THE JOY OF COOKING
I left you exactly a month ago with a sneak peek into my new (and almost finished) book, How I Developed My Emotional Real Estate, so today I let you into one of its chapters, The Joy of Cooking, in which I write about the healing power of food.
I am a recovering anorexic and bulimic, food has never been my friend. And cooking hasn’t been either. In fact, I used to obsessively cook for family and friends to then watch them eat, while I never did, unless there was a bathroom around the corner. Cooking without eating seemed to somewhat be proving my strength, and to reinforce what I believed to be my only power, my rigor and distinctive feature–starvation, that is.
Today my life has changed. Today my life reveals itself through constant change, and it becomes bigger and bigger.
I still pay attention to what I eat, but in a healthy and loving way.
During my healing work with Clean Language therapy, at the core of my new book, I was asked to find areas in my life in which I felt okay. Cei Lynn Davies, one of my two therapists and first developer of Clean Language, asked me to explore the daily activities that made me feel content, or in other words the small things in life that allowed me to experience equanimity. And among a couple of others, cooking surprisingly stood out.
That’s why I dedicated a chapter to the joy of cooking.
Today, with meditation and writing, it is by cooking that I refrain from fighting myself, and the world. It is by cooking that I resist the urge to punish and compete, to retaliate and live in a state of war. It is by mindful cooking that I stay in the present moment without running away from it, without sabotaging it.
I tried this dish a couple of nights ago, and making it helped me get through a rough day. And it was actually delicious!
When I cook I am happy. And when I share my cooking I am even happier.
GOAT CHEESE & VEGGIE PIE
Yield 4 servings
PREP: 25 minutes
COOK: 25 minutes in the oven LEVEL: Easy
- 5-6 organic leeks (depending on how big they are)
- 1 bunch of fresh, organic spinach
- 1/2 organic cauliflower
- 6-7 previously baked fingerling potatoes (mine were left over from the night before, and this pie is perfect to ‘clean the fridge’ without throwing away food).
- 4 cage-free eggs
- 2-3 tablespoons of goat cheese
- 3 teaspoons of Parmigliano-Reggiano
- 2 teaspoons of crumbled Feta cheese
- fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
- salt and pepper
- 1 small head of garlic (do not chop it)
Heat the oven to 365 degrees F and arrange two racks, one in the middle and one at the top.
Prepare ahead all the vegetables by cleaning and rinsing them in cold water. On a cut board, slice leeks medium-thin, do the same with the fingerling potatoes, dice the cauliflower and set aside with the previously cleaned whole-leaf spinach.
In a large pan or wok, sauté the leeks with Italian extra-virgin olive oil until golden (about 5 minutes). Add the spinach leaves and let wither with the leeks and the garlic. When the spinach is soft and well incorporated with the leeks add the cauliflower and sauté until all the vegetables are cooked through and take on a golden shade; you should begin to smell the deliciousness, at this time. Cook stirring occasionally and add the previously baked, thinly-sliced fingerling potatoes that only need to create the starch component and ‘ground’ the pie.
Now add the paprika, the thyme, salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir together, remove from heat, set aside and cover. You want to develop different layers of flavor, and to do so flavors must come together.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs with a pinch of salt, the Parmigiano-Reggiano and 2 teaspoons of crumbled feta cheese; set aside.
(You can add more, if you like. I wanted the goat cheese to be the star of the dish, but it’s very personal, and as long as you have fun discovering new smells and flavors you are doing great).
Lay a sheet of non-stick Parchment paper in an approximately 10-inch square casserole dish (must be about 2.5 inches deep). I always use non-stick paper to avoid extra olive oil, or butter that would prevent the food from sticking to the bottom of the casserole, but you can opt for oiling it, if you prefer. (The paper option makes washing easier!)
Pour egg mixture over the vegetables that have now cooled down and achieved the full spectrum of flavors (Taste, taste, taste. Tasting your food is fun, not only a must). Stir together until well mixed and then pour into the casserole dish.
Level mixture and add little pieces of goat cheese all over the dish. Do not stir after adding the goat cheese, but place directly into the middle rack of your pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until eggs look solid and thoroughly cooked.
After 20 minutes move the casserole dish to the upper rack and broil for 5 minutes, or until the crust of your pie looks crispy and golden in color.
Let it rest for 5 minutes to allow every layer of flavor to settle. Serve with light sesame crackers or rustic bread.
Ben and I drank water, but this dish pairs perfectly with a white wine like the rich and aromatic Gewürztraminer (perfumed Traminer) from Trentino Alto Adige (Italy).
Making this pie made my day a better one. Enjoy, and don’t forget to let me know how it came out. Post a photo of your masterpiece #thejoyofcooking