10 . 12 . 14
I wanted a perfect ending. I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, leaning into change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.
– Gilda Radner
Barely adapted from newly released Green Kitchen Travels by by
- 2 large onions, peeled and halved
- nub of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 4 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 4 cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, quartered, stalks removed
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp shoyu or soy sauce
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 1 head of bok choy, quartered
- fresh thai basil
- fresh mint
- 2 cups beansprouts
- handful of limes, quartered
- 1 lb brown rice noodles
- shaved sweet onion slices
Heat oven to 450.’ Place onions and ginger slices onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes until the edges are starting to brown. Place spices in a heavy-pot and dry roast until aromatic, stirring to prevent from burning. Add vegetable stock, shoyu, carrots, fennel, and roasted onions and ginger. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain soup base through a fine mesh strainer to remove vegetables and debris, then return strained broth to the pot and reheat. Cook noodles according to packet instructions. Prepare serving bowl(s) with cooked noodles, bok choy, beansprouts, onion, fresh herbs, and lime wedges. When ready to serve, pour over hot broth and serve immediately.
**The publisher is letting me give away a copy to one (1) Happyolks reader. Leave a comment with an active email address and I’ll notify a winner by next Tuesday.
09 . 25 . 14
I’ve had a word document open on my desktop for the past month. The ticker at the footer reads 6,201 words. Oy. Everyday for the past week I’ve tried to sit down, stand up, walk around with the laptop getting things sorted out. Music, no music. Pants, no pants. Wine, more wine. You know when you throw out your back and you find yourself inventing new yoga poses to get that darn thing to pop back into place? Yeah, that’s how I feel about writing right now. Just. Can’t. Quite. Get. There. The stuff sorta hurts to get out and then ends up looking like a mess on the page.
Then I sat down with a friend. She’s a writer. She gets it. She also has a 13 month old daughter and pumps out about twice the content I can in a week and I think to myself: Jesus, Kels, SHE HAS TO TAKE CARE OF ANOTHER LIVING CREATURE AND YOU CAN’T GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER. Anyway, we had this great chat about vulnerability, where it fits with the business of writing (and sharing that writing online) and how the word and concept makes us recoil a bit when we hear it tossed around so casually over coffee and cocktails. She said this, which I love: some secrets are worth keeping. Sometimes none of the words and thoughts and feelings we wrestle with need to see the light, and that’s okay. It takes guts to get vulnerable, i.e. share parts of ourselves that we fear will result in rejection. But guts for the sake of guts feels totally… disingenuous? It shows security, confidence to pump the brakes a bit, and decide, on our own terms, how and when and for whom we’ll strip down for.
I worry, sometimes, that my generation falsely associates vulnerability with sharing every moment tasted, every hurt suffered, every little nugget of wisdom that comes to us while washing our hair or taking out the trash. I feel like we relinquish a bit of our agency in doing so. We give up sacredness for the rush of affirmation –– I divulge, therefore I exist. We don’t get a chance to ever really feel something in a totally pure state without those feelings being tampered by the onlookers we willingly, or unwillingly, called to table. There is enough of that look-at-me-see-me-feel-my-heart-beat-but-don’t-actually-judge-me-or-tell-me-something-I-don’t-want-to-hear sorta thing on the internet and in the “real” world that we have to deal with.
So instead of trying to contort the ever-living crap of that diabolical mess of thoughts, I’m going to bank on what I know for sure: loosening the grip reveals new truths, and that space and distance do help us heal and sort through the things that weigh heavy on our hearts. It’s okay to let some things just be our own to ponder and wrestle.
Instead! Life update:
We’re moving. To the mountains. It feels right. We’ve grappled quietly with
getting out of dodge leaving Denver since late spring, and upon our return from Bali it felt like all lights were flashing GREEN GREEN GREEN to manifest on that tug for migration. Seattle and Portland, Maine made the shortlist, but we’re not quite ready to say sayonara to these Rocky Mountains yet. We’re under contract on a little place west of Boulder that backs up onto a bit of woods –– we’ll sign and get the keys on Shaun’s 26th birthday. Wish us luck.
Concord Grape & Mint Sorbet
I finagled a few shortcuts to this killer recipe from Kimberley Hasselbrink’s recent release, Vibrant Food. After watching the food blog community reproduce the summer chapter online when the book first came out, I felt like I should wait to share this number when the leaves started changing and remind you that the fall, winter, and spring chapters of this book are equally impressive. I had the huge honor of recipe testing for Kimberley as Vibrant Food came together and I’m telling you, she, and these recipes, are total keepers. Oh, and, the recipe for harissa, on page 97, needs to be bottled and sold around the world. It’s the best I’ve ever had.
- 2 lbs fresh Concord grapes, stems removed
- 12 mint leaves
- 1/4 cup sugar
- juice of 1 lime
Remove stems from grapes. Rinse. In the basin of a blender or food processor, combine grapes, mint leaves, sugar, and the juice of 1 lime. Puree the the mixture until all but a few specks of grape skin remain visible. Kimberly suggests straining the mixture through a fine mesh sieve or strainer, but I’m into the pulp. It’s up to you.
Churn the blended grapes in an ice cream maker for 25-30 minutes, until slightly frozen. The sorbet will still be soft. Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze for three more hours to solidify.
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.