Pumpkin Love

by Janice on October 19, 2014

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Gorgeous Half Moon Bay is having their famous Pumpkin Festival this weekend. It’s a wonderful festival in all ways except one: Half Moon Bay is small and the crowd is larger than the biggest of the giant pumpkins. This makes for a several-hour drive into Half Moon Bay on a long, long 2 lane road. Normally the drive for us is 20-25 minutes.

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So we cheated. We snuck over on a Monday when our son had a non-holiday official day off from school. We had the pumpkin fields to ourselves. The beach was nearly empty. It’s enough to make one fall in love with Autumn all over again.

Although I do every year, day-off or not. The light, the leaves, the chilly evenings, the short ribs and mushrooms braised in wine and beef stock. Apples and pumpkins and persimmons and pomegranates. Butternut squash and falling for kale as if it is new to me once more, after all the tomatoes and roasted peppers I could eat in one season. Deep colors, and sweater weather, and here in the SF Bay Area, acres of brilliant blue skies.

One of my favorite parts of the pumpkin patches is that all of the pumpkins are great for cooking except the regular old field pumpkins. We grabbed a diverse bunch to decorate our front porch now and to make into Jack-O-Lanterns and pumpkin puree later. I’ll probably sneak back for a few more in green and in ghostly white, just because I can.

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If you find yourself with some edible pumpkins, and I certainly hope you do, you can find the simplest puree directions here. And then you can make these favorites:

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Swirl

Pumpkin Leftover Rice Pudding

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

What new or old-favorite pumpkin recipes are you making this year? Where are you finding your pumpkins?

Happy Autumn!

 

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Too Much Cabbage? Mak Kimchi!

by Janice on June 19, 2014

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If you’ve ever belonged to a CSA, then you’ve most likely had way too much cabbage at some point. So much that you can’t shut the refrigerator door. Greens are piling up; the milk carton is invisible to the untrained eye. Friends are shopping at the farmer’s market, savoring tomatoes and basil with gusto. But you, valiantly trying to support local farmers and farm workers, giving them guaranteed income for the season, you are trying to keep the green monsters from escaping the confines of the fridge while your family shouts, “Enough with the greens already! It’s summer!” Telling them they will have amazing tomatoes from July to November doesn’t mollify them at all. At. All.

So to keep the peace you have to find interesting things to do with kale and cabbage as you secretly begin to covet your friend’s expensive juicer. (That many greens out of the way that fast? And the pulp is already pulverized for the compost heap? Wowza.) And you carry a lot of yellowed, sad greens down to the compost turner, all the while feeling guilty.

Until you realize that you don’t eat kimchi, even though it’s supposed to be good for you – because it’s too spicy. But the entire point of making your own food is that you can make it the way you want it. Yes. If you want to make mild kimchi, then you can do it. You can put that measly tablespoon of heat in and no one will stop you and tell you that it’s not real kimchi. You can put in the fish sauce or not. Don’t want to go buy a daikon radish? Don’t. You have only half of a Napa cabbage left? Then make half a recipe. If you don’t like it, it’s still a nobler end to the cabbage than putting it straight into the compost heap. For real.

You chop up a bunch of cabbage and salt it within an inch of its life. Let it sit and it shrinks into almost nothing. That giant head of cabbage now takes up no more room than a a jar of pickles. Success! Does it taste good? I’ll let you know when the fermentation is finished. Now if I can only figure out how to make 4 bunches of different varieties of kale shrink that much. Even I can’t eat another kale salad . . .

This time I used the recipe found here and modified to suit my taste. I tried one from Dr. Hyman’s 10 Day Detox Diet and it failed miserably. It seems he forgot to tell readers to rinse the cabbage after letting it sit in salt. I knew better, but I followed the recipe. Disaster of epic proportions. Imagine chewing on sea water. Yup. Please don’t make that mistake. That cabbage deserved a better death.

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Love is Where You Find It

February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope that whether you are bundled up against the Northwest snow, swimming in the ocean to ward off the heat in Australia, or simply doing a rain dance in California, you are having a wonderful day filled with love. Physically, my heart is doing so much better that I can’t even […]

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A California Happy New Year!

January 1, 2014

In 2014, I wish for you: Smooth waters Peaceful endings to each day Interesting paths Startling simplicity Delight in the unexpected Balance Flow Love, in all forms Occasional indulgence And vibrant health Here’s to a superb 2014! (All photos taken by me, and may only be used with permission.) Tweet This Post

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Delfina Restaurant Celebrates

December 31, 2013

A San Francisco favorite, Delfina, honors 15 years of hard work and success with a video the restaurant commissioned. It’s beautiful and shows the incredible amount of work that goes in to running a restaurant. Watching it, you get a quick glimpse of the Mission neighborhood at dawn as well. The video really showcases the […]

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Memories Triggered: Pumpkin Bread

December 17, 2013

Do you have strong food-related memories? I have a few, especially around the holidays, and I’m guessing you do too. This particular memory happens to be about deeply spiced pumpkin bread and my brother. My brother was an amazing father to his children, and a loving husband to his wife. His life ended suddenly on […]

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Butternut Squash Soup

November 8, 2013

I don’t know about you, but as soon as there’s a chill in the air, I want soup. Hot soup. Soup that can be cradled in a bowl or mug and warm my hands while I eat. Of course, living in California, this means I want hot soup any time the temperature dips below 50 […]

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This is Why I Cook

November 5, 2013

Listening to Morning Edition on NPR this morning, I heard this and thought it was profound. Bread baking, listening to onions sizzle, mincing garlic – it all has a connection to something deeper for me. Enjoy, if you are so inclined. Roy Choi, discussing an excerpt from his new book, L.A. Son: My Life, My […]

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Suburbia

September 26, 2013

Our neighbor is missing. I know this because last week I was working from home, sitting at my computer, when the postman knocked and made my dogs go crazy barking and jumping like an axe-murderer was trying to break in. This is what they do when they see our soft-spoken mailman. Every time. When I […]

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#Whining

September 19, 2013

  I am eating soup right now. I’m sure you’re thrilled. Turkey noodle soup, with noodles made from spaghetti squash. I tried spaghetti squash a long time ago, and hated it. But now that I’m eating Paleo-ish*, spaghetti squash tastes like sugar, yet looks like noodles. And it helps my soup seem not-so-empty. Why the […]

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