Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Los champiñones

I guess this post could be called instead, "La seta". In Spanish champiñón means mushroom, while seta means something like a wild mushroom. I used to think it meant mushrooms with a wider, flatter top. But I think in reality it refers to where the mushroom came from. Also perhaps any mushroom that isn't of the typical, store bought variety.

In any case, this year we've gone mushrooming a few times already. Jon is much more successful at finding mushrooms than I am. It didn't help that on the first outing of the season, Coal ran away and got quilled in the face by a porcupine. I don't have any photos of that to share, sorry.

The mushrooms we forage for around here are called morels. See Wikipedia's page on morels for some photos and information.

They are kind of creepy looking, right? After you get over the creepiness and actually eat some, you will likely change your tune very quickly. They sauté up so nicely. We've been eating them on pizzas mostly. Around Jackson, if you find a few pounds of the mushrooms, you can sell them to restaurants for around fifteen dollars a pound.

When I studied Russian in my last year at the University of Washington, I was intrigued by how the Russian language has a bunch of terms for mushroom gathering, gatherer, etc. I hadn't realized people were able to go into the forest to gather these delicious little things. But now, thanks to Jon, I am learning to gather mushrooms and enjoying the extra time I get to spend in the forest.

photo by Jonathan Cohen

Delicious vegan pizza doesn't hurt, either. The morels are the light brown things on the left pizza.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Un día especial

I live in a beautiful place. I have mountains all around me, creeks and rivers abound, rocks to climb on, single track begging for the feel of my grippy tires... And when a day off comes around, we make every second count.

Big Holes Hiking, photo by Jonathan Cohen

Don't you love family photos? I do, when the family is half dogs. We hiked in the morning in the Big Holes, a five minute drive from our house. We identified wild flowers along the way. Jon is teaching me a lot. We have a wonderful book on the flora and fauna of the Rockies.

Teton River canoeing, photo by Jonathan Cohen

In the afternoon we decided to put the canoe in the Teton River and float for a bit. We paddled along for about an hour and a half during which we saw a beaver, a mama moose and two tiny baby moose, and a blue heron. We also saw some other birds, two that looked like a heron but were more golden. Maybe some sort of crane. I'm not a very good birder, but I'm getting better.

Baby moose, photo by Jonathan Cohen

In the evening we made homemade vegan pizzas with fresh arugula from the garden and morels that Jon foraged from the woods.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Last summer I bought an ice cream maker. It is a really great machine: fast, easy, clean. Much faster and quieter than the machine I grew up with. Every Fourth of July my family would head to my grandparents' house and set up the ice cream maker. Rock salt, ice, loud motor and all. It would sit outside on the deck for hours and churn. It was a special treat that I remember very fondly.

But this machine kicks that one's butt. (And you can note that I did indeed buy it in the pretty green color.)

Today I made vanilla. I know, I know. Boring, old vanilla... But it is oh, so creamy! And you can't go wrong with vanilla, right? I mean, just think about all of the toppings...

Anyway, I am going to share my recipe!

Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

1 can full fat Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Cashew Cream
1 Tablespoon Coconut Flour
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
2-3 Tablespoons Agave Nectar
Pinch Salt

Combine all ingredients in blender. You can chill this mixture for a while before throwing it in the ice cream maker, or not. It doesn't seem to matter much. When you're ready, throw it in the ice cream maker per the manufacturer's instructions.

Yield is about two to three cups of delicious, creamy ice cream.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mi hermana

My sister, Megan, is very talented.

Art from Megan's blog

Like this, what the hell is this? Only the cutest freaking pillow ever.

Okay, I actually just read the file name and it is apparently a flour sack. But my point is still the same.

Megan is in art school so that she can eventually be paid to make cute things like this. She can even make them move like in her animations. Check it out for a bowing flour sack, a jumping flour sack, and walking flour sack. She's a genius.

Now, who wants to give her a job so that she can take me on vacations? Anyone?

Monday, June 10, 2013

El yoga

The first time I did a yoga class was at Everett Community College. I was attending classes there while still in high school (the Running Start Program). I needed Physical Education credits. I thought yoga would be easy. It was so boring and uninteresting to me. I really did not enjoy a single minute of it. Except for when our instructor would give us a snack at the end of class, that part I did like.

Fast-forward seven years or so, and now I find myself with an extremely active Home Practice which I absolutely love. On days I don't practice, my body feels let down. It helps reduce stress and anxiety. It keeps me from wanting to eat everything in sight, you know those days... I guess you could say it keeps me centered. Or is it "grounded"? I don't know.

Work is about to get busy for the summer season and I am hoping I'll be able to keep motivated enough to maintain this really healthy and fun practice. I even get Yoga Journal magazine in the mail and I savor every page. I wish I had started this sooner. I think it would have helped me a lot with all of my crazy emotions.

I even tried to build a small altar/shrine thing (See YJ's example here). But Coal at the candles I put out.

Oh, and since I've never been able to tell anyone else this bit of helpful information... The best yoga advice I have ever heard was from some lady on NPR telling her story. She said, "Do yoga within your own mat." Basically this: Don't worry about what anyone else is doing, just focus on your own practice. Other people's practice doesn't matter, only your own.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

La crema de Cashew

Okay, I admit I don't know how to say cashew in Spanish. However, informs me that the word is anacardo.

Anyway, now that that's out of the way. I want everyone to know how easy it is to make this delicacy. It took me a long time to actually give this a try, and I wish I had started earlier. Cashew cream is awesome. The only downside is that cashews are expensive. sells them for $10.99/lb right now. And that's not even the organic variety. The bright side is that a pound of cashews makes a lot of cashew cream.

This does not really require a recipe so much as it requires instructions.

Instructions for making Cashew Cream!

Take some raw cashews, maybe two cups or so, put them in a bowl and cover them with water. Soak for 6 hours or longer. I like to just throw them in the fridge over night.

When you think they've soaked long enough, rinse the crap out of the cashews and put them in a blender and cover with water. I have only ever done this with a Vita-Mix. I kind of doubt a regular blender would make a smooth enough cream.

The more water you have the thinner the cream will be. You can always add more water later, so start off small. I like to put enough water to just cover the cashews. Then you blend them to smithereens.

I like to store mine in a glass jar in the fridge. It should stay fresh for a week.

Use portions of the cream like I mentioned before: for pizza sauce, sweet cream for fruit, etc. You just have to season (or sweeter) the cream accordingly and your taste buds will be having a rave in your mouth before you know it.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

La mejor comida del mundo

I used to think my favorite food was shrimp or something. But now I've seen the light. The best food in the world is: Cashew Cream.

What is Cashew Cream? you might ask.

It's just cashews and water. Brilliant!

You can make it sweet by adding something like maple syrup. Then pour it over chopped up berries.

You can make it savory by adding nutrition yeast, garlic, and spices. Use it as a pizza sauce!

Since I can't eat dairy, and I prefer home-made to store-bought, this is the most delicious and healthy creamy food I have ever had. Cashews and water... Who would have thought?