The End of an Era, by Lauren

Sunday, 1April, 2012

The End of an Era, by Lauren

by travellinlb

Post image for The End of an Era, by Lauren

The plane swirled over the bay as the mist hung close to the headlands.  It landed softly in San Francisco and  for the first time in a year in a half I was “home”.  But I wasn’t home.  SF hasn’t been home for almost two years now.  But because I’ve still had my flat there, I could always go back.  If something didn’t work out in Amsterdam, I could go back.  It’s been a safety net.  And now that safety net is gone.

In December my renters moved out and I was faced with a decision. One of the harder ones:  To sell or not to sell.. Do I keep it forever or do I take the tax free profit and use it to buy something else, eventually, wherever we land? I LOVE my place in San Francisco.  It was such a great place.  Perfect for entertaining with a large dining room table, two patios and a roof deck. It was warm and cozy, and had room for all my stuff and then some with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. I lived there for seven years and was very happy living there.  For the most part.

I went to SF for the recent Apple launch which luckily coincided with the sale of the house.  I was able to sign the papers, go through old boxes at my ex’s house, and clean out my over pouring storage unit.  After all that I returned to “my” house to say goodbye to it.   Decorated in expensive modern decor from a staging company, I tentatively walked into a house that hung somewhere my old life and my new one.  It was my house but it wasn’t.  Stepping inside, memories flooded the empty space where laughter had once filled the silence.  Walking through each room, as hard as it was to be there, I knew I had to go through it. I had to remember and I had to feel the happiness, the sadness, the desperation, the loneliness, the joy, the excitement; essentially my existence in my house, one last time.

After leaving the flat, cleaning out my storage unit, giving away furniture, and shipping boxes back to Texas, there was nothing left of me in San Francisco anymore.  It’s essentially not a place I’m going back to anymore.  I’ve left the past behind to make room for the future.

But where does that leave the present?  In the present I fly back and forth to London on a weekly basis, I live in Stefan’s apartment in Amsterdam on weekends and in Harriet’s house in London 2 nights a week.  I live a life in flux.  For the past two years, I have had no stability, no place  I really call my own.  With selling my house, I know its time to fill that need, the need to settle down again and build a life and gain back the domesticity I desperately miss.

So without realizing it I cleansed my life of both a wonderful and toxic past.  I let go of a happy good life, but one I was not always happy in.  I’m giving it all up for a chance, a gift, a promise of real happiness with someone I love although the surroundings might not be absolutely perfect.  I have faith that one day we will sort it all out, and I will get my home.

Back in Amsterdam I joined Hilary on her “cleanse”.  Just like getting rid of the toxins from my past, I needed to get rid of the toxins in my body that have built up over the last few weeks in San Francisco and London.  It was time to rid myself of all things white, sugar, bread, flour, etc.  It was essentially time to get my body healthy to match my mind.  Finally being able to cook again I craved beets and wholesome grains,   The below salad is to me what healthy tastes like.  I paired it with a healthy cider braised cod with kale salad, which was part of Bon Appetit’s 1012 “Food Lovers” Cleanse. which an amazing resource of two weeks worth of healthy recipes.

Wheat Berry, Red Cabbage and Roasted Beet Salad

This was adapted from Bon Appetit’s  Farro, Radicchio and Roast Beets, but I substituted Farro with Wheat Berries and Raddichio (which I couldn’t find for the life of me in Amsterdam) I replaced with crunchy Red Cabbage.  This makes a ton of left overs!

Ingredients

  • 2 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter beets, tops trimmed to 1 inch – I used pre-cooked beets to cut down on cooking time
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup semi-pearled farro or wheat berries
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 cups (packed) thinly sliced quartered radicchio (from about 1 medium head) – I used Red Cabbage
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange beets in single layer in 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Drizzle with vegetable oil. Cover with foil and roast until beets are tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Trim beets; peel. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
  • Cook farro in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer to large bowl. Stir 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and garlic into hot farro. Cool to room temperature.
  • Cut each beet into 6 to 8 wedges. Add beets, radicchio, onion, and parsley to farro; toss to incorporate evenly. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
  • Whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl. Drizzle over salad. Add feta cheese; toss to coat.

Cider Cod with Carmelized Onions and Apples
4 Servings

1 1/3 lb. black cod, skin romved, in four 6-oz. portions
Kosher salt and red pepper (cayenne or piment d’Espelette)
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 1 large firm apple (such as Braeburn), skin on, cored, cut into 8 wedges
1 cup Caramelized Onions (see recipe below)
12 oz. dry hard cider
1 tsp. juniper berries – I couldn’t find these so I used cranberries!
1 bay leaf

Season cod with salt and red pepper (use a light touch with cayenne). Heat a large deep nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and swirl to coat pan. Add apple wedges in a single layer and cook for 4-5 minutes, until browned on the bottom. turn apples and cook for another 3-4 minutes until browned on the other side. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate.

Pour remaining 1 Tbsp. oil on pan. Pat cod dry with a paper towel and place in pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until one side of the fish is lightly browned. Temporarily remove fish to the plate. Add the caramelized onions, cider, juniper berries and bay leaf to skillet and stir. Once mixture is boiling, arrange fish, raw side down, and apples in pan. cover, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook until fish is opaque at the center, 4-6 minutes longer. Remove fish from pan. Increase heat and cook onion mixture, uncovered, until thick and saucelike, about 3 minutes. Divide the onion mixture among low bowls and arrange fish and apples in each bowl.

Caramelized Onions
Makes 2 1/2 Cups
This recipe makes extra in order to stock our Week 1 Cleanse Pantry. We recommend making it on Sunday so that it’s on hand throughout the week.

1/4 cup olive oil
5 lb. yellow onions, cored, thinly sliced
3 sprigs thyme
2 Tbsp. kosher salt

Heat oil in a large (at least 5 quarts) skillet over medium heat. Add onions, thyme, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft and golden brown, 45-60 minutes. If the onions start to brown too much, add 1/4 cup water and scrape onions off bottom of pan, then reduce heat and proceed. When cool, remove thyme sprigs. Do Ahead: If you haven’t already, freeze 1 1/4 cups of the onions for the next two weeks of the Food Lover’s Cleanse and reserve the rest in the fridge.

 

 

 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

umberto April 1, 2012 at 8:25 pm

A really nice post, Lauren. Guess it wasn’t easy at all. And this salad looks interesting! Hope to see you soon,
u.

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Heather April 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm

This was a beautiful post. Thank you for your honesty. The power of place is strong – and our homes do absorb our energy and all the scars (good and bad) from our experiences there. For years we tried to conceive a baby while living in our beautiful little Sears bungalow. Then we brought our daughter home from China, and it suddenly seemed just not fit for life with a baby. We moved across town. And conceived within weeks. I think it had as much to do with the place as the adoption. We had to have that fresh start you so beautifully describe. I wish you much luck in your life in flux. You are building a home — maybe just not a physical one.

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travellinlb April 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Thank you Heather for your comment, nice to know other people go through this as well!

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Theresa April 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Wow – what an amazing journey and it’s so incredible that you could put it out there for everyone to experience with you….you’re life isn’t in flux, it’s just another step on the pathway…

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Carolyn June 6, 2012 at 12:52 am

Lauren,

Wow- this post is so powerful and raw and important. I think that I felt it so much because that very flat that you described brought all of those feelings out for me too. Those weeks, turned into months, that became a year that I spent living with you in 2003 and 2004(and many other amazing friends) while I was also in flux and ‘homeless’ was the most difficult, painful, and terrifying time of my life. I can imagine you walking through each space, each bedroom, the kitchen, the living/dining area, etc. I see it so clearly…

I am sad on some level that you no longer have a SF home. I have not either since 2008. But I do miss it! SF is a part of me. I am so happy that we spent so many great times there together Lauren! But I am so happy and content where I am in my life right now:)

Thank you for this beautiful post and blog- you are an inspiration! Lets talk soon.

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