Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Find most current posts over on Insta!

Hi Loves!
Sorry I am very lame about keeping the blogs updated lately. It's just very easy and interactive to post via my Insta account. So most of my food photos and explorations are popping up there now. I'll still post here when something more in-depth pops up, but quick shares, garden ideas, even recipes, you'll find steady stream of them over there:

https://instagram.com/therealmotherhenna/
Okay. So live and learn. Nigella seeds. I had no idea. The love in a mist goes crazy here. They are beautiful in their alien way. But after a while they are like weeds. I unceremoniously ripped out and composted many as they dried because they were getting in the way of the cucumbers and kale and "good" or "more useful" stuff. Ah, hello, Kara!!! A friend came by and said, "Oh those are nigella seeds, very good spice." WHAT??? Sure enough, on the very few left, I tipped the dried heads and got what you see here. Oh are they fragrant! Looked them up and, yep, used in curry and korma. I must have composted a jar full!!!!! Arg. Okay, but live and learn. Many seeds fell as I yanked them out so we should over run w them next year. And this little bit will make a curry or two maybe. Plus look at that gorgeous mandala photo there? heART! Living art. #seedfreedom #nigella #garden #gardenlearningcurve #itisnotalwaysaweed #alienpodseed #loveinamist #spice #whoknew #gardentotable #YUM
A photo posted by Kara Chipoletti Jones (@therealmotherhenna) on

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Garlic...making the most of the whole plant!


Oh the early Spring garlic scapes are incredibly yummy! When I snagged these out of the garden last year, I just peeled and sauteed the tender scapes lightly in olive oil. Then I poured the oil and scapes into a jar, and added more olive oil to fill the jar. I let that sit overnight, then put a lid on and kept it in the fridge. It needs to be used up within the week. But so you can use it as a spread on toast. Use it as the base for salad dressing. Use it as a base for stir fry. Just yum.


After scapes are too hard to eat, they become the seeds. See the jar below...this is what we harvested at the end of last season. You just save them in a jar, in dark/cool, over winter and then plant in the next Spring!

Oh and of course you get the bottom bulb part of the garlic like you see in the grocery all the time. We harvested so much of it last year that we ended up trying to find ways to extend its use through winter. Did you know you can freeze the bulbs and have them all winter long??  Just peel and clean them. Toss them in a jar in the freezer. Take out a bulb or two as you need throughout the dark season and wa-la! You have summer all winter long. I'm still using up my bulbs from last year's harvest -- even as we have just planted the seeds for a new growing season :)



Raw-k On!
k-

Monday, May 18, 2015

Figs: a learning curve plus a treat at Randita's





Loved the photos from last season. This Spring has the fig tree already sprouted with huge leaves and new buds of fruit. But this one turned out to be a type of fig that we didn't really dig in the first place...and then, well, in the second place, they turn out to be hard to harvest.

You have to wait till they droop at the stem even more that what you see to the left here. But if you wait much longer, they get so sweet, they begin dripping at the base. As soon as they smell at all, the little creatures like racoons some and take them all anyway. :)

We were happy to let them have them all. I think if we try another kind of fig, we might try a mission fig in a container nearer to the house. But even that will be hard for us as we have so much shade up near the house that I don't think it would do well. So hopefully our lovely local farm stands will continue to grow and offer...as well as our local PCC. We'll see.

I do love fig, but turns out I'm not good on the learning curve of growing them.

Happy to say though, that this winter, I had a lovely sandwich wrap back in Pittsburgh of all places that had fig as a feature. We ate at the organic vegan cafe, Randita's:


This was their Hummus Wrap, I think, though the menu says: Homemade Hummus, Figs, Spinach, Tomato, Cucumber. That day though, mine had kale on it, so maybe it is also a bit about what they have fresh and available. In any case, it was just exquisite. The whole experience of their cafe space, the people, the menu options, the lovely soups and stews, just everything was exquisite. We didn't even have room to try dessert. But it all sounded great for dessert, too! If you are anywhere near the Burgh, treat yourself there today. You will not be sorry!

Raw-k on, loves!
k-

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Red Peppers: extending their yummy goodness into winter!


This was another late season adventure last year that we are still reaping benefit from now! I have the last couple bags of these grilled yums in my freezer now and will be using them up shortly.

We had a ton of them we split with our housemate. We spent a day grilling them up and then seeding them. We jarred up some of them, but those didn't really get "preserved" coz we ate them quite promptly. But with all the rest of the bundle, we laid them out flat and froze them.

The great thing was that all through winter, we could open a bag, take out just one or two, and put the bag back. You can do something as simple as make a piece of toast, crumble some goat cheese on it, put a piece of defrosted grilled pepper on it, drizzle with balsamic. Oh! Savory, yum lunch!

But we also added them to soups and sauces. Also, before we packed them all up to freeze, I took a bunch of them and did this:

The everything starter.

  • Roasted 4 sweet potatoes. 
  • Dumped in handful of grilled+skinned red peppers + can of coconut milk. 
  • Immersion blend. 
  • Filled jars, freeze. 
Later in winter when I wanted soup, curry sauce, etc, I just thawed out one jar of this puree, add to broth and veg, and curried up or seasoned however I wanted them. You can eat as soup or over rice as curry or over rice pasta as sauce. Or mix w veg+rice without broth thinning and use as stuffing for cabbage or kale rolls.

Just so many yum possibilities for these bits of summer sun to be prepped to get you through the dark season. And they sure did the trick this past winter. Looking forward to new crops this summer!

Raw-k on!
k-

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Squash and Zucc: YUM!


We adore squash and zucchini in this house. Summertime is easy for finding lots of different kinds in the farm stands, and last season we even grew some in the garden. Got a few good blossoms to eat along the way along with the full formed veg. But we had issue with the veg getting rotten before fully forming at the end of the season. Not sure what that was about, but we ended up hand pollinating some of them at the end. It ended up just being easier to buy them from the farm stands. Thank you Universe for our local farmers!

Through the dark season, we went for spells of time with none available. But early in Spring, we saw them pop up again in the organics at the PCC over in West Seattle where they are decent sized and reasonably priced. We do see them come back around to our local grocery, too, but they are often tiny, not great quality, and more expensive until we get farther into the growing season.

So we use them a bit sparingly at first. We use just a 1/2 or 1/4 to dice up fine into our raw salads. Or we might slice a 1/2 very very thin and toss into a soup at the last minute to give it some yummy rounds.

It won't be till much later in the season when everyone has zucchini growing out of their ears and we get really big ones that we'll even consider juicing or making gf breads and whatnot. We just saw a great idea of taking one of those big ones, slice thick, brown up a bit. Then top with pizza like toppings. Mini-pizza! I could see trying a goat cheese feta, diced fig, balsamic mix on top of nice caramelized slices. Mmmmm.
Get your raw-k on!
k-

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cilantro walnut pesto: yummy dip or savory spoonful to add to soup

This is a recipe adaptation to one I found in some cookbook or another many years ago. While I do love my garlic, sometimes the raw garlic nature of regular pesto gets to me. So I was looking for an alternative awhile back which led to finding this!

Put all the ingredients in the food processor and make like you would regular pesto, you know? Only it is great for using up even the stems of the cilantro! You can make it as thick or thin as you want. You can make it spicy or not.

It is such a flexible dip or puree. You can even make it in a big batch and fill jars for the freezer. Just take out one jar at a time and use each jar as you go along.

Late last September we were lucky enough to stumble upon these hot peppers at our local Hogsback Farm stand. Can surely tell you that this made the next batch of cilantro walnut I made incredibly yummy!


And I use this one in lots of ways. You can just toss with rice noodles for a traditional kind of pesto feel. But you can also use it as a salad dressing or dip for raw veggies. I have used it spoonful on top of sliced cucumbers, topped w half a baby tomato. Sort of an alternative tea sandwich. You can also just take spoonfuls of it and drop it into your soups to spice things up cup by cup.

It's just all YUM!
Raw-k on, loves!
k-

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Apples and plum: YUM!

Well actually this happened last Fall at our house :) It was the end of the season and the first fruits of the harvest for us. Plums and apples like crazy which was such a blessing. Much of this saw us through winter, and in fact, I am just now defrosting the very last jar of the apple-plum jam. It was like having a bit of summer all through the dark season. Loved every bit of it.

So we took the first half of the fruits and dehydrated bunches and bunches.


When done dehydrating, we had jars like the one below just filled to the brim with dried, sweet goodness. Really, those plums dried up, NOT AT ALL LIKE prunes, but like crispy candy. We ate through the dried fruits first in the dark season. Partly coz they were just so good, and partly because what we did with the other half was frozen and would last longer.


With the second half, I just seeded it all and tossed it in a pan to steam steam steam up. I did add lemon juice -- tons of it -- for the pectin to make the jam firm up a bit. I didn't want to add any preservatives or other pectin, so this was an experiment for me. After it all cooked down, I took out the immersion blender and whipped this stuff up till the skins of the apples and plums were pureed to nothing but silk yum!



Then we filled these jars and rather than do the whole sealing thing which feels risky to me coz I don't know what I'm doing yet, we just put these all in the freezer. We took out one jar at a time throughout the season and it was perfection.

While it works great as jam, it is also a great base for things like making Thai Spiced Plum sauce or anything else you can think of along the way. I found that it defrosted a bit like a puree, so on those days when I had lots of pain or found it hard to want to swallow, I could down a few spoonfuls of this and it was very appetizing. Lots of vitamin C and more.


Hope hope hoping we are lucky enough in this new year / new season to find ourselves with this kind of wealth at the end of the season again! Really made getting through the dark season do-able. So incredibly grateful to our friends Deb and Dwight who gave us access to all their wild fruit trees to do this last season <3
Miracles,
k-
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