Summer salads

It’s so summer. I could almost say the hottest, driest summer I can remember. It’s been roughly 6 weeks that have reminded me of  growing up in Florida where virtually everyday the sun rises and stays out shining hot. Except here it’s about 70 degrees instead of 90. I’ll take it.

We earned it here in the PNW. I didn’t get the garden in till the third week of May because it was so wet. The four leggers and 2 leggers were slopping around in mud pretty much till the end of May.

Our four goat mama’s  cranked out three sets of triplets and one set of twins. We had a full house with 11 kids and 4 moms. And so we are building a new BARN. Ollie is so supportive of this venture- it also gives his farming roots a chance to grow and thrive…  The boat and/or sports car has been bumped to the next decade:)

We (well they) will be moving in by September and we’ll be ready to bring on the winter.

wendyellenthomas.com

The garden, though late, is in full swing. We are chowing down on green salads daily and actually got tomatoes early due to my $179 hoop house. We added support with rebar stakes and it’s holding out great. Plenty of basil and tomatillos this year!

wendyellenthomas.comThe first little ones….

We are eating lots of these kinds of salads…

Broccoli & red cabbage-

  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • ½ shredded or finely cut fennel
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 T cider vinegar

A little salt and pepper and a dash of honey or maple syrup if you want it a little sweeter but the fennel also gives it a little sense of sweet,

Preserved lemon and herbed quinoa salad- No real recipe for this one.

It’s just chopped up preserved lemon (I’ve been making a lot of this), a handful of chopped parsley, a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh mint and cilantro and toasted pine nuts with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a little  honey apple cider vinegar ( I love this stuff).

And here’s one of my favorite green salads with steak, broccoli salad, white kimchi, spiralized zucchini, a little of our house feta,  avocado, last of our currants and a lime vinaigrette. A little fresh mint on this one as well.  Boy if we could grow citrus and avocado We’d have it all!

On the farm…

Big brown eyed Else

The gang hanging on a late morning
Juan in a box
Mr. Brown posing
Chickens getting their fill of whey

Dinah helping the electrician-

See that bit of green leaf? I’m holding it. I take a bunch of greens, shake them and run and the group chases after me. Fun times!Happy Summer Days!

wendy

Carrot, ginger, turmeric, cashew smoothie

AKA  “Golden Bliss smoothie” – thought I should just say what it is straight off there in the title but I like Golden Bliss:)

We’ve been drinking this colorful, energy packed smoothie many a winter morning and straight on into spring. It’s packed with protein,  immune boosting and  anti-inflammatory properties.

I could drink it everyday because it tastes so damn good but we alternate with the berry spinach smoothie. The carrot conversation was happening for me as we (me again at least) have been influenced by media that carrots are high sugar (albeit natural) and carbs and then the Glycemic Index (GI) gets thrown in there and that sounds serious. In the last decade research on not only GI is readily available but also GL- Glycemic Load- which is how the body processes the food. It’s similar with our cholesterol scores. You’ve got to read the fine print- HDL LDL and ratio… Here are a couple links to check out on GI and GL  …..  TTYL (just kidding).

I start off juicing organic carrots, lemon, fresh peeled ginger and turmeric. Everything organic if possible (Here’s 2017 dirty dozen). Lemon helps flush your system in so many ways. And these two roots bring a plethora (like a ton) of healthy benefits. Ginger supports the GI tract, has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties as well as aids in lowering cancer risks. And the same can be said for turmeric along with aiding in detoxification and which when combined with carrots also helps with the absorption of beta-carotene. Please read further in the links above. Turmeric has become so popular you can generally find it in the grocery store and we are lucky to have organic turmeric in our local co-op.  Sometimes I’ll change it up and add a little beet too.

Our Champion is a power horse and it’s easy to use and rinse.

golden bliss smoothieI’ll shoot for a cup of juice per person. And usually after the veggies I’ll run a little coconut water through the Champion to work through the last bits of pulp. Then just take the juice to your blender- I LOVE my VITAMIX and am not paid to say that (but would not be opposed to that).  Add plain yogurt- I am using our goat yogurt, cashews, raw date, a few ice cubes and a grind or 2 of pepper to help with the absorption of the turmeric. I will also add a scoop of whey protein but you’ve got protein already with your yogurt and nuts… up to you.

Lovely date- about a half of a pitted date per portion.

I’ll give it a good couple minutes in the blender till the color lightens up and the healthy oils in the nuts have broke free. And that’s it! It’s so good.

And here’s what else I’m doing to extend on my daily smoothies when I’m not juicing the base or use to make a hot immune boosting tea. I juice a large amount of ginger, turmeric and lemon and freeze it in ice cubes.

frozen ginger and turmeric shots

Totally simple and a good way to keep this  incredible combo at your fingertips (your soon to be yellow fingertips)!

Golden Bliss smoothie- carrot and cashew

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 15mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An energy and nutrient packed way to start the day!

I’m using a Champion Juicer and Vitamix

Ingredients

  • 3 medium carrots washed and tops trimmed
  • ½ peeled lemon
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, peeled (approx .3-.5oz)
  • 2 inch piece of turmeric, peeled (approx .5oz)
  • 4-6 oz plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • ½ raw, pitted date
  • dash of black pepper
  • OPTIONAL – protein powder
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Directions

  1. Juice carrots, lemon, ginger and turmeric. Top off with water or coconut water to make 1 fluid cup.
  2. Place vegetable juice in a blender and add yogurt, cashews, date, pepper and ice cubes and protein powder if you choose to use it.
  3. Blend together till color lightens- approx 1-2 minutes on high.

The sun has made limited visits and the mud is making a solid effort to dry up! We are planting seeds and watching buds bloom.

Happy Spring,

xx

White Kimchi with Pear & Fennel

Inspired by the fermenting demo at 610 Magnolia with Chef Edward Lee, I made this white kimchi with pear and fennel within days of returning home from the IACP conference in Louisville. It’s loosly based on the recipe from Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee.

White Kimchi w/Pear and Fennel

  • Time: 1hr + 2-6hrs soaking
  • Print

*Note: Allow 2-24 hrs to soak cabbage in salted water at room temperature

Ingredients

  • 1 large savoy cabbage 3-4lbs cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 4-6 qts water for soaking cabbage
  • 1 bulb fennel, tops trimmed(save for something else), chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 pear, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 8 ounces of daikon radish,peeled and chopped
  • 6 green onions cut in ½ inch pieces
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ bunch cilantro, stems trimmed and discarded, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2oz ginger, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • 2 TB fish sauce
  • 2 TB honey
  • ½ cup of whey if available

Directions

  • Cut the cabbage into quarters, cut out the core and discard. Coarsely chop cabbage into 1-2 inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
  • Toss in 1 cup of salt and massage into cabbage.
  • Cover the cabbage with water and place a weight (like a plate) on top to submerge cabbage. Let sit at room temperature for 2-6 hours (I’ll let it sit overnight even).
  • Drain cabbage and rinse. You will see it has begun to soften.
  • Chop the fennel, onion, pear, bell pepper, daikon, green onions and jalapeño pepper.
  • Mince the garlic and ginger and mix together with the ¼ cup of salt, honey, fish sauce and whey if available.
  • Mix cabbage and all remaining ingredients thoroughly and stuff into ½ gallon mason jar. Have an extra quart jar available for back up!
  • Take your fist and mash down the kimchi to bring up the liquid.
  • Place swatch of cheesecloth on the jar and place a lid on it.
  • After two days, gently open jar, “burp” it and make sure contents are under the liquid.
  • Leave at room temperature for 3-7 days and then refrigerate.
  • NOTE: I will let mine ferment on the counter for up to 2-3 weeks if it’s in a cooler pantry. This comes down to factors of room temperature and personal taste preferences. It will continue to ferment in the fridge- just not as quickly.

I packed all this into a half gallon canning jar along with another quart jar. It’s always a little give and take depending on the size of the cabbage.

I tried something Chef Lee did, putting a swatch of cheesecloth just under the lid. It keeps the contents off the underside of the lid.

After only 3 days it was burping and bubbling and the solids were completely immersed in the liquid. Using the whey does help expedite this process. You can either find someone who is making cheese, strain some from yogurt…Or just skip it. I’ve made pounds and pounds without whey and they turned out great. I also prefer not use the rice flour slurry that Chef Lee uses in his recipes.

Chef Lee and Darra Goldstein, editor of Cured Magazine, hosted this pre conference event. If Darra has a fan club, I want in. She is a walking food fact and history encyclopedia.

He prepared Chow Chow, a fermented green tomato relish I’ll surely make in August.

A white kimchi like the one I’ve made today, pickled beets and pickled watermelon with peppercorns, fennel fronds, celery, dill allspice, clove and garlic.

These deviled eggs served at Chef Lee’s demo are garnished with pickled watermelon.

I’ll be making the white kimchi again for sure as well in the summer with produce from our own gardens (and may sell it under a new business name- #StarRouteOrcas). But I could not wait until summer to try putting together this recipe. For lack of napa cabbage I went for a nice big head of savoy.

So this conference really rocked my boat. I’ve hovered over it for years waiting for the right time to land.  And 2017 was it. Ollie came with and had the opportunity to teach for a day at the University of Louisville to boot. Score: Double tax deduction. There were informative breakout sessions on writing and cookbook publishing, the workings of SEO, finding your niche, keynote address on the culture of Southern Foods and plenty of networking and good food. My elevator pitch was pretty, how shall I say, weak. But I actually have a fair amount of confidence behind my year of exploration. My midlife awakening. I was quite chuffed around 4am the night before the conference thinking about midlife crisis and how that’s not what I am experiencing. I couldn’t wait to wake up and coin the midlifeawakening hashtag. Yeah… if I had thought about it three years ago maybe. Well, I wasn’t shy to # my thoughts to an already existing stream of midlife consciousness. It’s true. I’ve never been happier than I am right this moment. I had a lucrative couple years doing a job from which I gained friendships and knowledge to carry through life but a job I don’t want to carry into the next decade. My fingernails yearn to be packed with dirt and dough.

So I’m workshopping and conferencing to my hearts content this year. This winter/early spring at least till our four does have their babies (kids) and start making buckets of milk! And then I’ll be making loads of cheese!

Happy fermenting!

xx

wendy

Apple and Celeriac salad

This apple and celeriac salad brings a freshness and brightness to your meal while committing to the definition of “seasonal”.   And I say “seasonal” with the utmost respect. I’ve never been ready to give up bananas or avocados, chocolate, olives or other “staples”. Shit did I just do “quotes” again.  And I suppose those items fall under the definition of  “local”.  I can say I am not a proponent of berries, beans, tomatoes or summer squash in winter due to cost and moreover lack of taste. But on to “salad”!

apple and celeriac saladThis awkward root veggie, rather foreboding at face value, grows like a beet or kohlrabi.  With it’s thick roots and roughly a third of the ball in the ground and the rest nestled in the soil, it has a mild, almost sweet taste. See here.

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Lemon tahini sauce

Are you thinking what? Lemon tahini sauce? Really?

Yes. really. It’s basic and it’s so good. And we all need a reminder sometimes of the basics. I went to look up the recipe online only to find my favorite Mollie Katzen recipe. I searched my shelves at home high and low for my Moosewood Cookbook and Enchanted Broccoli Forest. I’m so sad. I think in an extreme Kon Mari moment I gave them away. I haven’t completely accepted that possibility and am hoping I will stumble across  them.veg-and-lemon-tahini-sauce-7

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Chunky Chicken and mushroom soup

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup…

chicken soupWe are working, I hope, through the last of the days on end rain storms where even the worms drown in unforgiving driveway puddles…

IMG_7389 and unplanned driveway streams…

IMG_7390Goats are hanging near the doorway..

IMG_7398As well as the dynamic duo…

IMG_7397

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zucchini pasta, kalamatas, sun dried tomatoes,basil and more

Here’s another summer dish that’s fitting for dinner and a great one to take to a potluck… How many of you go to potlucks? It’s a regular thing here on Orcas Island. We don’t have a lot of entertainment.I think this zucchini pasta loaded with kalamatas, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and red onion should peak the interest of the paleo and plant based eaters alike! And anyone in-between for that matter.

wendyellenthomas.comI got this handy dandy spiralizer that I’m sure I mentioned last summer. or did I?

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Grilled veggies, millet, greens, cocoa chili dressing

Grilled red peppers, yellow squash, zucchini and pork shoulder chops on a bed of greens and millet is topped with a dressing concocted of olive oil, grilled red pepper, cocoa powder,worcester sauce, honey and a dash of lemon. You can add as much heat as desired. This recipe is based on the one I found in the June issue of Yoga Journal (a favorite of mine) and I think it’s a great one for this holiday weekend.

summer veggies, cocoa chili dressing-6I think it would be just as lovely as it was written in Yoga Journal with grilled corn, black beans and a mesclun mix. But I opted for pork (just bought a LOT of local pork) and our garden greens which at the moment are tender young kale and spinach. I made the millet the night before and warmed it up with some broth- a little water and salt would do just fine.

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roasted beet soup

Spring is here and I’ve got little baby beet seedlings in the greenhouse but I can’t wait 65 days for them to make beets.

Roasted beet soup-7So until then I’m getting organic beets at the store. They are a vegetable, in my opinion, that spans all seasons. We ate this roasted beet soup hot and cold and both were delicious. So if you’re still freezing your tush off- heat it up. If you are in CA and it’s gone straight from winter to summer- keep it cool.

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Shakshuka- baked eggs, tomato and goodness

This dish has been floating in my thoughts since Feb 2014 when Chloe and I visited Irving Street Kitchen in Portland and I ate their, quote “Moroccan Slow Poached Eggs and Grilled Garlic Rubbed Toast”.It was spicy, simple yet had depth and very good.

Shakshuka @wendyellenthomas.com-8

The house smoked Tasso side of bacon also rang my bell. I basically searched online tomatoes and baked eggs and Shakshuka popped up. But really it’s not a name that’s going to stick in my overcrowded mind. I also reached for the wonderful Jerusalem Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. They have a fantastic website as well.

I drew, as always, from a combination of recipes- Jerusalem, David Liebowitz’s Shakshuka and a simple version in the NYTimes.

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