First off, some sugar:

Left to right: milk chocolate peanut butter cups, however misshapen,
earl grey milk chocolate truffles, curry milk chocolate blobs, and
goji/cherry/pistachio/cacao bark.

the bark and the curry lumps are awesome. I'm too scared of the sugar
crash on the other side of the peanut butter cups to taste them, but
they will be served at tomorrow night's brainstorm (i'll put them out
AFTER we do all our thinking).


dark chocolate
goji berries
dried cherries
dried mulberries
cacao nibs

freeze a plate or tray.
melt chocolate in a double boiler (or a saucepan on top of another saucepan)
mix all the berries and nuts, keep at the ready.
spread wax paper over your frozen tray
pour half the chocolate over the cold wax paper surface
pour on your trail mix
cover with the other half of the chocolate
freeze until solid, peel off the wax paper and enjoy!
i added some salt crystals to the top of mine, i recommend it.

And some watercolors. I was itching to do some acrylic work, but after
a thorough search through my paint toolbox, i discovered that I lost my
white, and really, there isn't much i can do without my white. I promise
some paintings next time i near an art supply store.


some old, some new, found in cleaning the piles in my room

the new ones are stiffer, like my eyes got bored. it's a funny feeling.

more soon, i hope.


cake 2.0

gluten free cardamom cake with arabic coffee frosting:

potato starch! i think that's what the last cake wanted
sorghum, buckwheat, sweet rice and garbanzo flours (flours and starch = 1 c)
xanthan gum
baking powder (plenty)

mix all these in a bowl

rose petal tea

boil these and strain. add:

1 egg
coconut oil

mix all that in with dry stuff, add pistachios, bake at 375 for about 20 minutes


plain yogurt
coconut oil, melted
arabic coffee (finely ground coffee with cardamom. I used decaf), strained well and boiled down while the cake bakes.

mix all that together, chill, frost cake


brainstorm # 2

The notes

A very productive meeting, although the multi-colored post-its have yet
to make an appearance. The next meeting is Wednesday, July 1 at 7 pm
if any of you care to join.

As always, feedback and suggestions are much appreciated.


the series

Dinner I II III and IV
Each print is $80 and measures 10" x 20"
Please let me know if you'd like a set!


frooshi, or fruit sushi, is a collabo with jesse. here it is on its third iteration:

To make, first cut up all your fillings. Our favorite varieties so far are: mango,
white peach-mint-basil-ginger, and date-cucumber-mint.

Have a cooled bowl of sweet rice at the ready (sweet rice, water, coconut milk,
salt, sugar, soak and cook). Soak a rice paper sheet in warm water and lay on
your work surface. Add a small amount of rice and filling, and roll like a burrito!

Use a really sharp knife to cut it into pieces. It helps to wet the knife between
cuts. Frooshi tastes best with a competitive game of team Scrabble.

concurry cake

gluten free curry cake!

(needs a second iteration, it came out the consistency of a Chinese steamed
mung bean cake, or something)

sorghum flour, sweet rice flour (about 3:1)
touch of xanthan gum
baking powder
curry powder
2 eggs (too many)
coconut milk
olive oil
maple syrup
plain yogurt

bake at 350 for 25 minutes

frost with:

plain yogurt
coconut oil
medjool dates, squished

combine, chill, whip, frost

coat with toasted coconut flakes, and coarsely ground pistachios and cardamon


Let's talk about serious things for a minute

Well the reason for the tamale dinner was to feed a small crowd of brainstormers
(thinking can make you hungry, you know.)

Jesse and I have been talking about how we can get involved with the Deepwater
Horizon oil situation. After a few days of abstract musings, we needed to get
something down on paper. So the two of us and the lovely Francisco sat down and
thought. This is what we came up with by the time we were all half-asleep. Please
leave feedback here, and let me know if you would like to join this conversation.

This image can be read like so: top to bottom is the progression of questions we
were answering, and left to right are subsets of the answers after sorting them
into relevant groups.

The image is hard to read, so here is everything, typed out. Look back to the
image for drawings and better groupings.

If you'd like to host your own brainstorming session, I'd be happy to write more
about our process, just say the word.

More ideas, more concrete images, more voices to be posted soon, my apologies
for the amateur photoshopping, and please expect this (and food) to be the main
focus of this blog for the next long while.

Well, back in the kitchen I had an old bag of corn masa that was just itching
to be used, and a batch of tamales was in order!

Tamale dough:

baking powder
butter/lard/coconut oil/palm oil
fresh corn (optional)

whip the oil, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. the consistency you
are looking for is stuck together but not sticky and not dry. balance with more
masa or more broth.


1. Mole

chili powder
cocoa powder
chocolate, melted

veggies or meat of your choice
(I used onions, garlic, zucchini, plantains and black beans, and Jesse made
chicken on the side)


heat the first group of ingredients in oil until your kitchen smells amazing (and
the chili makes you cough). I added garlic and onions and just cooked it forever.
Then I added broth to reduce, and added the rest of my veggies toward the end
of the reducing.

Here's a great way to make your food faster and ALSO satisfy your vegetarian
vs. carnivore dilemma: Take the veggies out of the mole sauce to use in the
tamales. While wrapping and steaming, add your meat to the mole with extra
broth, and simmer until you are ready to eat. This should make your meat nice
and stringy and your sauce nice and thick. Serve on top of veggie tamales.

2. Sweet potato and pepper jack cheese (Jesse's creation, I may be missing some

Thinly sliced sweet potatoes, cooked at 400 for about 10-15 minutes
grated pepper jack cheese

mash everything together, to taste

3. Dessert! Ricotta and Fig

(for this batch, I made a different dough using cinnamon, maple syrup and coconut
milk instead of broth)

fresh figs, sliced
ricotta cheese
lemon juice
lemon zest
maple syrup or other sweetener

mix together to taste

To make the tamales:

get some corn husks (I used bamboo leaves, because that's what they sell
here in Chinatown, and while they smelled like bamboo, they were way easier
to use than corn husks.), soak them for a while, let them dry out slightly.

lay out a piece on your work surface. with bamboo leaves, use two leaves. On
each leaf spread out flat a small quantity of dough, about the dimensions of
the tamale you want.

dollop on a small amount of filling.

invert the leaf without the filling over the one with it, and seal the sides.

fold down ends and sides, tear some lengths of husk to act as string, and tie
the ends down into a nice package.

when you have a lot of these, set them up in a steamer basket and steam for a
while. Make sure your water doesn't all evaporate, because it will make your
tamales taste or smell like carbon (ask me how I know). if you are making
multiple batches, take the tamales out of the steamer and keep them in a warm
oven while you make the next round.

Serve with anything you like! We had plantain-guacamole, peach-avocado
tomatillo salsa and plain yogurt.

Also, Jesse blended up a batch of watermelon margaritas: watermelon, tequila,
lime juice and ice. As he eloquently recounted: "I'm not saying they were great,
I'm just saying they were amazing."


soup truffles!

Well wonder of wonders, here are two new truffle recipes inspired by my new neighborhood:

Wasabi Truffles

chocolate, melted
coconut milk
coconut oil
powdered wasabi (check your wasabi, some of the pastes have gluten and all sorts of weird-sounding preservatives in them, plus SO much green!)
toasted black sesame seeds

mix all together to taste
thaw slightly and roll into truffle balls

Tom Yum Truffles

chocolate, melted
coconut oil
coconut milk
kaffir lime leaves
fresh lemongrass
chili flakes
chili oil
sesame oil (just a dash)
toasted coconut flakes

melt chocolate
add lemongrass, lime leaves, salt, chili and oils to coconut milk, and heat for ages (until it tastes like the lime leaves)
mix with chocolate and coconut oil
follow as before

with both batches, i melted more chocolate with coconut oil and rolled the refrozen truffles in it to coat, then topped them with sesame seeds and coconut flakes.


gluten-free polenta-bread

combination of (~1 cup):
sorghum flour, garbanzo flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch
~1 t xanthan gum
~1/2 cup liquid (i used rice milk and plain yogurt. I'll bet apple juice
would be good, or miso soup, or water)
2 eggs
2 T oil
1-2 T honey
1/2-1 c polenta (or cornmeal)
seeds and a jalapeno pepper

char the jalapeno over a burner (or a real fire!) and chop thinly
dry-toast seeds (i used sunflower and black sesame seeds) in a pan over
high heat until browned and poppy
mix flours together in a bowl
mix liquids and add to flour bowl
stir in polenta

coat cast iron skillet (mini) with oil, seeds and jalapeno slices
fill with batter
bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.
cut around sides of pan and invert


(the texture will change drastically as it cools, going from a bready texture
to a polenta-y texture)


nobr akes

Yep, rice paper baklava is a real thing, and a plate of it is currently adorning
my kitchen counter.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Baklava:

~8 sheets dry rice paper (the rounds you can buy in Chinatown to make fresh
spring rolls)
1/2 c ground pistachios (grind to desired chunkiness. also, like me, you may
accidentally make pistachio butter, which is unbelievably delicious) (For nut-
free version, use sunflower seeds and sesame seeds!)
coconut oil, melted
3-5 T honey
dried rose petals (optional)

Have a bowl/shallow plate of warm water handy, big enough to soak the rice
paper in.

To melt the coconut oil, either heat it in a saucepan or submerge the jar in a
bowl of warm/hot water.

Soak the rice paper one sheet at a time and lay out on a work surface.
Coat generously with coconut oil (for the first sheet, coat bottom too so it won't
stick. I soaked the paper until it was wet, but didn't wait for it to get flexible.
Layer 4 sheets like this. After the 4th sheet, spoon on your ground pistachio and
some cinnamon (optional).
Repeat with the remaining 4 sheets.
Use a sharp knife to cut the whole thing into diamons/squares/whatever shape
your heart desires, and transfer to a greased pan.

Bake at 350 until the rice paper has puffed up and gotten crunchy. I think it was
about 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it.

Meanwhile. dissolve honey in some water in a saucepan and heat. I added
cinnamon and rose petals to this to give it a little something, but just honey is
delicious too.

When the baklava come out of the oven, transfer to a plate (or if they are baked
in a dish with walls, leave them there) and spoon your (strained) honey over all
of them. Let them sit and absorb the honey (not for long) before serving. I cracked
the top layer and put honey inside the shell for extra absorbability.

Enjoy (before they get soggy)!

the verdict?

Peanut butter and banana mochi with sesame seeds,
a collabo with SF vegan foodie Francisco Grajales.

Also, we found corn and cheese ice cream at the Chinese supermarket, and
a full report is coming as soon as I am man enough to purchase it.


out of practice

Hello hello, my apologies for neglecting to update.

We'll start from the top, which sees me and some good folks on a steady
and beautiful climb in the Oakland hills yesterday. The ride was long and
sunny and picturesque, except for a spill I took when we started our
descent. Lesson learned: braking on turns is all bad. Thankfully, I made it
out with only a few bruises and scrapes, didn't even scuff my handlebar
tape (or my helmet!). One of the teeth on my large chain ring is bent
slightly, as I hit a pole. Anyway, I am sore as anything, but feeling well.

The route (about a 19 mile loop):

After the ride was an amazing dinner at Jesse's (and it's not just the low
blood sugar talking like it was for my post-fall Clif bar), involving
everything we could think of eating: white AND brown rice, roasted spicy
tomatillo-avocado-white peach salsa, homemade tortilla chips (cut tortillas
into 6 chip shaped wedges, fry. for softer chewy chips like I prefer, fry one
side. for crunchy ones, fry two), baked chicken with gouda cheese and
peaches (so damn good), and baked plantain strips with dried figs and
honey, all washed down with plenty of water and a little bit of wine to
kick the headaches. The best part of this huge and eclectic meal was that
somehow, everything tasted good piled on top of everything else, including
the plantain dessert. Jesse gets the credit for this one; I made chips and
salsa and sat down to stare at my bloody elbow while he labored away.

The previous evening saw a small trial batch of wasabi truffles, made with
the last of the TCHO chocolate from Star (on our last excursion to the
dumpster, Jesse and I were sorry to see there was no dumpster. we'll keep
checking back, as truffles are a-calling). Anyway, horseradish and dark
chocolate: not a terrible idea.

Before the truffles, in a horrendous blurring of cultural cuisines, I discovered
the kaffir lime leaf, a must-have from now on.

Miso and kaffir lime soup:

Boil water
add a healthy amount of miso paste
add chopped lemongrass and a few lime leaves

let this simmer for as long as you can stand.

I boiled Japanese sweet potatoes in it, as well as daikon radish and tofu,
which I used in another dish. The tofu picked up the flavors really well.

That's all for now. Will be hitting the drawings again shortly. Tonight's
experiments may or may not involve rice paper baklava, savory cornbread
twinkies, sweet rice fruishi and apricot-glazed baby bok choi.

Stay tuned!


Show number 2 is hanging proudly at Socha Cafe on Mission St. at Valencia!
If you are in the area, please stop in, and also swing by Luv-a-Java for show #1.

I'm onto paper-for-pens-pad # 3 (#2 was not as fruitful as #1, we'll see where
this one goes). I also invested in a 12.5 x 24 " drawings pad, which is extremely
exciting except that it's really hard to bike with (although it's come about 4
miles with me home from the store in the wind so anything is possible).

For now it's wet, and I will be carrying my portable paper.

Stay tuned!


sorry for the delay

Unpacking is harder than I thought it would be. So I've been spending
my hours out of the house with the few sheets of paper left in this
sketchpad, scribbling contentedly and augmenting my pile.

Color coming, someday soon.




well I'm moved if not unpacked. I scrubbed the hood on the stove, top
and bottom, fans and all for an hour today, scraping off years of green
and yellow grease with the end of a spoon handle. For some reason I
felt that cleaning the kitchen would set me at ease for living here.

Followed up the scrubbing with a trip to the humongous Chinese
supermarket 2 blocks East. Ahh, dinner.

Cold Soba noodle salad:

soba noodles (for a gluten-free salad, use any GF pasta, or this would be
awesome with quinoa, sushi rice, or no grain at all!)

chinese eggplant
soft tofu
thai basil
bragg's aminos or soy sauce
honey or maple syrup or agave

fuji apple
green onion

sesame oil
chili oil and/or chili flakes
miso paste
coconut milk
bragg's aminos or soy sauce

[1] boil soba noodles, strain, run under cold water
[2] soak eggplant, sliced, in salt water until ready to cook. saute with
garlic and ginger with a lid in any medium-high heat oil. let it crisp up,
add sweet and salt, add tofu, adjust sweet and salt, cover and keep
crisping. add some thai basil leaves
[3] chop for salad
[4] mix all together to taste as a dressing, pour on cold noodles. add [3]
and [4] mix together, sprinkle with chili flake and sesame seeds, and add
a little extra chili oil and sesame oil

tastes better eaten out of wooden bowls with new roommates.