Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wassail Kraut

Made by Ciara, Austin, and me, the mind behind the spice mix in this recipe is all Ciara ~ a ferment master who earned her title from many a Friday fermenting at Three Stone Hearth kitchen! We put it in the crock yesterday, and it should be close to ready right around Christmas. Probably perfect by New Year!

7 decent-sized heads of cabbage ~ 5 green, 2 purple
2 apples ~ preferably crisp and tart, like pink lady
1/4 cup, plus 2 T coarse sea salt
2 T whole coriander seeds
1 t whole cloves
1 t cardamom seeds, taken from the pods, but not ground
6 cinnamon sticks

Quarter the cabbages and core them. Shred. Massage with salt (to taste. It should taste salty.) until the leaves start to lose their stiffness and liquid collects in the bottom of the bowl. Core the apples and slice thin. Toast the coriander, cloves, and cardamom. Mix the apple and spices in with the cabbage, attempting not to break or mush the apples. Pack into a clean crock or jar, with a weight, so that the liquid rises an inch above the vegetable matter.
Open for the holidays and share with loved ones!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Food, Inc.

Here's one worth watching: the movie, Food, Inc., due in theaters tomorrow.

 If you have been wondering what all the fuss is about organics, food safety/security, "local" foods, and why it is they expect you to pay several times more for the "same product" if it is labeled organic, this will be a high quality introduction for you. Seeing a movie is a pretty painless form of education. From this interview by CUESA, it sounds as if most of the information will not be shocking to those of us "in the know" about food issues. But I think it's always wise to keep myself reminded about why it is I do what I do, and don't do what I don't do, and to support the folks who are putting forth the effort to get the information out, also so that when someone says, "Whatta you think about this?" I can have a fruitful conversation about it. Because what we eat is so important for so many reasons. It affects everything.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Roasted Roots

Here's one of the ways I've used all those carrots.

This simple method works with many the root veggie ~ try parsnips and turnips this way! It's easy and crowd pleasing. Since moving to California, I have developed a great appreciation for fennel, as it grows wild here even in the medians. It works like onion, but adds a fresh, mild anise flavor.

Roasted Beets and Carrots with Fennel
serves four as a side dish

1 tbsp butter (don't be afraid to use more!)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium-sized beets, scrubbed
2 large carrots, scrubbed
1 regular-sized fennel bulb
sea salt to taste ~ start with 1/2 tsp

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Quarter the beets, and chop them again in half in a way that makes roughly uniform chunks. Do the same with the carrots, again with the goal of making roughly equal-sized pieces with the beets. This will help them cook in about the same time. Cut the fennel in half lengthwise, and then slice it lengthwise from there into thin pieces.
In a roasting dish (I love earthenware ~ I've found every piece I own at thrift stores for cents!!), place the beet and carrot chunks and the fats. Cover. Put the dish in the oven and roast, stirring a couple times to coat the veggies in butter and oil. When the veggies begin to yield to the press of fork tines ~ maybe 20 minutes, add the fennel slices, stir and cover again. Roast for about 10 more minutes, or until the veggies are tender but not mushy.

Carrot on Foodista

Thursday, April 02, 2009

the best

I devoured Molly Wizenberg's book, A Homemade Life. The story compelled me. Tales of Paris, and all the food food food romanced me. I am pleased with how it has inspired me to write even more in my blogs, including this food blog which had cobwebs on it from Anjali's arrival in October. I look around at my life and see the poetry, I smell the fragrances, and I appreciate the beauty, and love, in a fresh way. What a gift! There are also many recipes that I'm looking forward to trying ~ one for buckwheat pancakes (I loove pancakes), a cornbread recipe that has cream that oozes through it (love cornbread and cream), some fun salad concoctions and too many cake recipes to name. I've always been afraid of baking cakes, that I just didn't have what it takes to be a cake baker (she is a cake baker ~ with weights and precise measurements; I'm a soup maker ~ add a little of this, a blob of that until it tastes good), but with her zeal and reassurance, I think I might have the nerve to give one a try. Perhaps that last chocolate cake recipe with only a tablespoon of flour! Sounds like a good place to start.

But now that I'm walking away from the story ~ finished it in just three enthusiastic evenings of bedtime reading ~ I think the best thing I've taken away from A Homemade Life upon initially setting it down is = I've started eating chocolate with my bread. Without a special occasion ~ other than the occasion to eat chocolate with bread. ;-)
This morning I fried my eggs, over medium, and then a slice of 100% rye sourdough bread (no caraway seeds) in the leftover butter (plus perhaps a pat). Then while it was still hot and bubbling with butter, I laid two squares of Green & Black's Dark 70% on top (you wouldn't think that rye would be good with chocolate, but I urge you to give it a try ~ real rye, not that white stuff with the caraway seeds that supposedly indicate that it's "rye"). They melted into puddles with just the little G&B leaf imprint left of the solid rectangle by the time I got to the table. If that isn't a way to start your day off right, I don't know what is.
Thanks, Molly! :-D

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sweet Potato Soup with Greens

I love soup. I could probably prepare and enjoy a soup every night of the year. A base of some good broth, whatever produce we brought home from the farmers' market plus maybe some meat ~ that's the soup. And it's always good. This winter season I have been attached to making soup this way: lay down a base flavor ~ usually starting by simmering a chopped onion in the broth; then a veggie such as stewed tomatoes, roasted winter squash, carrots, or in this case, roasted sweet potatoes with the skins. I puree that. Then I add a chopped or chunked veggie that adds texture. This often includes a dark leafy green. We eat a lot of dark leafy greens. They are oftentimes delicious in soups. Last night's ingredients were intended for a soup to take to a friend who recently had a healthy baby boy. But we sure did enjoy it. ;-) The three different dried peppers cut the sweetness of the potatoes three different ways. Leftover, it was probably even better.

Sweet Potato Soup with Greens
serves 3-4 depending on your sweet potatoes, the water you add, and the size of your bowls
A quart of good chicken broth ~ homemade or of equal quality, or homemade veggie broth
A mess of sweet potatoes roasted at 400 until soft, cooled, then sliced into 1/2 inch pieces ~ as many as you can fit between your two hands without dropping them (before they're roasted) ~ I used "Japanese sweet potatoes", but use your favorite, or what's on hand. In America, Sweet Potato = Yam = same thing.
Three large cloves of garlic ~ two crushed well with the side of your chef's knife, the other sliced thin
Dark leafy greens ~ I used what they call a "braising mix" at the farmers' market = an assortment of young kales, collard, chard, etc. ~ equal in precooked volume to the potatoes, chiffonade
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
*Fresh* red pepper flakes
Smoked paprika
Sea salt to taste ~ start with 1/2 teaspoon
Water as needed

In a pot or dutch oven, warm the chicken broth slowly up to a boil. Add the crushed garlic and simmer until the garlic is soft. Add the sweet potato slices and simmer. Puree till smooth (there's that handheld blender again!). Toss in greens and garlic. Cover. Simmer until greens get a little darker than just wilted. Add vinegar, spices, and sea salt, adjusting as needed. If it's too thick, add some water and bring back up to temperature. I think it's better at the consistency of thick soup, as opposed to a soupy baked potato... This is hearty.
Serve with a salad and some craggy hunks of bread to dip in the soup.

Read about that charming label.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Apples for Anjali

bake, covered.
fill ice cube trays.
pop out and
store in freezer bags.
pull out individual cubes
thaw to serve,
or leave frozen for teething.


(as in ~ i am inspired)
i ordered this book and it came in the mail yesterday. i had other things on my mind to accomplish yesterday evening after helping the babe to sleep, but i at least wanted to crack the book open to take a little sneak peek! and i read 100 pages. guess i like it. ;-) full of love, of family, of life, and of food. and full of delicious recipes that, now that i come to think of it, mostly are falling into the dessert category so far. i recommend.

Friday, March 20, 2009


say it. "squashmoosh." purse your lips when you say it and let the "sh" sound trail a little long. it is as yummy to eat as it is to say.
i roasted a simple butternut squash with nothing really in mind to do with it. once it cooled, and i tasted it, it really didn't do that much for me compared to the many winter squashes i have delighted in. i looove em. so i thought i'd make a pureed type of side dish, adding a little sucanat to make it more pleasing. but first i added butter. lots of butter, like almost a whole stick. then i tasted again. what?! it tasted so sweet, it no longer needed sugar! dashes of cinnamon and sea salt = it was deeeelicious. now, i know that vegan sympathizers and hold-overs of the low fat epidemic will insist that a roasted winter squash is perfectly tasty without anything added to it. i agree; it would have been good with nothing but its wholesome natural flavor. but with the added butter, it was *deeply satisfying.*


astonishingly already thinking about what to feed the tot, this will definitely be in the winter repertoire. and i know it seems too simple to write a recipe about, but ~ try it. i am in love with my handheld blender and rarely use the stand-up blender anymore for these kinds of things. so that's what i recommend (i found mine second hand for 99 cents!!), but a blender works, too, just so long as you leave the lid open if pureeing hot squash and protect yourself by covering it with a towel. or wait till it's cooled and heat it up again to add the butter.

serves 4 - 6 as a side dish
butternut squash
sea salt

cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and place face down on a buttered baking dish. roast at 400 until very soft when pierced with a fork. let cool. scoop out the seed and discard. scoop out the flesh into a pot and mash by fork, or puree with a handheld blender (or scoop into a blender, puree, then transfer to the pot). warm gently, add butter, and incorporate as it melts deliciously. add sea salt and cinnamon to taste.