Sunday, July 31, 2011

Coconut Curry with Jicama and Chick Peas

I'm still feeling energetic and loosing weight from my Spring Whole Foods Detox. One of the easiest tricks on my 30 Day Detox was a bean and rice challenge. We started by soaking dry beans overnight. Any dry bean, just not a mixture of beans. Use one variety of bean at a time. I picked garbanzos. There were a ton in the pot. Make sure you add enough water. This photo has one less inch of water than needed. I should have used a larger dutch oven to boil the beans. Chick Peas are great in curry and this is the best way to know they are fresh and gas free. Yes, I just said gas free.

Bring your water, beans and a few bay leaves to a boil. The bay leaves help remove the gas from the beans.

When the beans just start to boil a white foam begins to form. Let the beans come to a roiling boil.

Skim this foam off and discard in the sink or the gas will stay in the beans and that is so not a good plan. Do not add salt. Simply boil the beans for 20-40 minutes or until soft. You do not want an undercooked bean.

Skim off any remaining foam in the first moments of boiling. Let the beans cool and measure out 2-3 cups in storage ziplock bags. Lay flat in the freezer and pull out the beans when you need. Chick peas are great for hummos too.  

When living in DC and working at Restaurant Nora, one of my favorite splurge lunch meals was the Thai Chicken Curry at Teaism. It's one of those crave-able meals that I dream about on occasion. It's made with coconut milk, green beans, carrots, chicken and jicama.  I had a few recipes that called for jicama and picked one up at the grocery store for the first time ever. Jicama is a root vegetable that has the texture of an apple or pear without the sweetness. To prepare it, cut off both ends, like you would to peel an onion. Take a pairing knife and peel the skin as seen above until all the rough skin is removed.

Cut the round edges so the jicama is square in shape. Slice into big pieces and julienne in long strips.

Coconut Curry with Jicama and Chick Peas

vegan, gluten free

(2) tablespoons of coconut oil (olive oil is a good substitute) 
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
(2) tablespoons of curry powder

Add all of the above in a dutch oven beginning with the coconut oil, onion/pepper and powder last. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until onions are soft and you can smell the curry.

(4) cups pre-cooked, non-frozen chick peas (I'm sure you could use frozen too but didn't want to risk it being to watery.)
1/2 cup coconut flakes (non-sweetened)
(1) can coconut milk, shake it

Cook for 10-20 minutes on medium heat making sure you don't burn the coconut milk mixture.

Add the jicama
(1) tablespoon of Celtic Sea Salt

Serve over brown rice.

You can add peas, green beans, carrots or any other vegetable your heart desires. I have even added a can of chopped tomatoes. If there isn't enough liquid feel free to add a little bit of vegetable broth. I added another tablespoon of curry because I love curry. You could also use a dash of dried wasabi powder if you want a spicier kick. It killed E. that we couldn't have this dish for dinner that night but it is the perfect lunch meal with a balance of fat, protein and complex carbohydrates that Kasia drilled into us during our Detox. So I packed up our lunches and let the flavors marry overnight. My husband emailed me Monday afternoon saying, "Your curry...was amazing. Better than Teaism. Way better." Makes my heart happy.

So what do you do with the remaining jicama? Use it in a salad. I made a simple balsamic vinaigrette, had a perfectly ripe avocado and tossed these items all together for a perfect summer salad. Add fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime to finish. This is the perfect Kasia dinner, free of carbs if you are looking to loose weight.

Thank you jicama! You are a funky little root vegetable that evokes  such a strong food memory every time I speak your name. Teasim, thank you too for being such a restful, soulful place in the middle of Dupont Circle. It was great going back after nine years, ordering the same menu item that tasted exactly the same. You rock.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tranquil Tuesday: Never Let Me Go

I just started this book for my August book club. It's starting slow so I went to find a review and watch a few trailers to inspire me. Do you get motivated to read a book when you know you could rent the movie? E. and I went to see the last Harry Potter movie this past weekend only to realize that I don't even own the last book of the series. I now remember that I didn't want to get the book so I could savor it over the next few years. We also realized that we didn't see the second to last HP movie. We were all mixed up but had a great weekend renting the first part of the Deathly Hallows and seeing the second in the theatre. I'm sad the movies are over, but so excited to have a book to read at Christmas. I love reading HP on the train to New York or cuddled in front of a fire. 

Never Let Me Go (Movie Tie-In Edition) (Vintage International)
Click to purchase

I will cuddle myself in front of the air conditioner and dive into this very curious and intriguing story. Read the New York Times review for motivation or watch the trailer.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bay Ridge, Bay Ridge, Bay Ridge

Remember how cool and humidity free Memorial Day Weekend was here in the Mid-Atlantic this year? Yesterday was 106 degrees at 6 p.m. in Baltimore. I'd like to take a trip backwards to remember that fun weekend (and finally post these great shots). We needed a reconnection with our sweet friends in Annapolis and spent an afternoon with them at Bay Ridge.

The Overmyer's were my family away from family as I was "growing up" in DC. Melissa was my Bible study leader. I learned so much about the Bible from her and love her like a sister. They invited me on a wonderful 12 day vacation in Hawaii over Christmas in 2004. I met the girls when May was 5, Lilly 7 and Emma was 9. They were little. It's amazing to see how much they have all changed in three short years. Daisy is now 4 and Emma is going to college next year. I love this photo. It is so Christmas card worthy as everyone is smiling and actually looking at the camera. It represents them perfectly.

Annapolis is a hamlet for all who visit. I have to do a post on their home. Dale is an architect and Melissa was a graphic designer in her work life. Their home was featured in Coastal Living a few years ago. It is easiest explained as Hawaiian Shabby Chic. One bedroom has a hula shirt canopy bed, and her mother's pink gingham nightgown acts as the curtain. There is a hammock on their wrap around porch, updated bright linoleum floor tiles in the bathrooms and kitchen, and a fabulous bay window with dozens of vintage bark cloth pillows. It is simply the coolest home. But even better is that it is absolutely so relaxing and the furthest thing from stuffy. We even made up a song about Bay Ridge.

The Bay House also has a ton of surf, skate and wake boards, boats, skis, creeks, pools and beaches to choose from. Melissa hosted a wedding shower retreat where many of my girlfriends stayed the night for the best slumber party of my adult life. They also have a working disco ball in their living room and encourage you to push back the bamboo sofas and hula hoop inside! I know. They are just the MOST FUN EVER!!!

We were greeted with high pitched screams when we drove into the weeping willow draped driveway this lovely day in May. 

Daisy didn't remember us. She was wading around half naked at our engagement party in Georgetown, that Melissa and Dale also hosted for us, four years ago. 

It was wonderful to be around their energy and athletic spirit. They are so active and love to play together. Dale taught me how to surf in Hawaii and knows I'm a bit scare-dee cat when it comes to speed. He was the coach I referenced in the Asbury post about Oahu. He's been patiently trying to teach me to wind surf and surf surf for years. Thanks Dale!

We spent the afternoon on the Bay tubing and having fun on the jet ski.

We watched the fun from the dock.

Got our first sun of the season.

Enjoyed great smiles and laughter.

Oh how I adore and love these girls to pieces.

E. took the lead and we headed out for a fun and fast ride.

I have issues with not being in control and was convinced he would throw momma from the train.

I must have told him to slow down seventy times. It was a blast and I should have just hushed my face. He's an excellent captain.

It was such a treat enjoying time not working or commuting. We are really trying to take more time to relax this summer.

May May showed off her paddling skills.

Dale was the expert while Mel was learning how to text on her flip phone.

I think Daisy was chanting, "Faster, Faster."

A Bay Ridge tradition to kick off the summer is to jump from the top of the dock sign. The dock master was not too psyched about this act of bravery. E. and I headed into Annapolis after our quick afternoon visit to enjoy our first date night in weeks. We ate at Lemongrass outside on the coolest evening. We walked down the street to have dessert and coffee at 49 West. We've spent many an afternoon cuddled up with our travel Scrabble board and coffee at this cool spot. We lucked out and got an outdoor patio seat and enjoyed the people watching. 

I'm so thankful that we had such a nice visit with you wonderful O's. I found something for you in Asbury Park that fits perfectly at the Bay House. Can't wait for another visit soon. Love all of your faces to bits and bits. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Asbury Park: Bike Church

Eric and I have been speaking about getting bikes for a few months. We even have bike racks on our new car, fondly nicknamed the Somaru (Somerville + Subaru). We asked Betsy, at the Asbury Ocean Beach Inn, if she knew of a place we could shop for bikes. Her face lit up and she suggested that we must go to the Bike Church.

Betsy offered to introduced us to Kerri Martin, the woman behind the dream of this mission. The space was a tiny bit tricky to find on Main Street in Asbury Park, only because there is no parking in front of the store front. We were so happy for the introduction and guidance from our sweet innkeeper Betsy Old. Second Life Bikes' mission is to get more people on bikes, and help re-purpose old bikes instead of discarding them. 

The space felt like an art instillation. Kerri said it started out as a small dream in a church basement. People started bringing bikes by to donate and then it just grew until she needed to expand. It is now a for profit shop that teaches youth how to fix and reassemble older bikes and then sells them.

I hope you can get an idea of how wonderful this place is from these photos.

This tandem reminds me of a story of a cute gay couple who are lobbying to change the name tandem to Mandem.

Do you remember your first bike?

My banana seat was sparkly like this one. It was blue and white with streamers. I will never forget the feeling of finally getting the hang of riding a bike and loosing my training wheels on the alley of Glenwood Hill in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I can hear the bell chime now.

Another idyllic childhood memory was at a place called Sandy Mandy. All the neighborhood kids with dirt bikes spent hours going around and around this small trail. It had jumps and sand pits. I remember my brother would spend hours there with his best bud Jimmy. We could play outside for hours without the fear that someone was going to abduct us back then. A bike gave us all freedom before having our license.

There were two bikes ready for purchase when we arrived at Second Life Bikes. They were inundated with requests over the Fourth of July weekend. I was seriously considering this killer cruiser for only $70.00. The issue however is that our Baltihood is hilly. Stone Hill really is on a physical hill and we see the bikers climbing Chestnut on our drive home, huffing and puffing. I need at least three gears and would love hand breaks. So this lovely gem had to stay in Asbury Park.

You can read the process on the "How to Buy a Bike" poster. 

Everyone who worked with Kerri was beaming with pride. 

This young man was putting training wheels on a bike.

There were many bikes to admire and this one was brand new.

You could tell that Kerri had a quiet calm and patience when working with her proteges.  

If you are in Asbury Park, you must make at trip to Second Life Bikes.

Thanks for the tour Kerri and for letting me take so many photos. You are a gem and it was fantastic being in your presence. Anyone on the Jersey Shore need to donate their old bike? Call or email  Kerri.