W I N T E R I S H E R E ! On the weekends, it’s hard to convince myself to go outside because the temperature has dropped significantly. If you live in the Northeast, then you know that there is nowhere to put the snow we have right now + more is on its way. I have a tendency in the winter to huddle down with books or stay inside + work on projects that will come to life in the spring. This is where I’m at now, except, I’m also reminding myself to G E T O U T !
During the cold months, I’m likely to stock up on bread + soup, because who wants to eat freezing cold food when it is below zero outside?! This winter is a little different. I find myself gravitating toward the bounty of winter fruits and vegetables at the market – mainly blood oranges, grapefruits, pomegranates, leeks, and cauliflower. I’m amazed at the abundance of produce in the market right now + trying to incorporate these beautiful foods into my meals (p.s. I know ‘blood oranges’ aren’t blooming in the Northeast, but hey – we are all trying, right?!).
Eating fruit + vegetables, combined with all the light from the snow has me feeling pretty content about winter these days. Kevin + I are yurt hunting right now to escape for a weekend up North. We are both looking for a place to unplug for a little bit – read, write, snow shoe, and ultimately slow down. We want something small + quiet, a place where we can look at the trees in the morning and hear our own heartbeats.
I have this thing, when I plan new travel destinations, where I’m always assessing for ‘gay friendliness’ – does anybody else do this when they travel?! I guess, maybe, it’s a lifestyle hazard OR maybe it’s just a hangover from growing up in the backwoods of California that has me extra cautious. Either way, there are plenty of options in the Northeast, which is a blessing. It’s interesting how the world moves + advances, but sometimes our hearts are still experiencing the small + old version of ourselves. Not much more to say about this, other than…huh…how easily our hearts remember fear + how much damn work it takes to overcome it.
I get excited now when I can recognize a fear blockage. It’s only through recognition that I’m able to move through it – to see fear as a road sign and say, S E E Y A L A T E R ! I told you that thing about the yurt, not so it would sit with you like a stone, but so you could see that we all have our work cut out for us. This whole grace + ease thing takes a quiet enough mind to cut through the noise. There will be yurt stays + more fears to cut through this winter, but we just gotta keep moving with one foot on the ground and the other aimed at where we want to go.
– Leek + Pomegranate Salad –
I am eating lots of salad this month, but not as a diet fad or a new years resolution – it’s because my body is craving nourishment during the cold winter days. My friend Jac, from the Vegetarian Baker, also works for Looly’s Pearls, which produces handmade moroccan couscous while providing its workers with wages and social support. He asked me last month for a product review – I’m usually weary of product reviews, but the social mission of Looly’s felt like a good fit. You can hear more about the story of the Looly’s women + how they work ‘beyond fair trade’ on their website.
The couscous: delicious. It comes mixed with turmeric + thyme. The pearls are finer than any I’ve seen in the store + it complimented the flavors in this dish perfectly. Feel free to use any type of couscous, but if you want to try something new + give your dollars to a company that is seeking to provide education and housing for their workers, then check out Looly’s. In other news, winter means L E E K S + P O M E G R A N A T E S! Leeks are amazing alliums that carry the earthy taste, similar to garlic and onions, that help you feel rooted + present. Pomegranates have always amazed me and in this recipe they are little pops of sweetness amongst a sea of savory. This salad is nutrient rich, from leeks that are high in Vitamin K to hazelnuts that c contain phytochemicals that support overall brain health and circulation.
2 leeks, chopped
1 head broccoli, coarsely chopped
1 pomegranate, seeded
20 grapes, halved
5 oz arugula
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1 cup Looly’s CousCous
1 cup water
2 tbs tahini
1 tbs nutritional yeast
2 tbs amino acids or soy sauce
1/2 lemon juice
Prepare the leeks by chopping off the white portion + 1″ of the greens. Chop the root end off + slice the remaining piece in half, lengthwise. Run the leek under water to clean out dirty from the inside. Chop into 1/2″ slices and saute in 1 tbs of olive oil in cast iron skillet until the greens are slightly golden. Set aside + clean out cast iron skillet.
Coarsely chop broccoli and massage with 1 tbs olive oil + 1 tbs nutritional yeast. Saute in cast iron skillet until slightly golden, sed aside with cooked leeks.
In a small bowl or pot, prepare combine couscous with 1 cup of boiling water and let sit for 7-8 minutes, or until couscous fully absorbs the water. Let cool completely before mixing with other ingredients.
In the meantime, seed the pomegranate by chopping it in half, widthwise. Slightly pull the pomegranate apart with your hands until seeds start to loosen, but don’t tear the pomegranate in half. Turn each half over a bowl and tap the backside with a wooden spoon. This will loosen the pomegranate seeds so you can then easily remove then from the husk. Chop grapes in half + coarsely chop hazelnuts.
Mix together couscous, arugula, leeks, broccoli, pomegranate seeds, and grapes. Top with chopped hazelnuts + lemon tahini dressing (prepare by mixing ingredients together in a small contained).