Good Food: Solstice Canyon Cardamom and Clove Almond Butter



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By Kate Malin

The unpasteurized almonds that go into Solstice Canyon almond butters travel all the way from Europe (the only place these almonds are available) in order to reach the discerning production team in Los Angeles, California. These fully raw, organic nuts are the base for all the nut butters that the small company makes, stone grinding each batch at slow speeds to preserve the beneficial vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients present in raw almonds. Each ingredient in the almond butter, from organic coconut oil to Himalayan pink salt, is selected with care and concern for the health of the consumer and the taste of the product.

A combination of the Original Almond Butter and a blend of Chai spices including cardamom, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon, the Cardamom and Clove Almond Butter is an aromatic nut butter with a smooth texture and a warmly spicy taste. The flavors are complex, managing to be both nostalgic and exotic. It makes for a marvelous addition to oatmeal (hot or cold), a decadent spread for toast, or, as co-founder Jessie Kimmel recommends, as a perfect base for smoothies.

Solstice Canyon Cardamom and Clove Almond Butter is available at www.solsticecanyon.com and in stores across the country. Solstice Canyon is part of the Good Food Awards, a project to honor food and drink producers making the sort of food we all want to eat – tasty, authentic and responsible, and a proud member of the Good Food Merchants Guild, national association uniting American craft food businesses to connect, convene and promote Good Food businesses of all sizes.

———-

From her grassroots work at the Good Food Awards to her continued education at NYU’s Food Studies Master’s Program, Kate Malin brings an unparalleled passion for great food and good people.

More Good Food Finds:


Month: December 2015

To celebrate the end of the year and highlight some of the best (and worst) food-related happenings of 2015, we’ve put together a little quiz! Test your knowledge below!

1. What was the #1 best selling food product in the world in 2015?
A. KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese
B. General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios
C. Franz Bakery Homestyle Split Top White Bread
D. DiGiorno Original Rising Crust Four Cheese Pizza

2. How much was invested in food delivery services (think Munchery, Blue Apron, Postmates) this year?
A. $90 million
B. $380 million
C. $750 million
D. $1.5 billion

3. Which of the following animal welfare advancements did NOT occur this year?
A. McDonald’s pledged to source chickens raised without antibiotics
B. Costco made the switch to to cage-free eggs
C. JBS (Brazilian pork producer) agreed to phase out use of gestation crates
D. StarKist implemented an anti-shark finning policy

4. The sales of foods marketed as “local” surged to what number this year?
A. $800 million
B. $6 billion
C. $11 billion
D. $32 billion

5. Which of the following plans did General Mills announce this year?
A. They will soon offer all employees meditation sessions, yoga classes, and mindfulness programs
B. They will be launching a line of affordable pet food products
C. They will be partnering with AmazonFresh to offer more extensive online purchasing and delivery services
D. They will be removing all artificial colors and flavors from their products

6. After Allrecipes.com, which recipe website was the most popular in 2015?
A. Food Network
B. Epicurious
C. The Kitchn
D. Food.com

7. The typical American family threw away this amount of money in groceries this year.
A. $800
B. $1600
C. $2100
D. $3200

8. What was the best-selling cookbook of 2015?
A. The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, by Melissa Hartwig
B. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime, by Ree Drummond
C. Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*ck, by Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis
D. The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, by J. Kenji López-Alt

9. Which major restaurant chain was linked to an E. coli outbreak that affected over 50 people?
A. McDonalds
B. Chipotle
C. Chili’s
D. Panera

10. How much venture capital was poured into food startups in the first half of 2015?
A. $121 million
B. $300 million
C. $1.18 billion
D. $2.06 billion

11. KRAFT announced their plans to swap the artificial orange coloring in their iconic Macaroni & Cheese for which naturally derived ingredients?
A. Dehydrated sharp cheddar cheese
B. Paprika and Turmeric
C. Red and yellow beet powder
C. No way…KRAFT will never change their classic recipe

12. What’s the name of the Facebook recipe app that took the online recipe publishing world by storm this year?
A. Foodbook
B. Basil
C. Kitchen Monki
D. Cookpanion

All set? When you’re ready, scroll down to reveal the answers!

1. A. KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese was the #1 best selling food product in the world in 2015, generated more than $555,897,000.

2. D. $1.5 billion was invested in food delivery services in 2015!

3. D. StarKist DID NOT implement an anti-shark finning policy this year.

4. C. $11 billion: The total sales of foods marketed as “local” this year.

5. D. General Mills will be removing all artificial colors and flavors from their products

6. A. Food Network was the most popular recipe website after Allrecipes.com in 2015.

7. B. $1600: The amount of money in groceries the typical American family threw away this year.

8. A. The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, by Melissa Hartwig was the best-selling cookbook of 2015.

9. B. Chipotle was linked to an E. coli outbreak that affected over 50 people this year.

10. D. $2.06 billion in venture capital was poured into food startups in the first half of 2015!

11. B. Paprika and Turmeric: The naturally derived ingredients KRAFT plans to swap in for the artificial orange coloring in their iconic Macaroni & Cheese

12. D. Cookpanion: The name of the Facebook recipe app that took the online recipe publishing world by storm this year. You guys should all know this one ).

Now look at all the fun facts I’ve armed you with for your New Years Eve party! But in all seriousness, cheers to all of you, and thank you for making this a terrific year for Cookpanion! Happy 2016!

Sources: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/29/460589462/the-year-in-food-artificial-out-innovation-in-and-2-more-trends, http://top101news.com/2015-2016-2017-2018/news/foods/best-selling-food-products-world-usa/, https://www.yahoo.com/food/the-year-in-food-what-was-hot-and-tasty-in-2015-151910214.html


The 10 Best Things That I’ve Eaten Recently That I Forgot To Tell You About

Loyal Amateur Gourmet readers, it’s time to come clean: I’ve been a bad blogger lately. It’s been a busy time for me here in L.A. but the hard part is that I really can’t get into why it’s so busy, just trust me that I haven’t really had time to devote to the blog. Can you forgive me? What if I share a bunch of really good things that I’ve cooked/eaten recently, will that make things better? OK, let’s try that. In random order….

1. A pork chop dinner that I made with a pork chop from McCall’s Meat and Fish.

I’m discovering that pork chops, more than any other cut of meat, are the ones that are most worth getting from a fancy butcher because of the fat content. The pork chops from McCall’s are so laced with the good stuff that all you have to do is heat a cast iron skillet on very high heat, pour in a little Grapeseed oil, season your chops with salt and pepper, lay them in, let them sizzle, flip ’em over when they’re brown and finish until it gives a little resistance when you press down. They’re the moistest, most flavorful pork chops on the block and they go well with everything. For example, here I pan-fried some cauliflower and then roasted a butternut squash which I pureed with a hand blender, with a little browned butter mixed in. Mmmm.

2. The breakfast burrito from CoFax.

My friend Noah Galuten, who’s appeared on my podcast and who helps run the Golden State empire, has been telling me about the CoFax breakfast burrito for a long time. It was named the Best Breakfast Burrito in L.A. by L.A. Weekly. The only thing is, it’s hard for me to integrate a breakfast burrito into my weekly schedule because on weekends I make breakfast at home and on weekdays, by the time I’m out, I’m ready for lunch. But last week I found myself out earlier than usual on a weekday, so I sidled up to CoFax and ordered the breakfast burrito and DAMN!! That thing is something else. It’s got scrambled eggs, hash browns, cheese, and–the kicker–tortilla chips inside. Oh yeah. That thing is worth breaking a routine for indeed.

3. Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache Ice Cream from Salt & Straw.

When Portland’s Salt & Straw opened here in L.A. in Larchmont Village, I made a pact with myself that I would get there ASAP. Then, somehow, I didn’t and I kept getting mad when friends would post pictures of themselves at Salt & Straw on Instagram and I’d think, “Why haven’t I been there yet?!” So one night, driving home from dinner, I resolved to pop in and get a carton of ice cream to take home. I was lucky because it was just before they closed (at 11 o’clock) so the place was pretty empty (I hear it gets crazy crowded) and the woman working there was still so sweet and helpful. She suggested the Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache and when I brought it home and tasted it, I seriously wanted to put my bathing suit on so I could dive into it. I mean just those words ALMOND BRITTLE SALTED GANACHE are enough to make a person weep with ecstasy but it was everything you’d want an ice cream flavor to be: creamy, salty, sweet, chocolatey, heavenly. Now I’m scared to go back because I might eat up the whole store.

4. Solstice Canyon Almond Butter.

My friend Rachael Sheridan just started an almond butter business called Solstice Canyon and I had a chance to buy some from the Broome Street General Store which is quickly becoming my favorite place to write in L.A. I chose the “Cardamom and Clove” flavor and the next morning I spread it on toasted bread and man oh man was that stuff good the spices were perfectly balanced and then the texture of the almond butter was just right, not too sticky, not too wet. If you or your loved ones like almond butter, treat yourself to some Solstice Canyon. You won’t regret it!

5. Seared grouper on Rancho Gordo beans with kale.

Not to toot my own horn too much, but do you see that plate of food above you? I made that and you have to admit that’s impressive! Really, I just made a soup using Rancho Gordo beans, garlic, onion, celery, homemade chicken stock, and some kale. That was one night’s dinner. The next night I reduced it so it became more of a stew and then I seared two pieces of skin-on grouper (also purchased from McCall’s) with the skin-side down in two small metal pans with a splash of Grapeseed oil. The skin got crisp, then I flipped it over, and thought I’d cooked it all the way through, only to bring it out to the table as you see it above where we discovered it was still raw on the inside (it was a very thick piece of fish). So I switched the oven on, plopped the fish on to a cookie sheet, and finished it in there for another 5 to 6 minutes. Guess I’m not tooting my own horn now, but still? It tasted oh so good and looked oh so professional. Do I get an E for effort?

6. Dinner at Trois Mec. (Note: for the purposes of this post, all of these things count as one thing.)

I was going to do this as a separate post, but it’s a bit intimidating to sum up a meal at Trois Mec on the blog. The place is always listed as one of (if not THE) best restaurants in L.A. and it’s really an adventure eating there. We went for our friend Mark’s birthday (pictured above) and were delighted by the whole experience. (In case you don’t know, you have to buy your tickets for Trois Mec in advance and if you don’t show up, you just lose the money so it’s slightly stressful, though nice to have everything already paid for–except the wine). Here were some highlights:

This bite of garlic bread slathered with garlic butter was out of this world good:

A fried square of tapioca with passionfruit flavor was unlike anything I’ve had before:

This salad of endive and horseradish may not look like much, but there were raw scallops underneath and the whole thing was very cooling and calming and expertly done–one of the highlights of the night:

We splurged on the supplemental potato pulp ($12 more a person) which lived up to the hype, topped as it was with onion soubise and bonito flakes:

The main beef dish was just OK, I don’t remember much about it:

But I loved the rice pudding for dessert (picture at the top of this post) with a sugared egg yolk in the center. That was a dazzler.

7. Smitten Kitchen Apple Cake.

If you’re looking for an impressive dessert that’s really a cinch to put together, look no further than Smitten Kitchen’s Apple Cake (Deb’s mom’s recipe). It’s really the simplest of batters–which I dressed up a little with some orange zest and lemon zest–which gets poured into a tube pan and separated by a layer of apples tossed with lots of sugar and cinnamon. It’ll make your whole house smell dreamy and plus the cake is huge, so it’ll last you a whole week. Get to it!

8. The coconut tart at Pop-Up Preech Monday at Jar.

A few weeks ago, I read about a special dinner at Jar here in L.A. where the chef de cuisine Preech Narkthong would be making his own menu on Monday nights. That sounded really cool, so I invited my fellow Jar-fans Barrett and Chad along and we absolutely enjoyed Preech’s sophisticated menu of hand-crafted shrimp dumplings and lobster:

But the highlight for me, easily, was the coconut tart that Preech made for dessert:

I’m a huge fan of Mounds bars and, really, anything coconut-flavored and this slice of tart really took the cake (how’s that for food writing?). Seriously, it was such a smart spin on those Mounds-inspired flavors, I demand to know the recipe so I can make this myself.

9. Orecchiette with broccoli.

It’s pretty much an established fact that when I go away for any amount of time, the first thing that I like to cook when I get home is pasta. Maybe because we often have pasta in the pantry so it’s easy just to boil water and whip something up? Only this time I wanted something a little more nourishing, so I bought orecchiette and two heads of broccoli and made the dinner you see above a riff on this. Only, instead of pancetta I added anchovies to the pan with the garlic and olive oil and then quickly cooked the broccoli in the boiling water for the pasta, before removing it to the hot oil with all of those flavor-enhancers in there. Worked like a charm.

10. Lunch at Superba Food & Bread.

Let’s count these three things as one thing too: upon arriving back from Florida, I gently hinted (demanded) that it would be nice to have lunch at Superba Food & Bread which is only a short drive from LAX. Craig acquiesced and, indeed, it was a lovely return to L.A., sitting outside with all of those attractive Venice beach types and eating different kinds of toast–one with smoked trout, one with almond butter and jelly, and one with scrambled eggs and cheese (not pictured)–plus a gem lettuce salad. That whole gem lettuce thing is SO L.A., I’ve never seen it anywhere else, which made this such a nice “return to home” lunch.

And there you are: 10 things (plus more things) that I ate recently and didn’t tell you about only now I did tell you about them so we can all rest easy.


Sunday, 28 December 2008

Festive profiteroles with salad

When I lived in vegetarian student households we would often have a vegetarian Christmas dinner to enjoy before we headed off to our meat-loving families where the turkey and ham ruled supreme.

I still love having this pre-Christmas dinner with E before heading off to a larger family dinner on Christmas day. These days, rather than savouring a vegetarian-friendly ambience, it is about having our own dinner and an opportunity for me to try some fancy dishes. We are also more aware of the summer solstice occurring around this time and so it is more of a seasonal dinner than on Christmas day. A lighter dinner is welcome, given that we face a heavy dinner soon after.

This year we had our dinner on the weekend before Christmas. I decided to adapt Rose Elliot’s gruyere profiteroles with pea sauce. That’s right! Savoury profiteroles. We are quite partial to more traditional sweet profiterole - little balls of choux pastry stuffed with cream or custard and smothered in chocolate sauce. So I liked the novelty of serving cheesy versions for the main course. Rose also suggested serving them as finger food but if I was to do that I would want them smaller than mine were.

Choux pastry seems decadent and rich even though it is not terribly difficult to make. But I was wary enough of it to make sure I was prepared with all ingredients measured before I started. Mine puffed up nicely in the oven but cooled quickly. I changed the cream cheese filling from fennel to red capsicum and garlic. With a little parsley, the colours were quite festive. The sauce I made was probably a little thick but pleasing, nevertheless. It was gloopy and smooth like mushy peas but fresher!

On the side, we had a festive salad, adapted from a Warm Pear Salad with Orange Vinaigrette and Spiced Walnuts in the Café Flora Cookbook. I added roasted pumpkin because I love it and pomegranate arils because they look festive. The walnuts were delicious when roasted with a fascinating blend of spices. When the orange vinaigrette was mixed with walnuts, the salad took on some of these flavours and became quite rich. But it was a fine accompaniment for the profiteroles which were simply flavoured with the cheeses and garlic.

For dessert, I was guided a little by circumstances. This year again, I had pudding crumbs from taking the cloth off the pudding, so I made condensed milk and pudding truffles as I had last year. I also made coconut ice to take down to the family the following day. Originally I planned to make a dessert in addition to these but, when I looked at how much food we already had, I decided that placing these in the centre of a seasonal fruit platter would be ample. I was so full after the main course that this platter was more than enough.

After our dinner we sat by the Christmas tree and watched the Polar Express while we continued to nurse a drink and nibble on the dessert platter. Good food is indeed one of the pleasures of Christmas!

Gruyere Profiteroles with Pea Sauce
(adapted from Rose Elliot’s Vegetarian Cooking)
Serves 4-6

Gruyere Choux Pastry:
50g butter
150ml water
65g plain or strong flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100g gruyere cheese, grated

Green Pea Sauce:
15g butter
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
50g potato
100g green peas
Small handful of basil leaves, chopped
150ml water (or extra as required)

Filling:
200g cream cheese
½ red pepper, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Pinch of cayenne pepper

iPreheat oven to 200 C (400 F). Gently heat butter and water in a medium saucepan till butter is melted then bring to the boil. Remove from heat and add flour, beating well with a wooden spoon. Return to heat and continue beating for 1 minute until dough leaves the side of the saucepan. (At this point it says to tip dough into a clean bowl but I forgot and continued in the saucepan). Add eggs half an egg at a time and beat each time till mixture has absorbed egg and is smooth and glossy (it may look a bit curdled when you first add it but will became smoother as you stir it). Stir in ⅔ of the gruyere cheese. Line a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle with some water (apparently the steam will help the pastry rise). Drop spoonfuls onto tray and sprinkle with the rest of the grated cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and puffed up. When they come out of the oven, immediately pierce with a knife to let the steam out so they don’t go soggy.

To make pea sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan and fry shallots and potato for about 10 minutes, covered. Add peas and water. Boil and simmer about 5 minutes. Add basil. Blend with hand held blender or in food processor. Season to taste. Add more water if it is a little thick. Can be made a few days in advance and rewarmed when ready to serve.

To make filling: Mix all ingredients together and set aside till ready to fill cheese profiteroles. Keeps for a few days in the fridge.

To assemble: Cut warm profiteroles in half and spread filling thickly in middle and then replace other half on top. Serve with warm pea sauce.

Pumpkin, Pomegranate and Orange salad with Spiced Walnuts
(adapted from Café Flora Cookbook)
Serves 4 as side

250-350g pumpkin, trimmed and peeled
Drizzle of olive oil
Pinch of salt
2 handfuls of rocket (arugula)
Arils of ¼ pomegranate
½ cup spiced walnuts (see below)
Orange vinaigrette (see below)

Chop pumpkin into small pieces. Place in roasting dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Toss so it is covered in oil and roast for about 40 minutes at 180 C or until pumpkin is cooked. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Toss pumpkin, rocket, pomegranate arils, spiced walnuts and vinaigrette together in a large bowl and serve.

Spiced Walnuts:
(makes 1 cup)
1 cup walnut halves
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp each of ground cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt (not rock salt)
1 tbsp icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Toss walnuts and oil in a medium sized roasting dish. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat evenly. Roast in oven for 10-12 minutes until crisp and brown, stirring halfway through. Keep an eye on them as they can burn easily if left too long. Cool before serving.

Orange Vinaigrette:
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tbsp wine vinegar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together (or shake together in a jar).

LEFTOVERS NOTE: There were plenty of leftovers for the next couple of days. I learnt that choux pastry does not reheat well in a microwave. When we finished the profiteroles the next night (NB I didn’t fill them til just before we ate them), we had plenty of sauce and filling still leftover so I served the sauce with potato pancakes (inspired by Lisa and Ricki) which were ok but not great with it. More successful was using up the cream cheese filling as a spread on toast.

We also have walnuts leftover because I thought the amount made was too much for the salad. I used these to garnish a chestnut, parsnip and orange soup but they would be great as nibbles before dinner or as part of a festive platter. The recipe advises making them a few days in advance so the flavours permeate the nuts.

I also made an Apricot, Pomegranate and Orange Smoothie out of the fruity leftovers.

On the stereo:
Christmas: Low


19 of the best food gifts for everyone on the list, from your foodie friend to hungry uncle: Cool Mom Eats holiday gift guide 2015

Here’s the thing about food gifts: Everybody loves them. You don’t have to be a foodie to be psyched about a delicious treat in which you might not otherwise indulge. And—all jokes about Brooklandia aside—with so many wonderful artisanal food makers in this country hand crafting delicious eats with quality ingredients, there’s something delicious for everyone, from your best friend with a sweet tooth to the grandma who likes it spicy. And we found the cream of the crop.

We’ve put together 19 of our favorite food gifts this year for everyone on your list, from the aficionado to…well, someone who’s just hungry. They are guaranteed to make your mouth water, so consider buying more if you want keep a few treats for yourself.


Medicinal Herb: Desert Lavender

Medium to tall, cold tender, perennial shrub, found in the southwestern United States of Arizona, Nevada, California, and northwestern Mexico in Sonora and Baja California.

HABITAT

Dry washes, and on rocky slopes, up to 3000 feet in elevation. It is evergreen or cold deciduous, depending upon its location.

REGION DESERTS

The Southwestern United States of Arizona, Nevada, California, and northwestern Mexico in Sonora and Baja California.

Energetics: Cooling, calming, stimulating

Actions: Bitter, astringent, aromatic, diaphoretic, antimicrobial, styptic

Wound healing. Hyptis makes a top-notch wound wash (strong decoction) or applied to bleeding wounds in infused oil or salve form. I’ve used it for various wounds over the years (often combined with white sage), and it is effective not only in stopping the bleeding but because it is also strongly antimicrobial, it helps prevent infection. It’s proven useful as haemorrhoid soak in sitz baths for a heavily pregnant friend: those astringent and hemostatic properties in combination with it being cooling, soothing, and anti-inflammatory really came in handy. She’d use the hyptis (with yarrow) in a sitz bath then apply the same in a salve directly to the area and reported much relief.

Antimicrobial/ digestive: Hyptis is strongly antimicrobial with an affinity for the digestive tract. Internally, in infusion or tincture, it is highly effective for acute conditions like food poisoning, especially when it feels like someone’s taken a scouring pad to your intestines. I use it myself every time I have the scouring-pad-to-intestines feeling (which, given that I have an extremely sensitive stomach, happens quite frequently). I’ve used it in formulas for dysentery type conditions, norovirus, and numerous bouts of random food-related illness, all to good effect.

A notable recent case was for a client who had diarrhea for a couple of weeks straight. I’ve been trying to convince her to do some elimination testing for food allergies, as she really does exhibit signs of one (eczema and IBS type symptoms most notably), however (understandably) she’s really reluctant to completely change her lifestyle. I gave her a formula with desert lavender, evening primrose, plantain, blackberry leaf and ginger in a tea, and has been keeping her guts so happy that she’s put off eliminating any foods once more. I’m not entirely sure if this is a good thing…

For more chronic microbial issues like thrush and intestinal dysbiosis, hyptis proves to be a valuable part of any formula, often in combination with chilopsis linearis (desert willow), white sage, alder, yerba mansa, and ocotillo (in various combinations).

Diaphoretic: Desert lavender is a particularly delicious and effective relaxing diaphoretic. The antimicrobial properties come into effect well here, too.

Cools the fire: For headaches, irritability, overheating, itchy and irritated eyes, hangover bellies, nausea and all other symptoms that you’d associate with liver fire, desert lavender swiftly comes to the rescue, cooling and calming things down. Systemically it’s incredibly useful for people who tend towards constitutional liver heat, and I reach for it to try first every time I’m presented with a liver heat type headache because it works probably 70% of the time. Desert lavender calms the stomach and is especially effective for those mornings after you’ve drunk a little too much and feel like your stomach lining is going to consume itself and that there aren’t enough fry up breakfasts in the world to help. Internally its lovely used in tea blends for ulcers and for nausea, applying that calming-of-overactivity action to the stomach.
Anti-inflammatory: Used externally as a wound wash, or as a soak for swollen joints or aching swollen and tired feet, desert lavender absolutely excels. It really helps to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It can also be combined with white sage in this manner, especially if there is more pain (white sage, among other things, is analgesic). Internally, because it tastes so good (in small quantities), it a great daily anti-inflammatory infusion, and is a nice humble antioxidant that doesn’t come in a plastic bottle from halfway around the world. Systemically, it is cooling and calming, making it a great addition to any regime for people with chronic inflammatory conditions.

Bitter: One of the nice things about hawking my wares to a variety of people is the feedback get en masse for certain products or combinations. I made a desert lavender (with white sage) bitters blend last year that I’ve been getting some great reviews from people about— as a digestive bitter, it stimulates, but not overly so. I also married a strongly anabolic man who eats himself into a food coma regularly and this often results in some pretty wretched indigestion followed by terrible gas. It is in my best interest to treat these things as quickly as possible as we share a bedroom. Desert lavender bitters come to the rescue on a regular basis, easing indigestion and calming the flatulence to the point where I can sleep without feeling like I’m in a gas chamber. Small blessings. I also have a customer with IBS used to use Swedish Bitters on a daily basis but had to stop because it irritated her intestines too much. She now uses hyptis bitters in their place and finds them as effective at aiding digestion without causing the purging that Swedish Bitters did. Once again that cooling, soothing and stimulating action in effect.

Calming: That frenetic buzzing, the same thing that bees do, that nervous systems do, desert lavender has a strongly calming action on, bringing it down to a manageable level. I’ve seen this time and again, with people who tend to go into stress-mode, who drink too much coffee, are wired hours later, and generally seem to be in a state of sympathetic nervous system access. A half dropper or so of hyptis tincture will really take the edge off, tone down the frenzy and chill a person out. It’s a nice smoking herb for this kind of thing too, especially mixed with pedicularis.

Other: Use it as a smudge (you could combine it with white sage, or with pine pitch, or juniper berries, or all of the above), in a sick room for help fighting airborne microbes, or, for respiratory illness, add it to a steam. Try cooking with it (I use it in a spice blend with bee balm, white sage, black sage, rose petals, sumac, and California bay leaves), or making a desert lavender syrup to add to sodas. Its flavor is enough like true lavender that you can substitute it in a lot of recipes, though keep in mind desert lavender is slightly stronger tasting and lacks the sweetness of some types of true lavender.

Combinations:

As a digestive bitter, it is particularly effective in combination with white sage, with ginger, cinnamon, and some lemon peel.

With any combination of white sage, yerba mansa, ocotillo, alder: Immune boosting, antimicrobial, infection fighting.

With rose and monkeyflower: uplifting, liver moving, gently calming and relaxing. A really lovely little blend.

With evening primrose: cools inflammation and soothes the digestive tract.

With elderflower and a wild mint (I’m particularly fond of it with one of our local Monardella species) in hot infusion: great diaphoretic blend. Especially because the desert lavender is so strongly

antimicrobial and immune system stimulating.

With Chilopsis (desert willow): a particularly nice combination for candida or gut dysbiosis.

The bits and bobs:

Desert lavender grows in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, in sunny washes. It’s common and abundant in most places within its growing range. You can harvest hyptis year-round, though it’s most likely to be gather-able in the winter and spring, after the rains but before the desert gets too hot. Gather it when it is flowering, pinching off the top 8 inches or so with the freshest growth. As with most mints, it’ll actually grow back bushier as a result. California hyptis, probably due to there being less rain than in Arizona, is remarkably smaller than Arizonan species unless you gather it in a shady canyon. I highly recommend finding a shady canyon.

Preparation: Tincture (fresh 1:2 dry 1:5). While Michael Moore says 95% I’ve personally found it to be so dry usually that I don’t need to waste my [hard to come by in California] 95% everclear 70% works really nicely. Luckily those who live in Arizona with more lush plants also have access to higher percentage alcohol on a regular basis. I’m assuming this is some sort of ‘Arizona government loves herbalists’ conspiracy.

Try preparing hyptis as a salve, infused oil (both for external use and ingestion as food), vinegar, oxymel, honey (which is beyond delicious).
About Desert Lavender (Condea emoryi)Hyptis emoryi (Desert Lavender) is a fragrant, multi-stemmed shrub species of flowering plant in the Lamiaceae (mint family). The genus Condea (formerly Hyptis) is commonly known as the bush mint. Desert Lavender is a medium to large perennial shrub found in the deserts of southwestern United States of Arizona, Nevada, California, and northwestern Mexico in Sonora and Baja California at elevations below 3,000 ft.

Desert Lavender prefers sandy or gravelly soils with good drainage, and full sun or part shade. It can tolerate summer water up to 1x per month.
Plant Description Plant Type


Standing Behind Convictions

Most cultures that have Cougar as one of the several key figures of their lore recognize this beautiful cat as a creature of great strength, cunning, and power. And in observing the Mountain Lion in the wild, it is easy to see where such tales of prowess stem from as they utilize not only their strength alone but also employ their intelligence and stealth.

By looking at the solid and long form of the Cougar, it becomes apparent that these cats are designed for multiple tasks, as their large paws bespeak of an ability to traverse a wide variety of terrain from grassy paths to high granite walls. Their long, thick tails assist them with balancing in precarious positions and heights, while their muscular legs propel them higher and longer in leaps than any other cat. Such a diverse design hints at the ability these animals have to gain dominance over their environment and maneuver in areas virtually inaccessible to other creatures of the wild.

As Cougar is sure-footed atop their canyon and desert perches, so are the two-legged beside whom Cougar strides, certain of his/her approach to life. Much like their Totem Spirit, the human counterpart will exude an aura of quiet strength that will make an impression upon Others.

The impression made will almost always be one of respect and/or admiration, though the Cougar Soul seems to elicit extreme responses in Others. While some peers encountered taking an instant liking to the Cougar individual, while others will feel immediately threatened by the strong presence and hence an immediate and vehement dislike may ensue.

Yet all who come to know the individual beside whom Mountain Lion journeys will tend to agree that these are souls that stand firm in their beliefs and convictions. These are the sort of people who appear to have a moral fiber made of bedrock as they will seldom waver or be badgered from their beliefs.

Although their moral/spiritual beliefs may not necessarily be “traditional,” they will have a set of self-imposed code of ethics and morality that they will stand firmly behind. These granite philosophies are part of what makes these individuals so highly trusted by friends, family and those who know the strength of character the Cougar soul exhibits.

Conversely, there will be an equal number of detractors that would love nothing more than to see Mountain Lion tumult from a position of great height, as perhaps their own honesty and conviction pales in comparison to the Cougar’s lofty spirituality. Such individuals who are operating from a point of insecurity deeply rooted in a unintegrated Personality Center will tend to project their own unresolved issues off onto the Cougar soul, rather than examine where they may improve and enrich their own lives by living in closer accordance with their own belief system.

When challenged on their morals or beliefs, the Cougar individual will become much like the Mountain Lion defending his/her territory, and an ordinarily placid two-legged can come out with fangs bared when backed into a corner. Such attacks on their beliefs are capable of cutting right to the core of the Cougar soul, as these are honorable people that do their utmost to be trustworthy, dependable and honest.

If a two-legged with Cougar as a Totem is operating from the Shadow or Contrary Medicine, there may exist a tendency to be dogmatic in their practices or beliefs, holding very little patience for philosophy or belief systems different from their own. Yet this is rare, as most Mountain Lion’s respect the “spiritual territories” of others almost as much as they guard their own right to think and believe as they see fit.

For the two-legged operating from the Higher Octave of Cougar Medicine, the men are the knights in shining armor of eras long past that live and defend the values of trust, honesty, faithfulness, and honor. The female Cougars are the “Earth Mothers” that exude an aura of Oneness with the All and a deep reverence for the environment. In both the male and female, a profound connection and respect for the ancient customs and traditions of indigenous people will be felt and expressed, though they themselves may not have been born with Native American blood and remind Others of the importance of respect for the Wisdom of the Elders.


Quarantine Journal : Peter Nguyen, Recherche Beauté & Indigo Lab

Peter Nguyen is the founder of Recherche Beauté & co-founder of Indigo Lab.

He shares with us his daily flow and reflections during this time of personal space in quarantine that we all are experiencing together.

Self-Care Flow

Some self-care rituals I have immersed myself in during these times are preparing and cooking nourishing and nutritious foods and dishes to feed my body, soul and build my strength and immunity. I am of Vietnamese descent, so I have been experimenting with a lot of my mother’s traditional Vietnamese recipes, by getting creative and putting my own vegan and California farm-to-table twist for each recipe, such as my own interpretation of the pho broth, made with nutrient-dense vegetables purchased from local farmer’s markets and Erewhon. I make a large batch of which I can freeze, store and prepare so that I can sip on throughout the day to keep immunity strong and healthy, especially during these times.

I have a background in beauty, so beauty self-care rituals are a must always. I have my own skin care line of which I use religiously, but with the amount of time I am spending at home these days, I have been experimenting and formulating a lot of my own concoctions. I made my own rose water to ingest and use as a skin toner with fresh organic garden rose petals and Mountain Valley Spring Water. I have also made some beautiful body oil infusions with golden jojoba oil and rose hip seed oil, infusing them in glass mason jars with dried calendula, rose petals, lavender, chamomile and yarrow. I have also been taking a lot of baths, of which I will infuse my baths with oat flour, goat milk, baking soda, dried rose petals, honey and a few drops of sandalwood essential oil. My skin feels so soft after and I literally will just float right into a peaceful night’s sleep after.

And lastly, the most important act of self-care I have been immersed in is really taking this time to connect with my loved ones, whether it be via FaceTime, Zoom classes or phone calls, connecting with loved ones has been very nurturing and nourishing to my heart and soul. It is such a beautiful gift to be able to really take time to talk, connect and share stories and experiences with people you love and inspire you.

Movement

I normally live a very active life, so movement is very important to me. Prior to all of this, I held the record for taking the most classes at Barry’s Bootcamp since the new year started, so to be self-quarantined has been very challenging for me. But fortunately, Barry’s Bootcamp has been offering IG Live at-home workout classes I have recently delved into and I love it, as it feels great to move and contract all of the muscles throughout my body and feeling the circulation that makes me feel alive within my body.

Walking my French Bulldog, Luna outside in our neighborhood, beautiful local parks and along the beach has not only been a necessity for her, but a beautiful gift for myself to be able to breath fresh air (the pollution levels in LA have dissipated immensely due to no one being outside and driving), get my dose of vitamin D from the sun, and additional movement in through walking and running with my dog.

Favorite Products

My favorite products I cannot live without right now are my Livon Liposomal Vitamin C packets, Quicksilver Scientific Liposomal Glutathione to strengthen my immunity. And I have been proactively trying to ween myself off of coffee and caffeine in the mornings, so I started using Sunpotion’s Bacopa Transcendent Elixir, and one dropper underneath my tongue gives me that boost of mental clarity and energy without the caffeine. I am obsessed! Another product I can’t live without right now, especially with the state that our world is currently in, in order calm my mind from the barrage of news and developments, I use Bach Original Flower Remedies White Chestnut Extract to calm my mind. Another product I cannot live without and literally living in are my custom made RG Kimono kimono robes made of luxurious fabrics such as sustainable cashmere, silks and bamboo rayon. It is as if I have wrapped myself in a cocoon made of pure love and intention woven into every stitch by my beloved friend and designer, Rita Ghanime. They are not only comfortable, but also stylish. Who says you can’t feel stylish during quarantine?! And last but not least, I swear by my Recherche Beauté Rose Sauvage Gentle Resurfacing Treatment, a daily treatment that’s smells as though I am waking through a rose garden to start my day. I apply first thing in the morning to tone, gently exfoliate, combat puffiness and brighten my skin before I jump in the shower to rinse it off.

Mental and Spiritual Practice

A devoted and routine mental and spiritual practice is the absolute most important gift we can give ourselves especially during these times. This year has not disappointed in terms of providing us with shocking news and developments. And whether we are aware of it or not, it is absolutely shocking to our nervous systems. My daily practice of Kundalini yoga and meditation with my partner and teacher Kjord Davis has been my saving grace. Known as the yoga of awareness, it not only strengthens our sensitivity to what is unfolding before us, it also strengthens our nervous systems to be able to handle the incessant “shock and awes” we are confronted with. It connects us to our higher consciousness to be able to deeply understand and comprehend what is happening around us, and also grounds us into our bodies through connecting to our breath and feeling the electricity of our bodies.

I have also been delving more deeply into astrology with Kjord as well. His guidance, knowledge and connection to the cosmos has been such an incredible tool for me, like a personal road map for me on how to navigate these times based upon my own connection to the universe.

I have also been doing remote spiritual healing sessions with my friend Jessica Renee of Live Fully. She is based in Hawaii, and brings the serene and calming energy of Hawaii into our sessions with deeply profound sensitivity and connection to higher realms of consciousness. I emerge feeling calmer, more connected and with crystal-clear vision based upon her guidance.

Peter Nguyen is the co-founder of Indigo Lab and founder of Recherche Beauté.


A Day In The Life : Joel Einhorn - Founder and CEO of HANAH

When I’m at home in Venice Beach is where I am most able to get into my perfect rhythm. I like to keep my program pretty tight when I’m at home, as I know that I’ll inevitably be traveling again soon where the rhythm’s are different.

I will also train for specific trips that I’ll be going on. My routine will be different before a surf trip, as it will be different before a snowboard or cycling trip.

I’ll be heading to the mountains on my next trip in a few days, so here’s an example of my current routine.

I like to wake up when I wake up. This is probably the biggest luxury I afford myself. Nothing beats waking up when you want to. It also enables me to get as much sleep as I need, which is at least 8 hours per night. This is almost non-negotiable for me as I don’t function well without it. I wake up and make a HANAH Coffee, the ingredients of which are below. I also drink a huge glass of water, sometimes with Dr. Natura’s Colonix powder (once in a while). HANAH ONE consists of 30 wild-crafted super herbs in a base of Ayurvedic ghee, sesame oil, and honey. Ghee is the penetrator, sending the herbs deeper into the system, while the caffeine in coffee disperses the nutrients and makes them available to your whole body. Colonix from Dr. Natura keeps the pipes clean. I use it preventatively to maintain healthy body function. The intestines are where most nutrient uptake happens.

HANAH Super Brew

  • 12-16 ounces of organic coffee
  • 1 tablespoon HANAH ONE
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon HANAH Vechur Ghee

I will then start my morning telephone calls. Most of my calls are between 9-11.30 am. I like to keep the calls to a minimum every day as each call creates and action list. If I overwhelm myself, I’m not as productive working on the things I need to be working on. While I’m on the calls I will make a smoothie. At the moment this smoothie contains:

HANAH Cacao / Mushroom Elixir

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp Cacao
  • 1 heaping tbsp HANAH ONE
  • 1 tsp Mushroom powder (Cordyceps or Ho Shou Wu)
  • 1 tsp MACA Powder
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 cup of Berries
  • 1tsp Ashwagandha powder

I’ll also take a few tablets. At the moment we are working on new products from Bhutan, so I’m taking:

I will also take a liquid mineral mix.

I ride my bike to a Yoga session or one hour workout at noon. The workout is full body mobility focused on plyometric / quick movements. After Yoga I will cruise slowly back home on the beach and chill out for a minute. The boardwalk of Venice is always fun to ride through. A few times a week I will add in a 2nd workout which is a 2 hour bike ride up to the Santa Monica Mountains. My workouts are my meditation. Being in nature is necessary.

In the afternoon I will answer emails and work on my to-do list.

For dinner we usually cook at home or order food from a great list of healthy spots, depending on how busy we are. It’s not abnormal for my Fiancee Raegan and I to work until 10 or 11pm, sometimes longer.

I will then read for a bit before bed.

Currently Reading:

  • The Tibetan Book of living and Dying
  • Surfing with Sartre
  • Leonardo da Vinci: Autobiography

If I’m traveling or jet lagged and need assistance sleeping, I will take CBD oil before bed along with 300mg of Magnesium. This does the trick.

I try and imagine my ultimate goal and why I’m going after it before I sleep. Then I travel and wake up when my eyes open.

Learn more about HANAH - visit their website, and follow HANAH on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Glogg, Aebleskivers and Christmas in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

It’s that time of year again, and like all good traditions that bear repeating, I will share my recipes for gløgg and aæbleskivers with you. This year I will experience these Danish Christmas delights first hand – I leave today for Copenhagen and one week of touring, writing and eating my way around this beautiful city and its environs, while I indulge my love for all things Nordic and my desire to share the magic of Christmas in Denmark with all of you.

You might think that Denmark is cold and dark at this time of year (it is!) but it’s also the coziest and most festive place to be during the holiday season with Christmas markets, Tivoli Gardens, and gleaming shopping streets lined with flagship stores displaying impeccable Danish design and half-timbered boutiques glowing in the dusky light. Open fires line the pedestrian walkways, warming hands and roasting chestnuts, while street carts and storefronts dole out steaming cups of gløgg and sugared æbleskivers to keep the energy up and spirits warm. You can be sure I’ll be drinking all of this in, and while I do that, I’ll share these recipes with you, so you, too, can join in the Scandinavian holiday spirit.

Referred to as pancakes, dumplings or even doughnut holes in English, Danish æbleskivers are served as a treat throughout the month of December. While you can buy aebleskivers pre-frozen in the shops, nothing beats the vanilla and cardamom scent and tender texture of homemade æbleskivers. To make them you will need a special æbleskivers pan, which is a skillet with 6 to 8 round indentations. Cast iron is best.

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 envelope dry yeast or .6 ounce fresh yeast (1 cake)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 vanilla bean
2 large eggs, separatedUnsalted European-style butter
Strawberry or raspberry preserves
Powdered sugar

Heat milk in a small saucepan until lukewarm. Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl. Add yeast and let it dissolve.

Combine flour, sugar, salt and cardamon in a medium bowl. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into the dry ingredients. Whisk the egg yolks into the milk. Add the wet ingredients to the flour and mix well. Beat egg whites in bowl of electric mixer until stiff. Fold into batter. Let stand one hour at room temperature.

Melt 1/2 teaspoon butter in each indentation of an aebleskiver pan over medium heat. Pour batter into each indentation, about 2/3 full. Cook until golden brown underneath, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a wooden skewer, turn æbleskivers over and continue to cook until golden and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer æbleskivers to a plate lined with a paper towel, and repeat with remaining batter. Serve æbleskivers with powdered sugar and preserves. Accompany with gløgg.


Watch the video: EAT PASSION FRUIT THE SUPER FRUIT


Comments:

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  4. Lian

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  5. Cristofor

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  6. Rush

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