Saturday, December 12, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It's about how the seed company designs our food crops around pest control chemicals and control of the seed supply. It also explains why genetically modified foods are outlawed in England and many other places. The source of our seed for our food crops comes from the makers of Agent Orange, genetically modified foods, and recombant bovine growth hormones (rBGH). Go cooperate food sources!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Part of the reason is that I often get excited to post about cooking. Cooking and local food. And let's just say that both of those are currently not a passion. I had to give away all the onions I had stored up (which was a little sad because I had them all braided nicely and hanging in my kitchen) because to me they had started to produce an unbearable stench, cabbage and butternut squash are being given away (well, the squash has found a home, and I have plans for the cabbage). All food is pretty unappealing, but local seasonal foods are especially appalling. Sad. Tonight I am cooking brussel sprouts in the oven and it's pretty rough enduring the smells wafting through the house.
Anyway, if you think of the Davis family, pray for us. We're excited, but we have a long way to go (and I have a lot of meals to prepare) before July 16th. Love to all of my loyal readers, I'll try to write more soon. :)
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Then I let it rise. Some days I let it rise once, sometimes twice. It depends when I want to bake it and whether I remembered to transfer it to the loaf pan or let it rise in the bowl (if it rose in the bowl it needs to rise again when I transfer it). Today I let it rise twice and it took until about 4:00 until it was nice and high and ready to bake. My dough is about doubling in size now when it rises, which is a huge improvement from my initial attempts. It really improved exponentially when I added sugar to the starter and when I started covering the loaf pan with a lid while baking it at 450 degrees for the first half hour before baking it uncovered at 350 the second half hour.
I'm about at the point where I think I'm going to stop buying any bread, for anyone (including the gluten eaters) because this tastes so good, is easier on digestion (the yeasts added to breads are much harder on the stomach than the natural yeasts "caught" in sourdough starters or kefir, and Micah complains of his stomach hurting if I give him too much wheat), is healthier (I'm grinding all the steel cut oats and sweet brown rice myself in the coffee grinder so it's all whole grain flour--plus I add flax meal), and does not require me to drive to the store. Just trying to pitch the sourdough bread to any who might consider doing it, it's really good! I can't imagine how good it would taste with wheat flour, yum!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
This picture is from Valley Forge National Historical Park (the Revolutionary War site). It's ranked one of the top ten parks in the nation for viewing fall leaves. We had a great time, though we did have to space out the sandwiches and apples strategically to lure some of the family members through the full two miles + (one bailed anyway, and had to be carried). Happy hiking!
But I knew that it was going to be a while until I could make any again, seeing as I had made it impossible to save any of my starter. Which would either end my happy trip down sourdough lane or prove that I had my starter recipe nailed down.
As soon as I had my bread all mixed up, before I even baked it, I got out a jar and added some flour and water. I added some sugar and some kefir. Two more times on Wednesday I fed my starter. By Thursday it was bubbly and active. I fed it three times a day on Thursday and Friday, too. Today (Saturday) it was ready to make into bread. It made more good bread!
Three things I learned:
- My sourdough starter recipe rocks
- NEVER empty all of the starter into a bowl
- Keep more starter around (use a bigger jar and feed it more each time)
Monday, November 2, 2009
One man likes to push a plough,
The other likes to chase a cow,
But that's no reason why they cain't be friends.
Territory folks should stick together,
Territory folks should all be pals.
Cowboys dance with farmer's daughters,
Farmers dance with the ranchers' gals.
Micah and Jesse did all right together, so I guess we're well on the way to peace between the two. I'm just glad we could do our part.
Really good, but I figure I spent almost my whole day on it. OK, so if I'd bought the cheeses and had noodles I didn't have to pre-cook and made the sauce the day before and didn't have little kids in and around where I was working the whole time . . . it probably just would have taken two hours. I have to say, even though I didn't accomplish anything else today, it was still worth it. So if you have two hours to invest uninterrupted and buy the cheeses and stuff--it will totally be worth it. Yum! Great way to use a seasonal veggie if your family is as tired of butternut squash as mine is (or if you just have no idea what to do with it). I didn't even cook the squash like they said. I just baked it and then scooped out the seeds and spread the soft "puree" on for the butternut layer.
If you make it, tell me how it turns out for you!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
- add sugar to the starter
- only add a tiny bit (but don't skip it) of salt
- leave the starter/sponge out in a bowl overnight (I covered it with a towel)
- cover the bread when it's baking at 450 degrees for the first half hour, then uncover for the last 15 to 30 min.
starter (I added some of the flour and let it sit overnight)
brown rice flour
little bit of sweet sorghum flour
little bit of flax meal
a few teaspoons sugar
pinch salt (1/4 teaspoon?)
pinch xanthum gum (to make it stick together, gluten-free)
Today's loaf makes a hard knock on the outside, and a soft, moist inside. It rose this time, which is a first really, and I attribute that to the addition of the sugar. I didn't add enough flour to where it was kneadable, I left it pretty moist and used a spoon for my "kneading" and to transfer it to the bread pan. I poured the starter into a bowl last night, turned on the oven till it was a little warm then shut it off, and put the bowl in the oven with a damp towel overtop.
In the morning I added all of the other ingredients (including the eggs) and then stirred the mixture in the bowl and let it sit for about 2 to 3 hours. Then I transferred it to a buttered loaf pan and let it sit another 1 1/2 hours in the slightly warmed oven with a towel overtop. I covered it with a glass lid that almost fit for the first 1/2 hour and let it bake uncovered for the last half hour.
If interested in replicating this, you will be pleased to find that I intend to measure and post the measurements next time! :) The only part I will not be measuring is the starter. That you just need to play around with (like I did) and try to get it to bubble.
Just put one part flour, one part water in a jar. Add a few teaspoons of kefir (I use dairy kefir) and a pinch or two of sugar. 2 to 3 times a day add more flour and water (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup, rotate between buckwheat, sorghum, brown rice or sweet brown rice, oat, etc.--I really like the texture of my flours and I have been grinding them myself with a coffee grinder for about 30 seconds (buy one that holds as much as possible if you plan to get one for this purpose)). If your starter doesn't seem active enough you can add a little sugar or kefir to the starter. Stir with wood or plastic when you add the flours. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!
Obviously if you can eat wheat use at least mostly whole wheat flour and this will taste unbelievable. You would want to add enough flour to knead yours. And you can skip the xanthum gum. Lucky you!
For you gluten-freers, this is a great loaf. Way better than what you buy in the store, and it keeps like wheat bread. Great for eating fresh with butter and jelly or for toasting. Happy baking!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The 10 riskiest foods in America - Food safety- msnbc.com
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
NYT: E. coli path shows beef inspection flaws - Food safety- msnbc.com
Let's support our local farmers who feed their cattle grass. I'm about to buy (and split with friends) 50 pounds of grass-fed beef from a local farmer.
Friday, October 2, 2009
The sourdough had to go in the fridge for the weekend b/c we're going out of town and it's smelling a little ripe and ready to go. I think I'd cry if I came back to find overly fermented sourdough on the counter. The kefir's in there too for the weekend. All fermentation projects on hold for now.
The concord grapes are in the cool pantry/mudroom. We'll see how they hold up.
"I like honey-baked lentils. It's basically 2:1 water to lentils; for 1 cup lentils, I add 1 T. honey, 2T soy sauce, 2 T oil, 1 clove garlic and any spices. I usually use a curry blend, but dill works nicely, too, and salt and pepper. Put everything in a casserole dish, cover and bake at 350 for about 45 min.. I add carrots and red peppers sometimes. It's a versatile dish and goes well with baked potatoes, rice or flatbread."
I had no idea what to do with yellow lentils and had them around for about 6 months before I made this attempt. They were really very good (and I had very low expectations). I didn't measure anything, but I put in everything she said except the optional veggies. And for the spice I just used a little bit of curry. I did use 1 and 1/2 c of the lentils and adjust amounts. But then I had to bake it for at least an hour and a half.
I served it with Rice Vinegar/Garlic/Soy Sauce/Olive Oil marinaded ahi tuna steak with my homemade kefir as a yogurtish topping, sweet potatoes, and broccoli rabe/baby red beet green saute. It was a great meal. Yum.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I was going to put cheesemaking off until after my sourdough and kefir experiments, but I had to make pizza and didn't have enough cheese (because I stopped buying it knowing that I could make it), and this is my brand of lazy and cheap (didn't want to go buy some at the store).
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I read an article (Thank you, Aunt Nancy) about gluten and yeast creating an especially bad combo for our gut health, and how back in the day everyone made sourdough bread and it was so much better for you. So, here I go, but it's even harder trying to make it gluten-free. I also feel like adding the kefir stuff just puts me into a whole new camp of weird. But I am loving it!
I will of course post any success or failure on my first sourdough loaf. At least the starter doesn't stink, it smells sourdoughish, and it's been on my counter now for a good four days or so, which would have been long enough for it to go bad. Hopefully this will be more successful than my attempts to make gluten-free beer bread with hard cider.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Summer Pizza Recipe Food & Wine
If any locavores are going to try a similar idea this winter, it's a good idea to roast and freeze some peppers while they're in all the farmer's markets in cheap and plentiful quantities right now (an idea, I should add, I got from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle). Rachel Ray showed me how I can roast them right on the gas stove top, just turning them as I go. And then I pit them and throw them in a ziplock in the freezer. I also arranged with a farmer to get a bushel of onions that store all winter, so at least I'll have onion and roasted red pepper and tomato sauce all stored up for my winter pizzas.
Happy pizza eating!!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Op-Ed Contributor - Big Food vs. Big Insurance - NYTimes.com
Thursday, September 10, 2009
1 cup applesauce
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cup wheat flour or ground gluten-free grains
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
1 1/2 c applesauce
1/4 c flour (of any kind, really, I use gluten free blended grains)
2/3 c walnut or pecan pieces
2/3 c raisins
(if you like things sweeter you might want to add sugar or honey)
Mix. Put in 8x8 or 8x11 greased baking dish depending on if you want thinner or fluffier cake, sprinkle top with cinnamin, and bake between 350 and 375 degrees for 45 min. to an hour.
- spaghetti sauce
- tomato sauce
- diced tomatoes
- sliced peaches
- grated zucchini
- free range chicken and broth
I've also harvested pears off of a neighbor's pear tree (she knew about it, it wasn't in the dark of night). They turned out to be very green and will mostly all have to be thrown away. I'm new to this foraging thing. (Let's not revisit the horse chestnut scenario from last year.)
There has absolutely got to be an easier, lazy version of tomato sauce (than boiling diced tomatoes and squishing them gradually through a collander with a rounded wooden squisher), though Owen pointed out that if I blend it it will no longer be sauce, since the seeds and skins will make it just blended tomatoes. Hmm, well, maybe I'll have to do it again next year, but OH BOY, what a lot of work. It felt very un-modern-American. Micah helped cut up rome tomatoes with a butter knife.
It felt like a bit of a ripoff to spend 5 hours on the spaghetti sauce and only have 10 gallon bags to show for it.
The easiest freezing item was the grated zucchini. Now I have to find some recipes that use grated zucchini.
My broccoli rabe is almost ready (the first of three mini beds to be planted). The rutabaga could be ready soon, who in the world knows. And I planted swiss chard, kale, sugar peas, spinach, brussel sprouts, carrots, red beets, tatsoi, and endive.
I found a possible source for apples (for applesauce) and potatoes and buttercup squash that haven't been sprayed much and possibly a quarter of a grass-fed cow . . . if the Amish woman from the produce stand does actually call me as she said she would. I'm also going to try to get some onions that are dried for longer term storage.
The local eating adventure continues.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
So we're getting a bit more extreme here lately (thank you Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for the inspiration). I froze corn and lima beans for the winter last night and this morning--only 3 small bag of lima beans, I'm still learning to appreciate those guys. Plans are on for my mom to come and help me freeze spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. I'm hoping to freeze some fruit this year, too, but I may be too late to the punch. (When deciding you want to eat all local, mostly from your own land, it's best to reach this conclusion sometime around January. Reaching the conclusion around June, like I did--and after, in some aspects--creates a lot of frantic last minute scrambling.)
My next concerns:
- Finding local grassfed beef
- Making applesauce in the fall, and buying pumpkin to store for winter treats (too late for most storable fruit at this point)
- Making cheese (I found a website to buy supplies and read in the aforementioned extremist book that you can make mozzarella in 30 minutes--wouldn't it be dreamy to be able to to tomato, mozzarella, basil ON YOUR OWN?!)
- Finding where to buy my grapevine, lime tree in a container, and apriocot tree for the fall
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Maybe this is my rite of passage.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
If anyone cares to find out about what frightening changes have occured in the American food supply in the last 50 years or so, check out this movie. It was truly frightening, but also exciting. The word is getting out about why E-coli is spreading to spinach, why our meat is so unsafe and unhealthy (both related to CAFO--concentrated animal feeding operations--sites dumping tons of animal waste into water supplies and breeding antibiotic resistant bacteria through unhealthy and disgusting practices with cattle and chicken farms), and how immigrants are being treated in an appalling way. And hopefully the result of the information getting out will be similar to the effect of The Jungle when Upton Sinclair wrote it (we need to make the reforms they made then all over again).
The movie was inspiring, though, and not just depressing, because it emphasized the ways that we can make a difference:
- start a vegetable garden (even a small one)
- sit down as a family to eat a homecooked meal
- buy local and organic
- see their webpage for other action steps (http://www.foodincmovie.com/)
Anyway, great movie . . . go see it!
So I was alarmed to find out at the zoo the other day that coffee growers often cut down the rainforest in order to grow coffee instead of growing the much enviro-friendlier shade grown varieties. The sunny varieties cause hardships to birds (loss of habitat) and require more pesticides than shade grown coffee. I assumed I could not afford shade grown coffee, but at the following website at Amazon I found coffee that is:
- shade grown,
- organic, and
- fair trade . . .
Very exciting! That's cheaper than what I'm paying now at Trader Joe's.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Save Money On Organic Fruits And Vegetables - Low Pesticide Foods - thedailygreen.com
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Who: Val, and neighbors (who saw it first and pointed it out to her)
Reaction: Oh my goodness, this must be blogged . . . NATURE IN NORTH PHILLY!!!
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Hello all! Here's a real pick-me up! (Not really.)
Just doing a little research about the American contribution to global warming and food shortages because of meat consumption, from the Worldwatch Institute and the New York Times, and basically it looks like there are really three big bummers from the huge meat consumption of the Western world (apparently Americans eat about half a pound of meat per day to consume an average of 200 lbs. of meat per year:
1. People are starving and having to compete with cattle for grain.
2. Meat causes global warming from methane gas.
3. Pollution of water supplies from vast quantities of animal waste.
Some random quotes:
"Each kilo of meat represents several kilos of grain, either corn or wheat, that could be consumed directly by humans. If the 670 million tons of the world's grain used for feed were reduced by just 10 percent, this would free up 67 million tons of grain, enough to sustain 225 million people or keep up with world population growth for the next three years. If each American reduced his or her meat consumption by only 5 percent, roughly equivalent to eating one less dish of meat each weak, 7.5 million tons of grain would be saved, enough to feed 25 million people-roughly the number estimated to go hungry in the United States each day.""To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days."
"The massive quantities of waste produced by livestock and poultry threaten rivers, lakes and other waterways. In the United States, where the waste generated by livestock is 130 times that produced by humans, livestock wastes are implicated in waterway pollution, toxic algal blooms and massive fishkills. And livestock farms are getting larger throughout the world: one 50,000-acre hog farm under construction in Utah will produce more waste than the city of Los Angeles."