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Where I Hardly Go Anymore

The other day, I snuck a peek into my old life. I was headed to the dentist in downtown San Francisco, where I hardly ever go anymore. The streets were bustling with people. A sunny afternoon demanded outdoor lunch tables where many a girl dressed in cute floral blouses adorned with J.Crew statement necklaces dug into salads while continuously checking work emails on their iPhones. I knew these girls. I was one of these girls, sans the perfectly polished hair. We worked late hours, lunched infrequently (mostly we ate at our office desks) and lugged big gym bags to work. We pushed ourselves onto crowded trains during rush hour commutes, clutching our paperback books while listening to our iPods. We stood in the treadmill lines at Crunch or 24 Hour Fitness. Brought our makeup bags and straightening irons to freshen up for late dinner dates fueled by wine only to do it all over again. We planned dinner parties around television shows, slept in late on the weekends unless we did yoga or went running or had friends visiting from out of town.

It felt strange, walking out of the Montgomery station, feeling like I’d stepped into a movie set. Like I’d rewound a tape and was watching a rerun. I was 22 when I moved to San Francisco. My face was rounder than it had been in years past, and my capacity for late nights was much greater. I had confidence but often questioned myself. I had never run a 5K or been in a serious relationship. I had never parallel-parked my car. I had never tasted a fresh fig, or made a whole roast chicken. I had never been in love; I had only mistaken unrequited lust for what I thought was love.

Today I look in the mirror and I see the same person, but a different version of myself. I am thinner than I was back then, though with a few more stretch marks thanks to having had a baby. I have better fashion sense. My hair is more consistently naturally curly than straight. I know how to roast a chicken and panfry a steak and I can parallel park on hill like a whiz (most of the time). I know what real love is now, and what being loved should feel like. Fresh figs are a special treat I look forward to every Summer and Fall. I know who I am. I know what I want out of this life. This motherhood thing has thrown me for a loop; every time I think “I’ve got it!” I’m humbled to realize that I’ll never really ‘get it.’ But I’m doing it! Yes! I’m doing it. Doing it all. I try to keep my head above water while I frantically kick underneath. I try to make it look easy by taking the time to put on lipstick and take photos of food, and write contributed articles. Mostly for my own sake; to convince myself that I can and will continue to conquer this new life, these new challenges.

In the moment, we are all doing it. In cities and towns, at home and away from home, over lunch and dinner, in front of the computer, behind a desk, on a trail, in the mountains, in dark corners, in bright open spaces, on our phones, with our noses buried in books, from the couch, from our beds, with wet hair, behind the wheel, on a bicycle, in front of the mirror. The reflection you see is never more and never less than a perfectly present moment.

Today’s recipe is a nod to the freshness of Spring, the new beginnings, the need to nurture your soul and your body with good, healthy ingredients every step of the way.

Crispy Broccolini, Chickpea and Ricotta Salad
*adapted from Whole Living
serves four

1 bunch broccolini or broccoli rabe, rinsed and trimmed
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained or equivalent amount of cooked chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tablespoons of good quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling
sea salt
1 cup of fresh ricotta
red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
handful of fresh mint, finely chopped

1. Preheat your broiler. Combine the broccolini, chickpeas, and garlic with oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and toss to coat.
2. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet and broil for about two minutes, taking care to flip the broccolini once. Broil for another two minutes.
3. Divide among plates and top with fresh ricotta. Season with red pepper flakes (to taste) and more sea salt.
4. Drizzle with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh chopped mint. Serve with toast.

Musical Pairings: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – We The Common + Crispy Broccolini, Chickpea and Ricotta Salad

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • Hannah Simon

    I think I’m at an interesting transition where I’m still trying to reconcile the 22yr old “just moved to the city” Hannah with the “I’m turning 27 and know what I want out of life now” Hannah. Not quite at your level yet (although having cats might count as having a baby from time to time?) but the crossroads are interesting. Just when I think I know the path I’m walking down, something changes. Not in a bad way, just in a way to keep things interesting and keep me on my toes ๐Ÿ™‚ Love this post and you.

  • Amanda Areias

    Kasey, to be honest broccolini was the first to caught my attention. Bought it yesterday for the first time since I moved here (being one of the cheapest vegetables in Brazil, I always took it for grant, silly me)…and then I started reading…first I feel like apologizing for being away and for not knowing you had a baby!!! My dear friend, I am really happy that you are facing the most joyful challenge one can experience. Wishing you all the best in this moment. Plus, I can totally relate with your beautiful words, so needed this today! Thanks!

  • Shanna

    The writing here is so good.

  • This sounds like the perfect lunch. So fast! So easy! And it’s the perfect combination of bitter greens and rich beans and ricotta. Get in my mouth! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Amay

    What kind of cream is that on the top of this food? Is that cheese? Wish I find other way to make it on my way.

  • this is one of those simple yet delicious dishes!

  • WithStyleGrace

    Shanna said it – beautiful writing! so funny (sometimes scary…) looking back at where we were years back. second, this recipe looks delish!

  • Thanks, Lisa! It’s true- a walk down memory lane can be scary or funny – sometimes both at the same time ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Thanks, Dina!

  • Thanks, Eileen! It is definitely a great, healthy lunch.

  • Aw, thanks Shanna!

  • Hi Amanda! Thank you so much! It’s true – my baby is almost 3 months old. Crazy how fast time flies. It’s funny how we take certain fruits and vegetables for granted (for me it’s oranges, which are always so readily available in California). I hope you are well. xo

  • I think it keeps life interesting to realize that change can happen anytime. It’s scary, and sometimes unexpected, but in the end, I think everything happens for a reason.

  • Thanks, Kathryn! Great way to describe that senstation- familiarity and distance…it feels SO close, yet so far away. I quite enjoyed the feeling ๐Ÿ™‚

  • A great piece, Kasey, and the recipe is right up my alley!

  • I love this so much – thank you for writing just what I didn’t know I needed to read. We are all doing it, yes! And here’s to keeping on keeping on.

  • sarah kieffer

    Love this. Just what I needed to read today.

    And your salad is gorgeous. xo

  • Oh Kasey, this post hit home. I’ll email you. I can’t say I’ve ever been one of those girlsโ€”I don’t think I’m quite Type A enough to pull it offโ€”but I’m always impressed by how much you manage to accomplish in one day. And now I’ve witnessed you be a wonderful mother, too.

  • Pingback: Haylie Eckerโ€™s Soundbites: Food And Music Are A Match Made In Heaven!()

  • Thanks, Aida!

  • I love when I read something I needed to hear, and it’s always nice to know I wrote something someone else needed to hear, too ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers to keeping on!

  • Thanks, friend. It’s nice to know you needed it ๐Ÿ™‚ xoxo

  • Kathryne! I hardly manage to keep it all together and now that I’m a mom, I’m constantly struggling with guilt but hey, it’s all about just chugging along, doing your best, and knowing it will all turn out in the end ๐Ÿ˜‰ xo

  • Sonja / A Couple Cooks

    Darn it, your writing is so good. A beautiful style and mood to this piece, and a recipe to match. I love everything about this. N has got one talented mama ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This looks pretty perfect. A salad with ricotta? Sign me up.

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