Yesterday was my and Elliott’s fourth anniversary. We celebrated with Chipotle for dinner and a “Game of Thrones” marathon — because that’s how we roll. It was a perfect way to spend the evening together, being lazy and eating food (my favorite hobbies), especially after eating and walking our way through the hilly streets of San Francisco all last week (I’m exhausted, but my calves are stunning).
By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to make your way over there, GET ON IT. It’s a beautiful city and there is so much to see and do — and so much food to eat. So, so much food. I loved it.
By the way again, if you haven’t had a chance to watch “Game of Thrones” yet, GET ON IT. It’s kind of disturbing in so many ways, but also? Amazing. I’m hooked.
By the way again again, if you haven’t had a chance to try the corn salsa at Chipotle yet, GET ON IT. Stephie led me onto it recently so I tried it for the first time last night and it is the business.
Anywayyyy back to the story. So I’ve been married to my best friend for four years now. In some ways, it feels like yesterday (so cliche, but so true). And in other ways, it feels like we’ve been together forever. We’ve gone through a lot in the time we’ve been married — moving four times (and soon to be five, but that’s a story for another day ;)), going to school, graduating from school, getting first jobs, losing first jobs, being separated by oceans, being in the same room together for too long, struggling with money, struggling with marriage, struggling with whether to eat Thai food or pizza for dinner… and so it goes.
I haven’t always loved the journey. Sometimes, it’s been downright painful and, truth be told, I’ve at times teetered on the verge of fight or flight. Sometimes, I’ve wondered if marriage was supposed to be this hard. Sometimes, I’ve wondered if he deserved better, or if I did, or if we were just making each other more miserable. But over all this time I’ve come to realize this: The truth is, I am just where I need to be — with him, every day, in his arms or next to him on the couch, eating Chipotle and watching TV. It isn’t always easy, but this guy — my partner, my walking buddy, my fellow adventurer, my headrest, my hand-holder, my taste-tester, my soulmate, my friend — he is my husband, and through thick and through thin, he always will be. And I trust in that promise.
The same can be said in many ways about this here blog. This journey lately — not going to lie, it’s been kind of rough. I’ve gone through the whole gamut of classic blogger problems — envy, lack of inspiration, questioning how much time I’ve spent online, etc. — in the last few weeks. I know this is all totally normal, and I am doing my best to embrace the bad with the good. Because in these nearly four years of blogging, I’ve had so much good happen to me — and, oh-so-hopefully, good has happened to others through this blog, as well. It’s a journey, to be sure, with all its ups and downs. But even in the trenches, in the valleys, I know that I am doing what I love and if I have nothing else, at least I have that. And I trust in that promise.
I’ve been sitting on this recipe for cilantro scallion bread for years now — and I’m not sure why I waited so dang long to make it. Because you see, this bread is good with a capital G. It’s savory in the best possible sense, with excellent texture from the crunchy sesame seeds scattered throughout. It’s also pretty easy on the eyes (always a win for a food blogger!), but more importantly, it’s delicious. Neither the cilantro nor the scallions really stands out above the other — they work together in this harmony of flavor that is so wonderfully unique, it cannot be compared. And even though it takes a little bit of time and love to make, the results are so worth it.
And just like that, I’ve discovered a lesson for my life, found in bread. That’s a sign of a recipe worth keeping.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
Yields: 12 rolls
1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups roughly chopped scallions
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 cup white sesame seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
Pour warm water into a small bowl; sprinkle yeast, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar on top. Let stand 10 minutes until foamy.
Meanwhile, combine flours and remaining salt and sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Rub in butter using your fingertips, then stir to combine until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add egg, egg yolk and yeast mixture. Stir (using a dough hook if using a stand mixer) until just combined.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic (or on medium speed in the stand mixer for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic). Shape dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, pulse scallions and cilantro in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in white sesame seeds and 3 tablespoons oil.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When dough has doubled, punch down and roll out on a lightly floured surface into an 18-by-9-inch rectangle. Spread cilantro-scallion mixture evenly on top of dough all the way to the edges. Carefully and tightly roll up dough from the short end into a cylinder. Use a sharp knife to slice into 12 rolls. Place each roll on prepared baking sheet.
Brush tops of rolls lightly with more oil; sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.