I finished my semester just in time to start a temp job with a commute to Redmond. Redmond is very sad and corporate. I am way out of my nonprofit bubble.
Still. Do you ever just stop and think how wonderful it is to be part of something? Certainly, I am part of my grad program, part of my friendships and relationships, part of many communities. But to be part of something as seemingly simple and mundane as a team in a massive company, to maybe be doing something that will do some good for people somewhere down the line, even if I won’t necessarily see it immediately, is a good, rejuvenating feeling.
It’s all well and good to sit in my apartment critiquing and revising and essentially moving words around on a screen. Writing gets to the soul of me and I often tell people that I need to write to be ok. That’s as true as ever. But it’s also true that I feel inspired by being out in the world, and work gives me an excuse for that. I also, sometimes, feel grumpy about being out in the world, but I write about that too, and then things feel better.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m striving for balance. I cannot live only to work a job with long hours and a long commute, with no time for writing. I struggle to live in a solitary bubble where all I do is write. I am more or less certain that I should strive for both.
In the spirit of being part of something, of sharing, of community, I want to share with you the simplest of all things: a recipe for “stuff on toast” that I’ve been eating like clockwork these past few weeks. The cold and rain that is, apparently, Seattle in December and the fact that I have little energy for dinner makes this so easy and that much more comforting. It’s not even really a recipe, but it is filling and good if you don’t feel like dealing with a recipe.
First, get some good bread; it doesn’t matter so much what, as long as it’s sturdy and has a chewy, “crusty” texture. I like sourdough loaves or seed loaves or lavain. Toast however many slices you want and rub them with the cut side of a clove of peeled garlic. While your bread is toasting, you can prepare your veggies. I can’t imagine much that wouldn’t work here, but I’ve had the most success with mushrooms of all types and crucifers like cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower. Chop or tear or otherwise get your veggies into manageable bite-sized pieces, then heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and saute them quickly over moderately high heat. I like crispy bits and edges, but really, it’s a matter of your taste. Season the veggies with salt.
Now, the fun part. You can do all kinds of things with your toast and veggies. Add herbs and spices: thyme, rosemary, herbes de provence, parsley, dill. Add some sour: tiny squeezes of lemon or drops of balsamic vinegar or wine. Give the veggies some body: little cubes of butter, lashes of cream. Pile the veggies on the toast and sprinkle with Parmesan or gruyere. Or, spread some creamy cheese like Brie or chevre on the toast before piling on the veggies. Or, just eat as is with no additions. It’ll still be great.
The only thing this post needs to put it in cheesy food blog territory is a picture. Sadly, you’ll just have to use your imagination; and anyway, it probably doesn’t look nearly as good as it tastes.
I hope you are all eating well and keeping warm. And that we can all take joy in being part of something.