This fresh, no-cook mango syrup is made from nothing but the pits and peels, plus a little sugar to draw out their juices and a hint of citrus to keep the flavor tangy and bright. It’s a super thrifty way to make the most of mango season, and a great excuse for mango cocktails all summer.
Like a lot of people who go way back in the land of food blogs, I learned how to make pad thai from Pim Techamuanvivit. Pim wrote Chez Pim for many years before moving onto make jams (still the best apricot I’ve ever had) and then, homesick for the food she missed from growing up in Bangkok and disappointed by the versions of Thai food she saw in American restaurants (and “the tyranny of peanut sauce”), opened her first restaurant, Kin Khao, in San Francisco in 2014. It received a Michelin star a year after it opened because why do anything mediocre?
But in 2007, she wrote a seminal post called Pad Thai For Beginners that I’ve read and reread so many times over the years, I’ve practically memorized it. As pad thai is one of the most popular street foods in Thailand, she encouraged us to approach it at home the way the street vendors do: the prep is already done, so you can finish it in a flash. First, she wants you to make the sauce in advance because the ingredients are not standardized — fish sauces and tamarind concentrates will vary in intensity between brands — and you’ll want to adjust as needed, not over a screaming hot pan while your noodles get soft. And she wants you to make extra because it keeps well, and then if your dish needs a little more oomph, you won’t have to run back to the fridge to measure more from bottles and jars. Finally, she wants us to never make more than two portions at once, which will lead to “clumps of oily, sticky noodles.” She explains that the textures and flavors of a proper pad thai “derive largely from the way the dish is cooked, that is to say its quick footloose dance in an ultra hot wok. That simply means you can’t do many servings at once.” This doesn’t mean you cannot feed a crowd, you simply prep as much as you’d need, but only cook a portion or two at a time.
As a kid I was a self-proclaimed Pro Sticker Collector (oh, how that huge 3-ring binder was my pride and joy!), and at one confusing point in my youth I was also the proud owner of a miniature cow collection (the toy kind, that is). Totally normal.
Naturally, those childhood collections have led me to a new kind of obsession today: mugs. As Eric was unloading dishes the other day I heard him grumble, “We need to organize this mug area…[HEAVY SIGH]” He’s so funny like that! Okay, okay, maybe our shelf is a little chaotic, but I’m happy to say it’s a bit less so after doing this blog post and being forced to remove and put back each mug. (Um. Just kidding. I haven’t put the mugs back…they’re still strewn about in my photography studio. Oops.)
I also realized during the creation of this post that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who use all-white (or single-coloured) matchy mugs, and those who prefer to collect various mugs from here and there, adding from travels, etc. I guess I just ain’t a matchy mug kinda girl! When I shoot recipe photos, though, my go-to mugs are exclusively espresso-sized white mugs because they photograph so nicely. Try and put a random 16-ouncer in the background of a photo and it’s going to look like an elephant is sitting down to tea with you…lol.
I’m always asked where I get my mugs, so I thought it would be fun to put together a post rounding up my favourites. I grouped them into a few categories to snap these pics: Mama’s Going Crazy, Holiday Shenanigans, and Mama’s the Best.
Mama’s Going Crazy
This is the collection I most often turn to first thing in the morning because it always bring a little smile to my own tired mug.
From left to right we have: “It’s only cold if you’re standing still” (Indigo), “Sanity In A Cup” (Indigo), and “For Fox Sake” (Indigo).
The For Fox Sake one is a personal fave and deserves a bit of a close up…hah!
I’ll bring these out in October and they’ll go strong right through to February! Maybe this collection is a bit overused around the holidays (and beyond), but when you need a boost during our gloomy winters, you do what you gotta do!
From left to right we have: “Oh Dear!” (Indigo), “Happy Owl-idays!” (Indigo), and a huge reindeer mug (tag brand purchased from HomeSense).
Mama’s the Best
Sometimes Eric or the kids buy these mugs for me, and sometimes I buy them for myself when I feel like I need a little more recognition, lol. #noshame
From left to right we have: “Mom. Wife. Boss.” (Indigo), “Mama Bear” (Indigo), and “Best Mom Ever” (Indigo).
Well there you have it, folks! My current favourite mugs. I would LOVE to hear about which type of mug person you are (mono-colour or multi-mug mayhem like me?!). And just to make my life complete, I’d LOVE it if you tagged your favourite mug online using the hashtag #OSGfavemug so I can see it too! You don’t even know how excited this makes me.
Last but not least, tomorrow is the final day to vote in The Webby Awards! We’d love your support…the race in our category is a close one! Eric and I made a snappy lil’ video to celebrate our app nomination below. Turn the sound on and get ready to drool. 😉
One pasta dish, two distinct culinary traditions: Pasta con le sarde marries sardine-studded Italian pasta with sweet-savory flavors like raisins, pine nuts, and saffron, which were introduced to the country by Islamic rulers of Sicily in the tenth century. It’s one of the most beautiful pasta dishes, fragrant and luscious.
I learned about Bonnat chocolate on a trip to Voiron way-back-when, well over a decade ago, when I wanted to visit the Chartreuse distillery, to learn how the mysterious herbal elixir was made. It was an interesting trip, especially because one of the smells coming from the infusing vats filled with herbs reminded me of the smell of some of the herbs you’d smell on the streets of San Francisco, specifically in the Haight-Ashbury, near where I lived.
What stood out most from that trip wasn’t that smell, or learning that the liqueur had a secret recipe that only two monks knew, or that there was a gift shop filled with all-things Chartreusian (not Carthusian, like the monks were). It was the ovals of chocolate, wrapped in golden foil. When I unwrapped the foil and popped the whole thing in my mouth, a few seconds later there was an explosion of flavor like I’d never experienced before. I was hooked.
Continue Reading Bonnat Chocolate…
I was skimming a goop article last week (I have a love hate with all things Gweneth – I appreciate the health angle, but I don’t like that the average advertised clothing article is $480. You had me at hormone balancing but I disconnected with the suggestion of using $50 bath salts). I’ve complained about this before and I also want her to be my real life friend. It’s complicated. Anyway. I liked the interview in the goop article and I jotted down this line to remember:
“The goal is to gain greater awareness of yourself on every level: what makes you tick and what makes you sick, what your passion and purpose are, what you want to express in your lifetime, and what makes you most fulfilled” … “When you wake up to the awareness of who and what you are, you can discover the confidence to live your way, the courage to make choices that serve you best, and the compassion to be kind to yourself along the way—a compassion that inevitably ripples outward to others.” – Dr. Frank Lipman
Both Hugh and I are trying to be proactive about growing/changing our businesses this year, and it has begged the question to explore what I actually like doing? I need to make a living, but if I am going to steer my ship towards something, where are we going? I make money in a number of different ways, where can I focus on and do better, or perhaps expand on? Or do we reroute completely? I think lulls in workflow are good for recalibrating, though honestly, I am mostly just super anxious 🙂
I listened to a recent One Part Plant podcast with Candice Kumai and Jessica, the host, remarked on how confident Candice was, and asked if she came by that naturally. She believes that we all have that in us, that the disclaimers and insecurity are there as masks to cover it up. What are you really good at, and you know it, but you’re not making the most of it? How can you pursue those strengths and be a better boss lady, mom, giver, artist, whatever? These questions are tough! But I am asking them. I thought I may find one of you in a similar place, in the midst of a recalibration.
On food. Maybe you already make your pancakes in a blender, but I swear it makes the thought of making them on weekday mornings so much easier. No clumps, not even a dirty spoon, as I can pour into the pan straight from the blender. They have a decent amount of protein and good fats from the almond meal so they keep me full longer.
ALMOND + COCONUT FLOUR PANCAKES
Makes 12 small pancakes
As it goes with gluten free things that don’t have any gums in them, these are super tender and delicate. I love them for that, I don’t love a heavy baked good first thing in the morning. The trick to getting them to not break on the flip, is letting them cook through more on one side than you would a traditional wheat pancake that goes about 50/50 each side. I cook these about 70% through on the first side, so when I flip, they are pretty strudy and mostly cooked through.
I do not have an egg replacement I can pass on confidently, though I have had decent luck with one large overripe banana mashed with 2 Tbsp. flaxmeal in their place. However, VERY delicate.
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup almond milk or whatever milk you use
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. avocado or melted coconut oil or ghee, plus more for cooking
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- pinch of salt
Into a blender, combine all of the ingredients. Run it until combined, about 30 seconds. This can also be done by hand, mix all the wet ingredients first, then mix in the dry to combine. Let the mixture hydrate for a minute.
Warm a skillet over medium heat. Use ghee or coconut oil to grease the pan. Make small, 3″ pancakes. Cook them most of the way on one side, about 2 minutes, flip, and cook for another minute. Transfer to your plate. I like mine with plain coconut yogurt, berries and maple. Garnish as you wish!
I’ve been having quite a lot of fun playing around with different Instant Pot recipes over the past few months, but one recipe has emerged as a breakout. It’s the one that keeps my Instant Pot on my counter instead of under it. You ready? It’s the hummus from Melissa Clark’s Dinner in an Instant. I find myself making it once or twice a week (no joke!). Because, who doesn’t need nearly effortless containers of hummus in their refrigerator all week?
The recipe yields a silky, smooth hummus, and once you nail the method, the variations you can do are endless. I love to take it in different directions, and the version you see photographed here is fortified with a couple generous handfuls of spinach. I’ll also including notes related to a few other favorite variations down below as well. Because, as much as I love classic, straight-forward hummus, I also like to make an herb version, a spinach hummus, there’s a beet version, and (pictured here) berbere spiced hummus – maybe my favorite version yet?!. It goes on and on.
Melissa uses some interesting techniques here, and it results in a beautifully smooth, billowy hummus – without having to peel each individual chickpea! I think the biggest positive impact on the texture comes from making an ice watery paste with tahini, garlic, and lemon juice, and then working in the chickpeas from there.
Berbere Hummus (pictured above): The version pictured here is flared out with berbere, a spice blend typical to Ethiopia and Eritrea. I like the berbere recipe in Josef Centeno’s Baco cookbook. But if you don’t have it, google around for another version online. To make the berbere-accented hummus, add 1 tablespoon (or more to taste!) of berbere spice to the blender with the other ingredients. Also, sprinkle on top of the hummus, after drizzling with olive oil.
Beet Hummus: throw a small, peeled (yellow, orange, or red) beet or two into the pot long with the chickpeas, and proceed with recipe. Alternately, you can add the beet raw to the blender.
Herby Miso Hummus: Add a dollop of this wintery miso paste to the blender,
Turmeric-soaked Chickpeas with Yuzu and Black Pepper Hummus: I’ll post my technique for these chickpeas soon (working on it!), I season that hummus with a generous splash of yuzu juice, you can find alongside Japanese ingredients on occasion in well-stocked grocery stores. Also, lots of freshly ground black pepper.
If you don’t have an instant pot, you can still use these ideas, just start with cooked (canned will work) chickpeas. Also, for reference, this is the Instant Pot I used for this recipe: Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1
With a texture that’s an interesting mix of tender and chewy, Pacific razor clams are a lot bigger and meatier than the bivalves you’re likely to see tossed with spaghetti or served on the half-shell. Learn how to clean and prepare these regional delicacies, and—if you’re in the Northwest and feeling adventurous—how to harvest them yourself.