Dairy-Free Breakfast Nachos

You can have nachos for breakfast - why not?

Here's the thing, too.  These don't have cheese in them.

I'm keeping it quiet, because cheese is one of my oldest and dearest friends.  And I don't want to hurt its feelings.

But you know, some foods have enough stuff going on that they just don't need cheese.

Shh!  Hear me out.

Mexican food, with its lime, its cilantro, its salsa, its guac, its raw white onion.  Leave the cheese off, you won't even notice.

Observe that the most authentic Mexican food at most only uses a sprinkling of queso cotija.  It's a condiment, a light sprinkling.

In the summer I like my dishes light (if you can call something with guacamole and a fried egg on it light).

But please don't tell cheese - we have a scheduled rendezvous coming soon, and I wouldn't want things to get awkward.

Dairy-Free Breakfast Nachos

some chips
a egg
chopped white onion
1 can black beans
cilantro, torn
lime juice

The nice thing about nachos is you really can make them to taste.  I created the guacamole here by mashing up avocado, lime juice and salt (about 1/2 lime and a generous pinch of salt per avocado).  Put it together how you like, fry an egg and put it on top.  Ta da!  Breakfast.

Cocoa Beans.

Food is good.

Food is so good.

I recently went a day without.  

Longer than a day, even.  36 hours.  I was aiming for 48.

Why?  Lots of reasons.

We are in a precarious life-stage and fasting helps me think clearly.

I've had a recent resurgence of a health issue that makes certain delicious and beloved food groups off-limits (sugar, bread, dairy).  Makes me want to pout and throw the towel in on all food.

But in those last hours, somewhere between the headache and the full-body weakness I thought, 'Why am I doing this again?'

My kid drew a face in the nib bowl with his finger and said, 'look mom it's me made out of chocolate!'
So I had some potato chips.  And, like the return of the Nile flooding the farmland of Egypt, all my faculties were back again.

Food is good.  It just is.  All food is.  Vegetables and fats and meats and cheese and fruit, sweet, fresh fruit.  Just get the best quality you can and trust your body.

Don't let anyone tell you any different.

I am experimenting with bean-to-bar chocolate now.  It's quite a process.  The beans need to be fermented, roasted, hulled, cracked (that's where these pictures are at), and processed.  Squished down and their fat/juice squeezed out of them (delicious cocoa butter), then added back until you get the flavor and texture you want.

I think I'm going to like mine rough.

More on this project to come.  It will be good news, the remainder of my quickly evaporating, fast-induced intuition is telling me so.

Things I've Done in the Summertime or, What Happened to the Melba Toast?

So hot.  So sweaty.  So love.

I just got back from a vacation to home, to home.  To my mother's house.

I was tooootally gonna blog while I was there.  Totally was.

Now I'm back in Oregon with just bits and pieces of a beautiful trip on my camera.  Places I went, things I did.

Things I made and things I ate with my family and my friends.

Sometimes we just stayed home, in the house I grew up in.

A meat plate with lamb ham.  Part of a 14 course dinner I threw for friends.

I was totally going to blog that.

Some kind of racoon attack, maybe?

One hard, one soft, and one blue.  Those are the rules.

Cloudy meringues that were later filled with peaches and cream.

I was super going to take a picture of that.

A cold beet soup with yogurt and pumpkin seeds.

This is the sort of classy crowd I hang around with.  And that is a homemade ginger ale taking center stage.

Happy 4th, happy friends, happy heat, happy summer!

King Estate Winery

The summer is upon me.

I cannot cook.  I can only travel to places and have others cook for me.

Behold!  The King Estate Winery.

Nestled in the Oregon hills, overlooking miles of quiet farmland.  The only thing we could hear looking out was the swish of the wind.

Lavender to attract bees.  Bees to make grapes.  Grapes to make...well, you get it.

Bzz bzz.  Lean in for the lovely smell but don't snuff up a bee!

The sky was perfectly cloudless.  The sun was bright, fine and hot.

Bushy grapevines growing little bebe fruits.

Smell of hay and green things and lavender.

You can only play soccer at wineries.  Other sports are BANNED.

There's something romantic here...

The bloom is off the rose and on my baby's head.

Oak casks from France.  I guess French oak makes the best casks.

Rooms for chilling, swirling, and fermenting.

A large cooling tank - did you know wine heats up as it ferments?  I didn't.

Now the best part - lunch!  Truffle fries.

The menu changes frequently, we ordered a house-cured charcuterie plate.

Gorgonzola, dry salami, with crudites, crackers and mustard.

This was my favorite combination - gorgonzola and candied apricot on a seeded cracker.

Goodbye, beautiful sun-kissed winery!  I'll see you in my dreams!

Strawberry Maple Floats

OMG strawberries!

I love eating seasonally because I love how nature is like nope, nope, nope, YEP!  And then floods you with something delicious.  And you gorge and gorge and gorge on it because once it's gone you won't see it again for a whole year.

Like everything does, it starts on the farm.

Little baby berries peeking through green leaves.

Fields and flowers and a cloudless sky.

That barn was full of bunnies.  Baby likes bunnies.

My kid are enthusiastic strawberry pickers, but inevitably derailed by the 'eat all you want in the fields' rule.  They contributed about 2 cups of berries.

So I bought a flat to supplement.

Now...what to make with 24 cups of strawberries?

Like I even had to wonder!  Jam, shortcake and hand pies for starters.

But first, something to take the heat off after a day in the fields.

Strawberry maple floats!

It's easy.  It's foamy.  And it tastes like the sweetest part of the most fragrant strawberry you've ever had.

It's even healthy!  Sweetened with maple, the ice cream is homemade with coconut cream in place of whipped (of course you could 100% use normal).

To strawberry season!

Strawberry Maple Floats
Makes 2 cups

2 cups water
2 cups fresh strawberries (frozen will also do in a pinch)
Juice of half a lemon
Handful fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup maple syrup
Soda water
Vanilla ice cream

First, make the syrup.  Bring the water, strawberries, mint, maple and lemon to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Strain out mint leaves, lemon (I squeezed it out then just threw the whole thing in there), and strawberry pulp.  Mush the strawberry pulp through the strainer to get as much berry goodness as possible.

Return syrup to a boil, reduce to a simmer and leave for 20 minutes or until reduced by half.  You should have about 2 cups of syrup.

To assemble floats:
Put desired amount of ice cream in glass.  Pour about a thumb's depth of syrup on top.  Add soda water until foamy and luscious.  Glug glug glug.