Friday, September 26, 2008


I wasted a whole lot of writing time this week with a big old crisis of confidence. On Tuesday I convinced myself that I didn't like my main character and needed to make her more spirited and less cautious and that had a ripple effect all the way down. If she was confident, then all the people around her would have to change and her entire journey over the course of the novel would change. And that left me with what? Maybe just a concept?

For my fellow dweebs out there, just think of if Tolkien had decided that Boromir actually did get to carry the ring instead of Frodo. Different book, eh?

So I spent a chunk of Wednesday moping about and feeling bad about all the effort I'd put in so far. I revised my supporting documents which track my heroine's journey and rewrote my character sketches and remembered how one of my favorite profs from undergrad said that editing your own writing sometimes feels like you are "slaughtering your little darlings" and what a sucky a feeling that was.

I didn't get to write on Thursday because the small critter had a day-long field trip that I helped out on. And not writing was probably the smartest thing I could do--take a flipping break and get a little distance from my crisis.

Today I went back and decided to just read what I had written so far. No writing expectation, just a chance to see if my Tuesday freak out was justified or not. And it is with a big sigh of relief that I can say that my crisis of confidence was not warranted--I like my main character the way she is and while I'm sure I'll be doing some severe editing in the weeks and months to come, I don't have to slaughter this little darling just yet.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The tahini devotee

I think I might be kind of sick of humus. I used to eat it voraciously and while I appreciate its blood-sugar-level stabilizing effect, it has started tasting a little pasty to me. Or maybe I just ate too much not-so-good industrial humus rather than the stuff we get in Dearborn and have dubbed "white velvet." But even my homemade stuff hasn't pleased me of late.

But not to worry. I have something even simpler that I'm presently eating in great quantities: tahini lemon sauce (pictured above drizzled over roasted cauliflower and rice).

I think I need to keep a container of this tahini sauce around, sort of like the way I always have a jar of mayo in the fridge. It would be terrific tossed over some diced tomatoes, cucumbers and minced parsley and mint. It would taste mighty fine on a roast beef sandwich. If you happen to have some spare falafel or kofte around, serve them with this. It would probably be an awesome topping to a pile of sauteed tofu and asparagus. And you could dip carrots in it when feeling peckish (excuse me for a moment while I go get some carrots and the leftover tahini sauce. Ah. Now. That's better.)

The roast cauliflower with tahini sauce can be found in many Lebanese restaurants, though whenever I've ordered it the cauliflower has been deep fried (no batter--just golden brown all over). If deep frying doesn't seem like a pain in the butt to you, be my guest! But if you are somewhat fearful of boiling cauldrons of oil (like me!) the roasting route is far easier and does a pretty good job in sweetening up the cauliflower and tempering the strong cabbagey flavor that some people find off-putting. You probably already know that plain roast cauliflower is pretty terrific, but give the sauce a try and, like me, you might get hooked. As soon as the florettes come out of the oven, I'm snatching them off the roasting pan, dunking them in the sauce and risking burning my tongue--the combo is that good. If you don't like the white on white coloring, feel free to sprinkle with a little chopped parsley or mint and maybe a sprinkle of sumac or paprika for snazz.

Tahini Lemon Sauce

1/2 C tahini
1/2 C hot water
juice of one juicy lemon (3T maybe?)
1 small garlic clove
1/2 t salt

Puree together in a blender. That's it!