Travel, like this lovely district, has always been a strong muse for my writing. There really is something special about venturing out into the world — seeing something you’ve never seen before, living like the locals do, and meeting people whose lives are so undeniably different than your own. It’s always ignited my self-examinations.
After all, it was a short trip to an unknown city that quickly brought about the change of all changes in my life: moving to DC.
I hadn’t travelled much by then, as I was only a couple of months out of college. Plus, California is so huge that just stepping foot outside of the state takes hours of driving or an expensive plane ticket. On this coast, however, states lines are everywhere, and my grown-up budget can afford to send me somewhere fun every now and then.
While the connections I make in my travels are by far the highlight, time and time again, what comes in at a close second is always the food.
And it’s not necessarily consuming local food. Just the act of eating is a sacred act in its own, one during which someone feeds, and another is fed. The nourishment goes both ways.
I, myself, enjoy feeding. I host, I plan, I cook, and I teach. While I absolutely love the food, the act of serving a meal to those I love is what I crave — that is what keeps me in the kitchen, at the dining table, and later, on an antique couch with a cougar-pour of red wine. I crave the feeding as much as other people crave the act of being fed. The nourishment is reciprocated, especially for those who crave being fed, and at the end of the night, the dishes are put away, your guests go home (or stay). Everyone sleeps fulfilled.
Feeding is one of my favorite things to do.
Za’atar Palmiers, inspired by Nad’s Treasured Recipes
1 sheet puff pastry
1/2 cup za’atar spice mixture
1/3 cup olive oil
Remove the puff pastry from packaging and unfold onto a cutting board.
In a small bowl, stir the za’atar into the olive oil until it forms a liquidy paste. Spread the paste evenly over the puff pastry. Then, roll both edges in until they meet in the middle. Cover log with saran wrap, and chill in your refrigerator over night, or in your freezer for about 20 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice the log, making palmiers about 1/3 inches thick. Place on a baking sheet (either greased, lined with foil or a baking mat), and bake for about 15 minutes.