12 . 18 . 14
Dropping in briefly today to wish you and yours joy and respite in the last few weeks of the year. December, man. So much goodness, so much heaviness, all at once. For me it’s always been a month where the decisions, assumptions, and challenges that I had convinced myself were reconciled over the year seem to make their way back up to the surface. You know what I mean, right? Those wounds you thought you’d healed, the parts of yourself you thought you’d made peace with don’t look so sparkly anymore. It’s my birthday in a few days, so I think that has more pull in the reflection carousel than the holidays, although the lines have always been blurry for me. There’s this challenge to stay light and grateful amidst those nudges to take stock after another full year.
Last week two dear friends were in a rollover accident. The truck was destroyed, and somehow they both walked away with bruises and broken fingers. It was an event that reminded me holy moses-jesus-buddha-mohammed do I still have SO much work to do in the grace and forgiveness department. It seems the minute I get too comfortable with the idea, or illusion, really, that I’m operating at acceptable levels of compassion or humility or unselfish love, life and circumstance has a way of calling my bluff and putting me on my knees again. I’m glad for that.
And so, December. Here to enjoy and embrace and remember and love one another in the best way we know how. Stitch by stitch, day by day. We try to be good humans, we fail often, but we keep trying. And that is the beautiful thing.
Winter Vegetable + Gorgonzola Galette
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 2 fennel bulbs, quartered
- 5 small-ish beets, quartered
- 6-8 fancy carrots, halved
- 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 4-6 oz crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard (or more, to your preference)
- salt/pepper to taste
In a bowl, mix the flour with the sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in half of the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Cut in the remaining butter. Pour in water then begin to mix and knead the dough until a ball forms and the mixture is no longer shaggy looking. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange rinsed and prepared vegetables on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until the carrots are just starting to soften and are a little al dente in the thicker regions. Sprinkle with a hearty amount of sea salt, then aside and cool. In a mixing bowl, combine parsley, shallots, cooled vegetables, and a the Dijon. Stir to coat.
On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Begin with a spoonful of the veggie-mixture into the center of the dough. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola. Repeat layering filling and cheese until you run out of ingredients and can top with more cheese. Fold the border over your veggie-cheese tower, pleating the edge to make it fit. Finish outside exposed dough with a milk or egg wash. Bake for 30-40 minutes in the 400′ oven. Cut into wedges and serve warm.
12 . 02 . 14
“ We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. ” — Anais Nin
Shaved & Curried Cauliflower Salad
- 1 extra-large head of cauliflower
- 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
- 1 cup celery leaves
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1 orange, for juice and zest
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 Tbsp preferred curry powder
- Red pepper flakes
- Olive oil
Preheat the oven for 400′ F. Using a mandoline slicer, shave the cauliflower into large pieces. Place on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil, curry powder, juice of half an orange, and orange zest. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the edges brown and crisp. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, combine celery leaves, parsley, mint, shallots, and apricots. Mix in warm cauliflower and dress with additional orange juice, a lug of olive oil, and a bit of salt to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
09 . 08 . 14
Mango Chili Rice Salad
Inspired by the flavors of Bali, Indonesia. Images captured in our temporary Penestanan, Ubud home + kitchen. We’re home, now.
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 mango
- 1 cup celery leaves (or) cilantro
- 1 cup mint
- 1 cup basil
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup green onion
- 3 leaves kaffir lime leaves
- 6-8 shallots
- 3 stalks fresh lemongrass
- 2-3 chilies of choice
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- several limes
- salt to taste
In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boiling. Slowly add 1 cup long grain rice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook about 45 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.
Segment mango into bite sized pieces. Set aside in a bowl or prep plate. Julienne celery, mint, basil, and parsley or keep leaves whole – however you prefer. For this variation I kept the herbs whole. Set aside. Cut green onion AND chili(es) of choice at a bias, add to prepped herbs and mango that you’ve set aside.
Chop shallots and fry in a small saucepan over medium heat in coconut oil for 5-10 minutes. While the shallots sizzle, prepare fresh lemon grass stalks. You will need a very sharp knife, as the stalks are quite firm. Remove the lower bulb and shed any tough outer leaves. Slice into thin rounds and pound the pieces with a pestle & mortar until softened and fragrant. Add to the shallots. Cut kaffir lime leaves into thin strips with scissors, add to shallots and lemongrass. Let simmer for another 5 minutes or until slightly browned and fragrant. Add a bit of coconut oil if the mix starts to dry out.
Toss together cooled rice and the prepped herbs, mango, etc. Pour fried shallot mixture over the salad and toss again. Add salt and juice of several limes as desired.
07 . 21 . 14
I had the opportunity to work with Campbell’s Canada this spring to develop seven whole grain summer side dishes using their chicken, vegetable, and beef broths (available in the US as Swanson). I usually say no-thanks to jobs like these, but this project in particular involved a level of collaboration and creativity that I think most “big box” brands would be apt to follow suit. It was SO refreshing to work with talented and inspiring women (all women! girl power!) who are less interested in the BUY BUY BUY message and focus on the LET’S ALL EAT WELL message. The goal was to pair the best of summer produce with broth-cooked grains that stood up to the protein stars of a backyard BBQ.
After several weeks of recipe development and pre-production, the Campbell’s team brought me up to headquarters in Toronto for a brief media stint a few days before the wedding. Toronto is a SUPER neat place, if you haven’t been, and there was something really empowering about spending my last single-lady days stomping around the city and dining solo at the high-tops of Momofuku (other favorite stops include: Oak + Fort, Nadege, Bar Isabel). Although it was tough to leave town with family coming in for the wedding, working with Campbell’s has made it financially feasible for us to take an extended honeymoon in Bali (!!!) in a few weeks. Although I ALMOST compared rolling basil leaves for chiffonade as something NSFW at my cooking demo at St. Lawrence Market, I had loads of fun, met some amazing people, and had the chance to feed a few new faces and friends.