When you’re feeling sick and checking account energy balances are low, roasting vegetables is one of the first ways you can easily cook large quantities of food to have on hand throughout the week. Remember: that which grows together, goes together, so use what’s in season and freshest (in this case, carrot and fennel) and you won’t have to work much in the flavor department.
Add some protein and starch (if you eat the latter) and you’ve got a full-on meal. Roast chicken pairs well, and the bonus there is you’ll have the bones to make broth. Fish cooks quite quickly, and pairs well with this side dish. That said, I love it so much that I can eat it all by it lonesome and feel satisfied.
Note: Save the stalks from your fennel and carrots for making broth! They’ll keep in the freezer until your next batch of broth is ready to go. This version of the dish is highly pared down to make it easy to prepare. But get creative with your herbs and spices and you can easily turn this dish into something more “exotic.”
The month of January was hard. February’s first days have thrummed in the same vein. It would seem that the benefit I experienced from the anti-viral drug treatment I did in 2012 is over. There are new things to try on the horizon though, so I’m forging forward.
I prefer to say nothing and disappear, than talk about my struggles. Positivity is where I live. But I’ve been absent in this space for too long and you deserve to know why. That said, I intend to post recipes once a week until I get my butt back into video making mode, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later.
This week’s recipe is as per request. I used Heidi Swanson’s Miso Tahini Soup as the blueprint, and changed very little. Cooking with what you have will almost always yield something delicious as long as you’re not going too far outside the boundaries of certain flavor profiles. I knew that Heidi would (as she always does) have some amazing ideas in the Miso department and I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t think you will be either.
I tweaked things every so slightly to utilize what was in the fridge—the Chickpea South River Miso I use is traditionally wood fired and unpasteurized, which maximizes the nutrition content. Instead of squash and avo (really wished I had had some avo) I used Shitake mushrooms and onions, both immune system boosters. Admittedly, this meant that the end result had a monotonistic vibe in appearance, but taste-wise it was increds. Total hands on time and energy output were minimal, so this is a great recipe for the chronically ill. Make a big batch like I did below, or reduce by half if you’re not wanting this around for days. To see a pic, check out my Instagram.
Shitake Mushroom Miso Soup w/Kale Chip Chopper Top-Immune System Booster
I know it’s been awhile. I’ve mentioned it in a few of my social media outlets, but I moved in December to a new home in Oakland, and it’s taken me out. I don’t know the source material for the assertion that moving is listed as one of the top five most stressful things a person can do—but it’s true for me. Especially since my illness is affected by stress. We took our time, and did it in stages to make it easier, but still. It’s moving. Thus, my break in posting here. Thus, the ghetto unedited images. KIR, right? (KIR: That’s my new garden!)
If you survived the “polar vortex” extreme cold, bravo. I wish I’d been there with you. Here in the Bay Area we’re strangely out of touch with all of that weather “reality.” It’s been sunny and warm mid-day, like all days (except when I took this photo). I resent the nice weather when my body forces needs to be horizontal for 80% of the day. I also appreciate it.
My strength has been low. The act of speaking feels like pulling words attached to heavyweight anchors up from inside and out of my mouth. It strains my throat, which is swollen and sore. This is KIR (Keepin’ It Real) here, nothing more. Do not feel sorry for me. I’m the luckiest and happiest person on the planet (according to me).
I am looking forward to bringing you more video recipes this year from my new kitchen, which has great natural light and a big open floor plan (i.e., easy to setup with tripods and lights!) I also am working on a video update to show you the new digs, including the backyard garden where I plan to shoot summer episodes. In the meantime, here are some updates to share.
1. In the wee bit beginnings of January, I helped the lovely Simone Shifnadel of Zen Belly Blog cater the book signing event for Chris Kresser‘s release of Your Personal Paleo Code. Chris’s website is a must check out for all people living with/managing chronic illness. His articles are well written, backed by research, and incredibly helpful to all of us folks living with zebra diseases. Just today, he published this article titled, “What To Do if You Need to Take Antibiotics,” the very question I’ve been grappling with since I recently tested positive (again) for Lyme. (Perhaps another explanation for my flare in symptoms).
The event was lovely, but a total doozy for my body. I had been bed bound three days prior, and summoned the (adrenaline-ether-energy) to make it. Follow me on Instagram to see pics like the one below, snapped in a moment before dessert went out. That’s Simone’s hand putting candied citrus peels on the the paleo chocolate delicacies.
2. Lucky for me, I got to meet the gluten free blogging goddes Shauna Ahern of TheGlutenFreeGirl! Her recipes, tips and advice (especially in the baking department) have been hugely helpful to me as I’ve fumbled my way to bring the interwebs things like Gluten Free Zucchini Bread. It’s been exciting to see her recipes shift in a more paleo direction lately! AND, the incredibly lovely, funny, fantastic Melissa Joulwan of The Clothes Make the Girl.
Both of these women are inspirations, and to meet them in person after so much internet stalking, eh-hem I mean fandom…was worth all the drain and tiredness and headaches that came later.
3. Living with my illness means living with limits, and that means that I wasn’t able to attend the book release party for Michelle Tam + Henry Fong’s newest cookbook Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans. I saw Michelle at Chris’s event, shrieked, “Eeeks,” and then had to disappear to help get more water for the tables. I never got to have my copy signed, but I’m hoping that it won’t be the only chance I’ll have. She’s local. And that means I’ll stalk her, eh-hem I mean be a fan, until we’re friends. Seriously though. I’m a huge fan already.
4. I applied to be an official blogger for the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo happening at the end of January in the Bay Area—and I made it! I’m not sure what the criteria for being accepted was, but I know it wasn’t due to the staggering numbers of followers. It’ll be a push for sure, but I’m excited to meet gluten free vendors, and discover new products that I might get to share with all of you.
Last but not least, there’s these blog changes I keep referring to and not implementing. But that’s because of my health, and the desire to get it right. 2014 is going to be all about you my friends. My videos will be focused on the things you told me in your survey. My blog posts will change too. Expect more poetry!
That said, I’m rooting for all of you to be feeling as well as possible. And if the winter makes you blue, get your hands on a copy of Chopin’s Prelude in E Minor, No. 4 Op. 28 (which in the age of Spotify means it’s a few clicks away).
Learning it on the piano has been been keeping me afloat, and accounts for 5 percent of how I spend a day upright.
It says all the things that I can’t say because they’re organic matter things that live inside, that surface in dreams and in lethargy.
Thanks for reading.
A la prossima,
Salt! Glorious salt. Today’s video is a DIY budget (and time) friendly gift idea that’s easy enough for Derek Zoolander to make.
I could wax poetic about salt for days. I once said (in this video) that salad represented the infiniteness of the universe itself. It is no wonder that I feel the same way about salt. I caught myself writing those words, and thought, “You said that already. About salad.” In a sweep of synchronicity, check out what a little wikipedia-ing unearthed:
Needless to say, I’m obsessed. I’m working on how to build my own salt altars.
A little over a year ago, I posted a bonus write-up on citrus salt after making this fantastic Halibut Ceviche. Instead of rewriting the wheel, I’ll just quote myself for all you folks who aren’t click-within-clickers:
“Citrus salt is: a great fancy food gift, easy and cheap to make, and a gourmet-game changer. Use it to add color, texture, flavor, and class to the rim of margarita glass; as a finishing touch on a roasted fennel fish dish or as garnish on sweet baked goods that play with fruit flavors (sweet blackberry scones come to mind). Use it in an herb sauce where you’d usually add lemon rind and salt. The possibilities are limitless.”
For this particular orange citrus salt, it’d be great atop some dark chocolate truffles as an accent note. Add a teensy bit of sugar and use it on cocktails that are excellent at holiday time: like whiskey with sparkling ginger and lemon juice. The flavors of foods that grow together, go together—so let them, and yourself, play.
I know I’ve been inconsistent with posting once a week, but it’s because I’m amidst huge life change(s) (I’m moving!)
Stay tuned though. I’ll be back in the New Year with more recipes, and creative ideas I hope you’ll enjoy. In the meantime, this one minute vid is destined to inspire you for the holidays. Have a happy one at that!
-any quantity salt (my favorites are Maldon & Celtic Sea Salt
-any quantity citrus rind (lemons, limes, Valencia oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, pomelo etc)
Note: use equal parts of citrus and salt for the best flavor combo.
1. Preheat your oven to its lowest setting.
1. Grate your citrus rind. Avoid the white pithy part.
2. Mix thoroughly with your salt of choice.
4. Dehydrate. Check the salt every fifteen minutes to avoid burning. Mine only took ten minutes! But my oven is a beast.
5. Test dryness by pinching some salt between your fingers. It should be bone dry and crumble easily.
Be sure the fruit is organic since you’ll be using the rinds!
There two types of holiday people.
Type 1: The Gung-Ho: (The Wu-Tang Clan could have put out an album with that name). The gung-ho’ers start getting high on holiday cheer in October. Halloween kicks it off. They go crazy with weekend trips to the pumpkin patch; carve elaborate jack-o-lanterns, use a collection of gnarled gourds to line the porch, window sills, and mantles. They frame their doorways with dried wheat stalks. Build fake graves in their yard. String skeletons from the tree branches. Create haunted house entryways. No expense is spared. Type 1 folks spring for the dry ice.
When Halloween passes, it’s on to TG. (Image below courtesy of Martha Stewart, who might get some cred for giving the Type 1′ers their fix).
The first Thanksgiving meal I cooked was epic. I was 24, newly arrived to California. We (the man-dude and I) decided to celebrate the holiday by renting a cabin in Tahoe with some (new-ish) friends, almost all co-workers of the man-dude, all men-dudes themselves♥. We’d all be strays together; East Coasters discovering the wonder of the West, far from our families.
While I would NEVER, EVER call myself a laid back person, there are some things that do not stress me out. Holiday decorations are one example. Ditto that for ceramic plates shaped like turkeys, or serverware in orange or brown color schemes. I am not Type 1.
Type 2: The “Who Gives A Shit?” (The Wu-Tang could also use this one!) –defined by the exact opposite of Type 1, these folks kinda can’t wait for the holidays to be over.
Buuuuut…Even though I wasn’t the ambitious homecook I am today (ie: not YET obsessed with culinary acuteness, wet moist meat, etc etc) I still cared about cooking a bomb-ass meal that everyone would swoon over. The natural born hostess in me, homebody, nester, and Queen of Pentacles caregiver, wanted to make the experience memorable for everyone. Combine that with my buy-in of NorCal’s hippie promise of communal love and spiritually enlightening gratitude? Basically, I wanted everyone to get drunk on giving thanks.
Queue the clock. It’s almost midnight. The turkey has just come out of the oven. The sky is black outside. The house smells incredible, but I’m immune because I’ve been cooking for the past 8 hours. (Most of*) my comrades have all passed out from having drunk too many beers (read: an entire 36 pack of bud light) while sitting in a hot tub located inside a garage. They are not sleeping so much as they are spilled on their beds like strewn clothing shed in the heat of a passionate moment. I am slapping them awake, forcing them to the table. At one point, I dragged one of these human beings by his feet across the floor to get him to the table.
(NOTE: I’ve blurred this image to protect the identities of my comrades. Besides, the two Vikings who had passed out by now are not pictured.)
They arrive feigning sobriety, supporting their drooping heads with cupped hands and bent elbows, working hard to stay upright, slurring words, making inaudible and unintelligible jokes. I ignore this. I have bitten a hole into my cheek from chewing the inside of my lip during The Great Turkey Wait. It’s a bad habit. Something I do when anxiety gets the better of me. Which happened when I realized that one of my (well meaning) comrades turned the oven off during the cooking process, thinking he was turning it down. Hours passed before the gaffe was caught.
Queue 15 minutes into the meal. Still holding out hope for my vision, I ask everyone to join hands for a moment of thanks. I suggest we go around the table and each tell one thing we’re grateful for. Mid-sentence, a loud thud issues from the end of the table. One of my comrades has dropped his head, missing his mashed potato-piled plate by a mere inch. I burst into tears. My sober comrades issue, “There, there’s and here’s here’s” and we move on. Everyone was drunk all right. BUD LITE FOR THE WIN.
Queue the next morning. The boys are up and slamming the leftovers for breakfast. They are ooohing and aaaahing and oh-my-god-ing, until one of them asks, “Did we eat this last night?” Yes. Yes you did.
I wasn’t actually offended. I believe these kinds of life experiences make the best stories. And it was one of the the most memorable Thanksgivings’ I’ve ever had; especially since it was the first one I cooked up myself (with some crucial assists by sober comrades).
I’ve got many, many more TG stories to tell–and pics to share, but for now, let me give you this vid. It was made in part because of and thanks to a member of this original gaggle of guys whom I consider a very close and incredible comrade.
What Type are you for the holidays? What was your most memorable TG? Tell me! Tell me! I’d love to know. Happy happy to you and yours.
Thanks for reading. A la prossima! Ciao xo.
♥We nicknamed this gaggle of guys “The Vikings.”♥
*I say “most” because there were two gentlemen of the bunch who managed to remain sober and available throughout the ordeal.Read More
In difficult times you should always carry something beautiful in your mind. —Blaise Pascal (1623
Beauty sustains me the way foods sustains me. It’s something that I need, and in rich doses. I drink in beauty like some folks pour heavy cream in their coffee; I envy those folks. Especially when heavy cream seems like the reason their blog is bigger than mine. I find ways to make food luscious and creamy and comforting. Like this macchiato oatmeal.
Lucky for me, I see beauty everywhere. The arc of a basketball towards the net; the sides of a pot dribbled with milky rice water; an egg broken into the pan with twin yolks. I close my eyes and imagine the shorelines I’ve walked; the vistas I’ve seen. This sustains me.
I read once that comparison is the thief of joy (don’t remember where!), and perfectionism is the enemy of art (latter credit goes to Sylvia Plath if I’m not mistaken). I fall victim to both. These twin poles of mind-matter keep me from updating this blog, or believing it’ll succeed. This is what leads me to (falsely) believe that heavy cream has anything to do with blog readers. But KIR right? It kinda does? Just a lil? Cause DAY-UM it’s so gooood.
As you know from the last post, I’ve been plotting behind-the-scenes to re-shape the show/blog format and direction. Though I’m not writing here, I’m thinking actively about where this is all heading. What I’m doing vs. what I’m meant to be doing. Also the idea of simple being.
I’m obsessing over the details. The site needs a makeover. The vision needs focus. I don’t want to look tired and run down and low energy in my videos, even if that’s how I feel. Recipes? Top notch.
What’s really true is that I’m letting perfectionism get in the way.
Expect changes. Some I know. Some I don’t. Which is why I’ve held back from writing or posting. I’m not going to wait until it’s all hammered out; eccomi!
In honor of this projects’ guiding philosphy, (Keepin’ It Real) I’m sharing a video in a different format. You can tell that I’m tired in it. My eyes are sunken and I’m pushing to keep the energy positive and up. The recipe was too good to keep back, and why wait for perfection? Get it done!
I’m using the Tastemade App (available for free in the iTunes store) to create “Appisodes.” Stay tuned for more of these bite sized recipe bewts. (That’s a terrible way to spell the abbreviation of ‘beauties’). FREAK FLAG BE FLYIN’!
My time away was like a spring break party of beauty. And returning has been an adjustment. My body is like a car with 187,000 miles on it. When I ask it to take me places, it often breaks down and requires LOTSA maintenance. I’m ridiculously grateful that it takes me places at all. I remember being in bed, and bed alone. My body is the only way I can be here worshipping at Beauty’s altar.
To overindulge you with inspiration since I’ve been away, here are some things to check out if like me, you’re also fed by Beauty.
1. This interview between John O’Donohue and Krista Tippet on “The Inner Landscape of Beauty.”
3. Sorpano Noe Venable singing “Say A Prayer For Beauty” live in Berkeley. (Check out the studio version too. It’s awesome).
4. And anything written, photographed, or cooked up by the incredible Beth Kirby of Local Milk. I save Beth’s posts for quiet moments when I’m alone with a cup of tea. She feeds the poet in me. Sadly, since gluten is out of my playbook, I can only swoon over her photos and not cook her recipes. But I’m not a recipe follower anyway, and that makes me feel better. Because DAY-UM, her recipes looks goood.
Ch-ch-changes are comin’ — and so are holiday recipes that will bring you to the table again and again wanting more. In the meantime, hang tight. And let me know: how do you all handle the ecstasy and terror of change? What sustains you? What is beautiful in your life? Why do you need it?
Beautiful people! I’m takin’ a break from posting video recipes. I’m also requesting your help! I made a super short straightforward survey for you to fill out (click that link OR just fill it out below).
Help shape the future of the show and blog! All the information is in the video–please watch and take a few minutes to fill out the survey. All together it won’t take you more than 10 minutes.
I want to hear from all of you, but I ESPECIALLY want to hear from the folks living with chronic illness and/or invisible disabilities, so there’s a special section of the survey designed specifically for you.
Bonus: There’s a photo of the man-dude in there for all you curious cats out there