on the table

THE STATE OF THINGS + BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

 

My mind is ravenous and whirring, whirring, whirring. After weeks of sitting with a fire under my feet, I want to stay up forever and digest it—sending it from my feet, through my bones, out of my heart and onto the page. It comes in waves. That's writing for me, analogous to water: tepid, still, quiet for days or weeks on end. Then, as if tectonic plates are shifting beneath the ocean, a storm of waves brews with abandon and writing becomes near-compulsory. There is no way through the mire of my thoughts except to digest them through pen or keyboard. Where material comforts fail, writing becomes a soothing companion in times of impermanent change.

Of late, my day-to-day experiences are all to do with moving. Shifting between feeding baby goats in a perma-squat position to finding myself embracing a liberal amount of extroversion. From discerning the unknown months that lie ahead to practicing my stick shift driving on Vermont's winding roads. It's all happening, as Penny Lane says. The immensity of life's potential feels spiritual at times, cumbersome at others. I am currently experiencing the former, primarily, with doses of the latter. I have been spiritually grounded and uplifted. Funny how that works. 

Keeping perspective is a choice—one I often fail to choose, in truth. This go 'round, I am opting to be peacefully aware of life's ephemerality. This new outlook is no doubt informed by bearing witness to life and death on the farm. Speaking of things that come and go: buttermilk biscuits.

Buttermilk biscuits and slow coffee alongside my husband are the trappings of my perfect day. Total comfort. Comfort in the form of liberal pours of maple syrup and warmed honey, of a memorized recipe, of fat and acids mingling. While these photos and this day were many moons ago, in a place we no longer live, the sentiment of a small and intentional experience remains with me. These days I am delighting in a day-old goat learning to drink milk properly. Soon enough—be it here or there—I am sure to be delighting in buttermilk biscuits.

I use Local Milk's recipe for buttermilk biscuits. Sometimes I adjust the ingredients, but not often because it's a really good recipe. Hence why I am forgoing my own recipe. Just make hers!


—S

COMFORT | RECIPE: GARLIC HUMMUS + EVERYDAY BREAD

 

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.

GARLIC HUMMUS
adapted ever so slightly from My Name Is Yeh

steps
— 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.
 

ingredients
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
 


—M&S

THE MORNING AFTER | A DOWN HOME NEW YEAR

 
a messy table
mark and george

We set up an improv stage and improv-ed for hours. We made Top 10 Best & Worst lists for 2015. We articulated to one another how we feel the world perceives us. We consumed home brew and prosecco and more wine. We taught each other our best dance moves. We conducted blind taste tests with spices. We slow cooked pork shoulder and baked mini dark chocolate cakes with from-scratch whipped cream and goat milk caramel. We dunked homemade bread into honey, and in the morning we made two French presses. It was so full; so good.

We set the table in a way that would have looked great in photos. But it was 8 p.m. before supper was ready and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc was already empty. So we forgot about photos and soaked up every moment of this best friend reunion. It was the sort of unkempt party that travels into the wee hours of the morning. The sort that begs to be reminisced over while fully extended on the couch, coffee in hand.

As a couple, we have worked to create a 400 square foot space that is overflowing with music, plants, and quality food. Always good food. When we eventually washed the copious dishes and vacuumed the rugs, we found ourselves remarking on how little money we have, yet we feel totally rich in experience and in food. That's the gorgeous reality of working in agriculture + food, in knowing farmers, in investing what little money you do have in growing (and brewing) your own.

Welcome, 2016. 

coffee mug
table setting
marky
andrew in the morning
music and plants

—S