White Kimchi with Pear & Fennel

Inspired by the fermenting demo at 610 Magnolia with Chef Edward Lee, I made this white kimchi with pear and fennel within days of returning home from the IACP conference in Louisville. It’s loosly based on the recipe from Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee.

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Salmon Poke at home

As previously mentioned in my last post on the UCLA writers program, I ate poke from Sweetfin everyday. One day I also ate it at The Poke Bar (no beating around the bush)- . Also very good but I liked the base of kelp noodles at Sweetfin… and the name.

My poke bowl

salmon-poke-8It’s not like poke is a terribly new thing. It’s been a Hawaiin staple for ions and it often appears on Japanese restaurant menus . Read what Seattle Eater has to say and follow to their site for poke findings in Seattle.

“Poke comes from the Hawaiian word for “to slice or cut,” and most commonly uses ahi tuna as its base, but it can include any fish, crustacean, or even land animal. Poke is often drizzled in sesame and sometimes gains a savory flavor from inamona, a relish of Hawaiian native kukui nut (candlenut), macadamia nuts, sesame seeds, and other seasonings.”

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Happy New Year

Finally. Your new year probably started a couple weeks ago. But our first week felt like a hiatus between the lines of time. Now we are looking ahead at travel plans to NYC for the Gift fair. Excited to get back on track with yoga and exercise… you know that momentum of righteous resolution. After days of barely having any appetite my buds re-calibrated post holiday to not needing so much sweet and I already dropped my holiday mid waist luggage.

We nursed a gnarly flu with the following arsenal… This is how we do it.

herb pharm herb blend Herb pharm echinacea goldenseal blend. I’ll take this 2-3x day

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kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs

So this is far from Irish… but I’m not so on top of the calendar:)
Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-8Spring is so near I can practically touch it. The sun and cold do their dance like a strip tease that excites and taunts. You don’t know what’s coming next. I picked delicate new spinach and arugula leaves from plants in the greenhouse creating a bed for my baked salmon lunch today. This first minimal picking sparked a little excitement for the coming growing season. What I realize too, is I don’t mind the winter break and it almost takes a strong nudge to get me in the growing mood. Fresh garden food does not arrive without somebody’s hard work. My first little seeds, planted last weekend will become the seedlings for the first of spring planting. Brassica’s, lettuces, peas… the tomatoes and peppers will grow longer in the glass house.

What we relied on this winter besides store bought veggies was our fermented foods.

Kimchi @wendyellenthomas.com

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new york 2/14… first part

I left Seatac airport over two hours late last Friday, due to the arrival plane’s mechanical difficulties. Under the notion I’d be spending the night in Chicago, IL left me a) disappointed to think I wouldn’t even have time to make it downtown for a look around and b) that I truly wished to have a dash more enthusiasm for the Super Bowl in which case I could have at least been able to partake in the mass craze of blue and green jerseys and paraphernalia. Go Seahawks… and we all now know they did.

Flying out of Seattle and over the mountains…

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com

Incredible patterns we never consider when we are within them. Such a different perspective.

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Turkey Kebabs & Glass Noodle Salad… you heard me right.

Turkey Kebabs & Glass Noodle Salad… you heard me right.

I know what you are thinking… what is it with this chick and the glass noodles? People, I could eat these everyday. I think I must have been Vietnamese in a past life. Or Thai. My palette extends pretty far and wide but I find that when I’m trying to eat healthy, I could add cilantro and/or mint, basil, ginger and garlic and a squirt of fish sauce to just about everything. And I’m thinking the thai chili sauce isn’t so bad either. And I would rather not hear anything contradictory to that warm fuzzy feeling I have about it.

But first, the turkey kebabs…

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Chicken Soup with Glass Noodles

Chicken Soup with Glass Noodles

We enjoyed another light meal this week of chicken soup with glass noodles. We’ve had a few more smoothies, which I must mention because I forgot to put a couple photos on the last post. The smoothie and a very moving one of a glass of water with a lemon slice- don’t fret, I’ll add it too.  After pushing ‘publish’ last time, I had that sneaky little feeling I’d rushed it. I’m sure others have lingered in that moment. I re-read the post and thought, no  it’s looks complete… until this morning during our weight class at the gym. The one I actually like but still can’t wait to finish… the one that I’ve NOT done in TOO long so I’m having to pause after every sentence I type to let my arms rest…the one I tend to day dream through. This was when two photos flashed before my eyes. I was like dammit janet, you forgot those two photos yesterday. How these thoughts, memories float to the surface of the conscious, is beyond me. I have recently read some very interesting articles concerning some of the intricacies of how the brain works. Here are a couple from the NYTimes-

The Brain On Love and The Brain On Fiction

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Sushi for St Patty

Sushi for St Patty

We strayed far from a traditional St. Patty’s Day meal. No cornbeef. No colcannon. No Guinness chocolate cake… although that’s definitely on my list. No green or otherwise beer. We had an evening at the sauna, and Irish meals after an evening of swimming and sweating, I do not crave. Sushi on the other hand, like spring rolls, is perfect. Having filled my luck quota this weekend with the coincidental green liner and napkin under the last round of cupcakes meant no tuna for us on Saturday. I literally was behind the man who bought the last tuna steak at our fish monger. The tuna I had imagined, during my twenty minute wait, spicing up with chili oil and mayo. The tuna I would place next to sweet mango and avocado. I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking tuna for St Patricks Day.  I’ve honestly never made sushi without fresh tuna. We still enjoyed fresh salmon, smoked salmon, shrimp and tofu.

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Hot Sauna & Cold Spring Rolls

Hot Sauna & Cold Spring Rolls

We had a nice evening at the Blankenese Pool and Sauna this week. You’ll have to go to the link as I couldn’t hijack any images to show. We started with a few laps in the 25 meter pool to stretch out. Whether alone or surrounded by excited children, we always enjoy this beautiful floor to ceiling windowed, light filled  building. France too has wonderful pools throughout the city but Germans really prioritize health through hydrotherapy and wellness centers. One can even take an insurance paid ‘wellness’ trip.

Followed by a swim we head to the steam room a little before 5.30pm to get warmed up. I like to open those dirty, clogged pores that I’ve been slathering with creams and oils to fight the cold weather. We breath in humid, steamy air while we wait for the attendant to come with little bowls of salt.

Armed with salt, we scrub that layer of dead skin with little remorse .. the bodies largest organ of elimination (the skin) rewards us feeling as silky as a baby’s butt. Each of us have a go at our own bodies, and O and I finish doing each other’s backs. We sit on little face cloth sized towels in a small room and I do my best to remain silent. The salt pulls beads of sweat out of our skin and we are soon seriously dripping. If we time it right, little pots of honey are offered next. I could do this every week. Great stuff.

I’ll mention here, there are a few beauty care pieces I’ve yet to pull together in this country. For instance, I wanted to ask the lady who entered the steam room just after us, where she gets her bikini wax but a) it’s hard to get the right words out in German and b) it might leave her feeling a bit hesitant to take the last seat on the tiled bench next to me. So I didn’t. I’ve really learned to think before speaking since living here. This has been a very positive lesson for me. Normally I am a serious/funny kind of a female wise cracker and it doesn’t always work… in English. And forget it in German.  Click here if you want to read about my first and only waxing experience… Wax on wax off- an experience. This is optional reading… not just something you want to accidentally scroll to at the bottom of the page.

Let’s continue…Next is the main hot dry sauna. Each hour there is a special aroma and steam procedure. Citrus, eucalyptus, lemongrass. I was one of three women and eleven men sitting naked and close together. Large, thin, hairy backs,  all shapes and sizes but nobody cares. We had a chamomile/ elderflower mix. These guys do an ausbildung(internship/training) for this… Most German people who don’t attend University will complete an internship in something, even if you work at the grocery store. I’ve only seen men doing this job. They come in with towel skirts or shorts and scoop scented water onto the hot coals, then wave and snap a towel (not the one on their waist). The scented heat wafts across my face. I cover it with my hands, feel the heat, breath deeply and concentrate on nothing. Sometimes, ice chips are offered. I eat them and hold them against the souls of my feel and back of my neck, feeling them instantly melt.

In the fifteen minutes, that had felt like sixty, I had moved from the third step to the first.  Heart rates up, we exit with the sauna guy. We head to the showers and choose warm, ice cold or my favorite, the rain cycle. A mix of warm and cool water that varies between a pitter patter and pelting against my skin. With skin washed, we don our robes, take an apple or grape juice, sometimes a tea over to the lounge chairs and rest. I try to focus on a mantra.. om nama shivaya… instead of writing this post. But I also try not to fight my thoughts. I try to let them flow through. If I say the mantra in my head I can stop thinking for a few minutes and I feel relief.

We relaxed here for a good 30-40 minutes. Sometimes we go for a second round but that night Chloe was at home on her own and had been on a bike ride, or so I thought. I’m a bit of a paranoid and since we couldn’t be reached by phone – I was not 100% relaxed. So we called it a night and headed home for spring rolls, green salad and quinoa salad.

I used rice paper, glass noodles, napa cabbage, red cabbage, orange and purple carrots, red and yellow peppers, cilantro, mint and basil.

Here’s the process of dipping the rice paper in warm water. The trick is getting it wet and elastic but not over doing it or it cracks. These photos were taken by Chloe 🙂

Swish it around in the water then carefully let the excess water drip off. Then I lay it on a stone tile or a plate would work.

I’ve got all my very thinly sliced veggies, cooked shrimp, rice noodles and herbs ready to fill the wraps. I start with the shrimp and mint leaves. Honestly though, sometimes I forget the order between the one hundred and twenty seconds it takes from one roll to the next. Like this one for instance, I put the mint on first and didn’t notice till processing my picks…

Then some cooked glass noodles…

Your veggies, cilantro and basil….Thai basil is the best here but couldn’t find any this day.

Now we begin to roll. I pull the ends up on each side…

Then fold the side closest to me up…

Tuck it in and roll…

Roll it as tight as you can without busting the wrapper. This might take one or two practice rolls…

Here’s what you’ll have on the inside… note shrimp coming out. These were my rolls shot the next day as I ran out of good light. They still tasted great but the wrapper degrades a little. They are a super lunch though. You want to wrap them tight in plastic wrap to store.

These were so much fun to take photos of and edit. Glorious color. Think of all the vitamins!

I eat them with thai chili sauce… I could drink the stuff. love it so much.

Ok last one… probably..

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