A year and a half ago we were driving a moving truck through the Rocky Mountains. We had decided within a few short weeks to sell both our cars, all our furniture, and many of our belongings. We had some boxes and a bed packed in the rental, and hit the road from our southern California home for Denver. Having never visited, and having no jobs lined up, it was a slightly nervous car ride as we came out the other side of the mountains and drove into Denver for the first time. Our stomachs sunk. It was as if we swallowed a pit that weighed as much as a bowling ball. This wasn’t right. We weren’t suppose to be here. Or were we? It felt at first like a nightmare, then after the shock wore off a bit we were able to pull ourselves together and encourage one another to stick it out. We were brought here for a reason, and it was going to be hard, but we needed to see it through.
To say the last year and a half have been tough would be to put it simply. There has been lot of suppressing – of emotions, identity, depression, anxiety, and the all-out urge to pack everything up and hit the road. In the midst of our struggle there has, however, been grace. Friendships unlike any others have come into our lives, and a very important company made up of some of the most incredible, caring individuals who have made our dreams come true. If you are reading this, we have no words to express how grateful we are for you. Its because of you we have stayed this year and a half, and because of you we can now leave with our hands full of great work. Work we love, cherish, and have dreamt of doing our entire lives. I say “we can now leave” because we are, leaving that is, in two weeks. The time finally came where we woke up and knew, we can go, it feels right, now is time. Time to go back to feeling at home again, to somewhere we know and resonate with on a deep, human level that cannot be described – only felt. After moving so often in our marriage, we are now ready (I am now ready) to settle down, dig in roots, paint walls, and hang shelves. We’re going home. I’m tearing up as I write this, having wanted to write this for a year an a half now (although it feels like ten). But I’ve been suppressing these feelings, knowing I needed to in order to keep it together. But now I (we) get to be free. Back to the beach. Back to warmth, year round farmers markets, and the stunning Newport Back Bay running trail. And most importantly, closer to our families. But before all of that, we have two more weeks. To soak up our friends here who will be missed, and drink all of the coffee Black Eye can brew.
ABOUT THE CUCUMBER BALSAMIC
This white balsamic is super fresh with the addition of cucumber and grape must to give it a melon-y vibe. The mellow flavor of the cucumber is just what this tzatziki sauce needs to complete the delicious flavor profile of the original Mediterranean dip! The mother daughter team, Michelle and Brie, create this stellar balsamic in Bozeman, Montana. Talk about a different location than you would expect. I love their creativity, first with this white cucumber balsamic – and then also with a handful of other infused oils and vinegars I am dying to try. Such as their sun dried tomato balsamic vinegar and blood orange olive oil. This duo is so inspiring and making me want to try to pair all sorts of unique flavors in my recipes. Plus I love that they do it together, mother and daughter and all. They call themselves Olivelle and you can check them out on the Hatchery site here.
ABOUT THE RECIPE
This recipe was inspired by my love for greek/mediterranean food. I can eat olives and cucumbers all day, plus I am kind of obsessed with this sunflower tzatziki dressing. It was originally inspired by my tzatziki spread in this post last year, but thinned out and jazzed up with this stellar cucumber balsamic! Plus – fries – and my favorite kind, parsnip. I love how similar parsnips are to potatoes when slivered and baked, yet they taste a bit fresher and sturdier to me. Slather anything in olive oil, salt, pepper, and roast it in the oven and it’s bound to come out tasting delish (I say). This is a pile of all the plant based goods, from fresh herbs, chickpeas, chopped cucumber, creamy sunflower seed dressing, and a few pinches of pine nuts. I know cucumbers aren’t in season yet, but I’m pushing for them and making the exception with a few imported ones lately (my vice). In the summer months, a fresh tomato finely chopped would be amazing in here too. This dish is so fresh, and to me, tastes like spring.
This post was sponsored by Hatchery. All words and opinions are my own, and I truly love this company and it’s mission. Thank you for supporting Faring Well and its wonderful sponsors!
PARSNIP FRIES / GREEK STYLE
Serves 2 as a snack or light lunch.
4 medium parsnips
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers
1 cup diced cucumber
pine nuts, for topping
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked at least 4 hours
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
few dashes of black pepper
2 heaping tablespoons fresh dill
1 tablespoon white cucumber balsamic
1 teaspoon raw honey
2 tablespoons purified water, to thin
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Scrub the parsnips under running water to remove any dirt and pat dry with a towel. Trim an inch from the top and bottom of each parsnip, slice in half, and cut into 1/2 inch sticks. Toss with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Spread the fries evenly on the lined baking sheet, giving each at least an inch of space between the other. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip each fry and return to the oven to bake for another 8 minutes. Fries are done when they are brown and crispy.
While the fries are baking, combine the parsley, chickpeas, olives, capers, and cucumber in a mixing bowl. Toss together and set aside.
Rinse and drain the soaked sunflower seeds. Add them to a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, adding an additional teaspoon of water at a time to thin to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Plate the fries and top with plenty of parsley salad. Drizzle your desired amount of tzatziki dressing on top and sprinkle with pine nuts. I find these to be eaten best with a fork, and plenty of dressing on the side.
Store leftover tzatziki dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store leftover parsley salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
HATCHERY BOX >>
A few of my favorite bottles I’ve been collection from my recent Hatchery boxes. I so look forward to my little curation of delicious goods each month! If you’d like to join the fun too, get your first month for only $10 when you use the code “FARINGWELL” at checkout. – xo