Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Free local organic Food

Did you know that there's free food right in your backyard. Way to many people spend money to eradicate this very beneficial and tasty herbs. Right now there is a very very common "weed" that is at its prime right now. Well, I should say the leaves and roots are ready to harvest, then the flowers are ready when they first start blooming, then the roots again in the fall & winter, and repeat. This is one of the most renowned herbs by most herbalist.

This herb is Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale).  Susan Weed has over 30 pages devoted to the benefits of Dandelion in her book "Healing Wise" and over 16 recipes. Rosemary Gladstar indicated on a webinar that I listened to last year (email me I'll send you the MP3) that dandelion is in her top 10 of favorite herbs. In Rosemary's book, "Herbal Recipes for a Vibrant Health" she writes that "Dandelion, is, I'm convinced, one of the greatest tonic herbs of all time." Now those are some powerful words from such a well known herbalist. Dandelion is one of those herbs that is ready to harvest at the perfect time when our bodies need extra cleansing (As with other herbs, such as cleavers, chickweed, etc, but more on that later). As the winter slows down and spring is right around the corner, the perfect herbs start popping above the ground for us to harvest. Kami McBride says that Dandelion is high in Vitamin A, C, and E, calcium, magnesium, and iron. It's also a bitter tonic herb, which increases the flow of saliva, which results in better digestion and stimulates the liver. Dandelion is even said to improve the enamel on teeth! There are so many wonderful things to say about this wonderful, yet top hated, herbs. 

I've been enjoying eating dandelion greens and roots the past few weeks. I gather the plants as I clean out my garden and flower beds. I simple have two buckets; one for yard waste and the other for herbs to dry and/or eat. I had such a tasty lunch today that I wanted to share the recipe so you can also enjoy the bounties of the seasons.

 Sauteed Dandelion Greens

- 1/2 onion sliced in half moons
- 1 TBL coconut oil
- 1 TBL butter
- 5-10 dandelion whole plant (roots, buds, & leaves) seperated in root and greens
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. sesame seed
- Salt & pepper to taste

Saute onion in coconut oil and butter until slightly brown and soft. Add chopped roots and cook 2-5 min. Add garlic and dandelion greens. Cook 2 min. until greens wilt. Add sesame seeds and season to taste. I thoroughly enjoyed these greens on top of a everything bagel and cream cheese. Oh so good. I might have to have this tomorrow!

Enjoy the early spring offerings that our wonderful land is providing us.

What other recipes and herbs do you enjoy this time of year?


- Juliette de Bairacli Levy (1997). Common Herbs for Natural Health. Woodstock, NY: Ashtree Publishing

- Rosemary Gladstar (2008). Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing

- Kami McBride (2010). The Herbal Kitchen. San Francisco, CA: Conary Press

- Susan Weed (1989). Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ashtree Publishing

This post is shared on http://www.picklemetoo.com/ and http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sourdough Pigs in a Blanket

I started a sourdough starter a few weeks ago and my world has opened up. I want to add sourdough to everything that I can! Not only does it taste good, but it's better for you.

Check out this article about the benefits of sourdough. There's also a great recipe from my new favorite cookbook, "The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast" by Caleb Warnock and Melissa Richardson. My other go to sourdough book is"Alaskan Sourdough" by Ruth Allman. Both of these books provide different styles and recipes, but the results are both tasty!

I would like to share  a recipe that I modified from a soft pretzel recipe:

- 1 cup active sourdough starter (starter recipe post)
- 3-3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar

Mix ingredients together until dough forms ball and is not very sticky. Place on floured surface and knead until soft.

Place dough in large greased bowl, cover with towel or plastic wrap, and set in warm place to rise to double it's original size. (1-2 hrs.)

Place on floured surface and roll into rectangle to roughly 14" x 12". I used 8 hotdogs, so if you're making more, roll out a larger rectangle.

 Cut 7" x 4" squares or big enough to roll a hotdog

Roll the dough around the hotdog and pinch the ends closed

Cut into 4 pieces

Place onto parchment paper lined (optional) cookie sheet.

At this point you can put the cookie sheet in the freezer and place in separate container once frozen for later use

For a crunchy crust, brush dough with water and salt before baking.

Bake 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown


Sourdough Starter

I checked out wonderful book "Wild Fermentation" and "The Art of Fermentation" by Sandor Katz and this has generated an immense interest in fermented foods. Not only have humans been successfully preserving foods by fermenting for hundreds of years, it's healthier for us. Fermentation breaks down the foods, which allows our body to digest it easier.

Sourdough is fermented dough resulting in a natural yeast that helps bread rise, pancakes get fluffy, and taste so good. Another wonderful sourdough book that explains sourdough in simple terms and provides some awesome pictures and recipes is "The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast" by Caleb Warnock and Melissa Richardson.

After researching how to make a sourdough starter, I decided to use the simplest method that I could find.....water and flour.

Day 1: Mix equal parts by weight (slight less water than flour) of flour and water. The texture should be like a thick pancake batter. I decided to start our right and use whole wheat. Mix very well with a non-metal spoon.
Day 2: The starter will separate. Mix very well.
Day 3: I started to see bubbles! This is when you start feeding it equal parts water and flour to keep the consistency like a thick pancake batter
Day 4 and beyond: I feed my starter everyday and leave it on the counter to stay bubbly and active because I use it every couple days. If you aren't going to use it, just place it in the fridge. Feed it flour and water at least once a week to keep it active. Having it in the fridge slows down the fermentation process so it doesn't go "flat" as quickly as it would unfed in room temperature.

I hope this was straight forward enough. Let me know if you have any questions. Keep posted for sourdough recipes galore! I just can't stop myself from wanting to adding sourdough to every bread related food.