This is just a little something to ground you between the inevitable highs and lows of the holidays. Kale, white bean and sweet italian sausage from Skagit River Ranch It’s a moment to go to something simple, familiar – we aren’t re-inventing the wheel here. Maybe use a little of that soup stock from the turkey bones. I made about 6 quarts from two turkeys. It’s important to keep eating healthy for a majority of the time through this season. And honestly, we enjoy the holidays more if we don’t feel like we’ve completely fallen off the cliff with eating habits.
Life is going along here on the farm. Garden beds are mostly at rest, thirteen hens are laying about 6 eggs PER WEEK- need to work on that. I had to actually buy a dozen at the store- ouch. We are working on breeding Shirley our yearling goat. I’m so not getting any idea of when she’s in heat despite numerous youtube videos on said subject- followed by actual mating. wow. I seriously just want to get our own buck… hint hint:) I mean a critical point of having these darlings was to get milk if I remember correctly. And we can’t do that without babies!
But let’s move on…I’m not so chatty today.
I served this salad with a meal of slow cooked lamb and red rice. It’s similar to a fall salad from 2012 with feta and I used the same maple vinaigrette.
So this is far from Irish… but I’m not so on top of the calendar:)
Spring is so near I can practically touch it. The sun and cold do their dance like a strip tease that excites and taunts. You don’t know what’s coming next. I picked delicate new spinach and arugula leaves from plants in the greenhouse creating a bed for my baked salmon lunch today. This first minimal picking sparked a little excitement for the coming growing season. What I realize too, is I don’t mind the winter break and it almost takes a strong nudge to get me in the growing mood. Fresh garden food does not arrive without somebody’s hard work. My first little seeds, planted last weekend will become the seedlings for the first of spring planting. Brassica’s, lettuces, peas… the tomatoes and peppers will grow longer in the glass house.
What we relied on this winter besides store bought veggies was our fermented foods.
I don’t know why I say that except that many of the meat eaters just might turn their heads the other way. Myself included. It’s not an either/or. I love meat. And I’ve been absolutely content for a couple weeks to do without it. With the door closing on the holiday over-indulgence, I was more than ready to regain a little control over my eating. I’ve loved juicing over the years but have never honestly gone more than one day without solid food.
I love fermented foods. Their taste, their crunchy texture, the way they combine with a meal and how they are so damn good for our gut. Probiotics are big. Check out some related articles at the end of this post.
I think fermented food is the kale of last year.
And well, I love kale too. I can also sit and eat a half a pound of toffee, specifically the Hedgehog toffee that we started carrying, selling and sampling at the shop. I’m pretty well rounded that way:)
I have not only made my second batch of sauerkraut without having to look up maggot in the back of the book, The Art of Fermentation, but we have also eaten it. And liked it. go me.
I recommend Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, also Sandor Katz,
for the basics of fermenting and recipes. And I’d love to hear if you have any recommendations or favorite combinations. Kimchi is next on my list.
I thought it was a tad salty but I think I came up short on the 5# of cabbage for the 3 T of salt used. I ended up using the jar filled with water sitting on top of mini ramekin method. Don’t laugh. It worked and kept the brine above the shredded material which is really one of the main objectives. The other is really packing it down firmly with your hand balled up in a fist. I’m interested to know if anyone has use a pickle press.
I kept it in the pantry covered with a dish towel and rubber band. Don’t worry I’m not selling it in the shop. It looked like this after four weeks. There was a very acceptable amount of scum and no mold.
I loved chatting with a customer today talking about everything one can ferment. She spoke of her great uncle who was fermenting garden produce more importantly to survive the winter than be hip and replenish his gut with pre and probiotics. She’s been enjoying fermented cauliflower which I hadn’t thought to do.
With the success of the first green kraut last month, I went on with the red. I tried the mandolin but that was not happening. I chopped this by hand.
Fermenting really isn’t hard but a few failed attempts is rather discouraging… Come on over Hannah. We’ll see you get your ferment on track!
A little dried out, it required the addition of two cups of brine. (ratio is 1 cup to 1 T salt). I got suckered into trying this fancy set up, called the vegetable master no less, from Cultures for Health. A little pricey for a mason jar and plastic air lock, oh and the three glass disc weights. It lets the gas escape while keeping air out. If it’s amazing, I’ll let you know.
I also put my third head of red cabbage through the food processor as I didn’t feel like cutting it up and just having cut it from its base, it produced it’s own beautiful brine. That’s what it looked like in the garden.
I was lazy on the hand cutting BeCAuSE…I was working on some sourdough pizza. Do you think it’s better for you if you eat fermented organic white flour? I’d like to think so. Here’s a peek at it. I cooked it on the grill on a pizza stone at about 550°F. Honestly, I don’t know if a post will follow unless you beg. All toppings were from the garden except the mozzarella. Someday it will be too.
Back to veggies… Also inspired by Sandor Katz in July at Firefly Kitchens in Seattle, I did have a go with my multi colored carrots. Lunar white, red dragon and several nantes types.
They produced a sufficient amount of their own brine. Once again, I’m employing the jar in a jar method.
With the dish towel and rubber band.
I rounded out the project with a carrot beet mix with a little white onion and a dash of fresh ginger…no pic. It’s basically purple.
Here’s to a healthy gut…
This time last year:
Here we are already ending the first week of July. The garden is going gangbusters and we’re loving every minute and every morsel. We’ve been enjoying greens since March, peas over the last month and the broccoli has actually gone to seed now. But for me when the root veggies start showing their true selves, I feel summer harvest knocking at the door. These baby carrots and beets are only moments shy of fully maturing. We are devouring the first zucchinis, blissfully ignorant to the idea of the late August green giant overload. We have Green zucchini, Costata Romanescos with the racing stripes, and Scalloped green/yellow pattypans soon to arrive. Unfortunately, I mismarked the yellow crookneck and they seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle.
Celebrating health with more muffins and smoothies…
One of my favorite sounds this time of year rang through the valley as I took these photos. Baby lambs calling for their mama’s and mama saying “for God’s sake I’m right here- Can’t I just go pee for thirty seconds on my own!”
Really though, they are so sweet… just like these muffins I had to make again. Here’s the GF version if you missed it.
I HAD to do it again. … with the all purpose flour, canola oil and white granulated sugar. As much as I love deviation- this is straight up followed. I even let them sit for twenty minutes before I buttered one and inhaled it in all it’s Morning Glory. They were good but not as good as in the bakery. That’s when you realize publishing a cookbook with your secrets won’t necessarily detract from your business.
Next is juicing…
I’m not sure if the New Year juicing, fasting, GF cleansing has been plucked from popularity and you know I’ve had some dips already in the chocolate tin. Since I often get recycled magazines from the library I’m trending a little behind the beat anyway. But if you could see me now I think I might be glowing.
I’ve been reading about the positive impact of fruits and vegetables in the same blended drink. Sounds good except I don’t want to put my strawberries through the champion (old school around here) and my fibrous kale and carrots in the stand up blender (the one with a metal switch).
So until I get something, if ever, a little more updated, then I’ll be pulling both units out. And this morning I had the time. Really it wasn’t so consuming.
I love juicing and I love smoothies and usually will crank both out for a week or two at a time. Because I have the attention span of a goldfish the thrill disperses quickly and I can’t justify a $500 bill on a new machine.
I juiced carrots, celery, kale and an orange. Poured this mixture directly into the blender and added a little spinach, berries, peaches, a frozen banana and my whey protein powder. Throw some flax or chia seeds in there and you will get an A++.
Since I’ll probably do this for a few
months , weeks, days, I decided to make up some packets. Two things that I still here my French cooking teachers say- “economy of motion… we must win the time”. This was his direct translation of gagnez le temp!… And “bien assaisoner”. Use the damn salt and pepper already (but that does not apply here).
I only made up three packets and they make about two servings each. Make them accordingly for yourself or family. But trust me the time it takes to pull out the peaches, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and frozen bananas (the going brown ones you already peeled and put in a baggie), reach a hand into each one, and put them all back… OR you could pull out one little baggie and plop it in the blender. You can always rinse out the baggie and reuse it
You could of course also portion and prep your veggies for several days at a time too. This way when you pull out two machines- it’s not so bad. And if you have one of those Breville’s or Vitamixes, well hell – you’ve got it made.
You will literally start to glow at least on the inside when you see all this goodness your body will be shortly receiving. I’m just finishing my first glass now. Still picking the raspberry seeds from my teeth. The first sip was a little hmmm… I’m confused. A hint of greens and orange… berries. Do I like this? By the third sip. “I think so.” By the last bit. I love it and am on for seconds. Or maybe I should wait a few hours so I don’t go into detox shock.
Here’s the official Macrina Morning Glory recipe:
Ingredients ▪ 1/2 cup seedless raisins ▪ 1/3 cup walnut halves ▪ 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour ▪ 1/2 cup granulated sugar ▪ 2-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon ▪ 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda ▪ 1/4 teaspoon salt ▪ 1 medium carrot, grated ▪ 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated ▪ 3/4 cup chopped pineapple ▪ 3 eggs ▪ 1/4 cup canola oil ▪ 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted ▪ 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice ▪ 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ▪ 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut ▪ 1/3 cup coarse raw sugar
Have a lovely week,
I’m rounding up January with one more healthy dish. I won’t even pretend to disguise the fact that I’ve been nibbling at the chocolate with virtual abandon but will also report, I’m starting my fourth week of regular exercise. Despite the scale’s refusal to acquiesce in a manner I’d prefer, there is just less meat to grab in the middle, if you know what I mean. I can work with that. Unfortunately, being on my own right now there is nobody to test my theory… but I’ll keep you posted 🙂
We’ve had a good couple weeks, striking through many items on our list(s) and feeling like we are moving forward in life. O, still in Germany, is back in the room where he grew up till he finishes the semester and homeland security gives us a green light. We are counting down the days till we can enjoy life as a non-commuter family, at least till October.
I also finally set up the Lowell Ego light I received as a Christmas gift from my mother. Thanks mom! Don’t take this the wrong way, but I was amazed at how such a flimsy, plastic, kind of crap light is so entirely perfect. Granted, I’ve nothing to compare it to, but so far it has proven far better than photos with overhead room lights. Leary about its quality after reading many reviews, I was prepared for the worst. It is a wee bit scary to put together. Simple, but you feel like you are going to break it before you even flip the switch. I did only buy one to try out and I’m not sure if I would buy a second. So here’s my first ever set of photos taken after dark. I’ll keep practicing.
On to some chow…I’ve got a simple dish here that will please your palette and your waistline. It is combined inspiration from Karen @ Backroad Journal’s spaghetti squash and Karista @ Karista’s kitchen’s meatballs. It is the lazy version.
The spaghetti squash is split in half and seeds are scooped out. I drizzle a little olive oil, salt and pepper and some herb- tonight it was thyme. Often it’s fresh rosemary. I love how these guys are starting to break a sweat under the light!
The squash was baked with a little water at the bottom of the pan (glass dish is fine) at 400°F for 45 minutes. You know it’s done when easily punctured with a knife. The inside is scraped up with a fork into strands… hence the name spaghetti squash.
Again, being the lazy road here, I used one 16oz package of Isernio’s breakfast chicken sausage.
All I added was a little fennel seed, oregano, thyme and sage and 1/2 cup of diced apples. We are still working off a few of our apples in cold storage from December.
And 1/3 cup diced onions…
The meatballs were a little sticky and rough around the edges because I skipped on the egg and breadcrumbs. I could lie and say it was to keep it GF. It was just due to the lazy part and frankly, being completely caught up with my new light. Honestly, there’s no need for the accurate measurements, it was just easier for photos!
I steamed a little kale in the frying pan juices and had a little fun plating it up. I drizzled a tad more olive oil on the squash. Chloe was impressed with the presentation but not mad on the squash. I had to pull out these sweet Pillivuyt plates because our everyday dishes are fiestaware and I wanted a white plate. But I’ll say, it was a little more fun to eat like this.
And a little hello from Otis.. the days of rinsing him off in the sink with the sprayer are numbered…
One Year Ago: Espresso Cupcakes
It’s a rainy Monday that is doing a rather fine job pretending to be Sunday. There is no school today, no need to go to town, therefore no need to dress. I’ve enjoyed reading what feels like 101 blogs. I’m eating a satisfying ham sandwich slathered with mayo and mustard on white bread. It’s like giving into a craving…on all accounts. Really it’s the first day since getting back a week ago to Orcas Island, that I’ve not had a full day agenda. We all need these days. It almost feels like the spanse of time between Christmas and New Year’s. Which outside of the years being responsible for a cafe and/or retail store is like living a few days in a warm cozy cocoon, visiting with friends and family, enjoying hot drinks, reading books and being together. Now that I think of it, this is what I look forward to most at Christmas.
I’ve been checking out some new books at the library before I purchase. I recently came across this one…Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm
Though I’m completely behind the concept, I’m just about up to you know where with all the farm to table slogans. But the photos on this cover indeed caught my eye and hell, it’s free to have a look! Continue reading