Dear Mom,

You’re right. A twofer is the way to go this summer. Who has time to prepare food that lasts just one meal?!

I learned to binge cook from you—it was an important lesson. It’s always a helpful timesaver to make food in bulk and repurpose it throughout the week.

This past week I had my exams. I was pressed for time, so I should NOT have spent so much of it in the kitchen. But alas, the kitchen is where I release stress. Instead of studying for my Arabic exam, I chopped and mixed and stirred and kneaded. If I fail the course, at least I’ll have zesty salads for the rest of the month.

Food preparation is a meditation. I don’t think; I just chop. I move; I mix; I create. My brain is relaxed. In the kitchen, if bread doesn’t rise, I repurpose it into crackers; if vegetables are too spicy, I stir in yogurt to cool them down; if a grain bowl is too salty, I add more rice and water. My love for the kitchen isn’t about eating food—it’s about preparing it. It’s about problem-solving, creativity and building things with my own hands all with a relaxed mind and body.

So it’s when I’m the most stressed that my best culinary creations are born. My exams this semester resulted in an incredible sorrel pesto that functions beyond a twofer—it’s an everything-er. I’ve been adding it to chopped salads for extra zest, throwing a dollop on a two-egg omelet for a luxurious breakfast, stirring it into yogurt and spreading over a rice cake for a quick snack, mixing it with rice and beans for a quick, hearty meal…the list goes on.

I was introduced to sorrel at the Sunday farmer’s market in Dupont Circle. There was a stand with beautiful greens right at the end of the strip, and I always used to try new ones. One time, the vendor handed me a sorrel leaf, and my taste buds were shocked. What was this lemony leaf? I bought a bag and munched on it all day long.

Now I buy all my veggies at Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem. Usually I pick up whatever’s on sale. There was a huge (HUGE!) box of what I thought was spinach for just ten shekels, so I took it home. Turns out it was sorrel! Instead of hitting my books, I went straight to the kitchen to prepare a big tub of pesto.

My master plan is to make buckwheat blinis layered with ricotta and sorrel pesto. I imagine that the mild ricotta will pair beautifully with the zesty sorrel. Now all I need is time to make it happen. Until then, I’ll keep enjoying the extra zest in my quick fixes.

xo,
Shaina