It's not easy to begin a post without mentioning the times we are living in. Sheltering since March 16th, the hush about me in San Francisco has provided much space to listen, go inward, focusing on what is important. Hope you are doing well and finding moments of peace.
I still am also finding much beauty in the world; community is strong and reassuring. There is much powerful imagery and imagination being shared. However, I am keenly aware that not every moment of this time of insecurity is beautiful.
The FOOD world is exploding with sharing and inspiration. I do need to check in, are you enjoying your time in the kitchen? As I have said to friends, I waiver. As a newly single mom I live in two worlds. One week, I am running a full-time cafe for my teens who are engaged with their computers, either learning or socializing; making breakfast lunch, dinner and many pots of tea a day. I am always grateful for time around the table with my family. It all seems even more precious, that pause in the day to check in with the faces I love. Our meals may be just a "pantry meal" or a bit more elaborate, no matter, its the act of sitting, listening, nourishing our bodies and our souls that fuel me. I would not change this for the world.
Other weeks, when on my own, I catch myself eating an orange over the sink and remind my self that my next meal will be different, with a set table, savoring every bite. I am learning simple tricks to keep myself nourished. I check-in to my Zoom meditation group 3 times a week and join my yoga class the same way. Who would think that technology would become such a life-line for us?
I can not say enough about the joy a simple homemade loaf of bread can bring to a home. I posted about No Knead Bread (videos of the process in my Instagram stories) we make weekly. (recipe below.) I preface this knowing it's not easy to find flour or yeast right now as I think there is a whole lot of baking going on. I ran out of YEAST and a dear friend dropped off a bag on my doorstep, COMMUNITY. Our first week making the bread, it came out of the oven at lunch time. While it cooled, we baked Brie, drizzled with honey, served with a salad. Do not know what it is about a simple meal with a few quality ingredients but it was a feast. Last night our loaf came out of the oven at 11 pm and we each had a piping-hot piece with the perfect crust, and served with cultured butter and flaky sea salt. We sat and enjoyed out last moments before bed. I encourage you to try making this bread if you have not. It is quite a passive process, its just about the timing and waiting. Every loaf we have made when we follow the directions to the T, comes out with a hard, perfect crust and a soft, moist interior.
I am loving how the children will walk in to the kitchen, recalling something they used to make when they were children, and next thing I know there will be Rice Pudding in the oven or cookies on a tray. They grew up cooking with me and this return is quite welcome.
The alternating weeks, I eat more simply. My winning meal recently was a simplified version of the Bar Tartine Kale Salad. With every bite it reminds me of the good times I had with friends sharing this dish. I prep and eat it for three days in a row and never tire of it. Simplified recipe Below
Please be well, stay inside, and please stay in touch.
No Knead Bread (first seen in the NYTime ) - NEED a Dutch Oven with lid
Timing is the thing you need to think about as it's a 15 - 18 hour process
3 1/2 cups of flour (bread flour is best)
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water + 2 tables spoons
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add water, mix using a wooden spoon 30 - 60 seconds until wet and sticky. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rest for 12 hours (It has been up to 18 for mine). I use plastic wrap and make a tight seal around the bowl, like a drum. It is very forgiving. I keep my home on the cool side, so I often wrap it in a blanket. The dough should at least double in size. At the end you could place in a warmer place to get that extra rise.
2. Remove the dough on to a floured surface and fold over once, let rest for 15 minutes. Shape dough in to a ball, placing on a dusted tea towel with flour; place the dough seam side down on the towel. Cover with towel and rest for 2 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, at least 30 minutes before baking, place the pot with lid in the oven to heat-up. When dough has doubled in size, pull pot out of the oven, dump the dough in to the pot, put the lid on and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 15 minutes more.
Let bread cool on a rack a wee bit before enjoying.
Simplified Bar Tartine Kale Salad
De-stem 2 bunches of Lacinato Kale, wash and dry, torn in to pieces
6 cloves of garlic
oil (grape seed or olive oil)
1 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 chili (Serrano or jalapeno)
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons of honey
1 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or drain your own
1/2 teaspoon of honey
2 tbsp water
Bread crumbs (optional)
Place garlic in a saucepan in the oil. Cook on low for 30 minutes to infuse the oil and soften the garlic, then cool ...this step is so worth it.
In a blender place the rest of the ingredients: sunflower seeds, water, honey, pepper (reserve garlic oil). Blend. I store mine and use for at least 3 days.
Yogurt, honey and salt
Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add oil and ripped-up kale. season with salt, stir for a minute. If you have bread crumbs you can heat them up for 30 seconds.
PLATING is the fun part.
Spread the tahini on the plate in an arc, spread the yogurt on top, add the kale and sprinkle with pumpkins seeds and sunflower and drizzle the garlic oil.
This is dish better eaten immediately...not a travel dish.
I make this my main course when alone and a side dish when the children are home.