Ruminations of a Yogastronomist: Two

I don’t have a television. I spent much of my youth watching one and I wonder if I might have become a touch more focused had that not been the case. These days, I find that I get slightly depressed when I splurge on more than a few minutes in front of the boob tube. On a recent trip to Vermont I challenged this predisposition. I had access to satellite TV - hundreds of channels at my unsuspecting disposal.

I had anticipated being able to hike and swim and play outside but the tempestuous weather made me feel like I should be carving pumpkins and drinking hot chocolate. So I settled in one morning to watch some TV. As homework, I told myself; I decided I should see what’s happening on the FOOD network and then I planned to check out what I assumed would be a yoga program called Namaste on the FIT network. (Who even knew that there was a FIT network?)

After easing into my “homework” with a few moments of Ren and Stimpy, Celebrity Poker Showdown, and Night Rider, I awkwardly navigated the satellite system to find that the FOOD network was featuring a beautiful young woman making canapés for a friend’s party. She made polenta with mushroom ragout, crab salad in endive spears, and mini foccacia sandwiches. She baked brownies by adding chocolate chips and espresso powder to a store bought mix and then she made a vanilla espresso glaze. As she scraped the bowl and licked her finger, she sported her best bedroom eyes and suggestively announced that she would save the rest of the batter for later.

I switched the channel. Namaste starred three meagerly clad gorgeous women doing their poses in perfect unison to sultry music. Without disturbing the ladies on their mats (or the music), the setting kept alternating between an empty living room, an austere industrial space, a beach at sunset, a floating dock, and a sun dappled forest.

Between the sexy spoon-licking chef and the writhing yogis (and hot Sharapova in her sequiny black US Open get-up), I was beginning to feel like a voyeur. I turned the TV off and went raspberry picking.

Picking edible things from the earth and flora is primitive seasonal therapy for me. It is dicey to rely on late season raspberries but sometimes they can be wonderful. The ones at a nearby pick-your-own farm were good. Really good. The unusually large raspberries were firm and juicy. After picking a pint or two, I discovered that my mind was free to drift while my eyes, hands, and taste buds worked together as I stretched to pick the luscious fruits, sampling some from each bush that I pillaged. I was blissfully relaxed. Ultimately I experienced, dare I say it, a serene yogic sensation.





While I typically opt to keep things simple and fresh in the kitchen with minimal clean up required, I do love to make jam. Being able to give someone a jar of preserves I prepared from something I picked that same day is my way of saying, “I wish you could have been there with me.” I think of jam as a culinary snapshot.

This recipe makes a nice sweet and spicy jam that is very versatile. I enjoy it as an accompaniment to sharp cheese or roasted / grilled meats, on smoked turkey sandwiches (perhaps mixed with mayo or goat cheese), or on a breakfast biscuit with cheddar and thick and crispy bacon. If you’re not inclined to make your own, you can always mix some horseradish with some store bought preserves.

(Be forewarned – it can be an exercise in patience and futility to find Certo – especially in an urban area where people will look at you quizzically if you explain that you are making jam. Call ahead to save yourself some frustration and time.)

3 ½ cups crushed berries
(if you like, force some through sieve to remove seeds)
¾ cup prepared horseradish*
6 ½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or rosemary (optional)
1 pouch Certo liquid pectin

Use these measurements and follow the very detailed instructions that come with the Certo to make perfect jam.

*COOK'S NOTE: You can make your own grated horseradish by peeling the root and cutting it into small chunks. Process in a blender or cuisinart with a little cold water. Because of the volatility of horseradish, add white or cider vinegar 3 minutes after grinding to stop the enzymatic action and preserve the horseradish at its hottest. Take precautions when handling the root and be careful when opening the lid.

Serves 2

Roughly 4 cups baby spinach or other greens
4 slices cooked bacon or lardons of bacon
4 ounces blue cheese
1/3 cup slightly toasted pine nuts (don’t let them burn!)
1 apple cored and sliced
½ pint raspberries


2 tablespoons honey
1/2 tablespoon spicy mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 large sage leaves chopped
½ teaspoon salt
2 small minced shallots
½ cup Canola or other light oil

Make vinaigrette by combining all ingredients but oil in a cuisinart or bowl or jar. Slowly add oil and process, whisk, or shake.

Toss spinach leaves or other greens with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Add blue cheese, pine nuts, apple, and bacon. Top with raspberries and freshly ground black pepper.


2 ripe peaches peeled and cut into chunks
3 tablespoons water
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 pint fresh raspberries
(you can press them through sieve if you prefer fewer seeds)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Heat chopped peaches, sugar, water, and ginger in saucepan. Cook until tender. Add raspberries and tarragon and heat through on low for another minute.

Let sit for a moment and serve with best quality vanilla ice cream and cookies. It is also great as a topping for yogurt, roast pork loin / chops, etc.

Carol, Sep 21 2006 10:49AM

This author is very clever, funny and interesting...from writing to photos to recipes...she does it all!

Keep up the good work! I'll stay tuned in for more-


mark, Sep 21 2006 12:27PM

the pick-your-own farms are good, but nothing compares to the experience of cresting a hill to find a field full of black berries (or similar) there for your restful snacking.

and i agree with carol, great job on your first few posts. looking forward to reading more.

ann, Sep 21 2006 8:18PM

There are a few TV shows I enjoy watching, but our TV is only on for a while in the evening after the kids are asleep. But at my parents house, the TV is on ALL the time, which is so annoying and distracting.

The raspberry picking sounds great. I used to love going blackberry picking when I was a kid. We've got a fig tree in our yard that produced a handful of figs this year...I can't wait until it's big enough so that I can just stand there at the tree and eat figs until I'm full! And we got one delicious pear off of one of our trees, too.

joanna, Sep 21 2006 9:27PM

mmmm....figs and blackberries. And wild blueberries. And fiddleheads...
(what I really want is a wild mushroom / truffle connection...anyone?)

lynn tull, Sep 24 2006 7:15PM

Loved the article and the recipes are amazing. Thanks for sharing them. Keep up the good work!

Matthew, Sep 26 2006 3:54PM

Joanna, I don't know these people, but they are nearby. I read an article about Mr. Garland a few years ago because he recieved a grant to train and give away his fungus laced seedlings to tobacco farmers in NC. Great articles, btw.