“My eyes account for less than 1% of the weight of my head; I’m bony and dense; I see what I expect.” Annie Dilard
The holidays can be brutally busy, draining, and full of ambiguous desires and unspoken expectations, our sense of wonder dulled by the overstimulation of our committments and purchases.
These past few weekends, I try to commit a big stretch of time centered around being HOME. Last weekend, a moment perched itself as I sat lounging in my upstairs resting room, as I read a lovely book (Great House, by Nicole Krauss) and sipped tea, and listened to the wind howl and twist through the trees in the forest behind my home. I felt rested and yet awake as my heart swayed and my hair stood at attention. A lovely few minutes.
As I sit here, and watch, or listen…I catch it. The noticing. That life. That disintegration. That ongoing movement and receding of everything. The light actually jumps in brightness before me.
I often bake and produce nourishing goodies during these days. It fuels me. One day, I produced a TON of fun little treats….
First up, home-made sweet pizza dough for homemade calzones….the dough is rather simple. The process of making it…well, it is labor intensive, however….satisfying. I found the trick for a good yeast bread production is weighing the flour out. I DON’T have a mixer…so everything is by hand. Which feels “natural”…and I love feeling those bubbles bursting in my hands. Inside of the calzone is a mixture of roasted butternut squash, apple, baslamic vinegar, lavender salt.
You fold them up and have to let them rise…
and then bake them up
(served with extra roasted winter root veggies on the side!)
The dough itself sweet and yeasty, although once cooled the mozzarella filling lacked sustenance. It was edible, yet not delish, and re-heating them made the dough a bit soggy.
Then, a lovely visit to the farmer’s market gifted me with two gorgeous plums. I had for YEARS wanted to make a simple syrup flavored with herbs, and had been longing to make sugar plums with balsamic rosemary syrup. First, the plums marinate in a little waltz of vanilla, rosemary, sugar, and balsamic vinegar (I let them sit for about 4 hours). Then I poached them for about 20 minutes. Taking out the plums, and placing them in an oven for 10 minutes (just warmed) while the marinade coax itstel into a thicker syrup….sprinkled with rosemary and topped with whipped cream.
So Lovely! Layers of flavors, of textures from the herb to vinegar to the skin and flesh. Pretty indulgent. The sugar plum syrup poached into the flesh through the tangy-ness of the skin, and I was happy with the different textures and layers of flavor.
I also prepared for the annual cookie exchange I host at work.
Finally, I got my new camera on the day of the exchange so I happily snapped up some of the these top contenders.This year, I made cayenne cocoa cookies from Dorrie plus green and red candy cane cookies.
Then, I also whipped up homemade lemon curd to gift my colleague as a little “thank you winter treat”. Basically, it is fresh lemons (I added one satsuma orange juice), sugar and egg yolk…..lovingly whipped up. This recipe is one the relies on technique…not ingredients.
I LOVED to pour this baby on toast, sandwich them between butter cookies, and drizzled over pancakes….and homemade yogurt! I am IN LOVE with the tangy punch of it.
I know when I spend my time at HOME, with a can of flour, butter, sugar, the oven, my creativity expand. I don’t just see what I expect, or expect what I see.
I rest. I pause. and I PERCEIVE.
Are you resting?