January 29, 2013
New post up on the Earth Eats site! A hearty soup with a creamy bean broth and soft chunks of potato. Not too spicy or time-consuming, it's the perfect home-style recipe for a winter evening spent putzing around in your Snuggie. Pile on the kale to boost your on-the-brinks immune system and share with a hungry bunch of friends!
January 28, 2013
I had the delight of visiting two sweet friends who have recently moved from the city to the promising hills and valleys of Josef and Anni Albers. Oh how they are missed! What a pleasure it was to float the whole night through on a tall air mattress in a quiet dark room with big windows and to wake to coffees and brunch with the Saturday Times. Breadmaster SM has perfected his own take on tofu scramble, frying up big herbed chunks of tofu with sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts!
So many little objects from our fire-escape perching days made their way to this northern apartment and I tried my best to photograph them all. It is such a rare gift to share a history of objects and memories with another. Here featured; a Vern Ehlers mug, a bodega cup, and below, a painting by Ann P of Heartside Gallery & Studio reminding us that "this too shall pass".
To old and new friends,
We have had bright grey cold days here in New York. I bought some long flowering branches from Key Food on 7th Avenue and set them up in the middle of my bedroom where the little pink blossoms opened wide and the heavy branches did their best not to topple over. The vase was too small and light. I balanced the branches' weight by placing a wide stack of beveled copper drypoint plates over one corner of the cylinder's mouth. So strange it is how such small bright living things can enlighten a dreary city afternoon. To accompany a day of supposed creative work and a bottomless cup of hot tea, I also made cinnamon cakes. Simple little plain cupcakes with a kick of cinnamon and a silly swirl of icing.
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 Tbs. corn starch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients until combined. In another bowl (so many bowls!) beat the sugar, oil, vanilla, and almond milk mixture until combined. Add the dry to the wet and whisk until combined. Spoon into cupcake liners and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until done!
January 11, 2013
The holidays offered a few rare and restful hours during which I made this braided loaf. Between kneading and baking, I knitted a long burgundy scarf and played piano duets with my mum. Charmed, I know. If you have time this weekend, consider braiding five strands together and using this loaf for a magical batch of cinnamon french toast! Serve breakfast in bed to your lucky honey with a pile of fruit and maple syrup on top. Hooray! The bread's heavy, soft interior absorbs liquids well and holds up in the frying pan. This is an adaptation of the Pumpkin Challah loaf recipe posted two years ago! I substituted 1 cup of pureed sweet potato for the pumpkin, substituted sugar for the agave nectar, and used all purpose flour (no high gluten in the house).
To the weekenders!
If you are working up a list of New Years resolutions, may I encourage you to try veganism? The NY Times Well Blog recently featured a column by Martha Rose Schulman outlining a week's worth of vegan recipes for the newly resolved. The recipes looked great (I can't wait to make the pho) and I was encouraged by the author's persuasion towards using ingredients she already had in her fridge as well as her deliberate commitment to cooking.
Whenever we make a change to our diets, we return to cooking. By cooking our meals we know exactly what is going into each dish and are encouraged to make more healthful decisions for our families and friends. Looking at a vat of oil will turn your mind quickly from french fries to roasted potato wedges, and a bowl of jiggling egg yolks may persuade you to substitute sweet potato in your challah (as featured above). That being said, cooking isn't always a convenient activity and one seldom has hours to make braided loaves, layered casseroles, or lasagna from scratch. This may be a cooking blog, but I am no housewife. I make big pots of soup that last for multiple lunches, order Thai delivery when I'm getting home at 9, and occasionally throw some carrots, Braggs and vinegar into a pot of ramen and call it a day. We are just doing our best over here.
A friend passed along an old TED talk this week that reminded me again of my concerns surrounding food. It is true beyond a shadow of doubt that our national consumption of meat is unsustainable, and that as countries take on a more Westernized diet and consume more and more meat, the world's resources are placed in jeopardy. The amount of grain it takes to feed one cow is flagrantly inefficient when compared with the product, the amount of meat that is produced. And from where do these steaks originate? Factories, farms, pink Styrofoam platters? Who could know? Our relationship to the food we eat is increasingly disconnected and unsettling.
How do cities sustain themselves? This city of more than 8 million people consumes an excessive amount of products from an international harvest with the exception of a few select Manhattan restaurants garnishing their salads with organic local radish shavings. People are still talking about bacon. People are ordering long plates of folded, cured meats. Yesterday, in January, in New York, I enjoyed a banana and two tomatoes, neither of which are remotely local or seasonal. I rarely write about such concerns on this blog as it has a way of reminding me of the heavy boots time we are in these days: our mutual disconnection and pastoral fetish with the country, our lack of routine, shared, community meals, and our stubbornness to defend our sense of self and all actions, routines, and practices pertaining to it.
Please take a moment to consider making an effort to reduce or eliminate meat from your diet this year. If you are ready to make any step towards a vegetarian or vegan diet (no matter how small), I commend you and also invite you to come eat Southern Style Drumsticks with me at Foodswings.
Here's to 2013. Here's to small steps towards more sustainable lifestyles.
January 4, 2013
Cold marinated salads may bring to mind ideas of a summer barbecue, but who cares? Sometimes, even in the middle winter, I get a hankering for a refreshing cool vegetable dish. Take a break from the winter roasting routine and enjoy this uncharred refreshing salad. Beets are grown in a wide range of colors and sizes, so choose any combination of jewel tones for this recipe. Boil each beet variety separately to ensure color retention. Let the salad marinate for at least a few hours before serving!
See the recipe at Earth Eats.