January Cleanses & Detoxes

January Cleanses & Detoxes


I find myself in the midst of strangers a lot, a lot - crammed onto buses, in line at a cafes, grabbing lunch at favorite spots, grocery shopping - and I can't tell you how many conversations I've overheard in the past week related to cleanses, detoxes, and diets. An unusually high number, even for January - month of fresh starts, clean slates, and focused intentions. And there seem to be two veins of conversation - the individuals excited about cleansing or fasting, and the debunkers (link, link). My immediate reaction is that you don't really need to be in one camp or the other. There might be something to inspire you in one of those programs, even if you're not going to get onboard entirely. It could be a single recipe you come to love, or a mantra you embrace. I like to look at lots of different cleanses and detoxes, because there tend to be so many positive aspects to them - I'm talking about the ones based in real, whole foods (versus supplements & powders). The menus and recipes often emphasize the power and promise of good, diverse, plant-centric ingredients, mindfully sourced. Participants end up shopping, eating, and cooking with intent - also important. And because they tend to last a week, or two, or four, they can help establish new habits. So, while extended detox stretches or diets tend not to be my thing, an overall commitment to treating your body well, in the best way you're able, is something I'm always trying to get/keep a handle on. That's a long way of saying, I find that wherever you fall on the spectrum of diets, cleanses, and detoxes, there is a lot of good content out there, particularly in January - and some of these programs can be a great source of recipes, reminders, and ideas. Beneficial, and health-promoting not just for January, but for the rest of the year as well. :) A few of the links that I've browsed this month:

- My New Roots' Winter Weekend Cleanse

- Moon Juice's Amanda Chantal Bacon does Nine Days Plant Based in Harper's Bazaar

- Detox your Mouth

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A Simple Carrot Soup

A Simple Carrot Soup


You are looking at the simplest of carrot soups. One I love, in part, because it's an example of how a beautiful meal can come together with a bit of care, and an impossibly short list of ingredients. Carrots and onion form the base, which is spiked with dollop of red curry paste, and then pureed into silky oblivion. Once pureed, you can flare it out with whatever you have on hand for the toppings. This is a soup we make often, and it was my special request after a tooth extraction this week. I'm short one wisdom tooth thanks to a brawny, bee-keeping oral surgeon, and I ate a lot of this soup in the days following. It reminded me how much I enjoy it. If you decide to give it a try, there are a couple considerations...Continue>>

 
 
Ayocote Bean & Mushroom Salad
Ayocote Bean & Mushroom Salad Ayocote Bean & Mushroom Salad

Ayocote Bean & Mushroom Salad


Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo writes one of my favorite newsletters. For those of you who don't know Steve, you've likely encountered his beautiful heirloom beans, they're celebrated by some of the country's best chefs, and fanatically embraced by just about every great cook I know. If not, you're in for a treat. Cooking my way through Steve's beans over the years has been a grand culinary adventure - one I hope to continue for many more years - and I like to look to the Rancho Gordo newsletter for ideas. I always find myself wishing other businesses would take inspiration from newsletters like this one. Here's why. It comes from Steve, Steve started the business. He's knowledgable, passionate, enthusiastic, and continually evolving and learning as an individual. All of this comes through in the first-person letters he sends. The mix of content is also part of the magic - a cocktail of good stories, humor, cooking insights, and detailed information about whatever product he is highlighting. You might get a glimpse of some travel, and always a selection of bang-on recipes. Because he interacts regularly with chefs and great cooks who share their insights and ideas, Steve passes on the gems to the reader. Most important, I always get the feeling that I received the email because he had something worth sharing, not because he felt like he had to send out a newsletter...Continue>>

 
 
 
 
Rye Crepes
Rye Crepes Rye Crepes

Rye Crepes


The new year is here, and so far it has been crisp air, clear skies, thickest softest sweaters, afternoon reads, and big stews. We made crepes New Years Eve, and celebrated fresh starts, optimism, and our hopes for the coming months - a simple night of sparkling wine, crepes, and a far-away view of the downtown fireworks. A drive north for a quick escape over the weekend was all about big coastal vistas, antique store treasures, full moons, and sea air. I'm looking forward to more of this sort of thing in 2015 - crepes, treasures, ocean horizons, and good health for all. The crepes, they're easy with a bit of practice. Happy New Year all...Continue>>

 
 
Lacinato Kale and Pecorino Salad
Lacinato Kale and Pecorino Salad Lacinato Kale and Pecorino Salad

Lacinato Kale and Pecorino Salad


UPS sent two U-Haul trucks on Tuesday to pick up the last of the QK holiday orders. We pack each box with a lot of love, then send them off with a kiss, and I catch myself in a cycle of reloading the tracking dashboard to see how they are progressing across the country. Thankfully some quiet and calm has descended in the days since, and I've spent much of the extended holiday weekend tidying, both at home and the studio. Bills are getting paid, emails returned, articles are being read, and books have now been picked up where I abandoned them. And, I've had a few nice culinary stints in the kitchen. All of this means I'm going to close out 2014 with a hodge-podge of a post. A mix of links, and the most wintery of kale salads - a good one.

The salad is easy enough, without being obvious or predictable. It builds on a base of finely shredded lacinato kale to which and abundance of toasted pecans, pecorino cheese, and shredded Brussels sprouts are added. A strong lemon-tahini dressing is leveraged to brighten things up and take the raw edge off of the kale.Continue>>

 
 
Winter Shandy Punch
Winter Shandy Punch Winter Shandy Punch

Winter Shandy Punch


This time last year I made a winter punch, it was prosecco and gin-based with seasonal citrus, ginger and rosemary. It was crowd-pleaser, and a looker, and I ended up making it numerous times. More than anything, it was a recipe that bolstered my punch-making confidence. Part of me thought I should simply ride that punch for another year or two, as my go-to punch recipe. While the other part of me thought I should try to up my game with something new this winter, take things in an entirely different direction. So that's what I did. I started thinking about making something easy-drinking and unpretentious, wintery without being overly holiday. There are lots of tasty beer cocktails out-and-about right now, and it got me thinking that a beer punch might be an interesting direction to explore. Here's where I landed - a wintertime riff on the shandy, the beloved British beer & ginger ale (or lager/lemonade) quencher. Taking the shandy as a jumping-off point, I introduced a sweet-soup lemon-maple syrup, belly-warming brandy, and the boldest ginger beer on offer. An effervescent, clean, bright pilsner keeps everything easy-drinking, and light. As much as I liked last year's offering - I think this punch might take the prize...Continue>>

 
 
Rosewater Shortbread
Rosewater Shortbread Rosewater Shortbread

Rosewater Shortbread


Looks like there is a big storm headed our way, so I'm going to sneak these in here, and then do a few fun things like check all the batteries in the flashlights. Also, I know this is holiday cookie season, and perhaps these beauties aren't altogether appropriate - but I can't help but share them with you. They're buttery whole wheat shortbreads fragrant with rosewater, flecked with toasted nuts, and dried rose petals. They have a crunchy dusting of sugar on top that provides a satisfying, sweet tongue scratch, and are punctuated with black sesame. I'm not even going to lie - it took a few attempts to nail them down. As many of you know - dealing with floral flavors can be a bit tricky. But the idea for them developed as I was attempting tiny cookies to bring to a friend's house who was cooking an impressive Ottolenghi-inspired feast. I was tasked with dessert, and thought these would be a pretty finish...Continue>>

 
 
 
 

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