it smells AMAZING

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I’m in the process of making dinner. I’m making an eggplant caponata from my Mozza cookbook.  I’ve been eating A LOT of eggplant lately.  They garden is overflowing with them – why wouldn’t I eat them in any which way I can. Grilled, sautéed, in a quesadilla, tonight with tomatoes and crusty bread.  I also just heard a story on NPR about whats fresh at the farmer’s market – you guessed it: EGGPLANT! Everyone is eating it, we’re being “seasonal.”  It was so interesting to hear about all the different kinds of eggplant and, did you know you can steam eggplant.  It’s helpful for those folks who have nightshade sensitivities.   I didn’t think much of “sensitivities” when Evan Kleinman‘s guest mentioned it; why would I?  I can eat everything.

Maybe I’m setting this up for a dramatic event – it’s how I do.  Regardless for some reason tonight as I was chopping up my freshly harvested eggplant from the garden I thought, “I wonder how you know if you have a nightshade sensitivity.”   For those of you that don’t know nightshades refers to a bunch of different vegetables and spices, the reason they are all grouped into this category is because they contain cholinesterase inhibiting glycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids which have been linked to causing inflammation and aggravating chronic pain, especially in folks that have an immune disorders.  The amount of these alkaloids varies between the vegetables and spices and you may be sensitive to one an not another.  The list of nightshades is as follows: tomatoes, tomatillos, potatoes (NOT sweet potatoes or yams, eggplant, okra, peppers (bell pepper, wax pepper, green & red peppers, chili peppers, cayenne, paprika, etc.), goji berries, sorrel, garden huckleberry & blueberries (contain the alkaloids that induce inflammation), gooseberries, ground cherries, pepino Melon, and­ tobacco.  It’s a long list full of amazing things.

To make a long story even longer – I started thinking….I have been really, really achy these past few weeks.  BUT I have been working out a lot.  Pushing myself pretty hard.  Lots of intense yoga and bootcamp.  I’ve been thinking these things are what have been making me tired and sore.  Just now I thought about how much bootcamp I was doing last summer around this time in preparation for the wedding, I was going like 4 or 5 times a week. … I don’t remember being this sore or achy.  What if I am sensitive to nightshades!?  This possibility is devastating to me.  I love tomatoes. I love peppers.  I love potatoes.  Cayenne?!  Blueberries?!  I could probably live with out eggplant, though I do really like it.  I can do with out okra – I say orka 9 out of 10 times anyway so whats the point?

The only way to really really know if you’re sensitive to them is to cut them out entirely.  Some say for a month, others 3 months (this is how long your body takes to get rid of the sh*tty alkaloids).  A month to 3 months? Just as our tomatoes are starting to get ripe on the vine, you’ve got to be kidding me life.   On top of sorting out everything else in my life, you make me think about this too!

I think I will pull back on eggplant.  Sara will just have to get the bulk of what’s left. But I’m not sure I’m ready to disown or even attempt to check it out to see if I have nightshade sensitivities…not yet. We’ll see how my body feels in a few days.

gardin’ the garden

First of all, a cat pooped in my garden. GROSS. Also…sort of an invasion of territory.  I mean, I sweat in that garden so it sort of feels like I’ve marked my territory!  Also – grasshopper killing spree!

We have some ‘red’ding tomatoes, which is so exciting, I literally cannot wait.  There’s still a lot of yellow leaves. I’ve pulled back on watering the tomatoes and the basil, I think I’m over saturating them with water and also, since we’re in a drought…chill, Jordan, ‘kay.

I pulled out beans. They were just totally spent. Those mites ate their hearts out and sucked them dry of nutrients.  The cuc’s are strugglin’ too.  We can’t seem to get rid of those dumb spider mites I don’t think the lady bugs stayed…we might have to get more and only put them on the cucumbers when there’s no DE?  Does anyone know if DE hurts ladybugs (or bees for that matter)?  What about insecticidal soap?  Does that hurt them?

Food!  I made Salmon cakes for dinner last night. I had never worked with canned salmon before and thought it would be g-r-0-s-s but it wasn’t!  It was actually really good. I found the recipe on self.com (here) and pretty much followed it.  Only I made some rice to add to the mix and didn’t use lemon on the arugula.  Rory gets citrus sensitive so I made a balsamic vignette.  I think any grain might be really nice with this.  Also, go with the 4 min per side…it gets a nice crust on the salmon cakes and allows them to stick together better.  Oh and the last thing I would suggest is to get boneless canned salmon – taking the bones out is such a process and rather annoying….if someone’s done it for you go with that?  And. I bet you could use leftover salmon if you had cooked some last night or the other day – might have a better taste to it.

din din

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Made this last night for dinner.  We had so much chard in the garden and I was trying to get it out of there before the dumb (yes, they are) grasshoppers ate it all.  Can I share something with you?  Since we’ve started this garden I think I’ve become a ruthless bug murder. I’ve smooshed grasshopers, pinched aphids, pulled moth cocoons off leaves and even used a brick to smoosh a grasshopper because it didn’t die when I stepped on it.  That’s just, heartless… and I will say I had nightmares about it that night BUT these buggers are eating my garden. (side note: the grasshopper fought back – I chased it out of the garden, it went away and when my back was turned – it jumped on me.  This was when I declared war.)  They are sucking the chlorophyll out of the plants depriving them of nutrients or gnawing holes in the leaves – this I don’t mind as much. But I’m afraid that they will slowly destroy the garden.  I’ve been having conversations with the birds begging them to eat these bugs so I don’t have to kill them.  I’m fighting a chemical-less fight against them.  I’ve been using Dr. Bronners mixed with water as well as Diatomaceous earth and as you saw the other day, I even employed 1,500 ladybugs – 15 of which I think stuck around.  I’m trying.  We might have to pull the beans and get them out of the garden…It just might be for the best.

Dinner, right.  So good. It does take a while to prepare as you have to let the dough sit for at least 2hours but it’s mighty tasty and I think I would use the dough recipe to make a sweet galette too.  You could add chicken sausage to this or Rory suggested a tomato and meat sauce, but I’d put it on the side and let folks add what they want.

Chard and Mushroom Galette
adapted from epicurious
serves 4

Dough Ingredients
1C all-purpose flour
1C whole wheat flour
1t kosher salt
3/4C (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1T apple cider vinegar
1/4C ice water

Other Ingredients
1C ricotta
Kosher salt
olive oil
4oz crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 large bunch Swiss chard, ribs and stems removed, leaves cut into bite-size pieces
All-purpose flour (for parchment)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1C mixed fresh tender herbs (I used flat-leaf parsley and chives)
1t finely grated lemon zest
1t fresh lemon juice
Maldon sea salt

For the dough
1. Pulse all of your flour and salt in a food processor to combine.  Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.

2. Next transfer mixture to a large bowl; drizzle with vinegar and 1/4 cup ice water. Mix with a fork, adding more ice water by the tablespoonful if needed, just until a shaggy dough comes together; lightly knead until no dry spots remain (do not overwork)…I barely kneaded the dough because I got a pretty good mix with my fork.  Pat into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill at least 2 hours. (NOTE: you can do this ahead of time as dough can be made 2 days ahead of time and kept chilled.)

For the galette
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Season ricotta with kosher salt and pepper; put this aside.

2. Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and season with kosher salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until the ‘shrooms are golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

3. Heat a little more oil in same skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Throw in half of the chard and season with kosher salt and pepper.  Cook until slightly wilted.  Add the remaining chard and cook, tossing occasionally, until completely wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment to a 14″ round about 1/8″ thick. I think I made mine a little thin on the inside and thick on the outside – you want to reverse that. Transfer everything on the parchment to a baking sheet. Spread about 3/4 of the ricotta over dough, remember to leave a 1 1/2″ border.  Start with the chard, then mushrooms. Dollop remaining ricotta over vegetables.  Bring edges of dough up and over filling, I would rip the dough every 2-3inches so that they would overlap.  Create a 1 1/2″ border; brush with egg and dust w. salt if you so choose – I did this and Rory said it was too salty.

5. Bake for 15min and then rotate and then cook for another 20min until the crust is golden brown and cooked through. Let cool slightly on baking sheet.

6. Toss herbs with lemon juice and a little bit of oil in a small bowl; season with pepper.  Top the galette with herbs, zest, and sea salt. (I found that I had WAY too many herbs – so maybe cut this in half?)

enjoy! xo

 

on a roll

Not literally BUT I am going to make a galette for dinner – so there’s the bread?

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Yesterday I candied lemons. I googled and found this recipe on Pip & Ebby.  I didn’t cut the slices as thin as they suggest and I used both regular organic sugar and troubadour sugar. I let them sit out for over 24 hours and they still didn’t firm up…I think it’s because I didn’t slice them thin enough. They still taste good and as I try harder and harder to eat better for myself it will be nice to have sweet treats I’ve made myself!

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Today I pickled banana peppers.  Simple recipe of 1C white vinegar, 4T of sugar, 2T salt, 2T yellow mustard seeds, then you throw a cold cup of water into it and let the temp come to luke way and cover the peppers and then pop them in the fridge.  I didn’t have enough fluid so I made more – 1C white vinegar, splash of red wine vinegar, a dabble of sugar, a dabble of salt and then a few shakes of red pepper flakes. I think it will actually tone out the brine, it was too sweet before. I’m going to give a small jar to my friend Dave. He’s on a cooking tear because he’s been shooting a documentary in which he could only eat raw vegan smoothies!  He lost 50 pounds in 90 days! So awesome and proud of him.

I’m also making chicken salad for the USA game tomorrow. I’ll show you that later 🙂

new looks and feels

Here I am in a new world – wordpress.com. I’m excited for it. It seems a little fancier and who doesn’t like to be fancy?  I can’t figure out how to get rid of that weird little smiley face in the top left section of the site. Some post said something about a jetpack plug in? Can’t find it. Oh well.

photo

1,500 ladybug!

So much!  I’m going to show you pictures of the garden. So much is planted and growing I love it.  We do have a slight aphid and spider mite problem but I’ve taken to washing the garden every 5 days and also using a mix of Dr. Bronners and water to spritz the plants every 5 days as well. Hopefully this will help.  I also just bought ladybugs.  Literally have a pint of ladybugs – I think it’s something like 1,500 ladybugs in there.  The buggers are going to be placed in the garden tonight on all of the plants infected (cucumbers, zucchini, melons, pumpkin, tomatoes x 8!) and hopefully they wake up tomorrow and drinks some water and eat some aphids and spider mites … and ants? And then, I hope they stick around to lay some eggs so they process can keep going. If nothing else…they’ll be a cute addition to the garden for the next few days.

I know I should probably already know this, and I might but I forgot, BUT lemon trees have MASSIVE thorns. I learned the hard way this morning.  I harvested 4 lemons and got a pretty nasty sticker in my right thumb…it hurts to type. Slowly but surely I’m learning.

The best thing that Sara said to me the other day was after we had harvested a few zucchini’s from the garden.  She was making dinner for some friends and she had one of our zucchini’s and one from the store and while she was chopping them she noticed that the one from the garden smelled weird.  Or very different from the one from the store so, of course, she was concerned…but then she realized it smelled like earth.  It smelled like what food grown well and with out GMOs and chemicals are supposed to smell like….It’s glorious.

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maybe you can help?

Hi interweb. I doubt anyone reads this anymore but, maybe.  I’m on new adventures. I’ve started gardening and am getting on the workout bandwagon. .. Plan is to do 21 days straight and eat healthy, starting today however, I did just have a chocolate caramel.

I think I am going to use this space as a place to post garden deets and talk yoga and food. You know, use it for what I’m involving myself in.

Tech question first – does anyone know how to move a blogger blog to wordpress?  I’ve made the blog but cannot for the life of me figure out how to import this ol’ blog over there….

Garden details.  We have SO much stuff.  Who’s we?  We is my friend Sara and I.  We’ve planted 3 plots in her backyard. We were her landlord let us do it….he had a ton of space and we made it useful? I’ll show you the plots later, swears.  WE have eggplants, tomatoes (galore!), peppers, cucumbers, melons, pumpkin, squash, zucchini, cliantro, parsley, basil, grapes(!), beans, oregano, chard, kale, frisee, dill, fennel, carrots…SO MUCH.

If you’re a gardener, I have a question for you.  Our beans are turning yellow.  They are bush beans and about 8inches tall.  They are still producing yield but I’m afraid I’m either over watering OR we have spider mites. Ew. What do you suggest I attack first?

Yay gardens.  And off to bootcamp – me want strong body.

Read the readers suggestions!

Man. I don’t think I will ever lose my love for soups, stews, one-pot-meals, bowls full of warm goodness.  It’s a comfort to me in words I don’t really know how to articulate.  It feels like home.  Like you’re cuddling on the couch with your favorite blanket and person by your side.  Seriously.  That’s how deep A BOWL OF WARM GOODNESS gets me. 

I’ve said this before, I like tweaking recipes as I go…not after I’ve already tried it! I can’t help it.  I either work with what I have or let my taste buds dive in, it’s more fun for me.  When a girlfriend, who was coming over for dinner, wanted something healthy and I wanted something easy – I started clicking around on Bon Appetite.  I found this Black Bean Soup w. Roasted Pablano Peppers. Mmmmm, I thought.  Read the recipe and then began to read the comments. “It’s too thin” is what everyone said.  “Too runny.”  “Had to add shredded chicken to feel like it thicken up.” “Served it over brown rice”  Okay, cool. Thanks for ideas, yos. Noted community, I’m getting in on this too. Eff, yeah.

What we ended up eating that night was so good.  So, so good. A perfect warm bowl of goodness.  It’s even good tonight for leftovers!  I hope you try this.  Or, try some variation of your own that you discover because you decided to play in the kitchen. Let me know if you do find something amazing.

Warm Bowl of Goodness (ie. Black Bean Stew/Soup w. some heat)
Makes 4 hearty bowls

Ingredients
2 poblano chiles
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
1 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted or plain diced tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fine corn meal
Kosher salt
2 14.5-oz. cans black beans, drained
½ cup crumbled feta
1 avocado (for serving)
Lime wedges (for serving)
Quinoa, enough for 4 servings, follow package details
1. Preheat broiler. Broil poblano chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet, turning occasionally, until blackened, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam 15 minutes. OR you can put them in a plastic bag – I did this, they were fine. I only worried the bag would melt for like a few seconds…

2. Peel, seed, and finely chop.

3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add tomatoes and cayenne, and blend until smooth.
4. Return tomato mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until thick, 6–8 minutes. Stir in broth; season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until soup is slightly thickened, 10–15 minutes. This is where the “it’s too thin” comes in…so, I decided to try to see what 2 tablespoons of corn meal did…It made this soup so much heartier.  If you do go this route, you have to stir constantly until all of the corn meal is mixed in – and be aware of chunks, they aren’t bad, it’s just polenta basically but if the wring consistency for the soup.

5. Stir in black beans and poblano chiles. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

6. Serve soup over quinoa and topped with feta and avocado, with lime wedges alongside.