Just a few weeks ago, the day before Christmas, I turned 28. I must say, there is something about the even numbers, the progression towards 30, the letting go of the earlier years of my 20’s, that feels amazing. It really feels like there is a turning point at this age, and I greatly welcome 28’s greater sense of peace, comfort, and clarity in the world. With that, as I reflected on all the amazing people in my life, I wanted to bring everyone together. Gather we did, at the Linkery, an amazing restaurant dedicated to all food real, sourced locally and in impeccably organic condition. It was glorious!
I was blessed to be with friends who were in town for the holiday season and friends I had not seen in months. I was able to witness a coming together of very unique and talented individuals. As I reflected on the people in attendance, I for sure noticed one thing: Everyone there was completely rocking their own gifts and talents. Each person was so different, yet the same, because they each were honoring their own uniqueness. The diversity was so inspiring: A painter, a filmmaker, a swing dancer, a yogi, a videographer, a sumptuous food creator, a fire spinner/modern dancer, an elementary school educator, a tech savvy radio show host/web designer/photographer, a chef…
The sangria was flowing and the goat cheese crumble divine. One of the gifts I received that evening was an amazing cook book, Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson, from my amazing friend Ladan Raissi. Ladan is a dear friend from Coronado, who I worked with at a Living Foods Culinary Academy in Oklahoma City (yes, raw food in OKC!), Oklahoma, as an Assistant Instructor for the Level 1 Raw Food Chef Teacher Training. It was quite an experience, let me say! Of the wonderful benefits I reaped, I enjoyed teaching the students how to make kombucha, and I loved lecturing about Spirulina, Bee Pollen, and all the nutrient dense Super Foods. We made decadent raw pies and tarts such as this one that my amazing friend Greg Loonie is displaying. We brought in amazing guest speakers, such as Sue Tarr, an inspiring local biodynamic farmer at Turtle Barn Farm, and activist. She really helped us understand the issue of mineral depletion in the soil and how when she bought her land, it was practically all sand. It took her years to recreate the integrity of the soil for growing conditions, with cow manure and composting material.
While I lived there, I also adopted my sweet dog, Kaya Jo. Ladan still lives there and now works as a Chef for the Marriott. Discovering raw foods was a powerful and important part of my journey. I was able to understand the importance of enzymes, chewing well, detoxing, local/organic produce, and the quality and vibration of what you choose to nourish yourself with. ‘Raw food’ has become a big trend, and as it offers its numerous benefits, it also offers imbalanced aspects- just as anything else. Ultimately, much of it simply consists of au-natural food of the Earth, straight from the ground! There are many fancy ways to create raw foods such as raw almond flour from the dehydrated pulp of your almond milk, etc., yet let’s remember, ‘raw’ also means ‘alive’….plain and simple, cucumbers, arugula, and beets from the soil. I was also able to watch my passion for teaching about the healing power of food grow and grow!
Several years later, I am not a raw foodist. I eat, largely by intuition and the ancient medicine of Ayurveda. I do not subscribe solely to any one tradition, rather I follow the tradition of my own wisdom and intuitive guidance. Indeed, the wonderful cook book Ladan gave me is far from raw as well! We have integrated the ways our unique bodies desire and have thoroughly enjoyed it along the way.
So, here is a recipe from the cook book, following my intuitive cravings for a rich and savory creation. I have never been a big bread baker. For several years, I didn’t even eat bread! Now, I love eating Ezekial’s Sprouted Bread, using freshly sprouted live grains, enhancing the amount of enzymes and nutrients available. Furthermore, it increases ease in assimilation and digestion.
This soda bread is SO simple to make and so flour-y fun! Each loaf seems to look different and rustic. Since no yeast is required, soda breads are great for beginners. Not to mention, the dill goat cheese butter has so much flavor in its simplicity, you will absolutely adore the joy it offers your ready palette. Along with its appetizing and tangy flavor, dill also offers a host of fortifying medicinal benefits, including its essential oils that aid in digestion. It may also be helpful for insomnia, respiratory conditions, menstrual imbalances, and oral care.
CULINARY CREATIVE PROCESS:
Rye Soda Bread
2 1/3 cups rye flour
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for kneading and dusting (Spelt and Buckwheat are good alternatives, I used Spelt)
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
2 cups buttermilk, plus more for brushing
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the buttermilk. Stir together with a wooden spoon or a spatula just until the dough comes together in a ball.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter top and knead for just about 30 seconds. The dough should be a cohesive ball, but there will still be dry spots. Try to get rid of the cracks.
4. Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured baking sheet. Brush buttermilk over the top and sides of the dough and then sprinkle generously with flour. Without slicing all the way through the ball, cut four deep slashes across the top of the dough, as if you were slicing a pie.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes and then move the rack and the bread up a level in the oven to bake for another 20 minutes. The bread is done when the dough looks baked thoroughly and is nice and crusty. It will be heavy, but should sound hollow when you knock the bottom.
What you need:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh organic dill
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh organic chives
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped organic shallots
- 1/2 cup/4 oz/115 g organic unsalted butter (or ghee) at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1/3 cup/2 oz/ 60 g semisoft farmer cheese or mild, soft goat cheese