cooking

Page 3

228 articles in category cooking / Subscribe
2011-02-12 23.33.57

It is often assumed that because we live on the land, we have easier access than ever to nutrient-dense foods. Before we really lived this life, I assumed that too.

While we are working towards that, we’re still at this awkward in-between stage where we’re barely getting started. These last couple of years I have tried to fit eating well into this agrarian life and we have gone through phases, from wildly unsuccessful to kind of sorta making an effort.

With a major health crisis last year followed by the birth of Ruth which has left me feeling quite depleted, I am evaluating what has changed, what we’re lacking, and what I need to get better at implementing.

In doing so, I came to realize that there were some key foods we used to eat very consistently – a few every day, and sometimes a few at a meal. Back then I had a big refrigerator where I stored the various things we picked up from farmers once a week and it seemed, well, easy. Now things are different, obviously, but “hard” isn’t a good excuse.

These foods are quintessentially agrarian and remain at the top of the list of foods our family needs to get back to eating a few of every day.

Raw Milk & Raw Eggs

I put these two together because there is one source that brought me back to this point. I recently thumbed through Ramiel Nagel’s Curing Tooth Decay while feeding Ruth. I skipped around here and there and was reminded of why these two foods are so critical. For us, raw milk still comes from our neighbors when it is available, but I can tell we all could use more of it. A milk animal is high on the list of to-dos, Lord willing.

Raw eggs are controversial because of concerns over salmonella found in commercial eggs. You couldn’t pay me enough to eat a raw egg from the grocery store, but the homegrown eggs are phenomenal cooked or raw. I have been inspired by my friend Susan, who mixes homegrown eggs and milk for breakfast shakes, to get these into our kefir, glass of milk, or salad dressings more often. You can visit this article to read more about eating raw eggs, including the whites.

Bone Broth

I used to roast a chicken every week, and then make about a gallon of stock out of it. It’s more complicated now, obviously, because storing that broth once it is cooked presents its own challenge, plus we’re only butchering roosters as we need to and we’ve now exhausted our supply.

Expanding the flock in order to kill off one rooster or old hen per week is our long-term goal. For now, I may look into other options or try to add some extra gelatin to our diets in order to replace some of the benefits of the broth.

Greens

The nutrient-density of leafy greens like collards, kale, chard and the like cannot be overlooked. Having our own collard greens has worked out well and, Lord willing, those that Stewart planted may be ready in a month or so. In our climate, this green seems to have the best resilience to the extremes of hot and cold. Swiss chard, sweet potato greens, and root vegetable greens round out our options.

A few people asked for some recipes that include collard greens. This Mexican Chicken Soup, Italian Meatball Soup with Greens, and Southern Style Braised Greens are all winners for us. There are also quite a few recipes using different greens including spring spinach, collards, and others in my Spring Cookbook.

Cultured Foods

This is actually one area that we haven’t skimped on. Somehow we almost always manage to keep something cultured around. Right now kombucha, sourdough, and vegetables are all available and we look forward to milk kefir when it is available.

The last couple of years have been a good reminder to me of how critical the content of our meals is to our health. I hope to reincorporate those things we somehow lost along the way.

IMGP6741

IMGP6741

We had quite a few ferments on hand, after a whirlwind vegetable fermentation session last month. I thought those would last us a while, and I suppose they did, but we went through a half-gallon of chlorophyll kraut, a half-gallon of southwestern kraut, and a half-gallon of carrot sticks in just a few weeks.

I can’t emphasize enough how thankful I am for these foods. Stewart’s been drinking the juice off of the top of the lacto-fermented carrot sticks and it really seems to have helped him over these months of recovering from adrenal fatigue. And the children are crazy about them and I’m happy to scoop out another carrot stick or more kraut for their twang-loving pallets.

IMGP6756

I tried out the Perfect Pickler for that chlorophyll kraut. I have my own thoughts on airlocks, which I might share in another context on another day, but the kraut itself turned out wonderfully tangy after a few weeks on the counter.

What has really taken over my kitchen lately, though is sourdough.

IMGP7239

This guy right here is super active. I’m experimenting with the brown rice sourdough starter while developing a bunch of gluten-free sourdough recipes for CFH. You can follow along with the adventure at the CFH blog.

IMGP7240

I’m also quite partial to this rye sourdough starter, which we bake 100% rye bread from. It’s a nice alternative for those who aren’t eating wheat at the moment. Plus, there have been pancakes upon pancakes upon pancakes. Oat pancakes, rye pancakes, rice pancakes, banana pancakes…

IMGP7244

And then there is that rye bread, which I made into buns this past week. It’s a sticky dough, nothing like wheat due to the difference in proteins. But it’s easy to make and we love its dense tang. Upon biting into his roll, our oh-so-serious seven year old proclaimed “Mmm… I love the taste of sourdough.”

Me too!

What’s fermenting in your kitchen?