Just Like A Circus

I believe in the art of organizing. Marie Kondo is my hero. I could spend hours at The Container Store. So now that all of the planet is pretty much under lockdown, I’ve had time to purge, audit and organize our fridge and pantry cabinets. In trying to store all the food we have for X amount of time, I took pleasure in organizing the shelves and FIFO-ing (kitchen term for First In First Out) all of our food. When making breakfast the other day, I had a handful of perfectly ripe pears that I wanted to add in this oven pancake recipe I found. Of course I had to veganize it. Honestly, these oven pancakes tasted like funnel cakes and transported me to a time not long ago where we could go to the county fair and eat all the things.

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Caramelized Pear Oven Funnel Cake Pancakes

Recipe slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

6T vegan butter, divided

3 ea. pears, peeled, cored and sliced in 1/4-inch wedges

2T coconut sugar

Juice of half a lemon

1t ground cinnamon

1C plant-based milk (I used oat milk and had great results)

1t pure vanilla extract

1C Bob’s Red Mill 7-Grain Pancake + Waffle Flour Mix

2 T flaxseed + 4T water

Powdered sugar for dusting

METHOD

Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 425 degrees F

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flaxseed eggs, 1T of the melted butter, milk and vanilla. Add in the flour mix. Whisk till the batter is just incorporated. Set aside.

In a cast-iron skillet, melt 2T of butter over medium-high heat. Then add in half of the pears and half of the coconut sugar and cinnamon, sautéing till it’s nice and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Finish with a squeeze of lemon. Add 2T of butter, melt, and pour in half of the pancake batter.

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the pancake is golden and puffy.

Top with a dusting of powdered sugar.

To All the Employees I’ve Loved Before


ACS_0293This is a love letter to all of my employees, co-workers and fellow hospitality management,

The last few days have been so hard for everyone. When I learned that we would be closing our dining room services for at least 4 weeks on Sunday, I had mixed feelings—part relief that we all had the opportunity to socially distance ourselves and help slow down the spread of Coronavirus. The biggest part of me was absolutely heartbroken what that meant for our 50+ employees at our restaurant. These are the hardest times right now, and I sincerely wish I had the power to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I could to save you all. I have no power over this. None of us do. I’ve been crying for the past 3 days because I love you all so very much and it has been an absolute honor and privilege to be your AGM these past 2 years.

I know exactly how you’re feeling right now, and it’s absolutely terrible. Some of you don’t know that I’ve been through a lay-off, too. Back in 2008 during The Great Recession I was laid off from my editor job at a publishing house. I didn’t see it coming. I had graduated from journalism school and was just beginning my journey as a journalist (my childhood dream). It felt even worse because just 2 months before the day I was laid off, my brother died in a tragic accident. I had just come back to work from bereavement leave and was trying to distract my sadness and depression after losing my brother. Obviously everything felt even more intense.

I lived off of unemployment for almost 2 years—applying for jobs, internships, freelance gigs, whatever I could to stay above ground. I worked so many odd jobs during that time, but nothing that could financially support me. Unfortunately there weren’t any more journalism jobs to go around for the other thousands who lost their jobs, too. I even volunteered at a children’s hospital during my unemployment because I wanted to make a positive difference in kids’ lives. That “job” was the best and most meaningful experience of my life, and I wouldn’t change any part of it. It has helped shape me into the person I am today.

After not finding work for 2 years I decided to chase a passion of mine and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. My time at the CIA, and meeting all of the beautiful humans I had the amazing opportunity to learn from and work with, were some of the best years of my life.

After graduating I settled in the Bay Area and worked so many industry jobs—food stylist, line cook, pastry chef, food truck operator, catering coordinator, I can’t remember them all. But then times got really tough in the Bay, and the increasing cost of living (and a really shitty living situation) led me to being homeless. Yes, homeless. Luckily, I had such a huge community of friends who helped keep a roof over my head, and I slept on couches, mattresses, and spare rooms for a few months while I looked for an apartment. That proved to be difficult because my line cook wages couldn’t afford me a studio or 1BR apartment. After couch surfing for a few months, I gave up on living in the Bay Area. I exhausted all of my resources, but I am so grateful for that time. It humbled me immensely.

Then I did something absolutely crazy. I followed the advice of my astrologer (who I had an amazing in-person reading with on my birthday!) and moved to Portland. (I had fallen in love with the city when my friend Erika and I vacationed there for a weekend over the summer.) The thing is, I had nothing to move to. I had set up job interviews and viewing appointments for apartments but I didn’t know a soul in the city. I had phone numbers of friends of friends but no guarantees. I stayed at an Airbnb for a week with the goal of finding a job and apartment in that week. Omg I was ambitious, wasn’t I?

As you can imagine I didn’t find work. Or an apartment. But I did meet amazing friends who helped put a roof over my head and some interior design assistant work. But the hustle continued because I needed full-time work to secure an apartment. I applied for every and any job I could.

I did find an apartment during those early days thanks to my amazing friend Mel, who literally took me under her wing and saved me from homelessness in Portland. For that, I am eternally grateful to her.

The next couple of years I worked even more jobs—pastry cook, line cook, prep cook, dishwasher, bar back, host, busser, food runner, server, bartender, vacation rental manager, social media coordinator, etc. I did them all.
All that hard work brought me to hospitality management. Fast-forward 4 years (I still can’t believe how quickly that time passed), and I had the amazing opportunity to manage the team at the restaurant I’m at now. I’ve been the AGM there for a little over 2 years and it has been some of the most stressful yet rewarding years of hospitality management I’ve worked thus far. I have learned so much from every individual from my team, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity and pleasure to work alongside you all. I am hopeful that we will work together again.

My hope is that by sharing my tumultuous roller coaster of a journey, it will let you know how much I relate (who knows how long I will have my job), and that I will always have your back. I’m here for you. We are a family. What we do during these hard times will either break us or make us stronger. I know that you will choose the latter.

Stay strong, safe and healthy.

With much love and respect,
KR

 

Let’s Do A Makeover!

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I’ve been thinking about the weight of the world right now. The proverbial dark cloud currently encapsulating our planet. Our upcoming presidential election and the possible changes (good or bad) that come with it. I’m unsettled, and the only thing we can do right now is take extra care and precautions to be healthier and safe. To be more proactive than reactive. To vote for the most competent and capable candidate. I’m trying my best to relax and stay calm, but that’s very difficult when you have OCD as I do.

Needless to say, it’s time to escape, if only for a few hours. I decided to watch one of my favorite movies that always sparks joy—“Clueless.” Yes, that iconic ‘90s film that managed to turn a Jane Austen novel into a reimagined fashion revolution.

It’s actually the perfect movie to watch right now. (Did you know “Outbreak” is the 9th most-popular movie streaming on Netflix right now?! So much for escape.)

In the words of Cher Horowitz:

“I had to find sanctuary in a place where I could gather my thoughts and regain my strength…”

<Cut to an exterior shot of the Westside Pavilion>

CLUELESS. Image shot 1995. Exact date unknown.

Fun fact: I know and can recite the entire movie from beginning to end. (I’ve honestly watched this movie maybe 1000 times. Not an exaggeration.)

Cher Horowitz is such a mood right now. That scene where the guy at school bumps into her very persuasively so she quickly pushes him off as she quips,

“Ugh. Get off of me! As if!”

Honestly, that’s how I feel right now.

Processed With Darkroom

On my day off while I was socially distancing myself, I stumbled upon a recipe from I Will Not Eat Oysters for Rye Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups. It looked so dreamy and delicious, I had to make it. And just like Cher and Dionne gave Tai a makeover, I reworked the recipe, veganized it and then added a couple of superfood ingredients. (Superfood is super important right now, wouldn’t you agree?)

I’m convinced I’ve succeeded because I had left out a container of these only to discover the morning that my boyfriend had eaten almost all of the cookie cups after I had gone to bed. (Little did he know they are super healthy. Bwahaha!)

Feel free to play Jill Sobule’s “Supermodel” in the kitchen while making this recipe.

Processed With Darkroom

The key ingredients in this recipe are:

Walnuts: An excellent source of antioxidants and significantly high amounts of omega-3 fats called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)s, an essential fat that studies have shown helps to lower heart disease risk. Helps decrease inflammation, control blood sugars, promotes healthy gut and helps control blood sugars and lowers blood pressure.

Maca powder: A superfood chock-full of vitamins (including B1, B2, C, and E) with more than 20 amino acids and also contains calcium, zinc and iron. AND it helps increase your libido.

Flaxseed Meal: Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fats ALAs, lignans and fiber. It also helps lower blood pressure and may improve cholesterol.

Blackstrap Molasses: Yet another low-profile superfood. It’s an excellent source of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Tahini: It’s rich in anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fats with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Cacao Nibs: Packed with flavonoid antioxidants with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Rye Flour: High in fiber and contains small amounts of zinc, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium.

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Superfood Tahini Rye Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

Prep time: 3 hours 20 mins (“Everywhere in LA takes 20 minutes!”)
Yields: 18 cookie cups

INGREDIENTS

226g plant-based butter (I like Earth Balance)
200g coconut sugar
50g maple syrup
50g blackstrap molasses
100g tahini
3T ground flaxseed + 4T water
2t pure vanilla extract
150g all purpose flour
40g rye flour
30g maca powder
1/2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1 1/2t Kosher salt
1c dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
1c dairy-free dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped
1/2c cacao nibs
2c walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

METHOD

Melt the butter. Pull off heat and set aside to cool for about 10 mins.

Once the butter has cooled down a bit, add to a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment and mix with the coconut sugar till fluffy. About 5 minutes on medium speed. Turn off the mixer and add the maple syrup, molasses, tahini, flaxseed egg and vanilla. Mix for another 2 minutes, or until incorporated.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients, in three increments, on low speed. Once all flour has been added, throw in the chocolate chips, chocolate shards, cacao nibs and chopped walnuts till just incorporated. Don’t over-mix.

Using an ice cream scoop, portion out a scoop of the dough and place inside a standard muffin tray. Once all dough has been scooped into each muffin tin, place the entire tray in the freezer for at least 3 hours. This allows the flours to relax. Cover the top loosely with parchment paper.

Once your dough has rested, pull out your dough tray from the freezer and preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Bake 12-17 minutes (depends on your oven). When fully cooked (I like mine slightly gooey in the middle) pull them out and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before enjoying!

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