Grain free “Greens” pie and transitions

Quotations hug the word greens- just so you know it is not a green pie with an accidental s. It’s a nut crust stuffed with beet greens, green curly kale, lacinato kale, red russian kale, a fair amount of garlic, a little egg and a sprinkle of peppery goat cheese. Yes we do have a lot of kale in the garden.

greens pie @wendyellenthomas.com 2014-6

A recent three day mini yoga workshop left me high on breath and thoughts. Trying to be present while practicing produces quite a large container full of ideas to be processed either drifting off to sleep at night or on an early waking morning with time to contemplate.Which means don’t reach for your phone. Let the mind percolate.

Taught by Christine at our local studio, Orcas Mandala, we had a two hour session each morning for three days. A morning of breaking down sun salutations and solar poses, followed by a morning of moon salutation and lunar poses, ending on the third day with yin and restorative poses (almost equal in yumminess to a morning of scones and tea in bed -really-). The point of it all, was understanding the little transitions say, within the sun salutation. And the transition say, of summer to fall. How to find balance between poses and to find balance on these windy days that pull the leaves right off their limbs. It’s a time of being a little unsettled and redirecting routines. Even this post is a little scattered – but I’m going to be ok with that:)

The farm reveals blocks of time that pass. With the garden, I think in terms of cycles. Here we were in May…

early spring garden-13

The new kids in the pasture…

early spring garden-2

And now inching towards late Sept we are days short of pulling up the jungle of summer veggies and covering beds.

Sept garden-3 Sept garden-5

This is a very busy time with harvest, processing and putting things to rest for some down time (like the holidays- HA). But at least the garden gets a rest. And it’s the back to school routine. I myself have to work on staying grounded. Weekend days my kitchen looks like this.

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And this is not very grounding.

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I’m canning, drying, making kraut and kombucha; juicing, smoothies, coffee or tea for the morning- a dish to take to the neighbor’s potluck, and what shall I do with the beets? More pickled? Do I have enough spices? Should I try to harvest the cherry tomatoes this afternoon? The partying fruit flies in the pear basket shout priority. How about let’s tack on making 100 mini cookies for a friend (smiles) on and on…

greens pie @wendyellenthomas.com 2014-4

I must pat myself on the back for what I accomplish in the day vs what remains on the list. Last night after canning and drying pears and making this greens pie for the neighbor’s potluck and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the mess, I had to march myself upstairs and lie on the mat. A little back and forth over the foam roller, up and down my spine,  a couple of stretches and a few deep breaths. My mind settled in a matter of ten minutes. Remember, this advice comes from someone (me) who is no yogi guru but will attest to the benefits of my rekindled relationship with yoga. Go get em grasshopper. And then back down to the kitchen, minus the tension, to clean up before dinner. On to the pie…

This nut crust consisted of 2 cups of ground nut meal- which came from making almond milk. I finally tired of tossing organic nut meal to the chickens. The last few batches I dried in the dehydrator at about 125° for a couple hours, then whizzed it in the vitamix. And no, that pear has nothing to do with the pie.

greens pie @wendyellenthomas.com 2014-5

So 2 cups almond meal, 1/2 cup of fresh ground walnuts, 1/3 cup coconut oil, a pinch of salt, 1 egg and about 1/4 cup of water. I mixed it by hand and pressed it into the pie dish. And don’t go expecting some light, flaky quiche crust because you will be sorely disappointed. This is a healthy, nutty and for sure tasty bottom to your greens.

greens pie @wendyellenthomas.com 2014

The wads of greens came from the garden. Beet greens and chopped stems, 3 varieties of kale, 4 cloves of garlic, an overgrown green onion and a little salt. I’d call it a very big bowl full. These guys really cook down. I tossed in 4 eggs to help bind it a little. And I topped the pie with a little fresh goat cheese.

There’s no proper recipe here- that would probably delay this post another couple weeks. It’s here to perk your interest and give you something to work from.

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Here’s to feet on the ground and peaceful moments in the mind as the wind blows.

Happy Fall.

And now for your four legged smile moment. Otis taking on cardboard…

Otis takes on cardboard-3Otis takes on cardboard-2Otis takes on cardboardOtis takes on cardboard-4Otis takes on cardboard-5

And I can’t resist adding this on- the goats new play thing. Building them solid blocks this fall is also on the list instead of makeshift furniture with no purpose.

Sept garden Sept garden-2

Officially the end.

A year in sourdough

I’d like to start with a story of my one hundred year old starter, passed down from generation to generation but alas this is just not so. It started with this little packet of freeze-dried magic from Ed Woods… who I assume was a real person but I’ve no personal connection to except for our http://www.com encounter. sourdough@wendyellenthomas.com I ripped open the packet and followed the instructions to start developing my newbie starter. It took a mere five days if I remember correctly. We have had a relationship for about 18 months now so the beginning is a little fuzzy.

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I continued to nurture it with additional flour and water and the powdered stuff came alive

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Until it nearly exploded

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Full of life it was…I had to get used to the idea of either using and replenishing or tossing a little to feed it. I even had two jars going so I’d have a back-up. But I’m working from just one jar now.

sourdough@wendyellenthomas.com

My original inspirations and methods were sparked by Audra at Girl Meets Dirt. She has a very informative post to read word for word. She’s made some beautiful bread.

I also refer to this simple recipe from Stone Soup blog – rustic sourdough.

I somewhat sacrificed my Creuset dutch oven, unintentionally. I do believe a dutch oven has been one secret to success. I would also buy a cheap one if I was starting over.

Sourdough bread-11

It really only takes one baking round at 500° to toast and speckle it black inside and out. But the enamel has not cracked and the handle has not melted.

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I start the night before by weighing all the ingredients… Check out Stone Soup. Sometimes I’ll use 20% whole wheat. So 65 grams of whole wheat bread flour and 260 grams of unbleached organic white flour.

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I tend to keep a fairly hydrated starter. You can see the consistency here- it’s practically pourable. Here is a site that explains in detail about hydration. I have a broader sense of hydration and just sort of eyeball it. I might get more into it if/when I’m ready for the next learning curve.

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I just bring the ingredients together with a spoon. I let it do its thing overnight.

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And when my starter has had regular attention it will go something like this-bubbly and alive. When not, I just try to give it a little more time to develop.

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I have also just started with a sponge and it too is happy when the starter is- The sponge is just the starter with a portion of the flour added to work a little before the rest of the flour and salt are added. Sometimes I skip the sponge.

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The next morning I massage it out to a rectangle and start the ‘no knead’ method. Brilliant
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Then fold the long edge on top down and the bottom edge up and fold in thirds

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I love to make bread on a day off and just do the turns every 45 minutes or so- I go for 3-4 total. After the last turn I put it in a clean, floured tea towel. Or if I want to make it during the work week- I’ll do it in stages over a couple days in and out of the fridge and it will get nice and sour. The trick, I think, is not to be in a rush.

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I wrap it up in the floured towel for a final rise for an hour. During the last 30 minutes I set the dutch oven in the oven and put it up to 500°- My oven temp can run a little under- so I might vary 25-50 degrees.

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I gently unwrap the tea towel and it goes carefully, topside down, into the hot dutch oven. I will score the top with a sharp knife (a bread razor is ideal). The lid goes on, back to the oven, and the loaf begins to cook. The trapped steam creates an incredible crust and I’m not having to mist the oven to create humidity. Out comes something like this

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Or this

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And this… sourdough pizza crust cooked on a stone in my gas grill at about 500+°- SO GOOD! It was last summer with all our garden veggies for toppings- you may see this again.

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When the starter is neglected –

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You will see this brown liquid forming- just a little alcohol and acetic acid. If it’s pink and stinky you are in trouble and it may be time for the garbage disposal funeral. The King Arthur site has some good info here. And it really takes some serious neglect to do it in.

When we are in gluten free periods the starter gets a little put off. I take it out for a night- drain the liquid off the top and let it get good and warmed up say overnight. Then I leave about a cup of starter and feed it for a couple days. Sourdoughhome.com is another valuable resource.

Here’s the latest loaf after a little starter revival..not too shabby.

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Every now and again a bread loaf. But I just can’t get the same crust. And we are so spoiled.sourdough@wendyellenthomas.com

This one was particularly holey.

Sourdough bread-13 It toasted up nicely with some homemade orange marmaladeSourdough bread-14Last but not least – I want to give you a link to a woman in the UK- She offered kind assistance when I first called for starter rescue help. I love her recipes and philosophy. A good place to start on her site is with an informative post on why sourdough is easier to digest than “healthy” store bought bread.

Happy bread making and eating:)

sticky orange and almond cakes {gf}

These little orange and almond sticky cakes and me go back.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.comWay back. Back to my time in Paris working in and out of a kitchen that I think two people could maybe stand in… if one of those people was a child at least. I’m going to have to dig out some pics of that adorable little kitchen that served me and my two kids well for two years- and quite a few others for whom I catered.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.comIn real time it was 2004. Only ten years ago. But in terms of life chapters it could have been decades for some. I have the capacity to pick up and go and completely change my life and its circumstances. This can be a blessing and a curse and all in between. And I’m sure my kids wouldn’t disagree. I will say our time in France had a profound impact on broadening our cultural awareness, language skills, and we were flung far from our comfort zones. Spending nine months in a cooking school in an “anglo” class at Ferrandi and three months working in a restaurant gave me a foundation to begin building my cooking skills and the passion to bring cooking and merchandising together. I spent hours walking the streets of Paris, taking notes and creating Chez Chloe first in my head and on paper, then opened the original retail store and cafe in 2006. The cafe, though popular, lasted only two seasons. Not cut out for the stress of food service, I opted to keep going with only the retail. I suspect you might here more of this story as time goes on.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.comBut for now – let’s get on with these sticky cakes!

  • 2 whole oranges
  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 250g (8oz) sugar
  • 250g (8oz) almond powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder

This is such a simple recipe. It was gluten free before there was ‘gluten free’. I love this orange cake because it is always a no fail recipe, it taste good and travels well. The original recipe comes from a DK book, Canapés, published in 1999 in the UK. I think I picked up this version from the old Librarie Gourmande when it was small and still located in the 6th arrondissement. Published in 2007,  Hors d’Ouervres, the US version is just as good and I always highly recommend it.

In the past, I have topped them with a little greek yogurt or a yogurt/ whipped cream blend. And they are darling with a garnish of pomegranate seeds as is suggested in the book. But for this round, simple sifted powdered sugar was my desire.

{print sticky orange and almond cakes}

You start with boiling 2 oranges till completely cooked- then set them aside to cool. This is the only reason you need to think ahead as they take about 90 minutes to cook and then another 20 minutes to cool.

boiled oranges @wendyellenthomas.comThen split them up and take out the pips

orangesPop them in the cuisinart. Or maybe a blender but honestly I’ve never tried it.

Almond Orange Cake GF-3And chew those puppies up.

Almond Orange Cake GF-4Throw in 6 eggs, 8oz of sugar, 8oz of almond meal and 1 tsp baking soda. That’s it.

Almond Orange Cake GF-5I line my 9×13 glass baking dish with parchment paper

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and here is how the thin poured batter looks

Almond Orange Cake GF-7Bake at 350 for about 40-45 minutes. It should be firm to the touch. Pull it out and as soon as you can, gently remove the cake from the baking dish and cool on a rack (with parchment). When cooled you can pull off the paper and cut.I use to follow the book’s suggestion of a jelly roll pan so they would be a little thinner. And I’d use a 1″ round biscuit cutter to turn them into bite size pieces with piped topping and a little pretty somethin somethin.

For this batch – I cut the edges off (and ate them), I like to think for a clean edge but maybe it’s just so I could get my paws on some without actually eating the ‘good’ parts.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.com

After the edges are off, I cut it into little individual square cakes.

I brought these to the concert for the band members of Ollie’s Seattle Tentet, who had their debut concert on Orcas Island a couple weeks ago:)

Almond Orange Cake GF-9

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.com

So there you have it friends. Try it you’ll like it. Makes for a nice brunch menu item as well.

Have a great weekend!

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.com

savory galette: ham, chèvre, leeks

Savory Galette-wendyellenthomas.com-17We rang in a quiet but lovely New Year’s Eve this year here on Orcas Island. A little food and drink at our local favorite wine and tapas bar, The Barnacle, in Eastsound and then a drive past a couple options of music and dance. Pausing near the front entrance, with the music escaping and small groups of people laughing, milling in, out and about, filled our social card for the night. A movie and a split of champagne would fulfill our needs.

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spiced applesauce cake

applesauce cakeSo you might be thinking this is a little more fall like and it is similar to the apple quince crumb cake but to me it’s more of a grab and go slice. I’d eat this after a workout.  And it is a great little cake for January when you want to feel like you are eating on the lighter side. When you still want something sweet but not like cranberry cheesecake or chocolate mousse sweet. This easy to make and easy to eat cake can double as a breakfast cake or afternoon tea cake. OR if you want, slap a little cinnamon cream cheese or buttercream frosting on it, or spiced caramel sauce or how about Fat Toad’s cinnamon caramel sauce… and call it dessert. You can find this amazing goat caramel sauce at Chez Chloe but to buy now visit Fat Toad🙂

Fat Toad cinnamon caramel sauce

This works:

Applesauce cake-19

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Apple quince crumb cake

applecrumbcake and pressing 2013-5

I’m still enjoying the last bits of Germany. I’ve walked the architecturally divine streets of the small town of Detmold, the location of the Hochschule für Musik where O is officially finishing up his last semester as Professor. And we spent several days in Babblesburg with my Schwiegermutter (mother-in-law) and Schwägerin (sister-in-law) and family in Babelsburg, which lies just outside of Potsdam, (which lies just outside of Berlin:) But before I share photos on my days here, I must get this cinnamon apple crumb cake recipe out to you. If you ever happened to search the Internet with the not so original words apple crumb cake, you might have already stumbled across this recipe from buttercreamblondie. It is a go to this fall for apple cake. I researched quite a few recipes and am not sure how this one was developed but I very much like the ratios. I followed the recipe exactly except for the addition of about a cup of honey poached quince. Ok I’m lying a little because the first time I had to cut in 1/2 cup full fat yogurt cause I didn’t have enough sour cream. Anybody out there watch the sitcom The Middle? Imagine me tucking my head to my chest and whispering “I’m lying”.

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Fall recipes… revisited.

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This looks familiar your saying to yourself. Well at least those who have been hanging around these parts for the past year. And well, if you haven’t been, nor have you had the inclination to dig into the past, I’ll make it easy for you.  Your starter, main and dessert. We’ll start with dessert first.

Pumpkin Bread pudding with Spicy Apple Caramel sauce

This is also my little hello and no, I haven’t fallen off the edge of the blog sphere. My bricks and mortar shop, Chez Chloe (check out the new website), had a hopping summer and I’ve been busy busy preparing for the holidays. My dear husband and number one eater is off to Germany for one last round of teaching and then turning in his papers to become a full time US of A resident on the one and only Orcas Island in the Evergreen State! Three cheers!!! My cooking and photos tend to wain when he is away.

Here is a starter that is a little out of the ordinary. Try this with your next fall meal. It was a hit.

Pumpkin and Feta Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

pumpkinandfetasalad

I see I was having some fun with fonts last fall:)

Here is a wonderful stew to serve between your starter and dessert.  Inspired by a post from my friend at Karista’s Kitchen, Mulligatawny is an anglo-Indian recipe often served with chicken but I used beef and will make it again soon with lamb.

This salad, stew and dessert made the perfect fall meal.

Mulligatawny

mulligatawney soup

 

Hope all is right in your world and the colorful leaves fall gently around you.

Enjoy.

Tschüß xx

Orange Carrot Muffins with Chai Glaze

Hi gang… here’s a little healthy yum to share.

Orange carrot muffins with a fresh brewed chai tea glaze.orange carrot muffins-6It’s been a busy month as you might have seen but there’s a little routine starting to rear it’s head. The garden grows and with plenty of grass clippings for mulch, we might actually stay ahead of the weeds this summer… (we’ll revisit that thought in August!) Kale on the left and broccoli on the right has tiny baby heads beginning to form.

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