Sometimes when attempting to pigeonhole, categorize, or otherwise easily explain my partner, myself, or our relationship into three-second soundbites, or fifteen-word introductions, I realize how utterly incompatible we may seem. All the stereotypes clash, and our cultures have more things strange than familiar. Looking around at friends and acquaintances, I'd be tempted to say the same thing - but in the end, it's not our quirks, or the liking of guns, or political ideology, or accidents of biology that make us hang together in a laughing, joking, warm companionship. No matter what brought us together in the first place, it is the minds and hearts that open to each other that keep us together, and distance and time cannot erase that.
I am thankful for you. Because you care, and allow me to care for you. Thank you for the warmth and the humanity you extend, the trust and the communication we share. You rock.
I am grateful to the limits of my shriveled heart and blackened soul for a God who desires not perfection, but greatness, and loves us not despite our faults, but even through them. God who created the universe is big - bigger than I can comprehend - and will always be there to challenge me to be a better person, a greater soul.
I am thankful for a fiance who loves me even when I'm difficult and bitchy, who makes an argument as inconsequential and unimportant, as forgotten and forgiven as water flowing past a rock. Two rocks can grind each other down, but how can you grind water? I am thankful for the opportunity to build a lifelong marriage, and for the patience he displays as we carefully lay the groundwork, each second at a time, with trust, communication, and love.
But since I can only be open and mushy for so long before I must cover it with a defense of distraction, cynicism, or sarcasm, here's a distraction - look! a recipe! Weird as it sounds, it's pretty darned good - the flavors work together here!
Grilled Pear and Watercress Salad
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp chopped walnuts (I used walnut halves)
2 firm but ripe pears, cored & cut into wedges (mine weren't so firm. It's all good.)
1 cup watercress (optional, but it really perks the flavors)
5 cups baby spinach
3 tbsp crumbled blue cheese (I used goats cheese)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp rice vinegar (I used regular vinegar)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp minced yellow onions (not as sharp as the white ones.)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
First, if you have a grill, lightly coat your grill rack with oil away from the heat source, and position it about 4-6in away from the fire. Grill If you don't, lightly oil a cookie sheet so they don't stick, and broil your pear wedges. Either way, it ought to take about 4 to 6 minutes until they begin to brown, turning once. Start on step two and three while waiting.
Second, Set out a sheet of parchment paper or a plate that's about to get really sticky. In a small frying pan (I used an 8-inch on hand) over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, water, and pepper, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the walnuts, reduce heat to low, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and quickly spread the nuts out to cool. Use a wooden utensil, and remember that sugar holds heat a long time, and will badly burn your fingers.
Third, in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, onion, salt, and pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream until emulsified.
Fourth, combine ingredients. Either put the salad greens, cheese, and dressing in a large bowl to toss before plating and adding pears and now-cooled walnuts, or spend more time portioning them out on plates instead. Since this serves six as a small salad, it works out to roughly two pear wedges and a cup of greens per serving. However you decide to portion, sprinkle walnuts last so they have the most time to cool and become less fiercely sticky. Enjoy!