Chia Seed Pudding

I go grocery shopping on Saturdays now. 
And I cook a lot on Sundays-- sometimes spiced sweet potatoes, always brown rice, once, a disgusting and heavy loaf of bread. 

Life is strange. 
I think about that a lot these days-- mostly because it's unbelievable that we are lucky enough to be alive at the same time-- but also how little control I have, really. 
Often I wonder, how it is that anyone gets so that they have work, babies, house and garden full of fireflies? 
Is it always just falling and falling into things and people?

I guess. 

I like making chia seed pudding on Sundays too-- it's so simple and luxurious-- like eating a sweet caviar, or frog eggs. 
I like it also, because when I was in New York, I would take the F train to Midtown, stop at the same quick breakfast spot and buy a banana and chia seed pudding and hope that the iced coffee would prevent me from sweating through my business casual. 
It was such a lonely, lonely summer. That’s the thing about loneliness --you think-- this is the worst it will ever be, and then, one day, you are lonelier. 
So I took the F, and listened to soul music the whole way there, and ate my chia pudding, surrounded by glass and iron and felt small but often good.  Usually, when the workday was over-- I would walk the long way home-- eat $3 Indian food and sit in a park. 
I wondered a lot about work. 
And how I don’t know how to add value to the world yet. 
And how I don't know how to get there.

I like to think it begins with going grocery shopping on Saturdays, cooking on Sundays. Eating pork-belly sliders and drinking vodka with your sister friends on Thursday night, and then going out on Friday and Saturday too. Or maybe staying in, tucking small children into bunk beds-- waking up early, walking. 
Maybe, after a time-- when the work is more done, and more years passed and everything more known, somehow maybe one day, you go home to a garden of fireflies. 
After just falling and falling and falling into jobs and people. 
And chia seed pudding. 
Ideally, hopefully, chia seed pudding is part of how you get there too. 

Chia Seed Pudding 

1/4 chia seeds
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
maple syrup to taste

In a small bowl or half pint Mason type glass jar, add coconut, chia seeds, coconut milk, coconut water, and vanilla. Stir until very well combined. 
Place in refrigerator and allow to rest overnight. 

Chicken Curry with Cashews

My whole life I've struggled with self-doubt. 

I've wasted so much time asking myself "Am I worthy?" of work and love and questioning over and over and over again if I am enough or capable or deserving. 

So much doubt. 

I don't know why. 
I don't know where doubt comes from. 
Fear, I guess. 
And specifically the fear of failure and pain. 

I don't doubt myself when I cook. 
Because there is something to measuring, there is something to learning how to knead bread, and follow a recipe-- that makes my doubt melt away. 
Because all you have to do is whatever comes next, and that is enough. 
That's all you can do. 
And if the recipe is bad, or you mess something up, fundamentally, it doesn't really matter. 

So I like taking risks in the kitchen. 
Because why not? 
Because thinking that I'm not capable of cooking something is stupid and only leaves me hungry. 
So I made my first ever curry, because surprisingly, I had all the right ingredients.  
And I made it and I liked it. 

And making it made me feel capable. Like I was enough. 

Of course, doubt comes back to me, all the time. 
It's a problem that all the curries in the world probably can't solve. 
But maybe. 
Maybe with each new recipe,  I'll keeping doubting a little less, until all the doubt is finally gone. 
I hope so. 

I love you. 


Chicken Curry with Cashews
from Gourmet Today by Ruth Reichl 

NB: Though the recipe calls for a cut-up whole chicken, you can use an equivalent amount of chicken parts or all thighs. 

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 10 serving pieces (breasts cut crosswise in half) 
1 (14 to 15 ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
3/4 cup cashews (toasted or raw) 
2/3 cup whole-milk yogurt 
garnish: chopped fresh cilantro
accompaniment: basmati or jasmine rice

Heat butter in a 5 to 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately low heat until foam subsides. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayeene and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, for 3 minutes. 
Add tomatoes with juice and cilantro and bring to a simmer; then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. 
Just before serving, pulse cashews in a food processor or electric coffee/spice grinder until very finely ground (do not grind to a paste). Add to curry, along with yogurt, and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. 
Serve chicken over rice, sprinkled with cilantro.  


There is this line, from an Anis Mojgani poem that I love. 
He says in his magnet poet voice, "I fallen in love, six, seven, eight, nine times Quentin!" 

Some days, I feel like "I fallen in love six, seven, eight, nine times Quentin!" 
Frequently I do not feel this way at all. 
But if I am having an I-fallen-in-love-nine-times-Quentin-kind-of-day, I will tell you about James. 

Because everything I learned about falling in love, I learned from James. 

It was early summer, and I was in New York City, and I was often alone. 
And I was having a TIME. 
My nights were like disco balls and everything was messy and perfect. 

And one day, when the messy perfection was making me cry because everything was so wild and beautiful, I walked into this cafe in the West Village. Because it had free wifi. 
And James was there. 
He took my order, and asked me what I wanted to eat and what I wanted to drink. 

And before I even knew it, I was telling him about all the mess, and all the magic. 

And he just

I loved his calm, post-law-school-why-am-I-a-waiter-why-is-this-crazy-girl-talking-to-me-demeanor. 
I loved that he never carded me. 
I loved that he was very kind and slightly bored with life. 
He was perfect.

And I had told him so many sort-of-secrets, that once a week, for the rest of my time there, I went back to the cafe and gave him melodramatic updates about the state of things over bowls of spaghetti bolognese. 

And he just 

Once, he gave me a free plate of pasta. 

That was when I knew our love was true. 

So eventually I left New York and James for Texas, and so I found H., who gave me bowls of french fries and told me what to order when I came into his restaurant in tears or happy or crazy. 
And now, here in Paris, I've got this beautiful thing going with this wonderful server, whose name I do not know, at a cafe I also do not know the name of. 
But he has my order memorized and told me about this great beer called "Delirium" which is served in a glass with pink elephants on it. 
And the fact that he smiles back-- in a city that does not smile--oh love, it is enough. 
And every time I come back, for my same drink and same meal, he simultaneously takes care of me and leaves me alone. 
And he doesn't look at me askance when I ask for a second beer at 2pm. 
He is perfect. 

Somehow, having just one person, in a city of strangers, who seemingly cares that I drink the correct beer, or who gives me the plate of pasta for free, or who doesn't mind if I say too much or too little-- I don't know. 

It feels like the opposite of being lonely. 

Which is, in essence, what love is. 

"I fallen in love six, seven, eight, nine times Quentin!" 

I love you. 
More soon.