Kitchen Basics - Housemade Ricotta

by Kelsi in , ,


 

One of the simplest, yet meal-altering things you can make in your kitchen is fresh ricotta. It resembles nothing like any store-bought version (even the good ones) and it takes hardly any effort. My lunch yesterday, sun-golds and chives from the garden, Maldon sea salt, olive oil and still warm ricotta…

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HOUSEMADE RICOTTA - originally via Ina Garten’s Cook Like a Pro

4 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar

Line a fine-mesh sieve with two pieces of cheesecloth. Dampen the cloth with water and set the sieve over a deep bowl.

Pour the milk and cream into a medium stainless-steel or enameled pot and stir in the salt. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand until it curdles, about one minute or so.

Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl for 20 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. Transfer the ricotta to a container, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining liquid. Use immediately or cover and store in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

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There are so many ways to enjoy fresh ricotta, but you can also add it to a frozen pizza for a stellar upgrade. My favorite is this 3 Cheese Pizza from Trader Joe’s (seen below). I always keep a few in the freezer for nights when I don’t feel like cooking. Simply add dollops of the ricotta to the last minute of cooking to warm. Then top with a drizzle of good olive oil, some Maldon salt and fresh basil.

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July 23

by Kelsi in , , , , , , ,


 

Last week we broke ground on a long-anticipated dream project, the building of our backyard studio, which will be a work/art space for my husband. Our little one car garage was demolished to kick it off…

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While watching the demo I made Pamela Salzman’s grain-free chocolate zucchini cake (which is crazy good by the way). My happy version of multi-tasking…

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Speaking of cake, Simple Cake by Odette Williams is a wonderful book and one I’d highly recommend for your library whether you consider yourself a baker or not…

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I’m really enjoying this turmeric tonic from Further Food. I blend a scoop of it with cold water and a little honey syrup (recipe for honey syrup here) and then drink it over ice with my favorite glass straw

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I’ve had a lot on my plate the last few weeks and my advanced food prep has been lagging. Thankfully I’ve found a go-to protein powder that I love and helps me get by if I have nothing to grab before walking out the door. I mix one scoop of this Amazing Grass Protein Superfood and two scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen with 12oz of orange juice and whip it up in the Vitamix for an easy and satiating breakfast. And on really long teaching days when I don’t have a break between clients I will make a double batch and bring it to the studio in this 32oz insulated Klean Kanteen

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This Tony's Chocolonely Almond Sea Salt bar is my absolute favorite chocolate and I always have a few bars on hand…

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I just bought several sheets of these beautiful Ellsworth Kelly stamps

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My husband and I both carry around this Memento Mori as a daily reminder to be present and focus on what really matters.

“Meditating on your mortality is only depressing if you miss the point. It is in fact a tool to create priority and meaning. It’s a tool that generations have used to create real perspective and urgency. To treat our time as a gift and not waste it on the trivial and vain. Death doesn’t make life pointless but rather purposeful. And fortunately, we don’t have to nearly die to tap into this. A simple reminder can bring us closer to living the life we want.”

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I am a big fan of Stoicism and recommend signing up for The Daily Stoic which is put together by Ryan Holiday (he has a book by the same name). His other books The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy are also worth a read…

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Wendy Whelan’s line to live by is one I live by too…

Energy produces energy.
Photo via    La Ligne

Photo via La Ligne

Lastly, Esther Perel’s On Being conversation is a delight to listen to…

Photo via    On Being

Photo via On Being

One of my favorite parts near the end of the conversation:

When I say, “The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives,” it’s because I do think that the bonds and the connections that we forge with others give us a greater sense of meaning and happiness and wellbeing than just about any other thing — when it’s good, because it can be exactly the opposite, huh?

And now it’s like, how much are you investing in your relationships? And I find that, often, people don’t. They talk about “my partner is my best friend,” and they treat them like shit. They talk about “my friend,” and they haven’t seen that person or talked to that person in years. It’s like, no, you can’t just do it like that. You can’t be lazy. You can’t be complacent about this and put all your energies at work and bring the leftovers home — and all of that stuff.

Or I have this question I’ve been playing with lately, and I just asked it in Sydney. I was like, “How many of you go to bed, and the last thing you touch is your phone? OK, stand up. And how many of you, the first thing you stroke in the morning when you wake up is your phone? Please stand up. And how many of you are doing this while there actually is another person lying next to you in bed?” That’s ambiguous loss, by the way. I’m like, seriously? Seriously?

So that’s what I am trying to address at this point; it’s like, interestingly, we don’t look at relational health enough. We don’t connect it to mental health. We don’t connect it to our overall physical health. And we certainly don’t connect it enough to our societal health, if we want to really go bigger. It’s not the freedom that is our problem. It’s not the fact that we have choice, but they have always gone together with responsibility, with accountability.

You can see more of Esther Perel in her TED talk from a few years back and read her book Mating in Captivity.

 

Summer Ready

by Kelsi in , , , , , ,


 

School is out for the summer and we couldn’t be more ready for it. I’m thrilled to have a break from making school lunches and am looking forward to more leisurely mornings.

We had a real scorcher into the mid 90s this week and I’ve been grateful to have these bamboo roll up shades on our exterior west facing windows to cut the heat. They really do the job but I also love the diffused light they create inside the house too…

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Summer to me also means cobblers and crisps and this fantastic apple rhubarb cobbler from Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet is my current favorite. I mentioned Alanna’s book Alternative Baker and her miraculous gluten-free pie crust recipe last winter…

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything here because I’ve been spending most of my free time reading (or sewing). A few months ago my son D got hit hard with the reading bug and on a family trip to Palm Springs he brought a book wherever we went. Waiting for his food at the restaurant, waiting for the rental car, sitting poolside. My husband and I exchanged knowing glances of “It’s happening.

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I’ve been waiting for this day and as children often do, he is helping me to be my best self. His new love of reading has helped me make time for my own love of reading and I’m making it a priority and letting some of the less important things on my to-do list slide. Together we are in deep with Harry Potter and these illustrated versions are just beautiful…

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D was also just gifted these super rad Gryffindor Vans from his very cool aunt and uncle…

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When I haven’t been reading, I’ve been sitting here practicing my newly acquired sewing skills (thanks to Drygoods Design)…

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I can sit here working away for hours without eating or thinking about anything else. I’m so enjoying the process of learning something completely new and remembering how wonderful that feeling of “flow” is…

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I have a new full-length linen apron that I snagged from Amazon for $17 that I learned about from Aran via Remodelista

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Speaking of linen, one of the best things I’ve added to my summer wardrobe is this Everlane linen jumpsuit

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I wore it to a my brother-in-law’s 40th birthday dinner (pictured below with my stellar sister-in-laws)…

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Always a sucker for pen and paper, I have a new favorite pocket-sized notebook and pen for my endless list making…

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My friend Rita turned me on to Aria Code. Host Rhiannon Giddens is delightful and I’ve been “binge-listening” (is that a thing?) every chance I get…

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Alison Roman’s olive oil roasted chicken is on the menu for Father’s Day…

And our neighbors turned us on to the solo stove which is now on my summer wishlist…

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Happy summering!




 

Spring!

by Kelsi in , , , , , , ,


 

It is Spring! The chives and tarragon in the garden are pushing through the dirt. I have my work cut out for me with the insane amount of weeds to pull but with the beautiful days we’ve been having I hardly mind.

Lucas’ Papaw Ointment is my new go-to multipurpose salve for chapped lips, cuticles, scrapes and garden splinters…

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I’ve been transitioning my winter clothes out and adding a few new things to the mix like this Clare V midi sac that I can’t stop wearing…

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I’ve also added the Clare V framed Flore handbag to my birthday wishlist…

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I recently found the perfect size pocket notepad with tear away sheets from Rifle Paper Co to carry with me for my endless list making…

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And these Paper Mate Flair felt tip pens are becoming my new favorite…

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This Patagonia woolie pullover has been wonderful for cutting the chill when it’s too warm to wear a jacket…

One of the biggest highlights this month is I finally started taking sewing classes at Drygoods Design. My husband gave me the trilogy class series which was on my personal xmas wishlist. The space is gorgeous, the fabric selection is killer (see the Japanese cotton I bought for my tote below) and the small classes are a delight…

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If you go check out the shop in Pioneer Square I’d also highly recommend going to Elm Coffee Roasters for a latte with their house-made hazelnut milk, maybe swing by Jujubeet Cafe and order the avocado toast on the gluten-free bread from Nuflours and then head up Jackson to Kobo in the International District. Last time I was there I picked up this rad nightlight for our bathroom made by Boy Designs

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The new mantra on the letterboard at home is courtesy of the wonderful On Being conversation with neuroscientist Richard Davidson

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And along the same line of thinking I am really digging Atomic Habits by James Clear

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He is spot on articulating what I personally believe and try to embody on how making seemingly inconsequential small adjustments every day can be incredibly powerful and help us become our best selves.

“It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action.”

This sentence is my favorite:

Progress requires unlearning. Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your believes and to upgrade and expand your identity.

And for an incredible example of how small things lead to big things and how we can expand the limitations we often set for ourselves on what is possible, go watch The Dawn Wall on Netflix…

 

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

by Kelsi in , ,


 

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.

All words in this dictionary are new. They were not necessarily intended to be used in conversation, but to exist for their own sake; to give a semblance of order to a dark continent, so you can settle it yourself on your own terms, without feeling too lost—safe in the knowledge that we’re all lost.”

 

A quick breakfast...chia pudding

by Kelsi in


 
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This vanilla chia pudding recipe comes from Amy Chaplin’s beautiful book At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen which has been in my cookbook library for the last few years but I’ve been revisiting. It’s a great one.

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It is fantastically easy and my go-to make ahead breakfast. Top it with berries, stewed apples or my favorite, simple fruit sauce. I often take it with me on long teaching days when I need something quick and nutritious to eat. My favorite container is this Klean Kanteen insulated canister

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And this is my favorite on-the-go cutlery from Black + Blum

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VANILLA CHIA PUDDING

serves 6 - 8

1/2 cup chia seeds

1 vanilla bean

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for an hour or two

4 cups filtered water

7 Medjool dates, pit removed

pinch of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons coconut butter or coconut oil

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place chia seeds in a medium bowl.

Drain and rinse cashews, and add to blender with 4 cups water, dates, salt, cinnamon, coconut butter or oil, vanilla extract, and the scraped seeds from the vanilla bean (add the vanilla bean pod to the bowl with the chia seeds). Blend on high until completely smooth.

Pour only one cup or so of the liquid into the bowl with the chia seeds and whisk thoroughly to prevent clumping. Add remaining liquid and whisk again. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes, whisking a few times. Place in fridge for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight) or until completely chilled. Remove vanilla pod before serving. Store in the fridge for up to five days.

 

Snow Dayz

by Kelsi in , , , ,


 

We are coming off of a long week of epic snow here in Seattle…

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School closures allowed for some good sledding runs in the backyard…

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There was also boredom (my son’s). So I made him read “Let Children Get Bored Again” in the NYTimes. Kidding, but it is a great article that you should read. It’s a good reminder for us adults too…

And in a throwback to my childhood, we made Shrinky Dinks. While my son was busy drawing characters from Zelda, I traced a favorite photo of him…

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I made the soccatas from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook The Clean Plate for breakfast and they are super easy and so satisfying, especially on a cold winter morning…

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I harvested the remaining kale from the garden that I planted back in August, just in case it didn’t survive the heavy snowfall…

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Which reminded me to make a Row 7 seed order. I ordered two pounds of the Upstate Abundance Potatoes that were a hit last summer and a packet of these new absolutely beautiful Tetra Squash

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I had my eye on that classic Filson briefcase to carry my laptop but my husband just gifted me his AER Commuter Bag that I love…

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Brandi Carlile’s 2007 album The Story may be the last cd I ever bought before everything went digital. I used to listen to that title track over and over when I was alone. I would crank it up so loud, her powerful voice overwhelming everything. I have now watched and listened to her recent grammy performance over and over which brings tears to my eyes every time and I can only think “what a badass.” Thank god for artists and thank god for music…

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From my wishlist...

by Kelsi in , ,


 

I’m looking for a new bag to haul my laptop and this classic Filson Dryden Briefcase is everything I want…

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It might need a Salt strap, part of “the new mom uniform of Park Slope”…

Photo from    The NYT

Photo from The NYT

I can’t stop looking at these Nike Cortez SEs. I think that metallic gold would add enough pizzazz to carry my wardrobe through the gray winter…

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And thinking ahead to spring, I’d like to order this sweet Tilit jumpsuit

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We don’t have plans to travel to the sun until May but I need a new one piece swimsuit and this classic one from Andie Swim looks great…

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And while way out of my budget, I have a sweet spot for this Rothko-inspired Ko rug from DWR…

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Go-to Weeknight Pasta

by Kelsi in ,


 

This perfect spaghetti is my go-to throw it together weeknight pasta. It is so satisfying, and even my very picky son will eat it.

During the summer when my garden is overflowing with tomatoes I will use fresh, but for the rest of the year I love these Bianco DiNapoli whole peeled tomatoes

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One of my most favorite shortcuts in the kitchen is having a container of peeled garlic in the refrigerator. It may seem like such a small thing but it makes a huge difference in getting something pulled together quickly, especially when you don’t really feel like cooking…

And the brown rice pastas from Jovial are incredible and the only ones I use. The texture and flavor are stellar and you’d be hard pressed to distinguish it from regular wheat pasta. You can find them at PCC, Whole Foods and on Thrive Market

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SPAGHETTI WITH TOMATOES + ANCHOVY BUTTER

adapted from Alison Roman

12oz SPAGHETTI

KOSHER SALT

6 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER

3 OIL-PACKED ANCHOVY FILLETS

4 GARLIC CLOVES, THINLY SLICED

1 28oz CAN OF GOOD QUALITY WHOLE PEELED TOMATOES, DRAINED (OR 2 LBS FRESH TOMATOES)

CHOPPED TARRAGON AND/OR PARSLEY

MALDON FLAKE SALT

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook anchovies and garlic, stirring often, until anchovies are broken down and garlic is soft, about 4 minutes.

Add tomatoes; season with kosher salt and and cook, stirring occasionally, until falling apart, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta in generously salted water (it should taste like the ocean) according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.

Toss pasta with the tomatoes (and reserved cooking liquid if it looks dry); cook until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Toss in herbs and sprinkle with Maldon to serve.

IF USING FRESH TOMATOES

You will need to remove the skins first. In a pot large enough to fit the tomatoes, fill ¾ with water and bring to a boil. Cutting through the skin, make an “x” on the bottom of each tomato with a knife. Turn the heat off and submerge the tomatoes in the water for 20-30 seconds, depending on the size of the tomatoes. Remove the tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a cutting board. Slip the peels off, core and chop into quarters. Then proceed with the recipe.

 

Attention is not a resource

by Kelsi


 
Photo by   Christoph Schmidt/dpa/AFP/Getty

Photo by Christoph Schmidt/dpa/AFP/Getty

Attention is not a resource but a way of being alive to the world.

“…the emergence of the ‘quantified self’ movement, in which ‘life loggers’ use smart devices to track thousands of daily movements and behaviours in order to (supposedly) amass self-knowledge. If one adopts such a mindset, data is the only valid input. One’s direct, felt experience of the world simply does not compute.”

Besides expert advice on ‘digital hygiene’ (turning off notifications, keeping our phones out of the bedroom, and so on), we can be proactive in making a good amount of time each week for activities that nourish us in an open, receptive, undirected way: taking a stroll, visiting a gallery, listening to a record.

Perhaps most effective of all, though, is simply to return to an embodied, exploratory mode of attention, just for a moment or two, as often as we can throughout the day. Watching our breath, say, with no agenda. In an age of fast-paced technologies and instant hits, that might sound a little … underwhelming. But there can be beauty and wonder in the unadorned act of ‘experiencing’.”

Read the article in its entirety here.