Blue Monday: Porcupine Ball V2


Sister soldier was having blue Monday or so it sounded from the personal epic of the day’s woes she texted me. Eventually I could only gaze numbly at my phone.


I made plans for us to make dinner before she got started on volume 2.

We went with Porcupine Balls again, but with none of my favourite ingredient.

Fish sauce.

My sister is terrified of fish sauce, much to the fermenters of Red Boat Sauce’s dismay.

fish_sauceQuick stop to Trader Joe’s, where I learned that ghee in a plastic jar feels very unloved.


This time around the umami factor came from tomato paste, not fish sauce.

Two heads of garlic and a cup of fresh basil and these meatballs just rolled from Vietnam to Italy.

Roasted them with some sliced carrots to share in the grass finished fat.


Brown rice for the porcupine spike this time. Cooked it slow and long in chicken stock.


Quick side of grilled eggplant and we plated up, plopped down, and turned on The Big Lebowski.


Meatball Variation verdict: Back to the Drawing Board


  • More tomato paste
  • More basil
  • Chicken stock brown rice is good alone, but was not so pleasant in the ball. Long grain white rice is better for spiky texture.

Sister was a happy eater though, meatballs melt Monday woe’s well.

Mission accomplished.

Clean Eating Crossfit Competitor? Lessons from a First Timer


So last Sunday I participated in the Rookie (your kidding) Rumble 2 crossfit competition, reppin’ Grassroots Crossfit. Three WODs worth of weight I could move with a bulldozer 3 months ago

I am the skinny guy with the blue shorts in the upper right

WOD #1 “Firecracker”
21-15-9 of:
Squat Cleans 75/55lbs
Kettlebell Swings 53/35lbs (if you drop it, it is a 5 burpee penalty)
Paralette Lateral jumps 16/12inch
8 minute CAP

WOD #2 “Independence”
75m Run
75m Farmers Carry 25/45lbs
Load your bar with the plates from the farmers carry
50 Deadlifts 135/95lbs
30 Hand Release Plyo Push ups
Unload your bar
Farmers Carry 75m
Sprint back 75m
10 minute CAP

WOD #3 “Stars & Stripes”
3 minutes- Hang dumbbell snatch 50/35lbs
2 minutes- Sit to stands (cannot use hands)
1 minute- Kettlebell Sotts Press 25/15lbs


Monday well, Ow (Actually aside from a slightly sore back I feel alright)

Having no experience with comp day eating I was stressing food/fuel for this event. I brought what I assumed a boat load and guess what, I ate it all save a few dates. Normally I short my self so when packing food and it was a close call

Here is a brake down of my menu and some reasons why it worked out.

1) Cashew Butter = Quick creamy fat, dense on energy but not on my gut

2) Zahidi Dates = Tasty carbohydrate candy to be popped in the mouth in moments of glycogen doubt. I choose zahidi dates because they are smaller, less gooey, and more snackable.


3) The Meal = Two turkey breast wrapped fritata muffins loosely based on this Nom Nom Paleo Recipe, home fermented kraut, and roasted sweet tater fries… again glycogen. Ate the whole of it after WOD 1, felt very nourished.

4) Giant Green Drink = I was terrified of this green behemoth. 6 Tb Warrior Food (ROAR!), 6 Tb almond butter, 6 dates, 1 Tb of raisins, cacao nibs (for some crunch), cayenne, spirulina/chorella, cinnamon, a thumb of ginger, and some kale n’ collard leaves. A 3x version of my post workout drink, One third drunk before WOD 1 and the rest downed after WOD 2. Result, felt pretty great and had good go power for the final heat. Ridiculous days call for ridiculous green drinks I suppose. No complaints, it tasted like an almond butter milkshake.

The handsome man across from me at the Berkeley Saturday Farmers Market

The handsome man across from me at the Berkeley Saturday Farmers Market

5) Jerky = Provide by The Fifth Quarter Charcutrie, Grass-fed dried beef. most of this was a victory snack for the drive home.

What Did I Learn.

1) Heavy weight? break it in to sets and stick to ’em. Helped me with for pace, peace, and posture

2) I am a foodie. I liked having at least on meal to enjoy, rather than a bag of snack (a.k.a ingredients)

3) Sugars really are key to returning to human homoeostasis after ample exertion, but no need to down donuts, couple of dates I was back on my feet.

4) I drank so much water

5) Bring MORE food then you think you could eat, better to go home with a surplus than have to turn to free samples of Muscle Milk or others foolish foodish substances.

Taking these lessons to the next one for sure, along with a few deadlift shin scars.

Later days

Good luck out there, Time for an epic dinner.

Finally a Samoa for ME


Its been a bit sense I posted a recipe, I hope this one covers the lapse.

There was a time when Samoas were not only my favorite Girl Scout Cookie, but my favorite food. I have never been compulsive eater… but I downed a box of these coconut crusted rings of wonderful bi weekly during cookie season. Then… I went vegan and while I discovered an amazing world of flavors, every February I am confronted of the one partially hydrogenated bit of joy I left behind.



This recipe is adapted from this one on and the Samoa taste is spot on. Chewy gooey top with a crunchy chocolate base these cookies have so much goin’ on its a wonder they confound the taste buds in a catatonic stupor.

I warn, this one is quite an under taking… but fortune flavors the brave so here we go.

– food processor
– Three inch cookie cutter
– rolling pin
– wax paper

Da Cookie:
– 1 cup dried coconut shreds
– 1 cup raw walnuts
– pinch sea salt (This is KEY)
– 2.5 TBS MELTED coconut oil
– 2 TBS maple syrup, coco nectar, or honey

Blend dried coconut in food processor alone for a minute then slowly drop in walnuts until a semi coarse meal is formed. Then blend in melted coconut oil, sea salt, and maple syrup.

Mushy is OK as you can see

Mushy is OK as you can see

Roll dough out in-between 2 layers of wax paper so that it is about 1/4” thick, error on the thicker side to save yourself some crumbly headaches later.


Firm it up in the freezer and use a round cookie cutter to cut your cookies, I then used a pairing knife to cut out the middle holes (Snacks). Reroll excess dough and firm it back up in the freezer to cut some-ora.

Coconut Caramel Layer:
– 8 medjool dates, or 10 – 12 of other date varieties
– 1 TBS water
– 2 TBS MELTED coconut oil
– pinch sea salt
– 1/2 cup dried coconut shreds
– 1 TBS carob or cacao powder

Blend dates with water in a food processor, add in coconut oil and make it pastey. Then add in sea salt and carob powder. and a little more water if needed.


Blend in 1/2 cup dried coconut. Mush coconut caramel onto each freezer firmed cookie then dip in remaining dried coconut.


Chocolate Icing:
– Bars or chips of your favorite chocolate (don’t gotta be raw) melted double boiler style, mine was Coracao of course.

Melt down the chocolate in a metal or ceramic bowl nestled over a steam pot.


Dunk the base of each cookie in the chocolate and place back in the freezer.


Final use a small spatula to drizzle some chocolaty ribbons over each finished ringlet of pure decadence.

Whew* there you have it. No quite as easy as grabbing a box outside a Safeway but so much more satisfying. And you did not even have to donate to a charity… I did buy some thin mints for my sis’s b-day.
Happy unrefined snacking.

Collard Means Rap

Little up date: Last week I had four first days at four separate jobs four days in a row. I have had some time to weigh my options and ultimately I think I am going with the line cook position Liba’s Vegetarian Falafal Food Truck, along with the farmers market and kitchens assistant job Coracao Raw Chocolate Confections. The pay to fun ratio is the highest with these two. I am quite happy to have found some chef work that did not compromise my goals of serving up healthy foods. It’s exciting.

Speaking of healthy foods, the other day I attended a raw cooking demo hosted by Chef Billy of Divine Raw Foods. Chef Billy (pictured below) is working closely with both Phatbeats and (People’s Grocery, two Oakland organizations hell bent on opening channels to healthy food up too every Oakland citizen above and below the poverty line.

Some of the thing they are doing, (and that I am attempting to become affiliated with):

– Pushing for an emphasis on nutritious foods with in children’s hospitals cafeterias. This is known as the Wellness Project. I am currently in talks to help with menu planning!
– Establishing urban farms to provide some of the above mentioned foods.
– Beginning Farmers markets as a means of creating community hubs for continuing food security. (These farmers markets accept food stamps! And provide free meals!!)
– Combating the obesity epidemic is an overarching by product of the above projects

Phatbeats and People’s Grocery are two large organizations with many projects; these are the ones which I am aspiring to assist.

Back to Chef Billy. The humble lesson was a 101 in the collard leaf burrito. A true raw vegan standard that has saved my savory palette more times than one. The key a collard wrap’s success, a solid nut pate. Enter the MAC.

The MAC Whip:
– 1 cup Raw Cashews (Raw Sunflower seeds work as well)
– 3 glove Garlic
– Juice of on Lemon
– 2 table spoons Miso Paste (fermented soybean paste readily available at any grocery these days)
– ¼ cup Water (cleaner sourced the better)
– ½ Red Onion
– (optional) ¼ Red Bell Pepper

The Wrap:

– Collard Green Leafs (about the size of a lunch plate is ideal)

Fixins’ and Stuffins’:
– Sprouts (I like sunflower sprouts)
– Red bell Pepper (diced)
– Carrots (match stick chopped)
– Shredded Lettuce or Purple Cabbage
– (optional) Avocado

– Knife
– Food Processor
– Rubber Spatula
– Reamer (to juice lemon, otherwise just squeeze it)

Chef Billy threw this taste sensation together on a wind swept lot in a rough part of north Oakland with an old hospital gurney as a counter. The audience was comprised of equal parts, hipsters, neighbours and homeless. So… don’t be intimidated. You can do a fine job on your roofed, warm, and wired kitchen granite, free from the critical gaze of the O town’s hungry. Here is the story on this collard cashew glory.

Toss your cashews into the processor and grind em’ down to a coarse powder. They should feel and look like a gritty sand, a little coarser than your typical coffee grounds. At this point throw in the garlic, lemon, Miso paste, and onion. Process again until you have a pate like constancy that is both moist and spreadable (similar to humus). This stuff is sooo dam good, so be careful with it, a little health fat is amazing; moderation. Spoon it into a bowl and set aside… then lick the processor and spoon clean.

To make you wrap first cut of the excess stem off an inch after the leaf begins. Smear 2-3 tablespoons of the pate on the collard along the side of the stem closest to you, then top with sprouts, avo, bell pepper, etc. I like to but the lettuce or cabbage last as it makes for easier wrapping. Wrap it sushi style, burrito style, or taco style if your lazy and the leaf is tiny, and mac that mac wrap with passion. Boom.

Disclaimer to skinny vegans and weight watchers: It is important to note that this recipe contains very little carbohydrates, while still being quite filling. This makes it ideal for weight loss. However, if you’re trying to gain some weight (like me) or are about to run a few miles, eat a couple bananas for dessert.

Billy’s demo was fun but the recipe (when aimed at Oakland’s lower income brackets) is wholesomely unrealistic. These ingredients are pricey, the prep is time consuming, and a food processor is necessary. BUT, from a different perspective these pitfalls are beside the point. It was positive to see a group of unlikely table mates enjoying one nutritious meal together. People meeting people, trade some food knowledge, aspiring to eat a little bit better tomorrow. If that week one attendee goes to the store and shuns ‘2 for 1’ special on onion chips in search of an onion, the day was a success. It’s about baby steps. It’s about planting seeds. It’s about building community ties.