notes from caveland, part 2

breakfast salad

so, i’m back on more of a paleo diet lately, and while some of my favorite snacks from my first round with it are still mainstays, i’ve been adding new regulars to the mix and thought i’d share them. by far my favorite is breakfast salad, above! i discovered breakfast salad on a trip with my sister, but all i had to do was eliminate the cheese to make it paleo [though, i don’t have a huge beef with cheese, and i will still eat it sometimes]. i’ve added smoked salmon and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar in this version, but i’ve also enjoyed a spicy tapenade over the eggs too. the basics are poached eggs over greens, but you can make it your own.

almond flour crackers

if breakfast salad has become my favorite meal, these almond flour crackers have become my favorite snack. i was just looking around one day and found elana’s pantry where you can find great cracker recipes using blanched almond flour: sesame, walnut, herb, mixed seed & nut, fig & rosemary…! the basis is often the same ratio of almond flour, egg and salt, and then use the ground nut or seed and oil of your choice. mine look just like hers because rolling between 2 parchments and pre-cutting really does make a uniform cracker. these are a great go-to when you need a little salty crunch, or if you need a substrate for your smoked oysters. unlike normal crackers, you can eat just 5, because they are far more filling.

paleo granola

to be honest, i didn’t think i cared much about granola. certainly not enough to develop a recipe for it, but i was thinking about it one day, and then looked up paleomg’s granola, and tried it. it’s pretty good, and definitely got me to the point where i knew i could modify it to be just my style. i decided to try processing all the larger nuts into a uniform crumble to mix with soaked flax and chia seeds, and then incorporate the smaller nuts and seeds as their own texture. though it dehydrates for a long time, it totally worked, i got clusters that don’t fall apart in milk and a texture that feels like the granola i like. now i have to actually measure it so i can post it.

hemp-coconut milk

while i’m not exactly anti-dairy, i’m off it for the time being, so what kind of milk would i eat cereal with? for me, the easiest to make is hemp seed milk, because there is no pre-soaking necessary. unfortunately, i wasn’t wild about the taste, so i set out to improve it. my favorite blend so far is hemp and coconut milk sweetened with 2 dates and a splash of vanilla extract. if you’re trying to avoid sugars and emulsifiers in commercial alt-milks, this one is pretty easy to make. i’ll post the recipe with the granola once i sort all that measuring out.

it’s funny, once you get going on this stuff, it seems like there are endless food tricks to share, but these are the highlights for now. happy eating!

how i made my errands walkable

there’s a post i’ve been itching to write for a long time, but it wasn’t quite finished yet, so i left it on the back burner. recently, a talk by alissa walker, which included the suggestion to make 1- and 2-mile radius maps, completed the puzzle for me and i decided to write the whole thing. funnily enough, my car needs a repair and my mechanic is booked for a month, so i get to put all this information into practice immediately!

awhile back, i decided to integrate walking a lot more into my day, and figured if i was exercising while doing errands, taking an hour to walk an errand loop would no longer be seen as taking too long—it’s merely displacing an hour workout. in my determination to do as many errands as i could on foot and within my 1-mile neighborhood, i mapped out as many businesses as i could and replaced further / driven errands with places i could walk to, or pass on my way home from the bus.

echo park landmarks

1. cookbook: small, organic market with fresh produce and specialty foods.
2. blue collar working dog: it may be primarily dog supplies, but they have high-quality cat food in single cans, for times when i’m between the larger packs i buy elsewhere.
3. house of spirits: the local liquor store with the biggest variety.
4. beauty box / sunset beer co: beauty box is an excellent local hairdresser i’ve been using for years. next door is sunset beer co., a specialty beer store that doubles as a comfy bar.
5. friday farmer’s market: we have our very own weekly farmer’s market right here in echo park on friday afternoons, 3-7pm.
6. echo park & lake: a great place to take a walk or run around the .88-mi path around the lake. we’ll have to measure the new path after the rehabilitation is complete.
7. the echo: we have one of the coolest night club & venues [there are 2 on-site] right here in echo park. being able to avoid parking and have a few drinks without thinking about driving is invaluable!
8. edendale library: i’ve been trying to do all my reading on borrowed books. combine the library’s online book request system with a walkable library and you have reading material at your fingertips within a couple days.
9. mohawk bend: not just the local watering hole with the most taps, but also a client! i do a lot of meetings here, so the walkability is key. it should be mentioned, though, that there are tons of places to eat all over echo park, and mohawk bend is maybe the furthest from my house, so there are plenty of choices anywhere in-between.
10. vons: i don’t do much market shopping, but there are times when i do need something in a pinch, and vons is the only market that carries our preferred cat litter, so i go there to get that, and withdraw cash on my atm transaction to avoid any bank visits & foreign atm fees.
11. rite-aid: i currently don’t use rite-aid, but after walgreens [on sunset & echo park] stopped working with my insurance, i figured i’d see if i can fill prescriptions here. currently i’m at CVS and the walkability is much lower.
12. edendale post office: i do a fair amount of mailing, and this post office allows me to get some secret stairs in on the way over.
13. yogala: a great yoga studio a 10 minute walk from my house, with 2 alternatives: the longer / flatter route, or hiking up a hill and taking the avalon stairs.
14. elysian park / dodger stadium: when walking purely for exercise and sight-seeing, the beginning of the portola trail is just steps from my front door. dodger stadium is just through elysian park via academy road.

BUS, glendale blvd: there are a few convenient 92 and 603 bus stops at points on glendale blvd. that i use. taking it north, i can get to atwater village, where i also shop, take sewing class, exercise at heartbeat house, or visit my mom [this bus also goes to downtown glendale & burbank]. my new use of this bus will be to avoid biking over glendale blvd so i can more easily get to the river bike path. to the south, this bus goes downtown.

BUS, montana st.: the 200 bus takes alvarado and hoover streets to meet up with the expo line going to culver city. on its way, it crosses wilshire, which is a great way to catch the 20/720 west to LACMA or other points in mid-city.

BUS, sunset blvd: at sunset & echo park, i can pick up the 2/302 or 4/704, and take them anywhere downtown, to meet up with the trains at union station, or travel west to hollywood, anywhere on the west side, or the beach!

last year, i made a rough draft of this map to see how much was covered within echo park. i think it’s pretty impressive! there are very few things i can’t do on an afternoon break / errand walk. i should mention, i have alternative solutions to the bank [mailing deposits / cash at atm transactions] and some i’ve gotten lazy about and reverted to driving. jason has chosen to hold a premiere amazon account, so sometimes we order inconvenient items on free shipping as well.

what alissa put into perspective was mapping 1-mile and 2-mile radius terrain around my home and trying always to walk the 1-mile routes. i didn’t realize i had already done this [or at least figured it out, if i didn’t always stick to it]. the challenge then becomes, will you walk to the 2-mile destinations? here are what mine look like:

1-mile radius

looking at this map, i’m right on track with my errand plan—even the dreaded CVS / pet store walk, which is only a pain because that stretch of glendale blvd is busy and has scary tire tracks where people have clearly driven up on the curb as they speed toward the 2 freeway entrance. i’ve decided that’s too clear a sign of danger, but maybe i can take the 92 bus instead.

2-mile radius with 1-mile overlay for comparison

this map makes me cringe when i think about walking this far anywhere that’s not sunset blvd or through elysian park via stadium way into chinatown. those walks are direct and i’ve done them with predictable turnaround times. however, anywhere directly east or north outside of glendale blvd. is not really a clear path. hills and dead-ends north of sunset rule out those routes, and the length of the walk if i go down to sunset and back up north makes it a trip i’d more likely bike. similarly, to get over the river in the quadrant directly north to east, the only through-way is stadium way, which is not safe to walk due to low visibility by speeding commuters. when i want to get there by bike, i have the choice of glendale blvd., or the roundabout trip through the park to chinatown, north on broadway to where it meets figueroa in cypress park. that works on a bike, but i’d never walk it if given the choice.

interestingly, in both cases, i didn’t realize just how much is covered in 1 and 2 miles of my house. it’s more than i thought, and a great reminder that there’s almost nothing you can’t do with the combination of walking, biking and using transit. now i have to figure out how to cart things that don’t fit in a backpack or pannier bags. since i’ll have no other choice for the next month, i’m going to strategize and put it all into action. i expect to learn a great deal, so i’ll share the unexpected surprises

thoughts on branding, a round-up!

in place of the usual wednesday creative inspiration, i’ve collected a nice handful of articles on branding i thought i’d share, to bring others in on the experience, and get people thinking about what the next steps are with their own strategies. if you’re new to the idea of branding, i’ve got some great primers here and in my newsletter.

+ for the quick and easy: 3 hot design & branding ideas to boost summer sales from how magazine.

+ for the more in-depth how-to: great brands are about fusing product and service, how do you do it from fast company design.

+ for looking at new ways to tell your story: mining your brand for stories from my buddies at hexanine.

+ for fine-tuning your touchpoints: the personality layer from smashing magazine.

+ for thinking beyond brand: branding talk isn’t helping your company, here’s what should replace it and its follow-up, why branding is an artifact of the past from fast company design.

cauliflower yam purée

this recipe, with many other delicious treats for thanksgiving, appears in the parlato design studio seasonal eats recipe guide! pick up your copy today in the parlato design studio store, and follow the thanksgiving2011 tag for more recipes as they become available. enjoy & thanks for being awesome!

pink skinned, white flesh yams
pink skinned, white flesh yams

i was a bit torn about which root vegetables to work with for the seasonal eats guide. i love sweet potatoes and white potatoes, but i also love all the late-harvest squash, and having that plethora of carbs on the table seemed like overkill. what it came down to was, i wanted to incorporate as much as i could, but maybe not all in their own dishes. i sent the sweet potatoes to hang out with the pumpkin in a savory pie, which will be up next week, and then settled in to figure out an alternative to mashed potatoes that used some variation of cauliflower purée. when i realized i could use white yams, i thought this dish would be a vitamin and fiber rich cruciferous alternative to mashed white potatoes.

cauliflower yam puree
cauliflower yam puree

cauliflower yam purée

1 head cauliflower, cut into medium florets
1 white yam, cut in half lengthwise
4 oz feta cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1⁄3 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

roast yam cut-side-down on an oiled baking sheet at 300º for 30 minutes. scrape the flesh from the skin and set aside. using a steamer pot, steam cauliflower 15 minutes. reserve steaming liquid when finished.

place the cauliflower florets and yam in a food processor or blender with .5 cup cooking liquid, feta, olive oil and white wine vinegar. process until smooth, adding cooking liquid as needed (this will take a some scraping and mixing between blends). transfer to a mixing bowl.

whisk in the dijon, parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper to taste. transfer to a serving bowl and dust with finishing salt and ground pepper.


variations

make it vegan
substitute the feta for 1/4 cup vegenaise and 1/2 cup soy milk
omit the parmesan, adjust salt to taste

alternate ingredients
substitute some of the yam or cauliflower, or simply add to them [cube and steam until soft]:
– celeriac / celery root
– white potatoes
– turnips
– parsnips
substitute feta cheese for goat cheese
substitute parmesan for any hard, salty cheese
– asiago
– romano
– hard jack cheese [an early american homestead version of parmesan]

LA design week 2011

design week LA

just around the corner, design week comes to los angeles, celebrating our great industry for one week, highlighting any & all design-related events. the lists for each day’s events are growing rapidly, with all kinds of art shows, workshops and meetups. check out designweekla.org and put your favorites on your calendar today!

michael pollan + maira kalman

food rules cover by maira kalman
food rules cover by maira kalman

i’m fine with admitting that i’m a pollan convert, having read most of his food-related books before food rules. at this point, i figured i probably didn’t need to buy this latest one, since i do know what to eat. however, throw maira kalman into the mix, and i might have to buy this illustrated version for all her fantastic style. i love it when great people work together!

fauxgos!

fauxgo for duff beer
fauxgo for duff beer, image: fauxgo.com

i’m loving this collection at fauxgo.com, a site dedicated to the fictitious products, services and businesses of television shows and movies. some hilarious & stylish identity & branding work for names you’ve heard but rarely seen.

from big sur and back to work

mcway falls
view of mcway falls from cliff trail above

last week i took a much-needed summer vacation in the bay area and big sur. though i’ve had the weekend to get back into the swing and ready to tackle the week, i’m still looking at these photos, smelling marine-layered pine needles and dreaming of a to-do list that only included preparing meals, hiking, lining up a bundle of firewood, and pairing a campfire dinner with camp-friendly wine. here’s a selection of my favorite photos from the trip, and with that, back to work!

andrew molera state park
coastal bluffs along andrew molera state park
riparian forest
riparian forest at pfeiffer beach
creamery meadow trail
creamery meadow trail in andrew molera state park
tidepools
starfish and sea anemones in tidepools at partington cove
nepenthe view
view of the beach from breakfast at kivah cafe at nepenthe
seaweed and jellyfish
seaweed and jellyfish in partington cove
pfeiffer beach
late afternoon at pfeiffer beach
shelf fungus
shelf fungus on a tree stump in our camp site
partington cove
waves in partington cove