A Recipe for Ease

A guest post from Jen Lile, a girl who always makes me drool.

 

For the past few months, through a variety of reasons, I’ve been less busy than I have been in, oh, maybe the past 10 years. I’ve had time to take walks, to read books, to sleep, to keep my house cleaner and more organized, and to—imagine this—not do anything at all sometimes.

And guess how I described it, when people asked me how life was going?

I said it was kind of boring.

Stressed and hectic feels familiar. I know the drill: rush, scramble, panic. It’s just as likely for me to be bored when I’m doing a million things, it’s simply harder to notice with all the dashing around. When I have time to pay attention, I am acutely aware of my training: I am always waiting and watching for what’s next so I can feel busy once again. When free time is really free and not a tool for procrastinating the 20 things that make me feel important, thinking about nothing being next is scary.

After years of valuing the length of my to-do lists over the openness of my days,some radical retraining is about to happen. It begins with a different answer to the question about how my life is going: life is calm, peaceful, balanced, spacious, free … and very far from boring.

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Roasted potatoes and fruit with horseradish-smoked Gouda dressing

Makes 4 small portions

I love dishes that deliver a variety of flavors in each bite, and this recipe satisfies that criteria: it’s savory, sweet, salty, and acidic. It’s also easy and unexpected … and  definitely not boring.

6 small red potatoes (approximately 1 lb), thoroughly scrubbed and chopped in ½ inch pieces

Granny Smith apple and 1 firm Bartlett pear (approximately 1 lb), chopped in 1-inch pieces

½ onion (white, yellow, or red—whatever’s on hand), peeled and cut into crescents

olive oil

salt and pepper

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. horseradish

1.5 ounces smoked Gouda, cut into small cubes, and an additional few tablespoons, shredded, for topping

½ tsp. salt

about 10 grinds of black pepper

 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place the potatoes, apples, pears, and onions on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Lightly coat the pieces with olive oil, sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and pepper, and spread the pieces in a single layer. Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring just a few times; stirring frequently will cause the fruit to break down.

While the vegetables and fruit are roasting, use a blender or food processor to mix the oil, vinegar, horseradish, smoked Gouda, salt, and pepper until the dressing is thoroughly combined. Pour the dressing over the roasted vegetables slowly—you may not need all of it.  Top with shredded smoked gouda, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes:

-It’s important to cut the potatoes smaller than the fruit to adjust for different cooking times. Another option is to roast the potatoes for 15 minutes before adding the fruit.

-I’ve not tried this, but I can imagine that Swiss cheese could be substituted for smoked Gouda, and that Dijon mustard could be substituted for horseradish.

-The cheese isn’t an absolute necessity, but I think the dressing is better with it included.