and healthy fat, and throwing one on top of pretty much anything makes pretty much anything a meal; for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

BOILED

1 egg
water

  1. Fill a small saucepan three-quarters full with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Using a spoon, gently slide in the egg and set your timer.
  3. Keep an eye on the water while the egg cooks, and try to maintain a soft boil.
  4. When the timer goes off, remove the egg to an ice water bath for one minute to stop the cooking.
  5. Crack, peel, and enjoy.
  • For a soft-boiled egg with set whites and a liquid yolk set for six minutes. This is what you want for ramen, or eggs & soldiers.
  • For a perfectly hard-boiled egg with a slightly soft center set for nine minutes. This is what you want for salad niçoise.
  • For a completely cooked through yolk set for ten minutes. This is what you want for egg salad, a snack, or deviled eggs.

SCRAMBLED

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon heavy cream
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter

  1. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and season with a very generous pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper.
  2. Add cream, and beat the eggs with a fork until they are a uniform light yellow color.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small non-stick pan over high heat.
  4. When the butter melts and begins to foam, pour in the eggs and immediately turn to low. Stir with a spoon or spatula constantly as you cook.
  5. When the eggs are just set but still look too moist, remove them to a plate (they will continue to cook a bit as they rest).

POACHED

1 egg
water
2 teaspoons white vinegar

  1. Fill a small saucepan three-quarters full with water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
  2. Add vinegar to water, and crack the egg into a small bowl or ramekin.
  3. Use a wooden spoon to stir the water, creating a whirlpool, or vortex.
  4. Gently slide the cracked egg into the vortex—it should spin around a bit. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer.
  5. After 10 seconds, use a slotted spoon to gently move the egg, making sure it hasn’t stuck to the bottom of the saucepan.
  6. Let the egg cook at a low simmer until it has reached desired doneness. For us, that means around 2:30 for just-set whites and completely liquid yolks, or around 3:30 for runny yolks with a little more structure.
  7. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then either serve immediately or cool, refrigerate, and reheat in simmering water when ready to eat.

FRIED

1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Heat olive oil in a small, non-stick pan over medium heat.
  2. Crack the egg directly into the pan and season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Continue cooking the egg over medium heat for about three minutes, or until the white is set and slightly crispy around the edges, but the yolk is still quite runny.

OVER-EASY

1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. The over-easy egg starts off exactly the same as the fried egg.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a small, non-stick pan over medium heat.
  3. Crack the egg directly into the pan and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook for about two minutes, then use a spatula to flip the egg, being careful not to break the yolk.
  5. For a runny yolk, turn off the heat and let the egg sit for one minute. If you prefer a slightly more cooked yolk, turn the heat down to low and cook one to two minutes.
Oliver's First Luminaries

Tradition

Uncategorized December 6, 2014

As our family prepares for our luminary tradition at Christmas, I’ve been thinking, what are traditions and why do they matter?

WHAT ARE TRADITIONS

  • Definition 1: A tradition is a planned habit with significance.
  • Definition 2: Tradition is the handing down of information, beliefs, worldview from one generation to another by word of mouth and by regular repetition of example of ceremony of celebration.
  • Definition 3: For me, tradition is laying up God’s words in our hearts and passing his words to the next generation. Doing things regularly that help us in our deepest being to know and love and want God, and to pass these God-focused activities to the next generation. To stay close to God, to remember his work in our lives, and to tell the children about it so that they will fear and honor the Lord–that’s what tradition is for me.
  • Definition 4: Fancy dress, optional. Good food, not optional.

WHY TRADITIONS MATTER Traditions matter because they help us remember. They are memories, and they are for memory; to keep our hearts.

Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children–how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God…the LORD said to me, “Gather the people to me, that I may let them live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.” (Deuteronomy 4:9-10)

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

honey lime sweet potato black bean corn tacos

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Corn Tacos with Cilantro-Avocado Yogurt Dressing

Cozy Cooking, Recipes, Summer Cooking October 7, 2014

This is how to do cozy cooking in the fall when it’s still 100 degrees outside. #californialiving

For the tacos:
1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled if desired and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5) oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed and drained
3 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
corn or flour tortillas
*Feta cheese, diced avocados, fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and cover with sweet potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Combine the cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle evenly over the potatoes and toss to coat again. Bake in preheated oven 15 – 20 minutes until tender, removing from oven and tossing once halfway through baking.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, saute onion until caramelized, adding in garlic during last 30 seconds of sauteing. Reduce heat to medium-low, add in drained black beans, corn, honey and lime juice. Heat until warmed through. Toss in roasted sweet potatoes. Serve over warm tortillas with desired toppings.

Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

For the cilantro-avocado yogurt dressing:
1 ripe avocado

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt

Slice the avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop the flesh from the skin. Add to a blender along with all of the other ingredients. Blend together until smooth and creamy.