Tuesday, March 18, 2014

avocado & citrus kale salad

it's just a few days until the first day of spring, but most afternoons lately have felt more like summer. a little bit more raw food feels right, and citrus, kale and avocado are magical together.

this is a very simple salad, but it does require a bit of knife work. kale salads are healthy, hold up well and make you the super hero of any potluck. stay tuned for more in-season recipes.

avocado & citrus kale salad

one bunch dinosaur kale
2 cara cara oranges
one sweet grapefruit like ruby or oro blanco
one avocado
olive oil
sea salt

1. wash and cut kale into fine ribbons by rolling up leaves and cutting crosswise discarding any tough bottom stems. put into a medium sized bowl.

2. cut avocado in half and score into diamonds. spoon out the flesh and add to kale.

3. using a very sharp knife, trim oranges and grapefruit by cutting off the stem and flower ends. trim off all pith and peel, and cut crosswise into wheels.

4. now take all of the leftover citrus peels and squeeze the juice over the kale and avocado and add a big pinch of salt. stir to combine and taste. add a drizzle of olive oil and then taste again. would more salt be good?

5. fold in orange and grapefruit slices or arrange on top.

all ingredients are available at corner market north oakland. cooking tips are free.

Friday, January 24, 2014

food trends 2014

some of my loot

i don't think i've ever had so much fun at the fancy food show. this time i went with my man and although we kept getting separated i felt really close with him all day. and it's kind of like adult trick-or-treating and i love that. 

i always look for the common thread of what is new, but this time i didn't come up with much.  it seems like peanuts are having a moment. sriracha was in everything. i couldn't find a beef jerky that was free of gluten, and couldn't help noticing that the brand with the most rustic presentation had the most suspect additives.

favorites this year: justin's maple almond butter, honey mints, sea snax, ricky's lucky nuts and goat's milk caramels from vermont. meeting duff from ace of cakes, nicky guisto and craig ponsford of ponsfords place. tired feet, four barrel and mission chinese for dinner.

Monday, December 30, 2013

winter alphabet

braising greens
brussels sprouts
dandelion greens
meyer lemons
satsuma mandarins
winter squash

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

warm saffron-honey milk

ceramic spoons by brianna aalborg-volper

i was inspired to share this recipe when i saw this recent post by a food blogger that i like.

i learned to make this when i was pastry-sous at venus. 
my chef had been to india and had learned how to make it there.

the combination of saffron, honey and ginger is an intriguing departure from hot chocolate.

warm saffron-honey milk
makes one-two cups

whole organic milk, preferably raw, measured into one or two mugs

7 coins fresh ginger
generous spoonful raw honey
big pinch saffron threads
one whole cardamon pod, crushed
tiny pinch salt

1. combine all in a heavy bottomed pot over low heat.

2. stir occasionally until honey is dissolved and milk is warmed through, heating very slowly to allow the milk to reduce slightly. 

3. strain into a warmed mug.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

esalen breakfast

sometime i think this blog should be called "things to do with leftover rice".
pictured above is something my dear friend valerie made for me during one of my latest portland oregon culinary retreats. something she called esalen breakfast; which was actually leftover brown rice (soaked before cooking, of course), fresh pears, dried plums, a little water to help things along, walnuts and a dab of raw coconut oil. something she learned to make during her time living and cooking at the legendary retreat center.

when i am busy in my life in the east bay i don't often make a hot cereal at home, but i do sometimes bundle up and bike to bartavelle in berkeley for perfect porridge. it is a mixture of brown and red rice, quinoa, amaranth and flax seeds slowly cooked overnight. there are options but i nearly always choose savory with ghee, sea salt and dates. 

to quote the awesome rachel cole, whose book, the porridge manifesto is in the backgroud above, "an amazing life starts with an amazing breakfast." 

it's cold out there. start your day correctly.

Monday, December 9, 2013

spirit foods

above my spirit meal.

in my childhood it was always a bockwurst sausage, macaroni and cheese, apple sauce and saurkraut. the way my mom made it maximized colors, with purple kraut and bright orange mac from a box. i sometimes leave that element out now, or buy the organic mac in a box instead, which actually isn't as good.

my boyfriend has a thing for canned chili over rice. of course it can be dressed up with a little avocado and hot sauce or even grated cheddar cheese if we have some around, but the only necessary part really is the canned chili; one of the first things he ever cooked for himself.

my spirit kid nate likes chicken ramen with a little green onion and a few drops of sesame oil. or plain is good too and yes he can make it himself. one ice cube to cool it down, please.

my friend olive likes trail-mix. it isn't a spirit meal, more a spirit snack, and if you asked her she would probably say something great about the juxtaposition of the virtue of nuts and raisins mixed with the excitement of chocolate and how every bite offers a different texture.

find the recipe for i created just for her: trailblazer mix, here: beckyfresh.etsy.com in the back section of my latest: LOVESANDWICH.

what are the ingredients in your spirit meals? 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

full belly farm part two

this is me in the pomegranate trees.

every year that i can, i attend the hoes down festival at full belly farm. this year i fulfilled a dream of finally going camping with my dear friend olivia.

while i didn't see quite as many friends as i sometimes do, some of the women of berkeley acupuncture project were there giving free treatments and so was chef charlie, who despite his fame was volunteering in the kitchen sunday morning to make breakfast. we also reunited with our wonderful former kitchen co-worker and friend may, who is now hard at work at say hay farms.

for me the highlight of this particular year was a workshop that could have been called, "so you think you want to start a farm" with farmer chris hay of say hay farms. chris practices certified organic, ecologically sustainable, integrated farming. he talked about solving problems and then going right into solving the next problem and needing to be okay and not taking it out on the few people around you. it reminded me of certain aspects of being a chef and it also reminded me of something my brother once said that i will never forgot: "work, life and love are all four letter words that mean the same thing." whether you are a chef or a farmer the love part is important.

as far as i know the eggs from say hay farms are the best eggs available anywhere. a dozen is eight dollars. that's 66 cents an egg and that is not expensive. it is clear to me when i eat these eggs that they have more nutritional value. aside from superior taste that comes from a diverse diet of vegetable scraps and bugs, i find myself sustained for hours.

this annual festival "dedicated to honoring and promoting the knowledge of sustainable rural living through inspiration and education" has a rare integrity. truly green: there are water taps to re-fill the bottle that you bring, all food waste is composted, and the plates that deliver delicious made-from-scratch food are washed by volunteers after meals.

i always return home from full belly farm feeling fully fed and connected.