A couple weeks back, two of my high-school friends drove 11 hours from the Bay Area for a 36 hour visit. I hadn't really seen them since before I ended up in Utah for depression rehab (my friend Hanna's phrasing, but I'm stealing it) and I was more than a little nervous. My last couple years have cut me down to size in ways I'm still just learning to share. If I'm honest, I've been using Utah as an excuse to hide out a little bit- I've turned down a couple opportunities to go home and see everyone when I found it overwhelming.
(As a side note, can I complain for a second about therapy teaching me to recognize my anxiety? It's definitely progress that I recognize my issues instead of just trying to numb them... but DAMN there's a lot of anxiety.)
I really shouldn't have worried. My stupidly wonderful friendpeople burst in with joy and patience and a third friend I took to right away. They got along with my roommates and my farmwife. We ate a lot of cheese. They didn't push me. The part that made me most nervous- the inevitable speaking of vulnerabilities out loud - happened on the side of a mountain, where my caged-animal anxiety tends to loosen up a little. The evidence of their stupid, wonderful love for me - offhand comments about keeping me in mind, a genuine offer to distribute a "don't ask Becca list" for New Years - made me cry, but I got to do with while wearing sunglasses and breathing mountain air. They're good friends, better than I have often deserved.
And yes, I'm a weepy cliche.
Saturday morning, we left the house planning on a city hike and ended up climbing the ice behind a ski mountain to a frozen lake. I'd like to say it was the least dignified snow-hike I've taken this month, but last week I ended up bushwhacking down a mountain after an elk, so I'm really not having a great run of it. We bought lunch late, and so 8pm found us hungry, but not really feeling the effort. My lovely friends, who after all largely taught me how to cook, sauteed some greens and poached eggs while I tracked down some chimichurri we had made earlier this summer. It was perfect. So here's my friends' easy weeknight dinner instructions: saute some greens with olive oil, sesame oil and red wine vinegar. Poach (or soft boil) an egg. Add a couple big spoonfuls of some sort of sauce- pesto is good, as is the chimichurri recipe at the end of this post- and if you're me, make some toast to sop it all up. Dinner.
(My house has terrible lighting, so I take all my food photos outdoors. Sometimes my neighbors' cats get interested. Poor Quasimodo did not appreciate being shooed away.)
For those of you who are reading this thing for actual recipes, may I suggest chimichurri? If you're not familiar, it's an Argentinean sauce made from parsley and garlic and traditionally eaten with steak, although it's gangbusters with eggs and good on sandwiches and pizza. My farmwife and I made a big batch right after the first frost and stuck it in the freezer. I've been going through it at an alarming rate, so when I noticed yesterday that some parsley had inexplicably survived, I went for round two.
One last note- when we made our version earlier in the fall we had jalapeños growing, so we used some instead of red pepper flakes. Yesterday I used red pepper flakes, and it worked just as well.
Adapted very slightly from here
1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, washed and dried
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp oregano leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil*
1 tsp Kosher salt
~1 tsp finely chopped jalapeño or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
*Ok, I'm normally not the biggest brat when it comes to olive oil quality- that shit's expensive! But as my roommate pointed out, I had an unreasonable hoard of California Olive Ranch from the NPS store and I'm glad I used it- so I'm gonna say this requires something a little better than Costco brand.
Put the parsley, garlic, oregano, jalapeño and salt into a food processor. Run until finely chopped. Add oil and vinegar and run again until combined. Eat immediately, or freeze in an ice cube tray.