Some of you may have noticed that my shop has been closed for a little while. It was a really tough decision for me to make, but once I did, it came as a huge relief. Now that I have completed all the orders on my list, that relief continues to settle in. You see, even with work that you love, there still needs to be time for other parts of life. There needs to be a balance.
For the past 8 months my life has been almost 100% work, and after a time, that kind of imbalance really starts to show up. I am a hard worker, and it can be hard for me to stop once a rhythm sets in. But I began to really miss my life. I missed the simplest of things, like cooking and cleaning, the spontaneity of being able to go out on a date with my guy on a whim, a swim in the lake, a bike ride with a friend, to be able to tend to the garden for uninterrupted hours, a day off now and then… I was always rushing, always needing to get back to the studio. I haven’t talked about this here, as I don’t want it to seem like I resent my work (because I certainly don’t) or like I am ungrateful (because I am ever so grateful). But in real life, I’m not perfect and I haven’t quite figured out the balance yet. This break I have taken has been an attempt to slow it on down, and really look at where things are going, make adjustments where it’s not working, and improve upon what is working well. I am quite excited about reopening the shop, which should be pretty soon, but I am trying not to be too hasty. It’s amazing what a little time and space provides, for gaining clarity on a situation and getting the creative juices of life really flowing.
Pictured above is one of the first thoughtful, enjoyable, relaxed, real meals I have prepared in months! And cooking is even more satisfying for me when there is fresh food to be picked right on the spot. I first had something similar to this roasted vegetable salad a few years ago, at a restaurant in the foothills of the sierras, with my uncle. Roasted vegetables, at least to me, create a decadent meal with total ease. This meal contained the last of our beets from last fall’s planting, fresh picked rosemary, fresh picked basil, broccoli, zucchini, grape tomatoes, romaine from a friends garden, fresh garden kale, olive oil, crumbled feta and a bit of sea salt.
Roasting vegetables is really easy, but there was a time when I had never done it, so surely there is the possibility that some of my readers haven’t yet. If you are interested, here is how I made this:
Peel your beets and cut into generous bite sized chunks. In a bake pan, toss with olive oil (just enough to oil up the bottom of the pan), sea salt to taste, and chopped rosemary. I don’t usually like to cook my oil, so I also like to add just a little water to reduce the oil temperature and reduce the amount of oil needed. Set in the oven on roast, or at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, in the middle position in the oven.
While the beets get started, chop your broccoli, zucchini and half of your tomatoes. And don’t toss out your broccoli stems! They are delicious. Just peel the tough skin off and slice them into little spears.
Give your beets an occasional stir, adding a bit more oil if needed, and when they seem to just barely be softening add in your broccoli, zucchini and tomatoes. Keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally, and making sure everything stays moist.
At this point, I headed out to the garden to hunt for slugs and pick some kale. If you don’t have slugs to hunt, skip that step!
Now prepare your bed of greens by chopping them all into bite sized pieces and covering each plate generously. When your vegetables are finished they should be easy to fork, yet firm. I think my total cook time is usually 45 minutes to an hour.
Pile your roast veggies onto the bed of greens, add fresh tomato, crumbled feta and a fair drizzling of raw olive oil.
Light a candle and enjoy!