A bowl of gratitude

I Am DIY Rice Bowl

A few times a year I’ll become obsessed with a particular dish from a particular restaurant. My appetite tends to be a tumultuous and fickle thing, and some days I’ll parade every food I can think of before my mental stomach and only to have each one met by nausea. It is then that my thoughts turn to the magic dish, whatever concoction it is that has become, not just an obsession, but somehow the only thing my body finds acceptable. Right now that panacea-on-a-plate is the absurdly named I Am Accepting Sushi Rice Bowl from a restaurant called Cafe Gratitude.

Cafe Gratitude is a kind of pricey, mostly raw, entirely vegan restaurant with three locations around the Bay Area. The general response around town to CG’s very particular aesthetic seems to be a mixture of disdain, confusion, and either worshipful or grudging appreciation of the food. Be that as it may, that singular rice bowl has become, for me, an addiction.

I crave this dish to the point that I really can’t be running off to spout affirmations and spend $10 every time I want a warm spoonful of nutty red rice with kale and avocado that feels in my mouth like the superpowered pinnacle of all that is healthy and nourishing. I even tried sneaking a look at the recipe given in the I Am Grateful cookbook, for sale at all CG retail outlets, but the recipe was quite clearly not the one used by the restaurant. Today I happened to come across a gorgeous post on 101 Cookbooks with a recipe for Poached Eggs Over Rice, and since this was almost what I wanted, but still not quite the thing, I was inspired to call the cafe and just ask them what’s in that bowl of Acceptance.

This turned out to lead to one of those magical, karmic CSA-box experiences. Rory over at CG very nicely looked up for me the components in the dressing, which was the heretofore missing piece. And so I realized I was going to have to make my reproduction without scallions, cucumber, avocado, and orange juice – and that’s a lot of flavor elements to lose. The avocado I was already planning to substitute with poached egg, but the orange juice was especially sad, since my palate immediately recognized OJ as vital to the brightness of the dish.

But when I headed off to see if I had any greens in my as-yet unpacked box, I found that not only did I have a lovely bunch of collards, but that this week’s box also brought two unexpected ingredients: a bunch of fat scallions and three navel oranges!

In short, this dish turned out amazing, easily equal to if not tastier than the original, and well able to satisfy those cravings with very little effort. And so from now on I think you’ll find that, if I’m going to be declaring aloud my general state of acceptance, I’m going to be doing it in my pajamas.

The recipe for the I Am DIY Rice Bowl (modified from the 101 Cookbooks recipe) can be found below the more… tag. Continue reading

Meanwhile…

My new box arrives tomorrow, and the only post I’ve made this week stars a vegetable that arrived a month ago. You may be feeling anxious for me right about now, wondering how I’m going to cope with an influx of new produce that will pile into my already overburdened refrigerator, since I clearly haven’t consumed any of the new arrivals yet. Fear not, gentle reader!, for this is not the case. I simply haven’t made anything worth photographing. So I thought that since this week has been so skimpy on posts I might make one documenting the simpler fates my produce meets throughout the week.

Because I know things are always better with pictures, I provide you with one here. What could be a better emblem of simplicity than my adorable rat, Crunch, nibbling a tender leaf of kale, no more processed than when it came out of the ground?

Crunch with kale

(For those of you who are grossed out even by pet rats, think of her as that cartoon chef rat in the Disney film Ratatouille. Everyone loved Ratatouille, right?)

The Fate of Box 10:

Lettuce: has gone into many a salad, including a full-meal salad tonight with carrots, thinly sliced daikon, Rome Beauty apple, napa cabbage, Manchego cheese, and hearts of palm, with a bizarre but tasty dressing of walnut oil, lemon olive oil, rice vinegar, and apple cider (I’m working on honing my dressing skills) .
Crocodile Spinach: Sauteed with garlic and then into a frittata with quinoa and port-infused Irish cheddar. Served with tempeh bacon, of course.
Pink Lady Apples: Snacked on straight and as a light lunch with some kind of beer-cheese. (Yes, I went a little cheese-mad at Trader Joe’s)
Satsuma Mandarins: Disappeared almost immediately as they are one of my top three favorite foods of all time.
Broccoli: Straight into the compost – more aphids than green stuff in this batch. So sad!
Kale and Collards: Immediately steamed and packed alongside quinoa and various lentil and chickpea dals from Tasty Bite, for several lovely lunches to-go.