veggie hash, inspired by caroline, katherine, half&half, and rainy holiday weekends

I’ve been toying with the idea of posting recipes all summer, I don’t consider myself an accomplished cook by any means but one of the sweetest blessings i’ve learned in the past year is that any day can be improved by a simple nightly ritual of chopping and stirring something on a hot stove so i’ve tried to make it a priority. So much of what I know and love about food is wrapped up in the people I share it with so it only seems appropriate to tell their stories as well.

The first time I met Caroline she and her lovely daughter Julip took me to a cafe called Half & Half. The conversation was lovely and so was the food. This was right at the beginning of my brussels sprout obsession so I jumped at ordering the Veggie Hash, which was served in my very own mini cast iron skillet and came with brussels sprouts, potatoes, onions, spinach, and two eggs sunny side up. It was everything I could have hoped it would be and more. Since then, I have partaken in many more delicious meals at Half & Half including their Blackberry French Toast during the infamous Leap Day breakfast of 2012.

Caroline has become a kindred spirit when it many things but especially when it comes to eating well. She continually amazes me with her commitment to provide her family with wholesome food, and grows much of it herself in her backyard garden. I think the happiest i’ve ever been in my life was when I got to hold her precious five day old baby Eloise while Caroline picked us some organic kale for dinner. What I like most about Caroline is how fearlessly she approches life. She not only taught herself how to cook but how to grow her own food. She made a bedspread that rivals anything Anthropologie sells and it seems like every time I visit she’s added a new handmade trinket to the house. I’m someone who likes the idea of most things but often lacks follow-through so it has been such an encouragement to see Caroline tackle so many projects all the while raising two beautiful girls. Thanks to her, Katherine and I now get a weekly CSA box full of all sorts of farm fresh goodies.

Our CSA box is where our dinner started out tonight. More and more, Katherine and I have been sharing meals. It’s more fun to be in the kitchen with another person and cooking for two is infinitely easier. We had a bag of potatoes from this week’s box that we had planned on roasting, and once those got going we realized we had all the ingredients for our very own veggie hash. These last minute, kitchen sink, make it up as you go along meals are my favorite kind. I love the excitement that builds every time someone calls out a new ingredient. “I have half an onion!” “We’ve got rosemary in the garden!” And before you know it both of us are at our stations, chopping and chatting.

The whole thing reminded me of a quote from Tamar Adler’s wonderful cookbook/essay collection An Everlasting Meal that shows us that sometimes the best kind of meals start in the most humble of ways. “Instead of trying to figure out what to do about dinner, you put a big pot of water on the stove, light the burner under it, and when it’s on its way to getting good and hot start looking for things to put in it. In that act, you will have plopped yourself smack in the middle of cooking a meal. And there you’ll be, having retrieved a pot, filled it, and lit a burner, jostled by your will a few steps farther down the path toward dinner.”

Veggie Hash

What you need:

-Potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces (this isn’t the kind of meal that calls for exactness so the proportions are up to you, trust me you can’t mess this up.)

-Brussels Sprouts, cut into fourths

- 1/4 to 1/2 an onion, sliced into long slivers

-Spinach or other greens, torn into pieces

-3 eggs

-Rosemary, chopped

-Garlic, minced

-Salt

 What you do:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Toss the potatoes with the olive oil, garlic, salt, and rosemary and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet

-Roast for an hour, turning twice

-After the potatoes have been in for 40 minutes, throw the brussels sprouts (drizzled with olive oil, garlic, and salt) in the oven with them (we actually put ours in our toaster oven but this way is more economical) and roast for 20 minutes

-Right as the potatoes and sprouts are finishing up, heat olive oil in a large skillet and start caramelizing the onions, if you’re using kale instead of spinach throw this with the onions because it takes longer to wilt up.

-Once the onions are brown (the key to this recipe is that everything gets nicely charred, almost burnt but not quite) add in the potatoes and the brussels sprouts (add more olive oil as needed)

-Crack 3 eggs straight into the pan and scramble them with your spatula, making sure everything gets coated. Add the spinach now too (this is where it’s nice to have a partner, one to crack the eggs and one to stir the skillet)

-Stir until everything is cooked and combined

-Add a little sirarcha if you’re so inclined and enjoy!

1 Comment

Filed under around the table, emily

what we like this week

Emily

  • In non-Internet related things I like, this weather is at the top of my list. Two weeks of heat advisories have given way to milder (i.e. 90 degree) days with mornings just begging to be enjoyed on my sun porch with some iced coffee and Billie Holiday. Who am I to deny these mornings?
  • In food related things I like, this gilt article about cooking without recipes has given me a new found confidence in the kitchen. As has reading Jenny Rosenstrach’s lovely cookbook “Dinner, A Love Story”. This week I attempted to make strawberry jam and though it turned out more like strawberry syrup you can’t really go wrong combining strawberries and sugar- amiright? More successful was Peas and Thank You’s Thai Zucchini Impasta Salad, the dressing of which has been making it’s way onto everything i’ve eaten in the past few days. (Gilt article via Kat White)
  • In space related things I like, scientists are working to figure out the best way for astronauts to eat a diverse array of food while on the long mission to Mars. (I can’t think about humans going to Mars for too long because it makes my head explode.)
  • And finally, in random internet things I like there is Texts from Jane Eyre which is, well, exactly what is sounds like and a beautiful video about a man who makes custom wooden canoes.

Katie

  • So the UN passed an act last week that declared internet access a Human Right. IS this a sign of the times OR WHAT?
  • God forbid I post a McSweeney’s article…but what the hell…here I go. Jesse Eisenberg with “Bream Gives Me Hiccups: Restaurant Reviews From a Privileged Nine-Year Old.”
  • Hello? Is anyone laughing with me here? I present to you the funniest political protest signs EVER.
  • I am really into this tumblr lately: people submit photos of others reading on New York’s Subway system. Love.
  • FINALLY. A list of the 10 best TV spots directed by Wes Anderson.
  • As mentioned on this blog before, I am intrigued by riots of any kind (political, social, ect.). Here is an account of what it is like to be on the other side of a riot (i.e. not actually doing the rioting). (via The Guardian)

Leave a comment

Filed under emily, friday links, katie

what we like this week

Emily

  • This Lyyke Li cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs” makes me have all kinds of positive feelings
  • I am so excited to see Beasts of the Southern Wild when it comes out. Here are some great interviews about the films stars
  • My summer reading list is growing way too long but I couldn’t resist adding The Age of Miracles to it. Doesn’t it sound amazing?
  • Have y’all watched “The Newsroom” yet? Katie and I are devoted Aaron Sorkin fans and have been emailing each other every last article on the subject for months. The pilot is free on YouTube (after that you’ll have to find a friend willing to let you borrow their HBO…) and the opening scene is just amazing. Sorkin’s first series “Sports Night” is on Netflix and definitely worth a viewing as well. You should trust me on this, my spiritual gift is recommending tv shows.
  • Speaking of summer tv, if the heat has fried all your brain cells and you can’t seem to do anything but lie on your couch, may I recommend “Pretty Little Liars” (also a recent Netflix addition!) It’s terrible, yes. But Grantland recaps it so it’s got to have some cultural cache. Just trust me, okay?

Katie

  • Lena Dunham writes a tribute to her friend and mentor, Nora Ephron in The New Yorker. “You can’t possibly meet someone right now. When I met Nick, I was already totally notorious.”
  • Emily and I LOVE Emma Stone. We just cannot get enough. (via Vulture)
  • This.
  • A list of note, in which Nora Ephron details what she won’t and will miss in life. (via Lists of Note)
  • Can we talk about the trailer for the upcoming adaptation of Anna Karenina? Mind=blown. (via Slate)
  • I love Lana Del Ray (Emily is not a fan). Check out her new music video for “National Anthem,” in which she plays the Jackie O to A$AP Rocky’s JFK. Sold.

Leave a comment

Filed under emily, friday links, katie

bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils

Every few weeks on Gchat Katie or I will say to the other “we should do something about the blog” but then we will find a really wonderful movie trailer or polarizing Atlantic article to discuss and the blog will be out on the back burner once again. But the seasons are changing now, as evidenced by the heat advisory covering St. Louis, and new seasons are always good times for starting over.

I didn’t come here to tell you about any of that though, I came here to tell you about why Nora Ephron is the most wonderful.

Nora Ephron died on Tuesday and since then some people have written some really lovely things about her. My favorite one came from the New York Times which characterized her as “an expert in all the departments of living well” which I think it the absolute best thing that could ever be said about a person. Nora wrote You’ve Got Mail which has been my all-time favorite movie since I saw it in theaters when I was eleven. My mom and I could quote the entire movie to you backwards and forwards. In fact, if you really love me you will watch it with me and let me say the lines the entire time but even if you didn’t let me do that you still learn them because I insert them into conversation whenever possible.

  • “Harmless, harmless, meaningless…bouquets of sharpened pencils.”
  • “Meanwhile, I am putting up more twinkle lights!”
  • “I’m going to get some eucalyptus candles because they make my apartment smell moss-AY”
  • “That caviar is a garnish!”
  • “I am a lone reed.”
  • “I said we were a goddamn piazza where people could mingle and mix and be! I was eloquent! Shit!”
  • “We will do it today! They cried. And you will be the one to put the mouse in the jar!”
  • “One hundred and fifty two insights into my soul!”
  • “He ran Spain. The country. He ran it. It was his job.”
  • “Words like thither, mischance, felicity!”

I realize these aren’t even memorable lines; I love it that much.

Kathleen Kelly taught me how to be a whimsical adult, marveling at butterflies on the subway and whether or not her small little life was meaningful. She galavanted around New York in cardigans and read Pride and Prejudice in coffee shops. I liked her because she seemed to spend a lot of her time in loungewear with books and mugs of tea which is all I want to be doing at most moments.

You’ve Got Mail has been the background noise in my life for almost as long as I can remember. I watched it in my dorm room freshman year when I was so lonely I could hardly breathe but for those two hours I felt at home. Later on in college, my friend Colleen and I loved nothing more than to curl up on our couch with a glass of orange juice and bowl of popcorn (the best combination) and watch it on a Friday night. Now, when my roommate is out of town I put it on while I wash the dishes so my house doesn’t feel so empty. It feels cozy and familiar, a little piece of my life that never changes and is always satisfying.

Besides writing the greatest of all movies (and some other pretty great ones as well), Nora was amazing in many other areas. Such as marrying Carl Bernstein, divorcing him, then writing a book about it that was turned into a movie where she was played by Meryl Streep….I mean, come on. She worked her way up as a writer at a time when men dominated journalism. She got hired at Newsweek as a mailgirl because she was told women couldn’t be writers but soon bylines in Esquire, The New Yorker, and New York Magazine. When she was little, her mother, a playwright, told her “take notes, everything is copy.” My parents, also writers, have been telling me the same thing since I could talk.* Making something interesting out of the everyday-ness of life is harder than it seems and I don’t claim to be any good at it, but Nora Ephron was a master.

I think that Nora would have liked our blog and that maybe it would have reminded her of herself when she was our age before she really grew into herself. I hope she might think we were charming, babbling on about best friend rules and the hours of 2-5pm. I like to imagine that she offered this piece of advice just to us and not to the entire 1996 graduating class of Wellesly College. “Maybe young women don’t wonder whether they can have it all any longer, but in case any of you are wondering, of course you can have it all. What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: You can always change your mind.”

So, to Nora, a woman who truly did everything, we would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if only we knew your address. Thank you for inspiring us to be the heroines of our own stories, and for telling us it’s okay that those stories include loungewear and witty comebacks via text messages. We will miss you and the lovely worlds you created.

;

*This led to melodramatic teenage arguments I punctuated with “This is going to reflect poorly on you in my forthcoming memoir.”

3 Comments

Filed under emily, people we like and wish we knew

what we like this week

Emily

  • You want to know what I like this week? I like that at 12:15 tomorrow I will be on spring break and fully intend to spend next week wearing loungewear and making extravagant breakfasts.
  • SCIENCE! (PS this is what my roommate yells every time I run a hot pan under water and steam comes up- also, yes I know that you aren’t supposed to do that)
  • Speaking of science, this video encapsulates most of the thoughts I have about why space is awesome and we should talk about it more.
  • In case you weren’t aware, it’s spring. Let’s pretend we live in DC and get drinks with Sam Seaborn after work and talk about cherry blossoms.
  • File this Flickr set under: Get out of my head!
  • Check out these haunting pictures of girls with their American Girl dolls, and then read about what your doll said about you. Katie and I both had Kirsten.

Katie

  • Here’s what I like: the fact that I’m an ADULT. I just ate italian ice and a baguette for dinner. TAKE THAT, WORLD.
  • Wes Anderson made an ad for some sort of smartphone. Who cares what kind; this is awesome.
  • YEP….still excited about HBO’s premiere of Girls. If you want to know what my life looks like, then watch this trailer.
  • And speaking of trailers, can we talk about Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of On The Road? I’m a little skeptical about casting Kristen Stewart…but maybe she’s just insane enough for that role.
  • “This is sad! O little book! A day will come in truth when someone over your page will say, ‘The hand that wrote it is no more.’” Here are some complaints penned in the margins of medieval manuscripts by monks.
  • As for the weekend….THIS is all you need to concern yourself with. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Leave a comment

Filed under emily, friday links, katie

what we like this week

Katie

  • So a few of my dear friends are in this band called Milano here in Chicago. I adore them, and I think you would too. Their new single “Festival” came out yesterday. Get it HERE.
  • An incredible story from The New York Times about how prisoners with dementia are being treated by fellow inmates.
  • In honor of True/False this weekend, where Emily and I will be reuniting for what our college town has nicknamed “hipster homecoming,” here is a short documentary that will make your heart melt. May I present “Pickin’ & Trimmin.”
  • So I love the blog “Letters of Note,” but the other day I found out that “Lists of Note” is a thing! So far there are lists detailing The 10 Rules of Con Men, the rules for the Anti-Flirt Club, and 10 Rules for Wives. Dying.
  • The animated short “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” rivals the beginning montage of “Up.” I’m weeping. So whimsical.

Emily

  • A great little piece on the architecture of happiness from Art House America. “These commonplace cathedrals create space that says, “You are welcome. You are expected. Come and rest.”
  • fascinating article on the importance of biodiversity but I will warn you, it contains terrifying photos of giant bugs.
  • This photo series is a beautiful way to give dignity to the elderly.
  • Listen to this while this plays in the background. You’re welcome.
  • Picked up “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo at the library today (consequently, I had to take a career interest test for class this week and the career I am overwhelmingly most suited for is a librarian…)

Alright we’re headed out! Be back smarter and more well-versed in pressing world issues!

1 Comment

Filed under emily, friday links, katie

what we like this week

Emily

  • Today it was 65 degrees in beautiful St. Louis and let me tell you spring weather makes me feel like a new person! I’m almost as happy as an owl getting a head massage. (Via Molly)
  • Things I should have said to Connie Britton (aka Tami Taylor) when she came into my coffee shop. I would like to add “Can I borrow your aviators?”
  • This photo makes me feel very calm, which is a pretty big feat considering I ate A LOT of Valentine’s candy before my night class and am currently focusing all my energy on not dancing to the Justin Timberlake song that’s playing in a loop in my head.
  • Oh hey, I’m a part of Kinfolk and most of the time I just smoke my pipe and eat beautiful meals outdoors and my life is AMAZING.
  • This article on the language of marriage is old but I just love it.

Katie

  • President Obama sings “Sweet Home Chicago,” much to this crowd’s enjoyment. (via Paste)
  • So my dear friend Heather recently helped start this blog called Useful Broads. She’s incredibly badass. Check out the most recent post, which addresses how every proper lady should know how to write a letter.
  • As someone who never really “got” “Sex and the City,” I’m so excited for HBO’s NEW series about young ladies in NYC, titled “Girls.” (via AV Club)
  • A poem for girls who read, by Mark Grist. (via Brain Pickings)
  • “The Art of Distraction,” A recent OpEd from the New York Times.

Leave a comment

Filed under emily, friday links, katie