wild rice pudding with clementines and cranberries

It’s been several weeks, my acquaintances. I was delayed by the Ice King, enjoyed a thrilling but fleeting career as the tambourine player in a band of captive princesses, and tripped down the rocky ravine, falling into a pile of scattered Scrabble letters.
Luckily, after I got up and brushed away the rubble, I found the Gourmet cookbook containing Ruth Reichl’s careful curating and cataloguing of 60 years of Gourmet history.
While evil dis-eases permeate the air, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C. Ascorbic acid sold at drugstores doesn’t count; the ascorbate acid that your body actually can process and use as vitamin C is only found in the real deal: citrus! The moment the peel is pulled back, magical ascorbate escapes into the air. So consume quickly.
Everyone knows that wild rice is for when you are feeling wild. After I won my freedom back with the help of Jake (the dog) and Finn (the human), the feeling of liberation was so overwhelming that I found myself starting to win at card games and toning my triceps.

Fight off Ice Kings and scurvy with such a wild dish as this. Happy belated Thanksgiving.
(recipe forthcoming)

fall quinoa and butternut salad

In the Lone Peak Wilderness, flaxen-colored leaves that cling insistently to callous branches provide a sardonic memento mori.

And thus Time passes without anyone’s consent.And yet, the natural path ahead includes winter squash, with exorbitant amounts of vitamin A to fight such seasonal viruses.
(Sidenote: I hired this brilliant new sous-chef. Sorry Shelly.)

May we patiently wu-wei our way through late fall together.Fall Quinoa and Butternut Salad

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (will yield 1 1/2 cups cooked)
1/2 a butternut squash
seeds of 1 ripe pomegranate
about 1 1/2 cups chopped carrot greens (try sage or chervil as a replacement)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp each of cardamom, cumin, and sea salt

to dress:
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp honey (my sage honey was splendid)
2 tbsp tahini
3 tsp fresh lemon juice
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F. Brush the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with cardamom, cumin, and sea salt. Roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes. Meanwhile, remove seeds from the pomegranate, chop the greens, and cook the quinoa on the stove (throw 1/2 cup quinoa and 1 cup water together on stove on high heat until a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until fluffy). Once squash is removed from oven, cup in chunks, and throw all in a salad bowl. Whisk all dressing ingredients separately, and dress salad all at once. This is tasty warm or chilled.

the best breakfast sandwich

Approximately five months ago, I made a claim that I had tasted the best sandwich I ever had, and ever would taste in my lifetime. I stand by that claim just as boldly today.
Through a miracle of chance leftovers fused with the mid-morning, hungry ingenuity of two artistic minds, the perfect sandwich was born: Swiss cheese, peppery arugula and an egg over-easy on chewy ciabatta.

I think it was Swiss. But this is how myths are born– ideology is explored through narrative form.
I can’t vouch for your mythological sandwich– my ideology on the subjects of love, cheese, and springtime combine to create the narrative you are now reading and the sandwich you see on that blue plate.

While everyone celebrates their respective narratives of Reformation Day, Day of the Dead, and All Hallows’/Saints/ Days, and other such legendary tales, I’ll be eating this sandwich.

May you festively perpetuate the myths that make us human, but which also make us strive for something higher. 

Something like a better sandwich.Breakfast Sandwich with Egg, Arugula, and Swiss on Ciabatta

ciabatta bread, sliced in half and toasted
thinly sliced Swiss cheese (2 slices/person)
egg (1/person)
small handful of arugula (1 handful/person)
small amount of butter
salt & pepper

While ciabatta toasts, heat skillet to medium high with butter to coat the pan. Throw the egg on the hot pan, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and fry until the egg white is about half cooked. Flip over without spilling the yolk, and cook for only another minute or two– the yolk should remain runny. Don’t bother with this sandwich if that grosses you out (get your own myth). Remove ciabatta from toaster, lay Swiss cheese on the bottom slice, and butter the top. Top cheese’d slice with arugula and your over-easy egg. Put the buttered slice atop your sandwich, and consume with gratitude.

grandma’s lemon cake+ LOVE BOLDLY

Today there is no recipe, because I want you all to call your grandmothers and ask for their favorite recipe. You should also ask them about how they fell in love.
Not where or when or why, but how.
Her lemon jello cake recipe may seem weird by today’s tastes, but there’s a sweet, magic power in the faithful love of her generation.

“I believe in loving boldly, very strongly, and I feel like bold love is being lost in our apathetic, skeptic culture full of lazy lovers. “

It’s not childish, thoughtless or easy; it’s the most beautiful thing we’re capable of and it might be the most important thing we do on earth.

Go ask your grandmother.

broccolini and carrot galette with coriander

It’s an unsaturated Tuesday and everyone is wondering when the first snow will come.
Bales of hay have been stacked and cold hands wrench root vegetables out of the silent but active earth.But humans aren’t meant to hibernate. The smell of sage kept alive still stimulates and you really need just as much exercise.So don’t go to sleep to dream. Make this galette instead.

Broccolini and Carrot Galette with Coriander

4 ounces small carrots
6 ounces broccolini (or broccoli)
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/3 cup of feta
1 sheet of puff pastry
1 beaten egg

Depending on the size of the carrots, either half, quarter or shave them down length-wise. Separate the broccolini into thin stalks. Roll out the puff pastry (be gentle…and ask Alton Brown for tips). Brush all of the dough with the butter and olive oil. Lay on the vegetables, coriander, and feta. Curl in the corners and brush the crusts with the egg. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 400 degrees F.


pumpkin soup with muenster and cumin

It is about to rain for the first time since May, but I’m leaving before anyone notices to heavier winds, to the Rockies.
I will take this Argentinean soup with me into the snow to warm my hands.This is the soup that will be made over and over again. It is terribly simple and unforgettable and interesting and comforting.
I hope everyone is getting through October okay. See you in the mountains.

Pumpkin Soup with Muenster and Cumin
adapted from many various versions of the traditional Argentinean soup
serves 3-4

1/3 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 serrano pepper, finely diced(with seeds for a spicier version)
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp ground cumin
15 oz pureed pumpkin (can works great)
about 2 cups vegetable broth
6 oz muenster cheese (I could only find slices to chop up– grated would be ideal, but it all melts together anyway)
salt and pepper, to taste
plain greek yogurt to top, optional
chopped cilantro to top, optional

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan, and throw in onion, serrrano pepper, garlic, and cumin. Sweat it out for no more than 5 minutes, add pumpkin and broth, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add cheese, stir vigorously until cheese has throughly melted, and serve. Top with yogurt and cilantro, if desired. 

my mama’s butterhorn rolls

Although I’ve been known as quitter, I am not quitting on the ever-enjoyable project of the honey swamp. I have been preoccupied lately, however, with second graders, Puritan history, tragic tales of revenge, exciting family affairs and buying large amounts of very small pumpkins.

In this home, though, the busier woman is always my charitable mother. As a woman with both gifts in so many directions and the meticulous dedication to doing her best at all of them, she has consistently, unquestionably put her love for her family first. And if your family is like ours and many others around the world, love flourishes on tradition, and tradition means food, and that food happens to often be carbohydrates.

It’s too early to think about holidays, but these rolls always make me nostalgic for Thanksgivings and Christmases, appreciating the tradition of bread, tradition of family dedication, all based on the beautiful, traditional dedication to a life substantiated by the Bread of Life.

Congratulations to my brother, who will carry that bread back to where the real roots of that original field are, and be a hand in that glorious harvest.
Happy fall. Appreciate your families, your traditions, your religion, and your bread.
Go to my beautiful cousin Kimi’s post on details of how to make these! On our side of the family, we like them with half whole wheat. They are quite easy, and very satisfying


harissa-spiked toasted chickpeas

It’s important to be aware of reality, but it’ also impossible to be aware of reality.Your eyes see two different, upside down pictures; your brain creates its own reality to cope, otherwise you would just go into a kind of intrinsic catatonia.But the wind, when it blows, it is older than Rome.We know how the north wind smells, and how salt tastes, and what cold river water feels like on our stomachs. And somehow every fall people want their food warm. Turn on the oven real high, toss chickpeas in North African spices, and find a new way to interpret reality. Harissa-spiked Toasted Chickpeas

15-16 ounces (1 can) cooked chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon harissa seasonings (my blend was $3 from Whole Foods– you can sub in a mix of chili pepper, garlic, coriander, caraway seed, parsley)
1/2 teaspoon each of sweet paprika and sea salt

Spread chickpeas on a baking pan, toss with oil and spices, and roast in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 25-35 minutes. They should be crisp on the outside and fairly tender inside. These make for a protein-rich snack, and you might as well start with a double batch because they go quickly.

herbs de provence infused olive oil

I’m going out to clean the pasture spring.I knew this man named Charles who told me of the legendary herbs of Provence.As a biblical scholar, francophile, and a charitable gentleman, he was a trusty source.The herbs are grown in southern France; the transcendent brew of sweet basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, savory, lavender and sage fills the countryside with wonder.  I don’t know Charles’s exact formula for an authentic blend, but my handful of herbs seems to work splendidly in this simple idea.I’ll be bottling up provincial aromatics, watching Pagnol, and trying to be more like Charles.You come, too.

Herbs de Provence Infused Olive Oil
inspired by Sir Charles Wilson

several springs of each:
thyme, marjoram, rosemary, basil, sage, and lavender

Use an extra-virgin olive oil. If using fresh herbs as I did, the water in the herbs will contaminate the oil if it is not refrigerated. Therefore, use the fresh herb infusion within about a week. Using dried herbs, the oil will be able to have as long of a shelf-life as the oil would alone. 

lemongrass custard with roasted figs

Autumn has come. In San Diego, that means that the weather is about 6 degrees cooler and the tourists have gone home. The deciduous trees east of here bleed out the past, the crisp winds like medieval leeches extracting bad vibes from branches.

So wearing bad vibes and sandals, I made custard in a perfectly sunny kitchen, with a smug warm breeze gently blowing through the screen door.

I bought some ramekins to counteract the bad karma, although I know that things don’t work that way.

But what else am I going to do with an afternoon?

I think Thomas Edison said something about how messing up 1000 times only meant he knew 1000 ways of how to not make a lightbulb. I never understood this. He’s trying to make a lightbulb, not not make a lightbulb.

By a gracious fluke, this custard came out right the first time.

While I wish 1000 other things would go right, instead of being astonishing, I’ll settle for a half-decent custard.

Lemongrass Custard with Roasted Figs
serves 4

from David Lebovitz

5 ounces (140g) fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) milk or cream
2 large egg yolks
1 stalk of lemongrass

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Place four custard cups or ramekins in a deep baking dish or pan. Chop the lemongrass stalk and warm with the cream over low heat on the stove for about 8 minutes. Add anise extract to cream, strain out lemongrass. Blend together the goat cheese, sugar, cream, and egg yolks for 30 seconds until very smooth. Divide the mixture into the custard cups; each should be a bit more than half full. Add warm tap water to the baking pan, to make a water bath for baking the custards. The water should reach to about halfway up the side of each custard cup. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 to 20-minutes. When done, remove the custards from the water bath and cool completely.

Roasted Figs:
from Jonathan Reynolds

10 firm ripe fresh figs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the stems off figs and place figs in a buttered baking dish. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 15 minutes, until bubbly and lightly caramelized. With scissors or a knife, make an X in the top so that each fig opens like a flower.