You know those days where everything goes right? You turn on the radio and your favorite song comes on. You take a drive and hit only green lights along the way. You arrive at the office and realize someone brought donuts to share, which is a good thing any day but doubly good on this day since you rushed out the door without breakfast. Monday was not that day.
I woke up to find my internet service was out, which was problematic because I had to link up my SRC post at some point that morning. Somehow, someway, the lady in front of me at the post office locked the bin where I needed to put my package. Since we were using the automated machine in the lobby before the lobby was open for business, I was just out of luck. I spilled coffee on my shirt only to realize my Tide pen was completely dry. Sometime during the night my skin went absolutely nuts, and its lovely red speckles seemed to increase exponentially every time I looked in the mirror. The refrigerator went on the fritz. Suffice it to say, things did not improve as the day wore on.
So I went to yoga. If my laundry list of woe-is-me inconveniences did not already give you pause, that statement should clue you in that my problems are by no means earth-shattering. I am privileged enough to have things like high speed internet and a yoga class package. Yes, I work hard to earn the money for those things, but I work hard at a job I really enjoy with people I truly like.
In the past, a friend of mine who is new to being a manager had to give a few young employees new to the workplace a bit of a talking to. They did not like the work, but the work had to get done. He politely made the point that yes, while the work was tedious, there was plenty of coffee and air conditioning to go around. No one there was working in a chicken processing plant was, I believe, how he put it.
When I think I have it bad, I remind myself of that little gem. One of the many things my work as a hospice social worker taught me was that pain is subjective. Maybe you do not work in poor conditions like many people across the world, but if your job is miserable for other reasons, you can still find yourself in a pretty bad place. Still, I try to remind myself of all the good things that go right when I spiral downward into a “nothing is going right” mindset.
Now, back to that yoga class. I think 20 percent of the reason I go to yoga is to hear the little stories the teachers tell at the beginning of class. (The remaining 80 is so I can get my pants to fit.)
As we warmed up, the teacher told us she was a bit aggravated earlier in the day when she called her mother but was unable to reach her. The teacher wanted to consult with her mother about what she should buy her brother (teacher’s brother/mother’s son). The teacher was in the store, and it was rather inconvenient to not know what to purchase. How dare her mother, who always answers the phone, not answer the phone!
It turned out the teacher’s mother did not answer the call because she was huddled under a stairwell as a tornado passed overhead. Moral of the story: we usually don’t have things as bad as we think we do.
A homemade dinner roll – both the making and the consuming – is the perfect pick me up for a bad day. When I was younger, nothing made me happier than the buttery crescent rolls that would sometimes accompany dinner. Now that I am older, I like to carve out a few hours on a weekend to bake my own rolls.
Yes, I did mean a few hours. Like any yeast roll, these take a decent amount of time to come together. However, let me assure you, there is something inherently therapeutic about kneading dough. It is one of the few things I do that makes me feel as though I’ve not a care in the world. Looking up at the stars on a peaceful night is another.
I was highly skeptical of both the radicchio and the mint, but along with the feta, the flavors just work. I had never before used mint in a savory application. It was a bit of a surprising taste, but one I came to enjoy. That aside, you can always omit the mint, the radicchio or both for a cheesy garlic roll. If there is a way to go wrong with that combination, I don’t know what it is. Enjoy!
- For the Dough
- 1 (1/4 ounce) envelope yeast
- 1¼ cups milk, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- For the Filling
- 1 cup finely sliced radicchio
- 14 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅔ cup feta cheese
- Combine the yeast, milk, sugar and olive oil in a small bowl and set aside for five minutes to allow the yeast to dissolve.
- After five minutes, whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the liquid yeast mixture, scraping the bowl as needed to ensure no yeast is left behind.
- Stir together until a dough begins to form, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface to knead. The dough is ready when it is no longer sticky and holds together in a smooth ball. If needed, add a bit more flour as you knead to achieve this consistency.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.
- Allow the dough to rise for one hour.
- While the dough rises, start the filling. Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop in the radicchio. As soon as you drop it in, pour it right back out into a mesh sieve or colander. The idea is to blanch the radicchio for mere seconds. When the radicchio is cool enough to work with, slice it even more finely.
- Beat the butter, garlic, mint and pepper together. Cover and allow to sit until the dough is ready.
- After one hour, turn out the dough and knead it a few times before rolling it out into a rectangle that measures approximately 16 x 20 inches (40 x 50 cm).
- Reserve ¼ of the garlic butter mixture, then spread the rest across the dough (it will be a very thin layer).
- Sprinkle the dough with the radicchio and the feta.
- Working from the long side, roll the dough into a cylinder.
- Wrap the dough in plastic warp and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. This will make it easier to cut through the dough.
- When the dough has stiffened a bit, remove it from the plastic wrap and cut it into slices that measure about 1 to 1½ inches (3 to 4 cm) thick.
- Arrange the rolls in a 9-inch (24 cm) round pan that is lightly greased. The rolls will be packed in tight.
- Melt the reserved garlic butter mixture and brush it on top of the rolls.
- Allow the rolls to stand for a final 15 minutes before placing them in the oven.
- Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 30 minutes.