Thursday, October 10, 2013

Back... with gratitude & vanilla rosemary cherry tomatoes






So there's this French saying. It was the title of a comedy. La vie n'est pas un long fleuve tranquille. Life is not a long tranquil river.

Indeed.

Sometimes, we are grateful for life's non linear, unexpected turns. Sometimes we tell ourselves they happen for a reason. Sometimes hindsight shows us the good that came out of the bad. And sometimes, we feel sorrow and mourn that long tranquil river of a life we might have imagined when we were children.

"Life is never as good, or as bad, as we thought." Une Vie. Guy de Maupassant.

I will spare you the nitty gritty details, but there was a separation, a move, a terrible illness, a hospitalization and hours and days in critical condition, just waiting. For the body and soul to make a move. For the better or for the worse. Crisis mode. Everything else in life fades away to deal with the chaos.

And then, there's slow improvement. Things are still difficult, still unresolved, and uncertain. The illness is still here. But life and healing are no longer hanging on by a thread. And remains the dire need for life to continue on its course, whatever that may be.

And in the midst of this past month of chaos, sanity had to be maintained. Ways to cope, to be grounded for my sake, for my son's sake. Life is never one thing. Days have been nerve-wracking, chaotic, driven, juggling. But also joyful, through minutes spent in the present moment with Pablo. Through meals we shared in the midst of boxes, and slowly, in what has begun to feel like our new home. Through seconds of taking in the beauty surrounding us, the San Gabriel mountains, the wild parrots in our tree, the cool morning air.

How beauty and connection matter. How they heal and nourish.

So this feels like such a homecoming. I'm a little nervous. To write here, to come back to this blogging community I had to desert for a month. Resurfacing has been hard. I have been so grateful for all your messages of encouragement and comfort and support. I am so grateful for your patience, that you're still here to read these words.

I've been nervous, I've felt stuck and afraid to have too much to express. But I'm starting to write again. To cook again. Some dust has settled on my camera. Soon.

In the meantime, I am sharing this lovely simple recipe I had cooked up before all this whirlwind of a month. A little something to quench that summer nostalgia October might bring.
















































Cherry tomatoes braised with vanilla & rosemary


4 servings (appetizer, or a fantastic topping for a Spanish tortilla!)

Prep time : 10 min
Cook time : 10-12 min

Age for babies:  8-10 months (peeling the tomato skins might be necessary)

1 lb cherry tomatoes
1 sprig of rosemary
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 vanilla bean
2 tsp sugar
Salt & pepper

Wash the tomatoes, wash the rosemary and take it off the sprig. Mince the rosemary leaves.

Over medium-low heat, melt the coconut oil.

Make a lengthwise incision along the vanilla bean, and with a small spoon, grate the seeds off on each side. Scrape them into the coconut oil.

Add the tomatoes and rosemary. Sprinkle the sugar on top, and let cook for about 10 minutes over medium, rolling the tomatoes around every so often by gently tilting and shaking the pan (using a spatula might make mush out of the tomatoes as they cook.)

Enjoy just like that as an appetizer or side dish with some bread. Or place on top of a quiche or Spanish tortilla.








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25 comments:

  1. I am so thrilled that you are back, and so grateful to you for resurfacing and sharing such intimate things. It's courageous. And your photos above are stunning. It won't matter that the camera has a little dust when you pull it out, it will be just as familiar in your hands.

    Thank you for your words, your blog, and your recipes! Thinking of you & your family.

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    1. Thank you so kindly Vanessa, your encouragement and support really touch me.

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  2. I've missed your voice here, Helene, and I've wondered how things were looking. Thanks for this little window and thanks for being brave enough to say something. I'm sorry you're going through some unexpected bumps. If you lived nearby, I'd bring you a meal and clean your kitchen or something, whatever you would let me do that would help. Praying for you and your family.

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    Replies
    1. And I would be so grateful to accept your help! I love the idea of meeting you and chatting in my kitchen :-) I have given a lot of thought to your post about grace and how hard it is to accept other people's help and support without giving anything in return. It really stayed with me through this whole turmoil. Thank you for that.

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  3. so glad you're back! we love you!

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  4. I'm glad that you're blogging again and hope that you and your family are doing OK. I always love your posts!

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  5. What is a blog, if not to share your thoughts and have a community to support you? So glad you're back and discussing life and food. My baby will now have a recipe to go with the tomatoes I purchased for him yesterday!

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    1. So true. I never realized that before I started blogging. This community has so enriched my life this way. Let me know how your baby enjoys the tomatoes!

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  6. Hi Helene-- I'm so happy to hear that things are improving, even slowly. It's wonderful to have you back in the blog world, sharing your lovely voice and recipes. I'm loving the idea of the sweet and savory combination of flavors you've put together here. I'll be bookmarking this one soon!

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    1. I mean bookmarking this one to make soon!

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    2. Thank you, Lindsey, for these warm homecoming words :-)

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  7. I'm glad you're back. Every day I have checked, hoping, anticipating. I'm sorry that what kept you away wasn't joyous but awful. But I'm glad you're back.

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    1. Glad to be back. Thank you for your patience and loyalty, Robin.

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  8. I'd missed your voice while you were away, and am glad to have you back, but sad to hear of your pains. ((hug))

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  9. I'm so sorry you've had such a rough time of it recently, I hope the improvement continues.

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  10. Welcome back:) as you can see you were sorely missed. Take your time, we'll be patiently waiting.

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  11. Glad to see you're back. Hope everything is improving. You know my door is open.

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  12. I too noticed the absence and missed you, although I was barely reading much myself during that apparently hard month. I'm so sorry for your rough time and I sincerely hope and pray that you and Pablo can find peace and joy around the table as a form of comfort. Your recipes have been a lovely blessing as I feed my toddler and I'm so thankful you take the time to share your food, your thoughts and your life.

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  13. I haven't been here to read in awhile, and just this morning thought of you and your blog. How fitting to find this post. Wishing you all the best in your new start and I will definitely keep reading. Your views and recipes are always so wonderful.

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  14. I'm hoping for strength and continued improvement and tranquil days and peaceful nights for you. Welcome Back. You're an inspiration.

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  15. I found your blog from Karen Le Billon's French Kids Eat Everything a couple of weeks ago and I AM HOOKED!! Thank you for sharing your food experiences, and I pray your home situation improves. I tried your tomato-vanilla-rosemary dish and LOVED IT. Thank you for the recipe, it was so delicious. I look forward to your recipes and reading what little Pablo is eating next. -Annette, San Antonio TX

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    1. Very happy you found the blog, Annette, welcome! And thrilled your enjoyed this recipe! Looking forward to hearing your feedback on others :-)

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