Author Archive

Berlin & Copenhagen

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Some places just feel like home from the very first moment. Some places feel familiar and comforting and put you at immediate ease. Growing up in a home that was part Jewish I never thought about Germany in that way, the history and stories that filled so much of our culture made it seem possibly foreboding and threatening. I did of course despite that partly Jewish home also go to a grammar school firmly rooted in an old German foundation with its very German philosophies (my mother was nothing less then a contradiction in every sense – it was her choice to send me to the school and when I would diligently practice the required German she would look at me and say don’t speak German in this house). At school we learned German songs, we studied the very rich and diverse history of that part of the world, we celebrated holidays in a very German fashion with Christmas markets and advent circles, with May days and a Maypole, with special and magical visits from Saint Nicholas who left our shoes filled with oranges and small gifts.

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Years ago when I first arrived in Berlin I felt it, immediately that same feeling wash over me of returning home, of being surrounded by the familiar, and put at ease at how much things made sense to me there. I always attribute it to my education and the young formidable mind but I also know it might go deeper, it is the friends I have there, it is a place that reminds me of how I grew up and in an odd way Berlin echos San Francisco to me. But I think it is more,  I remember the first time I went to Germany with reservations it all felt so much – the history, the stories, the very real ghosts, but what I found was a city that doesn’t turn away from any of that but has folded it beautifully into itself. I am always moved at how Berlin a city once decimated has decided not to just rebuild but to honor that which was destroyed – building modern structures on the base of ancient and historic structures to become new and more beautiful, how they leave whispers of their history everywhere you turn as opposed to erasing and ignoring them. I love the way the past and present and future interweave. And as someone who is partly Jewish I feel more connected to my roots and the millions of stories irrevocably connected in and to this place.

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Last month I returned to Berlin for a weekend visit with friends. I love how when I arrive at Tegel I am always flooded with the same feeling of having returned to a place that I am happy to be reunited with. I spent my weekend with friends walking the streets, talking, laughing, and remembering how much I love this city. We ate home made soup followed by the remains of sparkling wine from a previous night, followed by coffee, followed by tea. We climbed bell towers and watched the sun set. I saw parts of the wall I never visited and thought about a history so complex it only seems harder to understand on each visit as my friends tell me stories of their childhoods and their families. On this trip I kept seeing and stumbling over the Stolperstein along the street that honor where victims of the Holocaust where last known to live or work. I can never return to Berlin without somehow feeling more then I did when I arrived.

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After my weekend in Berlin I traveled to meet my friend Gina in Copenhagen a city and country I have always wanted to visit. We spent the most wonderful few days walking the streets, taking boat rides along canals from Nyhavn. We saw the stature of the Little Mermaid that graced one of my childhood books and always captured my imagination. We went to Freetown Christiana and saw how a culture can live apart but within another.

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A few years ago my father and my god mother both recommended that I start to watch the Danish TV show Borgen and it quickly became one of my favorite TV shows. I loved the characters, I loved the way they dealt with issues like sexism and politics and the darkness in our world. The characters felt to me like fully complex friends who I both loved and respected but also could see some of their stumbling points. It was so wonderful to be in the city that plays such a large role in the show and walk the streets and see the sights from the show. One day to escape the rain we even went to Cafe Wilder from the show and enjoyed our Smorrebrod and sat until the rain had passed. It felt like living in the show I so admired.

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On our last day we ventured into the Danish countryside and took the train north to the town of Helsingør and the home of the castle that is supposedly the setting for the play Hamlet. It was amazing and changed how I thought about the play to walk the old wood rooms of the castle and look out to a gray sea under a cloudy sky. It changed how I read lines about the mists and will forever impact how I see and think of one of my favorite plays. While in the charming town of Helsingør we saw that Sweden and the town of Helsingborg was close, so close in fact a ferry went every hour. And in a truly spontaneous moment Gina and I decided to take the ferry and go to Helsingborg for a short visit and a coffee. It was incredible to see how close the two cities both are and how different.

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On our train ride back into Copenhagen we stopped at the amazing Louisiana Museum for one of the most amazing art experiences of my life. Set in a small Danish town and overlooking the sea and on a clear day with views to Sweden is a museum that truly must be seen and experienced in life. A sculpture garden outside so that each view from within and outside the museum feels perfectly curated and composed. Space to breath and take in the art and let the experience of art wash over and saturate you. We saw the brave exhibit by Marina Abramovic and the singular experience of standing within Kusama’s installation Gleaming Lights Of the Souls. It all felt like the most wonderful and rewarding experience.

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Some places immediately feel like home and others make you want to change how you see the world, they open your eyes and they touch your soul. It is never lost on me how fortunate I am to travel as extensively as I have in my life. It is a commitment I made to myself on a hilltop in Tuscany and it is one that has continued to be one of the most important things in my life. To continue to see the world (both near and far). To not be afraid of that which is different then me. To challenge my preconceived notions and be willing to learn from my experiences. To see that no one country or people has everything. The world is complex and diverse and as it may seem smaller it might be more important then ever to both move together to learn from other cultures while holding onto each individual cultures heritage, history, the stories, the perspectives. Travel opens my eyes to myself and to the world. It is the greatest gift I have ever been given and in large part is the gift I continue to give myself, and hope I always will.

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16

10 2017

Gluten-Free Blueberry Oat Muffins

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This summer has flown by in a speedy blur, its been good with multiple beach days, an afternoon at a friend’s lake house, yoga in the park, the eclipse, adventures both near and further a far (and another on the very near horizon). As a kid my summer’s seemed to extend through what felt like the most wonderful weeks of trips to the farm, camping at Mt Lassen and Big Sur, and trips to Lake Tahoe; the days and weeks felt long and time before returning to school felt like epic seasons of fun. Today summer’s feel like they end just as they start but the years too seem to speed by faster then I can even understand where May, June, July, and August have gone.

But as all of these weeks have continued to march by there is one thing that I did enjoy more then most other things this summer – blueberries. For me it felt like perhaps it was the summer of blueberries, they were so very sweet and delicious, the farmers market seemed to be adorned with the blue juicy jewels and every week I went back for more. I ate them – one, two, three just like Sal in the classic children’s book, as I walked home from the market; I ate them over yogurt, in pancakes, with chia pudding, in smoothies, in salads, any way I could. I am rather surprised I myself did not turn into a giant blueberry like Violet in Willy Wonka. On the last week that the market seemed to be filled with the plenitude of this summer’s blueberries I made what may be my favorite thing all summer, these-gluten free oat blueberry muffins.

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I have made my share of blueberry muffins over the years (some healthy, others less so) but I always felt like there was nothing to shout about, a little too sweet, not blueberry forward enough for me, and just lacking in the something special that would make me return and return to a recipe. But because I like blueberries and muffins I have never given up and kept looking and trying recipes. I found this recipe on Skinny taste and loved it! Its not too sweet, full of the blueberry flavor I love and somehow complimented by the oats, it walks the fine line of delicious and healthy. And I loved them! I made these gluten-free because I had some gluten-free flour left over from baking for a friend, but you could make these with regular flour and they would be just as delightful.

Another summer may be approaching its close but the long days and the memories will stay with me, plus I have a few of these muffins frozen for a nice fall day to recall the bounty of this summer and to relive the splendor of all of those blue beauties that I enjoyed.

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Gluten-Free Blueberry Oat Muffins from Skinny Taste

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups quick gluten free oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large egg whites
1 tbsp coconut or canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners.
  • Place oats in a food processor or chopper and pulse a few times. (I didn’t have time for this step so I just soaked the oats directly and I liked it fine). Soak oats in milk for about 30 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl combine brown sugar, honey, apple sauce, vanilla, egg whites, oil and mix well.
  • In a third bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and whisk to combine.
  • Combine oats and milk with sugar, applesauce mixture and mix well.
  • Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Fold in blueberries.
  • Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 22-24 minutes.

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31

08 2017

Beauty All Around Me – Grand Canyon & Zion

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“ With beauty before me may I walk.
With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty below me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.”
~ Navajo Blessing

For all the many countries and parts of the world I have traveled to I have always been slightly remiss in not traveling around my own country of America. It was not for a lack of interest or curiosity but it always seemed so close and other places seemed so far and I figured someday I would get around to seeing my own back yard. I have driven cross country in a blurry rush just after 9/11 when planes were still grounded, I have seen cities from coast to coast and some in the great expanse of the center; but when my German or European friends would inquire about our countries wonders like the Grand Canyon or our National Parks I would have to humbly admit to never having been. That was of course until recently.

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I worked a job in Las Vegas last month and I had the idea to finally take the road trip to see the Grand Canyon, the trip happened to coincide with my father’s 70th birthday and I invited him to join me on the road trip. We decided to center our weekend trip around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and a trip to Zion National Park. For as many places as I have visited nothing could prepare me for the views of this weekend, for the enormity of vistas, for the wide land and majestic red monuments towering, the light and how it moved and changed and gave each view an entirely new appearance.

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We hiked along steep cliffs and over smooth and ancient red rock formations, we drove and sang to the radio, we learned more about Navajo culture and were reminded how rich and complicated (and often overlooked) our history in this country is. I was left speechless at the beauty all around me in Zion and felt inadequate in gratitude to nature and our National Parks. I promised myself I would return and that I would also try to explore more of the beautiful places (especially our other National Parks).

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I returned home to last week’s news out of Charlottesville and feel so sad that the news just seems to become more and more bleak if that could even be possible. Our country is large, it is diverse, it is beautiful, but it also holds a history that we need to address and admit to or we perpetuate it. We have some of the most beautiful nature I have ever seen but we risk losing it because we have learned to not look at it, or appreciate it, or recognize how important it is. We walk in beauty all around us but we threaten to destroy it ourselves. We must look and see the beauty that is around us and work to preserve it, but we must also call out and protest that which is not our proudest moments (both in history and today) and work to recognize and rectify the wrongs.

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I discovered walking beneath the red caverns of Zion and viewing the wild deer and goats that I need not travel so far from home to view beauty and wonder (although I will continue to travel as far as I can) because there is beauty before me, behind me, above me, below me, and all around me.

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18

08 2017

SIMPLE CHIA BREAKFAST PUDDING

IMG_0367“It is not in the starts to hold our destiny but in ourselves” ~ William Shakespeare

For as much of a Shakespeare fan as I am I have only found this quote recently and rather loved it. And in these long days of summer, of work and life in this strange and off kilter world we all find ourselves existing in here are a few other things I have loved.

I read all of these books recently and loved them and found I was so happy and moved to be a part of each page I read.

HOMEGOING – one of the most beautiful series of unfolding interconnected stories told by extraordinary characters.

OPTION B – because resilience is something we have to keep working with and towards in life.

LOVE WARRIOR – powerful book about love that made me examine the stories we tell in our society about men and women and relationships and the courage to form our own lives and stories and relationships.

I also loved this short film JOE’S VIOLIN about the power of music to heal; a holocaust survivor who shared his violin with an inner city girl in the Bronx and the bond it formed.

I was lucky enough to go and see INDECENT on Broadway and it was one of the most spectacular and unique plays I have seen in years that speaks to the power of art and how much it matters in our world and history.

On a recent call with my sister she asked me what I did to take care of myself and she reminded me of what I had told her once, that we all need to take care of ourselves. This simple chia pudding is what I have been eating these last weeks to take care of myself and loving each bite. I found chia puddings only this past year but once I discovered them I have not been able to stop eating them. They are fast to put together (less then 5 min), don’t take many ingredients, and are a healthy delicious way to start the long summer days.

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SIMPLE CHIA BREAKFAST PUDDING:

Ingredients:

¼ cup chia seeds

¾ cup milk of your choice (I like almond, soy, coconut or a combination of any of these)

a pinch cardamom

toasted coconut flakes

nut of choice (I like toasted almonds or walnuts)

fruit of choice (I like berries and banana but also have loved it with mango or nectarine or peach, whatever looks good or that you happen to have on hand)

  • In a bowl or mason jar combine chia seeds, milk, cardamom. Stir for a couple of minutes until well combined and starting to thicken.
  • Let sit in fridge overnight or up to 48 hours. Before serving stir and add fruit and nuts as desired.

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20

07 2017

Luisa Weiss’s Simple German Rhubarb Cake with Streusel

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The world and news has seemed awfully bitter this week. Yesterday I inadvertently stumbled back upon John Lennon’s song Give Me Some Truth and as I listened to it and I kept hitting repeat and finding how eerily and aptly it seems to fit our current times. I think it needs a resurgence – singers should be bringing this back into their repertoire plus it seemed a perfect song for sing a long at any political gathering where health care is being discussed!

“I’m sick and tired of hearing things
from uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is some truth
Just gimme some truth”

I ask is the truth too much to ask for these days? But the thing that is amazing is this song also appears on the same album as Imagine and its hard to not listen to one and then the other and recognize it as 2 sides of the coin – one side demanding truth in a broken world and the other hoping and imagining for a better world we could create together.

“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace….

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”

That was the genius of John Lennon the ability to see and say things about our bitter world and critic it but still dream of a sweeter world and express his hope. It is the thing about life it can be sour but that sourness is what makes the sweet  shine through.

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The sour sweet combination is one I have always loved (I love contradictions!). As a kid I enjoyed Sweet Tarts candies and the way they would make my mouth and cheeks pucker at first and then revel in the sweet with each small pastel candy. As an adult I love it in other places but one of my favorite ways to enjoy the tart and sweet at this time of year is in rhubarb.

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I took a walk through the park on Saturday and after a few days of rain and gray the sky was blue and the air smelled of sweet fresh green grass, a favorite smell of mine and one that especially in New England always makes me happy. The farmers market had huge piles of green/pink rhubarb and I knew that I had to bake it into something sweet and I had just the recipe.

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This recipe comes from Luisa Weiss’s CLASSIC GERMAN BAKING for her Rhabarber Streuselkuchen (Simple Rhubarb Cake with Streusel top). It is the perfect vehicle for rhubarb – a simple delicate and only slightly sweet cake. Just as it is the complexity of John Lennon to sing both Gimme Some Truth and Imagine when you take the sour rhubarb and sink it into a sweet cake covered in streusel and then top it with an only slightly sweet whipped cream you find that the sour and sweet in life work well when we can see and hold and taste them both together. This cake was so delicious I brought it to a friends house and everyone enjoyed it.
Here is to both the sweet and sour in life and here is to hopefully more truth always and never ending capacity to imagine.

Love,
Ramona

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Luisa Weiss’s Simple German Rhubarb Cake with Streusel

Streusel:

¾ cups all purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons butter softened

½ cups almonds ground or chopped optional

  • In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients and working with your fingers rub flour and butter into the size of small lima beans or a pea. Set Streusel aside until after the cake has been assembled.

Cake:

1 pound rhubarb trimmed

¾ cup granulated sugar

7 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Grated peel of ½ lemon

1-1/2 cups scooped leveled all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup whole milk

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 10-inch cake pan or I used an 8×11 pan with parchment paper, letting the sides hang over the edge to function as a sling.
  • Chop rhubarb into ½ inch pieces and toss with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl cream together butter and remaining 1/2 cup  sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Then beat in the vanilla extract and grated lemon peel.
  • In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat half the mixture into the butter mixture, and then beat in the milk. Continue to beat in remaining flour mixture until well combined.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, distributing it evenly.
  • Scatter the rhubarb over the batter and press it lightly into the batter. It will seem like a lot of rhubarb, but Luisa promises its just right, and it is.
  • Sprinkle streusel evenly over top.
  • Bake  for 65-70 min until batter has puffed up and streusel is golden brown.
  • Cool the cake on a rack. Serve cake at room temperature or cold the next day with a generous dollop of Whipped Cream or as my mom would say “Mit schlag”

Schlagsahne:

1 cup whipping cream

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • Beat with an electric mixer until the cream is stiff. 

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30

05 2017

Super Green Spring Smoothie

IMG_2935Spring has been a tease this year. With cherry blossoms and a seemingly endless pink profusion of flowers, with blue skies one day and thunderstorms and heavy rains the next, with days of warm weather followed by freezing days when my buildings noisy heat kicks back in. It feels like an ebb and flow of spring and then not spring but the promise always along the edge of what might come soon with warm days and nights.

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As for me I have been busy with work and my usual spring projects. A few people have recently mentioned they had noticed I haven’t posted anything here lately and I admitted that life and work had been keeping me busy the last few months (and that is not necessarily a bad thing). I used to feel so conflicted about this space and what to do after an absence or what to say when I had fallen off of the cycle of checking in. I felt it necessary to keep checking in and then when life got in the way I would feel guilty and stay away because I felt like I had no excuse and no way to slide gently back into the routine or pattern of what this space is to me – a place to be somewhat creative, to share what I am thinking/feeling/doing and in many cases all of the above. But in the time I have been away I have not only worked I have also had a milestone birthday and don’t feel the same need to apologize as much. I want to be in this space as often as I can but sometimes things get in the way, and my life in better balance might mean just picking back up where I left off without any need for explaining, not to others but to myself. I don’t have to explain to myself why things at times lie fallow even though I wish they didn’t and I don’t need to have a reason to pick them back up, perhaps its just what I do let things go and then pick them back up when time allows.

So in this new decade of my life and with my last few min of time off before diving back into work tomorrow morning here’s to less excuses and a recipe for my favorite green smoothie!

Happy sipping and with every hope I will be back very, very soon.

Love,
Ramona

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Super Green Smoothie
Ingredients:
1 Banana
1 cup fresh baby spinach rinsed
1 cup light coconut milk
1/3 cup cold water (more or less depending on desired texture)

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth and to the texture you like. Sip and enjoy, so easy and delicious! Happy Spring.

Makes 2 smoothies

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10

05 2017

April Bloomfield’s English Porridge

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New York City and the East Coast is tucked in under a layer of snow that continues to fall hour after hour. It’s the perfect day for slowly working, reading in bed, countless cups of tea, and the perfect bowl of Oatmeal!

I grew up eating a ritual of overly sweetened oatmeal made in enormous 60 quart heavy pots, bursting with plump raisins and spooned hundreds of times each morning before my carpool would pick me up from the breakfast shift at Martin de Porres where I worked along side my mom. At home I never remember eating oatmeal but rather the smooth even bowls of Farina cream of wheat. As an adult I have experimented with oatmeal of many varieties – instant in college, quick cooking for years, steel cut with its hearty bite, and cold oats in the summer, but all of my hot bowls of oatmeal have left me wanting something, that is until recently.

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All of my oatmeal dreams came true in one recipe from April Bloomfield, its not complicated, doesn’t take much time, and ultimately changed how I look and feel about my morning bowl of oats. I have loved this warm and hearty bowl of oats a combination of both rolled oats and steel cut leaves a consistency both soft and smooth with just the right amount of bite and give between the teeth. Cooking them in milk and water makes them richer and more flavorful. I have made them lightly sweetened at times or completely unsweetened at other times; I have finished them with a slick of syrup, or some berries, or a banana and peanut butter, or completely on their own. The recipe makes 2-3 servings and I like to make it and then warm up each bowl on the following mornings. Sometimes the easiest things are the best things.

I hope you are warm, dry, and if you are lucky I hope you will be able to snuggle down and eat a bowl of these oats in the very near future.

Love,

Ramona

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April Bloomfield’s English Porridge from Food 52

Ingredients:

1½ cups of milk (any kind of milk – I have used coconut, almond, soy, and dairy and they are all great) 

1½ cups of water

1½ teaspoons salt

½ cup rolled oats

½ cup steel-cut oats

Optional – about 2 tablespoons of sugar during cooking process

  • Combine the milk, water, and salt in a saucepan and set over high heat. As soon as liquid comes to a gentle simmer, add both kinds of oats and lower heat to low.
  • Cook the oats at a steady simmer, stirring frequently and lowering the heat as necessary to maintain the simmer but not bubble over.
  • After about 20 min the rolled oats will have turned soft and almost melted, while the steel cut oats will be tender and have the slightest bite, and all of the liquid will have been absorbed.
  • If you wish to sweeten the entire pot of oats use 2 tablespoons of sugar when you add the oats.
  • Finish with berries, banana, nuts, maple syrup, or anything that makes you happy.

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15

03 2017

Recipe Index and Pumpkin Cranberry Loaf Cake

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My Purple Sky now has a Recipe Index! Yay!

Yes, that means that now you can search for that favorite cookie (Anne’s Ginger Snaps) or a soup (Cauliflower, Mustard, and Cheddar Cheese) or just find some inspiration in one easy place. And to celebrate I made one of my favorite winter cakes – a pumpkin and cranberry cake! Let’s celebrate and eat cake!

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I found this cake a few years ago and have been a devote the last few years but kept forgetting to post the recipe here. The original cake was made with buckwheat but I am not a huge fan of buckwheat and have found it just as delicious with my regular everyday flour. I love the earthiness from squash or pumpkin ever so slightly spicy, not too sweet and studded with bright and tart cranberries. Its perfect sliced and next to your morning coffee or after dinner with tea, and perhaps there is recurring theme of that it pairs nicely with a warm beverage, but be not fooled it is just as good in thick slices as a snack between meals or snuck in bites late at night.

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Pumpkin Cranberry Loaf Cake

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter

1 cup of muscovado (dark brown) sugar

2 large eggs

1 + 1/8 cup flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1-teaspoon baking powder

1-teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup squash puree or pumpkin puree (whatever you like)

¾ cup cranberries (fresh or frozen, but not dried)

  • Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line a loaf pan with parchment paper so that it is overlapping all of the sides and will later be used to pull the entire cake out of the pan in one move.
  • Combine butter, sugar, and eggs in the bowl and beat on medium speed until light in color, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pumpkin puree and beat on low speed until smooth.
  • Fold in the cranberries.
  • Bake the loaf for 45 -50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool the loaf in the pan for 30 minutes before using the parchment to lift the cake up and let cool completely on a rack.
  • The cake keeps for several days on the counter, wrapped loosely in parchment or plastic wrap.

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09

03 2017

My Soul Sister’s Potato, Kale, White Wine Soup

“Nevertheless she persisted”

Well hello there! I have found it hard to figure out what to say or how to say anything lately that feels it could properly convey what I am thinking or feeling. The world feels strange and in equal amounts dark with small light but transitory bubbles of hope. I have thought about what to say and if I should say anything here and if so how when everything feels sad, confusing, scary, frustrating, and infuriating, and did I mention sad. And in this not knowing I have kept coming back to silence, my silence in not knowing what to say or do. 

Nevertheless I have and will continue to persist in small (and some larger) ways however I can. I march, I volunteer with organizations and communities I believe in, I see communities growing and taking root every where I look, I spend time with friends, I bake and cook, and I continue in daily life. Last month I went to DC and marched with friends as part of the Women’s March on Washington and it was one of the most historic and extraordinary days of my life. The collective, peaceful, and profound outcry for finding a way to work together has to be one of the most inspiring moments I have ever witnessed, it also reminds me to look for these people and these moments whenever I can.

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On our walk back to the bus in DC my friends and I passed a storefront with the sign “Soul Sisters & Brothers We Support You!” and it made me think of my beautiful, strong, and compassionate soul sister September. My soul sister is an advocate and ceaseless warrior for children, both her own two sons, and in the work she does. She is one of the smartest people I know, and one of the most fun people to talk to. September came into our family’s life when I was a young self conscious teenager and she was in her early 20s; we have always looked similar and as a teenager who felt uncomfortable and self conscious in her own changing body I looked at September and thought if I could grow up to look like her I might be beautiful. She was the first glimpse I had of self acceptance at a time when I needed the hope most, and she has continued to be that glimpse of possibility in my life to this day. 

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Years ago, shortly after my mom died September stayed with me for a few days and on a particularly hard night she made a simple but delicious soup of potato, kale, and white wine. Recently I made that same soup and it comforted me as much now as it did on that night years ago. The delicate balance of only a few ingredients brought together to make a rustic, warm and enjoyable bowl of sustenance, the earthy notes of potato and kale, the sweet hint from carrot, the complexity from wine, and a dash of heat from red pepper flakes. It may not answer any of my questions or be the thing I was struggling to say but it also served as a moment of hope and light and reminded me to look toward that and persist towards that no matter the silence, the confusion, or any set back. 

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With all my love now and ever to my soul sister September and here is the recipe for her Potato, Kale, White Wine Soup. In other news of encouragement my sister recently published her first book of poetry that can now be purchased on Amazon and shared. Its a beautiful book and I am so tremendously proud of my sister for her eloquent words and her strength in sharing so honestly about the truly darkest days of life.

Wishing you love, light, and persistence, 

Ra

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My Soul Sister’s Potato, Kale, White Wine Soup

Ingredients:

1 tbs Butter

1 medium onion chopped

2 stalks of celery chopped

1 carrot grated

2 russet baking potatoes thinly sliced almost until transparent

1 ½ cups white wine (use whatever white wine you enjoy drinking)

1 ½ cups water or vegetable stock

½ bunch (approx. 2 cups) of kale chopped

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Salt & Pepper to taste

  • Chop and sauté onion in the butter.
  • Add celery and grated carrot to the onion and continue to sauté until soft.
  • Slice potato on a mandolin or using the widest angle on a box grater, ultimately looking for thin slices of potato that are almost translucent. Add potato to the vegetable mixture and sauté until soft.
  • Cover with equal parts wine and broth, you may need more depending on the size of your potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste and add red pepper flakes. Bring to a slow simmer.
  • Stem and chop kale and then add to the soup until wilted.
  • Serve and enjoy.

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25

02 2017

Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower with Coconut-Lime Forbidden Rice

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For the past few years I have liked to start the new year off with a small detox, nothing crazy just being more mindful after the holiday food extravaganzas; something to help my body bounce back and feel a little fresher and less sluggish. I use recipes from Goop and Bon Appétit, I’ve done them for varying amounts of time anywhere from a week – 2 weeks and the longest was about 18 days. In reality I try to do these detoxes every time the seasons change if I can to varying degrees of commitment and success. 

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I had intended to start 2017 off with the detox and I had planned my way through the first two weeks as I work and what I could take on preparing. And then before we even reached 2017, on new years eve in fact, I received a beautiful gift of a cookbook I had been wanting Classic German Baking (thanks Bari!)….and well, I started January 1st by baking cookies from said cookbook. But I stayed on the plan other then the cookies (no diary, no caffeine, no alcohol, no wheat or grains other then some rice)…that was of course until this weekend. All to say I didn’t do as well on the plan as I did at the start of 2016. 

Then I went to yoga on January 2nd and my class that ranges in size normally from 5 people to maybe 10 was brimming with over 15. The teacher started by acknowledging the larger class and welcoming new people, she also talked about new years resolutions and yoga. She talked about the practice and how its less about each pose and being there every week and more about listening to yourself, meeting yourself each day where you are, accepting yourself, and forgiving yourself. I have a tough time forgiving myself or others (but especially myself). I give people a lot of chances in life but I tend to give myself less chances – I should master it right out of the gate, work hard but do it and do it well, and every slip I judge and ruminate over. I need to give myself the chances and the benefit of the doubt that I give other people (thank you to my wonderful soul sister for imparting this gem on me). So I did my yoga practice on January 2nd and again later in the week, I ate mostly clean and followed mostly my detox that first week, and I loved my German cookies all the while! And most importantly I tried to see it not as a failed attempt but for all the good I did my body in what I did put in. 

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And while I am talking about some detoxing, some forgiving, and some starting 2017 off on as bright a note as we can all muster how about a delicious recipe that is detox friendly but tastes and feels perfect all of the time. This recipe comes from Goop detox and I have to admit its so easy, quick, and wonderfully satisfying that after making it once it has become a regular recipe in my kitchen no matter what else I am cooking or eating. Warm, exotic notes of turmeric and ginger elevate the already delicious nature of roasted cauliflower, and black forbidden rice with coconut and lime feels exactly like its name – forbidden and luxurious. The entire thing comes together in about half an hour and uses only one pan and a cookie sheet. Its forgiving in your time, in your effort, in the ingredients it uses, and while I feel forgiven with each mouthwatering bite I also feel like I am indulging and enjoying with each grain of rice and floret of cauliflower. 

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Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower with Coconut Lime Forbidden Rice from Goop

Ingredients:

For The Coconut Lime Forbidden Rice:

1 cup vegetable broth

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup forbidden rice

zest & juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons flacked coconut 

For The Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower

1 cauliflower stemmed and chopped into florets

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • In a medium pot, bring vegetable broth and coconut milk to a boil, add forbidden rice and cover.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer until all liquid has been absorbed (about 30 min) stirring occasionally. 
  • Remove rice from heat and uncover, add lime zest, juice, and coconut and stir until well distributed. Fluff with a fork before serving. 
  • Meanwhile, rub the cauliflower with the coconut oil and all spices except for black pepper until its well coated. Place on parchment lined pan (this is important because turmeric will leave some yellow behind), keeping pieces from touching each other.
  • Roast for 20-30 minutes or until cauliflower is golden brown and tender. 
  • Serve Cauliflower over rice. 

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11

01 2017