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Archive for the ‘in the kitchen’ Category

 

eggs

kale

eggs and greens are a match made on earth.

 

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I learned something new last week. A crustless quiche is one of the easiest, tastiest, most satisfying meals to throw together. And it’s equally suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pretty much perfect, right?

With springtime eggs and greens in abundance, this is an affordable, nourishing meal that even my not-so-egg-friendly man enjoyed quite a lot.

 

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My friend Amber‘s chickens have been laying on the regular again, and I’ve been so lucky to have received quite a few eggs from her recently. They are seriously the best eggs I have ever had, and I’ve had a lot of fresh eggs! Her chickens are no doubt happy, healthy girls.

Our garden doesn’t offer a whole lot this time of year, but we can always depend on kale. It loves the cooler weather and is super delicious and abundant right now.

 

On the day I made this quiche, we were even lucky enough to share this meal with my chicken keeping friend.

 

No-crust kale, cheese and mushroom quiche

2 Tbs of butter

1/2 – 2/3 large red onion

12 ounces kale, chopped

5 medium crimini mushrooms, chopped

7 fresh eggs

3 cups grated cheese (I used pepper jack)

1/4 tsp sea salt

fresh thyme and black pepper to taste

 

In a large sauce pan or skillet, sautée your onions in butter until soft, then add your kale. Sautée the kale until brilliant green and softened.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat your eggs.

Add grated cheese.

Add the onion and kale mixture.

Add chopped mushrooms, salt, thyme, pepper.

Combine well.

 

Pour the mixture into an oiled 10 inch pie pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes – until the eggs are set.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes.

 

This meal is even more delicious with toasted sourdough… recipe coming soon.

 

And just for fun, cuz I’m like that :) whoever can first name the leafy plant coming into the top of the frame on the kale image above (2nd from top) – I will send you a gift! :)

Hope you all had a great weekend xo

 

Update: It’s an artichoke! I’ll be in touch soon, with those of you who guessed.

PS asonomagarden, your email doesn’t work so please get in touch if you’d like to receive your gift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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pickles_0

pickles_1A recent rainy day presented the perfect opportunity to finally do some pickling. I’m growing Boston Pickling cukes this year, just for this reason, and they have been producing pretty well. I’ve been stalling on this project for a while. Being my first official foray into canning of any sort, I admit I felt a tiny bit intimidated. The worst that could happen though, is I would lose a few pounds of cucumbers. So!

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pickles_3I followed the garlic dill pickles recipe from Marisa McClellan’s site, Food In Jars. This is a quick pickle (she recommends letting them sit 2-4 days before eating), so you won’t have to wait for weeks to try them. The only modification I made was I added 1/2 tsp coriander seed to each jar. I also followed her guide for salt substitution, and used the sea salt I had on hand in place of pickling salt.

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pickles_6These were pretty simple to put together, just as I was assured they would be. The hardest part was just waiting for the water to boil to sterilize my jars, and then again for the water bath.  I realized halfway through sterilization, that I shouldn’t be using the canning pot on a glass cook top (indicated on the pot, and in part, because the base of the pot is not flat), so we moved outside onto a propane camp stove for the water bath. The water bath process can be skipped if one wants to keep their pickles in the fridge, but I’d rather have the fridge space.

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pickles_7I waited about 36 hours to pop open the first jar. And it’s true, this is a great pickle! Classic dill pickle flavor, with quite a kick of heat. If you like it spicy, I think Marisa hit it just right (I think my 1/4 teaspoons were overflowing a little). If spicy is not so much your thing, you will want to tone it down on the chili flakes.

I found that as soon as I finished making these, I felt excited about sharing them. I especially can’t wait to give some to my pickle loving sister.

I can see how people get really into canning. It’s a fun process, and the results are so satisfying. I am already looking forward to more. Next up? Maybe some tomato jam.

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rhubarb

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I made my first galette this weekend, with some of our rhubarb. It’s definitely nothing to brag about, but it’s super tasty!

I followed this recipe for the filling (I increased all quantities by half again and added vanilla bean), and then I lazily improvised a gluten free crust (I sort of regretted the lazy improvisation in the end).

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One thing I liked about this particular recipe was it called for a fair amount less sugar than what seems typical for rhubarb. It was plenty sweet yet still left room for the tartness of the rhubarb to really shine through.

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I don’t know what I was thinking, but when it came time to make the crust I just subbed straight rice flour for all-purpose. I guess I just wasn’t thinking at all. As soon as I started processing the butter in I realized what a goofy idea that had been. I added a couple tablespoons of flax meal at the last minute, but really, it didn’t make much difference. I should also mention that this is the first time I have attempted to make anything even remotely like a pie crust in maybe 12 years.

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The crust did roll out okay, but would immediately crumble when touched.

rhubarb_5It’s hard to go too far wrong with butter, flour, sugar and fruit though. And when scooped into a dish, it reminds me more of crisp than pie or galette. Next time I will make a real gluten free pie crust. I even found one for dummies  ; )

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yogurt_7a

I love yogurt all ways – made up sweet in a smoothie with fruit, savory with seeds and herbs, as a topping on meals or a spread on sandwiches, as a supplement to swig down doses of flax oil and molasses… the list goes on. It has always been an important dietary staple in our home, and the benefits of eating cultured dairy are many. My only qualm, in past years, was with the countless plastic quart containers that accumulated with our yogurt consumption.

I don’t know how it took me as long as it did to discover how easy it was to make yogurt myself. It’s really, really easy!

There are many yogurt tutorials out there, I am sure, but we all do things a little differently so I thought I would share my method. Now that I’ve developed a rhythm, I find the process to be so easy I can do it almost without thinking. While it takes many hours from start to completion, the actual time required of you to be in the kitchen is maybe 10 minutes, as most of the time is simply letting your yogurt do it’s thing.

I make one gallon of yogurt at a time, but you can make any amount that works for your household. I like to make the most of my yogurt-making sessions, and typically we (mostly I!) consume about a gallon of yogurt every 2 weeks.

Ingredients and Materials:

Milk

Plain yogurt (for your starter)

Jars or other seal-able glass storage containers

A milk thermometer

A pot or pots large enough to hold your milk

Stainless measuring spoons

Stainless or glass stirrer

A few notes: You will need as much milk as the amount of yogurt you want to produce. For example, to make a gallon of yogurt you need a gallon of milk. I use Organic Valley Whole Milk. I wouldn’t recommend using skim, but a lower fat milk should work fine. You will need about 2 Tbs of yogurt per quart of milk. I use Nancy’s organic whole milk yogurt. You will need enough storage jars to accommodate the full quantity of milk, plus a small amount of extra (equal to the quantity of yogurt starter you use).

To Make:

The short… heat milk, cool milk, mix in yogurt starter, pour into containers, incubate, refrigerate.

The long….

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1. Clean all of your materials thoroughly (pots, jars, stirrers, etc). Since we are dealing with fermentation, and are attempting to cultivate healthy bacteria – not unhealthy bacteria – cleanliness is very important, and is the easiest way to insure success. You can use the sanitization method of your choice. I scrub everything thoroughly, rinse with very hot water, and then do a final rinse with purified water and drip dry (this isn’t “sanitization” per se, but it works well for me).

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2. Pour your milk into your cook pot/s and heat to 170-175 degrees, stirring occasionally. I set my stove to a medium low temperature and let it heat slowly, so that if I get distracted it’s unlikely I will burn the milk. I have accidentally allowed it to reach 190 or so without burning, due to the slowness of the temperature rise. You don’t want to burn your milk! It will taste yucky.

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3. Once your milk has reached temperature, take it off the heat, stirring for a minute or so to avoid scalding on the bottom. Now let it cool, down to about 110-115 degrees. This will take some time, so you can go on to do other things for a while. (Heating the milk is a precautionary measure, to kill any unwanted bacteria that may compete with the bacteria you are trying to grow to make your yogurt. Cooling the milk is important so you do not kill your starter).

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4. When the milk has cooled to 110-115,  pour a small amount of it into one of your jars, and mix with the appropriate amount of yogurt starter per the quantity of milk in the pot you drew from. Stir the small mixture until the yogurt is dissolved, and then pour it back into your pot of milk. Now mix it in so that it’s well dispersed throughout the pot of milk.

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5. Pour your yogurt milk into jars, lid them loosely, and now it’s time to ferment.

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For the incubation period, I set all of my jars on a heavy glass bake pan and place it in the oven.* I heat the oven to 100 degrees and then promptly turn it off.  Every few hours, I turn the oven heat back on (a minute or less, set at the lowest temperature possible) and then turn it back off. I usually leave my yogurt to ferment for 12-18 hours (this is relatively long, so you may like to experiment with different fermentation times).

*Note about using an oven: My oven doesn’t maintain a  temperature lower than 170 degrees. It has a digital readout though, that tells me what temperature it is inside so I can monitor the rise and turn it off at the appropriate time. I have a rule for myself that I CAN NOT multi task while waiting for it to heat.  It is too easy to get distracted. I have nearly cooked/killed my yogurt before. Take care not overheat and kill your yogurt. If your oven can maintain a heat of 100 degrees on it’s own, you have the perfect yogurt maker!! If you do not have a digital readout, a minute or less of heat is plenty. You are simply providing assistance in the fermentation process by creating a warm environment. I aim for around 100 degrees for yogurt fermentation, though lower temperatures will work as well. It will just take a little longer.

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When your yogurt is finished, seal your containers snugly and store them in the fridge.

I find it really satisfying to put away a gallon of fresh yogurt! Your yogurt will have firmed up quite a lot – something like creamy pudding – and will firm up a little more once it refrigerates. It should have that pleasant, slightly sour/sweet smell. Home made yogurt is not as thick as store bought (in my experience), but the thickness will depend quite a bit on how long you ferment for – firming up more (as well as becoming more tart), with longer fermentation time.

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Now that you have your own yogurt made, you can use it as your starter for the next batch. I have read that if you are using your own starter, it should be no more than 2 weeks old, and if it is older than that to start with a new starter again, though I haven’t verified how important this actually is. I usually use my own starter 2 or 3 times, and then start with a new one again.

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If you have never made yogurt before, I hope you try it! Feel free to ask any questions you might have.

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I wanted to share a simple meal we had this week. Though this general type of meal is pretty typical for us, I particularly enjoyed this one. We prepared extra of everything, which means dinner is ready to heat for another night this week.

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Black eyed peas cook relatively quickly (about 1 hour or less) and don’t need to be soaked ahead of time. I think they would make a great burrito filling substitute, for the usual pintos or black beans.

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We recently discovered that baking yams with the lid ON the bake dish results in a perfectly moist, amazingly soft yam every time. It also makes cleanup super easy, as the sugars remain liquid and don’t cook to the pan.

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This time of year (every time of year?) I can’t seem to get enough kale. I prefer to eat kale raw and usually massage it in olive oil (wash and chop your kale, drizzle with oil and then (with very clean hands) “massage”  (squeeze) the greens). The color will deepen quite a bit, and it’s a great way to soften tougher greens and infuse them with quality raw oils. I then added a full bunch of cilantro, and drizzled homemade vinaigrette on mine as well (chopped garlic, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and tamari).

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We covered a couple sprouted corn tortillas with some beans and yam, and topped them with avocado and a generous sprinkling of dulse. I felt like the combination of foods, flavors, textures and colors created the perfect balance. My body felt so content and nourished by this meal.

I’m curious, what are some of your favorite meals to cook at home? Anything stand out lately?

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Today I found myself in and out of the garden all day. There is so much to be picked and enjoyed this time of year. I thought I’d share some of the gifts of the day.

 

This morning, after making coffee, I went down to the blueberry bushes and picked a bowl full for us (we ate them too fast to even think about a photo). On the way back, I stopped at the hoop house and picked a little pile of tomatoes. It’s been really nice to have a few varieties this year.

 

Then I headed back up to sit and finish my coffee. I was a little grumpy this morning. Picking tomatoes helped some.

 

After I drank my coffee, I snipped some green and purple basil, oregano and thyme.

 

Later in the afternoon I did some planting, and transplanted some of the things we started a while back in the hoop house. I feel more organized than ever with the fall garden this year. Fingers crossed it comes together well.

 

Does that big orange winter squash make you think of autumn? It does me. This is the first of the golden delicious and it’s a big one! They are usually kind of petite.

 

The lettuce is starting to bolt, one by one, so I pulled a few full heads today to start making way for new lettuce plantings. We have been eating big salads daily. Need to eat bigger ones!

 

While cleaning up the lettuce bed, I was shocked to discover how big the turnips are getting. I had no expectations for these, and planted them as an afterthought, so it feels like a little gold mine in there.

 

This crazy beast of a tomato is one I picked last week. Today it reached prime ripeness (and tonight we ate most of it!). Here’s a photo taken when it was picked, which gives some reference of size.

 

All that picking got me thinking about what to make for dinner. A summer veggie torte seemed like the natural choice (what would have been your natural choice?).

 

I layered sliced potatoes, turnips, turnip greens, summer squash, mushrooms, fresh herbs, red onion, cheese and tomato. All but the onion and mushrooms were grown here at home, which felt super satisfying.

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[footnote] So it would seem as though this blog is turning into a gardening blog… Don’t worry, I’ll be around with other things to share about soon enough. For the moment, the garden feels so central to the season, I just want to soak it up.

I’d love to hear what’s happening in your garden, or what you’re cooking with the fresh foods of the season. And if you haven’t tried a torte yet, I recommend it! So easy and versatile, and crazy delicious.

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I wanted to share a couple simple recipes we have been enjoying on a regular basis here. We are often wishing we had more easy snack food on hand during our busy days, and hummus has helped fill some gaps. Hummus is a flavorful, creamy, protein rich dip or spread. And it’s so versatile. After trying a couple recipes, I found what works just right for our tastes.

One batch starts with 3 cups of cooked garbanzo beans. I like to make at least a double batch, sometimes triple, and freeze the excess for later.

Step one is to prepare your beans:

Soak about 1.5 cups dry beans (which will double in size) for a single batch, or 3 cups for a double batch. Let them soak overnight. Longer is fine too, just make sure to rinse them periodically after any soak times longer than 6-8 hours or so. If you soak and rinse them long enough, they will sprout, which makes them even more digestible.

When you are done soaking, rinse your beans well, cover with fresh water, and cook until very soft. Let them cool, and strain off excess liquid.

Simple Hummus

In a food processor add:

3 Cups of cooked beans

The juice and pulp of 2 medium lemons

4 big glugs of olive oil (about 4-5 tablespoons)

2 Tbs sesame tahini

1 small clove of garlic, chopped

Sea salt to taste

Pinch of cayenne optional

Blend well, until creamy and smooth. I like to blend between the addition of each ingredient to incorporate as I go. Give it a taste… you might want to add more garlic, or a bit more salt, or lemon. The flavors will intensify though, as it the hummus sets in the fridge.

Version 2: Lemon Rosemary Dip

In the food processor add:

3 Cups cooked garbanzo beans

Juice and pulp of 2 medium lemons

4 Tbs olive oil

A couple sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped

Sea salt to taste

Blend well, until creamy and smooth. The rosemary will infuse throughout the dip as it sets, so the flavors will intensify with time.

I store about half of each recipe in the fridge, and the other half in the freezer. Hummus freezes well, but will spoil if left in the fridge for too long, so this is a nice way to cut down on the frequency of preparation. Use your spreads to dip veggies or tortilla chips, roll into a corn tortilla with melted cheese, spread onto toasted bread, spoon onto pasta, enjoy!

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