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Archive for September, 2010

Return on Investment

September 19th, 2010

I had such big plans for my garden back in the early spring...

I don’t know how it happened, I really don’t. Easter weekend I got my two “Square Foot Garden” beds ready to go. I tilled, planted, watered. I had high hopes and expectations. This was, after all my second summer for having a garden. The first year yielded lots of parsley, chives and cilantro; also some radishes, a little broccolli and chard. This year I figured I’d knock it out of the park: I’d have stuff to give away, even!

But then, life got in the way.

It thrilled me that this guy—and even a couple others—grew in spite of my neglect

I had gone full-time with my Fork in the Road practice six months before, and while I didn’t have a full client schedule this summer, I did have all the “stuff” that being a start-up entails: paperwork, marketing materials, networking; not to mention figuring out a new schedule and how my life was going to function within this new professional framework. I also had the details of closing down my prior (marketing communications) company: 25 years of “stuff” to tend to. I’m not making excuses: I’m confessing. I confess I didn’t water the garden after the first week. I didn’t weed, prune…heck, I didn’t do anything except glance over at it occasionally on my way to the compost pile. I did manage to retrieve a few herb sprigs from beneath the chicken wire lid around July or so. The basil was great in marinara. The dill made a wonderful salad dressing. But my dreams of baskets of produce never amounted to a hill of beans.

Sometimes food looks like art!

So yesterday I went out to see if there was any basil left. And there I saw—peeking out from beneath a tangle of green stems and leaves—the most stunning, perfect, fabulous yellow bell pepper! I was so excited that I ran into the house and got my camera. So here I share with you the “beauty shots” I took of the pepper that became my dinner last night. I ate him with a wonderful bean-free hummus.

I am always one to look for the messages in life’s events, and what I’ve come up from my little pepper is this: All Effort is Rewarded.  Although I didn’t have the bountiful garden harvest I had originally envisioned, neither did I invest the amount of effort that a good crop requires. I put a little in, I got a little back. Now, I know that life isn’t always exactly fair and there are times that you can work your butt off and have nothing to show for it, but truthfully, those times are the exception, not the rule. Anyway, this whole thing has caused me to ask myself what areas I am “getting by” in, and whether I need to ramp up my efforts in any aspects of my life. I’m still noodling on it.

So what about you? Are you reaping what you sow? Do you want something different from what you have and are you willing to put in the work? Post your thoughts when you can, and enjoy this twist on a classic recipe!

NO BEANS HUMMUS

Yield: 2½ cups

Equipment
Blender

INGREDIENTS

1 zucchini, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1 ¼  teaspoon unrefined salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin, optional
Pinch cayenne
6 tablespoons raw tahini
6 tablespoons sesame seeds, soaked 4 hours

Combine all of the ingredients, except the tahini and sesame seeds in a high-powered blender.  Add the tahini and sesame seeds and puree until smooth and creamy. Will keep in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to four days.

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Labor Day and Gratitude

September 4th, 2010

My demo of how to make (raw) Hash Browns took 40 minutes. I shudder to think of how many hours of prep time preceded that brief performance!

I got to have dinner with cool folks like (from left) Chad Sarno, Dan Laderman, Elaina Love, Cherie Soria and Jenny Cornbleet!

Wow. Just this moment—when I looked at the date this blog will “go live” — I realized that it has been an entire year. It was exactly 12 months ago that the business that had been my career, my livelihood—and practically my whole life for 25 years —closed, and my former business partner and I went our separate ways. Now I get why I have felt sort of odd all day. I understand why it was unusually hard to get out of bed this morning, and the reason I felt sort of separated from myself today. Now it makes sense that I felt a little “misty” even while I was shopping at the Farmer’s Market. Isn’t it funny how the body holds memories? My body/soul knew before my mind caught on. Anyway, originally I was going to write this blog installment about my recent trip to Fort Bragg, California to participate in the Living Light Chef Showcase: Hot Chefs, Cool Kitchen. I was going to thank everyone for voting for me and helping me win the Hot Raw Chef title. But what I really find myself wanting to say right now is: Thank you, God. Thank you for putting me here in this place at this time when I can experience so much freedom and so much joy. Thank you for standing by me during this (sometimes painful) transition year. Thank you for placing such incredible people in my life just when I needed them. Thank you for answering my prayers (although I didn’t always get exactly what I ordered!). I am grateful and I am humbled. And I never in a million years thought I would say such a thing in such a public way.

My trip to California is something else to be grateful for. I was treated splendidly. I got to meet chefs and raw food authors I have admired for years, and reconnected with people I met long ago. I ate fabulous food, attended inspiring presentations, and my demo of Hash Brown Potato Pancakes went off without a hitch (yes, I am posting the recipe. I think you’ll enjoy it!).

It has been a long journey from last Labor Day to this one. There were plenty of “What the hell was I thinking?” times and an equal number of “Woo hoo, this is how it’s supposed to be!” flashes. I am grateful for every moment. Thanks again, God.

HASH BROWN POTATO PANCAKES
Yield: 25-30 pancakes

Equipment
Food processor
Dehydrator

INGREDIENTS
12 cups yams, shredded
1 cup shredded onion
1/3 cup flaxseed, ground
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon unrefined salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon paprika

Using the food processor, shred/grate the yams and onion. Place into a very large bowl and mix.

Remove 6 cups of the mixed potatoes and onions, place in food processor equipped with the “S” blade, process until very smooth.

Add the processed mixture to the shredded potato and onion. Add the remaining ingredients (flax, lemon juice, asafoetida, paprika, pepper, oil, garlic, and salt) and thoroughly mix with your hands.

Use a 1/4 measuring cup for each pancake. Place on a dehydrator tray lined with a nonstick sheet and gently flatten a bit if desired. Flip pancakes and remove nonstick sheet when the tops are dry – approximately 4 hours. Dehydrate for 8 hours or more to taste, for a total of 12 or more hours.

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