I'm in a state of flux this week, post-whirlwind, pre-new "to do's."
I listed my home in March, sold it in May, moved in June, I'm renting a furnished corporate apartment, I househunted and unexpectedly came upon "the one", and will be closing on my new home July 26th. Sell Rent Buy.
Not quite as exotic as Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love." Her journey "in search of everything" took her through Italy, India and Indonesia. My journey has taken me from New York to North Carolina, with trips to Aruba, London, Mexico and Italy in between. And...Julia Roberts is not playing me in a major motion picture.
I've only read half her book, as it's with the other 8000 lbs of 'house' that are in storage. The Italy piece of her story flooded me with memories of last summer's trip to Italy--Como, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre. The vista below doesn't even look real in the photo--it was beyond stunning in person.
I was halfway through the India chapters in Eat Pray Love, when I chucked the book into a box and got crackin' on packin'. Not very zen! I'll dig it out and finish before the movie opens mid-August.
This flux thing has been interesting. I'm living in an antiseptic (very beige) apartment, with files and paperwork spread out over the kitchen table. I haven't slept through the night yet. It might be the plastic vertical blinds, or the upstairs neighbors flushing their toilet at 3am---but I'm sure when I have my own 4 walls and my stuff around me, I'll be back on track. The journey continues.
To maintain a bit of normalcy, and to create my own sense of comfort, I cook. I brought my favorite knife, some utensils and a few kitchen tools with me, mostly because I prefer not to use "other people's" graters and peelers (provenance too sketchy.)
I've enjoyed lunches and dinners with new friends, but I have not resorted to dining out (alone) or ordering in. I'm not here on a business trip, I'm creating my new life.
This weekend was stormy with dark swirling clouds. Nice backdrop for cooking a Saturday dinner after exploring all day. The leftovers were great for a late lunch yesterday. On hand, I had some chicken breasts, the panko that the chef at Charley's gave me (!), spinach, mushrooms and rice. See steps below for making homemade rice pilaf.
I couldn't pass up buying this pretty plate...more homey than the plain white ones that came with the rental. Those of you who know me, know my penchant for plates! Lots of plates...
To jazz up everyday rice, make your own rice pilaf. I grew up on Minute Rice boiled in water, but once I tried basmati, jasmine and arborio rices simmered in stock, it was lifechanging. Sorry, Mom!
1. Use 2 to 4x liquid to rice, depending on the type of rice you're using.
2. Add a knob of butter and a few drizzles of olive oil to a pan.
3. Heat up chicken (or veg or beef) stock in another pot.
4. Saute some diced onions, peas, celery....whatever veggies you like, or you can skip this step. I skipped it.
5. Keep sauteed veggies aside on a plate while you...
5. Break up some fine egg noodles, and brown the pasta and the rice slightly in the pan.
6. Empty the saute pan w/rice + veggies into the hot broth, simmer on low, COVERED without peeking, for 15-25 mins, depending on the type of rice you're using.
7. Fluff with a fork, let sit for 10 minutes. Season with some pepper. Watch the salt.
There are so many variations--You can stir in sauteed veggies at the start, or toasted pine nuts, parsley, raisins, craisins at the end...or just have it plain the way I did, with browned egg noodles.
Home is where the heart is...and I'm making homey food while my heart is in transit!