here is to deep gratitude & love...thank you for reading my words & being here with me on this renaissance mama journey. happy thanksgiving & see you in the kitchenxxx jules
Monday, November 23, 2009
there is so much fancy in nature..... i know you got it: i like fancy....and when you shop (local) at your farmers market or your health food store.. you give yourself the incredible gift & opportunity to expand your veggie repetoire...these purple carrots are gorgeous and they come from my friend alex at weiser family farms...there is nothing like peeling & slicing them...it's as though the sun comes up everytime i see the inside of one, two or twenty...and whoever is coming over to eat...you can pass on the facts that purple carrots do exist to your friends & family... not to mention kids love purple carrots! the cauliflowers come from underwood family farms who have a new set up in hollywood on sundays but they get around...check out their schedule & their cauliflowers....the taste is crisp and pure goodness...the colors are sheer magic. and of course the old brussel sprouts side... it's rare to get organic brussel sprouts because supposedly the afids (msp?) get to them really fast and so they usually look like a moth eaten mini cabbage if they are not picked at the perfect time... if you can get your hands on some and you really don't like them (i am challenging you)...massage these babies with olive oil in a casserole dish...add a bit of salt & roast on 350 for about 20 minutes or more depending on your altitide and your oven. i think you will love it. roasted brussel sprouts are on the up and up on my list... and the other day i added some home made pesto to them created by my amazing neighbor peter and it was a beautiful out of body but so in my body experience. these are all beautiful sides for your thanksgiving table...give yourself the gift of getting your veggies from the hands that picked em'... the farmers markets are popping up everywhere..check here for your local stop...see you in the kitchenxxx
Sunday, November 22, 2009
we use them all the time... they are in so many of the meals we make... from breakfast to deserts to stuffing...since they are such an integral part of the recipe (even if it's just a wash on the pot pie) let it be the best egg possible. you wanna go with a local farm if you can...free range, grass fed, organic chickens....raised with love. it's the only way to go. if you are in los angeles....the eggs i love are from peacock family farms, healthy family farms & soledad goats farm. whatever you do.. buy organic when it comes to eggs.....see you in the kitchenxxx
Saturday, November 21, 2009
warming salads are the way to go to get your greens in during the colder months as our bellies are more equipped to deal with them.... and they are just gorgeous... i can't get enough chard...i am almost having an affair with it: i love how it grows out of the ground so tall & proud, how many colors it has & shares with us, how strong & confident the stem is as it holds up the round, lush leaves of it's upper body...if i had to compare it to something we know (and you know i want to) it would be like an audrey hepburn green...sophisticated & always dressed for a night out on the ground. are you getting the picture? ok...then match it with some abundant & fertile pomegranate seeds mixed with a pinch of deep earthiness from the pinenuts and you have an amazing side salad. you can join it with some purple fancy rice or any rice or anything for that matter....as this baby can sit anywhere on the plate...this is also a beautiful thanksgiving side as it's really easy to create, matches all the themes in color and season & is desperately needed to digest all the stuffing, turkey etc... how is it done? oh. right. in a medium saute pan on medium heat: drop some olive oil... then a medium chopped onion... and allow the glaze to happen.. wait & stir (every now and then) for about 5 minutes.. you will begin to smell when the glaze has done it's thing.. add pomegranate seeds and pinenuts (you can also toast these on a baking sheet in the oven and add at the end if you prefer)....allow them to get to know each other.. and then add the chard...put the lid on for a few minutes so everything can come down from the excitement ;) then open it up and stir the love around. you will know when it's ready to go....yum...see you in the kitchenxxx
Friday, November 20, 2009
one of the renaissance mama mantras is to find the fancy in everything....i believe there is something deep & significant about allowing the fancy in you to come out...i am all about fancy the you already have going on in your kitchen...behind the vitamins in that weird cabinet that holds everything but the kitchen sink....and in the very back is grandma's silver..or your wedding china...or your mom's tea cup....BRING IT OUT and let it shine. if you have it, use it. maybe that's the mantra? no more plastic over the couch....when are you going to sit on that thing without the plastic? well, whatever the case purple rice fits just the bill when it comes to fancy in my wooden bowl with salmon & veg or on the thanksgiving table with pinenuts and currants or pomegranate seeds...i found this rice in the bulk bin at whole foods and i am getting ready to buy stock in it...maybe b/c my numbers keep going up...on my mastercard....purple jasmine rice = fancy. i could list a million things you can do with it because... it's rice. it only adds to the beauty of your meal and what kid doesn't like purple rice....expand their view on how amazing rice can be. my dad loves rice and he always said to me as a kid 'rice is nice.' and yes dad this rice is really nice & fancy! see you in the kitchenxxx
Thursday, November 19, 2009
abundant & plenty is what comes to mind when i see the crates of yams & sweet potatoes (are they one in the same??) at the market....it's that time again... thank you day is here! and we are pulling out the ideas of what to make, create, cook! from the ol' recipe box or the tattered cookbooks with the binding coming undone like my roots.... we always have something sweet potato in our thanksgiving story....oh! did you say something about their shape? yes! speaking of their shape...i mean is there a name for the body they have....they are so mysterious, almost crater like, solar system inspired & yet they couldn't feel more like the earth or our connection to underneath the soil..... how can you not feel something from these amazing roots... i know, i know....they seem callous and hard to approach... but they are the sweetest once they are peeled, boiled, pureed, cut, roasted...really anything you do to connect with them they provide such a beautiful, light and yet deeply sating side.
here are some very simple ideas: yam chips... cut, massage, roast. this one in the picture is a jersey yam.. which has white flesh and almost hits the yucca vibe in texture. it's so sweet, so good & easy. this is great to have out (best warm & crisp out of the oven) when people come over to nosh....as it's so random as a nosh and so good... if someone is starving but the meal is in an hour or so....this is a great solution. also - the kids LOVE it.. shape and all. put the oven on 375, convection roast or just roast or bake works too. cut into chips or any shape really....you can put in a medium sized bowl olive oil, curry, cinnamon, garam masala & a bit of salt... mix up with your hand (best spoon in the house) and dip each chip in, massage and place on parchment paper on the baking sheet & put in oven for about 20 minutes or so.... gotta watch how your oven works... convection is stronger than regular so that is something to remember. the other pictures are of sweet potatoe puree... that lead into adding some buttermilk and flour into a dough for biscuits that were SO good...the ones in the pic were shaped with a biscuit cutter... and the huge, lush one was the last of the dough that i squished together with my hands & the most rustic beauty came out. here is the recipe. i found that this recipe made so many more than 8 biscuits....so be open to the flexibility (always with cooking)...these are a great starter to have out as well...you can add proscuitto, goat gouda, bartlett pear or apple and make a BEAUTIFUL sweet potato biscuit sandwich. it's fun for everybody... i mean who doesn't love a little tiny layered story in an orange blanket of biscuit love? it's different and i assure you it will be a success. these also sate the piece i continue to passionately share... FOOD ALL THE TIME....both of these give that to your home and your family...see you in the kitchenxxx
Saturday, November 14, 2009
if there is anytime better than this time to go get your bread knife and cut open a squash or pumpkin....please write in and let me know because i think it's right now! when i look at these incredible round nourishing shapes with a melody of colors that sings to every fall like feeling inside me...this place where maple leaves lyrically dance to the ground & those orange brownish hues make the only enterance we know as thanksgiving time. i made some pumpkin bread the other day (recipe coming) and it called for pumpkin puree or 1 can (15 oz) of pumpkin. i just couldn't do it.....with all these pumpkins around me at the market, on my dining room table & throughout the house....and i am telling you to cut it open but i am going to open a can? (i mean i definitely have and i will open another can this year)...for the first pumkin bread of the season... it just didn't sit write with me....so i broke open that sugar pumpkin adorning the cake plate, kept the seeds in (as they are easier to take out after) and got right to it. turn the oven to 415 or 425 convecton roast or just roast or bake for that matter...place in a casserole dish lightly laquered in olive oil & an herb or two if desired. then massage the pumpin with some love, herbs & a pinch or less of coarse kosher salt. place them flesh down & skin up. this pumpkin was going to be pureed for the bread so i did not do any herbs. for the butternut squash....i used sage which gets beautifully crisp and reusable for the topping of a soup or something special. i checked on the squash after 30 minutes or so and it needed about 15-20 more minutes (all in all about 45 - 60 minutes)... it's important that you do the check in...b/c every oven is so different & you never know how they are going unless you check in on them. you can use a fork to test the squash... allow it to get pretty soft where the fork can slide in and out without the resistance of hard flesh.
take it out and let it cool. spoon out the seeds and dig out the rest into the cuisineart....where the puree begins. you can do this in a big batch or small batches adding a tiny bit of water...or if you are pureeing for taste you can add some melted butter, cream, milk or 1/2 and 1/2 & maybe some brown sugar...as for the butternut squash you can spoon out the flash and add some water & vegan bullion or chicken broth to blend and make a soup...this is basic squash stuff so i am sorry if you squash lovers are wondering what the heck? don't worry as more is coming in terms of this being a first prep step... with that said...a lot of people, mamas, me included did not know how to do this until they learned... basics are essential and this is one basic not to miss during the holiday season. more to come.....see you in the kitchenxxx (and if you have to throw the pumpkin across the room to get it to open... sometimes it might take that...i hope you have a smooth squash opening)
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
what is this? inspiring women in the kitchen? in paris and italy they are wondering how someone could stay busy doing what i do.... the movement & the conversation is creating a kitchen culture in america. and yes inspiring women back into the kitchen...embracing this piece inside each and everyone of us....adding water to a box (no judgement) is not cooking and it's not food. bummer and true....let's wake up together and support each other through some very old, ancestoral, not passed down stories and create the kitchen culture we want in our kitchens ....with our families...and make some memories...we will find all sorts of magic in there if we open ourselves to what is inside our cabinets. behind the cell phone charger & the 10 year old bullion...there are many layers patiently waiting to be opened...and we haven't even made it to the pantry! and here comes monday... you have no food in the house which means snacks for the kids & milk...you shop those 3 markets and on that journey you see things that you would like to make in the week...and you make temporary peace with that starving place inside of you by buying a few of those question marks...you feel good about filling the fridge...and at the same time confused b/c you don't know what to do with a celery root & an acorn squash....and then you watch that food die a slow death in your produce drawer for a week or so...you watch it...day by day grow a little less vibrant and a little more wilty...and you feel the same way...between your guilt for wasting & your shame for not knowing & your no-time life & the fight you just had with your husband & your screaming hungry baby....TAKE OUT!!! i am about to call for pad thai just writing this...because we have all been there and we will be there again. let's not live there...let's create food all the time for our families to eat.
this work is not a job...it's a passion, it's a deep hunger in me to nourish a culture that lacks a kitchen...or is it nurture a kitchen that lacks a culture...this is happening all over america....we have no idea what we are eating....cooking... feeding...creating...buying...and inside us...somewhere...we yearn to know...we are the mamas and we create what happens in our homes...we protect through food and we must reconnect this piece as it's essential that our kids know our stories..once you begin gathering food in a new way, loving your kitchen in a new way, feeding your family...you feed yourself with something incredible...call it motherhood, the old you, the new you...it's a creative outlet (once you have the confidence, support & know how) that is efficient & sustainable. you can feed yourself by feeding your family. it's happening...kitchen to kitchen as i witness & observe families changing just by making some fancy water & putting it out on the table (we do more than that). i want to keep talking this way...hearing your stories & supporting you to create a kitchen culture in your home...we are hungry and ready for the change. see you in the kitchenxxx
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
i have been waiting.....hoping...waiting.....yearning....waiting...for this to change and there is no changing the reality that the november issue was the last of gourmet magazine, the vogue of the food world is going night night. every single month there were photographs you wanted to frame, there were recipes i couldn't wait to try, stories connecting us to places far away that made it into my kitchen. the layouts were beautiful, doable & inspiring...the pages were gorgeous and it was so so fancy. it brought fancy into the kitchen. AND FANCY IS ESSENTIAL in the kitchen & in our lives....a teaspoon of fancy is exactly what you need to keep going. what makes me most sad is there is nothing fancy about bon appetit. i haven't seen it. i will look again. i will try to find it. fancy was in the bones, the genes, the chromosomes of gourmet magazine. fancy = gourmet. the dna of the magazine showed us that we can have beauty anywhere we are... we don't need to buy something to be fancy... it's just here inside you. inside your kitchen. maybe we need to redefine fancy. i am not talking patent leather shoes and pressed pants.
fancy is pulling carrots out of the ground.
fancy is finding an heirloom tea cup in the back of your cabinet that still smells like your grandmother.
fancy is bringing out the silver just because.
fancy is having nothing and creating something.
there is a lot of fancy and we can find it in every kitchen.
this is what gourmet did.....naturally.
mediocrity is winning to keep it short and simple. i want to cry all over my wooden spoons. i will not. i will stand strong with love. my heart beating through every copper pot i covet and can't wait to celebrate in my kitchen. what happened to wanting the best? to knowing you can have it even if it's a piece of special thread or a penny found on the ground. the excitement & the joy in something sacred, meaningful. something that moves you, shifts your perspective, creates that cozy place that bookmarks the feeling of beauty, celebration, something different, creative expression, inspiration, ambition....
it's definitely a job for the renaissance mama. we are all about fancy, finding it deep, inside the layers of tupperware & tea cups, mothers & grandmothers, between the swans down & the can of tuna fish...we will find the fancy and bring it back hard core...the new york times and conde naste say that the money is with mediocrity. everybody wants a pal instead of ruth reichl....well the renaissance mama is here to stay and i am bringing fancy and love and silver spoons with wooden bowls into your kitchen whether it's as big as a shoe box or smaller than a castle. and ruth is going to be with me all the way....bring it on & see you in the ktichenxxx