On a hot August day when I was 14, I sat amongst hundreds of other soon-to-be 9th graders at our high school orientation. A teacher stood in front of us on the field behind the pool, shouting out instructions and things we’d need to know when we arrived on our first day. My cell phone buzzed in my pocket. When I answered, my mom asked when I was coming out. I didn’t understand why she was rushing me until we were on the freeway – I still remember the exact spot – towards the hospital where my grandfather had been admitted not long before, when she told me he had passed. I cried. Our family threw a huge life celebration in his honor soon after, with a cardboard cutout of my grandfather sitting in the driveway in an old car he’d loved. There were martini toasts, speeches, people I’d never met before, and people I’d known my entire life.
Shortly after, my grandma moved to Oregon. We helped pack the contents of her home into a moving truck, staring in disbelief that everything would fit. It felt weird for her to leave the house that held so many memories – family parties with jazz and blues music playing loudly, my grandpa saying “Let’s give ’em a round of applause!” whenever anyone arrived, refrigerated boxes of restaurant leftovers that my grandma happily accepted each time we ate out, the wooden Native American statue we kids always stared up at in the living room, the framed Blues Brothers and old car posters on the walls, my grandma’s artwork, my grandpa’s whistling. It felt weird for her to soon be living so far away.
The first time we visited her in Portland, she showed us a wild rhubarb bush growing on the side of her house. She spoke animatedly about this bush, so excited about the treasures it would soon reveal. I had no idea what rhubarb was.
Almost ten years later, I think of my grandma and her rhubarb plant whenever I see those bright red stalks. While I love them in strawberry rhubarb pie – the combination of the sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb makes my mouth water – this gluten-free breakfast cornbread is a new favorite! I loved baking it in the cast iron skillet and was amazed at how flawlessly it slipped out of the pan after baking. It was also my first time grinding and using quinoa flower, and I love the dense, chewy texture it created when mixed with almond meal and masa harina. I’ve been slathering it with peanut butter and serving it with a big side of fruit for a quick weekday breakfast.
This simple, easy dish is becoming a staple in our house. It fills the air with a warm, comforting aroma and practically cooks itself. The vegetables can be easily switched out – lately I’ve been into green beans or asparagus.
// G R E E N B E A N S w/ T O F U //
//s e r v e s 1 // (adjust amounts based on number of people)
/ r e c i p e /
1/2 cup rice (jasmine, basmati, or wild mixed are my favorites)
1 Tbs coconut oil
1/4 package tofu, chopped into blocks
1 generous glug olive oil
1 generous handful of green beans, stems removed, or asparagus
curry powder and garlic powder, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
/ p r o c e s s /
cook rice according to package instructions.
while rice is cooking, melt coconut oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. add tofu and cook until lightly browned and crispy; flip and repeat.
while tofu is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. place vegetables in the pan and shake to coat. cover and cook for 10 minutes, shaking frequently. season with curry and garlic powders, and add salt and pepper to taste.
place tofu and vegetables over rice in a bowl and enjoy.
i’m a snacker. i eat all day long: chopped fruit, light salads, crackers or veggies and dip, granola, cheese made with goat’s or sheep’s milk. hummus is one of my go-to healthy snacks, but up until now i’ve stuck to the standard varieties: plain, roasted pine nut, or roasted pepper. but trader joe’s makes a great edamame hummus that pairs perfectly with mulitgrain soy sauce rice crackers for homemade sushi night. and since i find great joy in making things myself, i created a copycat version that takes hardly any time to prepare.
// I N G R E D I E N T S // makes about 3 cups
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 package trader joe’s shelled edamame, cooked
2-3 tbs olive oil (or sub sesame oil)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 – 1/2 cup water
sesame seeds, to taste
// P R O C E S S //
give garlic a quick whirl in a large food processor.
add in cooked edamame, olive oil, and lemon juice, and process until smooth. add water as needed to achieve desired consistency.
top with sesame seeds for garnish (i also blended a few sprinkles in for good measure).
serve with multigrain soy sauce rice crackers or other favorite dipper.
being a ‘locavore’ has it’s perks. we get 90% of our vegetables from the farmers’ market down the street and more from our monthly CSA box – it’s not only better for the environment (no need to fly my produce in from mexico or chile) but also supports local farmers and tastes better (have you tried peaches in february in california? they’re not good!). the sweet potatoes in this recipe came from trader joe’s; everything else came from the market and our CSA.
// I N G R E D I E N T S // s e r v e s 2 //
2 large or 4 small sweet potatoes
1-2 tbs olive oil
handful of button mushrooms, brown or white
handful of broccoli
2 carrots, slivered
3 leaves of chard, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup cooked black beans
salt, to taste
// P R O C E S S //
preheat oven to 400 farenheit. scrub sweet potatoes, dry, and poke holes in the skins with a fork. wrap individually in aluminum foil.
bake sweet potatoes until very soft, about 45 minutes.
heat oil in a cast iron skillet or other stovetop pan. sautee vegetables until vibrant and desired softness is desired.
add beans to the pan briefly, until warm.
when sweet potatoes have finished baking, remove from oven and unwrap. split potatoes down the middle with a fork, and scrape out the flesh onto a plate. top with sauteed vegetables and salt, to taste.