Tag Archives: Saffron

Olla gitana

I feel like I’m running out of words.

Normally when I get home, when I have some flavorful kitchen experiment in my recent past, it’s all I can do to keep my fingers from dancing over the keys to tell the blog world about it. But over the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed myself using more and more of my words during the workday, on projects and in messages, and I seem to be running out of extras to lay down here. It’s as if I have a finite well of language, and most days I’ve pumped it dry by the time I shut my apartment door behind me.

I don’t like it. It makes me feel older, somehow, more subdued and sedate, knowing that I don’t have words upon words bubbling behind my forehead. And it does a disservice to this blog, my one consistent place to spill creative thoughts. I’ve been wanting to write for the better part of two weeks about the Spanish squash-and-vegetable soup I made, to soothe myself after another stressful workday, but instead it’s sat in my brain and its weight has made me feel guilty. So here it is, creativity be damned.

Olla gitana–literally, “gypsy pot” in Spanish–is one of those things I would never have known about, had it not been for the internet rambling I’ve been doing to distract myself from my empty well. Near as I can tell, this recipe comes from the Murcia region of Spain, where it’s said to have arisen among the Iberian offshoots of the Romani people. In reality, I think it’s a spun fantasy of what those people might eat, with extravagant Spanish inflections–saffron, mint, almonds, garlic. It tastes like a familiar, homey vegetable soup, but with a shiver of unfamiliarity from the saffron and the rich browned garlic and a chopped-up pear, which turns musky and darkly sweet in the broth. I quite liked it; it gave me comfort and a little bit of satisfaction, making something just this side of ordinary on a weeknight at home.

I’m still not sure I have all the words to do it justice right now. But at least it’s a start.

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Saffron-marzipan buns

One of the things I love most about keeping this blog is the conversations it sparks with people I’ve never met. There are so many people out in the wooly wilds of the internet who are just as passionate about food as I am, and swapping ideas with them is nothing short of intoxicating.

Veronika was the first person to comment on my blog who wasn’t already a friend of mine (and therefore obligated to be nice to me). We started commenting back and forth on each other’s blogs, and now I feel like I know her a bit. I so enjoy reading her blog, Eat The Roses, because she pulls no punches–body image, indiscriminate “liking” of blog posts, brussels sprouts, pizza, are all treated with the same honesty and straightforwardness. Plus, she’s constantly tickling my creative-cooking nerve with recipes for beautiful foods I’ve never seen before.

Like lusekatter, or St. Lucia buns. I’d never heard of them before, but I knew I had to try them–and holy mackerel are they tasty.

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Arroz con cosas

Oh, paella.  I love you so.

From the moment we clicked “Confirm” on our plane tickets till we first set foot in Barcelona, I thought of nothing. but. paella.  Paella when I woke up every day.  Paella while I conditioned my hair in the shower.  Paella at work.  Paella at home.  Paella in the morning, paella in the evening, paella at suppertime…

And then we arrived.  And ate paella.  And it was GLORIOUS.  And I immediately began plotting how to make it for my very own self.

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