the physics of the quest.

Wind River Mountains. source: NOLS

“…I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest” – a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.”

 – Elizabeth Gilbert, “Eat, Pray, Love”

reflective yogis eat potato salad

My yoga teacher said something beautiful yesterday.  She explained to us that yoga scrubs away our layers until we are at a place where we can say to ourselves, “I’m okay”.  Yoga gets us to a place where we can make this affirmation on our own, confidently, without needing validation from external sources.  And once we achieve this, we can be a beacon of light for others. 

On this Monday morning, I can honestly say to myself, “I’m okay”.  I know there will be times in the future where I will doubt this, where that inner strength that I have amassed will temporarily slip away.  I know that there are still parts of my life and parts of my self that I want to change. But for now, I can look at my little life, and I can look into my own heart, and I can be happy about what I see. And I know that this happiness, this love, can be contagious.  So I scatter those seeds of joy any way I can.

Yesterday, after two yoga classes, an epic breakfast, Mass, a nap (see: two yoga classes), and some errands, I made a delicious potato salad that I have been scheming up ever since I got some potatoes and green beans from my CSA half-share.  I wrote up the recipe for my farmer (is that the right word?), Cindy, who is AWESOME.  I figured I would put it up here to keep an additional record of it.  This vegan potato salad don’t need no mayonnaise!

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Mustard Vinaigrette

(or, Pierre Escargot’s Favorite Potato Salad)

potato love.

5 Medium Red Potatoes

1 lb green beans, washed, trimmed, and chopped into into 2-inch pieces

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 large (or 2 small) clove garlic

1 T olive oil

2-3 T fresh rosemary, chopped

1 t dried thyme

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt, to taste

1-2 t freshly ground pepper

Mustard Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

 

Directions:

1. Scrub potatoes and chop into bite-sized pieces

2. Add potatoes to a medium-sized pot.  Cover with water and salt generously.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 10 more minutes

3. While potatoes cook, boil 1 C salted water in a wok or other wide, shallow pan

4. Add green beans, letting them cook for 2 minutes (until bright green and tender-crisp)

5. Drain beans and add 1 T oil to pan (heat should be medium-high)

6. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes

7. Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute, until fragrant

8. Add green beans and saute over medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes.  You want beans to still be somewhat crisp while absorbing the flavors of the onion, garlic and oil.  Season with thyme and lemon juice and remove from heat

9. When potatoes are done cooking, drain them, transfer to a large bowl, and toss with Mustard Vinaigrette and rosemary*.  Add green beens, a pinch of salt, and LOTS of pepper.  Serve warm or chilled.

*According to Mark Bittman, who is awesome (see below), tossing the vinaigrette with the potatoes while they are still warm is important because it helps the potatoes soak up the dressing.  Thanks for the tip, Mark! (Yes, we’re on a first name basis.) 

Mustard Vinaigrette

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian”, a.k.a. the Bible of vegetarian cooking, a.k.a. the cookbook that I read like it’s a novel

1/3 C Olive Oil

4 T Red wine vinegar

1 T dijon mustard

1 t grainy mustard

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds.

P.S.  I ate this warm, with about 1/4 C of cooked millet and a crap-ton of nutritional yeast.  It was decious and I am no longer scared of serious amounts of olive oil in my vinaigrettes.

P.P.S. This dish felt really french to me, what with the haricots verts and the mustard vinaigrette.  I wanted to call it “Pierre Escargot’s Favorite Potato Salad” after the All That skit with Kenan Thompson (he of Kenan and Kel) in a bathtub in front of an Eiffel Tower backdrop.  It was amazing, as you can see here: 

the beginning.

“I don’t know what I think until I write it down”  –  Joan Didion

I can’t ignore the itch to write.  Over the past year, I have changed.  My insides have changed – my tastes, my beliefs, my dreams.  And I need a way to process these changes, to understand them.

I have all of these ideas, all of this joy that I want to share with others.  Maybe it’s just a quarter-life crisis.  Maybe it’s the result of another twenty-something adjusting to the real world, needing an outlet to express herself.  But I want to write.  I want to find my voice.  I want to share my thoughts on mental, physical, and spiritual health.  I want to grow to understand happiness.  I want to experience this life that I’ve been given.  And I want to share it with others.  So here we are.

Every day, I read so many beautiful blogs about health, food, life, growth, love.  I want mine to be one of them.