Butternut Squash Chocolate Soufflé

Amazing Chocolate Souffle Recipe.
Gluten free too.

The Leafy Pantry

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This dessert sounds so fancy, yet is so easy. Whenever you say the word “soufflé”, people get scared. Soufflés are an intimidating dessert to make because it is typically such an art to get the right consistency, the right cooking time and the right flavor. The beauty of this crowd-pleasing recipe is that not only does it contain very little fat and sugar, but it is virtually impossible to get it wrong. Your guests will never guess that you are also providing them with a full serving of vegetables through the hidden butternut squash. Save the secret ingredient reveal for the end!

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Ingredients:

1 cup pureed cooked butternut squash

2 eggs yolks

2 tablespoons cornstarch

a pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

a pinch of stevia (optional)

1 cup dark chocolate, melted

4 egg whites

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°. In a medium mixing bowl…

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San Francisco Isn’t Working Class Affordable.

I was in the news, yet again.  (2010)
In San Francisco, Rooms for $1,000/Month Are Now Scarce

There is some certainty about this place…
It has stagnant energy driven by fear that is reduced to complacency.
Single people stay single and don’t often invest in someone to grow with, people in dead end stale relationships seem to stay in those too. Failed marriages are some of the background noise that isn’t always visible at the surface because it all continues on.

BUT ALL OF THIS COMES PUSHING FORWARD, Like an angry crackhead full of garbage bags pushing through on the 71 Haight bus…
SAN FRANCISCO ONLY CHANGES WHEN IT IS INEVITABLE.
There is no other reason to grow a family, build an empire, invest in human beings unless that proverbial push is coming down the tube.
Sure I have a few friends, I’ve even dated.
People on tethers (life support), estranged spouse separated status, old money and or parental support, people under 25 making 6 figures without sweating 10 years for it-no body wants their umbilicus cut, or to leave the cave of illusions.
—————

I did the interview for this article a few weeks ago. I have had a few interviews, and the prospects of living in the East Bay are still that of subtracting the rent total what the transportation fee into San Francisco would affect it as a whole. I took that $900 per month place and am walking the extra distance to work. People that live in the rest of the country would hopefully ask “Why are you paying $900 a month and you aren’t really able afford to eat?” I would reply, if someone ever were to be so bold ask: “I ask myself that same question, and question my sanity at times.” Mostly because I grew up in the middle of the country somewhere between Cornfield, Iowa and Shigpit, Texas. Of course, they will under employ you if your trans in some of those places that will employ you.

I currently work full time above the elevated minimum wage here and its still maddening.

If there is no net gain in the long run, what is the point of investing anything in anything or anyone?
Why live with false hope at the current pace? This isn’t claiming victim status, that’s what it would be if it was this situation and I was unemployed. For people that quickly label people claiming to be a victim need to just look at their own lack of compassion to find their answers.

-Lexikat

DUCK BACON!

So a few weeks ago I tried to make bacon in our apartment.
I bought pork belly and used a curing recipe found here.

How to smoke it indoors you ask!?
I wrapped the cured pork belly in some cheesecloth and suspended it with butchers twine mid way in the pasta boiling pot. In the very bottom of the pot was a layer of soaked cedar from cedar available for rolling around food (or fish) and roasting. I spritzed/christened some liquid smoke flavoring by Wrights into the hand shredded shavings. I then sandwiched this with a flattened layer of foil, and held this in place with a stainless steel vegetable steamer basket (similar to oven smoking foil pouches). I had to really control the amount of heat to fill the pot and not the house with smoke-and yet keep it contained in the pan. It wasn’t strongly smoked but had some flavor. I used too much salt but the pepper and fennel seeds in the cure added some really great flavors.

Now, about that duck….
(Think Porky Pig and Daffy Duck had a baby…)

Since Whole Foods sells smoked duck breast….there was something it needed as I sliced it for breakfast this morning…SALT! There was a lot of moisture still present.
The package stated that it was fully cooked, and cooked meats are pinkish in nature. But in the pan it really sizzled more than “pre-cooked” meat should in my opinion.

How to remedy: mix a 55% kosher salt 35% brown sugar 10% ground pepper rub and let sit after its been sliced really thin. It is not necessary to put a great amount of rub on the meat. I placed the slices flat on a paper towel and after rubbing one side, merely stuck them together in layers and rubbed the one on top. Then I sealed them in a sandwich bag so they can cure fairly quicky (hours vs. week).

I am optimistic that its enough to work with. The cost, well the duck was $7.50 for the same amount of pork belly costing $3. I don’t have to put as much effort into this on the front end and smoking is that flavor element crucial-as much as the cure phase of the bacon.

On a side note: making bacon now seems like its more cost effective to use an entire pork belly-or a few, and smoke them in quite a larger operation. If you didn’t live in an apartment…
If only…

Ciao!

Gluten-free pain in the-you know what

As you may or may not know, I am noticeably allergic to gluten. Unfortunately, it took a couple of hours of sick time for me to discover this. Gluten is that oooie-gooey protein found primarily in wheat, and also in barley and rye. From the Latin word for glue.

I stopped eating gluten at recommendation of my partner. After some time free of gluten, I inadvertently added some back (I ate the wrong pizza). I learned that in small amounts, there’s hardly any effect. More then I have all the wrath of pain that my former gluten-inclusive diet.

People often say: “Oh you will be so healthy from stopping gluten consumption.”
“Yeah? Lies. The food cost twice as much so you only get to eat half the food you used to.” Its not like I am a flat-ironed bleach-blond from Los Angeles who is following some new “fad diet” with my tiny dog in purse.

One of the redeeming factors for this forced-medical-change has been “gluten-free” products on the market. Common sense says that if you avoid Bread-Beer-Pasta (PIZZA) then you are pretty safe. My inner Italian is filled with rage and tears over this. My bella di cucina has no outlet for the wonderful breads I used to make. My California transplant to only become snobby IPA connoisseur…well you get the point.

So these gluten-free products and substitutions had included Omission Beer and Vans Natural Foods. That is until I experienced excruciating pain from consuming more than one beer and more than one waffle. Omission’s web site does say: “Omission beer may contain gluten”. As far as the waffles, this morning’s trip to Whole Foods showed 2 different packages. One read: “Wheat Gluten Free,” while the other read: “Gluten Free.”  These were side by side and may have been the mixing of new and old stock.

I experienced the exact same pain as eating “known” gluten products. Scratch 2 more solutions off of my menu options.

I was a good girl and went to the doctor many months ago. She had them draw blood and sample everything else to determine what I do not have: Coeliac Disease.

Symptoms: abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting. I am sure the official list is much longer but I will stick with the basic unpleasant ones.

I have received no pain from known-gluten-free products like meat, fish, fruit, nuts, dairy products.  

If you continue to suffer from “gluten free” labeled products, please comment.

Thanks!

-Lexikat

4 Elemental Forces of My Day

  • FIRE:

The burning fires of the sun awaken my senses. Illumination creeping in through the blinds  (blocked from my partner because of her sleep mask), stirs my slumber long before my alarm goes off. The alarm merely confirms that my senses are correct in starting my day-any and everyday I live. The crackling and sizzling of food in the pan-electric or gas (fire), do liven your senses into breakfast (breaking one’s fast) into being; cold cereal (Panda Puffs) not so much.

  • AIR:

True, my altar has the air/wind element of an owl feather I found on the 3-mile walk when I first visited the Golden Gate Bridge, I am reminded almost daily of the wind that carries me as a airborne vessel…

Not often is there a calm to be found outside my home. A swirling is present on my street when I first leave the door. Often too, the walkway is littered with feathers of easily recognized bird species. The closer I walk towards the subway (20 minutes away) the wind gains momentum along the route. I am also moving in the direction of the Bay. Once in The City, I am greeted with a blast of colder (and much denser, moist air) wall of wind. i scurry another 10 minutes from the subway to my building.

  •  EARTH:

Upon arriving to my job during the week, I pile my purse, backpack, lunch sack, coat, blazer, onto my workstation. (During the weekend, I read, write, research from the couch. The wind greets me when I leave for errands or walking the dog.) I feel my senses regaining lots bits from the sardine-can feeling from the subway. I sit and focus in a grounded sense of “planning my day” ahead. This moment of projection from a grounded sense does project the overall mood and productivity of my day.

As an “earth sign”, I find that this era of my life is most grounded but also most balanced in contrast to my youth. The years of restlessness and wandering have settled to sensibility and substance.

  • WATER:

At the end of my days, I am sitting to enjoy the smells and swirling sensations of social meals (in contrast of simply “eating”) with my partner, my love. Food, beverage, wine flow across the palate. When I finally find the activity of merging the activity of my partner’s day with mine, and the television has been tuned off…I wait for the tides of sleep to flow over me, and drift me with the current to the journey of sleep. Sleep is not a destination! Sleep is a journey down the river of the flowing life-a crossing of an ocean.

And thus I’ve felt the 4 elements in every day of my experiences. I have discovered that there’s never a day that it doesn’t happen.

What routines in your day happen most often?

If you are Pagan/Wiccan, what of the 4 elements do you feel in your lives?

~Lexikat

Sometimes it stops raining

Sometimes in life, it stops raining.
The air gets clear.
You can momentarily breathe.
Your head is out of the fog.
You may even feel your heart lighter.

Enjoy the moment the rain stops, you never know when it might storm.

-Lexikat

City Life

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I will say this about living in a city:
Its dirty,
people are hateful,
riding the bus is rarely a pleasure,
my room is tiny and expensive

BUT

I can walk home from work.

I can leisurely walk in the rain,

while listening to Por una Cabeza and arrive home to my tiny room from the store with microwaved grilled eggplant parmesan with sour dough bread dripped in Sicilian extra virgine olive oil, a bottle of Malbec from Argentina by candlelight with my window open just listening to the most beautiful part of living in a city.

In this I feel a tiny notion of love.

Its not much but,

I will savor it.

Lexikat