Monday, March 10, 2014

right now in the kitchen...

Just took chicken leg & backs out of the oven; precooked for Wednesday's salad, will process them later for freezing and get the stock going overnight.

Roasting sweet potatoes; red peppers and red onion already done - for soup.

Making honey rose syrup to keep on hand for mixing with gin, my favourite.

Doing endless dishes.

Sauerkraut's almost ready.

Pot of tea with honey ready and waiting; the leaves on their second wind, freshened with fenugreek seeds.

Not far away there is an unbelievable amount of laundry to put away, pictures that need rehanging, and a little boy who needs picking up from preschool soon. I guess I'll take that tea to go.

My reflection this weekend was that cooking is something you simply choose to make time for. You can eat real food if you plan for it, no matter how busy you are, and you can equally choose to eat garbage even though you're relatively free with your time. It's a commitment, and a lifestyle, and a privilege, and a pleasure, to choose the beauty and vitality and holism and sustainability and bonding of real food. I am so glad I have this blog space in which to celebrate this lifestyle.

It is not so cold as it has been outside today. I think I'll start my seedlings this weekend. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 3, 2014

cassava pizza

1. combine 1 1/2 c cassava flour, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda; then mix in 2 eggs, 1 dash of oil, and 2/3 c milk kefir. if you are dairy-free, use 1/2 c water, 1 tbsp vinegar and 2 tbsp extra oil. 

2. spread with a spatula on the smooth side of a silicone baking sheet (mine is from Canadian Tire), like so.

3. bake about 10-12 minutes at 350F. it should be firm but not brown. let cool, then loosen crust gently from the silicone sheet. for best results, elevate on an oven-proof wire cooling rack, spread thinly with olive oil, dress, and bake on the wire rack over the cookie sheet, to keep the bottom crisp.

look at that texture - it's downright fluffy!

you're welcome.
Not sure what cassava is? Read more here. I buy cassava flour at Asian or African markets. As usual, sorry for the mixed-quality pictures.

This is a 100% original recipe - please credit when sharing. Thanks!

makin' sauerkraut

1. remove 1-2 outer leaves of cabbage carefully, set aside*. then shred your cabbage. this is one head of green cabbage. add salt - I use three tbsp salt for one head of cabbage.

2. work it, baby, work it. it just takes a minute or two if you put your weight into it - knead, squeeze and work it till it gets briney.

2a. the salt breaks the cells to release water.

3. pack it in a jar. this 2L beauty is from Michaels.

4. when it's all in, press down the solids so the brine is at the top.

5. take your reserved cabbage leaf and edge it in, stalk part first.

6. push it 1-2 inches below the surface.

7. now, carefully tuck in the whole leaf around the shredded cabbage, rotating the jar to make sure everything is evenly tucked in.

8. lift out any solids floating at the top, seal tightly, and let it ferment for a week or two, as you like it.
Other notes - you can add whatever vegetables you want. This is the plainest kind I have ever made.

You know it's working when you see fermentation gases lifting the vegetable matter - you need to push it down every few days, especially at first. After a few days you can put a small 125mL mason jar on the top of the cover leaf to help keep things down.

Fermentation builds pressure, so open and reclose the lid every few days to avoid cabbage explosions.

Sandor Katz is the man, so check out his instructions too.

*Using cabbage leaves to submerge the kraut rather than a glass or stone crock weight lid is a genius idea from Practical Paleo, all credit to the author.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

OPERATION Eat Everything That's in the Freezer: Getting Creative

THIS woman is on a mission: Last month, I committed to eating everything that's in my freezer before buying more meat (that includes stew meat, deli meats, bacon, sausage, whole chicken, chicken pieces, minced meat, etc), fish, shellfish or frozen veggies or fruits. One time, I served Matt some seriously old trout--it tasted off and we checked my zip-top bag--my handwritten label read Feb 02/13--GROSS!!! and I realized I needed to make a difference. I was packing my freezer like a paranoid survivalist, and food would get tragically wasted if I didn't make a change soon.

And ladies, I am ecstatic to report that I am starting to make huge progress! No more meat left or frozen veggies. I only have fish, some homemade rolls, Matt-friendly ice cream (vegan), 2 bags of frozen blueberries, 2 frozen packs of organic deli meats, and 2 boxes of gluten-free blueberry eggo-waffle style waffles. I'd been stalling on the waffles, because I knew I didn't want a carb and sugary breakfast. But what to do with these waffles?
seeing is believing. 
Yes. I made a breakfast sandwich. I typically love weird textures and medlies of different flavours, but this was...weird. The waffle was too sweet to really work with the ham, tomato and pepper I had stuffed in there--but I am thinking this sandwich might be fanTASTIC as a sweet grilled ham 'n' cheese. I am currently trying to avoid dairy, but it seems like my body is happily tolerating goat milk with little to no discomfort! I've found spreadable goat cheese to be hard to digest, so I don't really understand why that's happening. I thought people could tolerate cheeses better than they could tolerate milk, so that's a big question mark for me. 

Are you guys facing a similar dilemma? Do you worry about freezer-burnt foods and potential waste?