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Potato Leek Soup

I meant to make the Sunflower Pate - but that didn't happen. Do you ever find yourself walking down the produce isle and grabbing things instinctively with no apparent reason? Well, that's what happened to me. Maybe I was thrown off because the store was packed with blizzard preppers - or maybe I was divinely guided to those leeks. Growing up my Mom always had packs of potato leek soup on hand. Knorr - the yellow and green pack - a flash of nostalgia and comfort in a cup. Texture, Taste, Color. I see her in her pink and purple robes. Intense 80's makeup.

So I find myself chopping and throwing things in the pot. I've never made potato leek soup from scratch. Would it add up? Ginger, celery and a dash of turmeric. I've accepted that pretty much everything I make is bold and slightly Indian in persuasion. I clean the leeks really well - because who wants sand in their soup? The smell of sauteing onions and leeks fills the house. That old 50's house wife trick - sauteing onions before their husbands got home from work to make them think they'd been hard at work in the kitchen. It works for me. I'm in the zone of chop - dash - stir. A trance of actions that leads me to my destination. It's not a chosen destination - it's a moment by moment unraveling.

It worked. I got that bliss in a bowl.

POTATO LEEK SOUP

  • 4 Tblsp Olive Oil
  • 2 ea Leeks
  • 2 ea Celery stalks
  • 1 ea Onion, medium
  • about 4 cups Water
  • 6 ea Red Potatoes, small, diced
  • 4 ea Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2" Ginger, fresh, chopped
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp French Four Spice (white pepper, nutmeg, ginger, cloves)
  • 1 tsp Pepper, fresh cracked
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

4qt pot

Clean leeks well. Chop leeks, onion and celery. Don't worry about them all being perfect or a specific size - you're going to be pureeing them! Heat oil in pot - add chopped leeks, celery, onion. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add water, diced potatoes, garlic, ginger and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Turn off heat. Puree with a hand blender or in a blender. Serve with a scoop of greek yogurt, fresh pepper and grated cheese. (dayia cheese if vegan!)

The Granola Bar

I love granola bars. It's really the perfect food. Kind of like a banana except that a banana can get smushed too easily in your bag. Ready at a moments notice when you're hungry and there's no good food around or you just don't feel like stopping to get some. There it is. Waiting for you in your bag. The granola bar. A great thing for kids too. As a Mom it feels like your doing some worldly good deed when you feed your kids good food. That it will somehow prevent them from having a melt down and fill them with the important nutrition needed to face the world. Assuming that it's not filled with sugar, which most of them are, because then you will be doing yourself and the world a great disservice and laying the tracks for a meltdown that most certainly will happen in the near future.

So my epiphany came to create just such a bar from a recipe I used to do at Heaven. The fruit and nut bar... but how about if I added some Kale and then dipped it in chocolate? I know, the chocolate has sugar in it... but maybe I can get around that too....

I've done dozens of recipes at this point - perfecting just the right balance of sweet and healthy. We're all looking for that 'treat'. A small indulgence - especially when you're on a 10 day cleanse or when you're having a long day of battle of the wills with your toddler.... So with those two thoughts in mind last night I came up a raw cacao kale bar! It may sound intimidating or unappetizing - but let me tell you - I basically made a brownie that happens to be healthy.... SERIOUSLY! I fed them to a group of cleansers this morning and it was all rave reviews (maybe they were just grateful to have something other than steamed veggies and salad). But then I fed them to my 3 1/2 year old son this evening  and he wanted more, more, more, more (as he likes to say...).  So I'm happy. I've managed to sneak greens into his diet AND have a delicious treat to eat. I've also managed to finish this post - The first part I wrote over a year ago. My how time flies.

Now I don't have to go through the effort of coating it in chocolate - it's already in the bar. And we can continue to love our fruit and nut bars just as they are and I can stop caring that Duncan doesn't like them.  

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And did I mention that all the bars are gluten free, vegan and maple sweetened? Bonus. 

Easter

Why is easter about colored eggs? Why are all holidays about food? Comfort. Gathering. Community. Some greater purpose. Calling family. Well Wishes. My mom says she's trying to stay calm. Holidays freak her out and put pressure on an already fragile composition of nerves. So she goes on a 7 minute rant about the immediate stress in her life and wishing people would die. Sounds morose, I know. But that's what happens. Total honesty. On the raw leading edge where no filters exist. I juggle it with a grain of salt and go back to my beautiful blue eyed son who is staring at me through the most angelic eyes. Holidays are about the kids. That's what everyone I called tells me today. People who's kids are all grown and they are living on their own now. You can hear it in their voices - missing that carefree happiness that engulfs the little ones that so often leaves the grown-ups. But back to the food. Any excuse to make a meal - make a cake - make a moment in time stand still. A mushroom omelet with jalepeno cheese. Home fries. Baguette slathered in fig jam. Strong french press coffee. A perfect meal. I'll settle for store bought Easter candy for dessert - no time to make a cake these days. There's something nostalgic and fulfilling about York peppermint patties and Reese's peanut butter cups.

Happy Easter.

for the love of cooking

Cooking is therapy. There's no way around it for me. Start chopping and spicing and concocting a dish and you find your way home. I'm standing in the kitchen. Staring into the fridge. What do I have. What do I want. What lines up. It's a game I like to play. Make it come together with what's in front of you. If you think too hard you'll miss the point. People (who obviously don't know me) like to talk and contemplate the extent of my mental state. The post-holiday musings post was too real. But what's life without the truth? You can't have the highs without the lows. You know this. How can anyone dare to ask, undirectly, what's in someones mind. If you want to know you'll have to go to the source. That post wasn't meant to be scary or dark. (You should have seen the first few drafts I tried to write - that was scary and dark). It was meant to be real. Truth. And it's a public forum - so open to debate and crticism - but it's also exactly that - open, honest musings. Do we take everything too literal? Maybe so. But don't ever guess and think to know what's really in someones mind.

So, I'm back to cooking. And baking. In stride. I like to make the people around me as happy as I can. And gifting cookies and dinners always seems to please. It's from the heart. It has a little bit of me in it. And the act of doing it works out the kinks in my mind. As we all have an overactive mind that goes down dark corridors and pathways trying to make sense of what's happening around us. I chant into my food. I immerse myself in flavor combinations. I become one with what's in front of me. I truly loose track of time in the most beautiful way. Everyone should be so lucky to find something like this in their lives. And I give the gift of food to my son and my friends around me hoping that they can taste this in every bite and know that all is right in the world.

Cookies.

I've got cookies on the brain. So simple. So good. So versatile. Endless combinations of ingredients - though I must say the basic chocolate chip cookie is still my favorite. It's like wrapping your favorite blanket around yourself - a moment where all is right in the world and nothing can change the pure simplistic goodness that envelopes my being. I'm walking down the street - chocolate chip cookie in hand - and with every bite I take all my temporary problems of perceived confusion melt away. I get more pep in my step and whatever I was thinking about before this cookie is magically solved and transformed. At least for the moment. Yes, the power of the cookie. I see it in my son too. The two year old temper tantrum? Tell him you have a cookie. He may just change his mind about kicking and screaming for no apparent reason. I know, it's bribery starting at a young age. But hey, sometimes we just need some positive motivation.

And here's the other thing about the basic chocolate chip cookie recipe - you can come at it like a chef and depending on your mood throw in different ingredients. My friend asked me to whip up a batch of cookies for him the other day and I threw in cocoa powder, cinnamon, walnuts and cayenne pepper. Bliss. I know that takes them to the level of a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie. But my point is to experiment and take the plunge. If it goes terribly wrong you can always grind them up and use it as a crust for something else. Add more butter and layer it in a cheesecake. The possibilities are endless. It mirrors life in that way. It's all in your hands. Create your own perfection.

I grabbed an oatmeal raisin cookie the other day. Perfect balance of crisp butter crunch and soft chewy raisins. It was definitely an oatmeal raisin kind of day. Chocolate chip would have been too intense. It was morning. The first thing I ate. There's a cookie for every mood. Figure out your mood through a cookie. Stir the batter, scoop it out, bake it in the oven and ENJOY. That's what life is about, no?

 

post-holiday musings

You can't push passion. Or artistic inspiration. It just happens and takes over. Something that you want to do, think you should do, have a passion to do. It's a fickle thing. Driven by emotion and a balance of making yourself do something and wanting to do something. My head is in the clouds. Refuses to come down to earth. And I know it's a plan of self-preservation. Coming to the earth plane means submerging myself in anxiety and darkness. At least right now. You can force positive thinking on yourself and wrap yourself in a layer of affirmations. Fake it till you make it. Look for the positive in every problem. But sometimes you just need to stare reality in it's face and calmly look at it. Begging it to transform into something else is futile. Attempts at metamorphosis are best left to Kafka. I'm still here. Standing in the muck and mire. And also so thankful for all that garbage thrown onto my path. It makes me stronger, no?

A night.

I'm playing catch up.... Time rolls on and things I've meant to do don't get done until they seem irrelevant and I think about not doing them at all.But I have some fun pics from this night and I figured why the hell not. It was September 11th and it was beautiful. I got to wear an amazing Chanel dress, eat delicious food and laugh with some fun people. My favorite comment of the night came from the person seated next to me - Waiter: "Would you like some bread?" Guest: "Oh no, it doesn't go with my outfit!" Ah, Fashion....

Thanks to my super amazing friend Ali Kavoussi. It was for Muse Magazine hosted                                                                       by Marina Abramovic at the Gramercy Park Hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*some photos here are from Billy Farrell Agency

deux mille douze

It's a new year. 2012. Are things supposed to feel different? Somehow more bathed in hope? I'm not sure I feel the difference. I don't have a list of things I want to do better or things I want to accomplish. Life is about living and at the moment I feel I'm doing a pretty good job at doing just that. Living. Sitting on the edge of a window on the edge of time. The Parisian kind of windows that open in and are big and grand. Everything looks good up against the warped glass and the curled iron window guards.
We stayed at a chateau this past week. A big, grand, dazzling example of perfect French countryside splendidness. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere we pulled up - to jazz music dancing through the grand entrance way (I would tell you what it was but I'm not well versed in names... I leave that to my dear friend Rick Lange). I felt as if I had been transported through time into another dimension. The silk curtains were perfectly placed in hues of eggplant, moss and red wine. I liked this dimension. We were the only guests - the chateau was all ours. All of its understated decadence. As I stared out across the field I felt like anything was possible. Through the oval window carving its name into another time - these things can slide through your fingers if you're not careful. A haze of memory - a push into the present moment. Look around and let go. It constantly moves and jumps and begs to be heard. Don't try to pin it down, it disappears into light.
And the best ray of light was hitting Duncan. He ran around the breakfast room with croissant in hand. A perfect mini croissant for a perfect mini hand. He understood. He watched the glass birds sitting on tables, their still fragility looking back at him. The hush of the rain coming down outside meant everything. And out the perfect glass door he ran. Down that hallway of memories. Stomping on rugs and pulling on doorknobs. With a belly full of croissants anything is possible.
As we slide into this new year I wonder if Duncan will remember all the croissants he ate in France when he was just one year old. All the cheese and bread and nibbles of macaroons.
If he doesn't I'll make sure to bring him back to taste it all again - when he's sure to remember it all.
Happy New Year.