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Welcome to my blog! I've combined my nutrition blog with my performance calendar. If you’d like to sort through a little more quickly, you can choose whether to read Performing entries or Nutrition ones.

Thursday
Jul182013

IN SEASON

 

The line up of veggies at our CSA pick up.Eating in season is the best way to eat fresh fruits and vegetables at the height of their freshness and the height of their cheapness. It’s July and what’s in season are lots of greens and water dense fruits. We got lots of good stuff in our CSA box and I thought I’d feature two produce stars here in case you’ve got a lot of them, too! Here are some ideas for how to use what nature is putting on display.

Bok Choy

Bok Choy can be a bit of a mystery to people but it need not be. With crunchy white stalks and slightly spicy green leaves, bok choy is a friendly addition to any salad, adding a clean, crisp flavor. Wash each stem of the bok choy (like you would celery) and trim the ends. Chop it up on the bias with some napa cabbage, carrots and sesame seeds and toss with a chinese style vinaigrette made with toasted sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. It’s also an awesome crunchy addition to a stir fry. The stems take longer to cook than the leaves so just add the leave to your stir fry later and start the stems with things like carrots and celery that take a little longer. 

I made it as a side dish with white fish the other day in a sort of Chinese style preparation. Here’s how I made it.

Wash your bok choy stems and dry well. Then chop up the stems and leaves into a about a 1/2 inch dice.

In a large skillet, heat a few tablespoons of oil (I used olive but sesame or coconut would work well. A reminder: ALWAYS used extra-virgin or unrefined oils) and add 2 sliced garlic cloves, some grated ginger and a shake of red chili flakes. Once the garlic and ginger become fragrant, about 30 seconds, toss in the bok choy and about a tablespoon of soy sauce and a tablespoon of water.

I don’t eat soy so I use Coconut Aminos, a product I love. It’s made from fermented coconut and tastes and acts exactly like soy sauce with a fraction of the sodium. This is a nice option if you are soy intolerant or would just like to cut some salt. 

Yum. (Coconut Secret did not pay me to say that.)

Cover and cook for about a minute until the white pieces are tender and slightly browned. Toss with a little sprinkle of toasted sesame oil and maybe some toasted sesame seeds and enjoy!

Strawberries

Strawberries are in season and we’re so lucky. Loaded with zinc and vitamin C and sweet as candy, they’re obviously great on their own. Eat them alone for any meal or snack, slice them and add them to salads, top them with fresh, organic cream or a little balsamic vinegar, or add them to your morning cereal or smoothie. If you’ve got lots of strawberries and don’t think you’ll eat them all fresh, freeze them on a cookie sheet and then bag them for the future or bake them into dessert like I did.

We got tons of strawberries and some rhubarb from our farm share.

Rhubarb tastes almost like sweet celery and cuts the sweetness of the strawberries (baking releases a lot of their natural sugar).

I sliced the rhubarb into little pieces and the strawberries in half. I put them into a baking dish with a teeeeeeny sprinkle of coconut palm sugar. Coconut palm sugar is an unrefined sugar that looks like sand. It has a lower glycemic index than table sugar which means it converts into blood glucose a little slower. You could also use maple syrup or honey as a sugar replacement in this recipe.

Strawberries, rhubarb and a sprinkle of sugar. All of it should be at least 2 cups or more.

Then, I made a crumb topping in the food processor. Put a 1/2 cup coconut sugar, 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup spelt, gluten free or almond flour and 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter. I chose to make this vegan so I used coconut oil. It was so hot, it had become liquid at room temperature so I stuck it in the fridge until it solidified. You want a solid fat to help make the crumb top bind. 

The brown stuff is the coconut sugar.

Add a few shakes of cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt. Pulse this mix a few times in the food processor, cover the berries and rhubarb with the topping and pop it in a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes until it’s all bubbly and brown. We were so excited to eat it, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product until after we dug in!

The (half eaten) finished product!

Do you have any other thoughts or recipes for bok choy and strawberries? Wanna try these and let me know how it turns out? Leave a comment here and share what you’ve got!

 



 

Thursday
Jul112013

MY TALENTED FRIEND: Daniel Maté

Daniel doing his best Daniel Maté impersonation.Have you heard the amazing music and lyrics of my talented friend Daniel Maté? If not, I am so excited to introduce you to him. 

Daniel Maté is a musical theater composer, lyricist, sometime-librettist and singer/songwriter based out of Brooklyn via Vancouver, British Columbia.He composes on piano and guitar. Daniel’s theater writing includes: book and lyrics for The Trouble With Doug, composed by Will Aronson, a modern day adaptation of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis; music and lyrics for The Book of Jo-Beth with librettist Emily Kaczmarek, a modern day adaptation of The Book of Job (by God); and music and lyrics for a song cycle The Longing and the Short of It which received a workshop last year at Playwrights Horizons and a reading last month at Art Garage in Delray Beach, Florida. 

This year he won the esteemed Kleban Award for Most Promising Musical Theater Lyricist. He is a graduate of the NYU Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program which is where we first met. Through various Facebook posts about our love for music as varied as Joni Mitchell and Megadeth, we eventually became friends and collaborators. I'm a fan and I want you to be, too. If you’re in New York, be sure to catch Daniel’s concert on July 15 (for more info, keep reading!).

Here's a video of me singing Daniel's song Misery Loves My Company, Daniel on keys:

 When I asked Daniel how winning the Kleban has changed things for him, he acknowledged that it’s nice to be recognized but it forced him to say to himself “Okay Maté, let’s see what you can do now.” The first thing he did with the money was get a real piano. Then he quit his day job as a babysitter. Having the Kleban people recognize his potential felt like a clear message from the universe. “This thing you love doing that you do really well? Do that!”

When you listen to Daniel’s music writers like Randy Newman, Elvis Costello, and Stephen Sondheim spring to mind though he thinks of these writers more as inspiration than influence. His songs are funny, sophisticated, sad and self-effacing with hooky pop rhythms and alternative rock harmonics. 

Actual influences are as varied as Joni Mitchell, Donald Fagen, Ani Difranco, Indigo Girls, Hall & Oates, Megadeth, Metallica, Soundgarden, and Wu Tang Clan. Through Daniel’s unique filter, these all merge and make perfect musical theater sense to the listener.

Here is our friend Jason Tam singing All I Want, Daniel on guitar:

Metal and Hip Hop have a certain theatricality that few contemporary musical theater writers have mined. Hip hop in particular has dramatically influenced Daniel’s lyric writing though he has written very few rap songs. He’s a master of internal rhymes, painting himself into lyrical corners quickly and then creating a musical release, a trick of a well skilled hip hop artist. Daniel feels that Hip Hop is another sort of brush in his musical/lyrical paintbox with which he can infuse his songs with a momentum and flow. 

I asked Daniel what, to him, makes the difference between a singer/songwriter style song and a theater song. He replied, “What makes it a theater song is that an actor can elevate it”. He went on to say that the performer infuses the song with a sense of a character and that enhances the story telling, elevating it from just being "theatrical" to being Theater. Ultimately, this appreciation of collaboration is why he’s writing theater music. To connect. To feel that, even if one has written a song about loneliness or isolation or being a weirdo, the theater allows the song to reach out and touch people and allows the writer, the performer and the listener to feel included. “Here are some songs for all of us." Thanks, Daniel! We’re listening!

You can follow Daniel Maté on Twitter, Facebook or his website. And you can see him play his wonderful music LIVE with a band and special guests in his concert Song Moments on July 15 at the Signature Center on West 42nd. You can buy your tickets and get more info here.

Daniel singing Marry Me, America:

 


Sunday
Jul222012

And The Beat Goes On!

CLEVELAND, OH

I share the stage with Maestro Jack Everly and the esteemed Cleveland Orchestra as part of te Blossom Festval. Groove to the sounds of the 60's at this beautiful, historic, outdoor amphitheater. One performance only! Please visit www.clevelandorchestra.com for ticket information.

Wednesday
Jul112012

Last Smoker in America

We begin Previews! This is an open ended run at the Westside Theater. Please visit www.LastSmoker.com for ticket information and showtimes.

Monday
Jun182012

New Mondays at 54 Below


For For those who didn't know, I'm also a songwriter! I'll be sharing the stage with other songwriters at the brand new 54 Below, aptly named for it's location below Studio 54. As it's a shared evening, I'm not doing a lot of songs but I will be debuting a brand new one! Please make reservations and get more information by visiting www.54below.com

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