11.14.2014

Most of the time I forget we live on an island but sometimes it hits me like a ton of bricks. Yesterday, Dylan and I were talking about all the kids in his class. I mentioned one little boy and he said “Oh no, he’s not in my class anymore because he moved to (long pause) AMERICA!” America being off-island. Should I worry about this perception or appreciate its humor?

Maybe it’s the holidays creeping up on us but I’m also dying to go to Trader Joe’s (mainly for dried blueberries because our baby is obsessed) and Target (mainly for nothing I really need). Alas, those places are an ocean away but guess what, we have a cranberry bog! Recently, I took the boys to Cranberry Acres to harvest organic island grown cranberries. I wish I had my good camera but a bog + 2 boys + harvesting + expensive camera = disaster.

When we got home Dylan suggested making cranberry butter after having some at school (a friend brought in berries from Cranberry Day and their Island Grown Schools teacher made the butter.) We gave it a shot and he approved. And to me, any good butter deserves a warm popover. 

Popovers:
makes 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F for 20 minutes. Evenly divide the butter between a six cup popover pan or six 1/2 cup ramekins, dropping a small piece into each cup.

2. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the eggs then whisk in the milk.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt until well blended. Gently whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until small lumps are left, and set aside.

4. Place the popover tin on  baking sheet and into the oven for 4 minutes. At 3 minutes, give the batter a light whisk. Remove the hot tin from the oven and immediately divide the batter among the prepared cups (I like to first pour the batter into a large liquid measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring).

5. Bake for 25 minutes without opening the oven door. The popovers will be puffy, with crisp brown crusts and hollow, moist interiors. Serve immediately with cranberry butter.

Cranberry Butter:
makes 2 cups

1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon honey 
1 tablespoon orange or lemon zest
 
1. Simply whiz everything together in a food processor, pausing to scrape down the sides, until the cranberries are fully incorporated. Transfer to a bowl and enjoy.
 
Extra cranberry butter is great on toast, spread under the skin of poultry before roasting, atop roasted root vegetables, sauteed green beans, or boiled potatoes, and spread onto muffins.  

06.11.2014

Tonight’s dinner is going to be a scrounge. I have nothing prepped or planned so I’m hoping everyone can find something they like. I’m willing to bet Nick will have a bowl of granola, Dylan some yogurt and fruit, and I may go for a salad or eggs. Like everyone, I have a love/hate relationship with meal planning. Sometimes I find myself chopping vegetables for supper at 8:30 in the morning worrying a meal will never come together in time. Other days I’m relaxed knowing our dinner is from a favorite recipe that requires little brain power. This Orange Glazed Tofu with Bok Choy is one I don’t worry about. It’s quick, flavorful, and stress free. A recipe that allows us an extra hour at the beach is a win in my book. In fact, I should make it more often.

Orange Glazed Tofu with Bok Choy

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3-4 large juicy oranges)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
14 ounces extra-firm tofu
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 a lime, juiced
2 bunches bok choy, chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
brown rice for serving (optional)

First, slice the block of tofu into 1/2-inch rectangles and brush all sides with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Heat a large griddle pan (that you use for pancakes) over medium-high. Sear the tofu on both sides, until golden brown. Set aside on a plate.

While the tofu cooks, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Saute chopped bok choy for 2 minutes. While the bok choy sizzles away, whisk orange juice, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and coriander together. After 2 minutes, add the tofu and sauce to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce thickens up, about 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and squeeze in lime juice and sprinkle over peanuts. Serve Orange Glazed Tofu with Bok Choy on top of brown rice, noodles, or whatever else you like.

04.23.2014

It’s spring break from pre-school this week which means our mornings are relaxed and slow. Without the rush to pack lunches, get clothes on, and hit the road we’ve found ourselves…juicing. I pick out produce from the counter and Dylan excitedly tosses the pieces into the machine and pushes down the plunger. Who doesn’t love a loud high speed blade? The juice is always vibrant and slightly sweet. This combination we call Sunny Juice because of its beautiful orange glow and, thankfully, the name reflects the sky this week.

Ps. I like our juicer.

My sister is visiting from China this week as well. Such an amazing special treat. The trip was spontaneous which makes it all the more fun. It’s still hard to believe she lives all the way around the world and cooks with just a toaster oven! When she’s here it feels like she’s never left and when she’s gone I find myself picking up the phone to call her and still being surprised that I can’t do that so easily.

Sunny Juice  
makes 2 glasses

5 oranges
1 lemon
3 medium golden beets
3 large carrots

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To make the juice, first wash and prepare the produce. Cut away the peel and slice the citrus fruit into large chunks. Peel and chop the carrots and beets into quarters.

First juice the softest produce, in this case oranges and lemon, then the harder carrots and beets. Pour into two glasses and enjoy.

07.10.2013
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It’s summer folks. My sister is HOME FROM CHINA!! for a month to do really casual things like get married and play with us. It’s incredible to think it has been a year since she left and these hot July days that we’ve all been counting down to are finally here.

Yesterday Nick finally mentioned the obvious. I haven’t actually gotten dressed in two weeks. It’s too hot and humid so my maternity bathing suit is all I can muster. Yup, it’s as awkward as it sounds. Our beach bag is packed and unpacked a couple times a day. I’ve discovered green smoothies sealed in mason jars are an ideal beach treat. They stay cool against ice packs and are filling enough to satisfy your hunger while being completely refreshing.

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Heat Wave Green Smoothies
makes 2-3

2 bananas
1 1/2 cups frozen mango
2 oranges, peeled
2 cups coconut water
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled
3 cups kale leaves

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Simple, just blend everything together until smooth. Pack in a few mason jars for beach slurping or enjoy at home. Happy July!

03.18.2013
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There is one sentence you really never want to hear. That is “your dog has fecal incontinence and will continue to poop multiple times in the house, car, ferry boat, and wherever else he is when the urge strikes him.” Our dog is only eight and in good health – what the hell is going on!? Adding this issue to my plate of two year old mothering, pregnancy, new house purchasing, and work is just no good. I feel so sad for him, frustrated, and generally grossed out.

I’m sorry to open such a yummy looking recipe with foul news. I can’t help it because this is what my life is revolved around these days and wanted to wallow for a moment.

Luckily, I did pick up Food & Wine’s March issue which share the magazines 20 Best Recipes Ever. These recipes were chosen by F&W’s editors from more than 10,000 recipes published over 35 years. Last night I made the best first course salad – Roasted Carrot & Avocado Salad with Citrus Dressing. It was heaven.

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I just adjust the recipe a bit to simplify it but all the major pieces are here.

Roasted Carrot & Avocado Salad with Citrus Dressing
serves 6

1 pound medium carrots
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
kosher salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 orange, halved
1 lemon, halved
4 1/2 inch thick slices ciabatta bread (leave out or sub for GF)
3 avocados – pitted, peeled and cut into wedges
8 ounces watercress
2 tablespoons unsalted roasted sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons whole milk plain yogurt (or sour cream) mixed with 1 tablespoon water (leave out or sub for vegan)

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1. Prepare carrots: Preheat the oven to 375. Bring a deep skillet of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots and simmer, covered, over moderately low heat until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer carrots to a large roasting pan.

2. Prepare spiced oil: In a bowl, crush cumin seeds, chili, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Pour over carrots, gently toss, lay on roasting sheet with cut fruit, skin side up. Roast for 25 minutes.

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3. Prepare bread: Toss bread cubes on a baking sheet and add to oven for last 5 minutes of roasted time.

4. Make citrus dressing: When carrots are done roasting, using tongs, squeeze the hot orange and lemon into a bowl. Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and 1/3 cup olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

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5. Assemble: Arrange carrots, bread cubes, sliced avocado, washed and chopped watercress, and toasted sunflower seeds, on a large platter.  Drizzle with citrus dressing and then with yogurt.

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