Though I simply do not and will not ever understand the whole PSL phenomenon (that’s Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, of course—it even has its own Twitter account, @TheRealPSL, with 91,000 followers and counting), who can argue with pumpkin and spice? Last year, I made my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie with garam masala, and vowed I would never do anything different. This year, though, I decided to do away with crust and just make a decadent pie filling that we could eat with a spoon—in other words, a flan, with pumpkin—and spiced it with chai. It worked. I’m always looking for ways to limit my dairy intake, so I made it mostly with light coconut milk, and then ramped up the coconut flavor with a splash of Malibu rum in the whipped cream topping. (Note: Malibu-rum-spiked whipped cream is also really, really good on key lime pie.) You can make the flan nondairy by using all coconut milk and topping it with a dollop of whipped coconut cream. The chai is like pumpkin pie spice with extra oomph—the combination just works.
Coconut-Chai Pumpkin Flan Read on… »
As readers of this blog (or my recent cookbook, Bring Your Lunch!) are probably aware, I’m rather down on plastic. Even before all the hoopla about BPA—a chemical found in most plastics that acts as an “endocrine disrupter,” especially in developing bodies—I was anti-plastic because (to quote myself in 2010): “It’s in the ocean and turtles eat it. It never fully disintegrates. It’s made out of petroleum.” Well, the BPA angle is looking more significant by the day, and that whole turtle/ocean thing is more of a problem than ever.
BPA gets into our systems—the CDC found it in the urine of 93% of a survey group, which they consider “representative” of the entire U.S.— in all kinds of ways (including cash register receipts). But per the NIH, the main way it gets into the body is “through the diet,” including food containers, beverage bottles, and, most especially, the “protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods.” Yes, canned foods are the main culprit. Since hearing this, I have cut way down on my canned food consumption—I buy shelf-stable items in jars and make my own soups and beans to freeze. However, I haven’t been able to eliminate them entirely—I’m devoted to light coconut milk (I use it in everything) and occasionally need some pumpkin puree or roasted chilies or a quick can of chili in a pinch. I get all these items from Trader Joe’s, so I decided to just ask: Are all TJ’s canned goods lined with BPA? Here’s the surprisingly detailed answer I got, from Nikki in Customer Relations. Read on… »
If you live in Portland, Oregon, or will be nearby, join me as I celebrate the launch of my digital cookbook, Bring Your Lunch!October 9, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.at The Hive240 N. Broadway, Suite 112, Portland
(inside the Leftbank building)Featuring bites from the book, beer & wine, and an Introduction to Better Brown-Bagging!All guests welcome. RSVP by October 5 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I actually wore socks this week, so I know that summer is officially over. Here in Portland, the cozy darknesss has set in—as has the rain—and I’m so pleased to finally be using my oven again. The first thing baked: tender delicata squash especially for this autumnal lunch salad. The kale marinates in the sweet balsamic dressing until lunch hour and loses its bitterness, while the seckel pear—diminutive and sweet—keeps its shape and doesn’t brown thanks to the vinegar. The delicata is an especially nutty, mild squash with beautifully striped edible skin; if it’s not a fall favorite yet, it will be soon. And Oregon hazelnuts make everything crunchy and fancy. Another harbinger of fall? Halloween candy. Hey, you can’t be too pure.
I packed the salad in my favorite Glasslock leak-proof container paired with To-Go Ware‘s brilliant bamboo cutlery. Find these and other lunch-gear recommendations, plus more than 60 recipes for healthy and delicious lunches, in my brand-new e-cookbook Bring Your Lunch!
Kale Salad with Delicata Squash, Seckel Pear & Hazelnuts
Makes 1 serving Read on… »