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How to Leave in 24 Hours

Packing
Packing for L.A.

Itinerary


On the way to Santa Fe you get a phone call. It's for your husband. You overhear snippets and wait patiently. There is interest in another script. Real interest. 

Driving talk turns on a dime from the grocery list (where you just added butternut squash in bumpy cursive) to the wisdom vs. craziness of dropping the day's plans and booking a flight to LAX. 

You sit quietly in the hot car, squinting at the blur of sunbaked sage along the highway while your husband thinks it over (and inside you are jumping like a kindergarten inmate, yelling, Why not? Let's go! This is everything you've dreamed of- script meetings, casting conversations- but, really, it's his call).

You do your best to embody Zen detachment.

What do you think? he turns and asks. 

You just smile. He knows what you think. You've been bitching about being under-stimulated for weeks, getting all gloomy again. There are more phone calls. Then suddenly it's a go.

You're leaving in twenty-four hours.

You start picking through dirty jeans and shirts. Distracted by the early morning slant of sun warming the tumbleweeds, you leave the laundry to grab a camera. Five minutes later you notice the bowl of ripe tomatoes on the blue tiled counter. You can't just leave those. So you wash them gently, slice and toss them into a roasting pan with olive oil, herbs and cloves of garlic. You add a splash of balsamic vinegar.

You slide the pan into a low-heat oven.


Tomatoes for slow roasting
Tomatoes ready for roasting.


The house starts to smell like an Italian villa. You fold and iron and fold. You plug in your iPod Shuffle and choose 250 songs (no Sting). You think about Santa Monica and the last time you saw your son, Colin. You add some of his songs to your mix. Then you notice the roses you photographed this week (they have seen better days). You empty the pitcher. You get distracted by the beauty of the dead petals and dried leaves against the white garbage bag. You grab your camera.


Dead Roses by Karina Allrich
Still life with garbage.


You air out the luggage that has been in storage since May- sliding it into the bright afternoon sun (you'll have to tip it sideways later to scoot a frantic lizard back to his usual vertical perch on the adobe wall). You wonder if the tomatoes are done. It's been two hours. Or more. You peek into the oven and inhale the slow roasted garlicky dense tomato scent.

You try not to panic about what the heck you'll eat for the next week (staying at the one hotel where you could get a last minute reservation in your price range- there's no kitchenette, no microwave). You imagine bags of chips and jarred salsa dinners. You hope Real Food Daily will have choices that are gluten, onion, bean- blah blah blah- free.

But you don't really care.

Somehow it will all work out. Or maybe you're just deep in denial, you think to yourself. You breathe.

Then there's the last bit of autumn roasted green chile to think about. And half a bag of small gold potatoes. One big mother of a sweet potato. And one lonely uncooked organic burger. Might as well make a green chile stew before you hit the road.

So you heat some olive oil in a pot, toss in some chopped onion, garlic, and crumbled beef, and sprinkle said ingredients with cumin and chili powder and stir until browned, humming a K T Tunstall tune. You throw in cut up gold and sweet potatoes and the last of the chopped roasted green chile. You stir up some organic beef broth and pour it in. A dash of agave. You let the stew do its stew-y thing while you contemplate which pair of sneakers to wear on the plane- Rocket Dogs or Skechers? Tough call.

You'll decide later.

There are toothbrushes and socks to be packed. But first, a glass of white table wine. Then a bowl of green chile stew.

This is the part of the movie, you think, when she looks at her husband sitting by the window, back lit by sweet light, and your chest aches in recognition. You see, the thing is, you always knew it. In your heart you just knew. Those movies everyone told you were fantasy? The on-screen or off-screen marriages that crackled with mutual admiration and no bullshit and you pined for that while those closest to you clucked in favor of sticking with your marital misery because - and I quote- No relationship is perfect and every marriage takes work?

Then why, Dear Reader- this time around, after twelve easy years- does it just keep getting easier? And life just gets more interesting? It's all about the risk.

And trusting your gut.

Whether it's making up a soup or reevaluating your career choice, or facing down familial opposition and sexual inertia because you actually believe in true love- it comes down to this. 

You have this minute. 

This second.

So. 

What are you going to do with it?



xox Karina

TRENDING

Cape Cod Apple Cake with Cranberries (Gluten-Free)

Sweet and Tart.   No philosophy today. Dust off your cake pan, Babycakes. This is a moist and tender apple cake laced with a hint of cinnamon and studded with fresh tart berries. After seven   twelve   - er, 19!- years of baking various gluten-free incarnations of my tried and true family apple cake recipe, this could be our favorite. Maybe it's the sweet-tart combo. The subtlety of flavors. In a food culture obsessed with kicking up recipes with more for the sake of more (white chocolate peanut butter bacon swirled maple donut ice cream drizzled in dulche de leche coconut marshmallow syrup and dusted with sugared Meyer lemon zest and shaved cacao, anyone?) the clean and classic flavor contrast of apples and cranberries is somehow new again. Even, refreshing.  I don't need dessert to taste like candy. I like my cake to taste like cake.  You can bake this recipe with eggs and dairy, or vegan alternatives. See options below.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

YES PLEASE.  This award winning budget-friendly Santa Fe inspired vegetarian enchilada recipe is one of those happy accidents that springs from a burst of creative imagination. Or rumbling hunger. In that what-have-we-got-in-the-pantry sort of panic. I was craving the soft and spicy comfort of enchiladas one windy spring night back in 2003, and I had none of the usual suspects on hand (no chicken, or beef, no pinto beans).  But! I had one lovely mother of a sweet potato.  A can of organic black beans.  Some roasted green chiles.  One lonely lime.  And your intrepid Mamacita-Goddess at large thought, Hmmm. Why not? Deliciousness ensued. These wrapped little gems are soft and creamy and a little bit spicy- Just like a certain cook , my point-scoring husband wisecracks. It's the yams, I tell him. Er, sweet potato. I can never tell the difference. Can you? In the end, it doesn't matter.  What matters is how it tastes. And darling, these are so mucho scrumptiou

Gluten-Free Goddess Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ah, flourless chocolate cake. The perfect rich dessert. Forgive the hyperbole. But I just can't help it. This is rich, sexy chocolate deliciousness on a plate. And such an easy recipe, especially if you use a food processor to do the work. Serve this to non-gluten-free folks with no apologies. None. Zip. Nada. And for gluten-free folks? Hand out seconds (we deserve it, don't we?). And the best part is- the recipe is inherently gluten-free and wheat-free. Always has been. No substitutions. No funny stuff. This is the same flourless chocolate cake I've been making for decades. It never contained flour. The only thing I've tweaked post-celiac diagnosis is adding more coffee and vanilla. Just because. And PS: See below why I make this recipe in a food processor- thanks to Bobby Flay. Karina xo

Gluten-Free Goddess Lemon Yogurt Cake

Luscious Lemon Cake So  I've been jonesing for a cake laced with citrus- not too sweet and not too light. A cake with character and heft.  Something akin to a lovely simple cake I remember liking as a child, a store bought bakery cake called Louisiana Ring made by Freihofer's. The cake featured a hint of orange. The day I decided to bake, I did not have oranges in the pantry- but I did have some lemons, organic Greek yogurt, and plenty of blanched almond flour.  And this simple home baked lemon cake was born.  In time for Spring. Love, Karina xo

Gluten-Free Goddess Pasta Frittata with Kale

An Italian Classic - Updated. Today I offer you a simple recipe spun from the magic of leftover gluten-free spaghetti and eggs- a creamy, light frittata. Perfect for the weekend. Or when you're simply too tired to cook. Or you have nothing in the fridge but a carton of eggs, half a bag of kale salad and last night's leftover cooked spaghetti. It's one of those intuitive, spontaneous recipes I've pulled out of thin air, so many times. For dairy-free folks, the "cheese" pictured in this version was a vegan "mozzarella" (my current favorite is Vegan Gourmet). But if you prefer using dairy- select one or two of your favorite Italian organic cheeses. I've also made this yummy dish using goat cheese (and roasted red peppers!), and another time I tried a blend of fresh mozzarella and shaved Parmesan. It's a very versatile recipe. Celebrate Spring. Have fun with it! XOX Karina

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets, Chick Peas and Orange

Fresh, bright quinoa salad with oranges and roasted beets. Roasted Beets + Quinoa are a super yum match. Trust me. February second. We survived January, Darling. Happy Groundhog Day to you. Happy Imbolc. The dwindling of winter is at last within reach- no matter what Punxatawny Phil predicts. Six weeks is doable. After all, there is chocolate. Irish Soda Bread . And soul warming soup . And our hope-fueled New Year betterments are still on track (right?). If not, the year is young. Tomorrow is a fresh start. To celebrate, let's throw a party. My contribution? A gluten-free vegan salad that is perfect for parties. Because throwing a party is a tad more complicated than it used to be. There are vegans to accommodate. And newly gluten-free friends and neighbors to feed. And let's face it. Everyone is a wee bit bored by those layered taco bean dips and pork sliders. Gooey meat and cheese is so predictable. Pizza dips are so frat house. Why not go fresh and bre

Gluten-Free Goddess Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

A classic cookie made gluten-free. I suppose you could argue that one oatmeal cookie recipe is enough. I mean, how many oatmeal cookie recipes does a person need? To this I answer, at least two. Why? Well, first you have one with raisins (my oatmeal raisin cookies here ). Raisins give oatmeal cookies that old school chewy sneaky nutrition boost. They're old fashioned and comfy cozy. Kinda like spending one of those Saturday afternoons at your Aunt Martha's house, chillin'. Watching Mr. Rogers and laying on the floor with a pile of coloring books. Coloring outside the lines with a beat up box of Crayolas. Wishing the silver crayon was more than a lonely nub. And right at that nub lamenting moment she'd bring you a plate of cookies. Truth is, I never had an Aunt Martha. But I did have a chain smoking platinum blond babysitter who liked martinis a little too much. Or maybe it was gin and tonic. There was ice in the glass. If I was lucky enough to scro