Thursday, March 19, 2009

Walnut Pate Party Boats

Walnut Pate Party Boats

3 Cups Soaked Walnuts
1/4 Cup Nama Shoyu (Or less, depending on taste)
1-2 Pinches Sea Salt
Cumin to taste
1 Handful of Cilantro
2 Scallions
2 Carrots
2 Celery Stalks

Put all in a food processor and pulse for 20-30 seconds. Serve on anything!

Can also add kefir cheese

If you want to get creative, you can add the celery stalks, for the white one, then the carrots and some beets for the orange one, and cilantro, scallions, basil......anything green you like, for the green one. If you feel like it you can add pine nuts. Serve in raw pepper boats or zucchini boats, or wrapped inlettuce or in a wrap or with flax crackers.

Home Made Deodorant

Quick Stick Deodorant


In the DIY world of home health and beauty products, deodorant seems to be the the most feared replacement. Stinking is NOT OKAY in our culture, right?

But aluminum crammed in your pores cannot be good for you, and it seems in recent years that store-bought deodorant is becoming less and less effective anyway. This deodorant uses a natural moisture absorber (cornstarch), a natural deodorizer (baking soda), and a natural anti-bacteria/fungal oil (tea tree oil) to keep any stink from developing in the first place.

So, here's what I suggest....make this stuff ahead and use it on SATURDAY, or a sick day, or any day you aren't going to see anyone special, so you'll feel secure and not look like a nut obsessively sniffing your underarms all day. Once you get over the stink phobia, let your body get used to it, and you'll never go back.

Homemade Stick Deodorant

1. Put 1/4 cup each of baking soda and cornstarch** in a bowl with 10+ drops tea tree oil. (I like 20 drops, but I'm a tea tree oil nut. I hear lavender oil will work as well.)

2. This deodorant can be used as a powder, but if you want a stick, go to the shortening section of the store and buy this solid-at-room-temperature-awesome stuff:

3. Stir 2+ TBSP in until it's the consistency you like.

4. Smash into empty deodorant container. (Will be a bit sturdier once it sets a day or so.)

When applying this deodorant, use a lighter hand than you would with normal stick deodorant, especially the first couple of days or it'll drop little balls on your bathroom rug.

Used correctly, this stuff is invisible and lasts for ages, as it works with a very light layer. You should not be able to SEE it once applied.

**If you have especially sensitive skin, increase the amount of cornstarch to 6T and decrease the baking soda to 2T.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dahlia with a unicorn

Gluten Free Pie Crust

Gluten Free Pie Crust

This gluten-free crust is for a nine-inch pie plate. (but barely)

* 1/4 Cup Butter
* 3/4 Cup Quinoa flour
* 1/2 Tsp Salt
* 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
* 2 Tbs Water

Pie Crust Instructions

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F
2. Put the butter into a pot, and put the heat on low.
3. When the butter is melted, add the quinoa flour, salt and baking powder. You can pre-mix it if you like, but it will get pretty well mixed during the following two steps.
4. Using a large spoon, mix the butter into the gluten-free flour mixture. Keep mixing and pressing in the unmelted butter until the wheat-free flour is evenly mixed with the butter.
5. Add the water. Mix until the water is evenly mixed with the gluten-free flour mixture.
6. Dump the gluten-free pie crust mixture into the pie pan.
7. Using your fingers, press the wheat-free pie crust into an even covering along the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
8. Using a fork, poke holes into the base of the crust. They do not have to penetrate the crust, but it is OK if they do. Place fork-holes about every inch or so around the outer edge of the bottom of the pie pan, and round the middle too.
9. Place the pie crust in the oven. Bake until brown (approximately 20 minutes). Check it every so often to make sure it does not burn!
10. Remove from the oven and add gluten-free pie filling.
11. Bake according to pie filling instructions

Holiday Breakfast Pie

For special breakfasts, it's sometimes good to be able to get a head start the day before.
1.) Line a pan bottom with puff pastry, then build the sides with puff pastry strips. Poke holes in the bottom of pastry with a fork. Cover bottom with good quality tomato paste and sprinkle very finely cut onion on top. When the onion is half cooked and before the puff pastry is browned, remove from oven.

2.)Mix cream cheese ( I use home made goat's kefir cheese) with grated cheese. I use parmisano-reggiano usually, or whatever's around. Add finely chopped parsley, a few chili flakes, season to taste. Spread on top of tomato topping, keeping away from edges a little. Beat an egg white with a little water and brush on the sides of the puff pastry conainer. You can finely chop zuccini, red pepper or other vegetable to add, but make sure yoyr puff pastry sides are high enough for both this mixture and the eggs you are going to add later. Think about where you want to put your eggs and make little nest places in the cheese mixture to hold the eggs in the next step. Back into the oven it goes. Leave until the cheese is a little melted or cooked looking and the puff pastry is slightly brown.

You can stop after either 1 or 2 and continue in the morning.

3.) Last part: carefully crack eggs on top into the little depressions you made. I crack two eggs for each person. You need to work this out before you many people, eggs...what size dish. Chop chives or gree onion on top. I usually tent with aluminum foil so that the tops of the eggs don't get rubbery and dried out while baking. This part always takes longer than I think it will, but now's the time to set the table and get the coffee and tea ready. Take the aluminum tent off for the last few minutes to crisp up the edges of the puff pastry if it needs it.

It's very festive looking.

James' Wonderful Non Gluten Waffles

James makes really great waffles.

This recipe requires that the grains be ground once soaked, so check first, if you don't have a Vitamix or other 2HP blender, to see if your blender will grind soaked grains. (Slow speed until it's mostly ground).
We use an UNO waffle iron now.
The only time I have heard James curse is when we had our first waffle iron.
It always stuck. (Now he sings as he cooks.)

The grain ratio can change, depending upon what you have:
1 cup whole buckwheat kernels
1/4 cup whole teff
1/4 cup whole amaranth
1/4 cup whole millet
1/4 cup whole quinoa
(organic grains)
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 T molasses
3 T butter
1/4 tsp salt

Soak grains overnight in goat kefir, (or for a few days, with the kefir they will begin to culture which means added flavour),
with liquid just covering the grains (add more when they soak it up).
(Soak quinoa separately in water).
Melt butter.

Beat egg YOLKS until smooth. Mix in molasses and vanilla and salt.
Combine cultured grains and baking powder in blender, blend until
Mix melted butter into egg mixture, then add blended grains. Mix
until all ingredients are combined.

Beat egg WHITES until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter.
Ladle batter into pre-heated, butter painted, waffle iron and cook
until browned.

We have them with creme fraiche, which I kefir from raw cream, and
blueberries, maple syrup or agave syrup.

I know, it seems fiddley, but it's just part of our routine.
We are now kefiring a large batch of grains. Some is used for the waffles and the rest kefirs a few more days to be used in making a gluten free sour dough ciabatta bread.

Investment and Returns

Last night I sat down to eat a bowl of soup. I looked at it for awhile. Without the sprout and pepper garnish, it could have looked a little like a tetrapack cream soup, maybe, at first glance, even something from a can. This soup, though, had a different history.

Two years ago, I made a celery root soup. I cut the gnarly top of the root away and planted it in the ground. It grew a bunch of celery stalks, flowered and produced seeds. I didn't pay a lot of attention beyond cutting stalks once in awhile. The next year, a small forest of celery grew in the area. More than I, while cleaning up the garden I dug out some roots to make a celery soup. Digging, cleaning and chopping takes awhile, but the stock was being made, so there was time.

I love organic chickens that have the neck, heart and other organs tucked into a little bag inside the chicken cavity, as they make the best beginning to a stock. While the chicken is roasting, all sorts of veggies go into the stock on top of the stove. Carrot tops and pieces of carrot, vegetable ends, like asparagus stalks, swiss chard, garlic, onion, celery stalks and yellow beets. It cooks for awhile, there is a roasted chicken dinner, then the bones and pan drippings (minus the fat) are added, along with the chicken stuffing: bay leaves, ginger, onion, citrus. It simmers some more.

We go out, the stock cools. We return, the stock is strained and used to cook the celery root. Some carrots, hjiki and red onion are added to balance the root flavour. The seaweed has enough saltiness in it. The herbs from cooking the chicken are enough flavour.

The vegetables are cooked in the broth, but are left to cool and blend while we work outside.

There is a pattern here of attention and inattention, but during the times of inattention, change still takes place. At this stage, the flavour deepens.

By the time we are hungry, all that is left to do with the soup is to blend it into a rich, velvety smooth texture, reheat and garnish with a mixture of sprouts. A high powered blender like Vita-mix makes a velvety texture).

This is why I'm sitting looking at the soup. It looks just like a tetrapack soup, but it is so much more. There was a time in my life in which I thought that if I could just take a daily pill for nourishment, I'd be happy. Has this been a waste of time? Could I have accomplished more if I had used the time differently?

What else could have given me such connection with the land, such continuity through the seasons, such sureness about growth and change and reinvention?

Because I had invested in a piece of gnarly root by planting it in the soil instead of throwing it into the garbage, two years later I was eating this soup. An investment, with a quality stock, yielding delicious returns. My stock market is either the farmer's market or my own back yard. No downturn here, only new spring growth.

It's difficult to eat soup and laugh at the same time. This is the best return on an investment.

Exception to the rule Kale

Ok...I don't usually eat bacon. This is the exception.
(Turkey bacon is fine, and that's usually what I use).
Chop bacon in to small bits and cook in frypan. When it is almost done, add chopped onion. Let it cook for a bit, then add chicken stock, just enough to steam kale, which is already cut up. If the kale has big stalks, cut them small and add them when you add the onion.
Add kale leaf pieces now. Cover with lid. Stir occasionally. It's finished when the kale is soft. May need a little more chicken stock. Steam slowly, don't fry it. Add a few drops of chili sesame oil. Fabulous with freshly ground Indonesian comet tail pepper, ground in mill.

Delicious, Crunchy Baked Broccoli

Preheat the oven to 425.

Take as much broccoli as you want to eat, cut into florets (but relatively big ones.) Best thing to do is prep the broccoli beforehand so it is not only ready, but dry.

Now, it's easy. Put the broccoli on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper (or just have salt and pepper mills at the table). Now add 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and sliced and toss them in too. 3Tbs. pine nuts. Some dried chili flakes.

Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until "crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned."

In the middle add lemon juice and stir around. Move the broccoli around a few times during cooking.

When it's done, take it out of the oven sprinkle zest of a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze a little more lemon juice over, add a little more olive oil, and 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Put back in oven so cheese will do its thing. Good Parmesan doesn't exactly melt.

I made it in a cast iron frying pan so I could take it directly from the oven to a trivet at the table. Toss at table. A nice, crunchy, roasty change from steamed broccoli.

Non Gluten sourdough bread with seeds

I'm writing this down so that I have something that at least approaches a recipe. It has taken a lot of trial and error and thought to get it this far.

Making super nutritious, delicious, non gluten bread

1). Soak these whole grains in kefir:
Buckwheat (1 and a half times more than the rest of the grains)
Cover loosely and allow to begin to culture.

2). Soak in water:
Change water once (quinoa can be slightly bitter without that water change)
Cover loosely

3). Soak in water:
Sunflower seed
Sesame seed
Pumpkin seed
Cover loosely. Change water daily to sprout instead of ferment.

(Cover is to keep bugs or dust and light out)
In the last two hours before making the bread, soak flax seeds.

all grains above are raw and organic

Why all this soaking? Grains and seeds contain phytates which are there to stop them from molding or sprouting at inappropriate times. Soaking releases the phytates and makes minerals and vitamins more bio-available to our systems.

Depending on the room temperature, you can let this process go on for 3 to 5 days. (In higher temperatures, it happens faster.)

4). Leave the kefir on the 4 grains (it should have all soaked in anyway), drain any water from the quinoa and put in all the dry carafe for vita mix. Blend on low speeds until you have a batter. (If you don't have a vitamix or other powerful blender, make a small test batch to see if your blender will grind the soaked grains.)

5). Yeast prep:
In small bowl put a little sugar (for the yeast to eat) and some water (90 degreesF or neutral temperature when a drop is put on your inner wrist.) About a quarter cup of water. Put in one package of yeast. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. If water is too cold, yeast will take longer to wake up and begin to eat the sugar. It looks a little foamy when it is dining on the sugar.
Add to the batter.

6). Add:
2 eggs
some salt
some good olive oil
xanthan gum..this is because none of the grains have gluten in them, which is what gives bread it's characteristic lightness....little pockets of air that the yeast makes are normally held by the strength of the gluten. Xanthan gum helps with this, although this bread is more dense than a fluffy white bread. Add herbs like fresh rosemary, or anything else you like.

7). Add the sprouted seeds. You can also add hemp seeds, chopped sun dried tomatoes, rosemary, chopped olives or whatever else you like in bread at this time. Lightly blend the seeds, leaving some whole.

The bread sponge is too wet at this point, so get out containers of flour: amaranth, millet, quinoa, garbanzo/fava, (whatever no gluten flour you have) and slowly add while turning and kneading until it has the texture and feel of a regular bread dough.
You can also use some coconut flour, but because it is somewhat antibacterial it will slow the rising a little. Don't use only coconut flour for that reason.
Make dough into a ball, set in bowl, cover surface with good olive oil (so it doesn't get a "skin" of partially dried dough). Wet a clean tea towel, fold in half and clip over top of bowl (6 clips will hold it flat like a drum skin on the rim of the bowl) to provide humidity.
Put in oven and put the oven light on (for heat to make yeasts grow and dough to rise). Leave for a few hours or over night.
It should double in size.

8). Cut risen dough into several pieces to make small loaves. I make small, single serving size flat focaccia-type loaves and put them on a non stick cookie sheet. You can also sprinkle corn meal on the sheet before putting the loaves down. (I'm beginning to make larger loaves now, as each batch of bread is better and lighter.)

9). Separate an egg. Add a little water to the whites, beat, and with a pastry brush, brush the tops of the loaves. Sprinkle whatever interests you with bread on the top: small rock salt pieces, chopped rosemary, fennel, ground coriander, tiny pieces of dried citrus, herbs de provence, or some other kind of mixture of herbs.

10). Put back in oven with light on to let rise again to about double height. (They don't get a much larger footprint).

11). Bake at 375 degrees until done.....slightly brown. They don't take as long as a regular loaf because they are smaller, and with all the soaking and culturing, they are already partially "cooked" anyway.

12). Remove and let cook on rack. When room temperature, put into waxed paper bags and into a bread box. Do not will loose the complex taste. This is real food, it will last at room temperature, unless you have made too big a batch. If you have, freeze the loaves and thaw as necessary.

The first time you make it, it seems to take forever. Then, you realize it's only a few minutes time every once in awhile.....less time, all added up, than going to the store and back. So much more nutritious too. Where I live, non gluten breads with few ingredients are $6.50 a loaf and it is often moldy or is dry and crumbly within a day or two of purchase.

This bread is high in food value, so one of these little loaves (big cookie size) with a piece of cheese is a meal. A really filling and nutritious meal.
We like these small loaves best, but with each batch I make some larger ones as well, for sandwiches.

pi pie

Yam and Roasted Cashew Soup

Yam and Roasted Cashew Soup

500g (1 lb) yams, peeled and sliced
4 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 tsp red chilies
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup flour (I never seem to need a thickening agent like this)
3 t soy sauce
1 tin (6 oz) light coconut milk
Few sprigs coriander (cilantro) plus extra for garnish
Salt and pepper
1 cup cashew nuts

1. In a large pot, boil yams in vegetable stock fifteen minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large fry pan and add chilies, ginger, garlic, carrots, onion and saute until soft.
3. Mix in flour with a wooden spoon.
4. Pour in the stock and yams.
5. Blend all in a food processor until smooth.
6. Return to large pot and simmer fifteen minutes, add all the coconut milk.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, pour soy sauce over cashew nuts, toss to cover, and bake ten minutes, turning several times to brown evenly. This can be done in skillet on stovetop.
8. Add the few sprigs of coriander and seasoning to the soup.
9. Serve the soup and garnish with coriander leaves and cashews.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Non Gluten Banana Bread

Non Gluten Banana Bread

2C flour: buckwheat, amaranth, teff, quinoa, millet or a mixture
2T xanthan gum
2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
1/2C sweet or cultured butter
some sugar ( I've seen recipes calling for one cup, but I just put a little evaporated cane sugar in....maybe 1/4 C
2 eggs
4 really ripe bananas
1/3C kefir
1C walnuts (who measures?)
1C shredded raw, unsweetened coconut
1C blueberries (can be frozen, thaw first) add an extra handful if you want to put some on top.
1T vanilla

Whisk together flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a larger bowl bowl cream together butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy. Incorporate eggs, slowly. Still in slow mode, add the dry ingredients, alternating with kefir. Start and end with dry ingredients.

Stir in mashed bananas, coconut, vanilla, blueberries and walnuts.

lightly grease (or line with parchment) two loaf pans (8X4). Fill both pans with batter. If you want, put some blueberries and a little sugar on top.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 55 minutes. Rack to cool.

Friday Night Finger Foods

The puff pastry cups contain home made goat's cheese and a variety of things like anchovies, red pepper, zucchini bits, sun dried tomatoes, etc.
Stir a little water into an egg white and paint the outside edges of the pastry.
When baked (425 degrees F until puffed and golden brown) these are tasty cups to hold chipoltle guacamole (mashed avocados with chipotle salsa) or some of the other tasty bits on the plate, like the sprouts or salmon.

The salmon was cooked with a little coconut oil. Put in oven while you cook the shrimp, or be brave and cook both at once in their own skillets.

For the shrimp, cut tiny pieces of ginger, onion, red pepper, zucchini and saute in butter.
Squeeze in garlic and once the vegetables are almost cooked, add the shrimp.

Serve salmon on beds of sprouts and sprinkle a little tamari on the salmon. The shrimp is served in beds of the sauted vegetables, with some for garnish on top. Pile on the puff cups and add chipotle guacamole and tiny loaves of wheat free multi-grain bread, sliced thin. (see non gluten bread recipe or make your own recipe).

More filling than it looks and a great finger licking way to begin the weekend.

cinnamon and honey medicine
This page talks about various folk cures using cinnamon and honey both internally and externally

oatmeal pancakes

Oatmeal Pancakes

makes 16 pancakes


* 2 cups Old Fashioned Quaker Oats, or other quick-cooking oatmeal (actually, I'm going to thermos cook whole oat groats, with a small amount of seaweed)
* 2 cups buttermilk (I'm using goat's milk kefir)
* 2 large eggs
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (coconut oil)
* 1/2 cup flour (amaranth, millet, quinoa or buckwheat)
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (the soft, ceylon bark)
* 2 tablespoons sugar (probably not)
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt


Add oats and buttermilk to a mixing bowl. Stir to combine and cover with wet T towel. Let sit for awhile.over night is fine so the grain begins to culture (this gives the pancakes their distinctive texture). Add eggs, honey and oil. Stir to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together.

Lightly oil a non-stick pan or griddle. Pour batter in 1/4 cup increments. Watch for the tops to bubble. Turn pancakes and cook until golden on the second side.