Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Sunday Brunch Menu Made from Scratch

Have you ever wanted to make a fabulously substantial brunch that was made completely from scratch with all whole foods, healthy AND beautiful?  I have.

Here’s my favorite Go-To designed menu:  Scrambled Eggs, Home-Cured Salmon Lox, Raw Veggies, Homemade Boule

Not that hard!  Here is a fabulously simple recipe and presentation from Honestly Yum for a simple sugar, salt and pepper curing recipe.  She did a fabulous job displaying the vegetables (red onion, capers, cornichons, vine-tomatoes, cucumbers, fromage blanc).

I personally add a few more spices into the cure:  dill, pink peppercorns or rosemary.

All you need is to give yourself a few days for the salmon to cure and yeast to rise for the brunch.  Everything else is simple and your guests will LOVE this spread!

If you like this idea, cook with Mahin and design your next Sunday brunch menu together that’s healthy, completely whole foods, and gorgeous.


Conversations 102

Today’s Substantial Life STYLE involves lessons in creating a meaningful life, which is the essence of why I write this blog.   I recently spent all day going through every card, picture, paper from school, work, life, etc, for the past 12 years, and threw away almost everything.   It was a conscious action to reflect, acknowledge that period of my life, and to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new.  The good memories remain and the difficult ones are processed, learned from, and filed away as “history”, only to remain in the sulci in my brain (okay technically the hippocampus of my brain).

I was going to write a long post sharing my personal journey of the last 12 years, as it is on the verge of starting a new chapter, part trois.  Coincidentally, a colleague emailed this video today from a business school talk, but really it’s more about “life school”.  It captured beautifully many of the lessons I was going to walk you through in my story that are simple and sustainable.   You will hear my story later!  However, I hope you can take 30 minutes of your time to watch this.

As hard as it may seem, reflect from your own experiences.  Learn, incorporate, and gracefully move forward with courage, understanding, humility, growth, kindness, accountability, empathy, commitments beyond yourself, fearless conviction, forgiveness, curiosity, tenacity, integrity, and intelligent risks to chase your dreams; in the long run, this journey will inevitably lead you to create a meaningful and connected existence, the unicorns and rainbows kind, I promise.  Allow your chapters to open…xo

If you feel like you can live a more more meaningful life, work with Mahin through her THINK BRILLIANTLY coaching package.  It will change your life.

Robert L. Joss, Professor of Finance, Dean Emeritus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has some advice a few weeks before graduation.

Conversations 101

Dear Substantial Life STYLE enthusiasts!  Today’s post revolves around starting the week or the day off with a little gratitude.  In our modern world where we are bombarded with so many choices, we are constantly focusing on what we can create, or what we want, or what we can have, or what others have.  This energy takes most of our time and our thoughts.  We tend to forget about the what we do have, the present moment.

A part of having good style is not just what’s on the outside, but it’s mainly what is on the inside.  If the core is not balanced, then it ultimately resonates to the outside.  What we think evolves from how we think, and how we think is not set in stone.  If we just stopped for a few moments every day and sit in our space, and allow ourselves to have a genuine exchange of gratitude and compassion with our surroundings, and ultimately with ourselves in an open manner, we co-exist in the energy of equilibrium and understanding.

Don’t worry about what you want or what you don’t have, focus on what you have, and more importantly, who you are.  The rest comes when the timing is just right.  This is what I call substantial happiness.

If you feel like you can live a more more meaningful life, work with Mahin through her THINK BRILLIANTLY coaching package.  It will change your life.

Breaking Bread at the Next Party

When I would hear the word bread, I immediately used to think “carbs”.  Followed by my brain launching into the word, FAT (yes, it’s probably body-dysmorphic disorder, but I blame Hollywood).  I am the quintessential professional 30-something year old female, living that life.  Organic, sustainable, fresh, simple, etc.   Everything perfectly researched (since I am a scientist), experimented, and all results documented and filed away in hopes of creating the perfect food experience.  Having said that, bread has always been somewhat, filed away, in the “fat” file…

Until one Sunday morning, at a brunch I was invited to on the rooftop of my friend’s apartment in the West Village.  There was this wonderful spread of cheeses from Murray’s, fruits, fresh juice, fresh lemon curd, and then there was this boule.  A boule is a round loaf of white bread (boule means ‘ball’ in French).  It came out of my friend’s oven, with an intoxicating smell of freshly-baked bread; infused with figs and walnuts, wrapped in a floral, maroon dish towel.  It was a beautiful bronze and rustic.  The crust was perfectly crisp and the thickness was perfect.  It was at this point, that I realized that all the other things on the table were there to honor this boule.  Every combination, of bread and cheese or bread and curd or bread and fruit was distinct and delicious.  I immediately asked about the recipe only to be pleasantly surprised that it requires no kneading, a long rise time, and only 4 ingredients!  I left that brunch with the recipe, and a determination to try it as soon as I reached back to Boston.

There is something sacred about fresh bread.  Perhaps it is the spiritual concept of “breaking bread”, or just the simple earthly ingredients.  Since that Sunday brunch, well over 5 years ago, I can count on my fingers how many times I have actually bought bread at a grocery store, rather than baking it-it’s that easy!  I also now use it for French toasts, breakfast cheeses with a drizzle of honey, or with soups and stews; my favorite is toasting a slice and dipping it in olive oil, with a side of fresh steak tartar.  However, the thing that brings me the most joy is to bake a loaf, and take it as a gift to my next dinner party-as substitute for wine.  Words cannot describe the enjoyment that fresh bread brings to a group of people, and to know that something that simple and fresh can connect people is priceless.  So the next time you’re thinking organic and simple, and you walk to the Whole Foods to pay $2.49 for a French baguette, think about the definition of organic and what it is you are purchasing.  Perhaps the true definition of organic, is something that you’ve created with 4 ingredients, in your oven.

Try it with walnuts or red onion in the batter.  I don’t even do the second rise-and the boule tastes just as good.  But as a purist, I do stick to the cast iron pot to bake it in.  It is key to warm the dutch oven up to the appropriate temperature before placing the dough in it.  Also, let the boule rise to its appropriate time, as all good things happen when the time is right.

If you want to design your special breaking bread party, work with Mahin and you can serve your homemade bread with other beautiful whole food condiments.

I have since then relabeled that “fat” file as “boule”, and subsequently, the file has been moved to the “important” section.  Cheers to breaking bread!

Recipe: No-Knead Bread

Published: November 8, 2006

NY Times

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.