Remember how I said when I started this blog that food has the potential to give us more than sustenance. the experience of working with food can heal us, bringing to the surface our individual creativity, food brings people together, builds community, and has the potential to change us? Well this post about tonite’s dinner and other suchness aims at just such a practice.
I’ve experienced a lot of change recently, some of it welcomed—much of it not; and some of it though fully unexpected, has been the most transformative of all. When change is such a demanding presence, I tend to turn towards things that comfort me. Having spent a lot of October traveling and getting resettled at home, while also being quite busy at both of my jobs, there was little time for comfort. And so, I search for comfort in the wisdom of others.
There are a handful of blogs that I read regularly. They are not cooking or foodie blogs, but primarily blogs written by friends or past acquaintances and one I stumbled upon while tracing the origin of a quote.
Before I stray too far, I promise that there will be an amazing recipe perfect for a chilly fall evening in this blog. If that is what you came for, then feel free to breeze ahead and find it. If you’re looking for more, then read on.
NotBlueAtAll are the passionate writings of my good friend and amazingly radical human, Sarah. You all should be reading it. She covers a variety of subjects about which she always has something insightful to share. This week she dropped a particularly good one “Step 1: Stop Giving a Damn.” You gotta read it because a summary here would be an injustice, let’s just say, it’s exactly what I needed to hear and I also rushed right out (ok, logged on to amazon.com) to purchase a tiara. What will now become a staple of my basic wardrobe, because dammit , I am a princess! We all are.
This brings me to another blog post this week, which comes from the website elephantjournal.com. I opt for the weekly email of what they deem their ten best blog posts each week and I always find at least one nugget of wisdom. This week it came from Kate Bartollota’s post “Start a Naked Revolution.” Essentially, Kate is tired of meeting new people and having them frame themselves in what they “do” or “don’t do.” She proposes that we start a naked revolution,
“Wouldn’t it be great if instead of favorite movies and bands, our Facebook profiles had categories like “Secret Dreams” or “Favorite Childhood Memories?” What if we used our social tools to build bridges instead of higher walls? What if when we introduced ourselves to someone new, instead of the same old script we told three true things about who we really are deep down where it matters? What if instead of trying to put my best foot forward all the time, I started jumping in with both feet, trusting that the people who belong in my life will catch my hands and help me keep my balance?”
Kate asked her readers to get naked, sharing 3 things that were true about them. Just reading the responses was liberating. And led me to wondering, who would I be if I were able to meet each of you emotionally naked? How would I share my true self with you?
- I am a strong-willed, independently-minded, and very sensitive woman.
- I am a writer, with a fear that the best words and stories in my head will never make their way out to be read and experienced by others.
- I am direct and crass, the people who love me, accept this.
- I love with everything I have and am. This can be scary for both me and others. When the right one comes along, they will get it, and love me even more.
- I love my family, even when I am frequently misunderstood by them.
- I get scared that when others look at me, I will be judged by what is seen and not for who I am. (This does not stop me from bleaching and dying my hair purple, blue, or green. Refer to: “Step 1: Stop Giving a Damn.”)
Ok, that’s more than three. And now that I’m on a roll, I could go on, but I won’t. What I would love to know is Who Are You?
Now on to the recipe. I turned 40 last week and before my birthday rolled around, I put out into the universe that I would very much like an enameled cast iron dutch-oven for my birthday. The universe delivered through a wonderful trio I consider a wise council of women: Linda – the rock n roll arbiter of all things feminist; Laura – the arbiter of all things slutty vampire, among many other wise and worthy pursuits; and Marilyn – the arbiter of all things awesomely rad-fatty. With the advent of fall, I have been eager to try making soups from scratch, and now with the dutch-oven in hand, it was time to begin. I had a great recipe all ready to go this weekend for a reportedly yummy squash soup. And then I happened upon the blog post from an old friend/employee, Casey, where she shared this recipe for Vegetable Chowder. After reading the post, I knew these would be the ingredients that would initiate my new dutch-oven and begin my journey into soup making. As she says, the recipe is yummy. It’s also amazingly easy. I followed her recipe exactly for the ingredients. I mixed things up a bit by opting to add dumplings instead of doing a separate bread. I also was aching to use a power tool, the emersion blender, which had been sitting in my kitchen unused for two months now, so I creamed my chowder, as Casey suggests one might do if they so choose. I chose.
Vegetable Chowder via Casey Coleman
2 pats of butter (is it a “pat” or a “pad” of butter?)
1 red pepper- chopped
1/2 red onion- chopped
1 T garlic- minced
red pepper flakes
1 1/2 carrot- chopped
1 small head broccoli- chopped
1/2 head cauliflower- chopped
1 c frozen corn
salt, pepper to taste
3 c water
3 chicken bullion cubes
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c flour
two handfuls mozzarella cheese
In a large Dutch oven, start by cooking the onion, bell pepper and red pepper flake in the butter. Add in the garlic when onion is soft. Add the chopped veggies to the pot, along with the water, bullion, and season with salt and pepper.
After bringing it to a boil, reduce heat, (see note) and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
Mix milk and flour together, and add to the pot. Bring this to a boil, then cook and stir for the next few minutes.
If you so choose, here is where you would use an emersion blender to cream the soup further.
Add cheese just prior to serving
Cheddar Cornmeal Dumplings
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
I know this has been a really long post. If you’ve made it this far, or even if you skipped ahead, I hope that you will take a few minutes over the next few days to explore the blogs linked above. I can promise that you won’t find it a waste of time and will likely find yourself making time to work them into your routine blog reading.
Wishing you a yummy dive into the naked revolution.