It’s barbecue season, and I was missing my beloved Weber grill last weekend. Before I moved into my first apartment in college, my dad took it upon himself to teach me how to use a charcoal grill — because nothing beats a burger cooked in your own backyard over a charcoal grill.
Since then, he’s upgraded to his own outdoor poolside kitchen, complete with an obscenely productive vegetable garden. Oh, to have a California summer. I do miss unlimited tomatoes!
Anyway, I had the day off today, so I got to catch up on sleep, cleaning, and a workout after a weekend filled with food and sailing. Hope you’re all having a lovely Monday! Xo.
Tuesday night, I found myself in a much-needed yoga class.
The past couple of weeks have been unconditionally brutal. You know those days where you literally have every single minute planned? Yeah. Try that for ten days straight. It makes my bones ache. And it takes me at least a few days to get back to normal, because stress is just something that I can’t handle these days. I was covering ARPA-E as a photographer (hellooooo, government nerd fest), gave a presentation to a design group in DC with some coworkers about why Energy.gov is awesome, and even ventured out to Vienna, Virginia, to see a friend of a friend of a friend perform, who happens to be an amazing singer/songwriter.
In high school and college, I thrived on stress. I needed to overload myself in order to get things done. I also used to drink so many vodka-red-bulls that I probably should have had a heart attack by junior year. But now, just the thought of having plans every night of the week makes me cringe. Even this last weekend — I could say it was relaxing, because I spent most of it snuggled up in bed or petting puppies tied up outside of Chipotle, but it was a weekend that had every living moment planned. There was no sudoku in bed, or impromptu Netflix wormholes, or hours with a book on the Java House patio. Lots of fun, but it still felt busy.
So finally, after what seemed like 4247895 days of straight-up booked calendar entries, I made it to the gym. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to schedule yoga. I savor my workouts as something I opt to do in the time that I have for myself — and no one else. So finally, this week, I refused to pencil anything in. I went to yoga — a time slot and an instructor I had never been to before.
I set up my mat, and relaxed for a few minutes. And… ten minutes into the class, the teacher was still missing.
I’m sure the other 20 people in the class had varying levels of stress from their days and the week before, so when our gym manager came down to apologize, it was clear that the instructor wasn’t coming. But the most amazing thing happened — a woman sitting in the front row promised that she was a certified yoga instructor, and volunteered to teach the class.
Naturally, a room full of yogis is probably the most laid-back group of people ever, so almost everyone exclaimed something to the effect of “that would be AMAZING,” and that was that. And she led a class that I’m sure everyone enjoyed, and she started the class by asking us to practice forgiveness, because she hadn’t instructed yoga in over a year and a half.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how amazing that experience was — the personalities, and the yoga itself. Anyway, please forgive me for the radio silence. It’s been a long few weeks. Treat yourself with some easy biscuits (side note, these would be GREAT on a breakfast sandwich).
Sun-dried Tomato & Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits
2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 fresh jalapeños
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
First, remove and discard the seeds from your jalapeños. Dice them finely, into about eighth-inch pieces. Combine them with the diced sun-dried tomatoes, and set aside.
In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the Bisquick, milk, and cheese — mix with the dough hook until everything is fully incorporated. Then, add in the jalapeños and tomatoes. When mixed, remove the dough from your mixer, and using your hands, form into a large, flat mound about an inch to an inch-and-a-half thick. Cut out biscuits with a biscuit cutter or some sort of jar — I used a 3-inch biscuit cutter.
Then, melt your butter in the microwave, and stir in the garlic powder. Use a pastry brush or a spoon to dress the biscuits with a generous layer of butter.
Bake for about 13 minutes, until the biscuits are a light golden brown.Makes 7 to 8 large biscuits.
Yet again, taking advantage of Dad’s garden. Check out this easy recipe for refrigerator dill pickles. The best part? You don’t need to stick to cucumbers — pickle some squash from the farmer’s market. They are beyond delicious.
I’ll be back soon enough, with plenty of photos and stories of camping with the parents and my two younger, goofier-by-the-day brothers. Actually, by the time this post goes up, I’ll probably be driving back from the mountains, and on my way to a flight back home.
Hope your week is off to a great start! Xo.
Dill Pickled Squash
1-2 jar-sized zucchini or squash
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 dried red Thai chili
1 green or black Thai chili
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 cloves garlic
A few slivers of sweet onion
Slice your squash into quarters or eighths, lengthwise, and stuff them into a large mason jar. Throw in the mustard seeds, peppercorns, onions, garlic, and chilis.
Then, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Bring the solution to a boil. Once the salt and sugar are entirely dissolved, pour the solution into your jar of squash. You don’t want ANY air in this jar, so fill it right up to the top. Seal the jar, and refrigerate. They should be ready to eat after a day or so, and they’ll keep in the fridge for about two months.
This winter may have been weak, but spring has sprung. And along with the hour of sleep I lost this morning, my social life has flown out the window. I’m pretty sure I’ll see it sometime next week. Continue reading “Sweet Corn Ceviche”