I’m working on some articles for a new blogging platform soon-to-be-launched by LifeOmic, a precision medicine website. Even though I love writing, it is really challenging, and I’ve been feeling a bit stuck this morning. To get the writing juices flowing, I thought I’d write a little on my personal blog, this wonderful thing that serves as a platform for my stumblings and ramblings. With phone stashed, email closed, and Schumann playing, I commence.
Yesterday afternoon, I sipped wine and munched some newly-harvested blueberries while making one of the finest foods in any land: Georgian cheese bread, or khachapuri. The main idea behind khachapuri is to taste extremely delicious. With a flaky crust rich in butter, yogurt, and eggs, and an interior world of abundant cheese, it deeply satisfies my animalistic cravings for fat and warm gooey-ness. Jason introduced me to khachapuri one cold wintry night a year or so ago, and I was making it this time to surprise him upon his return from a week of field work up north.
I love baking almost as much as I love khachapuri. From sourdough bread to cakes, I revel in the feel of dough as I work it through my hands and in the sight of batter as it sensuously pours into a buttered pan. Although I had watched Jason make khachapuri and had assisted him in the final assembly, this was my first time making it from scratch by myself.
I felt confident. The dough is worked much like pie crust, although a bit easier: one doesn’t add ice water to bring to a proper consistency, and the “proper consistency” of khachapuri dough is less of a concern than with pie crust. Once it has chilled, the dough is rolled out to a rectangle. Diced cheeses (I used Havarti, Muenster, and Mexican queso fresco), mixed with an egg, are piled on one side of the rectangle. Much like a Georgian calzone, the dough is folded over the cheese heap and crimped together.
I like to make pretty designs on top of the khachapuris before popping them in the oven. On the plain loaf I added a cutout of a heart, and on the herby loaf (tarragon was mixed with the cheese) I added several leaf cutouts. It was as I was cutting out the leaves from the dough trimmings that I became aware of a particular contentment: working with dough, wine in the glass, dog napping, making something beautiful, my sweet Jason coming home soon. I felt a quiet competency in my life. An agency. I had created this beauty around me. I had chosen this house, this dog, these ingredients. I had practiced my baking for years to support the success of another khachapuri experience. And now I was choosing to appreciate it all.
“Georgian cheese bread!!!” Jason squealed when he came in the door. His excitement was like the cherry on top of it all. Now to toast some leftover khachapuri and return (refreshed) to my squirrel writing!