Turning in and letting go

Turning in and letting go

This is the first ever guest post on my blog! Lately, some people in my close circle have been writing posts that touch me on a really deep level, and I want you to see them, too. It’s that feeling of OMG! Did this piece ever nail it on the head! It’s like a good book. You just want to tell your friends.

This post is from my dear friend Marti Wolfson, MS, who has appeared on my blog several times — most recently in Foods to take when you travel (when she was starving on an airplane at 26 weeks pregnant) and last fall in Soup Session with the extraordinary Marti Wolfson, when we had SUCH a good time chopping and cooking up Spicy Thai Carrot, Corn & Tomato Bisque soup.

In love with lentils!

 In love with lentils!

Lentils are the underdogs of the pulse, bean and legume food group, the unsung heroes, worthy of more attention and respect. If you’re not integrating lentils into your food world, I have some tips for you.   A few easy tweaks in their preparation makes their texture terrific instead of blah (a game changer!) and their flavor zooms up on the dial with a few well-chosen ingredients.

A Gravenstein applesauce story

A Gravenstein applesauce story

Every year around the 2nd week of August, Gravenstein apples make their entrance at our farmer’s market in Marin County, California. Gravenstein is an apple cultivar that originated in the 17th century or earlier. The fruit has a superbly tart flavor cherished for cooking, and it has such a short harvest! Blink and you miss it — which makes it all the more precious. My culinary co-conspirator Julie Burford is our spy. When she sees the apples come in, she orders 40 pounds from the farmer. We are preparing to preserve!

Cool as a cucumber!

Cool as a cucumber!

My friends, cucumbers have changed! When I was growing up, cucumbers were fat and stubby with waxy skins and big, blah seeds. They were relegated to three uses: a garnish on the plate, sliced in a salad, or finely sliced in little tea sandwiches with butter on white bread. Honestly not a major player, nothing spectacular. The texture was unexciting, the seeds were annoying, the skin was bitter. Meh.
 

Foods to take when you travel

Foods to take when you travel

Traveling this summer? When it comes to food, I suggest you be prepared! 

My dear friend and her husband came to visit us in California last month. She was 26 weeks pregnant and traveling from the east coast, a LONG travel day. She had planned ahead and ordered a special meal for the plane… which turned out to be disgusting, virtually inedible. Oh, dear! She asked the flight attendant if she could rustle her up a cheese plate. To which the attendant flatly said, no. We don’t have any extras. My friend said, I’m a pregnant woman! Get me a cheese plate!!!  You do not want to mess with a hungry pregnant woman!!!!  Startled, the flight attendant rummaged through the food cabinet, and wouldn’t you know, she found one. 
 

It’s about the joy! 

It’s about the joy! 

One of the challenges of creativity is knowing when you have to shift gears and change. Getting into a groove can be wonderfully productive… but then it can get stale. As a creative chef, author and educator in the food world, I’ve been passionate about food and health for decades, and my focus has been on translating the science to the plate.

Soups… for summer!

Soups… for summer!

The last thing people think of when it’s boiling hot outside is soup! We have this notion that soup is a warm, nourishing hug. So true! But it’s even more. Soup can also be that deliciously chilled, tastebud-thrilling tonic we need in midsummer. It’s like that quick dive into the swimming pool — bracing, flavor-packed, nutrition-full.

Salads sublime!

Salads sublime!

What, I ask you, could be more sublime for summer than salads?

I have a history with salads. When I was growing up, my father was called the Condiment King, because he manufactured salad dressings and mayonnaise. Our fridge was always filled with sample jars of the latest dressings, so we were very on trend salad-wise. My father truly loved salads. He had his Sunday salad, his Thursday salad, his Saturday salad, and they were all different. In other words, salad was a BIG thing in our house!
 

Strengthen your body and mind: women and Alzheimer’s

Strengthen your body and mind: women and Alzheimer’s

Did you know that two-thirds of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are women? And that we don’t know why? Maria Shriver founded The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement™, a global alliance, to help find out. This month I participated in her annual Move for Minds event, a day focused on the mind/body connection and raising funds to wipe out Alzheimer’s. As Maria says, “Women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s crisis. That’s why we must be at the heart of the solution.”
 

With homage and love: the remarkable Fredi Kronenberg

With homage and love: the remarkable Fredi Kronenberg

There are some people who, for various reasons, assume monumental importance in our lives. Fredi Kronenberg was one of those for me. Like everyone who knew her and her work, I was a HUGE admirer.  A consummate researcher, she was a champion of integrative medicine and the food as medicine movement, especially for women’s health issues and those dealing with cancer. She was also my very dear friend.

The art of cooking: in my kitchen with painter Nicholas Wilton 

The art of cooking: in my kitchen with painter Nicholas Wilton 

As many of you know, art is a big factor in my life. Whether composing a gloriously vibrant plate of food or a painting in my studio, the process seems the same to me: a playground for curiosity, an openness to inspiration, and a love and respect for the materials I’m working with.