change and consistency (plus pepperonata)

IMG_5551i’ve been thinking a lot lately about how as human beings, we continuously seek two things which by their nature cannot be achieved at once: change, and consistency.  we want to feel settled, and grounded, and yet we can’t help but desire new adventure and experiences.  for some that may mean simply trying a new restaurant down the street, for others it’s traveling to foreign lands – but the point is: we generally want both, and we want them simultaneously.

we seek familiar sights and smells, the routine of doing something again and again and again so that it becomes second nature, unthinking.  it’s ours. that bike ride you do on the way to work every morning – you own that. that’s you. you know the route inside and out, and there is a serenity in that.  we seek to define ourselves, in a certain sense, by the routines and consistencies we establish. and i don’t blame us – it makes sense.IMG_5510alternatively, routine is boring!  too much of the same thing, and we’re in a “rut” – unchallenged, unenthused, and failing to grow and evolve as individuals.  it’s time for a change, we (i) say!  people divorce, move, start new hobbies, etc.

if you have too much of one, you complain of  needing the other. you tend to be either too much in the realm of familiarity (read: boredom) yet when things change too fast, we just want them to slow down.IMG_5521i do believe a balance exists, and i’d like to find it.

although i have no idea how.IMG_5500my life has been a pattern of settlement and change.  small college, then studying abroad, graduating then backpacking for 2 months.  and after 3 years of peaceful living in cambridge, i’m continuing the pattern.  i am taking a leave of absence from work, to travel for 5 whirlwind months of CHANGE and adventure, which will take me from the west coast to southeast asia, with lots in between.

i’m certainly excited – but also hesitant.  on the one hand, is this temporary upheaval only going to make the inevitable settling far harder when the time comes again?   on the other hand, is five months of non-stop change – too much?   i recall last time i backpacked (3 years ago) – i had a fair share of moments when i wanted out i didn’t want to pick up and move again, or see another great place. i wanted to move to one of those places (ok, berlin) and settle there.  make my life one of the lives that i watched from the wooden seat of the cafe i was sitting at, guidebook in hand and backpack nearby.

appropriately, this post reflects that dichotomy.  as i talk about changes to come, i’d also like to share something that is the epitome (to me) of home and settling and coziness and familiarity: a recipe for italian-style pepperonata made with love and care by my mother and i, at home.IMG_5507

that’s my gorgeous mama and her herb garden, and the basil which was used to brighten up the dish at the end.

pepperonata is much like bruschetta (in fact we even added tomatoes to ours) but made with a variety of delicious peppers, simmered with olive oil, onion and herbs until they become juicy and tender.  the perfect accompaniment  to a crispy baguette, or even plated with pasta for a different sort of sauce.  i made this recipe (from cooking light) at my parents’ house for a father’s day celebration with my italian family, and served it as an app with an equally yummy homemade pesto (made by mamasita) and a variety of cheeses.IMG_5558

A RECIPE FOR PEPPERONATA serves 4-8

(courtesy of cooking light, with some tweaking of my own – namely, adding tomatoes, which i highly recommend!)

//ingredients:

  • 2 pounds assorted peppers – a variety of different colors will make for a more aesthetically pleasing dish :)
  • 1/2 pound shallots and/or onion
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes
  • evoo
  • red wine vinegar
  • sugar
  • fresh herbs, chopped – i recommend oregano and cilantro
  • bread of choice, sliced and grilled – my mom suggested naan (and i thought she was crazy at first – get your indian food away from my italian food) but grilled naan was superb with this

//directions:

  1. heat a dutch oven over medium-high heat
  2. add oil to pan; swirl to coat
  3. add salt, peppers, and shallots or onions
  4. cook 3 minutes or until shallots begin to brown
  5. reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, 20 minutes or until peppers are tender
  6. increase heat to medium-high; add vinegar, sugar, and thyme
  7. cook 15 minutes or until peppers are tender and shallots are golden brown, stirring occasionally
  8. add herbs and serve with grilled bread

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as i look at my room – my beautifully decorated room which is the cumulation of years of love and care and collecting of things, possessions, which ultimately tie us down – i get sad, sort of.  i have so much, and i’ve worked so hard to create this space, and establish these friendships and enjoy the experiences boston has offered.  why do i feel the need to leave and experience the new so desperately?  3 years ago, i came to the city dreaming of establishing a bar that i was a “regular” at; i thought that sounded like the coolest thing – so adult and also so certain. like- i know i could go anywhere but this is my spot and it is my favorite and i know people here and i will go here.  but, i never did become a regular anywhere – and now that is the last thing i could imagine wanting.

i guess this all my way of saying, things are getting a lot more confusing up in here…but also more exciting. don’t be surprised if this blog becomes a travel, food-on-the-road blog, whose posts reflect cultures and customs and adventures unforeseen.  i’m getting butterflies just thinking about it.

share your thoughts!