On February 22nd, I hit a year of living in Denver, and I'll be honest, I'm surprised I made it. The best way I can describe this season is one of healthy rest and pruning.
Denver is a weird, wonderful, "cultural" bubble, cultural being the outdoor and extreme sports world, one which I know nothing about. When I was approaching my Colorado anniversary, my surprise wasn't because the year was so gnarly I didn't think I was going to make it, but because I've felt so out of place in this city. Generally, I'm not good at the sports. I need the ocean. I need diversity. I've learned to be content in a place I don't love, doing things I don't want to do, but with the most real, kind people I've ever met. Looking back at all of it, I'm proud to say I've stuck with it despite its hardships- 2016 threw me a lot of new wonderful things, and threefold the bad things.
But, because of it, I've taken massive risks, auditioned for grad school, and taken a long hard look at what it is I really want to do and what it is I have been gifted. There is one thing that never leaves: cooking.
Just before Christmas I decided to take the plunge and cross something off of my list of Life Goals.
So, I'm writing a cookbook.
I'll be honest, something about blogging has felt dutiful and shallow, because truthfully, why does anyone want to hear the inner workings of my head, heart, and life? Classic to the INFP, I am very particular with whom I open up to, and prefer quality over quantity when it comes to friends. Cat vs dog analogy pretty much nails it. I could spend weeks on my own, cooking in the kitchen or walking through the wilderness and still not need to see or speak to a single soul. Ironically, ENFPs are some of my most treasured friends.
Comparison has blurred my vision and perfection robbed my time, energy, and inspiration. I've felt as though I can't post authentic content (because I'm very private and social media is hella weird), but want to be successful in a world and profession that requires just the opposite. Then, in the most perfect timing (as God tends to do), I spent the entire morning on Saturday reading through cookbooks at my favorite bookstore, and found that these women were crafting beautiful, rich stories in their books. Every chapter had pages of prose and narrative, not punchy quick whit (which I also have, let's be real), and real richness to why they crafted the book, and why they want to cook. I often feel my laundry list of allergies pidgin holes me into a certain style of cooking, but after reading through over 10 books on Saturday, I can honestly say I believe you can pursue the art of fine cooking within the boundaries of food sensitivities. Love me a good buddha bowl, but sometimes a girl just wants a croissant.
I guess I'm sharing all of this with you to say that if you really take a look at who you are and what you've been gifted in, you'll find a freedom in pursuing it. Food, to me, is family. Lives change over conversations had around kitchen tables. My friends have been so sweet to encourage me to really be myself on this blog, and while I can't promise to always write in length (if you're still reading you're an absolute gem), I can promise to always be vulnerable. It's hard stuff, being real.
Thanks for reading, you rule. Top shelf humans, all of you.
Full transparency: I feel a little bit like a fraud posting this as a recipe, because frankly it can't really be considered one. This butter consists of one ingredient: hazelnuts. No added oils, sugars, flavors, or any other nonsense you might find in a store bought butter. After going on Whole30 and discovering even more food sensitivities and allergies, I started making almost everything from scratch. Hummus, butters, sauces, dressings, most of which I had already done myself, but nut butters were a new addition! Nut milks are next on the agenda!
Simple Hazelnut Butter
-2 cups hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350. Roast hazelnuts until golden brown, about 13-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then using a kitchen towel, rub the hazelnuts together on the pan to remove the brown outer layer (doesn't have to be fully clean, but as much as you can get off, the better!) Blend in a blender for up to 5 minutes.
Literally, that's it. Store in the fridge for a few weeks!