Fall

A deep oregano & chile sauce + roasted mushroom tacos

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You should turn me in for neglect. I'm guilty of blog abandonment. I apologize and I want to commit to once-a-week again with you but I don't want to be called out on broken promises and leave you with that empty feeling. For now tacos (as I always say - the perfect food) will fill this physical emptiness. Although, I am sad to say there is still a void to be mentioned. We lost Gabriel Garcia Marquez last month. I want to thank him for his contributions to magical realism with an excerpt from one of his famous novels One Hundred Years of Solitude and of course, with tacos.


When they woke up, with the sun already high in the sky, they were speechless with fascination. Before them, surrounded by ferns and palm trees, white and powdery in the silent morning light, was an enormous Spanish galleon. Tilted and slightly to the starboard, it had hanging from its intact masts the dirty rags of its sails in the midst of its rigging, which was adorned with orchids. The hull, covered with an armor or petrified barnacles and soft moss, was firmly fastened into a surface of stones. The whole structure seemed to occupy its own space, one of solitude and oblivion, protected from the vices of time and the habits of the birds. Inside, where the expeditionaries explored with careful intent, there was nothing but a thick forest of flowers. - Page 11 & 12 One Hundred Years of Solitude  by Gabriel García Márquez


 Gabriel García Márquez in 1975. Photograph: Isabel Steva Hernandez/Colita/Corbis

Gabriel García Márquez in 1975. Photograph: Isabel Steva Hernandez/Colita/Corbis


José Arcadio Buendeía had not through that this wife's will was so firm. He tried to seduce her with the charm of his fantasy, with the promise of a prodigious world where all one has to do was sprinkle some magic liquid on the ground and the plants would bear fruit whenever a man wished, and where all manner of instruments against pain were sold at bargain prices. But Úrsula was insensible to his clairvoyance.

"Instead of going around thinking about your crazy inventions, you should be worrying about your sons," she replied. "Look at the state they're in, running wild just like donkeys."

José Arcadio Buendía too his wife's words quite literally. He looked out the window and saw the barefoot children in the sunny garden and he has the impression that only at that instant has they began to exsit, conceived by Úrsula's spell. Something occurred inside of him then, something mysterious and definitive that uprooted him from his own time and carried him adrift though an unexplored region of memory...

...But since the afternoon when he called the children in to help him unpack the things in the laboratory, he gave them his best hours. In the small separate room, where the walls were gradually being covered by strange maps and fabulous drawings, he taught them how to read and write and do sums, and he spoke to them about the wonders of the world, not only where his learning had extended, but forcing the limits of his imagination to extremes. It was in that way that the boys ended up learning  that the southern extremes of Africa there were men so intelligent and peaceful that their only pastime was to sit and think, and that it was possible to cross the Aegean sea on foot by jumping from island to island all the way to the port of Salonika. - Page 13 & 15, One Hundred Years of Solitude  by Gabriel García Márquez



Recipe : Makes a large batch of sauce good for eating with friends or for freezing.

Garlic - 6 cloves, chopped

Sweet onion - 1/2 medium, sliced

Mushroom broth - (or veggie) 2 Cups

Oregano - Dried (3TB)

Pasilla chilies - 3 (dried)

Chipotle chilies - 4 (dried)

Tomato paste - 3 ounces (1/2 a small can)

Diced tomatoes - 16 ounce can

Oregano - fresh (1TB) plus extra to top

Filling

Mushrooms - assortment. (shitakes, portobellos, oyster, cremini), quartered. At least 16ounes for 2-3 servings or more to share with friends!

Garlic - 2-3 cloves, minced

Olive oil - 4-6 TB (depending on how many mushrooms you make)

Salt - to taste

Cilantro - chopped

Avocado - sliced

Lime wedges - optional

Sour cream - optional

* Note: If making homemade tortillas (recipe link below), you might want to make them first to have them ready and reheat. Or make them at the very end to have them piping hot.

Place the mushroom broth in a medium pot over medium heat with the dried oregano and dried chiles ( cut the dried stalks off the chiles). Cover the pot and bring it to a simmer. Then stir the mixture to get everything hydrated and let it sit to infuse, covered, ideally for an hour.

Meanwhile preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Chop up the rest of your veggies for the sauce & filling (garlic, onion, and mushrooms). Toss all the mushrooms in a bowl with the olive oil, 2 -3 cloves of garlic, and some salt. After the mushrooms are coated, spread it on a sheet pan and place into the preheated oven. Roast for 15 minutes and then check on the mushrooms. If there is a ton of liquid in the pan, pour it out, and then return it to the oven for another 15 minutes. Check your mushrooms again. I only needed to roast mine for a total of 30 minutes but, depending on your mushrooms - they might need a little longer.

Now back to the sauce. Once the broth is infused, pour it out into a bowl and set aside. Put the pot back over medium low heat and add in the garlic, onion, and 2TB olive oil. Let them soften, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and do your best to stir/incorporate it with a spoon for a minute. Add in the diced tomatoes and bring it to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Then add in the mushroom broth/chile mixture, stirring, until it reaches a simmer. Once it simmers for a few minutes, pour the mixture into a blender and blend several minutes until smooth. Pour the mixture back into a pot and bring to a simmer and let it cook down into a nice thick sauce for about 10 -15 minutes, scraping the pot frequently. Season with salt.

Place your roasted mushrooms in a corn tortilla (recipe here) and then top, liberally, with sauce. Now you embellish: spoon over some sour cream (if desired), top with avocado slices, sprinkle with cilantro, and squeeze over lime juice. Enjoy with loved ones over magical realism.

Aushak, for the vegetarian

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I've explained my love for Afghan food in an earlier post here. One of the most interesting things about Afghan food is the significance it has with family. Most families have versions of dishes such as Aushak (or ashak) and curries that are unique to that family. Traditions past on through the act of doing, sharing, eating rather than through recipe notecards and magazines. One beautiful aspect of Afghan meal time is the dastarkhan. The "space" for eating a meal. Sometimes (I believe usually with larger family gatherings and special guests) a dastarkhan is used to set the space for eating. It is a piece of fabric or tablecloth spread across the floor and then arranged with the various dishes, bread, curries, rice, meats, and beverage, usually tea. The dastarkhan is a sacred space, not to be walked across or sat upon, just a place that holds the sacredness of enjoying and sharing a meal with family. Often, there is a designated tea poured and food server because these jobs have meaning, even the arrangement of food is taken into consideration; it all has significance.

In our home, our table is typically strewn across with bits and pieces of whatever project I've been working on lately or whatever was in my hands when I walked in the door. Books, bags, laptops, keys, papers, glues, labels, mail, boxes... these all frequent my table more than actual food. I can spend so much time enjoying the preparation of the meal and, in the end, eating it can feel more of an afterthought because I don't bring the sacredness of enjoying a meal. Sometimes I have to clear a little placemat sized space open on the table just to eat... or we forgo it all and eat bowls of soup cuddled on the couch under a blanket. Don't get me wrong, couch eating has its place, but I should put as much intention into eating the food and enjoying the time to quite the mind, as I do while preparing the food. I feel as eating in a space with intention helps us to remain present. 

This aushak is delicious and, I promise, simple. It varies from the traditional a bit, but like I said, each family has their own version. It is typically a leek filled dumpling served with a yogurt sauce, spiced ground meat topping, and dried mint. This version combines leeks and scallions, steamed in peppery broth, and topped with a garlic-mint yogurt. Its wonderful and best enjoyed in a sacred space. If you do not want to make all the dumplings at once. Reserve the left over fillings and wonton wrappers separate. Already steamed dumplings do not keep well, so steam to order :). You can, of course, make your own pasta dough here, but this time I choose the quicker version of using pre-made wonton wrappers.

 

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Aushak (Makes about 35-40 dumplings)

Wonton wrappers - 1 package (at least 40 inside)

Leeks - 3 large, trimmed and chopping into thin half-moons

Scallions - 1 bunch, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds

Cayenne pepper - scant 1tsp, ground

Garlic - 3 cloves, minced very fine or grated in a microplane

Yogurt - 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt or greek yogurt

Mint - 2-3TB fresh, plus extra to garnish

Coconut oil - 3TB (Or evoo)

Whole pepper kernels - 1tsp

Mushroom (or veggie) broth - 2Cups (plus a little extra, if needed)

Salt/pepper - to taste

 

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Stir together the yogurt, 2 cloves worth of the garlic, and the fresh mint in a small bowl. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper and stir again, sit it aside for later. 

In a large skillet heat up the coconut oil on medium high heat. Add in the other clove of minced or grate garlic and the leeks/onions. Cook stirring frequently until softened. At least 5 minuets. You want them to be soft and buttery tasting but not mushy. Season with the cayenne and some salt and then turn off the heat. 

Heat up a medium skillet with a lid with 2 cups of the broth sprinkled with the whole peppercorns on medium low. You want to bring this mixture to a simmer and keep it there, keep it covered. Get out the wonton wrappers and a little bowl or cup of water. Lay out your wonton wrappers individually onto a clean surface. Spoon a small spoonful of the leek mixture into the center of each of the wontons. Then dip your finger into the water and spread two connecting edges of the wonton wrapper (one wonton at a time) with a strip of water. Fold the dry edges of the wonton wrapper over onto the wet edges, making a triangle and pinch together to seal. Make sure you only spread the water on one wonton at a time because the water will soak up/dry out so you need to fold it over right after you wet it. Repeat the process with all of your wontons. (If you aren't making all of them make sure you wrap the wonton wrappers up well so they don't dry out and keep the leek mixture separate). 

Once the broth is simmering, lay in the wonton wrappers in one flat layer, try not to let them touch or they will cook together. You will need to do this in batches. Return the cover to the skillet and let them simmer/steam in the broth for 3 minuets. You might, occasionally need to add in a little more broth as you cook the dumplings in batches, in case too much steams out. Removed from the broth with a spatula and lay on a plate, drizzle with the yogurt sauce and sprinkle with extra chopped mint, if desired, and serve warm. 

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Roasted beets & lemon greens wrap

Horror!

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All she could hear was her breathing. Everything else was silent. She set down the knife. It was red with crime. An un-blooded portion of the knife reflected her own face and glimpses of the carnage in front of her. She never knew she could be so violent. Heads chopped off from bodies and dismembered, there across the table and floor, was her proof. She gently and calmly wiped her hands clean with a rag; it was a white rag. The red soaked in deep, binding with the fibers, the contrast seemed to make her violence more permanent, more dramatic. She had been hungry before, and had simply set out to make a meal... before...

The phone range.

"Hello?"

"Hey, sweetheart, I'm on my way home. Do you want me to grab dinner?"

She glanced behind her at her crime, ripe with juices, and nibbled at a bit of red on her fingernail. It was sweet. Her heart should be pounding but she felt nothing was wrong. In fact, she felt the opposite. A different type of hunger began to grow in her...

"Oh, no, love. I'm making something at home for us." She hung up the phone.

She set to work cleaning up her mess; trimming and cutting away at the bodies, forming them into manageable pieces. It was an unusual meal. She pondered over a recipe, something simple. All that chopping had left her tired. Tired and hungry. Maybe... roasted in their own juices until tender? Salt and pepper of course, oh and olive oil! Certainly, olive oil! A little lemon to make the flavor pop. 

The smells from the oven were heavenly. She salivated. The dogs were in the kitchen licking at the floor in their primal states. Waiting for more tasty morsels to drip from the counter.

The door open and he walked in. He saw the red soaked cutting board and her stained hands. He stopped. 

"You're making beet wraps!"

Whoever thinks vegetarianism can't be gruesome has never cut their way through two bunches of fresh beets. 

This wrap is great, I've made it a few times and it has turned a beet hater (Ty) into a roasted beet lover. 

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Recipe (About 6 wraps)

Beets (with greens) - 2 bunches. Beets trimmed into thin rounds and save the greens)

Red onion - 1/4 cup, slivered

Goat cheese - 6TB (about 1TB per serving)

Lemon - Juice from 1 large lemon

Olive oil - 3TB

Salt/pepper - to taste 

Yogurt Flatbread (adapted from plenty)

Flour (any flour, this time I used spelt) - Generous 2 cups

Baking powder - 1TB

Salt - 1tsp

Whole fat plain yogurt (or greek) - 1 1/2 cups

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Begin with making your flatbread dough (or use a pre-made flatbread). Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then stir in your yogurt with a wooden spoon until the dough becomes workable with your hands. Knead for a few minuets. If the dough seems a little too sticky or dry, add in a little more flour. Cover the bowl and let it chill in your fridge while you prepare the rest of the wrap.

Wash and chop up the beets into thin rounds and put them into a bowl. Slice up the beet greens into slivers, discarding any extra tough stems and place them into a separate bowl. Add in the slivered onions to the beet greens. Squeeze over the fresh lemon juice into the greens and sprinkle with a small pinch or two of salt. Massage the lemon and salt into the greens and then set the bowl aside.

Now back to the beets. Toss the beets with the 3TB of olive oil and at least a teaspoon of salt & pepper each. Lay the beet slices out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20 minuets, until cooked and tender, stirring the beets half way through. 

While beets are roasting, go back to your dough and divide it into six balls. Heat up a skillet (cast iron works great here) on the stove top over high heat. Clean a work surface and sprinkle with flour. Place one ball on your floured surface and roll it out thin, into a round flatbread. Once your skillet is very hot, lay your flatbread on the skillet. When it starts to bubble up, flip the bread. When it starts to puff up with air, it is done and remove from the skillet. Repeat with the other 5 dough balls. 

After the breads are cooked and the beets roasted spread the center of a flatbread with 1Tb or more of goat cheese. Lay on top 1/6 of the beets and then top with a big handful of lemon greens. Repeat with others! The lemon greens and beets keep well when stored separately. Enjoy!

 

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Cauliflower Caldo Verde

Autumn. 

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This week was an explosion. After the cold spell of last weekend and our first hard frost, the leaves decided that it was Autumn. Sprays of orange, red, and yellow arched over all the roadways and street trees, their clipped canopies look like brightly colored Christmas ornaments dangling over the sidewalk. I love this weather. The forests get excited too, dressing up for a fancy party once a year. I get equally as giddy, how could you not with all these fancy, well-dressed trees around? Fall time is where energy is directed downwards, into the roots, a very building time of year. I've rooted down deep into the things that I am doing, and I am building them. Enjoying my job, building my side business (Forest Things), and working here in the space. I'm excited for this fall time, for root building, and for soup eating.

This soup is vegetarian take on a portuguese soup called caldo verde. It is usually a potato soup with sausage and kale or collard greens. I've adapted my recipe from this recipe on food52. I was particularly drawn to it because cooking cauliflower with paprika is one of my favorites, something my grandmother use to to a lot when I was a kind. Served steamed, drizzled with melted butter and paprika. Delicious. 

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Recipe (Makes 6 servings) 

Cauliflower - 1 large head, chopped into pieces

Yellow Onion - 1 medium onion slivered

Garlic - 2 large cloves, minced

Mushrooms - 1/2 heaped cup, chopped

Mushroom broth - 4 cups

Collard greens - 1 bunch, tough parts of the stalk removed and then slivered

Lemon juice - juice from 1 lemon

Olive oil - 5TB

Paprika - about 2TB

Cumin - about 2TB

Cayenne - 1-2tsp

Salt - to taste

Toasted pine nuts - to top (optional) 

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and chop/prep your cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Toss the chopped cauliflower in a bowl with 2TB olive oil, 1TB of the paprika, 1TB of the cumin, 1tsp of cayenne, and then a few good pinches of salt. Lay the cauliflower out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minuets, turning half way through. 

Meanwhile, heat up 2TB of olive oil in a large pot on medium and add in your garlic and onions. Cook and caramelize your onions for about 20 minuets, stirring frequently. Then add your chopped mushrooms and cook stirring frequently for another 10 minuets.

Once the cauliflower is done roasting, pour a little liquid into the pan to de-glaze. Then scrape the cauliflower and loosen the stuck-on bits into the pot of onions and add in the mushroom broth. Simmer for 10 minuets. Place the soup into a blender and blend for a minuet or two, until smooth (or use an immersion blender if available). Add the soup back into the pot and keep on low, adding in a little water to thin out the soup to the desired consistency. Taste and adjust for spices adding more salt first. Then add in the rest of the paprika & cumin and the cayenne if needed. 

Heat up the last TB of olive oil in a medium skillet on medium heat and add in the collard greens, tossing as you cook for several minuets. Add in the lemon juice and salt, cooking it until it is wilted but still vibrant and green. 

Add the collard greens into the soup and stir. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with toasted pine nuts, if desired, and another sprinkle of paprika.

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Spelt farfalle in a creamy butternut squash sauce with roasted broccoli

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I've admired film and photography for most of my life. I've always been particularly responsive to visuals and to sounds. Also to words. I remember my life in little clips and frames. I have an unusual amount of memories from early years... from when I was one or two but they are mostly visuals. I think of them as memory vignettes. They are places that were very comforting to me or of places where I first felt strong emotions.... a favorite carpet or the feel of petting a dog. We lived on the coast in New Bern, NC. Brackish waters are everywhere there, including the pond in our back yard. There was this wooden board walk through this marshy area and tall pines to the dock where my Dad use to set crab traps. I don't really remember the board walk but I remember sitting in the back yard and looking at the thick bed of pine needles and ivy that grew around the start of the boardwalk. In my eye is the coarseness and texture of the wood.

I also remember being taught to shell a crab. Feeling the moist steam of a boiling pot of water and my Dad helping my fingers pop out unwanted parts of a crab. I was confused at the yellow smears of crab gunk on my fingers. I remember my Dad telling me that we needed to get rid of the gunk because it was poisonous... and being afraid that I might accidentally be poisoned by crab in the future. In my nose is the smell of salt and fish. These little frames, moments, memories of experiences are who we are. It is art when I am able to read someone else's experience, and get a frame into their life. It is a point where lives touch in a deep and internal way, a private world. It is why we write, why we take photos, and why we read. The look in a strangers eye from a photograph, or the way colors bounced off each other in a landscape description; they touch me and remind me of my personal vignettes that I guard. I loved this, it was a secret to me. I was consumed in this private life, so much so that I use to be a rather quiet child around strangers. I just absorbed all the visuals without vocalizing much in return. I wanted to be a photojournalist, it is what I started out doing in college for the first few months. I was set on working for national geographic... and who wasn't. Any of us would love that job. At some point I became very hard on myself, I lived in an unrealistic world, or maybe it was the mindsets of other people that made me feel this way. I changed my major, to another design degree, landscape architecture. I had considered it before and it is something creative, involving the environment, helping people, but technical and marketable... it seemed safe.

 

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I practiced photography occasionally, when I was somewhere beautiful and I could actually hold visual vignettes down the road and share them with others. I don't know why I use to give up on things I loved just because they seemed unrealistic. I should have put more confidence in myself and lived with a little less fear. I have a decent camera, I got it for about $400 years ago. It is the nicest camera I have ever owned. Of course there are much, much better cameras. I've never had any formal training in photography or in film, although I have worked heavily with photoshop in college... but mostly because of self education and interest. I've stopped myself from really trying to produce films and better photography and I've made plenty of excused because I am constantly comparing myself to the work of others whom I admire. That is where I have to stop. For me, it is all about the vignettes of memories, stories, and emotion, the things that make you who you are and I want to stop hiding. I'm aware that in comparison to the works of film and photography that are out there, I'm not outstandingly impressive. I'm ok with that, because right now, this is me with my point n' shoot, tripod jerry-rigged onto mason jars, imovie, wrinkled linens, and really delicious food. I'm proud of it, happy about it, and loving to show you and introduce you to the vignettes that make up my life. I hope you enjoy and share some of yours with me. 

 

Watch the video above, The song is Cristobal by the artist Devendra Banhart... one of my favorites.  

This recipe is delicious... I've already made the sauce two weeks in a row, so much beautiful autumn squash. It is definitely inspired by mac n' cheese... just one you can feel much better about eating. Just make sure you get the roasted squash blended into a sauce before eating it all, that stuff is ridiculous, like sweet candy. 

Recipe (Makes 6 - 8 servings)

Butternut squash - 1 large squash, peeled, de-seeded, and chopped into cubes

Yellow onion - 1/2 diced onion

Garlic - 3 cloves

Broccoli - 2 heads of broccoli, chopped of the stalk

Sage - 2TB fresh

Salt/pepper - to taste

Milk (or milk alternative- coconut and unsweet almond both work great!) - 1 Cup

Reserved pasta water - About 1 cup

Spelt flour - 2 cups + extra for dusting

Salt - good pinch

Eggs - 3

Extra Virgin Olive oil - Several TB (4-5 total)

Uncooked pasta - if not making your own pasta or want a vegan alternative

Directions including making your own pasta

Clean a counter top or a large cutting board and spoon your flour into a pile in the center. Sprinkle in some salt and mix together, patting the flour back into a central pile. Make a well in the center of your flour large enough to hold three eggs and a splash of olive oil. Crack in your eggs and then pour in a generous glug of oil.  Use a wooden spoon to gentle stir the eggs, breaking the yolks and slowly incorporating the flour from the sides. Keep going until you whittle away at the sides of the flour, this will take a little while. Once the flour is too sticky for the spoon, flour your hands and gather the dough together, using your hands to incorporate all the rest of the flour. Knead the dough for several minutes, until soft and silky. About 5 minutes kneading.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Let the pasta dough rest on the counter while you chop up all your veggies and garlic. Set the chopped/prepped ingredients aside and pick back up with the pasta.

Take out your pasta dough and cut into 4 pieces. Flour a clean surface and roll out one of the dough pieces very thin... it should be a little translucent. (Of course, if you have a pasta roller, use that) Flipping and rotating the dough as you go, and adding more flour to prevent sticking. Try to roll the dough into a rectangle if you can. Trim the edges of the dough off, so that you end up with a rectangle. I saved the dough trimmings to roll out again in the end. Cut the flat dough, with a sharp knife, into about 1" to 1 1/2" rectangles. Get a little cup of water and place next to your working area. Now, pick up one piece at a time and add a little dab of water to the center and pinch the top and bottom of the rectangle together in the center. Then use your thumbs and index finger to pinch together/flatten out the sides of the dough, it should resemble a bow tie. This process can take a little while, but you will get into a rhythm. Of course, you can just cut the pasta into a different shape, like long linguine noodles, it would be faster. Lay the bow-tie pastas out on a baking sheet to dry a bit until we are ready to cook them. Repeat the process with the other three dough balls and then gather up all your trimmings into a ball and roll those out into bow ties as well. 

Toss the squash cubes in some olive oil and salt/pepper and lay flat on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 35-45 minutes, until the cubes are soft, a little browned in spots, and very sweet. Toss the broccoli pieces together in the bowl you used for the squash (no need to wash) with some olive oil and a little salt/pepper. Lay the broccoli out on a separate baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until a little brown but still slightly crunchy. It works well to put the broccoli in the oven after the squash has been in there for about 20 minutes... so that they can both come out around the same time.

While those are roasting, bring a medium/large pot of water with a pinch of salt to a boil. Also, heat up a medium skillet with 1 TB of olive oil on the stove. Once the oil is warm add in your garlic, cook for a minute and then add in your onions. Let it soften, stirring occasionally, while the broccoli/squash are roasting. Let the onions cook for at least 10 minutes. Add in your sage to the onions and cook for another minute or two. Remove from the heat and then pour onion mixture into the blender with the roasted squash, set this aside until the pasta is done cooking. 

Once the water is boiling add your pasta, I added the pasta in 3 batches, using a large slotted spoon to remove and drain the pasta. You will want to reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water to thin out the sauce. The pasta takes about 3-5 minuets to cook, or until al dente. Once you remove the pasta, let it drain in a colander and give it a quick rinse with cool water... so it stops cooking. Blend together your squash, onion mixture, 1 cup of milk (or milk alternative), and 1 cup of pasta water. Scrap down the sides, taste the sauce and adjust salt/pepper and add more pasta water if you want the sauce thinner. Depending on how fast you worked, the sauce might need to be re-heated on the stove before adding it to the pasta/broccoli (even though we were very happy eating it straight from the fridge, cold, the next day)  Toss the sauce, broccoli, and pasta together. Enjoy... this stuff is like candy... it is worth it.  

Directions for just the sauce.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Chop up all your veggies, sage, and garlic. Toss the squash in a bowl with olive oil salt and pepper and then lay the squash out flat on a baking sheet.  The squash will roast for about 35-45 minutes until it is very soft, a little brown in spots, and very sweet. Reuse the same bowl to toss your broccoli together with the olive oil and salt/pepper. Lay the broccoli out on a separate baking sheet. After the squash has been in the oven for about 20 minutes, add the squash in the oven as well... so they can both come out around the same time. The broccoli will roast for about 20-25 minutes, until slightly brown but still a little crunchy.

While the squash/broccoli is roasting, bring a salted pot of water on the stove to a boil, this will be to cook your pasta. Also heat up a medium skillet on medium heat with 1TB of olive oil. Once it is hot, add in your garlic, cook for a minute and then add the in onions. Let the onions soften for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add the chopped sage. Cook for about 2 more minutes and then turn off the heat. Cook your pasta until al dente and then strain out your pasta, reserving at least 1 cup of pasta water, and giving the pasta a quick rinse with cool water. Toss the cooked squash, onion mixture, 1 cup of milk (or milk alternative), and 1 cup of pasta water in a blender and blend until smooth. Scrap down the sides of the blender, taste and adjust salt/pepper, and add more pasta water if you want the sauce thinner, and then blend again. Toss together the cooked pasta, roasted broccoli, and sauce. Enjoy... this stuff is like candy... it's worth saying twice.

 

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Goat cheese & rosemary muffins with a honey drizzle

Fall time. 

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I always have the urge to bake when those leaves start crisping up and the sweaters come out. There is something about the ambiance of being cozied up on the couch with a good book on the weekends and watching the wind blow free yellow tulip poplar leaves as they travel, glide, and then graciously come to rest among their fellow brothers on the earth. After some moments of watching I place my socked feet on the hardwood and wander to the kitchen to poke around at the little bits of this and that. Opening the fridge a few times and checking the inventory of the dry goods cabinet, I allow my mind to stroll into the land of sugar and pastry and to warm sugary breath against cool air. I might stall, place the kettle on to make tea, but by the time the water is hot I already know that I am sucked in and that I am baking. The first time I had a muffin with one of my favorite combinations (goat cheese & rosemary) was at the bakery I use to work here in Charlottesville. It was a fall special we did occasionally. I only had this muffin there once... and I think about it with frequent adoration. The muffin at mudhouse is quite different than this one... at the bakery it was sour cream batter based and the rosemary was infused... giving it a stronger, earthier taste. This one is a recipe to be made on the spot and one that is good for using up any extra yogurt you have on hand. These muffins are mildly sweet and balanced so nicely with the savoriness of the goat cheese and rosemary. You must try it next time the cold brushes your skin.

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Recipe (Makes 12 medium muffins) 

All Purpose Flour - 1 1/2 cups

Spelt or whole grain flour - 1/2 cup

Sugar - 1/2 cup

Butter - 4TB at room temperature

Eggs - 2

Yogurt - 1 1/4cup

Milk - A splash (optional)

Rosemary Powder - 1/2tsp

Fresh Rosemary - 1 TB generous, minced 

Goat cheese - 1/3 cup, crumbled

Honey - 1-2TB

Baking powder - 1 tsp

Baking soda - 1/2 tsp

Salt - 1/2 tsp, scant

Crumble topping

Oats - 1/2 cup, generous

Sugar - 1 TB

Flour - 1 TB

Flaxseed - 1-2TB, ground up

Coconut oil - 2Tb, melted

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Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and butter a muffin pan. Add in your butter and sugar together in a mixer and cream together 5 minutes, scraping halfway through, until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together your flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and the two different rosemaries. After the butter/sugar is creamed, add in the eggs one at a time while beating on medium low, scraping in between. Then add in your yogurt and stir until combined. Add in the flour and blend on low until just combined, you do not want to over-mix, as it develops the gluten/toughens your pastry. (If your batter seems just a little too thick, add in your splash of milk here and mix together, if not, then omit.) Then add in the goat cheese and drizzle over the honey, stir by hand until distributed... the streaks of honey are ok! 

Place your oats into a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to get a coarse oat flour. Toss these oats with the sugar, ground flaxseed, and flour. Then pour over the melted coconut oil and combine. You should be able to pinch it together into moist crumbles. Distribute the muffin batter evenly into the 12 spaces and then evenly distribute over the topping. Lightly tap the topping into the muffin batter with your fingertips to secure. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until completely cooked and slightly golden. 

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Leek, squash blossom, & corn chowder for the harvest moon.

Silver lady. 

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The moon is mysterious, wise, and beautiful as women themselves. I think all women have a little bit of the moon inside us. Illuminating the world at night, watching the earth at sleep. At some point all of us have been stopped dead in our tracks because of a gorgeous moon. We should do that every time. Early this morning was a most beautiful harvest moon or the corn moon. Where I am located, the moon wrapped herself up in an orb of soft, warm orange. I stood outside with Ty, my bare-feet in the cool dirt and hands cupped around a small bowl of corn chowder.

This moon was particularly important to Native Americans and its light told them that crops such as corn, squash, beans, and wild rice were ready for harvest. The moon was so bright that it invited them to work late into the night harvesting plants in lady moon's bright glow. They worshiped their light-bringers, and we should be thankful for them as well. Almost all cultures/religions (Ancient Egyptians, to Chinese, to Druids, to Ancient Greeks, Early European, to North and South Americans, to Christianity) were heavily drenched in moon lore. All religions are still colored with the moon today, even if we do not realize it. One of the most carving experiences of my life was exploring the Mayan culture on a four day hike to Machu Picchu, where, among other things, I saw the Inca temple of the moon. During the hike, our guide taught us to pour out a little food from everything we ate to give it to Mama Pacha (mother world). It only makes sense to give a little back the the earth that gives us so much. I left my little bowl of chowder out on a stump under the glow of the harvest moon and mama pacha. 

This corn chowder is perfect as we approach the end of summer and welcome fall.

"On a gold throne, whose radiating brightness
  Dazzles the eyes--enhaloing the scene,
Sits a fair form, arrayed in snowy whiteness.
  She is Chang-o, the beauteous Fairy Queen.
Rainbow-winged angels softly hover o'er her,
  Forming a canopy above the throne;
A host of fairy beings stand before her,
  Each robed in light, and girt with meteor zone.'"

                                                  -Mr. G. C. Stent idea of the Chinese versifier translated

 

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Recipe (Serves about 8 bowls, freezes well too)

 

Corn- 6 ears, shucked and kernels cut off cobb (keep cobbs)  

Leeks - 3, washed and sliced into thin slivers

Red onion - 1/4 an onion, diced

Sweet peppers - 3 small, or 1 small bell pepper, chopped

Squash blossoms - 3-4 (chopped + extra for garnish) (optional) Make sure to remove the stamen (central stalk of the bloom)

Red skinned potato - 1 medium, diced

Spinach - 2 large handfuls, fresh, finely chopped

Garlic - 3 cloves, minced

Mushroom broth - 6.5 cups (or veggie broth but I think mushroom is better) 

Olive oil - 2TB

Butter - 2TB

Flour - 1.5TB

Light cream - 1 cup

Mild cheddar - scant 1/2 cup, grated.

Salt/ pepper - to taste, about a teaspoon but I was generous with the pepper

Bay leaves - 3

Dry sage - 1TB

Thyme - 2tsp

Chives - a few TB for garnish (optional) 

Chop all veggies and have them ready. Place the 2TB of olive oil in a large stock pot on medium heat, add garlic, leeks and onions. Let them sweat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the sweet peppers, squash blossoms, sage, and thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add in the broth, the potato, bay leaves, and corn cobs (with the kernels cut off). Let it simmer for 20 minutes. Add in 1/4 of the corn kernels. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves and corn cobs.

Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Have a ladle, a whisk, and the blender full of soup handy. Return the empty pot to medium heat on the stove and add in the 2TB of butter, you are going to make a roux. Once the butter melts whisk in the flour and then, while whisking, ladle in the soup slowly. Continue doing this, whisking in-between ladle fulls until it is all incorporated. The soup will be a little thicker now. You are almost there! Keep the soup on medium heat and add then place another 1/4 of the corn kernels into the blender with the cream. Blend until smooth. Add the cream mixture into the soup and then all the rest of the reserved corn kernels and fresh spinach. Let it heat up at least another 10 minutes (not boil). Add your cheese and let it melt. Season it with salt and pepper, and serve warm topped with chives and squash blossoms. 

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Brussels sprouts, crispy tofu, & mustard vinaigrette salad

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After sorrows such as Monday's there are few things I feel like doing, cooking especially, and most likely most of the country is with me. I huddle on the bottom of the tub with my knees hugged to my chest with the warm shower flowing over my head, crying. I ask over and over why; everyone asks why. We keep asking because there is no way to comprehend it, it is so against human nature. Not only this event, but all of them in our country, in other countries. None are more tragic than another. We are so compelled to find reason in the madness. Some way to understand the hate and violence. There is so much violence all around the world fueled by hate, terrorism, sexism, racism, politics, and none of the tragedies from these crimes ever leaves us. Sometimes we forget tragedies that happen to our brothers and sisters around the world until something like this happens so close to home. But really, no matter the reason why, there is no way to understand it. It doesn't make sense. There is no justification for such a horrid acts of hate. The only way to combat it is love. Love for the victims, love for the families, love for our community, love for our country, love for the world. Hearing the stories of love, empathy, and heroism that came out of the chaos is a bit of hope. Witnessing the true human spirit coming out to offer love and support and to hear the reactions and the responses of victims is amazing. I hope that people will spread the love they share with their neighbors and apply it to the rest of the world, we need it. It is the only thing that helps the soul heal and calm down. For all the hate and insanity from people in this world, there is more love. 

“Some people care too much. I think it's called love.” - Pooh

I made this salad last week. It takes me a bit to get back up and feel like cooking after all my emotions are drained. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. 

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Recipe (Serves 4) 

1 bunch brussels sprouts (1lb) - Red brussels or regular. Sliced (I cut each into 1/6ths)

Yellow onion - 1/2, chopped. 

1 package tofu - cut into small cubes and pre-pressed if desired.

Tarragon - 1-2 healthy springs, chopped fine

Slivered almonds - scant 1/4 cup

Peptias (Pumpkin seeds) - a handful. 

Lemon - Juice of 1 lemon

Olive oil - 3TB

Coconut oil - 2TB

White wine vinegar - 2tsp

Dijon mustard - about 2tsp

Honey - 1-2tsp

Salt/pepper - to taste

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Trim off the ends, and chop up the brussels sprouts into slices or into 6ths. Place in bowl and toss with 2TB olive oil and salt/pepper. Spread onto baking sheet and bake in oven for about 20 minuets, tossing half way through.  During the last 5 minutes, spread out the almonds on a separate pan and toast in the oven for the last 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile heat up a large skillet with 2TB of coconut oil on high heat (or olive oil, but in this case, on medium heat). Once hot add in your already pressed and cubed tofu. Toss in the oil and fry until crispy and golden. About 5-10 minutes. 

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Once Brussels sprouts and tofu is cooked, toss together in a bowl along with the chopped onion, tarragon, toasted almond slivers, and pepitas. Whisk together the honey, dijon mustard, and white wine vinegar. Then slowly drizzle in the 1-2TB of olive oil while whisking until you have reached your desired dressing consistency. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Lastly, squeeze over some fresh lemon juice, toss and distribute into bowls. If desired, top with a little extra tarragon.

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A simple cake of rosemary & apple

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I was listening to an This American Life (I start way too many conversations with "I was listen to The American life") rerun and there was a story about a retired man who wanted to start a cable channel from scratch in the early 90s. A channel called the puppy channel. Naturally, this is brilliance. A channel entirely donated to the cuteness and adorableness of puppies with nothing but soft instrumental music in the background. Now I don't want to hear any complaints "hey, what about kittens? Monkeys? Sloths?" All other cute animals aside, puppies alone are cute and entertaining. The man explained his inspiration came when he saw a diverse group of people in a parking lot all standing around and watching some puppies. People from all points and acts of life paused for a brief moment to smile at puppies. Why? Puppies make us feel better, they make us happy. I looked back in my car at my own fully grown puppies. They were chasing after the back windshield wipers. Yeah I have to agree, they do make us happy.

A cake can do the same thing. Especially one scented so sweetly with rosemary. Rosemary, it is like an old friend; warm and comforting. Mix that into a cake with apples? No doubt it makes you happy. This cake is perfect, moist, with the apple chunks soft and starting to infuse in the layers. It is the sort of cake I could eat everyday if you could healthfully eat cake every day. The rosemary warms up the batter and compliments the apples wonderfully. 

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Recipe (Fits in one, greased 8" springform pan.)

Whole wheat flour - 1 1/4 Cup

All purpose - 1 Cup

Sugar - 1 Cup

Heavy cream - 1/2 Cup

Baking powder - 1 1/2tsp

Baking soda - 1/2tsp

Salt - 1/2tsp

Eggs - 2

Butter - 1 stick room temperature

Rosemary - 1TB dried

Rosemary powder - heaped 1/2tsp

Apples - 2 chopped in small & medium chunks.

Confectioner's sugar to dust (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat up the heavy cream in a small pot in a low simmer with the 1TB of dried rosemary. Turn it off once warm and let it steep, covered, for 30 minutes. Once it is steeped, strain out the dried rosemary and whisk in the rosemary powder. Mix together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Add the butter and sugar into a mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrapping with a spatula half-way through. Add in the two eggs and mix until combined. Alternatively (3 batches each) add in the flour mixture and milk mixture. Scraping with a spatula when necessary. Last, dump in your apple chucks and stir in by hand, with the spatula. Pour the batter into the greased springform pan and tap the pan down on the counter to settle the batter. Place in the oven and bake 50-60 minutes or until a pick comes out clean and cake is puffed up. 

Let cool at least 15 minutes (if you can) and dust the top with confectioners sugar. I served mine with anise tea but served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or apple ice cream would be delicious. 

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Apple and mascarpone dumplings

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I had gathered the ingredients for this dish prior to the snow because, I had planned on making these during the snow. Something about snow always makes me want to have something sweet and warm. A pastry or a cookie but when I saw the mascarpone on sale, I knew it had to be. Unfortunately, we lost power from Wednesday - Saturday and I had no use of my oven. By the time we got it back, the snow was pretty well melted by then. No worries, these tasted just as good without snow.

I think you could play around with these a lot, try half and apple instead of a quarter, different spices & cheeses, and I'm looking forward to replacing the apple with a peach in the summer. Eat alone or top with another dollop of mascarpone and let the warm pastry melt it, a serving of ice cream or fresh cream would do as well.  

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Recipe (Makes 8 dumplings)

Apples - 2, I used a sweet small, pink-fleshed apple

Mascarpone - About 1/3 a container (5-6 TB) 

Sugar - scant 1/2 cup

Flour - 1TB

Cinnamon - 1tsp

Cloves - 1/4tsp

Vanilla extract - 3/4tsp

Anise extract - 1/2tsp (optional or try almond) 

Pastry ingredients

Flour - about 11/4cup (I used a heaped 1cup) (I used all purp but pastry might have been better) 

Sugar - a tablespoon or two - just a small fingerful

Salt - a small pinch

Butter - 1 stick very cold cold. If you can leave this is the freezer awhile, even better. 

Water - ice cold water in a two cup measuring pyrex

Egg wash - beat together an egg white mixed with a splash of cream or milk. 

Fill a two cup measuring pyrex (or do this in a bowl) with ice and water. We want this to sit, let the ice start to melt, to get very cold water. The key to good pastry is not letting the butter melt until it is in the oven. Shift together the flour, sugar, & salt for the pastry. Cut your butter into smallish cubes. Toss in the flower and work in with your finger tips. You want the mixture to look coarse but about the sizes of peas; work quickly. Now you will start adding in the ice water (strained from the ice). Add the water slowly, mixing the water/flour together as you go. You want to keep adding water until the mixture just comes together. You don't want it too wet and sticky. You should be able to press it into a ball - it is ok if there are some dry spots. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic. Place in your fridge for half an hour at least. It will keep in the fridge for a day or two.

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet. Toss together the sugar, 1TB flour, cinnamon, & cloves. Place your marscapone in a small bowl and beat in (with the back of a spoon) the extracts. Slice you apples into quarters. Hollowing out a little bowl in the center of each apple wedge, to hold the mascarpone. Toss each wedge into the sugar/spice mixture - flipping to coat. Then take a generous teaspoon of the mascarpone/extract mixture and place into the shallow bowl on the apple wedge. Adding more mascarpone if there is leftover after all 8 wedges. 

Take out your pastry dough and cut into 8 wedges. Working quickly, roll the wedge into a ball and roll into a disc on a floured surface. You want the size to be just big enough to wrap around an apple quarter. Mine were just a bit smaller than the size of my hand. Place a apple quarter with mascarpone on the dough disc, facing down. Sprinkling with more of the sugar/spice mixture and then wrap the pastry up, kind of like a burrito. Repeat with all 8. Place, spacing evenly, on a baking sheet. Brush on eggwash, top with more sugar/spice mixture or course sugar and bake until golden - about 30 minutes. 

Serve and top with more mascarpone, cream, or ice cream. 

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Russian beet salad wrap

Beets. 

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I made this salad as a quick, simple dinner. We were getting a few things done and were excited for the snow that was to start falling in a few hours. It was suppose to be a heavy snow and those are rare down south but not up here in mountainy Virginia. I had been waiting all winter long for something substancial but up until now all we had were frequent dustings. Well, that definitely changed, but we'll talk a bit more about that later. 

I have to admit that I am fond of the idea of beets, the beautiful color of beets, the history of beets but they are not my favorite root to eat. (If you are more curious about the rich and magical qualities of beets, just click the magic word.) Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the sweetness of them and have a hard time eating a lot of it. To me, they are well suited to a juiced or to be baked. Yet I adore this salad, somehow the creaminess in the yogurt cuts the sweetness of the beet and the dill/celeriac/onion compliment it nicely. I believe russian beet salad usually contains celery but instead, I used raw celeriac (celery root) and I think the slight spiciness made a huge difference but feel free to substitute celery. 

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Recipe - (Will make 4 wraps)

Wraps - I used a whole wheat lavash wrap but use your favorite.  

Fresh spinach - a few handfuls to add to the wraps. 

Beets - 3 smallish red beets. Peeled and quartered.

Celeriac root - 1/2 a small/medium root. Peeled and diced.  

Eggs - 2 (hard boiled)

Red onion - 1/4 large red onion, chopped fine.

Garlic - 2 cloves, minced

Greek yogurt - 3/4cup I used whole/plain. 

Apple cider vinegar - 1/8cup generous

Honey - 2tsp

Fresh dill- 2-3TB

Salt - 1/4tsp

Pepper- a few good pinches

Set a medium pot 2/3 full of water on the stove to boil with your eggs, leave to boil until the eggs are hardboiled. Trim, peel, and chop all your vegetables. Remove the eggs once hardboiled (8 minutes or so) and add your beets to lightly boil until soft and can be pierced with a fork. Combine all your celeriac, onion, and diced hard boiled egg in a bowl. In a separate bowl make you "dressing" - mix together the yogurt, vinegar, minced garlic, honey, salt, pepper, and dill. Once the beets are done, run them under cool water, dice them up and add to the other veggies. Add your dressing to the veggies and stir until well combined. Set out 4 wraps, add a small handful or two of fresh spinach and then spoon in 1/4 (or desired amount) of beet salad. Wrap it up and enjoy, pink drippings and all! 

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Honey, orange, miso soba noodles + broccoli.

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The process of documenting recipes and cooking is more involved that I would have imagined. I have been cooking and baking for years, sometimes I would snap a photo with my phone and rarely my camera but there was nothing particularly special about the picture. All of these posts are new recipes - things I've made within the past two weeks because I have to get better at the documenting process. Usually, when I am done making a meal and place the food in a dish... I'm ready to eat it, but instead I find myself taking photos thinking, "Oh, is that lighting right? I don't know. Can I eat it yet?" Another thing is the right time to make food. To begin with there is only a certain amount of time in the day I have to make food and then to factor in lighting to that time window. My house has gorgeous natural light, it is one of the things that I love about living here but it only takes kindly to photos at certain times of the day. I have a decent camera, not a fancy one, no camera equipment, light reflectors, etc. So here I find myself, at odd times of day, eating meals. Or only equipped with indoor florescent lighting because the only time I had to make a meal was in the winter dark of dinner. Taking better photos is something I will work on, for you guys and for myself. For now, here is a honey, orange, miso bowl for anytime of the day and whatever odd schedule you may be on.

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Recipe (serves 4)

Soba noodles - two bunches (6oz)

Broccoli - two small heads, tops removed. 

Red onion - 1/4 a large red onion, sliced

Orange - Juice of one orange

Garlic - 3 cloves, minced

Miso - 1TB

Honey (or agave if vegan) - 1tsp

Sesame oil - 3.5TB

Rice vinegar - 2tsp

Sesame seeds - scant 1TB (I used black) 

Heat up your oven to 350 degrees. Get out a medium pot and fill it 2/3 full with water, bring to a boil. Once at a boil, add you noodles, turn down to a simmer and cook until tender (about 7-8 minutes). Meanwhile separate and chop you broccoli into desired sizes and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1TB sesame seeds and 2TB sesame oil. Toss to coat, lay on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. 

Prepare your sauce. Mince garlic and place it in a mortar with 1TB miso and mash with the pestle until a paste forms. (If you do not have a mortar and pestle do this with the back of a fork in a small bowl - mashing until well combined and garlic is in a rough paste). Place paste into a small bowl and whisk in orange juice, 1tsp honey, 2tsp rice vinegar, & 1TB sesame oil. Heat up the 1/2TB - 1TB of sesame oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add your sliced onion. Soften for several minutes. Once the broccoli is out of the oven, toss your broccoli in the skillet, stir to combine, and turn off heat.

Once the soba noodles are done I like to strain them in a colander and then run a little bit of cold water over the noodles but not much so they are still warm. This is just to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other as they cool. Combine the noodles, broccoli mixture, and dressing. Toss until well distributed and evenly coated. Serve into bowls and top with more sesame seeds. 

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Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprout hash with a poached egg & Thyme Hollandaise

Brunch.  

Brunch is special. I enjoy a weekend morning where I can take my time in the morning and make something that you don't traditionally think of as breakfast. Brunch breaks the rules and I love it! This meal was so surprisingly good that it will definitely be revisiting my belly for brunch. The only thing I would change is my hollandaise, I added maybe a bit too much lemon that I adjusted the amount in the following recipe. 

*If paleo omit the hollandaise

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Recipe (Enough to serve four) 

Brussels sprouts - 1/2 a bundle, each sprout sliced into four disk

Sweet potato - 2 peeled and chopped into small cubes of roughly equal size

Red onion - 1/2 roughly chopped

Garlic - 2 cloves minced

White pepper - 1 tsp

Salt - about 1/2tsp or to taste

Black pepper - pinch or two to taste

Coconut oil -2TB (feel free to use any oil, I just like coconut oil at higher temps) 

Eggs - one egg for each serving

Thyme hollandaise

Egg yolks - 2

Lemon - juice of 1/2 a lemon

Butter - 4 TB melted

Fresh Thyme - 2tsp chopped

Water - 1TB

Salt and pepper - a few pinches or to taste

Melt you 4 tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan. Add the 2 tsp of thyme and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit to infuse while you prepare the rest of your meal.  Also set out the eggs for poaching on the counter, you want to bring the eggs to room temperature before cooking, it helps with poaching.

Chop up sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, red onion, and garlic. Heat a medium sauce pot filled with two inches of water until simmering. This will be used later for your hollandaise, so leave this pot aside (simmering) for several minutes until you have started your hash.

In a separate skillet heat oil on medium low heat and add garlic. Cook for a minute until fragrant. Add onion to this skillet and increase heat to medium. Cook for a few minutes until onion starts to soften. Add sweet potatoes and increase heat to medium high/ high heat. Cook about 8-10 minutes stirring/flipping occasionally until potatoes are almost cooked and start to brown. Add Brussels sprouts and cook for several more minutes until starting to color (4-5 minutes). Season with white pepper, black pepper, and salt. 

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Now, while sweet potatoes are cooking, you can work on the hollandaise sauce. Combine egg yolks, 1 TB of water and juice of 1/2 a lemon in a small-ish stainless steel bowl and place over the prepared pot of simmering water (hold with a oven mit or rag - the bowl will get warm). You want the bowl to be hovering over the simmering water, not touching the water if possible. Whisk eggs/water/lemon juice together for several minutes. It will start to get foamy and thicken. You want to thicken your eggs but not cook them. After 2-3 minutes remove from head and slowly drizzle in butter/thyme mixture while whisking vigorously. Keep whisking until your hollandaise has thickened up some. Set aside.

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After you finish the hollandaise, use your simmering pot of water and fill with more water (make sure it is a few inches full) and add in a splash of apple cider vinegar. Heat the pot up to a high simmer/low boil. At this time spoon your hash mixture onto plates to be ready for your poached eggs and get out a wooden spoon. Crack an egg into a small ramekin. Once water is ready, dip the edge of the ramekin into the water and gently pour the egg into the water (one at a time). Use the wooden spoon to gently swish the water surrounding the egg towards the egg to help hold the shape. Cook on a high simmer for 3-4 minutes ( I like my yolk runny) or longer for a cooked yolk. Remove egg with a slotted spoon, let drain and place on top of hash. Spoon over hollandaise. Repeat process for any other servings. Devour and lick plate clean. Happy brunching!

 

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