plum torte

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What do I have in common with a baby?

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Teething.

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Impending wisdom is grating against my gums like nutmeg on a microplane.

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I thought my sweet tooth would go away six weeks later, but I still need a little sugar in my bowl. Even if that just means applesauce.

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Which is for babies.

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I can’t sleep and I’m throwing tantrums for stolen plums, which may have already slipped through my fingers.

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Summer is over again.

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But give this toothsome torte a last chance before you sink into a cold fall or set an appointment with the oral surgeon. It is mercifully sweet without rotting your teeth.

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Plum Torte
adapted to be made vegan and sugar-free from Marian Burros (New York Times, 1983)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg plus more for dusting/shaving on top
large pinch of salt
3/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk (any alternative milk would probably work, I only tried soy and almond)
2 tsp lemon juice (at least)
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
6 tbsp water
between 8-18 plums, depending on the type and size you use (the recipe calls for Italian prune plums, which are delicious, but I liked a variety of purple plums in mine– this recipe would probably work with a myriad of stone fruits)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, soak the flax with the water and set aside for at least 5 minutes. In medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Revisit the large bowl and whisk in the applesauce, coconut oil, almond milk, and lemon juice. When well-whisked, slowly stir in the dry ingredients (without over-mixing). Place batter in a 9-inch springform pan (if you own one) or a regular 9-inch round cake pan (if your cupboard is comprised of secondhand bakeware, like mine is). Halve and pit the plums and try your best to arrange them attractively on the cake. Dust with extra nutmeg and bake for 45-50 minutes. Let it cool before eating. This cake tastes even better the next day! 

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roasted piñon pasta with rajas and corn

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I’m smelling New Mexico, I’m tasting Utah, I’m getting sand in my lungs in Colorado, I’m sweeping my small floor and staring at my ukulele collection.

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I’m experimenting with the limits of my peripheral vision. I’m grasping for the last bits of summer harvest.

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I’m putting everything in the blender and oven and forgetting about it. Consequently, I burned these piñon nuts a little bit.

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This tangled mess combines summer-sweet corn, smoky and spicy poblanos and southwestern pine nuts, and piles of pasta all smothered in a comforting vegan nut-based sauce.

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I’m going to try to figure out how to cook for one person. I’m going to stare at the stove and focus on one burner at a time. Let’s talk about the equinox later. What are you doing?

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Roasted Piñon Pasta with Rajas and Corn
serves 3-4

Piñon cream:
adapted from Veganomicon
7 ounces (half a package) soft silken tofu
1/4 cup pine/piñon nuts, plus additional for garnish… if you live in New Mexico, use the local stuff!
1/2 tsp arrowroot powder
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 clove (or 1 tsp prepared) garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup water

Rajas Poblanas (with corn):
adapted from Bon Appetit
1 lb poblano chiles
1/2 yellow onion
2 ears yellow corn
2 cloves (or 2 tsp) garlic
2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
salt, pepper

Pasta:
8 oz dried linguine or fettucine pasta (I used quinoa pasta; I’m sure it would work with whole wheat or other grain-based noodles)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the corn directly on the rack, and place the poblanos on a baking sheet. Roast together for 10 minutes. Add the extra piñon nuts (not the ones for the cream) to the baking sheet, roast for 5 more minutes. Meanwhile, make the piñon cream by blending all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender. After the roasting is done, place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let steam for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, get the pasta cooking. Shuck and cut the corn off of the cob, mince the garlic, slice the onion, and peel and slice the poblanos. Heat olive oil in a large ceramic dish and sautée onions with salt, pepper, and oregano until charred, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Add in one cup of water and simmer uncovered for 5-6 minutes, or until the water evaporates. Now add in the strips of poblanos, the corn, and the drained pasta. Taste for salt and pepper! Top with roasted piñon nuts before serving.

 

 

 

 

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whole peach butter

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The sweetest flowers, the fairest trees are grown in solid ground.

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The sole sugars I’ve consumed in the past several weeks have been in the form of whole fruits. Detoxing the high fructose life has given me little glimpses into a kinder sweetness.

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Maybe it’s the full moon, but I’m feeling the sweetness like a lullaby, like a full pail of water in my sacrum.

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Growing, harvesting, puréeing, stirring, and giving the fruit that falls from the sky is an intuitive cycle.

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Savor the subtle sweetness around you. Listen to your tongues and your bodies and let the water flow up your spine and through your heart. Like you’re a peach tree.

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Whole Peach Butter

2 lbs peaches
1/2 tsp allspice (at least)
pinch of salt

Without peeling, chop the peaches into manageable chunks, and purée in a food processor or blender (if using a blender, work in batches and add minimal water to get the blender going; the water will cook out later). Simmer in a saucepan on low with the salt and allspice, uncovered, stirring frequently (every 5-10 minutes is fine) for at least an hour; check the texture periodically by taking a spoonful out and letting it cool to get an accurate read. Store in the refrigerator, or can for shelf-stable peach butter to eat all winter.

 

 

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apple, red onion, and basil soup

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Welcome to the land of enchantment!

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prickly pear

Once I ate a wild prickly pear but spent all afternoon spitting out needles. Also, I once won the neighborhood water treading contest, clocking in at over seventeen minutes.

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I’m wasn’t finished with stone fruits or summer squashes, but the backyard apple tree is already bearing fruit. My circadian rhythms are never hitting the downbeat anyway.

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The marriage of these red roots and fruits creates a balancing, simple soup. Detach from your acute troubles with tree-growing fruit and stay grounded with onions.

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Five ingredients come together in a friendly way to create a nourishing, gentle invitation to autumn.

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Clean out the summer bbq’s and sunstroke with this alkalizing, pretty soup,

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and look out at the sky tonight for summer’s benedictive harvest moon.

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Apple, Red Onion, and Basil Soup

2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
3 small apples, not too sweet or loud
1 red onion
juice of half a lemon
a few sprigs of basil

Gently heat the coconut oil in a pot over medium heat (not too high). Peel the apples. Slice the red onion and apples and add to the pot. Sautée for about 10 minutes with a pinch of salt. Add enough water to cover the onions and apples about 2-3 times over, depending on how much broth you want. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, and serve with fresh basil. 

This soup is exceptional chilled and blended.

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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)

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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, sub brown rice syrup for vegans)
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.

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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.

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