Beyond the Kitchen

Adaptations, On my Mind.


Recipes knock on my door everyday.  They come in, take off their shoes, and make a complete mess of my kitchen. They stick around for a few days, really get comfortable… and then the recipes leave.  Actually, the recipes make their permanent home here at Joy the Baker… but they’re out of my life once they’re adapted perfected and cleaned up after.

But!  What if I’m not done with the recipes?  What if I want them to stick around a while? There’s not a lot of time for an extended recipe stay when I’m always trying to create something new new new… but here are five things I have in mind. Please consider this a much needed mindshare.

Take this Quick and Easy Spanakopita from Martha Stewart. This recipe is solid… although not completely quick. The Spanakopita is made with traditional filo dough, and a spinach and feta mixture. Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I believe this dish is best served with kale instead of spinach.  Really… either way it’s a lovely meal. Add spicy chili flakes for added interest.


The real life application of Kale Spanakopita (Kale-akopita?) involves a slow fried egg and two pieces of black forest bacon.

Kale instead of spinach. Bacon instead of the absence of bacon.  Chili flakes for heat.


I’m teaching myself how to make crepes.  I have to teach myself before I can come to you with any sort of recipe and instructions.

This is my first round of crepes made in my humble, nonstick saute pan.  These crepes were inspired by Gluten Free Girl and the Chef.  Thanks for the lesson!!

Ham and Cheese Crepes reign supreme.


I can’t stop thinking about this White Bean Bundt Cake I made a few weeks back.  This cake is just such a lovely base.

I am convinced that this cake should immediately be turned into a cinnamon swirled, pecan studded coffee cake!

This cake would also thrive with a generous raspberry jam swirl.  So major!

The task is yours.  Show me pictures when you’re done!


Remember the Coconut Crab Rice I made a few weeks back?

I can’t help but think that this rice, day old, would make an amazing fried rice, served with a soft boiled egg.

And!  If you know me at all… you know that it is my instinct to add roasted kale to this dish.

Let’s marry Crunchy Kale and Coconut Crab Rice… few things would be more perfect.


And it all comes down to a simple pot of beans.  Possible the most willingly adaptable item in the kitchen.

I’ve recently been 100% inspired by Tamar Alder’s An Everlasting Meal.  I know that I’ve already chewed your ear off about this book, it just continues to excite me.

I read and re-read the chapter about beans while I was away in London. I returned home and immediately put together a pot of beans to soak.  I now have the tender cooked beans, in their amazingly flavorful bean liquor in my fridge, and I’ve enjoyed them for a handful of meals.

Dry beans are covered in cold water and soaked overnight.  Once a day has passed, the water is drained and replaced, covering the beans with about 2 inches of water.  The water is then enhanced with any kitchen odds and ends you might have on hand:  parsley stems, the buts of an onion and fennel bulb, fennel frawns, a bay leaf, a dried chili, a hearty dose of good olive oil, salt and pepper.  Beans are simmered to a dance and cooked until thoroughly tender.  When stored in their liquid, beans are flavorful and delicious for days and days.  I’ve eaten them on everything from buttery rice to scrambled eggs.  I’ve even mashed beans and served them on avocado-topped crackers.

I’m so smitten by the simplicity of the bean making process.  It’s romantic.  It really is.

I come to you every few days with recipes.  Sure… you know how to follow instructions and find success.  I hope this also inspires you to think beyond the recipe.  I hope this inspires you to make food that you don’t hover over with a camera.  When in doubt, add kale, add a heaping dose of good jam, add a hearty turn of olive oil.  Dip and submerge and soak.  Try something beyond!