Posts Tagged: tea

Noshed in a Book: The Second Sex [part 1]

niab8_1

Each book that I have read this year has been a firm or gentle exploration of the philosophical ideas underlying race, gender, human rights, and more. In The Second Sex (part 1) by Simone de Beauvoir, we focus on women and their role as human beings first and functioning members of society second.  Realistically, my expectation of this text was that it would be dense and a slower read for me, and I was right.  That’s not to say that reading at a steadier pace connotes a boring read, but the subject matter was one for which I felt the need to draw in as much as I could, instead of reading in a rush.

niab8_2

The Second Sex (part 1) by Simone de Beauvoir

Simply put, The Second Sex acts as a detailed examination of the state of being a woman and interpreting woman as “other.” Simone de Beauvoir was an existentialist, and her view on the separation between a human’s ‘essence’ and their ‘being’ is exposed early on as she refers to the female as prey.

“The female is the prey of the species; for one or two seasons, depending on the case, her whole life is regulated by a sexual cycle–the estrous cycle–whose length and periodicity vary from one species to another.”

This situated the rest of part one to focus on the idea of defense, a role women have been playing for centuries.  Through her explorations of biological, historical and literary analysis, de Beauvoir begins to unravel the depths of the figure that is woman and her treatment both by external figures and herself.  I deem this twentieth-century book as a primary resource in juxtaposition to the clouded view our twenty-first century continues to have about feminism and women’s rights. Women throughout history have been subjected to explicit and corroding subordination, which de Beauvoir comments upon, as well as how women’s subservience was a manipulation and form of slavery.  She also discusses how woman is deeply rooted in art and thinking, yet she is on the fringes, and in order for their to be real, lasting changes in the women’s movement, woman must be at the center of society, deeply immersed.  Simone de Beauvoir’s confidence in the subject matter, factual declarations and intimacy with the subject–for which she spent fourteen months researching–captured me.  Additionally, I’m inspired and in awe of de Beauvoir herself, as this book was written and published in the late 1940s, a time period in which feminism was just blinking its eyes again for change.  She was and continues to be a spearhead for the feminist movement and an exceptional figure of strength.

“There is no way to directly oblige a woman to give birth:  all that can be done is to enclose her in situations where motherhood is her only option:  laws or customs impose marriage on her, anti-conception measures and abortion are banned, divorce is forbidden.  These old patriarchal constraints are exactly the ones the U.S.S.R. has brought back to life today; it has revived paternalistic theories about marriage; and in doing so, it has asked woman to become an erotic object again:  a recent speech (late 1940s) asked Soviet women citizens to pay attention to their clothes, to use makeup, and to become flirtatious to hold on to their husbands and stimulate their desire.”

Now at the precipice of change, men and women must decide if their strengths combined can create a unified front for equality among sexes. Solidarity.

Some facts and extra commentaries from the text:

  • Antifeminism strikes in the early 17th century.
  • “In 1906, 42 percent of working-age women (between eighteen and sixty) worked in farming, industry, business, banks, insurance, offices, and liberal professions.  This movement spread to the whole world because of the 1914-18 labor crisis and the world war.”
  • “The most oppressed minorities in a society are readily used by the oppressors as a weapon against the class they belong to; thus they at first become enemies, and a deeper consciousness of the situation is necessary to that blacks and whites, women and male workers, form coalitions rather than opposition.”

niab8_3

As for edibles, I decided before finishing the first part of this book that a delightful cup of calming tea would be best.  After taking in such heavy material, there could be nothing better than calming your mind and relaxing with a cup of tea.  I searched my tea drawers and discovered that though I have many calming blends, I wanted to make one of my own that spoke to what my palette was yearning for.  Many chamomile tea blends are mixed with hibiscus flower, lemongrass or other citrus notes, but I wanted to create something smooth, sweet and with a hint of vanilla.  I took inventory of what I had on hand and stocked up on what I needed–thanks to the Mr. for doing some last-minute shopping for me while I scurried around trying to get everything together.  I made dried chamomile flower the base of the tea, accented it with rooibos, and the rest is tea history.  When you’re digesting the wrappings of de Beauvoir’s ideas, sip on this tea to enhance the educational and enlightening experience.

niab8_4

niab8_5

Thoughtful Dreamy Tea

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp dried German chamomile flower [or any type of dried chamomile flower]
  • 1 tbsp loose rooibos tea
  • 1 tsp dried lavender flower
  • 2 inch piece of vanilla bean [seeds scooped out]
  • 1 tbsp dried currants
  • 1 gram powdered stevia [about 1 individual package]

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl
  2. Bring filtered or spring water to a boil
  3. Measure about 3 tsp of the tea mixture into a tea infuser [I used a biodegradable tea bag and stapled the top]
  4. Place the infusing device or tea bag in your teapot
  5. Pour water (12 oz) over tea bag and cover
  6. Let steep for 5 minutes
  7. Pour tea in your favorite cup, sip and enjoy a thoughtful, dreamy night’s sleep or afternoon nap.

Notes:

  • Feel free to reuse the tea mixture 2 or 3 times (flavor will change with each brew)
  • Use a higher tea-to-water ratio for a stronger tea
  • 1 1/2 tsp tea mix per 6 oz water
  • I enjoyed this tea hot, but you could brew the tea and chill

niab8_6

“To say that woman was the Other is  to say that a relationship of reciprocity between the sexes did not exist:  whether Earth, Mother, or Goddess, she was never a peer for man; her power asserted itself beyond human rule:  she was thus outside of this rule.” [about the Golden age of Woman being a myth]

 

The Second Sex (part 1) imbues an intellectual sturdiness and prowess that challenges both men and women to recognize patriarchy’s role in history and asserts that women’s rights are human rights to be addressed by all.  I’m very happy to have finally read this book (at least the first part) and I’m looking forward to jumping into the second part at a later date.  Let me know how your tea concoctions turn out and what you think of the recipe.  It’s my first time experimenting with making my very own tea combination and I look forward to hearing your opinions and critiques.  Join me in my next reading selection, Blankets by Craig Thompson, for a trip down the graphic road once again.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

 

RAM

 

 

Edible Inspiration: Week 23

Happy Vernal Equinox to all! I’m a shutterbug more than ever with the changing season.

1)  Cheating a little, here’s a photo from Pi Day.  I enjoyed blueberry pie with some delightful vanilla rooibos tea.  The roundest thing in this pic is my iron tea-pot!

eiwk23_1

2)  Shadows, splatters and afternoon walks.

eiwk23_2

3)  This violet mountain laurel, commonly known as the Texas mountain laurel, is nestled by a bee.  Did you know that despite their sweet fragrance, mountain laurels are incredibly toxic to most mammals, but not this bee? They’re blooming all over now in this part of the world, so keep your nose out and eyes open and you may see lovely bundles of flowers, merry bees, and the scent of grape soda.

eiwk23_3

4)  A tea blend filled with cardamom is okay by me.

eiwk23_4

5)  These lentils hit the spot.

eiwk23_5

6)  Iris in white, blooming all over.

eiwk23_6

Spring

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
April
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
A poet I regard, a poem to contemplate and pour yourself over.  And remember..bite responsibly!
Healthy Regards,
RAM

Noshed in a Book: The Complete Persepolis

niab4_1

As the visual medium excites me, graphic novels share a cozy, aromatic and mood-lit spot in my heart.  That’s not to say that I haven’t the imagination to incorporate my own visions of circumstance from a narrative, but the artistry and dark contrasting lines of Marjane Satrapi’s images in The Complete Persepolis are like a secret key into a world I admittedly know little about.  I don’t say this with a proud grin or a disdainful glower, but with an honest and mild expression.  The truth is, I can’t wait to re-read this graphic memoir as it moved me in the way that ocean waves do, sometimes gently nudging and other times forcefully shoving into different depths.

niab4_2

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

[spoiler alert]

An earnest, but honest depiction of Marjane Satrapi’s life as a young, rebellious girl and coming-of-age within the incredible and repressive nation of Iran “Persia”.  This visual tonic explores the Iranian revolution in parallel to important markers of growth in Satrapi’s life; the destructive disparity between her and her families’ life behind doors and their public lives; the basic human struggle of falling to a low, sad place before finding yourself; the beautiful and emotional triumph of accepting yourself.  There were moments while reading this book when I took pause to close the book and hug it, as I didn’t want the story to end.  At times, I felt as though I was inside of Marjane’s skin, infuriated by others acceptance of mediocrity and humored by the commodities of art.  This book has helped me re-examine what it means to live in the first world and have first-world problems.  Dwelling in and finding a need to express the petty and inane aspects of our life restrain us and stunt our growth.  Satrapi explores the turmoil she experienced when first discovering class differences.  The importance of education was a theme throughout the book.  Satrapi grew up in a time when there wasn’t access to the internet and yet she flourished by seeking out knowledge in books.  Books, in many ways, were her refuge and greatest friend during the tumultuous times of her up-bringing; this was the most heartening aspect of the book for me.

niab4_3

niab4_4

As for edibles, tea, pasta and hot cocoa stuck out to me.

  • Tea was a marker of regularity and routine in Satrapi’s life and it’s obvious and endearing that it is a point of pride for Marjane’s family.  Often served from a samovar–which is a self-boiling decorative basin or urn for hot liquid–tea is consumed throughout the day in Persian culture and is not for the faint of heart.
  • Pasta was independence.  When Marjane settled into her first boarding school, pasta was one of the few things she could find to prepare and it became her staple food.  It was convenient to find and she could prepare it with ease.
  • Hot chocolate became a symbol of comfort in Marjane’s life.  She served hot cocoa when she would stay into the late hours of the night talking with her father or uncle.  She would serve hot chocolate to a family friend’s children during a time of crisis.  Hot chocolate meant a moment away from all the destruction around her and her family; a repose in times when food was scarce and pampering the pallet was the clearest path to sanity.  I decided to make a type of Persian hot chocolate, and for those of you out there who are Persian, if you have any thoughts or comments as to the validity of this recipe, please let me know.  This is not my recipe, but one I came across in a thoughtful search on the web.  It was made on a not so chilly evening, yet still coziness in a cup.

Try out Persian Spiced Dark Hot Chocolate by Venus Kalami

niab4_5This hot cocoa has the incredible strength of chocolate and the refreshing brightness of cardamom.

What is your take-away from The Complete Persepolis and what food or foods were brought to your mind while you read and experienced it?  I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and what you noshed on while reading, feel free to use the hash-tag #noshedinabook .  Check out previous Noshed in a Book posts and join me in reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy and Happy Reading Regards,

RAM

Edible Inspiration: Week 9

Hello people,

A trip out-of-town refreshed my perspective.  Take a peek.

1)Sunrise best seen through a rapidly moving vehicle.

eiwk9_1

2)  This mollusk was grass bound and on the go.  I like his antennae.

eiwk9_2

3)  Delicate and light sweet potato greens.

eiwk9_3

4)  Harmonizing tea.

eiwk9_4

5)  Floral arrangement makes for a happy eating table.

eiwk9_5

Be well and don’t forget to share your edible inspiration pics under the hashtag #edibleinspiration !

Healthy Regards,

RAM

 

An herbal tea treat – Rooibos Tea Latte

teatime_2

Good morning everyone and happy Friday!

Most days, there is nothing I enjoy more than a hot cup of tea–this even includes hot summer days–and the beauty of tea is, it’s really what you make it.  There are many varieties and variations and that’s part of what is so exciting to me; the diversity.  Much to my surprise, I found out that January is National Hot Tea Month, which is both frivolous and exciting at the same time.  A month entirely devoted, for those interested, to tea… how lovely!

Here is the tea latte I’ve been hooked on lately. This warm beverage will delight your palate for sure.

Rooibus Tea Latte

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp loose-leaf rooibos tea/8 oz liquid or 1 tea bag  (if preparing for one person)
  • 2 or 3 drops liquid stevia or 1/2 bag of powdered stevia or another sweetener as you see fit
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Measure out loose-leaf tea into infusion ball or biodegradable tea bag and place at the bottom of your favorite mug
  2. Drip stevia over the top of bag or, if using powder, hold
  3. Heat up a kettle with hot water
  4. While water begins the boiling process, begin to heat almond milk in a small sauce pan over medium heat
  5. Add vanilla extract to milk
  6. Begin whisking milk constantly until a light foam has been created (whisk longer if you want a more airy drink– like a cappuccino)
  7. When the kettle whistles, pour a small amount of hot water over the rooibos tea, just enough to barely submerge tea bag and cover for 4 or 5 minutes
  8. Once milk is hot and tea has steeped, remove the tea bag and quickly pour steamy, foamy milk over tea
  9. At this point, stir in the powdered sweetener if this is the alternative you’re using
  10. Sip and enjoy!
tea bag, spoon, tea

tea bag, spoon, tea

teatime_1

Definition of Tea (Merriam-Webster)

tea

noun ˈtē

: a drink that is made by soaking the dried leaves of an Asian plant in hot water

: a similar drink that is made by using the dried leaves of another kind of plant

: the dried leaves that are used in making tea

teatime_3

The scoop on Rooibos tea

  • Hails from a South African bush
  • Truly an herb, not ‘tea’
  • Low in ‘tanins’.  Tanins are the compounds in the plant that lend to the bitter or astringent taste that often is accompanied with tea and can negatively affect digestion.
  • Aids in headaches
  • Caffeine-free
  • Helps relieve stomach cramps
  • Boosts immune system
  • No oxalic acid, therefore suitable for those with kidney stone issues
  • Packed with minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, copper, fluoride, manganese, zinc, magnesium and alpha hydroxy acid
  • Helps to quench sweet tooth as it is naturally very sweet
  • Many more qualities, see some of the sources below.

The tea I used:

Shaman’s Secret Organic Tea by Serengeti Teas And Spices – A shop in Harlem, New York

Ingredients:  rooibos, hibiscus, lemon peel, strawberry, almond, pineapple, rose petals, lotus flower petals, white peppercorns, lemon verbena, elderflower, milk thistle, nettle

Today, I wanted to engage you all and ask what are your favorite teas?  What could you not go a day or couple of days without?  Do you create your own tea blends?  Do you only use loose leaf or do you simplify with boxes of tea in an assortment of types?  Do you drink mainly decaf herbal or caffineated and herbal?  What’s your tea personality? I want to know!

And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

 

RAM

sources:  Cornell University

Organic Facts

Kitchen Letters #1: Creative start to 2014

IMG_1930

Dear world,

How are you feeling?  Do you feel like 2013 was productive and revealing in some way?  Did you come closer to any big goals you set?

The first day of the year is a very special one, but also a day like any other.  Yesterday I awoke early–as I often do–my love still snoozing, our kitty was calm and as time passed throughout the morning small beams of light creeped into our living room where I sat at our dining/craft table.   I was in a quiet and harmonious state when an incredible urge to be creative came over me.

On the final day of 2013, I did what I like to call a cleanse, wherein I exercised my ability to purge our home of unnecessary items; clutter.  This was just one final day, out of many days like this in 2013, where I felt the need to extract unused items from our house.  My closest friend mentioned she had gone through these motions too and she said it helped to clear her mind, and that was a great way to put it.  I must say, on the 31st I may have outdone myself because by the time I was done sorting, tossing, recycling, cleaning, and organizing I was exhausted.

Now we’re back to yesterday.  With a cleansed home and mind I decided it was time to put to use some of my art supplies and move forward on two things I set as a goal for my winter vacation.  One, use art supplies, two, begin my recipe book.  I cleared off our table and took out all the necessary supplies.  In my organizing frenzy on the 31st I came across many underutilized notebooks and I decided I would start there.  Stacks of magazines, my recipes, glue, scissors and most importantly my mind were all sitting at the table, ready to go.  Snip, snip, snip.  After hours of cutting, gluing, precise placement and breaks to read and browse articles I had missed in the past, my very first recipe book was created.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

The final product.

The final product.

Up to this point, every time I have a recipe idea, I scramble to find a piece of scrap paper, a notecard, anything so the culinary creation isn’t lost forever.  Now, I have my book!

Yesterday I spent some time in my kitchen cleaning, preparing meals and resting while drinking a yummy tea creation I’ve made lately.  I reveled in my accomplishment of moving forward in my life as a chef and lover of food and all that it does for us.  It occurred to me while putting together my book that I spent much of the past year doubting.  I’m not proud to say that.  What I am proud to say is that I’m here, now, allowing myself the gift of trust.

IMG_1960

My kitchen and my abilities in it and outside of it are something I should never doubt.  I should feel stronger every day for the creations I introduce to the world and I hope only to improve with grace as time carries on in 2014 and beyond.

Yesterday, I didn’t just create a book I created a chance.

Saw this little lady in the yard of one of my favorite houses on nature gathering walk.  What a beauty.

Saw this little lady in the yard of one of my favorite houses on a nature gathering walk. What a beauty.

I hope this letter finds you well, world.

Much love and gratitude,

 

RAM

IMG_1931

New York Food Retrospective

Hello Everyone,

It has been FAR, FAR too long since I have written a piece or posted photos.  Whirlwind life!  I suppose as John Lennon once said–please excuse the over-quote–“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”.  Thanks for your patience and still coming to my blog, despite my absence.  I hope for a revitalization, and I would like to kick it off with some photos from our–my love and I–trip to New York in  October.  I didn’t get as many pics of food as I would have liked mostly because I was so entranced in the experience–many scrumptious things will be left out in the photo bomb below–so hopefully you all will understand.  Also, the photo quality is not quite where I would prefer it to be, but when you are ready to chow down on something delicious, spending too much time taking photos takes away from the experience.

We had an incredible time to say the very least and woah did we ever gormandize the hell out of some food.  New York definitely lends itself as a food conscious city, as does Brooklyn.  We experienced many delicious meals, enticing desserts, enchanting teas, and some that didn’t really shoot us over the moon.

Welcome to a little taste of our New York dining experience.

SERENGETI TEAS & SPICES

We stayed in a sweet neighborhood in Harlem–in a brownstone that was over 100 years old–and a just around the corner was the most amazing tea and spice shop.  This was, besides dropping off our bags, the first place we visited and one of the last.  As soon as you pass under the threshold of the shop, you’re transported to another world.  The baristas were serving mainly tea–you can see the selection of just SOME of the teas behind the young woman below–but my love ordered coffee all THREE times we went, and said it was the best coffee he had ever tasted.  Not only do the workers in this shop put great care into every drink they prepare, they have the most open, and caring dispositions.  We sat at their bar and chatted with them about New York, and a myriad of other things, their product knowledge was impressively extensive.  They offered numerous samples and challenged our pallets with things we had never tried before.  Oh, Serengeti, I miss you so!  If you’re ever in New York, hop on the sub-way over to this shop, you won’t regret it!

SerengetyTeaAndSpiceShop

Italian press of a rooibos blend tea. My lovely Barista, our very first day in New York.

STSS

Me, enjoying some of the crisp and open rooibos. I tried it iced the first day, as when we arrived it was pretty sticky outside.

STSS_tea.

rawslaw

I knew while on our vacation, I would let loose a bit with food (I ate some gluten, sugar, and some un-fermented soy…woah! :p), so I decided to supplement my gut with some New York local raw slaw. It was fantastic and definitely helped out!

Champs Family Bakery

On our wedding anniversary, I was happily surprised with an entire day planned out of wonderful excursions and yummy eats.  This was where we had lunch, and it was delectable!  All vegan menu, and  I added biscuits to my order both times we went–yes, we went twice– because I adore biscuits.  The meals we ordered were ‘breakfast’ in theme and I love that they placed water on the table–in large glass bottles with clamping lids–so you could serve yourself when you got thirsty.  Below is my love, chowin’ down!  I would recommend this place to anyone visiting New York, and in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn.  Many of the menu items can be altered to food intolerances, sensitivities, allergies or personal choices.  This neighborhood has such eccentric character and beautiful architecture, a dreamy scene for sure.

Champs

 Candle 79

On the evening of our anniversary, we dined in a plant-based, elegant dining restaurant in upper-east Manhattan.  Candle 79’s menu displayed a range of items that are locally sourced and sustainably made with attention to organic fare, and doesn’t bock at ingredient opt outs, like soy and wheat.  There is also a Candle 79 cookbook , that is highly rated and I’m looking forward to scouring through it.  Back to our experience.  We were able to get to know the manager of Candle 79, and chat with her about the restaurant and spots in New York to check out, and our server was very pleasant and helpful.  After an appetizer and delicious entree–which we ended up trading–we moved onto an astronomical dessert, that left little want for MORE chocolate.  We are very fortunate and happy to have experienced such a divine dining experience.

Candle79

Our appetizer: cornmeal poppers on ancho chili aioli. These were crisp!

Candle79_crustedfriedseitan

entrée: Crusted seitan with brussels sprouts, shallots, mashed potatoes and more all delightfully hidden.

Candle79_rawravioli

entrée: Live zucchini enchiladas with toasted pumpkin seeds, jicima salad and more!

Dunwell Doughnuts

A doughnut shop that teleports you to another time.  All I can say is I am not a doughnut person, but these were pretty yummy.  Beautifully presented, creative venue with a decent tea selection–earned points for presentation of tea display and in the cup–and had mini cake doughnuts we could take to-go.  Williamsburg, Brooklyn has another gem in their midst.

DunWellDoughnuts_upclose

DunWellDoughnuts_above

Foodswings

We wrestled up a very hedonistic meal one afternoon, very bumpin’ place.

FoodSwings

Alice’s Tea Cup

As with any trip or outing, I must partake in tea time and this trip was filled with tea stops galore.  While at Alice’s Tea Cup–a cute and eclectic stop in the upper east side–we had yummy scones and I enjoyed a cleansing herbal tea.

 

AlicesTeaShop_self

AlicesTeaShope_teacup

gobo

Enlightening plant-based menu, happy lunch stop on a museum day.

Gobo

Babycakes NYC

Tiny shop in Brooklyn, how you stole my heart.  I anticipated this bakery for quite sometime before our departure to New York, and my expectations were exonerated with happy smiles and pleased taste buds.  This was easily, one of the tastiest doughnuts I’ve ever had, and my love felt the same way, and he’s a doughnut guru.  We ordered the nomnoms you see below, with a couple of things to-go because we couldn’t resist.  Babycakes represents another food-sensitivity conscious bakery that are becoming ever so popular, and to my happy surprise, they were flourishing with business.  If you’re in the lower-east side near China town, don’t miss this place!

BabyCakesBakery_shop

Interior of Babycakes from the window bench seat.

BabyCakesBakery_doughnuts

Some of our tantilizing, edible loot.

Caffe Reggio

Known for serving the first cappuccino in all the US, this dark and broody caffè was a wonderful place to write a postcard or letter–which I did!  While sipping on some hot apple cider, and a pumpkin latte for the mr., we enjoyed the sounds and chatter of Greenwich village in a place that felt timeless.  Our energetic and Italian barista was a joy to be around and took some very lovely photos of us–with what seemed to be a family member–before we departed.  Ciao!

CafeRegio_self

Cafe Viva Natural Pizza

Located in East Village, this was our kind of New York Pizza, covered in mushrooms, onions, garlic and so much more, my eyes were bigger than my stomach.  Wonderful variety of pizza, mostly plant-based, some with diary, and a couple of gluten-free.  Fantastic!

pizzapizza

Couldn’t leave New York without having some pizza, one of our favorite things to chow down on.

pizzapizza_upclose

Bhatti Indian Grill

This exquisite Indian restaurant was an accidental find on our way to a planned-out dinner excursion.  I’m glad we stumbled upon this place amongst the other fine Indian cuisine restaurants in this neighborhood.  We enjoyed a range of items from the menu and left not surprisingly stuffed, which I normally would never recommend, but in this place, you can’t resist!

IndianRestaurant

Bhatti’s ceiling decor.

No. Sleep. Till Brooklyn

BrooklynFoodGrafitti

Lively and captivating graffiti fruit near Fine and Raw chocolatiere in Brooklyn.

Beyond Sushi

Before Beyond Sushi , I can’t remember the last time I had a beautiful, fresh and yummy sushi roll.  These were completely plant-based and out of this world, delicious.  Very aesthetically pleasing and packed with veggie sauces and pastes that help boost their nutrient content.  Although this place is like many eateries in New York, small and intimate, the service was wonderful and we lucked out with a table.  A must try place!

BeyondSushi

Pure Food and Wine

My husband and I shared our last meal at Pure Food and Wine and I’m so pleased we did.  Masterfully put together raw dishes, fresh, on-tap kombucha, and a tower of chocolate–literally.  This is another extension restaurant–which seems to be very popular in New York–and Pure Food and Wine is represented by two books.

PureFoodandWine

A kind hostess took this photo for us after our dessert.

There are a number of other amazing plant-based places to get your gormandize on while in New York, but I won’t list them all.  Send me an email or comment below if you’d like more insight on the places I’ve talked about in this post or want more ideas for other places to check-out.  Our list is pretty extensive. ^____^

Overall, our New York consumption was incredible.  When I was in doubt, I turned to my kombuchas, raw slaw, and power snacks by Navitas.  This trip taught me so much about the inner-connections of the food community and the awareness of some and necessity of others to challenge their daily thoughts about what they’re eating and how we really can make a difference if we have the resources.  How did this trip teach me this?  While in New York, I was able to come in close contact with many individuals in the food realm that showed genuine and true passion for what they were doing.  They were well versed on their trade or a topic of their trade and most swelled with a deep since of pride.  It was contagious and electrifying!  Upon departure from New York, I am more inspired than ever to continue down my path of becoming more connected to the food world in whatever way I’m able to.  I gained a confidence in my abilities to communicate with others either in writing, service to the community or in the preparation of meals.  And best of all, my husband and best friend has been by my side to charge my mind and heart with positivity. <3

Looking back through all of our many photos and videos, I realized how this trip not only taught me to open up my mind even more, but it implored an even deeper feeling of humility and graciousness in my heart.

On that note, I would like to come to a close by thanking all of those working hard in the food world or trying to get their feet wet in the food world.  None of us would be here without you, and we certainly wouldn’t be as well-informed or well nourished.  You all are phenomenal.

And remember…bite responsibly!

With love, gratitude and in health,

RAM

Podcast # 1: Cinema Cuisine: England – Withnail and I

Gif Courtesy of:  http://emptyandsmoking.tumblr.com/

Gif Courtesy of: http://emptyandsmoking.tumblr.com/

Hello Everyone,

About two years ago (although I think in the pc we said one, but it has been almost two) my husband and I began a fun ritual on Fridays called ‘Foreign Film Fridays’, wherein we would choose a country, a film to represent that country–whichever one of us was in charge of picking the country and film, would prepare a meal representative of that country.  It was such a blast, but as our schedules grew busier, Foreign Film Friday sadly fell by the wayside.  You all will be happy to know, it has been reincarnated, but on Sundays!  So, we lost some lovely alliteration, but we gained a more relaxing day, with more time to prepare.  Also, I do the cooking/preparing and we are going to alternate picking the country/film.  One of Matthew and I’s biggest passions in life is film, and we both have a deep connection and fondness for food.  This podcast has allowed me another way to connect food to all of you out there.

I’m very happy to introduce my very first podcast and even more pleased that I’m launching it in conjunction with connectabite.  Please, be forgiving when you listen to it as this is our first ever time to attempt this, and though we’re both avid podcast listeners ourselves, there is certainly a separation in action of something you love.  Needless to say, here it is!  I hope you enjoy and I’d really like to start a dialogue about what you hear.  Tell me what you don’t like, what you do like, was it funny, was it awkward, could you understand what we’re saying, did you appreciate our commentary, etc…

CLICK HERE: –> (right click here) Cinema Cuisine Ep.1 – England

Below you’ll find the recipes to the meals I created, plus sources to some of them.  I hope you will join us in foreign film connecting and food and share with me  your experiences, recipes, ideas and so forth.  I’d love to chat about it all!  Maybe some of you have recommendations?  Enjoy both listening to the podcast and preparing these recipes, and remember…bite responsibly!

Gluten-Free Orange Pecan Scones

               Recipe inspired by Alex Jamieson

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups of almond flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 egg replacer (could also substitute ground flax or chia seeds)
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Zest from one organic orange
  • 1/2 cup & 2 tbsp unsweetened almond, coconut, rice or other plant-based milk ( I used almond)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (I broke them into pieces with my hands rather than processing them in any way)
  • ½ cup raisins (you could also substitute another dried fruit)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda.  Take special care with the coconut flour as it will want to clump together.  Use a fork and sift through large bulges.)
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg replacer, maple syrup, orange juice, zest, and milk.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until blended thoroughly. If the dough seems too dry and isn’t sticking together, use another tablespoon or two of milk.  Dough should feel almost spongy.
  5. Dump in the pecans and raisins.  Then wet your hands to evenly distribute the nuts and dried fruit through the dough.
  6. Use an ice cream scooper to scoop out evenly sized scones and place scones on a parchment lined baking sheet and gently press down to flatten to 1/2 in thick with palm.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until the tops are golden brown, and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

NOTES

  • These are slightly crumbly scones but have a nice density.  They aren’t as heavy and thick as I was used to, but they are gluten-free, thus for what they are, fantastic!  I was so fretful the entire time I was making them/they were baking, that they would turn out flat and fall apart because there is no fat, and for must scones that a key ingredient, but these were only slightly crumbly as I mentioned and had the most divine flavor.
  • We enjoyed these with a hot cup of English Breakfast tea and the combination was superb!
  • I have a few ideas on how to improve/perk up the recipe and someday I’ll post my newest re-creation.
Orange Pecan Scones (gluten-free, vegan) © ConnectaBite 2013

Orange Pecan Scones (gluten-free, vegan) © ConnectaBite 2013

British Beetroot Salad

INGREDIENTS

For Salad

  • romaine lettuce (cleaned and chopped)
  • two medium beets (washed, peeled, and cut into small triangular wedges then cooked until tender, yet firm to form)
  • green peas (portion size is up to you, I’m a sprinkler/dumper)
  • two green onion (diced at an angle into 1/4 inch pieces)

For Dressing

  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (previously soaked-about 6-8 hours, and rinsed)
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tbsp dulse
  • 3 to 4 tbsp (or more depending on your taste buds) Organic horseradish mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more depending on your taste buds)
  • freshly crushed black pepper to taste
  • onion granules to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For Salad:  layer as follows – lettuce on the bottom, followed by green onion, peas, and top with whatever amount of beets sound yummy to you
  2. For Dressing:  in a high powered blender, add to blender all ingredients starting with water, seeds, lemon juice, then horseradish mustard, and so forth.  Blend on low and increase to high until a thick, white creamy sauce is before your eyes.  Do a few taste tests to make sure it’s just right for you.  The dressing should resemble the ubiquitous ‘Ranch’ dressing that so many love.  Drizzle dressing over salad. Enjoy before main entrée.

NOTES

  • You’ll have plenty of leftovers if you’re making this for just two, enjoy this delicious salad for a few days.  Store the dressing in a clean glass jar.
British Beetroot Salad w/ Raw Sunflower Seed Horseradish Dressing © ConnecaBite 2013

British Beetroot Salad w/ Raw Sunflower Seed Horseradish Dressing © ConnecaBite 2013

Lentil & Mushroom Shepherds Pie

               Recipe inspired by Susan Voisin (via Nava Atlas)

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 medium golden yukon potatoes
  • olive oil to taste (for potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup rice milk (rice/quinoa blend-unsweetened)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil or coconut oil*
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (I used white)
  • 2  large cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup cooked brown lentils (creates about 3  to 31/2 cups cooked lentils with a little of their cooking liquid)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon reduced-sodium, gluten-free tamari (fermented soy sauce)*
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 to a 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 8 to 10 ounces baby kale leaves
  • cooked millet, maybe a day or two old

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Dice the potatoes. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl.
  2. Mix together olive oil, potatoes and some salt (to taste) then add the milk and mash until fluffy. Cover and set aside until needed.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
  5. Add the lentils and their liquid and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the tamari (optional) herbs and spices. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring gently, then letting the mixture rest to disperse flavors. Combine the arrowroot with just enough water to dissolve in a small container. Stir into the lentil mixture.
  6. Add the kale in small handfuls, cooking just until it’s all wilted down. Remove from the heat; taste to adjust seasonings to your liking.
  7. Lightly oil a 2-quart casserole dish.  Distribute the millet on the bottom of the dish. Pour in the lentil mixture evenly, then spread the potatoes evenly over the top.  The potatoes should spread almost as if they were thick frosting.  Spread with a spatula/bowl scraper.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes–to set–then serve.

NOTES

  • This would be especially tasty with a British inspired onion gravy–vegan and gluten-free of course, but I didn’t make one this time.
  • Also, I was so anxious to try this dish, I didn’t let it set for the 5 minutes initially, but the next day when we had leftovers, oh, so yummy!

shepherd'spie

English Mushroom Lentil Shepherd’s Pie © ConnecaBite 2013

 

Also, I thought you’d want to know we did indeed record this on a Sunday, but editing and the like took a bit longer.  :p

“Isn’t it stimulating, getting back to a basic sort of life for awhile?  Surrounded by trees and nature, one feels a glorious stirring of the senses, a rejection of poisonous inhibition, and a fecund motion of the soul” – Monty, Withnail and I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mint

Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of peppermint is winter holidays growing up.  Once a year, I could open the freezer and  I knew there would be peppermint ice-cream in the freezer, something that I used to enjoy exclusively with my mother.  It would be green with lovely red and white chucks of peppermint candy crammed in every crevice like little glaciers –once in your bowl–waiting for discovery.  Why I like eating something this cold in cold weather, I will never entirely understand, but there are some things in life I think we shouldn’t question or over analyze, and this for me, is an embossed moment, not to be tampered with.  Granted, I don’t eat the conventional types of ice-cream any more, for obvious reasons, but this idea still remains a nostalgic strong-hold in my mind.  I’ve yet to experience another ice-cream quite like this one.

I’m also reminded of a conversation I had with my oldest brother just a twinkle ago, about how peppermint candy came to be.  Why would something that started out so herbal and green transform at some point into a delightful symbol of a season, a feeling, a moment?  I’ve dug into this idea and here is what I’ve discovered.  One beginning of the peppermint candy started in the US with the ‘Peppermint Kings‘ (illustrious growers), that has such a regal ring to it, doesn’t it? Skip past numerous inventions of mint gums (Wrigley falls into this bracket), in the early 20th century, came the invention of the first mint hard candy by Clarence Crane.  It was supposed to resemble a life saving device with red and white stripes.  The popularity of mint or peppermint candy rose until the 195os when the crops were jeopardized by verticillium wilt.  However, the origin of the peppermint cane or stick that we now know dates back to Europe in the 17th century.  A choirmaster in the 1670s was noted for bending her mint candy sticks at the tip to resemble a shepherd’s staff, and they were handed out to the children.  Later, the red stripes were added sometime before the 1900s but nobody seems to know where this tradition exactly started.  What does this tell me?  Mint, something so simple, has spread globally for one main reason, its pure flavor and reach.  I hope you’re reading this brotha!

Now, it’s thought that the peppermint herb originated in England and gained more commercial insight as time passed.  My interest at this point is to refocus on the non-candy use of mint and how it plays a role in my life in could in yours.

What’s Up Peppermint, What Do You Do?

  • In my purest form, I help your digestive tract.  Rip off a few of my leaves (1 to 2 teaspoons) and steep me in some hot water (not boiling), cover me up quickly and I will become a lovely sipping tea.  [It is important to cover me up so that I don’t lose my volatile oils.]  I soothe your digestive issues and help ease IBS and other troublesome, garbledy goop involving your tum tum.
  • How?  There are volatile oils in me that make me smell fresh and sweet, and these oil help slow churning in your digestive tract that causes all those rumbles.
  • Bacteria and fungus overload?  My oils also help with hampering dangerous bacteria that is hoarding itself in your digestive tract, contributing to a number of issues you may be experiencing.  Consult a natural practitioner about peppermint oil treatment.
  • Grow me easily at home.  I’m a perennial (year round) herb that will run wild if you let me.  I require mild conditions and some shadow, and a damp/moist soil.
  • Use my extracted oil as aroma therapy for when you’re experiencing headaches, anxiety or under stress.  My scent combines well with lavender, another relaxing oil.  Also, I am great as a scalp stimulant and help with overly dry or oily hair by balancing the pH.  You’ll be tingling.

http://mytinyplot.com/recipes/how-to-make-mint-tea/

Personally, I’m hooked to mint! I think I’m going to make a cup o’ tea myself very soon. 😀
ENJOY, and let me know some different uses you’ve discovered.  And remember…bite responsibly!
Healthy Regards,
~RAM~

 

 

Spring Cleaning for your body: Dandelion Root Tea, oh my!

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Ya know those lovely yellow flowers and wispy white cloud puffs that start to cover your yard–or other people’s yard for that matter–in the Springtime?  They are often thought of as simply weeds, but this pretty gem is known as the Dandelion Flower (taraxacum), is a herb to be appreciated.  Who knew foraging could become as simple as stepping in to your front or back yard?

It is always okay to nourish your bodily organs.  They are of course, what keep your external organs looking smashing, so why not help them out by having an extra cleanser to lend a hand.  Whether or not you think your diet is absolutely ‘pure’ or you know you’re treading scary dietary waters, it’s important to keep in mind that we often abuse our liver and gall-bladder in many ways.  Dandelion actually tones the organs of your body, which is a wonderful benefit as we age.  Just as our external changes, so does our internal.

How to prepare:

A few ways…

  • A tea bag.  I often use the Alvita brand, but you can also try Traditional Medicinals, or Celebration Herbals.  I tend to double up on the tea bags for  more potent tea, and don’t forget to let it steep about ten or fifteen minutes.  For those of you who like coffee and want to give your adrenals a break, it’s often said that the roasted dandelion tea tastes very similar to coffee and helps quench some of the coffee cravings.  (Personally I don’t see the similarity in flavor, but many do.  Let me know what you think.)  
  • Dried dandelion root.  Try ordering from Mountain Rose Herbs if you have your own tea bags or tea ball and would like to make your own brew.  This method is perfect for making a large batch to last the week.
  • Grow your own or forage and use the leaves and roots.  Thanks to Crafty Little Gnome,  a very  thoughtful and picturesque blog post that describes a method of preparing the tea in 3 simple steps, I am now able to provide you with some of the benefits I found most exciting.

After perusing a bit online here are just some of the many benefits from drinking dandelion root tea:

  • Contains but not limited to vitamins: A, C, D, and B2
  • It is known for stimulating and cultivating strong healthy breasts, ovaries and the uterus.
  • Relish its alkalizing properties. 😀
  • Assists in ‘unwanted assimilation of glucose and facilitates the elimination of feaces’.
  • Potassium levels assist in urination, which is beneficial for kidney and urinary tract issues.
  • Helps cleanse and boost liver function.
  • Aids digestion.

So, whether your drinking this tea as a regular body maintenance tool, or you’re trying to pet your organs after a night of drinks and desserts, dandelion tea is a must.  I plan on planting some more contained dandelion very soon in some pots, and I’ll keep you all up-to-date on how it’s coming along.  More soon on my little vegetable garden too. 😀

Now, go and brew yourself a cup of tea and savor every last cleansing quality.  Oh, and let me know what you think and if you see any benefits.

And remember…bite responsibly!

 

Healthy Regards,

~RAM~