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oh the silence has been deafening in my own ears. and blinding to my shut eyes. but slowly i am able to look what is staring at me in the future and put down
words, even if just a few at a time (and they may find more air time here).
some occasions are to monumental, too incredible to not put down for recollection and tribute.
like this past weekend. in my beloved seattle. the city that made gray clouds in my soul; however, now has become a place of refuge,
a place i am refilled by relationships that only grow stronger over many miles.

on my second return since my departure, i must brag that i was flown back by the contribution of many friends,
who paid for not only a round trip plane ticket, but for a delectable brunch made by yours truly. though this weekend was the result of a scheme to see me more, to bring a [random] yet expectant group together,
it also was the culmination of what i am putting into practice, slowly, for the next phase of my life.
a surprise to really no one but myself; it revolves around an abundant table of well-prepared food and enticing dinner companions.


my confidence is growing and expanding. how can it not when 18 people, with generous pockets and a thesaurus of praises,
heap unending compliments, showing their support, yet also their ability to receive.  (easier, of course, with full bellies and wooed taste buds.)

what is next?  as i wrote my adviser earlier this week (receiving an extremely supportive, excited response): one of the difficult personal challenges i have faced is how to incorporate myself as a creative person into social services.  the reality is, i have always been passionate about food- from growing produce, to preparing a meal, to sitting down with people while eating a simple, delicious meal- and how something so seemingly simple is in reality the basic way we build relationships.  and somehow this fits into my thesis project and moreover, plans i am creating to incorporate that which is my passion, into my future. 

those of you who have been eating at my table for years or for brief stints in your life, i’m sure,
are finding no surprise in this change of events.

SHAKSHUKA.
{adapted from smitten kitchen and sunday suppers}

1 onion chopped
2-3 jalapenos chopped finely
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 cups fresh tomatoes chopped
1 t cumin
1 T paprika (smoked paprika will blow you away)
6 eggs
parsley
4 links good, fresh raw chorizo

Heat olive oil in iron skillet (or dutch oven or whatever is available) on med-hi. Add onions and jalapenos and saute until lightly browned. Add garlic and saute for 1-2 more minutes. Add in cumin and paprika. Add 1/2 cup water and all tomatoes. Turn to med-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, begin frying chorizo links over med-high heat in a cast iron skillet until firm, but not fully cooked.  Take off heat and with a sharp knife, slice pieces on the diagonal.  If the meat is cooked enough, it will hold its shape.  Return slices to the cast iron skillet and fry until fully cooked.

At this point the simmering tomatoes should be ready.  Right before serving, crack 6 eggs on top and cover with a lid. The eggs will poach in the tomato sauce and be done in 5 minutes (based on preference of egg doneness). Top with fresh parsley. It can be served with pita but I prefer good, fresh, crusty, rustic wheat bread. Additional yummy toppings include feta.

{photos courtesy of nathania. kitchen courtesy of the parzyboks}