Mental Gridlock: Broccoli Rabe, Caramelized Onion, and Balsamic Flatbread

Are you ever just totally mentally blocked? At a complete standstill? Mental gridlock? How do you get past that?

No matter the problem, the solution seems to be occupying your brain with something unrelated. My sister goes for runs and finds clarity midstride.  My mother swears that if you sleep on it, the hardest clues of the Sunday Times crossword puzzle will be answered. And my younger brother resorts to partying and has epiphanies mid fist pump.

None of those work for me and worse yet, I all too often have a (seemingly genius) idea pop into my head when I’m sans paper or phone and have nowhere to write it down. I’ve finally found a solution and it comes in the form of a nail polish bottle.Each and every time I start painting my nails, I break down any and all mental blocks. The strangest thing is that it seems the more complicated the nail art I attempt, the more clear things become. The bonus is that I get to re-categorize all that time I spend clicking about The Beauty Department no longer as procrastination but inspiration!

Most recently, the nail polish trick helped me figure out this flatbread. No matter how minor or major the tweak, this flatbread kept coming out just okay and certainly not interesting enough to share with the likes of you all. So I turned to the polish plan and, within a few brushstrokes, it came to me: currants. The recipe needed sweetness and currants would make it work.

This flatbread has a sultry flavor combination that just makes sense this time of year. The weather’s bitter cold (at least it was in New York where I’ve been working) and, even more than comfort food, I want something with a little bit of a dark side. So, here is the result of my latest polish brainstorm session: a sautéed slightly bitter broccoli rabe mixture that gets topped with creamy ricotta and salty Pecorino for a vegetarian flatbread that’s got edge.

And, hey, if you’ve been in an Anti-Valentine’s kind of mood this year, it’s bittersweet, salty flavors might be just the thing.