A few weeks ago, I snuck up to St. Louis to spend a few days with my mom and her wonderful husband. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. While my folks were at work, I spent my mornings reading with the sunrise and coffee and taking walks around Historic Lafayette Park. During the day, I would catch up on some much-needed adulting I needed to do then saunter off to my mom’s plot at the community garden to collect vegetables for dinner. One night I whipped up this eggplant dish and accompanying main of stewed tomatoes and rainbow chard… more on that to come. For now:
Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate, & Pistachios
3-4 Japanese eggplant, sliced in half the long way
1 four-ounce packet of goat cheese, crumbled
Pomegranate seeds, half a pomegranate
1/4 cup of roasted pistachios
1 tablespoon almond oil (I skimmed the oil off of an almond butter jar)
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 tablespoon honey, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400ºF
Place sliced eggplant facedown on a lightly oiled baking sheet, place in oven and bake until tender. About 25 minutes
Remove from the oven. Flip eggplant cut side up and lightly glaze the cut surface with almond oil and squeeze lemon across the eggplant.
Top eggplant with goat cheese, pomegranate, pistachios, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste
For a little extra pizazz, you can, ever so sparingly, drizzle honey on top with a little extra sea salt.
It has now been a little over a week since I have finished the Kickstarter Cookbook. It was definitely an undertaking and I learned a lot about myself. I like to bite off more than I can chew, every bit of pun intended. At first, this little cookbook was only supposed to be a little pamphlet or mini-cookbook. Of course, I got carried away with the spectacular idea of “go big or go home.” I began compiling over 100 recipes, photos, etc.
What was I thinking?! After being talked off the ledge, I reigned it in and put together a reasonably sized book for the Kickstarter Incentive. I am incredibly pleased on the final product and believe I have something worth bringing to publishers for a bigger project as well as the potential for more books down the line.
If you donated to my Kickstarter a couple years ago, please make sure to check for updates from Kickstarter. To access the cookbook, you must check your email for the link and password for the cookbook download. The emails come from Kickstarter, not me, and are titled “Project Update: #6, etc.”. If you are having trouble accessing the link, please email me at email@example.com. If you’ve moved or haven’t completed the initial survey, please update your information so I can get your incentive to you.
I’m very excited to be getting these out to you so I can begin focusing on the next steps. Thank you for your continued support!
Mindfulness matters. To be mindful, according to Merriam-Webster is to bear in mind or inclined to be aware, but how often are we really mindful? More often than not I know I grind through my to do list one item at a time, responding to texts with rapid fire speed, and inhale meals without tasting it because I’m too busy to sit and enjoy it. The only thing I mind is completing everything I set out to do, very rarely do I feel as if I am aware on a deeper level. That being said, when I got contacted for a recent commission the name definitely inspired me to get back to just maybe being a little more mindful.
A couple years ago, I worked at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts here inAustin. I had no idea how many wonderful people I would meet working there. I have stayed connected with many of the students and I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to watch their stories and culinary adventures unfold. One student I stay in touch with, Lana, has recently started her own business. As someone that has taken the plunge to running her own business, it’s fair to say, I have a little bit of a soft spot for other like minded lady entrepreneurs.
Lana has recently launched the Mindful Bowl project. The Mindful Bowl is a buddha bowl inspired meal prep service. Perfect for folks that are on the go who aren’t exactly mindful about what they’re putting into their bodies all the time…. Hmmm, like me?
Lana reached out to me for a custom towel with her branding for her start up. I was more than happy to team up and provide a little prop action to spruce up her photos. Although, with all the natural color from those veggies, I’m not sure how much a towel will offer. (insert winking emoji here).
Please support Lana by liking the Mindful Bowl on Facebook and Instagram (@mindful_bowl)!
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Well, let me tell you, things have been heating up plenty in my kitchen lately.
As some of you may know, I completed a successful Kickstarter Campaign back in May. I’ve now been working on the business and more importantly the incentives for all the fine folks that contributed. One of these items is a collection of recipes by made by laura lee.
A cookbook! Yes! This will be so fun! I thought to myself. Well…. I think I underestimated how much work would go into this bad boy. Wowzah! I’m still compiling a thoughtful introduction, testing and getting pictures of every recipe, etc. Putting together a cookbook is a full time job. My hat is off to some of my culinary creatives that have already put one out. I appreciate all the help and pointers that I’ve received along the way.
For those of you that are waiting patiently, thank you. Please know it’s a work in progress.
I know for cookbooks that I purchase, I love pictures! I want a picture for every recipe! Obviously, I rely heavy on the visual side, but is there something you like in a cookbook? What is ideal for you?Let me know, I’ll see what I can incorporate just for you.
I am one of those people that if I am not learning something new on a regular basis I begin to feel stagnant. I feel stuck. I then become frustrated. Usually, I don’t pay attention to the nagging in the back of my mind until it’s too late. The last few weeks I have been overwhelmed with lengthy to do lists, custom orders, and planning some big life changes (more to come soon). As I was rushing around yesterday, I had a iCalendar notification for an ice cream class that I had signed up for a month ago. Signing up for this event had completely escaped me. What a treat, an ice cream class in August! Well done! Thanks, past Me!
The co-owners of Lick Ice Cream partnered with Sustainable Food Center to host this class. What a great opportunity for such a great cause, for more on that click here. There was a demo and then we broke off into groups to create our own fig inspired ice cream! We were given a base, chocolate sauce, fig jam, and neufshatel (fancy cream cheese). I, clearly, fell into the right group when the decision that all of the ingredients would have to be used! We went with a chocolate and neufshatel base, with fig & chocolate swirls. Heaven! Due to the smokiness of the figs this year, it tasted like toasted marshmallow. As a serious s’mores fan, I was completely blissed out. In fact, I would have taken a picture of our batch, but…. we ate it all.
Who knew making ice cream was so easy. I was always under the impression it was much more difficult. I’m looking forward to testing out new recipes and maybe, potentially, incorporating some recipes into the upcoming cookbook!
Thanks Lick and SFC for a great learning opportunity!
It’s Summer. It’s hot and some of my favorite vegetables are in season: okra, shishito peppers, and tomatoes. Watermelon (yes, I realize this is a fruit) and cucumbers are runners up and with cucumbers means PICKLES!
I’ve been waiting since January, when I finished my last jar of bread and butter pickles, for cucumbers to make their come back. I made sure to get some at the HOPE Farmer’s Market from Johnson’s Backyard Garden this weekend.
I spent Sunday afternoon slicing, packing, and brining these crisp cucumbers. I still use the recipe Grandmother, Nettie, gave me. It’s still on the same piece of paper she typed it up on her typewriter eight years ago. My Grandmother passed away a few years ago and my family is delighted that her recipe was passed on.
I don’t know anyone that likes to be sick. I think most would actually prefer to be at work or school than be home in bed. I rarely get sick and when I do, it’s at the mercy of allergies. This past week was one of the times I feel victim to seasonal allergies with a serving of mold allergies. There was a stretch that I slept for 24 hours, not an exaggeration, which drove me to go to the doctor. Something I avoid at all costs because I know it always results in antibiotics. On three, 1, 2, 3,…. UGH!
I’m on the mend, finally. I have an urge to move around the house, cook, and get back to making things. While I still a have limited energy, the sun has been such a driving power… and the salsa music… and the coffee, of course, the coffee.
I have my next batch of jam simmering away (details soon) but I just have to share some of my kitchen creations, as of the last few months I have felt completely uninspired in this department.
Indian food is my favorite. Hands down. It’s what I consider comfort food at its best. A world of complex flavors that warm the soul. Saag Paneer (spinach & cheese) is my go to when I am feeling blue. It has been tough to find a recipe that I like, but, believe it or not, I nailed one down! Of course, I amped up the amount of ginger, garlic, and spice, but it’s a good one! (Click here for the recipe)
Ok, so I can’t drink at the moment due to being on antibiotics, but boy, oh boy, this one is going to be a treat once I’m in the clear to have an adult beverage!
2 cups of white rum + 1 cup pineapple + 1 tsp. red chili flakes = cocktail in 2 weeks.
I’m hoping for some sweet and spicy goodness! Just add club soda!
Juice, Juice, Juice
I really like to say that I am not a picky eater. I was raised to eat what was put in front of me, because there are starving children all over the world. Admittedly, there are a few things I just cannot stand: my grandmothers hot red sauerkraut with vinegar being at the top of that list. Raw celery, number two. If I have the opportunity, I pass on cooking with parsley or munching on a green apple. Feeling under the weather lately and having no appetite, I know that parsley and green apple are so good for you, so I bent my rules.
(4 Granny Smith + 1/2 bunch Parsley)/juicer = DAMN!
I’ve made this 3 times this week! That has to say something about how good it is, right?
While I’ve been an absolute mad woman creating gig posters, updating my blog with shows, my Etsy Shop with more of my Cards for a Cause, learning others songs (more on in an upcoming post), taking on the social media for where I work (OPA!, go ahead and give them a like on the ol’ Facebook), I have been silently sticking to my #1 New Years Resolution: READING.
January’s Book: Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
A few years ago my cousin, Lucy, came to visit me here in Austin. Lucy is an amazing woman, a doctor, and I’ve always looked up to her in that big sister I never had kind of way. I hadn’t seen her since she got married and she looked fantastic. She was in town for “some Paleo Conference.” Lucy was talking non stop about this Paleo business. She told me that I had to read this book. After her departure, I got home one day and there on my porch waiting for me, freshly from Amazon, was this book compliments of Lucy.
Fast forward 3 years, maybe more, to January 2015. I still haven’t read the book, because like any book that anyone tells me to read I, of course, drag my feet. What prompted me to pick up the Primal Blueprint, besides my New Year’s Resolution? I have a particular health condition that has been passed down through the women on my mother’s side of the family (Thanks Mom!) and I find as I have gotten older certain symptoms are rearing their ugly head. My doctor, who is fabulous, gave me several options to help me with some of the symptoms, none of which either of us were thrilled about.
I think we can all agree, my doctor included, that a lot of what happens here in the States is we treat symptoms rather than the cause. Because of my condition, I have side effects such as a very hard time keeping stable blood sugar levels, which can be more than frustrating and turn me into a HANGRY monster in no time. I started with two major changes immediately:
1. Butter Coffee. I cannot give up coffee. EVER. I am Laura Lee and I am addicted to coffee. The problem being, I can have my two cups in the morning (which is all I ever need) and then all of a sudden crash like nothing you have ever seen. I have made the change to butter coffee and that crash has gone away completely. Not to mention it tastes like drinking a latte!
2. Protein. I have been raw, I have been vegan, I have been a vegetarian. In recent years, I have just settled eating meat once or twice a week, nothing crazy. This last month though, I have forced myself to eat meat once or twice a day.
HOLY COWS AND BACON, BATMAN! Who knew that eating a little more protein would make such a drastic difference in my life?!?!!?!?!? The symptoms of my condition have completely dissipated, I have way more energy, I am in a much better mood, productivity has gone up, I am sleeping WAY better, and the most amazing thing… My sweet tooth has virtually disappeared! Ok, ok, and even though this next item wasn’t on my New Years to do list, I’m not going to lie and I am pleased with the results, but I have unintentionally lost 6 pounds since January 4th. Not bad, right?
This was a great read. Usually health stats and medical articles are daunting to read, Primal Blueprint was smooth sailing and easy to relate to. It’s true, there are moments of discomfort when Sisson challenges everything we are taught to know and believe, but given the results, I would say there is a whole lot of truth to this, not just a diet, but lifestyle. Enjoy!
An apple a day keeps the doctor a way! I had a relative who lived to be 103 and I asked her, “what’s your secret?” She said, “Go for awalk every morning. Then they say to eat an apple a day, but I don’t really like apples all that much unless they’re in pie. I make sure to have a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed in the morning and a glass of wine every afternoon. If you don’t have wine, a brandy will do.”
Well, in honor of her, I have put together a brandied apple butter that will be available next Saturday at the Bluebonnet Bazaar.
(I apologize that this is such a short post, but I am so into the little crafty creation that I am making right now that I won’t want to be away too long!)
I am the luckiest girl in the world. I have returned home from a gastronomic pilgrimage in France. I am jet lagged and ten pounds heavier, but let me say it was worth every ounce. Working at a culinary school definitely has its perks, especially at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. Once or twice a year the company sends over a small group of students and employees to France to see the Escoffier Museum and, of course, EAT! Words cannot express how grateful I am that I was able to go on this trip.
In a nutshell, it was 5 days of non stop eating and drinking. Our tour guide, Chef Michel Bouit of Michel Bouit International, was a spunky Frenchman who knew the South of France better than the back of his hand. We explored wineries, olive oil producers (which was a tiny old farm house), confiseries, patiseries, farmers markets, the Escoffier Museum, and I even got to stick my toes in the Mediteranean.
After our time in Nice, we took a fast train to Paris, which I admittedly most of the way due to 2 bottles of wine the night before. The country side was picture perfect like something from an old painting. In Paris, the wining didn’t stop and certainly didn’t slow down. Between nibbles, I got to see the Eiffel Tower, the outside of the Louvre (the line to get in was a quarter mile long!), the oldest department store in Paris, one of the first kitchen supply stores, and explore the local night life.
I truly believe that part of my heart is still across the Atlantic. I don’t think it is yearning to come back to the States any time soon, if ever, but I can hear it calling for my return to France. Some day…