#ForestFeastTravels Begins! 1st Stop: Barcelona

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We've been waiting a long time for this trip and it is finally here! Jonathan is on a sabbatical from work so we decided to take advantage of it and travel. We really wanted to spend time around the Mediterranean, so I pitched the idea of doing a vegetarian Mediterranean cookbook to my publisher, Abrams, and they loved the idea! It's going to be called THE FOREST FEAST TRAVELS and it'll be 100+ vegetarian small plates inspired by food we are trying on this trip. It is slated to be out Fall 2019!!

We will be gone 3 months in all, and are hitting up 4 countries: Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. We are of course traveling with our 2 boys: Ezra recently turned 3 and Max is 10 months. They aren't in school yet, so we figured this is as good a time as any to take them on the road!

Max at our apartment in Barcelona

Max at our apartment in Barcelona

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Our first stop is a month in Barcelona, where we are currently and we are LOVING it. Despite living in the forest, we love city life and miss NYC (where Jon grew up), so we knew we wanted a good chunk of our time to be spent getting to know a new city. He speaks Spanish, so that was a draw, and I love tapas!  The warmer, southern climate was also a draw since we are traveling in fall/winter.

We rented an apartment in the Eixample neighborhood which is central but not touristy. It's been a great location with lots of cute cafes and restaurants. We walk almost everywhere and we've had lovely warm fall weather so far. We have been doing a lot, but also come home daily for siesta  (our kids' naptimes!) which makes it feel relaxed.  We love spending evenings outdoors in different neighborhood plazas. Many of the plazas have a playground across from an outdoor cafe where we can order a cocktail and some Patatas Bravas while watching Ezra play. (Why does this not exist more prevalently in America?!)

Warm evening in a plaza in our neighborhood for drinks and tapas before dinner.

Warm evening in a plaza in our neighborhood for drinks and tapas before dinner.

The Gaudi benches at the famous Park Guell

The Gaudi benches at the famous Park Guell

Park Guell detail, Barcelona

Park Guell detail, Barcelona

Placa Reial- Barcelona

Placa Reial- Barcelona

At the Sagrada Familia Cathedral by Gaudi in Barcelona

At the Sagrada Familia Cathedral by Gaudi in Barcelona

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We have done some day trips outside the city to Sitges (a beautiful old beach town), Montserrat (take a cable car up a mountain to a monastery), and Girona (a stunning medieval town full of cobblestone streets). 

The 4 of us on a day trip from Barcelona to the ancient town of Girona

The 4 of us on a day trip from Barcelona to the ancient town of Girona

Follow along on Instagram @theforestfeast where I post what we are doing daily. I'm posting additional photos on Instagram Stories and on Facebook as well.  I'll follow up with food photos and restaurant reccs in another post.

Until soon....Adios!

Weeknight Fall Entertaining + Kale Apple Quinoa Salad

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We are just finishing up the Jewish High Holidays that run several weeks each Fall and involve lots of cool-weather cooking and feasting. We hosted a couple weeknight dinner parties and because we had a lot going on during the day, we didn’t have a ton of time to prepare. The New Seasons Market deli totally saved me! For one dinner party, I made a big lasagna ahead of time and got salads from the deli to supplement as sides. They have beautiful vegetarian offerings and just having to make one dish makes mid-week hosting much more manageable. One salad I was especially impressed by was the Kale Apple Quinoa Salad. I served it the day after I bought it and it was still deliciously fresh. I have adapted the recipe the store uses below. However, if you live near a New Seasons Market, I definitely recommend buying it.

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I also bought the Beet Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese from the deli and spread it out on a platter of fresh arugula which was a quick additional salad and looked homemade. And the organic and Non-GMO Project Verified breads at New Seasons bakery are baked daily – we loved the round loaves of raisin challah. For dessert I made Honey Cake (a Jewish New Year tradition, but great for any fall or winter gathering), baked in a round bundt pan. New Seasons has beautiful produce and I picked up some incredible figs to decorate the dessert plate with. along with some fresh pomegranate seeds for an autumn feel.

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Jonathan and I always talk about how hosting people in our home is something that’s very important to us as a way to connect with friends and family more intimately, but also to build community. It can be overwhelming to have people over, especially mid-week, so if supplementing the meal with store bought items from a great deli means you can actually do it, why not?!

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Kale Apple Quinoa Salad

Serves 4-6

(adapted from a recipe by New Seasons Market, served at their deli)

5 stalks curly kale, stems removed, torn in pieces

2 c red quinoa, cooked and cooled

2 Fuji apples, cubed (leave peel on)

½ c chopped walnuts (toasting optional)

¼ c dried cherries (or cranberries)

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl with your favorite vinaigrette. One that includes apple cider vinegar would complement the fall flavors well.  Serve within about 30 minutes of dressing.

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This post was sponsored by New Seasons Market, a new grocery store in my community (it's in Sunnyvale, CA) that I love! Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Forest Feast going.

FF Turns 6!

The Forest Feast blog is 6 years old today!!

This photo hanging on our living room wall below was the first photo I ever posted on the blog on the foggy morning of 10/4/11. 

On that morning back in 2011, I started this blog as a personal project: a way to share photos that I was experimenting with. I was playing around...having fun! Combining watercolors and photography for the first time. We had just moved to the woods from Brooklyn, just gotten married and I had no idea what kind of cookbook adventures lay ahead! It wasn't even until a few weeks later that I found my groove and started posting recipes (here's the first recipe I ever posted). Now...three cookbooks and 2 babies later, we are still in the woods and cooking up a storm! Can't believe we are headed to Europe shortly to work on a 4th book! (Follow along here on the blog, and more often, on Instagram @theforestfeast). It's been a dream to see this project evolve and I am so grateful to you, my readers, for helping me make it all possible. Thank you!

 

Maple-Pumpkin Parfaits

Ezra just turned 3 and is in preschool! We pack lunches every night for him and I'm always looking for cute new ideas for something I know he'll actually eat. I've partnered up with Clover Sonoma to use their Organic Cream on Top Maple Whole Milk Yogurt in a fall-inspired parfait. It's just 5 ingredients layered in a mini mason jar: yogurt, pumpkin purée, cinnamon, maple syrup, and pumpkin seeds. I used unsweetened canned organic pumpkin purée, but you could bake a pumpkin, kabocha squash, or butternut and use some mash from that. 

I've been eating Clover dairy products my whole life since they are from Sonoma County, where I grew up. I really trust them! They are a certified B Corporation which means they adhere to rigorous environmental, social and sustainability standards. They treat their animals well and deliver a very clean (and delicious!) product.

This is fun to pack for lunch, and would also be perfect for an after-dinner treat. It could also be made in small ramekins if enjoying at home.

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MAPLE-PUMPKIN PARFAITS

serves 1

3 oz Organic Cream on Top Maple Whole Milk Yogurt

2 T canned unsweetened pumpkin purée (or mashed baked pumpkin, kabocha or butternut squash)

1 t maple syrup

2 t pumpkin seeds

pinch of cinnamon

Starting with the yogurt, layer all ingredients in a 4-oz mason jar. Sprinkle some syrup and cinnamon on top and close with a lid. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

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A little note for his lunch bag.

A little note for his lunch bag.

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Now this is fun: Clover is doing a giveaway! For a chance to win a back-to-school prize package valued at over $200, share a photo of your child's school lunch with the hashtag #ItMatters and tag @cloversonoma on Facebook/Twitter or @clover.sonoma on Instagram.

This post was done in partnership with Clover Sonoma, a brand I have been using, loving and trusting for years. Thanks for supporting the brands that help keep The Forest Feast going!

New Seasons Market + Harissa Watermelon-Tomato Salad

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This week, I got to visit a beautiful new grocery store near me in Sunnyvale, CA: New Seasons Market. If you live nearby, lucky you! Meet your new favorite place to shop.

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There are several New Seasons Markets in Oregon and Washington, but the store is new to California and I am excited to have one in my community. Apart from the gorgeous local produce, amazing flower selection, and natural food heaven, what was perhaps most impressive about this place to me was the company's ethics. They were the first grocer in America with a B-Corp certification, which means they have to meet rigorous social and environmental standards. Their employees seemed happy, fairly paid, and well taken care of, and they try to work with suppliers that have a similar philosophy.

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For example, in the front of the store, they had a tomato tasting for shoppers (who doesn't love that?!). My favorite was a big, beautiful, yellow Brandywine tomato from Pinnacle Farms, which is about an hour from the store– a farm that's known for treating its workers well. New Seasons employees regularly visit this organic farm to see where the produce is coming from. The farm is committed to treating not only its workers, but also the land, community and environment with utmost respect.

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I got to have lunch at the deli and there were some really creative dishes on display. I had a watermelon salad that was so good that I decided to go home and put my own twist on it. I loved the addition of harissa (a red chili paste often used in Middle Eastern cuisine). I took home one of those yellow Brandywine tomatoes and had to include it! We are having a heatwave in the woods right now, so this is all I want to eat. Perfect for your Labor Day BBQ!

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Harissa Watermelon-Tomato Salad

inspired by a recipe found at New Seasons Market's deli

1 large yellow tomato (look for an Heirloom or Brandywine variety if possible)

2 c cubed seedless watermelon

1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced (I used a mandoline)

3 T chopped mint 

3 T crumbled feta cheese 

for the dressing: 

1 T harissa (mild or spicy...your choice. I went spicy!)

2 T olive oil

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 t agave (or honey)

a pinch of cumin

salt & pepper to taste

Slice the tomato and watermelon into big chunks and lay them out on a platter. Sprinkle the red onion, mint and feta on top. Mix the ingredients for the dressing well with a fork in a cup. Drizzle the dressing over the platter. 

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If you're in the Sunnyvale, CA area, I encourage you to stop by New Seasons Market. You'll love it! There's also a store opening this winter in Emeryville, CA.

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This post was done in partnership with New Seasons Market, and all opinions are my own. This is a great grocery store, and I was excited to work with them. Thanks for supporting the businesses that keep The Forest Feast going! 

New Seasons Market, 760 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA. @newseasonsmarket #newseasonsmarket