Resurrecting a Dinosaur. (and soup!)

Well, Hello! It’s been a while.

When I first started this blog, I wanted to convey the creative and experiential process I underwent when it came to cooking. These inspirational endeavors stemmed from a desire to create something; to share my talent and passion with loved ones and friends, old and new.

A blog seemed infinitely more manageable than a cookbook per se, as I’ve always had a yearning to branch out into more culinary or holistic endeavors, and served as a platform for me to explore the creating process as it pertained to the things I loved most: making something sumptuous to be enjoyed by myself and those around me. For me, cooking is one of the many ways I express joy. 

This last year had me growing and stretching myself in incredible ways. I relocated to a new city, got a new job, new climate, new life. Finding community in a new space and navigating social situation was at times very exciting and wonderful and at others, lonely and isolating. It took a while to reengage and be inspired with the creative process that cooking would provide. I took trips, stayed connected with friends and family, sought challenges and achieved personal milestones, including a trek across the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu over Christmas. That hike was probably one of the hardest physical challenges I’d ever endured, yet somehow I find myself toying with the idea of doing it again. I am forever grateful for the all-encompassing beauty of the trail, the year, the challenges and triumphs.

While my career as a clinical pediatric dietitian has been quite impressionable, the past several years I have had this undercurrent of desire to return to my more holistic roots. As I move into a new arena of private practice, I want to continue this blog and all of its sweetness; and hopefully catalog this new and exciting journey. I’m looking forward to growing myself within new levels of comfort and discomfort. There’s a wellspring of creativity waiting to bloom and express itself; I can feel it percolating.

I still plan to maintain the blog’s focus on the experiential process of culinary art, continuing to write about my food lover’s journey, as well as incorporating some of the new adventures that are shaping my existence today. Stay tuned! 

But for now. I’ll leave you with a recipe for a warming soup I made the other day, whose inception came from a typical lack of desire to venture out to the grocery store. Anyone with a decently-stocked pantry can make this soup, or a variation, depending on how flexible one chooses to be. My approach to recipes are to use them more like a template, adjusting to suit one’s personal taste. This particular soup contains coconut milk and red lentils for substantive staying power, and lots of ginger to give heat. I’ve included both stovetop and instant-pot versions of the recipe for those wanting to shave a few minutes of meal preparation.

Enjoy, and much love, J

Carrot Coconut Ginger Soup

Method:

Melt 2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil in a large pot set to medium heat, or in an instant pot using the sauté function.

Once ghee is melted, add the following and sauté until soft; ~3-5 minutes

1 c diced yellow onion

1 garlic clove

Add the following to pot and allow to bloom until fragrant; ~1 minute

3-4 tbsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp turmeric

1 lb carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

Once everything is nicely aromatic, add the following:

1 lb carrots

1/2 cup red lentils

4 cups vegetable stock

Bring ingredients to a boil. Simmer ~25 minutes. If using instant pot, cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Remove from heat or vent pressure valve on instant pot and add:

1 can coconut milk

Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Garnish with red pepper flakes, toasted coconut chips and cilantro, as desired.

Gimme Some Sugar…

Berry-Peach Tartlet with Elderflower and Lemon Cream

Berry-Peach Tartlet with Elderflower and Lemon Cream

Recipes showcasing summer berries abound, however, second to tasting a fresh berry off the vine, I find their marriage with pastry so effing satisfying. Berries erupt when heated, creating this saucy, syrupy goodness, when soaked into a rich buttery flaky pastry…there’s nothing like it.

I found myself with a small treasure of fresh berries and a couple of perfectly ripened peaches and that’s how it all started. See, I don’t typically enjoy fruit on it’s own, so when faced with bounty, I will either make jam, or some sort of crisp, biscuit, shortbread or pie.
I had a modest idea where this is going when I started. While my tart dough was resting away in the fridge, I peeled and diced the peaches and combined them with the berries, then let them macerate with a little bit of sugar, lemon and freshly grated ginger – lots of it.
Macerate. I use the term loosely, as I had intentioned to make this these little babies the same day. However, the sudden onset of a gastrointestinal bug sent me to bed for much of the afternoon.
Moving on…

frangipani (almond-custard)

frangipani (almond-custard)

 

 

Once I’d recovered my energy (and my insides), I set to work. I discovered a bit of frangipani in my freezer from a previous experiment, and thought that the almond flavor would make a nice addition to my tartlets.
Rather than encrust these beauties with another layer of dough, I set on a crumble that would be light enough and provide the right crunch, while not taking away from the juicy bits in the middle. I prepared a mixture of two parts oats, one part cornmeal one part sugar (demerara to be specific), maybe a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger, a good dose of cinnamon, a pinch of salt and some lemon zest. To combine it all, I took a couple tablespoons-ish each of butter and coconut oil, incorporating it all with a pastry cutter.

mini berry tartlets

mini berry tartlets

 

 

I lined about 6 mini-tart tins with dough, then blind baked at ~400 degrees for 12 minutes. Next I removed the tart shells from the oven and filled with a spoonful of frangipani, some berries, and lastly, packed the crumble on top. This baked for ~30 minutes at 350 degrees, until bubbly and golden.

For this recipe, you will need
~3 cups berries (fresh, or thawed from frozen, but seriously, use fresh right now because it’s summer)
2 peaches peeled sliced and diced
~2 generous tablespoons sugar (again I prefer the raw stuff)
~1 tablespoon of freshly-grated ginger
1 batch prepared pie dough (see earlier post)
crumble topping (see descriptive above, or just create one on your own!)
Serve with lemon-elderflower cream, or basic whipped cream.