Archive: Apr 2012

  1. Peas and Bows

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    I knew we were in the final stretch today while in the market I picked up a bag of garbanzo bean flour and actually hesitated, wondering, will I be able to use all of this by the end of May? As I write this, Shaun is taking pictures of a surfboard and an old printer for craigslist. At the front door there is a bankers box of pots, glasses, and towels for goodwill that we’ve somehow accumulated over the past few years. Books are stacked for sorting, graduation announcements strewn about the table waiting for stamps.

    By now it’s probably a good time to tell; we’re moving to Colorado. The Mountains are calling. We’re going where our heart is, not where we think it “should” be. And that feels so darn great. Many of you have been trying to trace our steps since January, and I should give you all gold stars for your patience as I danced around in circles making and un-making up my mind. Brooklyn? DC? Portland? San Francisco? Denver? It has been a long, tiresome, soul-stretching process. Shaun and I honored it, and each other, by digging through the thicket privately. But there is more…

    … since (most of) the whirlwind has subsided, it’s time to let everyone in again. We’re going to Colorado, and in a way you’re coming too (!!). To that, I have to stop and say thank you. Your love, encouragement, and wisdom has enriched my life in more ways than I could possibly put into words. This whole blog thing completely blows my mind. I’ve probably been more vulnerable with you, in this space, than I have ever been with some of the people I call friends in real life. How is that? How does that happen? I think I’m still figuring it all out. Thank you for coming into my life with your unique perspective and light, week after week, and thank you for letting me into yours.

    This is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart. I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart. (e.e cummings)

    Here’s the thing. If you have an hour to kill on Sunday afternoon, try the pasta yourself. But because I love you, because I carry your heart with me in my heart, I urge you to take some shorcuts here. How do I put this lightly, gluten free pasta is… frustrating to work with. Time. Patience. Practice. I set out to make fettucine, but failed miserably. Determined to not let the dough go to waste I made bows, instead. The first batch was too thick, but on second go, I got a great size and texture. If you’re feeling gutsy, try it. I love the nutty taste of chickpea pasta, but I think whole wheat spaghetti, brown rice shells, or any other type of pasta would go brilliantly with the lemony, herby peas.

    Chickpea Bow Tie Pasta with Spring Peas 

    • 2 cups garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2-3 tbsp water
    • 1 lb shelled peas
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 lg. lemon, juice and zest
    • basil, large handful
    • mint, large handful
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • salt
    • optional: roasted pumpkin seeds, parmasean

    For the pasta, add the flour to a large bowl, making a well in the middle for the eggs. Crack eggs and slowly begin to whisk with a fork, incorporating the flour until you get a shaggy ball. Add a little water to pull together the scraps. Turn out onto a ULTRA floured surface (on the first go, I went straight onto the cutting board, bad idea, second go, I used an old silicon mat underneath the flour to prevent sticking). Roll out until 1-2 mm thickness.  Cut vertical strips, 1/2 inch thick, then cut horizontally every 2 inches until you have made small rectangles. They should look like stubby, short sticks of gum. Pinch at the center of rectangle on the long-side to create the bow.  Set aside. Repeat. Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook in small batches for 2-4 minutes.

    Place shelled peas into a heavy pan. Add minced or grated garlic and the olive oil. Saute for 5-7 minutes. Tear or roughly chop up the basil and mint, add to peas. Stir to coat for for 1-2 minutes. Add zest of the lemon and the juice just before you toss in the cooked pasta. Finish with a bit of salt, roasted pumpkin seeds, and if you’re into cheese, a bit of fresh parmesan.

  2. A Parable + Breakfast for Spring

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    “When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

    “What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

    “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

    Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

    “It’s the same thing,” he said.

    Broiled Asparagus, a Poached Egg, and Charred Spring Onion and Garlic over Grits

    • 1 cup coarse grits (polenta)
    • 1 bundle (about a pound) asparagus
    • 3 spring onions
    • 2 stalks spring garlic
    • Lemon juice, lemon zest
    • 2 eggs
    • olive oil / butter
    • salt

    Combine 1 cup grits with 5 cups cold water in a heavy, deep pot. Bring to a boil, toss in a bit of salt and reduce to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring very frequently and adding water and oil/butter to your liking. Meanwhile, prep asparagus on baking sheet. Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper and zest of 1 lemon. Broil on the top rack for no more than 5 minutes. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside. Slice the white and light green portion of both garlic and onions and toss in leftover olive oil from the asparagus on the baking sheet. Squeeze the juice of the fully zested lemon over the garlic and onions. Add a bit more oil if you feel necessary. Return to the broiler, and check every 2 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. Pull them out when they have a nice brown char on the edges. Set aside.

    Prepare the water for poaching the eggs in a deep pan. Once things come to a boil, it’s time to start prepping the serving bowls with the warm grits and asparagus. 1-ish cup of the grits, followed by half of the asparagus… bring bowls/plates over to the stove for easy transfer of the eggs.

    I have recently adopted this bangin’ poaching technique, thanks to Bon Appetit: when the water has just come to a boil, create a vortex in the center by whisking a fork in a counter-clockwise direction. Once you’ve gotten up enough speed, set down the fork and quickly crack the egg into the middle of the whirlpool you’ve created. Now just watch. Seriously. Magic is happening. Cook for 4 minutes.

    Place finished egg on top of the asparagus, and pile on a generous handful of charred onions/garlic.

  3. Onward

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    The rope that tethers me to this place, this time, is growing thinner with each day approaching the big move (42, who’s counting).  Things feel different, everywhere. My running route, the struggle to find parking on campus, our favorite restaurants, the farmers market, even the beach. It’s as if my mind has begun the emotional preparations for a new normal by disassociating from the old. More frequently now I find myself caught in the ordinary moments with a feeling of being there, but not really there in the ways I once was.

    I drive through parts of town and see the places I lost myself, the places I really found myself.  I see Shaun and I, younger, and the memories made in our relentless itch for growth and exploration. Everywhere there is a cacophony of light and dark, joy and pain, laughter and tears. It feels sorta supernatural. Hard to describe.

    Standing at the edge of the shore this morning, I looked up to the clouds barreling across the sky after the good storm we had the past few days and felt an extraordinary sense of gratitude for the time, for the place — for all that it gave, for all that it took away. Four years have come and gone. I’m a different person now. I hope a better one. And it’s time. Time to let new faces and new seasons to teach me more about myself, more about the world.

    The strawberries will be missed, California. But I’m so ready for new adventures.

    Strawberry Basil Scones 
     
    • 2 ½ cups flour (I used a GF blend)
    • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
    • 1 
tbsp baking powder
    • ¼ 
tsp salt
    • ½ cup cold coconut oil or butter, cut into chunks
    • 1 + cup chopped fresh strawberries
    • 2
 tbsp minced basil
    • ½ cup full fat coconut milk
    • 2 
eggs

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Scoop out or cut in butter or coconut oil. Stir in minced basil and hulled, and quartered strawberries. In a medium bowl stir together eggs and the milk. (Cream, half and half, or regular milk would work here too.) Add egg mixture to flour mixture in one pour. Stir together until completely moistened, using your hands when necessary.

    Turn out onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Press into a 1” thick circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Brush with extra milk and sprinkle with sugar. If you use butter instead of coconut oil, place baking sheet with cut wedges in the freezer for up to 20 minutes before baking. It will make them magically fluffier and more scone-y. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending. Finish with a good dollop of local honey or clotted cream.

  4. Spring-y Spring Rolls with Carrot Ginger Miso Sauce

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    When I start a copywriting assignment with a new client, the most important question I ask to get to know them is “where are you, what are you doing, and who are you with when you most feel like yourself?” They often smile, get a little quiet, and start to tell a story. Somewhere they visited, Saturday rituals at home… little details that reveal their personality and perspective. It’s more anthropological experimentation than it is helpful writing tool. Often, how they answer this question is entirely different than the manner in which they answer all the others. They haven’t prepared for this sort of prompt, so they have a chance to share in their sincerest form. How interesting is it that?

    Using the exercise on myself, I become overwhelmed with a deep and exhilarating sense of peace and understanding as I am instantly transported to a time and space where things were just as they should be. When I find myself drifting off course or am sorting through serious life decisions, I try to practice this mediation. It has a funny way of bringing my head and heart back into alignment when the wires get crossed or cut. I’ve recently come to think of it as my “happiness compass.”  Ultimately, when we are able to live out the truest, most authentic versions of ourselves, we can be the most happy.

    I think so often we get caught up in creating an idea of happiness that we look too far outward, forward to things and elaborate ideas that will slingshot us out of a current state of fatigue, frustration, fear, etc. While I totally think happiness is something you can and should work to manifest, in times of uncertainty, it is best guided by the reminders living inside us all. Memories can’t provide direct answers for our troubles, but the process of remembering may lull the voices, our own and otherwise, that may be pulling/pushing us into a direction that leaves us feeling unsettled. It creates space for us to truly consider all that we know to be true, trust all that is yet to be taught, and go forward with a sense of empowerment to just be. It brings everything back to center. There may be chaos, there may be distraction, there may be consternation… but in our own answer, there can be stillness. And that is enough.  

    So I ask you this question, today…

    Where are you, what are you doing, and who are you with when you most feel like yourself?” 

    Close your eyes. Listen. Let those places, people, spaces wash over you and fill you with love and light.

    Feel free to shred, julienne, or dice anything your heart desires for these guys — spring rolls are incredibly versatile. I’ve mixed soft greens, crisp cabbage, and creamy avocado to diversify the texture. Add or subtract herbs as desired. Play with the sauce to your liking too, I spotted it in the magazine and knew it had potential.

    And… get this: Happyolks has a free app for iPhone. Um, What!? Speaking of things that remind us who we really are, my incredible/handsome/kind little brother spent the semester in one of his engineering courses developing it for us. Hugs to Austin for his hard work. Download it from the App Store and check for updates and new features as the year progresses.

    Spring-y Spring Rolls 

    • 1 dozen medium rice paper sheets
    • 1 head napa cabbage, shredded
    • 3 cups escarole (or soft lettuce), shredded
    • 2 cups micro basil
    • 2 cups whole mint leaves
    • 3 avocados, segmented

    Carrot Ginger Miso Sauce - adapted from Bon Appetit

    • 2 tbsp miso paste
    • 1/4 cup minced spring onion
    • 6 tbsp olive oil
    • 2-3 tbsp finely grated carrot
    • 2-3 tbsp finely grated ginger
    • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
    • t tsp rice wine vinegar
    • 2 tbsp honey (brown rice syrup for vegans)
    • juice of one lemon
    • sprinkle of salt

    Submerge a single spring roll wrapper in a bowl of hot water until completely pliable, about 15 seconds. Remove, and gently set on a flat surface. Layer with cabbage, escarole, avocado, and herbs. Construct a roll like a burrito; start with the bottom and cover the horizontal line of veggies. Fold in both sides and press to seal. Roll up tightly to the top and seal the edge. Set aside. Repeat.

    For the sauce “Place all ingredients plus 1/4 cup water in a resealable container. Cover and shake vigorously until well combined.”

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.