Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Using Up the Easter Eggs: Make Your Own Gomasio

This is our favorite way to eat hard-cooked eggs out of hand, as we do regularly on plane trips, and now ~ with the Easter eggs we dyed.
Gomasio on a hard-cooked Easter egg
First of all I have to say, to cook pastured eggs so that you get the most out of those gorgeous orange yolks: don't boil the heck out of them.
The way that I was taught was to place the eggs in the pot, covered in water. Bring the water up just barely to a boil. Let it barely-boil for one minute. Then turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let sit for ten minutes. Then cool the eggs with ice and water (or eat). This makes a yolk that is still creamy and a tad soft at the very center. Yum!

On to the Gomasio ~
for one hard-cooked egg
1 tsp+ dulse flakes
1 tsp+ sesame seeds
high quality sea salt
red pepper flakes (optional)
Gomasio on a hard-cooked Easter egg
I mix up about half dulse flakes and half sesame seeds. Then a few pinches of sea salt. And, if using red pepper flakes ~ a pinch. When we fly I put some in a ziplock, and tuck it in with the container of hard-cooked eggs. Some sliced raw cheese* and apples = never settle for airline food again!
At home I put gomasio in one bowl, and a generous drizzle of high quality olive oil (the Bariani farm is only a few miles from our house!) in another, and Anjali has fun dipping from olive oil to gomasio (and back again over and over and over).
Dulse is a tasty introduction to seaweeds. I use dulse flakes in place of some sea salt on my own plate (I love it on eggs!!). Anjali relishes whole strips of dulse as a snack. Dulse's deep purple color is an immediate indicator that it is packed with nutrients ~particularly iron. I love this article by Susun Weed about the benefits and uses of seaweeds.


*sliced for ease of eating, and also: so they won't stop you when you're going through security!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Using Up the CSA Veggies: Hidden-Veggie Egg Scramble

Haha. I'm laughing at myself. I was preparing to share with you all the clever ways I find to use up a generous CSA box. I had taken notes throughout the past week, and had my notebook sitting beside my keyboard, poised.
Then we were sitting down for a Sunday Brunch when I looked over at my voracious-eating husband's plate; the pile of sauteed veggie medley was clumped in the corner, close to cold. I asked him (sincerely) if it was to his liking. He admitted: "I'm really tired of all these vegetables. I know there's only so much you can do with them. When I get to the bottom of my jar of soup [I pack him quart jars of soup to reheat at work], I often have a little pile of veggies just like this. I look at it like this: [he made a forlorn face]." Although I was disappointed at this, I count on him to be honest with me, because: who wants to go their whole life thinking their cooking is well-loved, when actually their loved-one is just fibbing and swallowing it down? I know everyone has their own taste, but I'm the cook for my family, and I want to make food that everyone likes for the most part. Now, Troy is a meat-lover. He definitely falls on the "hunter" end of the hunter-gatherer spectrum. Though I fully embrace my omnivorous nature and love me a charcuterie plate appetizer, I tend towards the "gatherer" category. We balance each other out.

At that moment, I realized I've reached the point that I imagine every cook faces when trying to feed their family well: hiding vegetables. Here's how I did it this morning:

Hidden-Veggie Egg Scramble
three-four meal-sized portions, depending on the appetites of the eaters

butter or other delicious fat for the pan ~ don't be shy
3 smallish carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 medium onion, chopped
4 large stalks of chard, chopped
sea salt to taste

7 pastured eggs
1/3 cup grassfed whole milk or whole yogurt
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
fresh red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

more butter or other delicious fat
1/2 cup grated cheddar or monterey jack

~In a cast iron skillet, I sauteed the veggies till soft ~ starting with the carrots and onions, and adding the chopped chard in the last five or so minutes.
~While that cooked, I lightly mixed the eggs with the dairy and seasoning.
~Then I poured the sauteed vegetables into the egg mixture and used that always-handy immersion blender to puree till frothy. You could, of course, simply use a regular blender.
~I melted the butter on low in the same skillet. Then I poured the egg-veggie mixture in there and scrambled.
~When they were still a tad on the runny side, I sprinkled the melted cheese on top.
~Then I turned off the burner, and put a lid on it.
When the cheese was melted, the eggs were ready.
I served it with Salad Kraut.

With all that melted cheese on top, how was my sweetie to know about all of the veggies that were hidden beneath? ;-) His verdict, after all was eaten: "Delicious; but I could still taste the veggies." Well, yeah, but... I think he might have to get over that. And the verdict of the girl: she ate quite a lot of her little bowlful. My verdict: "Yummy! With the sweetness of carrot."

Just a little suggestion from my family test-kitchen here in April. Let me know how it goes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Toddler Favorite: Smoothies

I find it challenging ~ both practically and for my ego ~ to cook for a toddler. Something she devours and asks for seconds and thirds of one day is something she might not have any interest in the next time I prepare it. I try not to take it personally or let it frustrate me; it is what it is. But when she does like something more than once, you know I'm writing it down!

Smoothies are one of those items. Like a milkshake with some extra nourishment tucked in, who doesn't like a smoothie? The fun thing about eating the way we do is, you don't have to fake a smile and pretend it's as tasty as it is good for you ~ it is tasty! For kid and adult alike. And so satisfying.

If you're not used to eating full-fat foods, you could definitely take this smoothie by sips and not gulps; it is dense. Pay no heed to the low-fat propaganda! Feed your growing child (and yourself!) real food and reap the rewards of real health. If dairy is a challenge for you, or you don't have access to raw milk, full-fat coconut milk with a little filtered water works deliciously, too.

Last night Anjali, age 2.5, said as she licked her lips from a second serving of this smoothie, "Smoovie's my favorite!" I took note.

Anjali's Favorite Smoothie
enough for several toddler servings which can be kept in the fridge for a day if necessary

3/4 cup raw whole milk from a farm you trust
1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 pastured egg yolk
1/3 a ripe banana*
a dash of vanilla
a pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil

~I don't use measurements, but just eyeball quantities as I place all the ingredients except the fats into a wide-mouth pint jar.
~Then I gently melt the butter and coconut oil on low.
~While that's melting I use my immersion blender to mix the ingredients in the jar. (I use my handheld blender almost daily. I found it for $9 at a thrift store, but knowing I use it this much I would be willing to pay much more for the next one ~ hopefully second-hand, as well! ~ when mine finally wears out.)
~With the blender going, I slowly pour the melted fats in and whip till frothy.
Right now I don't add anything frozen. But I bet as the weather warms some frozen fruit will be a welcome addition. You can let your imagination go for additions and variations on this. Cinnamon, carob powder, other fruit, nut butters made from soaked nuts ~ all are fair game.

Anjali and I share this smoothie. It is too heavy for me in the morning, but in the afternoon it is a nice filling snack for that difficult transition time (for me) from afternoon to evening.
Anjali likes it any time of day or night.

*Organic ripe bananas are a non-local treat I have embraced for my daughter now that we shop at a co-op instead of exclusively at farmers' markets. Best to eat them with some good fat; they are really sugary.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fermented: April Veggie Kraut

My assistant is always up for kraut-making. Pounding, stirring, adding the salt, chopping (with very attentive Mommy-supervision!), and of course taste-testing for quality-control. She generally thinks my recipes are too sweet, so she helps me by thinning out the sweet bits before jarring; she's thoughtful that way. ;)

I'm enjoying the weekly culinary challenge that is presented with a CSA. Riverdog Farm sends us a generous bounty of produce every week. My personal goal: to have an empty vegetable drawer when we go pick up our box on Fridays. This means that we eat a lot of fresh veggies, and that we make a lot of ferments! On delivery day, I assess the produce as I sort it into the proper receptacles ~ the fruit bowl, the root drawer, and the crisper drawer in the fridge; I make rough guesses of what I can use for breakfast, what would go great in a soup, what could be eaten raw for salads and snacks, what deserves to be showcased on its own, and what would be yummy in kraut. On Thursday night or Friday morning, what's leftover in the crisper drawer goes to the kraut. For a long time, I only liked cabbage fermented, and disliked it any other way. Lately I've been enjoying it cooked (till soft). So less cabbage is getting dedicated to kraut. But I've also been loving fermented grated carrots, so I've hoarded away at least one every week. Farm-fresh carrots are SO delicious! Instead of winding up forgotten in the back of the drawer until they're limp ~ like grocery store carrots sold in bags tended to in my kitchen, farm-fresh carrots are as sweet as candy simply eaten out-of-hand. They make any meal they touch a flavor treat.

Here's last week's kraut ~ a Springtime rainbow.
One grated carrot
1/4 of a small purple cabbage, shredded
a few red chard stems, sliced
1/2 a pink lady apple left for a day on the cutting board (not from CSA, but still local!), sliced then chopped
1/2 a fennel bulb, chopped
fennel leaves, minced
sea salt

I used some of the pink brine leftover from a Winter kraut of carrots, celeriac, and watermelon radishes, to cover these veggies. In a few days, everything will be pink. I like pink kraut. :)