Feast Portland Recap

Well, I did it. I got to experience Feast Portland. I lived in Portland for about 4 years and never made it to Feast. We move to Seattle and I end up making a weekend out of traveling to this spirited food festival and wondered why it was only my first time. As great as it is making our life in Seattle, I clearly miss Portland. Feast embodied the Portland food scene. Local ingredients, creative dishes and bites, beautiful presentations, endless booze flowing, and constant foodie conversations. Incredible, hardworking people were behind every dish and drink. I was honored to receive a blogger pass, which granted me access to the Grand Tastings, Brunch Village, and the Food 52 Ice Cream Social along with a few other smaller classes and events. I had an excellent time at this unique-to-Portland food event which donates to Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. “Feast is more than just a food and drink festival” as described on the Feast Portland website.  It’s a movement that you just have to experience yourself.

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Artisians, Chefs, and Vendors pictured:

Johnny Appleseed Authentic by Congaree and Penn

Stumptown Coffee

Little T Baker (Flint Corn Brioche with Sweet Cream Cheese & Venus Grapes)

Vintner’s Kitchen

Tillamook Ice Cream

Smith Teamaker

Sisters Baking Company

Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Comission

Kite Hill

Wailua Shaved Ice

Figlia

Launderette

Óli Gústa

zucchini jalepeño fritters

Feels like summer is slipping through our fingers. Days are getting shorter, mornings and evenings are chilly. To me, it’s the perfect time of year because they garden is still producing quite a bit, and it’s finally not too hot to cook in the oven or over the stovetop. Those daily harvests can be put to good use and we can cook up comforting dishes. Zucchini is a garden bounty that I’m always trying to think of creative ways to use. Grilling it, making zucchini bread, and making thai zucchini salad have been my favorites. I also just realized how easy and delicious zucchini fritters are, so bring on that garden zucchini before summer ends!

Zucchini fritters would make a great brunch component. One of the main events I’m shooting at this weekend at Feast Portland is Brunch Village, so I’ve felt inspired by this upcoming event of all things brunch-related. I’m really looking forward to Feast, it’s an incredible event which joins forces with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon to raise money to help end childhood hunger in Oregon and across the country. Check out the website if you’re interested in going as tickets to a select few events are still available.

This recipe is adapted from Jennifer Pallian’s Zucchini Fritters recipe via Foodess.com. I’m a huge fan of hers!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of graded zucchini
  • 2 jalepeños, chopped finely & most seeds removed
  • 1/3 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • lemon wedge

Directions

  1. Drain zucchini using nut milk bag or a cheesecloth.
  2. Combine the graded zucchini, chopped jalepeños, and chopped onions in a bowl.  Add the eggs, breadcrumbs, and salt & pepper and thoroughly stir. If batter seems too moist, add more breadcrumbs so it sticks together nicely.
  3. Heat 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil on pan. Turn heat to medium. Pick up large spoonful of the batter, roughly form into a patty with your hands, and drop in pan.
  4. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until browning. Flip, and cook another 3-5 minutes on the other side.
  5. Add more oil, and make the rest of the fritters. Make basic dipping sauce by mixing greek yogurt with lemon. Serve immediately, or freeze for future use.

Enjoy!

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slow roasted tomatoes

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The pinnacle of tomato season is upon us! My tomato jungle is producing more than I can handle, so I’m getting moving on slow roasting these guys. Slow roasting brings out a deep, beautiful tomato flavor that’s downright addicting. Add some garlic and basil to be slow roasted with the tomatoes to add earthiness to that deep flavor. If you’ve never slow roasted tomatoes, definitely give it a try. You might feel like it’s too hot to get the oven going, but when it’s at a low temp of 250° F, it’s only slightly noticeable in the kitchen.

What do you do with slow roasted tomatoes? So many things. My favorite is to add them to a jar with olive oil (my favorite is Tuscan evoo from Oregon Olive Mill) and pile them on toast, eggs, pasta dinners, pizza, or anything for the following week. I also blend them with additional olive oil and use as fresh pizza or pasta sauce. It’s also really great to freeze the sauce or tomatoes in small, single use bags to pull out throughout the winter and put to use. They store for about a week in the fridge and 3-4 months in the freezer.

Speaking of my favorite olive oil, my friends at Oregon Olive Mill will be attending Feast Portland this year, along with many other local artisans, chefs, distilleries, breweries, cider houses and wineries. Feast is a once a year, incredible Portland food and drink festival. I’m excited to say that I will be there too! I will be covering various events throughout the festival, including a small hands-on class, and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you. If you’re interested in attending Feast Portland, there are still a select few packages and events available, check out feastportland.com!

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • As many small or medium tomatoes you can fit on 2 baking sheets (~5 lbs)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I don’t really measure – just drizzle)
  • salt + pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250° F. Remove stems and cut small tomatoes in half, medium tomatoes in quarters.
  2. Lay out onto baking sheet and generously drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and basil. Toss tomatoes to evenly coat, and bake for 3 1/2 hours or until they look soft and nicely roasted.
  3. Let cool, and spoon into jars partially filled with olive oil, or blend with additional olive oil to make sauce.

Tips:

My favorite tomatoes to use are sungolds and sweet million, but this works with any small or medium tomatoes.

If you’re short on time and just need some roasted tomatoes, I’ve done them at 275°-300° for about 2-2.5 hours, and they came out pretty well. Not exactly like a true slow roast, but pretty close.

I originally thought you have to toss the tomatoes half way through baking, but now I realize it’s totally fine without doing this. I usually just pull out the pans 1/2 way through, check if they need any more basil or seasoning, and switch the pan spots in the oven. 

Hope you give them a try!

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berry mint smoothie

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Summer. What a beautiful time of year. Also, what a busy time of year. Lately, I feel like I’ve had 20 things on my mind at all times, and I’m failing if I’m not getting them done.  Gardening, recipe developing, food blogging, making food from scratch, and other general life stuff can be a lot with a full time job. I know others feel the same with their jobs, families, activities, and social obligations. I feel we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves and place impossible expectations upon ourselves. We need downtime to re-charge, be mindful, and enjoy being in the company of friends and family after all, right? Lately, I’ve found these 3 things to be helpful organize my intentions and avoid a racing mind:

  1. Make weekly lists and give myself manageable, prioritized tasks spread throughout the week. Don’t be too hard on myself if things come up and I don’t get through them.  ( I like the app Any.do)!
  2. Read a good book or magazine article when I would otherwise be on my phone for about an hour (give or take) every day.
  3. Turn my phone off an hour before bed. This is a great time for relaxing, self-care, reading, or playing with the pets!

I’m not perfect, but these things definitely seem to help, along with daily exercise and other mindful activities. Of course a licensed professional is your go-to if you’re really feeling this problem, but I think many of us go through the “too many tabs open in our mind” phase from time to time. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Enjoy the summer while it’s here.

On another note, I’ve been making smoothies almost daily this summer. This one is a simple, refreshing treat that cools you down. Perfect for hot days and to utilize the surplus of berries I have in my kitchen this time of year. Any berries would work, I just used what I had on hand. Also, kombucha or ginger beer could be a nice substitute for the water and would add some fizziness.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of berries (I used 2 cups raspberries, 1 cup blueberries)
  •  1/2 a pineapple, cut into small chunks
  • 1 large kale leaf, chopped & spine removed
  • 1 cup water
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
  • 4-5 small mint leaves, chopped finely

Directions: Add all ingredients to a vitamix or high speed blender, and blend for ~45 seconds, or until smooth. Serve and drink immediately or store in the freezer for a bit.

Cheers!

cucumber peach salad

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Here’s another quickie recipe! This is a really nice summer salad to have on the side when you’re out grilling or to bring on a picnic. It’s packed with flavor yet has a beautiful lightness to it. I really love the peach/cucumber combo, and the radishes add a little crunch.

Thinly slice 1 cucumber, 1 (barely ripe) peach, and 5-6 french breakfast radishes and combine in a bowl or on a plate. Drizzle olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and salt & pepper onto the fresh cut slices and toss to combine. Have a try and add any more vinegar, oil, or lemon to taste. This is great freshly made, but can be made ahead and saved for a while as well.

Serves 2-3 people. Enjoy!

roasted carrot naan pizza

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This, right here. This hit the spot for a springtime veggie lovers comfort food meal. I roasted and kale and carrots in a miso paste + olive oil mixture to make this extra savory.  The roasted kale along with the pepitas on top added a nice bit of crispiness. This could be great on the grill as well or with alternate toppings, but it turned out beautifully as is.

Makes 2 pizzas

Ingredients 

  • 2 pieces of naan bread
  • 4-5 carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 large leaves of red kale, stems removed and cut into smaller (1-2 inch) pieces
  • 3 oz. fromage blanc or spreadable goat cheese
  • 1/2 c. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp miso paste (shiro miso is great)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ~ 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° and set halved carrots onto baking sheet.
  2. Make the miso oil by mixing the olive oil, miso paste, garlic, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle about 3/4 of the miso oil mixture onto the carrots, leaving the other 1/4 in the bowl. Scramble the carrots to completely cover in miso oil, then spread out in a row to evenly roast. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes at 400, flipping halfway through.
  3.  Toss the kale pieces in the bowl with the remaining miso oil and lightly coat. When there are about 5 minutes left for the carrots to bake, pull out the baking sheet and sprinkle the kale evenly over the carrots. Return baking sheet to oven and throw in the naan slices as well.
  4. After the final 5 minutes, the kale should be getting slightly crispy with browning edges. If not, leave it in for another minute. Finally, remove naan and carrots/kale. Spread a layer of fromage blanc onto each slice of naan. Layer on carrots and kale, and top with pepitas. Slice and enjoy!

Tip: When making the miso oil, the miso and olive oil may not fully mix. Taking the miso paste out of the fridge and allowing it to get to room temp definitely helps, but a “rough mix” works fine. I vigorously mix with a fork for 20 seconds, then a whisk for 20 seconds more, and quickly drizzle onto carrots with a spoon.

spring chickpea salad

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This is my one of my favorite spring salads to make when my garden greens are ready to harvest in the spring. It’s very basic and quick to prepare. A simple lemon & olive oil drizzle is all it needs for dressing. Often I like nuts or something with a crunch-factor in salads, but I omit that here so the tender garden greens can shine. Also, the soft boiled egg, chickpeas, and dried coppa is a delicious fatty and savory combo. When you pair it with earthy greens, parsley and lemon, it’s a really pleasing combination that you will want to come back to. Happy spring! Hope everyone is getting outdoors and enjoying the season.

And yes. It started raining right as I started shooting this outside.

Ingredients (Makes 2 salads)

  • 6  cups of greens (arugula, mizuna, mesclun, field greens all work well)
  • 4-5 parsley sprigs, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 10 oz chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • 5-6 slices of coppa, sliced into strips (prosciutto works too)
  • 2 eggs
  • quarter of a lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • dash of salt & pepper

 

Directions

  1. While the parsley and rinsed greens are drying, soft boil the eggs. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil, then carefully set the eggs in the saucepan and lower the heat a bit so they’re cooking at a rapid simmer for 6 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water, and let cool for about 2-3 minutes. Peel shell and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss greens and parsley in about 1/4 cup olive oil and generous squeeze of lemon. Add chickpeas and coppa and give another quick toss.
  3. Serve salad up on plates or shallow bowls. Slice eggs in half and add to salad, along with a drizzle of the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, another lemon squeeze, and a dash of salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

 

smoked salmon jalepeño chive toasts

smoked salmon-2smoked salmon-1Quickie recipe! Spring gardening is keeping me busy, but it is so awesome to be pulling out greens, herbs, and radishes to have with meals and as snacks. A few days ago a picked up some smoked salmon and saw that my chives were budding. I thought, “YES. Those will be going on some toast.” I just spread some local fromage blanc over a hearty bread slice and topped with smoked salmon, roasted jalepeño slices, edamame beans (other beans or peas would work), chives, chive buds, tender garden greens, olive oil, salt and pepper. The chive buds are really packed with that “chive-y” flavor, so give it a shot if you like chives.

Cheers to toast!

kitchen renovation

before

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after

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Sorry, but the green was just not our style. Or the linoleum. It seemed “charming” at our open house, along with the rest of this 1925 craftsman bungalo. However, upon moving in and starting to use the kitchen, we both had an overwhelming feeling that it had to change. After a contractor’s quote of triple our budget, we decided to forego a contractor and go directly to local importer/fabricator/retailer Granite & Marble Specialties for the floors and countertops. We choose the sink and faucet to be installed, hired a cabinet painter to paint the cabinets, and painted the walls and applied the stikwood wall ourselves. We finished off by installing a corner of open shelves and hanging fruit basket, as well as putting up a new window shade. Oh, there was some unexpected plumbing work as well, but I won’t go into that part of it.

The whole process took a little over a month, and I’m happy we took the route we did since this wasn’t a massive remodel. It made the world of a difference and I don’t miss the green one bit!

Details:

  • floor: Cemento Treviso
  • countertop: Calacatta Vicenza Quartz
  • backsplash: Rittenhouse Square in arctic white
  • sink: Blanco
  • faucet: Moen

Speaking of kitchens, check out these kitchen spring cleaning tips from Main & Vine, they’ve got some really useful ones.

Cheers!

miso deviled eggs

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Easter is around the corner! But hey, I say any time is a good time to make these deviled eggs. The addition of shiro miso adds a punch of umami, making these slightly addicting. Out of all the types of miso, shiro (or white) miso paste is best for it’s delicate, subtle qualities. I used a blend that was a bit stronger than shiro since I had it on hand; I just used a bit less than I normally would. I also love classic paprika as a topping, as well as a generous sprinkling of chives and parsley. Honestly, these hit the spot.

I made a smaller batch but you can easily double the recipe for a bigger portion.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tbsp shiro miso paste
  • 1/2 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt & pepper
  • a pinch of red chili pepper flakes
  • dash of roasted garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ~ 1 tbsp chopped chives and parsley

Directions

  1. With the eggs in a large pot, fill with water until it covers them by an inch, then bring to a low boil. Turn off heat and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Prepare an ice bath, and transfer eggs to it and let them chill for about 10 minutes.
  3. Crack egg shells and peel off shells and thin membranes. Cut eggs in half and remove yolks and place into a bowl. Hopefully, they just “plop out” and are fairly soft in consistency. Otherwise, remove with a spoon.
  4. Blend sour cream, mustard, miso, lemon, salt, pepper, chili pepper flakes, and garlic powder into egg yolks until mixture is pretty smooth. I did this by hand since it’s not a large volume, but a food processor would be excellent it you double the recipe.
  5. Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg halves. Serve chilled and top with paprika, chives, and parsley.

 

Enjoy!

roasted beet & parsnip toast

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Quickie recipe time! When I have a really nice loaf of bread, I like to make toasts for many meals. Chris likes this too. In fact, his instagram description reads, “Mid to left coast. I like toast.” I guess toast resonates that deeply with him.

Lately, I like to spread on local fromage blanc and add any veggies I have on hand. For this delicious toast, I squeezed a bit of orange juice onto the fromage blanc, and spread onto toasted rustic bread slices. I added previously roasted beet and parsnip bits, along with some baby purple kale leaves which were briefly roasted as well. (I have a few purple kale plants that lasted through the winter, and are now awkwardly bolting and producing tiny baby leaves, but they are delicious!) I topped with salt, pepper, another squeeze of orange and a drizzle of olive oil. Toast saves the day!

hemp seed scotcharoo bars

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Happy official spring! Getting close to being able to eat garden-fresh food over here, very close. I guess my kale and a few herbs did go all winter, but I’m talking early spring peas, radishes, carrots, etc. For now, I wanted to share a dessert recipe that brings me way back; scotcheroo bars.

My family excelled in bars. They were up there with pies; there’d be at least a pan of bars at pretty much every family function. These scotcheroos were my favorite. I would always try and snatch one right after my mom made a batch, so it would be warm and gooey. By the time they cooled and got more solid, I’d already be craving another. And another. And another. Now I realize that it’s not so good when your blood sugar level surges and your brain gets hooked on sugar. I experimented with my mom’s recipe, and ended up cutting out 3/4 the amount of sugar, using agave nectar instead of corn syrup, and adding hemp seeds, because I love them. My scotcheroos aren’t perfect, but I don’t quite get the crazy sugar spike and addictive aftermath. They’re quick, no-bake, and great to bring to an event or potluck and share for a sweet post-meal treat.

Makes one 9 x 13 pan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter + 1 additional spoonful (for topping)
  • 6 cups puffed rice cereal (I used Rice Krispies)
  • 1/2 bag chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bag butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • butter for greasing pan

Directions

  1. Pour cereal and 1/4 cup hemp seeds in a large bowl. Grease baking pan.
  2. Boil agave nectar and sugar together. Remove from heat with first bubbles. Add peanut butter and mix.
  3. Working quickly, pour nectar/sugar/peanut butter over cereal and mix it into the cereal. Spread gooey cereal into pan, mixing in any remaining dry cereal.
  4. In a separate pot, melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together over low heat, stirring often. Add the spoonful of peanut butter. Once melted, spread evenly on top of cereal, and sprinkle on the last 1/4 cup of hemp seeds.
  5. Let cool for a few hours before cutting. 20 minutes in the fridge helps speed up cooling.

Hooray for bars! Leave a comment if you have any favorite bars that remind you of your family. For me, these are it, and this is my spin on them!

parsnip apple soup

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I think spring is around the corner, but I’m not really sure. Seattle is full on dreary, wet, and cold lately. We’ve had storm after storm and a record amount of rainfall lately. The wintertime blues and all the stressors from life seem to seep in from time to time, which is why I like to put everything aside and dedicate an evening to cooking. If time is limited, even an hour is good. Whether it’s making pasta by hand, slow roasting veggies, or cooking a comforting soup, it lifts my spirits, allows me to be mindful, and brings me back to what’s truly important.

I’ve been really liking the nuttiness of parsnips lately, so here I have a simple parsnip and apple soup. It’s earthy, smooth, a bit tart from the apples, and definitely comforting. I do want to try it with roasted parsnips at some point, perhaps that will be will be next. Especially if the weather keeps up at this rate.

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 large parsnips, chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 32 oz. vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 3 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 tbsp crumbled walnuts
  • bushel of parsley
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tbsp walnut oil in a large pot and cook onions and parsnips on low/medium for about 20 minutes or until softened. Add apples and garlic and continue cooking for a few more minutes.
  2. Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 20 more minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt & pepper. Use stick blender or transfer to blender, and blend until very smooth.
  3. Transfer back to pot on low heat, add apple cider vinegar, half & half, and more salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Serve up drizzled with 1 tbsp walnut oil and garnish with crumbled walnuts and fresh parsley.

Enjoy!

    Recipe adapted from BBC food creamy parsnip and apple soup

    10 things I learned from my first year of organic gardening

    Hello, it’s been a while! I’ve been busy with garden planning and starting up the early spring garden. Upon going over last year’s gardening notes, I thought I’d share a few things I realized in my first year of organic gardening in our backyard. I went into the year with a little experience, from my college work/study job of maintaining the greenhouse to small plot and container gardening while living in apartments. It definitely felt like my first real year of gardening in a real yard though; I had a sore back in the spring and may have shed a few tears once the tomato plants were done producing in late fall. By winter, I found myself really missing gardening and dreaming about next year’s garden. Here are a few tidbits that may help anyone else out there who’s new to gardening or interested in getting started in it altogether.

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    1. As a newbie, it helps to find a resource or guide specific to your gardening zone or seek out a gardening mentor if you’ve got any friends, family members, or neighbors who garden. I read through Seattle Tilth’s Maritime Northwest Garden Guide, listened to Encyclopedia Botanica podcast, consulted with the Seattle Garden hotline, and chatted with coworkers who garden. It can get overwhelming sorting through all the information out there. I felt like I had to know everything about what I wanted to grow before even starting, but I learned to just take it month at a time, and look specifics up and ask when I needed some insight.

    2. Soil quality is extremely important! Get your soil tested at a local lab, amend with a well-rounded organic fertilizer, and put down compost before starting anything. It’s completely worth it for healthy, nutrient-rich veggies.

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    3.When determining what to grow, think about the staples in your kitchen. Garlic? Onions? Peppers? Greens? Try and grow what you see yourself using the most of, and expand from there.

    4. Sketch your garden layout and keep a garden journal. It makes a great visual guide and helps with succession planting, plant monitoring, and keeping track of ideas.

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    5. Planting starters rather than seeds can potentially make things smoother and easier for your first year. I used quite a few starters last year, and I felt like it helped me manage my different plots more easily, but I now feel ready to delve into mostly starting from seed this year. Personal preference – everyone finds their happy medium.

    6. You will have successes. You will have failures. Every gardener encounters pests, critters, and plant diseases. Most of which have measures you can take to try and get your plant healthy and productive again. However, if something wipes out a crop, you’ll know it’s an “at risk” species in your garden, and next year you can leave it out of rotation or take precautionary measures to try and prevent it from happening again.

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    7. If you’re at all intimidated, don’t be. Gardening isn’t difficult, it just requires attention in the form of watering, babying young plants, pruning, and harvesting. Oh yes, don’t forget soil amending, weeding, pest and disease monitoring, plant removal at the end of it’s cycle, and any other general garden maintenance. Not difficult stuff, though, I promise!

    8. Gardening will make you resourceful and inventive ways you’ve never realized. Tomato plant getting too heavy for it’s cage? No problem, I’ll just use some twine and secure it to the side of this retaining wall. Lettuce is beginning to bolt? It’s ok, I’ll strategically place this squash trellis over the lettuce to provide shade and slow the growth. Your brain is pushed to quickly think of solutions and it continues this way of thinking into everyday living, just wait and see!

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    9. Make your garden into a space you love to be in. Even little improvements to your garden space such as a rock border, bamboo fence, hanging chimes, or any personal touches draw you to want to hang out in the garden rather than it being a chore to be in the garden.

    10. Organic gardening is a continual learning process. It’s fascinating and rewarding. Once you start, you will most likely want to continue gardening and learning about gardening. For me, it was an awesome first season and I can’t wait to see what next season brings.

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    Happy gardening!

    Orange-Chili Tempeh Veggie Bowl

    tempeh-5tempeh-1tempeh-2tempeh-4This dish was one I whipped up one night and really liked, but had no idea what amount of ingredients I used for the bowl or sauce; typical. I tried it a few more times and actually kept track of the measurements so I could share it with you.

    Have you ever tried tempeh? It’s awesome. It originates in Indonesia and is made of fermented soybeans, or less commonly, chickpeas, beans, and/or grains. It has a subtle nutty taste, and is heartier than tofu. It’s really good at taking on the taste of what you marinade/cook it in since it’s porous.  Also, it’s great for you being that it’s fermented (shout out to probiotics), and contains whole, barely processed soybeans. Just go for organic tempeh to be sure it contains non-GMO soybeans. That would be ideal, since soybeans are one of the top genetically modified crops in the world.

    Give this spicy, citrusy tempeh bowl a shot, and use whatever grains and veggies you have on hand. Recipe serves two with some leftover. Double it if you’re cooking for 4-5.

    Ingredients

    Bowl

    • 1 cup short grain brown rice
    • 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth OR water
    • 1 tbsp evoo
    • 4 oz. block of tempeh, cut into 1/4 inch slices (I used Lightlife Organic 3 grain tempeh)
    • 5 stems of broccolini, cut into segments
    • 3-4 carrots, sliced
    • 4-5 mushrooms, sliced
    • 1/4 an onion, sliced

    Orange Chili sauce

    • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed juice from an orange
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
    • 1/4 cup sesame oil + 1 tbsp for skillet
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tbsp of maple syrup or honey
    • sprinkling of chili pepper flakes

    Directions

    1. Marinate the tempeh in ~1/4 cup of orange juice and a bit of garlic chili sauce.
    2. Cook the rice: combine rice, broth or water, and evoo in a pot and bring to boil. Cover pot with lid and let simmer on low for 45 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let steam for 10 minutes. If rice is crunchy at this point, add 1-2 tbsp more of liquid and cook longer.
    3. After veggies are prepped, make the orange chili sauce by whisking together remaining ingredients in a bowl. Taste test and add more orange or chili sauce to your preference.
    4. Heat a large skillet and drizzle with 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Cook onions, carrots, and broccolini for a few minutes on medium. Add mushrooms and tempeh. Drizzle in remaining orange juice used for marinating, along with all of sauce. Cook tempeh for a few minutes on each side.
    5. Assemble bowl with rice and veggie/tempeh mixture. Squeeze in any juice left in the orange juice and top with chili pepper flakes for even more spice.

    Enjoy!

    broiled grapefruit with kale crisps

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    Continuing with my January grapefruit and kale dishes, this is a really nice breakfast side, lunch side, or evening snack. Sprinkle grapefruit halves with a bit of brown sugar and broil for about 5 minutes, or until browning starts. Cut the ends before broiling to help the halves sit flat. I also pre-sliced the segments. Serve up with kale crisps sprinkled on top, or you could experiment with other flavors: Rosemary? Pepper? Vanilla ice cream? Scoop away, and enjoy!

    Also, I ran into an awesome article from Main & Vine about how to turn hollowed out citrus halves into oil lamps. I love that idea. Check it out for yourself!

    kale crisps

    kale-crisps-1kale-crisps-2kale-crisps-3I wanted to share this quick, very basic recipe on kale crisps since I’ll be using them in other recipes. They’re pretty much kale chips, but crumpled up into smaller bits. I like to sprinkle them on anything that could use a garnish of greens, like hearty soups, veggies, potatoes, breakfast scrambles, and rice & bean bowls. I make a batch and pretty much go crazy with sprinkling them on anything I can. Give them a try and you’ll see what I mean!

    Directions: Rinse 3-4 leaves of your preferred type of kale. Air dry or spin dry. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Rip off pieces of dried kale and set on baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until you can tell they’re getting crispy with brown edges. Let cool and break up into small pieces. Voila!

    grapefruit and kale salad

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    Hope your new year is going well! January always seems like the time of year I just want to “make it through” because of frigid temps, short days, dead garden, etc. However, citrus season definitely makes me excited about life. Grapefruit is one of my favorite citrus fruits. When I was a kid, I remember squeezing the remaining juice of finished grapefruit halves into a cup, adding some orange juice and a bit of sugar, and enjoying my heavenly little drink. I based this vinaigrette on that memory (sans the sugar) and it drizzled it on a bed of red kale, shallots, almonds, and of course grapefruit. It’s a delicious, fresh pick me up for this time of year.

    Ingredients

    Salad

    • 6-8 red kale leaves (or any kale variety)
    • 1 grapefruit, peeled and segmented
    • 1/4 cup of chopped almonds
    • 1/2  shallot, sliced

    Vinaigrette

    • ~ 1/3 cup olive oil
    • ~ 1/4 cup grapefruit juice
    • 1/2 tbsp grapefruit zest
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 8-10 mint leaves, minced (save a few for garnish)
    • dash of salt and pepper

    Directions

    1. Prep kale leaves by removing spines and finely chopping leaves. Combine with grapefruit segments, almonds, and shallot slices.
    2. Prep dressing by whisking together all dressing ingredients. Taste & adjust (I sometimes add more grapefruit juice or salt & pepper), then drizzle onto salad. Add a few mint leaves for garnish.

    baked eggs with kale, mushroom, asparagus, and bacon

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    Get in the mode. THE BREAKFAST MODE. Christmas long weekend is approaching and it’s time to come together, get cozy, slow down, and have a hearty breakfast that’s packed with good stuff. Try an egg bake. This recipe is versatile…I just used what I had on hand. It turned out excellent and I will be making it again soon.

    Ingredients

    • 1 red potato
    • 3 asparagus
    • 5 crimini mushrooms
    • 2-3 kale leaves
    • 4 strips of bacon
    • 1/2 an onion
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 2 oz crumbled feta cheese
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 3-4 eggs
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 few rosemary sprigs for garnish
    • salt & pepper
    • bread for serving

    Directions

    1. Heat oven to 425°. Prep potato, mushroom, asparagus, onion and bacon by chopping them into small chunks. Roughly chop the kale into small pieces as well.
    2. In a cast iron skillet (or regular skillet), salt & pepper the potatoes and cook on med/low until just about crispy. Remove from cast iron.
    3. Next, sauté  bacon in cast iron on medium until cooked. Remove from cast iron, leaving a bit of bacon grease. Cut into smaller pieces once it’s cooled a bit. 
    4. Add a drizzle of olive oil, and sauté onions, asparagus, and garlic on medium for a few minutes, or until onions are transparent. Add mushrooms to cast iron, sprinkling with salt & pepper and stirring; letting sauté for several more minutes.
    5. Add the bacon and potatoes back to the mixture, along with the kale. Stir, allowing kale to break down and slightly wilt. Remove from heat and sprinkle in about 1/2 the feta.
    6. Create wells in the mixture to accommodate the eggs. Crack the eggs to fill the wells. Pour the cream in the mixture, and pop into the oven for 8-10 minutes.
    7. When you remove the egg bake from the oven, sprinkle the rest of the feta over the top as well as a few rosemary sprigs.
    8. Enjoy on bread or straight up on its own.

    Happy Holidays!

    pomegranate salsa

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    Pomegranates are one of my top favorite winter fruits. The arils are packed with flavor as well as flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that counteracts some types of cancer radials. I’ve been sprinkling them on different types of dishes, and found that they go well with avocado. Here’s a quick little recipe for a simple pomegranate salsa, an easy salsa or side with chips/crackers for the holidays!

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup pomegranate arils
    • 1 avocado, cubed
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 1 jalapeño, chopped & seeds removed
    • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
    • juice of 1 lime
    • dash of salt & pepper

    Directions: To remove arils from pomegranate,  I score the fruit into 4 sections, submerge each section under water, and gently pick out the arils. Once the avocado, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro are prepped, toss them along with the pomegranate arils into a bowl. Squeeze in lime juice, add salt & pepper, and give another toss. Add more jalapeño, lime, salt and/or pepper to taste.