Posts Tagged: connect a bite

Three Years and Counting

3yr_1

Good Day All,

Today marks three years of Connect a Bite!  This means three years that you’ve come to this spot to read a little, maybe laugh a little or maybe even find a little inspiration of your own in relationship to food; this connection brings me so much joy.  Thank you.  Connect a Bite, for me, has been a place where comestible notions come to synchronize with everything else.  I don’t know about you, but I certainly have favorite spots on the web that my fingers lovingly search for when a spare moment reveals itself, and I hope that Connect a Bite is that for you, or will someday become one of those spots.

Over the years, it’s only natural that I would begin to not only question, but deconstruct what this bit of online coding means to me.  With busy lives, the necessity people have created for fast fixes, and a plethora of food related blogs out there– run by beautiful-spirited bloggers from all over the world–what singular message can I put out there that’s unique?  On this third anniversary, I sit here before you to say that maybe my contemplations and visual notions of the nourishing world are not especially distinct, but they are a unified vision of how I see the world and our link to what we eat.  If my posts were only able to galvanize a handful of you out there to speak up about the world of food and how key it is in your lives, be it a recipe that has been passed down for generations or a life threatening food allergy or disease, than my heart would swell.

Connect a Bite brings you a series called Edible Inspiration, where I visually explore images that spur a feeling of transcendence and change in relationship to physical nourishment.  Another series that began just this year, Noshed in a Book, hopes to bring your literary world closer to all the nom that crosses your path in the meantime.  And Kitchen Letters began in 2014 as an awakening, for I cherish the art of letter writing and longed to find a way to speak to you through an epistolary form of posts.

Thank you for taking a second to breeze through my site while you sip on your morning tea or nibble on your afternoon snack while taking in the day.  I feel so fortunate to be a part of your life and I look forward to writing more as the years fade into sunsets.

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Have a lovely today and tomorrow and remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

RAM

Observing Two Years!

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Happy Birthday Connect a Bite!  I can hardly believe it has been two years since I began writing and sharing all the many ways we can connect to our food through celebrating women, social commentaries, creating recipes based on what you have on hand and in season, questioning the norm and many more things!

Thank you, to anyone who has been positive and encouraging to me during this time.  I’m grateful to have this privilege and I appreciate your support and enthusiasm.  The nature of this blog has, in many ways, grown from a casual way to express thoughts and observations on the food world to a place where I’m able to highlight new recipes and share my thoughts on what’s going on in food news and begin my new series–inspired by the web–called ‘Kitchen Letters’.  Connect a Bite has given me the gift of believing that writing and linking ourselves to the food world is not only rewarding, but fun in many ways.

2014 has many more exciting things to come, like more videos, podcast episodes–‘Cinema Cuisine’–, more original recipes and possibly an interview series.  I hope you’ll join me in this journey. ^___^

If you’d like to be in the know about what’s to come in each post, feel free to subscribe by entering in your email on the homepage in the right column.  If you would ever like to contact me directly with thoughts, questions, comments or feed-back, feel free to email me at rachelannemanning@connectabite.com  You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest,YouTube and facebook too!

There’s no doubt this last year brought about enlightenment and challenges, but I know those occurrences have helped in the shaping of what I hope becomes a growing source of enlightenment for all of you!  I look forward to many more years of bringing meaning to what you’re eating!  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy, happy and grateful regards,

RAM

p.s. Happy International Women’s Day!  Check out this piece on Food Tank about women who are changing food.  I’m delighted to be a woman trying to make a difference. <3

Cinema Cuisine: Italy – L’eclisse [1st Video]

YesterdayCafe

YesterdayCafe

Hello Everyone,

My experience with preparing and cooking the assorted dishes for Cinema Cuisine, Italy, was that much more care, devotion, patience and love had to go into each dish.  What do I mean?  Oftentimes in the kitchen, as much as possible, I try to be efficient and quick in my approach to making a meal.  I embrace delicate measures when necessary, but otherwise, I’m multitasking and moving from one dish to the next, incorporating one spice or ingredient after the next. After much sweat and heart, the meal is complete.  Shortly after, I either feel one of two things: a strong sense of accomplishment and elation or a mild sense of disappointment and anxiety.   These feelings are common because I’m either pleased with my creations or I’m displeased with–by my standards–an unsatisfactory outcome.  Either way, I’m able to enjoy my creations with a loved one and, being the critic that I am, dissect the many facets of the meal.  With this in mind, for my Italian meal I allowed self and outside critique, but I channeled a level of love into the process of making the dishes that I rarely do.  It was one of my most enjoyable cooking experiences yet.

Before the big meal, my love and I knew we needed to begin the process of making the homemade pasta for a few reasons, but mostly because we had never used a pasta maker before.  For the winter holiday of 2012, we received an authentic, Italian press (with some extra attachments) and a bamboo wooden drying rack for the pasta.  Up until the end of June, we had yet to crack open the box, and this lack of attention to this thoughtful pasta making gift set in motion my idea of choosing Italy as our next film and cuisine exploration.

Below you’ll find many recipes and my FIRST VIDEO that you too could incorporate into a day or days of Italian themed dishes.  Most of them are my own creations and ideas, but some are inspired by wonderful chefs I’ve discovered.  I hope you enjoy every bite and appreciate the process of making this meal or meals as much as I did.  What is more, as the Italians do, enjoy this meal with a group of people and even encourage a potluck. Making all of these delicious recipes and more could turn into an all day affair.  For me, there’s nothing more rewarding and satisfying.

A quick note on L’eclisse.  Why–before the viewing of this film–I had yet to see an Antonioni film, escapes me, but I can say these dishes couple consummately as their simplicity matches the contemplative and confident manner of this movie.  Please, enjoy every bite and every frame.

Keep a look out for our podcast where you’ll hear much more depth into L’eclisse. I’ll post it in a few days!  Please let me know what you think of the recipes and the tweaks you made to your own creations.  And remember…bite responsibly!

 

Breakfast

Raw Cacao, Avocado Pudding/Spread w/ Apple slices & Italian Press Coffee

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe medium avocados
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 3 tbsp unsweetened almond (or coconut) milk to taste
  • 1 to 2 tbsp pure maple syrup to taste
  • 1 or 2 drops of liquid stevia to taste (slightly more liberal w/ powder version)
  • 6 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large apple of your choice (pear)
  • fresh coffee beans
  • coffee press
  • water

INSTRUCTIONS

 

For Pudding/Spread

  1. Slice the avocado lengthwise to break past the outter skin barrier, remove the pit and spoon out contents into high powered blender/food processor
  2. Add vanilla, maple syrup, raw cacao, cinnamon and the first tbsp of almond milk
  3. Blend until a smooth, creamy texture is reached (note:  Add remaining tbsp of milk if mixture is too dry. Additionally if not sweet enough, add in stevia–take care to not add too much initially as excessive amounts could make the pudding/spread too bitter.)
  4. Slice apple with skin on and enjoy it with liberal amounts of this delicious pudding

For Coffee Press

  1. Coarsely grind two tbsp of coffee for ever 6 oz of water
  2. Begin to heat water, don’t boil
  3. Place ground coffee beans at the bottom of your press
  4. Pour VERY hot water (not boiling) over beans and immediately cover with coffee press lid, but do NOT press down filtration piece yet; let sit for 3-5 minutes
  5. Press down filtration press piece and pour into your favorite mug
  6. ENJOY!

NOTES

 

This dish could also be made with soft and soaked medjool dates (6 to 8). I happened to not have any on hand. Raisins would also be a nice substitute.

Also, Italians often enjoy their chocolate spread with bread or toast.

For a more dense protein treat, add some pre-soaked raw pecans (you’ll get a flavor closer to Nutella but without the hazlenuts).

Should store, refrigerated for up to two days.  After two days I’d smell it/taste it.

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Flavorful and full-bodied coffee beans from www.equalexchange.coop

Lunch/Dinner

Italian Summer Salad

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 large portions or 6 smaller portions)

  • 1 head romaine lettuce (chopped)
  • 1/2 large cucumber (sliced thinly into half moons)
  • colorful sweet peppers of your choices (I chose:  1 purple, 1 red, 1 green, 1 banana; thinly sliced rings)

INGREDIENTS (DRESSING)

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (if you’re watching alkalinity, nix this and add an extra 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar)
  • salt to taste
  • course, freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp & 1 tsp dried Italian herb mixture (my mixture is:  thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, marjoram; if you have fresh herbs available, curve the amount; also, the dressing cannot be kept as long)

INSTRUCTIONS

 

For Salad

  1. After cleaning, chopping and drying lettuce, place it in a large bowl
  2. Add pepper rings and cucumber slices
  3. Toss with clean hands until vegetables are all mixed

For Dressing

  1. Pour liquids into a jar and then add remainder of ingredients
  2. Place lid on the top of jar and shake until mixture combines
  3. Before mixture separates, conservatively pour over salad
  4. Enjoy salad soon, or lettuce will wilt.  If only enjoying in single portions, plate salad portion and drizzle dressing over individually.  Secure remaining dressing with lid, store at room temperature

summa cucumber

summa salad

Beet Balls

NOTES

  • Please see my previous post for the beet ball recipe HERE.
  • Some tweaks: I adjusted the herb mixture, type of mushroom and nut when I made these recently, and unlike my old post, I find that golden beets do bring out a more savory nature to these balls.

 

Sauteed Summer Squash

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 summer squash (yellow & zucchini, mixture of your choosing; thinly sliced into half strips)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil/coconut oil
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

 

  1. After slicing squash and mincing garlic, heat skillet over medium heat and add oil
  2. Once oil is hot–should move like water in the pan–gently place squash slices into skillet and gently toss until every piece is covered with oil
  3. After beginning to brown, add garlic
  4. Cook until gentle (to fork) and garlic is fragrant, lightly browned, but not burnt; about 7 minutes
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss, serve and enjoy ^_^

 

Homemade Pasta (gluten-free, soy-free, vegan)

Recipe by:  Cassie

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp flax (ground)
  • 6 tbsp warm water
  • 1 3/4 cup chickpea flour (additional amount for rolling out and pressing)

INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO

Check out my very first instructional video (also streaming on YouTube) on how to make homemade pasta!

NOTES

 

  • I made farfalle and fettuccine noodles (both of which fell apart to some degree). I’ll need to do my own personal tweaking to the recipe for the future. Don’t overcook!
  • SALT the water!
  • Make sure you have plenty of flour for rolling out and putting dough through pasta press, otherwise you’ll have a sticky mess.
  • I also recommend keeping a small bowl of cool water nearby wherever your hands are when rolling out the dough. This works much better with moist hands (the dough will not cling to your fingers in such large clumps with a little water).
  • Have a partner! Though you could make this pasta alone, I think it would be more fun and easier with a buddy.
  • Give yourself plenty of time and space. Don’t let the ingredients deceive you, this recipe is relatively time consuming, especially if you’re in a moderately cramped space.
  • Please do not get discouraged if you are in a one butt kitchen or don’t have a pasta press, this is completely doable without both, but it will be more challenging.  Respect your space and the amount of time it will take to make.
  • Kick back and enjoy the experience, otherwise you’ll botch the recipe and process and find yourself very frustrated.
  • Stick to the instructions in the video. Although I’m an advocate of going with the flow in recipes, skipping or rushing a step could lead to problems. :(

 

Walnut Basil Pesto

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 to 1 cup raw walnuts–depending on how ‘nutty’ you want your pesto (soaked w/ apple cider vinegar for 6 hours, rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups loosely pressed basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (more or less to your desired consistency)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (more or less to your desired consistency, taste)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

 

  1. Place nuts, oil and all other ingredients in high-powered blender or food processor
  2. Begin to blend and slowly increase speed to high
  3. Use bowl scraper to wipe sides of container and blend once more to catch the rest of the ingredients that may have splattered
  4. Depending on the consistency you want (either chunky or smooth), pace your blending
  5. Serve mixed into pasta (specifically for this recipe) and freeze the remainder in an ice-cube tray covered in plastic wrap

NOTES

  • This will make a sizable amount. Try freezing the remainder in ice-cube trays and cover with plastic wrap.  Later, you have a quick meal as all you’ll have to do is pop a pesto cube onto your dish and heat it up or thaw it out.

 

Italian Creamy White Sauce w/ Parsley and Grape Tomatoes

Follow directions HERE for dressing then do the following:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 garlic clove (yes, more garlic)
  • 3 tsp dried Italian herb mixture
  • water to desired consistency (unsweetened almond milk for a thicker consistency)
  • 6 grape tomatoes (quartered)
  • handful of fresh flat leaf parsley (gently minced; lucky me, this go round I had some from my herb garden!)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Follow instructions for dressing FIRST
  2. Next, add cashews, garlic, Italian herb mixture and water
  3. Blend once more
  4. Serve mixed into pasta (add in parsley and quartered grape tomatoes), or over your favorite, homemade gluten-free pizza crust (without the added parsley, just the tomatoes)!

NOTES

  • Italians typically serve a plain or ‘pasta blanco’ for ease of digestion as a more minimal dish. I dressed up the idea but created a vegan, high protein/omega-3 cream sauce, free of soy and other additives.

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finalmealwithwine_cab

 

Healthy Regards,

RAM

 

Refernces:

Italian Breakfast

Italy Food Culture

Primer – Italian Food Culture

1 Year Anniversary of Connect a Bite & International Women’s Day

Early 20th Century

Early 20th Century

Good Day,

Happy International Women’s Day!  As with last year, I encourage each woman out there to find where you feel your place is in the culinary world, be it writing, cooking, growing, or the myriad of other fields under this umbrella.  This year’s IWD theme is, The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum, a topic that resonates with me to a large degree. Especially engaging is the idea of ‘momentum’, which I believe is of the utmost importance to everyone, but especially women; now and in the future.  Much of my journey as a woman has been influenced largely by the force or energy I was willing to put into a project or situation. This would, in turn, further my skills — mind or body– in some way and has led me to be able to share my knowledge and experiences with all of you.  Without this internal impetus, I feel as though all of our compasses would be pointing the wrong direction.  However, this energy has not always been easy to come by, nor was it a cinch to channel and utilize.

Thus, being present but still looking forward, I’m pleased to say that there has been a significant amount of growth, love, positivity, polish and inner strength in my life over the past year, and because of this, Connect a Bite has grown an even stronger place in my heart.  Additionally, I’ve had my struggles and bouts with the other side of the coin and I can say those strifes have also led me to where I am today, probably with even more vigor and personal integrity.  Food and the world of food, in its many shapes, sizes and forms, is a world I know I belong in and a world I can’t wait to grow deeper roots in with every year that passes.

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Connect a Bite – Rachel Anne Manning© 2013

Thank you everyone for reading Connect a Bite and allowing my words the potential of touching your heart and minds.  For this coming year, I hope to produce more personal foliage and when this occurs it will not only be because of my forward focused nature, but, more importantly, because of your support and happy thoughts.  All of my aspirations combined, there are a lot of cool changes and plans for this year, so keep an eye out!  I have learned an immense amount in the last year, and I plan to live a life of continual education with the help of all of you.  I hope to become more connected to all of you and help connect you more with everything food!

Connect a Bite - Rachel Anne Manning © 2013

Connect a Bite – Rachel Anne Manning © 2013

Connect a Bite - Rachel Anne Manning© 2013

Connect a Bite – Rachel Anne Manning© 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, remember…bite responsibly!

With much love and peace,

RAM

Where it begins…

Bonjour Everyone & Welcome to Connect a Bite!

Connect a Bite © 8 March 2012Connect a Bite © 8 March 2012

Today feels like a wonderful time to kick off Connect a Bite because it’s a very special day for women around the world, as it is the 37th International Women’s Day to be celebrated, and the United Nations International Women’s Day theme this year is ‘Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty’.

I wanted to use the message of ‘end hunger and poverty’ theme to introduce Connect a Bite a little more and welcome all of you into the conversation of what it means to bring meaning to what you’re eating, and how we as individuals–and some of us as strong women–can become changing forces within our community.

Connect a Bite can be a useful tool and resource if you are ever feeling as though you’re reaching an exhaustive rut—because believe me this happens to the best of em’—or you’re just in need of a personal boost of knowledge and trusty tips.  Realize that what we eat, how we treat all animals around us, and the environmental choices we make every day affect our fetching looks, moods, outlook, inner strength and will.

Start small, little maybe even teensy weensy, just make the promise and commitment to yourself that you will help change your life by starting with your cupboard and this will give you the personal boost and enthusiasm to help affect other people’s lives.  As women, we have an amazing amount of endurance and ingenuity, on this special day, take the time to exercise these abilities.

So, to align ourselves as women with something that’s truly in our roots, make a point to cook or prepare a delectable meal from scratch today and start by buying locally grown produce and fare.  Don’t just dump a can of soup from a can, or pop a frozen pizza in your oven. I say, don’t even dump some pre-mixed lettuce from a bag today.  Blend, slice, dice, bake, boil, roast, toss and stir-fry it up all on your own.  Call or text your mother(s), sister(s), grandmother(s), aunt(s), god mother or even a close female friend, borrow a recipe and then veganize it with love and a dash of spicy!  Try adding your own personal twist, give it a zippy name and then as you’re eating know you made a difference.  Place a—distinctive and often overlooked wild flower that has popped up in your yard—in a recycled jar or small vase on your table for a splash of nature while you dine.    Run the water a little less after you clean those dishes, and ‘break bread’ by the light of the setting sun or an aromatic soy candle instead of keeping the lights on.   Make this meal more than a meal, make it an experience and you as a woman, and even my men followers, will be one step closer to truly connecting and affecting.

And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

~RAM~