Online dating

Internet dating has become an extremely popular way to meet people, and has indeed brought a lot of lonely souls together. But not every date turns out like a Match.com ad. Catfish, lonely people, broken hearts, false claims, failed expectations, doctored photos,  no-shows, and even frauds --it's all part of the online dating experience. I gathered a few observations from my own experience and stories I heard from people around me.

On some online dating sites, if a member wants to express attraction for another member after reading their profile, but without going to the extreme of sending them an e-mail, they can send an electronic wink. I was overloaded with winks and messages in my inbox, Over 2000 members viewed my profile. Of those, at least half were winks.Usually, though, what the winks actually mean is: "I saw your picture and I think you're hot, but I'm too lazy to read your profile and it costs me nothing to just shoot you a wink on the off chance that you think my overweight body is sexy, or that you're a nymphomaniac."

You'd think the anonymity of online interaction would make it easier for guys to come off as smooth and in control. But the opposite is often the case. That same anonymity seems to give some men a license to be rude perverts. One guy came right out in the subject line of his message and let me know he wanted to meet me and do "bad things" to me. Another claimed he was a real cowboy, and wanted to have sex with me bareback on his horse. Oy.

A few tips from my male friend to girls trying too hard to be cool online. “First of all, the screen name. Stop putting 'sassy' into your screen name. Stop putting 'city girl' into your screen name. When registering, if you tried to use 'giantfan' as your screen name and it came back telling you that you'd have to settle for 'giantfan57836,' that should have been your first clue that you have picked a disgustingly unoriginal name.. Speaking of Giant fans, stop saying you love sports and that you 'act just like a guy.'”

And the same is true of the men. I started to whittle the list down by deleting those with eyebrow-raising or just plain sad screen names, such as variations on "loverboy," "mr. romantic," "lonely guy," "lonely one," "kiss me," "true love MD," "huggy bear," "party man," "sexy upndown", “ladies man “, etc.--I am not making these up--and subject lines such as "Hi Beautiful", "Wow!", "Hi Baby Pretty", "Hey there, sexy", and "Me wink; you reply".

I guess pictures of guys posing with a cat or fresh-caught barracuda are not so bad compared to few sparks that I have found. Just to name a few : a picture of a guy holding a small cup of what looked to be urine and a headline saying “I am drug free and I can prove it". Another one half my age kissing a beer bottle, his caption read “ hey cougar looking for a cub meow”, guy dressed like a Zorro,  a store trooper figure – no face, just a toy- how can I know this is not a 10 year old? I already have one son, don’t need another one. Left and left.

The Onion's Online Dating Tips offer this suggestion: Set yourself apart by choosing a descriptive user name like SocialRetard321, CuteFaceFatAss, or WhiteRihno

The worst part of online dating is the first awkward face-to-face hello. Your preconception of the person you have been speaking to is always very oddly different from the person you meet. And I also seem to make my mind up very quickly on how the night will go.

I once heard a story about a man who turns up to dates early and buys himself a drink, so that when the girl arrives, he can send her up to the bar to get a drink and do a runner if he thinks they aren’t up to his exacting standards. That’s almost a reason to give up.

Many, many people agree to a drink and then never reply. I’m almost not sure how to deal with any response to “Do you want to discuss this over a drink?” that isn’t silence. One guy asked me which person I was in one of my profile pictures; he said my friend looked like a much hotter version of me. I replied, “Oh, really?” He said, “You’re an angry woman, you would fall in love with me but also hate me a little bit. I bet you would slap me during sex.”

Bumble is rumored to be an app that has a hotter population of men. But it doesn’t actually put the female in control: it simply means vain men can read and smugly ignore your overthought openers. Happn is trying to add the cute “fate” dimension to app dating, but it just means you find your flatmate’s boyfriend on it as he is upstairs and the location tracker lands you in a dubious situation.

A friend of mine commented that no one hooks up with anyone on a night out any more. I reckon this is due to everyone prearranging their hook-ups on apps. Spontaneity can be overrated.

Probably the best online profile I read was from a guy with   one arm  “Not the best at juggling (fought a shark, lost an arm)”. I think he may have lost it in an actual shark attack.

The trick is to assume that the ugliest photo he sends is the truest representation. After all, we all try to present the most attractive profiles of ourselves. From experience, it’s also a good idea to avoid freelance models.

I think people are a bit more dismissive on online dates than they would be if they were with a friend of a friend or someone they had met in a bar – although seriously, does that ever happen? If there isn’t a spark you don’t feel any obligation to immediately say, “I had a really nice time but I didn’t think we quite clicked.” Whereas you might if you thought you would see them again. Online dating becomes a numbers game; the more people you meet the more likely you think you are to find “the one”.

Online dating has delivered some very random and entertaining evenings. I have gone on dates that have led to flirtations and friendships, and that have introduced me to new parts of New York, and places to go out. The highlight so far was definitely sharing a boozy evening with a pretty famous and rather attractive tv anchor. That’s one of the real, sincere joys of online dating – it can open your world up to people who you would never ordinarily get the chance to meet. 

Some people are truly looking for a relationship, for others online dating becomes an addiction. One of my friends started on craigslist. At times she would try to stop the madness. Would take down her ads, tell people she was taking a "break" from dating, she would arrange to see the same guy several times just to keep herself from going on new dates. But always, inevitably, she would log in just to see who were out there, what new ads were posted in her absence ... and she would get reeled back in. 

Soon, Match.com wasn't enough. She branched out to Nerve and Yahoo, even Jdate (not that she is Jewish). As a result, she started having more dates than free evenings. She became an expert stacker. Her performance at work started to suffer. Between arranging dates and answering e-mails, she rarely finished her projects on time. And she started taking long date lunches, because her evenings were already chock-full. At that point, her dating itself started to suffer. She started losing track of which one was the human rights lawyer and which one hiked Mt. Everest. Her ability to combine witty banter with piercing intellectual observations and shy but come-hither glances (the ingredients, she knew, of a successful date) was plummeting. Slack-jawed, bleary-eyed, she could only listen with faux enthusiasm and nod at appropriate intervals to their monologues....There were times she woke up and couldn't remember whom she had gone out with the previous night, nor whom she was supposed to meet that night. And she could no longer rely on just first names--there were scores of Robs, and Daves, and Mikes. She had to make up nicknames for all of them, and designed a spreadsheet with relevant details of each to keep track of it all. 

Sometimes when you think you’ve met the perfect partner through an online dating website or app, the other person is using a fake profile to form a relationship with you. They’re using the site to gain your trust and ask you for money or enough personal information to steal your identity. This is an extreme scenario but it happens. It happened to my best friend. A guy she met online and soon started to date would tell her how wonderful and beautiful she was, how much he loved her (after a month of dating)he  would cook her dinners, do shopping,  paint her apartment, etc. Very soon he won her heart, who wouldn't ? he seemed like a perfect guy, almost too perfect. The fact that he was wearing the same shirt over and over, getting gas only for 5$ at a time or rarely buying her a drink or paying for dinner or didn't have a Facebook account weren’t good enough reasons to raise her suspicion.  But when all of the sudden both of his parents died within one month and he was trying to keep her away from meeting the rest of the family or friends something clicked. She called his work place; nobody knew his name,  his mom’s funeral was never scheduled at the cemetery he gave her. Although he kept insisting he was there during the ceremony. She had to hire a private detective to find out if he was only after her money or maybe a psychopath or a former convict. 

Despite some setbacks, online dating has generally delivered a pleasing source of distraction and periodic amusement for me.  Nonetheless, I do wonder if having constant access to so many potential partners is such a good thing. Such opportunity seems to mean that there are fewer incentives to see what happens when you do meet someone you like, and to stick with it when it gets hard. I confess I have been guilty of thinking, “Well, he is  nice, but New Jersey is a bit far away,” from time to time. I do have a few friends who have found lasting relationships online, so keep on swiping people I believe you can find your true love and online dating is as good as any other way of meeting the only one for you.    

Everything tuna salad was introduced to me on one of my online dates by a very nice guy, who apparently can cook. We went out a few times but there wasn’t enough sparks to continue it. I hope he will forgive me for using his recipe without asking. 

Recipe

2 cans of tuna in water or olive oil

bunch of crunchy lettuce ( romaine works well )

10 baby carrots , chopped in 1 inch cubes

small radicchio

1 pear chopped

bunch of scallion, dill  and parsley

juice of 5 lemons

1/3 cup of olive oil

salt and pepper

chop everything and mix well. Serve with nice French bread.

 

 

 

 

The Goddess in me

“You may not know yourself as a Goddess; your feminine energy is out of balance and your divine essence has yet to awaken. But the time has come, right now, for you to know that being a woman is special, sacred, and divine. Every woman deserves to know herself in this way. Return to your ancient roots, learn the timeless wisdom of your mythic history, and discover how you are the embodiment of the highest feminine Essence of the world—The Divine Feminine. Understand why over many centuries, a woman’s relationship with Her has become increasingly lost to us, and why now is the right time to bring Her back into your life. Remember yourself into wholeness, reawaken to the sacredness of your Goddess body and begin to see it as beautiful in every way. Reacquaint yourself with the cyclical seasons of a woman’s life and with the Great Mother Moon who guides your lunar nature and your moontime blood.”

This is a summary of a book “You are a woman you are divine” my dearest friend gave me some time ago. Before I got this book, my friend created a safe space to show me and celebrate the Goddess in me. This experience has changed my life, I have become a different person, more aware of the gift everyone one of us- women is carrying inside, waiting to be discovered and cherished. Thank you for giving me this incredible gift of self-love!! “ You are woman: your body is sacred, and your essence is Divine. You are the embodiment of the divine feminine “ I spent a lot of time thinking how to discover the divine feminine in me. Sometimes I think of the Goddess as my real self, she’s the real me becoming balanced and whole. At times she’s all of nature. And then at times she’s just what I need when I don’t feel I’ve got a lot inside. I want to think of a symbol outside myself, and so I think of a Goddess outside of myself. So she’s outside and within and through the whole creation. That’s really how I see the Goddess.

There is no judgment, no reproach. There’s nobody telling you off and saying you haven’t done the right thing. I can feel silly and disappointed about what I’ve done or not done, but I don’t feel that I’m reproached. She’s always loving and caring and supportive and helping me to get back to a center of balance. Every woman is a spectacular creature and we are all beautifully built. We are specifically designed to be a creatress, the bearer of our species, and to be powerful in the most feminine of ways. We carry within the space of our womb the Light of the world. Our very existence makes the world lovelier. I definitely think of the Goddess as being within myself, within every woman whether she accesses that or not. But I also see the Goddess very much in the elements – they give me a physical, tangible sense of her being in the earth, air, water, and fire. I also get her spirit sense from the feeling I have of and “Other”, other than myself, and other than what I can see. I do very much feel her presence in this spirit sense, something that’s much bigger than me and than any of us, and yet something that resides in all of us. It’s that feeling very much that the Goddess ‘She’ is everywhere. I connect with her, and sometimes that will be getting in touch with the Goddess in myself, and sometimes she will be the inner child, and sometimes she will be my inner guide or wise woman or my mothering self. At other times I’ll be very much talking to her “out there”. Sometimes that will be in praise and delight, and other times it might be sheer desperation and despair. And then I feel very much like I’m talking to her when I go for walks on the beach or bike through Central Park, or go for a sail in a boat, or sit around a big fire, or any of those situations where I feel very much connected.

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For me, the Goddess is in me and in each one of us and in everything, in the sea and in the elements.  I pray to her a lot and meditate, and she’s like a friend to me or she’s whatever I happen to be needing, I know she’s not going to be anything other than exactly what I need. So if I need a friend, she’s a friend. If I’m desperate, she’s there then.  At times I can feel like getting in touch with different parts of myself. Sometimes I can feel like the Goddess resides in me. I don’t have a sense that I invited her to enter me, when I think about my feminine side I get the feeling that I am just acknowledging her, because her presence is already there. It’s just focusing that energy and increasing my awareness of something that already exists. 

When I recognized the power of the divine feminine in me and the joy of seeing myself as a Goddess fully restored to my spirit, I was released and discovered how to live a better, happier, more fulfilled life as a woman, I have been more confident (although I was never a shy person ), I have been more creative, more inspired and have had more energy, I love deeper and more authentically, I have been able to open up and share my life stories with my partners. The acceptance and integration of the feminine existence within me brought me back harmony and healing. Not to mention joy, power and success on the dating scene. 

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I hope my Goddess dressing will be a good beginning to start looking for the release of the feminine power and beauty within you.

Goddess dressing. 

1 cup canola mayo 

1 cup chopped scallions 

3/4 cup fresh basil 

1/4 lemon juice add more if needed. 

2 cloves garlic 

1 tsp anchovy paste 

21/2tsp salt 

1tsp black pepper 

1 cup sour cream 

2tbs chives 

1/4 tsp lemon zest

Blend everything together and enjoy. 

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Goddess dressing. 

1 szklanka majonezu ( ja dodaje wiecej jogurtu niz majonezu ) 

1 szklanka pokrojonego szczypiorku 

3/4 szklanka swiezej bazylii 

1/4 soku z cytryny , lub wiecej do smaku

2 zabki czasnku

1 lyzka pasty z anchois 

21/2 lyzeczki soli  

1 lyzeczka pieprzu 

1 szklanka smietany lub jogurtu 

1/4 lyzeczki startej skorki z cytryny 

wszystkie skladniki zmikoswac w mikserze na gladka mase. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tahini Cauliflower

Do I have big dreams? I often ask myself if I am just lazy or being pragmatic and know my limitations. Sure enough the American dream has become the American basic expectation.

As Pole in America all this star- spangled expectations feels strange to me. There is no “ Polish dream “ (other than a new car, and someone else’s misfortune) Telling a polish toddler that they, too, could one day be a President would likely give them nightmares.

The American Dream can be very inspiring, but it is also problematic, not because it is mostly false, but also because research shows that America is far from being the Land of a big opportunity.  A child who is born poor in America is more likely to remain poor than in any other comparable country. The fact that Trump’s own way-to-riches fairytale shows a  likely inheritance millions from his daddy is relatively typical. An estimated 40% of the billionaires on the Forbes billionaires list also inherited a big portion of their wealth.

In this story, success is the result not of luck or privilege, but our own personal qualities, skills and hard work. Similarly, failure can never stand from systemic obstacles or difficult circumstances—the fact that good jobs are increasingly rare, incomes are hitting poverty levels and rents are sky-high—but is simply a mark of personal deficiency.

While Americans are great at big dreams (you can become the President!), they are surprisingly bad at more moderate ones (you can have paid vacation/ affordable healthcare/ a fair wage.) It is a genuine possibility that an American woman might make it to Mars before she gets long paid maternity leave. But in reality, the majority of our wellbeing is not made up from the remote possibility of enormous success but from these more modest dreams. 

In my personal opinion, the subtle claim that we should all be striving for greatness can be surprisingly psychologically damaging. The American dream has become the mass production of unrealistic expectations. The constant mantra “ you can be anything you want to be “ has created anxiety in American life, where anything short of greatness can feel like a failure.

But really, small concrete, gains are as important to our happiness as the big dreams. So maybe our next generation of graduation speeches should encourage us to do something truly inspirational. Dream small and succeed!! 

Roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce, sprinkled with pomegranate seed and cilantro is my version of big dream of a fancy dishes made with no afford and 100% of satisfaction.

Every time I make this dish my guests absolutely love it and want the recipe. I won’t pretend it is an old family recipe anymore. (I didn’t grow up in the Middle East eating tahini sauce, even halva was a rarity) So here you are my curios friends. The easiest recipe on Earth that will let you win any culinary competition with your friends …. I didn’t promise top chef. Remember dream small… 

Recipe:

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, whole or cored and cut into 1 1⁄2'' florets

1/4-cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp. yeast flakes

sea salt salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2-cup tahini

3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced into a paste

Juice of 1 lemon

1-cup pomegranate seeds

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 500°. Toss together oil, yeast flakes, cauliflower, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet; spread out evenly. Bake, rotating pans from top to bottom and front to back, until cauliflower is browned and tender, 25—30 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, combine tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and 1⁄2 cup water in a small bowl and season with salt. Serve cauliflower hot or at room temperature with tahini sauce, sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and cilantro.

 

Przepis:

Skladniki

1 kalafior

¼ szklanki oleju

2 lyzeczki platkow drozdzowych

sol morska I pieprz do smaku

½ szklanki pasty tahini

3 zabki czosnku posiekane

sok z 1 cytryny

1 szklanka nasion granatu

½  szklanka posiekanej swiezej kolendry

 

Nagrzac piekarnik do 280C wymieszac olej, platki drozdowe, sol, pieprz I kalafior, umiescic na blaszce do pieczenia piec przez okolo 25-30 min obracajac aby kalafior byl przypieczony z obu stron.

Wymieszac paste tahini, czosnek, sok cytrynowy, I ½ szklanki wody w miseczce, doprawic sola. Serwowac na cieplo lub zimno posypane granatem I kolendra .

 

 

Bloody guilt trip

Definition of guilt  by some online dictionary - "a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined". Guilt will never make the grade as an A-list emotion. No one has ever written a song or a poem about how they haven’t called their mother in over a week and their expensive-bought online exercise machine is being used to dry their underwear. Yet somehow, this crabby little C-lister manages to punch way below the belt.

Guilt is such a powerful feeling we do almost anything to avoid it, I know I do. It is our driver of internal system of actions and balances. The annoying little voice stopping us from eating the whole chocolate bar at once or telling our friend that the story about her daughter new project wasn’t interesting the first time.

We need guilt that runs the engine of morality, in order for society to function. Without its ghostly appearance, we would turn into sociopaths, or politicians. My guilt is my inner police force, but given it too much power I am turning into a police state. Mine is a sturdy guilt drawn from two totally different but yet very powerful religions.  On my mom’s side I am born with original catholic guilt (thanks Adam and Eve), which brings me to another guilt of a higher power watching every step I take and listening to all my inappropriate conversations and actions. On my paternal side I got the complaining, overthinking, neurotic Jewish variety. Ask my two best friends, they are tired of me analyzing every move I take and scrutinize for weeks and months if anything goes wrong, , (it usually does). The once mild mannered voice of my conscience is turning nasty with passing years. Like many women, I have the capacity to feel guilty about pretty much everything. Here is the basic glossy magazine guilt – the easy looking skin care regimens, and complicated man-pleasing instructions, the ideal bodies, and never to be cooked recipes.  These make a great background for failure.

But it gets deeper. I feel guilt for hurting my friend on the phone the other day for telling her “that thing”. I feel guilt for taking too long to respond to my best friend’s supportive email, writing this post during my work hours. I feel guilty for taking a drink invitation from men I have no desire to go to bed with, and also that my son’s first few words were “mommy’s wine”. And most of all, I feel guilty that I am wasting my time worrying about any of this nonsense, when right now there are children starving in Africa.

My guilt muscle can be very flexible. It could be trigger by exactly the same situation in two opposite directions. I can spend the whole weekend interacting with my son, watching movies, cooking meals, filling guilt that I have not taken a single picture for my blog, that I am not working to perfect my skills and I wasted a couple of grand on equipment and props.  And yet when I spend a whole day cooking and taking pictures,, my guilt bubbles up for the fact that I didn’t see my child all day and I am missing the opportunity to spend with him the last, preciouses moments before he tells me he prefers to spend them with his friends or his girlfriend.

But my main overwhelming guilt comes from the fact that a few years ago I have moved overseas, taking my baby boy with me, meaning I have ripped the only grandchild from his grandma to chase my selfish dreams thousands miles away.

When you live far away, no matter how often you call or come to visit, it’s never often enough. My mom never said a word to make me feel this way, she doesn’t need to. She doesn’t need to do anything to make me feel guilty about my life choices. My mom would probably hate the idea that talking to her makes me feel this way. This feeling bonds us together sometimes more than a family dinner table. My mom makes me feel guilty because her mother made her feel guilty. And as much as I would like to spare my son the burden in theory, I would be laying if I said that I don’t want to throw a little guilt his way, at least enough to making him choose a nice nursing home for me, the one with bar and games rather than the one with urine smell and bible studies.

Guilt is usually pretty ineffective over all. Instead of making a conscious choice and standing by the consequences, I behave as I am please and then cash in my moral credits by feeling bad about it afterward. As long as I have guilt as a comfortable fallback position, I fail to take full responsibility for my choices and actions. My friend once told me that she takes no responsibility for her life choices, in her opinion guilt is reserved for true wrongdoing and she wastes no time dwelling over her lifestyle or failure to live up to impossible ideas. I would love to get to that level of emotional sanity one day. Amen.

Today’s recipe is a total guilt trip between being lazy, having time for myself, and doing something creative and not wasting time binging on “ Mr. Robot”. Simple –no time at all- toast with goat feta and baked blood oranges. Still very tasty and guilt free.                                                                                   

Recipe                                                                                                                                                      Few slices of nice rustic bread

2 blood oranges

goat feta

coconut nectar

toasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400F, slice oranges, and place them on a baking sheet spray with olive oil and bake until they get a little brown.  Toast the bread, smear with goat feta, top with slices of oranges, and coat with coconut nectar, sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seeds. 

I love beets

I love beets; I can eat every part of it, roots, leaves, and stems. We can prepare them in many ways, whether roasted or boiled, pickled or grated raw, add a distinctively sugary shock of color to any meal. We can also make juice out of them or add to a smoothie. They are a wonderful main ingredient in salads and baked dishes or taste great in combination with other foods. Some great pairings include: mint, feta, hazelnuts, orange, ricotta salata and even tomato. 

They are a lot of obvious health benefits to beets.  They are a great source of folic acid and are rich in anthocyanin, which may reduce the risk of cancer. Additionally, the greens are rich in calcium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and iron. There are also a few lesser known facts; one of the earliest known benefits of the red beet was its use as an aphrodisiac during Roman times. Beets nitrates are naturally converted into nitric oxide in the body. This widens blood vessels and increases circulation. 90% of male sexual dysfunction is caused by poor circulation. Also, beets may increase the production of sex hormones in both genders. Beets contain betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used in other forms to treat depression. It also contains tryptophan (also found in chocolate), which contributes to a sense of well being. Beet juice has been used on city streets to remove the ice because it doesn’t damage cars like sand or salt.

A lot of nutritionists use beets and beet juice to test levels of stomach acid. If you consume beets and your urine turns pink, you have low stomach acid (which is typically a good thing!). If your urine is still clear, it means that you have high levels of stomach acid. Since the 16th century, beet juice has been used as a natural red dye. In 19th century England the Victorians used beets to dye their hair. Beets can be made into a wine that tastes similar to port. In Australia, a true Oz-style burger must have a slice or two of pickled beets. Even McDonalds and Burger King have had to adjust the line and include it in their menus!

Beets range in color from familiar dark red to light gold and creamy white; for a real beauty, try the Italian Chioggia beet, which reveals its pink and white stripes when sliced. But most nutrition experts recommend the red beet and suggest you ingest the entire beet so you don't lose the value of the beet fiber. White, yellow, and striped beets may be nice to look at and taste juicy but only the red beet has been shown to have both nutritional and healing powers.

While buying beets look for the ones with smooth, unwrinkled skin and a firm, hard feel. Select the tiny "babies" or the smaller adult variety when you can; anything over two inches or so in diameter can have a hard texture. If you can, choose beet bunches with the green tops still attached: They should be bright and not wilted. You can store greens separately in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to one week. The greens can be steamed or sautéed in a similar fashion to spinach. Or you can chopped them up and make a beet soup 

To get the most nutrition, flavor and color, cook beets with their skin on. Scrub carefully and steam in a covered pot, or wrap in foil and bake at 350° F, for 45 to 90 minutes, depending on size. Try to choose beets of approximately the same size to keep cooking times even. When they're easily pierced with a fork, they're done.It will be easy to remove the skin off once they cool off. 

Recipe

4 - 5 small beets u used Chioggia beets

1 bunch of small carrots

2 cups whole Greek yogurt

8 leaves tarragon

1/4 cup pistachios

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Wash and dry beets. Cut off and discard greens.

Transfer the vegetables to a deep baking dish or pie plate, in a single layer. Add enough water so that the beets are half covered, but not fully submerged. Cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven. 

Roast beets for 50 minutes to an hour, or until fork tender. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. Remove the skin by rubbing the beets with a paper towel.

Peel the grapefruit, cutting off the top and bottom of the fruit, creating a flat surface on which to balance it. Place the edge of a sharp knife just inside the border where the pith meets the pulp, and slice down with a firm, clean stroke, following the curve of the fruit. Repeat, until the entire fruit has been peeled. Slice the fruit into 3/4” segments. 

Give the pistachios a rough chop with a good knife, using a cutting board.

To serve, spread yogurt onto plates, as much as is desired. Arrange sliced beets and grapefruit on top and sprinkle with chopped pistachios and torn tarragon leaves. Drizzle with good olive oil and sea salt to taste.

 

 

 

Ratatouille

Spring is very shy this year in NYC; it comes and goes. One day is 70F the next 25F with chilling winds. I can’t figure out what to wear anymore.  I already swapped my wardrobe for the Spring one and have no boots or warm jackets in my closet.  Maybe Spring is punishing me to my limits because I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year. To make up for it I will try to make some Spring resolutions come true: to lose some weight, climb new mountains, and discover new friends. There will be some wonderful work to share and even more to achieve. 

To start with the easiest task let’s shed a few pounds first. The quick way to do it is to move more and eat less. I don’t have any super diets up my sleeve for you.  It’s just hard work and clean eating.  A great way for me to achieve this is to move to a vegetable- fruit diet.  I tried this simple but luscious light recipe this year when I was visiting my Aunt in France.  And what’s more French than Ratatouille. 

The history of my family ending up in France is pretty amazing and worth mentioning.  My maternal Grandfather had a sister who volunteered to go to the work camp for him during World War II.  After the war, despite many years of searching, she seemed to have disappeared.  My family was convinced she died in the camp and eventually stopped looking for her. They moved from Ukraine to the Western part of Poland.  At one point, my Mom heard a radio announcement that someone was looking for a family and mentioned our name, but she ignored it thinking it was someone else.  Years after the war my Uncle started to look again for her, and this time he got lucky going through Red Cross files.  After 45 years she came and visited us in Poland.  She had survived the camp, met her husband who was also a camp survivor and settled down in France.  She had 8 kids, who are all married with their own children.  You can only imagine the tears, hugs, and long hours of stories to catch up on after all that time they missed together.  I have visited them many times in France and they have been in our life ever since.  My Aunt passed away recently in the age of 90.  She outlived all her siblings and was in good health until one day, she went to sleep and just never woke up.

She showed me this recipe along with many others. She introduced me to melons, avocado, and crabs.  My love for coffee and wine started with my French family.  You will be missed my dear Aunt. 

Recipe:

1 large eggplant peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 large onion chopped

2 medium zucchinis cut into 1 inch pieces

4 garlic cloves chopped

2 pounds grape tomatoes split in half

salt

pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs chopped fresh thyme

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

2 tbs chopped fresh parsley 

In a colander, sprinkle the eggplant with salt and toss. Let stand for 1 hour. Transfer the eggplant to paper towels and pat dry.

                In a bowl toast eggplant with olive oil  thyme and roast until soft and golden.

            Repeat the process with the  zucchini and the garlic, tomatoes with onions using 2 tablespoons of oil to cook each batch.

            Combine all the vegetables, stir in the basil and the parsley , salt and peper to taste and serve.