mostly not potato salad

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I got my car washed yesterday and as I sat there waiting for it to get all spruced up, I was shaken out of my reverie by a loud, "LADY!" I looked up at the sweet, portly guy who had just yelled--he had a big squinty-eyed smile and a gold tooth up front. He shook my keys at me which meant I should approach.

He seemed especially concerned about some particular schmutz marring my paint job that hadn't come off in the standard wash/dry.  I had never seen it before. It was a long, several-inch drip of something rough and grey that wouldn't scratch off with a fingernail. (Apparently this is a much-employed technique of the Car Wash Person and much can be discerned by it.) He motioned me over and pointed to it. "You know what is this?" He said, in broken English. "No," I said.  But he unflinchingly held my gaze, waiting, so I said, "Do you know what it is?" He leaned in conspiratorially. "Habla Español?" He asked. I gave my standard not-really-but-I-had-two-years-in-high-school response which seemed good enough for him because he said, "En Español? Werewolf."

I blinked.

"Es Werewolf," He said again, scratching it with his fingernail and looking to me like I understood the secret Carwasher Fingernail-Scratch Language.

"Um...werewolf?"  I knew I was hearing something that passed for "werewolf" but I couldn't help myself.

"Sí!" He said. "Werewolf!"

"Ok.  Wow. Werewolf. I don't know how I got that. Can you get it off?  Can you remove the werewolf?"

"Sí!" He said, looking excited. Holding up a finger to me, he stepped over to a little bin of potions and sprays, choosing one and dousing a rag with it. He came back and scrubbed it off while looking incredibly pleased with himself.

So.  I guess I had some werewolf on my car but not to worry--it's all taken care of now.

This story has nothing to do with this recipe (do my stories ever?) but it's freaking delicious. I know it's not particularly seasonal but give me a break: in LA it's in the 80s again today. Plus, I've been really stressed with all the mythical creatures messing up my car's paint job.

Mostly Not Potato Salad
adapted from Heidi Swanson
serves 4-6

The traditional french potato salad flavors of mustard, red wine vinegar and dill make this salad super tangy and delicious! Heidi adds tofu to her version, I usually prefer it without. This is fantastic alongside a burger or piece of grilled chicken. There's a bit of multi-tasking involved but it's well worth it.

2 small (or one large) leek(s), white and light green parts only, trimmed and chopped
1 heaping T dried dill
1 1/2 big handfuls green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
4 red skinned potatoes (about 2-3" in diameter), unpeeled and chopped into 1" pieces
2T whole grain mustard
2T red wine vinegar
1T evoo
1/2 t agave syrup
sea salt
4-5 stalks celery, diced
2 smallish persian cucumbers, unpeeled and diced

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, sauté the leeks in 1T evoo over medium heat until brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Stir often so they don't burn. Halfway through this sauté time, stir in the dill and a good dose of salt and pepper. Set aside.

When the water boils, add the green beans and cook for a mere 30 seconds. Saving the boiling water, remove the green beans and plunge them into an ice bath (to stop the cooking and keep them green). Now add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook about 9-10 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

While the potatoes cook, make the dressing: whisk the mustard, vinegar, 1T evoo, agave, salt and pepper. Set aside.

To the bowl of potatoes, add the celery, cucumber, drained green beans, crispy leeks and toss gently with the dressing. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve at room temperature.


P.S. I googled schmutz for spelling purposes and found this awesome law firm! I'm gonna call just to hear them answer the phone.

say yes to yourself

Friday, October 19, 2012

Are you going through something tough? 
Are you suffering from transitional growing pains?
Is your heart heavy?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may need to say yes to yourself.

How to say yes to yourself:

  • Listen.
  • Breathe.
  • Have solitude.
  • Notice nature.
  • Sit in the feelings, even the hard ones.
  • Say no to others when it doesn't feel right.
  • Find music that feeds you and moves you and supports you.
  • Unapologetically buy an US Weekly and give yourself over to it.
  • Cry.
  • Cry in public--vulnerability is a gift that allows others around you to not only feel compassion, but touch their own vulnerability.
  • Find humor in it somehow (even if it's laughing at how crazy puffy you look after crying/crying in public).
  • Be kind to others (small talk is okay).
  • Spend time with a two-year-old.
  • Be open to your life looking a completely different way than you thought it ever would.  Or should. Or could.
  • Trust that it might be even better than you ever imagined.
  • Know when to talk about it to others and when to be quiet about it.
  • Find small things (a strong cappuccino, a favorite scarf) that make you happy and exploit those.
  • Never underestimate retail therapy.
  • Let others take care of you.
  • Know you can take care of you too. And do it.
  • Remember how strong you're capable of being.
  • Walk.
  • Run.
  • Kiss a dog.
  • Let a dog kiss you.
  • Know that (somehow) this too shall pass.
  • Meditate...and while you're in there:
  • Ask for support.
  • Ask for clarity.
  • Ask for guidance.
  • Call your friends.
  • Call your mom.
  • Turn off your phone.
  • Bake and give it away.
  • Bake and eat it all.
  • Keep busy.
  • Do nothing and let that be okay.
  • Take responsibility for helping to create your transition--celebrate that! On some level you are asking for MORE from life--that is a powerful place to be.
  • Be open to receiving it.
  • Look for messages wherever you go--Abraham says the universe is knocking itself out to give you what you want, you just have to be expecting it.
  • Lean into a good feeling when one presents itself.
  • Remember: "If you're going through hell, keep going." --Winston Churchill
  • It's okay to sometimes pretend things are better than they are.  They will be soon.
  • Learn to discern what your soul needs.**
  • Make lists of blessings.
  • Make lists of people who love you.
  • Make lists of people who you love.
  • Make lists of things that move you.
  • Make a list like this to make yourself feel better.
  • Post it to a blog and hope it makes someone else feel better.


**My dear friend Holly once said this to me: "Sometimes the best thing for your soul is gorging on chocolate and watching bad TV and other times it really needs you to go out into the backyard barefoot, pick an orange right off the tree, eat it while siting on the porch and then wash your sticky hands off with the hose."

kale soup

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I took a spinning class this morning and the girl on the bike next to mine was fierce. She was tall and gorgeous and by some genetic (or surgical) miracle had great boobs despite being wicked-lean. An angel wing tattoo graced each shoulder blade and she wore black converse high tops with painted-on flames that licked at her slender ankles. This specimen was an animal on the bike, doing everything all-out: every sprint and every jump and every climb. Call it cheesy but I really drew on her energy and felt like I did a pretty kick-ass job keeping up with her. Maybe it was my imagination but I thought we were kind of feeding off each other, pushing each other to be a little better, to work a little harder. I mean, I'm no slouch on a spin bike either (just sayin'). She had to have felt it too.

So after the post-class stretch, I looked over at her: "Wasn't that great!?"

I caught her by surprise: "Hmm?"

"It was great spinning next to you," I said.

She looked at me quizzically as she toweled off her angel wings. "Oh?"

"Yeah. You really inspired me." I smiled big and waited for her to return the sentiment. Or at least acknowledge our synergistic spinning dynamic.

Instead? As she walked away from me: "I'm glad."

I was dumbstruck. I looked around to locate a witness. There was no one.

Ummmm...You're glad? I was pretty inspiring too, right? I mean, I kept up with you the whole time and only faked turning the resistance knob once, So...


Have I told you lately how much you inspire me? And whether it's mutual or not, I really like the thing we've got going here.

So I made you a kale soup:)

Kale Soup
adapted from Anna Thomas' Green Soup
serves 4-6

The secret to this soup being so amazing is caramelizing the onions. It adds a delicious depth of flavor. And that lemon at the end brightens it up just the perfect bit.

1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed and rough-chopped
1/2 bag baby spinach (or 1/2 bunch, about 4oz), washed
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, washed and rough-chopped
4 smallish yukon gold potatoes (2-3" in diameter), unpeeled and cut into 1-2" chunks
3 cups water
1 t salt
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T red wine vinegar
2-3 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t cayenne
juice of 1/2 lemon

In a soup pot, combine the kale, spinach, parsley, potatoes, 3 cups water and 1 t salt. Bring to a boil. Stir, turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, over low heat, sauté the chopped onion in 1T evoo (stirring every now and then), until soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Right before they're finished, push the onions aside and in one corner of the sauté pan, add an additional 1/2 T olive oil and sauté the garlic until fragrant, about one minute.

Add the caramelized onions and garlic to the soup and simmer another 10 minutes.

Add the red wine vinegar to the hot sauté pan and deglaze, scraping up any browned bits for just 30 seconds. Add this mixture to the soup pot too.

Add the broth and puree with an immersion blender until smooth (or transfer in batches to a regular blender), taking care not to blend too much or the potatoes will turn gummy.

Return the soup to the (hot) pot, and add the lemon juice, cayenne and several cracks of black pepper. Taste for additional seasoning. Serve with a drizzle of evoo on top. <---------this step adds a lot!:)


P.S.  Want more awesome/nuts spinning shenanigans? Go here, and here.

ummm...I was that woman

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I had an audition yesterday for a movie (that is spoofing another movie) and was specifically asked to dress and look like the character.  I had so much fun going all out.

And then this tweet was brought to my attention:

And it made me so happy:)


P.S.  How rad are those eyelashes????

P.P.S.  It distracts people when you drive around with a loofah on your head.

orange you glad it's fall?!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I'm a pretty organized lady. That said, there are always a couple post-its and/or loose slips of paper rummaging around the bottom of my purse at-the-ready for quick ideas, little seeds of inklings, jokes, notions, funny observations or reminders. They get dirty and creased and thrashed (bottom-feeders like they are) but they are imperative when I'm hard-pressed to jot something down in an inspired moment.

The latest batch I just fished out include these inspirational items:

*Rejected Lara Bar ideas (Peanut/apricot?  Nope.)

*A stale chewed wad of gum folded into the corner (hardened now)

*The dialogue for a commercial audition I copied down to memorize ("A 2-in1 anti-wrinkle powerhouse!!")

*A few groupings of unknown numbers

*A few groupings of doodles (including two rainbows with loopy clouds at both ends and one pot of gold)

*Old TO DO list items that never got done ("Get organized with purse-sized idea notebook")

*Observational gems like "man with tin can" and "dog pee right next to tire person" that I can't remember to save my life.

And lastly:

*A hastily scrawled shopping list for gazpacho ingredients (that I was excited about when we were in the throes of heatwave weather.)

Not like we're that far out of the woods in LA on the heat front. I pushed it yesterday with a long sleeve shirt AND long pants AND boots and there were moments while standing in direct sunlight when this was certainly a big fail. Anyway, safe to say the gazpacho ship has sailed. Who in their right mind wants to make gazpacho in October? It's all about fall and pumpkin and soup and gingerbread, no? It's all about orange food right now, even if in LA we are forcing the issue. Sometimes we need to strong-arm Autumn into showing up around here. I feel like if we all cook something orange we can make this happen together. Who's with me?

Fall recipe/orange food round-up--------------------------------------------------->

Pasta with Pumpkin, Sausage and Sage

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

Spicy Carrot Soup

Janae's Roasted Cauliflower

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Biscotti

Happy Autumn:)

as if carbs couldn't get worse

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DIABETES: The new multi-grain.

Happy Tuesday:)

P.S.  Awesome picture via my awesome brother Josh.
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