If you have even a passing interest of astrology, then you know that the most basic principle that governs Libras is our underlying, yearning desire to keep everything in balance. Subconsciously or not, it’s how I process and consume art, music, literature and food. For every fluffy album that I put on, I’ll eventually need to hear something heavier and more abstract. I’m equal parts Kate Bush and Kevin Drumm. Fleetwood Mac and Ryoji Ikeda. And so on….
But nowhere does this organizational method fling itself onto my cravings more insistently than in the way that I eat. At work, it’s mostly dabs and tastings of sugar, butter, and cream. Mouthfuls of cake and pudding and syrups. Halved scones and milk buns slathered in butter and jam. Spoonfuls of tempered chocolate and licks of glossy Italian meringue. At home, my eating habits adjust to balance out my pastry work, and I’m really seeing the results right here on my blog. Gratuitous snaps of sugary-sweet Queen Elizabeth cake… followed by a hearty breakfast of eggs, asparagus, chickpeas, and a bit of my stale old levain bread. It’s not a “light” meal, but it feels suitably oppositional to what I was eating the night before. There’s been a lot of big breakfasts like this lately… maybe I’ve been eating too much cake at work and I didn’t even realize it.
A while back I was complaining about being over that whole avocado-smashed-on-toast thing, but awesome Ashley suggested an easy switch-up: smashed avocado on corn tortillas. No duh. So simple and obvious and delicious! Just different enough that it’s renewed my (formerly waning) interest in avocado on carbs all over again. Especially if they can be eaten outside on the balcony in the sunshine.
I recently came upon a trove of Grecian goodies: honey, chestnuts, dried thyme (it has thorns and tiny purple flowers!), and liters and liters of olive oil. What better way to begin delving into their untold yumminess than with a simple breakfast — steamed spinach, a fried egg sprinkled with feta and parsley, and tomato salad, all drenched in the most gorgeous, supple olive oil I’ve eaten in a while.
P.S. The voyeur in me LOVED this food diary by Sam Sifton. Charming, honest, and delicious. There’s nothing I love more than reading a long list of dishes or ingredients (bedside reading is usually a cookbook), so stories like this are totally my internet catnip. [via Shoko]
So, yesterday was my birthday — which, of course, has prompted an undue amount of self-reflection. I worked a long 10-hour shift, but Adam made me a sweet, perfectly-me birthday breakfast of roasted brussels sprouts over eggs and some good, sour cheddar with toast.
If you had told me ten years ago, or even five years ago, that at age 28 I would be happily living in Montreal and working as a pastry chef, I would have stared at you in disbelief. When I graduated from college (was it already seven years ago?), I remember thinking that I would definitely be a music journalist, traveling the world and writing every day. I might still return to that, in fact I hope that I do. I often get anxious thinking that I haven’t done enough or accomplished that much. But where I am right now — I’m learning to see how it’s exactly right. Pastry may be a recent passion, but it already feels like it’s been a part of me forever.
My sweet friend Katherine gave me this book, written by an astrology-loving Jungian scholar, for my birthday, and I have been devouring it alive. Here’s to another year of Relating.
Breakfast in Provence. Sigh. Earlier this summer, we were toying around with the idea of going back to Sanary for a month — that’s how cheap the apartment that we rented was — so Adam could finish his book in solitude, but it’s so impossible with my new job. Still, so grateful for the handful of sunny mornings we spent there, one egg for me, two for him, some wilted greens and peeled asparagus.
If you live in Montreal, then you already know that the markets are ridiculous. Like, jaw-droppingly, achingly spectacular. It’s my favorite time of year around these parts — early summer vegetables are still kicking around, and early fall produce is starting to make its first appearance. (I saw pears yesterday!) Basically it means that you can eat whatever you want and in incredible abundance. Yesterday morning, we went for the corn, tomatoes, amaranth, carrots, kale, and fresh eggs. Tomorrow, I’m going back for eggplant — we’re finally upon ratatouille season!
Peonies, my very favorite flower, are almost finished around here, but Adam and I snuck in a few early-morning/late-night walks to admire the blooms and take a few home for ourselves. (Don’t worry — I always snip strategically from deserted or public spaces, and most come from Adam’s front porch bush!) They invade any space with their intoxicating, sweet scent, and it’s so nice to gaze at a few blush-colored stems over a breakfast of eggs and spinach. This latest bouquet included a poppy and the last of spring’s lilac, too.
Adam and I are in Provence! There’s so much to say, but of course my final meal before departing had to include a Montreal bagel. Everything here is intoxicating and incredible — we keep our noses up to the moving air like dogs, sniffing for new scents! — but with thoughts of Montreal not far away, I already have a running list of ingredients that I can’t wait to find when I get home so I can cook and eat them every day this summer: artichokes, grilled lamb, fava beans, olive oil, tomatoes, parsley, garlic!, olives, lavender, rosemary, thyme, dorade. Honestly, I kind of want to stay here forever.
Massive, crunchy sourdough croutons (made from Haley’s impeccable Tartine loaf!) rubbed with garlic, a huge mound of arugula dressed with lemon, a sprinkling of boiled barley. Was really tasty but wasn’t quite enough. So I added two fried eggs. (“Put an egg on it!”)
Now it’s perfect!