Here I am, sitting before the laptop, alone in the hotel room somewhere in Ipoh for official duty. My strained eyes are staring at a blank sheet of Word document, my fingers poise themselves with uncertainty on the keyboard, my mind burned out and feeling dazed. Words are at the tip of my tongue. I know I want to write, but I don’t know where to begin with. I may not even be clear about my thoughts.
Still, I’m going to forge ahead with this. It’s been a while, people.
And it’s been very quiet here. Unsurprisingly, with the cold response this blog has been getting, I’m beginning to have doubts. I wonder if I should abandon this blog so that on weekdays, it’ll be just work and work and nothing else, then by the time I’m home, it’ll be just quiet moments spent in solitude before hitting the sack. I’ve been questioning myself: How long this blog will last and if the blogging momentum is leaving me for good. I don’t have the guts to peek at the answers, even.
On the other hand, I do feel a little easier now with the label, “corporate communications executive,” on an introvert like me, a greenhorn who racks her brain to plan, organize, and execute events; who takes care of the image of the company that hires her; who, no matter how jaded she is, has to put up a smile on her face and talk to people of all walks of life, be it the press, the staff, or the bosses; who used to write more but less now professionally. A good portion of my brain is occupied by things like corporate social responsibility, corporate branding, internal relations, investor relations, the media, annual dinner, product launches. I no longer write full time, and I’ve been missing writing terribly.
|Nearing Ipoh ...|
I may have been out on a limb, throwing myself in the nasty corporate world. The good news is, I’m trying to look on the bright side. I wonder if this turbulent ride will take me to another stage in life. I hope to share it with you as time goes, and as I grow.
So, before I head for the bed, before I embark on another busy day tomorrow, before I return — in another week, or two, or who-knows-when — with another new post, it’d be nice to share with you a recent addiction of mine.
Loads of vegetables, beans, and sardines, coated in loads of homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
That’s a balanced meal, my kind of food, for someone who loves to cook and bake and eats homemade food, but who can hardly on hectic days like now.
A small head of sweet, crisp organic cabbage, either green or red. A couple of crunchy, sweet-tasting, mildly peppery bell peppers, red and yellow. Some jalapeños, for a picante touch, seeded. (Keep the seeds if you can handle more heat than I do!) A good handful of juicy honeyed cherry tomatoes, both red and yellow colored. Diced pitted black olives. Some sardines packed in olive oil. A can of chickpeas or fava beans. (Canned beans are still acceptable.) Dress them all in spoonfuls of good-quality balsamic vinaigrette, which I love for its sweet caramel-like flavor. Lastly, season for taste with fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper.
Addiction in a bowl, y’all.
I’ve been caught devouring this salad for lunch in the office. Come to think about it, I may have really been out on a limb, crawling my way through the cruel corporate world. But looking on the bright side, albeit jaded, I’m thankful that it all takes at most — if not more than — 40 minutes, approximately, from start to end, to knock together the salad and the week’s supply of balsamic vinaigrette. Down it.
And I’m a rather happy working girl.
P.S. This post was written, on and off, across three days. It was first composed in a hotel room in Ipoh, while I was away on a business trip two days ago now, then was expanded upon the next morning I got up. The entire post finally came into shape last night, after my return from Ipoh, cozily in my own room in Kuala Lumpur.
|Vinaigrette made with lemon juice on the left, and one with balsamic vinegar on the right.|
This vinaigrette hits home. And the below formula is something I picked up over the months, through reading good food write-ups and looking at recipes. A no-brainer, really. Some kind of oil, an acid of some sort, and mustard as emulsifier are basically what you need. I find myself fiddling around, enjoying the process. I’d tried with malt vinegar, and it’s not a good idea. At times I use freshly squeezed lemon juice in lieu of balsamic vinegar. Lemon juice, perhaps because of its much higher acid content, however, makes emulsifying less easy, and hence a runnier vinaigrette. Try throwing in a clove or two of minced garlic or a small shallot to give it a greater savory gusto.
3 parts balsamic vinegar
1 part Dijon mustard
5 parts good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a mixing bowl, using a hand whisk, whisk together the vinegar and mustard to blend well. As you keep whisking the mixture (rather vigorously), dribble in the olive oil. Do this slowly; otherwise, the mixture won’t emulsify. Taste with salt and pepper. Use it to dress your choice salad. Store the vinaigrette in an airtight jar, refrigerated. It keeps for weeks.