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This is where I live: A little hidden chaparral Eden atop a mountain. The locals here are adamant about retaining their autonomy from the city proper and to some extent, are indicative of a lost way of living in this enclave south of Silicon Valley. A retreat for post dot com, cyber space software start-ups, the majority of new bloods are the types that will still tend crops and skin pigs, not unlike those who built hones before them.

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Finally!

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Yeah. A pile of quinoa+brown rice+flax seed dough. Heavily oiled (more than the recommended recipe amounts) and a LOT longer in baking time.  About an hour longer at low heat to finish these chewy-thick suckers.

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A moment of laughter when I used a donut cutter to make my circular cut outs. Mmmm donuts. Alas, this cracker-to-be is probably the complete opposite of a fatty-sugary-delicious donut.

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The recipe said to bake for about 25 minutes, but to keep baking anything that wasn’t crispy. Hmm. Well, another hour or so passed and finally all thick crackers were done. I think I made 14.

I added black sea salt and they were extra yummy. My husband bough a really gooey cheese home last night. So, I ended making a perfect bite with what I had laying around.

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Recipe: http://www.mynewroots.org “Happy Crackers”
I doubled the seasonings, oils and added grater carrot in the dough as well as additional Hawaiian black salt. I halved the dough recipe since my oven is tiny. This is my 3rd try at brown rice crackers / quinoa crackers and I finally got it right for my oven.

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The 7-day Veggies Only Club

I’m a meat eater, through and through, and I just got done posting about local heritage pork, so what I’m exploring now are clean, unaldulterated side dishes of veggies that can hold their own.

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Green curry of sweet potato & zucchini.

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Made from scratch is only easy if you have aromatics like kaffir, galangal root, lemongrass and Thai chilies. After work, I rarely have the energy to use the mortar & pestle method to make the curry paste so the Vitamix is a quicker alternative.

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Another hearty soup: kohlrabi , garlic and Asian pear with coconut water.

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Sprouted lentils in a kale salad make for a semi-crunchy texture.

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For lunch I almost always need a veggie filled wrap. I have a hard time eating bak choy or snap peas raw, so I always sauté them with some minced ginger and sesame oil.

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Shaved brussel sprout slaw with roasted sweet potatoes and sunflower sprouts.

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I also found roasted veggies make for really nice soups.

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This one is a roasted fennel and carrot soup with a herb infusion of homemade chermoula and a dollop of rainbow quinoa for texture.

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Juices are reserved for breakfast since I can’t very well lug this thing around to work every day. I try to consume my fresh juice within 20 minutes of making it.

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I can’t make it through a cleanse without my staple of kimchi! It is perfect as a condiment or cooked into soup.

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Tis the season for citrus and I’ve been really pleased to have mandarins as well as blood oranges at our local market. This is my typical nighttime dessert. Yes, that’s a wedge of Meyer lemon. I love sour things!

Well, that’s this week in a nutshel. Go, go veggies!

Season of food

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Ever since the weeks preceeding Thanksgiving, I’ve been thinking about food. We had a product launch in early November and that was a 4-day long catered event. Think feeding 25-50 people per day for every meal, 4 days in a row. Let’s just say get a few good caterers order more and be really flexible when sh!t hits fans: even if you’ve planned it out, someone who is in charge of picking up the food and getting coffee every day may throw out his back… Which happened.

Each day, I had a local butcher dream up a charcuterie plate for us.

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We ordered tables & linens and dinnerware from a party place down the street. Luckily we have a huge warehouse so we opted to store the weeks worth of dishes and just did the dirty returns each morning. It was hard to set up each night after dinner ended and you felt exhausted and had a few glasses of wine, but damn it looked good. I thought it looked elegant, but one of our guests commented it was a bit cult-ish.

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I made and printed a menu each evening. Literally yelling to the chef, “what are you cooking up tonight, Chef?” Running upstairs and putting everything into Adobe Illustrator, printing it, double checking spelling and then cutting each menu out with a paper cutter. We had a friend come in from Santa Rosa to cook every night. He sometimes had a friend help prep but he and his traveling kitchen, wood fired stove made everything shine!

Failure to find dessert was my issue this event. My main go-to of Swanton Berry Pie was closed due to a holiday but then I thought ice-cream sandwiches! Who doesn’t love the simplicity, variety of flavors, ease of serving. Lack of dinnerware needed to eat such desserts = Lifesaver. If it weren’t for the holiday, I would’ve gone to the Polar Bear Ice Cream shop to buy  the 200 or so I needed, but instead I just bought out our local grocers supply. I looked a bit like a glutton at 9 am in the morning.

Did I mention we bought a cheap $40 fridge just to store food and drinks for this event? Good thing for those 200 ice-cream sandwiches.

Luckily, one of the owners is a big ol’ wine and beer connoisseur and had some forethought to bring a pallet of libations. They were delicious.

Anyway, that was just dinner. I’ll leave the lunches for another post!

Cauliflower rice

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Cauliflowered rice can be good. Or it can be confused. The first time I made it, I followed the instructions to grate the veggie for fine, rice-like kernels. However, it seemed like much crumbled off onto my cutting board and it took forever to grate a whole head. Vitamix to the rescue!

On setting 1, low pulse, it’s possible to chop a few cups of florettes at a time into a beautiful flurry of potential rice nodules.I like flavor, so minced onion, parsley, grated garlic, pepper and sea salt are added to taste. Depending on what else you serve, cilantro, scallions, chervil or thyme may work in lieu of the parsley aforementioned. Tonight, we got pork-jalepeño-cheddar sausages. They make them fresh at our local market. I typically boil them to cook through, then quickly grill them for a few minutes before serving.

I use lard to fry and steam the minced onion, then chicken broth to flavor when I add the cauliflower. Slow cooking is fine with cauliflower. Moistening until almost ready to serve is key to a cooked through “rice”, but dry frying until the water evaporates is nice so it becomes texturally acceptable and not gritty. Taste as you go to try different levels of done-ness. I think mine took about 30 minutes in an enamel bottomed Le Crueset pot.

How do you make cauliflower rice? With creativity!
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