The times are a'changing; and when change comes, it comes in heaps. Last Monday, five inches of snow fell, blanketing Northeast Ohio. Come the weekend, it was 65 and sunny—ripe for a weekend visit to Columbus and soaking up precious time with family and our favorite places (think multiple french presses from your favorite coffee shop, a large pizza eaten on a bench outside, crisp beers in the middle of the afternoon). For the next two weeks, we will be relishing in the comfort of living the same life we've been living for the past year. There will be packing and farewells, and a nominal amount of planning; but mostly we will be enjoying the days ahead. When those two weeks are up, we will be headed for Vermont to work at Consider Bardwell Farm. Then to Greece. Then we reenter the unknown. No jobs, no housing, no regional location determined. Together we'll go, and together we'll fare. 

Speaking of fare. We've been eating copious amounts of bread and hummus. Say what you will about gluten; we don't subscribe. There is no comfort quite like that provided by fresh-baked bread. Mark wrote a guide to our everyday bread recipe, viewable on the Lehman's Hardware blog.

This bread is the lifeblood of our kitchen, and it pairs well with literally everything. Most recently, we have been slathering it with homemade garlic hummus, a signal of all the change to come: the warm months, leave from Ohio, and a return to the Mediterranean diet. For now, though, we will be enjoying it in the comfort of our first home together. A note on the hummus: it's made with a  food processor. We just added one to our kitchen—a most exciting event. We were previously using a brass meat tenderizer to smash the chickpeas. The product was by no means smooth, but it did the job and works well if you do not have the luxury of a food processor, as we didn't for many years.

adapted ever so slightly from My Name Is Yeh

— Cover chickpeas with water and soak for 12 hours, or overnight.
— Once chickpeas are soaked, drain and cover with 2 inches of water in a sauce pot.
— Add baking soda, cover and simmer until fork tender (which was about 30 minutes for us).
— Drain chickpeas and transfer to a food processor. 
— Add tahini, olive oil, salt, cloves of garlic, and lemon. Blend until smooth and buttery soft. Sometimes we add just a little bit of the strained chickpea water to help with consistency.
— Garnish with several glugs of olive oil and oregano, or any herbs that suit your fancy. At this point there's no harm that can be done.

3/4 c. dried chickpeas
6 T. tahini
7 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 pinches of salt
2 pinches baking soda
4 cloves garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon




Five weeks ago, more or less, we moved our wedding plans forward five months to January. Now we are getting married in five days. Life in the interim has been a whirlwind in the truest sense of the word. Chaotic, tiring, very special, and quite full (of everything). In the scope of our own existence, it seems that we are living in extraordinary times. Preparing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for marriage has added a bit of gravitas to the daily agenda. 

Yet I have not felt a heaviness in this preparatory period. If anything, much peace has been found in the very ordinary routines & provisions of each day leading up to the big one. Indeed, both of us have taken up special preparations, for which we had not carved out time in the past. It would be silly to claim that we have not heightened our attention to body care routines, or that we have not expanded our efforts to transform my bachelor pad into a marital home. But I anticipate that most of those endeavors will return to the mean after our trip up the altar. More impactful, I think, has been the resurgence of a few habits of old. 

putting on a record

I have started making music again. That is, actually recording the music that floats around in my head but tends to lose out to something else, usually apathy. For whatever reason, I tend to listen more closely to the chord structures & rhythms of the universe when there is a lot going on in my life. (P.S. If you'd like to hear those sounds as I hear them, feel free to have a listen here.) 

The aroma and delightful crackle of fresh baked bread has returned to my kitchen, too. Perhaps the simple act of mixing flour, salt, water, and yeast in their proper proportions helps to maintain balance & order in my life. I do not know for sure, but it seems reasonable. What I do know is that the joy provided by a time-tested personal pursuit such as baking bread far exceeds any satisfaction I could obtain from limiting the amount of gluten or carbohydrates in my wedding diet. (Relevant notes: I am not on a wedding diet & the bread recipe is forthcoming.)

Beginning this weekend, so much is set to change in my life—like the ever-changing pattern of cracks & crevices along the surfaces of the breads I bake; like the ambient noise, made up of different daily traffic & weather patterns, heard faintly behind the vocals I record. And yet, so much is set to remain the same. Like the very importance of making music & baking bread. Like the love & commitment I have felt so deeply for the woman I am ready to call my wife.