recipes and talk about:
natural foods
whole grains
local foods
the heirloom garden

September 21, 2009 in breakfast / brunch, how to, vegetarian7 comments

easy one-egg omelet

here omelet omelet

Neat, this made Foodie Views of the day! They gave me a pretty button to go with it:

Routine is a good thing. I lost 60 pounds eating the same thing for breakfast every morning, and anecdotally people suggest that eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch, and mixing it up for supper is good too. Some crazy theory that not having to think about what you’re going to eat makes it easier to keep track.

But you’re still fat! you say, glancing at that picture over to your left.

So? A little is better than nothing at all. And I’ll do it again. So there. Everyone who’s done a marathon here raise your hand.

*raises*

I love that comeback. All the training and suffering was worth it. Just to be able to say that for the rest of my life. Any time, for any reason. :D

My routine breakfast used to be Shredded Wheat and Bran, soymilk, sliced banana, and orange juice. After a year or two of this I still wasn’t bored with it.

But then the damn blood center began dissing me when I went to donate.

Your iron’s too low to donate.

*month passes*

Your iron’s too low to donate.

*month passes*

Your iron’s too low to donate.

*tear out hair*

Apparently some people (Michigan Community Blood Center, I’m looking at you) seem to think a hemocrit of 37, 36, or 35 is too low to be allowed to give blood. Hmph.

I tried small measures: more beans, some more leafies. Didn’t help. So I turned to the most iron-fortified food on the planet, or at the very least, in my cupboard: Malt-O-Meal, fortified with 60% of the RDA for iron, guaranteed to give you Popeye arms.

And, I actually like it. I don’t know why everyone makes that sour face. Malt-O-Meal is awesome.

But it introduced a problem. A serving of Malt-O-Meal does not a breakfast make, at least not one that’s going to stick with you more than half an hour. I couldn’t have cereal with it, because I had this inkling that that would be stupid.

eggs laid by easter egg chickens! i kid you not

Where to get protein? Oh! An egg! I have all sorts of pretty-colored eggs, thanks to friends who raise chickens that lay Easter eggs. Not kidding. It’s some special variety.

So I got out my little sauté pan and made up a one-egg omelet. All by myself. And it was good. And it made it into the new breakfast routine. I seriously think the green onion makes it. I wouldn’t want it without. The green onion is cooked with the egg. Then I dice up one of the smaller Stupice tomatoes and add other ingredients if they sound good.

As for insides, try:

• tomato
• green pepper
• crumbled bacon
• cheese, even feta
• shredded zucchini

In five minutes, you too can have a little showpiece omelet. Read more on easy one-egg omelet…

July 16, 2009 in canning and freezing, how to10 comments

how to make red currant juice

cleaned red currants, ready for juicifying

Why would you want to make currant juice?

I can think of a few reasons, one of which is definitely going to show up here shortly.

One, to make currant jelly. Now, I’m a strawberry jam girl, so I don’t make currant jelly, but if you put some currant jelly in front of me, I won’t complain.

Two, to make currant pie. My grandma made a currant chiffon pie that used Dream Whip. I might see if I can natural that up. I wonder if you could use stabilized whip cream to do it.

Three, and this is the doozy, to make currant sorbet. Shocking pink, tangy, and sweet and icy. Perfect for a summer afternoon. And it’s quite easy. That one’s going to show up here soon.

so THATS what a ricer looks like!

By the way, these are red currants. You know, I’ve never even seen a black currant, though I’ve heard tell of them in weird cookbooks and dark recesses of the intertubes. I’ve got six currant bushes, though five of them tend to be kind of spindly. The spindly ones are up front near the white lilac and the peonies. The big bushy currant is back by the plum trees. And across from the gooseberry bush, said gooseberry bush never going to be a source of recipes here because they’re kind of a pain, and not interesting-tasting enough to me to care. Oh, why are they a pain? Why, thorns of course. The dumb bush is covered in little thorns. Yay.

currant bush

Currants, however, have none of those horrid protrusions, and they have a unique flavor. They taste just as red as they look, but there’s nothing cloying about them. There’s this added level, almost a smoky kind of depth.

Great. I just described currants as “smoky.” You’re never going to want to try them now.

You don’t want to eat them by the handful off the bush; they’re kind of tart. But turn them into juice and oo la la.

Currant juice. Check out the awesome red color

So the second time picking, I spent about an hour here and got most of a big bowl full. Mom has currants at her house too, which I neglected to prune for her this spring. Bad daughter! Strangely, I was still in the currant-picking mood, so I went to her house to get some. In half an hour my bowl was just as full as it had been before.

Her currants are way bigger. :(

Anyway, enough yapping. If you’re lucky enough to have access to currants, PICK THEM. MAKE JUICE FROM THEM. Then make CURRANT PIE or CURRANT JELLY or CURRANT SORBET from them. Freeze the juice in 1-cup containers, and you can have a taste of summer in the dead of winter, always a plus.

Oh. Any ideas how to get Dream Whip out of the currant chiffon pie? Read more on how to make red currant juice…

June 20, 2009 in how to6 comments

how to prepare strawberries for shortcake

strawberries

Otherwise known as: kind of mashed, kind of sweet strawberry yumminess.

This how-to might seem pretty basic, and it is. It’s not hard, but there are a few things that are still nice to know. For instance, you might as well hull the berries before washing them. Inevitably you run into a mushy spot here or there, plus then you don’t have to worry about getting all the sand that may be lurking under the green leaves on the blossom end — without the hulls it will rinse right off.

I do not recommend using a blender or food processor for macerating strawberries. No matter how careful you are, the berries will get chopped too finely, ending up close to a strawberry purée. With shortcake, you aren’t pouring on a purée, you’re ladling on sweet bits of strawberry in their own juice. Read more on how to prepare strawberries for shortcake…

August 3, 2009 in gluten-free, how to, salad9 comments

kohlrabi and apple salad with honey yogurt dressing

kohlrabi and apple salad

I know, I know, you’re just antsy for that currant chiffon pie. Because there are no recipes for currant chiffon pie in existence (Google tells me so) I had to tweak from recipes for inferior fruits like lemon and orange. As a result, the first pie (yesterday) was good, but I decided it could be better, and I just shoved the adjusted-recipe version into the fridge.

In the meantime, comfort yourself with a nice, healthy salad. Ha ha.

There’s this gigantic, wizened old apple tree in the front yard. This tree is so ancient no one remembers what kind of apples grow on it, only that they’re tart, ripen really early, get soft quickly, and make good applesauce. As a result, not much usually gets done with them.

At the same time, the second planting of kohlrabi is coming ripe. You know what kohlrabi is, don’t you? Here’s my lovely aunt Linda holding one up for professional photography. You know it’s professional because the wind was blowing so hard this was the only place the leaves weren’t being twisted into even more alien shapes I put the gas tanks and grain bins distractingly behind the kohlrabi on purpose. *nods* (Also, she cherishes her anonymity on the Internet, but she never gets to read this, so let’s not tell her, shall we?)

run for the hills! the kohlrabi are invading!

Everyone seems to think it’s some mystery vegetable. I always had it growing up, so that surprised me. What? Your life experiences differ from mine?

Kohlrabi likes cool temperatures, produces 1 bulb and 1 bulb only, and that above ground. That’s it. It blows its wad making this one not-very-big chunk of vegetation that tastes a bit like cabbage and jicama, and a bit (only a bit) sweet.

what do i do with this green-tentacled space alien?

To prepare kohlrabi, pull off the stems and cut off the root, leaving the bulb. I’m told the leaves may be cooked like other greens but I’ve never tried it.

how a kohlrabi looks as it's being peeled

Now peel off the green outside. It’s soft and not very deep. The end of the kohlrabi near the root tends to get woody, especially near the outside, and especially on kohlrabi that have been neglected and allowed to grow a tad too big, like this one. See the area in the bottom of the pic where the kohlrabi flesh looks stripey and a bit yellower? That’s going to be tough and woody, and you may as well cut it off unless you’re really hurting for fiber.

slicing kohlrabi

One the kohlrabi is peeled, you can cut it up however you want. I like to cube it for straight up snacking, but for this recipe I sliced it thin and then cut it into matchsticks.

Kohlrabi, in matchsticks. Don't they look like those salty potato snacks? Boy are you in for a surprise!

You know, I like how coleslaw kind of mushes up the cabbage a bit when it’s been made for a day or two. I decided I don’t like that mushing effect with this salad, though. If you like your apples and kohlrabi to have a nice crunch, plan on eating this the same day.

The black pepper, of all things, brings out the apple flavor in this salad. I don’t know why, but that bit of spice in the creamy honey yogurt makes it swoon-worthy. Read more on kohlrabi and apple salad with honey yogurt dressing…

look, we canned pears

too bad i hate pears

Yup, we sure did.

I provided the kitchen and the canner and my aunt picked the pears, cleaned the pears, peeled the pears, cut the pears, packed the pears, and processed the pears.

I practically did it all by myself!

the canning stuff, yawn

yer basic hot water bath canning setup

Right there you see the basic canning setup on the stovetop. I began doing this a few years ago, absorbed in some weird home ec flashback. I say weird, because home ec was actually more about how to not kill yourself in the kitchen and how to hand sew misshapen stuffed animals made of highly-flammable polyester. And less about useful stuff like, you know, canning.

Since this stuff often hits Facebook, I bet some of you were in that 7th grade home ec class, or had one yourself. Did you honestly ever cook anything more involved than no-bake chocolate cookies? If that. But I digress, as I am wont to do.

6 pints in 2 hours, man

We (she) canned 6 pints of pears in 2 hours. Of course, many pears do not make it into little jars, and instead find themselves eaten by nephews and ignored by super adorable kittens.

justin, jen, pear, kitteh
Read more on look, we canned pears…

September 14, 2009 in canning and freezing, how to16 comments

millions of peaches, peaches for me

those peaches look real purty

You can’t beat a home-canned peach. Store-bought doesn’t compare. Some other fruits handle store shelves pretty well, like pineapple and pears, but store-canned peaches are nearly flavorless in comparison.

If you can only one variety of fruit, can peaches.

pints of pretty peaches

Linda came over to do it with me, bearing a bushel of peaches from the local fruit market. After an aborted attempt at canning them — they weren’t ready yet! — we let them ripen for 3 more days. They were gorgeous. Firm, fragrant, and only one bad one in the bunch, discovered at the bottom of one of the boxes.

really, maybe like 3/4. some jars missing.

We got about 32 pints from that bushel, with about 20 peaches kept aside for fresh eating and baking. Here’s how to can your own. Read more on millions of peaches, peaches for me…

strawberry freezer jam-boree

mm, jamalicious

I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never had to learn how to make strawberry freezer jam. I’ve been even more fortunate in that I never even tasted store-bought jam until I was practically an adult.

As a result, I’m spoiled. Spoiled rotten. I turn up my nose at Smucker’s, and even those fancy top-shelf brand jams can’t satisfy.

I never had to learn how to make strawberry freezer jam because every year I saw my mom make it right in front of me. Sis and I got drafted to help pick strawberries in our grandparents’ strawberry patch. I recall crouching low, pushing through the leaves, and searching for the elusive strawberries Grandma insisted were still there even though we were sure we’d gotten them all. Read more on strawberry freezer jam-boree…

February 15, 2010 in breads, how to, vegan, vegetarian1 comment

whole wheat levain, day 1

whole wheat levain for sourdough, day 1

Sis told me yesterday she began the starter for Amish friendship bread, which apparently involves mixing flour, sugar, and yeast and letting it sit on the counter. After it develops for several days, you can make sourdough bread from part of the starter, keep the rest of it going, and continue making bread.

I’ve always been a bit meh on the whole sourdough concept. It’s been a rare occasion when I’ve really dug a sourdough bread, but on the times I have, I’ve really, really dug it. The King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook has a whole chapter devoted to whole grain sourdoughs. I’d avoided it because the whole process seemed so wasteful (I’ll explain why shortly). However, a few months back I bought a different brand of whole wheat flour that was such a coarse grind that I found it incredibly difficult to bake with. I stuck it in the freezer, labeled it “coarse ww flour,” and forgot about it, figuring some use would arise for it sometime.

That time is now. Read more on whole wheat levain, day 1…

February 16, 2010 in breads, how to, vegan, vegetarianno comments yet

whole wheat levain, day 2

whole wheat levain, day 2

This is your brain on SmokeMonster!Locke.

Okay, it’s just the whole wheat levain before stirring it up on Day 2. You know what that liquid is on top? Sourdough breadmakers have a highly technical term for it. They call it hooch, because it’s about 15-20 proof. It’s a result of the fermentation process of the yeast. That would be the wild yeast that I set out this lovely catnip of flour and water to attract. There’s nothing wrong with hooch, so go ahead and mix it back in.

You can tell from the hooch that something’s going on now, but there isn’t a lot of bubbling or expansion going on yet. The levain has a comforting, sweet and fresh flour smell. Read more on whole wheat levain, day 2…

February 17, 2010 in breads, how to, vegan, vegetarianno comments yet

whole wheat levain, day 3

whole wheat levain for sourdough, day 3 - marker

How about a nice tall glass of levain?

Today is Day 3, when we begin feeding the levain twice a day versus the once per day of days 1 and 2. That pic is at 3.5. I’ve put the levain into a tall, clear glass and marked it. In 12 hours we’ll see how much the yeast activity has made it expand.

whole wheat levain for sourdough, day 3 - stirred

Notice all those bubbles, made by that friendly wild yeast I’ve attracted. The catnip is this simple flour-and-water combination, at room temperature. The levain is sticky, and stretches when I stir it before discarding/feeding.

Its developed a slightly fruity, tangy smell, yet still with that sweet and fresh smell to it. I tasted a bit of the levain and yes, there was a hint of sour to it. Fingers crossed — it seems to be coming along nicely. Let’s hope I don’t eff it up somehow. Read more on whole wheat levain, day 3…

March 8, 2010 in breads, how to, vegan, vegetarianno comments yet

whole wheat levain, day 4 and on

whole wheat levain, day 4

Some of you have been expressing…concern…as to what happened with the whole big levain/sourdough plot. I’ll tell you what happened. A winter storm happened. Unripe levain happened. Flat bread happened. And a possibly unconnected but mysteriously coincidental horrible sinus flareup happened.

By day 4, I had a feeling the levain was ripe and active. Compare the above pic to day 3 and see how much the yeast activity made the levain rise in 12 hours. So I put it back into its normal container and fed it again that evening and planned to bake whole wheat sourdough the next day.

When I checked it in the morning, I frowned. Read more on whole wheat levain, day 4 and on…

June 2, 2010 in condiments, how to3 comments

why didn’t i ever think of this before?

no more f***ing pouring salt from a spout

Just a quick line here to share the joy that is Not Pouring Salt From a Goddamn Spout. This might be old news to a lot of you, but it’s brand spanking new to me. I have no idea why I never thought of it before.

It began when I bought a carton of salt with a bum spout. Read more on why didn’t i ever think of this before?…