Archive for October, 2015

Life in Links

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This weekend I baked dessert for a friend’s party and 40 people…40 People!! I baked so much I think I might have lost my sweet tooth, but fret not it won’t last long. In the mean time there has also been so many things to look at, think about, and learn, here are some of the links that have been filling my life when it has not been filled with cakes, cookies, whipping cream, and dishes.

Home its important to each and everyone of us, this video has touched me on so many levels – refuges, environment, and the concept of home.

While we are talking about home, from my birthplace and forever home town wherever I might be living The Steepest Streets In San Francisco.

The Refuge crisis and Syria are immense, so immense, this look at Syria in dots is amazing!

I was introduced to the podcast On Being and I am obsessed OBSESSED!

Brene Brown’s TED Talk on Vulnerability and Shame are life changers!!

The difference between Empathy and Sympathy, I choose empathy. Yeah I’m on a Brene Brown kick over here.

When I’m gone and the letters one father left, I found this so moving.

I saw this Antoine Schneck exhibit in Paris earlier this summer and have not been able to stop thinking about his portraits or looking at the one post card I have from the show.

Last week I found the table I want at this little shop, its made from one piece of wood by Creation Therrien  and a portion of proceeds go to Haiti, anyone want to buy me a table…I mean a glorious piece of art?

I wish you all the very of sweetest of weeks.

Love,

Ra

Lead photo is from a Yves Saint Laurent poster at the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech and my trip there in 2012.

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10 2015

Fall In Vermont & Almond & Syrup Thumb Print Cookies

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Having grown up in California the idea of moving to the East Coast and a place with history and four distinct seasons was always a dream. I loved the idea of cold and snowy winters (perhaps less now that I have lived through them as long as I have), the joyful bursting of green life in spring, the hot summers with smells of fresh cut grass, and the crisp autumn air and changing colors of the leaves.

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The other week I took a quick trip up to Vermont to meet friends – Anne, Beth, and Robert, on their trip through New England. Flying into Burlington the hills were a magnificent range of greens, yellows, reds, orange – a rolling cascade of color and texture.

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We took a boat ride on Lake Champlain, ate amazing food, drank amazing beers and apple ciders, ate more food with syrup, walked on colorful roads, went to a farm and watched as they made cheese, and went to the Ben & Jerry’s factory!! We soaked in all of the colors, we talked for hours, and I took great pleasure in the place and the people who shared it with me.

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As a souvenir of my time I took home some of Vermont’s famous maple syrup and the first chance I had I baked these insanely good and healthy cookies. Sweetened entirely by syrup the flavor of these cookies are sweet, rich with maple, and a perfect ode to fall.

Almond & Syrup Thumb Print Cookies (adapted from a recipe in My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow)

Ingredients:

2 cups whole spelt flour

1 ½ cups roasted and unsalted almonds crushed in a food processor

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup canola oil

½ cup real Vermont maple syrup

Your favorite jam (I used an apricot and blueberry, but raspberry has also made these cookies great).

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cookie sheet with wax paper.

Pulse the almonds in a food processor until they are almost a flour consistency with some larger chunks for texture.

Combine all of the ingredients except the jam together in a large bowl. Form into tablespoonful balls and space them evenly on a cookie sheet. Using your index finger, make an indent in each cookie. Fill each indent with a small spoonful of jam. Bake until cookies are evenly browned, about 20 minutes.

Love,

Ra

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17

10 2015

Savory Tofu and Vegetables Over Tomato Couscous

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“We cannot do great things only small things with great love.” – Mother Theresa

My parents met over chopping onions at a soup kitchen in San Francisco Mission District of the late 1970s. My mother always believed that serving a person food was among the noblest, kindest, and most nurturing things one could do; she dedicated her life to doing just that. She was a great cook and baker and would include the gift of food at every occasion – holiday, birth, birthday, death, and the ordinary Monday night.

But that is not to say my mother cooked fantastic food every night of the week, or even cooked every night of the week; there were many a Wednesday night when we ate eggs, toast, and a vegetable of some kind. I liked how Molly Wizenberg talked about how she cooks on Orangette it reminded me of how I cook and how my mother cooked – at times mindful, intentional, filled with passion and curiosity and at other times with ease as a plan to get the nutrients and energy we need.

Occasionally a recipe comes along that mixes all of these things – ease, nutrients, and beauty – and these are the recipes I go back to time and again. This couscous recipe from Vegetarian Times is exactly that and I have returned to it for years and think once you try it you will as well!

For whatever reason you cook, I hope you enjoy it and I hope you enjoy this couscous and vegetables!

Thank you Timmy, for the beautiful card and the inspiring quote that started this post!

Love, Ra

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Savory Tofu and Vegetables Over Tomato Couscous from Vegetarian Times

Ingredients:

1 – 6oz jar marinated artichoke hearts with liquid

1 – 14oz package of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. black pepper, divided

2 Tbs. olive oil

4 medium carrots, thinly sliced (approx. 1 ½ cups)

2 medium leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced (approx. 1 ½ cups)

1 – 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes

1 cup whole-wheat couscous

2 cloves garlic minced

Combine artichokes and marinade liquid, tofu, cumin, and ¾ tsp. pepper in nonstick skillet. Cook over high heat 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring constantly. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots, leeks, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Cook 10 minutes, or until carrots are tender and leeks are lightly browned.

Meanwhile, bring tomatoes and liquid and 2/3 of a cup of water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff fluff with fork.

Add garlic and reserved tofu mixture to vegetable mixture in skillet. Cook 3 minutes over medium heat, or until heated through and garlic is fragrant.

Serve tofu and vegetables over tomatoes and couscous.

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10 2015