First off: LOS ANGELES! I’ll be in Pasadena tomorrow evening (Wednesday) at Vroman’s Bookstore, 7 PM. Please come and say hi and ask me weird, unexpected questions about vegetables and color and blogging and photography and other things! It’ll make me so happy to see you.
Also. I had a launch party for Vibrant Food. It was all friends and family, and it kinda blew my mind to have all of these folks coming together from so many different arenas of my life. My family flew up from San Diego. My dad became BFFs with everyone. It was a splendid shitshow pulling it all together. But nobody noticed that, which is amazing. With the tremendous help of my friends Emily and Jason, we served some dishes from my book: Summer Squash Pasta with Green Goddess Dressing, Red Beet Risotto, and Summer Berry Peach Crisp. I am so deeply indebted to my friends and family for all of their support. More on that when I have a moment to breathe. Meanwhile. Eat some crisp, enjoy summer. Happy 4th!
(Originally, I put lemon verbena in this crisp, which is what the green flecks are in the image above. If you’re feeling adventurous, try it! It’s lovely either way.)
Check out Megan’s version of this crisp. And Shanna’s!
And check out Adrianna’s version of the Summer Squash Pasta with Green Goddess Dressing!
This is all perfect 4th of July eating.
(Pictured throughout are outtakes of the Summer Berry Peach Crisp for Vibrant Food.)
With a summer of road trips ahead on my book tour, I’m gathering ideas for recipes and snacks that are ideal for travel. The Eating Well on the Road series is one of my favorites – perhaps because the anticipation and joy of travel is built into planning snacks and meals for the road. Thinking about food on the road means thinking about all the places I’ll be visiting.
Some quick news:
Speaking of that book tour, I’ve added a bunch of dates! A dinner at 18 Reasons, some solid Portland events, and more bay area events. Go check that out.
I’m having a small book launch party on Friday, June 20th in San Francisco! There are a few tickets still available! Use the code VIBRANT to gain access to the RSVP page.
The price of Vibrant Food will go up when it’s released – 6 days from now! – so now’s the time to jump on that pre-order if you’d like to secure the lowest price.
Things are crazy around here, and I’ve got my nose solidly to the grind for the next two weeks. I hope to have a big blowout post next week celebrating the book process and sharing some outtakes. The countdown is on, and despite being really tired, I’m more excited than I’ve ever been in my life. It’s totally unreal.
CHERRY GINGER CACAO GRANOLA BITES
Yield: 18-20 bites
inspired by Bike Camp Cook
A couple months ago, I received an email about a cookbook that piqued my interest. It was a self-published book about a couple’s round-the-world journey by bike and the food that author Tara Alan prepared while they traveled. It’s filled with great ideas for using what you find locally, and making the most of what you have, and which ingredients to keep on hand when space and weight are precious. Being on the other side of a book now, I have a ton of respect for the amount of work that went into this project. The book is great for all kinds of travel eating and cooking inspiration. And this recipe is a great starting point for improvising – use your favorite dried fruit, nuts, and other crunchy tidbits, keeping the ratio roughly the same, and you’ll be a happy camper this summer. These are perfect for any kind of summer travel: a plane ride, long trips in the car, an epic backpack, or a stroll in the woods.
1 1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes
2 generous tablespoons cacao nibs
2 generous tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, cherries, almonds, coconut, caao nibs, and crystallized ginger and set aside. In a medium pot, combine the honey, almond butter, coconut oil, sea salt and cinnamon. Warm over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is hot. Pour in the dry ingredients, turn off the heat, and stir to thoroughly combine everything. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Use a tablespoon to make round balls. Press them together very firmly to help them hold their shape. Store in the fridge. They may become a little soft if taken along on a very hot day. But they’ll still taste good!
Summer’s on the horizon. A couple weeks ago we had a pretty terrific heat wave, and I made this, and it was perfect. Rhubarb’s wonderful, tart flavor is front and center here. I love how chia seeds add a little texture and substance to the winning combo of strawberries and rhubarb. This is a variation on a rhubarb compote from my cookbook, in fact. (!!!)
It’s not quite enough to stand on its own as breakfast, but add some nuts, or banana, or oats, or muesli, or even a small handful of granola, and you’re set. It’s the stuff of dreams when it’s already 80 degrees in the morning and you live in a city where AC is a foreign concept.
I’m also pretty stoked on all the possibilities for taking chia seeds on the road in the coming months. More to come!
Rhubarb Strawberry Chia Pudding
serves 4 to 6
3/4 pound rinsed and diced rhubarb
1/2 pound rinsed and quartered strawberries
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chia seeds
handful of nuts for garnish, optional
In a medium pot, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, honey, and water. Slice the vanilla bean in half, scrape the seeds into the pot, and add the bean. Bring to a boil, covered, then reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally. Simmer until the rhubarb has broken down, about 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. You can expedite the process by chilling in the fridge.
When the compote is cooled to room temperature, add the chia seeds. Return to the fridge and allow to sit for at least two hours before eating.
Years ago, someone anonymously posted a funny, slightly inappropriate comment on my blog, jokingly asking what one might do with wilted lettuce, among other things. I deleted the comment (which I kinda regret), and while wilted lettuce and grilled lettuce aren’t really the same thing, I’ve always associated them, perhaps because grilling lettuce wilts it? Anyhow, anonymous commenter, here’s what you can do with wilted lettuce. You can put it on a grill and make it into the most amazing Caesar Salad ever. Seriously.
Summer’s almost upon us. As in years past, I’m making a to-do list of very important summer activities: lots of stargazing, campfires, hikes, tents, rivers, swimming holes, watermelon, popsicles, road trips, warm evenings, cold drinks, etc. On top of those important activities, I’ll also be meandering up and down the west coast doing this book tour thing. (!!!) I’m feeling pretty darn enthused about all of this: about summer, about having a real, tangible cookbook out in the world, about celebrating all of this with friends in a bunch of my favorite cities, about long road trips and lots of good music and podcasts, about the bigness of it all. When life feels big and wacky and crazy like this, I tend to listen to a lot of really cheesy music. Katy Perry’s on heavy repeat right now. Don’t judge. She’s perfect in her larger-than-life musical proportions, uninhibited earnestness and righteous lady power.
I’m not often one for giveaways, but I grew up with Sunset magazine. It used to be my mother’s magazine, and now it’s my magazine. How did that happen? They’ve just released The Great Outdoors Cookbook, and it captures everything I love about summer eating. I have one copy of that book for one of you fine folks! Since this is a giveaway, here’s what I’d love to hear from you: those of you anywhere along the great west coast corridor that is I-5, share your favorite swimming hole, hike, local farm, or any awesome outdoor place to get your summer on. OR, share your biggest, cheesiest, most wonderful summer anthem with me. Perhaps it’ll make its way onto a summer road trip playlist as I meander up and down I-5 this summer. I can’t wait!
GRILLED CAESAR SALAD
adapted from The Great Outdoors Cookbook
6 anchovy fillets, rinsed and drained
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
2 hearts of romaine
Manchego cheese, shaved
Heat a grill to medium-high.
Using the flat side of a knife, mash the anchovies into a paste. In a small bowl, combine the anchovies with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, and whisk thoroughly.
Slice the hearts of romain in half lengthwise, keeping the core intact. Brush each cut half generously with the dressing, reserving a little dressing for serving.
Grill the hearts of romaine, cut sides down, until soft and golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and plate immediately. Drizzle remaining dressing, and finish with the manchego. Best served immediately.
Let’s talk the fun/exciting/scary stuff first! BOOK TOUR! I can’t believe that I am on the cusp of this moment. I can’t believe that all of a sudden, a handful of dates are booked on the west coast, with more to come, and a later round in fall on the east coast. WHOA! I’m equally thrilled and terrified. I’m really excited to meet some of you fine folks who share my passion for vegetables and color and being inspired by those things. I’m so proud of the little book that I made.
Speaking of, you can pre-order Vibrant Food now at any of these spots online:
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound, iBooks, Google Books, or Powell’s.
HEY Portland and Los Angeles!!! I would love to schedule a class, event, or party in your city. Let’s talk if you want to host or have a suggestion!
SUMMER BOOK TOUR, West Coast!
June 25th, San Francisco, CA: Omnivore Books!, 6:30 PM.
June TBA, San Diego, CA.
July 2nd, Pasadena, CA: Vroman’s Bookstore, 7 PM.
July 12th, Larkspur (Marin), CA: Diesel, A Bookstore, 1 PM.
July 29th, Seattle, WA: Book Larder, 6:30 PM.
July 30th, Seattle, WA: The Pantry at Delancey, teaching a class! 6-9 PM.
July 31st, Seattle, WA: The Pantry at Delancey, teaching a class! 6-9 PM.
September 13th, Corte Madera (Marin), CA: Book Passage, 4 PM.
There are certain colors, tones, and qualities of light that just get me. Like the color of the ocean, above, on the way to Big Sur. It’s startling in the most profoundly calm way. And the bright grey of these long foggy evenings that we’ve been having lately in San Francisco. I feel like I’m bathed in soft, diffuse light when I’m outside gardening in the evening and it’s kind of magical. I’m holding on to these little things right now, when life feels so big and busy and demanding and will only become more so in the next months.
And since I’m obsessed with/terrified of public speaking right now, I’ve been absorbing all that I can from friends, family, and the internet. There’s some gold out there.
1. Like The Confidence Gap, which makes me wonder if my trepidation around public speaking is more to do with a lack of confidence than it is my introverted tendencies. It’s a powerful article. Take it to heart, ladies.
2. What to Talk About. While this book is geared more towards navigating and enlivening the random conversations that arise in day to day situations, I’m finding their advice and humor equally relevant in thinking about my book tour. They’re funny! And funny is what we all need.
3. Austin Kleon! This guy cracks me up! More smart advice, wisdom and humor relevant for anyone going after a creative life or passion, or pursuing a freelance career.
4. I’ll Finish the Dishes When I’m Dead. There are so many great pieces out there on figuring out how to slow down, do less, be more here. And yet, we keep on being too busy, doing too much, and not really being present. I’m in favor of being reminded as often as possible, especially when it’s as awesome as this piece is. Read it.
5. Four Months Alone on the Pacific Crest Trail. When I was younger, I really wanted to hike the PCT, and then I let that dream go dormant. Cheryl Strayed’s Wild reinvigorated that desire in a major way. Myla’s story is badass and so inspiring.
6. “And we should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.” Live Fruitfully and Honestly.
7. This one felt like a gift times two. Megan gives us sage words on life, and a mind-blowing granola bark recipe.