Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just some snacks

No deep thoughts today, just a couple of quick recipes that I have made with success.

I finally made my own fermented vegetables, and it was so easy! My first batch was a mix of cabbage, beets and onions. I bought some beet seconds in bulk from a farmer friend, a couple of cabbages and a few pounds of onions. The first lesson was that a little goes a long way with these vegetables. It's not perfect, but my first batch went like this:

1 large head organic white cabbage
5 lbs organic beets
2 lbs onions
sea salt
well water

I cut the cabbage into large pieces that fit in my food processor feed tube, and then I shredded them. I cut the beets into quarters and sliced them in the food processor (next time I might cut them a little smaller). I did the same with the onions.

I mixed it all together and packed it into 1/2 gallon mason jars and a ceramic crock, pressing down occasionally to make it really compact. Then I mixed a solution of 8 tsp sea salt to 8 C water and covered the vegetables; I added just enough to liquid to cover them when they were firmly pressed down. I had to keep re-pressing and packing more vegetables to make sure that the air was out. I closed the lids tightly, covered the crock with an inverted lid and a weight, and put it all in a cupboard for a week. I packed the kraut from the crock into jars and put it all in the fridge. Done.

Chocolate-Ginger Macaroons - paleo approved!

I got this from Michael Kenney's 'Everyday Raw,' but I modify all his recipes to substitute either honey or maple syrup where he calls for agave nectar because I don't think agave nectar is a healthy alternative to sugar. I cook this recipe, so it's not raw (and neither is maple syrup, anyway, or cocoa).

1 3/4 C dried coconut
3/4 C chopped macadamia nuts
3/4 C + 2 T cocoa powder
3/4 C maple syrup
1/4 C + 2 T coconut oil
1 T ground ginger
1 1/4 vanilla extract
pinch sea salt

Mix together dry ingredients; add wet ingredients and blend. Drop by spoonful onto parchment paper-covered cookie sheets. Place in oven and turn on to 200. Check every half hour until they are the texture you prefer (or you can dehydrate them for two days, but I am too impatient!).

I am currently in the process of making a vegan, grain-free key-lime tart, so I'll let you know how that turns out.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Your Life

I am so fortunate to have a life full of amazing responsibilities. My time is occupied with the demands of a toddler and a young child discovering themselves in the world, and with supporting my husband as he pursues his dreams. All of this leaves me with little time for "The Nourishing Path" these days, but my mind is often on it.

There are a lot of scared, angry people in the streets lately. In believing the promises of people who were never in a position to deliver the goods, they followed paths that seem to be leading to dead ends. They suspect they have been had, and they're looking for someone to blame. In Wall Street, some of them think they have found it.

Whether this is true is the subject of a different discussion. It is natural to look for a bad guy when we think we have done all the "right" things and life is still turning out "wrong." But even if the bad guy really is a bad guy, is my current situation his fault? If I own every action, every moment of my life, there is no way it can be wrong. The path is always evolving, always unfolding. Is it a nourishing path? Do these choices make sense? Is this my dream, or the road to it? Am I living my life how I want to be living it, right now? Am I banking on a pay-off that I am in a position to attain?

In the words of Wall St., another's "past performance is no indication of future returns;" I cannot live anyone else's life.

So I'll leave the occupiers in the street, and hope that each and every one of them can find the individual nourishing path that springs from within, and that will lead them away from the rage of feeling helpless.

Am I failing to deliver on my promises to myself? If so, then it is time to Occupy My Life.

(Sometimes the hand does seem devastatingly crappy, and sometimes there is someone else to blame, at least in part. Nonetheless, in my life I have never found that a peaceful, positive outcome can stem from angry action.)

Want some recipes?

Most of the time I cook simple meals from the farmer's market, since I like to shop there and, once I'm done, I rarely have much cash left! Once a month I shop the sales at the grocery store fish counters, and I fill my freezer with eight dollar sockeye salmon and six dollar haddock and cod.

Coconut-Pistachio Fish Fry (serves 4)

Exactly what it sounds like.
2 lbs white fish, such as cod or haddock (previously frozen works fine)
1/4 C ground pistachios
1tsp sea salt

1/4 C coconut oil

Heat the coconut oil in a skillet (coconut oil will smoke and burn if it gets too hot, so keep an eye on it).
Toss the salt and pistachios together, then dredge the fish in this "breading."
Cut the fish into four pieces and fry for a few minutes a side, depending on thickness, until the fish can be flaked with a fork.

Coconut oil is super good for you, which is a great excuse to eat fried food!

If you want to add a sauce, strain 1/2C yogurt through a coffee filter for 1 hr, and then mix in some chopped garlic and lemon juice.

Serve with parsnips roasted with honey mustard, and fermented beets (I am about to embark on a beet fermenting process, so I will fill you in once I have done it. In the meantime, I buy Real Pickles brand beets from the natural food store.)

Breakfast-for-Dinner: Salmon and Eggs (serves 4)

15oz can of Alaskan salmon
1 C chopped organic celery
1/2 C chopped organic white onions
1 tsp curry powder

Preheat oven to 350.

Remove salmon from can and take out large vertebrae, but leave the skin.
Mix the ingredients together and press into an oiled loaf pan and drizzle olive oil over the top.
Bake about 25minutes, until a little crusty.

While the salmon is cooking, you can make hollandaise or lemon curry mayonnaise, depending on whether you want a strictly paleo meal. They are both easy to make, although hollandaise requires some practice. For mayonnaise, follow Julia Child's recipe here. For hollandaise, I also stick with Julia.

This is her recipe, it makes a lot so I usually reduce it by 2/3 (using 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp water, and 1 tsp lemon juice)


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6 -8 ounces very soft unsalted butter
  • pinch salt 


  1. Whisk the yolks, water, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in the saucepan for a few moments, until thick and pale (this prepares them for what is to come).
  2. Set the pan over barely simmering water and continue to whisk at reasonable speed, reaching all over the bottom and insides of the pan, where the eggs tend to overcook.
  3. To moderate the heat, frequently move the pan off the burner for a few seconds, and then back on. (If, by chance, the eggs seem to be cooking too fast, set the pan in the bowl of cold water to cool the bottom or onto a cool, damp towel, then continue).
  4. As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, and then thicken. When you can see the pan bottom through the streaks of the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from the heat.  Immediately add 1 Tbsp cool butter and whisk.
  5. By drops, add the soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition. As the emulsion forms, you may add the butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed. Continue incorporating butter until the sauce has thickened to the consistency you want.
  6. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper, whisking in well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding droplets of lemon juice if needed. Serve lukewarm.

Fry eggs to order and serve over the salmon, topped with hollandaise or mayo.

Squash stuffed with walnuts, apples, cabbage and goat cheese (serves 4)

2 large acorn squash
1 small head red cabbage
2 white onions
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1 tart apple
4 oz chevre
1 C balsamic vinegar
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cut the squash in half through the "waist," so that each piece has scalloped edges. Scoop out the seeds. Place the squash face down on a sheet pan and add 1/4 inch of water. Place the pan in the oven and cook about 45 minutes, checking occasionally to add more water if necessary. When the squash is done it will pierce easily with a fork.

While the squash is cooking, slice the onions finely and put them in a skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and cook, stirring constantly, until they brown. Shred the cabbage or slice it finely and add it to the pan, stir to coat with olive oil and then cover and cook about 10 minutes, until wilted. Chop the apple and add to the pan, stir, turn off the heat, and cover.

After the apples have warmed, about 10 minutes, empty the pan into a bowl and return the pan to the burner. Over high heat, add the balsamic vinegar and stir constantly until it has thickened.

When the squash are cooked, place them face up on plates (cut or notch the bottoms if necessary to make them stand), and add a pat of butter. Toss the walnuts and crumbled chevre with the cabbage mixture and then spoon into the squash shells. Spoon the vinegar reduction over the top, and serve.

Roasted beets glazed with ginger and cumin (serves 4)

2 lbs beets
1 T grated ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 C butter
1 shallot, chopped fine

Preheat the oven to 450.

Place the beets in a roasting dish that just accommodates them, and add 1/2 inch of water. Cover tightly with a lid or foil. Place in the oven and cook for 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the beets, checking on the water level occasionally. They are done when they pierce easily with a knife. Remove the beets and drain in the sink. When they are still warm, but cool enough to handle, slip the skins off. Cut into wedges, and cut the wedges in half.

Heat in the butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the ginger and stir constantly. When the ginger is fragrant, add the cumin, and when it starts to foam, add the shallots. Stir for 2 minutes and then add the beets and stir to coat. Turn off heat and continue to toss the beets until glazed.