Monday, June 13, 2011

Cuisine: Summer Corn Salad

I created this recipe as part of The S. Kitchen presents...Coming Home, which was on Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 3pm at Clare Housing Midtown. The S. Kitchen presents...Coming Home featured Debbie Wyman, my mom, as the guestpert telling her story about why she works at Clare Housing, and organization that provides affordable housing to those living with HIV/AIDS. (To listen to a 15 minute podcast with Debbie about Clare Housing, please click here.)

The food theme was "your favorite childhood foods re-imagined." One of my all time favorite foods is/was roasted corn. I have incredibly fond memories of Minnesotan corn roasted on the grill and eaten right off the cob. The memory still warms me to this day.

For The S. Kitchen, I wanted to do something that incorporated my favorite childhood food while also updating it to include the flavors I love now. I still love simple roasted corn. But I didn't just want to throw it on the grill and call it a day.

A dear friend, Kristine, RSVPed for Coming Home. I met Kristine while I was at the University of St. Thomas, and we worked together for a summer running a summer camp for the YMCA. I will never forget how much Kristine changed my flavor palate. She is the one who introduced me to Puerto Rican food, and ever since I have had a love of all foody things spicy, lime-y and Caribbean/Latin American.

Knowing Kristine was coming I knew that all I had to do was turn corn into an amazingly refreshing Corn Salad that hinted at Caribbean and Latin American flavors. And hey...I live in San Francisco, so it is a fabulous nod to where I call home now as well.

What you need:
4 ears of corn (I used yellow corn)
1 jicama (small to mid-sized, peeled
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
2 sweet onions (I used Vidalia)
2 (largish) tomatoes (I used orange heirloom tomatoes)
2 jalapenos, cored and seeded
1/2 bunch Italian parsley
3 cloves garlic
2 lemons (I used Meyer lemons)
2 limes (I used key limes)
1 tsp paprika
salt, to taste

What to do:
Roast the corn on the grill on in the oven. It is best to roast the corn and not boil it. I have tried it both ways and the corn tastes best when roasted in its own husk. To roast it on the grill, soak it in a tub full of water for about 15 minutes. Then, roast it on the grill over a medium flame until the husks start to turn deep brown turning occasionally. To roast it in the oven, heat the over to 375 degrees. Place corn in the husks in the oven and roast until the husks start to turn yellow (about 15 minutes). Make sure to turn them over occasionally.

Dehusk the corn and cut the kernels off the corncob.

For the tomatoes, onions, jicama, and red bell pepper it is important to dice everything into really small pieces. They should be slightly smaller than a kernel of corn. Finely dice the jalapeno. Roughly chop the parsley making sure there are both slightly large pieces as well as some finely minced pieces. Crush the garlic. Juice the lemons and limes.

Combine everything together and season with salt and paprika. Let sit refrigerated overnight and enjoy either as a salad, a salsa or as an accompaniment to a main course.

If you would like to kick up the heat a bit, you can add your favorite hot sauce, more jalapenos or a touch of chipotle pepper adobo.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Conversation: The S. Kitchen presents...Justice on the Rocks

Jason Wyman, Catalyst of The S. Kitchen, recently interviewed Donald Proby of Community Boards on Sunday, May 1st, 2011. The interview was a part of The S. Kitchen presents...Justice on the Rocks. A shared cocktail party with Donald Proby and others from Community Boards was on Wednesday, April 20th at 7pm.

If you would like to learn more about the Community Boards please visit their website.

Listen to internet radio with theskitchen on Blog Talk Radio

And please help us spread the word by retweeting this podcast, sharing it on Facebook, and telling your friends and family about the importance of comrades helping comrades resolve conflicts peacefully.

Camaraderie: Reflections by Singhashri

Sharing the story of one’s spiritual path in 10 minutes is not an easy thing to do. So when Jason Wyman asked me to speak about mine at his recent S. Kitchen, Seeding Reflection, Cultivating Intention, of course I agreed! I’m always up for a challenge and an opportunity to reflect on how I’ve gotten to where I am. I shared this honor with my good friend, Suvarnaprabha, lovingly referred to as Suvanna, Creative Director at the San Francisco Buddhist Center, my spiritual home.

When we arrived at Jason’s warm, inviting abode we entered a room full of tantalizing smells, laughter, and a hint of curiosity. As always with good conversation, we shared our stories, asked and answered questions, heard about the experiences of others, and reached a deeper level of understanding about ourselves and others. Personally, I found it inspiring to make connections with others in the room who practice in quite different traditions than I, such as the Christian and Pagan traditions. What stood out to me from the conversation was the emphasis that all traditions place on spiritual community, walking our paths with others, supporting one another to discover more deeply our most authentic selves and encouraging each other to express ourselves and our path in our own unique ways.

In Buddhism the connection between those in the spiritual community is called “spiritual friendship,” and in my tradition (the Triratna Buddhist Community) is treated as just as important a personal practice as meditation and devotion. I am so grateful that this is emphasized in my tradition. In a society that values individualism and competitiveness, I find it refreshing to find a religious tradition that honors both the importance of individual growth and the connections that seekers make with one another on the path. In the West the focus Buddhism places on the efforts of the solitary meditator and the importance of loosening our attachments can be misinterpreted as a call to disengage from society and relationships. But spiritual friendship challenges us to work with our minds in relationship to those
around us, so that we develop compassion for all beings and the wish that everyone, not just ourselves, find happiness.

The S. Kitchen provided an opportunity for me to see that spiritual friendship can also go beyond the boundaries of any one tradition. No matter what path we choose, we can encourage and support one another to find happiness in our own unique ways. What an important reminder during a time when religious intolerance and radical ideology threaten to tear us apart as a human race. I hope for other opportunities to connect with spiritual practitioners of all faiths to find common ground in our search for the truth.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Of Learners, Process and Content: A Pedagogy

My name is Jason Wyman, Catalyst of The S. Kitchen, and I am an educator in San Francisco. For the last 20 years, I have worked in the fields of youth development, workforce development, education reform and intergenerational programming. Through it all, I have come to learn that everyone wants to feel safe, included and active in their educational development. We all hunger and thirst for knowledge and wisdom.

Often, that thirst and hunger, sometimes called First Food, is quelled by institutions, especially for those that live on the "edges" of society or have been historically and traditionally marginalized. I have refined and honed a specific philosophy of educational development/pedagogy that is rooted in Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, praxis processes, service-learning modalities and arts education best practices. This philosophy has evolved from working with incredibly diverse communities throughout the United States and finding ways to empower communities to direct their own learning.

To put it simply, imagine a triangle. On one point is the learners/students. On another point is the process. On the last point is the content. Viewed as a triangle, honor and equity must be given to all three points in order to have learning that is relevant, applicable, authentic and critical. I have used this simple theory in creating youth leadership classes rooted in literacy skill building through storytelling, learning circles for middle managers of after school and youth employment programs (more here ), and in creating original community theater that explores the intersections of faith, spirituality and religion and gender and sexuality (more here

At times different points on the triangle are given different weights. In my experience, institutional education places the most weight on the content point. Then, the process point. And the learner/student point is often completely left out. That is why institutional education is not educating. It simply is out of balance.

I have come to realize that a new way of viewing education is needed. Institutions are important and will continue to exist. And education is happening all around us. It is happening in homes and on street corners and in cafes and parks. The problem is most don't see the education in homes, street corners, cafes and parks as education. They see it as frilly, as supplemental, as optional. The *spaces* that education resides are not supplemental. They are vital.

It is my dream to shine a light on the non-institutional spaces where education resides and to harness its narrative into a tool for healing. I believe it is the only way we will finally transform our institutions. It certainly has not been working from the inside out. So it is time for a new paradigm. My hope is that The S. Kitchen can be one model of how to make this work.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

CONVERSATION: Of Reflection and Intention

To learn more about The S. Kitchen presents...Seeding Reflection, Cultivating Intention, please listen to the podcast or visit the event page.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Please Help!

I am involved in many projects ranging from The S. Kitchen to Youth Worker Collective to OutLook Theater Project all of which operate on a shoe-string budget of $0. I am reaching out to YOU for support.

What's needed?
A FREE space for an OutLook Theater workshop exploring the intersections of faith, spirituality, and religion and sexua...l and gender identity on Saturday, April 2 from 1pm to 3pm.

Fruits, veggies, canned goods, etc. to make 3 dishes for The S. Kitchen presents...Seeding Reflection, Cultivating Intention.

If you would like to donate, please leave a comment or email me at

Thanks for taking the time to watch this and for donating!

To cuisine, conversation and camaraderie,

Conversation: The S. Kitchen presents...Seeding Reflection, Cultivating Intention PODCAST

Jason Wyman, Catalyst of The S. Kitchen, recently interviewed Suvanna Cullen and Singhashri Gazmuri from the San Francisco Buddhist Center on Tuesday, March 15th. The interview was a part of The S. Kitchen presents...Seeding Reflection, Cultivating Intention. A shared potluck meal with Singhashri and Suvanna will be on Sunday, March 27th at 7pm. To RSVP and learn more, please visit the Facebook Event Event page or the Socializr page.

If you would like to learn more about the San Francisco Buddhist Center, please visit their website.

Listen to internet radio with theskitchen on Blog Talk Radio

And please help us spread the word by retweeting this podcast, sharing it on Facebook, and telling your friends and family about the importance of seeding reflection, cultivating intention.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Conversation: Lost and Still

I was lost. It was as if I was floating in space with nothing tangible around me and the sun, moon, and earth blotted out by my inability to comprehend. I normally find comfort there. I like the feeling of non-attachment and distance. It helps me see and experience things others miss. This week, I just wanted to sink back to earth and feel solid rock. I'm tired.

Nothing extraordinary happened. Nothing inconsequential happened. Nothing really happened at all. That's what started it all: I didn't want nothing. At least at that moment. I just wanted a little motivation and some inspiration. I just wanted movement.

The trouble with waiting is that it truly is a tragic beast. Once the seed of want roots itself it is hard to see what is right in front of you. I had inspiration everywhere. It was there in the films by women I found this week that told tales of gratitude and dalliances with sheep and beetles eating hearts. It was on the bus in an overheard conversation of amazing boundaries being drawn by a young woman with her ex-lover. It was in a speech by Chrystos about shedding colonizer thinking, not being boxed by identity, and strength in struggle that is not self-less. It was everywhere around me all the time.

So too was motivation. Resumes were submitted. Meetings were attended. Conversations were had.

Still I was lost. Still I felt like my apartment looked: disheveled by contractors who were putting in a new window and drywall thanks to a leaking ceiling and wall. I just wanted to put it all back and ignore the water on the floor. At least on the surface it would look tidy.

This lostness crept into my cooking all week long. I made disastrous meals that didn't satiate taste. I tried my hand at an apple crumble and misplaced my mind when I poured in an extra half cup of milk. I still threw it in the oven hoping for a miracle. I took one bite, and no miracle was found.

On and on the week pressed as I, still lost, felt knots in my back and anxiety on my heart. I stressed over the meal to be shared on Sunday. I still hadn't found my inspiration and without it the food would never transform into cuisine.

Then, I stopped. I stopped looking and decided to observe.

I found myself in North Beach at a meeting with a coaching client. He sat across from me with the tools I brought between us. I shared youth development strategies, approaches and philosophies. I was doing my "job" not my role. As I was finishing up, I asked one final question, "Anything else?" He asked for help on one particular challenge. I was immediately unstuck. I listened and reflected and listened some more. Only then did I share a possible solution.

Our 30 minute session turned out to be an hour and a half. Not one of those moments was missed. Not once did I feel lost.

I set out from North Beach and meandered through Chinatown. A growing hunger begged feeding, but not any meal would do. I peeked in restaurants and perused menus. I had a vague feeling for noodles, but I didn't want chow mein.

I found myself peering in the window of Hon's Wun-tun House Ltd. of California. Not a single white person inside, I opened the door and took a seat at the counter. I placed an order for Sichuan noodles; five minutes later it came. I slurped up the fine angel hair thing noodles with the spicy shredded pork on top. As I looked up, I saw it: homemade wide noodles -- $2.50/pound.

It was exactly what I was searching for. I bought three pounds.

I'm now sitting in Portsmouth Square with Cantonese being spoken all around me and my fingers numbing. A tour group is in front of me trying dim sum treats. I am still except for the movement of my hand scribbling across this page. I am at peace.

I know I will find myself lost again. I know anxiety will course through veins and muscles will knot. I know that I cannot silence all of my wants. I just need to remember this moment -- the one where I became still.

I have two more days until my shared meal. Keeping still while wandering is how I'm going to make it there. I know magic will happen if I let go. And it will be called braised garlic greens with homemade noodles.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Conversation: BAN6 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

This is a comment response to The S. Kitchen Fan Erica P's post on The Eatable Life about the BAN6 Conversation at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts which happened on Saturday, February 19 from 1pm to 4pm. The guest speakers were Novella Carpenter, Leif Hedendal, and Bryant Terry. To get a detailed and accurate summary of the event, please head on over to The Eatable Life.

This is a commentary and reflection.

Thanks for this fab review of the event. I liked all three of the speakers as well. I think they all brought in different perspectives of the food movement and industry. I especially liked how Novella talked about her love of animals, and they are dinner. I found her description of the ritual of slaughter fascinating, and have been grappling with what it means to me as a meat eater.

I had a much harder time with the format.

To me, the crux of the conversation was the intersection of food, art, and social justice. Having come to food and art through the vocation of youth development and educational reform, I have a really hard time when "conversations" about these topics don't also embrace a food, art, and social justice approach. The format of the event was constructed using a classical educational approach. There were "experts", the panelists and curator, and "learners", the audience. These two positions need to be filled in a classical educational approach because the role of the expert is to impart their learning on the learner. The learner has little to no role in the area of expertise.

At this event, there was even a hierarchy in what role each particular audience member played. Throughout the event, the curator/moderator asked questions to "the artists". While I was in the audience and listening to the conversation and being asked questions, I took comfort in being called an artist. It made me feel like there was a level of importance in being an audience member, that I may in fact be an artist. I felt like they were also trying a new approach to learning, one that, while not completely embracing a social justice or people's educational approach, was at least moving in that direction.

After the event, I stuck around to talk to Bryant. I noticed as the chairs were being picked up that there were technically two classifications of audience members: ones whose seats read "Artist" and ones whose seats were blank. I haven't felt that dissed in a very long time, and it made me question the entirety of the event. Was this event really *for* me?

It also shed light onto a weird interaction between me and the moderator. During the discussion, I spoke and shared my story of how I came to both food and art. I have mostly worked in low-income, historically marginalized communities. Within those communities, art and food are not a superfluous question. They are questions of both survival and engagement. (I would argue engagement is survival, but that's another debate.) They ONLY way I got young people to the table and understanding anything was through food and art. Parents only came to meetings where food was present. I could only meet with teachers if I brought pizza. And that is solely on the most surface of levels.

The weird interaction came after I stated, "Take a look around and see who is here and who isn't here." (Or something incredibly similar.) I know I did not see a single person under mid-twenties. I can make a fairly educated guess that most had some (if not a lot) of post-secondary education. (I myself flunked out, so I might not be making that educated of a guess.) And all were, while maybe not rich per se, at least either upper-lower or lower-middle class and above. I couldn't imagine a single youth I worked with in my 15+ years of youth development work ever showing up to the event.

My comment was dismissed by the curator, and he quickly moved on. I wondered after I saw the chairs with the "Artist" label on them if part of that reaction was due to the fact that I was not labeled an "artist". I also wondered if I struck a nerve on a topic that the museum has been grappling with.

I know a museum is for a very particular kind of person, one that can navigate it and understand it, which requires a certain level of education. It is also an institution. But as we move forward with the conversation of the intersections of food, art, commodification, and social justice we cannot forget that there is a LARGE segment of the population MISSING from the dialogue. Those people are the same ones that will be the most impacted by any decision (political, aesthetic, cultural, etc.) in these arenas. I think we, the collective we that includes me, can do better at finding ways to engage them. And that starts with some great food and excellent art.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cuisine: Banana Chocolate Brownie Bread

It's been rainy and dreary here in San Francisco, and I love it. Nothing makes my heart melt quite like the damp winter we get here. It is far better than the below zero temperatures of my Minnesota upbringing, especially the temperatures of this past winter. I love reading books, plotting with comrades and baking warm sweet treats in winter.

This past Tuesday was a particularly dreary day, so I set out on a little adventure: find rotten bananas. I just had to make banana bread.

I found some and brought them home. I was all ready to make a traditional banana bread when suddenly, I got an urge to throw in cocoa powder. Then, I ransacked my cupboards and found half a bag of mini chocolate chips. In they went, and then this banana chocolate brownie bread was baked.

It was enjoyed that evening with a lovely cup of chai tea.

You will need:
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
5 ripe bananas
1/4 cup milk
2 1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 extra large eggs
1 cup mini chocolate chips

What to do:
Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch by 9 inch baking dish.

In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder together until thoroughly combined. In another bowl, mash bananas, milk and vanilla together. There should still be large chunks of banana remaining. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar over medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time until mixture is airy.

Add 1/2 the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Stir to blend. Add 1/2 the banana mixture. Stir to blend. Add 1/2 the flour mixture. Stir to blend. Add 1/2 the banana mixture and the chocolate chips. Stir to blend. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

Bake for about 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Enjoy either warm or let cool overnight. Excellent with coffee and/or tea.

Cuisine: Whole Roasted Citrus Chicken

I was inspired to make this recipe on a whim. I ran to the produce stand and saw a lot of fresh citrus. The colors of the oranges and key limes called out to me begging me to buy them. As I was heading back out into the rain and cold, I wanted to be swept away to someplace tropical, as tropical as the oranges and limes in my bag.

As I walked home from the market, I started brainstorming a recipe. This is what I came up with.

You will need:
1 whole chicken
6 oranges
8 key limes
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp spicy paprika
1/4 tsp ground star anise
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla

What to do:
Peel skin away from chicken. Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, and tumeric together. Rub all over the chicken making sure to also rub it underneath the skin. Poke about 10 holes into the skin of the chicken. Two should be where the thigh connects to the body, and two should be where the wing connects to the body.

Combine the juice of the oranges, key limes, 1 tsp salt, spicy paprika, star anise, cumin, ginger and vanilla.

Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan breast side up. Sprinkle the chicken with some of the juice. Pour the rest of the juice in the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover the pan with foil. Place pan in the oven and bake covered for 20 minutes. Then, baste with the liquid. Add a little water if needed. Flip the chicken and baste again. Cover and bake for another 15 minutes. Uncover the chicken and baste, adding water if needed. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken and baste again. Bake for 15-20 more minutes.

Enjoy with citrus bean salad and garlic green beans.

Cuisine: Hot Pineapple Pork Loin

I was inspired to create this recipe after eating at Mission Chinese Food with my husband and dear friend, Victoria. The food brought me to another world: Chengdu. I was reminded of a meal I had there that was out-of-this-world spicy. It started with this pickled dish that numbed the tongue. Then, they brought out all of the spicy food.

Mission Chinese Food also had a pickled dish that numbed the tongue. I loved it. I devoured the cucumbers, peanuts, and cabbage. My forehead was sweating profusely. It was as if I was still outside in the rain, and that feeling of exhilaration that comes from spice rushed over me. I was in heaven. Or more precisely, I was right back in Chengdu at this restaurant of fine dark stained wood and deep red.

The unique flavor that numbs the tongue is the Sichuan peppercorn. I have a ton of it at home, and I have been neglecting it. It isn't for everyone, so I use it sparingly. After dinner at Mission Chinese Food, I knew I had to dust it off and create a new recipe. Thus, the beginnings of Hot Pineapple Pork Loin was born.

I'm not sure how I thought to pare all of the different flavors. It just kind of came to me. Or, the rub did at least. The addition of the pineapple came because I knew I needed to cook it with some liquid at the bottom of the pan. The liquid helps keep the pork loin nice and juicy. I didn't want to use just water, so I ran across the street to the liquor store. My choices were limited to apple juice, orange juice, a small bottle of cranberry juice, some limeade, and there it was...pineapple juice. Yup, the one in the can from Dole. I grabbed it and headed home.

The result is this amazingly tender pork loin that has a hint of heat from the crust of the rub and a nice tart sweetness from the pineapple. Sure it's not a dish you would find in Chengdu or Mission Chinese Food, but both are owed a debt of gratitude for first introducing me to the Sichuan peppercorn and reminding me how much I love it.

What you need:
1 tsp caraway seed
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp black peppercorn
1 tsp pink peppercorn
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn
seeds from 4 cardamon pods
1 tsp fried onion
2 tsp salt
2 tsp fried garlic
1 tsp paprika
3 lb boneless pork loin
1 can pineapple juice

What to do:
Make a rub for the pork by putting all the spices in a spice grinder and processing until fine. Rub all over the pork and let sit for at least one hour. Heat over to 500 degrees. Place pork on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour all of the pineapple juice into the pan. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Base the pork carefully with the pineapple juice. Bake for another 10 - 15 minutes, or until the pork starts to brown nicely.

Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour more basting every 10 minutes or so. Turn the pork loin over after about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place pork on a dish, cover, and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the pineapple juice into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer to reduce liquid to about half.

Slice pork loin and pour a little of the juice on top.

Enjoy with roasted yams or sweet potatoes and your favorite greens.

Tip: Roasting the yams or sweet potatoes is simple. Start by slicing them lengthwise into quarters. Toss in oil to coat and sprinkle lightly with salt. Put them into a pan and place in the oven when you turn the pork loin. Bake for about 45 minutes. Carefully turn the yams or sweet potatoes over at least twice to ensure even cooking. The yams or sweet potatoes will be incredibly soft and tender.

Friday, February 18, 2011

CONVERSATION: "Reach out, touch a hand, make a friend if you can"

I love The Staples Singers. I remember listening to "Respect Yourself" many times as a young adult. It was on compilations of soul and/or gospel songs like Black Power: Music of a Revolution. It was a song that inspired me to think differently and find hope.

I was introduced to Mavis Staples, one of the siblings in The Staple Singers, thanks to my husband. He brought home her album "We'll Never Turn Back" when it came out almost four years ago. I fell head over heals in love with her deep soulful voice and her messages of struggle, unity, and spirit.

As a result of my love affair with Mavis Staples, I went out and found old The Staples Singers albums. I had to have more of their songs and soul. I found and played their compilation album, The Best of the Staples Singers, over and over and over again until all the songs started blending together and I started to internalize their joy, sadness, and courage.

The Staples Singers were definitely an inspiration to refocus and re-imagine The S. Kitchen into something more than just a potluck. I knew I wanted to exude the same determination, casualness, perseverance, and compassion they did. Their music, while religious and spiritual, is more than just gospel and Christian. It is a way of life, a way of seeing the world that transcends spirit and is rooted deeply in personal experience and culture. If I could embody just a sliver of what they exude rooted in my own personal experience and culture, than I would have done my job.

I still listen to The Staples Singers and Mavis Staples religiously. I have to listen to them at least twice a month. And I am still finding hope and deeper meaning in their songs. They still bring me to a place that beyond the singular self.

Today, as I was again listening to them, their song "Touch a Hand, Make a Friend" really hit me. The lyrics:
Can't you feel it in your bones.
A change is coming on
from every walk of life
people are seein' the light.

Can't you feel it in your heart, now.
A new thing is takin' shape
Reach out, touch a hand, y'all.
Make a friend if you can.

Hey, I heard about you from my friend.
Ain't it time you come on in?
Live the united way.
Why don't you join us today?
Seem to call forth in the most prescient way (the lyrics were written in 1973) what is happening around the world right now. We are seeing people coming together in unprecedented numbers peacefully (and sometimes not so peacefully) all over the world. We are witnessing a remarkable change. And while at times it may be frightening and scary and uncomfortable, it is ultimately hopeful. It is happening because we are reaching out, touching hands, and making friends.

It is my dream that The S. Kitchen contributes to this much larger change in the way it does it best: through cuisine, conversation, and camaraderie. And I welcome you to "come on in". Who knows, you may even make a friend.

Upcoming The S. Kitchen events where you can "come on in" are:

The S. Kitchen presents...Women & Film with guestpert Scarlett Shepard of the Women's Film Institute on Sunday, February 27th at 4pm. You can learn more and RSVP on Facebook. You MUST RSVP to get the hidden location.

SOUP'S On!, an informal learning and networking opportunity for youth workers, educators, and teaching artists, with guestpert Carmen Lo on Thursday, March 10th from 6pm to 8pm at Progressive Grounds in San Francisco on the corner of Bryant and 21st Streets.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Conversation: The S. Kitchen presents...Women & Film

Jason Wyman, Catalyst of The S. Kitchen, recently interviewed Scarlett Shepard, Executive Director of Women's Film Institute and Founder of the San Francisco International Women's Film Institute on Wednesday, February 9th. The interview was a part of The S. Kitchen presents...Women & Film. Part Two, a shared potluck meal, will be on Sunday, February 27th at 4pm.

If you would like to learn more about Scarlett Shepard and the Women's Film Institute please visit their website, follow them on Twitter, or like on Facebook.

Listen to internet radio with theskitchen on Blog Talk Radio

And please help us spread the word by retweeting this podcast, sharing it on Facebook, and telling your friends and family about the important role women play and have played in the film industry.


Please join The S. Kitchen for SOUP'S On! a new FREE informal networking and professional development opportunity for youth workers, educators, and teaching artists TOMORROW from 6pm to 8pm at Progressive Grounds (on the corner of Bryant and 21st Streets in San Francisco). Like all The S. Kitchen events, it is a potluck! So please bring a dish, idea, or resource to share.

Our featured guestpert will be Leah Weitz who works for Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center as the Youth Empowerment and Development Coordinator. You can learn more about Leah at her blog, Nina Parks.

You can learn more about SOUP'S On! by watching a short video from The S. Kitchen Catalyst, Jason Wyman, below.

You can also learn more by visiting the Facebook event page or by downloading the flyer.

Special thanks to Jora Atienza-Washington of Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center and Phimy Troung of Vietnamese Development Center for their donation of fresh veggie for the soup.

We hope to see you there!

EVENT: THe S. Kitchen presents...Women & Film

You must RSVP on Facebook to get the hidden location!

Our FIRST CLASSIC The S. Kitchen event of 2011 is...The S. Kitchen presents...Women and Film. It will be on SUNDAY, February 27th at 4pm and will feature our fabulous guestpert SCARLETT SHEPARD. Scarlett founded the San Francisco International Women's Film Festival and is the Executive Director of the Women's Film Institute.

It just so happens to coincide with the Academy Awards and given the incredible LACK of women's presence the institutional film industry (even to this day) it acts as a excellent platform to learn about the important work of women filmmakers.

Scarlett will be sharing her personal story of why she founded the San Francisco International Women's Film Festival. I will be doing a 15 minute podcast with Scarlett on Wednesday, February 9th. You can listen to the podcast here.

As with all The S. Kitchen presents... events, it is a POTLUCK with a few guidelines. For this one, I want you to BRING A DISH INSPIRED BY YOUR FAVORITE WOMAN IN A FILM. It could be an actress, a director, a movie about women, a character, a sound engineer you know, or...? Please RSVP on Facebook to get the hidden location!

The 7th Annual San Francisco International Women's Film Festival is April 6-10, 2011. You can learn more about the festival here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Conversation: Of Grace and Obligation

Death is like a natural disaster -- no matter how much planning and preparation is done once it hits everything changes. You cannot prepare for the flood or numbing of emotions. You don't know exactly how the laws will work themselves out. You can't anticipate how others will react. You just have to go along for the ride and see what comes.

I didn't know how much my grandfather's passing would challenge me. He was a man I always adored. He was on of my childhood heroes -- tall, strong, and always there with a helping hand. He was also everything I was not -- a staunch Republican, an avid sports fan, nimble with his fingers, cautious. He had a philosophy of live and let live as long as he didn't need to see or hear it.

A few hours earlier on the day he passed, I booked a ticket to come see him in Arizona hoping I could say goodbye before his final exhale. I didn't make it. He died in hospice quickly at the age of 80. He never wanted to live in hospice, and he was terrified of losing his reason, but there he was in hospice doped up because his mind had completely deteriorated. It was a beautiful thing that he only had a few days of that kind of living.

I kept my flight. I wanted to be here for my granny and lend the same helping hand my grandfather would have lent me. It was the best way to honor his life. I wasn't prepared for the internal conflict that came.

I inherited my grandfather's strong will. I did not inherit his ability to still my tongue. I have had to learn how to quiet both my lips and need to argue, and I haven't been very successful in those lessons. Slowly, I have made progress, and the greatest lesson has come from being here in Sun City West supporting my granny through this transition. I see what he saw in her -- beauty, faith, fortitude, quiet rebellion, dedication. I amazed at her ability to meet obligation with grace.

My granny didn't want a memorial service here in Arizona. She preferred to only have services back in Minnesota this summer. He will rest there in a crypt in Resurrection Cemetery. It is the place of our Soderberg clan's birth, and, minus myself and my granny, where the rest of our clan still reside. But what you want isn't always what others need. Others wanted to say goodbye here.

My mom arrived in Arizona a few days before me. She was one of the people, despite her claiming otherwise, that needed closure. She didn't get to say goodbye, and it pained her immeasurably. She wanted to hold his hand and give him a final hug.

I received a phone call the Tuesday before my planned arrival asking if I would do one of the readings at mass. I agreed knowing how much it would meant to my mom and granny. Immediately, after hanging up the phone, I grew uncomfortable. I was raised in a family whose Catholic heritage stretches back generations. While I identify as catholic, I am not Catholic. This was going to be difficult.

I arrived on Thursday. The memorial mass was Saturday. Two days of restlessness ensued, and a story was shared about the struggle to get the readings and songs my mom and granny wanted. I did the reading in my best church voice as gracefully as possible. I can't share more. It doesn't feel right, and it seems to soon. Needless to say, my difficulties paled in comparison to those of my mom and granny.

We had a reception at my granny's house after the mass. I was in charge of the kitchen, so my granny and mom could be with guests. I hustled making coffee and setting everything out. I was amazed at how impatient some of the guests were. The coffee couldn't brew quickly enough, and when they rushed me to pour some of the coffee from the unfinished pot complained that it wasn't hot enough. I noticed all of the paper plates were gone while I was finishing up setting out some more cookies. I was going to get them momentarily, but that wasn't quick enough. Everyone knew I was the grandson, but many folks treated me like the catering help.

A couple of times I got testy telling people to back off and get out of the kitchen. At one point, I had to excuse myself to the bathroom to have a silent meltdown. I definitely wasn't prepared for the pushiness of retired folks.

Then, I saw my granny and mom. They were also entertaining guests. They were gracious and welcoming, and I started learning the art of grace and obligation. While this service and reception were about my grandfather, they were not for my grandfather. They were for everyone else. It had nothing to do with us. The best way forward was honoring my grandpa the way he would want to be honored. I smiled and said thank-you.

I'm not sure this is how I want to live my life. I believe that emotions shouldn't be tucked underneath everything in order to be stoic. I'm not sure I believe in the obligations of others. If I did, I'm not sure I ever would have come out.n What I did learn is that when you do show up for others it is important to honored them the way they want to be honored. This doesn't mean compromising on who you are. It does mean finding the grace by which to do both at the same time.

I've learned a lot during my time here in Arizona with my granny and mom, and while my grandpa is no longer here with us he is still teaching me. And to me, that is what is heaven. It isn't a place. It is these moments of transcendence, these moments when contradictions become harmonious.

Cheers grandpa! I look forward to the many lessons you have yet to teach.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Conversation: Of Families of Origin and of Choice

We gathered on a Wednesday night to celebrate and remember my grandfather. He passed away late at night the Tuesday before. He lived in Arizona. I am in San Francisco. I received the news from my mother, his daughter, at about 10pm. She lives in Minnesota, the state in which I grew up. She was weeping, and I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms around her. I had no words and actions are impossible over the phone.

The news didn't hit me immediately. His death was sudden, yet not unanticipated. He had Alzheimer's and was slowly slipping away. He started slipping even faster around Christmas, and with a blink he was gone. I didn't get to say good-bye, and in some ways I am grateful. I get to remember him as he was not how he died.

Wednesday started the same as every other day. I got dressed, packed my backpack, and head to the cafe. My brother and I talked on the phone during my short walk to Progressive Grounds. "The funeral will be in the spring or summer", he told me. I have to wait until then for the final closure and resting.

I plopped down at a table and opened my computer. I needed to send a few emails, edit a couple
of recipes, and promote an event or two. I stared blankly at the screen wondering why the emails didn't write themselves. It might have helped if I had my email open. Facebook stared back at me and with it status updates about the Arizona shooting, saving American bees, upcoming drag shows, and the occasional music video. The music videos I could handle, and while watching one posted by my friend Shon, a memory flooded everything.

I was playing in my grandparents family room, distinctively different from the living room that was off limits. I could see the seventies' decor with those earthen-colored woven curtains that matched the brick fireplace. There was a crate of records and a record player too. I was rummaging through them trying to find something to play.

Two stood out in my memory: Snoopy versus the Red Baron and Hank Williams, Senior. I could hear the scratches from the record spinning and the twang of Hank's guitar as if it was playing in my ear buds. I went to YouTube and found "Beyond the Sunset" and pressed "share" on Facebook.

Moments later my hands were shaking and my mind was spinning. It wasn't the loss of my grandfather that was hitting me. It was being thousands of miles away from my family of origin. I knew at some point during the day my brothers and sister would make the trek to touch bases with my mom and dad. I wouldn't. I could only call, which isn't the same as being there. I needed some family time.

I am blessed with both a family of origin and a family of choice. I am also blessed with some mad skills in the kitchen and fondness for the foods of my Swedish and German heritage: meat and potatoes. I knew the remedy to family time was family time.

I sent a text to a few folks inviting them to dinner and memories. I knew exactly what I was going to cook: my grandfather's favorite meal -- pot roast, carrots and potatoes, and vanilla ice cream with Hershey's chocolate syrup.

The time between sending the text invitation and starting cooking was uneasy. My husband beared with me as I aimlessly wandered Safeway unable to make decisions. My nap was cut short by my racing mind. Memories of my grandfather kept popping up.

I remember him teaching me hot to drive a four-wheel ATV. I remember the tears in his eyes at my wedding to my husband. I remember playing cards and dominoes for hours on end. I remember him fostering my love of theater by taking me to see shows at the Old Log Theater every holiday. I remember him frying rosettes every Christmas. I cried, and I'm crying now as I write this and remember him.

Then, I started cooking. I shoved cloves of garlic into the pot roast and rubbed spices all over it. I cut the potatoes and carrots and tossed them with Lipton's Onion Soup Mix. As I lost my self in the minutiae of chopping, I found peace.

Two hours later there was a knock on the door. My first family member arrived. Then, another. And another. We were all together sharing my grandfather's favorite meal.

As I sit on Market Street with my warm coffee and morning bun writing this down, I am struck by how important family truly is. Family, to me, are folks in your life that show up when needed. Showing up can be a phone call, text message, Facebook note, or it can b gathering in your living room with a plate full of food. Need can be a death, a graduation, or those moments when nothing major is happening other than a silent breakdown. Family are the people that truly know you. They see you in all your imperfections and love you.

I am also struck by how meals breed family. While not everyone in my family of choice knew my grandfather, so much of his story was told in the meal we shared. Everyone gathered had a flavor of his life in each bite. His heritage, as silly as it sounds, lives on in vanilla ice cream with Hershey's chocolate syrup. I will never be able to eat that dish without thinking of him. Share meals are also how I have found and deepened my family here.

I am grateful that I don't have just one family. It makes being away from my family of origin during uneasy times easier. I can't imagine not having family; living would be unbearable. I couldn't be who I am fully without it. The S. Kitchen wouldn't exist if family didn't exist.

My dream for 2011 is growing and continuing to deepen my family by showing up when needed and sharing a meal. I need to continue fostering cuisine, conversation, and camaraderie. For once we've share cuisine and a conversation, we have started building camaraderie. And that is just a fancy word for family.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cuisine: Cheeky Curried Cajun Chicken

You Will Need:
2 tsp. The Curried Cajun
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
1 Whole Chicken (approx. 4 lbs)
4 to 5 Limes, sliced

What To Do:
Mix spices and salt together. Loosen the skin around the chicken.

Spread the seasoning all over the chicken, making sure to get most of the seasoning underneath the skin. Let sit for 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 350degrees. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side down.

Make slits in the skin where joints connect near the wings and thighs. Place sliced limes all over the top of the chicken.

Bake for 35 minutes. Remove lime slices. Bake for 35 more minutes.

Turn over. Place more fresh lime slices over chicken, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lime slices and bake 30 minutes more.


Cuisine: Banana-y Baked Beauty!

You Will Need:
2 Bananas, fully ripe
1/4 cup Buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup Cake Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Pepper
1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/8 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/16 tsp. Ground Anise
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 cup White Sugar
1/4 scant cup Molasses
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, softened
2 Large Eggs

What To Do:
Mash bananas, buttermilk and vanilla together.

Whisk flours, baking soda and powder, salt, and spices together until thoroughly combined.

In an electric mixer using the the beater blade, beat sugar and butter together until light and creamy (about 4 minutes). Then add molasses and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly combined. Add 1 egg at a time, making sure each egg gets blended in thoroughly. The mixture should be very light.

Reduce mixer to low speed. Add flour and banana mixtures alternately, ensuring all ingredients get thoroughly combined.

Heat over to 325 degrees.

Pour mixture into a prepared bundt pan and bake for about 40 minutes.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cuisine: Fresh, Fabulous, Fruity Salsa

You Will Need:
1 Nectarine, diced
1 Avocado, diced
1 Jalapeno, seeded, cored, and minced
1 tsp. fresh grated Ginger
1 tsp. Salt
3 Scallions, minced (including greens)
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1/2 Lime, juiced
2 tsp. Grapeseed Oil

What To Do:
Combine all ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

Cuisine: Amazing Anaheim Pepper Chicken

I was at a loss for what to make for dinner, so I opened up my cupboards, freezer, and searched through my produce bowl. I found a couple of chicken breasts, a can of El Pato Tomato Sauce, some potatoes, and an Anaheim pepper. I tend to keep my kitchen fairly well stocked. (You never know when the zombie apocalypse [or a spontaneous dinner party] is going to happen, and it's good to be prepared.)

Ideas starting swirling in my head, and then I looked at the clock. I didn't want to be in the kitchen for two hours. It was getting late. But I did want to make something quick and easy, something that would still be tasty.

The liquor store across the street from my apartment was still open. I zipped over and got a head of garlic, an onion, and a lime. I set to the taste of being creative in the kitchen. What I crafted was Amazing Anaheim Pepper Chicken.

It is a very simple dish. It is one of those "set it and forget it" type recipes. There isn't a whole heck of a lot that goes into it, but when you take it out of the oven it is to be savored. Each bit has a little heat, a nice sweet tartness, and the yumminess of a fabulously cooked potato. Enjoy.

You Will Need:
3 Chicken Breasts
4 Large Yellow Potatoes
1 Yellow Onion
5 Cloves Garlic
1 Can El Pato Tomato Sauce
2 Anaheim Peppers
1 Lime

What To Do:
Dice potatoes, and sprinkle salt on them. Place in a colander over a bowl. Set aside for an hour, allowing potatoes to drain.

Meanwhile, slice the chicken breasts into thirds. Dice the onion into large chunks. Put garlic through a press. Combine potatoes, chicken, onion, garlic, and tomato sauce and toss.

Spread evenly in a baking dish, making sure the chicken is laying flat. Dice the Anaheim peppers and sprinkle over the chicken/potato mixture. Sprinkle lime juice over everything.

Bake at 350degrees for 40 minutes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


SOUPS'S On! launches THURS, February 10th at 6pm at Progressive Grounds on Bryant and 21st Streets in San Francisco. It is held the second Thursday of everyone month. Click here to RSVP and learn more. Click here to download a flier to share.

It's tough out there working with young people; especially when you are constantly being told to do more with less. It's even tougher when you don't have a network of support who understands the strengths, struggles, and stories unique to educating, empowering, and standing up for the youth of today. Luckily, the Bay Area is rich with youth workers, educators, and teaching artists dedicated to changing their selves, communities,... and world.

SOUP'S On! is a new monthly informal networking and professional development opportunity from me, Jason Wyman, catalyst of The S. Kitchen and member of Youth Worker Collective. Simply, it is cuisine, conversation, and camaraderie through FREE monthly POTLUCKS for youth workers, educators, and teaching artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is an opportunity to connect, support, and learn from your peers. It is a shared meal in a casual setting. It is about listening to a story and finding where yours intersects.

The format is basic and malleable. EVERYONE brings something to share (a dish, some fruit, a resource, a story.) It starts with arrival and casual conversation. Then, a youth worker, educator, or teaching artist (our featured guestpert) will share her/his personal story of why they engage young people, improve their practice and/or change the world for five to ten minutes. Next, the forum is opened up for questions and answers for ten minutes. Finally, we break bread, share a meal, and continue the conversation. Together it is cuisine, conversation, and camaraderie.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cuisine: Sinfully Spiced Coffee Cake & Shameful Streusel Topping!

For me, there is nothing more wonderful than a warm piece of coffee cake with a pot of french pressed coffee in the morning. I love biting into a warm piece of moist, spiced cake with a buttery crumbly topping and then sipping coffee mixed with cream. It is my idea of heaven.

I have tasted coffee cakes from any bakeries, coffee shops, and brunch spots across the Bay Area and beyond. All of them love sugar. They tend to be really sweet. Some are light and airy while others are dense almost like a biscuit. While I love these coffee cakes, I wanted something different. I wanted a coffee cake that was, instead of sweet, spicy.

I started with a recipe from All Recipes. But like everything I make I can't follow the recipe per se. I could tell that the recipe was going to be really, really sweet. It called for all sorts of sugars, and I knew I would have to change it p a bit. It did have one thing I didn't expect: actual coffee in the coffee cake.

Using their inspiration of brewing coffee in the milk, I started there. Then, I tossed in a little bit of The Whirling Berliner, a The S. Kitchen spice blend. If you don't have The Whirling Berliner you can substitute cinnamon, ground ginger, black pepper, cardamon, or whatever spices you have in your kitchen. I reduced the sugar a bit and subbed the shortening for butter. The cake batter turned out to be that perfect blend of melt in your mouth and fluffily airy.

Then, I needed to create a streusal topping for the coffee cake. I have a horrible time making streusal topping. For some reason, I can never get the recipes that call for cold butter to really work. I've used my food processor, a stand mixer, my hands, a pastry knife, and a blender throughout the years trying to make it work. And it never turns out the way I want it too: the butter just kind of melts everywhere.

Well, the recipe I used for inspiration called for melted butter. It was a new technique that I wanted to try. Every other cooking show and recipe always calls for cold butter. I wondered what would happen if I made it according to the directions. Or more like the recipe instructions than not. The modifications I made were a reduction in the amount of sugar, a slight increase in the amount of salt, and the addition of The Whirling Berliner.

All I can say is, "WOW!" This streusal topping is everything I hope for in a streusal topping: there are small pieces that just pop on your tongue, larger chunks that you can bite into and melt in your mouth. It is a little piece of joy every time you bite into it.

Phase One: Spiced Coffee Cake
You Will Need:
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Whirling Berliner
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Butter, softened
3/4 cup Brown Sugar,firmly packed
2/3 cup White Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Buttermilk
6 Tbsp. ground coffee

What To Do:
Sift flour, spices, salt, and baking soda together. Set aside.

In a sauce pot, combine 1 cup buttermilk and coffee grounds. Bring to a slow boil. Let steep 5 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer. Should be about 1/2 cup of liquid. Add the rest of the buttermilk to make 1 cup.

Cream butter and sugars together with a mixer until the texture is light and airy. Whip eggs with vanilla until frothy. Add this froth to the sugar mixture and mix on medium high until combined and liquidy.

Fold flour, butter, and milk mixtures together alternating between all three until well combined. Make sure not to over stir. Batter will be thick and and slightly runny. It is thicker than pancake batter but not as thick as biscuits.

Prepare an 8" square baking dish. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Phase Two: Streusal Topping
You Will Need:
1/3 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Whirling Berliner (or combination of cinnamon, clove, ground ginger, etc.)
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup melted Butter, cooled slightly

What To Do:
Mix all ingredients together by hand until crumbly. Pieces should vary in size from sand sized to grape sized.

Phase Three: Assembly and Baking
You Will Need:
Spiced Coffee Cake Batter
Streusal Topping

What To Do:
Pour batter into baking dish. Sprinkle crumble on top, making sure all coffee cake is covered.

Bake for 35-45 minutes.

Cuisine: Cast Iron Apple Pie Crumble

This was made for The S. Kitchen presents...Addictive Abundance at the Intellectuals' Table and was inspired by Kailani Schultz. When Kai and I met to talk about goals for her internship, she said she wanted to learn how to bake. At the time, Mission Pie was having an apple pie contest, so we decided we'd start with perfecting the apple pie.

Making pie crust can be tricky business and apple pie, specifically, is hard to innovate. There are so many great recipes and ways to make apple pie. So we started with listing words that we wanted to use for describing the pie. We came up with flaky, tart yet slightly sweet, a tad spicy, and lots of good crumble. We researched a ton of different recipes trying to find the right one. But we couldn't find any single recipe that seemed to match everything we wanted.

So we started with the pie crust's most important ingredient: butter. I had a recipe for galette dough from the fantastic Daphne Morgan. But I wanted it to have a little something more. I knew messing with the butter to flour to water ratio would not be a good idea, so I added The Whirling Berliner to it. I knew that I would be adding that spice blend to the apples and crumble topping, so I knew it would match nicely with all the other layers of flavor.

Then, we moved on to the apples. I read and read and read about the best kind of apples to use. It seems everyone has a different opinion. So I looked for words like tart, firm, and held their shape. I knew I didn't want a mushy pie. Upon careful consideration and making two other pies, I settled on gala, granny smith, and honeycrip apples. The combination is not too tart and not too sweet. And all of the apples held up nicely in the baking.

To add a little more zest and punch, I added the juice of two limes, a little more The Whirling Berliner, and the zest of one tangerine.

Finally, we needed to come up with a crumble topping. I have tried and tried and tried crumble recipes. I have used cold butter, soft butter, a pastry knife, a blender, a food processor, and a stand mixer. Never has the crumble turned out the way I wanted it to: grainy like sand with occasional larger pieces filled with flavor that melt in your mouth. Then, I found a recipe that called for melted butter, so I tried it. WOW! It was almost there. The addition of oatmeal and The Whirling Berliner knocked it out of the park. This crumble recipe is absolutely my favorite topping.

Last came the baking method. We were making a pie for about 20 people, so I knew that making a simple apple pie in a pie dish wouldn't suffice. Or, more precisely, I would have to make multiple pies. I just didn't want to spend that amount of time making pie. So I looked at my cast iron skillet and wondered, "Can we use this?" worked beautifully!

This pie has it all -- a flaky crust, a deeply spiced and tart flavor with sweet undertones, and a crumbly crumble that melts in your mouth.

And there you have it: Cast Iron Apple Pie Crumble!

Phase 1: Pie Crust
You Will Need:
2 Sticks Butter, cold and cubed
2 1/4 all purpose Flour
6 to 8 Tbsp. Ice Water
3/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Whirling Berliner (or other spice blend)

What To Do:
In a food processor with the blade on; pulse flour, butter, salt, and spices until it looks like sand. Slowly add ice water (2 Tbsp. at a time), pulsing for longer periods of time between each addition. Continue adding Tbsp. of water until the dough starts to hold its shape and gets clumpy.

Pour onto a floured surface and form into a ball. Use the palm of your hand to gently massage the dough together. As the dough gets bigger, fold it in on itself. Press gently and fold three times. Then mold the dough into a square and place it in the fridge.

Refrigerate for an hour (or more). Take out of fridge and place on floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a large square.

Prepare your 12" cast iron skillet by rubbing cold butter all over it and dusting it with flour. Place dough over the skillet, making sure the crust reaches all the way up the sides. Cut off excess and pinch dough around the top edge. Refrigerate for an hour.

Phase 2: Apples
You Will Need:
13 Large Apples (A Queerly Complex person might use: 2 gala apples, 5 granny smith apples, and 6 honey crisp apples...but get creative with your apple mingling!)
2 Limes
1/3 cup Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. Whirling Berliner (or other spice blends you like)
1 cup Brown Sugar
Zest of 1 Tangerine or Orange

What To Do:
Peel, quarter, core, and thinly slice the apples. Mix with lime juice and set aside.

Meanwhile, stir the salt, spice, brown sugar, flour, and zest together. Toss this mixture in with the apples and set aside.

Phase 3: Crumble Topping
You Will Need:
1/3 cup White Sugar
2/3 cup Brown Sugar
2 1/2 tsp. Whirling Berliner
Dash of Salt, depending on taste
3/4 cup melted Butter cooled in fridge for 30 minutes
1 1/2 cup Flour
1 1/8 cup Oatmeal

What To Do:
In a food processor with the blade knife on; combine sugars, spice, salt, flour, and oatmeal. Pulse three times.

Slowly pour butter in while pulsing until all butter is added and the mixture begins to hold its shape. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

The Final Phase: Assembly & Baking!
You Will Need:
4 Tbsp. cubed Butter

What To Do:
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Take pie crust/cast iron skillet out of the fridge. Toss butter with the apples. Pour the apples into the crust. Cover loosely with tin foil and bake 35 minutes.

Remove and put crumble all over the top of the pie. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Cover with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for 15 more minutes.

Cool overnight, and enjoy in the morning!