Cooking has become a huge part of my life, something my younger self would have never believed. I am a Midwestern child of the 80s & women’s independence movement.
My 16-year old self used to say things like, “I’ll live in New York City, work for a big ad agency, wear a new dress to every party, and if a man ever asks me to cook I’ll leave him the phone number for pizza delivery and walk out the door.”
Oh, how things have changed! I mean, I did work at an ad agency in NYC in my early 20’s with a pretty awesome collection of dresses. But only a few short years later I had moved to the other coast, to San Francisco. Now I am the CEO of a gaming company, wear jeans everywhere, and love cooking for myself, my husband, and my family & friends.
Learning to cook started as a quest in my late-20s to liven up my boring dinners. I quickly realized that the quality of ingredients were just as important (or more important) than the recipes themselves. So I started an organic garden, focusing on heirlooms that provide the best flavor. I also volunteer at the Oakland farmers market to help educate people on quality ingredients (and to learn more myself, from the knowledgeable farmers). And last but certainly not least, I visit California wineries (more often than I should) in order to ‘design dishes that pair well with wine’ (or so that’s what I tell myself).
I’m sharing what I’ve learned in the kitchen, in the garden, from the farmers and the vineyards.
And I’m hoping learn a lot from you too!
What kind of recipes will you find?
I cook healthy, well-rounded meals, with seasonal ingredients 90% of the time. I research (and taste) a lot of ingredients to build dishes with complimentary flavors and share them when the ingredients are in season.
I focus on nutrition as a tool for creating (and modifying) recipes to get the most out of each meal. For example, a serving of kale provides over 100% of your daily Vitamin A and C, whereas a serving of arugula is less than 5% (arugula still has a lot of other nutritious value). Sometimes arugula is irreplaceable for flavor in a dish, so I use it, but I do so knowing I might want to add a citrus fruit to the salad, or have citrus for breakfast to make up for the missing nutrients.
While I love using this data for recipe development, I don’t want you to think I obsess over every meal and never post the indulgent things. It’s good for the soul to indulge, as my friends can attest that I never turn away a dessert. I love making a good baked mac & cheese or German chocolate cake. I’ll share those too. And sometimes I can’t help but add a not-so-healthy thing to relatively healthy dish because it just tastes wonderful. For example, I have a really nutritious kale & chicken Caesar salad… but sometimes I buy a corn muffin and crumble it over the salad. So why not share both versions with you? We’re all adults, we can all choose our own dinners.
I don’t adhere to any particular diet. I eat meat but try to make sure at least 2-3 days are vegetarian. I keep carbs low (but not absurdly low) for most meals. I definitely cut down added sugar to a minimum when possible, but insist on using it when it adds the right touch to a dish (and of course, dessert).
I also share links to my sources for inspiration for each recipe. I would feel like a fraud pretending I came up with a recipe all on my own. Even if I modify it, or only use part of it, I’ll still explain what I liked about their version and encourage you to check it out. You never know, maybe the version someone else posted appeals to you more than mine. And that’s really awesome if I can help you find the recipe right for you! There are so many talented bloggers and cookbook authors out there who deserve more than a tiny link that barely gets noticed. I believe in supporting other people’s work. And I also hope it encourages you to experiment with recipes too!
And if you use my recipe, modify it, and love it, please leave a comment and let me know! Recipes are always changing with new ideas, or adapted with seasonal ingredients. I want to hear from you and have it shared with everyone else!