super bowl

February 6, 2012 § 2 Comments

This was a first for me. First time making vegan and gluten free mac & cheese and watching the NFL game. It was a close call as we all saw, which made it even more electrifying.

A friend of mine has a gluten and dairy free diet. So when she discovered my specialty, she urged me many a time to make her a full dietary friendly meal. Though, already a brilliant cook herself, I believe this was part of making her own meal more approachable to others. The verdict was cheerful, and I had to share it.

recipe adapted from daiya
8 ounces gluten-free pasta
3 cups daiya, cheddar
3 tablespoons vegan butter
2 cups non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
¼ teaspoon cajun spice mix
a handful of chopped carrots

Cook pasta according to package, strained and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small pot, melt butter, throw in chopped carrots, stir a little until they are almost but not cooked. Season with salt and cajun spices.

Stir in the milk, cheddar, and cook over low/medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon until cheese is melted.

While waiting for the cheese to melt, pour pasta on to a casserole. Once cheese mixture is done, pour sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle some more cheese for extra richness. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until it is slightly brown on the sides.

Served with your favourite condiment.

A bunch of girls watching American football, eating grilled vegetables, mac & cheese, homemade coconut chocolate peppermint ice cream and enjoying commercials. What a lovely evening.


road trip

January 30, 2012 § 10 Comments

A much needed break to start the year. A refresh or restart button pressed, under great company and mother nature.

day 1
drove along highway 1
saw elephant seals
took a lot of pictures
had a detour due to mudslide
arrived at Monterey

day 2
big sur
pfeiffer falls
big sur bakery

day 3
san francisco
blue bottle coffee

day 4
muir woods
golden gate bridge
cable car ride
millenium restaurant

day 5
ritual coffee
Ethiopian food

day 6
lovely foggy morning
had two shots of espresso and drove non-stop from SF to LA

feeling very rejuvenated
ready to embark another chapter of life

more thoughts to come

wordless Wednesday

January 17, 2012 § 6 Comments

Good Food in Santa Monica

September 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

How fortunate can I get to be living in Santa Monica with promises of glorious sunshine even on the cloudiest day and some cool ocean breeze on hot summer afternoons? By chance, the lovely farmers’ market turned 30 and celebrated it with a big burst of events through out Sept 14-18th by hosting Good Food Festival. Though, barely being here for a couple of months, the market has always been a place I felt at home with glorious fruits, vegetables and friendly vendors even on the foggiest morning. It was only natural that I grab any chances to get tickets for the events.

Big thank you to Renne at Apple Gate Farms on Twitter  for choosing me as one of the winners for yesterday’s event. I met many brilliant people and taste some fantastic local products.

On such a glorious Sunday, everyone had smiles on their faces and carried a hungry belly. Vendors were giving out samples and educating participants with sustainability questions. It was really pleasant to see both parties exchanging banters of the importance in great local food. Foremost, the growth of a plant, it starts with germination, lots of tender loving care to reach its desired flavorful stage, then foraged, prepared carefully and turned into a glorious dish.

At Santa Monica High School’s community garden, gardeners were teaching both young and old how to grow herbs from their backyard or kitchen window. I believe the inspiration itself was sitting in a wall-less classroom looking over healthy greens, occasional colorful butterflies and breathing in fresh air. “How come we never had this when we were in high school?”, asked a lady. How true it is, that we lost touch with our inner child then but to regain it now.

After walking away gleefully with a pot of purple basil and butterhead lettuce, it was time to head towards the food court. Along the way I found Fancifull Gift Baskets, Les Macaron Duverger, Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen, Green Truck, Malibu’s Ice Cream Sandwich etc. I was quite, just quite, please with the spread (click on pictures to view large).

I could not think of a better way to honor local farming in Santa Monica. The way food is intertwined with local restaurants well-known to many in and beyond LA, the steps of educating young children with fruitful knowledge in gardening and improving, as a community to become, green and holistic. Many preach and say, but not here, we get the grove going.

This city is simply, full of surprises.

*Please email me if you would like to use pictures for any occasion. Much thought appreciated.

Cafe Gratitude

June 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Finally, I got the chance to try this magnificent place. My first encounter was reading Cafe Gratitude cookbook through a raw foodist back in Orlando. It had drawn me into paying attention to many aspects of the body which we tend to ignore. A crack on the back or a deep sigh are signs of fatigue and they can all be related to food intake.

Due to the short of time in San Francisco, we couldn’t make it to Cafe Gratitude. Hence, when I found out there was one just right down on Melrose, I made a beeline before the lunch crowd.

Drinks were I AM LUSCIOUS and I AM REJUVENATED. It was my first time trying wheatgrass. Much to the extend of explaining how it actually taste, we could not put a vocabulary to it. Like grass? alfalfa? who actually tasted grass before apart from cows? Then again, they do say vegans eat like cows. Moving on with I AM COMPLETE and I AM WHOLE. The garlic almond hummus was incredibly light, crunchy and smooth. Olive tapenade, mint tzaziki and live falafels with baby spinach were very flavorful. Quinoa and kale were complimenting each other so well. The light dressing made it refreshing and reminded me much of a real “sushi” bento box.

One would imagine that eating just vegetables would make you feel hungry after a couple of hours. But to your disappointment, we couldn’t even finish our meals and later that evening, I could hardly touch dinner. It is to my understanding that the body recognizes less processed food and absorb more nutrients. Hence increasing satiety for a longer period of time. Would you try it the next time? Let me know how the experiment goes.

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