One of my favorite ways to play in the kitchen is to try and recreate dishes that I’ve been wow’d by while dining out. These vegan, Rawlmond Joy truffles from Cafe Gratitude sit way up there on my list of epic restaurant treats. Made from raw, vegan ingredients they’re completely surprising.
You can’t throw a stick these days without hitting a conversation about Podcasts. They have become a total thing and nothing makes this self-proclaimed, ‘cast nerd happier. The problem is that there are so many inspired and thought-provoking shows that deciding how to spend my limited listening time becomes a daily debacle.
I was feeling seriously nostalgic this weekend. I mean, seriously. Maybe it was the rain or maybe it’s that we’re nearing the end of September. I was just really missing a good, old-fashioned, Fall weekend. Like the ones that used to have me gallivanting around New England. Strolling through Russell Orchards with a bag of cider donuts in hand, on a blanket at the Head of the Charles and scooting off to New Hampshire to camp and hike in the leaves. California has a ton going for it but from September to November I want to wear cable knit and harvest things that go into pie.
Speaking of autumnal eats, one of my favorite fall meals was, and will forever be, a big bowl of soup with a loaf of crusty bread (insert glass of wine, here). During my early years in Boston a friend introduced me to the most delicious, pureed soup I’d ever had the pleasure of thoroughly enjoying. It was a very special Curried Butternut Squash Soup.
It was creamy but yet not. Complex but so simple. Hearty but not at all heavy. I quickly began making it for myself and for nearly everyone I knew. A rough eight years later it has been used to manipulate the hearts of boyfriends, fill my lunchbox and entertain on girl’s nights. Many girl’s nights. This soup is now firmly planted in my repertoire as one of my go to’s, a signature even. I’ve added a few personal touches such as the fried apple strips in this version. Occasionally I’ll add cinnamon or ginger or I’ll swap the apple for pear.
Another thing to be said is that this dish couldn’t be much better for you. Many pureed soups call for cream making them slightly heavy but the profile of this soup would be diluted with dairy as a base ingredient. Aside from my garnish this variety is pretty much all vegetables and fruit keeping the fat content low and flavor clean.
I’ve had a long love affair with this soup and can say that it’s best enjoyed with with a rustic loaf of bread, a cheese plate, your favorite bottle of wine and something chocolate to top it all off.
Today, I am LOVING…
1. Alexa Chung’s fashion sensibility. Classic and modern. Super chic.
2. That figs are back in season! I am going to wrap them in bacon and drizzle them in honey atop a mound of humboldt fog and crusty bread.
3. Yogaglo.com – unlimitted, on-demand yoga in your living room. Choose your class by teacher, style or level. Personally, I love that these are real classes filmed in real studios. There’s no size two, celebrity instructor in a perfectly lit studio surrounded by dronee clonees staring you down. The camera is positioned from the perspective of an actual student, on a mat, in a for realz classroom. Yay for getting REAL!
4. Gender reveal cakes! Are you a hot mama-to-be? If so, ask the doc to tightly seal away the baby’s gender inside of an envelope. Take your very special note to your favorite bakery and ask them to prepare a cake with either pink or blue center (either the cake or the frosting layer inside). Invite friends to your reveal party, dive into the cake together and then, woo HOO – surprise! My sweet friend Karine is doing this on Sunday and I can hardly wait!!! We love you Baby K. (photo credit: cake junkie at Flickr )
5. The Blue Print Cleanse – I know, when will we stop talking about cleanses? They aren’t for everyone but if you’ve been here before you know I’m a fan. Specifically, a fan of this program. It’s all about fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices full of live enzymes, protein and vitamins. You ease your way in and out so it’s not too hard on your system and the juices deliver enough calories to actually fill tha belleh. P.S. – they say Hilary Swank and Jay Z are Blue Printers. I’m just sayin’ (“…concrete jungle where dreams are MAAADE of….”).
6. Miss Lilian recently gushed about a romantic getaway to one of my all-time favorite spots! The Viceroy in Palm Springs. Funny, I was just thinking I needed to pay those happy, pool-side, loungers a visit. Insert nostalgic sigh as I recollect my big birthday weekend last year! Ahhhhh.
7. And last but not least, the foodie-ness and photography of Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites is something I aspire to. Here he serves up this dreamy Summer Sangria recipe and this lovely photo from Everyday Food magazine. I’ve gotta think this one tastes as good as it looks.