03 August 2013

Mmmm. Curry Noodle Bowl.

I miss cooking when I don't. I love doing it. Rory doesn't really like curry or anything spicy or super exotic...you'd NEVER see him say yes to Ethiopian food, ever.  So, when he's away, these are things I cook.  Spicy ethnic foods.

I've been reading the blog, 101 cookbooks for years.  I even own one of Heidi's cookbooks and have borrowed another from girlfriend.  I love how she embraces the simplicity of food.  Loving it's real taste, texture, earthiness, etc.  She eats real food simply.  I was flipping through Super Natural Cooking the other day and stumbled upon her recipe for Big Curry Noodle Pot...I suddenly had a hankering for curry.

I enjoyed this so much, that I froze some for later.  I'd like the curry a little thicker next time, not sure how to get there with out adding corn starch.  And that lime at the end, I'd cut it in half, so just the juice of half a lime.  Use the other half the next morning in some warm water before you eat anything - it aids in digestion.

Big Curry Noodle Pot
Adapted from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson.

  • 8 oz. dried udon noodles, should be in the Asian section of your supermarket
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped real fine (oh, hey, garlic...lookin' good)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 med carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon red curry paste (you could add a little more...if you want)
  • 12 oz extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock (use veggie stock if you want to make this vegetarian)
  • 1 dropper full of tumeric extract (recipe calls for 2 teaspoons ground tumeric, used what I had!)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (recipe calls for shoyu sauce, what I found was the difference on the web was that shoyu is richer.)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime (again, I think you should just for 1/2 and add more if you want)
  • 1 shallot slivered
The recipe calls for 2/3 cup chopped peanuts and 1/3 cup chopped cilantro...I had neither so didn't use them.  Think both would have been lovely.

1.  Prep!  Chop everything, put it all in bowls, make sure you have everything you need out and ready.
2. Cook noodles in boiling salted water - read the package, follow those instruction.
3. When you start your water, start your curry.  Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over med-high heat.  Then throw in the garlic, onion and curry paste.  Mash the curry paste around the bottom to make sure it gets distributed.  Cook until fragrant.
4. Add the carrots, cook for a few minutes.  Add the tofu, stir and cook for a few.  Add the zucchini, cook and stir for a bit. Until all of these guys are coated in this yummy curry.
5. Stir in the coconut milk, stock, tumeric, soy sauce, and sugar.  Bring this all to a simmer and simmer gently until your noodles are ready. (Recipe says 5 min...mine took longer than that and I wanted my carrots to get a little more tender).
6. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice.  Toss in your noodles, get everything nice and coated with curry sauce.  Then put a big helping of noodles and veggies in a bowl and spoon as much sauce over everything as you would like.  This is also where you top with shallots, peanute and the cilantro.

Oh man, enjoy this! xo

16 July 2013

way to start a day

i've been getting up every (most) days at 6:45am to hustle off to fitness bootcamp. i'm loving every second of it - i just signed up for 10 more weeks! the wedding will have come and gone by then and i hope to be in, potentially, the best shape of my life. not just FOR the wedding but from here on out. i feel better, i sleep better, i eat better - all around its better and i want to keep it up.

i'm sure i've mentioned it, or you do this even but my favorite thing to eat for breakfast is avocado toast. i've even started to see it on menu's at restaurants. it's the simplest thing ever and it's good for you. so. if you like avocado at all...you MUST try this.

it's real easy. toast two pieces of your favorite bread. meanwhile slice open a fresh, ripe avocado (not a huge one but a med/small one), slice it out of its shell. pop it all in a bowl, squeeze 1/2 a lemon onto it mix it around w. a fork. sprinkle in some red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, a small glug of olive oil and mix and mash it all together. i didn't taste mine because i knew i'd like it but feel free to add more salt, pepper, lemon, red pepper.  you could even throw in some roasted red peppers or sundried tomatoes if you felt so bold however, i like it simple style. when your toast is down pop it out of the toaster/oven/whatever you use and drizzle with olive oil.  i learned this from joy the baker, i don't know if she only does it on fancy bread but i now do it on most if my bread. now split your avocado mixture onto both pieces of toast and mash some more. and volia! mange!

this is like oatmeal for me - i'm satisifed for hours. enjoy! xo

28 May 2013

River Ego or River Entertaining?

Ah. Memorial Day weekend.  Sadly, this lovely 4 day weekend is over.  We went camping on the Russian River with some friends and had an amazing time. It's been a while since I've slept in a sleeping bag in a tent, in fact, I can't remember the last time BUT it was awesome.  We campfire'd, we smore'd and best of all, we canoed all day on Saturday.  On the river in a canoe, coasting and paddling. It was so fun.  Rory and I had a blast. 

Rory went on the trip last year without me, unfortunately, but I heard about all this amazing food everyone had eaten and I was bound and determined to make something that was amazing on a camping trip.  As I was frantically, yes it was frantic...did we not read "bound and determined"...looking for what to make on the river I hopped over to a blog I love, Cuisinerd, she always has great LA insights and is always working on fun projects. Anyway, her most recent post was about Bánh mì's...the sandwich of the summer and I knew that was it.  Contained yet fun and fresh and, lest we forget, impressive.  WHAT if I could bust out Bánh mì's ON THE RIVER when we stopped to eat?  What if?  How amazing would that be.  And let me tell you...it was awesome.  I was even asked, while I was constructing this little guys for everyone, "Was this for the group or your ego?" and, if I answered honestly...it was both.  I had set out to do a 'blow your mind' kind of meal and I thoroughly enjoyed making sandwiches for everyone.  I love this sh!t. So much.  I wish I could show you a picture but on the river, electronics get ruined.  Just know, I had 16 happy canoers on beach happily eating my fresh little sandwiches.

These are pretty tasty sandwiches, and they are pretty customizable.  You can make 'em as hot or mild as you want. I tried Cuisinerd's quick pickle recipe but used black radishes first and left them out overnight and they smelled and tasted funky...so I started over with a different recipe and they were awesome.

River Bánh Mì's
adapted from Cuisinerd's recipe here

French baguette
Sliced roasted Ham
Pâté of choice (we use chicken with black mushrooms and a vegan terrine)
Quick-pickled julienne carrots & daikon radish (recipe below)
Sliced jalapeños
Julienne cucumber

1. Slice baguette leaving a hinge on one side.
2. Coat one side with mayo and the other with pâté.

3. Begin to layer - we went ham, pickles, cucumbers, jalapenos, cilantro then sriracha...you can put as little or as much on these guys.

Quick Pickled Carrots & Diakon's 
I used a modification of this recipe, we all know how I like to modify pickles! (I can't help it...I can, but don't want to)
1 medium daikon radish, julienned...which is hard, so get as thin as you can
3 carrots julienned, see above
2 whole garlic cloves

For the brine
1 tablespoon
mustard seeds

1 teaspoon
whole black peppercorns

1 1/4 cups
cider vinegar

3/4 cup

1/4 cup
granulated sugar

2 tablespoons
kosher salt

bay leaf
1. Layer your veggies tightly in a 1-quart glass jar, leaving about 1/2 inch of room at the top. We went carrots, radishes, carrots, radishes and so on.  I could have/should have used more veggies. Set aside.
2. Make the brine - I forgot to toast the mustard and the peppercorns, this would have added more flavor so I'd suggest you remember but if you don't, don't stress...pickles were still good. In a small saucepan add all of the ingredients and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Bring to a boil.
3. Immediately pour into the jar, covering all the vegetables completely. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake or rotate it to really mix it all up. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 day...then move to a cooler you hope will remain cold and hope for the best! (OR preferably leave them for 1 week before using. The pickles can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 month)
I can't forget to mention that we did pickle-backs with my leftover pickle juice. NOM. Do you know what a pickle-back is?  It's a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice and it's AWESOME.  We used Bullet Rye.  Sheesh.  Adults on a camping trip!
What did you do for Memorial Day? 

17 May 2013

the persistent drip

Life does amazing things.  It's oftentimes serendipitous.

ser·en·dip·i·ty (sĕr'Ən-dĭp'ĭ-tē) n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties
1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.
Or it's just chance.  I'm a believer I think in former rather than the latter but sometimes we have to just raise our hands and go with it.  I think things happen for reasons, I embrace the hard or bad as much as I revel in the amazing and great.  Lessons are not always easy to understand or see or even digest but they are always there.  There is always something to gain from experience. 
I just read an article on backstage.com, for those of you who don't know, this is an online (and print!) publication for actors.  There's advice coloumns, there's audition notices, there's class reviews/suggestions/ideas, op-ed pieces.... it's one of those entertainment professionals trade publications.  I get emails ona regular basis some I enjoy, some are eye-roll worthy - it happens to the best of the best.  ANYWAY, Jordan.  This article was about gaining success like Edie Falco (here if you want to read).  It was talking about how this woman worked her but off doing showcase after showcase and off-off Broadway productions, loving her craft and working the multitude of jobs actors tend to do to make ends meet.  Then, she got to read a new play, then she got cast in said play, then the play went to Broadway and now she is the Edie Falco we know and who has this great acting career with constant work.  The author speaks of actors too green and impatient, reminds us that this career takes a lot of hard work, a lot of persistence and a whole sh!tload of patience.  

"Time. Give it generously to yourself. Embrace the journey—ruts and rolls included.
Patience. Determination. More patience. A dash more of determination. That’s how success is achieved – however you define your success.
It’s the persistent drip that cracks the stone."

It's hard not to compare yourself to those around you.  To see their successes and wonder what you did wrong to not have that same opportunity.  Each and everyone of us is different, we have different paths, there's different reasons different things happen to each of us.  And, quite frankly, if it was so easy...everyone would act. You get to play pretend for a living. This article reminded me that it takes work, that it takes time, that it takes a strong spine to keep doing and trying.  I say to people all the time, you have to keep moving forward.  What am I doing to move forward?  How do I make the most of what I've got, what time allows and what I want?  I know I have these little "life realization" moments over and over again. I think they're good for me.  I just have to keep moving and make it work. 
On these theme, I also read an interview yesterday with Kris, the woman behind Young Married Chic.  And the thing that popped out at me and resonated was when she was talking about blogging: 
"Biggest obstacle you’ve overcome since starting YMC?
I think most bloggers would say the same thing- you reach a point where you question giving up blogging because (you think) no one is reading your site and you are wondering why you are doing it. If you push past that moment, I think you will find that amazing things can happen."
Speak to my soul world!! "Push past that moment..." I want to, it may take me a little time but, I'll get there. Thanks for sticking with me. 

04 April 2013

this girl

had a birthday yesterday. and went and sat in a sauna for 45m and then had some amazing korean bbq and was spoiled by some friends. it was fabulous. and there's more to come this week.

haven't been cooking much lately. i've got wedding brain, which is nice, but all consuming.

with that, i leave you with this...

13 March 2013

the way the universe moves

It's so funny to me how things work. I read a handful of blogs on a weekly/monthly basis.  I have my favorites that I go to when I'm bored at work or looking for something new to cook.  There's places I go very infrequently but love just the same.  I think I've said this before...but bloggers seems to ruminate over the same things...we play around with the same recipes, the same crafts, the same challenges, the same joys.  Obviously, they aren't the same but you know what I mean...we all dabble in our own creative wells and often times themes are very similar, if not the same. 

I'd been sitting on that last post for over a month, I had to go back and re-edit my "time frame" over and over. So, its amazing to me when this happens...I'm struggling with blogging and I stumble upon Joy's 10 real blogging tips.  Great post, my favorite was #10...the support.  It is amazing how much support is in this community.  Then, yesterday, I was reading Food Love Writing...Shanna's blog was one of the first blogs I started to follow 3 or 4 years ago.  I haven't been as fervent a reader as most but I always find comfort in her writing, in her exploration of life, of love and following the directions life points her in. Anyway, she posted this on the 10th, which led me to this from back in June.  And it was like a light bulb went off...  Sure, it sounds cliche to say that both of these posts resonated deeply with me...but they did. So, even if she never knows, thank you Shanna, you've helped clear my head, helped pat me on my butt and point me in the right direction, reminded me it's okay to go at my own pace. Thank you.   

And!  Here's some food.  Rory is on the road again, so I'm on my own and when that happens I do one of two things: make some really bad food OR only eat greens with some other stuff.  Greens!

Wilted Kale with lemon and Garlic over Creamy Polenta (Vegan + Gluten free!)
Polenta slightly adapted from food52
Wilted Kale w. Lemon & Garlic 
over Creamy Polenta

2 cups polenta (not instant - coarse cornmeal)
1 tablespoon of salt
1 or 2 bunches Tuscan Kale, de-ribbed and chopped into strips
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
juice from half of a lemon
olive oil
salt + pepper

Read my recipe but also look at the original one...Begin with that polenta, it will take at least an hour.  If you're anything like me, don't realize this until you begin to cook at 8pm, but carry on nonetheless.  The recipe calls for a double boiler, oh how I wish I had one.  Instead I took the pot and bowl method.  
1. Bring both your top pot and your bottom pot to a rolling simmer - the water should be touching the bottom of the top pot or bowl.
2. Make sure all 2 cups of polenta are in a measuring cup that is easy to pour with - have on hand. Once water is rolling, take a wooden spoon (preferably with a long handle) and stir in one direction to create a vortex in your bowl/top part of the double boiler. (Original Note: This is critical because, if you simply slosh the water around, you create lumps in the polenta that are almost impossible to remove. (If you do get lumps, don't worry -- just mash them against the side of the pot now.))
3. Drizzle in the polenta, keep stirring - never stop stirring, this motion makes it NOT lumpy...and everyone wants that no one likes lumpy polenta - if you do, please explain. Once all the polenta is in, you don't have to stir so fast but you cannot stop stirring. Lower your heat a little, not a ton.
4. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes. I forgot to put a lid on it, but the original recipe says to do this. I think this would have quickened my process a lot. SO, do that and if you don't have a lid, use foil.  Stir ever 30 minutes or so, checking for doneness.  It should be yellow (very), smooth, shiny and sweet...if its still bitter, cook it a bit more.
5. At this point, it can see for like 4 hours. This makes SO much polenta guys. I put mine in a muffin tin and then in the fridge to make polenta cakes for breakfast/lunch/or dinner. Let them sit overnight, covered! Then put in an air tight container separated by wax paper. Fry em up later - yum.

This is the easy part. : ) And quite frankly could be any green you want, well, not lettuce. Gross.
1. De-rib and chop kale, set aside. Chop garlic, set aside. Grab your lemon, set aside. Grab your pan and olive oil. Heat pan on med-high heat, when ready pour in olive oil.
2. When oil is hot, throw in kale. I did this in rounds because I used SO much kale, which it just fine. 
3. When kale begins to wilt throw in garlic, salt and pepper it. Then squeeze half a lemon and reduce the heat.  Try to time this out so its done and hot when your polenta is ready to be served.

Put some polenta in a bowl, cover with kale and enjoy.  At this point too, you can put some parm on it, hot sauce, more salt and pepper, a poached egg...its all up to your mouth and belly. 


09 March 2013

over three months

That's a long time and I'll be honest, I haven't felt the pull to get back here. I've made some great meals and even taken a bunch of pictures but was missing the desire to write it out. Maybe I'm hoping for some divine inspiration - but then again...the art of creating is to DO and CREATE...

So, three months into 2013 I vow to work harder here, promise, but I'm going to go at my own pace.

And, wedding brain is a real thing!  I can do nothing but think about planning.