50 Miles or Less

Lucky beyond imagination. .  . to live on the beautiful coast surrounded by hardworking fishermen, boat builders, bakers, potters, photographers, writers, landscapers, masons, chefs, timberframers, teachers, seamstresses and a myriad of others who work with their hands to provide shelter, nourishment, diversions and beauty for their neighbors.

 

I’ve been in love with the change of seasons, as always, as fall in Maine is my favourite when the air turns crisp and the smell of salt is even stronger amidst decaying leaves, rotting apples and woodsmoke.

And the food. . . it’s swoon-worthy.  Handmade crusty breads, smelly local goat cheese, and roasting vegetables. . . I can’t get enough delicata, butternut, acorn and mini dumpling squashes, sliced in half and turned face down on baking sheets at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes and it’s sheer perfection needing nothing else (although black truffle oil from Chelsea Market’s Filling Station is kind of the most amazing food experience ever and made that much more precious because I have to either stock up when I’m in NYC or mail order it).

But what I love the most is that it’s all entirely local. . . no need to have vegetables shipped from California or beyond. . . the food is therefore more vitamin, mineral and flavor rich and I’m not using more fossil fuels than I need to in order to be nourished.

The above meal was sourced from less than 20 miles away. . . heirloom carrots (purple are the most delicious in my opinion), parsnips, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, garden sage and Atlantic sea salt. . . absolute perfection.

 

What are you eating that’s traveled less than 100 miles from source to plate?


Food is Love

Disappearing Almond Butter Wrap

A cliche because it’s true:  “Food is love.”

Food is also nourishment, sustenance and can be a source of great joy.  Especially when it’s healthy, delicious and shared with those you love.

In the large sun-lit kitchen in Connecticut, I made Almond Butter, Apple, Mulberry Wraps and not only were they done with ingredients on hand in about five minutes, but they were absolutely yummy and gone in the same time it took to prepare them, which I always take to be a good sign when feeding a group of hungry men.

I managed to find a half eaten one in Satya’s hands, so a photo could be taken before there were only crumbs left.

These have also been given to kids of all ages and have met with the same resounding vote of approval- these wraps are not only gluten and sugar free but they’re DELICIOUS and extremely packable which is something to note since summer is rapidly coming to a close and soon we’ll be planning back to school lunches. . .

So enjoy the last few weeks of this golden summer, making food like this that provides energy for the packed days of biking, hiking, exploring and playing, and take advantage of food that brings us closer to our families, friends and to ourselves.  The gift of nourishment is priceless and so are the happy smiles a simple meal can bring.

Almond Butter, Apple and Mulberry Brown Rice Wraps

Ingredients:

1 Brown Rice Wrap per person, slightly warmed on a dry frying pan over medium low heat until soft and warm, not crisp.

Organic Almond Butter

1 cup of mulberries (fresh or dried)

1 apple (any variety) sliced thinly

Directions:

On the warm wraps, spread a thick layer of almond butter and then add the mulberries (split the cup between the wraps) and apple slices (split between the wraps again).

Fold or roll up like a burrito and enjoy!


Farmer’s Market Pizza

Pesto Pizza with Asparagus, Summer Squash, Kalamata and Green Olives

Farmer’s Markets are one of my favourite places in the whole world.

A group of local farmer’s who bring their just picked fruits and vegetables still smelling like the sun and soil and tasting of the sweetest dirt. . . alongside raw milk that can be made into the most amazing yogurt and kefir, pasture fed meats from people who know the animals names and respected their lives, heirloom popcorn, homemade granola and hundreds more.

When you buy the bulk of your food from these markets, you’re not only giving your self the most nutritious food possible (since the more time that passes from harvest to consumption, the more vitamins, minerals and enzymes disappear), but you’re also supporting your local community by giving the business to your neighbors rather than giant corporations, saving the planet by saving oil and the rest of the eco-un-friendly aspects of processing and shipping food, supporting the use of organic farming methods, and you’re also usually saving money since it’s much cheaper to buy direct from the growers who are right in your area!  It’s a win-win situation across the board.

And then there’s the taste.  Seriously. . . nothing tastes better than the ugly heirloom tomatoes that are like sweet candy bursting in your mouth with flavors that don’t quit.

Or snappy radishes with the bug-eaten leaves still attached, giving kids something to hold onto while gnawing away.

Or yellow, purple and orange carrots that each have a different level of sweetness and the dirt in the cracks compliments it perfectly.

It’s one of the most fun things to go to the market, not knowing what you’re going to have for lunch or dinner that day and the rest of the week, but to find what’s in season and create your menu around that.

It teaches us that things are fleeting and meant to be savored.  We’re meant to eat the blueberries and peaches and plums and tomatoes when they’re ripe and in my opinion, stuff ourselves silly on them because in a few weeks, when the season is over, we’ll be moving on to other tastes.  It’s our bodies way of syncing up with the earth, taking the specific nutrients from specific foods at specific times during the year. . . for the most balanced and vibrant “diet” there is.

So this pesto pizza is entirely sourced from the Farmer’s Market, with the exception of the raw cashews.  Even the olive oil was made locally.  . and the sea salt I brought with me from the last visit home to Maine.

Use this as a template. . . and if the ingredients are readily found and in season right now, I highly suggest it since it after people dug in, it was perfectly silent except for murmurs of joy for the next several minutes!

But experiment and substitute with what is in season . .  . and let me know what you concocted and who you met at your local farmer’s market today. . .

Farmer’s Market Pizza (Pesto with Summer Squash,  Grilled Asparagus, Kalamata & Green Olives)

Crust:

2 cup mix of gluten free flours (brown rice/almond/teff)
1/2 cup nut or seed milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast

Toppings:

1 cup kalamata and green olives

1 yellow (summer) squash, sliced into paper thin rounds

A handful of asparagus spears, the smaller the better

Directions:

Mix crust ingredients together until completely combined.

Push soft dough onto a greased pizza pan, round or rectangular, using your fingers to spread to desired thickness and push the edges out (you can use a rolling pin to attain uniform thickness).

Cover with pesto (from recipe on page. . . ), thinly sliced summer squash, halved olives and spears of asparagus.

Bake at 425F for 20 minutes, or or 350F for 30 minutes

For crispier crust, brush top with oil and bake five additional minutes. Add sauce and bake or freeze for future use.


Dancing and Carrot Cake Muffins

Yum.

On early morning walks in Connecticut. ..  where I’m staying an hour outside my Brooklyn home for a mini summer vacation. . . the sun rises over stone walls covered in fog, and while my legs are being stretched on these walks, my thoughts join in as well as plans for the day begin to swirl.  Lately the plans have included all the recipes and photographs  for the upcoming book and the countless hours of work that go into a project like this.

The book that will be an amazing bundle of gluten, dairy, soy and sugar free recipes.  . . but still delicious, gourmet and beautifully photographed/designed.  . inspired by chefs like Marcus Samuelsson, Shauna James Ahern & the Chef, Alice Waters, Anna Thomas, Donna Hay, Mark Bittman, Jamie Oliver, Anna Lappe and so many more.  A book that feels substantial in your hands but can also be taken wherever you go for sharing and easy reference.  A book that you pore over and a book that inspires imagination, dog-eared and stained with markings and exclaimation points in the margins for favourites.  A book full of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and desserts that are simple, family -friendly and some of the most nutritious and health-packed recipes you’ll find . . . but most of all, a book full of food that simply make you moan in delight.

YUM. . .

This morning, I arrive back inside before the August heat becomes too stifling and from the coolness of the kitchen, the work begins. . . but it barely feels like work as I remember my old baking days, performing a dance of sorts with spoons, measuring cups, ingredients, mixing bowls, pans and timers (and sometimes other people).  This morning’s un-choreographed whirlwind of movement is to one of my new favourite discoveries, Lissie and my favourite song of hers, When I’m Alone.

These carrot cake muffins became a symphony and I have to say that taking the photographs was one of the more challenging moments of the process since four hungry boys were waiting anxiously to devour them, leaving nothing but crumbs within minutes.

The tweets and facebook messages went out. . . and I heard some phone calls a day or two later still singing the praises of vegan, gluten free and almost unbelievably sugar free, treats.

So here you are. . . try it yourself in your own dance and let me know what you think (and what songs you cook to?!)

Carrot Cake  Muffins

Makes 12

Ingredients

2 cups gluten free flour

4 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup brown rice syrup

3/4  cup coconut oil

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cup finely grated carrots

1/2 cup nut milk

Optional:  1/2 cup chopped walnuts or coarsely chopped dark chocolate (dairy and sugar free)

Preheat oven to 350 with rack in the center.

Grease a 12 muffin pan with coconut oil and set aside.

Whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda and sea salt in a medium bowl until well mixed.

If possible, use an electric mixer to beat the brown rice syrup and coconut oil together with the vanilla and 1/4 cup shredded coconut, until it’s as fluffy as possible, or just beat well with a fork.

Add flour mixture and continue mixing until just blended, then fold in the carrots and optional additions.

Pour mixture into the pan and bake 10 minutes, then turn the pan and bake another 10 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan and then serve or store in an airtight container.

Perfect.


first sweet potatoes!

and we begin the storing and winter food/survival part of the cycle with these cold days, even colder nights and my favourite foods of all. . . winter squashes, potatoes, homemade yogurt and kefir, sauerkraut, frost-sweetened carrots and apples. . . and i’m stocking the freezer with soups, greens, turnips, tart crusts, already made pizzas (all dough made with the most incredible mixes of wheat-free locally milled flours) and sweet breads. . . oh and english muffins and biscuits (thanks gluten free girl and babycakes nyc respectively). . .

headed out to peaks island for a few days. . . with locally made dulse & kelp corn chips, butternut squash to throw whole in the oven until crispy on the outside and decadently delicious on the inside. . . a girl could live on things like this!  add some truffle salt (just a pinch, a little goes a long way) and it’s mouth orgasms for hours, especially when the ocean is crashing outside and a fire is crackling inside.
pilings

lucky are the few who are coming along on the mailboat with me. . .


in the october fog. . .

. . .an idea was born.  i’m not sure how much over or under nine months the process was. . . and unlike a sweet little one, i make absolutely no promises to love and take care of this. . .

but my previous blog. . .the musings of wyldegirl. . .wasn’t very captivating to be perfectly honest and in the midst of lots of artwork, writing, editing, projects of various natures (thai yoga massage certification, books, and most importantly re-discovering the nature and connectedness of slow food COOKING-more about that later). . . i found my interests becoming more aligned with the idea of a sweet little hole in the wall bakery. . . called simply: the rustic tart.

and i’d only serve one thing. . . rustic tarts.

sweet and savory. . . full of local and organic (all farmer’s market) ingredients. . . so if it’s not in season and local, it’s not going to be on the tart.  i like that aspect of eating. . . it makes things, when they’re plentiful and at their peak of freshness, that much more delectable.  when something isn’t available all the time, you appreciate it’s presence that much more.

and how wonderful for everyone in our culture of getting exactly what we want exactly when we want it to be aware that this philosophy doesn’t actually serve us.  sometimes there’s a delicious sweetness in wanting something. . . and waiting for it.

so cooking again. . . as i remember watching my mum do when i was small, from scratch wholegrain bread and straight from the garden vegetables. . . nothing processed or packaged (well except in a pinch or picnic at the beach!). . .and then food started to really bother me and become an obsession/horrid thing as more and more ingredients seemed to disagree. . . i became a raw foodist for 3 years. . . barely eating anything at all. . . in an attempt to escape feeling sub-optimal. . . needless to say a 5’6″girl shouldn’t be sub 85lbs. . . and then i fell back in love with cooked foods, during a winter experiment with steaming and roasting local stored vegetables.  Hurrah. . .my body responded. .  . and i realized things about what i was eating and HOW i was eating. . .

i found out gluten was the culprit .. . and i only consume raw goat products (making them usually into my own yogurt or kefir to help in digestion that this Vata girl needs every little bit of assistance with!). . . and i eat local, seasonal and oh so happily surrounded by friends and family. . . nourished by the foods that come from the land and the sea that i was born from and raised on.

it feels true, and real. . . and my hands are happiest when they’re covered in flour (locally ground brown rice or buckwheat or oat). . . sticky with honey from maine bees, crunchy with coarse atlantic sea salt and twirling strands of lighter-roasted dulse (i’ll save that for another post because i could wax on about that for pages). . . and i’m washing it all down with organic mead also from our kickass little maine bees.

i’m occupied and happy in the midst of planning, writing and dashing around the chilly and rocky islands. . .

. . .so the actual store-front (a tiny little space somewhere in the mid-coast of Maine that infuses every part of me/nourishing my body since birth) has yet to materialize . . but the interest in the rustic tarts abounds. . . and so i’m offering my musings here and gathering the resources to launch my venture. . . if anyone wants to support this. . . i would NOT be opposed to your adoration and interest and/or financial gifts.  smile.

welcome home. . . and know that home is wherever you are and expressed in your hands, whatever they find themselves doing. . .

a girl in the morning


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