Tag Archive for recipes

Autumn Bestie: Delicata Squash Skillet Cornbread

I didn’t mean to take such a break from writing, but it came to find me, I suppose. Sometimes life is like that. Nanny Bert once told me, “If you wanna her God laugh, Sara, tell him your plans.” And so, that’s how it went. Gus died and I got quiet. Other things happened too:

Me and Ginger built a shed with our friend John.

I got good with a nail gun and looked like this most days.

The trees are putting on a big show where I run along the Green River.

AND, of course, I’ve been in the kitchen. Ginger’s garden was a hug success this season and I have plenty to work with. I am especially delighted by the hill of stowed delicata squash we have waiting for service. So when I saw this beautiful recipe for a pumpkin cornbread, I knew it was my shot to get in the game. I did a little dip and roll with the ingredients and between both our versions, I bet you can too. It’s so earthy and gorgeous for the season. I hope you enjoy. NOTE!!! Roast your squash before you make this. (pop the whole thing in the oven on 375 for 45 minutes.

Delicata Squash Skillet Cornbread
1c yellow cornmeal
1c oat flour
2t baking powder
1/4t alder smoked sea salt
1t Vietnamese cinnamon
1/4t nutmeg
1/2t pressed ginger juice
1/8 t ground cloves
1c plain whole milk yogurt
1 roasted delicata squash, seeded
1/3c pure maple syrup
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1T vanilla extract
1 ground vanilla bean
1T butter

Directions

First You wanna get that 10″ skillet hot. Put it in the oven at 400 degrees while you do your thing. Mix together all your dry ingredients in one bowl, and whisk the wet ones in another. Then combine both bowls into a little cloud of heaven. Pull your hot skillet out, drop your butter into it and swirl it around so the sides and bottom are covered. Plop the batter into the skillet and bake for about 25 minutes or until your oven slightly browns the top. Wait for 10-15 minutes (THIS IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE RECIPE), slice it and serve warm. Preferably with someone you love. This could be yourself.

Hippie Dust: How We Fell In Love

Throw some hippie dust on that!

And so, with that direction bellowed over an enormous bowl of popcorn one fateful evening about 12 years ago, began my love affair with nutritional yeast. Actually, the love began as many affairs do, in a state of acrimony and denial with undercurrent of a tug pulling me toward something inexplicable. My first taste resulted in a somewhat crumply face of disgust as compared to a popcorn bowl full of delicious melted butter and salt with fresh ground pepper. But something about the nuttiness of the unexpected yeast pulled me back. And in no time at all, I was all in.

Nutritional yeast has an enormous benefit to many people over its cousins brewer’s yeast and baker’s yeast. This yeast, grown mostly on beet sugar is an inactive yeast which means it can be incorporated into a nutritional arsenal of a system that is often challenged by other active yeasts. (Of course, ask your doctor or nutritionist their view on this for your health.) Hippie dust is a dynamo of benefits packed into a magic flourish over foods for a nutty, almost cheesy, flavor. Look here:

1. Vitamin B-12- This is a crucial nutrient for the body involved in the production of red blood cells and for producing and maintaining myelin, the protective insulation around your nerves. Most sources of Vitamin B-12 are animal based, so nutritional yeast is a major player in the nutritional well being of vegans and vegetarians. One tablespoon will provide an adult with a full day’s supply of B-12, if you can keep the tastiness to that!

2. Protein- 2 tablespoons of hippie dust contains 9 grams of protein. That’s more than in 1 cup of whole milk (8g), a large egg (6g), or one oz. of beef (7g). It’s a wonderful source of energy for your workout mornings.

3. Fiber- Fiber is one of my personal favorites in terms of gut health and functional digestion. It also helps our systems regulate blood sugar giving us a more sustainable even store of energy throughout our days and at higher levels. Nutritional yeast provides 3 grams of fiber per tiny serving.

4. Gluten Free- Not only a boon for the Vegans out there, but this treat is also gluten free providing all of this power with an anti-inflammatory ease.

5. Folic acid- Nutritional yeast is also a great source of folic acid. Especially important for women out there trying to get pregnant or carrying future citizens of the planet, folic acid is known to prevent spina bifida and other major birth defects. For those not planning to get pregnant, folic acid is still important for its role in cell maintenance and production.

Here’s one of the easiest recipes in the world and it’ll wow your dinner guests as well.

1 head cauliflower
1T olive oil
1t black sesame seeds
1/4c nutritional yeast
Sea Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350. Take all the ingredients and drop them in a mixing bowl. Toss it with your hands until all is coated. Spread on a cooking sheet with parchment paper or foil and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Cauliflower should be a golden light brown. THAT’S IT!

*Originally, I wrote this article for a wellness site here on the web that I’ve decided not to write for anymore. As it has grown to a pretty impressive size, the site continues to insist on not paying its writers for their work. (COMMON PRACTICE) Not even a dollar. Not with coupons or anything, just “Since we do not compensate contributors for posts, we’re more than happy to include a byline and your brief bio containing links to your website, Facebook, Twitter accounts, which we will promote when your post goes live.” I suppose I got lulled into this belief that I had to continue, after many years as a professional writer, to work for free to promote someone else’s content. In the agreement I found myself also letting my voice be compromised, which is actually my favorite part of writing. When I inquired to the editors about when they planned compensation, fiscal or otherwise, for the writers that wholly drive their content, I got no reply at all.  So I decided to simply write here on my own site and accept that I may stay small, but whatever. At least I’ll stay true. 
This text has been edited from its original form to be reprinted here.

The Lucky Devil Summer Cleanse

This seasonal event begins July 19th and runs through August 9th.

You can sign up here!!!

The garden is starting to explode, the farmers’ markets are singing their siren songs and each weekend brings a new BBQ to enjoy. It’s SUMMER, it’s gorgeous, and frankly, so are YOU. So, are you ready to put all that beautiful Summer Produce to good use? Give your bod a break from the toxins in life and get yourself a clean slate? Take some time for yourself this summer and refocus on what you truly hunger for. Let’s uncover all the energy that’s been hiding under the breakneck pace of life that can sometimes short-circuit our nutrition choices. Seinberg Holistic Health Coaching is leading a 3 week cleanse program that draws from a variety of traditions: Ayurvedic, Macrobiotic, Vegan, and several other gems. Through experience and research I’ve culled a gentle program to support detoxing and rebooting without starving and suffering. This cleanse is not about what you can’t have, but what you GET TO have. Each morning will be greeted with a filling delicious smoothie and a warm beverage. Lunch will bring you a feast of clean eating, a fantastic meal packed with flavor, pleasure, nutrients and satisfaction. Evening arrives with a hearty soup or another smoothie if you like. Fresh juices can also be incorporated into the cleanse for those of you with juicers. Maybe this is just the thing that you need to get your juicing on, but to be clear, you can do this cleanse without the investment in a costly, if not AWESOME, juicer. We will also be keeping a log or a journal, looking at our skin as a major detox route, and incorporating quiet periods into our days, shutting down the white noise and chatter out for this sublime seasonal opportunity to get LIGHT. The theme of this season’s cleanse is LISTENING. Not only will we be clearing the deck for more energy, less bloat, a sharpened focus, and a more honest and accurate conversation with our bodies, we’ll make some conscious plans for our journies to come after we wrap up this fantastic cleanse. Together we will meet on the web and be in touch as a group. The sharing of experiences, recipes, ideas, struggles, and common crossroads will add to the whole experience of prioritizing your health for this season of abundance. The groups tend to be creative, HILARIOUS, and an incredible source of support where people form bonds and stay in touch for health goals long after cleanses come to an end. You do not have to purchase fancy equipment or hundreds of dollars worth of supplements. A blender will be needed. I got mine at an estate sale for like 12 bucks. The program incorporates a holistic approach to cleansing that is not just about whole food, but also about rest, time, sweat, creativity, joy, and quiet. If you are currently under the care of a physician, please talk to your doctor about doing any cleansing first, even a gentle cleanse like the Sweet Summer Cleanse. I am happy to consult with your health care practitioner as well. Join this seasonal kitchen adventure for $179 for a three week support system and experience plus a 30 minute private coaching call with me on the phone or on video chat. Registration ends the day of the cleanse, but it’s suggested to register one week before the clease begins so we can prepare our minds and bodies for this amazing experience. Also, last season this program sold out. I’ve found a way to expand a bit, but not much and spaces fill up.

Shakshuka: Fun to say, even better to eat.

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My Spring Fling Cleanse officially ends in about 90 minutes. Each season when I go through this process, I have an entirely different experience. Of course this is true for many reasons: I am a season older, the group I lead changes each season, the body wants different things at different times, and sometimes the mind is able to engage a commitment more than other times. But two things remain constant: I always want the nightshade family back when the cleanse ends and I never get over eggs. I will pretty much put an egg on ANYfuckingTHING. One of my all time favorite breakfasts is a bowl of an entire head of dino kale shredded and cooked down in ginger, lemon juice and coconut aminos with a fat scoop of Farmhouse Culture’s Smoked Jalapeno Sauerkraut and a skillet fried egg done in coconut oil on top with some kind of fancy salt. On a cleanse, I take some time to make space without the peppers in the kraut or the egg so usually the first thing I reintroduce are nightshades and then eggs. Everything else comes slowly. And then some things (sugar and mostly coffee) not at all. But the breakfast bowl, that’s a siren song for me. I love the colors and the faint sweetness of the coconut along the edge of the spicy and the sour. I like the give of the yolk all through the kale, done with still the tiniest bit of crunch left in the spine. And I love the way the day starts with such bold assertion there, breakfast greens and eggs in a bowl cupped in sleepy hands.

But this time, I took a bit of a detour with my return. I’ve been obsessed with Shakshuka. It’s a word that’s fun to say, but the meal, well, that’s where the good time really starts. The dish comes from east of me, some say Egypt, some say Tunisia. But wherever it came from originally, you’ll find it all over Israel, Yemen, Libya and it’s a staple in the breakfast world. I read a billion recipes for it. From the NYT to smitten kitchen and back through both of Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes in the wonderful vegetarian Plenty, and the drop-dead gorgeous new book, Jerusalem. (If you love cookbooks, don’t waffle on Jerusalem. Just shell out for it.) There were a thousand other blogs and books that had an entry for this Comfort Jewfood and even a lady with a blog called The Shiksa in the Kitchen, which is fabulous.

This is my first attempt and I culled things I liked from all the recipes and went to work with my own new hybrid. The tang, the smoke, and the creaminess of the egg yolk were all exactly perfect for a late lunch on a windy day here in the fog belt of San Francisco. I can imagine this dish with plenty of variations including the popular addition of feta, but also with endless pepper combinations, spice tweaks, and maybe even a more Italianish flavor variation with a mozzarella basil situation. But here’s how mine went. And for a first try, I have to say, it was KILLER. I’m already looking forward to lunch tomorrow, as I am still loving my cleanse smoothies for breakfast. Until then, I leave you with some visuals and a recipe. It’s super easy and the payoff is big time.

Seinberg’s First Shakshuka

Serves 6-8

1T extra virgin olive oil
1t ground cumin
2t paprika
1t smoked sea salt
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
3 Anaheim chiles
1 jalapeno
1 red bell pepper
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes or four fresh tomatoes, diced.
4 eggs
Diced parsley for garnish

Preheat your oven to 375.

One thing you need for my version is a pan that can go from stovetop to oven. You can use whatever you like, but something relatively shallow and wide is best. I picked this cast iron skillet, which is a popular choice in the recipes I culled, plus it makes you feel like a cowboy. And personally, I like that feeling.

First heat the oil up in the skillet and add your onion, shallot, and garlic. After about 5 minutes, add in all your diced peppers and cook everything down for about 10 minutes. Then mix in your salt, cumin and paprika. Get everything all coated with color and cook for a few minutes. Pour in your can of tomatoes and mix it all together on a medium flame. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Make four little wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each. Let the mixture cook on the flame for another 2 minutes.

Now take the whole skillet and put it into your heated over for 15 minutes. The whites should be cooked through and the yolks will still be soft. You can serve it with parsley diced on top. Or cilantro if you like. You can also serve it with pita bread but I kind of feel like unless you make homemade pita that kills, fuck it. Just eat it with a spoon, friend.

The Salad Dressing Compendium

Hello, Spring! Well, in California it’s Spring. I know many of you are still shoveling your cars out from under snow and I offer you my sympathies. I hold to the idea that when the crocuses and the daffodils finally push their valiant heads through the warming soil, the shock of joy you feel in your chests will be worth the wait. I swear, the earth is still spinning and the new harvest is on its way.

So my offering to you this Spring is the hope that you will NEVER BUY SALAD DRESSING AGAIN. This will save you money, which is nice, but also it will contribute to your health even more than you know. When we finally integrate the practice of fresh salads into our lives, incorporating more vegetables into our diets that way most health care professionals ask us to, often we then dump a bunch of bottled dressings onto them that are kind of like a bully’s kick to the newly found courage of the skinny kid on the playground. Name brand shelf-stable dressings are packed with crappy quality oils, preservatives, MSG and all manner of shit that has nothing at all to do with the goodness of eating food some nice farmer took the time to grow. Here: let’s take a look at what the Wish Bone people like to call “Italian Dressing”. Suffice to say, if I was Italian, I would be deeply offended by this kind of representation.

It’s hilarious to me that they are waving the Gluten-Free flag but really, I love the part where they say “CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (USED TO PROTECT QUALITY). What they may have meant to say goes something more like, “We like to call this Calcium Disodium  EDTA because it sounds like it might mean salt. But really it’s short for Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, which is actually made from formaldehyde, sodium cayanide, and Ethylenediamine.” And that, my dear friends, is how corporations like to phrase Quality Control. I won’t get started on the maltodextrin because I’d rather get to the part where we make delicious things.

The first exciting thing is to share with you what readers are making! Let’s start with my friend Becky who is basically the hottest eyeliner butch in Los Angeles. She makes crazy art sets for things and obviously, she makes dressing. Becky says, ” I like a little twist on the typical balsamic for warmer weather, adjust for taste, of course:

2 parts WHITE balsamic
1 part grape seed oil
1/2t spicy brown mustard per serving.

The white balsamic/grape seed substitution really lightens up the flavor and tang” One of the great lessons Becky gives us here is that dressings can be made with general guidelines. Here she has a 2:1 ratio for vinegar to oil. Now our friend Alice Waters, the goddess who often watches over my kitchen experiments, always goes with a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar. Does this make her right? Nope. It means that from Becky to Alice, people like their salads all kinds of ways. And you can too.

By now you know that one of my favorite food blogs is Laura Silverman’s Glutton for Life. I love it over there. She offers us a dressing of the ocean with anchovy paste. While you vegans and vegetarians may want to stay away, I say NO NO NO! Just substitute salted capers for the paste and you’ll still have that feeling of the sea. She mixes up anchovy paste, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard powder, chile oil, sea salt and garlic. Why are there no measurements? Because you, my friend, get to try them all out. You’ll notice she doesn’t use vinegar here and the lemon juice flies the sour flag for this recipe. Go easy on the chile oil as you experiment as a little bit goes a long ass way. This is a robust bangin’ dressing that will be able to handle dark spicy greens as well as steer the ship with lighter lettuces. I also think the color of some sliced radishes would be fantastic to highlight the contrast of flavors here. Don’t be afraid to cook by color. I have been known to assemble salads to go with the table linens. And it’s always just lovely.

What about when we are looking for a more eastern flavor, something from a Japanese kind of note? Well, one of my fantastic new clients sent me this one:

Miso Lime Dressing:
1/4 c white miso (you can use chickpea if soy is your nemesis)
1/4 c oil of choice
1/4 c water
2 T unsweetened rice vinegar
1 T honey (optional)
juice & zest of one lime
Blend in blender and keep refrigerated.

For me this recipe kicks some serious ass. Plus you can use it on a rice bowl as well. I would have at least 1T of toasted sesame oil as part of my 1/4 c and combine it with maybe a walnut, but that’s just me.

Up in the capital of the beautiful state of Washington, Olympia, food really does it’s thing. It’s not just where my Riot Grrrl youth sprang from. Although I’ve never lived in Olympia, in the shadow of the gorgeous Mt. Ranier, I’ve spent many a fine week entrenched in its never ending DIY spirit. Aside from getting my toes tattooed there (they say Lucky Devil), doing one my first ever Sister Spit shows there, and reveling in curating the spoken word for the legendary HomoAGogo for a few years, I have also watched people there just cook their asses off. My friend Sash Sunday (who is also presently my teammate for the upcoming Hood to Coast this August) grew up there. She lives outside of town now but blesses the town with the award-winning OlyKraut she co-founded. And never one to let anything go to waste, she uses the kraut brine for her veggies (that she grows). It’s simple she says.  Original Sauerkraut Brine, Grape Seed Oil, and one clove of crushed garlic. Mmmm. To me this clearly asks for some lightly steamed broccoli, blood orange, spinach, and toasted walnuts.

And me? I’ll leave you with this photograph for some inspiration. Do with it what you will. But please, don’t buy any more dressing. 


The Smoothie Chronicles: Chapter 1

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I started making smoothies when I did my very first seasonal cleanse a few years back. At first I thought they would never keep me full until lunch and I panicked about not having enough food or enough chewing or blah blah blah. I guess Food Panic is a whole issue for a future post now that I’m typing. So for now, let’s just say I didn’t believe in these things. I didn’t like the idea of adding powders to things or feeling like I was going down the path a new bizarre disordered kind of eating that included cutting out BREAKFAST, the Holy Grail of meals. But I knew it was just for 3 weeks and I felt open to trying this detox so I just got on board. What the hell? I mean, I’ve done way crazier shit without a thought to my health at all, like for instance, doing crystal meth and not eating anything at all for like 3 days.

Who needs a smoothie now, Girl?

Anyhoots, turns out I loved them and even when I am between seasonal cleanses I make them all the damn time. It just kind of stuck with me. I have an old blender you can see here (along with the recipe for almond milk I use in all these little devils). While I tend to covet objects, I also find my Libra rising engenders a certain commitment to beauty far beyond functionality sometimes. In this case, it’s great because me and Ginger got this beautiful blender at an estate sale for next to nothing and the thing just doesn’t quit. It may not be the Vitamix or the Ninja we often dream of, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of such a pretty appliance that does it’s job just fine. All of this to say, you can be a smoothie enthusiast for much less than $600 in the equipment department. Also, in case you ARE looking to upgrade and are feeling shut down by sticker shock, fancy blenders and juicers are often things people re-sell on craigslist and ebay because they go through a phase and then say Fuck It, I’m Not A Smoothie/Juicing Person.

Over time, I’ve written a bunch of recipes for smoothies for my own cleanses that I do, but I’ve also just spent a bunch of time winging it. So I thought I’d collect some images with basic ingredients for you to toss together if you like. All the recipes I’ve made for the cleanses aren’t on here and often tend to greener, but not always. Anyhow, I hope these inspire and offer some good ideas for whatever you got going.

Kale Chips: Cheap and easy, yo.

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It was pretty much love at first bite for me. Kale chips had so much more to offer than potato chips. Healthy oil and not too much, protein from the nutritional yeast (and you know how I love the hippie dust) and of course, everybody loves kale. What I didn’t love was the heart palpitation I experienced when I turned over the feather-light bag to find that my new true love cost like 10 bucks a bag! WTF?!?! And entire head of organic kale is only like $2.99 to $3.50. I really hoped this wasn’t another case of my belief that only unicorns and Cabbage Patch Kids could make such magical healthy snacks. But I figured if I could learn to make almond milk, I could learn to make this snack from heaven.

Now I don’t have a ton of gizmos in my kitchen, and the ones I do have were mostly given to me or scored at estate sales. One thing is that I live in a city where the rent per square foot is pretty much like living inside a turquoise Tiffany box, so that means my counter space real estate rivals that of a maxi pad. Not to brag. Because of this, I need my gadgets to do more than one thing, and so, alas, I have no room to store a dehydrator or counter space to just leave the thing hanging out. Plus, they are kind of ugly and I’m kind of shallow, so there’s that.

But guess what? They are easy as hell to make. And once you do it with basic ingredients, there’s nothing that can hold back the variations of possibility. So if you choose to continue reading, get ready to have kale chips all the friggin’ time. Since my first try I have had about 6 different versions. This one features purple kale because I could not resist the color plus onion and celery. Also I make mine vegan but you can make them with parmesan as well.

 

Kale Chips

1 head kale, de-ribbed
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery
1/4c nutritional yeast
*1/2 t gomasio
1 T olive oil
sprinkle of sea salt

For any version, preheat your oven to it’s lowest setting, which is usually between 180-200. If you are making plain chips WITHOUT the onions and celery, just pull the ribs out of the kale and put the puffy leaves into a big ass mixing bowl. Pull them into what seem like good sized chip pieces. Sprinkle on the hippie dust and the gomasio. Now drizzle the olive oil onto it and mix up thoroughly. You want all that goodness to get on every leaf. Spread the kale out evenly on a baking sheet, just one layer deep and pop in the oven. Bake it until it’s dry. I toss mine  about every 30 minutes to make sure that the moisture all takes its turn being exposed to the heat source. Takes like 2 hours. You can cook it faster at a higher heat, but they never come out as good.

If you want to use the onions and celery, put those in first because they have more moisture to dehydrate. After 30 minutes, join it all together.

Other ingredients I have added: Indian flavors of cumin, coriander, and turmeric. I’ve done a harissa version, a chipotle adobo version, sour version with red wine vinegar and garlic powder, and a white pepper and ginger version.

*The gomasio in the recipe above is special. It came from the genius herbalists at Portland Apothecary. Kristen and Ellie put it in their Community Supported Herbalism Share. They do one every season and you can order yours for Spring right now. I’m excited and honored to write the recipes for this upcoming share!

Now, go make your snacks.

What’s so great about a bean, anyhow? Plus, a recipe.

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Just because the little bite sized superheroes might leave a bit of a scented side-effect doesn’t mean a person should throw these babies out with the bathwater. Of course, to throw out the COOKING water will cut down vastly on the old gas. You lose a bit of minerals that way, but it will help you out at the beginning stages of romance. Another trick to cutting down on the farts is to cut off a 2 square inch hunk of kombu seaweed and cook it with the beans. Now, if I’m making beans as the main course and not cooking them off as an ingredient in a stew, I really like to save the pot liquor, so I go with the kombu. I think the liquid has a ton of flavor and I often cook my beans with a bunch of goods in the broth itself. Some people also swear by the herb Epazote as a cooking enzyme aid.

But let’s get past the farting, shall we?

In general, the darker the bean, the more antioxidants the suckers have to guard your cells against attack. Black beans, adzuki, Anasazi, kidney beans, and red beans all do a great job as warriors of this order. Beans are also a great source of fiber, which keeps everything moving in our digestive systems. Keeping up with digestive health impacts the entire body from mood to energy level. Beans prevent constipation, keep the path clear for a steady production of Serotonin in the gut, and improve the steadiness of blood sugar levels (especially important for those suffering from diabetes). A diet rich in fiber also lowers the levels of bad cholesterol in the system (LDL). This keeps our hearts safer as we age, cutting down on the fat gathering in our vessels and making it easier for us to maintain a health blood pressure for delivering nutrients throughout our bodies.

And that’s not all: Beans contain chemicals called isoflavones that have been rumored to reduce the risk of heart disease, ease the myriad symptoms of menopause and improve the strength of your bones.

PLUS, beans are a powerhouse source of vegetarian protein. Sometimes you’ll hear someone scoff at a bean, bad mouthing it for being an incomplete protein, but that’s where ancient food wisdom comes in. Beans have been served with rice in so many cultures FOREVER: bowls of rice with adzuki beans all over Asia, basmati and mung beans, red beans and rice in South America and on and on. We humans have done a pretty good job historically of being able to hear what our bodies have wanted. Then industrial chemicals came along and kind blew static into the conversation. When we made choices to combine different beans and rices over the years, what we did scientifically was to join two different proteins to create a perfect one. The essential amino acids that either dish lacks alone, come together as a perfect team.

From Flickr user monkeycat62

I do my best to always use dried beans. I am somewhat obsessed with Rancho Gordo beans in particular. Not so much because I’m an irritating foodie, although I certainly have my moments, but more out of urges stemming from my Libra rising. Easily swayed and emotionally moved by physical beauty, this ends up working out way better for me in the kitchen than it ever did in the world of dating. The Heirloom beans from this outfit are such a gorgeous array of colors and shapes, it’s easy to see how artists were drawn make portraits from them. Anyhow, I either soak them overnight rendering a quicker cooking time, or if I have all day I actually love to do a long slow cook to infuse them with flavor. Canned beans tend to fall apart and also they, well, come in cans generally lined with toxic BPA. Eden brand organics DO NOT use that lining so I do keep a couple cans of that on hand for quick situations.

So, how about a nice recipe? You can mess with it until the Super Bowl and perfect your own version to do a healthy dazzle for your guests.

Spicy 3 Bean Stew

1c kidney beans                                                    1 large yellow onion
1c pinto beans                                                      1 sweet potato
1c giant lima beans                                               1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced                                         ½ t cinnamon
2T olive oil                                                          4 cloves garlic
2 carrots, diced                                                    1t ground chipotle
1T ground cumin                                                   1T dried oregano
2 in hunk of kombu                                               handful fresh cilantro
5c vegetable broth                                                salt to taste
1t chile powder (New Mexico if you can find it)          1 splash cider vinegar
2 lbs self-canned tomatoes from this summer OR 20 oz + 14oz Eden brand cans stewed tomatoes (BPA free cans)

Rinse and soak all your beans the night before. Start your beans cooking in water with the kombu about an hour before everything else in the pot happens. Skim any foam from the top.

Meanwhile, get a heavy bottomed pot, and sauté your chopped onion and garlic until soft. Add your bell pepper, carrots and all your spices and let everything cook for about ten or fifteen minutes. Add your cider vinegar to soften and stew it all. Add in your tomatoes, your cubed sweet potato. Strain your beans and dump in to the veggies with your vegetable stock. Cook everything in the pot, covered for about another hour and taste as you go. Salt to taste as you go. If the stew is too spicy or too thick, go ahead and add in more vegetable broth.

Top with diced fresh cilantro and enjoy. Other toppings: shredded cheese, a dollop of crème fraiche, apple chutney, sour cream, diced scallions, arugula pesto.

 

Latke Compendium: The Finish Line

I sometimes feel like the condiments are the best part of the show. My friend Elizabeth is a fantastic cook and when we make brunch together, the table is a veritable solar system of dips, sauces, sides, and toppings. Our bunches have eggs to order and yogurt to anchor everything, and even though the eggs will sport deep yellow yolks of happy hens who possibly roost on hand quilted thrones and the yogurt comes from cows so happy that we actually spy them all getting mani/pedi/udder massages (this is a lie), the real stars always lay in the orbiting mismatched bowls. Elizabeth brings her homemade caraway kraut, local honey from a friend’s bees in the Mission, dark and caramel. She makes jam and homemade salsa. Ginger will throw down with perfect southern biscuits and even started making some gluten-free ones for me, and we’ll put her cinnamon vanilla sunflower seed butter on them and close our eyes when we chew. I tote in a chutney of spiced fruits and pomegranate pear champagne vinaigrette for the massaged shaved kale salad with hazelnuts and fennel. We eat and pass bowls. We laugh and top each bite with different crowns. We brunch like champions, lazy and happy as the great world spins and we sip tea like there’s no work to do or bad phone calls to get. It’s condiment brunch and it’s one of my favorite days.

I also want to say that one of the best things about gathering people these days is the fact that everyone has different food needs. I live in San Francisco where you can’t spit without hitting someone who is going gluten free or paleo or vegan. Myself included. I do cleanses each season and I want people to just like food and feel good. So all these different desires that used to cause eye rolling and panic are now just an invitation for me to learn new things to make, find ways to bring together all kinds of new foods and make it No Big Deal. Because really, it’s not. It’s totally a blast. Send me your food needs and sensitivities, people. I AM NOT AFRAID.

Here’s some lemon creme fraiche on top of a beluga lentil soup drizzled with olive oil

CREME FRAICHE: So your latke gathering is now prepared with applesauce from yesterday. Today I bring you the creamy stuff to plop on your latkes. You won’t believe how friggin’ EASY it is to impress people with things like homemade creme fraiche. Making anything with the implication of a French accent really bowls your American pals over. But really all you have to do is this: The night before your party, put 2 tablespoons of buttermilk in a cup of heavy cream in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a pretty towel you like so in the morning it’ll be like being greeted by a chorus of angels. Not to get too Christmassy at Hanukkah, but whatever. I live in a mixed house. Let the bowl sit for like 12 hours or more if you like. Maybe up to 16. Then mix the creme and put it in the fridge until you want to serve it.

Is that it?
YES, MARY !!!!
Creme fraiche for the people.

This condiment is incredibly fun to modify for a good time. Meyer lemons are in season right now and you can zest one and squeeze a tiny bit in for a good tangy version. You can add harissa and about 3 finely diced olives for a Moroccan flavor or you can have a Greek kind of number with cucumbers and cilantro. This is a topping that just keeps giving. Tis the season after all.

VEGAN CASHEW CREAM Again, Mary, this is so easy, girl. Here’s what you need:

1c raw cashews
1/2 c filtered water

Soak your cashews for about 6 hours. They don’t need to soak as long as almonds do. They’ll plump up and turn white, which is appetizing for a cream situation. Pour off the water. Don’t use the soaking water in the next step. Ew. Now put your soaked cashews in a blender and cover them with new filtered water. I cover mine just barely. The less water, the creamier the sauce. Puree for several minutes. You want the nuts completely blended with no chunks or anything.

Is that it?
YES, MARY !!!!
Vegan creme for the people.

NOW, if you want vegan SOUR cream, just add in 1 t apple cider vinegar and the juice of one small lemon.

Play around with these. toppings are so fun and it’s easy to find your signature taste. People will be all up in your grill to bring the fantastic blah blah to the next neighborhood mixer. And you’ll be happy to because it’s fun to be the big hero in literally 5 minutes. Oh look, my inner Leo is showing.

Latke Compendium Part 2: The Fixins

Of course you can buy applesauce, sour cream and all manner of foodie upgrades to these, but fuck it.

Let’s make stuff.

It’s super easy, it inspires your pals to make their stuff too, it gives money to small farmers instead of lining the pockets of corporations, and it tastes better. Plus you don’t have to read any labels. You know just what’s in all of this. Really. After all, this is a celebration of miracles. Let us honor that with some time spent, some intention and love into our food, and a gathering of friends to go to town.

APPLESAUCE: A note on apples: Some people like to mix it up. Some people like a sweeter apple like a fuji, a Gravenstein or a honey crisp. I find that for applesauce what’s most important to me is that the apples are crisp and sturdy. This means they have a lot of juice in them, and even though I make my sauce with cider or apple juice, I still want the most robust taste. I like mine a little tart, but I take care of that with some lemon. In the photographs I made my sauce with pink pearl apples because at the time I just wanted applesauce that looked like an extra dish at a tea party for Rainbow Brite. Pink, yo. 

This recipe is enough for the whole latke party, plus left overs for breakfast yogurt or over your pecan pie or just as dessert.

8 medium apples, peeled and cored
1 quart apple cider
Juice of one lemon
1t cinnamon

Place all your apple slices in a pot and cover with apple cider. Add cinnamon and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Turn down the flame to a simmer and cook the apples down until they soften, about 30 minutes. Use a large whisk until the apples simply fall apart from the heat and become the best applesauce you’ve ever tasted. So easy. So good.

For variations: you can also throw pears in for sweetness or just something different. The zest of a satsuma is a pleasure in this applesauce. You can also add cloves. One time just to haul off and get fancy, I cooked a few sprigs of rosemary in some coconut oil at the beginning, then after about ten minutes, I fished out the twigs and made the sauce in the infused coconut oil. Delicious, but not the most traditional thing going.

Stay tuned because tomorrow we make all the creams. YES.