Over the course of what seems forever, I've wanted to create a gathering here. Where we get to inspire and encourage one another with our personal stories of how we share our table. My latest & last post at Sisters in Bloom was Share the Table. Sharing our tables is sacramental even in the mundane & ordinary.
Abby is my first guest at the table, which I'm very thankful to have her here. We met around the table at the once Relevant Conference drinking wine, talking food & life. It would seem that when you meet around the table, even if once, a connection begins to brew. That's how I feel about Abby.
Meet Abby: abby's first writing project, saved by a tickle - an examination of the intricacies of a brontosaurus/bunny friendship - won her great praise in the 3rd grade division of a local young author's conference. she's been trying to live up to her own hype - and perfect her crayon illustrations - ever since. current attempts take the form of poetry & prose at her blog home, dearabbyleigh.com, where she mixes metaphors and tries to keep her malapropism count to one a day. somewhere along the way she fell in love with twitter, stopped using capital letters, and started to enjoy cooking almost as much as eating.
our table is a luggage trunk,
pulled with care from my childhood garage
where it held our most beloved movies on VHS cassette.
i’ve since replaced fievel goes west with off-season linens,
and atop this treasure we eat.
to gather there most mornings is to sit cross-legged on the rug,
a posture of peace,
pomp-free fine dining.
each day begins with toast and strong coffee,
and from the ground level where i sip and sit,
everything looks most literally up.
by dinner i’m stretching tired legs in the same sweet spot.
if we’re lucky, the trunk is too small for the feast it’s to hold and dishes spill to the floor in every direction.
friends fill the furniture just out of reach, forcing deep leans into conversation,
heavy days all relieved by the gift of the gathering.
on more formal occasions, the trunk serves as buffet,
pushed aside for mismatched chairs and pop-up tables.
a banquet hall in our living room means there’s no where else to go,
and we’re all okay with that.
a dish may be seasoned with paprika or pepper,
cardamom, cashew, sriracha or sage,
these spices which roll off the same tongue they tickle -
they are magic, no?
but a table -
a table is flavored in posture.
the way we physically gather ’round sets the tone for the tasting.
a bar stool, a rocking chair, or pillows on the floor.
seats that put guests on the same level, or better yet -
leveled by the gift of what’s shared at the table.
i now share with you, my favorite gather-round-the-trunk dish:
from heidi swanson’s super natural everyday.
- 1 clove smashed garlic
- 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbs harissa*
- 1/4 cup e.v.o.o.
- 12 ounces cheese-stuffed ravioli or tortellini
- 8 ounces broccoli florets or broccolini trimmed to bite-size pieces
- 1/4 cup pepitas or sliced almonds or pine nuts (toasted)
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 5 or 6 black oil-cured olives, pitted, and torn to pieces
While water for the pasta boils, make the harissa oil. Sprinkle garlic with salt and chop into paste. Transfer to small bowl and stir in lemon juice, harissa, and olive oil. Add salt if necessary.
Salt the water and add ravioli. Boil until they float and are cooked through, just 1 or 2 minutes. Add the broccoli for the last 30 seconds, then drain and but in large mixing bowl. Toss with a few spoonfuls of the harissa oil and most of the nuts.
Turn onto a serving platter, top with rest of the oil, remaining nuts, cheese, olives and more! I like to add some sundried tomatoes if I have some on hand. Heidi says cauliflower or pan-fried Brussels sprouts are great too.
One dish = delicious! Share with your table sometime soon.
*I make my own harissa with 3 tsp paprika, 3 tsp coriander, 1/4 tsp cayenne, black pepper.