Sugar Pumpkins – pepitas and puree by Weezie

Posted on 11-01-10 · Tags: , , , , ,

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I am sitting in the living room of one of my closest friends in Philadelphia, Anj’s godmother Kristin. I grew up in Philadelphia and have been very close with Kristin since I was 16. That is over 40 years. She is dying of lung cancer and I don’t know if this is the last time I will be with her.

For the last year I have been making the purest and simplest food for her – organic chicken broth or very simple organic lentils with greens. Even though I can’t be there to cook for her every night, she can combine these simple foods to make soups and stews – giving her comfort, inspiration and the nutrition she needs to keep her strength. I freeze them and bring them to her about once a month. Now most of what she is eats comes out of an intravenous tube. (What she takes by mouth she usually throws up.)

So here I am, sitting next to her, and writing this post while she dozes on my shoulder – a surreal experience. But work is an anchor that grounds the soul – so here we go.

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Seed and seaweed bars by Anjuli

Posted on 08-12-10 · Tags: , , , , ,

Seed seaweed bars

During the winter as kids my brother and I would make little pine cone feeders so the birds would have some fat to tide them over until spring. We’d have already collected and dried the cones. Mom would give us a jar of peanut butter and a bunch of bird seed. We’d rub peanut butter in the little crevices of the cones. Smelling of roasted nuts and dripping all over the place, I’d want to lick them. Then we’d sprinkle them all over with sunflowers seeds and maybe some cracked corn, tie them with little ribbons and hang the cones around in the yard. The chickadees would invariably come. With their melodic chicka-dee-dee-dee singsong, little black heads and puffed out bellies, the chickadees were a family favorite. While everyone else was blanketed in a snowstorm, the chickadees would happily hop around, foraging and taking advantage of the quiet. They’d hop right along on those ice-coated tree branches to visit our cone feeders.

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Roasted poblano salsa with tomatoes, onions, and black olives by Anjuli

Posted on 07-02-10 · Tags: , , , , ,

Roasted poblano salsa with tomatoes, onions, and black olives

A couple months ago Matt and I stopped ingesting large sums of caffeine. For people who spend a lot of time at their computers – writing and programming respectively – this is sort of professional suicide. We cut out basically everything except chocolate. And I’m not saying we swapped it out for some English Breakfast or Mate, which. BTW, is NOT coffee, but a bitter tonic that makes you feel like your chest is in a vice grip. For people who know us, this was a huge red flag – not the first indication that we’d gone off the deep end. They assumed we were half way to converting to Jainism and wearing bug nets in front of faces so we didn’t, perchance, swallow an unsuspecting fly, and that our cussing had been reduced to references to sweet snacks. Naaah, we’re still us, just not artificially pepped up like jackhammers. Really, my body needed a break. The caffeine wasn’t working anymore. Part of me also assumed I’d be like all the other 20-somethings out there who look back fondly and sheepishly at that one glorious year after college when they attempted to get off the juice. Or that it would be like the time we went on THE MASTER CLEANSE. We subjected ourselves to a few days of eating lemons, grade A maple syrup and cayenne pepper before we broke down, partially because we could barely concentrate enough to remember to drink the stuff, and raced around Manhattan looking for maple sugar candy leaves or a maple tree to tap. This is before we realized Manhattan is not in New England.

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Matt’s Indian spiced popcorn by Anjuli

Posted on 11-12-09 · Tags: , , , , ,

Indian Spiced Popcorn

Eating this popcorn makes you want to spend some serious time investigating how to smuggle good popcorn into bad movie theaters. It has all the fixings of an addictive movie snack. Or afternoon snack. Or light dinner. Or anytime you’re lounging, sitting, and want something seriously delectable, salty, and a little spicy to pop into your mouth every two or three seconds. This recipe has the double win of toasted cumin and the nutty, caramel quality of good Indian ghee. So let’s just say it’s reminiscent of both caramel popcorn and the kind studded with real good peanuts. Do yourself a favor and buy some real Organic kernels and pop them yourself on the stove in a little bit of oil or ghee.

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Garlicky white bean spread with parsley and toasted cumin by Anjuli

Posted on 11-02-09 · Tags: , , , , , , ,

Spiced white bean and parsley spread w/ radish and garlic
We’ve been moving around quite a bit lately, so it’s been hard to find the time to soak beans. Ah, bean soaking. That cooking activity we all say we don’t have time for but of course we do. Well I’ve also grown tired of using canned chickpeas when I’m in the need for some hummus. And the colder it gets, the more I like the idea of a spread and some toasted pita fresh from the oven. While the unsalted kind can work, the texture of the beans many times turns out mealy, and sometimes doesn’t accept any moisture at all. You wind up with an incredibly green, greasy, ball of chickpea dough spinning around and around in your food processor. Not cool. Amusingly enough, this is the first dish Matt and I attempted together, and basically how he was introduced to my cooking. Note to self: salting too early makes for not awesome mouth feel and impermeable starches and proteins.

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Dates and cashew butter for a rainy day by Anjuli

Posted on 10-28-08 · Tags: , , ,

Dates with cashew butter

We used to pack dates and cashew butter for hikes when we were kids. They would be all gooey and squashed when we reached summit and pulled them out, but their appearance didn’t seem to have any impact on the taste. I now also eat them at lower elevations with French press coffee on a rainy day. In general, nuts are the ideal snack because the protein and fat give you energy that sustains you much longer than an afternoon sugar rush. These must be made with the freshest, plumpest and stickiest dates you can find. Otherwise it’s a sin to waste perfectly good nut butter. Oh, and grownups share.

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