"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Yogic Feast: Chapati, Dal, 2 Kinds of Salad

My good friend Sarah recently moved out to the Bay from NYC. We go back to freshman year in 2005 and I'm thrilled to have her home again. She and Erika came over for dinner one Wednesday and I was inspired to use my 'Yoga Cookbook' - a little gem I found in Varanasi, India. All the recipes are fro the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres, which coincidentally also has an outpost in NYC...go figure! I also have a chapati pan I picked up in Pushkar, India for the equivalent to $1.50. I'd yet to use it so this Yogi feast was the perfect opportunity. The feast included whole wheat chapati, a slowly fermenting cabbage slaw, kale salad, and a delicious dal - all the recipes are included in this post. Sarah also has a professional camera so it was quite exciting to get some fancy looking food photos...finally! Check out my chapati pan with a piece cooking :) 
A little something about taking a midweek break for a calm, healthy, peaceful meal with loved ones...or just yourself since we all deserve self love. Sometimes life can feel like a continuous rat race of always trying to get ahead and yet - we'll never get there. But it's also a continuous adventure. I've found that at times when I may struggling against the enemy of overwork, unwholesome food, or stress - I can develop an inner strength by taking the time to have a mindful meal and more so, by sharing food with friends. Your meals aren't only cleansing for your body but also for your soul...
(makes about 18)
Chapati are the standard flat bread throughout Northern India. Made slightly different in each region, I loved the chapati on the treks.  You can use chapatis as a spoon for stews, dal or raita. 

250g whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
175ml of water

1. Combine the flour and salt. Gradually mix in the water until the dough binds together. Knead for about 10 minutes. 
2. Oil a bowl, turn the dough twice in it, then cover with a damp dish towel. Leave the dough to sit for one hour, then knead it again. 
3. Form the dough into small balls. Flatten them and roll into thin disks. As thin as you can without tearing them. Repeat turning the chapati in circles as you roll them, so you can make them evenly thin. The more symmetric the rounds are, the more they will puff up. It's tricky the first time around, like all things, you'll get better with practice.
4. Turn your burner on high and put the chapati pan on it. You can also use a skillet if you do not have a chapati pan. There should be NO grease on the pan. Cook the chapati on each side for a few seconds until it puffs up and gets golden brown. It helps to have a damp cloth handing to press down on the sides of the chapati for even puffing.
Lentil Dal
(Serves 5)
Many Indian & Middle Eastern dishes call for turmeric. While in Bahrain I learned of the health benefits of turmeric. Many women take a turmeric tea every morning to maintain memory and fight off Alzheimer's. The spice is also warming and a good stomach and appetite regulator. If you have a cold or cough, try boiling some turmeric with hot milk.

200g red lentils
750 ml water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon ghee
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 handful chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 butternut squash, chopped

1. Roast the butternut squash in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until cubes are easily pierced with a fork. Set aside.
2. Place the lentils in a pan with the water, turmeric and bay leaf. Bring the pan to a simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Careful, tenders can easily get mushy - there is definitely a tipping point. 
3. While lentils are simmering. Heat the ghee in a skillet. Add the cumin and mustard over high heat for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the coriander, tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the butternut squash and add the mixture to the lentils. Add the salt and lemon juice. Stir to get the mixture a little thicker. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve warm :)

Optional Add-Ins:
Chopped onions - add these in with the tomatoes
Fake meat - add this in the tomatoes
Chopped boiled potatoes - add in with the tomatoes
Slowly Fermenting Cabbage Slaw
I love making a tub of this at the beginning of the week and adding some to my lunches each day. This really does get better as the days go by. I haven't perfected this recipe yet - but this is a good start. Also, as the days pass, this dish takes on a gorgeous fucsia color.

1 small red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, smashed in a mortar and pestle 

1. Slice the cabbage and place in a bowl.
2. In a mason jar (that has a lid!) combine the sesame oil, rice vinegar, lemon juice and smashed garlic. Shake vigorously until combined. Pour over the cabbage and toss to evenly incorporate. You should taste it at this point and add more of any of the ingredients to suit your liking.
Kale Salad
The options are infinite but a favorite combination of mine is kale, avocado, sliced white onion, and hard boiled egg. All with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and a little mustard.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Erika's Delicious Juicer-Pulp Cake

My good friend Erika came over for dinner and brought a DELICIOUS juicer-pulp cake. It was moist, tasty, and the perfect dessert to our yogi feast. I don't have a juicer, but I may have to get one just so I can make this cake with the pulp! She also made a ricotta-honey sauce that had the perfect level of tartness and sweetness to compliment the cake. This cake is gluten free and can easily be made paleo!
Erika's Delicious Juicer-Pulp Cake
(Makes 1 loaf)

2 C. Juicer Pulp 
1/2 C. Agave
1/2 C. Coconut Oil, Melted 
1 egg
1 C. Unsweetened nutmilk
1 1/2 C. Flour-- I split this between coconut flour and white rice flour
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
2. In a large bowl, add the juicer pulp, agave, coconut oil, egg and nut milk, mix to combine
3. Add in flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt with wood spoon.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean
Enjoy! Thanks Erika for sharing!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

SF Restaurant Review: Osha Thai

I didn’t realize I live down the street from a Thai gem. I’ve been there twice, and tried all new dishes on each visit.  Everything I’ve tried at Osha has been delicious, flavorful, surprising, colorful presentation. Highly recommend this restaurant! Ambiance is typical nice Thai restaurant that is trying to be a sleek lounge. It felt a lot like an NYC restaurant except that the customers were wearing North Face fleeces and jeans.

Salmon spring rolls – a piece of cooked salmon, avocado, special Thai sauce all wrapped up in rice papers and fried. Served over a bed of greens with a spicy Thai sauce. Yes please!
Angel chicken wings – second runner up to Pok Pok in Portland
Green Papaya Salad – for those of you who love Thai or Vietnamese food. The Green Papaya Salad is how you tell the good restaurants from the amateurs. It’s like bread at the start of an Italian meal. If stale bread is brought to the table with a cut of butter instead of olive oil – your meal probably will not be all that great. If you really want to test a Thai restaurant order the Green Papaya Salad. It should be crisp, tangy, a little bit spicy, have nice pieces of peanuts, fresh shrimp. It should be perfect – Osha scores 10/10:
Pumpkin curry-  Osha Thai is known for this dish. Chunks of pumpkin in a  slightly tangy, pumpkin coconut broth. Choose your protein. Enjoy!
I forget what this is....but she sure does look purrrrtttyyy!
Pad sewhu with chicken and asparagus. This is comfort food. Cold day, hang over, this is what I crave.
Enjoy it all with a green tea mojito :)

Osha Thai
Multiple Locations Throughout the City

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lemon Seared Halibut + Bluegrass on the Beach

Of some of my favorite things in life, live music, seafood, beaches rank in the top 10. I recently had the pleasure of all three on a Sunday in San Francisco with a good friend. The picture above is of a lemony seared halibut with a caper onion sauce, roasted Romanesco and red quinoa on the side. Recipes below
A couple Sundays ago there was a mini version of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass on Ocean Beach in honor of Warren Hellman, our beacon of the bay. There was a lovely montage of pictures and quotes from his life lining the beach. 
The quote above reads “money is like manure, it stinks if you hold on to it, but if you spread it around good things grow.” This from a man who created a trust so that Bay Area music lovers can enjoy Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate for another 20 years! Along with creating a free health clinic in San Francisco and keeping the SF Ballet afloat, these philanthropic efforts are just the tip of the iceberg. He’s an inspiration and I’m grateful to enjoy the fruits of his legacy in San Francisco. Here is the line up:

 For a late lunch – we had the famous Lobster Roll from Sam’s Chowder Mobile – the official truck of Half Moon Bay’s Sam’s Chowder House. The lobster roll lived up to its expectation of being sufficiently meaty, buttery, & delicious. I was happy they didn’t serve it with chips and coleslaw as last time – that just lowered the bar on the over all Lobster Roll experience.
 As the sun set and in true San Francisco style, clouds rolled in and temperature dropped a solid 15 degrees we packed up and went home.
We stopped to pick up some line caught Halibut, a tomato and some apple juice – AKA brain juice.  After a long day outside, I can’t think of many other things I’d rather do than cook up a feast. Cooking, and being in the kitchen, is relaxing and affords a safe environment for creative experimentation. In the world of fish I’m most familiar cooking salmon and tilapia. Halibut is still a little new for me, but I'm excited to learn it's ways...The menu was inspired by the contents of my refrigerator which included cilantro, capers, Meyer lemons, and romanseco. Pronounced Ro-Ma-Ne-sCO, the name sounds like a tall dark and handsome Italian….but it's the tastier cousin of the cauliflower.
K, enough jibber jabber - time for dinner!
Lemony Seared Halibut with Caper Sauce

Olive oil
2 halibut fillets
Salt and Pepper
1/3 white onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup white wine (plus more to drink while cooking)
1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons capers
1 Meyer lemon (zest & juice)

1. Get your music going and a glass of wine. I recommend the German composer Tya, Akwaba
2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat
3. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the halibut fillets
4. Sear the halibut on each side until lightly golden brown on each side. About 4 minutes per side.
5. Set the halibut aside and cover with foil to retain heat
6. Add some more olive oil
7. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute
8. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan. Bring to a simmer to reduce the sauce
9. Turn off the heat and add in the butter, capers, lemon zest and juice
10. Serve the sauce over the halibut fillets

Ideas for serving:
  • roasted vegetables
  • quinoa or couscous
  • grilled asparagus
  • a slab of thick country bread
  • dessert: green tea or ginger ice cream
Warren in the Army

Friday, March 16, 2012

Seasonal Salad from Heirloom Organic Gardens

Finally it's raining! I've been hearing from the folks at Heirloom Organic Gardens & Eatwell Farms that the lack of rain has hindered their crops and they haven't been able to grow full heads of cabbage - which require a lot of rain. It's been raining for a solid 3 days now which is GREAT! Looking forward to all the spring vegetables coming our way. In anticipation here is a tip of the hat to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market, Heirloom Organic Gardens, & Gordon Clark....
The greens pictured above are curly kale and a type of arugula from Heirloom Organic Gardens. Below is a mix of greens selected from the farmer's market to go our salad as part of Create a Farmer's Market Feast
Delicious salad made with seasonal greens, fennel, hard boiled egg, grated beet, radishes and sliced onion.
Gordon Clark's Special Salad Dressing:
Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a spicy type of mustard
The dressing is so good that I thought there were some additional secret ingredients, but not it really is just that simple. So what's the trick? Put it all in a Tupperware container and mix with some elbow grease.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

INTRODUCING: My Amazing Baking Roommate & Mad Dough Bread Co

My roommate, Nichole, is very impressive for a number of reasons. One of which is her natural knack for bread baking. She comes home from work and is like a mad scientist in the kitchen, filling some Tupperware container with a combination of yeast, water and other secret ingredients and letting these containers rise in cupboards or set in our fridge. Then she'll be kneading, shaping and glazing breads which always come out looking beautiful and tasting wholesome, hearty and delicious.  She recently made homemade pizza on homemade pizza dough with homemade ricotta - on one Wednesday night! She's started Mad Dough Bread Co to bring her healthy, made-with-love, organic breads to the Bay.

She also shares her knowledge so now anyone can Bake Fresh Artisan Breads with Nichole of Mad Dough Bread Co. I had the opportunity to experience one of her classes and I had no idea bread was such a science! The photo above is of her starters which she prepped for the class the evening before. We were making baguettes. 
Here is Nichole explaining the starters to us:
Then we mixed the starter with flour, salt, yeast
The Bread I chose was a variation of Peter Reinhart's French Bread using Guisto's whole wheat and white bread flours. Wheat flours makes the bread slightly denser, but adds a ton of fiber, protein and flavor lost in the white flour sifting process.

This is a multi-day bread (most are) but worth the effort in the complex taste and structure that results from letting the flour, water, salt and yeast ferment overnight. That being said, I had to prepare the dough ahead of time, but led the group in mixing the dough themselves, demonstrating the texture, temperature and technique that are the key to making any kind of bread.

Makes 2 large loaves, 4 small loaves, or many rolls.

2.5 cups (12 oz / 340 g) whole wheat bread flour
2.5-3 cups (12 oz / 340 g) unbleached bread flour
2 teaspoons (0.5 oz / 14 g) salt, or 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
2-1/4 teaspoons (0.25 oz / 7 g) instant yeast
2 cups (18 oz / 454 g) lukewarm water (about 95°F or 35°C)

1 to 4 days ahead of time:

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 1 minute. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for 1 minute, until well blended and smooth. If the spoon gets too doughy, dip it in a bowl of warm water. The dough should form a soft, coarse shaggy ball. Let it rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured work surface, adjusting with flour or water as needed. The dough should be as soft as it cane be without being sticky.

Check out that freshly baked challah in the background! She made it that morning before the class!
Transfer it to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then immediately refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days.

[If the dough feels too wet and sticky, do not add more flour; instead, stretch and fold it one or more times at 10-minute intervals before putting it in the refrigerator. (If you plan to bake the dough in batches over different days, you can portion the dough and place it into two or more oiled bowls at this stage.]

Baking Day:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you plan to bake. Gently transfer it to a lightly floured work surface, taking care not to degas. For baguettes and batards, divide the cold dough into 10-ounce (283 g) pieces; for 1 pound boules, divide the dough into 19-ounce (53 g) pieces; and for freestanding loaves, use whatever size you prefer.

Form the dough into batards and/or baguettes (stretch from the ends) or boules (gently tuck underneath to form a ball) and place on parchment. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and proof at room temperature until increased to 1-1/2 times its original size (60-120 minutes).

About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 550°F (288°C) or as high as it will go, and place an empty metal baking dish or sheet on the bottom shelf (don't use glass! - It will shatter).

Just prior to baking, score the dough 1/2 inch deep with a serrated knife or razor. Transfer the dough to the oven, pour 1 cup of hot water into the steam pan, then lower the oven temperature to 450°F (232°C).

Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 15 to 25 minutes, until the crust is a rich golden brown, the loaves sound hollow when thumped, and the internal temperature is about 200°F (93°C) in the center. For a crisper crust, turn off the oven and leave the bread in for another 5 minutes before removing.

Letting the dough balls rise...
Making them into baguette shapes
Don't forget to make little cut marks up top

Cool the bread on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes before slicing or serving.


By simply varying the method so that the shaped loaves undergo cold fermentation, rather than the freshly mixed bulk dough, you can create a spectacular loaf with a distinctive blistered crust. After the dough is mixed and placed in a clean, oiled bowl, let it rise at room temperature for about 90 minutes, until doubled in size. Divide and shape as described above, mist with spray oil, then cover the shaped dough loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight (or up to 4 days), away from anything that might fall on it or restrict it from growing.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking and place on parchment paper. It should have grown to at least 1-1/2 times its original size. While the oven is heating, remove the plastic wrap and let the dough sit uncovered for 10 minutes. Score the dough while it's still cold, then bake as described above.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Keokuk Sandwich at Ray's in Petaluma + Top 5 Sandwiches

I sometimes forget how much I love sandwiches until I try a really excellent sandwich. I recently tried the Keokuk Sandwich from the laid back, locals-only, Ray's Deli in Petaluma. Although it was my first time there, it felt like I'd been there many times before. It's a family run join that is a combination deli and tavern that livens up the sleepy town. Known for their sandwiches and sodas in mason jars, this place has a real feel-good vibe. A plate of freshly baked cookies sat on the counter, which we had before lunch :)

The Keokuk sandwich is truly DELICIOUS! It is turkey, bacon, roasted red pepper, provolone, pepperjack cheese, sundried tomato, pepperocinnis, fresh basil, cayenne pesto mayo and spinach served on a house baked Ray's roll. I actually regretted not taking my friend's advice, which was to buy two Keokuk's, how could I think one would be enough?!

Top Sandwiches in My Life:

1) Manganaro Special from Manganaro's Grosseria in NYC
2) The Cuban from Kuba Kuba, Richmond, VA
3) Keokuk Sandwich from Ray's Deli in Petaluma
4) Lobster Roll from Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay
5) Turkey + everything on sourdough with a bag of popcorn from Scotty's Market in Terra Linda

Ray's Deli
900 Western Ave, Petaluma

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Asian Pear Crisp

For dessert at Create a Farmer's Market Feast, we made a delicious Asian pear crisp with pears from K & J Orchards with a scoop of Almond Sorbet from Scream Sorbet. K& J sources all the citrus for Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc and French Laundry along with 58 other notable Bay Area Restaurants. Crisps and crumbles are wonderful seasonal desserts. 
Asian Pear Crisp

4-5 Asian pears, sliced in circular rounds
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Place pear slices in a glass baking dish
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, pecans, salt, cinnamon and just enough butter to add small clumps
4. Cover pear slices with mixture and bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and pears are slightly bubbly. Enjoy with saffron almond sorbet from Scream Sorbet!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Butternut Squash Stuffed with Bison, Quinoa, Seasonal Veggies ~ Farmer's Market Feast

I was unfamiliar with bison, but have been craving meat for a while so I did some research on "healthier" meats and found that bison is actually the healthiest...and I can honestly say, the tastiest! For my recent 'Farmer's Market Cooking Class' we prepared a main dish of squash stuffed with bison, quinoa and seasonal vegetables.  Hearty, wholesome, healthy and I am a big fan of the Golden Gate Meat Company - with their helpful & knowledgeable staff. I've purchased delicious soppressata, prosciutto, and bison from them. If you are cooking a meat meal, I highly recommend the Golden Gate Meat Company! 

Health Benefits:
  • Bison are handled as little as possible. Their lives are spent roaming grass fields and they spend minimal time in feedlots
  • Bison has as any many Omega-3s as Salmon!
  • Bison are not subjected to questionable hormones, drugs or chemicals
  • The high iron content and low cholesterol make this an especially good meat for women
  • Bison has high concentrations of selenium, a natural element that acts a mood elevator...this is the real "happy meal" - take that McDonald's!
    Ecological Benefits:
    • As bison graze fields, their manure and urine supply important nutrients for plants. As their hoofs stir the soil and create small pockets to capture moisture in the earth
    • Because bison are undomesticated, they interact with the land as nature intended
    For our squash, we gathered mini butternut squash (the cutest squash EVER!) from Eatwell Farm & carnival squash (less cute but fun name) which are a close relative to the acorn squash. Carnival squash are like the cousins who like to party. It may be hard to tell, but these butternut squash are just a little bit longer than my hand. Adorable!
     The key to cooking bison can be summed up in two words: LOW & SLOW. So if you are making a meal with bison, relax, don't rush, and enjoy all the elements of this magnificent animal that has been a part of North America long before us. 
    Butternut Squash Stuffed with Bison, Quinoa, Seasonal Veggies 
    (8 servings)

    2 pounds bison
    2 mini butternut squash
    2 carnival squash
    2 cups red quinoa

    1 teaspoon dried basil
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon dried sage
    1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds
    Olive oil

    For topping:

    feta cheese
    pumpkin seeds

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Cut the butter nut squash & carnival squash in half. Remove the seeds. Place in a glass dish, cut side up. Brush squash lightly with olive oil. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until squash are easily penetrable with a fork.
    3.  In a pot add the dried red quinoa with water in a ration of 1:2. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer and keep the pot covered until all the liquid is absorbed. About 20 minutes. When down, fluff with a fork and set aside.
    4. Slice the leeks, carrots and celery into even slices
    5. Add bison to a pan, over LOW heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
    ***Because bison is significantly less fat than other meats, it will NOT shrink down in size as much so do not use this to test if the bison is done, because you will likely overcook it! Instead just look for a nice even brown color.
    5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bison from the pan and set aside in a bowl but leave all the natural juices and oils in the pan.
    6. Add about 4 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and turn the heat up to medium. Once the oils are hot, add in the leeks, carrots and celery, and dried herbs and cook for 4-7 minutes
    7. When squash are done, remove from the oven and scoop out the insides, leaving about 1/2 inch all the way around to maintain it's shape. Add the squash insides to the vegetable mixture, along with the quinoa and bison. Gently mix to combine.
    8. Stuff the squash with the bison and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle some feta cheese on top and a couple pinches of pumpkin seeds.
    9. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
    Leftovers (if you have any!) make yummy lunches or can be added to salads.

    A little music to take you away while you are cooking the bison low and slow...
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