Rockabilly on the radio, a thermos full of iced coffee, shades on, I headed down the 101 towards some of my favorite people on earth. By the time I hit the I5, I was listening to This American Life, a road trip companion second only to my husband. Nine hours after the time I left Sonoma County, I arrived in Murrietta, CA. There, waiting for me, were Maggy and Sharon of Three Many Cooks and Erika of Ivory Hut. I arrived just in time for a big round of hugs and kisses and a beautiful dinner.
I had met Maggy a year prior- we were introduced by Irvin Lin of Eat The Love. From the moment Maggy and I met, it was true love (for reals). We began working together on a couple of projects almost immediately and I would spend two more weekends with her in the coming months- including my 39th birthday.
This year, Maggy came to visit in March, just before I moved to Sonoma County and saying goodbye was not as hard knowing I’d be seeing her in less than a month.
I was in Murrieta for the very first Big Travelling Potluck. I showed up a few days early—ostensibly to help, but really to hang out with The Anderson Clan, Erika, and my dear friends Deb and Rod from Smith Bites.
Maggy, Pam, and Erika work year round to pull off events that you have to see to believe. … get the recipe
Spending time on pinterest and on food blogs, you may get the impression that we bloggers never buy anything. We’ll DIY anything from fruit leather to hand foraged soda pop to homemade sous vide machines.
It’s true, the homemade bug has bitten me. I make a lot of my condiments, my granola, my horchata, and once I even attempted to rock out some donut-infused vodka. But, I also love trying new foods from the market. You won’t catch me buying Easter-hued Oreos, or the latest flavor of Doritos. Instead, you’ll find me in the “health food” aisle often slipping into the raw foods section.
I’ll admit to going through ten packages of roasted seaweed in as many days, and I’ll stalk a coconut chip like nobody’s business. So, when Sesame Gifts suggested partnering up to create a healthy snack box, I jumped.
Sesame is a super cool gifting app for your iphone, and they also have a web store too. What you get in your Sesame box is hand-selected by people like Stephanie Hua of Lick My Spoon and me! The stuff inside is amazing (of course) but half the fun is opening your Sesame box (get it? Open Sesame?) From the second it arrived, my Sesame Healthy Snacks Box was pure joy- the adorable box, the special note, and fun little tags all had me smiling from ear to ear.
Inside, were some of my favorite gluten-free and vegan snacks- … get the recipe
I am not above waxing poetic about my love of breakfast. At least ¼ of my instagrams feature breakfast as the subject. I wasn’t always this way. Until I was in my 20’s, I wasn’t crazy about eating the morning. When I did eat breakfast, it was almost always savory; I remember eating spinach for Saturday morning breakfasts when I was five or six. Soup was another favorite.
And then, I met Joshua. When we were first dating, I cooked a lot of breakfasts for my man. (Take that as you will). It went that way for five whole weeks, and then, I took a job in LA and said goodbye to my handsome San Francisco “fling”. When I got to Southern California, I realized two things.
- Angelenos LOVE breakfast. It seemed there was an “Omelette Haven” or an “Egg Hamlet” or a “Nice Yolks” on every corner.
- I was head over heels for the guy who liked his eggs over medium, his cereal bowl overflowing, and his oatmeal served nice and hot.
Living in a hotel near work while I searched for an apartment, I ate at a lot of those egg-centric diners (ha ha). I switched from my usual scrambled to fried, just to feel nearer to my guy. Each time I dipped my toast in yolk, I thought of how Joshua eats his eggs: He carefully eats the whites, getting as close to the yolk as possible. Then, he scoops the yolk up with his fork … get the recipe
When I was about six, I worked it out in my head that if August 4th was my birthday, February 2nd must be my half birthday. While I wasn’t exactly right about that, you’ve got to love the logic behind it. Fast forward 20 years to August 28th, 1999- that was the day I met my future husband. So, by my six year old logic, February 14th is our “halfiversary” and we celebrate it accordingly.
I am one of those people that adores Valentine’s Day- not the stuffed teddy bears with “I Love You” t-shirts and not the cheesy Hallmark cards. Honestly, it’s not even the excessive amounts of chocolate we’re allowed to consume. I love Valentine’s Day because it’s one day, set aside each year, to celebrate love in all its many forms.
Sharing homemade foods is one of my favorite ways to express my love for friends, family, and my man. I feel such joy when I get to see someone I care for savoring a bite of something I’ve made for them.
Two years ago, Joshua and I celebrated Valentine’s Day with heart-themed dinner (quite literally). Last year, I surprised him with vegan strawberry cashew smoothies and champagne and roses caramel. This year, I’ve created an amazing vegan treat, a decidedly decadent one. You see, Joshua loves chocolate—when I say “love” I mean it. When he was a boy, he could sniff out the chocolate bars his dad tried to hide in a hidden jacket pocket. … get the recipe
Happy 2013! After a holiday season veritably bursting with love and laughter, I’m welcoming another spin around the sun with open arms. 2012 was a very full year, and it’s hard to believe that it went by so quickly. Though, as I reflect on 2012, it’s hard to imagine that I packed so much into one year.
I spent many of my weekends reigniting my love affair with California. Travelling to visit family in Southern California, spending a few glorious days at Sonoma County wineries, discovering waterfalls in the redwoods, hiking to remote beaches, visiting farms in Sebastapol, Petaluma, Santa Cruz, and Watsonville- these trips all solidified the fact that I am a California girl. As one of my teachers says, “If you were born in the US, you can consider yourself to have hit the karmic lottery. It is extremely unlikely that you will starve to death or have to fight wars on your own soil.” It feels doubly lucky to have been born in California.
This year has also been a year of growth and discovery in the kitchen. I learned to make gravlax and gluten-free puff pastry. I fell in love with my slow cooker and lived grain free and sugar free for a month I had a tomato tart-off with one of my favorite people and conquered my fear of making cheesecake (twice). I can’t wait for the culinary adventures to come.
The 2012 holiday season was truly amazing- … get the recipe
There are two kinds of people: those who are excited by soup and those who are not. I neatly fall into the first camp. To be fair, it’s easy to be excited by anything when your earliest memories came from a kitchen like my grandmother’s.
I remember beautiful and rustic potages, aromatic and creamy leek and potato, cold cucumber soup in the summer with a dollop of cream on top. I remember a bouillabaisse in the South of France when I was a little girl- I had a mussel I knew was bad, but I just threw the mussel to the side and kept eating because I’d never tasted a broth so good.
My father loved soup too, I remember the way he’d say “Passe le beurre, si vous plais” in his comically bad French accent. He’d joyously drop a pat of butter into his potage, swirling it around with the sour cream and fresh herbs. Soup wasn’t just a seasonal thing in our family. Vicchysoise and cucumber soup made appearances, but more common in the summer months was soup au pistou, and something that could almost be called a ratatouille soup (tojours sans aubergine!).
Though parts of my family lived just 45 minutes from the Spanish border, gazpacho never made an appearance on my childhood table. Here’s how my first encounter with gazpacho went down.
“What’s it called?” I asked. Skeptical of the uncooked tomatoes, and a name that sounded entirely made up. So skeptical, in fact, … get the recipe
Busy. We’re all so busy. When I run into a friend I haven’t seen in some time I ask, “How are you?” the answer is usually something like “Good. Good. Busy, but good.”
How many times have you heard this? How many times have you said it? How do we work, have time for family, friends, exercise, putting dinner on the table? The “Busy, but good” you share with old friends can be “I’m overwhelmed, burnt out, tired… “ in conversations with your partner/therapist/sibling/confidant/mom/.
Meeting the demands of day to day responsibilities can be difficult. I’ve been at the burnout stage. Though I don’t have a magic cure, I will say that giving yourself a little break is so important. Here are my top five tips for getting over burnout and getting on with life.
1. Get Up
By that I mean, get up from what you’re working on and take a walk for at least 15 minutes, or stretch for 10 (preferably outside), or meditate (away from your desk), or dance your butt off to 3 killer songs. Just get up and give yourself a break. Do this twice a day, and you will soon notice that things get just a little bit better.
2. Get Out
Into nature. When I was having a hard time writing for this blog, I turned to the things that inspired me. I started getting out of town with the guy I love. Since we’re not rich, we usually just get out of … get the recipe
It’s Cinco De Mayo Week at The Tomato Tart, and I’m so excited to celebrate with friends and family and fantastic food like this strawberry rhubarb salsa. Cinco De Mayo or May 5th , is one of my favorite culinary holidays. Celebrated as Mexican Independence Day in the US, Cinco De Mayo is actually the date that the Mexicans beat the French in the battle of Puebla in 1882. If you’re questioning why a French girl loves this holiday so much, no need. Never question a French person’s passion for excellent food and a good party.
I’m also from California, so I’ve always been surrounded by friends and extended family of Mexican ethnicity. Which also means, I’ve been lucky enough to eat the food in authentic eateries and in the kitchens of talented home cooks for most of my life. Tacos, ceviche, sopa de tortilla, salsas, quesadillas, mariscos of every shape and size, soft and fluffy arroz, flan, cajeta, sopapillas, and pozole. I love Mexican and Latin food of every origin.
Another aspect of being from California means that I’m sensitive to my friends’ dietary restrictions and preferences. This week, I’ll be offering a menu of foods that you can prepare for Cinco de Mayo for everyone- whether gluten free, vegan, lactose-intolerant, pescatarian, or omni. We’ll start off with this vegan, gluten-free, strawberry-rhubarb salsa.
I love this fresh and perfectly seasonal spring salsa for a few reasons- not the least of which is … get the recipe