Jack Frost Nipping

At my last workplace, the space was frigid. This is not a metaphor. It was downright unbearably cold at times. One colleague asked me each morning if her lips were blue. Nine times out of ten she packed and usually wore a scarf. I kept a cardigan at my desk during the summer months. My peers and I all nursed cup after cup of hot coffee. Others had space heaters beneath their desks. When in Rome! I was reminded of this in reading an interesting piece in the New York Times this morning that spoke to the climatization of work places. According to the article "being able to make people feel cold in the summer is a sign of power and prestige". Is it now? I am sure the Germans will heartily disagree. Apparently excessive air conditioning is as prevalent in Australia, the Middle East and Asia as it is in the United States. Also according to this article, commercial real estate brokers and managers cite that mature tenants specify "so called chilling capacity in their lease agreements" in order to ensure "cold cachet". Did you know that many upscale retail stores like Bergdorf's, Neiman's and Saks keep their spaces cooler than their less affluent counterparts. The same goes for grocery chains along the economic totem pole. 

Never mind the use of energy (I am speaking to the warden at our house who monitors the thermostat) and in turn cost (though some say keeping the AC pumped up supports energy efficient building construction) research confirms that we are maximizing our carbon footprint. Global warming for the win. Another disclosure: colder temperatures do not make employees more productive. Eureka! There is evidence that feeling cold can have a negative psychological toll on all of us. A few side effects? Distrusting, close-mouthed and downright unfriendly folks in the workplace. The real kicker is that the AC is kept low thanks to a "decades old formula" catering to men. Their metabolic is higher than that of ladies because we have more body fat than muscle. Strike two, lovely. Apparently the best way to turn the beat around is to integrate individual temperature controls. Until this phenomenon sees fruition (it is a long ways off), I suppose many of us will remain tightly wrapped in blankets and shawls closely resembling human burritos.

AC and its place in the workplace aside, last week Matthew kindly asked if I would make his favorite recipe from my ordnance. How could I say no? He is besotted with the National Dish of South Africa, bobotie. Pronounced ba-booah-tee, Bobotie has Cape Malay origins. This magnificent dish comprises minced beef combined with chopped onion, granny smith apples, golden raisins, apricot jam, curry powder and turmeric. Poured on top goes a milk and egg mixture dotted with bay leaves that turns into a lovely, crispy custard when in the oven for an hour. Bobotie is best served with brown or white rice, sliced bananas, roasted peanuts and the world famous Mrs. Balls Chutney, which is readily available in many American supermarkets. This was not always the case once upon a time. Do prepare yours the night before as curry powder prefers to develop flavor over time. I encourage you to try your hand at home with this remarkable, ethnic dish. The best part is that you will eat off of this for days. Two pounds of beef and all the fixings makes for a lot of food. The recipe I have included belongs to that of my mother. Geniet jouself.

I picked up a punnet of sungold tomatoes at Atherton Mill Market yesterday morning while I was waiting on my Americano from Not Just Coffee (the city's best outfit for Joe). I am thrilled to learn that they will open their third location at Packard Place this Fall. Perhaps I have been hiding beneath a rock but I first tasted sungold tomatoes when I ate at Provisions Local Market a pair of weeks ago. They are a marvelous juxtaposition of tangy and sweet. Bursting with tremendous flavor, I blistered these bright colored jewels in olive oil with chopped parsley and garlic. A pinch of red pepper flakes and salt and into the pan went my spiralized zucchini. Finished off with a dusting of pecorino, this was a marvelous twist on Italian for lunch. The lone remainders served as this afternoon's snack. Moving onto other recipes, I prepared the below salad last week. I received inspiration from The Nude Nutritionist, a fabulous Aussie who posted a similar number on her Instagram feed. As soon as I saw the ingredients, I knew I had no choice but to create my own version. The dressing is a cinch to prepare and absolutely stunning. The crunchiness of the vegetables paired with the finishing bite of the peanuts and everything in between makes this the business. You can of course drizzle the dressing over chicken, shrimp and noodles to produce your own Pad Thai at home. A sure fire winner, this number will be on rotation the next pair of months at Reynolds Ranch. 

Her Majesty the Queen - Pad Thai Salad


1/4 red cabbage - chopped

12 oz green beans - chopped
Handful of basil, Thai basil, mint and cilantro - chopped
1 cup of cherry tomatoes - sliced in half
1 TBS sesame seeds - toasted
2 TBS roasted peanuts - chopped
Optional but encouraged - organic rotisserie chicken, grilled shrimp, flank steak, etc.


1 TBS tamarind paste - you can buy this on Amazon - flavor is magnificent

1/4 cup of hot water water
3 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS fish sauce
1 TBS low sodium soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of white pepper - your artillery is not complete without white pepper (explanation here)
Pinch of red pepper flakes


1. In your food processor, blitz the red cabbage, green beans and herbs. Add to a large bowl. Gently toss.

2. In the same food processor, finely chopped your peanuts. Set aside. On low heat, toast your sesame seeds. Set aside.

3. Add 1 TBS of tamarind paste to 1/4 cup of hot water in a small bowl. Stir until uniform. Now add the brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, juice of 1 lime, white pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir. You now have a gorgeous Pad Thai dressing. Note you can use this on meat, noodles, steamed or roasted veg, the works.

4. Scatter the sesame seeds over your salad and gently toss. Carefully pour half of the dressing over your salad and gently toss again. Sprinkle the peanuts on top. Salad is ready to serve. I enjoyed mine with a cup of shredded organic rotisserie chicken. Per bowl, you can sprinkle more peanuts on top if you like. I did.

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