Sometimes it’s hard to explain all the little obstacles that come along with being an ex-pat. Having to leave all friends and family behind, all contacts and all resources to start a new life somewhere else. I came into this country with two suitcases, one filed with clothes, the other with books and CDs. All my possessions, or so I thought at that time.
I suppose those were indeed all my possessions, my material ones, but there is always something else in one’s life beyond the material. A support system is the thing that perhaps I underestimated the most when I left my home. Don’t get me wrong, I came here for love and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world, but now I realize how much more difficult life can be without that support system, which is built through years of belonging in one place.
The people you know to call when you need something specific, the friends that will watch your kids when you need to run to the doctor, the ones that know someone who knows someone…
You might be wondering why I’m mentioning this to you now. Well, I suppose having children changes everything. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” has never felt so true to me. Having people we can rely on and trust becomes a necessity. You see, I am leaving for San Francisco this Thursday to attend BlogHer Food ’10. I am utterly excited to be there, catch up with dear friends and connect with new ones. (Perhaps you might even be there this weekend and if so, please come by and say hello!).
But there is a lot of planning that goes on with leaving for so many days. Making sure the kids are looked after, maintaining a routine, being fed… Yes, kids require a lot and this trip was no different.
It was my friend Karen who came to the rescue this week. Sometimes when I most need it, she comes to my rescue always with a smile and pure generosity. I couldn’t ask for a better friend who I can trust and rely on. Always. And she never asks for anything in return. That is what I’m talking about.
My way of paying her back is always through food. I don’t think I have ever met a person so grateful for everything I make. It makes me happy to see her enjoy all my experiments or even my everyday staples, like a simple lentil soup. So of course, I cooked and baked for her to show her my appreciation.
A plate full of quinoa spaghetti with roasted golden baby beets, red kuri squash, bacon, garlic and chilis. So simple, but so much flavor.
For dessert, these black plum, almond and chocolate cakes. Gluten free and so moist. Almost like a brownie.
She was happy and that made my day.
If you attending BlogHer Food ’10, I will see you there. Can’t wait.
Roasted Golden Baby Beet, Squash and Bacon Quinoa Spaghetti
makes 2 servings
2 bunches of baby golden beets, peeled
1/2 medium red kuri squash, peeled and sliced
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 slices of bacon, sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tbs red chili flakes
8 oz quinoa spaghetti (or any kind you like)
Beet greens or spinach
Toss the beets and red kuri squash with the olive oil and salt. Spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 20-30 minutes or until tender.
Place the bacon in a pan and start browning it. Add the garlic when it starts to get some color and the red pepper flakes. Set aside.
In the meantime, cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water. Reserve a little bit of the cooking liquid and drain. Toss the pasta with the bacon, garlic and roasted vegetables. Add a little bit of the cooking liquid if needed. Serve with some beet leaves or spinach.
Plum, Almond and Chocolate Cakes
makes 6 4″ cakes
1/2 cup (100 grams) cane sugar
1/2 cup or 1 stick (110 grams) butter or non-hydrogenated shortening
2 oz (55 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (120 grams) almond flour
1/4 cup (40 grams) superfine brown rice flour
2 Tbs (20 grams) cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 black plums, sliced
Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set this over a water bath to melt. Let it cool slightly.
Sift the dry ingredients together.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar. Add the melted chocolate and butter and whisk. Add the sifted dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
Spray molds with cooking spray. Divide the batter between the molds and top with the slices of plum.
Bake at 375F for about 20-25 minutes or until center cooked.