Monday, December 28, 2009

food network

a lot has changed since my donut man and i moved from west to north oakland six months ago. no more taco tuesdays with bikerjason and asherfresh and no more pirate internet. we pay our own cable bill now, and for the first time in eleven years i have tv that i watch fairly regularly. cable tv. i mostly watch foodnetwork and the shows that involve a competition. we're all pretty into it.

my favorite show is called chopped. it starts with four chefs who cook from a mystery basket of ingredients and compete on an appetizer, followed by an entree and then dessert with one chef getting chopped in each round. the final two chefs aren't judged by who makes the best dessert, but on their overall meal.

i can often pick out the winner right away, and true to my nature often root for the underdog. the person who wins is the one who is the most calm, the one who doesn't abandon correct technique in an unfamiliar kitchen. having range and knowing how flavors go together helps, as does remembering what you already know: appetizers are smaller, dessert should be sweet.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


the mealticket is my favorite restaurant. the owners, jimmy and carolyn, own the building and live upstairs. i have worked for them, mostly on call for the last seven years. before mealticket jimmy, the cook was an olympic swimmer and later worked at several of the hottest east bay restaurants in the 80's. Carolyn, his partner in life and business was some kind of punk-rock lawyer who bought all of her suits at the thrift store.

the original mealticket was on blake street and had maybe eleven seats. now mealticket is on san pablo at gilman in berkeley, and seats eighty in good weather. the entrance is on the side of the building down the driveway that leads to the patio.

i go to mealticket for the food, but it is like a second home to me and one of the most special places i go. i see certain people at mealticket, and i feel like i'm visiting family when i eat there with nate the great and my donut man. i like going there by myself on wednesdays after exercise class to read the new york times food section while i eat.

it's all about the specials. they're known for their grilled fish, egg dishes and their pancakes, but i always tell people, "you really can't go wrong." they grind their own hamburger and make their own sausage and corned beef hash. the salmon burger is really good too. not really diner fare, jimmy's food is one cook making what he likes.

twice a year mealticket is closed for three weeks when they travel; sometimes to europe or new york, but usually to asia. they buy a lot of folk art and i've heard stories about jimmy catching squid with his bare hands and them riding mopeds without helmets. i miss them when they're gone; my larger than life heroes who are my friends. mealticket is a little bit more than a restaurant, but it's hard to explain why.

Monday, November 9, 2009

perfect blueberry muffins

i made this recipe up for my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend caseyfresh. she also went out with pizzaguy sean right after i did and thanks to her things like that don't bother me anymore.

in her honor the recipe is vegan, adapted from a recipe i found on a blog called padma's kitchen.

perfect blueberry muffins

2 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

3 oz frozen stick style earth balance, grated

1 1/4 c. coconut milk
3 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. ground flax seeds
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. blueberries (if using frozen berries do not thaw)

1. combine dry ingredients and earth balance

2. make a well in the center and add coconut milk, flax seed slurry, vanilla and blueberries

3. mix until just combined

4. bake at 350

5. to make blueberry-banana muffins substitute 1/4 c. very ripe mashed banana for 1/4 c. of the coconut milk

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

split pea soup

split pea soup is for blustery days. it's a soup that you might eat at home. not often on menus split pea's solo food most likely you'de eat it alone.

here is a recipe i made mid october on a blustery day like today. summer is so over.

1 onion, small dice
3 shallots, small dice
2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. celery seeds
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/4 c. olive oil
4 stalks celery, moon cut
2 carrots, small dice
1 yellow bell pepper, medium dice
1 parsnip, medium dice
3" kombu, ribbon cut
1 c. split peas
8 c. water

1. in a large stockpot combine onion, shallots, spices, salt and olive oil. cook covered over low heat until onions are soft.

2. add the rest of the vegetables, kombu, split peas and water.

3. cook together over medium heat until split peas fall apart. skim off any foam that forms on the surface of the soup.

this soup is vegan, and delicious as is. it also tastes good with a little bit of ribbon cut bacon, cooked crisp and stirred in. either way be really grateful for it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

cafe helloakland

my friend devinfresh has his own cafe now. it's on the corner of claremont and forest streets in oakland. it's a cafe inside a convenience store called wally's world market. it was called the greenbean forever and was home of the veggie bagel and so-so coffee. my friend super-hot jen worked there, and at one point robert balinsky showed a few paintings.

now serving all organic fair trade mclaughlin coffee and the pepples vegan donuts, helloakland is open during transformation. also available are custom juice cocktails and free wi-fi for the beloved customers.

signature savories include the avocadonator sandwich, the hella vegan bagel and the trainhopper: a half sandwich on sourdough of white cheddar and salami.

namaste devin see you sunday.

Monday, October 5, 2009

full belly farm

me and my donut man, nate the great, and one of his pals went to the hoes down harvest celebration at full belly farm. we burned biodiesel. as we arrived judith the farmer bicycled right past us. i knew it would be a great day. it was beyond inspiring.

a lot of my favorite people were there: my assistant remyfresh, chef leif, carl the peach guy, scoutmaster gren, his impish children and his sexy british wife, chef charlie, celeste cupcake, and my old friend arthur, a scientist that knows his way around yeasted doughs. there was so much time to talk and be with our friends.

the feeling i left with after coming to this event is that your work and your life can be the same thing. that making food and feeding people can be your whole life and that can sustain you.

thank you full belly farm, i came close to forgetting.

i set an intention on the full moon: for my work and life to be integrated.

we left down a pathway illuminated by jack-o-lanterns.