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Nissa Pierson

I love celebrating my birthday. Many friends and loved ones would claim that I enjoy celebrating it a little too much. But I ask? “Who among us doesn’t celebrate their birthdays for the entire month?” Maybe they don’t realize that the month-long celebration for me is actually more intricate and involves consciously and subconsciously setting intentions for growth and change in the year that lies ahead. So, my birthdays involve a great deal of self-reflection and self-awareness. That’s what I celebrate- that I have grown and that it’s my choice to decide where I go and grow next.

April 9, 2021

Spring is my favorite season. It always feels full of potential—the kind of potential that must make its way into the world. This sentiment feels reminiscent of my essence. All of that which is inside me must eventually come to be. Sometimes it sprouts and sometimes it blossoms. (It’s also been known to burst out even though I try to coax it to unfold and emerge more slowly.) Spring is the season for new things to be born. I was born in spring and my spirit gets giddy at the thought of reemergence and newness in my life and in my cooking.

March 29, 2021

One for Rudolph, two for me. This is one of my most whimsical recipes and one that is perfect to make with your kids the day before Christmas eve. Basically, the kids make herbal sugar cubes for Rudolph and you get amazing sugar cubes for an old-Fashioned cocktail. It’s a rather fun project for all and one that the adults can enjoy long after Santa is gone. The recipe is super easy. Some herbs, sugar and ice cube trays are really all that’s needed outside a few drops of water.

December 22, 2020

My ‘moving to Missouri’ story began back in August. I had a few sessions with a renowned astrologer, as part of my crisis response to learning I had to move quickly and, essentially, charter the next course in my life. If I’m being honest, this was one of the hardest times of my life. Normally I make decisions quickly and with ease, but this one I knew would create massive disruptions in all aspects of my life.

December 21, 2020

I tend to be an extremist when it comes to emotions. This is why I’ve had to really practice balance. Part of that practice started many years ago, when I had to slow down my crazy capacity for taking on more and more work and make time for empty space in my head and body. Daily yoga, meditation and breathing practices have been pivotal in my ability to understand how to achieve and (mostly) maintain balance as I move through this life thing. A general slowing down long enough to observe myself.Solitude and the ocean have also been vital in helping me reach and maintain more homeostasis. My kryptonite, or the “thing” that most throws me off balance, which I believe is rather normal, is always overwhelm. Too much uncertainty, too many MAJOR things happening at once always rocks my balance. From there I either find equilibrium or fall.

September 23, 2020

My Herby Sundried Tomatoes are one of my staple recipes. I love cherry tomatoes so much that I always have loads of them on hand. Sometimes, I over buy and don’t eat them fast enough, but that is never a problem with this recipe. This is a recipe that was brought into my repertoire so I could live in a perpetual state of cherry tomato gluttony, and I have zero shame in that.I tend to use the fresh and dried ones the same way, tossing them literally into everything (salads, soups, sandwiches, eggs, etc.) and it’s a nice change when the fresh tomatoes I had been enjoying suddenly morph into the dried version – yielding a deeper, richer, smokier version of the fresh. You can further heighten the flavor by adding fresh herbs and other spices.

August 15, 2020

Scented geraniums are one of the most widely collected and celebrated herbal plants on the planet. They come in just about every scent and color imaginable, and their most common trait is their extreme potency of flavor and scent. They are used in teas, tinctures, baking and potpourri type concoctions.Only recently have I begun to enjoy them and use them in my cooking. For years I shunned them as an overly potent potpourri ingredient. Their scent can be overwhelming in gardens, I have never enjoyed how they take over the scent of a garden. In my opinion, the scent and potency of a geranium was always a little too much to make any use of it. But then the masters showed me the way.

August 13, 2020

From the moment many of us were sent into our homes to shelter-in-place, the baking rumpus had begun. So much so that most baking supplies became scarce, sending a wave of panic over those looking for something fun and calming to occupy the foreseeable future. Well-known for my laidback attitude about having the right supplies in the kitchen and life, I knew early on something good would come of it. I certainly wasn’t about to panic about baking.People all over the globe can attest to the relaxation brought on by baking. It seems quite obvious that, during this pandemic, baking has become a nurturing way to self-soothe – as the masses can bake breads, cakes, biscuits and cookies with reckless abandon.

May 27, 2020

I make it known often that I do not have a sweet tooth and people usually assume that means I do not like dessert. That’s absolute crap. I love dessert, I just enjoy it more savory than sweet. This is a dessert for those, like me, who lean on the savory side of sweet. It also combines my two passions for recipe development- herbs and mangoes. What exactly do I mean when I say I prefer a savory dessert? It means I don’t like a lot of sugar in it. I like more earthy elements to shine through and prefer naturally sweet items to take center stage. I like a little salty nature to my dessert and a perfumy aspect really gets me excited. Flavorful and potent fresh herbs in desserts lead to more character and depth – sugar add nothing but sweet and that’s just one dimensional. I also enjoy a tad of acid, balanced by some fat; butter, cheese or cream.

May 20, 2020

In my ‘circle’ (which isn’t made up of many), I’m known for my creativity in the kitchen. Because I live out in the middle of nowhere, I tend to get excited to have guests, and it often gives my creativity a super boost. The anticipation of all the joy to be had in cooking and sharing with friends and loved ones gets my creative juices flowing; my posse of eaters around the globe are always elated to dine at my house. They know that in addition to delivering a marvelous and meaningful time, I will bring the ultra-weird and unexpected to the table and it will all taste delightful.The truth is, I cook like this all the time – even for myself (just look at my Instagram for proof). I think the main difference between cooking for myself and cooking for others is that I have to plan and, therefore, I have to think it through a bit more. I can’t deny that, because I’m mostly here alone, it feels special to have people over. So, I do like to make sure these occasions feel like a special event, for both me and my guests. I’m not sure if most my guests realize that the most joyful part of me making dinner for them is in the dreaming up of it – the part I do all alone.

May 11, 2020

I am deeply obsessed with all things spring. Perhaps my enthusiasm for fresh herbs was born in spring, when we get to witness herbs shoot up from the cold ground of winter with expeditious vigor and vibrancy. Mint, parsley, chives and chive blossoms are the first to appear in our gardens ready for us to toss their tender leaves into salads, soups, pesto, and sauces.Today I want to place a special focus on mint (specifically spearmint) and chive blossoms and, in particular, how beautifully they relate to asparagus – another of spring’s powerful popups. (I’ve more recently spent some time ruminating on the joys of parsley, so you can check out those posts for more.)

April 23, 2020

A few years back I took the most amazing ‘Mindful Self-Compassion’ course at Spirit Rock Mediation Center. It was around the time I had just been left by a long-term partner. I found myself in a very confused state-of-being that caused an enormous amount of emotional overwhelm. Now, years later, I still am confused about that, but I have also come to find acknowledge that these particular moments states-of being are crucial for learning and growth, in particular if you allow yourself to move through them slowly, carefully and compassionately.

April 11, 2020

As I promised in my Instagram post, I will make this introduction brief. But I can’t pass up the opportunity to share a tiny bit of opinion. After all, that is what a blog is, and that is exactly what My Herbal Roots is- a blog. It is also a part of something larger, which most blogs are- my fresh herb site Herbal Roots, which is currently still in build mode with aim to launch in April 2021.I take no issue with the twitter comments made by Mindy Kalig that caused such a big stir. With so many of us are stuck at home with the internet remaining our only connection to the outside world and in this general realm of panic and anxiety, almost anything can cause a stir. So the fact that there was a lot written about her wanting the recipe instead of the chef’s life story… barely registered for me as an issue.

April 9, 2020

Dried cherry tomatoes are the most delicious dried fruit – in my opinion. I make them in the oven with some simple seasonings. The result is a salty and heby treat that you can snack on as you would any other dried fruit, but (bonus!) they keep in the fridge for several weeks and allow you to impart a robust, smoky tomato flavor to soups, salads, pastas, and eggs, among many other dishes.Early on in my produce career I worked in the organic tomato industry. I imported and distributed organic tomatoes from Holland and Israel, and I worked with some of the world’s leading tomato researchers and farmers. All of them specialized in producing flavor-packed tomatoes.

April 7, 2020

One of the interesting elements of this current pandemic is how quickly the order we’ve grown so accustomed to gets thrown out the door. Another interesting part is just how much this process of needing to be more ‘lax’ trickles down into so much of what we do. While social order has become redefined, so do our self-bureaucratic policies. Maybe we don’t feel the need to exercise, or we drink more or eat more pasta. Maybe the kids watch too much TV or play too many video games. Perhaps the adults find themselves suddenly interested in a bizarre new show about the strange world of large cat people and the Tiger King. Whatever rules or systems we allow to fall by the wayside, we all have them. We make these quick and easy changes because we recognize that, when push comes to shove, so many of these rules just aren’t that important.

March 27, 2020

I broke my foot a few months back. I had to practice what they call “non-weight bearing” – in other words, you are not allowed to use your foot or put any weight on it at all. I learned really quickly that I used my foot and leg a lot more than I previously thought. I had a recipe-based article (on DIY Vermouth) for Edible Marin due and a photoshoot for said article a few weeks later… that was the last recipe project I did, until now.

March 25, 2020

While it’s true that my favorite season is spring due to the deluge of budding, blooming and sprouting spring herbs, peas, baby artichokes and asparagus, wintertime has some extraordinary offerings in the form of citrus that strongly excite me. Not just the fruit but the zest, which leads me on many more kitchen adventures. I’m here to remind all of the access we have these days to citrus variety and also suggest to all that they use more zest, in general and especially in the peak of winter citrus season.

January 31, 2020

I made a truly epic cake for New Year’s Eve. I had originally thought the cake just accidentally happened, but I have since come to realize the cake was meant to be made. My hands and my spirit were meant to bring it to life for one epic moment in time. The cake was special, and it reminded me that I was, too.This multilayered cake is kind of like a metaphor for the life I have lived so far feeding into the life I am yet to live – culminating in this particularly sweet past New Year’s Eve.

January 13, 2020

For now, my thoughts land on a precise moment where change took hold. A time when I was left by the side of the road outside Tel Aviv by an at the time business partner and also long time “friend” and ate my first sabich. That sabich reflected back my own strength and the moment when I came eye to eye with my hunger to be seen for my own accomplishments and power. It’s a moment when I learned that to be a woman in business meant that I had to make bold moves. It’s also the moment I would come to prove that I could be honest, tender, and show emotion in business and still be successful and powerful.

January 1, 2020

Recently, as I continue to tinker with my herbal salt fetish, I have noticed how good people and places inspire me just as much as the season’s new herb, fruit, vegetable, or spice. In my herbal salts, I try to evoke a particular aspect of the season that is special to me. Ingredients from my own garden and local farms mingle with other organic goods that are seasonal for most of us.

December 26, 2019

Finding useful information on cooking and cleaning Dungeness crab isn’t easy. I personally always forget the instructions, even though I have done it countless times. I figured a phot-post would make the most sense to share my knowledge, which is essentially self-taught from various You Tube videos and trial and error. Next year when I try to remember how to cook and clean it, I can look at my own notes cemented inside of this blog post. Here is a quick breakdown on how to cook and clean fresh Dungeness crab.

December 26, 2019

This is a supremely salty tasting salt, so use it sparingly or excessively depending on your appetite for saltiness. It’s heavy on the Winter Savory, a naturally “salty tasting” herb, so it just tastes a bit saltier than some of my other salts.

December 20, 2019

Chicories—which include three kinds of radicchios (Chioggia, Castelfranco and Treviso), escarole, curly endive and frisée—are members of the lettuce family. They are heartier and more assertive than lettuce, which is probably why I enjoy them. They are kind of like the New Yorkers of the lettuce world, in that they are loud and can be rambunctious. But unbeknownst to many chicories are tameable, and easily transformed into hearty salads, robust soups and braises and satisfying grain dishes that are perfect for the colder months. Rosemary, believe it or not is one of the most compatible herbs for winter chicories.

December 6, 2019

Read Full Recipe Print Recipe Herbs, Butter & Holiday Pies November 26TH 2019 I have used herbs in my pies since …

November 27, 2019

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of cooking a six-course Thanksgiving pairing menu to go along with the French fortified wine, Pineau des Charentes. This was a press dinner hosted by PlaceInvaders for Sopexa, who represents the wine. A total of twelve guests spent the evening warmly tucked inside a Placeinvaders purple Victorian “mansion” in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. I conjured up the menu to evoke an autumnal European-American Thanksgiving vibe and, because I was the chef, I was bursting with fresh, fall-centric herbs.

November 25, 2019

Sage is without question the herb of the season. It’s hard to see, smell or taste, without thinking about the warming and comforting foods of fall, that start to bring us inside, literally and figuratively. As we begin to settle into the rapidly colder and darker winter, sage creeps into our foods; in soups, beans, stews and most importantly buried throughout most of the dishes on our holiday tables. Just as pumpkin pie spice is synonymous with fall, sage is tantamount to Thanksgiving. There is nothing more quintessentially Thanksgiving than sage, except I suppose the turkey.

November 24, 2019

Yesterday I was reminded of how amazing bringing joy to others feels, it doesn’t matter if it’s a human being or a pet. When you participate and focus on joy for others, good things happen. I’ve been noticing this a lot lately and a few years back began to notice that I do it a lot with food and recipes. My caring nature towards loved ones often leads me through adventures perfecting the foods and recipes they love. It doesn’t matter if I personally like the food or recipe choice, I still have the yearning to learn more and make the best version. Even when the food is something I totally dislike. I do it, usually only to (re)discover (over and over) what I have been telling kids forever while tasting things- “figure out what you like and don’t like about it and learn your taste and texture preferences”.

October 24, 2019

This time of year, with the onset of colder wetter days, my garden seems to burst with tender shoots of mint. This vibrant bumper crop, as they call it, always feels unexpected and yet deeply appreciated. With it, I start to see the full potential of mints warming and comforting qualities within my own cooking, especially as fall pulls and seemingly forces me into eating warmer, heavier and more comforting foods. Mint’s hidden talent of encouraging the fresh and healthy in any dish draws me in further.

October 22, 2019

If you were to pick two items that signal the climax of summer, they would be basil and heirloom tomatoes. Both of these heat loving crops peak and are at their most flavorful many long, hot days. In a way these items actually mark the beginning of the end of summer and they should serve as a reminder to all of us to indulge in the last sweet offerings of summer.

August 19, 2019

If you are lucky enough to have a garden you need to grow Anise Hyssop. It’s easy to grow and one of the most beautiful in the garden during all growing stages, not to mention that its incredibly versatile in both sweet and savory recipes. It’s often available at farmers markets during the summer and if you can get your hands on it one way or another - do grab some.

August 7, 2019

Join me for special evening in Bolinas on September 7th, 2019. The 27th Annual Benefit Art Auction & Party is one of West Marin’s most coveted events. The event, which benefits the Bolinas Museum, is the largest and most important fundraiser of the year for the museum and attracts some of the most generous and caring members of our community. I will be donating a special cocktail experience to the event.

August 6, 2019

Most people reserve bubbly for special occasions, but I happen to love it with tacos on Tuesday, salad on Wednesday, or steak on Friday. Any day and any occasion go. For special occasions, I like to herbalize my bubbly.

May 9, 2019

Herbal Farm-to-Table in Bolinas MAY 9TH 2019 Join the Bolinas Community Land Trust for a special evening at the Peace Barn …

May 9, 2019

My Herbaceous Istanbul APRIL 28TH 2019 Istanbul is one of my favorite places in the world. I have been several times, …

April 28, 2019

Birthdays have always been a source of extreme joy for me. Something significant lives in the celebration of one’s own birth and life. As I age I find it one of the biggest indicators of my own self-love and acceptance. Like the pencil marks on my childhood walls, I can watch the growth with each year. As I celebrate, I honor this evolution, despite some years feeling more like a setback. This year is great cause for celebration as I move into the next notch of growth that is my life.

April 9, 2019

I haven’t always had a garden. In fact, a good portion of my adult life (the part where I lived in Brooklyn for 13 years) didn’t include one at all. Those times I did have a garden, many creative and good ideas sprung forth from it. Making seasonal fresh herb salt-and-peppers was one of those ideas, and they are by far one of my most versatile and useful herbal endeavors

April 9, 2019

Back in Brooklyn someone writing a magazine article once asked me - along with about 10 other food folks - “what is the one ingredient you can’t live without?” Most gave answers like Sriracha, salt, fish sauce, mustard, and good quality extra virgin olive oil. I said parsley. It is the one thing that I never run out of in my kitchen, and, in my mind, parsley is both versatile and one of the best fresh flavor enhancers I know.

April 9, 2019
Nissa | My Herbal Roots