Category Archives: Recipes

Gezunde Tzores “Healthy Troubles”

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Things are slowing down a bit now.  With all of my big little garden harvested (except a few root crops), and canned, frozen, pickled, fermented or otherwise processed, it must be time to return to the BLOG.

A very long time ago my medicine woman said to me, “make a plan, and make God laugh”.  I thought this was a Lakota proverb, however it seems many cultures believe this is true.  My garden “plan” was revised many times this year and I understand this is not atypical.  In the past we may have planted a few peppers and tomatoes, but this year was quite different. If one person can make this much food in one year, there is no reason anyone on this planet should be hungry.  Ever.

A few of the things I learned will help me in the future.  The first of all being ~ predict the unpredictable.  Birds will somehow manage to peck food guarded behind wire cages, deer and free-range cattle will squeeze through the tiniest opening (or make their own) in your fence to get to your goodies, earwigs are the devil, and squirrels. . . . little bitch ass squirrels.  I used to think they were cute.  Now I’ve learned, not so much. . .

I don’t mind sharing, really I don’t, but squirrels are wasters.  A deer or a cow will eat a cabbage the size of a beach ball and not spare a nibble.  Not that this makes me happy by any means, but I’d rather my hard work be fully appreciated than not.  When a squirrel visits the garden they meander about freely tasting this and that as if it were an open air buffet.  Nosh, nosh, nibble, nosh, tomato, lettuce, cukes. . . and each with just a tiny bit removed.  Then tossed aside to wilt and wither in the sun.  And they’re fast too! One day lovely veggies abound, next day ransacked by vermin.

Another thing I learned this year is how to deal with abundance.  I had so much I was able to share with friends, and preserve many things for later. There was far too much squash, corn, onion, carrots, cabbage etc. to eat fresh.  It was time to learn more than just canning basics.  For the first time ever I made jellies, jams, syrups, and compotes.  We have around 20 gallons of grape juice put up also.  One of the things I had an abundance of was chard.  It is good to juice, add to soups, and eat fresh in salads, however with so much you tend to get tired of it.  We had much.

In Farmer Dale’s booth at the Main St. Market, I met an elderly Jewish lady as I passed out Yes on #37 campaign materials.  Chard came up in the conversation and I mentioned I had so much I didn’t know what to do with it all.  She gave me a recipe to try, and now I wish I had more chard.  I added a couple of things, but it is basically the same as this wonderful “Baleboosteh” told it to me.  It’s so simple, I hope you all enjoy.

Beryah’s Delight

In a large skillet, add a small amount of oil and saute a large onion, finely minced.

Add 8 large cloves of garlic, pressed or minced and 3-4 medium potatoes, diced into cubes.

When the potatoes are al dente, (do not over cook) add an amount of overripe tomatoes approximately equal to the amount of potatoes in the pan.  You can push the tomato through a sieve if you wish.  Make sure to remove the stem and if you wish the skin also.

To this add enough chopped chard to equal around 4 cups.  Cover pan and wilt greens.  Uncover stir, add small amount of salt and pepper to taste, one tiny pinch of sugar, blend and serve hot.  So easy and so good.  Great Autumn dish to warm the tummy.

This has become a very popular meal in my house and when you try it I think you will see why.  Among some of the things we have added to this dish for variation include small amounts of mushrooms, bell pepper or celery.  I think next time we’ll make it with black beans and chilies.

Just made myself hungry.

Dig a Little Deeper

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I’ve recently seen pictures sent by a friend via fb that shows where he is staying in Katmandu.  There is a community well there that has been there for perhaps centuries.  Beautifully sculpted stone lions serve as spouts with water flowing from their mouths.  The colorfully dressed people were lined up waiting with the equally colorful plastic jugs neatly in rows beside them.  It looked like maybe 75-100 people at the well. I think some were washing babies and rinsing out clothes.  It sent my mind wondering about what that would be like to live with no running water.  Be careful what you think, it may come true.

I broke the well.  The dishwasher was going, the babies were watering the flowers for me,  pots and pans being washed in the sink, and the sprinkler was sprinkling.  Little did I know I was a toilet flush away from disaster.  The Hubster replaced some do hickies, tested other do hickies with a yellow plug-in thing with a gauge of some sort, and here we are with brand new parts for everything, and 80 hrs later he’s figured out it’s the breaker that switches on the pump.  YIKES!  So, it could be worse but not much.  Off to Medford to get a new one and then I’ll have water again.  Meanwhile, I used my emergency water and rainwater to get the plants the babies missed,  and in the toilet tank. The hubby is refilling the jugs for me at the farmhouse.  I can now shower with only 2 gallons of water! The worst part is we are having much warmer weather and my garden really needs extra  today.  I’ll have to make up for it all after the pump is back on.  C’mon Hubster, you can do it.  ( I really don’t know how he does these miracle repairs without prior experience or knowledge, must be some kind of savant) (It’s cool tho’)

It has been a wonderful lesson for me.  Out here in the mountains my water is free.  I only pay for the electricity to power the pump. So, I haven’t really been conserving it like I know I should for the sake of the planet. I do catch some rainwater and  I am great at conserving everything else, but I need a lot of water.  Large garden in the high desert, and I’m a woman that loves her bubbles, ’nuff said. I considered it my daily “hydrotherapy”.   Good place for meditation, planning the day ahead, making mental notes.  I learned much in the past 80 horas.  I don’t need so many bubbles.  You can do all the same in a lawn chair, or at the dining table.

I also had to harvest a bunch of kale to make into chips and sort of got carried away.  Coming back instead with a wheelbarrow full of not only kale, but about 25 lbs of cabbage, close to 30 lbs of broccoli, loads of chard and some snow peas.  Then after lugging it all back up to the house, I remembered I didn’t have water.

So this is me with no running water.  Now I have true empathy for the people at the community well.  Being as how I’m almost exactly like the villagers.  Well, my jugs aren’t as colorful.  There are a few other differences.   I don’t have a very long walk to the village square.  The big jugs are already in the garden, and the gallons are lined up on the kitchen counter.  My toilets flush. (I have toilets.) And I know it’s only a temporary situation. Sort of like we are camping, but at the house.

All that being said, I wonder how they do it day in and day out?  I did get my kale chips in the dehydrator and my cabbages chopped and crocked for kraut despite being thrown back a bit by having no running water.  I used what I had in my pantry, feel free to adapt the recipe to suit your taste.  It was a bit “Little House on the Prairie” but all in all things turned out and it sure didn’t slow me down.

Pizza flavored Kale Chips

Approx. 20 large kale leaves washed and ripped into chip size pieces.

1 C. almonds, cashews or hazelnuts

1C. water

1 Tbls. organic Italian Seasoning

15-20 sun-dried tomatoes

1 Tbls nutritional yeast

pinch of kosher salt

dash of cayenne

dash of vinegar (red wine is best, use what you have)

Put everything but the kale in a blender, and turn into a paste.  Wash kale, shake and pat dry, then tear into pieces. Scoop up a handful of paste  and massage into the leaves.  Make sure all leaves are covered evenly, cover and refrigerate any remaining paste.  Place leaves in the dehydrator on 115 for 8-10 hrs. rotate racks every 2 hours and check for crispness after 6 hours.  Turn leaves over on racks periodically.  In oven bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hrs at 200 degrees F.  When kale chips are done they should be crispy through and through with no soft areas.

(you may layer the chips carefully in the racks or pile them in randomly, either way is fine.  Of course if you pile you could have 2 or 3 stick together when you go to snack on them, not such a bad thing)

 

 

High Dessert Sauerkraut

Finely chop cabbage, layer in crock, wide mouth jar or food grade plastic container, alternating with kosher salt.  I do about a 2″ layer, then a fine sprinkle of salt, another 2″ of cabbage and a sprinkle of salt.  When you are done layering, place a sheet of plastic over the top and place a plate or saucer on top of the plastic. It has to fit inside of the container, rather than perch on top.  Place a heavy weight on the plate like a gallon of water, or clean (boiled) stone.  Then cover the whole thing with  a cloth or plastic cover to keep out pests. Make sure there are no gaps for ants, flies, or others to get into and ruin your batch.  Uncover and check after 24 hours if brine hasn’t naturally occurred and covered cabbage, add to it with cup of good water and a tablespoon of salt.  Stir to dissolve and then pour on top of kraut.  You can add caraway seed and juniper berries as I did or you may leave it as is.  For 4  large heads of cabbage I added 1/2 Tbls. of caraway and 8 fresh picked juniper  berries.  If you would like a stronger flavor by all means add more. You can also add other veggies like carrots, beets, purple cabbage, onion, turnips, or any winter veg really.  I hope you enjoy making your own and eating it too!

(Happy to report that our water is back on and pump is working better than ever!)

Love Me Some Lumpia

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O-Kay, enough already with the socio-politico truther posts.  I say let’s eat!

Lumpia is so versatile. You can wrap a won-ton wrapper around almost anything and either boil, bake, or fry them. You can also use egg-roll wrappers if you want to make them bigger.  If you’re feeling extra motivated you can even make your own extra-large special wrappers like they do in the old country.

I’ll give you 3 fillings to choose from.  Two for the omnivores, and a vegetarian one also.

You need:

Won-ton or Egg-roll wrappers (2-3 packs, if you have extra don’t worry, you’ll want to make this again)

Oil

Water

Egg

Beef, Chicken or Veggie filling

Beef filling :

1/2 lb. of ground or finely minced beef

1 C. cooked green beans, chopped fine

1 C. bean sprouts, chopped fine

1/2 C. water chestnuts, diced small

1/2 C. red bell pepper, diced small

1/2 onion diced small

1/2 C. celery, finely chopped

1-2 Tbls minced, fresh garlic

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

2 or 3 dashes of soy sauce to taste

In a large pan, brown beef.  Add onion, celery and pepper. After a minute or so add water chestnuts, garlic, beans, and bean sprouts. Turn down heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 min. Remove from  heat and let cool before handling.  Drain broth before using filling. (save for soup or gravy)

Chicken filling:

1 C. diced, cooked chicken

2 C. cabbage, shredded and chopped fine

1 C. bean sprouts, chopped fine

1/2 C. carrots shredded and chopped fine

1/2 C. green onions/scallions, chopped fine

2 Tbls chicken bouillon

black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in pan on medium-low heat and cover. Check and stir occasionally for 10-15 min.  Remove from heat, drain broth, (keep for soup later) and let cool before handling.

Vegetarian filling:

1/2 head of cabbage, shredded and minced fine

3 carrots, shredded and minced

1 large onion, diced fine

3 stalks celery, minced

1 C. bean sprouts

1/4 C. water chestnuts, minced

2 Tbls. vegetarian chicken broth powder

1 tsp red pepper flakes or a couple of dashes of Tabasco

1 egg & small amount water

Place carrots, celery and onion in pan, cover and leave on med-low heat for 5 minutes or so. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 more minutes. Drain, reserve broth for soup later, and let cool before handling.

Rolling the Lumpia:

Beat egg with 2-3 Tbls water to use to seal wrappers.

Here is a cute cartoon I found that shows how to wrap a lumpia.  I roll away from myself and this shows completely the opposite of my method, but it’s cute.  And even I can admit that my way is not the only way.

If you want to you can boil these.  Drop them into boiling water and wait until the texture and color of the wrapper changes from opaque to translucent.  I prefer them fried in the traditional way.  Or, rather almost traditional.  I like to fry them for about 30 seconds then place on a stone in the oven to finish them off. Turn them to evenly brown if you do finish them in the oven.

You can dip it in either of the sauces below:

Garlic Sauce: (best if made the day before to let flavors meld)

1/2 C. each soy sauce & rice wine vinegar*

6-8 cloves garlic, pressed

red pepper flakes to taste

Blend all thoroughly, serve at room temp with lumpia, spring rolls, or egg rolls

Sweet & Sour Sauce:

1 C. each soy sauce  & ketchup

1-1/2 C. acidic fruit juice (like orange, lemon, lime, pineapple, grapefruit)

1 tsp rice wine vinegar*

2 Tbls sugar (brown or white)

1 tsp fresh minced ginger

red pepper flakes to taste

1 Tbls cornstarch, arrowroot powder or other thickener

Blend thickener with a bit of the fruit juice.  Add all ingredients into pot and bring to boil.  Lower heat to simmer, stirring often until sauce is thickened.  Place parchment, or wax paper, directly on top of sauce to prevent skin from forming.

* can substitute white vinegar

Wild & Crazy

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taken by Sequoia Collier (2006)

We live in Blackberry heaven! They are even considered a nuisance up here to some folks. I haven’t found that to be the case and could eat them all year! It’s winter so we have to settle for frozen berries, but fresh picked is the best of course, and we have a couple of great spots for that. A slow, shaded creek full of mint and other wild herbs behind our friend Ralph’s studio is the best. He’s a love and asks only one thing in return for all the berries we can pick anytime we can pick them.  A pie seems to be small payment for all that fresh fruit.  I am glad to do it.  Here is a recipe for a blackberry goody I think you might enjoy.

Cobbler

note: if you don’t have a Pastry Cutter, you can substitute it by using a pair of butter knives (one in each hand) and drawing them across each other to “scissor” the flour and butter until crumbly.  This takes about 10 minutes in fast motion to do it right.  Use a rubber mat under your bowl or it will be annoyingly wobbly, and you will chase it all over the countertop.

Basic dough:

2 1/2 C. flour

1 C. cold butter

pinch of salt

1/4 C. cold water

Add salt to flour in large bowl, (no need to sift) and cut in butter that has been cut into quarters.  Knead with hands as you add water a little at a time.  If dough becomes too sticky sprinkle a bit more flour over it.  Wrap in a slightly damp towel and chill.

Filling:

Layer a larger casserole with about 4 1/2 C. berries, (really any fruit) and a sprinkle of sugar, with small dots of butter to equal about another 1/4 C. total.  When you are done layering and sprinkling and dotting, you will have a nice full dish ready to be topped.

Some folks like a biscuit type dough for the top of their cobbler, this is more flaky pastry type.  On a floured surface roll out your dough lightly to about 1/4″ thick.  Cut in 1″ strips and make a lattice or basket weave with them over the top of the sugared fruit. Leave small spaces between the woven dough to let air out. You can leave big spaces if you like.  Sprinkle top lightly with sugar before baking.  You can also brush dough with water,  butter, or milk before the sprinkle.

Place on a baking sheet to catch spills.  Bake in a 325 degree oven for 55 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

More Wild Food

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Aren’t these lovely?  Wild harvested Morels.  Such a tasty treat.  Look around in your area to see what you can harvest in the wild.  You might be surprised.  These went into a sauce for pasta, but they are also great in soups, omelettes,  and sauted with garlic in butter.

Try this super easy tempura batter:

1 C. ice water, 1 C. flour (any kind, experiment if you want), and 1 large egg.

for the mushrooms: slice in quarters or half, lengthwise. Pat dry, and drop in batter. Let rest a moment so batter can seep into the grooves.  With chopsticks or tongs, remove mushroom from batter and gently place in hot oil to deep fry.  Remove with a strainer or “bird’s nest” when golden brown.  Serve like they are or with your favorite dipping sauce.

You can use this same batter with almost any veggie.

(note: I have no idea why my picture doesn’t show up here, but if you click the little box it will take you to see it)

Make Your Own Candy

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I used to make tons of candy for the holidays, but not so much anymore.  I’ve been thinking I could do some up for Valentine’s Day coming up, but I need to make some recipe changes.

Would you like to make this?

                                                         Without any of this . . . .

All you need is 3 (or 4) ingredients:

A bag of unsweetened, shredded coconut,

1/4 C. syrupy sweetener like agave, brown rice syrup, or honey,

1 bag of OG dark chocolate chips or chunks,

small bit (maybe 1/4 C.) of honey comb or beeswax (optional)

Bring the sweetener to a rolling boil and remove from the stove.  Add coconut into pan and stir quickly to coat all of the shreds well.  Slightly oil your hands and begin shaping bars as soon as the mixture is cool enough.  You can scoop out spoonfuls while it’s still hot and let them cool on a piece of parchment or a plate before you shape each one.

Chill bars for an hour or so, and slowly melt chocolate on medium heat over a double-boiler, or 2 pans that can act as a double-boiler.  If you aren’t careful you can burn the chocolate and it will turn grainy and crumbly.  Not what you want.  So watch it carefully, and if it gets too thick, drizzle the tiniest amount of non-GMO veggie oil into the chocolate and watch it come back to creamy smoothness.  It’s like a chocolate miracle.  Adding the beeswax to the chocolate makes the candy harden easier and melt slower. You can skip it though, and have a dandy candy with out it.  If you do decide to use honeycomb or beeswax, drop it in with the unmelted chocolate and blend thoroughly as it melts.

If your bars are solid enough stick a fork in them and dip into melted chocolate.  You can also just drop the bars into the chocolate and fish them out with a fork or a candy dipper. Let the  excess chocolate drip off back into the pan before you place them aside to cool and harden.     ENJOY!

A Little Weird But Heart Shaped

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I was working with Farmer Dale at the Greenhouse, and we came across a huge Kohlrabi that was heart shaped.  After recognizing it as the obvious metaphor it is for my world, I wondered how I would use it. I didn’t really want the julianne strips in my salad kind of Kohlrabi so I went on a Google search.

I like this :     http://rosajackson.blogspot.com/2008/03/celeriac-and-kohlrabi-rsti.html

and I will definately try this  :    http://veggiecookbook.wordpress.com/2007/05/04/noolkol-kohlrabi-kalan/

although I think I’ll skip the methi seeds as I’m not a big fan of coriander.

By the way sour curd is like our cottage cheese only with a more yogurty flavor.  I think a good subtitute might be 3 parts cottage cheese to 1 part plain yogurt.

And I found this out too:

  • Low in calories, only 19 for a half cup raw, sliced
  • High in dietary fiber, 2.5 grams for one-half cup
  • Potassium content peaks at 245 grams for one-half cup
  • Vitamin content for that same one-half cup includes 25 I.U. vitamin A, 43.4 mg. vitamin C, 11.3 mcg folic acid, and 16.8 mg. calcium.

The Very Best Pumpkin Soup

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My friend Kate makes the best Thai Pumpkin soup!  She recently shared her recipe and I thought I would pass it on.

You need:

2 TBL oil 1 onion chopped

1 TBL brown sugar

2-4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 small pumpkin, cooked, peeled and chopped into chunks

1 cup water or broth

1 15 oz. can coconut milk

3 TBL hot sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy)

1 TBL lemon grass, chopped, or 1 TBL grated lemon peel

1 TBL fish sauce (I skip this and just add 1 TBL salt)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I skipped this too)

Cook the onion with the oil, brown sugar and garlic until soft. Add the pumpkin, water, coconut milk, chili sauce, lemon and fish sauce (if using). Simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove and puree in a blender until smooth. Yum!

(I can totally vouch for the Yum!)

Natie’s Bean Burgers

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When my youngest was a little guy he was very stubborn when it came to trying new foods.  His tiny lips would clamp shut and there was not a thing I could do but wait.  And cajole, I did a whole lot of cajoling. Have you ever cajoled a tiny human?

I did usually succeed in getting him to try the food, however there was another long wait as he chewed.  He would shoot up his pointer finger as I asked, “well?”.  That tiny digit, was at times the focus of everyone at the dinner table. He would tip his head to one side, then the other, tuck his chin into his chest, and look off into an unknown distance only he could see in his 3-yr-old mind.  All with his finger pointing upward, instructing us to wait for his response until he was finished chewing.  While I appreciated his good manners at such a young age and him not wanting to talk with his mouth full, I was amused each time as he simply nodded his approval.   It was unusual that he didn’t like the new dish, but if that was the case there was absolutely no wait for that response.   He let me know immediately if he didn’t like something.

Here is a Natie approved recipe:

You need: 2 c. cooked pinto beans,

1 c. oats, (or any mixture of wheat germ, ground flax seed, bread crumbs etc.)

1/4 -1/2 c. sunflower seeds,

1/4 c. carrot or zuchinni, or both (shred and then chop shreds),

1/2 an onion, minced

3 fat cloves garlic, minced

Salt, Pepper, and Chili Flakes to suit your individual taste.

1 egg (skip if you’re vegan)

Mix all thouroughly and mash beans as you mix.  Use hands and knead ingredients together for a minute or two.  Form into firm balls and make patties.  Fry in small amount of oil.  Serve like any other burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mayo, mustard, ketchup all on a nice, toasted, whole wheat bun.

It’s Everywhere

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Chicory flower

Being blessed with the chance to live in the country has given me the opportunity to live the way I choose.  I choose to explore this Earth and seek out her gifts to utilize as intended.  I have discovered many treasures during my expeditions.  I think it would be impossible for Monsatan to control all of the food in the world. There’s too much of it.  Most people aren’t even aware of how much wild food there is.

On one of our home school excursions, I took the children down to our creek and had them taste fresh cattail.  They are sort of  like a salty wilted cucumber. They were surprised you could eat them.  Take a look at how many cattail there are in the wild.  Just peel the bottom and eat.

There are Salsify and Chicory roots to roast in almost any field or pasture.  Salsify is good for the digestive system and Chicory is a great coffee substitute. In this area the wild garlic is within walking distance.  That was a good find!

You can make a salad of nasturtium, pansy, dandelion, and many other flowers, even some of the leaves can be used too. There are juniper berries, and rose hips for teas. There’s even a candy to make with nothing more than powdered sugar and rose petals. This is very easy and has a nice delicate taste, suitable for an afternoon tea, or a brunch sweet.  Just chop the fresh, washed, petals and place in a morter.  As you pulverize with the pestle, add small amounts of powdered sugar until you make a paste that is the consistancy of dry gum.  Form into small dime sized patties and chill.

I encourage you to look where you live, and find some wild food to try this spring, even if it’s just a dandelion added to your dinner salad. Make sure to use plants that have not been sprayed with poisons, and wash everything before you eat it.

Purple Salsify