Basil Walnut Pesto

IMG_9979I went and saw the film CAPTAIN FANTASTIC yesterday and felt so many feelings, it brought back so much of my childhood, and it made me appreciate both the struggle and the great joy my unusual childhood was. Growing up in the counterculture was one of the greatest blessings and also remains one of the greatest conundrums for me – where exactly do I fit in in this world, which life and world do I belong to, and in so many cases how can I belong to both and do both justice.

To say the least I loved the film (thank you Anne yet again for sharing this life with me, being on this path as strange as it is, and knowing when to tell me to see a great movie!) I laughed at so much that I could identify with both in ways that made me happy and ways that made me slightly cringe. Like the scene where the family “frees food from the supermarket”; sadly my mother’s vision of free food moved past the soup kitchen she ran and for the better part of the first 3 years of my life she taught me to “free candy” (read steal) from the Cala Foods on 23rd and Van Ness. Those days passed but the stories stayed and mortified me into my 20s and very probably until yesterday when I saw the scene play out in a movie theater.

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My mother taught me to live close to this earth and to tread lightly. To travel but leave as small a footprint as possible. To find the most uses for all items, to compost when possible, and to use as much of an ingredient and waste as little as one could. Let’s just say we are excellent left over people in my family! So what to do with the extra basil all summer, one thing always and its one of the things that was ubiquitous to my childhood pesto. Growing up in the 1980s in San Francisco I ate my share of pesto (some of my family might have lived primarily on pesto). Its beautiful and green and it makes sure to not waste any of the basil that might have been used sparingly in another recipe like Panzanella. Then just freeze it for another day! Waste not want not! “Take what we need but not more then necessary and remember to be grateful.” Words I still hear my mother say to this day.

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The movie moved me to tears and made me realize for however much grumblings I might do about my childhood how lucky I was to be surrounded by such extraordinary love, boundless creative expressions, value on curiosity and acceptance, deep appreciation for nature, wonderful people, and such great food!

This is the simplest pesto recipe and at times I make smaller batches based on how much basil I have left. I use whatever nut (walnut, pine nut, pistachio, or almond) I might have in my house. This pesto is always frozen in my house and then used at later dates; one of my college roommates taught me to freeze pesto in an ice cube tray with each cube a perfect one serving portion. Once frozen I place the cubes in an airtight bag and take out however many is needed when I want pesto.

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Basil Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons walnut (or pine nut, pistachio, or almond)

2 garlic cloves chopped

Salt

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or Romano)

This makes 5-6 servings of pesto

  • Briefly soak and wash basil leaves in cold water and gently pat it thoroughly dry.
  • Put the basil, olive oil, nuts, chopped garlic, and pinch of salt into blender or food processor. Process to a uniform, creamy consistency.
  • Transfer to a bowl and mix in the grated cheese by hand. When everything is well combined freeze for later use or spoon over hot pasta or onto crusty bread and enjoy!

 

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22

08 2016

Melissa Clark’s Panzanella With Mozzarella And Herbs

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Oh summer how I love your long sunlit days, your lazy afternoons reading in the shade of big trees, your warm (oh who I am I kidding, at times downright hot and humid) nights. Then there is the way summer you fill the fresh markets with the jewels of the season – your bounty of berries, your cornucopia of corn, and your towers of tomatoes. As Pablo Neruda said in his poem Ode To Tomatoes:

The street/ filled with tomatoes,/ midday/ summer,/ light is/ halved/ like/ a/ tomato,/ its juice/ runs/ through the streets…”

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To say the least I have been eating my fare share of tomatoes and corn this summer; in fact with berries, yogurt, and cheese that very well may have been my complete diet this week. I never was good at moderation and when fresh food is at its best I can’t help myself all the more.

One of the finest things I did with these tomatoes, besides eating one just like you would an apple, was this Panzanella. My sister had never had Panzanella until we attended a good friend’s wedding last summer, we could say it blew her mind what she had been missing simple yet perfect – fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and stale chunks of bread all mixed together and slathered in a vinegary dressing. Need I say more?! If there were any more convincing necessary I would return to the end of Pablo Neruda’s poem “…no pit/ no husk,/ no leaves or thorns,/ the tomato offers/ its gift/ of fiery color/ and cool completeness.”

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This recipe comes from the New York Times Melissa Clark’s Panzanella With Mozzarella And Herbs and if you are going to be like me and eat close to your weight in tomatoes this summer this recipe is a must!

Summer I appreciate and love you this year more than most! It’s been good to bask in your glory and feel complete gratitude for what you bring.

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Melissa Clark’s Panzanella With Mozzarella And Herbs

Ingredients:

4 ounces ciabatta or baguette, preferably stale, cut into cubes (approx. 3 cups)

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste

¾ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste

2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, preferably a mix of varieties and colors

6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces

½ cup thinly sliced red onion, about half a small onion

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, more to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or thyme (or a combination)

Large pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

Black pepper, to taste

½ cup torn basil leaves

1 tablespoon capers drained

  • Heat oven to 425° Spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake until they are dried out and pale golden brown at the edges, about 7-15 min. Let cool on a wire rack.
  • Cut tomatoes into bite size pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Add mozzarella, onions, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, oregano or thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes if you are using them. Toss to coat and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar, the mustard, ¼ teaspoon salt, and some black pepper to taste. While whisking constantly slowly drizzle in the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil until the mixture is thickened. At this point I add capers and break them up in the dressing using the back of a spoon. Add the basil to the finished dressing.
  • Add bread cubes and dressing to the tomatoes and mix well. Let sit for at least 30 min and up to 4 hours (although leftovers the next day are also good). Toss with a little more olive oil, vinegar, and salt to taste before serving. Enjoy!

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09

08 2016

Overnight Cold Oats

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July has sped by in a blur – out of town guests, gatherings with friends, with family, birthdays, reunions, lakes, pools, fireworks, and still moments watching late sunsets. The days of this month have been full and most certainly filled with the people I love and a lot of fresh seasonal summer eating.

Here’s a quick post with a quick summer breakfast (in fact possibly the fastest summer breakfast I can imagine). I have told just about everyone I have seen this summer how much I am loving this quick, overnight, cold oatmeal. Inspired by a recipe in It’s All Easy these oats are a base but can be adapted in all different ways (2 variations are below).

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I have always loved muesli and this recipe is reminiscent of everything that I love about muesli – healthy, tasty, filling but not heavy. The recipe takes 5 min to prepare and I make 2 servings and store in individual jars for 2 mornings. I tried making a larger recipe but found more then 30 hours and they were too soft for my liking. I serve with fresh berries, peach, banana, apple, or any fruit I find in the farmers market. I love the long summer days, the sun and the way my weary tanned body feels at the end of a day outdoors. This overnight cold oats feels like everything I love about the summer in a mouthful – fresh, easy, restorative, full of life and simple joys of long warm days.

I hope you enjoy and that your summer is filled with sunshine, good company, and delicious moments.

Love,

Ra

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Quick Overnight Cold Oats

Orange Coconut Variation – adapted from It’s All Easy

1/2 cup quick cooking oats 

1/2 milk of your choice (soy, almond, dairy whatever you like)

3 tablespoons vanilla or maple yogurt

2 tablespoons coconut flakes

1 teaspoon orange zest

Juice of orange

  • Combine all of the ingredients and mix in a bowl. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. 
  • Stir before serving and add fruit of your desire and nuts if desired. Enjoy.

 

Cardamom Cinnamon Variation

1/2 cup quick cooking oats 

1/2 milk of your choice (soy, almond, dairy whatever you like)

3 tablespoons vanilla or maple yogurt

Pinch of Cinnamon and Cardamom

  • Combine all of the ingredients and mix in a bowl. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. 
  • Stir before serving and add fruit of your desire and nuts if desired. Enjoy.

 

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01

08 2016

Understanding and All Star Bars

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It has been such a heartbreaking week, month, possibly start of a year. The news feels so very hard and painful and everyday feels harder to face the headlines but turning our faces at this time feels like exactly the wrong thing; we need to look deeply at ourselves and at each other rather then turn away at this time. If ever there was a time to turn to understanding, compassion, growth and change now seems like the time.

The past few days I have read a few things that have meant a lot to me in these sad and confusing days…

Michael Brown’s Mom, on Alton Sterling & Philando Castile

Death in Black & White

The next time someone says “all lives matter” show them these 5 paragraphs

Trevor Noah made a great point and its important

W Kamau Bell on This American Life

Brene Brown’s word’s were so powerful

And for something hopeful 

Now onto something sweeter because after all of that I need something sweet. Tonight is the All Star Game and I baked these Chocolaty Pretzel -and-Peanut Cookie Bars. They seemed the perfect thing to eat with friends and watch baseball!

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All Star Bars – recipe adapted  from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan

5 1/2 cups salted mini pretzel twists

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 1/3 cups roasted and lightly salted peanuts

6 ounces (about 1 cup) bittersweet chocolate – I use chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and line with parchment, leaving about an inch overhang along sides. Butter parchment.
  • Place 4 1/2 cups pretzels in a food processor and pulse until texture resembles coarse cornmeal. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sugar and butter until well combined. Transfer to pan, spreading evenly, and pack down flat with the bottom of a measuring cup.
  • Drizzle condensed milk evenly over crust. Sprinkle with peanuts & chocolate.
  • Gently press the remaining 1 cup pretzels into milk along top of bars.
  • Bake until chocolate melts and condensed milk bubbles and becomes golden, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Cool completely in pan on a wire rack, then refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
  • Run a sharp knife between bars and short sides of pan. Using parchment overhangs, transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 15 squares.

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12

07 2016

A Perfect Summer Crumble to Celebrate

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Last weekend 13 members of my extended family gathered in Portland to celebrate my sister’s graduation from college. It was a wonderful weekend of togetherness – we shared yoga practices, had a back yard BBQ party, dinners out in PDX, a visit to a lavender farm, a hike to a waterfall, and more laughter then could be imagined.

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In the almost seven years since our mother passed away my sister and I have discussed what milestones might look like without her there with us to celebrate. At times we imagined these milestones impossible, my sister in fact while she was always certain she would graduate college, she was not always sure if she would walk in the ceremony without our mom. But as time has moved us further from that impossible date we have seen these milestones differently, they no longer are only reminders of her absence (which it is impossible to not recognize) but more they have become celebrations of what we have done in our lives both with and without her. My sister’s graduation was exactly that a celebration of the accomplishment that my sister earned on her own with the help of many but ultimately on her terms and in her own fashion. The weekend was filled with love, pride, joy, laughter, and a few tears. It showed us what more milestones might look like in the future; and it reminded me that while my mom won’t be with us for these milestones she also could never be further off than the magic moments we experience together. I have found again and again the truth that our loved ones never leave us entirely, their absence and love can be felt all-ways.

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To celebrate my sister I baked a beautiful summer crumble that we topped with Salt & Straw Ice Cream. Summer crumbles are one of the simple joys of life, sweet fruit that needs little more than a topping of oats, sugar, and butter crisped in the oven. We made ours with nectarines and raspberries and I used no measurements, but I did make another at home and measured for posterity’s sake, I love this crumble with peaches/nectarines/berries in the summer and apples/pear/and dried cranberries in the fall (although really any fruit combination works well). At home I added some coconut flakes that were lingering in my pantry for some added summer celebration. The crumble is beautiful and perfect enough for a celebration of any type but really needs no more celebration other then its summer in order to make it.

Wishing my sister a very happy birthday and continued congratulations!

Love,

Ra

Perfect Summer Crumble to Celebrate

 Ingredients:

Filling:

4 peaches or nectarines diced (ultimately you are looking for approx. 4 – 5 cups of fruit)

1 pint raspberries

Scant 1 tablespoon of cornstarch

1 tablespoon of sugar

 Topping:

1 cup whole rolled oats

¼ sugar (any kind of sugar works here, use whatever is on hand)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature (approx. ½ of stick)

¼ cup shredded coconut (optional)

Ice cream, or whipped cream for serving (optional)

  • Preheat over to 350° F.
  • Combine the fruit with the cornstarch, and tablespoons of sugar in a 9-inch pie or baking dish.
  • Using your hands combine the rest of the ingredients for the topping together in a bowl until it is well combined and texture of small peas or sand. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit.
  • Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the fruit juices are bubbling. Serve warm, or room temperature, or cold as leftovers shared out of the fridge.

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20

06 2016

CAULIFLOWER, OLIVE, AND ORANGE SALAD

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Its hard to believe its almost June spring has zipped by in a blur of work, friends, trips to CA and Mexico, and more work. It has all been good but it has kept me away from home and far from my kitchen. I did have time on a day off to make this easy cauliflower salad with olive and orange. I love this salad, I discovered it as part of my cookbook book club last summer and loved every bite of it – tangy from the feta and olive while also sweet from the apricot and orange – with the small shreds of cauliflower it reminded me not of a vegetable but of a perfect couscous dish. And so easy – no stove, ready in a flash, and it keeps well for busy days to come. This is also a perfect picnic dish as it keeps well and can sit out.

I’m off on another work trip today but I did have a lovely evening seeing Youssou N’dour last night at BAM and I loved this book and can’t wait for the movie to come out in a few weeks, can I say again how did it become June!

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CAULIFLOWER, OLIVE, AND ORANGE SALAD – adapted from Seven Spoons Cookbook by Tara O’Brady

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower cut into florets 
  • 1/4 cup olives pitted and chopped (I like green olives in this recipe)
  • Fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar (red or white)
  • 1 shallot thinly diced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced dried apricots (about 10 halves)
  • 1/4 cup sliced roasted almonds
  • Small bunch flat-leaf parsley 
  • A few handfuls of baby arugula

Working in batches, unceremoniously dump cauliflower into the bowl of a food processor fitted with metal  blade. Pulse until the florets have been reduced to the size of rice then tip into a microwavable bowl. Continue until all of the cauliflower is pulsed. You could also these days purchase cauliflower “pre-riced” at most stores although I found the time I made with this cauliflower it didn’t come out as good. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and cook in microwave until tender, but still slightly crisp, carefully stirring once with a fork (this should take approx. 4 – 6 min but you want to make sure not to overcook the cauliflower). 

Fold in the olives, then season lightly with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, pour the vinegar over the shallots. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for a few minutes.  Stir in the olive oil the season with salt and pepper, remember both the olives and feta will be salty so be careful at this stage with salt. If you are cool and can segment oranges this is the time to do this and fold orange segments into the dressing; or sometimes in a rush I just use the juice of the orange in the dressing at this stage. 

Pour most of the dressing over the cauliflower. Fluff with a fork. Fold in feta cheese, apricots, almonds, parsley, and arugula. Add remaining dressing to your liking. Dig in, I usually don’t have the patience to wait for a serving dish, this salad is too good and I am eating it as I fold each ingredient in. 

I hope you enjoy your days and this salad.

Ramona

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21

05 2016

Life In Links

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I’m just finishing my last day in a lovely week long visit with family and friends in San Francisco; a cake is baking in the oven, and tomorrow I fly to my friend’s wedding in Mexico. Here is some of what I have enjoyed and some of what I am looking forward to in links.

SF is Unaffordable on This American Life, so true and such a great listen. This city is not for sale!

Its hard to come to San Francisco and not think of how it has changed, everyone keeps telling me to watch San Francisco 2.0

Virunga I loved this documentary and found it so inspiring, important, and enlightening.

When Breath Becomes Air I can’t seem to say enough about this book and how it moved me.

First They Killed My Father and Lucky Child were 2 of the most impactful books I read after returning from Cambodia and now First They Killed My Father will be a movie.

I loved this movie on my flight to Seoul last month.

Chelsea Handler does Racism was amazing!

If you want to be happier embrace sadness! I loved this article and the idea. Sadness has a lot to teach us.

When Your Calling Seems Vague 

The Park Slope Food Coop’s April Fool’s Line Hater’s Gazette still has me laughing out loud!

Can’t wait to get home and make this  Mushroom Kale Cornmeal Tart!

Lead photo my mother who would have turned 70 years old a few weeks ago!

12

04 2016

Seoul South Korea

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It has been five years since I went on the RAvolution, sometimes that seems hard to believe and other times that time feels very real. I went on the RAvolution in the depths of grief to find life again and something to look forward to and hope for. Sometimes I feel so different from the person who went on that journey, more settled while still less sure, more confident while understanding the value and need to be more vulnerable, less rocked by life’s swift changes and my resounding loss. I got a lot from that year – I learned to drive, ride a bike, I traveled and it very certainly saved my life, it brought me back to life. It gave me moments of pause in my pain, it brought me friends, and it brought me to places around the world.

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It has also been five years since I was last in Asia, that is of course until a few weeks again when I went to Seoul, South Korea. I loved being back in Asia, I loved the markets overflowing with people and things for sale including the bizarre face masks made with snail and collagen. I loved the dried and fresh fish in baskets by the road, and small stalls of food hot and steaming and demanding to be eaten as I walked.

 

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I loved the Bibimbap and BBQ – hot meat dipped in sauces and wrapped in lettuce. I loved the ancient palaces that seemed to go on for eternity each building leading to another and another, some meticulously painted on every inch and some stark white and wood.

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I loved the shrines and offerings in unexpected places. I loved the legends and history.

 

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I loved hiking through Namsan Park in the early morning up to the North Seoul Tower. I loved the K-pop and crowded streets and underground malls. I loved seeing the people in traditional dress taking pictures and walking around.

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I loved the way the subway made music when it arrived in the station. And the view of the mountains that surrounded the city and the way it would make me think of M*A*S*H and watching it as a kid at a friend’s house in Berkley. Life has taken me far from home and I have loved the journey.

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I had a wonderful time getting lost and wandering. I thought a lot about why I travel and why it’s such an important part of who I am.

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I travel to find myself again, and again. To reconnect. To see myself outside my life and to gain a vantage point on my life.

I travel to challenge myself – to find a way to survive in an unknown and new way. While being lost is frustrating when I make a train to a connecting train and can learn to navigate in a new place the feeling of accomplishment is so great.

 

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I travel to see life and the world with fresh and new eyes. I travel to try to understand this life and try to understand other peoples experiences in it.

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I travel because I am curious. Because I like eating different kinds of food and I want to try them in their native countries. Because I love art and history and stories and people.

I travel to gain perspective.

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I travel because there is nothing more breathtaking then walking down a street that looks like it could be familiar in my own city and turning a corner to see an epic and ancient palace that I could never have imagined.

I travel because life is fragile and fleeting and the moments I feel the most alive are when I am traveling. Because at the end of my life if what I have to look back on and replay our my experiences I will be happy to look back on my journeys.

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Traveling is certainly not for everyone but I found again in Seoul how deeply it is a part of me and how happy it makes me and how grateful I am for the places my life has taken me. I am happy to look back on my memories of Seoul and know the city has made an indelible mark on my life.

 

고맙습니다

 

Ramona

 

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31

03 2016

Korean Style Chicken

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Life takes us on many different paths; some we diligently plan and research for, some are unexpected, some are pleasant and enjoyable, and some feel like we are hiking up hill through mud and over boulders. In my life these paths have brought me to all different corners of the world and I certainly have not lost my wanderlust or global curiosity.

Recently I was offered one of those unexpected paths by way of my next job. It was an offer (my first of this kind) to do a job outside the US. As a side note I have wanted and worked towards these jobs before and come up just short of the opportunity. But this time the path was there and I quickly agreed to follow it. All of this to say my next job will be taking me to Seoul Korea!!! It’s a pretty exciting path I agree!

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I will be in Seoul working for a week and then spending a few additional days getting to experience a new country and culture. It’s been five years since I was last in Asia and I am so thrilled to be returning. My days have been full with work but at night I have started to dream of the wooden Hanok houses, the Joseon era Palaces, Buddhists shrines and temples, all to the sound of K-Pop. I can’t wait to eat the Bibimbap, Bulgogi, Kimchi, and just about everything else!

In anticipation for my trip I cooked this Korean inspired chicken the other night and it was fantastic! While it is not a traditional Korean recipe it has all of the flavors I am so looking forward to – sweet from the apple sauce, fresh with ginger and garlic, salty from soy, and a subtle hint of spice. The recipe can be made either on a grill or as I did in an oven, served with rice and steamed broccoli it couldn’t have made me happier.

I seriously can’t say enough about this chicken -its delicious and easy.This chicken will take you on its own path and you won’t need a passport or suffer from jetlag but I promise you the journey is so worth it!

Love,

Ra

Korean Style Chicken from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, plus more for topping
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts

 

In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, apple sauce, onion, sesame oil, ginger, brown sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds. 

Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade and transfer the remainder to a Ziploc bag with the chicken. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 1 hour.

Oven Version:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the marinated chicken and all of the marinade and reserved sauce in an oven safe dish. Bake for about 20 min or until done.

Grilled Version:  Before making marinade. In a Ziploc bag or between plastic wrap pound chicken breast to an even thickness, about ½ inch thick. Marinade chicken same as above.

Over medium-high heat, grill the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes or until it no longer sticks to the grill.  Turn the chicken, spoon the reserved ¼ cup of marinade over each breast and grill an addition 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve chicken sprinkled with green onion and sesame seeds.

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02

03 2016

Baked Endives with Ham and Cheese

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My yoga teacher reminded me yesterday how fast time can go by and how we don’t even notice all that we do or have done with that time. A flash and whirlwind. Its winter here in New York, we have finally gotten the snow that came late this year and this last weekend we had the deep freeze that always makes me want to stay in my kitchen with the oven and stove working on overtime. And one of the things I have loved making on these colder and wet/snowy days is this braised or baked endive. I have no emotional connection to these, no family member ever made these in my childhood, and yet I have seen recipes for this time and again and again and each time I immediately long to cook these.

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I love endive in salad and the idea of braising it always seems comforting and warm. And excuse me cheese yes please!! The bitter endive is milder when cooked but retains it’s bite. Wrapped in ham and then covered with nutty savory cheese makes for the perfect bite. Served with a green salad and some crusty bread to soak up the sauce, you will want to lick the plate and bread is usually a better option then my finger wiping the plate clean. Its simple yet feels slightly old world comfort food that is perfect for a cold, snowy, rainy, or foggy night. 

I hope you enjoy and are staying warm and that time is not going too fast to simply be for a few moments.

Ra

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Baked Endives with Ham and Cheese adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients

6 Belgian endives, halved vertically

Juice of a lemon

Salt and pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper (this is optional but I think it elevates the dish)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature

4-5 slices cooked ham from the deli, halved

2 ounces grated Gruyère cheese 

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  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Remove the outer layers of the endive, trim the bottoms and cut in half and remove the cores. Put the endives, cut-side down, in a large skillet with small pat of butter. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with lemon juice. Brown one side of endive for 5 min flip over and add 1/3 cup of water to the pan, cover and bring to a boil. Cook until water is evaporated and endive is tender, approx 5 min more. I usually have to do my endive in batches and then let cool on a plate.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, whisking all the time. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper and cayenne if using it.
  • Take about 1/3 of the béchamel and lay in the bottom of a baking dish that is large enough to hold all of the endives in a single layer. Wrap each endive in a piece of ham and place, seam side down, in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining 2/3 of béchamel over the endives. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake the endives for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has browned. Serve hot.

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17

02 2016