Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fermented: "Salad Kraut"

A note I sent to Austin at 12:30 am before I flew out the next day (I never stay up that late!):

"Just finished a manic clear-out-the-veggie-drawer-before-leaving-on-a-jetplane batch of kraut. I call it salad kraut because I added a bunch of arugula, and then dill and two kinds of mustard seed. Feels fresh and Spring-heralding. : ) Cabbage, carrot, cauliflower and romanesco plus their leaves, and celeriac. Wish it luck!"
The April assessment of this kraut: "One of my favorites," says Sealion! He likes the addition of the traditional pickling spices. The arugula, which I left whole on the stalk, is particularly "pickly" tasting. A success!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Citrus Season ~ citrus drinks

Here in Sacramento, the sidewalks are lined with large orange trees that litter the ground with ripe fruit. It's overly abundant. For the past month we have received a several-pound bag of oranges in our CSA box ~ many tiny mandarins, and a few larger navels each week. Our good friends down the street have a lemon tree that is equally generous with its bounty. So we have lots of citrus to gratefully utilize!
What have we done with all this? Fresh-squeezed orange juice for Sunday brunch (so luxurious), orange juice-infused black bean chili (yum), frozen "Sunshine Squares", warm tea, and my own rendition of a rejuvenating natural electrolyte drink!

Today I'd like to share the last two with you ~ simple and nourishing ways to use citrus in beverages. Orange juice is much too sweet to drink every day ~ especially for breakfast. Talk about a way to spike out your blood sugar! And pasteurized juices lack so much of what makes oranges good for us ~ all the enzymes and much of the vitamins. So here are a couple ideas for enjoying the flavor and sweetness of oranges in a milder and whole way. Water and juice ~ it's how you dress them up that they serve different purposes equally well.

Orange Spice Tea
Fill your cup most of the way with close-to-boiling filtered water. Keep it cool enough that you can almost-comfortably stick your finger in it ~ to preserve the raw goodness of the citrus.

Squeeze the juice of 1 orange,
and 1 slice of lemon into your cup.
Add 2 tsp ginger powder, and
1/4 tsp cinnamon.
Sweeten with honey if you like.
Wrap your hands around the mug, snuggle up in a blanket, and thank Mother Nature that she had the intriguing creativity to make citrus season in the middle of winter. :)

All-Natural, All-Good Electrolyte Drink
I came up with this drink in the heat of Baja. I used limon, which is ubiquitous and delicious there, but I substitute lemon up here in Northern California. In Baja, it was just what the intense sun directed. In rainy season Sacramento, it's a satisfying post-work out drink.

1 glass of room-temperature filtered water
The juice of half an orange
The juice of one limon, or 1 slice of lemon
a generous pinch of quality sea salt.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Another Sunday Sourdough

Another loaf using freshly-milled organic spelt, tons of sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds, and a dripping serving spoon of Kentucky-made sorghum molasses. Oh - and lots of butter.

I might have a weekly routine going; I've managed to bake sourdough for the past three Sundays in a row. With the non-existent weekly schedule in our house (I'm at home, and my husband's schedule changes monthly, and randomly switches from day- to night- to evening-shifts), this feels solid and comforting.
I'm so happy with the strides I've made with whole grain sourdough lately. The last two batches have been downright delicious - not even very sour, though I'm not sure why, considering I'm using the same starter and general recipe.
I have settled into using The Tassajara Bread Book's guidelines for making sourdough. Hilariously (because I rarely follow recipes that closely), the closer I follow the recipe, the better the bread turns out! ;) He knows his stuff.
I have been kneading in copious amounts of seeds - sprouted sunflower, sesame, and flax - inspired by a loaf we loved in Baja Sur that Woo and Miles found at the Saturday organic farmers' market in San Jose del Cabo. (I know; how awesome that there's an organic market there!) Although I doubt that those bakers added quite the amount of butter that I'm also loading into this loaf. I look forward to the opportunity to share this bread with Woo, a passionate bread-lover, to hear her response. :)
One thing that is so hard for me to relearn, after my background in packaged-yeast bread baking, is how soft the dough needs to be in order to rise; mine are still not rising much. But they certainly are damn tasty.

Thursday, February 03, 2011