two-cheese grits + kale

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about relationships, the ties that bind one person to another, and how the love between good, honest people can shelter one another from heartbreak. Even more so I’m considering what it means to know someone, really know someone. Each day I read dozens of blogs, women whom I admire, women who are word artisans, charming itinerants and prolific bakers, but do I really know them? I would posit that I don’t. Rather, I know only one aspect of their character, one they chose to share online; I’m reading an edited version of one’s self, replete with fanciful photographs and a playlist at the ready. Yet, we crave meaningful connection, people who are just like us, or those who we aspire to be, but I would offer this: we don’t really know anyone until we spend time with them. Until we see aspects of their character that’s not always edited for television.

A few days ago I received a comment that irked me. Although it was likely intended to be a compliment — the notion that I had evolved from someone who only cared about her hair to someone who writes lengthy, highly-edited paragraphs about aspects of my personal life that I feel comfortable sharing — it felt much like someone was saying that I was once one-dimensional and now I’m not. Clearly it wouldn’t have bothered me if part of it didn’t hold some semblance of truth. Certainly there was a period in my life when I courted material things, and for a time I chose to put that aspect of my character online. Similarly, years ago I chose to put another aspect of myself online when I wrote about my struggles with alcohol and letting go of my mother. And now, liberated from a job that exhausted me, I feel as if all of the doors have swung open and I can write, freely.

In Spanish, there are two verbs that communicate a state of being, ser and estar. Ser expresses permanence, while estar speaks to how one feels in the moment: the difference between I am a woman and I am tired. Over the years I’ve used this space to practice my estar while my ser remained mostly unchanged. And while I still crave beautiful things, now I like them for different reasons, and I want less of them. But how do you know all facets of one’s character unless you’re connected to them in their lives, when you can see the shifts, albeit tantamount of a minor quaking? Once you have trepass to the full picture, it is then you understand the digressions and splintering.

I’ve been thinking about how well we really know someone. For a time, I consumed copious amounts of Russian literature because many books contemplated the double, namely, the dual nature that resides in all of us; our propensity to be kind and cruel, depending upon the situation. And while I think it’s true that I don’t think you know someone based on their blog posts, tweets and other presented versions of self, I’m also starting to wonder about the people I know in real life.

Were you always this way, or was I too blind to see you for who you really are?

Let’s shift to something that’s comforting…

INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Blue Apron
1 cup vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 large Spanish onion {I nixed this as onions aren’t my bag}
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch kale (2-3 cups), washed + dried
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup grits
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 lemon
1 tsp sesame seeds

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DIRECTIONS
Prepare your ingredients: In a medium pot, bring the water + broth to a boil. Rough chop your kale, peel + slice the onion and garlic. Set the onion, garlic, cheese and kale aside.

Cook the grits: When the mixture comes to a bubble, add in the grits and stir frequently for twenty minutes. Leave the grits uncovered.

Cook the onions: While I am not a believer of the caramelized onion, far be it from me to deny you the glory. While the grits cook, heat up some olive oil (2 tbsp usually works) on medium heat until hot. Add the onion, reduce the heat slightly, and cook for 12-15 minutes until the onions are sugary and golden brown. Season with salt + pepper. Transfer the onions to a plate.

Cook the kale: Add a touch more olive oil to the pan and add the garlic and pepper flakes, and then kale. Toss until the kale is slick and coated with oil, garlic and flakes, and let it cook until the leaves are wilted, 3-5 minutes. While you’re doing this you’re still stirring your grits.

Remove the kale from the heat, season with salt and pepper and add a spritz of lemon for additional flavor.

Finish the grits: When the grits are cooked {they’ll thicken considerably}, take them off the heat and add in your cheeses, stirring vigorously. Season with salt + pepper. Add the grits to two plates and add the onions + kale to your bed of delicious cheesiness. Serve!

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4 thoughts on “two-cheese grits + kale

  1. It’s that desire to shift to something that is comforting that has me finding out that I’m on the train and that train is now halfway across the country. Food for me, isn’t an escape anymore. Upon further thinking here–that you didn’t see because it’s blog land, Cooking can be a grounding activity that allows me to share who I am, and to note who I am and to express it to others. That would include the things that I see in the mirror. I think, sometimes the drive for pretty pretty and the twisted use of the word ‘positive’ is making a world of addicted thinking persons. Isn’t it odd to consider that very violent people can dress up life like Martha Stewart’s house and no one bothers to want to know that.

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