“How much I adore your tender nuzzle against my side, just under my arm when we lie together. I sometimes watch your hands gesturing in the dark as you lie on your back talking to me. Smart quips, soft lips. I laugh, feeling warm inside. I love to swaddle you in my arms and gingerly, gently kiss your forehead. The winsome nape of your neck, your warm legs wrapped around my body…. “I know I said I didn’t want to see you again as a friend. But if we could agree to leave the last few months of that decline as a hard lesson, I would put on my glasses so you would feel smitten and we could read together….that would be nice. I would do my best to let things become lovely between us again. I want your charming smile back, to feel your hand in mine, to talk about trivial things, to sit quietly with you and a laugh loudly together.
Come talk to me about the future, not about the past. I’m ready to forget all of the sad and fearful word we said to each other when we were both too afraid to say yes. I still love you just the way you are, angst and all. I don’t mind – I think your faults are beautiful.
I don’t have an agenda or a recipe for either of our lives. I don’t know what to do. I only know that I want to do it with you. I miss you. I miss your dog. Sadly, I even miss the way you make eggs for breakfast.
Maybe this will help your eggs….
Harissa is a blend of hot peppers, oil and various spices. It’s a flavor base for curries and stews, as well as a condiment, in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
Harissa ingredients vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, as well as by country and ethnicity, but the basic recipe calls for hot peppers, garlic, salt, and lots of olive oil. Then you add some amounts of coriander and caraway seeds, and maybe cumin and dried mint, depending on your preference.
- 8 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed
- and seeded (about 2 oz.)
- 8 dried new mexico chiles, stemmed
- and seeded (about 1 1⁄2 oz.)
- 1⁄2 tsp. caraway seeds
- 1⁄4 tsp. coriander seeds
- 1⁄4 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. dried mint leaves
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil,
- plus more as needed
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 5 cloves garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon
1. Put chiles into a medium bowl, cover with boiling water, and let sit until softened, about 20 minutes. Heat caraway, coriander, and cumin in an 8″ skillet over medium heat. Toast spices, swirling skillet constantly, until very fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer spices to a grinder with the mint and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
2. Drain chiles and transfer to the bowl of a food processor with the ground spices, olive oil, salt, garlic, and lemon juice. Purée, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the paste is very smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a sterilized 1-pint glass jar and fill with oil until ingredients are submerged by 1⁄2″. Refrigerate, topping off with more oil after each use. Harissa paste will keep for up to 3 weeks.
MAKES 1 CUP