Nothing and Everything

 IMG_1983

Six weeks since I last wrote here. Wow!

Absolutely nothing of note has happened in my life, and I suppose that's everything. I haven't been to a funeral or been bombed. I've had three meals every day (and sometimes more). I've been able to tuck my kids in almost every night. I've cleaned my desk many times (at night, it messes itself up), vacuumed the entryway stairs 20 times, walked down to the mailbox every day, fed the dog 2 cups of food twice a day, and done dizzying amounts of laundry. Anne Lamott says that if she had a year left to live, she'd return phone calls. So I've gotten back to friends and clients. I've ordered more #$*ing ink for the printer, done six weeks worth of meal planning, prep, and cooking, and am trying to lob dish duty off on Wyatt. On Friday mornings, I administer a spelling test to 20 first graders and on Monday nights I cook dinner for 12 family members. I've mediated conflict, written proposals, facilitated meetings, and tried to keep praying. And I've been able to keep running, which is a big miracle.

All of it, really. All of it is a big miracle. You probably guessed I was going to say that. 

Being on the trail is church for me lately, especially when I listen to podcasts like this. One of the stories was about a man who was on the plane that Captain Sully landed on the Hudson River. Listening to him talk about that moment is chilling. He said he realized death wasn't scary, but he was sad--sad about everything he'd miss out on. And he realized three things that changed his life: 1) Everything can change in a moment. Pour out all your love and affection on the people in your life NOW. His metaphor was a wine cellar--don't let those beautiful bottles sit around! If you've got the wine and you've got the company, open that bottle and drink it. 2) Life is too short to give any space to negative energy--grudges, resentment, the games of the ego. Being happy is a lot more fulfilling than being right. 3) The highest calling for him: be a good parent. He tells a story about going to his daughter's dance recital one month after the crash and absolutely bawling through the whole thing. He knew why--being there for that moment was the culmination, the pinnacle, of so much tenderness and beauty. And if you're not a parent, I think I'd translate to, "Dive into meaningful relationship. Promise things to people and make good on your promises. Be vulnerable and expect vulnerability."

I'm making myself tear up here. An hour ago I was in a bad mood because I have a cold, the vacuum belt broke, my wireless router is messed up, and I didn't want to pay the bills. But I'm having a good little coaching session for myself. We all need that sometimes.

IMG_2028

I have been so thankful lately for our weekly delivery from Dandelion Organics, and the upshot has been greens. And more greens! It works for me to sauté a bunch of green things up together, keep them in the fridge, and add them to everything. Yesterday, I added olive oil to a hot wok, then dumped in an obscene amount of spinach and kale. Then thinly sliced leeks and green peppers, crushed garlic, salt, pepper. I toasted some whole wheat break, fried an egg, and put the egg and the greens between the bread. Or you could use your green mixture with eggs, roasted potatoes, as a topping for tostadas, a filling for burritos. Endless.

Thank you for being here with me.

Hatch Chile and Corn Frittata

IMG_1860

Wow. I've been gone awhile! Logging in to post here again, I breathed a happy sigh. Hello!

I'm going to get on (one of my many) soap-boxes and put a plug in for going off the grid. We've been unreachable for about 10 days and it was HEAVEN! Out-of-office message on the email, totally checked out of Facebook and Instagram, news, and anything anyone else was doing. Period. Cell reception wasn't even possible. (I know. Nutso. Or in Wyatt's lingo for crazy, "CRA.") I got to a totally different place--settled, in tune to the little things around me, and I read 6 books. Thank you, Universe, for time like that. I'm aware there are millions of Americans working several minimum wage jobs at once. For them, "no work" means no money. That doesn't mean I shouldn't take vacation, but I'm grateful all over again when I think of it that way.

Something is opening up around me, under me. And it doesn't threaten to swallow me up. Rather, it's something boundless, loving, infinite. Jane Fonda described it this way--"I feel a presence, a reverence humming within me that was, and is, difficult to articulate." Beautiful. Here's to the humming.

(And one more soapbox.) I talked to two people yesterday who've been having a hard time hearing the humming. Grief, loss, anxiety, plus the everyday difficulties of paying bills, meeting responsibilities. And all with the added summer burden of "getting out and enjoying life." They both shared that Facebook has made that harder for them. We don't post photos or updates that say, "I'm in a dark hole right now, or "My family vacation was a total disaster." So I guess my soapbox isn't that we shouldn't enjoy FB or post photos (I did and I'm going to again. These Ross Lake photos make me happy.), but that we should be mindful of how complicated life really is. Facebook is about the image we craft and present to the world. It's not the truth. The Truth is that we are enfolded by Divine Love no matter what, that money, status, friends, or vacations has absolutely nothing to do with that, and that our carefully curated images actually KEEP us from dwelling in love. Going off the grid reminded me of all that.

IMG_1582

IMG_1581

IMG_1668

Okay. Hatch Chiles. My mom orders a case of these from New Mexico every year, but they have shown up in my neighborhood supermarket. Wonder of wonders! For $1/pound. So I've been loading up and roasting them like they are going out of style. (Put them all on a sheet pan, broil them, turning until all sides are blackened. Put them into a paper bag and steam them for 20 minutes until skins are loosened from flesh and they are cool enough to handle. Peel and seed them with gloves on! And eat them on everything.)

IMG_1854

I brought this frittata to Jen and Jason's house for brunch on Sunday. Frittatas are good vehicles for so many things, and chiles and eggs are natural partners. You could certainly leave them out, substitute finely chopped jalapeno (less than what's called for here!), or use roasted anaheims from a can. It's still summer, after all, and you might not want to follow my example of broiling peppers all day. That's kind of CRA.

Hatch Chile and Corn Frittata

1 Tb. olive oil
1 c. frozen or fresh corn kernels (I like the frozen roasted corn from TJs)
1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions
1 small zucchini, very thinly sliced (mandolins are perfect for this if you have one)
1/2-1 c. roasted hatch chiles, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
8 eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. coarsely crushed tortilla chips
1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 c. crumbled feta
handful of fresh herbs--basil, parsley, cilantro, or a mixture

Turn oven to 425.

Heat oil up over medium heat in a 10" cast iron skillet. Add corn, green onions, and zucchini and saute until soft, about 7 or 8 minutes. Add hatch chiles, salt and pepper,  and turn the heat to low.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, cream, and crushed tortilla chips together. Pour over sauteed veggies and let cook slowly for about 15 minutes, until it's starting to set up but not yet totally cooked. Top with cheese and herbs, and put into your preheated oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, until frittata is puffed and golden on top. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before you slice into wedges.

Broiled Eggs with Kale and Roasted Kabocha

kabocha and eggs

The Pacific Northwest just finished up over 80 days without rain. Until last week, people were sitting on their decks with cocktails. At Wyatt's soccer game 2 Saturdays ago, I took my shoes and socks off and pretended I was on the beach. 

Now, rivers of rain out my window, there's no mistaking the arrival of Fall. I think Puget Sounders are a little relieved. So much sun was too good to be true. Now we can go back to taking our Vitamin D, feeling sorry for ourselves, and coming up with every conceivable use for pumpkins.

I got the most beautiful Kabocha (or Japanese Pumpkin)  squash at Joe's Garden before it closed for the season. I peeled and thinly sliced it, drizzled it with olive oil and salt, and roasted the slices at 425 until they were tender, about 12 minutes. I then used it for a million things, including a galette and these eggs. 

And that's what I recommend for those inhospitable squash, sitting in your pantry or on your porch and staring you down. If you roast it up (there's a good method here) and put it in the fridge, all of the sudden it will be in your eggs, squished between bread with cheese and grilled, or tossed into pasta. 

Broiled Eggs with Kale and Roasted Kabocha
Serves 2. Turn broiler on. Saute several handfuls of washed and chopped kale in an ovenproof skillet with olive oil and a little garlic and salt. Cook until halfway wilted. Add a handful of your roasted squash and a squeeze of lemon juice and a bit of grated lemon zest. Stir. Crack 4 eggs over the top of the kale and squash mixture, and top with feta, sharp cheddar, or other cheese. Add some chopped fresh herbs if you want (parlsey, rosemary, thyme, cilantro.) Cook until eggs are set a bit, then transfer to to the broiler. Broil until everything is bubbling and eggs are cooked to your liking.  Cut around eggs with a small spatula and serve, or just eat right out of the pan by yourself or with your friend or sweetie.