Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cherry Season!

How many minutes does it take Mommy and Anjali to finish their first pound of Brooks cherries at the beginning of the season? Umm.. How bout maybe a half hour? Our friend Clint brought us a couple pounds of cherries from his family's cherry farm in Orland, California, after their first day of farmers' market sales. Sweet!
Oh, so sweet!
Getting down to business with a package of cherries.

Cherry season comes but once a year, right?!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Using Up the CSA Veggies: Sunday Morning Frittata

Frittatas are excellently versatile and hearty for any meal, and are easy to make. Their leftovers also make great cold or re-warmed snacks. I called this a "Sunday Morning Frittata" because it takes a bit of time to prep the veggies, and frittatas have a festive, "Sunday Brunch" kind of presentation. But of course you could prep the veggies and eggs the night before and quickly and easily make a frittata any morning of the week.
I've been making frittatas regularly with our CSA subscription to Riverdog Farm, as they can incorporate so many veggies with delicious results. Just chop up whatever veggies you want to use ~ onions or garlic always make a nice base, plus maybe a starchy vegetable, such as sweet potato, potato, or beet, and then a huge pile of greens ~ so good for you, and cook down to next-to-nothing, so they don't take up a lot of space. Plus eggs, maybe add a seasoning herb, and some cheese on top at the last minute for added flavor and satiety. Voila! A satisfying, rainbow-nutritious meal in a skillet!

Beet, Spring Onion, and Spinach Frittata

pastured lard and/or grassfed butter or ghee for the pan (be good to yourself; be generous with the fats!)
(I also added a spoonful of nitrate-free, pastured bacon grease for flavor)
3 medium-sized beets, sliced
3 egg-sized spring onions, without greens, sliced
a hefty bunch of spinach, chopped, and rinsed well
10 eggs
a generous sploosh of grassfed cream, or grassfed whole milk, or plain whole-milk yogurt
a teaspoon dried dill, or more of freshly snipped dill
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
yogurt cheese or goat cheese

In a medium-large cast iron skillet, I melted lard and butter on medium-low heat. I sauteed the beets and onions together until they were soft and the onions were sweeeet. I added the spinach and mixed and cooked till they were all wilted. While these were cooking, I mixed the eggs with about 1/4 cup of raw cream (yum!) and salt, pepper, and dill. When the veggies were ready, I positioned them evenly in the skillet, and poured the egg overtop. I turned the heat down to medium, and did nothing else till the egg was set but still runny on top. I turned the broiler on (and shut the bedroom door to prevent the smoke detector from coming on!), and then placed generous dollops of homemade yogurt cheese* all around. Popped it under the broiler for a few minutes until the top was set and browned. This does not take long!
I think frittata is perfect with a side salad and sauerkraut. I served what's left of the Salad Kraut.

*With the consistency of goat cheese, all it takes to make yogurt cheese is just pouring yogurt into a linen/cotton napkin, tying it up with a rubber band, and letting the whey drain into a bowl. I use the whey for fermenting projects ~ like apple butter! Drain for a few minutes, or even overnight, depending on your desired thickness.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Raw Milk Rally in DC

This blog entry is a participant in Food Renegade's Fight Back Fridays!

I milked this goat. And then DRANK the milk while it was still warm! I lived to tell about it!

A year long sting operation and ensuing legal battle surrounding an Amish farm's sales of raw milk to willing and eager customers has the raw milk community protesting.
An Amish family farm?? I mean, seriously. Doesn't our government have greater menaces to halt than that? Didn't those undercover operatives feel silly? Considering all the barely-foods and chemical conglomerates sold as food ~ and even subsidized by our tax dollars, wholesome fresh milk from healthy cows is a pet project for the FDA to pick on. Nobody's forcing anybody to buy the stuff, or selling it to people under the guise of something else ~ as plenty of legal products are! There is a risk in drinking raw milk. And I sure as hell would never drink the stuff sold as milk in American grocery stores unless it were pasteurized (and then I still wouldn't drink it). But wholesome (from a farm you know and trust) raw milk very rarely causes problems, while everyday foods like deli meat, salad greens, and pasteurized milk* DO. This is not about "foodies"** wanting their latest fad-fix, or even about nutrition, but grave and fundamental issues such as food freedom and food security.

Dear FDA official,
If you don't want to drink raw milk, don't buy it. And by all means if it's what you feel confident about, keep feeding your family that corn-and-soy-fed CAFO-raised swill that comes in the gallon jugs at the grocery ~ the lobby for which pads your wallet. But please let my family and other health-loving citizens buy fresh milk from farmers who care.


*I realize this is from a website that promotes raw milk, but I deeply trust we can look up their data and it would be accurate.
** Speaking of the word, "foodie," here is an excellent article by Eric Schlosser (of Fast Food Nation and Food, Inc.) on the subject.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Toddler Favorites: Lacto-fermented Apple Butter

End of the season for cellar apples. That means it's time to make more apple butter! I wasn't sure if it was going to happen, shopping at the co-op as opposed to farmers' markets, but it did: discounted apples. I bought two produce bags full of ripe pink lady apples. When I told Anjali what they were for, she wanted to make apple butter immediately! We quartered and cored them, then baked them till soft and dried out a little. I used that handy handheld mixer to blend them. We baked enough to fill a large mixing bowl (even after somebody kept sneaking several apples' worth of pieces throughout the day!). I'll use these guidelines again this year, and hopefully will be able to give you better measurements this time around. Sadly we're on our way back to Kentucky today for the funeral of my "papaw." :-( When we return, the pureed applesauce will be waiting in the fridge for us to ferment into apple butter!
Anjali loves this stuff. To get those good fats into her, and to balance out the sugar, I gently melt a few pats of butter to mix in with hers. She could eat a whole jar in one sitting.

A secret: recently, Anjali has stopped liking the taste of cod liver oil. She used to gulp it down (believe it or not), and I'd have to "cut her off!" I noticed her immune system seemed to be missing the daily dose of this sacred food; she came down with several bugs this cold season, whereas before she had had *maybe* one cold. So I have been giving her CLO in a teaspoon of apple butter ( we use the traditionally-crafted fermented CLO from these guys: ). I'm not *sneaking* it - she knows it's in there, she just doesn't mind because of the apple butter. If that's all it takes: bring on the apple butter!

Later edition: Well, after a tiny apple fairy nibbled on the apples over the course of a few days while I got around to draining yogurt for whey, I only ended up with enough apple sauce to make a quart and a half of apple butter! So I can't give you any new information on the recipe. But I did use the recipe sited above. I added cinnamon and a couple cloves to each jar. :-)