Polentina alla Toscana

by Kelsi in ,


 

This was a lovely meal to welcome the New Year. And proof that simple can be extraordinary. It is from David Tanis’s One Good Dish.

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POLENTINA ALLA TOSCANA

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 large onion diced

1/2 pound carrots peeled and diced

4 celery stalks diced

1 large fennel bulb trimmed and diced

salt and pepper

1 medium leek trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch squares

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup polenta

6 cups chicken broth

1/2 pound Tuscan kale

1/2 teaspoon grated or finely chopped garlic

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Leaves from 1 rosemary sprig

In a heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and fennel, season generous with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes or so, until barely softened. Add the leek and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the polenta, stirring to distribute it, and raise the heat to high. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and allow the soup to simmer for about an hour; the broth should be just slightly thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Meanwhile, wash and roughly chop the kale. Drain in a colander but do not dry. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the greens, stirring as they begin to wilt. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes more. Set aside.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the kale. Sprinkle with the finely chopped rosemary, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan if desired.

 

December 31

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

It has been a spectacular week of rest and celebration. And we’ve spent so much time at home, our little clan of three, finding immense joy in just being together. We’ve had more than a few days of lighting a fire and then never leaving this spot for the entire day…

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On Christmas Eve dear friends joined us for dinner. The kitchen was sparkling clean and the sun was shining…

We took the kids to the park for some fresh air and then came home, opened a bottle of Champagne and our friends put together a spectacular clam chowder with smoked marrow from Ox in Portland. Even without the smoked marrow, I’d make this my default recipe for chowder or even an elevated potato soup. It has a hefty amount of cream so it is rich, but without any flour or roux it isn’t thick but instead broth-y and pretty darn special…

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For dessert I made a flourless chocolate cake and my new favorite holiday cookie, grapefruit-fennel shortbread. (Side note: shortbread are incredibly easy to make gluten-free as they depend on butter rather than gluten as the binder. I subbed brown rice and oat flour for the AP flour.)

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There were also small, but delightful discoveries this week like giant pyramids of Maldon in the salt dish…

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And I have a few favorites among the gifts I gave and received this year, starting with these Starry Knight booties I found for my niece. My son had a similar pair that I loved. They are the perfect shoe for little feet that are just learning to feel the ground beneath them…

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I bought matching Grace Lee diamond disc bracelets for myself and my bestie - a pretty good upgraded friendship bracelet if I may say so. And I love that whenever I catch sight of it, I am reminded that she’s out there in the world…

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I also upgraded my rather tattered robe with this beautiful waffle weave one from Coyuchi

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I mentioned Askinosie Chocolate in my holiday gift guide. I bought a few bars to give as gifts, but to be honest they never made it out of my house. This Askinosie vegan milk chocolate is hands down the best chocolate I’ve ever had. Just incredible…

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I also fell hard for these Zwilling Madura nonstick pan. (I now have the 8” and 11”.) Bon Appetit proclaims it “the best nonstick pan we’ve ever used.”

We got rid of all of our chemical laden non-stick pans years ago and had a single 8” Greenpan for the sole purpose of making Spanish tortilla. However when we redid our kitchen, that little pan was the only one that wasn’t compatible with our new induction cooktop.

I am happy to say I can once again cook tortilla española but these pans have also been wonderful for making hashbrowns and fried rice and since we don’t have a microwave, reheating leftovers like pasta…

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I bought two of these extra-large LL Bean hunter totes that were perfect for toting gifts to and fro…

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Plus they have a coated lining so they wipeout and clean up like a dream. I think the large size would make perfect grocery totes…

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And the one thing I really hoped to receive this year was a pair of these short Hunter Chelsea boots (thank you in-laws!).

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Happy 2019. Wishing you peace and joy into the New Year.





 

The Only Pie Crust You'll Ever Need

by Kelsi in


 

For most people, even seasoned bakers, making really great flaky pie crust feels intimidating. Over the years I’ve learned a lot from pie classes at The Pantry, I’ve used a pastry blender, the fraisage method, the food processor and I think without question, Stella Parks’s “No-Stress Super-Flaky Pie Crust” recipe and method is the most accessible and foolproof way to do it, even if you are a complete novice and have never attempted pie crust before.

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The recipe can be found in Stella’s fantastic book Bravetart as well as the Food 52 Genius Desserts book which I think hands down is one of the best books of the year.

Watch this great video on how to do it on Food 52 and find the recipe here

Now what if you wanted to make a gluten-free version that could stand up to the all-purpose flour one and no one could tell? Impossible you say? Not any longer. Enter Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s Alternative Baker which has actually been out for a couple of years but is completely new to me.

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There are so many talented people who are reimagining and redefining what it means to bake gluten-free. Many are trained pastry-chefs. Liz Prueitt of Tartine fame is one. Her book Tartine All Day is really great. And Aran Goyoaga (who’s second book comes out next fall where she’ll help us all make gluten-free sourdough bread that looks like this) has been a long-time inspiration with her blog and book Small Plates and Sweet Treats.

It is completely possible to bake pretty much every cookie and cake that you can imagine and that you wouldn’t tag with a “these taste gluten-free” label. Really stellar, flaky pie crust however, at least for me, has been a little more elusive, until last week…

I used the gluten-free all butter pie dough recipe from Alternative Baker which is also available on Alanna’s great blog The Bojon Gourmet. However instead of using the fraisage method she favors I simply used Stella Parks’s technique to make the flaky layers. I wrapped the dough and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour and then proceeded.

And now I can’t stop. I made Pamela Salzman’s salted maple apple galette over the weekend…

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Next up is this savory potato radicchio galette I’ve had bookmarked for months…

Image via    New York Times

Image via New York Times

Go forth and get your pie on!

 

On a Sunday

by Kelsi in , ,


 

We are coming off of a restorative long holiday weekend at home. After a quiet Thanksgiving, we haven’t left our house since. Lots of time for reading, movies, baking and of course getting started on handwriting exhaustive Santa wishlists (my son).

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We are finishing the rest of our leftovers this evening for dinner. I love using these Kohler silicone mats as trivets. They also roll up so storing is a breeze…

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And a different type of silicone mat, this one has been great for doing crafts this weekend - painting, Perler beads and even Legos…

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I’ve also done a fair share of online shopping, some gifts but mostly taking advantage of the sales to stock up on my usual staples like these Uniqlo cashmere sweaters. They are my most favorite and I wear one almost daily. They wear and wash well and you can’t beat the price. They do run a bit small and I like to size up in this style (for reference I’m usually a small but order these in a large)…

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I also added the Alternative Baker (from Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet) to my cookbook library this week and it is already indispensable. I’ll have more to say later in the week but it completely changes the game on making gluten-free pastry dough and pie. OMG.

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And some words of wisdom to take with you into the week…

This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.
— Dalai Lama
From    here   .

From here.

 

November 4

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

Last Friday I had the day off so after we dropped our kids at school, my friend Megan and I had big plans…a 1000 piece puzzle and making Samin’s salad from that last episode. M dubbed it “Friendship Salad.” There is a lot of joy to be had in cooking side by side and sharing a good meal. It was a fine day.

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I love this puzzle by the way. I’m a sucker for fonts in general but these collage puzzles are super satisfying because you can constantly make progress - the perfect balance of challenge/reward. I just picked up this one too

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I am excited to host a quiet Thanksgiving at home this year and have been starting to think about what I want to cook. I like to roast chickens instead of turkey and am going to go heavy on the vegetable sides this year. I just bought these gorgeous Staub baking dishes in matte black that I can’t wait to put on the table…

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Before Thanksgiving, I’m putting one of them to use to make this dreamy cauliflower from David Tanis. He’s so great and I love his latest cookbook Market Cooking that my friend Rita gave me for my birthday…

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

I also just bought a second Instant Pot, an 8 quart this time, to keep up with my stock making this year - though I’ll have no trouble putting two to use for more things than stock. Homemade stock is a game changer for everything and the Instant Pot really makes it quick and foolproof. I love Melissa Clark’s chicken and vegetable stock recipes. They are included in her newest book, Comfort in an Instant, as well as her original Dinner in an Instant

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I’m also starting to play with baking gluten-free bread and this is a great starting guide

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From making stock and baking bread, I’m all about cooking for cooler fall weather. But I also love dressing for fall too and have happily transitioned my wardrobe. My uniform is pretty much always a sweater, jeans and either hightop Vans or ankle boots. And my most favorite jeans right now come from AGOLDE. Even if high-waisted jeans go out of fashion, I will never go back! These are perfect…

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And these

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Lastly, I love everything about this look. I need to find that sweater…

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October 21

by Kelsi in , , , , ,


 

Samin Nosrat’s book Salt Fat Acid Heat was one of my most favorite cookbooks last year and I have given it as a gift several times. She is a talented teacher and I loved watching her four-part series on Netflix this weekend. I especially loved the last episode where she prepares a gorgeous roasted vegetable salad at home and hosts friends for dinner. I am so inspired I have revisited her cookbook and am reading it cover to cover…

It was only a matter of time - I caught my first cold of the fall/back-to-school season last week. Time to start taking daily immune support. This one is my favorite

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I also consumed a lot of strong ginger and lemon tea with raw honey. You can make a big batch of ginger juice in the blender, but now that I have a proper ceramic ginger grater it is easier than ever to grate ginger in seconds. I can’t imagine not having this little tool in my kitchen

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Re-inspired by Samin I have spent the bulk of my weekend in the kitchen. Making chicken stock in the Instant Pot, our favorite cookies and a batch of the best granola

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I have also made this caramelized onion and lentil pilaf from Nigella Lawson twice this week. It is so easy, economical and delicious. I would happily eat it for breakfast, maybe with some sautéed spinach…

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While in the kitchen I’ve been listening to a lot of Bach, a perfect companion - particularly if Yo-Yo Ma is involved

Speaking of Yo-Yo, his conversation with Krista is pure joy. What a gift of a human being he is. I also loved this recent conversation with Pádraig Ó Tuama and Marilyn Nelson.

These are the kind of things we need for the tired spaces of our world. This is the way we need to move forward in a world that is so interested in being comforted by the damp blanket of bad stories. We need stories of belonging that move us towards each other, not from each other; ways of being human that open up the possibilities of being alive together; ways of navigating our differences that deepen our curiosity, that deepen our friendship, that deepen our capacity to disagree, that deepen the argument of being alive. This is what we need. This is what will save us. This is the work of peace. This is the work of imagination.
— Pádraig Ó Tuama

We spent last weekend in the hills outside Santa Cruz at a family wedding. It was an incredible party and there was an amazing band so we all threw down and danced the night away. I finally got a chance to wear this gorgeous dress from Doen

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And my favorite earrings from Annie Costello Brown. They make any outfit an outfit.

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Saturday

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

I am wrapping up the last of my two-week break and head back to the studio on Monday. It has been such a gift to have an extended period of time to slow down and recharge. I did cross off several things on my to-do list but also was deliberate about not trying to accomplish too much. I took a few naps while my son was at school, I took long walks with a friend and had an indulgent lunch at Le Pichet with champagne. I am profoundly grateful and happy to be here and am ready to get back at it on Monday…

Le Pichet

Le Pichet

Today we all slept in and have been enjoying a lazy day at home. I’ve been cleaning out the kitchen drawers and re-organizing my pantry…

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I also hope to get to my closet this evening and transfer some summer stuff over to these under bed storage cases I picked up at Ikea last week…

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The weather has cooled and we’ve had some long overdue rain showers and the last of my summer crops are reflecting the change. I’ve harvested the last of my lettuce - this one was stellar. I hope to find more of that variety next year. We’ve been eating it all week tossed with this fantastic tahini ranch dressing

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Last night there was no lettuce and I was solo for dinner and lacking motivation. I ate a bowl of potato chips and a glass of wine for dinner. Keeping it real. By the way, these chips are so good. And doesn’t Heath Ceramics make everything look amazing - even potato chips?! I picked up these little black bowls a few weeks ago when we were in San Francisco…

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I also bought a few new things during my break starting with this killer lipstick from Kosas. I don’t swipe it on but rather press it on with my finger (even a bit on my cheeks) so it looks more like a stain. Don’t let the bright color scare you off, it creates a beautiful flush and is incredibly flattering…

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I love this look below…

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I couldn’t find a similar track jacket but happily settled for this classic Adidas one that I’ll wear both at the studio and under my oversized tweed jacket…

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I also picked up this cozy and crazy affordable sweater jacket

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And this one too but in the dark green (I had to size down on this one)…

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The last thing I need is yet another pair of boots, but if you need a great everyday pair I think these look pretty great…

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Bees Knees

by Kelsi in


 

I am now posting a third mezcal cocktail of the summer. Paloma slushies, our house margarita and now this perfect little number, the Bees Knees. If it wasn't already obvious, Mezcal is my spirit of choice. 

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This one is fantastic year-round and ticks all the right boxes.

BEES KNEES

2 oz mezcal

1 oz honey syrup (recipe below)

Juice of one lemon

Shake and pour over ice (I like these big cube molds for this)

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HONEY SIMPLE SYRUP

1/2 cup medium hot (not boiling) water

1/2 cup honey

Whisk together until honey dissolves and then allow to cool before storing in the fridge. I like these swing top bottles for this.

 

 

 

Simple Pleasures

by Kelsi in , , , , , ,


 

We are enjoying a quiet long weekend at home before getting back into the regular swing of things with school starting this week. Like last year, I am taking the first part of September off to not only help ease us back into school life at home, but to spend two weeks recharging myself and gearing up for the new year ahead. To me September feels more like a time of renewal than January 1st does. 

I have a few house projects on my list, like repainting the hallway,  and lots of purging/organizing endeavors. But I'm also finding time just to think and work on an upcoming creative project that I'm really excited about.

I've finally started an Instagram account for the blog so you can also find me here.

The weather this weekend has been stellar. Comfortably warm but with a bit of a chill in the air that seemed to happen as soon as the calendar flipped to September 1. These are perfect conditions to spend time in the garden.

 

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I harvested the last of my cucumbers and my Row 7 potatoes which were a  huge winner. I'm devoting an entire bed to them next year. I also started moving plants around and cleaning out crops past their due and cutting back the blackberry vines that take over my front slope this time of year. 

I wrote about Floret Farm's book at the end of last summer and followed through and ordered Dahlia tubers from her in the spring. These giants are lighting up the front yard right now...

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I've been making watermelon juice that is even more refreshing than the gazpacho I've been downing the last two days. If you don't have a juicer, simply blend up the watermelon in a blender. Strain it through a fine mesh strainer and let it chill until it's good and cold. When you're ready to drink, squeeze half of a lime in your glass and a pinch of salt.

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It is summer in a glass...

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I have loved watching All or Nothing: Manchester City. LOVED. Go watch it.

I also just finished reading Attachments which was recommended by my mother-in-law (Hi Pierr!). It is such a perfect summer read - great dialogue, smart and incredibly funny. I couldn't stop reading and read it all in one go...

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My hair is the longest it's ever been and after a summer of playing in both the surf and sun the ends are bit fried. I love Weleda products and just discovered this rosemary hair oil. I've been putting it on my ends (and even my scalp) before bed and washing it out in my morning shower. It has made a world of difference. You can also find it here...

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I've also been using this wonderful salt scalp scrub shampoo (say that three times fast) the last two months. You use it just once a week though I really want to use it daily I look forward to it that much...

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Also in need of a little TLC after the summer heat and constant sunscreen, my skin needs a little decongesting and I super love this new Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial from Biossance...

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I'm looking forward to testing out their new deodorant...

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I bought a few of these air-purifiers recommended by Wirecutter this spring during allergy season and the difference was immediate. After one night, we all woke up with cleared sinuses. Fast forward to last month when Seattle was hit hard from wildfire smoke. We were so grateful to have these in our house. I also bought one for my studio...

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I'm really liking these twin-line flossers. They are also helpful for teaching my six year old how to floss...

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And I have a new pair of favorite jeans. These relaxed boyfriend ones from Everlane remind me of my old 501s from high school. I have the vintage sky blue wash below...

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But I have my eye on the washed black ones as well...

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Best Gazpacho

by Kelsi in


 
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It is that time of year. The tomatoes in my garden are overflowing. The best thing to do with a bumper crop of tomatoes? Make the Best Gazpacho from the NY Times. Spectacularly easy and so refreshing. Just make sure you plan ahead so it can chill until very cold...

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BEST GAZPACHO (adapted slightly from the NYT)

About 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks

1 long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and cut into chunks

1 cucumber, about 8 inches, peeled and cut into chunks

1 small mild onion (white or red), cut into chunks

1 clove garlic

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, more to taste

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil into a high speed blender. Blend on high until very smooth, about two minutes. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. 

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula. Discard the solids. Transfer to a large glass pitcher and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. Serve in glasses with a drizzle of olive oil.