I am a pretty impulsive person, which seems to have its benefits and downfalls. In my teens and early twenties, it was okay to be so impulsive. I believe that is what you earlier years are for - figuring out who you are and where you want to be. For some of us, that takes a lot longer than others. I had no idea who I was for most of my twenties. Honestly, it wasn't until I met Phil that I really knew. That sounds so super cheesy, but he really did ground me.
Before Phil, I was flighty and inconsistent in every thing that I did. I moved around a lot, took jobs and left jobs, up and left for Nevada for six months, then moved back. I enrolled in college, and left just as quickly. I smoked cigarettes, dated guys that weren't right for me, and probably (definitely) consumed a little too much alcohol. I couldn't ever decide where I wanted to live, what I wanted to do with my life, and who I wanted to spend that life with.
Impulses can be good and bad, I think. Getting a tattoo on my eighteenth birthday just because I wanted to - not always a good impulse, but one I (thankfully!) don't regret. Going to England for two weeks just because I could - also, not a bad impulsive decision. Buying a puppy at the age of 22 when I didn't have a solid home or career…not my best move (don't worry, she lived with my parents and was very loved!). My hair has been every shade of blonde, brunette, black, purple, red, orange and pink you can imagine. I have had multiple pixie cuts, and college-dorm-bathroom salon sessions. I change my hair with the weather, that's just how I have always been. I have pierced my nose not once, but four times. It is safe to say I did not know myself for many years. In fact, I think I am just meeting me.
After my college shenanigans, and worse yet - my post college shenanigans - (four years at college and not a degree in sight, mind you) I tried really hard to control my impulsive nature and buckle down. I still did not have my teaching degree (which is what I convinced myself I wanted - with the help of many others input), and I was feeling pretty useless.
It's hard, being in your mid to late twenties and still not knowing fully what you want your life to look like. Do I want to be a teacher? Do I want to live in the 'burbs with five kids? Do I want to be a wedding planner and live in the city? Am I cut out for corporate America? What happens when all I really want to do is bake at home and write in my journal...
When I met Phil, I had been very (impulsively) involved in a church. I think I thought I would find answers there - and I did to be honest. My sister introduced me to Phil one Sunday afternoon in July. Phil, being a photographer, was working with my sister on a modeling shoot. They had been friends for many years, but I had never met him (probably because I was doing something ridiculous like moving to Martha's Vineyard or researching how to start a charter school…). I had just come home from church (see? Trying to be stable…) and the second I saw him, something changed. After that afternoon I couldn't stop thinking about him. A few weeks later, when I really just couldn't get him off my mind, I very impulsively asked him out on a date. Waiting for that response was the most nervous I think I have ever been in my life. Thankfully, he agreed to dinner, and it was the best impulsive decision I have made in my life. He has helped me become who I am, and more than that - he has helped me find who I am. He shows me the good in my decisions, and never makes me feel like I should have chosen another path.
I know that I will probably change my hair drastically on a monthly basis (its short and brunette now…nothing like my picture on here!), and I will definitely get more tattoos. Jumping on an airplane to anywhere has always been a dream of mine…and I might even smoke the very occasional cigarette - but I am so happy where I am with my life now. Making all of those bad impulsive decisions has eventually led me to where I was always meant to be - right here in Massachusetts, baking bread and writing down recipes with Phil by my side. Still no college degree - but you know, I am okay with that.
Here is an impulsive grocery store purchase for you - rabbit! It is truly delicious. It tastes a bit like gamey turkey. The meat is tender and moist when braised, and it pairs delightfully with mushrooms and some pasta. I made a white wine cream sauce with mine, but it would be delicious with a red sauce I'm sure.
• Pappardelle Pasta with Braised Rabbit and Blue Foot Mushrooms •
• 1 rabbit, cleaned
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• ¼ cup dry white wine
• 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 cup heavy cream
• ¼ lb blue foot mushrooms (or any other mushroom of your choice) rinsed and cleaned – removing some of the tougher ends
• 1 cup fava beans (I buy mine frozen, unfortunately, because I can't find them anywhere else. You can easily use English peas if you can't find frozen or fresh fava beans).
• 8oz of pappardelle pasta (or any other long pasta like linguine or fettuccine)
for the rabbit
Preheat the oven to 400F
Make sure the rabbit is clean, and that the organs that are sometimes left inside the cavity, are removed. Rinse in cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.
Place the rabbit in a pan that can be used easily on the stove top, as well as in the oven. I used my copper pot, but a dutch oven works really well. Drizzle the olive oil, salt and pepper all over the rabbit, making sure that all of the rabbit is oiled and seasoned.
Place the pot on the stovetop, and cook over medium high heat. Cook on the stove top, uncovered, for about five minutes on each side – making sure the rabbit gets golden on each side.
Add the wine to the pot, and place the rabbit in the preheated oven. Cook uncovered for one hour.
Once the rabbit is finished cooking, remove from the pot, and set aside. Reserve the left over liquid from the pot and set aside.
Once the rabbit is cooled slightly, remove the meat from the bones and set the meat aside. Discard the bones (or make some rabbit stock?!).
for the sauce
Using the same pot that you cooked the rabbit in, set on the stove over medium heat (I didn't even rinse mine because I wanted to preserve as much flavor as possible). Add the butter.
Once the butter is heated and melting, add the shallots and garlic. Continue to stir, so they don't burn. Add the mushrooms and continue to stir.
Once the mushrooms are starting to soften, add the liquid that was reserved from the rabbit pot. Stirring with a wooden spoon, deglaze the pot and add the cream. Add the fava beans. Stir, season with pepper and salt to your liking, and let simmer on low heat while you cook the pasta.
for the pasta
Bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil, with a pinch of salt. Add the pasta once the water is boiling, and continue to cook for 8 minutes. Strain, and return back to the pan, adding a drizzle of olive oil to make sure the pasta doesn't stick together.
Add the pasta to the pot with the sauce. Using a wooden spoon (or tongs, which are my choice utensil for this job) toss the pasta in the sauce, fulling covering all of the noodles. Add the rabbit and give another toss.
Transfer to a nice platter, spoon in to bowls, or eat standing with a fork at the stove like I so often do...
listening to: Catch the Wind by Donovan