DAY TWO – HABITS DIE TOO
ACT I – THE DEATH AND LIFE OF PLACE
Did you ever love a place as much as a person?
Maybe it was a tiny yet beloved apartment, or a golden field from childhood summertime, or the deep recesses of a secret place no one knew of but you.
I have possessed many such places.
In fact, most of the places where I felt the most out-of-place, the most unhappy, the most foreign … ended up – months or years later – being the places that stuck to my heart the most.
I remember arriving at a kibbutz – a communal farm – in the Jezreel Valley in Northern Israel that would be my new home for three months.
I had just spent several months teaching in Tel Aviv, with its beautiful sun, beautiful beaches, beautiful people. Oh, and beautiful nightlife.
It was now time to leave, and my new location was an unhappy contrast. I didn’t like my loud Australian roommates, it was cold and damp, I was alone and pretty damn unhappy.
My girlfriend Kat called from the States, and I told her flat out: I had made a huge mistake leaving Tel Aviv and coming to this place.
The reality was, three months later, as I packed up to leave, I felt yet again that inevitable pull. I was going to miss this place. Badly.
What had happened?
I had forged friendships, worked my ass off every day, stayed up nights drinking wine and playing Dylan songs on my guitar with a dozen other assorted oddballs from around the globe.
That strange, cold, damp place had indeed become home.
So my question is: can we open our eyes to risk new experiences … new habits … new places?
And: can we understand that when the path ahead feels the strangest, the loneliest, the most foreign … maybe that’s our signal that we are headed on the right path?
That this new place, this new reality – given time – will indeed also feel like HOME?
ACT II – DAY TWO DETOX
I’m tired. Really tired.
I am not sure I understood exactly how much caffeine and sugar were propping me up. My morning coffee, that oatmeal scone from Stone Oven, the food throughout the day filled with sugar. They all were conspiring to keep me awake, focused, happy. Now that they have been banished by Jenna, I am tired.
That said, the food has been great.
I woke up this morning, had my lemon water as I walked my dog Morty. Even he was impressed.
For breakfast, I juiced celery, pear, apple, and parsley into an explosion of golden-green-happiness.
For lunch, I met a friend at his country club … luckily, they had a salad bar. Lettuce, spinach, beets, broccoli. With some lemon as a dressing. It felt awesome.
( Note: for those who want to join this detox, it is still OPEN FOR BUSINESS. Just click here and check it out.)
ACT III – CARROTS, NYC STYLE
New York may be my favorite place on the earth.
There are so many reasons for this that it would take a year of blog posts to detail. One reason is the restaurants.
The list goes on and on.
One restaurant I have not been to – but want to – is ABC Kitchen John George Vongerichten’s farm-to-table restaurant.
The most famous dish on the menu – profiled by itself in the New York Times – is his roasted carrot and avocado salad. Super healthy.
Tonight, it would be mine.
Basically, it is made from carrots, with a topping made of garlic, cumin seeds, hot pepper flakes, vinegar and oil. Lemon is draped over it, and it is roasted, with greens and pumpkin seeds over top. Instead of the greens, I sautéed shaved brussels sprouts with dried cranberries. It’s served with avocado.
It was shall we say … INSANE. (recipe to follow)
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound medium-size carrots peeled
- 1 orange, halved
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut in thin wedges
- 1 ½ cups packed radish or other sprouts
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 3 tablespoons roasted hulled pumpkin seeds
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small food processor or a mortar, pulse or pound the garlic with the cumin, thyme, chile flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper to make a paste. Add vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the oil, and mix well.
- Arrange carrots in a roasting pan and spread spice paste on top. Place orange and lemon halves, cut side down, on carrots. Roast until carrots are tender and starting to brown, about 45 minutes.
- Using tongs, arrange carrots on a serving platter. With a dishtowel to protect your hands, squeeze juice from the roasted orange and lemon halves into a measuring cup. You should have about 1/2 cup juice. Beat in remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle some of this sauce over the carrots.
- Arrange avocado over carrots, then scatter sprouts on top. Drizzle with reserved sauce, top with dollops of sour cream and a sprinkling of the seeds. Serve.
Source – New York Times