not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pre-Vacation Staycation Continued...

Mom and her Spicy Korean Soup.

And so the pre-vacation Staycation continues. The days are blurring together, and until I saw more than a dozen people in costume- I hadn't realized it was Halloween. Mom and I got our fitness jam on this morning and then headed to center city to Giwa for some epic Korean eats. I'm sure that there is a super cheap hole-in-the-wall , super-authentic Korean place somewhere in the city, but Giwa was pretty damn good. Mom had the spicy kimchi soup and I had the vegetarian Dol Sot BiBimBop. It was served piping hot in a cast iron pot, with kimchi and pickled cucumbers. In Central America, I have seen FIGHTS go down over the "carruncha", the crispy rice at the bottom of the pot. Well, this dish had the best damn "carruncha" that I've ever had.

After lunch we strolled around and (unfortunately) strolled through anthropologie and lululemon, where I treated myself to a few nice things :) The conversation at lunch had actually been about how when I'm traveling I don't want "things" and I don't feel attached to "things", being completely content with my modest backpack of goods. But being home, I want STUFF. I love "things"...$90 yoga pants? Yes please. 10 of them. Meanwhile, that'd pay for 2 months of a good life in Asia. Ayeyaya. So after spending (too much) money on some of my favorite things in my two favorite stores, I walked down the block and carved into the cement was exactly what I was thinking...

Brooke and I did a yoga class at Dhyana, and then my mom joined us and we had a kickass Mexican meal at Distrito in West Philly. Octopus Ceviche, lobster tacos, tortilla soup, jicama salad, and unbelievable margaritas. Brooke was super stoked on the decor as well, which included a VW beetle that was made into a seating area.

Another great night on our pre-vacation Staycation.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wodding and Pumpkin Carving.

Lazy morning, free coffee and breakfast from one of the hotel employee admirers, and then lounging in the room with mom. We headed down to the gym around 11 and got our fitness on...boom. Mom rode the bike and did her workout while I had my iPod on full blast, running up and down flights of stairs and trudging through my homemade WOD. I realize that I haven't explained crossfit very much and since I'm sure that you speak less "CrossFit" than I do, I should atleast specify that WOD means "Workout of the Day". The one I created for myself today was:

Warm Up:
*Hold Plank, Forearm Plank, ardha navasana (arms overhead), locust

5 flights of stairs 3x then 20 mountain climbers, twenty jumps from plank to squat and back, 20 alternate knee to elbow
*repeat 3x

Short vinyasa to reconnect with breath, then:

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes:
-5 push-ups
-10 sit-ups
-15 air squat

Ended with a Yin series:
Supra baddha konasana, twist R + L, wide knee child's, saddle, headstand. 

Brooke and Tommy picked mom and me up a little before 3pm and we headed to Kraftworks for a late lunch, some harvest brews, and...some pumpkin carving!!! The pub is having a contest and had a pumpkin carving station set up in the back of the restaurant. And even better was that the pumpkin was free!!! It was a super fun time and I'm hoping that Brooke has off tomorrow too so we can play somewhere else in town. 

Laying in bed now, tossing around the idea of heading out on my adventure earlier than expected. The OC zen den was pretty damaged in the storm and it'll be a while before its back up and running. Until then we have our margate studio, but I'm taking it as a sign that maybe I should begin my journey sooner than later. I hear that the hiking is great and crowds are low the month of December in Nepal....
Tommy and Serwatka.

Pumpking Carving Fun.

Wise and Stupid, Stay Safe.

Yesterday I said "Fuck It", and ever since then I am just enjoying my time stuck in this hotel. The pillows are epic, the drinks are strong, the company is good and the amenities are awesome....what more do you need? The staff is particularly friendly towards me (more specifically the men), im pretty sure that my big butt and lululemons are in charge of that- and maybe my huge smile doesn't hurt. But that combination got mom and me a huge discount on dinner last night, free water bottles and many admirers and sweet (albeit inappropriate) comments. All joking aside, I'm really concerned about my friends back home...especially those who chose to stay, and for my friends who are fireman who are forced to be in the middle of all this mess. The yellow house being swallowed by the bay is my friend Samantha's, and that was hours and hours before the storm hit and before the tide was high. The second is the Avalon wawa, with still 11' more of tide to come in. And the third is a wave down in cape may. This storm is no joke, and the destruction is something that we will be dealing with for a long time to come.

Another reminder of how fragile life is...of how powerful Mother Nature is....and a reminder that things are just "things" and the only important thing is our health. I am so attached to our home, physically and energetically. Standing in our garage, surrounded by my Dads "things", I feel connected to him. I have felt sick to my stomach thinking of all of the "things" my friends will have lost in the storm. I try to remind myself that if my dads stuff was gone that it would be okay, but fuck--it would suck. Suck suck suck fucking suck.

Everyone please say a prayer for my good friends Chris Paisley and Crit, as they are stuck in the firehouse in Margate around-the-clock. The bulk of the storm may have passed, but the aftermath is just as dangerous. Live wires, fires...the list is endless. Osho always says that there isn't good and bad ideas, there's just Wise and Stupid. Don't be stupid! Stay safe!

Monday, October 29, 2012

ShitFuckedSandy at the Sheraton.

Shitfuck fucking fuck motherfucker shittttttt. That's how I felt when I woke up this morning. I wanted to rebel yell and cry and scream to the universe to cut me a fucking break. Jesus Fucking Christ. A few deep breaths and I resolved to float with the river, instead of trying to push it...cause pushing it wasn't going to get me anywhere.

Mom and I already had reservations at the Sheraton Four Points, next to the airport in Philly, for Sunday night because we had an early flight on Monday morning to San Diego. The hurricane started to make it's presence known on Saturday night and into Sunday morning it wasn't looking too great for the Jersey Shore. We were optimistic and headed to Philly, hoping that our 7am flight on Monday would get us out of dodge before the shit hit the fan. It was a windy drive up to Philly but we made it and got settled into our room. We found out that our 7am flight was cancelled, but we were rescheduled for a 1:30pm flight later in the day. Okay, still optimistic, still hoping for the best. We went out to dinner at the Pub & Kitchen with our friend Suzie and enjoyed a delicious dinner, joking that even if we didn't get out atleast we would enjoy a "staycation" and some fun in Philly.

 We got back to the hotel and decided to post up at the bar, afterall ...we didn't want to think about it, we just wanted to drink about it. Boom. Two rounds and then we found out that our 1:30pm had been cancelled. Still wtih smiles on our faces we decided to just roll with it and make the best of the situation. Another day in Philly wouldn't be so bad...

After dinner we headed back to the hotel so that the driver (that'd be me) could enjoy a cocktail. Dirty Martinis for me and White Russians for mom...we made quick friends with our bartender Laura, and found out from our neighbors at the bar, flight attendants, that our flight was for sure cancelled. We tried to stay positive and enjoy our cocktails despite the bad news.

Well, when I woke up this morning, I couldn't help but to feel sad. A few tears rolled down my cheeks as I allowed myself to feel sorry for myself, but only for a few minutes. Mom and I really needed this trip, like really really needed it. The days are seeming to become more and more challenging and I'm just tired of feeling this overwhelming sadness all.the.fucking.time. Mom and I had a pow-wow and tried to stay positive and come up with a game plan. We had hoped to drive home, but the parkway was unsafe and closed down. Plan B: stay in Philly...well, all the hotels were booked up! Thankfully we have an amazing friend Sharon who works at the AC Sheraton and her connection solidified us a room for another night. Okay, time for breakfast and coffee. Mom started crying first, and then I followed when the song from Dirty Dancing came over the radio (my Dad and I loved to dance to "I've had, the time of my life..." all the time when I was a kid). Fuck it. Fuck that. Fuck this. I am so fucking tired of crying, and this morning I decided that I wasn't going to cry anymore. Atleast not anymore today. I said goodbye to my Mom, put on my workout clothes, and grabbed my ipod - headed for the gym. I made up my own CrossFit WOD, and did a vinyasa flow and Yin series. Sweat is a powerful way to heal, and though I have HATED to work out my whole life, I have really found some peace in the CrossFit workouts (don't tell anybody though! haha).

Cailins Hurricane Sandy Sheraton WOD:

Warm Up: 
A Vinyasa flow, several rounds of Sun Salutations A + B.

Part 1:
1/4 mile "uphill, high intensity" elliptical + 15 pushups + 15 abmats + holding handstand for 15breaths.
repeat 4x (with 1 minute rest between)

Again, a short vinyasa to keep my body and breath moving, and to stretch out the body.

Part 2:
20-15-10-5 of...
Renegade Row (push up stance, wide legs, with weights in your hands. Lift one, then other).
Air squats
and holding Navasana for x amount of breaths (20breaths, 15breaths, etc)

I finished my WOD with a full Yin series (Wide Knee Childs, Sphinx, Saddle, Pigeon) and a headstand.

Rocking out and sweating it out in the beautiful gym at the neighboring hotel, ALoft. "Don't push the river, float with the river." Making the best of a less-than-desirable situation.
After nearly two hours of moving and grooving and sweating and centering I felt a bit better. I just kept repeating to myself "You can't PUSH the river, you have to FLOAT with the river", I guess I'll just have to surrender and float. I arrived back in our room with a smile on my face, and to my surprise, mom was smiling too. She booked us a flight for Thursday evening, so now we will be away from November 1st until November 9th, and until then we are enjoying our Philly "staycation" at the Sheraton. I have carved out a little space to yoga and meditate and read....and I've made friends with all the girls at the front desk, so they hook it up with pool, hot tub, gym and internet connections. I hope that everyone is staying safe in this shitfuckmess that is Sandy. I've been following on facebook and the destruction is insane. Fingers crossed and positivity sent up that everyone is staying warm and healthy.  

I've made myself a little space in the room for reading, meditation, and yoga.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Old House and One Day at a Time.

It's a process, and a different process for each individual. Lately, my Mom, and several of my parents friends, have been feeling a pull towards a house that my parents lived in from 1980-1985. It's right around the corner from our home...a house that I drive past several times a day. Joe King (my Dads best man and best friend) has had a dream that (a young version of my) Dad is standing on the back porch, laughing (as he always did), shouting "Come on in Joe! Don't be scared". When he told Mom about his dream, she said that she too has been feeling like she needed to visit the old house. So, on day 49, we headed over. I've heard many {crazy, inappropriate, insane} stories about all the good times had at 365 Main Street. My parents said that yes, it's a dump now - and yes, it was a dump way back when. But it's where they fell in love. We contacted the owner of the house who said unfortunately the house had been gutted, but that we were more than welcome to take a look around. When we walked inside Mom told me where everything was, and described in detail the layout of the house and told several funny stories about the good times had in this tiny home. She pointed out to the yard to where the dog kennel was, and their the tub where all of Kizzys puppies were born, and to the little room that my parents shared (and to the window where Moms underwear were hanging on the day that PopPop Callahan barged in!). Mom cried a bit, and I could tell that being at 365 Main Street was what she needed to wish Dad along to his next life. For me though, it wasn't what I needed...which actually added to my sadness. 

The front of 365 Main Street.

The house where they fell in love. 

Not much has changed...just moving the door a bit to the right and removing the window. This is the porch where Dads been standing and laughing on Joes dreams. 

The owner of the house told us that we were welcome to keep anything that we found inside the house. Tucked away in the corner was an old piece of bouy, from one of Dads traps, which is now over 31 years old....
When we got home, Mom pulled out some photos of the old house. From top left there is Dad in their room, sleeping on their mattress (which just laid on the floor) with Moms cat "Booger". The next is Christmas morning in their little house, this was the day that Dad proposed. In the middle is Mom Dad and Kizzy on the back porch. Bottom left is Dad with booger on Christmas morning and to the right is Mom with their dogs and Pheasants from one of her first hunting trips. 

 When we got home I napped for a bit, trying to shake it - and couldn't. So I went out to my Dads garage - into the "War Room"....surrounded by all of his bows and arrows that he made, and deer skulls that we'd painted when I was a little kid. I grabbed a "wish" candle and wrote on it a little prayer - and then lit it and sat in meditation. There was a lot going through my mind - memories, sadness, frustrations, anger....but it ended with me as a little girl, sitting next to him by a river, resting my head on his shoulder. One day at a time, one day at a time.

I once asked a bird,
"How is it that you fly in this gravity
Of darkness?"
She responded,
"Love lifts

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Forty Nine Days.

My Dad died 49 days ago. There are moments that it feels like it's been an eternity,  there are days that it feels like only yesterday, and then there are days where it just doesn't seem real. Though I have been wanting and searching for him, he hasn't been around....not in my dreams... no "signs". A few times I have woken up in the middle of the night, and hoping that he was there I would say out loud "DAD? Dad? Is that you?". I have tried calling out to him in the car, and screaming his name out at the beach, but he hasn't come. In Buddhism they believe that the soul takes 49 days to find it's next life, for the spirit to be born again into it's next adventure. So maybe that's why I haven't felt him...because maybe he's still been in transition. I'm not a religious person, but I feel more connected to Buddhism than any other organized religion. So for 49 days now I have been praying that his soul finds a home, and some peace. I have been clinging to him, with two hands, tight grasp, and maybe that's whats keeping him from moving today I'm lighting a candle, taking in some silence, and saying goodbye...offering up my final prayer that he is wherever he needs to be. With Karma like his, this next life he's about to embark on is bound to be pretty fucking amazing. I only wish that I could join him wherever he is, but there's time for that I suppose - and he'll be waiting for me until I get there..and when I do, I'll have lots of stories to tell, "World Dominations" to brag about and some epic tall-tale-Fishing-stories.

Death is one of two things...
Either it is annihilation, and the dead have no consciousness of anything;
or, as we are told, it is really a change:
a migration of the soul from one place to another.

~ Socrates ~

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Great Friends Great Meals.

Homemade Pepper Jelly and Pickeled String Beans from Adenas garden and kitchen. I told her the other day that if I played for the other team, and if she didn't have an amazzzzing boyfriend, that I'd marry the shit outta her. Such a generous person, amazing gardener and chef and just and all around amazing human being.

We had a little girls get-together the other night at Pam Traceys house for {CrossFit} Sams birthday. I made the food: curried cauliflower soup, spicy sesame string beans, brussel sprout salad with dates and pepitas, and sauteed greens. Oh yeah, I also juiced pomegranates and made a cardamom simply syrup for some kick ass antioxidant-packed-Pom-Martinis.

Tuesday night has become Family Dinner Night with Brad + Ro and Me + Mom. We alternate, one Tuesday I cook at our house, Ro cooks the following at their house. Last night we started dinner with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot(!!!!) and an amazing plum tomato tart with basil.

Everything we ate was home-grown or killed by a friend. The yukon gold potatoes, shittake mushrooms and plum tomatoes were from Rochelles fathers garden. The venison roast was killed by Ro's cousin. And the swiss chard that I made was from our garden. The wine...from Spain! haha.

Brad and Ro, our epic hosts.

Holy Shitballs. I have been eating some AMAZING meals this past week: cooked by me, cooked by friends, grown from our very own gardens. Last night at our Tuesday Night Supper Club it was Rochelles turn to cook and she really outdid herself. The venison roast was cooked to perfection....and for any of you cringing right now, saying that you "dont like venison" or "venison tastes too gamey", then you just haven't had it cooked properly. Often people OVERCOOK it because it's "Wild Game!", don't do that.

Rochelle's Venison Roast: (P)
  • venison roast
  • fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • evoo

Generously dress the roast with chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. First you drizzle some EVOO into a skillet and sear the venison steak at a fairly high heat. Throw in a few unpeeled cloves of garlic. You want to kind of caramelize the outside so that you are sealing in the juices. With meat - the rule is HOT and FAST or LOW and SLOW. Obviously this was Hot and Fast. So you sear the meat and then just transfer the skillet into the oven (400degrees f) for about 10minutes and let the meat finish off cooking. When you pull the roast out of the oven you MUST let it "rest". For about 5-10minutes. Cover it with some tin foil and walk.away.  The roast was served alongside sauteed shiitake mushrooms which were just done in evoo, salt and pepper and were unnnnnbelieveable.

Cailins Greens with Garlic, Ginger and Cumin: (P, V, VG)

  • one bunch of Kale
  • one bunch of Swiss Chard
  • one clove of garlic
  • a tablespoon or two of fresh minced ginger
  • one jalapeno
  • cumin
  • salt
  • evoo or coconut oil

Begin by washing your greens, obviously. With the swiss chard you want all of it, stems included. Kale - discard the stems, keeping only the leafy greens. In a skillet drizzle some oil in (I recommend coconut oil) and sautee your diced jalapeno, garlic, and ginger for a minute or two. Then throw in your greens and sprinkle with some salt and cumin. It'll take about 5 minutes for the greens to cook down. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hands down the best gig, and by far my most favorite gig. The Dead Dog was packed-full of all of my favorite people, from every end of the spectrum: childhood friends, yoga friends, surf friends, work friends, philly friends and even my Momma and all of her friends! I played the first set by myself and Christian and I rocked it out until 2 in the morning. It was a perfect final evening. The first set was a bit hard, I played most of the songs that Dad had always loved and requested, but with such an epic support system in the crowd I got through it. Love Love Love to everyone who made it out, thank you. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Good Times. Good Friends.

After teaching two classes, I met Erika, Pam, Brandon, Paisley and Luther at  Living Well for some crossfit.
Sweaty and buzzed, we crossed the street and joined Adena and Luther for some dancing madness.
Spent the day on Essex in Margate, soaking up this October sun.
Adam Green, one of my favorite people in the world, telling a hysterical story about his epic wipe-out in AC last week. 
Beautiful Day.

Friday, October 19, 2012


My final gig of 2012 is this Saturday @ the Dead Dog Saloon in Sea Isle from 9:30pm til close. I'll be playing with Christian, and we hope to see you!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Every class that I teach is a reflection of myself: physically, the practice is guided by my body and how my body is feeling; and spiritually and emotionally, the practice is guided by whats going on in my heart, mind and soul. That may sound a bit narcissistic, but when I teach from a place of authenticity I feel like it's an honest practice that people can relate to. I've taken inspiration lately from two people: Baron Baptiste, and Osho (obviously), and their words have given me strength and encouragement despite the latest bombardment of sadness and frustration.

Baron Baptiste says:

"The irony of personal growth is that when we slow down and fully engage in teh present, we usually get where we really want to go faster. Everything in life has a natural order and rhythm of unfolding that cannot be violated.

Our greatest source of wisdom is what is happening to us right now, where we are. But our rushing and pushing past the present moment cause us to miss out. In our efforts to do more and get where we want to go faster, we forget that we simply cannot rush the process and still expect to be really successful at anything. True growth is not cheap. Emotional maturity and seasoning come through an intimate understanding of the process of life, the love of the journey, and the depth of subtlety that is achieved through a commitment to patience.

On the subject of Patience, Osho says:
"...if you have patience nothing else is needed. Patience means hope, trust, and without any hurry. A patient person is one who is relaxed with existence, who does not push the river; on the contrary, who dissolves into the river and says to the river, "Take me wherever you are going, because wherever you are going is the goal"

One should learn to be patient, to be ready to wait with open doors, with a welcoming heart, but not in a hurry, not demanding, not forcing things. And the miracle, the paradox, is that the less you force things, the more quickly they happen. The more you force them, the longer it takes..."

For me, patience is a challenge, especially on challenging days. Patience is a deep seated trust. In your yoga practice it's trusting in your amazing body, and the beautiful breath - and how when combined they are a strong combination. In your life: relationships, friendships, family, work,'s just trusting in the Universe, that everything is happening and unfolding in it's appropriate time, and that you can't rush the process. In the Gita, Krishna stated "Do the work and leave the result to God; that is none of your business." ACTION is your business, and the result is left up to the Universe. We've all heard the statement that "the Universe always gives you what you need" and "the Universe never gives you more than you can handle". Well, fuck me. There are days that feel unbearable, but I'm still here. There are days where I literally feel like someone has crushed my heart into a thousand pieces, but it's still beating. There are days when I feel defeated, on every level, but I'm still smiling. because the Universe never gives you more than you can handle. True growth isn't cheap. Physical, spiritual and emotional growth take time, and a commitment to patience. Growth is painful, and challenging, and confusing....but if we're not growing, we're dying - so I've made my commitment to patience. Sometimes you have to embrace the Zen saying,  "Don't just do something, Sit There!".

Let the river take you, enjoy the ride, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone for the sake of growth, and know that only Action is your hands - the rest is up to the Universe.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kick Ass Cauliflower Soup (and more!).

My beautiful friend Rochelle and her husband Brad. Good friends, great meals, years of love. 
Today I'm feeling Lonely, just very lonely. And when I feel alone, I like to cook....cause I'm pretty damn good at it and I love to do it. Tonight I cooked for my bestie and her husband: Rochelle and Brad. I made : Curried cauliflower soup with coconut and chiles, sweet and sour shrimp, grilled bok choy with braised mushrooms. And we had some goooood wine. BOOM...and now I feel a bit less loney (and very full!).

No matter how my day is, I always try to remind myself that...Life goes on, and life is beautiful.

All of these recipes were pulled from various Food + Wine magazines, and I loosely followed them but made a few tweaks and changes of my own. Here's my interpretation:

Curried Cauliflower Soup: (P, V, VG)


  • One large head of cauliflower, chopped
  • EVOO
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • ^^^^don't let this intimidate you!! This is the first time ever that I have MADE a curry powder and it is TOTALLY worth the time and effort, because it has a richness and depth to the spice that you won't get from a pre-made-blend. If you don't have the time or want to make curry powder from scratch, then you can use pre-made ... but don't tell anyone that its MY recipe, because it wont taste as good! Also, at the Asian Supermarket or in the "ethnic" aisle of the supermarket you can buy these spices in big bags for like $1.99...they are great to have in the pantry and will keep for a long time if you put them in a mason jar.
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces *optional, I just had it so I figured Why Not?
  • 1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces *optional, same as above. had it, used it.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • a bunch of chopped cilantro

In a small skillet, combine the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds and toast over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne and pulse until finely ground.

In your soup pot, drizzle some EVOO and add the onion, cooking over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and spice blend and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped cauliflower, potatos and turnip and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth and silky. Return the soup to the pot and add the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper and simmer. Add the cilantro on top right before eating. This soup is EPIC.

My kickass cauliflower soup with cilantro.

Next up is the Bok Choy, which was a first for me. I actually was quite confused in the Asian Supermarket because all of the cabbages had a sign written in Chinese and then in english it just said "Asian Cabbage". After looking at a dozen different "asian cabbages"  I just picked up an "Asian Cabbage". Turns out I did grab bok choy, but in retrospect I would make this dish with BABY Bok Choy. The bigger the cabbage is, the thicker the base of it is, and its just very watery and tasteless. The smaller the bok choy, the more tender and delicious. *When cleaning bok choy, because it gets pretty dirty, I just soaked it in a bucket of water for a long time and then gave it a gentle spin in the salad tosser.*  The mushrooms at the asian market also just siad "Mushroom", so who the hell knows what I got, they definitely weren't shitake...

Grilled Bok Choy with Braised Mushrooms: (P, VG)


  • One package of shiitake (or "mystery") mushrooms, stems removed.
  • EVOO
  • One 1-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger— 1/2 inch smashed, 1/2 inch cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 scallions, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup Oyster Sauce (*can be purchased at any asian supermarket for about $2)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon unaged whiskey or other grain alcohol (I used a splash of Makers Mark)
  • 1 pound bok choy (I don't measure, so I just purchased one back of "Asian Cabbage". Next time I would buy TWO bags of the baby bok choy). 

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the smashed ginger, sugar and scallions and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and starts to caramelize, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the 2 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and most of the stock has evaporated, which takes about an hour to an hour and a half. **THIS is "braising", which also was a first for me, and was also not nearly as intimidating as I had drummed it up to be. IF you are feeling lazy then you could absolutely just sautee the mushrooms in a skillet, but I don't think you would have the same tenderness to the mushrooms and depth of flavor. Also, a very important part of braising that no one tells you in recipes is that the water has to be at a slight 'bubble' or 'boil', that's what "simmering" is. So be sure that the heat is just high enough that you still have some movement in the broth.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the bok choy until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Drain and cool under running water; pat dry. *Okay, so I'm realizing that there were a ton of "firsts" for me last night. BLANCHING, another non-intimidating thing in the kitchen. Blanching before you grill just gives your vegetables a head start on the cooking process, and your finishing it off on the grill. Essential the blanch and grill are tag teaming your produce, and it's a delicious outcome. BE SURE THAT YOUR WATER IS AT A ROLLING BOIL! I alllllwaaaaays jump the gun and through whatever I'm cooking into a half-assed-pot-of-semi-boiling-water because I'm not very patient. You do NOT want to make this mistake when blanching. Be sure that you don't overcook your bok choy, you want come crispness, so when blanching you just toss it in for TWO minutes, that's 120 seconds only. Douse in cold water so stop the cooking process and then set aside for whenever you're ready to start cooking.

Right before you're ready to serve dinner, in a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of EVOO (or coconut oil!!) until shimmering. Add the ginger matchsticks and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly golden, 1 minute. Add the whiskey and cook for 30 seconds. Add about 2 tablespoons of chicken stock from your braised mushrooms and 1/4 cup of oyster sauce and simmer over moderately low heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Keep the ginger oyster sauce warm until you serve.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the bok choy with oil (or just spray with Coconut Oil) and grill over high heat, turning, until lightly charred, 5 minutes. Transfer to plates or a platter and top with the mushrooms. Drizzle the ginger-oyster sauce over the bok choy and mushrooms and serve.

Grilled Bok Choy with Braised Mushrooms


The Sweet and Sour Shrimp were somewhat uneventful comparatively, but super easy and pretty tasty. 

Sweet and Sour Shrimp (P)


  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese chile sauce(aka sriracha chili garlic) (I doubled this because I like SPICY. but it's chefs choice.)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used coconut oil, healthier alternative to veg oil)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled

In a small bowl, whisk the ketchup with the soy sauce, chicken broth, sugar, chile sauce, cornstarch and vinegar.

Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 10 seconds, until fragrant. Add the shrimp and cook until curled, but not cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk the sauce and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened and the shrimp are cooked through, 3 minutes.

I served everything with a brown rice/quinoa blend that was kick ass to soak up all the sauces. ENJOY.

Sweet and Sour Shrimp

Jar Full of Delight

"Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.

Be a connoisseur,
and taste with caution.

Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,

the ones unadulterated with fear,
or some urgency about "what's needed."

Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it's been untied, and is just ambling about."

Rumi 'The Many Wines'

Monday, October 15, 2012

Family Night Out.

Cissie, Me and Mom.

Me, Nana and Pat.


Had dinner tonight at the Crab Trap with a handful of the Callahans, including my Nana and PopPop (90 + 91 years old!). I was stoked to sit next to mom and Aunt Cissie, always a good time. We all toasted to Dad and said a little prayer that wherever he is that he's being taken good care of. Pat Levitt, our fabulous (inside and out - especially her shoes!) cousin is wealthy-to-boot and treated us all to an excellent supper. She jokes with Mrs.C (my nana), calling her "Mom" and saying that she's Nan's "11th child". We came right home after dinner because mom and I are babysitting Barley, the best dog evvvver. We are all cuddled up on the couch now and calling it a night. Today was a good day.

Had the iPod on shuffle and  Liars "The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack" was on...the lyrics reminded me of Dad...

I won't run far.
I won't run far.
I won't run far.

I can always be found.
I can always be found.


If you need me,
If you need me,
If you need me,

I can always be found.
I can always be found.


If you want me to stay,
If you want me to stay,
If you want me to stay,

I will stay by your side.
I will stay by your side.
I will stay by your side.

I won't run far.
I won't run far.
I won't run far.

I can always be found.
I will stay by your side,
And I want you to find me,
so I'll stay by your side.


If you need me,
If you need me,
If you need me,

I can always be found.
I can always be found.
I can always be found.


I won't run far.
I won't run far.
I won't run far.

I can always be found.
I can always be found.
I can always be found.

My Girl Gilly.

I met Gillian McElvogue. She's a brilliant woman from the Shetland Islands in Scotland. We met on a very long, very uncomfortable 9 hour boat ride from Siem Reap (Cambodia) to Battambang. Nine hours sitting on a hard wood surface, squished next your neighbor and you either leave the journey as the best of friends or the worst of friends. Lucky for me, Gilly and I hit it off. We had both been traveling solo, and after that boat ride we traveled together through the rest of Cambodia. We covered every inch, journeying from dirty village, to beautiful mountain towns in the jungle, going on treks close to Vietnam, and then snorkeling off the southwest coast of the country. We ate amazing food, endured long - hot - horrendous journeys on buses and vans, slept in shady places and magnificent bungalows, and we laughed. And laughed. We said goodbye after Cambodia, as I made my way to Thailand and she to Malayasia for some diving. 

Gilly retired from being a Head School Master (aka principal) in Scotland and is now running an NGO in Sri Lanka, building schools throughout the war-torn country. Before we had met in Cambodia she had spent many months in India, and just so happens to have great friends and contacts in Goa and Rishikesh, my two Indian destinations. She says that I won't need to navigate the cluster-fuck Indian-public-transport because her friends will pick me up and help me to get settled. Also, she will be using her contacts in the Embassy to line up my Sri Lankan visa, which has proven to be quite a confusing and challenging task. Oh Asia, how I love thee! 

I talked to Gilly for a fair bit of time this morning (gotta love Skype), and I already felt a comfort come over my heart just hearing her motherly-Scottish accent. As much as I have enjoyed being home, this sadness that has taken over me has just gotta go - and the only way I know how to dispel pain is to travel. I'll be leaving the second week of January, so get your ass to my yoga classes, lets line up dinner parties, and lets have some motherfucking fun before I get away. 

Our first "date" after meeting on the boat. In Battambang. 25cent coconuts. Yes, please.
Hahaha only use to booze-hounds would find the ONLY vineyard in southeast asia that not only makes wine but also makes whiskey. 
12 hours on a bus? thumbs up. Upset bellies? Immodium, no worries, thumbs up. Screaming and vomiting children next to you on the bus? meh - its part of the adventure. thumbs up. Horrible Khmer soap operas on the tv and music blaring at a zillion decibles? boom. thumbs up. its not about the destination, its about the journey.
Trekking in the jungle by the Cambodia/Thailand border in the Ratanikiri province. No showers? Big spiders? Freeeeezing cold nights? Bring it on. Best camping experience of my life. 
One Van (for 9ppl): 18 people inside, a goat on top, a motobike on the front and back, a person seated on the drivers lap, 3 large Dutch men next to us with long legs and smelly armpits. NINE HOURS.