Tag Archive: Tomatoes

  1. give me your stars to hold

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    “I am the pool of gold when sunset burns and dies  you are my deepening skies; give me your stars to hold” ― Sara Teasdale

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    Shaun, there is no way to interpret the language of this heart. Our story is my favorite secret. After a summer to meditate and celebrate this next season, I think it’s cool we let the internets in on the news.

    I can’t wait to hold you, weep with you, laugh with you, fight with you, thrive with you, unfold with you every day for the rest of my life. This. This love. This time. I love this crazy, complex bond on our best and worst days. I hope we never stop changing. I hope we never stop growing, shedding, breaking, and billowing into new parts of each other, new parts of ourselves. This love with you has been the best and most challenging thing I’ve ever done; and, after all these years (eight! can you believe it?), there is still nothing I am more proud of. Without you I am a shadow version of myself, and every day by your side, I am learning to be a better human, a better friend, and a better partner. I love you. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. Here’s to conscious commitment. Here’s to the freaking miracle that we’re here, now. Here’s to all the years and lines and thrills we have still to earn and learn. What do you say? Meet me in June next year, by that mountain we love with all of our friends? I’ll wear a white dress, and hand you my whole heart.

    Happyolks | Oaxacan Mole

    Hey friends, we’re getting married.

    Happyolks is gettin' hitched!Happyolks | Oaxacan Mole Happyolks | Oaxacan Mole Happyolks | Oaxacan Mole

    When we were in Mexico, I had enchiladas with mole every night. Not joking. I’ve taken Rick Bayless’s recipe from the Mexican State dinner in 2010 and did a bit of tinkering to make you a cliff notes version. I can see you rolling your eyes at me now… MOLE, KELSEY? A bajillion ingredients, I know, but I promise you it’s worth it and when it’s all said and done you’ll have loads of leftovers and can flex your muscles and proudly say, “I AM WOMAN! I MADE MOLE!”

    Oaxacan Black Mole

    • 10 medium chihualces (Oaxacan) chiles
    • 6 medium (about 2 ounces) dried ancho chiles
    • 6 dried chipotle chiles
    • 1/2 cup coconut oil
    • 1 cup white onion, chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
    • 1/3 cup unskinned or Spanish peanuts
    • 1/3 cup unskinned almonds
    • About 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    • 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, strained
    • 2 slices stale bread, toasted until very dark
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • A scant teaspoon oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 ripe banana
    • 1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) finely chopped chocolate (75% cocoa content)
    • Salt, about 1 tablespoon depending on the saltiness of the broth
    • Sugar, about 1/4 cup (or a little more)
    • small flour tortillas
    • sour cream
    • cilantro
    • limes
    • shredded chicken breast (or grilled veggies)

     

    Happyolks | Oaxacan Mole Happyolks | Oaxacan Mole Happyolks | Oaxacan Mole

    Step 1: Soak chiles in boiling water for 30 minutes. In a large dutch oven, melt coconut oil and sauté onion and garlic until they begin to brown and caramelize – about 20 minutes.

    Step 2: While the onion and garlic are doing their jig, preheat the oven to 350.’ Spread nuts and sesame seeds on a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the oven is to temp, roast the nuts for 12 minutes or until golden. Place nuts and seeds in a blender along with 1 1/2 cups of the broth and blend to as smooth a puree as you can. Transfer to a small bowl.

     Step 3: Without rinsing the blender, combine the canned tomatoes with another 1/2 cup of the broth and puree. Pour into another bowl. Again, without rinsing the blender, combine the roasted onion and garlic with the toasted bread, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, banana and 3/4 cup broth. Blend to a smooth puree and pour into a small bowl. Finally, without rinsing the blender, scoop in half of the chiles, measure in 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid, blend to a smooth puree, then pour into another bowl. Repeat with the remaining chiles and another 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid.

    Step 4: From four purees, you have your mole. In the same dutch oven you used for the onions and garlic, heat 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and set over medium-high heat. When very hot, add the tomato puree and stir and scrape (a flat-sided wooden spatula works well here) for 15 to 20 minutes until reduced, thick as tomato paste, and very dark (it’ll be the color of cinnamon stick and may be sticking to the pot in places). Add the nut puree and continue the stirring and scraping until reduced, thick and dark again, about 8 minutes. Then, as you guessed it, add the banana-spice puree and stir and scrape for another 7 or 8 minutes as the whole thing simmers back down to a thick mass about the same color it was before you added this one. Add the chile puree, stir well and let reduce over medium-low heat until very thick and almost black, about 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Stir in the remaining broth and the chocolate, partially cover and simmer gently for about an hour, for all the flavors to come together. Season with salt and sugar.

    Step 5: In batches in a loosely covered blender, puree the sauce until as smooth as possible. Return the mole to the same pot and heat it to a simmer. For enchiladas, fill 3 small tortillas with chicken or vegetables (if vegetarian preference). Lay on a plate, then drown them in a hefty spoonful of mole, top with sour cream and cilantro leaves.

    Happyolks | Oaxacan Mole

  2. Fits and Starts + Chard, White Bean & Tamarind Stew

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    Fall arrives in fits and starts in here in San Diego. Friday was a tease with its grey skies, cool breeze, and invitation for thinking books and black coffee. Sun, shorts, and summer squash on Sunday — September keeps us wanting. My creative process follows suit. Ideas come and go, passing through me before I have time to bottle them up or at least find a working pen.

    I bought a sketchbook at the end of summer, it was on sale at the art store and at the time I had these great intentions of writing everyday; “creativity for creativity’s sake.” I was inspired by a recent feature Shaun and I had collaborated on about a new friend, colleague who encouraged “artists need to be creative for the sake of it, not for work, but because it’s who you are.” Agree. So does Julia Cameron, who insists on a practice of writing every day, among other things, to “recover creativity, as it is the natural expression and direction of life.” It’s been three weeks, and that sketchbook is barely filled with the caught inspiration, captured realizations, or daydreams like I envisioned.

    I love, and fully one hundred and fifty percent believe in the practice of “creativity for creativity’s sake,” but as Elizabeth Gilbert, writer, says in her ’09 TED Talk, it can’t always account for “the utter maddening capriciousness of the creative process, a process which everyone who has ever tried to make something knows doesn’t behave rationally, and sometimes seems downright paranormal.”

    Case in point, Shaun and I saw Bon Iver this past weekend, and in the middle of a solo set the creative rain comes like a flood and I have nowhere to put it in the dark, musty auditorium. Vernon is singing, I am completely in the present moment, engrossed, emotional, and the ideas come a’knocking. WTF, creativity? I needed you a few days ago. I can’t deal with you right now.

    We have to be okay with that. Part of being creative for creativity’s sake is not documenting it, saving it for later, making it a practice. Let it just be. A thing that comes, at random, irrationally, and reminds you that it’s there and that it will come back because it always does . Let the creativity just be there for the sake of it, even if it’s stuck in your head or heart and can’t be rendered “useful.” Perhaps this is the extended meaning of being creative for the sake of it. Feeling it. Enjoying it. Not having to go anywhere with it. Just letting it affirm our sometimes maddening humanness.

    Fall will come in San Diego. Eventually. It will fake us out for a while. And it may feel inconvenient when it does make an appearance because we’ll be wearing shorts and sandals. But heck. Let it come when it does. The sketchbook will be there, and if it doesn’t get love everyday, there will be times later when I’ll be glad I have all the extra pages. I think. I hope.

    White Bean, Tamarind, Chard Stew with several adaptions from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Chickpea Stew in Plenty 

    • 4 tbsp seedless tamarind pulp
    • 1 bunch (stalks and leaves) Swiss chard
    • 2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
    • 3 tsp caraway seeds
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 lbs roma or plum tomatoes
    • 2 1/2 cups water
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 2 cups freshly cooked cannelli beans
    • handful of fresh cilantro
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 cups short-grain brown rice, cooked with a tsp of olive oil
    Soak dry beans overnight, and cook for 45 minutes before you plan to get started. Alternatively, you could use canned, but I discourage it – BPA, the same stuff we’re on the watch for in water bottles is found in tin can linings. While you’re cooking the beans, put on the rice too.
    Okay, now we can start. Whist the tamarind with 3 tbsp of water until it dissolves into a paste. Set aside. Place chopped onion and caraway seeds in a large pan with olive oil and saute on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, honey, beans, ground coriander, cumin, chard, and a bit of salt and pepper. Strain the tamarind water through a fine mesh strainer over the pan. Bring to a slight boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes. If you like a more soup-y stew, add a bit more water. If you prefer a thicker stew, remove the lid to let the steam evaporate. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    When you’re ready to serve, spoon rice into a shallow bowl, creating crater in the center. Put a ladle or two over the rice, and top with fresh cilantro.

  3. Good Ju Ju

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    Ju Ju means energy; the experience of positive and negative forces all around us that charge our lives and shape each unique day on this planet. You know Ju Ju. It’s that thing when you enter a space and get that “off” feeling in your gut telling you it’s time to leave, it’s the woman who smiled at you when you were crossing the street yesterday, the long, warm embrace of your loved ones, the sensation of sand between your toes walking on the shore. It’s the powerful stuff that we pick up on everywhere when we let our intuition take the reigns.

    We can give it, receive it, create it, share it, leave it behind, pass it on; you can even give Ju Ju a good kneading like homemade yeast bread. We need good Ju Ju. We need bad Ju Ju too though. The polar forces help guide our decisions, steer our relationships, and challenge us to think about life in new, interesting ways. It’s a balancing act; I think the potential for both kinds of ju ju live in us at once and can be used to direct people when we least expect it. Some people call it vibe, at yoga you’ve probably heard it referred to as Prana… but whatever name you give it, you know that it’s some powerful stuff.

    Despite the fact that each day I generally rise to the blessings of good health, supportive relationships, and an intentional purpose; my Ju Ju reserves can still get a little low from time to time. Life gets messy, our heads get fuzzy, and the spark within us can grow dim. When I need good Ju Ju, I call my Mom. She shares her wisdom and light and helps re-ignite my own to honor and pass on to others.

    This week my Mom was flanked with a host of givers. I received more good Ju Ju than I knew how to process all at once. Surprise coverage from The Kitchn, Food52, FoodieCrush Magazine, Food In Jars, an interview feature with Kaileen Elise, and the positive affirmations from readers and friends have been a needed nudge. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your energy with me this week. If I could bottle it, seal it with wax, and send it right back to each of you ten-fold I would.

    Too often we disregard the profound impact that our simple words, actions, and intentions can have on the world and one another. Don’t. Seriously. We carry each other; everyday we take turns by sharing our Ju Ju. Give it away and watch it grow.

     Chickpea Fritters with Tomato Jam 

    Slightly adapted from Whole Food by Jude Blearau

    Tomato Jam 

    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 1/4 cup crushed ginger
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 3 cinnamon sticks
    • 5-6 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped and most of the seeds removed
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
    Heat olive oil in a saucepan over gentle heat. Add ginger and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the vinegar and cinnamon sticks and cook until reduced by half. Add tomatoes, sugar, cumin, and cloves. Cover with a lid, and cook for 5 minutes over gentle heat. Remove lid, increase heat, and stir for 5-8 minutes to thicken. Reduce heat again and let simmer until thick.

     

    Chickpea Fritters 
    • 1 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for at least 8 hours
    • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1 tsp ground coriander
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • pepper to taste
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 handful of parsley, chopped
    • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
    • 4 tbsp mint, chopped
    • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
    • olive oil, for frying
    Pour soaked chickpeas into a strainer, rinse and drain. Put soaked chickpeas in a food processor with minced garlic. Pulse for about a minute. Add the spices and pulse for another minute until finely ground, then place in a large mixing bowl. Add chopped onion, herbs, and flour and eggs and use your hands to combine. Form the mixture into small patties about 1/2″ thick. I started out thinking these would be chickpea burgers, but with half a loaf of bread on hand and no intention of running to the store, these became open faced sandwiches. Oops.
    Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, just enough to cover the bottom well. Place patties in the pan and cook over medium heat (with a gentle sizzle) for 5-7 minutes on each side. Jude warns “don’t rush the process, the insides take a while to cook.” Serve with grilled olive oil bread and tomato jam.

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.