“Teach the children. We don’t matter so much, but the children do. Show them daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen. The lives of the blue sailors, mallow, sunbursts, the moccasin flowers. And the frisky ones–inkberry, lamb’s quarters, blueberries. And the aromatic ones–rosemary, oregano. Give them peppermint to put in their pockets as they go to school. Give them the fields and the woods and the possibility of the world salvaged from the lords of profit. Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms
Attention is the beginning of devotion.Mary Oliver, Upstream
My baby slept well last night, so naturally, I was awake and thinking about breakfast while it was still dark outside. It reminded me of the early days, when he was a newborn and the birds would sing in the spring around 4 or 5 in the morning and I would think, I made it through another night, and I would be so excited for the sun to come up. The birds brought the dawn and the sun followed and made me feel awake and capable, and as the sun went down, I thought about the birds and how their song would comfort me and remind me the sun was coming.
Now, my baby sleeps (usually), but I still wake up sometimes in these dark pre-dawn moments and it’s winter so the birds aren’t singing yet, but thoughts about my morning coffee and what to make for breakfast today provide me with the same comfort and same excitement when the sun comes up and the day officially begins.
When the sun came up today, I made these salmon hand rolls. If you can find kumquats and a good quality, spicy kimchi, they add the requisite sweet, spicy, and sour these hand rolls depend on for tastiness beyond the ordinary. I thoroughly enjoyed eating these for breakfast, as did my little man who appears to especially enjoy the feeling, sensation and surprise of salmon roe in his mouth.
Salmon Hand Rolls with Kimchi and Kumquats
Several sheets of Nori, cut in half
1 filet of salmon (6 oz.)
1 meyer lemon
5 kumquats, thinly sliced
Kimchi, thinly sliced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 handful of arugula
- Mise en place! Prepare your ingredients so you can get rolling. Your station will include: cooked salmon, sliced kimchi, avocado, Greek yogurt, salmon roe, togarashi and arugula.
- Heat a cast iron to medium and add a spoonful of ghee. Season the filet of salmon with salt and a generous squeeze of lemon and cook for a few minutes on each side. Medium-low and slow works well for salmon and I always turn the heat off before it’s done so it doesn’t dry out and overcook.
- During the last few minutes of cooking, throw the sliced kumquats into the cast iron and cook until the salmon is finished.
- With two forks, gently flake the fish apart in the pan, mixing in the juices and kumquats.
- Lay out the nori sheet horizontally and place the fillings on the left mid-upper quadrant. Carefully tuck the outer edge under the ingredients and roll into a cone. I am not an expert hand roller and a quick google search about how to roll one is better than any text instructions I can offer.
- Eat the hand roll right away. Alternatively, set out all of the ingredients and let people roll their own and serve with a side salad of arugula dressed simply with olive oil and more sliced kumquats.
Sourcing: My wild salmon filet and roe came from Loki Fish Co., meyer lemon and kumquats from the food coop, arugula from my garden, Greek yogurt from Straus, kimchi from Mother in Laws, and togarashi from Healdsburg Shed.
It’s this time of year, during the transition from summer to fall, that the best thing to do is cook the bounty over hot flames.
This is an easy, quick dish with beautiful colors that is perfect for lunch, or as a dinner side dish. The kumquats get sweet and slightly caramelized and pair well with the salty, crispy broccolini and bread. The balsamic is important. The thick, syrupy balsamic makes such a big difference and I use it from everything from salads to ice creams.
Broccolini with Roasted Kumquats, Parsley, Pecorino, and Balsamic
Prep: 5 min Cook: 30 min Serves: 2
1 bunch broccolini
4 kumquats, sliced thin
Palmful curly parsley, chopped
Pecorino cheese, grated
Butter & olive oil
Salt & pepper
Balsamic (thick and syrupy is best)
1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter and a drizzle of olive oil, then add the broccolini. Season with some salt and pepper, cover and cook for about 6 minutes or so, until slightly browned and crisped.
2. Add the kumquats and place the crusty bread in the skillet to brown on each side.
3. Cook until bread, kumquats and broccolini are nicely crisped, finish seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic and the curly parsley.
These pancakes are inspired by my brother who makes incredible sweet potato pancakes, and my mom, who taught me to roast a bunch of sweet potatoes at a time and use them throughout the week. The rosemary, sausage, kale, pomegranates and maple syrup add the Ohmigod this is good! factor and make these a perfect seasonal treat. The pancakes are pretty fluffy and thick, which you can change by adding more liquid, but I like to make little cakes and then keep them warm in the oven until we’re ready to eat. We ate these pancakes and then went out and chopped down our Christmas tree which seemed just about perfect after such a nice breakfast.
Sweet Potato Pancakes with Rosemary, Sausage, Kale and Pomegranates
Prep: 15 min Cook: 30 min Serves: 2-4
1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil-melted, plus extra for cooking the pancakes
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 cooked + mashed sweet potatoes
1. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, coconut oil, sweet potatoes and eggs.
3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just incorporated. The batter will be thick, if you want thinner pancakes, add another few tablespoons of milk.
4. Add 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil to a skillet and heat over medium. Spoon small circles of batter into the pan and watch for bubbles to appear on top before flipping. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Rosemary, Sausage + Kale
1 small branch fresh rosemary
1/2 lb loose sausage-I used pastured pork “Grandpa’s Sausage” from a local farm
5 kale leaves, stems removed + chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1. Make the toppings before cooking the pancakes, and keep them in a warm oven.
2. Place the olive oil in a small skillet, heat to medium, then add the chopped kale. Season the kale with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt.
3. Cook the kale until wilted, about 4 minutes, then add the rosemary and sausage. Cook the mix in the skillet until the sausage is slightly browned, you may need to turn up the heat slightly. Place the skillet in the oven to keep warm while you cook the pancakes.
Serve the pancakes with the rosemary, sausage, kale mix, fresh pomegranates, and maple syrup.
Our friends visited from Berkeley this past weekend and helped us harvest some roosters on the ranch. We were a bit overrun after so many hatched this spring, and they tend to relentlessly harass our hens. So our hens are happier, and we put three roosters right into our new smoker for about eight hours or so seasoned with salt and pepper. They came out tender and rich so we put them in sandwiches and ate them at the top of the Sierra Buttes, followed by a dip in the Sierra Valley hot springs. It was a perfect weekend.
I made this rooster salad with more of the smoked meat, and a rooster soup is currently in process in the kitchen. The salad is loaded with fresh parsley from the garden and is very light and fresh tasting, which balances out the rich smokiness of the rooster. I love fresh cranberries this time of year, and prefer cranberry sauce over dried cranberries anytime, and this sauce is quick and easy to make.
Smoked Chicken Salad with Maple-Cranberry Sauce
Meat from about 1/2 of a whole smoked chicken
4 celery sticks, halved long ways and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 small apple, diced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp organic mayo or vegenaise
2 tbsp whole milk yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup parsley, chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 meyer lemon, juice + zest
Mix the chicken, celery, bell pepper, apple and almonds together in a large bowl. Zest the entire meyer lemon, saving half for the maple-cranberry sauce, and add the other half to the salad mix. Add half of the meyer lemon juice to the mix as well.
Add the mayo/vegenaise (make sure organic/non-gmo or make your own), yogurt and olive oil. Stir, then add the parsley, salt, pepper and turmeric.
Season with sea salt and pepper to taste, then serve with extra parsley on top, an extra sprinkle of turmeric, and drizzle of olive oil.
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 meyer lemon juice + zest
4 tbsp maple syrup
Add the cranberries, lemon juice + zest, and maple syrup to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat until the cranberries split, about 5-8 minutes, then turn the heat down to low. Cover and allow to cook, stirring every so often, for about 15 minutes. Taste for sweetness, adding more maple syrup depending on your preference.
Serve the smoked chicken salad with the maple-cranberry sauce and toasted sprouted wheat bread drizzled in olive oil and sea salt.