The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

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Highway 1 // Big SUr

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.

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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.

  • Nader Khouri - April 25, 2014 - 10:18 am

    I’m so excited, you’re going to do amazing! Let me know if you wanna practice on me. Every time I speak I’m that much better the next time.ReplyCancel

  • Christine Schantz - April 25, 2014 - 1:07 pm

    Your SF and Marin events are in my calendar. Congratulations, Kimberley! Can’t wait! :)ReplyCancel

  • Andrea Slonecker - April 25, 2014 - 1:37 pm

    So exciting!! I’m happy to give you suggestions for a Portland event–lots of ideas. You should also try to schedule something at Shed in Healdsburg, if you haven’t yet. Hit me up!ReplyCancel

  • Erica Julson - April 25, 2014 - 6:07 pm

    LOVE the book cover. Can’t wait to buy it! I’m marking your Pasadena book signing on my calendar as we speak! Congrats on all the hard work paying off :)ReplyCancel

  • Liz @ Floating Kitchen - April 26, 2014 - 7:07 pm

    Yesss…..Seattle stop at the Book Larder is on my calendar!ReplyCancel

  • sue obryan - April 28, 2014 - 7:56 pm

    L.A.: I recommend Diesel Bookstore in the Brentwood Country Mart, home to Jeff Cerciello (chef at Ad Hoc, exec chef for Thomas Keller Restaurant Group) Farmshop restaurant and food/grocery/specialty store. I buy all of my cookbooks there and they regularly host author signings, speakings, etc. It is a very foodie neighborhood and culture there . . . . let me know if you want me to speak to owner of store . . . I’m just a fan but it’s like a second home to me . . . cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Baby June - April 29, 2014 - 12:24 pm

    Wow, a book tour? That’s the dream. I hope to follow that writerly path someday. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kate Leahy - April 30, 2014 - 5:00 pm

    After all those fun instagrams, I’m excited to see your book in “real life.” Hope to make it to the omnivore event. Here’s to a fun-filled, action-packed tour.ReplyCancel

  • Sini | my blue&white kitchen - May 3, 2014 - 5:22 am

    A book tour! So exciting, Kimberley! Also, I love those pictures from Big Sur. It sure is one of the most wonderful & powerful sceneries I’ve been blessed to see.ReplyCancel

  • Monika - May 5, 2014 - 8:55 pm

    Oh yes, public speaking might be something terrible. But you shouldn’t be affraid of it, beacuse when you’re talking about something you love, this whole fear and stress dissapear in first minute of your speech. Also we do not expect to see Lady Gaga, because we know how gentle and modest person you are. I’m sure you’re going to be just fine. Looking forward for Omnivore meeting! Good luck with everything!!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - May 13, 2014 - 2:20 pm

    Portland: How about Powell’s or Hip Cooks? It would be great to see you here!ReplyCancel

  • Miachel | spiced curiosity - June 5, 2014 - 9:00 am

    Come to NYC! :DReplyCancel

Baked Almond Pancake | the year in food

Somewhere in junior high I took a class, something like Home Ec, where we learned how to cook. I don’t recall much except that the teacher was stern but kind, and imposed exacting rules around things like sifting flour (which I still don’t usually do), scraping the bowls clean with a spatula (which I now sometimes do), and room temperature versus chilled ingredients. This kind of precision and specificity I associate with those who love to bake. I have learned that I am not really great at that kind of precision in the kitchen. I like to be a little loose when I cook.

Baked Almond Pancake | the year in food

In the class, we learned how to make Dutch babies, something for which I have a lifelong fondness because it’s my first memory of a really successful cooking project. There’s a straightforward alchemy to it: you toss together a few ingredients and slide them into a warmed skillet. It goes into the oven and transforms into this wonderful, puffed up thing that deflates a little as it cools, but is warm and comforting and just delightful. And best of all, it’s so simple. It doesn’t demand the precision of other kinds of baked goods. What better way to turn a bunch of pre-teens on to the magic of cooking? She was a smart one, that stern but kind lady. Of course we would be wowed by Dutch babies.

Baked Almond Pancake | the year in food

Dutch babies have been on my to-make list for years, but when I stopped eating wheat, I figured that it was another baked good that was no longer an option. (I have wrongly abandoned so much, thinking that without wheat it was pointless. It’s been awesome to rediscover so many foods.) This recipe is from Green Kitchen Stories; I’ve been wanting to make it since they posted it last year. They call it a fat almond pancake, and I love that name. And while it’s not exactly a Dutch baby, that’s the memory it evokes, and the two are similar in spirit. It’s reminiscent of a soufflé or bread pudding. As long as you don’t expect a conventional pancake when you tuck into this soft, melting dish, you’ll be pleased as punch.

Today is the last day to vote in Saveur’s Best Food Blog awards, where the Year in Food is a finalist in the Best Cooking Blog Category! I’d be so thrilled to have your vote. Thank you!!

Baked Almond Pancake | the year in food

BAKED ALMOND PANCAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES + CITRUS
adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
Serves 6 to 8

5 eggs, whisked
2.5 cups almond, soy, dairy or other milk of choice
1 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons brown rice flour
2 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter

2 cups sliced strawberries
2 blood oranges
2 tangerines
2 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar

To serve:
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place a 10×12-inch baking pan in the oven to preheat.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs. Combine with the almond milk and set aside. In another large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, brown rice flour, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt. Slowly whisk the wet mix in with the dry, mixing vigorously to incorporate. Melt the butter in the heated baking pan. When melted, swirl it around the pan, then mix the rest into the pancake batter. Give the batter one last thorough mix, and pour into the hot baking pan.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pancake is puffed and golden and firm at the center. It will still be rather wet when ready.

While the pancake bakes, place the strawberries in a bowl and set aside. Using a sharp knife, supreme the citrus. Slice away the top and bottom end. Stand the citrus upright, and slice away the outer peel and pith, working in a circle around the citrus. Slice each fruit about 1/4-inch thick lengthwise, and then quarter each slice. Add to the bowl with the strawberries. Toss the fruit with the cane sugar and set aside to macerate, stirring occasionally.

Baked Almond Pancake | the year in food

  • Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health - April 9, 2014 - 11:14 am

    i am not a baker at all and prefer flexibility of cooking as well. looking at these strawberries, i want a huge slice of this pancakes now.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - April 9, 2014 - 11:24 am

    We had a really exacting type for home ec. too. She would loom over your shoulder during sewing-oriented classes (I made a fuzzy stuffed scottish terrier-ish dog for my final project–pretty badass), and specify the same sifting and scraping rules as yours. But! When we made “healthy” brownies with applesauce, we were all SO on board with her meticulous ways. I guess they just know.

    I’ve wanted to make something like this since the GKS crew posted it last year as well. Yours is so bright with the citrus–sounds like a great transitional and totally fancy breakfast.

    Crossing my fingers for you on those Saveur awards! :)ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ WVS - April 9, 2014 - 11:25 am

    Baked pancakes make me so happy. This is gorgeous, and looks so yummy!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren @ Dash of Soul - April 9, 2014 - 12:34 pm

    These photos are so beautiful! Pinning! :)ReplyCancel

  • gomez - April 9, 2014 - 12:49 pm

    Love. I want your book! I just ordered….ReplyCancel

  • EL - April 9, 2014 - 1:14 pm

    I have the same liking for “loose” recipes. So that might be why I love clafoutis and strawberry shortcake. I just experiment when I want the gluten free — generally with rice flour and oat bran. The oat bran seems to add a bit of texture/crunchiness without drying things out too much (although you have to be careful not to overdo it). I would think that a clafoutis would be pretty easy to make gluten free.ReplyCancel

  • Angela Brown - April 9, 2014 - 4:24 pm

    I wish I had a good enough memory to recall what we made back in Home-Ec. I’m sure it was something awesome! Your pictures look incredible in this post. I’d love to know what kind of lens they were shot with. Just submitted my Saveur vote…wish you all the best! Can’t wait to check out your new book!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - Definitely Not Martha - April 9, 2014 - 6:53 pm

    I’m also much more of a cook than a baker. But puffed up oven pancakes are worth the exception. I’ve never tried making a gluten free one, but I love almond flour, and I love that you paired it with strawberry and orange.ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Blogging Over Thyme - April 9, 2014 - 7:34 pm

    Congratulations on Saveur! I am DEFINITELY more of a cook than a baker (although I did bake professionally for a bit). It comes a lot more naturally to me–and I enjoy the spontaneity that cooking can provide.

    Love the idea of a baked pancake! This would be perfect for company!ReplyCancel

  • cheri - April 9, 2014 - 9:53 pm

    What a great recipe, perfect for a small crowd on a week-end!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - April 10, 2014 - 2:59 am

    I think Home Ec teachers the world over must have had the same kind of training ; )

    Love this breakfasty-brunch idea – it looks hearty yet light and a celebration of all that’s good about this time of year.ReplyCancel

  • David - April 10, 2014 - 3:21 am

    I’d like it!
    Thanks very much!ReplyCancel

  • Cara's Healthy Cravings - April 10, 2014 - 4:17 am

    This would be a lovely option for an Easter brunch, thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Dan from Platter Talk - April 10, 2014 - 5:17 am

    Love this post, you’ve got my vote.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberley - April 10, 2014 - 10:30 am

    @Angela: thank you! I shoot almost everything with my 35 mm/1.4 lens, which I adore.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - April 10, 2014 - 8:56 pm

    These photos are SO beautiful Kimberley. I am so glad we had that impromptu little date today- you’re inspiring, lady. xoReplyCancel

  • Angela Brown - April 11, 2014 - 8:18 am

    Thanks for your response, Kim! Best of luck with Saveur…excited to see the results!ReplyCancel

  • Allyson - April 11, 2014 - 6:48 pm

    Dutch baby- what a fantastic name. These look beautiful. I bet the almond flour imparts a lovely flavor. I’ll be putting these on my list of things to try. Best of luck with Saveur!ReplyCancel

  • The Little Pancake Company - April 13, 2014 - 2:35 am

    This looks delicious! Dutch baby pancakes are one of our absolute favourites! I always love them served with a side of vanilla cream. Light enough not to overpower the taste of the almond flour but adds a lovely velvety texture.
    ReplyCancel

  • Anne - April 13, 2014 - 10:12 am

    I remember Home Ec class like it was yesterday. Partially because it was only last year. I got so annoyed about how precise the teacher was. Spoon and level the flour, don’t scoop. Sifting is VERY important. Don’t eat the cookie dough. Ugg… I love cooking but I disliked that class. How do they think cookbook authors (such as you) make recipes?
    Either way, I love this post! I have never made Dutch babies, but they sound very interesting!ReplyCancel

  • sara - April 13, 2014 - 9:00 pm

    I love dutch babies, love the almond twist! :)ReplyCancel

  • Phoebe Lapine @FeedMePhoebe - April 15, 2014 - 8:54 am

    Wow, baked pancakes? Crazy-I’ll definitely have to try these sometime!ReplyCancel

  • erin @ yummy supper - April 22, 2014 - 9:11 am

    How cool is that that you had Home Ec!? And learned to make Dutch Babies to boot. I love that you used almond flour here… I want to come to breakfast at your house;)
    xoxo
    EReplyCancel

  • MARY Kay - April 25, 2014 - 5:21 pm

    This picture is one of the most memorable of all the SAVEUR winning blogs!ReplyCancel

  • Frank - April 26, 2014 - 7:48 pm

    Those photos make those pancakes absolutely delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Hakk? Karadeniz - April 28, 2014 - 2:34 pm

    Very nice recipe, thank you:-)ReplyCancel

  • Clemsy May - May 7, 2014 - 11:31 am

    I love these photos, so pretty!ReplyCancel

Spring Tabbouleh with Green Harissa

(First, some great good news: I’m a finalist in Saveur’s Best Food Blog Awards! If you wouldn’t mind taking a moment to vote, I’d be so honored. Voting closes next Wednesday, April 9th. Thank you!)

When I was in school, I had a really hard time with critiques. It’s kind of a cornerstone of the art school experience and it loomed large in my mental landscape. There’s a lot of mythology around the value of critiques: how they prepare you to be able to speak about your work, how they throw you in at the deep end so that you learn to survive later, in that less kind real world, how you learn to grow a thick skin and receive criticism with a modicum of grace. None of that was true for me. I was way, way too sensitive, and it took me three years to learn how to speak about my work, and I did not learn how to effectively field criticism. Nor did I find that feedback outside of school was less kind. Instead it has been more kind.

Spring Tabbouleh with Green Harissa

This isn’t to say that I don’t see the value in a thoughtful critique or in receiving challenging feedback. It was just the context of the program I was in: often there wasn’t a lot of thought about the delivery and the remarks were guided by the first person to offer feedback; it would set a negative or a positive tone. What I have learned since is that we can choose to see the good in something, or we can choose to see the bad. There’s no accounting for taste, as they say. To see the good or the bad in any kind of creative work is a choice.

Spring Tabbouleh with Green Harissa

My last semester there, I decided to kind of own my critique. I loved the work that I had made so much, and I really fucking believed in it. So I went into that final critique and just made it a positive experience. My own enthusiasm was reflected in the feedback – I could see how that confidence quietly persuaded people out of a knee-jerk default towards negativity to one of curiosity and positivity and interest. It was a really powerful experience.

Spring Tabbouleh with Green Harissa

I’m thinking about all of this lately because I’m starting to ramp up the planning for my book tour. (!!!) And those critiques are really my only point of reference for standing in front of people and talking about my work. I had a period of panic – the shy, introverted part of me nearly convinced me to just not do a tour, not step outside of my comfort zone, not stand in front of a group of strangers stricken with panic and forgetting how to speak.

But I realized that there’s a striking difference: these events in support of my book aren’t about finding the faults in the work. They’re about celebrating a shared passion for cooking, and vegetables, and color, and farmers markets, and seasonality. They’re about community; this is where I get to emerge from the intensely private place where that book was made, and connect with y’all, face to face. And I’m really excited about that. It feels like the reward for the work that has been done. I’ll probably still be nervous, and I still have no idea what to talk about, but I’m figuring that out.

Spring Tabbouleh with Green Harissa

SPRING VEG TABBOULEH WITH GREEN HARISSA
adapted from Food and Wine by way of Sprouted Kitchen

For a long time I was trying to work out a creative take on tabbouleh, one that used quinoa instead of bulgur and was flexible with the veggies and the herbs. But what I kept making fell flat. When I pulled this together last week, I had envisioned it as more of a grain salad than anything else. But tasting it, I realized that this was the tabbouleh that I was after. It stretches the definition of tabbouleh, sure, but it hangs on to its core elements: the generous parsley, the bright lemon tang, the grain that holds it together, the brightness. I love what both Sara and Ashley have done with the harissa; it’s a testament to the versatility of this bright, vivid sauce.

For the tabbouleh:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1.5 cups water
2 cups asparagus, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups carrots, sliced diagonally into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cups quartered radishes
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the harissa:
1 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 or 2 jalapeños, coarsely chopped, and seeded if desired
Juice of one lemon
1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine the quinoa and 1.5 cups water with a little sea salt in a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook until water is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While the quinoa cooks, roast the veggies. Toss them with the tablespoon of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees until browned and just cooked, about 20 minutes. Toss once or twice to cook evenly.

Prepare the harissa. In a food processor, combine the parsley, cilantro, mint, jalapeño, lemon juice, cumin, fennel and sea salt. Pulse once or twice to combine. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil. Combine until a coarse paste has formed.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the quinoa and veggies with the harissa. I used all of it. You may want to start with 3/4 of the sauce and taste to see. Serve at room temp.

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - April 3, 2014 - 12:23 pm

    This is so freaking perfect for Spring. I love it!!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen - April 3, 2014 - 12:36 pm

    This tabbouleh sound fantastic! I love all the crunchy, vibrant veg and the kick of the harissa. Yay!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - April 3, 2014 - 1:46 pm

    You got this girl. I feel like I’m preparing for the launch of my book with my boxing gloves on gearing up to hear where I screwed up the metrics or where I over shared. But you are so right, it’s about coming together to celebrate a shared passion. And you have much to celebrate. What a ton of work! and now you get to share it with all of us. I can’t wait.
    And yea for green harissa!ReplyCancel

  • Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health - April 3, 2014 - 3:04 pm

    congratulations!!! green harissa sounds really good and perfect for the Spring. Pinning this for later.ReplyCancel

  • cheri - April 3, 2014 - 3:25 pm

    Congrats on your nomination! gorgeous salad, love everything about it!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - April 4, 2014 - 1:31 am

    Totally love your approach to the book tour; I know your book is going to be an absolute roaring success and I think a lot of that will be done to your attitude and spirit which I’m sure will flow through every word and photograph.ReplyCancel

  • SG - April 4, 2014 - 9:32 am

    Hooray! Congratulations on the nomination – voted!!! and really hope that you win!

    See you and meet you on your book tour!ReplyCancel

  • sara forte - April 4, 2014 - 10:19 am

    We go through phases of sauces and dressings around here and this is the current one. My bunches of cilantro and parsley in my CSA are GIGANTIC, so every tuesday I make a huge batch and we put it on everything. I havent been cooking much lately so a big batch of something like this would be ideal to have in the fridge to eat at my leisure. Looks gorgeous. PS You will be so much better on your book tour than you expect, I know it. First one is a doozy and then you’ll warm up to the whole idea, grasping that we’re all just people who love good food. No one expects you to be perfect. Sending hugs!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - April 4, 2014 - 6:48 pm

    This looks, and I bet tastes, amazing! Congrats on your nomination–I’m betting you will rock your book tour :)ReplyCancel

  • yossy - April 5, 2014 - 9:44 am

    I can’t wait to see your book and see you on the road!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - Definitely Not Martha - April 5, 2014 - 6:46 pm

    This looks really good. Love the green take on the harissa and the beautiful contrast with the radishes, carrots and asparagus. Gorgeous photos and I’m definitely pinning this recipe for later. Good luck for the awards and congrats on the nom!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - April 5, 2014 - 7:48 pm

    This is a gorgeous salad, no matter what you call it. Can’t wait to make it when asparagus starts showing up at our local markets. Congrats on your Saveur nomination. How exciting!ReplyCancel

  • Millie// addalittle - April 6, 2014 - 2:13 am

    Looks delicious and your photography is amazing!
    Love the look of your website to :)ReplyCancel

  • Christina @ but i'm hungry - April 7, 2014 - 3:28 pm

    Oh, tabouleh is one of my favorite things in the world… and these vegetables… oh my. Beautiful. You can stretch the definition of tabouleh all you want when the finished product looks like that…ReplyCancel

  • Robyn - April 8, 2014 - 5:51 am

    I know we’ve never met but I can’t help thinking you invented this recipe Just For Me… Yes? It’s got my name on it :-)ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - April 8, 2014 - 1:09 pm

    I think constructive criticism can be an important tool, but I’ve noticed that if you start from a negative place, it fosters more negativity. It’s a tricky thing! I have a feeling that your book tour will be surrounded by warm positivity for all you’ve accomplished. This salad sounds fantastic!!ReplyCancel

  • erin @ yummy supper - April 9, 2014 - 9:26 am

    Kimberley, I can’t wait for your “book tour” – count on me to be there at one of your events, for sure.
    And yes, I so agree as an introvert it’s hard to put oneself out there, but people will be so excited to meet you and to share the positivity,passion,and deliciousness you’ve infused into your book.
    Go lady go!
    xo
    EReplyCancel

  • Maui Girl Cooks - April 15, 2014 - 11:01 am

    Congrats on being a finalist in the Saveur blog awards! I love your blog and am particularly interested in making the green harissa, just as soon as my cilantro gets bigger. Or maybe I will just buy some at the farmers market. I’ve made red, but not green-those flavors are right up my alley. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Brooke Evans - May 7, 2014 - 5:17 am

    Sorry I missed the voting but if I had’ve known about your awesome blog earlier I definitely would’ve voted for you. This dish looks amazing and I just have to make this. ThanksReplyCancel

  • Brooke Evans - May 7, 2014 - 5:18 am

    Sorry%20I%20missed%20the%20voting%20but%20if%20I%20had’ve%20known%20about%20your%20awesome%20blog%20earlier%20I%20definitely%20would’ve%20voted%20for%20you.%20%20This%20dish%20looks%20amazing%20and%20I%20just%20have%20to%20make%20this.%20%20ThanksReplyCancel

  • Dara McMains - June 10, 2014 - 11:35 am

    I have posted a link to your page on my own!! I love your dishes and wanted to share!

    DinnerAtOurPlace365.com

    Please check it out and thank you so much for sharing your beautiful dishes!!ReplyCancel

  • Christine - July 15, 2014 - 9:44 am

    I know you wrote this up a while ago now, but I just came across it today and wanted to comment on what a beautiful dish it is! I love the green harissa blend and I cannot wait to try it out!ReplyCancel

Cajun-Spiced Sweet Potato Burgers // the year in food

Flying into New Orleans on a Friday afternoon, what struck me from the window of the airplane was how pervasive and dramatic the serpentine waterways were. It was a landscape of water upon water, broken just barely by clumps of small brownish dots – the water-loving plants of the bayou. It was, of course, the fluid, overlapping topography of the Missisissippi river, the gulf coast, and the bayou. Louisiana, it seems, is defined by water.

And Louisiana has an unbelievably powerful sense of place. It was intense, triggering all the senses (the colors! the smell of the bayou and the river and the humid air, the foods, the music and the birdsong and the straggly kitties and everyone, everywhere saying hi), and it was present everywhere: in the gorgeous, slightly dilapidated, colorful shotgun houses that characterize the neighborhoods of New Orleans, in the cooking, in the regional accent, in the music. It’s a vibrant, wonderfully warm, amazing place, and I’ve never been anywhere like it.

Here’s my experience on Avery Island, the homeplace of the McIlhenny family and Tabasco sauce, mostly in photos:

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

In the greenhouse learning about Tabasco peppers!

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

Talking about the Tabasco mash in its early and later stages. We tasted the mash – the concentrated pepper and salt blend before vinegar is added. It’s as intense as you would imagine!

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

The mash is aged for 3 years in old whiskey barrels that are re-used for decades!

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

I am so inspired by the unique topography and color palette of the swampy bayous. It’s gorgeous, and rich, and fecund, and a little spooky. And yeah, there are totally critters hiding out in there.

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

Chef Brian Landry did an awesome demo on his Spanish and Creole-inspired cooking, before executing the MOST EPIC MEAL ever for us that evening.

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

Before our epic feast, I snuck out for a stroll along the empty roads of Avery Island. I wanted to get deep in that landscape and have a moment with the bayou. I made my way down a dusty dirt road to a small dock. Stepping onto the dock I heard a loud commotion – I had surprised a giant water snake who slithered in a hurry back into the murky creek! Yikes. Sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me.

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

Also, I am completely obsessed with Spanish moss. I learned that it’s an air plant – does that mean I can grow it at home? (Somebody send me some?)

Louisiana // Tabasco Tastemakers Trip

The next day was equally epic. After an intense morning in the capsaicin-heavy air of the rooms where the mash is produced, we sped through the surrounding waterways to an old shack in the middle of nowhere.

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

We were greeted by these awesome guys, who were totally busting out the zydeco jams.

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

We went on an air boat ride through the marshy bayou. It was gorgeous and grey and empty out there – and the boat was so fast and loud and awesome. I felt like I had been on a roller coaster after. Look at our badass captain!

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

Louisiana + Tabasco Tastemakers Trip | the year in food

Louisiana // Tabasco Tastemakers Trip

Then we feasted on the best crawfish boil ever, and some of us got down with the band. What an amazing trip. So much great food, an awesome group of bloggers, a really rare opportunity to understand the story of an impressive family-run business, and a whole heck of a lot of inspiration. I’m still processing it. I feel so lucky to have been invited to join!

Cajun-Spiced Sweet Potato Burgers // the year in food

Cajun-Spiced Sweet Potato Burgers // the year in food

CAJUN-SPICED SWEET POTATO BURGERS
Yield: 4 large or 6 medium patties

I knew that if I wanted to draw on the cornerstones of Cajun flavors for these guys that I had to step outside of my comfort zone a little bit. (Red bell peppers out of season, heaven forbid!) But the Cajun holy trinity – celery, bell pepper, and onion – felt like a necessary component to bring these to life. And it did. I very loosely adapted a basic Cajun seasoning to give these the big flavors that I was looking for, and rounded it out with Tabasco’s smoky Chipotle Pepper Sauce, because I love a smoky element with the flavors of sweet potato. I am so stoked on how they turned out. Since these patties are a little bit delicate, I don’t think they’d work too well on a grill, unfortunately. Get that skillet super hot to give them a nice, blackened crust. It’ll help them hold together. Smother them with all of your favorite condiments, squish em inside a bun, and have at it.

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for cooking
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
1.5 cups cooked and mashed sweet potato (from one large sweet potato)
1/2 cup cooked and cooled short grain brown rice
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried garlic
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 or 2 teaspoons Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, whisked

To serve:
4 buns
Micro greens or lettuce
Condiments of choice

Warm a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the tablespoon of olive oil, along with the diced bell pepper, celery, and onion. Saute, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except for the second teaspoon of Tabasco sauce, the cayenne pepper, the breadcrumbs and the egg. Taste the mix and add the second teaspoon of Tabasco and the cayenne pepper if you’re fond of a little spice. (This is why I add the egg last – I don’t mind a smidge of raw egg, but it’s great to be able to safely taste this and adjust the season to your preference.) Add the egg and the breadcrumbs and mix until just incorporated.

Shape into 4 large or 6 medium patties about 3/4 inch thick, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Heat a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and let it sit for a few minutes to get nice and hot. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

Remove the patties from the fridge. Using a spatula, carefully place two at a time in the hot pan, reshaping a little if necessary. They’re delicate – be patient and forgiving with them, and know that they’ll still taste good! Cook, completely undisturbed, for about 5 minutes, until a nice, dark crust forms. Flip and repeat, again being careful not to disturb them, for another 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining patties, adding more olive oil as needed.

While the patties cook, toast the buns.

To serve, place the patties on a bun with lots of mustard, mayo, ketchup, relish or whatever you prefer. Top with micro greens or lettuce and the bun. EAT and be happy.

Cajun-Spiced Sweet Potato Burgers // the year in food

  • Ashley - March 26, 2014 - 4:39 pm

    Holy yum! Beautiful images from such a great trip. So glad we got to experience it together.ReplyCancel

  • Ashlae - March 26, 2014 - 4:57 pm

    What a beautiful trip and a delicious looking burger – cannot wait to try it.ReplyCancel

  • Louisa - March 26, 2014 - 7:22 pm

    This is the most awesome blog post I’ve seen in ages! You’re one lucky lady, looks like real good time.ReplyCancel

  • Shanna Mallon - March 26, 2014 - 9:14 pm

    These pictures! You do Louisiana proud.ReplyCancel

  • sara forte - March 26, 2014 - 10:18 pm

    how fun! Looks like you had a great time and I love seeing what you see – you have a beautiful eye, kimberley. Love the look of these burgers. I like smoky with sweet potatoes too :)ReplyCancel

  • Ileana - March 27, 2014 - 4:46 am

    Sending you Spanish moss from Florida! ;) My boyfriend was enchanted by it as well when he moved here from Iowa.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey (dolly and oatmeal) - March 27, 2014 - 4:55 am

    Wow, what gorgeous images! Loved your description of some of things you saw and experienced – all looks like a blast. And that burger! Can’t wait for warmer weather and burger season to commence!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - March 27, 2014 - 4:58 am

    I’m a Chicago resident transplanted from New Orleans. Even though I’ve lived here more than twice as long as I lived there, Louisiana will always seems like home. Can’t wait to try these!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - March 27, 2014 - 5:54 am

    What wonderfully evocative photos Kimberley, I absolutely adore your work.ReplyCancel

  • DH Lindsey - March 27, 2014 - 7:12 am

    “Chef Brian Landry did an awesome demo on his Spanish and Creole-inspired cooking, before executing the MOST EPIC MEAL ever for us that evening.”

    Can you tell us more about the “epic meal” that you were served?ReplyCancel

  • Bob H - March 27, 2014 - 8:03 am

    Well Kimberley you’ve inspired me to find my Tabasco tie with its depiction of the Golden Gate Bridge! What a great post about such a wonderful & insightful trip! The Tabasco-Cajun burgers sound scrumptious!!ReplyCancel

  • CINDY OWINGS - March 27, 2014 - 8:04 am

    Thanks for sharing the great photos, impressions, & food of the Delta! It makes me want to visit there SOON! Will try the sweet potato burgers tonight!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Simple Pairings - March 27, 2014 - 8:19 am

    Love your creativity! Cajun Sweet Potato Burgers. Such great flavors going on here – this must be one of the most healthful and flavorful burgers out there. Such lovely photographs, too. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic - March 27, 2014 - 10:44 am

    I love this post – the pictures, the way you wrote about New Orleans, the recipe. Reminds me of my own trip there last summer :)ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - March 27, 2014 - 11:29 am

    I visited Avery Island in February! Such a cool place. But you definitely got the full experience!! Also, these burgers?! Love.ReplyCancel

  • Joey Brown - March 27, 2014 - 3:11 pm

    Kimberly – I am married to one of the family members and we met you that night at the dinner. Thank you for recognizing what a special place it is!
    The epic meal used a different flavor of Tabasco in each course which was so cool.
    BTW, never decorate with real spanish moss inside unless you want lots of tiny bugs inside! Found out the hard way!ReplyCancel

  • Christine - March 27, 2014 - 3:48 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I’m absolutely in love with these photos; they drew me in immediately and are so so pretty… Looks like you had a great trip :)ReplyCancel

  • sue/the view from great island - March 29, 2014 - 5:40 am

    What a beautiful and eye-opening post! I love Tabasco and made my own green version a while back, I’m so jealous of your experience! And the burgers look fantastic, I’m always on the hunt for a great veggie burger :)ReplyCancel

  • Canal Cook - March 31, 2014 - 3:41 pm

    Great photos and a delicious sounding recipe. Like everyone else on the planet, I am currently obsessed with True Detective, and your photos really bring Louisiana to lifeReplyCancel

  • Rachel @LittleChefBigAppetite - April 1, 2014 - 7:56 am

    I can’t believe I never thought to make a sweet potato burger! Looks incredible!ReplyCancel

  • erin @ yummy supper - April 1, 2014 - 9:32 am

    Beautiful pix lady. I am so itching to go to NO again. What a magical city.
    xoxo
    EReplyCancel

  • matmedmera - April 1, 2014 - 9:52 am

    Here at home, my people adore food like that! Delicious recipe!
    Greetings from SwedenReplyCancel

  • Meike ° eat in my kitchen - April 2, 2014 - 8:41 am

    I love burgers and yours looks delicious!
    Congrats on your nomination and greetings from Berlin!
    MeikeReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Blogging Over Thyme - April 6, 2014 - 8:44 am

    These pictures are stunning! I am a huge fan of spanish moss too. My family always goes down to Hilton Head Island, SC every year, and the entire island is brimming with it. Never knew you could grow it on its own though?

    Congrats on the nomination!! This burger looks spectacular!ReplyCancel

  • Alex - April 9, 2014 - 7:50 am

    I am literally obsessed with veggie burgers! We made a black bean one (http://www.veganosity.com/food/black-bean-veggies-burgers-wrapped-with-swiss-chard-gluten-free/) last week and it was amazing. A great idea, especially for people who are trying to cut down on calories or simple carbohydrates, is to wrap your burgers in Swiss Chard! Not only is it really healthy, but its more flavorful than using plain iceburg lettuce.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - April 24, 2014 - 12:44 pm

    I made these a few nights ago and they fell apart a little, but no one cared because they tasted so good. Just wonderful flavors. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - May 28, 2014 - 1:08 pm

    I have been dreaming about these burgers since you posted the recipe! My fiancé and I made them on Memorial Day and they were wonderful. Looking forward to having leftover burgers tonight!ReplyCancel

Every Green Thing: Herbed Frittata with Pea + Fava Shoots // the year in food

I have always loved that the Persian New Year, Norooz, coincides with the beginning of spring. It feels right, to begin the year anew now, when everything is crawling out from the heavy cloak of winter, the year’s new growth tentatively unfurling. It is the easiest time to slough off the old and look forward. Every year I am dumbfounded by the proliferation of the green and the fresh: the fluorescent tips of spruce and pine and the baby nettle plants poking out everywhere in the hills of Marin, the flower blossoms and flowering bulbs and tiny tree buds in San Francisco, the doves who announce their arrival on my deck daily and circle each other awkwardly before surprising into flight at the sight of a crow. That, coupled with the miracle that is that extra hour of golden light following daylight savings, makes this time of year a little intoxicating. I feel like I’m floating through the days, and those days are full of possibility.

Herbed Frittata with Pea + Fava Shoots // the year in food

There is nothing more perfect with which to celebrate this greenest season than the Persian kuku sabzi, an herbed frittata of sorts that is, as my pal Samin describes it, “mostly greens and herbs …. just barely bound together with egg, so it’s like eating a mouthful of greens.” It’s a traditional dish served at Norooz, the green herbs and eggs a perfect iteration of renewal.

Herbed Frittata with Pea + Fava Shoots // the year in food

I would like a mouthful of greens with a lacy web of golden eggs barely holding it together. It’s a flexible and forgiving dish – frequently it’s made with parsley, cilantro, dill and chives, but nearly anything leafy and green is welcome. I folded some pea and fava shoots into it – they are my own signifiers of spring. I love their subtle legume flavor and they worked beautifully in this context. Add whatever bright, delicate herbs or greens you like. Here’s to every green thing, and to long evenings, and to the possibility of the new.

Herbed Frittata with Pea + Fava Shoots // the year in food

KUKU SABZI, AN HERBED FRITTATA WITH PEA + FAVA SHOOTS
Yield: 8 slices
Adapted from Louisa Shafia’s The New Persian Kitchen, with inspiration from Samin Nosrat

Herbed Frittata with Pea + Fava Shoots // the year in food

1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 bunch green onions or small spring onions, diced
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, stems removed
1.5 cups chopped greens, such as pea shoots and fava greens, or cilantro, dill, mint, or spinach
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
7 eggs, whisked
Feta, to serve
Sliced radishes, to serve

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat an 8 to 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium low heat. Add the garlic and green onions and sauté until soft, stirring, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the parsley and the chopped greens, and cook until just wilted, stirring often, about 2 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat.

Gently fold in the whisked eggs until incorporated. Place the skillet in the oven and cook until the center is firm, about 15 minutes longer. Set aside to cool for five minutes.

Serve with crumbled Feta and radishes, as Louisa suggests, or try mayonnaise and hot sauce, as Samin suggests. I ate it both ways: both were awesome.

  • Jeanine Brandi - March 19, 2014 - 2:30 pm

    Looks fantastic! I will try a version tonight with fresh spinach, parsley & ricotta cheese. Will post a pic on my blog at foodfarm.tumblr.com Here’s to spring…ReplyCancel

  • Lucid Food - March 19, 2014 - 6:03 pm

    Kimberley this is gorgeous – like everything you make! This is just how I like my kuku, super packed with herbs. I like the addition of the favas and pea shoots. Happy Norooz/spring equinox tomorrow! -LouisaReplyCancel

  • Laura - March 19, 2014 - 7:03 pm

    I’m a huge fan of the vivid/saturated nature of spring greens too. They barely seem possible after the muted mud tones of March ’round here. Their arrival and spring in general does feel like a suitable starting point, or at least an opportunity to see and take things in differently. Love the idea of this “mouthful of greens” frittata too, all herbed out with spring-y shoots.ReplyCancel

  • Julia - March 20, 2014 - 12:17 am

    I would say: Spring on a plate!ReplyCancel

  • Carly June - March 20, 2014 - 12:27 am

    This is exactly what I want to eat right now. Stunning photographs.ReplyCancel

  • Mimi - March 20, 2014 - 4:15 am

    That is one beautiful frittata!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen - March 20, 2014 - 11:15 am

    This sounds like the idea spring lunch! I’ve never even see fava shoots before–super interesting. :)ReplyCancel

  • cheri - March 20, 2014 - 1:20 pm

    Love everything about this, we make something similar, but you have made the greens the star of the show.ReplyCancel

  • Ileana - March 20, 2014 - 2:28 pm

    I spent last week eating my way through Vegas and Austin. We hit up buffets, bbq, and tacos, which leaves little room for salads, as vacation tends to go. Now that I’m back home I am craving greens like crazy! It’s been a lot of kale salads and sauteed mustard greens, and now I can’t wait to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Fawn @ Cowen Park Kitchen - March 20, 2014 - 3:25 pm

    Wow, those onions are incredibly beautiful. Nice picture! Now I want spring to happen, ASAP.ReplyCancel

  • Alex - March 21, 2014 - 5:47 am

    Wow, that looks great. Seeing it on the plate in the third picture, makes me want to try it now :)ReplyCancel

  • la domestique - March 22, 2014 - 7:21 am

    Look at all that green– gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Victoria - April 1, 2014 - 4:20 am

    Una tortilla deliciosa…
    Un saludoReplyCancel

  • Daniel - May 6, 2014 - 3:25 pm

    The best greens come fresh out of the garden. You can’t beat making salads and dishes from greens you have just picked.ReplyCancel

  • Michael - August 11, 2014 - 9:27 am

    Wow, this looks absolutely delicious. Everything looks so green and fresh. Shall add this to my to-cook list!ReplyCancel