Wednesday, April 28, 2010


If this goes through: I did it! I emailed a photo to my blog, using my
phone. Crossing fingers before hitting Send...

What We Ate (while you were on a date)

Dear Austin,
I had a craving and made late-night Jali-won't-sleep muffins! And she helped! We had a blast. I threw them together as quickly as possible to ensure I actually got to eat one before Little Person made it obvious that bedtime had come! We finally trotted up to bed (with a second muffin in fist) at 9:45. Whew!
Ingredients: 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (thought it was sprouted, but it's not - oops!), about 1/4 cup leftover, already-cooked steel-cut oats, 3 eggs, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1.5 tsp baking pdr, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt, vanilla, sesame seeds (with extra that Jali added when I turned around! Heehee ), and 2 slices chopped up frozen apple, a forkful of honey, oh and a stick of butter! They are tasty. I wanna experiment with using just the leftover oats with eggs.

Jali does quality control before I slide them in the oven. image.png

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lacto-Fermented Apple Butter

Continuing the theme of preserving as many different kinds of produce as I can this year, I made lacto-fermented apple butter. Lacto-fermenting is so easy and delicious! Most every time, I am struck by the simplicity of preparation and yumminess of results! Now, this is different than lacto-fermenting sauerkraut; whereas sauerkraut ferments and mellows for up to six weeks, this apple butter only sat out at room temperature for a few days. I wasn't sure what kind of a fermented *tang* it would have. As of yet - not much. Just a flavorful apple spread that has the benefits of lacto-fermentation for preservation as well as nutrition. I imagine if it lasts long enough in the fridge (which I doubt! - we are devouring it!), it will acquire more of a kick as time passes. I used the recipe in Nourishing Traditions. It calls for dried apples that have been re-hydrated, I think for intensity of flavor compared to water content. However, I baked fresh apples, uncovering them in the end to dry them out so that they are marvelously flavorful. The recipe also calls for more honey, but these apples are so sweet and good as-is, I wanted to add as little as I could get away with. The whole household is pleased with the results.

We got a huge bag of "cosmetically challenged" apples at the farmers' market from the end of the cellar-apple season - there ended up being a lot of Fujis. So I froze some after baking, and made a quart-plus of apple butter with the rest. We wish I'd made more!

Lacto-fermented Apple Butter
- a quart-plus (wish I could tell you how many apples, but you'll
have to figure it out for yourself...)

Bake, covered, at 400:
Apples- quartered and cored - not peeled
Once they are soft, take off the lid and bake another 15 mins, then
turn off the oven and let them sit until their edges are browned and
crisp (this is usually just me forgetting about them...).

Blend cooled apples in a food processor with:
1/4 cup of whey - drained from plain, live-active organic yogurt
1 tbsp seasalt
1.5 tbsp raw honey

Pour into a clean jar and cover with a sterile lid.
Let sit at room temperature for 3 days, then refrigerate.

Will last 2-3 months.
You might as well go ahead and plan to make more than one batch...!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mediterranean Lamburgers

Lamb might just be my favorite meat. I should say - good, well-
prepared lamb; more than once, I've ordered it out and been
disappointed with the tough gaminess of what was called lamb. We love
ground lamb from Marin Sun Farms and Highland Hills about as well as
any nice cut. It is just so flavorful and juicy!
Here is a guideline for lamburgers I've seasoned and Sealion has
fashioned and grilled several times with mouth-watering results. It
could easily be a kebab recipe, but Sealion pats them into sphere-ish
patties which don't need skewers, or aluminum foil to prevent them
from being sacrificed to the grill god. ;-)
These would go nicely with a Greek salad or a light couscous pilaf-
type dish. Tonight we grilled beets, onions, and garlic with olive
oil, seasalt and pepper. and sesame seeds. Um. Yum.

Lamburgers - makes 3 or 4 patties
Marinate 1 lb pasture-raised lamb* with
5 med garlic cloves - pressed
1tsp red pepper flakes
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1tsp cumin and
1tsp coriander - both freshly toasted (toasting in a dry skillet
brings out the flavor!)
2+tbsp mint - minced
2+tbsp red onion - minced
Sea salt
Black pepper
Whole grain sourdough bread crumbs
Olive oil

Feta on top
Yogurt for dipping

Pat into thick, rounded patties. Grill to your liking, or fry in a
cast-iron skillet. Melt feta on top in the last minute or so.
Serve with yogurt for dipping.

*I've heard that all lamb is pastured, but it's always best to buy
from someone you trust.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Preserving Lemons

We ~ Anjali and I (!) ~ lacto-fermented the season's lemons following the recipe in Nourishing Traditions. It uses cinnamon sticks, sea salt, and whey, plus some added lemon juice. They should be ready to enjoy in a few weeks. I have a goal ~ with the inspiration and motivation of my fine housemate, Austin ~ of preserving as many different fruits and veggies as I can this year. It's fun, easy, and delicious. Why not give it a shot. I have been re-perusing Wild Fermentation to further fan my fermentation fire!

Dandelion Greens with Onion

Oh! Dandelion greens season! I look forward to it every year. Dandelion greens are one of Spring's loving ways of helping us cleanse and tonify our organs after Winter's heavier and heartier fare. They're bitter! And that is indicative of their medicinal quality. I have come to relish the bitterness because my body just craves these greens! She knows what she needs. And lately I have been buying them at the Farmers' Market every time I go, and cooking them as soon as I get home.
This is how I've been preparing them - with bacon grease and sauteed onion. Of course you can use another fat, but bacon grease really counters the bitterness nicely. Nutritionally, the fat helps make the green goodness available to your body; just as importantly, it tastes good!

2 tbsp bacon grease*
One onion - chopped
1 tsp seasalt, to taste
1 bunch dandelion greens, chopped no wider than my pinky

In a cast iron skillet, sauté the onion in the bacon grease until very soft. Chop the greens before soaking - cut the whole bunch off above the twist tie. Then start at the tips and chop down, making sure the pieces are very small. To clean, soak in a bowl of water. Then, pull them out of the soaking water by the handful directly into the skillet so that some water comes with the greens to help with cooking. Fold the greens in with the onions and cover at medium-high heat. Stir occasionally. Cook until the greens are soft, and serve piping hot. I've been enjoying them by the bowlful with a little bit of brown rice. Here's to Spring - Salud!

* about bacon grease ~ Only use nitrate- and nitrite-free bacon that has been humanely raised. It's worth the occasional splurge! Lately we have been loving Prather Ranch bacon. Makes my mouth water just to type it! Here's how to save the delicious grease: after frying the bacon while the skillet is still very hot, rubber band a clean kitchen cloth (like an already-stained kitchen towel or napkin) over the mouth of a clean jar. Then slowly and carefully pour the bacon grease through the napkin. This will strain out all the bits so that the grease can be used again. Refrigerate until you're ready to enjoy it in another meal. Yum!