One of the reasons I am able to cook for my clients each week is that I invest in myself (and indirectly invest in them as well) by getting massages regularly and going on a big adventurous vacation every year. That may sound self important, but ya know what, I AM important. We all are.
Filling up our own tank to keep on going looks different for everyone, and we may not all have the same resources for self care. Decide what works for you, your budget, and your calendar and make it happen. You are worth it and every life you touch will benefit by you taking time for yourself. Naps, dinners out, walks along the river, hikes, cruises, new stamps on your passport, time alone for meditation, retreats, anything and everything counts.
When I take vacations, I really focus on receiving. I get inspired by the way other people give. I allow others to cook for me, guide me, and host me. I am well paid for everything I do in New York City, so it feels so good to circulate that money to others in another land and receive their gifts and services.
While in Israel, we mostly stayed in Airbnb’s. In Jerusalem we were hosted for 5 nights by a couple that was generous of time, space, information, and FOOD. Our breakfasts were elaborate presentations of small plates (that they actually made in a ceramics studio!) Yogurts with homemade jams, roasted and spiced vegetables, hummous, cheeses, fruits, olives, breads. A few bites of everything. Such variety, all generously made for their guests. I felt spoiled waking up each morning to such abundance.
We stayed in a Bedouin camp in Jordan and were greeted with a feast under the stars as well as tea by the campfire before retiring to our tents. The whole ordeal was exotic and adventurous. The endeavors of the Bedouin family to make us all feel safe and provided for was not lost on me. As one who prepares feasts for others, it felt so luxurious to be on the receiving end of this very special group of people and their culinary efforts.
Breakfast is the perfect way to take your self on a mini vacation. As the daughter of two teachers, our mornings were rushed and felt more about getting out the door than fueling ourselves or coming together as a family to prepare for our day. On the weekends we got to rest and recover and indulge in our morning meals. Mom would make biscuits and gravy or my sister and I would break out the Bisquick box for pancakes.
I’m not sure how this recipe made it into my repertoire, but I’ve made it on the weekend for my family for years. It feels decadent and fancy, while still being fun and easy. I sometimes have dreams of my own bed and breakfast and hosting guests from all over the world. I will serve this to them in honor of all the people who have prepared my breakfasts when I was on vacation, filling my tank so I could go back home and keep on giving.
Rhubarb and Strawberry Puffed Pancake
6 tbsp butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
Melt the butter over low heat and swirl to coat a 12” ovenproof pan. Combine the eggs, half-and-half, flour, and sugar using a hand mixer for 1 minute. Pour the batter directly into the pool of butter in the pans and transfer to the oven. Bake until the pancake is puffed above the pan and golden brown on top about 20 minutes. Dust with the powdered sugar and top with the rhubarb and strawberry syrup.
Rhubarb and Strawberry Syrup
1/2 of 1 vanilla bean pod, split and seeded
3 cups sliced rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
3/4 cup honey
2 tbsp water
Add the seeds to a medium saucepan along with the rhubarb, strawberries, honey, and water. Cook over low heat until the rhubarb begins to break down and all the honey has dissolved, about 10 minutes.
***** Dutch babies, or German puffed pancakes, are magical creations. They balloon up like a soufflé and create all sorts of nooks and crannies for syrup and fruit. Your guests will be impressed with the dramatic presentation, but show them quickly before it begins to deflate. I traditionally use apples, but rhubarb and strawberries create a seasonal tangy foil for the sweet pancake. Maple syrup works fine as well!