On The Road Again

This is now my second year on "tour" - my second year traveling across the country in a big pick up truck, my second year stopping at state signs, eating regional fare, falling in love with farms, baby goats, and awfully impressive farmers, my second summer of very little sleep, long drives, truck-bed-organizing, and table shimming. In this two year period, half will have been spent attached at the hip to seven other people with whom I constantly pee outside, bicker, and laugh.

In that time I have neglected this space. Time on the road with a gaggle of eccentric people tends to absorb your alone time, your blog time, your listening to your own music time, your reading a book time. I'm stopping by to drop off some photos of my adventure and I plan to be back soon.














This is my Job







This is my job. There are lots of tables and chairs involved, there are many winemakers and chefs, plates, produce, and farmers.  We're just about nine weeks into the summer tour and I already have more table pictures than I can count. We leave California in two weeks and there's no looking back. We'll be off to the Northwest and beyond, only to return in November.

If you're into little square pictures on your phone then you might want to check out the Outstanding in the Field Instagram. I've recently taken charge on the picture front so you should probably follow along  and keep up on the journey @out_inthefield.

Grilled Shrimp and the Next Six Months of my Life



Hi! I've been seriously slacking on this blog. I just haven't been posting nearly as often as I'd like to and well, that just happens sometimes. I can't say it's ideal but it happens and that's just the way it is, I get caught up in the little tasks and excitement of life and somehow forget to photograph tasty recipes for y'all. Hey! I'm an imperfect human being and I never claimed to be anything else.

All the little stuff has included a short stint working pastry at this restaurant, interviewing for jobs (can we talk about how hard it is to convey a personality on a phone interview?), and the most exciting bit of all...getting a job with these amazing folks for the summer! I'm thrilled to announce I'll be spending the next six months on the road with Outstanding in the Field.  I intend to continue blogging here, though it's clearly going to be a bit different as I won't so much have access to a kitchen and will mostly be living out of a suitcase for the next half of a year. That being said, my handy camera will be by my side for the whole journey and I'm looking forward to sharing photos, information, and stories up here.

If you are going to be attending one of the dinners (here is the schedule) please say hi, I'd love to chat!

I leave in two weeks and I'm having trouble accurately documenting how damn pleased I am to be working for this company. Perhaps if you check out some past pictures of their events you'll understand how thrilled I am. Yes, there will be a lot of hard work, but nothing incredible was ever without that. 



Enough about me, let's talk shrimp. Let's talk grilling. Let's talk about how this post is actually all about this recipe and only slightly about my life. Let's talk about how Seattle has been so marvelously sunny lately that all I want to eat is grilled anything and fresh fruit. This recipe nails both of those cravings on the head.  Even if it's rainy and overcast where you are (as it will be here soon enough) this simple recipe will at least taste a bit like summer and sunshine and you know, sometimes that's just the best we can do.


Ingredients
1 pound Medium Sized Prawns
2 Small Lemons
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
2 Avocados
2 Mangos (I prefer the smaller variety)
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Flaked Salt (Like Maldon)


Method
1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high.
2. Clean prawns by removing the shell (I like to leave the tail on to keep the ends from getting rubbery) and cutting a shallow slit down the curved side to devein them, this shows the process).
3. Place the prawns in a large bowl and add the juice of the lemons, and a good deal of olive oil. I just drizzle it in until they are coated but not swimming in oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt (don't be shy, salt makes it flavorful!) and toss them gently.
4. Place the prawns on the grill and flip them after a minute or two. They should have nice grilled marks and become pink/opaque. Grill on the other side for another minute or so but not much more, until they are opaque throughout. Be careful, shrimp get rubbery and overcooked quickly.
5. Remove the shrimp to a plate and let rest.
6. Meanwhile, peel the mangos and cut the side off from the pit and any remaining bits of fruit. Cut the mango into small chunks.
7. Cut the avocados in half and separate. Then, cut them in quarters along the skin side and separate the pieces.  The pit should be easy to remove from one of the slices. Then peel the quarters and cut the avocado in half or into thirds to form long, thick slices as shown above.(Check this out if you're more of a visual learner.)
8. Remove the tails from the prawns, and cut in half down the length of the prawn. This is easier to do if it lays flat on its side.
9. Plate the dish by scattering the mango pieces, topped by the shrimp, and finished with the avocado slices. I did this by randomly laying the ingredients out on a large dish but you could really do this any which way (keep them in separate rows, or tossed together).
10. Finish it off with a small drizzle of olive oil, a grind of fresh black pepper, and a sprinkle of flaked salt.

Note: This would also be GREAT served over mixed greens with a lemony vinaigrette. Just a thought. 

EAT UP!

Kale Caesar


I'm stuck right in the middle of a super transitional, bizarre, yet mostly enjoyable phase of my life. I'm not freaking out, I'm choosing to mostly not do that. But in the midst of transition, I am periodically  anxious. Time should remedy that though. I haven't got much to say but I think kale should say enough to cover up that void. Kale says a lot, because damn! It's really great. Clearly a nutritional power house with that rich green color, Kale is tasty is so many forms. While I'm a huge fan of the chip variety today I'm going with caesar.  Caesar salad is comforting in the only way a salad can be comforting, familiarity. You can always count on a good Caesar and kale is a nice way to stir things up.

I snagged this simply stellar dressing recipe from none other than Bon Appetit and changed it up a tiny bit. I'm sure it's perfect the way it is but this just worked for me with what I had on hand. 



                                   
Classic Caesar Dressing
*adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients

1/2 small garlic clove
Kosher Salt
1/2 Tbl anchovy paste
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbl vegetable oil
1 Tbl grated parmesan
fresh ground black pepper

Method

Chop the garlic up very finely, then sprinkle with kosher salt and mash with the side of a large knife until it forms a paste. Add it to a small bowl with the anchovy paste, dijon, egg yolk, and lemon juice. Mix to combine. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking, making sure it stays emulsified and thick. After that, add the vegetable oil in the same fashion. Add the parmesan and a few grinds of black pepper. Taste and add extra lemon juice or salt as needed.

For the kale salad, simply remove 1 or 2 bunches of kale from the stalks and chop into smaller pieces. Drizzle the kale with a tiny bit of olive oil (1-2 tsp) and massage (yes, massage) into the leaves. Let it sit. Shave 4 or five stalks of asparagus with a peeler and add to the kale.  Add dressing 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time and toss until coated but not weighed down. Finish with shaved parmesan. 

Simple Breakfasts



I can't believe it's been over a month. I'm slacking. I recently graduated from college (just under two months ago), set off on an unbelievable three week trip to Southeast Asia and now I'm back. Or rather, I'm once again a Washington State resident.  I planned on posting some stellar Asia pictures right when I got back but life got in the way, as life is wont to do.

Eventually there will be Asia pictures, after I climb out of the boxes and pile of belongings that I have recently moved back from New York,  For now, there are avocado toast pictures, because Passover is almost over (aka time for some bread tonight!) and this is what I'm currently craving.  Also because I've been messing around with these photos for far too long and they're just ready to live somewhere other than my computer.


Ingredients (for 1 toast)

1/2 ripe avocado
1 slice whole grain toast
2 eggs
olive oil for cooking
kosher salt
black pepper

Optional Toppings

parmesan cheese
honey (weird but good)

Method

1. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and scramble together with a fork until totally mixed, add a pinch of salt. 
2. Toast bread
3. Cut avocado in half, and remove skin 
4. Get out a small non-stick pan, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and pour in the eggs
5. Heat over medium-low heat, and stir the eggs constantly. I use chopsticks to keep 'em moving. 
6. Continue scrambling the eggs until you reach desired doneness, keep them a bit creamy unless you totally hate that
7.Spread avocado on the toast, sprinkle with salt & black pepper
8.Top with scramble eggs and black pepper
9. Optional: top with parmesan cheese, a thin drizzle of honey or both

(For two people, use three eggs and double everything else)

Sorry, We're Open





There's some advice that you hear all the time. But no one really seems to listen to it. Like in every beauty article I read, I mean those ones written by 70 year old women who look like they're 45, giving their best beauty advice, they always say that wearing sunscreen everyday is their number one secret. I've read it atleast six times. It seems totally valid, and fairly simple and yet not everyone is wearing sunscreen every day. Recently I bought a super natural, good-for-your-skin-sunscreen...I think it's time I start using this kind of advice to my advantage. And let's be honest, I'm the farthest thing from tan...might as well embrace the pale and work towards a gorgeous middle aged face.

The other one people without a doubt always say they regret is not traveling when they were young. They find a great job, get tied down, one thing leads to another, get married, and boom...there's suddenly no time for whimsical month long adventures and no chance to drop everything and just move somewhere crazy.  This one is always in the back of my head.

After five years of any number of roommates, dorms, and rented rooms...I simply cannot wait to have a place of my own. I think about decorating an apartment and having dinner parties at least once a day. I'm so ready.  And yet there it is, the fact that I'm only 23 and while the daunting 25 makes me feel as if I'm quickly getting older by the second, I'm really a child in the scheme of things.  A child who has some skills that could really be put to use in just about any part of the world. You can cook, photograph, or farm anywhere. So, what's the rush? I have to remind myself quite often that this is my time. It's all about me. It's my time to explore, to make spur of the moment decisions (mostly because when you're 23 and tied to very little, why not?), to move to a big city, to work my butt off for a really minimal salary or apprentice for people simply so I can learn and soak up all their skills and knowledge.  Twenty three is the perfect time for this, and forty three usually isn't. This is what I need to remember. Because in twenty years I want to say I took the risks and landed on my feet (because let's be honest, it's not always glamorous...but we usually do land on our feet), I learned from the best and made a name for myself.  Maybe I wasn't rolling in the big bucks, but that comes with time and hard work, from learning from as many people as possible and turning it into my own skill, and feeling damn lucky that I am able to take these chances at this point in the game.




** All pictures from a pre-graduation trip to the city; Unbeatable baked goods (get the Kabocha Canotto!!) at Sullivan Street Bakery, Mexican Street Corn at Cafe Habana, and Greek yoghurt treats at Chobani Soho- the perfect spot for a healthy snack**

Pistachio Scones




I've been living in New York for a good three years now and I've yet to get a grasp on the seasons. The summers here kill me, the mosquitos and the humidity...it's simply not glamorous.  It's nothing like my perfectly sunny 70 degree weather Pacific Northwest summer, the ones that make the depressingly endless grey days somewhat doable.  And the winters, I'm just really lousy at being cold. I swear I'm always ten degrees colder than anyone around me, like are you guys really not freezing for the entire span of november to march? Because that coat stays on my body 24/7 my friends. Recently I thought I was starting to get a handle on the cold, but it was nine degrees today and it just wasn't really comfy for me. That being said, I love fall and spring. I simple can't get enough.  Everything is lovely in the spring, and the fall, especially over here on the East coast. When it comes down to it, I can handle the afro that I develop in those summer months because I get that great sun all day long, breathtaking produce, and endless days. I patiently await the frigid short winter days each year just so I can enjoy my cozy hat selection and get comfortable with massive amounts of herbal tea, these things make the seasons great, they make the ongoing changes really rather exciting.

Along with my beanies and the sweetness of a snow covered street, there's also the joy of baking.  Because when I cozy up with a big cup of tea in my hand, I'm going to need a nice baked treat in my other hand. It's a winter thing, it's an "it's-so-cold-my-fingers-are-in-pain-thing." 


INGREDIENTS
1 can coconut milk, refrigerated 
(1/4 cup coconut cream reserved)
1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup shelled salted pistachios
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbl baking powder
½ cup coconut sugar (or regular sugar)
1/2 cup + 3 tbl cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz white chocolate

METHOD

Oven at 400 F

1. Begin by opening the can of coconut milk and separating the cream from the liquid. Measure out 1/4 cup of coconut cream and set aside for later.
2. Pour the watery part of the coconut milk into a small bowl, add the chopped dates, and soak for 20 minutes.  After they have soaked, drain them in a sieve and rinse with cold water. Let them sit and dry off a bit while you make the dough.
3. Meanwhile, quickly pulse the pistachios in a food processor a few times until they are roughly chopped and coarse. 
4. Pour the pistachios in a large bowl with the flour, baking powder, and sugar. Mix to combine. Add the cold butter and cut it into the dough with your hands until it resembles a crumbly dough with pea sized butter chunks. Keep the butter chunky! Do not make a paste
5. Chop the white chocolate bar into small pieces (or use chips) and add to the mixture with the dates. Toss to coat in the flour mixture.
6. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg. Add the coconut cream and heavy cream in, and whisk to combine. Drizzle the liquid mix over the flour mixture and slowly work the dough together until it resembles a shaggy mess. Do not over mix. The dough should just barely come together. If it is too dry, feel free to add more cream or a bit of coconut liquid.
7. With floured hands, roughly shape the dough into a flat disk and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
8. Remove from the fridge and cut the dough into triangles. 
9. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 400 F oven. If cut into 12 sections bake for about 15 minutes, If cut into 8 sections, bake for about 20 minutes.  
10. Let scones rest for 10-20 minutes before serving

Notes: These scones are nutty and slightly earthy. Great for dessert or breakfast! Also, if you don't like coconut, feel free to use milk for soaking the dates and use extra heavy cream in place of the coconut cream. Though, the coconut flavor is not really noticeable it mostly just adds moisture.
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