Monday, December 30, 2013

Sum- thing special

I m not a big fan of Christmas. Or pants. Hence, my ideal Christmas is spent in a long-ish shirt (in case the neighbors can see in the windows), with no midnight mass, red/white lights, carols, candy canes, no tree/garland/boughs/holly/anything pine scented other than my wintry backyard, or st nic, but with plenty of dim sum and old school hip hop.

A photo journal:


...I did get gifted some new leggings. They are perfect in every way...except when you don't want to wear pants...


Monday, November 25, 2013


My heart is pretty full. With round two Thanksgiving coming up (I celebrate my favorite holiday with Americans, too), I have plenty to be thankful for: the people in my life who seem, moreso than ever, to share the same morals/ideas/understandings/desires/inclinations, who are accepting and inspiring, and as full of love as my own heart. I simply share my life with these people, or I work alongside them, whether cooking for and coaching the kids at my "real" job, or teaching yoga. My family has always been amazing, but as I--or I suppose we all--grow older, we reach a new level of intimacy and love that comes from seeing eachother as seeing eachother simply for the persons we have become, rather than the roles we once filled for eachother: mother/daughter/aunt/uncle/cousin/grandma. Yep. My heart is as full as my sisters heart is "fucking big"...if you do not get this reference, you missed a damn fine party at a certain wedding this past august...

Currently I am sitting on my floor of the neatest bachelorette pad I have ever lived in (thankful!) drinking gin and sage infused sake with sparkling wine (thankful!!); it is 3:00 on a Monday afternoon (THANKFUL!!!). Mondays are my Saturdays, so stop judging (that means you amazing family;), my only full day off between working at Neurvana and teaching yoga. And what would really stand out in this paragraph to my amazing family is not that I am drinking in the middle of the day, but that I am sitting.

I stand. A lot. Working as a chef you are on your feet your entire shift, which is not often a standard eight hours. Working as a yoga teacher you are on your feet (and hands, and head) while you teach, and while you practice, which is integral to your teaching, and while you are "showing off" at random moments in the day (as my much loved friends call it...). I bike to both jobs. I dance in my kitchen. I don't like to sit. I do like to make neat drinks, write about them, and then stand on my hands after having a few of them...

Todays cocktail was inspired by kinfolk magazine--well, actually, a picture on instagram, and a lovely new addition to our crew at the youth center, a belly dancing herbologist, who has me drinking nettle tincture and "wild woman" coffees (espresso blended with egg yolk, coconut oil, and spices), both of whom are endless sources of inspiration these days. Between them and this recent discovery, I am in infusion mode: experimenting with and loving using herbs with healing properties to play with flavours so that my midday cocktails seem, well, healthy-ish....

Ok, so sage and ginger just sounded neat, and the woodsy/spicy/sweet combination is spectacular. But I have also been playing with dandelion root and camu camu for immunity and vitamin c (snuck some into the kids "straight up orange juice" the other morning--bwah hahahaha!!), turmeric for my standing vs sitting aches and pains, tea bags in the honey and oil for my granolas (more about that soon;) and green tea in broths to antioxidant load my noodles; licorice root for digestion, nettles for my very tired adrenal glands, chamomile and holy basil to calm the fuck down and sit....

So today I am thankful for sitting. For relaxing. For things steeping their flavour and goodness into my food and drink. For the sun that is shining in the notoriously grey winter sky of the Okanagan. I am thankful for being able to stand on my hands, and for the love, support, and jokes of all the amazing people steeping their goodness into my life-- who wish they were midday drinking with me...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I hope these pictures can say what I am not taking the time to write....

you see, instead of writing I have been reading old cookbooks--like this one--and new ones--like this one--eating a lot of fish tacos and noodles and desserts. and yes, back in the g-nola biz. Now, to get back in the writing biz....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This tamarind around

Spring has sprung and gone. The heat has made it quite evident that it is officially summer in the Okanagan; that, and the end of asparagus.

I suppose asparagus season is shorter than Spring the season, but it is quite climactic. I mean, for a month the story of my dinners is based on the slender green veg, until one day, as I sense the tragic end is near, I buy a ten pound box and cook it in all of my favorite ways until its officially gone (and I am officially done with it until next year). Each season I fall in love with a different asparagus dish: one year it was steamed and tossed with shalloty vinaigrette; grilled/roasted with shavings of dry cheese and lemon; in a pilaf spiced with cardamom and the like with a spoon of yogurt; scattered with basil; shaved in a salad with nothing but cilantro and chives; always, every year, with a poached egg on top. This years feature asparagus meal: jazzed up with tamarind. I think I ate the last ten pounds worth this way...

Tamarind is bright, brighter than any lemon or lime, sold in pulp form and found in curries and laksas, looking, in its uncooked form, like a long, brownish orange, friend of ginger and turmeric. But it is not a root, it is a (very un-sweet) fruit. And it does wonderful things to asparagus.

I find myself using the delete key more often than usual while writing this post, trying to find a way to describe how this seemingly odd flavour combination works. I mean, both are strong, recognizable, flavours that somehow compliment rather than combat eachother in a dish. Sure, bright lemon brings asparagus to life, but lemon is subtle, whereas tamarind is bold, yet it has the same effect. Tamarind kicks asparagus with a hit of tang, and asparagus responds with a lively grassiness much like the fresh coriander sings in a curry. With a rich coconut or lentil background, the two are at once balanced and flipping all over the place in your mouth. This is dinner and a show. No editing necessary.

This is the recipe that inspired this seasons favorite asparagus dinner:


And this is this seasons favorite asparagus dinner:

Asparagus in Ginger Tamarind Broth
Serve this with long slurpy rice Spring!

1 Tbsp tamarind pulp
1 small knob each ginger and galangal (or one medium knob ginger); grated
2 cloves garlic; thinly sliced
1 shallot; thinly sliced
thai chili, fresh or dried, to taste
as many prawns as you can eat; peeled and deviened
as much asparagus as you can eat, sliced if quite fat, broken into sticks if thin
1/4 cup full fat coconut moo
fresh coriander

Gently soften ginger/galangal, garlic, shallots, and chili in olive oil or peanut oil. Fry prawns, quickly, just to turn pink, then remove and set aside. Add the tamarind and smush in to break up. Slowly pour in 2 cups of water and stir to fully loosen the tamarind. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer until reduced to 1 1/2 cups liquid. Return prawns to pan, add asparagus, and as it turns that bright shade of green, stir in the coconut milk. Pour over rice noodles and top with fresh coriander. Jazzy.

Note: seriously, wait til next spring. Out of season asparagus is just a bad idea.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Promise Post

Hi. Its been awhile. So long that it has got to the point that I have so much I want to share that I don't know where to begin. Kind of like when you cant decide what movie to watch because there are so many hot new releases (as they call them in the arts section of most newspapers) you have yet to see, that you end up staying home and watching one you have seen before--an old favorite, reliable and satisfying. Or when you are terribly hungry and you have a fridge full of goodness, but cooking time puts you at risk of your stomach eating itself, so you have cornflakes--an old favorite, reliable and satisfying. That's what this post is: a big bowl of cornflakes while watching Ferris Bueller: an old favorite, reliable and least for me. (actually, for me the movie would be Before Sunset, but I wasn't sure if the reference would catch. Definately cornflakes, though.)

It is that familiar "promise post" telling of other posts to come, full of witticisms and photos and food. They are coming. I promise. I've promised this before, and likely will again, with a few timely pieces in between.

We will talk soon.
I promise.

Monday, March 25, 2013

a few simple words...

that I copy/pasted from orangette...

often I wish the words here were my own.
particularly these.

(The only way I would probably not eat oats is if I found them in my coat pocket, tangled in lint.  Probably.)

that blog was (IS) the reason I started this blog.

thank you Molly; thank you readers--for inspiring and reading my simple words.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Go (away) Grey!

Here in the Okanagan of British Columbia, Canada, we pay what is referred to as the "sunshine tax." This has nothing and everything to do with our oft debated and much despised HST; a payment made simply because we live here in, as our car liscence plates state "Beautiful British Columbia" and therefore must chip in to the luxury of such fine-itude, an unlimitable amount of money (or 13% if you will) paid to reside in the apple and grape (by default: wine) producing valley. "Green Bucks" takes on a whole new meaning here in our environment supporting/loving/taking-advantage-of habitat; we pay a bit to live in the green-ness. But right now, there is only grey-ness...and i would like a bit of a break.

Between the two colors, grey doesnt have alot on green. "Anne of Grey Gables" sounds more like a depressed young lady's autobiography than the attractive coming of age story taking place on the opposite end of our counry from BBC (which, by the way, is still under FEET, not inches, of GREY snow). Would it be such a Canadian legacy if not for the implication that Anne grew up somewhere very green indeed? About as likely as the "Jolly Grey Giant" would have been successful at selling frozen vegetables. Mmmm: grey peas and beans even before they turn to mush when you cook them. There is a reason that St. Patricks day is decked to the nines in green: would you drink grey beer and feel lucky about it? About as likely as feeling lucky (or jolly) to eat a frozen grey vegetable. About as lucky (or jolly) as i feel to be in not-so-beautiful British Columbia right now.

It is grey here. Grey Grey Grey. Unless you are skiing on Big White, in which case, it is white. Which is a close relative of grey, and not of green. But there is sunshine, which makes the grey seem almost white. I dont know, actually, as i am not up Big White, but at a much lower altitude here in downtown Kelowna, which is, as i mentioned, grey. Which, as i mentioned, is not green. Oh how i need some green.

so as i do when i "need" some europe/asia/carribean/mom, i find it via dinner. Eat green has taken on a whole new meaning at my stove. Last nights dinner was entirely monochromatic, and not entirely local...Sure there has been alot of vegetables from my own frozen stores, no gimmicky giants involved. Brocolli, fava beans, peas, rapini, cubes of pesto (not on their own...though i am not above that) and the aptly named green beans. From the farmers market, corn salad, and most recently, sprouting green lentils (thank you Curtis!). But I am so desperate for green that i bought kale at the grocery store yesterday, two dollars for about five leaves. Kale will probably be sprouting here in less than 6 weeks, but i cannot wait. So will other salad greens, all of which i also splurged on yesterday. Even parsely! i bought parsely that hardly even tastes of parsely having travelled so far, but it is so green! You have to really know me to know that this is the sort of thing i work all summer to avoid, preserving my garden to get me through the winter months. But i have caved. And i will likely cave again, because the green is so good. So not "rooty" or frozen, or pickled--i eat alot of green olives. Come April, i will eat alot of green asparagus--this will probably be better for me. Come april i will replace the store-boughts with market-boughts and feel a bit better about my only-green dinner. Come april there will be more green than grey. Come on april. Come on spring. Go Green.

For my sisters sake, i should note that Greys Anatomy is an enjoyable bit of grey (except when it makes me cry despite not having any clue what the heck is going on); and for pop cult fiction lovers, Fifty Shades of Green doesnt have quite the sexy appeal that the actual series offers...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

pho sho

If you are having trouble pronouncing the title of this post, imagine you are a part of this conversation:

Me: "Yo _________ (insert your name here--this works especially well for you G-bob), you down for a bowl of noodles in C-town?"

You: "Word, T-dog--'Chow-Mein Palace'?"

Me: "Fo sho."

Only this time, i changed the 'Fo' to 'pho.' As in the noodle dish. I know: pretty clever.

But this post is not just about Pho; it is about all noodles in general. Its about how nearly every country around the world has some form of noodle (or pasta, depending on where you are). Mostly though, it is about how i have been eating a different noodle dish from a different country every night for the past fourteen days. Two weeks of noodles. Now thats dope.

It all started somewhere in Morocco, when Cindy and i began pining for anything besides white bread breakfasts overcooked vegetable dinners, respectively--Cindy looked forward to her first bowl of oatmeal in her new home, my "first-meal-back" was to be slurpy noodles. A big ol bowl of brothy, gingery, slightly spicy, very slurpy noodles, with big chunks of tofu and something green and cabbage like. The sort of dish you have to eat out of a deep bowl, held close to your face so that your slurping of the slurpy noodles doesnt end up everywhere but your mouth, and so you can tip back the broth when there isnt risk of choking on cabbage-y bits.The thought of this bit of comfort got me through the rainy days of our trip (mind you, so did various street food forms of chickpeas, and large amounts of sherry). Then, in the Frankfurt airport (the grandest airport to wile away seven and a half hours in, by the way), there was a Pho food stand, aromatic and displaying fresh, green, cabbage-like things. Only i had just downed a tub (yes, it was tub-like, that container of cereal) of mueslix. So i showered instead. Thats right, showered. Because the Frankfurt airport has showers. Dope.

Back on the (fast) track. Craving for slurpy noodles still fueling my mind more than body. Lots of rice in Nicaragua.

Home. Christmas. Christmas-y food. No noodles.

Today. Day fourteen. And still loving noodles. Perhaps more than ever. Certainly more skilled with chopsticks. Only, I am running out of countries. I started with udon, my favorite (so much so that i have five, five, varieties of udon/soba--same noodles, different flours, all five of them.), with the gingery/garlicky/tofu/green cabbage blend of my cross-country dreams. I drank sake. Then i had my other favorite slurpy noodles, slurpy pasta. Linguine that i could spin around my fork. Linguini vongole that didnt have nearly enough briny clam juice to tip back. I also had linguine made even more dangerously slurpy from a can of my yellow tomatoes, because i remembered after the first dish that i love slurpy pasta the most. Then there was coconut drenched rice noodles with big wedges of pumpkin. Then there was coconut drenched rice noodles with tamarind, fresh turmeric, and prawns--an open can of coconut milk only holds so long. Twice (good things come in twos?) there was fideos--broken strands of vermicelli--when i missed spain and portugal. I even missed Moroccan food, and steamed capellini in the Moroccan fashion, much the same as they do couscous. Ramen with a soft poached egg. There was brothy five spice Pho, naturally. And tonight was Chinese egg noodles with shitake mushrooms and eggplant i roasted and preserved this summer. I even curried noodles, Carribean style, and toasted strands for Mexico's "Sopa Seca"--a gem, by the way. Iranian "Resh-teh". Somewhere in there, i made speghetti squash, kinda like noodles, but a welcome change. Tomorrow marks the end of this noodle sojourn-- "Balaleet" from India, traditionally a sweet dish--unless you know of any others. Unless i have the other four varieties of Udon in my cupboard--because I really dont tire of slurping or twirling up noodles or pasta--thats pho sho.

(oh wait! i havent had pad thai yet...friday is looking fine indeed.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


i believe i owe those of you who have been paying attention to me in the last two and a half months a few words about all i have been drinking. And how appropriate: it is new years eve, a holiday that is celebrated with drinking. It was now or St. Patricks day, folks, so here we go.

First there was orange juice. Not just any ol Tropicana, but freshly squeezed from a mountain of freshly picked, rather gnome-esque fruit. Sure the skin was wrinkled--more deeply, roundedly grooved--and certainly not polished like our dear imported citrus back home, but the juice was so sweet. And cold. And thick with pulp and humble, genuine, orange-ness. And just a minutes walk from our home(s). And about thirty cents. And so it was enjoyed everyday. Every single day.

Then there was espresso. Screw the free coffee offered with the "breakfast included" riad price (screw the "breakfast included" for that matter--we are still in Morocco here...). Cindy had a hell of a time finding her ideal espresso to hot milk ratio, usually ending up with too much of the latter no matter the request for a cappucino/latte/machiato/(with her luck)espresso con panna. But for me and my unadultered shots, there was only one of the whole lot that wasnt smooth, rich, earthy, and thick with crema...and we drank espresso as often as we drank orange juice. Maybe more.

Then there was orange juice with orange blossom water. And that changed my life.

Then there was espresso et espice, with a blend of spices that is not even available here to try and recreate. And, sigh, my life has changed again.

Then there was "hot sweet almond milk" at Cafe Clock in Fez. It was literally just that: hot and sweet milk made from almonds. No sugar involved here, only a tall glass of comfort for those rainy days there, with gritty bits of nuts to spoon out of the bottom when emptied. It was like my ma and porridge when i needed them most in one delicious drink to melt away all that, really, didnt matter. Its like a revel or fudgsicle when you are a kid in the summer and it is melting faster than you can eat it and the sweet, semi dry bits clinging to your skin are the last drops of the most wonderful part of your day. But without the chocolate. And grown up. Sigh. I am not doing this treat justice. I wish you could have some right now, or maybe tomorrow, when you are feeling shitty after all of tonights own drinks...

And then, and then there was Spain. Or i should say: sherry. Cind and i wiled away an early afternoon in Malaga in a sherry tasting room, where our double shots were poured straight from the barrels, for $1.50. We learned alot about etiquette here (yes, etiquette, while we got tipsy in the middle of the day, right after breakfast, actually). For example: real aficiandos know to mix sec sherry with a splash of the sweeter stuff for a whole new double shot experience. They also know the Spanish word for ice (sounds like yellow), and that only a silly Canadian girl would spend twenty plus minutes trying to request some (including drawing a diagram) instead of simply using the english pronunciation to even more foolishly order a glass of dry (not sweet) sherry with yellow and lemon in a tall glass. I was that silly Canadian girl. I am lucky i wasnt kicked out. I think we made many a spanish mans day that day. I love sherry.

There was also alot of Rose and Cava. There were drinks we didnt try that i wish we had: avacado juice for one; the likely very sweet yogurt drinks in Morocco; sherry from the sherry triangle--probably best we didnt.

On my own in Portugal, drinking was part of walking. You could stop on the street, even in the central square of a bunch of ritzy shops and touristy hotel eateries at a little newspaper stand-esque shot shop. I love porto bianco as much if not more than sherry. I had one every day. I do that with things i love.

The drinking didnt stop in Nicaragua either. It probably should have, it was yoga teacher training after all. But there was nothing there like hot sweet almond milk. There wont ever be anything like hot sweet almond milk.

Tonight, though, there is sparkling wine. It is after midnight and i need to celebrate 2012--it really was a year to highlight my life with. So much changed that life as i know it, even now as i am back in it, is not at all what it was going into 2013. Cheers.