Your response to last week's blog post about how no one signed up to the spring retreat was so incredible. Not only did some of you contribute to the solution by signing up for my special offer, others filled my inbox and Instagram comments section with the sweetest words of affirmation, confirmation and solidarity. Thank you. Your outpouring is a testament to the fact that there is power in community coming together to reframe what one's mind (and one's empty bowl of Sour Cream & Onion ruffle chips) might otherwise label as 'failure.'
This means all systems go for Nurture Spring 2017 this week. It also means that the food sensitivities and allergies for attendees came in later than they normally would in terms of planning the menu to suit.
One thing you might not know about Nurture is the fact that allergies and food sensitivities are accommodated with the opposite approach those of you who need to eat this way might be used to. Cardboard baked goods, fruit plates and soy substitutes will never grace your plate at Nurture. Instead, I get really passionate about working with restrictions in such a way that an attendee with limited food options feels NO limits at the table.
The Nurture approach is, in a nutshell, to face the challenges life inevitably brings us in our personal lives and businesses and apply creativity liberally to inspire a solution. This approach not only solves the 'problem', but embraces beauty (even in the breakdown), attention to detail and being present to the process itself as an act of deepest love.
And so with the menu. I want every attendee to look at the table and feel abundance. I want those who are used to restricting themselves and saying 'no' at parties to be able to eat everything on the menu and for it to be a truly sensual and delicious experience that pleases the eye as much as it does the palate.
So, when people give me dietary restrictions, I get really REALLY nerdy and set to work creating something that is '________ - free' that even people who don't have that restriction can get behind. I do this via embracing a whole foods approach, letting ingredients speak for themselves and sourcing ingredients that act as NATURAL substitutes.
I thought it might be fun to share the menu for this week's retreat with you. It was a fun challenge to tweak it to suit the restrictions with such a short turnaround. Normally I have a few months to mull this over - in this case I had only a few days! For this Nurture iteration, there are guests who are gluten free, dairy free (both totally or goat milk is cool in the case of one attendee), and pepper-free (sweet, hot, and peppercorn). Butter, thank goodness, is NOT off the table.
Goat Cheese/Lactose Free Mozzarella Rounds marinated in herbs & olive oil
Blistered baby heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil & roasted garlic
Crostini (Regular & Gluten-free)
'The Nurture' - Dillon's Rose gin, honey-chamomile syrup, fresh grapefruit juice & Prosecco
Spring salad with roasted new potatoes, baby spinach, scallion, peas, radishes, dill, chives, radicchio, asparagus & dijon-shallot vinaigrette
Garlicky mushroom medley on creamy celeriac & rutabaga puree
Roasted fennel with lemon & parmeggiano
Butterbean & roasted tomato gratin
Individual lemon cashew cream cheesecakes with coconut whipped cream & toasted coconut
Tartines, 4 ways (featuring thrice-fermented bread from Prairie Boy Bakery)
Tartine 1 - coconut yogurt labneh, caramelized kumquat & honeycomb
Tartine 2 - red lentil miso hummus, roasted broccoli, 7 min egg, scallion, & furikake
Tartine 3 - maple goat cheese, blackberry & thyme
Tartine 4 - roasted butternut squash, toasted walnuts & maple sage butter drizzle
Lemony Tahini Asparagus Soup
Leek & Butternut Squash Fritters
Goat Yogurt Sauce with mint & sumac
Maca date caramel truffles with almond butter, dark chocolate & vanilla salt
Persian squash & pistachio pilaf with chestnut & pomegranate with cinnamon-chili tomato sauce
Goat yogurt raita
Cucumber & tomato salad
Rhubarb & almond upside-down cake with coconut chamomile whipped cream
Individual yogurt parfaits with housemade granola and berry compote
'Everything bagel' galettes with chive cream cheese & heirloom tomatoes
To say I am looking forward to both creating and sharing in the enjoyment of these meals with the women attending is an understatement. Beautiful, healing, powerful things happen when people gather over food cooked with love.
Many of you (especially the men in my life) have been asking for a way to gather over meals like this outside of the realm of attending the retreat. I am strongly considering offering Nurture pop-up dinners starting later this summer - if you're interested in finding out about when I launch these so you can get your tickets, sign up to the Nurture mailing list below!
I've just finished stirring the probiotics into the homemade coconut yogurt for the labneh and tucked it into the oven with the light on so magical cultural things can happen overnight. Time for me to do the same and head to bed.
p.s. For a visual peek into how food cooked with love-despite-restriction can look, check out the gallery for Nurture Spring 2016 (photos by Liat Aharoni) - for that retreat all meals were gluten, dairy, corn, soy, rice, egg, and refined sugar free!!! It was a challenge, but the outcome was incredibly delicious and the menu was so fun to design.