Tag Archive: Ginger

  1. Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings


    Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

    It’s 2 am and I just ate the last piece of molasses cake leftover from the New Years Eve gathering we hosted a few days ago. I never saw anyone eat a slice, but the next morning I found the bundt half gone on it’s stand, covered by a dish towel. I like that people can expect a treat when they’re at the house. I’m often asked why I cook and my answer has evolved and simplified over time: to love, to nourish. It’s a small thing, on my list of big things, of ways to say I love you.

    In any case, there is a vent beneath the counter that warms a patch of tile on the kitchen floor and I stood on it, camped out in my bare feet, eating, listening to the creaks of the house and sorting through a stack of mail beside me. I turn over what appears to be a credit card offer and start scribbling a shopping list. Cauliflower. Horseradish. Greens. Coffee beans (!). Chemex filters (!!!!!).  Toothpaste. Chocolate chips. Goat’s Gouda. Dates.

    I love January and it’s everyday-ness. I’m glad for a regular pulse again. The holidays are great but it’s the stillness that I crave at the end of it all. We took our little evergreen out to the curb promptly when we returned from California and I filled the house with white ranunculus and put my Dad’s Neil Young album, Harvest, on our new record player to fill the house with something… normal.

    Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

    New Years resolutions have never been my bag. Not on the 1st, at least. I want to cover my ears, close my eyes, and shout la la la la la la la la la la la when “goals for 2014″ comes up in social conversations because here’s the deal: A new year starts whenever I say it starts. You guys know me, I’ll preach intentionality ’til I’m blue in the face, but, erase the numbers on the calendar and the year restarts fifty times, even one hundred times in 365 days, if we want it to. I like the idea of resolving and revising my life, intentions, goals, and boundaries throughout the entirety of the year.  My blueprints look nothing like they did a month ago, and I’d wager they’ll look different next month. Without grandeur or pomp or circumstance, there are always occasions that beg a breaking down and rebuilding the foundation. Fate and free will do their dance, and we are presented with, or choose, change.

    That’s the beauty of this human life we get to live here on planet earth. We get to revise. We get to shift lanes. We can stop what we’re doing at any point of the day, month, year and say hey, you know, I think I’m going to to try doing things differently from here out. We are constantly being called to look in and look out at they way we treat people, how we  spend our time, how we think about ourselves, and the respect we show our bodies and our planet. Instead of cramming in all that self-reflection and goal setting for the sparkling brevity of a ball-drop, I’d ask you to consider celebrating a new year, a new you, whenever you can. And those days are worth celebrating. The Thursday in March where you wake up, put your feet on the floor, and say to yourself: today will be different, today I will… (fill in the blank)…  that’s gold right there. There will be no confetti or champagne. But it will be perfect, and you did it all on your own.

    Happy New Year, today, and every day.

    Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

    Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

    It’s cold out! If you live in a winter-y climate, skip the juice fast and feed your Qi with warming, nourishing foods. My acupuncturist, Anna, says it’s an order.  For the wonton sheets… I could only get my hands on the itty-bitty variety, which, if you have fingers that aren’t on the dainty side like me, folding can be a bit of a challenge (albeit a worthy one). If you can find wrappers that are bigger, i.e. 3x3in,  I’d suggest doubling the filling for this recipe.


    •  25 wonton wrappers
    • 4 bulbs bok choy
    • 1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms
    • 2 large carrots
    • 1 inch nub ginger
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup minced chives
    • 1 tsp orange zest
    • 1 tbsp tamari or Braggs liquid aminos
    • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
    • + extra bok choy to line the steam basket


    Orange Teriyaki Sauce

    • 1/2 cup tamari
    • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
    • 2 tsp water
    • 2 tbsp orange juice
    • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tsp minced garlic
    • 1 tsp minced ginger
    • 1 tsp orange zest
    • 1 tsp cornstarch

    Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

    Get the sauce out of the way: Combine ingredients (except for cornstarch and orange zest) in a saucepan on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in cornstarch and zest last then remove from heat.

    For the dumpling filling: chop boy choy, shiitakes, chives and carrots into very small pieces. Using a microplane grater, shave garlic, ginger, and orange zest into the vegetables and mix together. Warm sesame oil over medium heat in a pot or sauté pan. Add vegetable mixture and the tamari and stir to soften for no more than 5 minutes. The veggies should be vibrant and al dente.

    Assemble the dumplings by placing one sheet on a flat surface. With a bowl of water near your dominant hand, dip a finger or two in the water and wet the perimeter of the dumpling so when you fold it all up it will stick together.  Place 1 heaping tablespoon of cooked filling in the center and fold together by adjoining the two opposite corners with a pinch and then repeating with the remaining corners, sealing the edges together as you go like a present. If your wonton wrappers are circular, you can see detailed instructions on how to assemble here. Repeat until all filling has been used.

    Prepare your steaming mechanism (pot with steamer lined with bok choy or lettuce, ghetto white girl style like moi… or by using a real-deal bamboo steamer as seen here). When there is sufficient steam generated, place as many dumplings as you can fit without touching one another. Cook for 5-8 minutes.

    Serve warm and dip as desired.

    Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

  2. Mesa Mules, etc.


    Mesa Mule Happyolks-4

    When I was in Vegas a few months ago for the Saveur Awards, I got a ride from the airport with a female cab driver with rose tinted aviators and a turquoise manicure. She sang along, shamelessly, to “I’ve Got You, Babe” as we zoomed along the desert highway and looked back just once in her rearview mirror to say “honey, if you can tell me who sings this… ride’s on me.” I drew a blank. She laughed. Really? I was so embarrassed. Sonny and Cher. I thought about that one year we went as Sonny and Cher to our Sadie Hawkins dance in 2005, I burned the song to a CD to play in the car and we sang it ourselves in the parking lot near the swimming pool at our High School.

    The same song was playing yesterday when I stopped for breakfast at a cafe in San Luis Obispo. It was Saturday. Couples in workout gear moseyed in and woke up over coffee and acai bowls. Oh, California. A familiar scene and characters that Shaun and I could have lived out had we never left. I carry a Colorado driver’s license now and and am taking in the California coastline alone as a visitor. Campsites were full the two nights prior so I slept in the cab of my borrowed truck parked in a hotel lot away from the lights.  This was a whole new level of vagabonding. I had a hard time falling asleep and my mind began racing with questions of the legality of my makeshift homestead. Squinting with one eye open on my side, I googled “is sleeping in your car legal?” on my phone which led to a series of other searches for murder records in Pismo Beach, the addresses and pictures of registered sex offenders within five miles of where I was parked. I closed my eyes, said a little prayer, and didn’t wake again until 5:54 am. I lunged over the console to the drivers seat and peeled out for the beach.

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    They say we’re young and we don’t know, 
    we won’t find out until we grow. 
    Well I don’t know if all that’s true, 
    You’ve got me and baby I’ve got you. 

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    It’s funny how much has changed since we took turns with those lyrics in our costumes. Shaun and I started our relationship fighting the dogma that we were too young to “get it.” Truth is after all these years I don’t know if I’ve “gotten it” any more than I did then. We grow up. Time wears on our idealism, the ego plays its hand, we lose our perspective, we hurt each other intentionally and not. This is the human experience, in relationship, really. We try, we fail, we work, we regroup. I loved us then, I love us more now, despite the ways time has blemished our story. I’m sitting on a cliff watching the waves crash on the rocks in Half Moon Bay right now, journaling. A wise friend’s ashes were spread here many years ago… he was, and I think still probably is, Shaun’s and my fiercest cheerleader. I haven’t cried this hard in years. We haven’t always done it right, Hayden, but we’re still here. I wish you could see this love, now. I hope you’d be proud. 

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    I drove to my brother’s place in silence later that night with the windows down. The sun was just beginning to retire and there was that sort of glow about the road that made my life feel oddly cinematic. I had gone back through When Women Were Birds over the course of the trip, transcribing passages to my journal and hashing them out in the mornings from my sleeping bag. It rested in the passenger seat atop musky beach towels, a half eaten loaf of bread, and a pile of seagull feathers I started collecting in Santa Monica. In the distance I could see a flight of birds moving up the coast along the road, I admired them for a few seconds until I realized they were flying straight toward me. Drifting. Drifting. Drifting. Yet was sudden. A single bird did not follow the the others and slammed into my windshield like a bullseye. I screamed and watched, horrified, in the rearview mirror as it bounced to the ground and other cars passed over her grave. I looked at the book and the feathers in the passenger seat and felt like I couldn’t breathe. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN??!!? I felt like in accidentally killing the bird, I had betrayed every intimacy with Terry Tempest Williams’ words and thoughts on women and birds over the past month. It was hard not to to feel auspicious or look for symbology. Why did the bird stray from her friends? I have so many questions. I should write Ms. Williams a letter. Maybe it’s not time for it all to make sense yet…

    They say we’re young and we don’t know, 
    we won’t find out until we grow. 
    Well I don’t know if all that’s true, 
    You’ve got me and baby I’ve got you. 

    I’m finally home in Denver. It feels right and good, I’m finding out, as I grow.

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    Mesa Mule 

    Inspired by the menu of a swanky bar in Los Angeles that friends Mike and Mel took us to a few weeks ago. I like a cocktail that’s a real kick in the pants, this one takes first prize.

    Recipe for a single cocktail. Increase quantities as necessary for your guests.

    • 2 oz (1 shot) tequila reposado 
    • 4 oz (2 shots) ginger beer 
    • 4 oz guava juice 
    • 4-6 round slivers of fresh jalapeño
    • ice 


    In a cocktail shaker combine liquids, a few slivers of jalapeño, and a few cubes of ice. Shake. Pour over glass filled with ice. Garnish with more jalapeño.

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  3. Home Again, with Pisco


    happyolks pisco sour

    I have started one thousand sentences in my mind telling you what I have seen and felt and tasted in Patagonia. Nothing is working. The Andes whispered to me potent, precious secrets that helped me remember my human aliveness and mended my exasperated spirit. It occured to me just now that they are secrets that still need keeping. Secrets to hold fast in my belly and pray on, to take out and set on the counter to look at and ponder, to play with and practice and live in the best way I know how. In the 140k we hiked and climbed and cried upon I said thank-you a million times, prostrated on my knees to glaciers, rivers, forests, the sun, the moon, the stars and knew that those million thank-you’s would never be enough for what the place and time were giving.

    Sitting at the kitchen table weeks later to write you, thousands of miles traveled to and from this spot in the interem, I sense that everything is the same and yet everything is different. My soul works from the same physical body, I drink my coffee from the same chipped cup. In between what I can see and what I can feel though, life is changing. Memories and mistakes sit together on the mantle now next to the old California license plates and the empty vase that I’d like to fill with daffodils this afternoon. They are invisible masterpieces cherished, forgiven, and understood only by we who know the brokenness and beauty it took to create them.

    I urge you to go out, far from home, and find the secrets waiting for you too. They are, as Walt Whitman says, more divine and beautiful than words can tell.

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    Pisco Sour, three ways

    Pisco is a (typically) colorless grape brandy produced in Chile and Peru. It is the star of what both countries claim as their national cocktail, the Pisco Sour. In Puerto Natales, the closest township to Torres del Paine where we trekked, we met a young man who when asked about the Pisco Sour closed his eyes, touched his chest and said, “Ah, my Pisco, when you drink it you will feel a light your soul.” I happen to think he’s right, but the time and place seemed to have unusually persuasive powers. I have three takes on the Pisco Sour for you here today. The original, the de Campo with honey and ginger, and one to bookmark for summer with fresh mango and Seranno peppers. Each recipe serves one. Blend ingredients together until the ice is completely crushed and the mixture frothy. Serve in an old-fashioned glass with friends. Can be doubled, tripled, etc. and served family style. 

    Pisco Sour

    • 2 fl oz (8 parts) Pisco
    • 1 fl oz (4 parts) Lime juice
    • 3/4 fl oz (3 part) Simple syrup (sugar and water)
    • 1 Egg white
    • 4 large ice cubes


    Sour de Campo

    • 2 fl oz (8 parts) Pisco
    • 1 fl oz (4 parts) Lime juice
    • 1 fl oz (4 parts) honey
    • 1/2 flz oz (2 parts) grated fresh ginger
    • 1 Egg white
    • 4 large ice cubes


    Mango-Chili Sour

    • 2 fl oz (8 parts) Pisco
    • 1 fl oz (4 parts) Lime juice
    • 1 fl oz (4 parts) Simple syrup (sugar and water)
    • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mango
    • 1 tsp (small sliver) seranno pepper
    • 1 Egg white
    • 4 large ice cubes


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    Extra credit: Shaun’s got a few photos of Torres del Paine up on the Boyte Creative journal today.

  4. Answer It


    Thai Carrot Soup from www.happyolks.com

    I stood there, in the cold of the morning, hunched over the kitchen sink with my hands gripping the counters ledge watching the leaves fall and collect on the deck. Trying to count my breaths, I silently beg each one to play it’s reverse card and go back to the tree, the life-force, that created it earlier in the spring. They do not stop. With each yellow sliver that drops, I feel myself being pulled down to the ground with them. Pieces of my heart and understanding lay there, wilting, disentigrating back to the earth. I wished for Autumn all summer long — for it’s first snow, cold sheets, fires in the living room. Now that it’s here, I’m not sure I’m ready to dig through the “basement” for all that needs supporting it. Things have settled, and suddenly the stillness I asked for has arrived with a pretty bow and a painful but necessary awareness to all that has really taken place from January to October.

    I’ve highlighted and bookmarked Tiny Beautiful Things to shreds during this phase. Is it a phase? Can we call it that when it hasn’t yet passed? Anyway, Cheryl Strayed’s words are both comfort and a total slap in the face right now. In one particular letter, a young woman writes to Cheryl asking “WTF, WTF, WTF?” She responds in sharing the bone chilling history of sexual abuse from her father’s father and how she came to realize that pressing against the wound, tackling it straight on, was the only way to get a grip on her life. She ends her response to the young woman, “Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it.”

    I share this passage not because I stood there staring at the leaves thinking, like the young woman who wrote Cheryl, “WTF, WTF, WTF.” But I realize that the leaves falling is my life. I need to answer it. Simple as that. I need to ask better questions about the why. Ask questions that shed light on what needs adjusting. So you’re feeling like “x” you’re acting like “y” and it’s causing a sour, hollow feeling in your gut. It’s not WTF. It’s your life. Dig deeper. Lean in. Throw yourself down the basement stairs and scavenge for as much as you can. You’re going to need all of it, everything you got, to make it to winter. 

    Thai Carrot Soup from www.happyolks.com

    Thai Carrot Soup

    • 3 sweet onions
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 2 tsp grated ginger
    • 2 tsp red chili flakes
    • 3 spoonfuls coconut oil
    • 2 tbsp cumin
    • dash of nutmeg
    • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
    • 1.5 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
    • 1 can full fat coconut milk
    • 5-6 cups chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 3 tsp salt
    • 4-5 thai chiles, de-seeded
    • handful fresh basil
    • 3 limes, juiced

    In a large pot or dutch oven, saute roughly chopped onions with grated garlic, ginger, red chili flakes, and coconut oil until softened but not terribly browned. Add apple cider vinegar to deglaze the pot. Add cumin, nutmeg, lemongrass, and carrots. Stir to coat. Add coconut milk and the broth. Combine. Simmer on low with a lid for 30-40 minutes or until the carrots are completely softened.

    Pour contents of pot into a high-powered blender in small batches with the fresh thai chiles. Blend until completely pureed. Add water or stock to adjust the thickness. Pour into individual bowls and top with juice of fresh lime and chopped basil.

    Thai Carrot Soup from www.happyolks.com

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