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Deep summer means saying good-bye to certain vegetables in the garden. The collard greens, while heat tolerant to some degree, were bug-ridden early on and never really grew to full size this spring. We’ve been eating off of them for some time now but it was clear that they just weren’t going to grow much more than they already had.

So we picked them all and covered their bed with manure and hay in preparation for a root or greens crop in the fall garden. Simultaneously we have pickles… lots and lots of fermented cucumber pickles. These fermented cukes don’t keep too long this time of year outside of cold storage so we try to eat through what we have and store away the rest. I generally don’t ferment a lot in the hottest months – and write about that in Traditionally Fermented Foods – but our first year of plentiful cucumbers has me making an exception.


With a bowl full of collards and a gallon of pickles, I needed something substantial to pull the two together. The gluten-free garbanzo flatbread known as Socca was just the thing. It is high in protein and crisp and delicious when topped with meaty collards and tangy pickles. And I would imagine it would be just the same in the winter, topped with kraut and kale.




  • 2 cups garbanzo flour
  • scant 2 cups near-boiling hot water
  • 2 Tablespoons lard or coconut oil + more for cooking
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and place a 12″ cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat. Add the garbanzo flour to a glass mixing bowl and pour the near boiling water over the flour and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper and allow to sit while oven and pan preheat. The batter should look like heavy cream in consistency.

Once the oven and pan are preheated, pour 3 Tablespoons of lard or coconut oil into the very hot pan (carefully!) and swirl to coat. Then pour 1/3 of the batter into the pan and tilt and roll the pan around as you would for crepes to spread the batter. It may not go all the way to the edge of the pan and that is fine.

Return pan and batter to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm in the center and brown and crisp around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and slip a spatula underneath the pan to remove the socca. If it sticks, let it sit a few minutes before removing.

Repeat with remaining socca batter.


Pan-Fried Collard Greens


  • 1/4 cup lard or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • Large bowl full or the equivalent of two bunches of collard greens


Add the lard or coconut oil to a 10″ cast-iron skillet and add the sliced onion. Fry for a few minutes or until it begins to soften. Meanwhile, wash and shake dry your collard greens and chop roughly. Add the collards to the pan with the onion and season with salt and pepper. Pan fry for approximately ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions and collards are soft and just beginning to brown up.


To serve:

Divide the three socca flatbreads into six equal pieces and distribute onto six plates. Top with collard greens and fermented pickles and serve with a big glass of raw goat milk.

This morning, after chickens were let out and goats milked, in that post-breakfast hurrah we seem to have every morning that tends to fizzle out just before lunch, it was chore time. The boys were strangely excited to move large quantities of manure from the barn and surrounding pasture and into the garden. It appears as though my love of animal manure is beginning to rub off on them.

It was a baking morning, the sourdough starter still bubbly from last night’s feed and the bread bag empty for days. Usually I whip up a quick double batch of No-Knead and move onto the impending dishes but it was a cooler morning ripe for a bit of extra time in the kitchen, so we went into full sandwich bread mode.

I began mixing the dough on the table and Annabelle immediately put away her pens and papers and asked if she could add the flour. Then Ruthie pulled up her chair and started to mix. When the dough was too stiff for her little arms, mama finished it up in the bowl.

Ooh, can I knead?!” Annabelle asked with great enthusiasm. So I split the dough in two and floured up the table and away they went. Pull and fold and push and turn and repeat, we sang. Oh, and Joshie’s trying to eat it, Mama. Ten minutes later I had washed a couple of sink fulls of dishes, my bread dough was ready for the bulk fermentation, and these girls wanted to know why they had to stop.

The recipe is the high-rising Sourdough Sandwich Loaf in Traditionally Fermented Foods which we will shape and bake later today.


This scene got me thinking back to when I first began to learn to bake bread. It was nearly twenty years later than Ruthie is getting started and it was one of those first DIY skills that got me hooked. Why couldn’t I make our own bread, yogurt, butter, salad dressing, vegetables, meat, medicine… everything I began to ask myself? In theory it sure would lighten the burden on the pocket book and give us access to better food.

So I began going down the list of the things we consume and tried making it at home instead. Eventually I was fermenting anything I could get my hands on and growing what we could in a small suburban backyard. Ten years later we have more gardens and chickens and goats and cows (!) than I could have imagined back then.

But baking our own bread with real ingredients, feeling that dough change shape beneath my hands, that spurred me on to ask more questions and try to make and produce more of our family’s needs. Recently I shared three recipes over on the Attainable Sustainable blog that might be good for those first starting out in making their own bread:

Foolproof Homemade Sandwich Bread

Soft French Bread

Homemade Light & Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Happy baking!