It was a crisp December afternoon as I walked over the creaky doug fir floor boards one last time. The house was empty. Everything was packed. The strange feeling of moving out and leaving your home behind was setting in. It was our first home. We had worked hard and made it our own. Now we were on our way out of the home, the neighborhood, the city and state. We were leaving Seattle to return to Minneapolis, the city we’re originally from. I did one last sweep through the house. I tried to numb myself to any emotions that were arising, but I couldn’t help but feel tears rush to my eyes as I stepped away from the garden, the ancient unwieldy rosemary bush, the overgrown plum tree, the kitchen, the beautiful afternoon light beaming in through the front windows, and the seagulls squawking from above. The little things that make your life what it is. I was 7 months pregnant, and I was tired. Physically and emotionally. Saying goodbye to your job, your friends, your daily activities, your life as you know it is no easy feat. Neither is growing a human. Our house was sold, our stuff was packed. We picked up the cat carriers, and headed out the door one last time. The first several challenges were behind us, but we still had quite the journey ahead.
Little by little, I’ll share moments of the journey that’s made up the last several months. I know this is a food blog, but whatever. It’s more about insights and realizations, the beautiful times, the moments that tried us, and using mindfulness to get through those moments. Also, people may wonder why I’ve been silent for a while. Well, this is it.
Now for the salad! A bit overdue, but citrus was a huge craving of mine during pregnancy and after. I love how beets go with creamy burrata, and adding blood orange segments make it juicy and flavorful. Keep the burrata in halves if you want and pick at it as you go, or break it down into smaller pieces. Hemp seeds and pepitas bring in a wonderful crunchy seediness. This salad is bright, earthy, and very simple. I love it.
- 3 blood oranges
- 4 beets (2-3 if they’re larger in size)
- 1-2 large burrata balls
- sprinkling of hemp seeds and pepitas
- tender baby greens (I used mustard greens and asian greens)
- ~3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp juice from orange
- dash of salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Remove stems, skin the beets and slice into quarter inch half moons. Toss well in olive oil and salt & pepper, and lay on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes on middle rack.
- Slice the oranges. When the beets are baked and cooled a bit, assemble the salad by cutting open burrata, and layering oranges, beets, and greens along plate. Drizzle olive oil and orange juice over salad, as well as hemp seeds and pepitas.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Transfer back to pot on low heat, add apple cider vinegar, half & half, and more salt & pepper to taste.
- Serve up drizzled with 1 tbsp walnut oil and garnish with crumbled walnuts and fresh parsley.
Recipe adapted from BBC food creamy parsnip and apple soup
This 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.
- 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
- Marinate the tempeh in ~1/4 cup of orange juice and a bit of garlic chili sauce.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
I 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!
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.
- 6-8 red kale leaves (or any kale variety)
- 1 grapefruit, peeled and segmented
- 1/4 cup of chopped almonds
- 1/2 shallot, sliced
- ~ 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
- Prep kale leaves by removing spines and finely chopping leaves. Combine with grapefruit segments, almonds, and shallot slices.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Enjoy on bread or straight up on its own.
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!
- 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.
Persimmons are really interesting and versatile wintertime fruits. They are the national fruit of Japan, but originate in China. The first one I’ve ever eaten actually made my mouth feel numb. I steered clear for a while, thinking I had some weird allergy or genetic thing, until I found a little more about them. There are 2 varieties: Hachiya (astringent) and Fuyu (non-astringent). Hachiya is acorn shaped and bitter/mouth-numbing before it’s ripe. That is definitely what I originally ate, and it was unpleasant. However, after you let it ripen in a paper bag for a week or two, it’ll actually taste rich and sweet. The Fuyu variety is more squat and rounded, and is pleasingly sweet when ripe, but still delicate and slightly sweet before fully ripe. It is characteristic of an apple or plum, and can be used in a variety of ways.
I’ve been trying things with fuyus and ended up really liking this crumble. It’s a spinoff of apple crumble, still utilizing cinnamon and nutmeg, but with added coconut flakes and coconut oil to compliment the persimmons. I tried leaving out butter and using only coconut oil, but found out NO. A good crumble or crisp needs that butter. Also, I used slightly (not fully) ripe fuyus. This would be great with ripe fuyus or hachiyas as well, just leave out the sugar in the fruit filling.
Ingredients – makes 4 ramekins or 1 small pan (8″x 8″)
- 2 fuyu persimmons, cored and sliced into thin chunks
- 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 tbsp cold butter, cut into chunks
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- vanilla ice cream
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- dash of ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Toss all fruit filling ingredients together in a bowl to evenly coat persimmon chunks, and layer into ramekins or pan.
- Toss all crumble ingredients together in a bowl, working butter chunks into mixture until it looks like little pebbles. I find it easiest to do with my hands. Pour into each ramekin or into the pan, mixing it up with persimmons, then topping it off with a layer of the crumble mix.
- Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes, until crumble is lightly browning. Once out of the oven, let cool for a few minutes and top with vanilla ice cream, a dash of cinnamon, and pomegranate arils.
Enjoy, and let me know your favorite way to cook or bake with persimmons!
Ingredients: (makes 4 servings)
- 4 oranges
- 1 pineapple
- 10 strawberries
- 1 kiwi
- 1 banana
Juice it all, chill for a bit if desired, and you’ve got delicious orange pineapple express!