At a workshop a few weeks ago, a woman asked the group of us to think about the strongest message we received about money when we were young and write it on a sticker. Below it, she said to write down the strongest message we received about “giving.” Then she blind-sided us and said we had to wear the sticker. I felt so exposed. I wrote: “It’s hard to make a dollar” above “Give money to the arts.” Both of these messages came from my mom.
As a kid, I spent a lot of hours sitting in the car silently while my mom made work calls. She had a huge, white binder and sometimes I would read phone numbers out loud to her so she could call people when you were still allowed to hold your phone and drive. I remember she used a gravel-colored paper for press releases and that her business logo at the top of the page felt slightly raised under my fingers as they slid across the letters. I remember the smell of cardboard boxes, clay, and the sound of clear masking tape stretching across the middle of a box tightly packed and filled with styrofoam peanuts. I remember being seven or eight years old and feeling sad when she told me that she slept over night in her art studio and used a towel for a blanket. I remember accompanying her in Kentucky and Scottsdale for horse shows and getting a painful shot in anticipation of joining my mom in Guam for an unveiling of her art. It’s hard to make a dollar.
Every December, my whole family used to travel to Florida to stay at my grandparent’s place for the holidays. At nights, my uncle and aunts would pile by the piano to sing Carol King and Cat Stevens, and eventually the night would end with the whole family erupting into: “Those were the days my friends, we thought they’d never end…!” I remember my mom playing piano and singing “Glocca Morra” for my grandpa while he and my grandmother softly harmonized, exchanging flirtatious smiles. I remember my eyes widening so big when my mom sang opera that the corners would begin to burn. I remember being at home in our apartment, eight or nine years old, sitting at the piano late one night with my mom while she patiently taught me “Heart and Soul.” She gave me the deepest hug, yelped from excitement when I got it right, and made me feel like I was exceptional. I remember walking by street musicians and my mom never passing by without giving a dollar or two to enjoy their sweet sounds. Give money to the arts.
I don’t remember hearing “money messages” when I was young. But I learned so much when she didn’t know I was looking.
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Serves 2 overeaters or 3 people comfortably. Serve with a salad and it could serve 3-4 comfortably.
Dough: No-knead whole wheat pizza dough — click here OR easiest flatbread dough — click here (*If using the whole wheat recipe, make dough 12 hrs ahead) OR change this to an appetizer and just buy a sourdough baguette
2 leeks; halved and thinly sliced
1 tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c chardonnay (I used a cheap one — Charles Shaw)
1/2 tsp agave nectar (honey would be fine)
approx 2 tblsp goat cheese
approx 3 tblsp flat parsley; chopped (*arugula would be good, too)
How To Do It
Get the dough ready, whether you are using the whole wheat recipe or the flatbread recipe. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F.
While the oven is preheating, saute the leeks with the olive oil over high heat until they are soft, caramelized and beginning to brown. Sprinkle with salt. Add the chardonnay — the leeks should be just covered (not drowning) so you may have to adjust your measurement depending on your pan. Let braise over medium-high heat until the liquid has cooked out. Taste the leeks. Freak out about how good they taste. If the flavor is off, adjust with more salt or more chardonnay.
When the oven is ready, cook your dough without toppings for about 5-7 minutes or until the bottom begins to brown and the dough is nearly cooked through. Spread the goat cheese all over the bread, getting some on the crust and evenly distributing it over every bite. Spread the leeks all over evenly. Cook until the edges of the crust start to brown and dough is cooked.
Sprinkle with ample parsley (or arugula). Enjoy!