Today was a nicer-than-usual Monday. As someone who works from home, I don't quite get the Sunday night doom as office-goers do, but still a fog of oh-this-again usually hangs over the start of the work week. But today was good: a cloudy, drizzly morning gave way to a sparkling gem of an afternoon. Warm and sunny and worthy of an outdoor lunch on the terrace with a good book.
I began with an excellent yoga class, and walked out afterwards with a woman who told me her recipe for a homemade workout drink: ice water + lemon juice + turmeric + honey + a pinch of cayenne. On my list to try and I will report back! Beyond that, the day filled up with small pleasures, which brings me to this post, wherein I thought it was worth enumerating some of them for you, who's with me? So I bring you today's edition of things I like lately:
1. L'Occitane almond oil. Smells delicate and lovely, foams up beautifully in the shower, and I've determined that little tiny luxuries like this (instead of drugstore body wash) add up to make life feel a lot nicer.
2. Passionfruit in everything, particularly kombucha. Another excellent kombucha flavor I've been drinking a lot is the elderberry one from Monbrewcha, a new (ish? I think?) brand based in Montauk.
3. Walking around just before dusk in the summer in New York. That golden hour when the air feels hazy with sun is so beautiful, everything suffused with light, and the world feels so calm and content: people sit outside at bars, sipping beers, or at restaurants eating overflowing bowls of pasta and thin-crust pizza.
4. Harry Potter audiobooks. Listen, feel free to call this an age-inappropriate pastime, but I think you should give them a try and then get back to me and beg for forgiveness for doubting me (kidding! sort of) because these are the most comforting and engaging books when read by Jim Dale, who might be the all-time best audiobook narrator. I used to reserve audiobooks for driving, but now I turn mine on anytime I have a few minutes of housework: weeding or prepping dinner or folding laundry. Note: Why wasn't I born with a British accent?
5. Overalls/jumpsuits. See above note about age appropriateness, but thank god these are back in style (I think? Do I know what's cool?) because they are wildly comfortable. I have this pair and am coveting these and these.
6. Finding a good cooking rhythm. Sometimes as the days get hotter, I'm more reluctant to cook (not wanting to turn on the oven and turning into a hot, sweaty mess much more easily), but lately I've been cooking most nights and am in a good groove. This comes and goes, so I'm seizing the momentum and trying lots of things I've had on my list.
I've realized the key is the timing—if I don't time it right, I end up stressed with dishes everywhere and dinner ready 40 minutes later than I promised. I've been picking recipes that I can either prep in the quiet hour of the afternoon when I need a change of pace from writing, or can make entirely ahead.
One such recipe is this bowl, which was inspired by a Sunbasket recipe (I love how their recipes are designed for weeknight cooking, meaning quick and well-organized, but combine more interesting flavors and ingredients than I might otherwise use). They call theirs a "paella" which truly feels like a stretch as there's no rice, so who are you kidding guys? I pile mine all into a bowl, usually over a handful of greens, and eat it as a one-bowl main.
If you wanted a different protein, you could easily cook some ground beef or lamb in place of the chorizo. I serve this with a drizzle of a quick sauce made from lemon juice, minced garlic, Greek yogurt, and mayonnaise.
Warm Cauliflower Chorizo Bowl
Adapted from Sunbasket
½ pound fresh pork chorizo
1 head escarole, chopped
1 head organic cauliflower, chopped finely (a food processor works well here)
½ cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon fish sauce
In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium heat then add the chorizo. Cook for about 5 minutes, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned slightly and cooked through. Transfer to a large bowl but don't wipe out the pan.
Add the chopped escarole to the pan and cook for a few minutes over medium heat until wilted slightly. Transfer the cooked escarole to the bowl with the chorizo.
Add a bit more olive oil to the same pan and add the cauliflower, cooking it over medium heat until it softens, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another minute, then add the chorizo and escarole back to the skillet. Turn off the heat and stir it all together.
Transfer to bowls to serve warm.