Tuesday, March 26, 2013

the other liquid gold

(The first, of course, being human milk...!)

Yes, that's right... another post on bone broth!

 Every time I make a chicken, which is usually every second Sunday, I make stock. On Sunday we roast the chicken, on Monday we eat any leftover meat, and then I toss the bones and skin and bits right into my crock pot, then rinse out the pan before we even sit down for supper that day. I cover the bones etc. with water, then a few good splashes of apple cider vinegar, and turn it on low for 12 hours. Then I go sit at the table and enjoy my evening.
 It's really that straightforward. I used to fuss more with salt, vegetables, etc., but I've learned these really don't matter. If you've first seasoned and roasted the chicken, there will still be salt on the remains. The point of the stock-making process isn't to make a perfectly balanced soup - the point is to extract as much nutritional content and flavour as possible from the leftover bones and meat. Vegetables can be added when you cook whatever it is you make with the broth.Chances are you'll add more veg then anyway, so save yourself the extra time!
 In the morning I turn off the crock pot, remove the lid, and let it hang out for awhile, like 2-3 hours at least, to cool off. I then use a medium sieve to get out what solids I can, and start to work it, squeezing out the liquids, crumbling the bones, and pressing it all against the sieve to let the goodness drip into the stock. (To see this process a bit check out this entry from last year, which has a video of me crumbling chicken bones cooked in water and vinegar). I put the squeezed-out solids aside in a bowl, then continue to repeat the process. At some point I pour the liquid over the sieve into my Kitchen Aid mixer bowl, because it's a nice fit, and finish the scraps there. I then pour all the squeezed-out bits back into the sieve, pour a bowlful of stock over it, and then squeeze it out once more. I swipe the bottom of the sieve with my fingers and let the fine loose particles fall into the stock. Then I serve the solids to the cat. (Where you wondering what those pictures were?)
 The resulting stock is very different from your typical animal stock. In fact I think there should be a different word for stock that is made with vinegar. It's a whole new level of nutrient density, and the quality is just very different...! Look at this recipe on allrecipes.com, for example. See the top picture? Bright yellow and clear stock, made with no vinegar, bones discarded. Will it taste chickeny? Sure. Is it thick and nutrient-dense like the vinegar-kind? No. Look at the solids on the bottom of my jar! (Are you confused about the difference between broth and stock? Apparently a lot of people are. No worries, just be sure to support me when I become president and insist that we clarify our vocabulary.)
Lovely fats and gelatin floats on the top, and will solidify in the fridge. Be sure to lovingly help it all out of the jar when you use your stock to make anything; don't leave behind that goodness! Can be used to make soup, or cook rice, quinoa, beans, etc. Bon appetit!

Monday, March 25, 2013

rice...arsenic...vegan... gluten-free..

Just a link to a post about removing some (or as much as you can) of the arsenic in rice, if you wish to continue eating rice:


oh and a link to a great gluten-free vegan blog I have started following:


Happy eats!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

tomatoes in winter (well, technically spring I guess!)

Sometimes, you just need the taste of sunshine in your mouth!

Ketchup, fermenting with kefir whey - the recipe is a mix between that of Beautiful Babies and The Joy of Cooking - strained tomatoes, kefir whey, apple cider vinger, diced red pepper and onion, ground mustard powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, crushed chillis, a dash of ground cloves, a bit of ground cinnamon, a bit of smoked paprika... excited! Last time I tried fermented ketchup it was the recipe from Nourishing Traditions, which includes fish sauce, and it just got fishier and fishier, ew. I have high hopes for this one, it smells fabulous! It will stay out several days to ferment then go in the fridge.

Cherry tomatoes were on sale, so I have some tomato-basil foccacia rising for my dear Tony.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cheap bone to pick

Ladies, I have to express my disatisfaction with society.

At a few of the grocery stores we go, theres almost always a discounted produce area, where fruits and vegetables that 'arent fit' for the regular piles get packaged at super discounted prices. These items can be in states anywhere from slight to no bruising/marks to basically rotten. 95% of the time, when I come upon these piles, they are still 100% edible.

So why is it, considering the state of these perfectly good things at lower prices, do people associate purchasing those items with shame? It makes no sense. Sure, some things arent worth buying anymore, but they are always packaged in see-through plastic, so we can always see exactly what we would be buying. To me, it is common sense to direct myself towards that pile first thing, and if I can find some good deals on things I was going to purchase, then thank you Lord for this opportunity to save a few dollars.

For example:

I got triple these bananas for .99$. I roasted them and made a triple batch of Jeff's favorite muffins. If you'll notice the last one I had to cut off half of it, but it was the only one I had to out of 18 bananas.

Peppers are freaking expensive out of season... but not these babies! This bag was 1.50 for 8 peppers, and I got another bag of red only for the same price. I had to cut a tiny part around the stem of the green ones that was a bit too soft, and they werent as crunchy as the brand new fresh display peppers, so I just sliced them and baggied them pepper-vidually, froze, and bam! I have frozen strips of peppers that are easy to take out for sauces, soups, pizza, whatever. The second bag of reds I roasted and froze in 1.5 pepper baggies with the same concept as the strips.

Now all this was brought on by a couple of episodes. The first one was when I went grocery shopping with Jeff and a close friend of ours. Now this friend is a lovely young man, very caring, but he was brought up very spoiled, very posh, and has an attitude of 'nothing but the best, at any price'. And that isnt going to change until he moves out and starts paying his own stuff. But what can you do? Anyways, as is our habit, first stop, reduced price aisle. His demeanor changed immediately, and he whispered to me: Cyn.. is this a joke? Common, someone will see us!
Uh.. what? And instead of standing my ground, I left so as not to embarass him and cause a scene. Needless to say, he wont be coming back to any grocery store with me anytime soon. Second thing that happened was another day, after having perused the aisle, I had moved on. I spied a lady approaching and thought nothing of it (why would I?). Then, she started to look around as she got closer. Eyes shifting, to see if anyone was looking at her, she literally 'dropped' an article on the floor, bent and took a few seconds to look at the cart with the produce. She then snatched a bag of whatever, put it in her cart and walked away in a very speedy manner, her face red as an apple.
WTF? Why are people so ashamed? I dont know a single person who couldnt benefit from saving a few dollars, so why is it when its time to act on those money saving things, people balk and shy away and sneak their way into it? There is NO SHAME at admitting this, I have NO SHAME WHATSOEVER at looking at those fruits and vegetables that others turn their back on, if it means making ends meet. In fact, I feel fucking proud of myself when I walk out with a month's worth of peppers for 3$. So ladies, if ever we go grocery shopping together, know in advance, your shopping with a shameless lady who will save a dollar or more at the expense of this fake 'dignity' and bogus ideal of 'only the best for me' ideology our lovely first world society has taught us.
Do you have one of these aisles/carts where you shop for food? What are your thoughts on it, are you for or against it?

Monday, March 18, 2013

weekend shots

Peeling ginger - I keep a supply cut up int the freezer - it was so fragrant

strawberry, banana, maple & yogurt "ice cream" with on-sale strawberries - the colour was fantastic

Red wine has been giving me eczema flare-ups, not uncommon according to The Eczema Cure - I don't know if white would do the same, or if it's the sulfites, or what. Anyway for now I've been drinking gin. This combo was actually to sweet for me. My new favourite drink is a shot each of gin and water in a glass with about a 1/4 tsp rosewater. Lovely.

This recipe, from Feeding the Whole Family, has been modified many times in my kitchen, and I keep coming back to it because it uses all maple syrup and no cane sugar (and it's maple season, you know...!)

notice the "recolte [harvest] 2013" sticker on the can

my gin and blackcurrant drink really did look like wine

Ambrose helped us finish our ice creams

Friday, March 15, 2013

GF bread video

Howdy folks! Today my lovely in-laws came raving about the bread I served them last week, recipe here, and they insisted on buying some flour to use to make some at home. It inspired me to bake my own batch. As I hummed along it really occurred to me that some of you bakers might think you've gone wrong when you see the texture of the dough, so I've made a video of me forming the loaves to reassure you that this is quite normal! Sorry for the awful lighting, and happy baking!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

pizza pizza! GF pizza recipe & procedure

me with our salad lettuce, Ambrose pushing Baby Batman in the doll stroller

he's psyched, rightly so!

Tony doing the honours. that's eggplant strips fried in bacon fat with a bit of salt, and some baked bacon, with mozzarella.

my obsession with aeration shows! once we've been served our pieces I always elevate it on a rack to keep the crust crisp.

The crust is a modified version of the soaked gluten-free bread I posted a few days ago - omit the yogurt and add 2 tsp dry active yeast, a good glug of olive oil and 1 tbsp salt at mixing time, let ferment/rise a few hours at least (you won't see much visible rise compared to gluten dough as the grains are nonelastic, but the flavour will develop and the phytic acid should decrease). Don't add anything else later. Do not roll out!

Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet:

like so (this and the following pictures are another day, another project - crackers, in fact - but the process is the same)

cover it with another piece of parchment paper

put on one more cookie sheet, then get it all on the floor and jump on it! have your kid(s) join in! if you have another adult at home, both of you should hop on!

Take off the top cookie sheet, then carefully roll off the top piece of parchment paper, pulling at the angle shown (do not pull up at a ninety degree angle or it could tear)
And there you have it! A perfectly lovely oval pizza crust with no stress or mess! Maybe sometime I'll take pictures of what will happen if you attempt to roll out GF dough... but not today... it's Sunday... let's just enjoy life and be happy ;)

Bake as usual for pizza (full whack at 500 F; I like to prebake just a bit, about 7 minutes, then slather on tons of sauce, cheese and noms, return to the oven for 15 minutes or so). Bon appetit!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

a treat and some mishmash

I gave up cane sugar and honey as the fasting part of my Lenten discipline, and it's been good, but boy I miss chocolate. Last night I COULD NOT TAKE IT ANYMORE and I made this - now, Tony said it was cheating, and maybe he's right in a way, but it has no cane sugar or honey, as per my commitment, and it's only been once outside of Sundays that I've indulged in any kind of gray area food, and it was with very deep gratitude, and well, it was so good, I have no regrets. Plus I feel like the extra effort that goes into concocting one's own chocolate bar, by the sweat of one's brow, also trains the spiritual muscles, no? Okay, so I didn't resist the chocolate urge, ultimately, but neither did I crumble and impulsively buy a corn-syrup-filled, wastefully-packaged garbage imitation chocolate bar: I took the time to make a wholesome version. I made it last night and let it set in the fridge until today, further delaying my gratification. Experiencing the true labour cost of the process of making yummy things we normally buy ready-made is good for the moral-spiritual muscles in the same way that choosing to exercise those muscles through the abstinence of those yummy things, good in themselves, is, I think... right?

So without further ado...

Get a small small dish (you could use silicone muffin cups for a very small batch). Put in a handful or two of toasted nuts  to cover the bottom, with a density that is pleasing to you in a chocolate bar (I used soaked & dried almonds a la WAPF/phytic acid protocols). In a microwavable mug, heat coconut oil - the quantity should be about half the volume of your dish minus the nuts. Once melted, mix in an equal quantity-ish of cocoa powder. Stir gently (otherwise the cocoa powder will all float into the air) until well-combined. Now pour in just a nice dollop of date syrup and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Pour the chocolate mixture over the nuts. Let set in the fridge - how long it takes depends on how large your dish is. Simple! You could stir in some mint extract, or some shredded coconut, some dried fruit, oh! the possibilities are endless!

In general food news... lately I've been into...

Fenugreek and fennel tea
Cajun spice mix, on everything
So much yogurt and kefir
Trying to eat through freezer stuff (we have plans to buy a half animal in the spring, so we want to fit all our present freezer stuff in just the upstairs freezer)
Trying to figure out what to do with creamed coconut (at least half the google search results are "I bought this stuff at the store, what does one do with it??") - I've been using bits of it in the place of coconut milk in curry, which eliminates the BPA concerns with coconut milk in cans, so that's nice, plus it's cheap!
Coffee flavouring dessert instead of filling my cup (I love the taste of coffee but I find its effects a little harsh when I drink it)

Also, I have a lentil cracker 2.0 post in the making! Stay tuned! ;)

Finally, do note that SPRING IS THIS MONTH! So ladies, take pictures and send them to me and we'll maybe vote on what to use for the spring layout via email! If nobody ends up having time, I'll use one I have saved from last year, but I think some fresh material could be fun!

Happy weekending!

Friday, March 8, 2013

"thrive pie"

The crust of this "pizza" is made from whole buckwheat, carrot, and sunflower seeds all mixed up in a food processor. Surprisingly yummy. and the rest is vegan.
A delicious meal that we ate at our friends Nicole and Lena's house. Recipe for the crust can be found in Whole Foods To Thrive, by Brendan Brazier.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Keep Calm and Make Meyer Lemon and Rosemary Butter Cookies

peace and food.

I'm having a shitty day. I remembered to pack some of these yummies in my lunch today, and I was so happy I did.

I'd heard so much about the mystical meyer lemon in cookbooks, magazines, and the like, but never really came across any in grocery stores. I once saw them in a Martha Stewart cupcake book, and they kind of look preserved? Kinda like jelly? I wasn't sure. 

Anyway. My ignorance was challenged yet again, once I saw the alleged mandarin-and-lemon hybrids at my hippie grocer. 

I followed My Baking Addiction's recipe here, but I used brown sugar, and didn't roll them in sugar. But honestly, the cookies were totally not flavourful enough. I barely tasted the rosemary. I really recommend using the zest of at least 2 lemons, the pulp, and using using two or three times as much rosemary.

They also keep for a while if kept in the fridge. I made them last week, and they still taste as yummy and delish as when first baked. 

enjoy anywhere. anytime. with music and milk.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Celebrating the Ordinary

I havent posted in awhile because I havent made anything note worthy in a while, said no content person, ever. Well, balls to that. I decided to just show yall a middle of the week supper time over at my place in 4 pictures, like a lightning exposure to Wednesday meal time at the Deer-Piskopos-Hebert household (try saying that 10 times fast). Ready?

This playing.

This cooking.

Chili lime pork chop with red onion and yellow pepper.

3 tbsp o.o., 1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 lime juiced, 1 tsp chilli powder, .5 tsp paprika/onion powder, 3 minced garlic cloves, and if you like it extra kick-me-in-the-mouth, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. Marinade chops for 4-6 hours 

These burning.


My Vegan Lent Dilemma

 Eastern Orthodox Lent is swiftly coming. March 11, I believe, to be exact. 

If some of you aren't familiar with the fasting component of the Coptic church, we go vegan 55 days. That's our fast. No meat, no fish, no dairy or eggs. 

And...drumroll please....

I do not want to go vegan for Lent. 

It's not the lack of eggs or dairy that concern me--they are my favourite foods and they would be a good idea to cut out. But I would prefer to go vegan with at least some animal protein, like fish. 

My feelings are not at all motivated by guilt or selfishness, but what I’m sure is an unfair prejudice towards preparing vegan meals that are 100% fakeness-free. Here are some of my problems:

-Most of the hearty protein in vegan meals depend on soy, and I don’t want to subsist on soy or plain fake products (tofurky, seitan, etc) when I could be getting protein and other happy nutrients from fish, and they would probably cost as much. Fish is surprisingly cheap here, and I would feel stupid paying $2-3 on a package of tofu when I could have 2 whole fish for $5. 

-I don’t want to depend too heavily on beans, lentils, and starches (many of you know about my, ahem, severe IBS-like problems) because I’m constantly in class, and have a windowless office in which I see 20 students per week and believe me…that many people makes for a stinky office as it is. My worst nightmare is letting one loose in class. Or several, which is more likely to happen anyway. 

-Well-balanced vegan meals take too long to prepare

-I don’t want to eat fried foods like falafel (Amy, did you say you had a baked version?)
I'm obviously bringing this up because I would, of course, like to keep as close to my tradition as I can, and—let’s face, 55 days. Big deal. I can suck it up, right?

So ladies, I’m reaching out for suggestions/sympathy/shit telling me that all of my aforementioned worries are groundless. I know that many of you are sympathetic to the vegan/ vegetarian diet (Julia and Nat, I’m looking at you! And Amy I know you’re a whiz at this stuff!) and I want to hear your thoughts.