I realized I haven’t written anything of note lately. Every day I write work emails.
Hi So and so! Here’s a quick recap of our sync yesterday: Bullet point 1. Bullet point 2. Bullet point 3. Please let me know if there are any action items we need to recalibrate on (oh yes, recalibrate is a good word to use). Thank you! Claire
Or I write emails of inquiry to wedding vendors.
Hi So and so! I’m inquiring about X services for Y wedding date at Z location. Would I be able to get an estimate? Thank you! Claire
My creativity has been sucked dry. Bone dry. I find myself in this quandary; the lively springs having evaporated into thin air leaving in their wake dusty quarries of industrial jargon. Sawdust buzzwords and brittle veils of niceties. Yes, there is a craft to all of this, the limestone doesn’t hew itself.
But I miss the lush and the verdant. Prose as rolling hills adorned with nodding wildflowers or gentle sunshine on a crisp clear winter day. I even think fondly of the college papers wherein I architected unshakable arguments, building the foundations stone by stone, erecting fortified walls and soaring arches until they met at the golden pinnacle of satisfaction. I haven’t experienced that sensation in a while. Sitting back in my plastic pink Ikea chair and looking at the blinking cursor smiling from the final words, basking in the contentment of having finally birthed this masterpiece. A miraculous transformation from frantic scribbles of nebulous brainstorms to full-fledged composition.
I don’t know why I’m writing all this. One work email too many? Or perhaps this generation’s over-reliance on emojis and memes to convey complex sentiments have led to the attrition of quality verbosity? Either way, it seems my original intent to detail my college gluttony in several flowery paragraphs (starting with my love of hefty, foot-long Super Falafel wraps at the local Mediterranean joint) has devolved to daydreams of yesteryear’s writing trances. Maybe the next time I make Mediterranean food I’ll tell you about the hedonistic joy of eating an entire Super Falafel wrap doused in hot sauce in a single sitting.
For now, something with a little more restraint. Warm hummus with spiced lamb. Addictively good. So good I made it twice in one week.
Warm Hummus with Spiced Lamb
Thank you, David Lebovitz. Serves 4.
2 cups warm chickpeas, liquid reserved (about 1.5 cans, heat up in the microwave or on the stove)
4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb lamb shoulder, cut into small bean-sized chunks (I’ve also used lamb leg though I think lamb shoulder has the best texture for this recipe. Ground lamb also works.)
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 can chopped tomatoes with liquid
1/4 cup chickpea liquid
4 green onions, chopped
2 tsp harissa (adjust amount based on your spice tolerance)
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- Using a food processor or good blender, puree the warm chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, and cumin. Mix in the butter and olive oil.
- Keep the food processor/blender running, and slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of the reserved chickpea liquid. Puree for 2-3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides, until the hummus is very smooth. You may need to add more liquid.
- Taste and adjust with more lemon juice or salt as needed.
- Scoop the hummus out into a shallow bowl or plate and smooth it out with a spoon. Form a crater in the middle for the lamb.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the lamb. Season with salt, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, oregano, and cumin.
- Once the lamb has browned, add the tomatoes and about 1/4 cup of the reserved chickpea liquid. Allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes until the liquid is reduced by more than half.
- Stir in the harissa and green onions and cook for another 2-3 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked down and the lamb is cooked through but still juicy.
- Remove from heat and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and stir in the chopped parsley.
- Spoon the lamb into the hummus crater and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.
- Serve with warm pita. Or serve with fresh veggies to dip (think lettuce and cucumbers) if you’re going carb free.