herb and za

Some quick thoughts and links to start the week:

1. Two beautifully written books are a must for fans of food memoirs. Over the weekend, I finished Three Many Cooks by my friends Pam, Maggy and Sharon. It’s a gorgeous look at the role that food has played in their lives. These stories, all of them written with honesty and a generous dose of humor, have given me so much insight into their backgrounds. Similarly, Ashley Rodriguez’s book, Date Night In, shows that cooking and eating (and drinking) can strengthen one’s relationship with their partner. Each contain wonderful recipes that reflect their passion for cooking for the ones they love.

2. For some non-food related reading, I highly recommend last year’s The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. Growing up in a predominantly white, middle-class neighborhood, my knowledge of what it was like living in the poorer areas of New Jersey came from what I saw on the news. This book paints a very detailed portrait of a young man from Orange, NJ, who would ultimately attended Yale, though it’s about so much more than that. In addition, there’s an episode of This American Life and a New York Times article that cover similar topics. Both are worth checking out.

3. This article about people allowing dogs to sleep in bed with them made me chuckle. This our life.

4. Can’t stop listening to this song. And this song.

5. We’re hooked on the new Netflix program, Chef’s Table. I’m ready to make reservations at all of these.

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  • May 4, 2015 - 9:01 am

    Julie @ Willow Bird Baking - These falafel look delicious. And thanks for the book recs! I need some new reading.ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2015 - 12:04 pm

    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - GORGEOUS falafel. Now I’m wishing we had Netflix!!!ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2015 - 9:28 pm

    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet - We love falafel! This sounds amazing!ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2015 - 10:46 pm

    Tieghan - Such incredible delicious looking falafel!! Totally love this post! Also, thanks for all the recommendations!!ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2015 - 9:51 am

    Deborah - I have never made falafel at home, but this has me realizing what a tragedy that is!ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2015 - 1:58 pm

    Helene - Hi,
    lovely recipe and lovely photo’s you have here. What camera or objectives has been used for these post?
    And what camera and objectives would you usually prefer for food photographers (and in that case upcoming food photographers)

    Love from HeleneReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2015 - 2:07 pm

    Heidi @foodiecrush - I’ve yet to see Chef’s Table, but it is on the list. As are making falafel. I’m digging your addition of zaatar. Hope you guys are well!ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2015 - 10:22 pm

    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health - i have been wanting to watch Chef’s Table, need to get on that.ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2015 - 6:38 pm

    Liren - Brian, how did you know I’ve been craving falafels? Seriously.

    Ok, I need to get on the Chef’s Table bandwagon. Is it the weekend yet? I can’t wait to park it in front of the tv and get started!ReplyCancel

  • May 7, 2015 - 6:25 am

    Joanne - Note to self: WATCH CHEF’S TABLE. Preferably while eating a huge bowl of these falafel. They look so good.ReplyCancel

  • May 12, 2015 - 4:00 am

    Links I Love #59Whatever Works - […] Les falafels c’est si bon, et vraiment pas (trop) compliqué à faire chez soi, voici donc une… […]ReplyCancel

  • May 12, 2015 - 2:57 pm

    Jeanette - Any substitutions for chickpea flour?ReplyCancel

  • May 13, 2015 - 11:09 am

    Paula - bell'alimento - I totally see a Falafel Waffle happening with this ; ) Blame Meredith.ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2015 - 8:23 pm

    Denise - I will have to tried your baked version of falafel. I have tried making once by frying and it just did not work, plus I would rather not have the fat. The mint is the perfect addition – I do the same thing, I just ruin it when frying!

    We just started Chef Table – LOVE.ReplyCancel

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl | A Thought For Food

Sushi and I have been good friends for quite a long time. My first experience consuming raw fish occurred when I was a sophomore in high school. I was spending the afternoon in New York with some pals and we ended up at a food quart with lots of options. I probably got a sandwich or a burger (this was before I became pescatarian), but someone brought a small platter of sushi to the table. We all looked curiously. What’s that?  Even as a kid, I was an adventurous eater, so when she asked me if I wanted a piece, I said, “Sure!” Without thinking too much about it, I loaded it with wasabi and soy sauce (too much of both) and stuffed the whole thing in my mouth. After my sinuses stopped burning, I was able to enjoy the subtle flavors and variety of textures in that single bite. From that moment on, I was hooked.

There are other moments in my life where sushi has played an essential role. Like my relationship with Eric. When we had our initial phone conversations about where we should go for our first date, I suggested coffee or cocktails… you know, in case we didn’t hit it off.  We agreed on a place and time and that was that. But a few days later, I got a call from him asking if I ate sushi. Yes… yes I do. Good, he said. Let’s get sushi. As we sat at the table, a boat of sashimi and nigiri before us, he said, “Just so you know, if you didn’t like sushi, I was going to break things off.” And while some people might see that as being a bit dismissive, I was right there with him. I find that people who eat sushi tend to be more open-minded, especially when it comes to food. At the time, I knew I wanted a partner who was just as passionate about food as I was. I wanted to be with someone who was willing to take risks in life. When he told me that, I knew it was meant to be. (I should also add that we named our dog, who we got just before we were married, Maki. Yup… obsessed)

Needless to say, when I came across a recipe for Ahi Tuna Poke, in Sara Forte‘s striking new book, The Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl and Spoon, I was sold on making it. The whole thing came together so easily, I had to wonder why I’d never tried it before. It’s basically a giant sushi roll bowl! Say THAT a few times. Sushi roll bowl. Sushi roll bowl. You can top it with all different kinds of veggies and make it as spicy as you’d like. Sara recommends wasabi or chili flakes, but I love the chili paste we keep stocked, so I went with that. Add to that a bit of grated ginger and garlic and a drizzle of soy and sesame oil and you have a kickin’ marinade.

If I haven’t expressed how much I adore Sara’s book (and Hugh’s pictures), let me take a moment to just say this. Buy the book. Now. The photos jump off the page, the writing tells a beautiful story, and the recipes… well, I guess that’s the most important part. These are recipes that will stand the test of time. They can be made for a big dinner party or a quick weeknight meal (I’d say this poke falls under the latter). It’s a book you keep in your kitchen… there’s endless amounts of inspiration. Again… go get the book. 
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl | A Thought For FoodAhi Tuna Poke Bowl | A Thought For Food

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl | A Thought For FoodAhi Tuna Poke Bowl | A Thought For Food

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl | A Thought For FoodAhi Tuna Poke Bowl | A Thought For Food

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl | A Thought For FoodAhi Tuna Poke Bowl | A Thought For FoodAhi Tuna Poke Bowl | A Thought For Food


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  • April 27, 2015 - 11:59 am

    Angie | Big Bear's Wife - I love sushi and I’m so glad that I got my husband into loving it too. I totally agree with you about people that eat sushi, they seem more adventuress when it comes to food. I’ve only had Ahi Tuna once in my life and after seeing this, I’m kinda kicking myself for only having it once. I’ve got to make this!ReplyCancel

  • April 27, 2015 - 12:15 pm

    naomi - This is definitely a must buy book. I just ordered it. I love their food and photography, much like yours it’s just delicious and gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • April 27, 2015 - 4:45 pm

    Jessica @ Golden Brown and Delicious - Making my own sushi has been on my bucket list for a while now. This seems like a simple, easy intro into that world. I’ll have to give this a shot!ReplyCancel

  • April 27, 2015 - 7:06 pm

    sara forte - Your pictures make it look 10x better! So beautiful. Thanks for the kind words and support, Brian. You’re the best. Hope our paths cross over fresh fish again soon 😉ReplyCancel

  • April 27, 2015 - 11:02 pm

    Tieghan - Could that tuna be any prettier?!?! Love this bowl! :)ReplyCancel

  • April 28, 2015 - 7:37 am

    bev @ bevcooks - LOVEEEEE. I’ve flipped through the book about eleventeen times and the poke bowl is at the top of the list! Now I’m a billion times more convinced I made the right decish.

    Don’t tell anyone I said decish.ReplyCancel

  • April 28, 2015 - 1:58 pm

    Rachael Cannon Hutchings - Hmmmmm, I wonder if I should buy the book? Just kidding! This looks amazing and your endorsement seals the deal!ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2015 - 5:54 pm

    Shaina - This is beyond gorgeous, just like the book it came from.ReplyCancel

  • April 30, 2015 - 10:27 pm

    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious - Stunning…I’m a huge sushi fan :)ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2015 - 6:02 am

    #DroolWorthy – The Kitchen Paper - […] Ahi tuna poke bowl. Literally my favorite food. FAVORITE! […]ReplyCancel

  • July 26, 2015 - 1:02 pm

    How To Batch Cook for the Week | That California Style - […] Dinner:  Ahi poke bowl with brown rice […]ReplyCancel

Maple, Fruit and Nut Granola // A Thought For Food

I cherish my mornings at home. One of the many pleasures of being my own boss is that I can decide how I want to start my day. There are subtle differences to each day, like whether I get myself onto the elliptical for a little workout.  The one thing that remains the same is that I take Maki out to let her do her doos. As soon as I get back, I pour myself a mug of coffee and prepare something to nibble on.  I go through phases with my breakfasts. It can be a taco with a fried egg and sliced avocado, or some scrambled eggs with sauteed kale.  I’m also not opposed to just reaching for a container of leftovers. Cold veggie fried rice? Perfect!  Right now, however, I’m into granola. Yes, I know it’d be so much easier to just grab a box at the grocery store, but I’d be missing something so wonderful if I did that. Like a lot of foods, I feel very strongly about what’s in my granola. There should be a variety of textures going on. I don’t want it too sweet.

This particular granola recipe was inspired by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque’s fabulous book Brown Eggs and Jam Jars. And the timing couldn’t have been better. You see, Eric and I recently tapped our maple tree out back. He hooked up a spigot that was fitted with a tube that ran into a five gallon water jug. Within a day and a half, the thing was full. Since I’m the one who works from home (when I’m not out on a shoot), I was in charge of boiling the sap down into syrup. The process was not nearly as complicated as I thought it’d be, though the four hours it took (using three large pots) made me question how often we needed to do this. The result was wonderful, a light amber colored syrup with a natural sweetness that one only really finds in this or honey. I should also note that there’s a section in Aimée’s book on harvesting maple syrup. Just another reason to order a copy.

The bottle has been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks. I’ve struggled to find a use for it. And that’s why I was so excited to make this maple granola. I like a lot of things in my granola, so I loaded it with dried fruit (cherries and cranberries), sunflower seeds, pepitas, chopped walnuts, and, of course, oats. After it’s tossed together with the maple syrup, a couple tablespoons of butter, and a sprinkle of salt, I baked it in the oven until golden brown.

So, thank you Aimee for your beautiful, inspiring recipe. I hope everyone goes and picks up a copy of your book right now.

Maple, Fruit and Nut Granola // A Thought For FoodMaple, Fruit and Nut Granola // A Thought For FoodMaple, Fruit and Nut Granola // A Thought For FoodMaple, Fruit and Nut Granola // A Thought For FoodMaple, Fruit and Nut Granola // A Thought For FoodView full post »

  • April 22, 2015 - 6:59 am

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Granola is such a down home recipe. I love how versatile it can be…it’s always delicious!ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2015 - 9:02 am

    Tieghan - You have your maple tree?!?! How awesome is that!! Also, Aimee’s book is on my list of must haves. Cannot wait to read it myself!

    What a great granola recipe. I would love a bowl now!ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2015 - 10:14 am

    Liren - When I was a little girl, I always wanted to tap the maple tree in our yard! I’m in awe that you and Eric did! I’m pouring my granola into my yogurt this morning but it now pales in comparison :)ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2015 - 2:59 pm

    Mandy's Recipe Box - I love a good granola recipe and this looks perfect. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2015 - 9:27 pm

    Andrew Frishman - Mnnn… I LOVES me some homemade syrup!

    And where’d you get that spile and spigot?ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2015 - 10:30 pm

    Aimee @ Simple Bites - You have no idea how happy it makes me that you produced your very own syrup for this recipe! I think that is a first for this cookbook. Hats off to you.

    We’re pretty granola obsessed here. I can’t keep up with how much my kids will eat, honestly! My next recipe to try is the one from Food52’s Genius Recipes. Have you seen it? It’s another maple granola. :)

    Thanks for a lovely post and the cookbook love. It’s most appreciated. xoxReplyCancel

    • April 25, 2015 - 8:49 am

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - HA! Well, you definitely inspired me to do it with all of your posts on it!

      I haven’t seen that recipe but now I’m totally going to check it out!!!ReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2015 - 11:04 am

    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - I can’t eat anything but homemade granola, spoiled by its wonderfulness. This looks truly lovely, and so does this cookbook.ReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2015 - 10:18 pm

    Nik@ABrownTable - Brian, was that easy to do, make your own maple syrup, that is? I’m fascinated with learning how to do that. Aimee’s book is on my list of reads to order.ReplyCancel

    • April 24, 2015 - 6:54 am

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - Nik – It was really easy, once it’s tapped, the sap just flowed out. The most tedious part is boiling it down, but it was definitely worth it.ReplyCancel

  • April 24, 2015 - 12:06 am

    Susan Lightfoot Moran - This granola has such a rich, lush look to it, I need that book!ReplyCancel

  • April 25, 2015 - 12:17 am

    Adri - This granola sounds wonderful. I bet I could eat the entire batch!ReplyCancel

  • May 9, 2015 - 10:05 pm

    Weekend links and photos | Simple Bites - […] Maple, Fruit and Nut Granola :: A Thought for Food […]ReplyCancel

  • July 12, 2015 - 4:30 am

    thefolia - I dream of many things like owning a plot of land with an edible garden…now I will dream of maple trees. How amazing to eat your own maple syrup that you tapped…do enjoy!ReplyCancel