I decided I should probably get into sports to get ready for my move to Boston, so I am supposed to be watching the Eagles v Giants game right now. But it seems like I picked the worst game to start, since neither of the teams have gotten past the 50 yard line for most of the first half. Whatever, I'm just going to write this blog post instead.

Before I moved out, Rachel and I got a chance to make these awesome baked plums. They are SO easy and heavenly. I think that if you bake any fruit with honey, it will turn into dessert gold. We ended up topping it with a little bit of yogurt and cinnamon, and it was perfection.

Finally, touchdown Eagles! Maybe they sensed that people (namely me) were getting bored, and decided to finally make some good moves on the field.

 
 
This weekend Rachel and I made a feast to honor our last weekend together in the apartment. We made two of our favorite go-to sides: Curried Cauliflower and Japanese-style Cabbage Salad. We also made a main dish with fish since Rachel is Kosher and I like to know the source of my meat. It usually takes a situation like that for me to cook fish. When I first started the paleo diet, I tried really hard to get into fish, but I just can't. Fish is just overwhelmingly fishy sometimes.

The Japanese-style Cabbage Salad is super easy to make. It doesn't even require any cooking. You just mix some ingredients together and throw in some pre-cut cabbage, and you are good to go! The Curried Cauliflower is delicious and super easy to make, but you have to give the cauliflower sometime to cook down. The Israeli BBQ fish had a very strong tamarind flavor to me. I've never cooked with tamarind before, and it's a very unique flavor.

 
 
Moving is a bitch. Moving to a different city is even more of a bitch. Moving to a different city when your building's management company sucks balls is a serious bitch. As a result, I have spent very little time at the farmers market, and consequently very little time in the kitchen. So when Simi suggested lunch at Casa Mono to get my mind off of the headaches of moving, I was a little too excited. After a semester abroad in Madrid, I have a soft spot in my heart for tapas and Spanish food.

I love Casa Mono; their food is phenomenal. They are on the expensive side, but after the moving ordeals that I have been going through I think I deserve a good meal. Just like Northern Spy Company, Casa Mono features their menu on Real Time Farms, so you can see which farms they source from. They have a whole section of the menu dedicated to dishes made from whole organic animals that are pasture raised on small farms in the Hudson Valley and butchered in-house. They also have some really cool green initiatives, and are a certified two star Green Restaurant. I definitely recommend checking them out.
 
 
Last week, my parents and I went to California to drop off my brother at UCLA (god, they grow up fast). While I was there, I noticed that it seems like Californians don't really need a locavore challenge. For them, eating sustainably isn't part of a 30-day challenge or a slow food movement, it's just life.
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On the way from SFO to Lake Tahoe, my parents decided to take a short pit stop in Napa. Last time I went to Napa to visit Simi, I had absolutely fallen in love with the place. I mean, come on - good food and good wine, what more could a girl ask for? This time we went to the Oxbow Public Market for lunch. It's basically a market place where local artisans and purveyors can sell their crops and/or specialties to the community. They also have a bunch of restaurants and food vendors that source sustainably/locally. The spirit of the market place rests on the fact that all of their tenants "actively support sustainable and organic farming practices, owner-operated businesses, local food producers, and the agricultural community of Napa Valley and surrounding regions." The food was phenomenal and so fresh. Even my dad, who always makes fun of me by saying things like "do you think these bathrooms are organic?" could not get over the sweetness of the tomatoes on his bruschetta. He admitted that they were out of this world. 


 
 
You know what I hate more than anything in the world? People who recline their seat on an airplane. They suck. They suck hardcore. I am SO close to stealing the pillow of the guy in front of me and punching him in the face. Sorry, flying makes me a bitter person. Anyway, before I left for LA, I met up with Jen and Victor for dinner at Bareburger, one of my favorite burger places in the city. They are so passionate about sourcing sustainably; even their decor is made out of reclaimed material. Most of their meat (except their bison and elk) comes from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. 

The cool thing about them is that they have something for almost every diet. I don't think there has been a single person that I have taken to Bareburger who doesn't like it. They have gluten-free options for someone like me, by offering a gluten-free tapioca bun or a lettuce wrap (I prefer to go with the lettuce wrap). They also have vegetarian and vegan options, by offering a dairy-free, nut-free veggie patty or a portabella mushroom burger. And best part, they are pretty affordable for organic fare. If you haven't checked them out already, I highly recommend it. They are awesome. 
 
 
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Today was my last day of work. It was totally bitter sweet. A part of me was excited for the new opportunity and move to Boston, but then a part of me was sad to leave a place where I had gotten so comfortable and made so many friends. It's especially sad because Megha, one of my really close friends from college has been working with me for the past two years. We used to be notorious for taking coffee breaks, roaming the halls, and going on vacations together. But it is time to move on, and keeping with the bitter sweet sentiments of the day, I thought I would make a blackberry cobbler - using the sweetness of the honey to balance out the bitterness of the blackberries.

This cobbler is such a crowd pleaser. I've made this before for a family party, and if I can please 20 Indians with a sugar-free/grain-free dessert, you know it's a winner. I also made one for Rachel (my roommate). She couldn't reheat it because our oven is totally jank, but apparently it still tasted heavenly even when served cold! 

For this cobbler, I got the ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket. The blackberries are from Phillips Farm, the egg was from Central Valley Farm, and the honey was from Andrew's Honey


 
 
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Eating local doesn't mean you are always stuck in the kitchen. There are plenty of restaurants around New York that source locally and are proud to say it. Northern Spy Food Co. (12th between Ave A and B) is one of them, and they are fantastic because their online menu links you directly to the farm that their ingredients are sourced from. I wish more restaurants would do this.

Not only are they transparent about where they get their ingredients, but also their food is fantastic! Simi and I went this weekend and had marinated beets, fried green tomatoes (after New Orleans, I can't get enough of these), tilefish, and pork. Funny enough, their pork is from Flying Pigs, one of my favorite farms at the Union Square Greenmarket. All of it was so delicious, and I was so full after dinner that I didn't have room for dessert (that rarely happens). 

 
 
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I wanted to make these during the week, but with all of my going away madness* and my brother leaving for his freshman year at UCLA**, I just didn't get a chance to be in the kitchen. Anyway, since I am going to LA on Tuesday***, I thought I would get rid of all of my local produce in the kitchen and cook these stuffed zucchinis to last me for lunch today and tomorrow. I got the pork from Violet Hill Farm at the Union Square Farmers Market. I have gotten chicken from them before, but I usually get my pork from Flying Pigs. I actually really liked the ground pork that I got from them this time, and I will probably put them into my rotation more.

The zucchini turned out excellent. The tanginess of the mustard combined with the sweetness of the zucchini made a wonderful and totally yummy combination. I don't think it lacked a sauce, but a sauce would have taken it up a notch.
 
*My coworkers and I may have taken #YOLO to a whole other level.
**I could not be anymore jealous. The kid lives the dream, all day everyday.
***Unfortunately, I am going to have to take a week off from the Locavore Challenge since I am going to be traveling, but when I come back I will have a week off of work (that hopefully won't be taken up with apartment hunting in Boston) to prepare lots of recipes with local ingredients!


 
 
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I am totally a summer girl. Even though my birthday is in October, I really should have been born in the summer. I love everything about it: the smell of garbage in the New York summer air, the hot stickiness of the furnace-like subway platform, and the crazy homeless people at Union Square Park. Ok so maybe those things suck, but you know what, I don't care. You know why - because with summer comes a laid back attitude, people watching, summer dresses, Central Park picnics, sunshine, weekend getaways, and best of all, summer fruit. NOTHING is better than summer fruit. Strawberries, watermelon, lychee, peaches, mango...need I go on. 

In honor of the end of summer, I thought I would make Almond Coconut Pancakes with Strawberry Butter. Even though they didn't come out very round because I realized after I made the batter that I didn't have a spatula, they were beyond delicious. Honestly, I wanted to whip up another batch right after I devoured the first. 

Serve this baby up with a side of pastured nitrate-free bacon, and you've got yourself a well rounded meal. Maybe not, but tevs, summer is over. I might as well indulge while I can.


 
 
As you know, I signed up for the NY 2012 Locavore Challenge. It is a month-long campaign to encourage consumers across New York to eat local foods. Over the 30 days of the challenge, they propose a different mini-challenge everyday. Today is Day 4 and today's challenge is to "share the challenge via social media." I decided to share it with you guys, and talk about 3 reasons why you should source locally.

1) Eating local foods means eating fresher foods. Since the food is not spending time in transit or being cold-stored, the food is fresher. Fresher food means better taste and more nutritional value. Next time you are at the farmer's market, ask the farmer how long ago his/her produce was picked. Most produce at a farmer's market is harvested 24 hrs before it is sold. This means that the produce is picked at the peak of it's ripeness.