Friday, August 9, 2013

On trust, & a banana goat cheese cassolette

So I have been stuck. Pulled in too many directions. Vaguely anxious about an uncertain future. Overworked and exhausted. And away from this space these past 10 days. Partly because time is sadly a-lacking. We are moving in the coming month, so I apologize in advance if things are a little slower than usual around here in the next few weeks, as I juggle through this big transition. 

While I hope this daunting task will be cleansing, a new beginning, it’s gotten me feeling all over the place, inside and out. And when I feel too overwhelmed, deregulated, I get stuck.

I have much to learn from my 27 months old son in this area.

Pablo has been into Legos recently. With incredible patience and focus, he piles the pieces as high as he can, experimenting with balance. The tower falls apart, he starts over, unfazed.
But yesterday, he was grumpy. He didn’t nap long enough. And he started playing with his Legos. Except every single time something would fall apart (every few seconds), he would get so frustrated, cry and scream. So I sat next to him, acknowledged his feelings and commented on his struggle, as I always try to do (much more on that here). He was so upset, I started to suggest he maybe change activity, that perhaps he was too tired and cranky for it at the moment. But then, it hit me: he keeps going. Yes, he feels frustrated and annoyed, he cries and screams. And he picks up the pieces and starts over again, without a hint of hesitation. He doesn't show any inkling of wanting to stop. He can deal. He is able to feel his feelings and keep going. He doesn't get stuck.

I have been trying to follow his example. Feel what I feel. And keep going. It's hard.

I guess it’s also where trust comes in. To keep going, one must trust. Oneself, and life itself. And the process too. I have learned much about trust in raising Pablo. I have learned to trust him so he can trust himself (more on that also here). I trust him to know what his body needs, what his brain needs. I trust his abilities, to learn, to struggle, to be. And the thing about trust, is that it is so often self-fulfilling (as is fear).

So I’ve been trying to swivel my brain, from fear to trust, via acknowledging the present moment.

The other morning, up at dawn to work out at the park, I felt exhausted and feared I would not make it through this workout. I noticed how discouraged I felt, that daunting feeling of what’s ahead. Then I made myself trust that somehow I would get through it.

I thought of the blog, the photos and recipes I needed to work on. I felt behind and feared not to be able to find the time. Then, I looked at the incredible diffused light through the cloud cover over the park. I noticed that perfect, enveloping veil of light and imagined photographing a beautiful plate of food, right there. Then I made myself trust that I would find the time for a new recipe when I would be ready.

I saw two old ladies walking side by side and chatting, two old friends. It reminded me of the friend who is no longer among us, the one I used to walk with, the one I had imagined myself walking and chatting with at 80. I felt sadness and remembered. I knew she would have trusted me to pull through these tumultuous times. I must do that for myself now.

The thing is... the things that have felt the best, the most successful, the most right, in my life, were the things I did with fundamental trust and yet no specific expectations.  Like giving birth. Like cooking for my son, and raising him. Like writing this blog. Conversely, things I did with high expectations and much hidden doubt, have often been epic failures. 

Live and learn.

So speaking of having trust and no expectations, how about uniting banana with goat cheese?

For this new installment of my Summer Goat Cheese Series in collaboration with Vermont Creamery and the Kids & Kids Campaign, I decided to give this unlikely combination a try, and I didn't regret it. Vermont's Cremont cheese, a mix of goat and cow's milk, has the perfect texture for this. This dish could be an appetizer, or a light lunch along with a salad, or served as a cheese/dessert course. It’s sweet, and savory, and melts in your mouth, and makes you want to lick the bowl :-) Pablo certainly did!

 If you've been following the Summer Goat Cheese Series, have you tried any of the goat cheese recipes with your children and family? How did they like it? Would love to hear your feedback!

And by the way, if you're looking for more goat cheese inspiration, you should check out all the great blogger recipes here.

Wishing you a lovely, peaceful and flavorful weekend.

Banana Goat Cheese Cassolette

Adapted from this original recipe

For 2 cassolettes

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min

Age for babies: 8-10 months (this is very soft consistency, perfect for finger food)

2 bananas
1 Cremont goat cheese from Vermont Creamery  (or bûche type aged goat cheese)
2 thin slices of pancetta
1 shallot
2 sprigs of fresh tarragon (I think dill would work great too)
1-2 tbsp heavy cream
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven at 400°F.

Slice the goat cheese cross-wise to obtain 2 thick slices. Mince the shallot. Take the leaves of tarragon off the stems and cisel it. Cut the bananas lengthwise, then into bite size pieces.

Take two oven safe ramekins or cassolettes. In each, sprinkle half the shallot, add the banana pieces, then a slice pancetta, then the slice of goat cheese on top. Add the fresh tarragon, drizzle the heavy cream on top, and add a dash of salt and fresh ground pepper.

Cook in the oven for about 25 minutes. 

Serve while hot.  Enjoy! (So Pablo could have his own individual serving, I transferred from the hot cassolette to a cold ramekin for him.)

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  1. I saw French goat cheese rounds in our grocery store here in Germany and couldn't wait to try your warm goat cheese salad. Love your summer goat cheese recipes!

    Hope things calm down for you and you feel less stressed. I also feel like my expectations of life end up disappointing me, so I'm also trying to live more in the moment and trust that everything will be ok. Sometimes scary, but better for my soul!

    1. Better for our souls for sure! Well said :-) Thank you kindly for the words of encouragement, Shannon.
      Hope you enjoy the salad!

  2. Oh, I know just what you mean, Helene. Tim and I signed a contract on a house, but right in the midst of these 30-45 days between now and closing, we're finding ourselves fighting a sort of stuck feeling. Should we make plans for the house when it isn't technically ours yet? What if something falls through? Should we look at other houses? Well, but we have this one! It's such a strange in-between stage, as all in-between stages are strange, and it hit us this week that we just need to be where we are right now. Be content to not know. Just take today. Not super easy lessons! And yet Pablo can get them!

    Lovely, as always, thoughts.

    1. Thank you Shanna. Yes, somehow, transitions never feel very comfortable... All the best with the new house! I'm sure it'll all come together for you very soon :-)

  3. What a gift to be able to learn so much from Pablo! Transitions always throw me for a curve and have me doubting myself in new and unimagined ways. I, too, am trying to work on trusting, since I know that the best things in my life came to me with no expectations, in ways I could never have predicted. I wish you all the best with this move!


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