Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Death Row Chocolates

No, there isn't anything in this recipe that will get you the death sentence, but I did have an epiphany while savoring a few of these badboys that if I had to choose my last meal before execution, it would probably include these. Maybe a glass of champagne to go with? Oooh, I'm going to the chair, not the club... Anyways, these are so decadent and delicious that you will find yourself wanting them for your last meal and pre-meal too! I chose to make mine mostly raw because I'm kinda on that train right now, but you  can sub regular chocolate chips in for the cacao butter/ powder. 

I've been a little intimidated by the idea of making my own raw chocolates for a while. I mean, there are so many amazing brands that I've tried over the years, how could I compete? But when I was perusing one of my favorite West Village health food stores and found a funky little company that stone grinds whole Balinese cacao beans into a powder and then paste (assuming from the oils that are released) and then leaves it to harden into little bricks so they can easily be melted down over low-heat, I knew my time to delve into the world of raw chocolate making had arrived. (wow was that a run-on or what?!)

Sooo...I did exactly what the package told me to. I melted the little bricks of chocolate in a double-boiler and added a sweetener of my choice (maple syrup). I also added equal parts of coconut oil to make the chocolate extra silky smooth. I believe the ratio went something like this:

1 cup chocolate : 3tsp maple syrup : 3tsp coconut oil

As soon as all the ingredients were well combined, I turned off the heat and quickly (very key here) began dipping my strawberries into the mix. I poured the remaining chocolate concoction into heart shaped rubber ice cube trays (I think from Ikea?) which I had prepared by sprinkling half with Himalayan sea salt and the rest with coconut flakes so that they would rest on top of the chocolates after they hardened.  

It was so rewarding to have a healthy (chocolate is really good for you, okay!) treat on hand, and even more so because I knew exactly what went into making them; ingredient and labor wise. I learned a. to stop being intimidated by seemingly daunting tasks b. everything tastes better when you make it from scratch, no matter how imperfect looking it may turn out and finally,  c.  chocolate + sea salt= best combination. ever. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kale Pesto

This recipe is a healthier version of the pesto sauce my mom used to make for me growing up. I left out the parmesan cheese (could have subbed in some nutritional yeast, but I'm all out ) and added some kale, duh! I also swapped the white flour spaghetti for some raw zucchini noodles, making this version completely vegan and gluten free yay* 

For the pesto:

1 Cup fresh basil, packed
1/2 Cup pine nuts (I chose pine nuts because I was feeling traditional, you could also use walnuts, pumpkin seeds or another type of nut)
1 large kale leaf
2 cloves of fresh garlic
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp Flax oil (or olive oil or sub another oil)

Place the first 6 ingredients into a food processor and process until the leaves are no longer whole. Scrape down the sides and continue to process while you drizzle in the oil. This should make it creamier looking. 

To make "pesto pasta"::
1 Zucchini, sliced into "noodles" aka thin strips (can use vegetable peeler) **see note
1 Cup broccoli florets

I scooped out about half the mixture from the food processor and mixed it into the zucchini and broccoli and then left it to marinate in the fridge. 
**note: don't forget to drain the excess liquid from the sliced zucchini. I did this by pressing it into a fine mesh strainer. Alternatively, you can jus squeeze it in-between your hands over the sink.

What to do with the remaining kale pesto? Kale salad? I added about 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar to the sauce to thin it out into a dressing and massaged it into 3 large kale leaves, sliced thin. Stuck that in the fridge to marinate too. The lemon and salt softened the veggies over night and the flavor of the basil really melded with the greens. So delicious I actually forgot to photograph the dishes on their own. The next evening I was feeling nalstalgic so I decided to cook up some gluten-free brown rice pasta and topped it with the leftover salads. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer in the City*

I'm home! After an amazing month long artists residency in The Catskills, I have returned to this smelly, muggy city that I love so dear. My hair has already expanded 3 times its original size and I keep finding myself holding my breath as I walk down the streets exuding hot-garbage-air. It hasn't even been a full day since I've been back and already I miss my morning jumps into the freezing cold watering hole (um best way to wake up, ever) and even the simple things like eating breakfast outside on the porch and wiggling my toes around in the grass first thing. But, on to the next one! And lucky for me, I have very little obligations in my life at the moment and there is so much fun stuff going on in this city during the summer that I'm sure I'll find many ways to distract myself::

Governors Island
Brooklyn Botanical Garden
The Museum of Natural History (haven't been since I was a kid and something tells me I would appreciate it even more now!)
Movies in the Park
River to River NYC 
Read a book in Central Park
Pool Parties
Rockaway Beach
McCarren Park Pool
So many gallery openings, first Thursday, the Met, MoMA, The New Museum, Guggenheim, The Tenement Museum, Brooklyn Museum
Volunteer in gardens 
Brooklyn Flea, Chelsea Flea, 77th street Flea...
Visit a Russian or Turkish bath house/ sauna/ sweat

Brooklyn Brainery
Trade School
Spend an entire day at the NY Public Library! (so many books, freeeee!)
3rd Ward (beautiful studios, kinda expensive though)
Skill Share
School of Burlesque 
The Brooklyn Kitchen
Make Workshop
The Textile Arts Center

Night: (I'm not so big on going out out these days, but it just wouldn't be summer without having a drink on a roof top bar with amazing views of the city skyline!!) 
The Standard’s roof 
The Press Lounge at Ink 48 
230 FifthTop of the Strand
The Delancey
The Frying Pan (Drinks on a booaaat!)

Other things I plan to do over the summer:
-Organize all my stuff (clothes, books, art supplies, shoes...)--> have a clothing swap --> then sell or donate the rest
-Read all the books that have been sitting on my shelf for years
-Digital detox! clean through bookmarks, blog reader, back up things onto external hard drive etc.
-Make a manifestation list, including audacious ambitions for the coming months
-Journal excessively 
-Go to the farmers market
-Run around outside, take long walks over bridges, climb trees, find the nature in this concrete jungle
-Take photos of my friends, they're cute. Also I want to find more photo booths in the city.
-Go rollerblading (I just found my old ones, I hope they still fit!!)
-People watch from a cafe window, stoop, fire escape...or not even bother being subtle about it.
-Eat a popsicle
-Buy more googly eyes and stick them on everything. Is it just me or are those things hilarious?

For more updated listing of events, check out these sites:
the fly girl guide