Archive: Mar 2012

  1. Together, with Broccoli

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    We sat on the runway together this morning, looking out the window to a city that doesn’t yet feel like home but beckons us both in ways we don’t really understand yet. Deep breath. Is this it? Is this the next step? The “what ifs” the “yeah, buts” drown out the emergency evacuation tutorial and screaming children behind us. Inside I feel ashamed of my insecurities around the whole thing, but I try to remind that these feeling are, in fact, quite normal. It occurs to me somewhere between Baltimore and Chicago that whatever happens, wherever we go from here, the fact that we’ll be going, doing, succeeding, and failing together is enough to keep me from losing my lunch.

    When I find myself in moments of relative panic, I bring together all the absurdly supportive people in my life into vision, and borrow some of their love and light to lock-up the monkey that has become of my mind. This weekend especially, I think of Shaun. I love that despite the fact we’ve been together for six+ years, Shaun still says things that surprise the heck out of me. Little phrases that come out of nowhere that make me find him even more charming than when we first met. “Let’s winterize this place,” he exclaimed last week, slapping his hands together and going on a window-locking spree around the apartment. Sweet nothings aren’t much for me. He knows better than to buy roses from South America. I feel more connected when we’re both sitting at the kitchen island in our sweaty running garb eating eggs and avocado and scratching out budgets for the big road-trip come June on a water-warped legal pad. Shaun only buys red sharpies for some reason, and when he holds the cap in his mouth, adjudicating that we’ll need a cooler in the car for my homemade nut milk and allocating funds for fresh vegetables along the way, I know there is no one on this planet who I would want to climb a mountain or jump the cliff with.

    We (humans, partners, friends, family) take turns carrying each other, cheering each other on along the journey. We prop each other up when things feel soggy, sick, or scary. I think most of the time, we don’t even know we’re doing it for one another either. When you become so close, so connected to someone it’s like the dance starts happening on its own and the very nature of our being can be enough to shed light, comfort, or set straight. Seeing Shaun hunched over Southwest Soduku, oddly, does just that for me. When we’re open to it, the innoncence and predictability of what might appear quite mundane can be enough to tickle us pink and shake away the dark parts of the big mystery. Our future destinations and any call to action seems so vast and unknown, except for each other. There will be great changes, but there will be great love. When everything feels like it doesn’t make sense, there will be red sharpies, and we will have one another to hold and tease and carry each other through. Exhale. It’s going to be a great ride.

    Before deciding on this recipe for a blog post this week, I had no idea that I would be consuming so many potatoes over the next few days after. In fact, every amazing dinner and rich conversation that we spent with Shaun’s brother Cody and his love, Michelle, involved some variation on the nightshade. So it seems this post turns into my ‘ode to the potato and how it somehow became the conduit for so much good energy, so much love. Heidi uses mustard, tarragon, capers, parsley and a few other goodies in the original recipe. This may be a watered-down rendition, but delicious nonetheless.

    Broccoli Gribriche  Adapted from Super Natural Everyday  

    • 1 lb broccoli florets
    • 1 lb fingerling potatoes
    • 1 sweet onion
    • 4 eggs, hard boiled
    • 2 shallots
    • 3 lemons
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
    • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
    • salt/pepper to taste

    Preheat the oven for 400.’ Rinse and dry the fingerlings. Place on a heavy baking sheet and massage with olive oil and the minced garlic to fully coat. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. Halfway through the cooking process, toss broccoli with a bit more olive oil and lay flat onto another heavy baking sheet. Slice 2 lemons to 1/4″ thickness and lay on top of the broccoli. Sprinkle with salt/pepper and roast on the lower rack of the oven until they begin to brown 10-15 minutes. Remove both potatoes and broccoli from the oven and allow to cool for 5-ish minutes.

    Saute the onions until browned and set aside to cool. Mash hardboiled eggs roughly in a large bowl with minced shallot, 3 tbsp olive oil, and the vinegar. Toss in the broccoli, potatoes, roasted lemon slices, and the caramelized onions. Stir to coat evenly. Squeeze the juice of the third lemon over the top, and add a pinch more of sea salt.

  2. Greens + Herbs + Roasted Radishes

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    I feel like I’ve been awkwardly bumbling about here the last few weeks. Stalling. Filling the white space up with words that I can justify clicking the publish button with, but void of the kind of truth or vulnerability that I usually challenge myself to share in this space. It’s all part of the process, though. I think. I hope.  Still learning what it means to be on the web like this.

    While it excites me that there actually people (like you) who tune in each week to this nook, it is also sort of presses on that weak spot in my psyche that is constantly egging on to “be perfect.” Ugly business. You know, the virus of  ”should be, should say, should do” that holds us all back from being our best, truest possible selves. Every so often when I get down to business writing here, I get stuck on an idea where it’s like, rats, I can’t say that or I can’t talk about this because I don’t want to offend or upset someone. There is a quiet nagging voice warning: “must be poised, must be calm, must be wise, must not ruffle too many feathers.” And okay, to a certain degree the conscientiousness is good – even necessary. The world would be a much nicer place if we all just learned to check ourselves now and then when we have an outrageously passionate thought. But too much editing, filtering, and accommodating makes me feel like a robot.

    Yet, as it were, this week I did not feel calm. I did not feel rational. I did not feel yogic. So many things that made me want to light the kitchen on fire, really. There was not a stable emotion to cling to for more than a few hours as I boomeranged between elation, empowerment, anger, sadness, frustration, confusion, joy, and crushing heartbreak. I chopped off 10 inches of hair on Tuesday with unabashed lightness, yet on Friday my chest was so heavy with sorrow for all the suffering, depravity, and cruelty of this world that I could barely stand as Shaun held me in his arms. A mess I tell you; imagine me later over a cutting board shouting “Society, Society!” at the top of my lungs with a clenched fist of radishes just like Eric McAndless from the film Into The Wild when an article on Texas abortion laws push it all over the edgeCrazy person, crazy.

    I have a food blog. We take pretty pictures and share healthy recipes. That’s nice. Sweet. But on the other side of the editing table is an intense passion for “stuff” other than vegetables that floods my veins with purpose, intention, and deep conviction. The perfection trap can’t even put up a fight today because  right now my heart is too swollen, my spirit soggy with the weight of a million weary voices and divisive ideologies that I alone cannot bring together or make better. There is a lot I really, really don’t understand about the world right now. I’ll keep kicking here, but it’s hard to profess my great love for salad in this state.

    So I suppose I’ll stall a bit more. Stalling with grace, hopefully. It’s what I’m holding onto through all of this and I think you should too, whatever it is you see in the world, your world, that concerns you. Grace is everywhere in everything. Grace during moments of distress. Grace for times of great joy. Grace through the angst. Grace in failure. Grace for the good fight. Grace for the radish-rants in the kitchen. Grace for the people and ideas and things we don’t understand. Lets just have some grace, sound good?

    Greens, Herbs, and Roasted Radishes

    • 3 bunches of radishes
    • 1 head butter lettuce
    • 1 head romaine
    • 6 endives
    • 1 avocado
    • juice of 2 lemons
    • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
    • 1/4 cup shallot, minced
    • 2 tbsp dill, minced
    • 2 tbsp mint, minced
    • salt/pepper
    • (optional) smoked salmon

    Rinse and remove greens from radishes. Halve or quarter (depending on the variety you go with) and coat with olive oil and salt and pepper on a heavy baking sheet. Roast in a 400′ oven for 20-25 minutes until blistered but not totally browned. Set aside to cool.

    Combine chopped butter lettuce, romaine, and endive (cores removed) in a large bowl. Slice and dice avocado into cubes over the bowl, then add chunks of salmon (optional) and the cooled radishes. For the dressing: whisk together olive oil, shallots, dill, and mint with the lemon juice in a small bowl. Pour over the salad, add some sea salt and fresh pepper, and toss with your hands or wood tongs.

    (ps) I’m giving away books on Facebook this week. Just because I feel like it. Hop on over to get in on the party.

  3. Burning

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    “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

    Jack Kerouac, On The Road


    These ginger cookies are for you, you with the fire in your belly. For you who has a burning thing inside your being that says “you must create, you must go, you must love, you must dive head first, you must stand up, you must be brave, you must not be afraid to fail.”

    Feed and surround yourself with the fuel that lights up your soul. People. Places. Things. Thoughts. Torch it all. It’s the one true thing you really have to offer this world. Don’t let others put it out. But more importantly, don’t get in your own way by worrying what others will think of that brain you were given, that heart that beats loudly in your chest, that burning thing you’ve cultivated and believed in. Throw it out and set it all aflame. Watch it glow. Watch it spread. Watch it change this world.

    Ginger Oat Cookies 

    slightly adapted from Jude Blereau

    • 1/2 cup dried dates, chopped
    • 3 cups rolled oats
    • 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal
    • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
    • 1/2 cup glacé (crystalized) ginger, chopped
    • 1/2 cup coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 eggs

    Preheat the oven for 350.’ Cook the oatmeal on a stovetop first 1/2 cup of oats to 1 cup water. Set aside, let cool. Soak the dates in 1/4 of extra hot water, and mash with a fork. Add the vanilla to the date paste when room temp.

    In a large bowl, combine oats, oatmeal, nuts, and ginger. Add mashed up dates/vanilla as well as the coconut oil, brown rice syrup, and eggs. Mix together with your hands until well combined and coated. Mixture will feel wet and not overly sticky. Shape into balls and place onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned on the edges and top.

    More on the cake-y side than in cookie camp. I think these would make excellent morning-0n-the-run bars if pressed into a 8×8 pan and cut into squares.

  4. Bok Choy Noodle Bowl

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    The first few days after we say goodbye to a foster are a little funk. The house feels different. I would even call it melancholy if not for the memory of that one moment where the new family waves goodbye with the dog in their arms, new loving arms. There are few other  smiles more sincere I’ve seen that that moment. It zaps the emptiness in the kitchen immediately. I grind the coffee, I prepare the kettle, and I think of how different, how much richer the new family’s story will be with their new canine friend.

    People often tell me that they could never foster dogs because they’d want to keep them all. I’ll admit it’s tough. Shaun and I sat in silence for a bit when we drove away from Tex’s new house on Thursday. Wind from the open windows held back tears. We held hands and smiled. For what was, what all will be. My heart was so, so full. Honestly, I felt like it would burst. Words needn’t be spoken. It was a perfect silence. Joy filled the car knowing that everything was just as it should be.

    Each dog over the past year has given us a chance to practice love, patience, flexibility and prepares us, ultimately, for the inevitablity of goodbyes that the future will always hold. The whole process requires an accountability to truly live in the present. The dogs, just like most other people and things, come into our lives without much warning and we never really know how long they’ll stay. It encouarges us to let go of expectation, give all of our love with all of our hearts, stop holding back, and make everyday a new adventure because you don’t know how long you’ll have together. It’s amazing how a little creature that has such limited means of communicating can deliver such a profound lesson on life, on life and time.

    Here today, gone tomorrow. Fostering teaches how to absorb the waves of change instead of letting them knock us on our toosh. Nothing stays the same for long. Nothing lasts forever. The good stuff, the not so good stuff — it all comes and goes, as it should.

    Thanks Tex. You and each of your friends that came before you have loosened us up a bit for the big changes, the big excitements, and the big disappointments we’re destined for in the future. We’re better equipped to handle the waves because of you.

    Braised Bok Choy Noodle Bowl 

    serves 2-4

    • 1 lb baby bok choy
    • 1/2 lb shitake mushrooms
    • 1 cup green onion, chopped
    • 1-2 packages 100% Buckwheat noodles
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, divided
    • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, divided
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • thumb sized nub of ginger, grated
    • 1 lemon + 2 limes
    • 2 tbsp white or rice wine vinegar
    • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt

    Start with the noodles. Bring a large pot of water to boil with a bit of oil to keep noodles from sticking. Buckwheat cooks in 8 minutes so keep a close watch and remove from heat and rinse immediately. Set aside while you prepare the veg.

    Remove the bottoms of the bok choy and place leaves in a bowl of cool water to let the dirt and bits fall to the bottom. Bring a heavy pan (or wok, if you have one) to heat with 2-3 tbsps of coconut oil, 1 tbsp of sesame oil, and the garlic and ginger. Simmer to brown the garlic then add the damp bok choy leaves and braise in the oil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set greens in a small bowl. There should still be a bit of oil in the pan for the mushrooms. Slice them into 1/4″ slices and sauté for 2-4 minutes, depending how hot the pan is. Remove ‘shrooms and set with the bok choy.

    Add a bit more coconut and sesame oil back to the pan with the juice of one lemon and vinegar and let simmer. Add the dried and cooled noodles until coated and warmed. Assemble the bowl with noodles as a base, layering the mushrooms and boy choy on top. Sprinkle with salt, a bit of lime juice, and the fresh green onion.

Let's get in Touch

I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.