Welcome home! We’re settling back into city life and honestly, it’s a bit of a bummer. There’s the traffic, the noise, the absence of stars. It’s harder to get outside when all that greets us is concrete and rows upon rows of houses. The dogs are disappointed too. After weeks of frolicking in the snow and going on long walks they’re already feeling a little stir crazy. But, despite all of this, it’s nice to be back, sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my own kitchen, and getting back into a more consistent work routine. I’ve got some fun things coming your way next week, and in the meantime, I’ve got the recipe for this Cauliflower Kofta for you. We made this out in the Methow Valley and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. It’s a riff on the traditional mediterranean meat kofta, but made with cauliflower and packed with toasted pine nuts, dried currants, cinnamon and cumin. They’re amazingly fluffy and are great with some good crusty bread and tomato sauce. Enjoy!
I hope you’ll forgive me for posting another drink recipe this week and one with similar styling no less. I’ve been making this hot chocolate pretty much every day here in the Methow and couldn’t wait any longer to share it with you. It’s our go to post ski treat and I’ve convinced myself that it’s also a necessary recovery beverage, which I’ll admit is a bit of a stretch. But, it’s got some things going for it that make it healthy as well as indulgent. It’s rich, creamy and frothy, packed with cinnamon (which stabilizes blood sugar), sweetened only with maple syrup (which makes it practically sugar free in my book) and also has some salt in there to rebalance electrolytes. The bourbon and vanilla add an exotic note. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And now for a few words on milk:
As with every recipe, ingredients matter here. If you have a favorite nut milk that’s great. If not, consider what milk you buy carefully. Dairy farming is a significant contributor to climate change and environmental degradation, not to mention the myriad animal welfare issues involved in the dairy industry. Things to look out for when buying milk include what breed of cows are being used (most dairy cows have been bred to produce more milk more often which results in more stress, illness and shorter life spans), whether or not the cows are treated with growth hormones or antibiotics, how calves are treated, what they are fed, and how early they are separated from their mothers, if cows are being fed GMO corn, alfalfa, or soy grown as a monoculture or are pasture fed, if the animals have access to the outdoors and what kind of access they have, what kind of grazing practices are used to ensure minimal top soil degradation and erosion, if the cows are restrained in holding stalls or are free to move, what kind of milking practices are used to prevent mastitis, if sensitive ecosystems and/or forests have been destroyed to make room for cattle, and what kind of waste management is used on the farm to prevent water pollution. It’s a complicated system and there is no perfect product, but it’s worth investigating what you’re buying so you know what systems and practices you’re supporting and what you’re putting into your body.
Thanks for following!
I’m just settling in back in the Methow after a weekend retreat on the rugged California coast with a bunch of fellow bloggers. My vision for this retreat was for us to be able to spend time together without the constraints or pressure of work, allowing us to really get to know one another, talk freely and cook together. I’d say it was a success. The views were stunning, the food was delicious and bountiful and the conversations were fun, inspiring and informative. I’m already thinking about our next retreat. For now you can check out what we were up to on Instagram under #realeatsretreat.
I made this mocktail on the first night of our retreat and loved it so much I decided to recreate it for you here. Rosemary and grapefruit are always a winning combo and the honey adds a sweetness and floral quality that really works well. It’s a simple drink, but so so delicious. It works well as a winter mocktail because of the earthiness of the rosemary but would also be super refreshing during the warmer months.
It’s been a challenging week emotionally. Without getting too political here, I’ll just say I’ve been feeling frustrated, dismayed and disappointed with the current state of the nation (If you want more specifics feel free to check out the links I’ve been posting on Facebook). It’s been a crash course in civics and political activism and I’m finally beginning to feel empowered again. I have hope and faith and determination to do what is necessary and right. Part of that means reconsidering how to most effectively raise awareness about sustainable agriculture. There are so many issues and I know it can be overwhelming and paralyzing, but I firmly believe that as long as we keep our eyes, ears and hearts open, we will know what to do. That being said, I want to continue to bring you thoughtful content that focuses on issues, information and concrete action surrounding your food choices and why they matter to help guide you in the right direction.
For today though I’ll leave you with a poem and the recipe for these chocolate, raspberry, buckwheat muffins. They’re a decadent breakfast, a great snack and also a romantic treat perfect for Valentine’s. They’re dairy free (because methane emissions from cows is a serious problem) and use a mixture of Einka flour (which is high in protein and vitamins and grown and milled right here in the Methow Valley) and buckwheat flour for a hearty, rich flavor. Enjoy!
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Hello! Phew…It’s been a while. We’ve been bouncing around from one ski trip to the next which has made consistent posts a bit tricky (I’m not complaining though…). We’re finally settled into our little cabin in the Methow Valley where we’ll be for the next few weeks and despite the seriously lacking kitchen situation I’m hoping to have some more fun and comforting recipes coming your way soon. For now I’ve got this easy and satisfying weeknight dish for you and some links to things I’ve been reading and watching lately. First, here’s a bit about the recipe. This gratin is packed with roasted cauliflower, hearty brown rice, kale and caramelized onions. I whipped up a simple roux to add some creaminess and topped it with crushed Onion Thyme Lentil Bean Crisps. These crisps are packed with protein and are great as a snack. Turns out they also make a fantastic crusty topping for any baked dish or on pasta or soup. This dish is a great side dish or dinner and is also amazing with a fried egg for breakfast. Enjoy!
And now for some links:
- I was shocked and upset to learn that the number one purchase by households on food stamps is soda. This article does a good job explaining why.
- I’ve always been a supporter of moderation in everything, including gluten. This is an interesting article outlining some of the ways a gluten free diet can actually be harmful to your health.
- Wise words about the power of storytelling as a political, cultural and personal guide in life.
- I’ve always known sugar was bad, but this article has me more convinced than ever.
- Just watched this film about climate change and came away more committed to boycotting palm oil (which is in more things than you think, including most store bought peanut butter) and is a leading cause of rainforest deforestation.
Wishing you all an empowering and peaceful weekend!
*This post was sponsored by Harvest Snaps. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting our sponsors. In accordance with our mission, 10% of the proceeds from this post have been donated in support of sustainable agriculture.
Happy New Year! As I reflect on the past year I’m humbled and empowered by the challenges I faced. I know that many people share this sentiment. Aside from the losses, humanitarian crises and political upheavals, I experienced 2016 as a year of profound grief and fear. My sister committed suicide last October which propelled me into a long period of confusion and anxiety. Her death shocked me and shattered my world view, propelling me into a struggle with long dormant OCD tendencies. For several months I felt out of control, anxious and afraid. But, through the process of learning about how my mind works, and doing lots and lots of hard work to retrain my mind not to jump to conclusions, I feel like I know myself better than ever before. In January my mom suffered a minor heart attack. Old fears were replaced by new ones and I became hyper vigilant concerning my mom’s symptoms, always worrying that she might have another heart attack and die. As I think back on these two monumental events a pattern emerges. 2016 was about death, trying to understand it and what happens next, fearing it, respecting it’s unpredictability, and doing my best to accept it. Nature teaches us that where there is death, there is also life and 2016 taught me to appreciate this dichotomy and to strive to better myself and the world with every action, to see the beauty around us and to appreciate it viscerally and concretely. So, as 2017 begins I’d like to remind you all that your thoughts and actions matter. They have an effect beyond what we can immediately see and no matter what you believe, it’s hard to deny that all living things are connected in some way. This year I challenge you to take on every day as an opportunity to support and foster kindness, compassion, and beauty. This means owning your flaws, staring your weaknesses in the face and taking them on with bravery and pride because you know that the struggle will make you stronger. This means making mindful decisions every day about how you live and what you eat. It means thinking beyond yourself and considering how your daily choices impact others and the planet. It means giving willingly and selflessly to support the good things even at a cost. I think you will find that doing good feels good. In this spirit, from now on, I’ll be donating 10% of all revenue from the blog to non-profits supporting sustainable agriculture. You can read more about this exciting new project here.
Happy almost New Year! I’m up in Wisconsin on our annual ski trip so I’ll be celebrating the New Year with a long ski, a potluck dinner, bingo, catch phrase, something bubbly, and an early night. In the spirit of celebration I have the recipe for this Pear Ginger Fizz and variety of cocktail and mocktail recipes from around the web for you to enjoy.
Thank you again for all your support, comments, encouragement and engagement this past year. I couldn’t do this work without you, so thanks! I’m excited for what next year has to offer and to bring you more great recipes and inspiration.
Lots of love, Sasha
Pear Ginger Fizz
1 Bartlett pear
1 cup ginger lemonade (I like this one)
Core the pear and place it in a high speed blender with the ginger lemonade. Purée until completely smooth then strain through a fine mesh seive. Divide between two glasses and top with kombucha, ice and a sprig if rosemary.
Hello from the Methow Valley! We’re here for the week playing in the snow, skiing, getting cozy by the fire and enjoying the peace and quiet. The dogs were simply euphoric to be out in the snow (check out IG stories to see Scarlet romping around) and we were pretty excited too. When we’re not skiing we’re writing holiday cards, snacking on gingerbread and marveling in the awe inspiring beauty of nature. Being here makes me appreciate and love the natural world all the more and has reinspired me to do everything I can to preserve and protect it. For me this means educating and affecting change surrounding sustainable agriculture. As many of you know, this blog has always been a place for me to share my thoughts on sustainability in hopes of influencing the daily decisions people make about what they eat. Well, I’ve recently decided to take my commitment to a new level and donate a percentage of my income from every sponsored post to non-profits in the agriculture and food sectors. I’ll have more details on this soon so stay tuned. In the meantime… This date gingerbread is moist and rich with just enough spice and a crunchy streusel topping. You could also add pecans and/or chocolate chunks to dress it up even more. Wishing you all a holiday full of peace, joy, gratitude and gingerbread.
It’s been a hectic few weeks, but Anders finally wrapped up his thesis and we’re getting ready to head to the Methow Valley for a week of skiing. I can’t wait! The first snowfall here made us giddy and I keep imagining the dogs romping through the snow, running free. I’m looking forward to the meditative rhythm of gliding across the snow, cuddling up by the fire, and snacking on holiday cookies…but only the healthy ones (fingers crossed). Anders’ mom always makes springerle cookies which are pressed into anise seeds before baking. They’re not too sweet and the anise improves digestion. I’ll also be snacking on these Almond Macaroons. They’re gluten free and refined sugar free, crispy around the edges and chewy inside. I added almond extract to bump up the flavor and the optional satsuma marmalade filling adds a bitter note to balance out the sweetness and aid digestion as well. What are your favorite healthy holiday cookies or snacks? And how do you prevent over eating during the holidays? I’ll be posting on IG during our travels, so stay tuned…
*This post was created as part of the #calmandbrightcookienight hosted by The Modern Proper. Be sure to check out all the other great cookie recipes here.
In anticipation of the upcoming holidays, I’ve curated a wonderful gift guide for you. It features elegant, sustainable, locally made goods for everyone on your list.
And, if like me, you’re feeling empowered to give back this holiday season by making donations to important causes, I’ve also put together a list of worthy non-profits to make it easy for you.
These groups work to PRESERVE CIVIL LIBERTIES (ACLU), LITIGATE on behalf of the environment (Earth Justice), combat FOOD WASTE (City Fruit), provide REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH services (Planned Parenthood), promote FREEDOM OF THE PRESS (Pro Publica) and create economic opportunities that benefit COMMUNITIES AND THE PLANET (Eco Trust). I’ve personally donated to all of these groups and feel confident that they are run by passionate, well-informed, forward thinkers. Check out the work they do. If it’s not in your budget to make a donation this year, look into other ways you can get involved.
Wishing you all a joyful holiday full of gratitude and generosity.
- The HAND SPUN CAHSMERE SHAWL is part of a new line from Skida, a small company in Vermont, owned by a college friend. They’re known for their colorful hats and neck warmers but I’m loving their new cashmere goods.
- The LE CREUSET DUTCH OVEN is a classic and I love the clean look of the matte white.
- BEE’S WRAP is a beeswax coated muslin that does everything plastic wrap can do without the waste. And it’s made in VT!
- I’m loving the simple design of this IRIS GUY NECKLACE made by local Pacific Northwest artists.
- The MARLOW GOODS WALLET is made from leather from small farms in upstate NY. I just bought one to replace my old wallet from goodwill and love the feel of the leather and the fact that it fits a passport and my phone.
- These UASHMAMA WASHABLE PAPER BAGS are really innovative and great as planters or produce bags.
- The SARAH KERSTEN EVERYTHING BOWLS have a simple speckled glaze and are great for everything from soup to salad.
- EATING ANIMALS was the book that really changed my mind about eating animal products. It’s a must read for anyone interested in food and how it is produced.
- How pretty are these COPPER MEASURING CUPS with wooden handles?
- The Trilogy ROSE GERANIUM AND LAVENDAR MIST smells delicious and is soothing and relaxing.
- HERBIVORE’S COCO ROSE BODY POLISH is a luscious blend of coconut oil, rose, shea butter and clay and is made in the Pacific Northwest.
- I’ve been lusting after this FILSON DUFFEL. It’s got plenty of pockets and is just the right size for a short trip.
- SAGITTARIO IMPRUNETA’S BALSAMIC VINEGAR is thick and sweet and so luxurious. It is the best thing ever drizzled over fresh tomatoes and mozarella.
- The KAVU SUNDOWNER JACKET is stylish and functional and perfect for winter in Seattle.
- These Japanese TAWASHI SCRUB BRUSHES are a great replacement for disposable sponges and look cool too.
- These LE PARFAIT JARS are great for storing bulk goods or for gifting homemade holiday treats. I love the classic look of the lids.
- MARY OLIVER POEMS always bring me back in touch with nature, humanity and the present.
- ANDREA RAMSAY makes beautiful wooden bowls and utensils out of Port Townsend, WA.
- Last year we bought four of these MAUVIEL CARBON STEEL PANS and love them. They conduct heat well, are relatively non-stick and are oven safe.
- And if you need a few more ideas order some ROSEMARY SEA SALT VEGAN CARAMELS from Lagusta’s Lucious, my favorite WHITE TEA from Stone Leaf Teahouse, Frankie and Joe’s PLANT BASED ICE CREAM or some MAPLE SYRUP from Lincoln, VT. So good!
Happy Holidays folks. I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. We have so much to be grateful for and I’m starting to realize that I can channel that gratitude into action. One thing I’m doing this holiday season is requesting that instead of material gifts my family and friends make donations to a selection of non-profits. It feels like a really easy way to focus on appreciating all that I already have while opting out of the supply chain that produces so much environmental damage and waste. And there is so much work that needs to be done in our country and our world right now and so many great organizations who are already doing a great job and need our support. That said, I’m totally in favor of supporting small, local makers and making homemade edible gifts too. I’m looking forward to putting together a gift guide with some suggestions for you soon. In the meantime, here’s a recipe for your next holiday celebration.
I’ve made this recipe probably five times now and am obsessed. It’s very forgiving and so luscious, creamy and rich. It’s perfect for the upcoming holidays and can be made in advance. The crust is made with toasted hazelnuts and dates and the filling is a classic combination of coffee, chocolate, bourbon and maple syrup. I topped it with Vermont Creamery’s mascarpone and a little cardamom for some holiday spice. I sampled several brands of mascarpone in the process of developing this recipe (because believe it or not I plowed through all six containers Vermont Creamery sent me) and theirs really is the best. The other brands I tried were too thick and dense and didn’t have the same depth of flavor. So if you can get your hands on it, Vermont Creamery is the way to go!
Vermont Creamery is generously giving away a care package containing creme fraiche, mascarpone, butter and a pie box with a leather strap so you can transport your holiday treats safely. This giveaway is open to US residents only. A winner will be randomly selected on December 7th at 12am EST. Enter to win HERE.
This post was sponsored by Vermont Creamery. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors. All opinions are my own.
I got home yesterday from a week in Vermont. I was there for a yoga workshop and it was the perfect thing to do after the election last week. While it was hard to be away from Anders and the dogs during such an emotional and confusing time, I was able to spend my time away reflecting on purpose, reconnecting with community and recharging for the holidays ahead. For me, the past week has been full of emotions including disbelief, sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, frustration, hopelessness, and hopefulness. I’ve been reading and listening to the news obsessively and trying to wrap my head around what is happening and how to move forward. I certainly haven’t figured it all out but I’d like to share with you a few things that I believe are important to do right now:
- Listen to Others. So many people have said to me that I’m lucky to live in a place like Seattle where I am surrounded by like minded, progressive thinkers. But am I really lucky, or has my privilege blinded me to what is going on in other parts of the country? So, instead of shaming or shutting out the other, let’s take this opportunity to reach across the divide and listen to how people feel. I for one have started a dialogue with my extended family about their values and why they believe what they do. I’m working hard to remain open and compassionate and to listen without judgement. We can’t assume to know anything about someone else’s values, beliefs or motives and broad generalizations and demonizations of others only fosters more hatred and fear. (I recognize that in writing this I’m assuming that you all share my beliefs and values. If your views differ from mine, don’t close our browser or delete this email. I’d love to hear from you).
- Practice your Beliefs. All religions and faiths have moral codes and tenets that provide instruction on how to live righteously. I’ve found inspiration lately in the yoga sutras, particularly the idea that we should have joy for those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, delight in the virtuous and equanimity towards those who are unvirtuous. Each time I find myself reacting to a person or situation I try to remember these guidelines and act accordingly.
- Listen to Music. Here are a couple of songs I’ve found particularly inspiring, poignant and relevant. Here, here and here.
- Take Action. Simply being well informed and voting doesn’t feel like enough any more so I am making a concerted effort to become more engaged and fight complacency in the long term. I’ve been signing petitions (like this one, this one, this one and this one), creating calls to action, calling my senators (encouraging them to do everything they can to block the appointments of Stephen Bannon and Myron Ebell. You can look up your representatives here), researching opportunities for community outreach and am working towards shifting my finances to support banks and companies that support the values I hold dear.
- Laugh Often. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and burdened by the negativity these days so I’ve been seeking out humor and levity wherever I can. Soak up those moments of pure joy and let that energy carry you forward. Maybe you’ll enjoy this one as much as I did.
- Donate. More than ever I feel it is my duty to use the resources at my disposal to support non-profits and organizations that work to support communities and people in need. Here are a few that I’m supporting or planning to support: Planned Parenthood, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, NRDC, Pro Publica.
And in the spirit of Thanksgiving please also consider joining Julia Turshen’s Friendsgiving for No Kid Hungry campaign to provide meals for kids in need. In her book, Small Victories, Julia says:
This cookbook, like most cookbooks, assumes that whoever is reading it has access to food and not only the desire, but also the time, energy, and means to cook. How great would it be if that were the case for everyone? I firmly believe that if you have the privilege of eating however much you want whenever you want, you should spend some time ensuring that others have the same opportunity.
To join the campaign click here.
Wishing you all a weekend full of loving kindess, wellness, peace, and joy.
We moved our bedroom upstairs this week and the process got me all excited about redecorating. As a result I’ve been spending way to much time on Pinterest and way too much money. I also decided to re-paint the living room which means that I’ve spent the last few days covered in paint, breathing in fumes. My arms are sore and the dogs are really hyper as a result of being locked in the bedroom all day. I had to lock them up because Roux is an idiot and likes to lean on things…even freshly painted walls. Anyways, enough about my house projects. Let’s talk mocktails.
I’m not a drinker…except for champagne. And only really good champagne. I know… I’m a snob. With the holidays approaching, I decided to develop some mocktail recipes so I won’t feel left out when everyone else is sipping fun drinks with garnishes. So, I’ve got two recipes for you today. One is for a Ginger Apple Spritzer which is simple but full of rich spices. The ginger is warming and the cardamom bitters are aromatic. If you like you could add some bourbon to this one. The other recipe is for a Ginger Pear Fizz. I pureed the pear with ginger lemonade for an intense pear flavor and topped it with kombucha and rosemary. These mocktails will make you feel fancy and they’re both great for your digestion too so you’ll feel great even after the party is over.
Hey friends! Hope you’re having a good week. I spent the morning the New York Times Magazine issue about big food and it really got me thinking about the food movement and my role in it. The feature includes some really eye opening images that emphasize the massive scale of food production in our country, a fascinating article about candy companies struggling to create natural food colorings, an article about the oversight of meat processing facilities or lack thereof and an article by Michael Pollan about the obstacles to new food policies. Pollan argues that unless we have a widespread shift in our food culture that shifts consumer demand and puts pressure on companies and politicians, nothing will change. I’m always trying to figure out the best way to inspire people and I’m not sure I’ve figured it out yet, but I hope that if I continue to do what I do and continue to share my thoughts on current issues some of you will be moved. For me, the take home message after reading this feature was that our daily choices really do matter. We cast a vote every time we buy something at the grocery store and shopping mindfully, with ethics, human rights and the environment in mind is more important than ever. If we all choose healthier, more sustainable food by supporting our local small-scale farmers, organic, and non-gmo we can shift demand and start a movement. Let’s start a movement!
I made a big batch of applesauce the other day. It’s one of my favorite fall activities and one of the few things I still put up for the winter months (I’ve stopped making jam because of all the sugar. If anyone has a good jam recipe that doesn’t use refined sugar please let me know.) These muffins aren’t too sweet and I love the way the tart, juicy cranberries pop as you bite into them. I added cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to the muffins to pump up the fall coziness factor. Enjoy.
A teacher once told me, “We are not programmed to be afraid. We are programmed to be courageous.” Despite having heard these words many years ago, I still often lay in bed at night, my body riddled with nervous energy, trying to fall asleep. As I try to relax, I listen to a guided meditation and repeat an affirmation to myself. Now, I’m not sure if telling people my affirmation will jinx it like when you say your birthday wish out loud, so I’ll just paraphrase it for you. The jist is that I envision a future where I am strong and brave. Sometimes you need to hear something multiple times to really get it. I think that’s the case for me with this idea of being inherently courageous.
Today someone told me, “we are designed to deal with hard things.” Hearing this brought tears to my eyes. It’s been such a crappy year and more often than not I’ve felt burdened by grief, fear and anxiety. But maybe, instead of thinking of myself as overcome by these fearful thoughts and feelings I should remember that I’m on a journey and that every day I’m learning how to be stronger and braver; I’m learning how to deal with the hard things. Maybe those feelings aren’t so bad after all and I should learn to appreciate them the same way I appreciate the moments of peace. Easier said than done I suppose. Here’s to the practice of life!
This recipe was developed as part of the annual #virtualpumpkinparty. It’s a hearty salad full of textures and flavors. The barley is nutty and chewy, the pumpkin sweet and creamy, and the radicchio is crunchy and bitter. I dressed it with a molasses maple balsamic that is perfectly sweet and sour. It’s great as a main dish or as a side. Feel free to play around and use other types of squash in place of the pumpkin if you like.
You can check out all the other pumpkin recipes here. Enjoy!
Hey friends! I’ve got a hearty fall soup for you today. It’s full of rich flavors from the toasted fennel seeds and roasted garlic. It’s one of my favorite fall soups and I hope you like it as much as I do. Stay warm…
Okay. You asked for it, so here it is. The recipe for these Matcha Marshmallows as seen on IG was adapted from Molly’s new book Molly on the Range. You really need this book! It’s full of delicious recipes, playful illustrations, and witty essays that will have you laughing out loud. I’ve never seen a cookbook quite like it. A few things I’ve made or want to make: Molly’s oven fries (they’re cooked in butter and sooo crispy!), brussels sprout rosti, matzo brie (haven’t made this in such a long time but remember it fondly from my childhood), dark chocolate marzipan scone loaf, cardamom orange kubaneh, cauliflower shawarma tacos, and of course challah! I’ve bookmarked at least a dozen recipes and can’t wait to keep cooking from this amazing book. Congrats Molly!
Two years ago today I started this blog. I told myself that I’d give it a try and if after a year I felt like it wasn’t right I’d try something else. But here I am, two years later, still loving almost every aspect of this work. I love the creativity, the solitude and the idea of impacting the way people think about food. Things I don’t love so much: hustling for work, writing contracts, and doing payroll. But, it’s worth dealing with these aspects of the job in order to feel like I’m making the world a better place, one post at a time.
So in honor of my blog-versary and in the spirit of changing the world through food I’ve finally compiled a list of links from the sustainable foods conference I attended in September. It’s a list of articles, projects and information that I found particularly inspiring and that changed the way I think about food and the choices I make each day. Because, as Jane Goodall said, the small choices we make each day can lead to the kind of world we all want for the future.
- In 2014, University of California launched its Global Food Initiative, a campaign designed to identify and test best practices across UC campuses that can serve as examples for other schools and communities and to foster research and policy that will shape a sustainable foods future. If I could go back to school, I’d apply for a GFI fellowship!
- Sean Sherman is opening a restaurant that will focus on revitalizing Native American indigenous food traditions. He’s using native, wild ingredients and creating jobs for his community. And most of his food in inherently vegan! This is the beginning of a new hyper local, sustainable food movement…
- Louie Psihoyos, the guy behind The Cove and Racing Extinction, is making a new film about elite vegan athletes called The Game Changers. I can’t wait to see it! His goal is to create a tipping point and change the world by convincing people to give up meat and he’s off to a good start with his previous films and the hashtag #startwith1thing.
- Think about this the next time you think about buying or eating shrimp!
- These short films are beautiful and inspiring…What would the soil say if it could speak?
- By 2050 global demand for animal protein will go up 80-100% with devastating impacts on our planet. Instead of trying to develop new systems of production or create alternatives that taste like meat (but not really) why not just eat more vegetables? I’m liking the phrase, “plant forward” more and more.
- A study by food ethnographer June Jo Lee found that only 17% of people want to know where their food comes from. Let’s change that!
I hope you found something interesting or inspiring here today and that you’ll start a conversation with your friends and loved ones, ideally while eating warm Chestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies.
Finally! I think I made these bars like a million times this week. Okay, maybe it was more like five or six, but it felt like a million because I couldn’t eat any. Don’t worry though, I’ve stashed some away for later when I’ve recovered from cleanse week. So, remember when I took a poll on Instagram because I couldn’t decide which flavor rice crispy bar to share with you? Well, I finally decided…Below you will find, not one, not two, but three recipes. You’re welcome! Feel free to play around and make your own version of these bars as well. You can try different nut butters and/or throw in whatever seeds or dried fruit you like. These bars are killer and they’re gluten free, refined sugar free and vegan. Whoop whoop! Oh and did I mention that they come together in a pinch. Easy peasy. Enjoy!
This week’s post is going to be brief. I still feel like I’m playing catch up so haven’t had time to compile my notes from the sustainable foods conference we attended earlier this month. I’m really looking forward to sharing what I learned with you once I get my act together. In the meantime a brief update will have to suffice.
We’ve been transitioning into fall the past few weeks which means we’re doing our annual seasonal cleanse (happy to share more details if anyone is interested) and getting ready for Anders to start his final quarter of school. The next three months he’ll be totally consumed by his thesis and I’m not expecting to see him much which will take some getting used to. We planted some fall greens in the garden and some edible flowers are sprouting on the windowsill which I hope will brighten the winter days. The dogs are enjoying cuddling up in bed with me on these chilly mornings and most days there is a pot of soup simmering on the stove and veggies roasting in the oven.
This salad dresses up those simple roasted veggies with sesame and coriander crisps and a creamy miso dressing. It’s a simple salad but very satisfying. Enjoy!
Congratulations! You’re about to be a mom. For many months you’ve nurtured, nourished and cradled the life inside you. Your child has grown into a beautiful, perfect being and is ready to enter the world. I have no doubt that you, with your kind heart, generosity, compassion, and strong values, will raise a child capable of making a difference. In honor of your baby’s birth I wanted to share one of my favorite poems with you. May your family be blessed with happiness, health, strength, boundless love and contentment.
Sending lots of virtual hugs as you begin this new journey.
Winter By Mary Oliver
And the waves
from their snowy throats
as they come
over the moss green,
as they crumble
on the incline
whatever they carry
in their invisible
and motherly hands:
icy and plump
with waled shells,
for the gatherers
who come flying
on their long white wings-
who comes walking,
who comes muttering:
coins of the sea
in my pockets
and plenty for the gulls
and the wind still pounding
and the sea still streaming in like a mother wild with gifts-
in this world I am as rich
as I need to be.
This post was created as part of a virtual baby shower for Lindsey of Dolly and Oatmeal. The pudding is flavored with sweet almond extract and packed with protein. The grapes are roasted with cozy fall spices and the granola and pine nuts add a little savory crunch. It’s a delicious combination of textures and flavors and whips up easily for breakfast or dessert.
Check out the links below for some more great recipes created in Lindsey’s honor.
Sweet Potato Millet Pancakes | The Full Helping
Mushroom and Kale Tacos | Brooklyn Supper
Butternut Squash French Toast | Edible Perspective
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches with Honey Olive Oil Ice Cream | Cake Over Steak
Roasted Green Tomato Soup with Herbed Oil | With Food + Love
Tart Cherry, Chocolate & Hempseed No-Bake Oat Bars | Kale & Caramel
Dark Chocolate Hummus | A Couple Cooks
Maitake Steaks with Cauliflower Purée | O&O Eats
Cucumber & Chamoe Melon Salad | Two Red Bowls
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam | The Sugar Hit
Miso Edamame Hummus with Baked Furikake Sweet Potato Chips | Fix Feast Flair
Mini Hazelnut Cakes | I am a Food Blog
The Magic of a Mandolin: Vegetable Carpaccio | Eat Boutique
Almond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | Tending the Table
Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Puffed Millet Bars | Heart of a Baker
Hello friends! I’m finally home after a few weeks away. It’s been a whirlwind of photoshoots, sailing, vacationing, conferences ( more on that soon), parties and puppies. I’m happy to be home and in the kitchen again and even happier to be making and eating these cookies from Alanna’s new book Alternative Baker.
While I’m not strictly gluten free, I often find myself trying (and mostly failing) to bake treats that use nut flours instead of processed wheat flour. My favorite desserts are those that feel healthy without tasting heathy. Alanna has put her training as a pastry chef to good use and created a beautiful book full of delicious gluten free desserts using a variety of flavor rich alternative flours. Her recipes are thorough, detailed and fool-proof.
While flipping through the book, several recipes jumped out at me including the Pumpkin Cranberry Nut and Seed Loaf, the Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting, the Buckwheat Bergamot Double Chocolate Cookies and these Cherry Chestnut Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies are easy to whip up, full of rich nutty flavor from the brown butter and chestnut flour and packed with all the good things like pecans, dried cherries and chunks of gooey chocolate. The texture is amazing for a gluten free cookie with a crispy edge and a chewy center. I ate more than a few in the process of creating this post. I hope you enjoy them too!
Hey! I’m headed off to San Francisco in a few days for a sailing course, a sustainable foods conference and some hanging out. But, I wanted to share one last summer recipe with you before fall takes over completely. This lemonade is lightly sweetened with honey and infused with aromatic sage and tropical mango and peach. I added some coconut water too and think it’s pretty dang refreshing. I hope you like it. I’ll be back in a few weeks with some fall goodies for you and lots of exciting new information about the sustainable food movement. Don’t forget to follow my adventures on Instagram and Snapchat while I’m away.
I’m down in Oregon for a ten day photoshoot. Working on set every day, styling ten to twelve recipes a day, has me intensely aware of the issue of food waste. When I’m working at home on a blog post, we always eat any leftovers for our next meal, but with a project like the one I’m currently immersed in, there’s no way we can eat all the food we’re making and there are always leftover ingredients that go bad in the back of the fridge. I’ve been trying to go with the flow and not worry too much about it, but the reality is that food waste is an issue I’ve always felt strongly about and I’m not the type to sit idly by. Forty percent of food in the U.S. is wasted. That’s almost half and it’s not only a problem environmentally, but disrespects the hard work put into producing our food and disregards the people who don’t have enough to eat. It seems to me that the best way to show our gratitude for the bounty we have is to be diligent about preventing it from going to waste. I’m doing what I can and wanted to share some simple tips with you to help you reduce your own food waste.
- Plan ahead. Plan meals for the week and then shop with a list to avoid buying things you don’t need that will likely end up in the back of the pantry. Only buy what you know you’ll use.
- Only cook what you can eat. It’s better to make half a recipe than have leftovers that might go bad in the fridge. If you do make extra, make sure it’s something that will hold up well for a few days like a soup, stew or bean dish.
- Repurpose. Sometimes leftovers get boring. Be creative and invent new dishes with your leftovers.
- Check in. I scan the contents of my fridge every few days to see what might be on the verge of going bad so I can make sure to use that ingredient first.
- Storage matters. Think about food waste in a broader context and also focus on the waste you generate while buying, cooking and storing your groceries and leftovers. Bring your own grocery bags (if you forget, opt for a single paper bag instead of a double or plastic), use cloth bags for buying produce or bulk items, consider using eco-friendly kitchen solutions like Silpats or Bee’s Wrap and store food in reusable glass or stainless containers that will last.
- Recycle empty bottles, cans or cartons.
- Compost what you don’t eat or make friends with someone who has chickens or pigs.
- Donate extra non-perishables to your local food bank (many grocery stores serve as drop off locations).
These baked beans are a staple in our house. They are simple to make and packed with smokey sweet and sour flavor. Throw them on a toasted bun with some crunchy cabbage slaw and you have a perfect weeknight summer meal. Enjoy!
I spent the weekend at the beach, playing in the water, hiking, teaching yoga and celebrating the marriage of two wonderful people. Weddings often make me feel sentimental and romantic and this one was no different. Anders and I started the weekend in a funk, but by Sunday, we felt like newlyweds again. People say that the friends and family who witness your marriage are the people who will guide you and support you when your relationship gets bumpy. But being a witness to someone else’s vows can also guide and support one’s own relationship. I’m more grateful than ever to have such great friends to support and be supported by. So, in the spirit of summer and weddings and beaches and stuff, I’ve got a celebratory mocktail for you.
Hibiscus iced tea is one of my favorite summer drinks. This version is extra special with muddled raspberries and figs. It’s tart and sweet and fruity and floral all at once and so refreshing on a hot day. This post was created as part of the #drinkthesummer virtual cocktail party hosted each year by Sherrie of With Food and Love. See below for the full list of amazing cocktails and mocktails.
A world without end bargain. That’s how Shakespeare defined marriage in Love’s Labor’s Lost. It’s not something to be taken lightly or rushed into and it’s hard work. Anders and I had been together for seven years before we got married. We fell in love immediately and I think we both knew that we were meant to be. We spent the following hours, days, months and years side by side. We were never apart for more than a week and we came to know each other well and I was proud of that.
When we decided to move to Seattle we made a plan which involved Anders heading out to the West coast while I stayed behind in Vermont for another three months. Those three months were brutal. I slept with Scarlet every night because I missed having Anders beside me. We talked as often as we could, but I still missed him and was still terrified that he would change without me. I worried that during those three months he would make new friends and have new experiences and somehow become a different person without me there to witness it and adapt to it. When I finally arrived at our new house in Seattle I walked in the door to find dozens of twinkling tea lights leading me up the stairs to a picnic on the floor of our unfurnished home. A few weeks later Anders proposed. He later told me that those three months apart made him realize how much he needed me.
Those three months made us stronger, but the past three years have changed us both. We have moments when we feel like our old selves. Moments when we’re both giddy and full. Moments when we’re our best selves individually and together. But most of the time it feels like who we are in this big city and who we want to be aren’t aligned. It feels like a tug of war, each of us pulling and pulling trying to reach an ideal only to fall backwards in the end. Luckily, when I’m down he’s there to support me and when he’s down I’m there for him too. I don’t know where we’ll be next year or in ten or twenty years, but I’m beginning to learn that life is a practice. No one is perfect and the best we can do is to be mindful and keep trying to live out our values and to love each other as we’ve promised to as if the world will never end.
This soup is perfect for those hot summer days when you can’t bear to turn on the stove. It’s packed with cooling veggies and herbs, nutrient dense greens and is rich and satisfying thanks to the blanched almonds. It’s versatile and can be served at a casual picnic out of enamel mugs or dressed up for a sit down dinner. Enjoy!
Hey! I’m still catching up after our week away and feeling a little wrung out emotionally. More on all of that later. For now I’ve got this simple plum and rosemary cake for you. It’s not too sweet, plenty moist, and studded with herbs and juicy plums. It’s also gluten free and refined sugar free. I’ll be back next week with some summery things for you. Enjoy!
Hello from the Methow Valley. We’re here for a week of camping and adventuring and while I’m excited to be sharing this recipe with you I’m also eager to get back into the woods so I’ll keep it brief. We spent last night in a hut up on Rendezvous Pass. We made waffles for breakfast and went for a walk before heading down into town to do some work and pick up the bikes we’ve rented for the week. We’re excited to test out our mountain biking skills with some more challenging trails. Wish me luck! Our plan for the week is as follows: eat, hike, eat, bike, swim, eat, read, sleep…repeat. Sounds pretty good right?
We’re keeping our meals fairly simple and I know after a couple of days of hiking and biking in the summer heat I’ll be craving this creamy roasted peach sorbet. This recipe is really simple and so refreshing. I roasted the peaches with some brown sugar and vanilla to add richness then threw in some lemon juice and honey to brighten things up and add a floral note. This sorbet sings of summer and is super luscious. I can’t wait for you to try it. Stay cool and enjoy!
I heard a podcast recently which outlined the most effective way to influence change: make it easy. Modern life is complex and busy, leaving little time or energy for making mindful decisions. It sometimes feels like there are simply too many factors to consider and too much research required. I think this is especially true when it comes to food. It’s not only about what we buy or where we buy it, but also about how we store it and how much we throw away. Our kitchens are full of plastic bags, containers and wraps designed to help us store and preserve our food, most of which contain toxic chemicals and end up in landfills or in the ocean. Instead, I’ve been using Bee’s Wrap and love it. It’s made from organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. The warmth of your hands softens the beeswax and creates a seal. It’s naturally anti-bacterial, reusable, safe, sustainable and perfect for transporting your potluck dishes like this summer salad with roasted corn and chili.
It’s been hot and sticky here which has me reminiscing about our travels through Thailand eating papaya salad. This is my version made with all the summer veggies. It’s fresh, crunchy, sweet and a little spicy. I added fresh coriander to it for a little pop.
I’ve partnered with MightyNest to make it easy for you to start using Bee’s Wrap. MightyNest offers sustainable, healthy home products for the responsible consumer. Through their Mighty Fix subscription service, subscribers receive an eco-friendly product each month. It’s a great way to learn about all the environmentally friendly products out there, update your home and support companies who are doing things right. You can sign up and get your first month at a discount HERE. Or use the code TABLEBEESWRAPFIX at checkout.
*This post was sponsored by MightyNest. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors.
We just got back from three weeks of traveling and while our time in Vermont made us more determined than ever to move back after Anders graduates, I’m also happy to be home. We’ve got a couple other small trips planned in the coming months, but for the most part we’ll be home tackling some long overdue house projects and hanging by the lake to escape the heat.
Both fans are running non-stop, the dogs have been sleeping on the tile floor in the entryway, and all my potted herbs are brown and wilted. But, my fridge is full of all the summer fruits and berries so I can’t complain. We’ve been eating blueberries by the handful, making jam, snacking on sweet cherries, and baking galettes and turnovers.
As much as I love getting my hands dirty in the kitchen, making pie dough by hand isn’t my favorite thing. I always end up with dough stuck under my wedding ring, flour all over the floor and counter, and a soggy crust. Grand Central Bakery’s ready to use pie dough (available at their three retail bakeries in Eastlake, Burien and Pioneer Square) is made with local flour, super easy to use, and so so flaky. This pre-rolled pie dough makes baking pies, galettes, turnovers etc. so effortless. I’m never going back.
Sweet peaches and tart raspberries make a juicy, subtly sweet filling for these turnovers. The cardamom and lime juice add an exotic flair. They’re simple to make and perfect for backyard potlucks or summer picnics. Enjoy!
*This post was sponsored by Grand Central Bakery. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors.
Hi friends! I spent last week in VT and wanted to share some photos from our time there with you along with some links to some of our favorite things to do and eat. I’ll be back next week with a vibrant summer recipe for you.
- This is our new favorite swimming hole. There are plenty of flat rocks to lounge on/jump off of and three deep pools for swimming.
- These maple creemees put the rest to shame. Sooo good! P.S. The small is not small.
- There are creative and sustainable food businesses all over Vermont. I was excited to learn about a few new ones during our visit including this delicious solar powered, naturally leavened bread, these stone ground corn tortillas made by a college friend and this local sunflower oil.
- This bakery was started by another college friend and has become wildly popular. They’re transitioning to dinner and I can’t wait to visit next time we’re in town.
- We always enjoy grabbing wood fired pizza at this family run place when they’re open. It’s all outdoor seating and BYO. On summer evenings families come with kids and picnic blankets to enjoy good food and the sunset. Pick up some english muffins to go.
- This is still my favorite grocery store/community gathering place ever. Anders usually visits with old friends while I shop.
- We hiked some of our favorite trails and enjoyed some impromptu swimming and some great views.
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Snapchat to see what I’m up to while I’m travelling. And if you haven’t already, please take a moment to nominate Tending the Table for the Saveur Blog Awards.
With gratitude, Sasha
Hello from Vermont! We arrived on Friday and have been busy hiking, swimming, hanging out, flying kites, jumping on trampolines and visiting all our favorite spots. It always feels good to be back. The fields are lush and green, the wind hums through the trees and the rivers are clear and cold. We’ve been looking at a piece of land out here for the past six months and were hoping that things would fall into place while we were here. We took a little hike through the woods to explore the property and were discouraged and disappointed by the condition of the land and have decided to keep looking. Suddenly, things feel very uncertain. Anders graduates in December and instead of having a home to move back to, we could do anything or go anywhere. Big transitions like these always feel daunting and having faith that things will work out is hard for me.
In the face of uncertainty I usually turn to baked goods for comfort. I made these bars a few weeks ago and am super excited to share the recipe with you. The flavors here are rich and nutty with almond extract and chocolate in addition to sweet summer cherries. The bars are gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free which means you can eat them for breakfast!
A rooster crows. A soft breeze blows through the open window and I begin to stir. Roux jumps up on the bed and flops down next to me, thumping his tail enthusiastically, and giving me a few sloppy kisses. I fell asleep thinking about abundance and woke up feeling abundant. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions weave such a complex web of downy, dewy threads that it often seems impossible to untangle them all. But, I’ve come to realize that the simple act of concentrating the mind has the power to change how we feel and what we do. Thought really does manifest action.
Two years ago, I was lost and unhappy. I was working long hours waitressing, adjusting to a new life in a new city, and lonely. But, I was lucky to have a wise man in my life who suggested I try something new. So, I signed up for a workshop and waited. The air got colder, the leaves changed color and fell to the ground. It was October. The workshop arrived and I spent two days learning about food styling and how to shoot on manual. The next day, on my birthday, I started this blog. Now, after pursuing my passion, building a business, and honing a craft, I feel happy, content and full of purpose. I still think about “success” and what that means. For me, success means reaching a wider audience with the hope of changing our food system. So, I’m hoping you can help me by taking a moment to nominate Tending the Table for the 2016 Saveur Blog Awards. These awards recognize the best blogs out there in a myriad of categories and set the standard for the industry. Nominations are open through July 18th, here.
They say gratitude is the key to abundance and it’s true. I feel so grateful for all the steps that led me here, grateful for a sequence of events that now seem serendipitous and almost archetypal, and grateful for all of you who give my work meaning. So, thank you. Thank you for being here and sharing this space with me. For listening and for sharing your stories.
With gratitude, Sasha
This toast was inspired by a dessert I saw on a menu in Sydney. The combination of peaches and tahini turned out to be even better than I expected, perfectly balancing sweet and savory. The juiciness of the peaches works perfectly on toast and the radish sprouts add a little punch. This is a perfect breakfast or lunch on those days when it’s too hot to cook and you want something both filling and refreshing.
It’s vacation time! I spent the beginning of the week sewing curtains, cleaning out all the kitchen drawers, scrubbing the top of the fridge and herding dust bunnies out from under the beds…you get the idea. The deep cleaning is pretty miserable in the moment but I love how things feel all sparkly fresh afterwards. Part of me really wants to stay and enjoy it. Instead, we’re heading out and about for four weeks, visiting family in Oregon and New York, friends in VT, camping, backpacking, and enjoying all the summer fun. Be sure to stay tuned and follow my adventures on Instagram and Snapchat. What are your summer vacation plans? Whatever they are I hope they include plenty of frozen treats.
I made these amazing chai pops for Popsicle Week. They’re super creamy, a little spicy, vegan and refined sugar free. I’m pretty excited about them and hope you are too.
Hey! Hope everyone is having a great week. I’m at lake crescent taking a much needed break from the city, kayaking, hiking and trying to teach Roux to swim. It feels like summer is really here and the farmer’s market is in full swing. Last week I picked up peas, zucchini, basil, cucumbers, peaches, and all the berries. With the insanely warm weather we’ve been having the berries started going bad before we could eat them all, but I was determined not to let any go to waste. They aren’t perfect looking, and are even a little wrinkled and bruised (they had a rough ride home on the back of my bike) but that’s ok with me. I think there’s something beautiful about produce that isn’t perfect and I hope that you’ll see the inherent beauty too. Twenty percent of the produce grown in the U.S. goes to waste because it doesn’t fit the strict cosmetic standards set by grocery stores, and expected by consumers, resulting in wasted resources and huge environmental impacts. Several organizations like Imperfect Produce and Imperfectly Delicious are working to change this by educating consumers, working with farmers and gleaning imperfect produce to sell in discounted CSA shares or incorporate into food service industry menus. After all, it’s the flavor that matters most right?
I dressed up these strawberries by tossing them with coconut sugar and freshly grated ginger for a rich roasted flavor and a little zing. I served them with sheep milk yogurt, apriums, toasted pistachios and chia seeds but they’d be great on strawberry shortcakes or over ice cream too. The styling in this post was inspired by Tara O’Brady’s recipe for Chia Pudding with Fruit and Golden Honey Elixer.
1 cup strawberries hulled and sliced
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
Sheep milk yogurt
Sliced apriums or apricots
Toasted and chopped pistachios
Gently toss the strawberries with the sugar and ginger until the sugar has dissolved and the strawberries start to release their juices. Serve with sheep milk yogurt, sliced apriums, toasted pistachios and chia seeds.
It’s been a bit of a rough week. Last weekend I attended a workshop, but instead of feeling inspired and encouraged I ended up feeling lots of self-doubt and insecurity. I’ve been feeling down ever since and am trying to remember to just roll with it, knowing that these feelings come in waves. On top of it all, it’s been ridiculously hot here which makes it hard to get much done. I’m looking forward to a little break next week and some time on the water. What are your summer plans?
I made these collard wraps a few weeks ago on Nom after I found these beautiful collard greens at the market. I’m excited to share the recipe with you here. They’re simple, tasty and make great leftovers for lunch. Enjoy!
A wise man once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Then lots of other people repeated his words and turned a powerful message into a tired cliche. However, if you stop and really consider these words, they still ring true. I often get frustrated by other people’s inaction and hypocrisy. I become judgmental and grouchy, muttering and grumbling under my breath when I see friends or family eating feedlot meat and conventional produce. I know I sound like a snob and I am one. I admit it. I also know that all the judging and grumbling in the world isn’t going to change anything. Everyone has values and most people live them out in their daily lives. Over and over again I have to remind myself that the things I value most are not universal. While I view our daily food choices as the most impactful choices we make when it comes to ethical and sustainable living, others might not agree and it’s not my job to shame them or guilt them into submission. All I can do is live my values and set an example that I hope inspires others. So, what inspires you to change? I find that reading powerful books or moving documentaries (the kind that make me uncomfortable and sad) often impact my choices the most. But, I know that for some, this kind of exposure leaves them feeling discouraged. For some, positive solutions or satire are the most inspiring and for others scientific facts compel them to change. One of my goals with this blog is to help people eat better, not only for themselves, but for the planet. I’ve been reluctant to write too much about the ethical and environmental problems with our current food system for fear of alienating readers and driving people away. But I’d like to change that and start bringing you some weekly food for thought (sorry, I couldn’t resist). So, I’d like to hear from you, my readers, about what inspires you to change? How can I help you learn about the issues facing our food system and instill in you a desire to shop, cook and eat more mindfully? Comment below and let me know…
This salad is crisp and fresh and perfect as a side for picnics and barbecues. The apple adds a sweet crunch and the lemon, turmeric and ginger dressing is zippy and bright. It’s also super easy to throw together and really colorful. Enjoy!
Happy Saturday! I’m spending a long weekend in the Methow Valley camping, hiking and biking. Have I told you about the Methow yet? It’s pretty much the greatest place on earth. There are mountains and rivers, forests and meadows, and miles and miles of hiking and biking. The valley has been our home away from home since we moved to Seattle. It’s the one place where we really feel like ourselves. There’s something about the fresh air, the exercise, the friendly people, and the local food that make us instantly happier, more grateful, more in love, and more alive.These popsicles were inspired by Yossy Arefi’s new book Sweeter off the Vine. I’m generally not a lavender person, but I had the opportunity to try Yossy’s Pistachio Pound Cake with Lavender Strawberries at her book talk here in Seattle and fell in love with this flavor combo. These popsicles are really easy to make, refined sugar free and perfect for a holiday weekend. Enjoy!
I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you all for a while now. Sorry it took me so long. This is one of my favorite go to meals that I’ve been making since college. It’s my riff on the classic palaak paneer but it’s dairy free which makes my tummy and my skin happy. I add coconut milk to make it rich and creamy and the chickpeas make it nice and hearty. I love it, Anders loves it, and our friend’s 11-month old baby even loves it. Every time I make this, the smell of Indian spices makes me nostalgic for our time in India and I vow to cook more Indian food. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do and that every time you make it you imagine me in India, zipping through the crowded streets on a motorbike, slurping fresh coconut water, sitting cross legged on the floor and eating with my fingers.
Happy Saturday! It’s raining again which means all I want to do is cuddle up on the couch with a big mug of tea and a puppy or two and watch reruns. I won’t even tell you what show I’m hooked on right now, because it’s too embarrassing. What are you watching these days?
I did my first live cooking demo yesterday, which was simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. I think it went pretty well. You can watch it here if you’re interested and pick up a few tips for making this mousse. Most vegan mousse recipes rely on avocado, but this recipe uses aquafaba (aka bean juice) instead which miraculously whips up just like egg whites. It creates an incredibly light and airy consistency and reduces food waste by using a product that would normally end up down the drain. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like beans at all.
Here are a few links from the week:
- I just started reading this book and so far it’s full of eye opening information about the problems with our food system and has me rethinking some of my food choices.
- This article exposes the horrible working conditions in poultry processing facilities, just in case the environmental impacts and animal cruelty issues weren’t already enough reason to boycott chicken.
- This article has some great info on the health benefits of chickpeas.
- My new favorite ceramics artist. I can’t seem to find the bowls I want through any of his stockists though…Dang!
- I’m excited to make this soup this weekend.
I feel like I have a toddler. I wake up every morning, and before I have time to brush my teeth or shower or make tea or do yoga, Roux starts jumping on the bed and on my lap, furiously licking me in the face, running around tossing balls and bones every which way, demanding my attention. It’s not enough anymore to just let him out into the backyard. He wants to play. And even after an hour of running around at the park, he gets home and goes straight for the toys. By mid-afternoon, he finally falls asleep. But the minute Anders gets home, he’s at it again, running full speed from one end of the house to the other, purposefully dropping his bone on the floor and sliding it around to make as much noise as possible. Forget about having a conversation or watching a movie. I’m sure a nice cocktail would take the edge off, but since we don’t drink much I usually opt for a mocktail instead.
I was surprised to find cherries at the farmer’s market over the weekend and wanted to do something special with them. This mocktail is rich and robust but still refreshing and perfect for warm summer days. Roasting the cherries with the vanilla bean and maple syrup brings out their sweetness and the smoky black tea and lemon add complexity and a touch of acidity. And if you want to get crazy, try adding some tequila or bourbon.
Happy Saturday friends! Last night my friend Kristan and I hosted a little cocktail party for a group of local bloggers. We drank and ate and talked and laughed. It was wonderful to make new friends and build community. This morning after a long walk with the dog, I taught yoga to a small group of friends. Now, we’re eating brunch and watching The Daily Show. So far it’s been a pretty great weekend. I hope you’re having a great weekend too and that this orange blossom water and poppy seed rhubarb cake will make your weekend even better! In the meantime, I’ve got some favorite links for you below. Enjoy!
- I watched this TED talk this morning and LOVED it! It gives a really great, scientifically grounded argument against the paleo diet while promoting a diverse, local, seasonal, whole foods diet. Plus there’s some really cool stuff in there about the differences between wild vegetables and our modern ones.
- We just got a set of these to help shorten dryer time and save energy when I don’t have time to hang my laundry up! Woohoo!
- I can’t wait to make this and this!
- This is a great little article about the environmental cost of growing food, something people are starting to think about more and more. It’s about time!
- Tara O’Brady’s photos from her recent trip to India are so stunning. They capture a mood and the essence of place so perfectly and have me dreaming about another trip to Mysore.
- Obsessed with these hand woven, naturally dyed rugs and can’t wait to fill our future cabin with them.
We just got back from our first camping trip of the season. We hiked through fields of gold and purple wildflowers and lounged in our hammocks by the river. It felt good to be outside breathing the pine scented air and reconnecting with the world around us. Spending time in nature fills me with so much gratitude; gratitude for a healthy body, for fresh, clean water, for bountiful food, and for companionship. Stepping away from the bustle of the city for just a few days allowed me to recognize the power of solitude, but also the indelible impact of community. It’s the people around us who shape our understanding of the world and inform our choices and inspire us. And it’s the farmers and fisherman who shape our understanding of the food on our tables.
I developed this burger recipe for Drifters Fish, using their wild Copper River salmon. Every summer Nelly and Michael head to Cordova, Alaska to fish the Copper River. They fish sustainably, using a careful system of gillnetting and fishing only when the salmon population is thriving and plentiful. Every spring they sell shares of salmon through their community supported fishery which are then available for pick up in the fall after they return from Alaska. Nelly and Michael are not only passionate about sustainability, but also strive to build community and encourage consumers to #knowyourfisherman.
For these burgers I mixed in some lemongrass and ginger to brighten things up and added roasted red chili paste, cilantro cream and quick pickled cucumber and red onion for the perfect balance of flavors and textures. I think these burgers are pretty darn great and hope you like them too.
This post was sponsored by Drifters Fish. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors. I truly believe in this company, their product and their mission. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Happy Saturday friends! I hope your weekend is off to a great start. I’m excited to share this super easy, super delicious, dairy free, raspberry frozen yogurt recipe with you. I made this frozen yogurt the other day while I was cleaning out the fridge. I needed to use some leftover coconut milk and yogurt so I added a little sweetener, some frozen berries and whizzed it all in the blender before popping it into my ice cream maker. Sooo good! I love improvisational cooking like this because it leaves me feeling creative and resourceful. I hope you like this recipe as much as I do and I’d love to hear how you improvise in the kitchen.
P.S. I’m in the Methow Valley this weekend, camping and hiking (you can follow my adventures on instagram and snapchat @sasha.swerdloff).
I’m a slow reader. I’ve been slowly making my way through The Third Plate for months and recently stumbled upon a passage that really resonated with me. It goes something like this:
“Our current template for changing the [food] system is to opt out of it: eat seasonally, buy local, choose organic whenever possible. For all the virtues of farm-to-table eating […] the shortcomings of that ethos [are] easy to see. Our job isn’t just to support the farmer; it’s really to support the land that supports the farmer. That’s a larger distinction than it sounds like. Even the most sustainably minded farmers grow crops and raise meats in proportion to what we demand. And what we demand generally throws off the balance of what the land can reasonably provide”.
After reading this paragraph, I initially felt defensive. What do you mean it’s not enough to eat seasonal, local, organic food? What else can I do? How do you expect me to change the entire food system? But then I realized how pervasive this “template” really is. We do one good thing and tell ourselves that it’s enough. But, there is always more we can do.
I was recently approached by a company about some sponsored work. I was tempted by the offer because it paid well, but when I began to look into the product they wanted me to promote, I felt uncomfortable. The company claimed to be committed to preserving the land for future generations. To them this meant gradually transitioning to non-gmo production. On the one hand, I was impressed by their efforts to do good, but ultimately felt like this company was doing one thing and then opting out. How can you claim to be committed to sustainability while farming 170 thousand acres of conventional soybeans? I’m sharing this story with you, not because I’m looking to discredit a product or win validation, but to emphasize how there is always more to learn and consider and that what we learn ultimately impacts the decisions we make. Our food system is complex and convoluted, but in my mind, it’s worth parsing out the interconnected pieces to discover how your choices impact the planet.
In The Third Plate, Dan Barber suggests that chefs, (I’d include food bloggers too), have the power to influence the palate of the people and control the demand for certain products. I think he’s right and I’m troubled when I see that ramps are in danger of extinction due to high demand at restaurants and farmers markets or that the popularity of quinoa in the U.S. makes it unaffordable for the native populations who have relied on it for centuries. I don’t expect you to boycott ramps or quinoa, but hope that by sharing what I’ve learned, I can encourage you to think differently about what and how you eat. No decision is without its pros and cons, but every bite we take changes the world.
This has been my go to spring salad for a few years now. It’s bright and simple. I love all the green and the variety of textures and flavors. I sometimes add some diced avocado, brown rice or chickpeas to make it a little heartier and switch up the toasted nuts from time to time. Almonds are good, as are pistachios or pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!
Hey Everyone! I hope you’re having a great week. I seem to be on a breakfast kick lately. I hope you don’t mind. I’ve got the recipe for these decadent chocolate espresso waffles with caramelized bananas for you today. They’re gluten free and almost vegan and so rich and moist and delicious. Enjoy!
I’ve got a long list of all the things I want to grow when we’re finally settled in one place for more than a few years. It includes all the usual perennial suspects: lilacs, peonies, apples, plums, pears, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, asparagus, and of course rhubarb. I thought i’d have enough time here in Seattle to establish a hearty rhubarb crop, but despite growing up watching my mom in the garden, growing things doesn’t come naturally to me. I planted a few rhubarb starts when we first arrived in Seattle three years ago, but they died that first year. I thought they were gonners and resigned myself to buying rhubarb at the market. To my surprise, a few fragile red stalks crowned with pale green leaves popped up this spring. There won’t be anything to harvest this year, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to pick a few stalks next year. In the meantime, I’m forced to forage around the neighborhood when I want some rhubarb with the leaves still attached for styling. Yes, I stole the rhubarb. Now, let’s be clear. This is probably the most rebellious thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m terrified of getting in trouble and hate confrontation. So it was a big deal when I pulled over in front of someone’s house, casually got out of the car with an empty tote bag over my shoulder, looked around suspiciously, and hastily yanked a few stalks from the unassuming plant. I stuffed the rhubarb in my bag, jumped in the car and sped off as if I’d just robbed a bank. By the time I got home I felt embarrassed and wracked with guilt but decided to make the most of my precious loot. So I decided to poach the rhubarb in Steven Smith Teamaker’s Big Hibiscus tea with ginger, rose and elderflower and spoon it over coconut almond brioche french toast, for a perfectly decadent brunch. Why not?
This hibiscus tea pairs perfectly with the tart rhubarb and rich nuttiness of the french toast, plus I love knowing that I’m supporting a local business that takes pride in sourcing high quality teas from around the world while supporting the communities it works with.
*This post was sponsored by Steven Smith Teamaker. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors. Note: Steven Smith Teamaker now has two tasting rooms in Portland, OR where they offer tea on tap, gaiwan service and a new tea latte every month.
The spring cleaning bug has invaded our house and our lives. I’ve been furiously scrubbing and dusting, organizing, gardening, purging the garage of three years worth of accumulated stuff and trying to stay sane throughout it all. More often than not, after a long day of cleaning, I find myself without a dinner plan. Luckily, we almost always have a loaf of good bread on hand and the garden is putting out all sorts of herbs and greens. This time of year we find ourselves eating a hearty salad for dinner almost every night. Sometimes I’ll throw in some legumes, nuts or grains or some pieces of bread fried in herbs and garlic until crisp and golden.
For this recipe I used Grand Central Bakery’s peasant levain. Their breads are a staple in our house and I love knowing that I’m not only getting a great loaf of bread but that I’m also supporting a local business that shares my values. Grand Central Bakery began with one woman selling homemade bread on a small island in the San Juans. Today, the company has grown substantially, but is still a family run business and remains true to its mission to use the best sustainable and local ingredients including stone-ground, whole wheat flours grown by small Pacific Northwest Farmers who care about preserving the soil and the environment.
I truly believe that what we eat matters, not only for our health, but for the health of the planet. Even when I’m hungry and tired I try to create a meal using ingredients and products that I can feel good about eating and sharing with others.
*This post was sponsored by Grand Central Bakery. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors. Note: Every Tuesday throughout April and May, Grand Central Bakery is offering free samples and discounted loaves to customers.