Filtering by Tag: recipe

Rice Pudding, Revisited

My first-ever post on this blog, almost exactly three years ago, was for rice pudding - a recipe I had taken directly from a cookbook and proceeded to ruin. I posted it anyway, imploring my imaginary readers to "not mess it up like I did." Oh, me.  

I suppose I posted it (despite its flaws) because I don't really care for exact science (measuring, temperatures, what have you) when it comes to food, nor do I care when things aren't perfect. I just don't think anyone has time for that, frankly. "Good enough" is actually pretty good.

Part of my philosophy when I coach cooking students is to help them get out of their heads and have FUN, without feeling enslaved by recipes. I do recognize, though, that there's a baseline skill and comfort level that has to be achieved before this can happen. 

One of the biggest building blocks you can understand - something that will help you for the rest of your life - is learning about why balanced foods taste good and how to correct your dish if it's tilted too far one way or another. As chefs, we look for the magic spot where lightness meets dark, where sweetness meets salt, where crunch meets silk, where acid meets fat. It's the slaw brightening the pulled pork, the herbs grazing your meaty stew, the cool yogurt on your spicy daal. It's salt and lemons. 

Anyway - in honor of 3 years of hosting dinner parties under an official moniker, here's another rice pudding recipe. It's a more interesting and healthful version of sticky rice and mango, if you're a fan of that.

Coconut and Persimmon BREAkfast rice with Cashews and Lime


In a small pot, measure 1 cup of white rice (basmati or jasmine are both fine). Add 1 can of coconut milk, one cup of mylk (pick your favorite - I used almond), and a big pinch of salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower your heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Note: feel free to use brown rice, but you'll need an additional cup of liquid and more time to cook. 

Your rice will be wet, but that's good. In fact, you might want to add even more mylk to loosen it up if it gets dry. It's not a pudding, per se, but more like pappy soft breakfast rice. 

While your rice is cooking, dice your fuyu persimmon. Make sure to use the crunchy, squat fuyus - hachiyas are soft and very tannic (I'm not a fan). Squeeze lime over the persimmon generously, tossing to cover. 

Chop ~1/3 cup of cashews roughly. In a 325* oven or in a pan over low heat, toast the cashews until light brown. 

In a bowl, serve a generous scoop of coconut rice and top with limey persimmons and cashews. Drizzle raw honey generously over everything, and sprinkle with finely chopped lemon balm, bee balm, or mint. 

Not Gloppy Clam Chowder

I'm the granddaughter of a fisherman from Newfoundland - North America's easternmost crag; a weather-worn island that, once upon a time, teemed with cod. Cod and...well, not much else. It's so freakin' cold in Newfoundland that salt cod (dried and salted fish), potatoes, and cabbage were often the only thing on hand. No wonder the people there make such damn good soup - it's all you can do with such meager offerings. I'm lucky enough to have a soup master of a mother who taught me all secrets to making something out of nothin'. It's a thing in my family. Almost genetic, let's say.

Here in the bay, fish chowder is also a thing - a gloppy thing of the clam variety, beige and uniform and doled out to the foreign masses at Fisherman's Wharf.

Needless to say, as a product of Canada and a San Francisco Bay Area resident, I have some thoughts and feelings about clam chowder. Unfortunately, many tourists to our fair city eat this glop-in-a-bread bowl without knowing how incredibly SUBLIME a really good bowl of chowder can be.

That's why, when Airbnb asked me to host an authentic San Francisco experience for a bunch of travelers from around the world, I decided to make them some. And thus, the Canadian girl fed the weary travelers this nourishing potion, each precious element floating in a gold- and green-flecked broth, not at all homogeneous or beige, and it did not glop, and it did not gloop, and it was good. Amen.

Not Gloppy Newfie Clam Chowder

Ok, first things first: you're going to need some good fish stock. You can buy this from most fish mongers or nice grocery stores - just make sure it's made in house and fresh or frozen, not from a tetrapak. You can also make it:

Making Fish Stock:

Most fish counters will have bones available if you ask. The best ones are non-oily white fish - I usually use halibut, but cod and bass work too. Take your fish bones (you can use fish heads, too - but not gills) and rinse them well before cooking.

In a big pot, melt a half stick of butter and add 2 finely chopped leeks (make sure to rinse them well; they're gritty) and two finely chopped carrots. You can also use a few chopped celery stocks, or replace the leeks with onion. Stock is hella flexible like that :)

Cook the vegetables (this particular combo is called mirepoix in French and is the base of many a tasty thing) for 5-10 minutes, or until they start taking on a little color and are soft. Add your fish bones and sweat for another 5 minutes. Add a good lonnnnnng splash of white wine - probably at least a cup, and let everything come to a boil. Cover the bones with water and toss in some herbs - a few bay leaves, some parsley stems and leaves, some peppercorns, some thyme if you have it.

Bring to a simmer - not a boil. Boiling fish stock will make it cloudy and possibly a bit bitter. Let it simma' for about 45 minutes. Yep - that's it! Unlike chicken or beef broth, it doesn't have to cook for hours upon hours. When it's done, add salt to taste.

PRO TIP: If you put your pot a little off the burner, any weird stuff that's floated to the top will float to the side of the pot, making it easier to scoop it out and clarify everything.

Ok! Now that you're a fish stock expert...

The Soup

  • 2-3 pounds of clams - preferably littleneck - about 25 clams
  • 1/2 LB pork lardons (or chopped bacon)
  • dry white wine
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 head of celery, chopped into 1/4in pieces
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
  • two large potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • fish stock
  • 2 bottles of clam juice
  • Optional: 1 can baby clams
  • 1 cup cream
  • ~ 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • salt & pepper

First, wash and scrub your clams. Place in a big pot with 1/2 inch of water at the bottom and bring to a boil. Remove from heat after 3-4 minutes - clams should be open. Discard any dead ones that didn't open. Line a sieve with cheesecloth or a paper towel and drain clams over a bowl, saving juice and clams but leaving any gritty bits trapped in the paper towel (no one likes sandy food!). Set aside.

Heat a big pot over medium and throw in bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally until all of the fat has rendered out and the bits are dark golden brown. Remove half of the bacon and set aside. Add onion to pot and stir - splash with a bit of white wine to get brown bits off the bottom and keep things from burning. Continue cooking onion until soft. Add more wine - at least a cup - but save some for yourself to drink. Let it boil for a minute or two, and add celery, potatoes, thyme, and about 4-5 cups stock. Bring to a simmer and let cook until potatoes get soft (about 8 minutes).

Bring down to a low heat and add clams and clam juice (reserved from steaming and/or jarred), cream, corn, and salt to taste (you will likely need a fair amount). Cook gently for at least five minutes, but do not bring to a boil.

To serve: cut the top off a small sourdough round of bread and use your fingers to rip out its guts. Brush lightly with oil or melted butter and toast on low until it's kinda crunchy. Ladle soup into bread bowl and top with chopped chives and reserved crispy bacon. You can use parsley, too - I did! Enjoy.

This recipe is in honor of my Oppy, who I have to thank for this fish chowder and for my long skinny legs.

This recipe is in honor of my Oppy, who I have to thank for this fish chowder and for my long skinny legs.

Recipe: Dangmyeon Noodle Soup with Chickweed, Nasturtium, and Gomasio


I really want to tell you about these noodles. They are slippery but not slimy; silver gray and opalescent; perfectly round, chewy, and slurp-able. They are better than rice noodles. That's big.



I used a couple of neighborhood weeds in this soup - and they are quite pretty - but the noodles are the star. They are sweet potato vermicelli, also known as Korean glass noodles, and available at any Korean or Asian food market. I happen to have such a market in the neighborhood; if you don't, Amazon is your friend.

Dangmyeon noodles are most commonly used in a delicious stir fry dish called Japchae. If you'd like to try making it, check out this adorable video (thanks for sharing, mom). Like rice noodles, though, these are super adaptable to whatever you want to throw on them. In this case, I had some chicken stock brewing on the stove, some wilting chard in the fridge, a half an avocado, and some neighborhood weeds.

Dangmyeon Noodle Soup

Prep your toppings: I used a ragtag assortment of greens, but almost any veggie would be nice. In this case - quickly sauteed chard with some garlic and lime juice, Thai basil, chickweed (literally a weed that grows all over my neighborhood and tastes real nice), nasturtium for a peppery kick, some avocado, some gomasio (or furikake), and a few lime wedges. If you don't want to eat weeds or don't know where to find them, cilantro, green onions, and mint would all be nice. Same goes for other sauteed greens, carrots, roasted yams, corn...if you've got it, try it. No limits, I tell you!

Bring a pot of water to simmer and add an egg to boil After six minutes, remove and run under some cold water. Set aside.

Bring the water back to a boil and add a half bunch (handful) of dangmyeon noodles as well as a heavy pinch of salt. Boil for 1 minute, stir a bit to make sure they don't stick together, and cover to boil for another 6-7 minutes (or until they are soft and chewy). Remove, drain, and divide into bowls (or, you know, just put it all in your biggest single person bowl like I did).

Top with desired toppings, including the egg, which you will have cut in half and gently spooned out.

For the broth:

Bring chicken or vegetable stock (or water) to a boil and add some ginger chunks. Reduce heat and let simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Add a heaping spoonful of miso and a generous squirt of gochujang (Korean spicy fermented paste...sriracha is an acceptable substitute) and stir to combine. This broth is in no way authentic, it's just what I made that day.

Pour broth over eager ingredients and slurp loudly.

Recipe: Coconut Chia Pudding with Hibiscus Rhubarb Compote

Coconut Chia Pudding with Hibiscus Rhubarb Compote.

Coconut Chia Pudding with Hibiscus Rhubarb Compote.

This is the easiest recipe.

Combine 1 can full-fat coconut milk with 1/4 cup chia seeds and a splash of vanilla extract. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

In a saucepan, gently cook 1/2 lb rhubarb with 1/4-1/2c sugar (to taste) and 1/2 cup very strong hibiscus tea (made by steeping at least a half cup of hibiscus flowers with a full half cup of boiling water; let steep for 5-10 minutes and strain into rhubarb).

Top chia pudding with fruit compote and sprinkle with toasted coconut (if desired).

Weird tip: I actually eat hibiscus flowers after they're steeped. They have a weird seaweed texture that I dig. 

Ottolenghi's Lentils with Asparagus & Watercress (boosted!)

I'm just returning from ten days off the grid at Camp Grounded, a magical place where adults disconnect to reconnect. Ten days of play, music, deeply spiritual conversations, leaning into discomfort, great food, dancing, and commune with the California redwoods - what a blessing! Above this scene, the moon waxed until she reached a glorious fullness on the very last night - a fullness I too felt.

Back at home, I've been allowing myself to slip back into my tech-fueled reality slowly - sipping, not gulping; cooking meals for myself and going to bed early each night.

Here is a recipe I found in Ottolenghi's Plenty - one of the humble ones without a picture, filling only a half page. I made it as part of a private dinner for the recruiting team at Airbnb, choosing it for the watercress, which I am convinced will be the next kale (it's far more nutritious), and for the asparagus, which is nearing the end of its season. The next day, the leftovers (with a few boosts) made a complete meal - the simple, nutritious, one bowl kind I'm totally satisfied with these days.


Wash one cup of green lentils (I used de puy lentils) in fresh water and pick over for any small stones. Cover lentils in a small pot with water and bring to a boil, reducing heat to simmer and cooking for 15-25 minutes (time will depend on what type of lentils you use). They should hold their shape.

While the lentils cook, pulse 2 cups of watercress (big stems removed) with one big handful of parsley, a half cup or so of olive oil, a big swig of red wine or sherry vinegar, one garlic clove, and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper in a blender.

When lentils are done, drain them (don't rinse) and return to pot. Pour watercress dressing over the lentils while they're still hot and mix together.

Snap the woody ends off one bunch of asparagus and either sear them in a super hot pan or blanch them in boiling salted water (3-4 minutes tops).

Mix asparagus and 2 more cups of watercress into lentils. Salt to taste (you will need it).

This salad is wonderful with pecorino or manchego grated over it. I did so and also added a half cup of quick pickled shallots, some chopped toasted walnuts, and sliced avocado. A drizzle of walnut oil (if it's available) and a squeeze of lemon take it over the top.

Eat mindfully.


Coconut Cardamom Cashew Brittle

Fondly referred to as "CoCoCaCa," this brittle has become a favorite of my friends and family who receive it in their holiday boxes. 


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and rub some butter all over it. 

Have your ingredients measured out in advance - candy making goes fast! And be careful. Sugar burns are uncomfortable, to say the least. 

In a small bowl, combine: 

2 Tb butter
1.5 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda

In another bowl, combine:

1 cup dry roasted cashews
1 cup unsweetened coconut; lightly toasted

Set both bowls aside. In a heavy-bottomed medium or large pot (dutch oven is best), combine 2 cups of sugar,  1 cup corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water. Stir just until combined; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 335°. Remove from heat; stir in all remaining ingredients. The mixture will bubble because of the baking soda - don't freak! :) Quickly pour mixture onto prepared pan, spreading evenly. Cool completely (about 1 hour, if you can); break into pieces. Share liberally.

Recipe: Last-Minute Griddle Cakes

Sometimes I wake up on a Sunday morning with every intention of doing all the things one is supposed to do to be a member of the Responsible Grown-ups Club. I'll get to a great start - brushing my teeth and cooking eggs and making my bed. Sometimes, though - as with this last Sunday - my carefully laid plans will be interrupted - in this case, by an 11:30 ping on my phone: "brunch at noon! bring something to share!"

It only took me 2.8 seconds to decide that homemade food with friends was an infinitely better plan for the day than anything else I had on my list (showering and paying bills, for example). I let my fried eggs get cold in favor of scrapping together some last-minute baked (well, griddled) goodness. 

Luckily, brunch items are some of the easiest to throw together. Scones are my personal favorite, but having just discovered the amazing fact that my stove has a large built in grill (!!) and eager to test it out, I turned to a recipe that uses a scone-like dough but cooks it on a grill. I'm excited to report that the grill heated up super evenly and made for perfect little wholesome cakes that cooked up in a flash and were still warm when I arrived at brunch exactly 30 minutes later.

Notes: Like scones, these are infinitely adaptable. Try cardamom and dried apricots, some lemon zest and poppy seeds, or bacon and cheddar as mix-ins.

Whole Grain Welsh Griddle Cakes

(Adapted slightly from

In a large bowl, combine one cup all purpose flour with one cup spelt or whole wheat flour (I'm a huge fan of this brand which supplies sprouted whole grain flours that make tummies happy). Add 1/4-1/2 cup sugar (I like things less sweet), 2 tsp baking powder, a large pinch of salt, and a few shakes each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to blend.

Cut 4 tbs cold diced butter and 4 tbs cold lard (or 8 tbs butter if you don't love lard as I do) into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or your deft hands. Add a half cup dried fruit (currants, apricots, or cherries would be great) and the zest of one lemon. Stir in one beaten egg and enough whole milk to make the dough come together (about 1/4 cup). 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently a few times to ensure it sticks together. Roll it out until it's about a quarter inch thick and use a cookie cutter or water glass to cut it into tennis-ball-width rounds.

If you're a lucky duck like me with a griddle, heat it to 350° F. Otherwise, heat a heavy skillet over medium low. Add a little butter or lard to the surface and cook the cakes 3-5 minutes on each side or until dark golden brown. Remove and eat right away, burning your mouth with deliciousness, or wrap loosely in a towel and quickly ride across town to deliver to your hungry friends. 

(Non) Recipe: How to make shortbread without a recipe

Yours in 20 minutes - spelt and whole wheat shortbread with cumin, lemon zest, and himalayan sea salt

I have the bad habit of alienating non-cooks who compliment my food by exclaiming things like "it's so easy to make! You just make a choux paste, and you'll need some piping bags, but after that blah blah..." at which point they either feel put to shame or their eyes have turned into glacé cherries in disinterest. Social grace, where art thou?

But shortbread! It really is very easy. I mean, really. I swear. If a friend says he's dropping by in 30 minutes, you can blithely say "ok, I'll make some cookies!" and mean it because it's 1) super likely you have all the ingredients and 2) easy to scale up or down (if you just wanted 4 cookies you could do that!) and 3) they only take 20 minutes - total. Here, I've broken it down into a simple ratio that you can memorize and apply to whatever you have on hand:


  • 1 part sugar/sweetener
  • 2 parts butter - room temperature
  • 4 parts flour
  • salt to taste (more if butter is unsalted)
  • flavorings/spices

By flour, I mean any type of flour! Whole wheat, spelt, pastry - a blend of any of these - all will taste great. There are two exceptions: almond flour, which is a great GF alternative but will only need half as much butter, and bread flour, which will make a tough cookie and should be avoided. 

By sugar, I mean any sweetener - white sugar, brown sugar, sucanat, powdered sugar (which make for extra delicate cookies), or even honey will work. 

By butter, I mean any fat that's solid at room temperature: salted butter (use less salt), unsalted, lard, duck fat, or coconut oil.

By flavorings, I mean any assortment of the following (which is by no means an exhaustive list): vanilla, almond, or lemon extract, citrus zest, lavender, cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, black pepper, chopped nuts - either folded in to the dough with the flour or sprinkled on top of the cookies before baking.


Preheat your oven to 350.

In a big bowl, cream butter, sugar, and any wet add-ins. Really cream them. Cream them like you're a sixth grader who wants their 4th-grade lunch. The more you whip them, the lighter your cookies will be.

In a smaller bowl, combine flour, salt, and any dry add-ins. Slowly incorporate into wet ingredients, stirring only enough to combine. Don't overwork the dough! If you have a flour sifter, you can use it here - it will make your cookie extra tender.

With a gentle touch, gather the dough in the bowl until it's all one mass and set on a floured surface. Roll out to a cylinder as fat as you want your cookies wide.

If the dough's too soft to handle, wrap the cylinder and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up.

Slice the dough into thin (1/2 in) slices and arrange on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with any additional toppings and bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Rocket Fuel Breakfast (backpacking recipe)

Bound to get you movin' ...

Oatmeal! It's the gloppiest. When it's bad, it's so bad. 

The following is my way to make it not bad, even when it's instant oatmeal and you're out in the middle of nowhere with no fresh fruit or pats of butter to smear it with.

I developed this "recipe" (if you can call it that) to feed our group breakfast on a short backpacking trip last weekend (see: previous post). 22 miles of undulating terrain under the weight of heavy packs calls for some serious sustenance that's (in order of priority) lightweight, instant (just add water), filling, and delicious. 

I'm not much of a breakfast person (too lazy - toast is about as far as I go), but when I got home I had some leftovers of this stuff. I ate it every day this week (making more when I ran out) because - seriously - it's like rocket fuel. It's in no way low-calorie, but it's instant, delicious, and will get you through the day (whether you're hiking 10 miles or just have back-to-back meetings until 3pm). 

Rocket Fuel Oatmeal

(serves four, or one over four days!)

  • 2 cups instant oatmeal
  • 1/2c hemp hearts
  • 1/4c dehydrated milk powder
  • 1/4c coconut butter (if you can't find it, use coconut oil)
  • 1/4c dried sour cherries (or other dried fruit)
  • 1 scant tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon or ginger (optional)

Optional toppings: brown sugar, cacao nibs, roasted almonds, granola, fresh fruit


Melt your coconut butter or oil in the microwave or on the stovetop until liquid.

If you're backpacking, combine all non-topping ingredients in a ziploc gallon bag and shake. If you're pre-making breakfasts for home, combine ingredients in a bowl and portion into ziplocs (less eco-friendly) or small Tupperware containers. 

When you're ready to eat, mix oatmeal and boiling water in about equal parts and let sit for at least 5 minutes. Add toppings and enjoy!

Note: I like my oatmeal unsweetened except for fruit and love the textural contrast of topping it with crunchy granola. Try it.

Relaxing in the hot pools before hitting the trail again

Relaxing in the hot pools before hitting the trail again

Recipe: The Last of the Gazpachos

Life in San Francisco sure does screw up one's sense of the seasons - so much so that I hosted a Supper Club celebrating the beginning of summer...

...a week after Labor Day.

It's consistently sunny and warm these days (as compared to August, when I had the foggiest and coldest birthday party of my life). In fact, the only way you can really tell what season it is around here is by what's ripe at the farmer's market. Luckily, while fall's deep gems are creeping their way into the rotation, there's still plenty of summer goodies to cook up for a dinner with friends. That's just what I did last week, when I started my dinner with friends with this vegan and nearly-raw soup. While it's quite a long process to put it together, the end result is quite transcendent - it tastes like everything bright and good about summer in San Francisco. 

NOTE: This recipe will put some serious miles on your blender. Don't worry too much about a thorough cleaning after each go - I just rinsed it out (it's all being mixed together eventually anyway!)

Golden Gazpacho w. Sriracha Granita & Basil Oil

adapted from Serious Eats by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

For soup:

  • 4 pounds very ripe yellow tomatoes, cored (I used a mix of super flavorful baby tomatoes and larger heirlooms)
  • One medium cucumber, peeled & seeded
  • 1/2 pound (about 1 medium) red onion, peeled
  • 1/2 pound (about 2 medium) yellow or orange bell peppers, cores removed
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 6 ounces (about 3 slices) white sandwich, French, or Italian bread, crusts removed and set aside (no sourdough or otherwise strongly-flavored bread, but GF should work)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (white or red wine vinegar will work too)

For granita:

  • One container (about 10oz) red cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 2 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce (to taste)
  • 1 Tb tomato paste (if you don't have any, ketchup is acceptable - this is for color)

For basil oil:

  • 2 cups basil
  • 1 cup mild olive oil or grapeseed oil

Roughly chop tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and pepper into one-inch chunks. Combine with garlic and salt in a large bowl and toss to coat thoroughly. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, start on the granita:

Blend one container of red cherry tomatoes in the blender until reasonably liquidated.

In a pan, combine water, sugar, sriracha, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, pour in the tomatoes. Stir to combine and transfer to a wide bowl or baking dish (a cake pan would work well). 

Put granita into the freezer. 

Back to the soup:

Drain accumulated veggie juices into a large bowl and add the bread. Transfer the drained vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer until vegetables are frozen, about 40 min.

When the soup veggies are frozen, remove them from the freezer. While you're in there, give the granita a brisk stir with a fork. You'll want to do this every 45 minutes or so from here on out so it doesn't become one big ice block. Allow the veggies to sit at room temperature until mostly thawed, about 30 minutes (another good time to stir the granita!). Transfer vegetables and all their juices from the pan to bowl with soaked bread.

Working in batches as necessary, blend vegetables, juice, and bread at high speed, slowly drizzling olive oil and sherry vinegar into blender as it blends. Strain soup through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Gazpacho can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

By now, the soup is done and your granita is workin' on becoming icy (keep stirring it every so often!). The only part left is the most delicious - basil oil! Using your blender once again, blend the basil & oil until it's pesto-ey. Pour into a small saucepan and let it infuse over very low heat for 30-40 minutes. Using a very fine mesh filter, cheesecloth, or a coffee filter, strain basil out and reserve oil.

If you'd like croutons, crumble the bread crust you reserved earlier and fry over medium heat in basil oil until golden.

To serve, use a fork to loosen flakes of the granita and top each bowl with a spoonful. Add a few elegant squirts of the oil and a pinch of the croutons. Enjoy right away, before the ice melts and summer is over!

<3 Sophie