Photographs by Meadow Linn

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shopping for Love

Is love like riding a bicycle? Do you always remember how? I'm starting to wonder if I could have forgotten. For that matter, I wonder if I've forgotten how to ride a bicycle… The Schwinn hybrid I bought with my stimulus check has sat in pieces in my garage ever since I moved two years ago. Spider webs and dust are now more prevalent than the salt and sand from my rides to the beach when I lived in Santa Monica. 

Molly My Border Collie
Anyway, back to love… I feel love everyday. I love my morning cup of English breakfast tea. I love the fact I no longer awaken to an alarm clock. I love that I can grow my own food. I love the critters that share my home with me. I tell my dog she's the cutest, but my cats are a close second. The chickens…well…not quite so cute, but they are very entertaining. Plus, their efforts fill the fridge with delicious eggs. I love my friends and family. I can't imagine living without the amazing people whom I've encountered throughout my life. The love I feel for these people and things seems to be a constant, but what about the other kind? The kind that I've been searching for on dating sites and on the produce aisle of my local grocery. 

Nutmeg My Golden-Laced Wyandotte
This is the plight of the modern single woman…or at least it's my plight. Serial dating leads to free drinks and occasional romance, but true connection tends to be rare and takes time to cultivate. If only love were like a museum…a docent would hand you a map pointing the way to affection.

Recently I read a book about looking for The One. After exhaustive research, the author came to the conclusion that instead of looking for Mr. Right, we should instead be aiming for Mr. Good Enough. Rather than looking for sparks, she suggests we consider marriage as a partnership between people with shared values. Regardless of my One being Mr. Right or Mr. Good Enough, I wonder how to keep my loving acumen in tip top shape? When presented with the right man at the right time, will it be like that proverbial bicycle? Does it all come flooding back just like making the wheels on the bike roll forward? Suddenly, love oozes from your pores as you fall into a comfortable pattern of loving one another? 

Rainbow Chard Growing in My Garden
I enjoy watching house hunting programs on television. It seems that every couple, no matter how young or how weathered, is searching for double sinks in their bathroom. They say it's the key to a successful and happy marriage. Is that it? Double sinks? Is that the path to love? So, while I contemplate a bathroom renovation and wonder whether Mr. Good Enough is more likely on aisle 4 or haunting the local coffee shop, I continue to cook and savor each day as much as possible. The following recipe is one of my favorites, which no doubt I will share with my One when I find him.

Leafy Green Bird Nests
makes 2 hearty servings

I rarely cook the same thing twice. I love variety and in order to keep my creative juices flowing, I find I have to continually challenge myself to experiment with new flavors and combinations. This dish, however, I make at least once or twice a week. It's that good! It's healthy, delicious, and easy to make. The inspiration for this dish originally came from Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral in which she writes about the year that she and her family only ate food raised in their neighborhood or in their own backyard. Leafy Green Bird Nests is great for brunch but with a few added ingredients, it can easily be transformed into a quick and tasty weeknight dinner. Try it and let me know what you think. 

2 tbs. olive oil
1 cup leeks, sliced (wash them really well because dirt tends to hide in the crevices)
a dash of sea salt
6 cups rainbow chard (leaves and stems), chopped
4 free-range eggs

In a large cast iron skillet (or other heavy-bottomed sauté pan) heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and a dash of sea salt. Cook the leeks until soft and slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally. While the leeks cook, wash and chop the rainbow chard. When the leaks are soft, add the chard and increase the heat to medium-high. Continue to cook until the chard is tender, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and make four wells (or nests) in the greens. Crack an egg into each of the wells. Cover with a lid, and cook until the egg whites are cooked through and the yolks are set. 

Don't have any leeks or rainbow chard? This recipe can also be made with kale, spinach, chopped cooked broccoli, sliced roasted potatoes, or any other leafy green or vegetable that suits your fancy. I've made it with each of these vegetables, and it's delicious every time! 

Eggs from My Hens
Want to serve it for dinner? Add chopped garlic and thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes when sautéing the vegetables. Before serving, top the eggs with a dollop of Procrastination Pesto, grated Parmesan cheese, and chili flakes (optional). Bon Appétit! 

More Rainbow Chard