Tuesday, December 26, 2006

another day

We made veggie burgers today...It is pure vegetables, no soy or dairy...A few days ago, I tried the recipe on the back of the soya packs and it was so awful, even the dogs didnt eat it..Lesson learned, I listened to Jose, and made it from plantains, beets, carrots and peppers. Now, I am working on a bread, because there is no wholewheat burger breads available here. I made a batch 10 minutes ago and they came out as dinner rolls...round and puffy...
I met Jose here, he had his raw food restaurant in San Jose (Costa Rica) for 7 years and now he is planning to retire here. He only eats raw food and critizes me for eating dead, rotten food, even it is vegetables. He is pretty far out and I have hard time explaning him that I am not planning to be a 100% raw food restaurant (at least for a while). So, he is helping me with ideas, how to get organized, recipes, he knows the cheap local produce and even showed me where I can find free ginger...He also discovered that I left the gas open for a couple hours...Pretty serious...
I posted a sign for "help wanted", I am no longer looking for a partner. Partnership is hard, I know myself, I would drive the other person crazy..So, I have me, I can do this by myself if I can hire good people. So, now the sign is help wanted...Anyone looking for a job?
We are running out of avocados so fast...I added Amor Avocado to the menu, as an open faced sandwich...Toasted wholewheat bread, avocado and seasalt...Yo hombre!
Yo hablar espanol muy perfecto! Nessesito mucho pratikar:) Mucho cliente entiende ingles so no problemo!
Back to work, I am usually at the cafe from 7 in the morning to 10 at night...it is a long day but there is so much to do....
Another special on the drinks menu is Amor Stefy, named after a customer...I am in love with beets here...They are sooooo amazing and good for you and that color, is just to die for!
I got another order for a birthday cake...December 31st...New Years is coming, 2007 will be soooo amazing, can't wait!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holiday Special at Organico

I made avocado ice-cream!!! We are selling it in half avocado shells...The recipe made around 12, I have 2 left...it tastes really good, interesting and has an amazing color. One of those kitchen experiments turned into something fun...I was making a tart, it was so hot, i had to keep the mousse in the freezer, then i got busy and forgot about it...Now we have an icecream noone has around here...
No sugar added, dairy free, 100% organic....The recipe is from Raw Food Cookbook...Highly recommended...If you plan to visit me, please bring me coconut oil, agave nectar and maple syrup!
Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 22, 2006


Tropical French Toast for breakfast...Yay! I am happy!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

it is hard

it is going hard, but i am learning a lot....i dont get much sleep and need to work on my menu...but I am ok...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It all about pink!

It is all going amazing. We finished painting inside, almost done with outside. I am planning to open by Friday. I was shooting for December 15th, and it may really be happening! I have never painted this much in my life, and I hate hate hate the details, taping, edges...Those chairs are killing me....At some point I gave up and let Maritzio take over. He is so patient...(surf expert)...Tiana also finished the sign today. It is absolutely fantastic...I am really not exaggerating. I wish I could share the pictures. Hopefully soon....
I need to get going with baking and fine tuning the menu, things are a little bit rough with a new kitchen and a new oven. I baked my signature vegan mint cake last night, and it turned out great. Then, I baked oatmeal cookies and burnt chocolate chips today...I need an oven thermometer...I am happy, very very happy...So far, everyone seems so open to the idea, having a changing menu, vegetarian food, shakes....One thing that upset me the most is, I dont have the ice-cream maker anymore. I wanted to make sorbets....We can't always get what we want, but I got my own CAFE and that is plenty! I am so dirty right now, I need to leave this place and hope for a ride to take me up home...
Hasta Luego!

Friday, December 08, 2006

I got the keys!

I got the keys to Organico! Now the board says "Organico Coming Soon!"
I started at 8 and now it is 8pm. I had lunch for 30 minutes and worked non-stop. We tried our first meal, Gallo Pinto con Arroz Integral...Gallo Pinto is a typical Costa Rican food, rice with pinto beans. I will serve it with scrambled eggs but will use brown rice instead of white. Margerie, she is Costa Rican and my first employee got terrified when she heard brown rice. She has never cooked with brown rice before. So our first trial was ok. I liked it though, so it will be better as we continue practicing. We are painting tomorrow, so went up to Cobano and bought paint. I salute people who pick colors....It is extremely hard to decide...So many shades, so many combinations...I got some, will see how it will work out. Dagmar, Maritzio and Tiana are helping me paint tomorrow...We are having a party!!!!
After I picked the paint today, I came down to the cafe and started scraping the old paint. I have 8 tables and each table has 4 legs! It took me an hour to do one. We got an acid to remove the paint...I had no idea how to use this stuff so in two minutes all my skin was burning. Luckly my next door neighbor, Armando had some plastic gloves and he gave them without hesitation. I only met him today. In two minutes he came out with a brush in his hand and started to help me with the scraping. Tiana came down to talk about the paint and the sign and Armando finished cleaning all the tables. It is amazing to be around people who offer to help without any expectations. A piece of good quality chocolate helps too:)))
Same thing with Roger, he is another amazing guy from England who leaves on the beach. He plays guitar and does all kinds of artwork. He found a piece for wood for me on the beach to the sign. He helped me to build the lamps....And all this is happening so easy, I am just riding the wave. I love it. I am so grateful to the universe....
About my cough, I found Daniel Frankson in San Jose. He is the most amazing human being I have ever met in my life. Seriously, no one has touched my heart this deep in such a short time, I am speeches. The cough is almost gone and he has opened my eyes so much. He spent 2 hours with me and we did motion therapy, polarity and acupuncture. I am going to San Jose to meet with him again. Life is really fun, it is challenging and exciting. Just the way I wanted it to be!
Pura Vida!!!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

From San Jose

San Jose reminds me of Istanbul, before I left for San Francisco...I wanted to be away from Istanbul, now I am back 7 years...Taxi drivers are very nice here though, they dont ask where you are going, they take you even if it is a short ride...

I am here for lawyer stuff also have to start buying ingredients because I am taking over officially by next week. Between now and next week, I will start baking and changing the menu, redecorating, reorganizing, ect...That is the fun part...So, I thought I could buy a couple ingredients here and take it with me. I did some comparison shopping, AutoMercodo (like safeway), Saecco(maybe like Cala Foods, thought I found things cheaper here) and Pricemart (costco)...Pricemart was dissapointing because I couldnt find a good juicer or salad bowls...I need salad bowls. The current place dont have any. Costa Rica is famous for its wood bowls but they are expensive, 30 a piece...I dont want to pay that much, maybe I should, I dont know what is reasonable investment....wood at least wont break but I am confused....Universe bring me some good salad bowls.. I was happy to find a big bag of Ghiraldelli Chocolate though....Chocolate chip cookies!!!!

Meanwhile I am fighting with summer cold....Painful... Really mean one, but it is getting better. The hard part is the cough that keeps me awake. I dont like taking medicine and with my "entiendo poco esponol" phrase, I dont see myselfy in a healers office...So I relied on fresh mint tea with lemon. Nada! Cough is taking over my lungs, I am taking over this hotel...I have to admit, it is nice to be in a home, away from bugs and mosquitos:))) Mom started to think I have a issues with Costa Rican weather (!), so I needed to get better immediately to prove her wrong:)

I emailed Sarah and she was very kind to send me some tips to heal bad cough. And today, I broke down and went to a pharmacy, bought Perebron. I also wanted to get Aloe Juice, but the pharmacist sent me to this natural herbs store 100 meters away. I found the aloe and also something with eucalyptus for broncolito and fenugreek for the lungs...Happly went back to the pharmacy and tried to explain with my spanish that I didnt want the Perebron anymore . He got so mad....(reminds me of Turkey again, this probably not true anymore but it was 7 years ago)...Good thing I dont know much spanish, I didnt let him get away with my C4,000 paid in cash because he didn't have any electricity...

Fenugreek tastes horrible, but it works...Feeling better already. A new day, so many dreams can come true today! Going back to Montezuma in a few hours.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tica Food Recipes

A great blog....

Costa Rica Cell Phone Update

I can't believe this...

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) - our friendly local state-run telecommunications monopoly has decided to purchase an entirely new GSM cell phone network rather than expand the current network.

Why is this a big deal? Because with this announcement, we know that it will be at least another year… more likely two-three years before cell phone (telephone) numbers can again be purchased. Believe it or not, this is probably good news.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Surfing with Mantarrayas

Surfing was crazy this morning...There was an animal with a fin, I thought it was a shark and that was the moment when you think all is going to end in a few seconds...I was calm and happy to be in water...We can never predict what will happen and I love to live my life this way...Not only me, Mauritzio was also scared and he jumped on the board as well. For the next two minutes there were no waves coming towards our way to take us back to the shore...We just looked at each other and tried to keep calm. When we made it to the shore, he said he thought it was a shark too, a small one...but now he is convinced that they are mantarrayas...It is almost full moon and mating time...Lesson learned, skip surfing and go to yoga when it is full moon...Otherwise, surfing is really fun!
My first visitors, Janis and Veronika left for Monteverde today. It was great to have friends in town and they made me so much more excited about Organico. As I promised, their names will be on the menu!  Janis got the Mango-Papaya shake and Veronika got Chilled Lemon-Mint Tea...You have to come and taste them pretty soon!
I had two ideas for the cafe, offer free coffee refills and have grilled plantains on the menu...The soda next door opened yesterday and on their menu board it reads "free coffee refills and breakfast special grilled plantains" DAMN!!!! I am heading there for a competitive review:)
May all creatures, all living things,
all beings one and all,
experience good fortune only.
May they not fall into harm.

Anguttara Nikaya II, 72

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It is raining and dark outside...

One who, while himself seeking happiness,
does not oppress with violence other beings
who also desire happiness,
will find happiness hereafter.

Dhammapada 132

Let Go And Let Flow

I am lucky to have friends in town, it makes such a big difference....I dont want to be alone here, I am seriously looking for a partner to run this business...Any leads, pass them along:))))
Let Go And Let Flow
Taking A Leap Of Faith

Many people, in heeding the guidance of their souls, find themselves contemplating goals that seem outrageous or unattainable. In the mind's eye, these individuals stand at the edge of a precipice and look out over the abyss at the fruit of their ambition. Some resist the urge to jump, paralyzed by the gap between their current circumstances and the life of their dreams. Others make a leap of faith into the unknown, unsure of what they will encounter but certain that they will gain more in their attempts than they would bowing to self-protective instincts. This leap can be exceedingly difficult for individuals with control issues because the act of embracing uncertainty requires them to trust that surrender will net them the rewards they seek. Yet when you make a leap of faith, believing without a doubt that you will land safely on the other side, you can accomplish almost anything you set out to do.

There have no doubt been times in your life when you chose to go where the universal flow took you. Yet you may encounter instances in which your objectives require you to step outside of the boundaries of your established comfort zone so that you may freely and actively jettison yourself into a new phase of your life. While you may fear what seems to be the inevitable fall, consider that in all likelihood you will find yourself flying. A successful leap of faith requires your attention, as it is the quiet and often indistinct voice of your inner self that will point you toward your ultimate destination. Understand that the leap across the chasm of ambiguity may challenge you in unforeseen ways but you will make it across if you trust yourself.

If your mind and heart resist, you can dampen this resistance by building a bridge of knowledge. The more you know about the leap you are poised to take, the smaller the gap between "here" and "there" will appear to be. Your courageous leap of faith can lead you into uncharted territory, enabling you to build a new, more adventurous life. Though you may anticipate that fear will be your guide on your journey across the abyss, you will likely discover that exhilaration is your constant companion.


I need to leave Costa Rica every month, to stay here legally...The first month will be a bus trip to Granada... I need to stay at least 72 hours, enough time to explore a new city and check out the local craft stores...I will also take some Spanish classes too...I am leaving on December 3rd, coming back on December 7th....
All is going bumpy here, but I caught my first wave today and it was a lot of fun...I love surfing and it is so beautiful here...

Monday, November 27, 2006

The flying trapeze

This is all I think about these days...Dagmar read this text on a yoga class yesterday. My friend Sera told me about the trapeze before I left San Francisco...
The Flying Trapeze from The Essene Book of Days

"Sometimes, I feel my life is a series of trapeze swings. I'm either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments, I'm hurtling across space between the trapeze bars.

Mostly, I spend my time hanging on for dear life, to the trapeze bar of the moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I am in control. I know most of the right questions, and even some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I'm merrily, or not so merrily, swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see?

I see another trapeze bar looking at me. It's empty; and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart-of-hearts I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present well-known bar, to move on to the new one.

Each time it happens, I hope - no, I pray - that I won't have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I understand that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moments in time I must hurtle across space before I can grab the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn't matter that in all my previous jumps I've always made it.

Each time, I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless basin between the bars.

But I do it anyway, I must.

Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call faith. No guarantees, no net, no insurance, but we do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging on to that old bar is no longer an option. And so for an eternity, that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of "the past is over, the future is not yet here". It's called transition. I've come to believe that it is the only place where real change occurs.

I've noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a "no-thing", a no-place between places. Sure the old trapeze-bar was real, and the new one coming towards me, I hope that's real too. But the void in between? That's just a scary, confusing, disorienting "no-where" that must be gotten through as quickly and as unconsciously as possible. What a shame!

I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we create to not notice the void. Yes, with all the fear of being out-of-control that can accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, growth-filled, passionate times in our lives.

And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away,
but rather with giving ourselves permission to be aware and awake in the transition zone between trapeze bars.

Allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn to fly."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Costa Rican Organic Movement

"The growing Costa Rican organic movement is evidence that a critical percentage of consumers are educated and well-off enough to think about the quality of their food and then to act. "

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cost Management

"But today's crop of back-office systems is capable of forecasting, calculating and ordering much more efficiently and accurately. "Today, with all the integration possibilities, the computer eliminates work and provides valuable information that leads to better business decisions," Marguglio explains. "In the past, a chef or manager would sit down and write up a recipe, cost it out the best he could, multiply it by three or four and then put it on the menu. That is one reason why many restaurants fail. They have no idea if what they are doing has been right or wrong. It is essential to know how your restaurant is operating."
All I need is a software that I can enter costs per item, beginning inventory, how much each item I sell daily, fixed costs, and an ending inventory and revenue analysis by the end of the month....I dont even have Excel on my computer...Trouble!

New Beginning!

It was a productive morning....I hired my first employee...She is awesome and hopefully will stay with me for a while. There is a lot of turnover here but she was with the old owner for at least 2 years. I also posted a job on Craigslist Costa Rica...If you know anyone who speaks spanish and english, pass my information please!
Wendy also mentioned me on her blog...I need to get going with the website...Wendy works for the same company I worked for in the US, and I just met her before I came here. She stayed in Costa Rica for a year. She is now back in the US. I am so sad I missed her stay...
I am having hard time deciding on the menu, today Dagmar and I had a conversation about Coke...I dont want to have Coke but I need money too...It is already a lot of changes with a vegetarian menu and no smoking (everyone smokes here) but I should also make it work without coke...I can do sparkling water with fresh fruit juices...Something bubbly but healthy...like the Izze drinks in the States!
I wonder if I will be in copyright trouble with naming my drinks, but they remind my name more:)))
Morozzy (blackberry)
Papazzy (papaya)
Cocozzy (coconut)
I need to focus...There is so much I can do, but I can´t do everything at once. I need to do some basic shopping for salad bowls for example and more importantly i need a basic program to help me with cost and waste management. Any tips would be great!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Happy Sunday!

Hola! I spent the whole day at home going over a zillion of menus I
collected in the last 2 months and decided on my first menu. I sent it
over to my two unofficial partners (Lane and Cenk) and will see what
they will say.

Tomorrow will be exciting as I am going shopping with Nadja tomorrow,
will talk to her current employee and offer her a package to stay and
work with me. Then we will go over the books, finances, ect. Then a
break for surfing around 2 and head back to town to do more work in
the kitchen.

I am desperately hiring local Costa Rican employees who speak english.
If you know anyone who can help or got any ideas, please email me at

Rest of the week is busy too...We are going to meet with her lawyer on
Wednesday. I am headed to San Jose again. Most fun is Thursday! I am
looking forward to Janis and Veronika's visit. I will write more about
this later as I am very emotional right now. (sigh!)

Lets get back to business...

It is very strange but I could not find a decent chocolate bar that is
edible quality so far...They are either too sweet or grainy...I tried
so many different kinds but this might be a good opportunity to
consider experimenting with chocolate making...It is really hot, so I
am sure it is one of the reasons why it is so hard to get good
quality...but they have really world famous cacao production....Will
investigate this and report back soon...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Back to Montezuma

I saw the ocean and the green and the hammock and fell in love again...It also helped to see Dagmar and Costas and feel much better about the whole thing...I am on a roller coaster and tired of trying to make decisions....I just want to get going and working...It looks like December will be the month...I will have to make things happen and it will be all fine. I trust in the Universe and will take it from there....Some organic good chocolate and new pillow and cotton sheets also helped:)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I am so happy, I can cry now...

Janis and Veronika bought their tickets to come to see me in November 23rd. It has been really a tough week and this is sooooooo big for me. Janis and I go back long time and met in Japan, in 1997. His wife Veronika and Pupa live in Chicago and two dishes on the menu will be named after them for sure!!! Janis also has fine taste with smoothies so I am counting on him to figure that menu...

Ten minutes before I heard this news, I randomly turned on my computer and saw there is wireless at the hotel...I have to admit, I speak bullshit so much...I love love love technology...I already hate the fact that I can't check my email using my phone and not having wireless for the last week has been really really bad...Can someone help me to set up wireless in my cafe in Montezuma?

I am in San Jose. I arrived at 6pm, with 6 hours of delay. The flight got cancelled because of the rain and we came with a bus instead. It was nice to see the inland Costa Rica, it is very poor but beautifully green. The green here is so lush, it is amazing. I can't say the same for San Jose. So far it hasn't impressed me at all...I never liked San Jose, CA either:) Tomorrow big day with the lawyers...It is just hard to go to bed when I have fast speed and can do so much online, but I can hardly open my eyes...Buenos Noches!

Rain rain rain...making friends...

>From last night...

Right now, it is raining cats and dogs..I am not sure if this is even called rain (meteorologist friends, please help). It is sooo strong and really loud and scary. I am already scared of many things new to me here, and rain is the latest addition to the list.

So, I thought I should write more, just to keep myself busy and tell you whats going on here...Today, I was in town, pretty much doing the same routine, had breakfast at the cafe, walked around, read on the beach, checked email, booked my trip to San Jose, ect. Then, I saw a friend of Nadjas and she was having trouble with her car alarm. I stayed with them and played with her son. Luckily Ticos are experts on cars. People rely on each other here a lot, it feels like a big family which is nice...I am totally out of that circle at the moment and maybe that is why I feel even more alone... The owner of the Bakery Cafe, (a vegetarian establishment in Montezuma) was helping her, so I got to meet him and we started chatting. Of course the question of what I am doing there came up and I told him about my plans. Not sure if I was able to read him well, but there was no sign of "competitor!!!! beware" on his face. He was rather friendly and nice to me.

I missed my 6pm bus hanging out with them so I decided to have dinner by myself and  went to a very cool but cold place. Strike uno: The owner thinks he is doing a favor by letting you in the restaurant. I got vegetarian fajitas and there was no guacamole with it. Yes, they had salsa, beans, sour cream and tortillas...Now come on, no guacamole and no rice...and he asked me what I think of the dish and I told him straight that he should have guacamole with fajitas...What do you think he says...it would make the dish too expensive...so wrong...that was strike 2...the last one is a killer and I am not going back there...they didnt have any dessert...NO NO NO!

The only thing that was good about dinner was, I saw the owner of the bakery again, luis, and we had dinner together. He then got me a drink and I rushed back to the bus. By this time it was raining so bad, I was already soaked and praying my computer and DS is safe in my backpack...(yes they were, go North Face) but, there was no bus...Buses stop working in Montezuma if it is raining really bad, since they cant make the steep hills..Yucky....and there I was, absolutely shocked to hear that there will not be any bus for the night. I wouldnt mind walking if it was during the day, it takes 15 mins max but at night it is pitch black and I am dead scared to walk...I saw Luis come with a big umbrella and he walked me home. Good thing that I had my headlight...So we walked up in the rain and I just remembered my time at the Vipasanna course in December where it rained 7 of the 10 days. I knew I was being trained for something vigorous there. It is heaven to be home and safe.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I am going to the Big City!!!

I am going to San Jose for a short trip to meet with two lawyers, check out the big city and eat something other than pintos. So far its been beans and beans and beans and papayas. I also discovered why there are not many salads here...There is not much lettuce or anything green. It must be the climate..There is iceberg lettuce and thats it...No spinach, no collard greens, no romaine or my favorite curly red lettuce...I will have to figure out an alternative way to get them and store them...There must be some farmer out there to help me.
Its been a week since I arrived in Montezuma and it feels like a month at least. Not sure if it is a good thing or a bad...So far I am being lazy...allowing myself not to do much other than observing and people watching...It is strange but people here are nice...I think vacation mode or hot weather make you smiling all the time...Still, I can´t keep cursing when it takes 10 minutes to download one picture on flickr and even that fails...No entiendo!!!
The town is getting busier by the way. I met a couple new people today. Lonely Planet Guide book totally a huge help. I got a copy from the local bookstore. The bookstore is super cool, you can borrow books for C700 for two weeks.
I am off to dinner and then will head home to get ready for the trip. I am excited to go to San Jose and hope to find fast speed internet. Wish me luck with the lawyers, I really want this work! Ciao! Check out my hotel... Doesnt look too shabby:))))

Monday, November 13, 2006

Happy Monday!

Montezuma made it to the local newspaper today...
I am reading about residency...some helpful tips about life in Costa Rica  here....
Days are going much better and I could get a couple hours of sleep in the last two nights, thanks to my new neighbors. It makes such a difference when I am not alone in the big farm....
I didnt do anything noteworthy yesterday...Watched the hummingbirds in front of my door, slept on the hammock and played an impressive hour of Mario...I made breakfast, cut a papaya and had granola..Then headed down to the beach with Nadja and her good friend Benita. Benita just sold her restaurant and now enjoying the beaches with her cute son. She has been here for the last 13 years. It is great to meet people who have been here for a very long time. They know everything. I wonder if I will ever get to that point, especially spanish seems sooooo hard....I had serious headaches and Benita warned me about water....Apparently I wasnt drinking enough and I should at least have 3 liters a day...Ouch!!! I forget that I am in the tropics, though the bugs in the house and the constant heat are great reminders:)))
This week will be busy and I need to go to San Jose..meet with my unreliable lawyer, find a new lawyer, get my drivers license, buy a good pillow and cotton sheets...and maybe a mosquito net for my bed....
I went to the post office and found out that there is a waiting line to get a PO box. I am in a hot town...I am numero duo on the list...so, until I get my own, feel free to send letters and your junk to Nadja...The limit is 4 kilos...
Nadja Stambuk
apartado 119
COBANO (Puntarenas)
The only thing that feels good right now is emails from friends asking for hotel advice and ticket information. I miss you!!!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Montezuma has an awesome organic farmers market and it is very expensive. I bought tofu C1,500, soymilk C3000, mint C400, parsley C400..She had lots of other herbs, vegetables (leeks, beets, yams, plantains, celery stalks)...cheese, almond butter, natural oils, 5 grain bread...I am planning to buy a week's supply of produce there and see how I will do.... I also want to sell my oatmeal cranberry cookies there....people were also going crazy over bread too...
After the market, I went down to my future Cafe and had breakfast. It was really good, papaya in aqua is my favorite drink...I have done it before at home and highly recommend it. Papayas are a great source of enzymes and good for the skin. Sarma even recommends to make a face mask with them...
Days are going really nice, I am getting used to the heat. Nadja is tremendous help, especially about day to day stuff..like freezing small water bottles to take to the beach, so I dont drink hot water....sunscreen is also very important here...i get burnt easily so I have it on me all the time.
Here is a list I made last night....Things that made me happy:
I discovered a lemon tree right behind my door. It took me 4 days to get to the back of the house. Lemon trees are special to me, growing up my great aunt had a small lemon tree and i loved to go to her house and smell the lemons. I will have lemonade at the cafe, hopefully there will enough lemons from the local trees:)
My landlady is amazing. She doesnt speak any english but we get along really well. She left a cut young coconut outside my door. I love the young coconut meat and there are tons of raw dessert recipes that I can make with it. I will have to find a way to get more of them..In the States, you can find them at Whole Foods...It is funny how everyone refers to US as States here....
Hearing my phone ring makes me the happiest these days. I am very much blessed with a great family and friends. Also thankful to Sera, since she set me up with this phone for a month. My mom and dad call every day, sometimes we talk a couple times. Talking to friends and hearing why I came here helps a lot because it is easy to think about how great life I had in San Francisco and what the hell I am doing here...Then I got an email from Idil today, asking me about tickets to Costa Rica. They want to come for my birthday and looking for tickets...Yay!!!
I enjoy reading your comments so please write!!! Also looking for spanish classes in Costa Rica....If you got any recommendations, send them over. Internet is so slow here, I can't do proper websearch...

Friday, November 10, 2006

hard night

Days are going really nice...I was at the beach most of the day yesterda, but nights are tough...Living in a one bedroom small place with no computer or an oven is tough...I listen to my ipod most of the time and read, but i do get scared when I hear noises outside, especially after 2 am...I know I will adjust, but it is just tough now...I am mostly hanging out with the cafe's current owner, Nadja and her friends and their kids. There are lots of kids here. They speak at least 4 languages. Spanish, Italian, English and German...Who knew my years of german studies would be helpful at this stage of my life....:)))))

I am doing some competitive research...Eating out as much as I can, copying menus and prices. I had a papaya smootie C700, coffee C350, no refills, eggs with black beans and rice C1200 with avocado C350....About USD 6....I will have free refills for sure....

The other thing is smoking...everyone smokes here, including tourists...Though all my tables are outside, Organico will be smoke free...

Heading out to the cafe...it started raining outside...it is so hot, rain is good...it means we will have water in April...No complains...

Pura Vida!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Day by Day

I can see the ocean from my bed...there is a warm breeze and a nice turning thing on the ceiling...(no idea what it is called, but I am glad I have it, because it is hot)..


I arrived yesterday at 1pm, my 4 bags didn't make it to the small plane from San Jose to Tambor. Per Sansa, the regional airlines, it should be here in 40 minutes. They were supposed to be here by early morning, but everyone tells me I should forget about the time for a while...things here run by Tica time...


The guy who picked me from the airport yesterday is going to get them for me and bring it to my casa...People are nice and friendly here. Two minutes ago, I got my first call from a local friend, Maritzio...It is amazing how happy I felt when that phone rang. He just called to check on me and see if I heard from the luggages...He is the one who taught me how to surf when I was here in August. If my stuff arrives, we will go the beach tomorrow.


I didn't make any arrangements for a place to stay but lucked out on this really nice one bedroom. Apparently, most places are sold out for December and January already because of the holidays and the high season...(good for the business!)... The casa comes with a shower, bathroom, kitchen, a walk in closet (!!!) and a nice veranda with a great big wood table. When saw the hammock, I could not believe my eyes...I came here mostly for love, love of food, love of hammocks and love of papayas...I had my first papaya for lunch today...so I can't complain...


I have a lot of work to do. I am planning to take over by December 1st. I went there this morning and was really upset to see that she is taking her kitchenaid with her...It was listed in the inventory list, so i left mine with Ann, good thing I didn't sell it because they are really expensive and even more expensive here...If I knew I would have brought it with me...Sucks big time...I need the kitchenaid for cakes and cookies most of the time. Anyway, on the bright side, I did have a special bond with my kitchenaid and it would be great to see him again.


Oh, before I forget, whoever comes first, gets a special on the menu named after him or her, or a name that you like. For tickets from the US, call TACA. Their service have been extremely helpful and the seats are very comfortable. You will get to San Jose and then take SANSA (regional airlines) to Tambor.... That's it...directions to heaven....


Now, got to go and open a bank account...Wish me luck! Adios!


Day 3:


Each day gets better. Talking to friends on the phone and getting emails helps so much. I got my luggage yesterday and unpacked most of my stuff. It is so nice to see my old stuff...I thought I had no attachments to things, but scratch that...I love my life, I love San Francisco, I love my friends and family. Sera made a very good point that I am not here forever. She even said she never expected me to be here for a long time. I am here on a bootcamp...I love bootcamps. It feels much better and lighter to think this is an adventure, not   a permanent stop. As Lane said, the sooner I start doing things I like, the better I will feel...So true...I can't relax on vacations, I need to do things, like work or run around, just keep occupied...Sleeping under the sun is not my thing, but I do enjoy an afternoon nap on the hammock.


I got the bank account and they got me a debit card in one day...Now I am in Cobano, the big town and found high speed internet here...It is great....Will try to download some pictures....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I am in Montezuma

It was a good flight and I made it all the way to Montezuma...None of my bags came yet, hopefully today. I found a small place to live, there is a very cute dog who waits in front of my door. His name is Pasta..Pasta means cake in Turkish:)
Internet is really slow, it is so strange to wait to send an email...This is going to be an experience...
Update: Bags came, all is good...
more soon with pictures...I miss all of you terribly...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I fucking love this city!


"don't cry, it's only music,"
someone's voice is saying.
"no one you love is dying."

it's only music. and it was only spring,
the world's unreasoning body
run amok, like a saint's, with glory,
that overwhelmed a young girl
into unreasoning sadness.
"crazy," she told herself,
"i should be dancing with happiness."

but it happened again. it happens
when we make bottomless love--
there follows a bottomless sadness
which is not despair
but its nameless opposite.
it has nothing to do with the passing of time.
it's not about loss. it's about
two seemingly parallel lines
suddenly coming together
inside us, in some place
that is still wilderness.

joy, joy, the sopranos sing,
reaching for the shimmering notes
while our eyes fill with tears.
Found on the copier at work a couple years ago...no idea who wrote it....


48 hours...

Thank you for booking your flight at TACA.COM. This is to remind you that you have reservations to fly from San Francisco to San Jose, Costa Rica during the next 48 hours.
I am so excited and nervous and happy and sad....Life is pretty damn good!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Organico Darling!

I got my business cards! Lane designed these for me and they are perfect. I am officially a baker and I love it. My family is not that happy with all the baked delights that are available 24/7 but I do enjoy feeding them with tofu, in the shape of chocolate mousse, vegan cakes and cookies.

It also helps that I have so many people from craigslist come over to take a look at my stuff, we don't have a left over problem! Seriously, I will be in Costa Rica in less than 2 weeks and the only thing that I know is I am going to take a week off and just surf and read! Moving sucks, saying goodby is even worse and i am tired...

Lemon-Mint Sorbet

I love using my ice-cream machine for healthy treats. This lemon sorbet recipe is a snap to prepare and is perfect in between meals (before real dessert:)

3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of lemon juice
1 cup boiling water
zest of one lemon
bunch of fresh mint, chopped fine (optional)

Mix all the ingredients, chill for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight. Use an ice-cream machine according to directions.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

the secret

from We Like it Raw:

The movie The Secret has been a huge underground hit. In the legacy of What the Bleep!?, The Secret entertains, educates and inspires viewers by showing them the true possibilities of the Universe. I watched the movie about 1 month ago by paying $4.95 and viewing it online. It was totally worth it! It was a great and inspirational film that doesn't necessarily teach you something new, but rather reminds you of what you inherently know. And just what is that? Well... you'll have to watch to find out!

Check this out!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

on being human

Herman Melville - "We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

5 Things to eat before you die...

Melissa at The Traveler's Lunchbox started a project in August, asking fellow bloggers to name 5 things to eat before they die. Cenk just posted his list and I wanted to do mine, but it is hard to come up with only 5 things...So I cheated and created two lists, one for me and one for you...
Here is mine:
1) Breakfast, lunch or dinner or scraps at the French Laundry
2) Pierre Herme Macaroons Paris or Tokyo
3) Summer Rolls at Kai's Vegetarian Restaurant in Thailand
4) Dinner at Pure Food and Wine in NY
5) The 5 Elements shake at Organico
Here is yours (feel free to substitute from mine:)
1) Zen Dinner at Minako
2) Dinner at Playa des Artisans in Montezuma
3) Dhamma Bread (www.dhamma.org)
4) Bread from Freestone Bakery
5) Bread Pudding at Tartines (18th and Guerrero)
Runner Ups
5.b. Mochi ice-cream (green tea)
Here is yours if you go to Istanbul
1) Ciya Kadikoy Carsisi
2) Hala Manti Beyoglu
3) Imza Pastanesi Ciftehavular (Ekler, Acibadem Kurabiyesi, Balli Pasta ve Milfoy Pasta)
4) Rokoko, Divan
5) Kumpir, Ortakoy


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Organico Recipes: Julayne's Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

Julayne started blogging about her experience in Cambodia. Her blog is really cool and I can't wait to see her pictures. I met her through Lane and she has been such an inspiration to me on this Costa Rica deal...Quoting wonderful Ann, cheers to the citizens of the world!

Julayne loves blueberry muffins and she is on the Organico menu, as long as she keeps her promise to come and taste the real thing:)

I used Mendocino Mornings cookbook for the base recipe and veganized it by replacing the egg with flax seed, milk with soy milk, butter with coconut oil and mashed bananas...I also used a mix of corn meal and wholewheat flour with regular flour...It is fun to be a fairy!

Also, special thanks to Phil for the latest and the greatest addition to my bakeware collection...The ultimate muffin pan- in red and silicon...It rocks!

And also special thanks to Mama Boothby for lending me the cookbook. Highly recommended!

Berry Cheesecake (Shhhhhh, it is raw!)

The raw cheesecake...Keep on reading, seriously, it is not a joke. Compared to my old favorite (8 packages of 8oz cream cheese, heavy cream, sugar, butter), this gem recipe only has raw ingredients that blends smooth like silk (Vita-Mix again) and it is just a pure pleasure to eat. Even in the shape of a skull...Come'on now, that is something!!

Step by step pictures from Matthew are here. All you need is almonds and date paste for the crust, fermented cashews, agave nectar, lemon juice, almond milk, vanilla for the cheesecake. You get the ingredients ready, I will post the recipe later tonight.

You are Dead to me NOW!
What's up with the skull? I changed my religion, I now worship the God of Pinwheels and the almighty has requested this cake on May 19th...

Credits on the handsome marzipan skull go to Fagerstorm. We first tried to do a free hand model but it was hard to get it smooth. So, we decided to roll it and pressed it right on to the model...That worked like magic!

The cheesecake took 10 minutes to prep, and we used strawberries with some cherry pie filling for a more realistic blood look. And, it also helped that I cut my hand while opening the damn can! It turned out really ugly, I am so proud of it!

They are dead to me now...There were tears at the airport, but it is all good, quoting Rumi, death is our marriage to eternity (via John).

God of Pinwheels and Cupcake Laniest...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Adventurous Stranger

"Make your choice, adventurous stranger:
strike the bell and bide the danger
or wonder, till it drives you mad,
what would have happened if you had"

–the quote is from C.S. Lewis, author of
"The Chronicles of Narnia".

Daily Lit

Reading one of my favorite novels via Daily Lit...Highly recommended...(both the book and the service)
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. " Anna Karenina, p.1

Begin it now...

Sera just sent me this...I can't agree more....

Until one is committed,
there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back,
always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts
of initiative and creation,
there is one elementary truth
the ignorance of which
kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur
to help one that would never
otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events
issues from the decision,
raising in one's favor all manner
of unforeseen incidents,
meetings and material assistance
which no man could have dreamed
would have come his way.

Whatever you can do
or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
power and magic in it.
Begin it now.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


I am finally doing it...Moving to Costa Rica and opening my own place. Got my ticket for November 7th. There is a lot of work to do, but I am so ready, (and relieved!)

Bhavatu sabba mangalam.
"May all beings be happy."

Update: See my first post from Costa Rica...I can't believe I am doing this!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Happy Friday!

From Barney's Desk:
"You don't become a master by learning 4,000 things...you become a master by learning how to do a dozen of the right things 4,000 times"
Right on!
I recommend Krav Maga highly to everyone. Though, Sutter thinks that I should print this picture and ask for a refund:) Mac is also not convinced that they know what they are doing, since I did kick him bad on his face, while trying to show-off my skills...(it hurt though:)
It is really cool to throw a jab with a bunch of hunks and it is fun to practice Uma's moves from Kill Bill.
More on Krav Maga here...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mom's Most Requested Recipe (in love)

Mom doesn’t like to experiment with different recipes, but she does have specials that are very good! I remember her crème caramels, (we even had individual metal molds), her tiramisu is also very good and this sour cherry dessert is probably the most requested recipe from her.

When I saw this picture on Flickr, I emailed it to her immediately. Cenk has been asking for it for a long time, but the recipe had some problems so we couldn’t share. It is the damn sour cherry pudding! They took it off the shelves a couple years ago. (We were probably helped them clear the inventory in less time than they have forecasted. I remember dad running around every grocery store to find the last remains of this treasure. Of course, they didn’t last long.)

Until now…We are proud to bring this dessert back to life…with a homemade cherry pudding…I haven’t tested this recipe yet, but it looks very good on my sister’s blog…Mom is coming next week, so I will make sure to lock her in the kitchen…Crap…sour cherry juice…..is as hard to find as the pudding itself…Will figure out something…

1 pack of cookies (petit beurres work the best, LU brand is good)
1 pack of pudding (make according to directions)
1 envelope of gelatin
1.5 table spoon corn starch
1.5 tablespoon sugar
2.5 cups sour cherry juice

Line a 9 by 13 baking sheet with the cookies.
Pour the warm vanilla pudding on top. Let it cool for 10 minutes and add another layer of cookies.
Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 tablespoon of cherry juice and let it dissolve, appr. 10 minutes.
Cook the sour cherry pudding by mixing all the ingredients over medium heat.
Carefully pour the pudding over the cookies.

The jelly hearts are so adorable, but I don’t have a clue how to make them. Cutting heart shapes from strawberries sound extremely difficult...but I will try it soon:)

My sister used cherries instead, it looks nice but hearts are just so adorable...They also topped this with a spoon of vanilla ice cream….Needless to say, we don’t mess around when it comes to dessert!

Photo Credit: Varf
I can't post from Flickr...something wrong with the beta settings...Don't switch to Blogger beta...Be warned.

A happy day...

Blissful is passionlessness in the world,
The overcoming of sensual desires;
But the abolition of the conceit I am --
That is truly the supreme bliss.

Udana II, 1

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Request for better food!

This is so cool! I agree that an all organic, veggie cafe would do well in the Space:))) wink wink;)

P.S:Lane, lets change that hummingbird with Apollo-13:)

Featured Shake: "Phraxos Nights"

John requested a shake to be named after him back in Montezuma, but John Sullivan as a shake name, ummmm not that catchy??? Hence, Phraxos Nights, for him!

It is very easy to make and you don't even need a Vita-Mix! Here is the recipe:

1 small papaya
1 tablespoon of agave nectar
1 tablespoon of flaxseeds
1/2 cup coconut water (from young Coconuts)
Papaya seeds and mint for decoration
Blend all the ingredients and taste...add more agave if you like...Decorate with papaya seeds and mint...Hupurrrrt!
Why Phraxos?

Phraxos is for imagination...It is the Greek island of Spetses, where another John (Fowley) wrote the Magus and made up the name. We had this heated debate one night whether it really existed or not. John read the novel long time ago and remembered the name of the island, Costas he is from Greece and insisted it didn't exist. What are names after all? Aren't they all made up? I found the pictures of Phraxos, quite nice actually.... :)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Yummy Posts!

I have been posting from Flickr since last week but someone over at Blogger ate my posts.... This really sucks! I have been getting confirmations via email...Grrrrrrrrrr...oh the beauty of WordPress....soon! Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Quote of the Day....

Samuel Smiles - "The shortest way to do many things is to do only one
thing at once." I am struggling with this one....

Saturday, September 09, 2006

You are an adult now!

Sutter is 30....I don't believe that...(see picture on the left!)

Still, happy birthday! He has requested this wonderful cake from me a while ago, but took of with Lane to party in the Midwest...So, no CAKE!

(Lane's photo)

Raw Chocolate Mousse and Happy Saturday!

I went to a raw dessert class with Sera and Chrisann a couple weeks ago and met Matthew, Cafe Gratitude's dessert chef. He is hot and super super friendly! We made several of Gratitude's desserts and my favorites were Chocolate Mousse and the Berry Cheesecake. Absolutely fantastic desserts! Pictures from the class are on Flickr!

So, last night Aaron and I made Matthew's killer mousse. It turned out almost as good as Matthew's and I had it for breakfast this morning. I am feeling a little sick now, it is hard to stop eating this thing.

I am pretty sure you would not be able even tell that this is a raw recipe, which means no processed sugar, eggs, dairy or tofu...Wanna bet?

Here is the recipe:
1 oz. Irish Moss (you can buy online @ purejoylivingfoods.com)
1/2 cup water
4 cups almond milk (better if you do your own, but we used store bought)
1/2 cup date paste (you can make your own by blending pitted dates)
3/4 cup agave
salt, vanilla
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
3 TB lecithin (you buy online or Whole Foods has it, note that 30% of our brain's dry weight is lecithin!!!)
1 cup coconut butter


. Blend soaked Irish moss and water really well...One of the reasons why you need Vita-mix (see my note below)
. All all the other ingredients, except lecithin and butter.
. Keep blending until the mixture is smooth. Takes only 30 seconds or so...
. Add lecithin and butter and blend another 20 seconds.
. Pour the mousse into cups and decorate as you wish...I used organic roses, you can use cacao nibs as well...

Just a warning, you really need a Vita-Mix or any other high power blender for this recipe...or a good friend who has one ;)

With all his attachments cut,
with the heart's pining subdued,
calm and serene and happy is he,
for he has attained peace of mind.

Samyutta Nikaya I, 212

Friday, September 01, 2006

Gmail as recipe organizer

I have been doing this for a looooong time! Wohoooooooooo!
From Life Hacker!

Gmail to the rescue again! This time, as Ashley's recipe organizer:

I use the Internet to find almost all of my recipes [ Fridge Googling! -- Ed.] . Now, I email myself the recipes to my Gmail account and I have a quick easy way to organize them. I apply a 'Recipes' label to them to keep them from cluttering the Inbox and then I can use Google's handy Search Mail feature to find the recipe I need. The sponsored links section has even shown me some other nice sites to find recipes. Sharing recipes has never been easier too!

Organic Food Movement!

Alice Waters ROCKS! Go Organico!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"It's no wonder our national attention span is so short: We get hammered with the message that everything in our lives should be fast, cheap and easy--especially food. So conditioned are we to believe that food should be almost free that even the rich, who pay a tinier fraction of their incomes for food than has ever been paid before in human history, grumble at the price of an organic peach--a peach grown for flavor and picked, perfectly ripe, by a local farmer who is taking care of the land and paying his workers a fair wage! And yet, as the writer and farmer David Mas Masumoto recently pointed out, pound for pound, peaches that good still cost less than Twinkies. When we claim that eating well is an elitist preoccupation, we create a smokescreen that obscures the fundamental role our food decisions have in shaping the world. The reason that eating well in this country costs more than eating poorly is that we have a set of agricultural policies that subsidize fast food and make fresh, wholesome foods, which receive no government support, seem expensive. Organic foods seem elitist only because industrial food is artificially cheap, with its real costs being charged to the public purse, the public health and the environment."

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Raw/live Food Revolution: The next generation in health food products

From We like it RAW blog....Very interesting!!!!!

The raw food movement has been producing a lot of green recently, and I'm not talking about kale and cucumbers.

As the term raw food has gone mainstream most of the major players in the industry, such as Nature's First Law and Larabar, have seen tremendous growth. So its no wonder that major food companies are starting to take notice.

Take a look at this $1440 report whipped together by Business Insights and In-Food Consultancy, (link courtesy of Sarma):

Raw/live Food Revolution: The next generation in health food products

Consumers have grown weary of diets like Atkins and South Beach and are beginning to see natural options like 'live food' and 'Ayurvedic' diets as sustainable, long-term choices for maintaining health and weight. The growing demand for both allergen-free and less processed foods is also driving consumers towards this new health regimen. Raw/live food revolution is a new management report published by Business Insights in association with In-Food that analyzes the fast growing raw and live food market. This report provides analysis of raw and living products found in health food stores and forward-thinking supermarkets in the US, Canada, Australia, France and the UK. It details the leading products and manufacturers in the market and the key issues and trends that will shape its future. The raw and live food market is yet to be dominated by major players and provides profit opportunities for all food and drink manufacturers and retailers. This new report will help you identify, understand and exploit the new product development potential of the raw and live food market. Full PDF Summary

It is clear that the growth of the raw food movement is going to attract its fair share of vultures and value-adders. Although there is the potential for a conglomerate to swoop in and try to mass-market and dilute the integrity of the raw food movement, I think anyone who tries to do that is in for a surprise.

The raw food community is one of the most educated and viral group of "consumers" in almost any industry. That's one of the main reasons that raw food has grown so quickly! We have opinions and aren't afraid to tell our friends because we've seen first hand the results that are possible.

So in this green movement know that you also play an important role. Keep both the established companies and the newcomers on their toes by constantly questioning and researching their standards. Push for transparency and reward the companies that do with your dollars.

p.s. $1440 is quite a bit for a report, but I'm sure worth it if you need to get raw strategic with your company. If anyone ends up buying it please do send us your review.

Just wanted to share...

Good are friends when need arises;
good is contentment with just what one has;
good is merit when life is at an end,
and good is the abandoning of all suffering.

Dhammapada 331

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Have a papaya and save your seeds!

I fell in love with papayas in Costa Rica. Though, I stayed at Hotel Mangos (highly recommended) surrounded by mangoes , papayas were so good in Montezuma, now I am hooked. I would have them for breakfast, along with watermelon, pineapples, bananas and oranges! Then, I dropped pineapples, bananas and oranges for more papayas...Nowadays, I eat half a day and save the seeds...I am also working on a shake recipe, similar to this....
I can't remember where I heard this but papaya seeds are good for you...Some information on papayas are here... and they taste peppery...You can crush them over salads or soups and even grind them like peppercorn...

P.S. Posting photos on blogger is not an easy job these days...I made a wrong decision to switch over to Blogger Beta and it doesn't support Flickr or Picassa yet. So, think twice before whining to your friends at Blogger:)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Very Healthy Macaroons!

This is the easiest cookie recipe you will ever find on this blog. So mark it! It is from the Real Food Cookbook, from Pure Food and Wine in NY. I have never been to this restaurant but if you happen to be in NY, you must check it out. At least get a menu and mail it to me:)

Chocolate Macaroons:
1/2 cups shredded dried coconut-unsweetened
3/4 cup cocoa powder1/2 cup maple syrup, I used agave nectar
1 tablespoon coconut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt

My trusted tasters (Lane and Sam) found the original version way too bitter for, so I would suggest to add a little more dried coconut or almonds (experiment with tablespoon increments). For the almond version, substitute ground almonds instead of cocoa. Mix everything together and form balls, one tablespoon each.If you have a dehydrator, dehydrate at 115 for 12-24 hours. I don't have one, so I heated the oven to 200 and kept the cookies there for 15 minutes....Then kept them outside overnight...

If you still think you won't be able to make these, you can buy them online...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New Love: My Ice-Cream Machine!

I resisted to add another appliance to my beloved kitchen for a long time but finally gave in to this beautiful red Cuisinart.

From the Chicago Tribune:

"The need for ice cream makers baffles many: "Another appliance in my kitchen?" they wail. But skeptical frozen-treat lovers may want to reconsider. These machines offer an excellent way to put seasonal fruit to work in luscious and creative frozen desserts." and my love got 4 scoops!!!

I tried an amazing frozen yogurt recipe from Delicious Days and used agave syrup instead of honey (you can also use maple syrup) and it worked great. Adjust the sweetness as you like it. This was my second try though, I used non-fat yogurt on the first version, but it didn't work as well, lots of ice crystals. Lesson learned, you need some fat to turn the yogurt into creamy goodness...so go for the full fat and sign-up for a spinning class at Connect 18!

Pistachio-Yogurt Ice Cream
Serves 4, or if you are me, serves 1:)

3 cups (450 gr) yogurt (Greek yogurt from Trader's Joe rocks!)

1/2 cup chopped unsalted pistachios, (use ground pistachios if you like your ice cream green)

5 tbsp agave syrup (adjust as you like)

1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, except the chopped pistachios, put them into your ice-cream maker and watch it churn and churn and churn...at least 15 minutes...then add the pistachios and churn for 5 more minutes. Get your favorite ice-cream spoon and dig in!

I have this blueberry sorbet and watermelon sorbet next up on my list....

Have a cookie, sweat it and ask for the second one in SPANISH!

I am in desperate need of learning Spanish and Jason's gift vocabulary book for ages 3+  was my one and only tool, until Lane introduced me to Connect 18. The concept is very San Francisco, 2 birds with one stone, but has a solid hypothesis behind it:
It is a Spanish class with a twist...you are in a gym and sitting on bikes, yup you get the idea, it is a spinning class! Apparently, our ability to learn increases when our bodies are physically challenged. So, while spinning around Mexico, I was able to count to 10 and ask my fellow biker what her favorite food was in Spanish! Impressive huh??? No joking, from the Outside Magazine:
It's smart multitasking, sure, but according to Connect18 (the company says its name alludes to the number of inches between the heart and brain), the underlying premise that exercise improves mental acuity is also sound science: Research in the 2004 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which studied adults over age 60, suggests moderate aerobic training yields a big mental boost. And a 2003 report by the University of Georgia's Phillip Tomporowski found improvements in reaction time, decision making, and cognition during and after aerobic activities...
They are also featured today at Daily Candy. You should check it out. They are in San Francisco now but coming to LA, NY and Chicago soon...The first class is FREE and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Master Cleanser Lemonade Fast

DAY 6: One of the many new things I learned in Costa Rica, was the Master Cleanse fast. Dagmar recommended it and I wanted to give it a try-after vacation of course...You drink 10-12 glasses of lemonade made from 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and a pinch of cayenne pepper with 8 ounces of filtered water.  It is really delicious....
The first two days were hard but I knew they would be, given my addiction to sugar and food in general...But after Day 3, I was at Cafe Gratitude and imagining eating "I'm Cheerful" (their burger) and sipping "I'm Cool" (my favorite mint-chocolate shake) but didn't even want to touch any of it...Fasting is good for you...If you resist the idea, you can still enjoy
MC-tini at Pure Food and Wine but only in New York!!!
Hermann Hesse writes in Siddhartha, there a few things that you should master in life...Fasting is one of them...(meditating and being patient are the other two). I came across a Rumi poem last night at Stacey's class and he was saying the same...
Here is a piece from Siddhartha...very very neat...If you haven't read this book, I would highly recommend it...
"And what's the use of that? For example, the fasting-- what is it
good for?"

"It is very good, sir. When a person has nothing to eat, fasting is the
smartest thing he could do. When, for example, Siddhartha hadn't
learned to fast, he would have to accept any kind of service before this
day is up, whether it may be with you or wherever, because hunger would
force him to do so. But like this, Siddhartha can wait calmly, he knows
no impatience, he knows no emergency, for a long time he can allow
hunger to besiege him and can laugh about it. This, sir, is what
fasting is good for."

"You're right, Samana. Wait for a moment."

Well, a baking fairy who doesn't eat? That is not going to go for a long time....I am taking dessert to a BBQ on Sunday, from my new raw cookbook, Real Food...Stay tuned!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bill Buford gushes about Harold McGee over at NPR

I love Harold McGee and totally agree with Meg, this book is a must in your kitchen!

Bill Buford gushes about Harold McGee over at NPR: "Bill Buford gushes about Harold McGee over at NPR. If you don't have McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen in your kitchen, you are missing a critical component of your food library. Every time I open it, I'm lose myself and just want to read forever. It's perfect for melding of my geeky side and my food side."

Happy Quote from Evhead

Ev always hits me with his quotes!!! Showtime! wink;) wink;)

Happy Quote: "'Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive.' –Harold Whitmanvia WorkHappy "

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Monkeys @ Bakery Cafe

Monkeys @ Bakery Cafe
Originally uploaded by Baking Fairy.
I just uploaded Costa Rica pictures and this is by far my favorite!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Roasted Plums with Spices

Roasted Plums with Spices
Originally uploaded by Baking Fairy.
This was supposed to be posted before my trip but oh well...Better late than never...Enjoy!

This week's star at the Noe Valley Farmer's Market was plums and I made this dessert for Cindy and Rod's BBQ. Grilling fruits for dessert is a very new concept to me but its been so hot in San Francisco in the last couple of weeks, the idea of turning the oven can make you lose friends...(when Rod heard that I was going to bake, fumes were coming out of his head)
Since they have a fancy restaurant style grill, (those stainless steel, multiple layer grills with gas), we decided to give it a try and roast the plums on the grill. It took about 30 minutes, on medium heat and they were juice and the backyard smelled amazing with all the spices!

The recipe for this dessert is so easy...I got the basic idea from Keiko, and sprinkled all the spices I had at home; Juniper Berries, Cardamom Seeds, Star Anise and Cinnamon Sticks...I also added a few splashes of vanilla...Don't skip this step, the smell is out of this world...

Now, we are not done...You can serve this dessert over store-bought ice-cream or try a homemade frozen yogurt as an alternative. I got a new ice-cream maker this weekend and made my first ever frozen yogurt with pistachios...Recipe will follow soon:) The juices of the plums thickens as the fruit roasts and almost becomes like caramel, but a plummy caramel...Top the ice-cream with this sauce and dig in!

Monday, August 07, 2006

A sad goodbye...

I just came back from a great trip to Costa Rica and learned that Cici has passed away. She was sick for a while and I knew she wasn't doing well.

I am happy that had a full and a great life. Her influence on me is huge, she is the baker in our family, though she had a law degree and worked for the municipality. One of her signature cookies is the "world" famous "Un Kurabiyesi", like the Russian tea cookies but ours have almonds on top. I will make some and post the recipe soon.

By the way, the purple ring that I wear almost everyday, that some of you make fun of it since it really has a huge stone (!!!!) was hers...

I love you and miss you very very much. Have a safe journey and may you be in peace wherever you are. My family is having a service for her tomorrow and she will be burried next to her beloved husband, granddad Rahmi...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hola from Costa Rica!

This is by far the most entertaining, enlightening and heart opening trip I have ever taken. Montezuma is amazing. It is a very small village, 200 people at most live here and almost half are foreigners. It kinda reminds me of Southern Turkey, Kas or Kalkan maybe...

Canopy (zip lines over the rain forest) was damn scary but there was a dog with us, Luna and he was my hero the whole time.

I can now proudly say that I can SURF!!! Well, correction, I can surf a wave, can't paddle my way and pick a wave yet but it is sooooooooo much fun!

It takes 30 minutes to hike to the Playa Grande (no access through cars)...There are mango trees in the hotel I am staying and  mangos are falling down every 10 seconds BAM!!!! Squirrels are eating almonds like crazy, they don't even stop and breath. The green here is something else, you just have to come here.  My Spanish is improving, people are so nice, so far I have been randomly invited to several gatherings, did art work, had coffee, hanged out, all those fun things that you can do when you are travelling alone with open eyes! 

I have been doing yoga everyday, except for one morning, where I had to go and surf! When it is the right wave, you just can't wait!!! and I am much more comfortable with my headstands. Dagmar is such a gifted teacher. We connected really well and she is off to a Vipassana course in India in a couple months...Life is good!

Pictures will follow and I am sailing to Tortuga Island for snorkelling and beach volleyball.

Pura Vida!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Do you know?

How many seeds are on a strawberry?
200!!!! Also, strawberry is the only fruit that has its seeds on the outside...From Martha Stewart! I love her!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

At Sadaharu Aoki's

At Sadaharu Aoki's
Originally uploaded by La tartine gourmande.
One of the best blog entries I've ever read...Bea's pictures are amazing too...

Paris'te bir pastane....

Fotograftaki pastane Paris'teki Meshur Sadaku Aoki...Ayni bir sanat galerisi gibi, her pasta ayri bir degisik...Ilk once yesil cayli opera pastasini daha sonra da siyah susamli ekleri denemek istiyorum...Becerebilir miyim o ayri:)