I love the Parisian markets enough to deal with the crowds. There's something quite satisfying about buying my food outside. Or perhaps it's the sense of abundance, beauty and promise...all those great meals inherent in the fresh ingredients on display.
Take five minutes from your day and join me in the Paris Bastille Market. What do you see that you would buy and what would you do with it?
Gigia Kolouch, my housemate, hired me in 1994 at Alfalfa's Market. There she trained me to teach cooking classes and I went on to teach hundreds of vegetarian cooking classes over ten years.
Gigia is a creative pioneer who works to bring gardening and cooking programs to Denver's schools. A librarian, a gastronome, a teacher and a scholar, Gigia also has a fascination with the Futurist Movement.
If you're curious about the Futurists, this video will share Futurists cooking tips you can use at home, will share some basic creative principles to help you enjoy cooking more, and will give you a peek into the kooky world of the Italian Futurist movement.
Watch for the shocking item about the abolition of pasta!
I want to give readers of my blogs an end of the year thank you gift. I want you all to come over for dinner. I’ll make a feast, complete with French wine and cheese and olives, jazz playing softly in the background, and great conversation all around.
I want this, but since I’m in the middle of nowhere in the south of France, I doubt you’ll get here in time for dinner.
So, the next best thing I can do is share a recipe that I invented. I love this recipe and every time I eat it, I think, this has gotta get out to the masses!
I’m sharing my recipe for Sassy Beans, and I want you to make it and share it with everyone you can. Spread the Sassy Bean!
I make a pot of these beans and then serve them with: roasted vegetables and rice or quinoa, on the side of a leafy green salad, or mixed into pasta and vegetables (lasagna or moussaka). Or alongside an omelet. Anything goes.
I don’t use measurements when I cook, so you won’t get precision in this recipe. Just follow my lead, use your cooking sense, and it will be great.
Beans: I like: black beans, adzuki beans, green or brown lentils. Experiment with different types, but don’t use red lentils for this recipe. Too soggy.
Take a cup or so of uncooked beans and soak them overnight in water. The next day, drain the water and then boil the beans in a pot on the stove for an hour without adding anything. (Especially don’t add salt. It retards the cooking of the beans.)
You may be moaning, can’t I just open a can? Yes, you can open a can of beans. But it’s nearly as easy to do it from scratch, cheaper and with less packaging. It just takes a bit of planning. Do this on the weekend. Honestly, once you chop everything up, it kind of happens on its own.
You can also do this in a crock pot, which is a great addition to any busy person’s kitchen.
Once the beans are almost cooked, add:
One chopped onion 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped 2 tablespoons grated or chopped fresh ginger (Don’t even think of using powdered ginger. Just don’t.) 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds salt and pepper to taste
It’s the fennel and ginger that make the beans sassy, and so tasty. You may wish to add a vegetable bouillon cube to the cooking beans, or some vegetable broth.
You can also add some fresh chopped cilantro or parsley when serving if you want to be fancy.
Cook the beans for another hour or so on low, stirring occasionally. Adjust the seasonings for taste and enjoy in the aforementioned manner or in your own way.
Let me know how it goes, or tell me about your bean recipes!
Food is a daily necessity, but it can also be one of our most powerful relationships. How do you want to relate to food? Is food a friend with whom you have an honest and healthy relationship? Or is food that friend that you love one moment and hate the next? Take some time to assess your relationship with your food. Note any changes that you would like to make this year. Set an intention for how you want to be with your food and then itemize specific actions you can take.
The choices we make with food have an enormous impact on how we feel, speak and act. I don’t advocate a certain way of eating for everyone. My wish is that you enjoy whatever it is that you are eating, and that your food makes your body feel alive. Spend this next month paying close attention to how you experience your food. Check out the following fun ways to develop a more loving relationship with your food. Bon appetite!
1. Wash fresh foods gently in running water. 2. Buy for color. 3. Light candles for every meal. 4. Eat only when you’re hungry. 5. Eat seasonally. 6. Look at your food. Notice every detail. 7. Tell stories about your favorite food experiences. 8. Buy an unusual vegetable and ask the produce person how to cook it. 9. Cook simple food (an omelet for instance) slowly and watch the transformation of simple ingredients into something complex. 10. Prepare food while sitting down (chopping, peeling, etc) 11. Buy a vegan product you’ve never eaten. 12. Love your dishes and silverware. 13. Write your own meal blessing. 14. Say a blessing before every meal. 15. Clean out and rearrange your cupboard. 16. Ditto for the fridge. 17. Don’t buy any frozen food for a month. 18. Invest in a good vegetable peeler. (Oxo is a good brand.) 19. Cook more than enough and share with a neighbor or friend. 20. Do a juice fast for a day. 21. Always take time to sit down to eat. 22. Get out a favorite cookbook and try a new recipe. 23. Invite friends over for a food theme party (Italian, cheese, pizza). 24. Hold a dinner party around a color theme: purple food, green food, red food, etc. 25. Use all of your senses to savor meal preparation. 26. Prepare a childhood favorite.
You may have noticed that I'm seriously passionate about food, and that I love sharing it with you. Read all about my fork's path through Italy last month on the Journey Juju blog.
I'll admit it: I'm one of those people who likes organizing theme parties. Last summer I was known to invite friends over for one-variety wine tastings and Friday Happy Hours.
Now that I'm in Portugal, I have a lot to discover about Portuguese wines, cheeses, and foods. The cheeses are especially a foreign territory: lots of soft white cheeses that need to be eaten quickly after purchase. Mmmmm..
It makes me think of hosting a cheese tasting party and I thought I'd share some ideas on how to host your own exploration of cheese with friends.
Charles de Gaulle, president of France in the ‘40s, joked about the difficulties of uniting a country whose people produce over 400 varieties of cheese. Cheese is one of the most vast and complex subjects in the food world. You may not have to unite a country around cheese, but inviting a few friends over to explore its nuances can be fun and educational. Cheese offers one of the most vast and interesting subjects in the food world. The wide range of tastes and textures makes cheese one of the favorite foods of the Western world. Supermarkets often stock hundreds of different cheeses, and the selection can be daunting. How to educate yourself about the tastes and nuances of this vast subject? A cheese tasting provides a fun way to become familiar with cheeses in a party environment. Cheese parties don’t have to be limited to gooey fondue. The following are some tips for hosting a fun and successful cheese party.
I know it’s the cardinal rule of blogging to NOT blog about what you’ve been eating, but as a former vegetarian cooking instructor and lover of vegetables, I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the easiest and most delicious way to eat vegetables: simple roasting.
Take 3-5 root vegetables. A beet, a potato, a turnip, a carrot, a yam, a parsnip… I dare you to try the ones you’ve never eaten.
Peel veggies. Chop into one-inch pieces. Don’t be too picky about the size.
Drizzle a little olive oil on a cooking sheet or other baking pan. I use my cast-iron skillet.
Scatter the veggies on. Drizzle more olive oil, salt, pepper and any herbs or spices you want. Be creative. Roast at 450 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Check every 15 minutes or so and toss veggies.
Serve on a bed of spinach, alongside eggs or meat, topped with goat cheese or just plain.
I forgot to mention that roasting is THE way to eat asparagus. Follow the same method above but cut only the bottom two inches off the asparagus. Olive oil, salt, pepper, until they are limp and crispy. OMG. So good.