◊ If Not Now, When?

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Dear mom,

Haven’t heard from you in awhile… Where are you? You’ve shrugged your commitment to our blog to play Thelma and Louise. I totally forgive you but you’ll have to excuse me for writing out of order.

I must say, your adventure sounds pretty badass. I know that right now you’re probably listening to some Jewish author on tape or talking to Jean about your children’s shared neuroses… but I’d like to imagine you two speeding down highways with strangers in the back seat and windows down.

I know you’re a good friend, but driving from DC to San Fran with Jean just to keep her company?

Your response: Why not?

I understand.

I’m leaving DC to go to India. Why not?

Just how I exaggerate your wild adventure with Jean, I’m sure you perceive my move as a turbulent, reckless leap. But it’s not. It’s not outlandish or deviant… It’s not even bold. It’s why not. I want to wake up in the morning and decide what I want to get out of my day… and then make it happen. Is that an outrageous desire? I’ve always wanted to work with artisans in some capacity and if not now – when I have no looming attachments or responsibilities – then when?

So when you’re imagining me wrapped in a silk sari, side-saddling a painted elephant among ancient temples, know that I’m probably on the side of a dusty road, arguing with a rickshaw driver over 5 cents and sweating through my kurta and balloon pants.

photoI recognize that the above 150 words justifying my decision to you scream insecurity… And yes, I guess I am nervous. I’m hesitant to leave behind my vitamix, the steady pace of office work, DC’s bike lanes, big Shabbat dinners in my dingy frat-style house, spinning classes and short dresses. But I can’t have it all.

Life is short and full.

As you know, the day you left DC, Arielle and I hosted our magnum opus of Shabbat dinners (thanks for helping tidy up my house before you headed off!).

We wined and dined over forty guests with a Russian themed meal and kept the party raging til 4 AM. Katie surprised us from Boston and David came from New York to celebrate our last Shabbat shabang… 7 out of 10 from our fellowship cohort were together! Unbelievable.

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This was the menu:

Challah with poppy seeds
Knishes and Barekas (from you and Jean)
Cumin spiced borscht
Endive salad with cucumber, beets and horseradish dill dressing
Purple cabbage with apples and tofu (Jump To Recipe)
Kasha and varnishkas
Potato salad with creamy dill sauce, roasted tomatoes and peas
Lentil-stuffed cabbage – deconstructed over filo dough
Blinis topped with sour cherry cottage cheese
Sephardi fideos
Quinoa porridge with apricots and cherry juice
Spinach and mushroom fritata
Vodka

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People ate. People drank. We went dancing.

It was a perfect beginning to my transition out of DC.

Hope you’re safe on the road.

xo,

Shaina

PS. Get excited for Indian recipes… Regardless of how dull or wild my trip turns out, my food-inspired letters won’t stop.

Purple Cabbage with Apples and Tofu… aka The Golden Purp

I named this cabbage dish after Arielle because who else would think to to unite caraway seeds and purple cabbage? We eat way too much of this stuff together… it’s super easy, healthy, cost effective and such a pretty purp! Plus, it’s on The Cleanse.

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  • IMG_19681 tbs olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 oz of firm tofu, sliced into one inch pieces
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs carraway seeds
  • 1tsp allspice
  • 1 head purple cabbage, chopped
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c golden raisins
  • 1 granny smith (or other tart) apple, chopped
  • 1/3 c apple cider vinegar
  • poppy or sesame seeds for garnish

Heat olive oil in skillet and add chopped garlic and tofu. Fry until golden brown and remove from skillet (place garlic and tofu in separate bowl). Then, saute onions with caraway seeds and allspice over low heat in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add chopped cabbage, salt and pepper and cover for about 2 minutes over low heat (cabbage should become tender, but remain crunchy). Then, add chopped apples and raisins and stir for 2 more minutes. Add apple cider vinegar and cover for one minute (the vinegar will turn the cabbage bright purple!). Remove from heat and stir in tofu and poppy seeds. Enjoy immediately over brown rice (and yogurt) for a hearty winter meal. It will stay good for a few days, but beware: the raisins will soak up the juices and become bloated, which is scary and gross.

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One thought on “◊ If Not Now, When?

  1. Love you, S, and wishing you the very best of adventures as you soak in the light and artisan perspectivee.. “Why not?” has become a new way of thinking for me and I agree….NOW is YOUR TIME…just wish your travels were A BIT closer!! HAPPY TRAILS and XOXXOXO…Robin

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