the great divide

HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US

Those were the words etched into the pristine white wall of the Museum of Moving Image, in sans serif bold.

Meanwhile, 226.2 miles south congregated in front of the White House is the Women’s March on Washington. Perhaps it is because I have been hardened by the Canadian cold, or that I’ve nested myself too comfortably in this culture of sorries and eh’s. But I’m not one bit partial to this movement.

But you’re a woman?

Of course I’m a woman.

But you don’t care about gender rights?

Of course I do.

But you don’t care about the Women’s March on Washington?

Those do not correlate.

Take a read from the following excerpt, extracted from the event’s Facebook page:

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us–women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

This does not look to me to be about advancing the rights of my gender. To me, this is an outlet for the anger that is not getting who you wanted for president. For the frustration that was the Orlando Shooting. For the restlessness that was terrorism. For the disappointment that was Brexit. For all the lost fights of 2016.

I am a woman. I care about gender rights. But I am not with her. At least not in the context of this movement pretending to be for advancing the rights of women.

I will not agree to any single agenda that claims to represent the dreams and goals anyone who is a woman. Because such a thing does not exist. That’s what’s beautiful about being human. I will, however, honour the system that is democracy despite its shortcomings because even with all of these flaws I am still damn lucky to be a part of it. I will recognize that in a society that is priviledged enough to have the opportunity of figuring itself out there will be disagreement, and there will be disunity. And that disunity should be in hopes of achieving unity, and the disagreement in progression towards deeper understanding. These are not excuses for kicking the dog when shit don’t go your way.

In a world where we are increasingly seeing only what we want to see (thanks Facebook), without a doubt we’ll have greater and greater trouble seeing eye-to-eye with anyone who bursts that bubble. It’s easy to believe that something’s wrong with the world and that it needs fixing if the news popping up on your feed looks nothing like the world as it is.

Here’s to you America, and anyone whose hearts are feeling broken: this is your chance to reconnect, to re-evaluate, and truly restart. Not with another post of self-righteousness. Be patient, and do what’s in your power to make positive change starting with those closest to you, those who you care about most. Why should I care what that middle-aged man with a permanent pout and corn-yellow hair thinks? I’m focusing on making an impact on those closest to me, those whose opinions matter to me most.

How are you going to make that change?

Oh, and to whoever said “Don’t forget to set your clocks back 300 years tonight”, it may have been @chrisrock, for the record, we’ve made huge progress in placing our trust in democracy and its results, whatever they may be. If we turned our backs on that now we’d really be turning back our clocks 300 years.

And Obama, you did okay I guess.

It is He who changes the times and the epochs;

He removes kings and establishes kings;

He gives wisdom to wise men

And knowledge to men of understanding.

Daniel 2:21

Tahini Date Truffles
Tahini Date Truffles

Tahini Date Truffles

  • 2 c chopped pitted dates, no need to splurge on medjools for these
  • 1 c raw almonds, ground in your blender or food processor
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c raw cacao or cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 c tahini
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor in the order listed. Pulse until the mixture begins to clump together. If the mixture still appears dry after 2-3 minutes, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it comes together.
  2. Shape into bite-sized balls and roll in cocoa. Shake off any excess in a sieve.
  3. Store in Ziploc bags in the freezer. Don’t worry, they won’t freeze hard!
  4. Enjoy straight from the fridge, with a cup of uber creamy and frothy matcha coconut flat white!
Coconut Matcha Flat White
Coconut Matcha Flat White

Coconut Matcha Flat White

  • 1/2 tsp ceremonial grade matcha powder
  • 2/3 c hot water, about 80 degrees F
  • 1/4 c full fat coconut milk (not the stuff you put in your cereal)
  1. Place the matcha in a mug and add about 1 tbsp of hot water. Use a milk frother (I used this one) to mix it up evenly.
  2. Add the rest of the water and continue frothing for 25-30 seconds.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the coconut milk in another cup piping hot, about 1 minute.
  4. Froth up the coconut milk the best you can, because of its low protein and high fat content it won’t form the nice fine foam you might be expecting.
  5. Pour the coconut milk into the matcha and enjoy!

There always is

So,

why do we do Thanksgiving anyway? According to the internet*, or BuzzFeed (it’s all the same to me), it’s not about giving thanks. 44% of respondents said family was the point of thanksgiving, and 28% said it was all about the food. So what?

This means that T-dawg is f*cking stressfull, that’s what. Why? Because if the mother-in-law ain’t impressed with the less-than-impossibly-flaky crust beneath the pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving is ruined. Because if  the turkey is (oh sweet baby Jesus forbid) dry, Thanksgiving is ruined. Because if anything is less than perfect, T-dawg gon’ flip the table that you spent half an hour setting and send all the green bean casseroles, cranberry jelly, and lumpy mashed potatoes plastered to the wall.

Now, rewind.

Why do you think this hypothetical mother-in-law will be taking a ruler to your crust? And if your crust has only nine hundred and ninety-nine layers, or is kind-of soggy because you skipped blind baking it, will she loathe you for all eternity? And if you catch her pursing her lips and not taking a third bite, how does that somehow mean that Thanksgiving is ruined?

You see, much like in statistics, things are much more simple if we make the assumption that each covariate (fancy word for things that you think are important for, in this case, predicting the successfulness of Thanksgiving) is independent. If you see each gesture, each dish, each word, each family member, each unfinished or finished plate as somehow leading to another thing that adds up to how much you scored on Thanksgiving, you’ll find yourself seeing nothing but a huge bowl of tangled-up spaghetti (and spaghetti, I think we can all agree, is the worst thing to show up on this day. Literally a slap in the face.)

So stop.

Things are always going to go wrong on a day as big as this, just keep in mind:

  1. One bad thing doesn’t have to lead to another.
  2. Your family is there most likely because you’re their family too, and food’s secondary.
  3. There’s nothing a few extra glasses of wine can’t fix.

But is that the best you can do? See everything as a set of random events that don’t really lead to how well the day turns out?

Well, here’s the thing. If you define the value of Thanksgiving as spending quality time with family and eating tons of delicious food, then that really is the best you can do.

On the other hand, if we see Thanksgiving for giving thanks and appreciating everything we already have, then guess what? Thanksgiving will be 100% every time, because its value is based on that which has already been given to us and which nobody can discredit.

*Admittedly the internet has repeatedly proven itself to know nothing twice this year after June 23rd and November 8th.

 

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now;

rather, we fix our gaze

on things that cannot be seen.

For the things we see now

will soon be gone,

but the things we cannot see

will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:18

img_8009edit2
Spiced Kofte with Roasted Garlic Tahini, Jewelled Rice, and Beet Pickle

Roasted Garlic Tahini

  • 1 c roasted garlic
  • 3/4 c tahini
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • water, as needed
  1. Place all ingredients besides water in a blender and blend until smooth. Add enough water and blend through to adjust the consistency to that of thick yoghurt. Store in a mason jar and refrigerate until needed. Stores up to 3 weeks.

Tahini Crema

  • 1/2 c Roasted Garlic Tahini (above)
  • 1/2 c plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt, to taste
  1. Stir together all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately.

Beetroot Pickle

  • 8-12 small beets, washed and trimmed (but not peeled)
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 1 c raw sugar
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 5 cloves
  1. Steam the beets until tender. Place in a mason jar.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, coriander, and cloves. Bring to the boil and pour over the beets to cover.
  3. Seal with the lid and cool completely before refrigerating for at least a week before using.

Jewelled Rice

  • 2 c brown basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 c water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp rice spices
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp dried currants
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  1. Place all ingredients in the rice cooker and let the rice soak for 3 hours.
  2. Steam until tender and fluff with a fork.

Spiced Kofte

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large brown onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp anchovy paste
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 kg ground beef
  • 4 c bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/3 c milk
  1. Saute the onions and garlic in oil until broken down and deeply caramelized. Stir in the anchovy paste and fry until fragrant.
  2. Meanwhile, place the cumin, fennel, and oregano in a spice grinder and grind until fine.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, season very generously, and mix through until homogeneous, without over-mixing. The mixture should be moist and soft. Add more milk or water as necessary.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Shape the mixture into 2 tbsp-sized balls and place on baking sheets. Brush the tops with a bit of oil and bake until browned, about 25-30 minutes.

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss the florets with the oil and season well.
  3. Transfer to a baking sheet with the cut sides facing down and bake for 30-35 minutes until tender and charred on the bottom and around the edges.

Carrot-Top Skhug

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch carrot tops, washed thoroughly
  • 1 tsp hot chili flakes, optional
  • 1 tsp toasted coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/3 c whole roasted almonds (in the microwave will do)
  • 1 strip lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp Parmiggiano-Reggiano, optional
  • 1 c olive oil
  1. Place the garlic in a pot of water and bring to the boil. Add the carrot tops and remove immediately (5 seconds max) to refresh in ice water. Squeeze out any moisture and add to the blender with the boiled garlic cloves.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients to the blender and blend until a textured sauce forms.
  3. Transfer to a mason jar and refrigerate until needed.
  4. When ready to use, spoon what you need into a small bowl and stir through with some extra virgin olive oil for brighter colour and flavour.

Assembly

  • Jewelled Rice
  • Tahini Crema
  • Spiced Kofte
  • Roasted Cauliflower
  • Beetroot Pickle
  • Skhug, thinned out with some EVOO
  • date syrup or pomegranate molasses
  • sumac

Divide the rice among 5-8 plates. Add a dollop of tahini crema to each plate and top with the spiced kofte (you can skewer them after baking if you want, for fun). Pile on the cauliflower and add a pickle. Drizzle the skhug over the meatballs, and everything really. Finish with a swirl of date syrup and dusting of sumac.

Enjoy!

Noodling up your best

You’ll be fine, as long as you do your best, they say. I’ve lived and sworn by this for my entire life, or at least as soon as I had the slightest clue of what any of those words meant. But lately, I haven’t been so sure.

What does fine mean?

What does my best mean?

Is the concept of ‘fine’ a well-defined range of achievement? Let’s assume it is, then what does that include? If it means life will go on, and I wouldn’t die, I’m not too sure if I want to trust that interval. For all that the lower limit implies, there could be all sorts of devastation, loss, and injury that fit quite comfortably inside that bracket. There could just as well be an upper limit to the concept of fine. When we say something is capital-A Ahhmazing, we don’t say that it’s “fine”. Now it looks like being fine really sucks doesn’t it? Sure does, considering you’ve traded ‘your best’ for this can of worms.

What is ‘your best’ anyway? The saying doesn’t say be the best, it specifically says do your best. So taking into account the whole “You are special”, “You are unique”, and “You are you” type stigma, it’s pretty clear that there is strong evidence against your best being equal to my best being equal to his/her best. So without even unpackaging the word ‘best’ we’ve already found the assumption of the statement to be quite liberal, essentially undefined.

So what, does that mean that no matter what we do we’re going to be fine?

Well, I think there’s two ways of looking at this.

1. The statement, wise and comforting as it sounds, is meaningless. Consequently there’s no point in trying since everything’s going to be fine regardless of what you do.

OR

2. Everything I’ve just walked you through is quality crap, and there is a definitive “fine” and a definitive “best”, both of which are unknown, both of which we grapple at constantly in our daily struggles, but there’s one thing that tells us the two have aligned and proves the statement to be true: peace.

and as your days,

so shall your strength be.

Deuteronomy 33:25

IMG_5916edit2

 

I’m supposed to write a food brief here, but I’m just going to boss you around and threaten you into making these noodles. If you don’t your taste buds will roll over and die in protest, no joke. If you do, your mouth will be in a fiery heaven of silken ramen noodles smothered in a cool and tangy tahini yoghurt sauce and lamb dripping in its own fat that’s been infused with chili, cumin, and szechuan peppercorns. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ingredients for the Szechuan Lamb Mince:

1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns

1 tbsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp vegetable oil, such as grape seed or avocado

1 small brown onion, finely diced

1 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tbsp minced ginger root

2 fat cloves garlic, minced

500g fresh ground lamb

2 tbsp Szechuan chili oil

1 tbsp doubanjiang or Chinese chili bean paste (not gochujang)

1/2 cup rice wine

To make the dry spiced lamb ragu, place the peppercorns and cumin seeds in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and pulse until coarsely ground then set aside.

Heat a wok or pan to medium-high heat then add 1 tbsp oil and fry the onion with the salt until soft and starting to caramelize (the salt draws out the moisture so the onions soften quicker and prevents charring). Add the ginger and garlic and stir until fragrant then incorporate the ground spices. Stir for 1-2 minutes, until the spices have been cooked out and the mixture is fully fragrant.

Push the mixture to the side of the pan, add the remaining oil to the vacant side, then add the lamb. Let the lamb sit for a couple of minutes so it can brown nicely before you start breaking it up. Add the chili oil and chili bean paste. Stir until there are no more large clumps of lamb and the mixture is starting to sputter and get sticky. Add the rice wine and let it cook until it’s completely reduced. Add more salt as necessary; you want it to be quite salty – think of it as more of a condiment than a dish eaten on its own – and remove from the heat.

Ingredients for the cheater’s ramen:

4 bundles dried wheat noodles, such as Taiwanese Guan Miao noodles

good pinch of salt

1/2 tbsp baking soda per litre of boiling water

Here’s a genius trick for transforming regular egg-less dried wheat noodles into silky, elastic, aromatic ramen that literally bounces as you pull it a foot high above the bowl. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil, add the salt and baking soda, yes – baking soda, and cook the noodles as you would in the alkalized solution. You’ll notice the water and your boring white noodles turning yellow – like ramen! After 9-10 minutes of boiling, fish out a piece and see if it’s cooked through; you’re not looking for al dente, you want it to be completely cooked in the center.

Drain and rinse under cold tap water until the noodles are cool.

Ingredients for the assembly:

1/2 cup tahini

sea salt

1/2 sour cream or plain whole milk yoghurt

4 scallions, thinly sliced

To assemble, toss the rinsed noodles with the tahini and some more sea salt, adding more room temperature water as necessary so a smooth sauce coats the noodles without clumping.

Divide the noodles among four plates or bowls, top with the spiced lamb mince, a good dollop of sour cream or yoghurt, and finish with the green onions. Have your guests mix everything together themselves before they dig in – it’s one of the key joys of eating saucy Asian noodles, I think.

Enjoy!

bless you, industrialization

Closely linked to and much like democracy, industrialization is also a protégé of Western politics. While I would probably say that democracy granted to developing countries is probably as bad as giving chocolate to a dog, it would be unfitting to say the same of industrialization. (Yes, hate to break it to you about democracy, but it’s sort of common sense. When you need to build a country and get stuff done, it’s better to have a single long-term vision than multiple parties putting on a talent show.)

Industrialization is sort of like pumping iron, it whips a nation into shape – it is impossible to achieve efficient production without order and discipline. For developed countries, it’s the tried-and-true steroid for jump-starting the economy.

Even for the average household, industrialization has worked its magic. That is, unless you still roast wild fish caught by wooden spears on scratch-made pit fires or, less appetizingly, bash the poor thing’s head on a rock then rip your teeth directly into the knocked-out animal’s less-than-tender flesh.

What we would call artisan or from-scratch today can hardly be achieved in the absence of industrialization.

Consider bread, the very edible incarnation of the word ‘rustic’. Made with yeast bred in incubators with machine-regulated humidity and temperature, and flour ground by furnace or electricity powered mills from commercially farmed wheat. Prior to industrialization, people sat around and waited for yeast to fall out of the sky (in the form of rain) into hollowed-out logs and grow into a usable amount.

As a student, oh my do I love industrialization for its gifts. Just think: no industrialization = no food processor = 3 hours to make hummus. I practically live off that stuff, and ain’t no UW student got the time to mash chickpeas for 3 hours a day.

Humans might have gotten many things wrong, perhaps more wrong than right, and industrialization in a hundred years may reveal itself as the dumbest crime man has ever committed,

but hey, it works handsomely right now.

Take millstones and grind flour.

Remove your veil,

strip off your robes,

bare your legs,

and wade through the rivers.

Isaiah 47:2

IMG_5149edit

 

If you’re any bit like me and simply cannot help but gloat at the sight of meatballs on a lush, creamy bed of polenta, then this is already, without a doubt, your next obsession. If you’re with me on the gloating despite your mild disapproval of polenta, then you my friend, have just found your next every-weeknight-dinner. Savoury spiced meatballs, caramelized with minimal effort right in the oven, nestled on a bed of buttery silken hummus, are finished off with an ingeniously vibrant and zesty parsley oil and plump sultana raisins. Make an extra batch of meatballs, freeze the extras, and you’ll have dinner served in under 20 minutes any day of the week.

Ingredients for the koftes, makes 24~30:

1 tsp each fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, oregano, and thyme

1/2 tsp ground white pepper

454 g ground lamb or free-range, grass-fed beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, finely diced

1 free range egg

1 tbsp olive oil

a generous helping of sea salt, to taste

To make the koftes, preheat the oven to 415 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment.

Place the all of the spices in a spice/coffee grinder and pulse until finely ground. Put the spice mix in a large mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix gently with your hands until the mixture comes together. Add a little cold water if the mixture seems too dry. Divide the mixture into 24~30 portions and shape them into balls. Place them on the prepared tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

Ingredients for the hummus:

1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and drained again

1 garlic clove

1 lemon, juice only

3 tbsp tahini

1 tsp honey or agave

sea salt, to taste

To make the hummus, place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add a little water at a time with the motor running to adjust to a lusciously smooth consistency. It should be slightly thinner than regular hummus.

Ingredients for the parsley oil:

80 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 long strip lemon zest

To make the parsley oil, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. It is best used immediately, but will keep, covered and refrigerated, for two days.

To assemble, spoon a large dollop of hummus into small salad plates. Splatter a bit of the parsley oil on top, then add a few koftes/meatballs. Finish with a small handful of sultana raisins and a round or two of freshly cracked black pepper.

Serve with pitas, lavash, or seeded crackers.

Happy noshing!

 

A Bit of Spring Cleaning

Get ready! Because you’re about to be hit by a blizzard , no it’s not winter anymore, I mean, explosion of recipes, all of which are vegan, super vibrant, fresh, and absolutely delicious! For those of you who are staying in touch via instagram (it’s on the right-hand-side, just click and follow to stay up-to-plate with everything I’m whipping up), you’ve probably been wondering why I haven’t put up the recipes to those pictures and I apologize!! Sorry, I truly am because sometimes I click on something that looks totally yum hoping to find its recipe but then it just turns out to be foodporn, and that makes me really disappointed.

I get that. So here’s a treat: a collage of recipes to kickstart spring!

Here I wanted to feature some of those under-acknowledged ingredients such as beet greens, parsley stems, green peas, and grainy mustard. Beet greens and parsley stems tend to just get trimmed off and thrown into the garbage which I find to be such a waste. Beet greens are actually loaded with all the great nutrients its roots has, but with more fibre and less sugar while parsley stems have even more flavour than the leaves, not to mention the nice texture it gives to the green falafel mash (recipe below!). Green peas and grainy mustard, on the other hand are like ugly christmas sweaters – you have them lying around not because they’re a kitchen staple, but because there was this one day when some magazine or trend convinced you to buy a bag/jar of the stuff (like how your friends convinced you of the sweater at Value Village). Then ever since that day it’s just been a shameful lump stuck in your pantry or fridge door.

It’s okay, it’s all good, literally. And I encourage you to really take this as a new starting point, see what poor miserable thing is your fridge or pantry that you’ve been wanting to get rid of, and cook dat thang!

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled,

and those who humble themselves

will be exalted.

Luke 14:11

Collage

Rice with Beet Greens (Top Left):

1 tbsp avocado oil

1 medium brown onion, finely diced

1 bunch beet greens, stem portion diced, leaf portion shredded

2 cups cold, cooked red and brown basmati or jasmine rice

sea salt

white pepper

pinch of cinnamon

To make the rice with beet greens, heat the oil on medium in a skillet or wok. Add the onions and let it sweat until translucent and fragrant. Turn up the heat to high and add the chopped beet greens, continue stirring until tender, then add the rice and season well to taste. Stir until the liquid is fully absorbed and mixture is heated through.

Serve immediately, with an earthy wild mushroom or nutty pureed squash soup.

 

Garlic Coconut Butter Grilled Naan

with Green Falafel Mash, Parsley Mango Slaw, and Sriracha Aioli (Top Right):

for the garlic coconut butter grilled naan:

2 fat cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsp coconut oil

4 pieces whole wheat naan bread

To make the coconut butter, put combine garlic and coconut oil in a small bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds until fragrant. Brush the mixture onto one side of the naan and put that side down on a hot grill pan (it’s still pretty cold where I am, but if it’s summer wherever you are and you have the luxury of using a grill, by all means fire it up!). Lift up a corner to see if it’s nicely charred, once it is, brush the oil on the upper side and flip it over to get it grill-marked.

for the green falafel mash:

2 cups flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped (throw the stems in there!)

1 can (540 ml) chickpeas, drained

1 generous tbsp madras curry powder

3 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

sea salt, to taste

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a coarse puree forms. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with some more EVOO and set aside.

for the parsley mango slaw:

1 large mango, ripe but firm, thinly sliced

1 cup finely shredded flat leaf parsley

Stir together the mango and parsley in a bowl and set aside.

for the sriracha aioli:

2 heaping tbsp good quality mayonnaise, feel free to use your favourite vegan mayo or cashew cream!

1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce (don’t tone it down, go beyond if it’s your thing!)

1 tbsp lime juice

In a small bowl stir together the mayo, sriracha, and lime juice, adding a bit more sriracha or lime juice to get a nice drizzling consistency. To assemble, spread the falafel mash onto the grilled naan, top with the mango slaw, and drizzle with the sriracha aioli.

Serve immediately with a minty cooler : blend together frozen yellow watermelon cubes + fresh mint + lime + coconut water!

 

Roasted Aloo Gobi (Bottom Right):

1 head cauliflower separated into bite-sized florets

1 large baking potato, diced into 1-inch pieces, boiled for 12 minutes

8 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 cup shelled green peas, frozen is fine

3 tbsp madras curry powder

2 heaping tbsp grainy mustard

1 cup crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

sea salt, to taste

2 tbsp honey or agave

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine all ingredients besides the honey and place into two large baking trays. Bake for 1 hr, stirring every 10~15 minutes. Drizzle with honey and bake for another 10~15 minutes until vegetables are tender and caramelized.

Serve with coconut steamed basmati rice or garlic coconut butter grilled naan (above).

 

Lemon Butter Bean Tartines  with Spring Sugar Peas, Butter Lettuce, and Radishes (Bottom Left):

for the Lemon Butter Beans:

1 can (540 ml) white or butter beans, rinsed and drained

1 heaping tbsp grainy mustard

zest and juice of 1 small lemon

2 tsp honey or agave

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth, you might need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Set aside.

for the tartine assemby:

few slices toasted baguette or spelt or dark rye bread, really anything goes

1 head Boston or butter lettuce, leaves washed and patted dry

1 cup shelled sweet peas, frozen ones are fine, just let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes

2 scallions, thinly sliced

4~5 radishes, thinly sliced

Spread a bit of the bean puree onto the toasted bread, then put the lettuce on (that way the lettuce will actually stay on the tartine). Fill the lettuce with more of the puree and garnish with the peas, scallions, and radish rounds.

Serve  with a strawberry almond milkshake: blend together frozen strawberries + almond milk + agave + vanilla extract

Happy spring cleaning your body, mind, and pantry!

 

They were white, then yellow, and finally brown

Winter is forcing me into a corner slowly. But it’s not annoying or boring – almost as if it’s challenging me. Its eyes, with the shimmer of an icicle dangling from the edge of a roof and its tip catching a bursting ray of sun shooting past, catches mine. In a sort of playful intimidation it draws me in. I’m reluctant to get too close, but a part of me tells me to brave the cold and step outside the door instead of admiring the rolling white mounds piled cheerfully on the other side of the window.

Why don’t I lace up my boots? Why don’t I put on my mitts?

Why, am I afraid? Afraid that after I’ve made up my mind, the snow would melt when I touch it? Am I afraid, that as soon as I wake up to it, winter would retrieve into its deep slumber? Perhaps I am afraid, that the sun tricks me, and the bird’s sing mockery. Or maybe my heart tells me that winter’s coldness will defeat me, and my pride will not allow for that.

Winter, what are you doing?

I’ll figure you out, you just watch me.

Such love has no fear,

because perfect love expels all fear.

If we are afraid,

it is for fear of punishment,

and this shows that we have not fully

experienced his perfect love.

~1 John 4:18

IMG_2817edited

 

Ingredients for the roasted cauliflower and broccoli:

1 big head of cauliflower, cut into florets, with the very big ones quartered

1 head broccoli, cut into florets

2 tbsp madras curry powder

1 tsp fine sea salt

3 tbsp avocado or grape seed oil

To roast the vegetables, preheat the oven to 435 degrees F, with the rack place in the top third of the oven. Line two large baking sheets with foil.

In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients until all the vegetables are evenly coated. Spread them out on the baking sheets without crowding. Turn each piece so the cut side faces down – this allows the “blooming” top to get really crispy and golden brown. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly charred on the bottom and caramelized on top. Let cool slightly.

Ingredients for the lemon tahini vinaigrette:

4 tbsp tahini

1 large lemon, zest and juice

1 generous tbsp liquid honey or agave

pinch salt, to taste

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl.

Ingredients for the assembly:

1 can chickpeas, drained

1/3 cups sultana raisins (regular is fine too)

2 cups torn flat leaf parsley

To assemble the salad, stir the chickpeas and raisins into the big bowl of the  vinaigrette, then add the roasted vegetables; mix them in gently as they are quite tender.  You can now chill this overnight or up to 2 days if you’re making this ahead, and simply stir in the parsley just before serving.