Comfort and joy. I’ve been thinking so much about these words lately. It’s a sweet word pairing, don’t you think?
Being comfortable is having a sense of physical or psychological ease, often characterized by a lack of hardship. Research tells us that a degree of psychological comfort can be achieved by recreating experiences that are associated with pleasant memories, like engaging in familiar activities and even consuming comfort foods. (!!!!)
The holidays are definitely a time that encapsulates all of that. The reviews of the past year, celebrating and recreating traditions with friends and family, and most definitely the food! Comfort.
Definition of joy
1a: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight
b: the expression or exhibition of such emotion: gaiety
2: a state of happiness or felicity: bliss
3: a source or cause of delight
I vow in 2018 to read the definition of joy every day. Those are some stellar words: Bliss. Felicity. Gaiety. Delight.
The joy at this time of year seems easy. Parties, decorative lights, sipping hot cocoa... New York City turns up the joy during the holidays. The window displays, the Rockefeller tree, Times Square ball dropping, and we’ve had two nearly perfect snowfalls. It’s truly been a delight to be in all of the holiday hustle and bustle. Joy.
In the Christmas carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman we sing, “O tidings of comfort and joy.” That’s where we get that sweet word pairing... But what are the tidings about really?
They are talking about the "good news" that has come, that Christ was born. This news brings comfort (because Christ was born to save us,) and joy (from knowing God and Christ's love). Aha!
Well, I realize that we’re not all celebrating the birth of Christ at this time of year, but I think we can all come up with some good news, right? Let’s end the year on a high note. Surely you have some glad tidings to share and some comfort and joy to spare. Leave me some good news in the comments. Anything - your greatest triumph to your smallest victory!
I’ll start...These are some bits of good news in my life these days:
- A friend from home is running for MAYOR of our little town. I am bursting with pride. #shelfer2018
- Friends in Brooklyn welcomed a new little baby and I’ve seen her with my eyeballs twice! Babies are joy bringers.
- Dearests and bests in Dallas received miraculous news that their mother dying of cancer is cancer free! Good news of the highest quality!
- Good news of my own: I signed with my voice over agent after free lancing for a whole bunch of years. Here’s to booking many voice over jobs in 2018! And I am T H I S close to reaching my financial goals for the year. Comfort coming in at a whole new level.
I'm sharing a recipe this week that is comforting and festive, yet full of nutritious and flavorful vegetables and will be a joyous addition to any holiday table.
Roast Vegetable Tart
2 large roasted red peppers, seeded, peeled, and chopped -you can roast your own (or buy jarred ones!)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large zucchini, diced
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 ready-made pie crust in a tin - or make your own and press it into a pie plate!
8 sprigs of thyme, picked
1/2 cup goat's cheese, crumbled
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lay out the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and place the pan in the oven. After 12 minutes, add the diced zucchini to the pan, add a little more oil, a little more salt and pepper. Roast for another 15 minutes until the veggies are cooked but still firm.
While the vegetables are roasting, sauté the onion in a skillet on the stove along with the bay leaf, some salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook them on a medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn brown, soft and sweet. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf and set aside.
Line the pie crust with a large sheet of baking parchment (make sure it covers the base and sides) and fill it with ceramic pie weights or baking beans. Bake blind for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the paper with the weights/beans.
Now, scatter the base of the tart with the cooked onion and top with the roasted vegetables; try to arrange them evenly, then scatter half the thyme over them. Next, dot the veg with chunks of cheese and then with tomatoes, cut side facing up.
Whisk the egg and cream in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper. Gently pour into the vegetable and cheese filled shell. Scatter with the remaining thyme leaves. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until slightly puffed and golden.