Crispy tortillas stuffed with beans and cheese and topped with salsa and vegetables
Two weeks ago I was in Mexico. More specifically, in the Yucatan Peninsula- in and around Meirda. I went with a team of professors to host a soils workshop at the Autonomous University of the Yucatan (UADY) and to visit some sites for a new research project. I spent an entire day touring agroforestry systems, milpas, and Mayan home gardens. It was lovely. There was a gorgeous variety of fruits available and a host of native spices. Yucatecan cuisine is quite unique- punchy and flavorful, acidic, easy on the heat in the dish, heavy on the heat in the salsa. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was not like Meixcan food I've had before, yet reminiscent of it. This garden tortilla pizza is also reminiscent of Mexican food you've likely enjoyed before. And it too, calls upon a few native Mexican ingredients. However, unlike Yucatecan food, this dish could not be farther from traditional.
Tangy, zesty green beans with a kick
This past week went by in a blur. I feel like I wasn't even there to see it pass. Part of the week was busy, part of it a little miserable, and part of it enjoyable- but all of it was shrouded in a haze. I had this vacant, almost robotic feeling that I could neither justify nor shake. Just a strange, almost out-of-body experience, watching myself go through the motions. I've been struggling to stay engaged in work lately. I keep having to shift my focus between one project and another and it's made it challenging for me to really get into what I'm working on. I'm much better when I have something to focus on- clear objectives, consistent demands. I don't like too much ambiguity and I don't like having to hop between things unless they're quick and easy to complete. I'm an excellent focuser when I'm allowed to focus. But every time I have to change gears and attend to something new, I have to get over the hump of re-engaging myself, which ends up requiring a lot of mental effort without the equivalent reward. I have also felt strangely paralyzed by publishing this blog. I don't have any delusions about it being an overnight sensation and imposing great expectations upon me, but in publishing it, I all of the sudden felt a sense of obligation and, subsequently, that I was failing it by not having anything good to post this week. It's incredibly silly in retrospect, but it felt a little like when you make a job of your hobby and then it isn't fun anymore. At any rate, the combination of feeling disengaged and unfocused at work and frustrated at my lack of amazing culinary triumphs in the kitchen this week, just made me feel like crawling under a rock and hiding away from the world.
Colorful, flavorful, crispy fresh falafel
I woke up today feeling tired, despite falling asleep embarrassingly early last night. It took me until lunch to turn myself around, but I still never felt like I really got going. Some days just seem to pass like that. I tend to feel disappointed by days when I just never really feel that present. I try to force it upon myself. Get over it! Snap out of it! But ultimately these days come about because a part of me is tired- physically, mentally, emotionally, or some combination of the three. And I think that rather than feel disappointed or frustrated by these days, I ought to recognize them as a sign that something in me is tired. Something needs rejuvenating, or maybe even just a break. It's 6 pm and I'm just starting to feel settled in myself today. I've been spending a lot of time up in the old head lately. Overwhelmingly it's been for the better. I'm reconnecting with some long lost things that make me feel whole, I'm clarifying and simplifying -like cleaning an attic. But today I woke up feeling overwhelmed by it. I needed to just clear my head space. Reset.
Part of allowing that process to happen is just taking some of the pressure off of myself. Some days aren't going to be full and productive. Some days are just going to be so-so. And that was today, and now I feel better.
Hi there! I'm Cara- plant ecologist, gardening addict, and whole foods enthusiast. My whole life revolves around plants, including my kitchen. Join me here at LWM each week as I post local, seasonal, plant-based recipes and write about my never ending quest to find balance and tranquility in this crazy little world.