“Let it go, let it leave, let it happen. Nothing in this world was promised or belonged to you anyway.” -- Rupi Kaur
Time just seems to slip away. It’s not that I haven’t been busy, but when I look back on the past few months, I really don’t know what I have been up to. I feel like I start every post with an apology about how long it has taken me to write, only to realize I am apologizing to myself for neglecting what I actually want to spend my time doing.
AM left to teach in Paris back in September and so we spent the last dredges of summer doing everything together—we cooked some of our favorite dishes and learned some new ones in an Italian cooking class in Pioneer Square. On his last evening, we indulged with a late dinner at Staple and Fancy for the tasting menu. There is something about not having to order or look at a menu that feels so freeing. Suddenly the experience is open to you while you anticipate each dish and revel in the feeling that you’re being taken care of—dishes appear that you wouldn’t normally order and they satisfy in ways you didn’t know to hope for. I felt radically present with AM in that moment, as though I was seeing him through fresh eyes.
October was a flurry of missing, longing, and work. It flew by without much comment and I was grateful. In November, I headed to Paris with plans to eat my way through the city. With some great recommendations from a colleague and armed with David Lebovitz’s list of favorite restaurants, we were set. AM and I make one hell of an eating team—I don’t speak French, but I know my way around French cooking techniques and he makes friends wherever he goes and in whatever language he speaks. Waiters and waitresses loved us. A six-course tasting menu at Semilla with a surprising grapefruit ceviche and a foie gras in onion cream that threw us both over the ledge. A beautifully simple and elegant night of tapas at Les Petites Bouchées and a cheese plate the size of our table at Astier. The entire trip was lovely and I adore the way the French don’t focus on doing everything at once—shops adorn themselves with one or two particular delicacies, with no concern for what they may be lacking. I suppose it plays into French stereotypes, but I love how self-assured it all feels; so foreign to my life in the States, where I often feel bombarded with an expectation to be a jack-of-all-trades.
When I got home, I was filled with a new invigoration to take my life and my goals more seriously and to stop making so many excuses for playing it safe. I don’t know what my little life entails and I am honestly at a loss with how to harness this energy constructively, but it is time to start exploring again. I hope you’re ready to see more of me and potentially, a less polished me. Because let’s be honest, none of us really know what we’re doing right?
I am passing along a recipe that AM and I learned in our Italian cooking class—a fairly simple tomato and sausage ragout with a surprising addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove near the end. It’s a traditional Southern Italian take, but I had never made it myself before. It’s homey and feels somehow adventurous. Unfortunately, I got too excited about taking pictures of prepping, so apologies for the repetition.
1 lb. spicy Italian sausage
1 medium red onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
1 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes
¼ t. cinnamon
¼ t. nutmeg
A tiny pinch of ground cloves
Salt and pepper
Open the can of tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Pour mixture into a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and set aside to drain.
Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add the Italian sausage and cook until thoroughly browned and a nice fond has developed on the bottom of the pot, 5-7 minutes. Remove sausage and place on paper towels to drain.
Check on your tomato mixture, using the back of a spoon to help the liquid pass through the sieve.
Lower heat to medium and add onion, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and sweat your vegetables until they’ve released their moisture and are soft. Clear a spot in the middle of the pan and add garlic, cooking until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with red wine, scraping up all brown bits on the bottom. Add your strained tomato liquid and bay leaf to the pot and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes until flavors begin to blend. Stir the sausage back in.
Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Serve over your favorite pasta with plenty of Pecorino-Romano.