What books to bring?? This is, of course, a fantastic problem to have. I am, quite literally, obsessed with owning books. In theory I also love to read them, but that is merely theoretical. Currently I amass books at a far greater volume than they are read. I happen to be an unexplainably slow reader. This compounded with my tendency towards distraction leads me more in the direction of newspapers and magazines. So the books gather dust on the shelves, looking pretty and making the house smell of libraries and the promise of adventure. However, for these four months I know my few hours to myself every evening will be best spent sticking my nose into books and snuggling into bed. I spent last evening thumbing through my bookshelves and pulling out some possibilities. My short list includes books on food, books about mysteries of murders, books discussing the health of the public and, of course, books I should have read but instead just own.
Next on the list of all-consuming concerns is exercise. Due to my back injury a few weeks ago I have not been running. I have not run in so very long and my back twinges so very often that I am sure I will not resume it anytime soon, and I definitely will not be running after long hours on my feet. No, instead I will do yoga. Why yoga? Several reasons:
1. It sounds relaxing therefore I will have no excuse not to go to class even when feeling lazy and stuffed to the gills with carbs.
2. It was pointed out to me that in California you can probably throw a stone and hit a yoga studio. Is this true or some strange Texan notion? I will set the record straight and report back here.
3. I get to buy new yoga clothes. Yep, I’m that shallow. Nothing can inspire me to workout like a new workout outfit.
All of this being said – any yoga studio recommendations in Oakland? Anyone?
One of the weightier issues I’m wrapping my head around is of course shopping. It’s weighty on a few fronts… I have not in fact saved for any shopping during this four month period, four months straight without a job. Four months straight of living by my meticulously crafted budget. Worrying is in my genes, and I do find this worrisome. Also worrisome and weighty is, quite literally, weight. My shopping alone last summer in San Francisco added another bag to my luggage collection and about 40 pounds to my luggage (books and food mostly). Since that trip I learned about Cookin’. I’m feeling quite sure this shop will set me back quite a few clams and leave me wondering how ever I’ll get my treasures home. I assure you, where there’s a will… well, you know. Trust me, I have the will. I just now have to throw caution to the wind and let myself be swept away by the vintage Le Crueset. That rhymes. Let it be known I have officially composed verse about Le Crueset. No doubt, I am not the first.
Another thought that just this morning occurred to me… shall I decorate? Okay, this one is a stretch because decorating had not even crossed the furthest recesses of my brain until I visited my friends Karly and Erin’s blog today, the post being all about garlands of all things! I visited the comments section, which quite often is as witty and engaging as the blog itself, only to find someone posted a photo of a garland they made for their wee baby fish.
Finally, my list of worries of the moment culminates with the inevideble what will I eat?? I know this seems absolutely ludicrous to ponder. Whyever would my diet change due simply to a change of location? I’ll tell you why, it’s called pastry school my friends. After two weeks of bread-making classes last summer I felt downright gross. A diet of bread and pastry alone may sound like heaven on a stick, but it’s not. It’s no fun at all actually. I literally ate broth to detox every evening. Okay, it could be argued salty broth for dinner was not helping, but let’s not get off topic here. We’re talking a carb-overload of unsettling proportions. That being said, I’m planning meals packed with greens and proteins. I’ll have meals like the soup I made the other night to accompany my sourdough baguettes. It was the kind of soup you could eat and eat. The soup itself was velvety and mild. The greens added a buttery undertone, maintaining enough texture to keep your teeth happily chomping away. I made the soup to start off my San Francisco year, and now I think it might be the thing that epitomizes my San Francisco diet. If this is the case it will be quite a few tasty months indeed!
Potato Kale Soup
Adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables
7 cups water or vegetable broth
1 ½ -2 lbs potatoes, diced
½ lb kale, shredded
4 shallots, minced
4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
Combine shallots and garlic in a small sauté pan and add about ½ cup water. Drizzle with olive oil. Bring up to a low simmer and cook until vegetables are caramelized. You may need to add more water or oil as it cooks. Salt lightly.
Bring broth or heavily salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and boil for about 5 mins, until potatoes are cooked through.
Combine garlic and shallot mixture with potatoes in their broth and puree lightly. You want to keep a little texture. Return back to soup pot, bring back up to a heavy simmer and toss in the kale. Cook for a minute or so, just until the kale wilts. Taste for seasoning. You may want to add more broth at this point.
To serve, top with olive oil. This goes very well with slices of sourdough baguette that have been fried in olive oil and rubbed with garlic.