There is no doubt that the changing over of seasons stirs something up inside of all of us. I have always loved spring, with it’s way of rebirthing what was hibernating and buried underground for so long, but the downside is that this is the time of year when I get particularly antsy. I feel the tickling need for travel, more activity, new choreography, or some kind of big project. I start to spin out of that tranquil, slow-motion winter pace, wanting to burst out of hibernation with color and pomp. However, travel takes planning, projects take time and collaboration, and choreography takes a lot of work and development. While we may wake up to find bulbs blooming overnight, I can’t realistically expect a performance or plane ticket to materialize in the same fashion.
I have to admit that patience has never been my strong suit. When I was younger, it always sounded like a rather boring virtue to possess. I was more inclined towards characteristics such as adventurous, spontaneous, risk-taking- words with a little more flair and dazzle. It wasn’t until I came to Morocco that I started to learn the deep and gratifying importance of being patient.
In many Mediterranean countries where the concept of being on time is far more malleable, an American like myself has to get used to her fair share of waiting around. People warned me that when someone schedules a meeting at 10am, you can expect them at the very earliest at 10:30- probably more like 11 or noon if it’s a weekend. Even so, it turns out that old habits really do die hard because up to this day I am still 10 minutes early to absolutely everything. It is engrained in me. This habit combined with my tendency towards impatience has proved to be a highly frustrating combination.
When I began to settle deeper into making a home in Tangier, I realized I had a choice to make. I could live in constant frustration or I could consciously work to become a more patient person. The latter seemed more rational.
As much as I would like to, I cannot always be in motion, jumping from one thing to the next. There are natural periods in life of nothing but waiting. Waiting for a person to show up for your coffee date, waiting to hear back about a performance proposal, to save enough money for the next trip. I have found the key to staying patient (or trying, anyway) has been a matter of changing my mindset and renaming my actions. Instead of waiting, I try to tell myself that I am gently suspended in a quiet moment in time. Perhaps a bit more wordy, yes, but it works.
My impatience used to stem from the feeling that I was wasting precious life moments. Yet if we breathe, accept that there are constant uncontrollables and imagine that these extra hours that pass while we anticipate a meeting, response, or event, are presented as moments to be a little bit quieter, this time becomes a gift. Minutes, hours and days spent waiting can be spent reflecting, brainstorming, writing notes, 10 extra minutes of catching up on emails, reading, sometimes just sitting with yourself. Mindful patience can transform the concept of time and give us more hours in each day than we are usually aware of having. It can expand and suspend the moments in between actions. Recognizing this power has made patience a much more interesting and desirable virtue to keep developing in myself.
Another area in which I have been practicing patience has been in the kitchen. While I always loved the general process of baking and cooking, I used to be much more impatient for the final product. I shied away from any kind of recipe that had too many complicated steps or techniques and if they did, I would try to find short cuts. No more of that. Even if everything else is speeding up around me, I now try to stay mindful in the kitchen. The result has been glorious, because not only can I now pull off more complex dishes, but I truly believe that when care and love are present around food, the flavor will be even deeper.
Pastry and pie crust were mysteries to me for the longest time, but with patience and this technical yet very manageable double-crust recipe by Adrianna of A Cozy Kitchen, I finally triumphed. I followed carefully, took no short cuts and voila, the crust on these adorable little hand pies is golden brown perfection. I wanted something a little heartier to play off of the delicate flavors of strawberries and thyme, so I subbed in some whole wheat flour, resulting in a rustic + buttery crust. When matched with this sweet + sophisticated filling, these spring-time pies are worth every patient second put into baking them.
Strawberry Thyme Hand Pies
Makes 10-12 3-4” round hand pies
- 1 batch double-crust whole wheat pie dough, made ahead of time and chilled in the fridge (I used A Cozy Kitchen’s Pie Crust 101 recipe and subbed in 1 cup of whole wheat flour)
- 2 cups (about 500g) chopped strawberries
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2-3 tbsp sugar (depends on how sweet your strawberries are)
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- extra sugar for topping
In a small saucepan, combine the strawberries, honey, sugar, thyme and lemon juice. Mix together and bring to a boil over medium heat. After about 5 minutes, once it starts getting saucier, add a tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken. If it is still quite runny, add one extra tablespoon. Stir for one more minute and remove from heat. Place the filling in the fridge to chill while you prepare your dough.
Preheat your oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together your egg and milk to create the egg wash. Flour a smooth, clean surface, remove your dough from the fridge, and roll it out into a large disc, about 1/8th of an inch thick. Cut out even circles (I used the rim of a small bowl) that are between 3-4 inches in diameter. Place half of the circles onto your baking sheet and brush the outer edge of each with egg wash, using a pastry brush or your fingers. Take your filling from the fridge and spoon about one tablespoon into the center of each circle. Cover with the remaining circles of pastry, crimp the edges with a fork, and slit the tops for air. Brush the tops liberally with a coat of egg wash and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool (patiently) about 10 minutes before devouring.