Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Spanakopita - No Eggs!

'The sheaves of phyllo are laid flat,
Uncurling the folded edges.
Smooth and powder dry,
It feels like holding Nana's hand.
Violet talc and buttered rich,
A pocket full.
Smells of kitchen cutting boards and sharpened knives,
I cut my heart in two.' - Annie

I make these whenever I think of my Grandma Elva, especially for celebrations like weddings and birthdays.

In a large bowl, blend together 2 lbs firm and well drained ricotta, 1 1/4 lbs feta, well drained and crumbled, and 1 1/2 lbs well drained frozen spinach.

Mince and brown one sweet yellow onion in olive oil and then add to the bowl. Blend well.

Layer three sheets of phyllo, each well buttered, and cut in half the long ways. Scoop two tbls of filling in the bottom corner. Flag fold, tucking in the edge.

Lay on a buttered pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 380* for 25 to 28 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Focaccia Pizza - Three Ways

Tomatillos, slivered onions and sweet pepper, crushed garlic, dove grey oyster mushrooms from Boston Valley, olive oil, dry mustard, cumin, mozzarella pizza.

Almond butter, honey cream, slivered apples, chopped toasted walnuts, butter, allspice pizza.

Roasted purple potatoes and carrots with oregano, sage, basil with tuna and mozzarella pizza.

The dough is simple. Set out covered until doubled. Cut into three balls, roll out thinly and lay out on a greased sheet. Bake at 350* for 25 minutes.

1 3/4 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Vegan Castille Soap - Carrot and Basil, Lemon Balm, and Anise soaps

The carrot soap was made using all of the runty and wiry carrots growing in
tight in amongst the nice thick long carrots in our raised beds in the side yard.
I used only vegetation we grew ourselves, all organic, nothing was wasted.

I scrubbed these itty bitty carrots and boiled them in a bit of water and then pureed them smooth, using about 16 oz of vegetable matter. I then blended in 43.5 oz of olive oil.

In a large glass or ceramic bowl I added 12 oz of cold water very slowly to 6 oz lye, stirring gently with a silicone spatula until the temperature droped down between 110-115*. I slowly added it to the oil and vegetable blend. Using a stick mixer, I blended until trace appeared as a b├ęchamel sauce consistency. 

It was then poured into a glass 8x17 pan (a ceramic, wax paper lined wood, or silicon mold would work as well). This was placed in an oven set to 170* for 2 to 3 hours. It then rested overnight. The next day it was un-mold, rinsed, cut,  and the slices cured on parchment for 2 to 3 weeks in a cool dark location.

After curing, they were wrapped in fresh parchment paper and stored in a plastic bag.

The soap shown below was mostly basil and lemon balm that I had soaking in the olive oil for a month in the cupboard. I added fresh anise seed during the blending process. It smells mostly of lemon balm.

Basil, Lemon Balm, and Anise made using
the herbs grown in our garden this summer.
Basil, Lemon Balm, and Anise soap

Sunrise Jelly - Sweet and Spicy!

This jelly is easy to make but I caution against doing this on a cold or wet day. You will want to open all the windows because the peppers will burn something awful. Wear a paper mask, protective eye wear or eye glasses, and gloves when you start to process the chilies.

First make the peach jelly base.

6 cups of peeled, pitted, and finely chopped peaches; about 6 pounds. Add 1½ cups water.

Combine peaches (From Singer Farm Naturals) and water in a 8-quart stainless-steel pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for about five minutes. Remove from heat and skim off any foam with a stainless-steel spoon. Cover and allow to stand for about 20 minutes.

Strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl. Discard the pulp.

For the jelly, add back into the large pot: 3½ cups peach juice, adding ¼ cup lemon juice, 5 cups sugar, two boxes of pectin.
Raw milk herb farmer's cheese,
goat cheese, Spar's ham, and house
made spicy Sunrise Jelly quesadillas.

Wash the peppers well. I used a mix of five different colorful varieties from Plato Dale Farms. Trim, de-seed, rinse. Slice very thinly. Add to the pot of ingredients.

Bring to a boil, stirring gently with a silicon spatula. Boil hard for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower to a simmer for 15 minutes. Return to a rolling boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and skim foam if necessary with a stainless-steel spoon.

Ladle the hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Dry the lip, lid, and band tightly. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Set out and store in a cool dark pantry after the lids have "popped". It will take about one week to firm up in the pantry. You can put a completely cooled jar in the fridge and begin to use it in two to three days.

This recipe was inspired by the one found in Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Picnic Scalloped Potato Caserole

Thinly slice potatoes. Make basmati rice with peas. Shred two chicken breasts and coat in a Korean BBQ then mix with the rice. Blend with vegan mayo. Layer on top of the potatoes.

Coat with a layer of Quark heavily seasoned with salt, powdered garlic, cumin, black pepper, oregano, paprika, sumac, cayenne pepper, and ground coriander. Bake at 425* for 35 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Schezwan Chili

Scrub four delicata squash. Halve and de-seed. You can toast the seeds with a bit of salt and oil, they are quite tasty. Slice thinly and add to the crockpot.

Brown one pound of meat, ground beef, lamb, goat are all tasty options.

Add the browned meet into the crock pot and drizzle with 2 tbls sesame seed oil, 2 tbls rice wine vinegar, 3 tbls brown sugar, 2 tbls soy sauce, 1 tbls red pepper flakes, 1/2 tbls ground chili powder, 1 oz fresh ginger slivered, 12 oz homemade garlic tomato paste, one can well washed chickpeas, 4 cloves of crushed garlic, and 1 large onion chopped. Cook on high for 3 hours.

Fall Harvest Chicken Stew

Roast a small pie pumpkin, a small butternut squash, 2 ears worth of steamed corn nibblets, and five carrots in a large pan with one cup of water and covered with parchment paper. Once cooled, scoop the pumpkin out of it's skin. Puree, adding cream, ginger, cumin, and coconut milk and then pour into the bottom of your crockpot.

Layer in boneless chicken. Broccoli, tomatillos, Empire apple, green onions, red onion, sliced ginger, crushed garlic, drunk cherries, Celtic grey sea salt.

Set the crockpot on high and cover, cook for two hours.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Coconut Flake and Butterscotch Blondies - Gluten Free and Egg Free!

1/4 cup or 1/2 a stick of sweet cream unsalted organic butter, or the same amount of coconut oil
1 cup raw organic sugar
1 tbls maple syrup
2 tsp Burbon vanilla extract
2 tbls Ener G egg replacer
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1 1/2 cups of almond flour
1 can of organic garbanzo beans/chick peas, well washed, drained, and mashed smooth
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup chips, butterscotch, chocolate, or any other variety

Pre-heat the oven to 350*. Grease an 8x8 pan.

Mix all of the ingredients well and spread evenly into the pan.

Bake for 40 minutes. Cool for 20 to 30 minutes before cutting and eating.

Monday, October 7, 2013

S'more Cookies - No Eggs!

These taste just like S'mores, minus the heavy processed garbage ingredients and minus the sick feeling you get after eating two traditional fire burnt sweets. Try using this recipe if you can't find organic marshmallows.

1/2 cup each whole wheat flour & white flour
1 1/2 cup steel cut oats (toasted)
1 tsp baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup applesauce (The snack cups are perfect for this recipe.)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Toast the oats in a tiny bit of butter. Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add the applesauce, beating well. Gradually beat in flour and oat mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Drop rounded tablespoon onto a very well greased baking sheet. Bake at 365 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Naturally Fermented Dill Pickles

Nearly all store brand pickles are created with vinegar as the base as it guarantees a sour flavor and acts as a preservative. However, using vinegar instead of brine prevents natural fermentation from occurring. The live bacteria cultures that will grow, that turn pickles into a healthy probiotic food, are missing. Also, pickles that soak in vinegar for a long time are usually too sour and end up rather limp.

There are brands of naturally fermented pickles to be found in stores, although they can be expensive. Making naturally fermented pickles at home is pretty easy to do and is more fun than you might think. They will crunch, have an earthy tang, will be infused with garlic and dill and taste fresher than a factory made pickle.

Start with this easy recipe first but then be prepared to play with flavors and switching up veggies on the next bottles, any herb, spice and vegetable is fair game.

This recipe is for one 16 ounce jar and can easily be doubled. 

6-8 small (3-4 inches long) un-waxed cucumbers. Look for pickling or “Kirby” cucumbers which are an ideal size. 
1 1/2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons sea salt (or other non-additive salt)
4-8 sprigs of fresh dill
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half a
1 wide-mouth 16-ounce glass canning jar (sterilized in boiling water and air-dried)

Optional seasonings: red pepper flakes, hot chiles, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, celery leaves, bay leaves, fresh herbs, onion, cinnamon stick, cloves

Combine salt and water and let sit until salt dissolves

After washing the cucumbers, cut the tips off on both ends. Leaving the cucumbers whole, cutting them in half, spears, or coins is a matter of personal preference. I like coins best but will try long thin slices for sandwiches next time.

Tightly pack the the jar. Layering in the garlic and dill. The cucumbers will shrink a little during the pickling process.

Pour the salt water into the jar. It should completely cover the cucumbers.

Set the lid loosely on top of the jar, don’t seal it. Let the jar sit undisturbed at room temperature. You’ll know fermentation has begun when you see bubbles rising to the top of the jar and the water becomes cloudy. A thin layer of white scum may form on the surface of the water. This is harmless and can be scooped away with a clean spoon. 

It will take between 4 to 8 days before the pickles are done. Taste the pickles to check for texture and flavor. Once you’ve decided they’re done, tighten the lid and store the pickles in the refrigerator. Store for up to 2 months in the refrigerator, skimming as needed. If the pickles should become soft or begin to take on an off odor, this is a sign of spoilage and they should be discarded.

If the flavor of the pickles is not vinegary enough for you, try drizzling a little vinegar on the spears right before eating.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

OctoPie and the Buffalo ChalkFest 2013

Leto wanted to participate in the the ChalkFest this year and she had a really super design idea. After the accident I didn't think it was going to happen. The idea of trooping down there with all of her gear and art supplies, would we be willing to try to use an accessible porta-potty or hope a store or restaurant might have a bathroom we could use, medication, and sun, and how long a drawing might take were making our pro and con list look decidedly lopsided.

Leto on the other hand wasn't having it and begin to insist I draw out a design. She and I sat up Friday evening and worked out the details and drew some inspiration from Youtube clips from Finding Nemo. She wanted a shark and an octopus and she wanted them to have tea. Well... she got just that. When the news came out to videotape the event, they caught Leto in her wheelchair adding details to a cat and my wedding ringed hand working on the hammerhead shark.

The World of Steam posted a Krakenberry Pie early the next morning, and with fridge full of fruit and octopi still on the mind, I decided I'd give it a go.

This was a blend of 3 cups of quartered cherries, blueberries, and grapes. I added 1/4 cup arrowroot powder (you can use cornstarch powder instead), 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tbls nutmeg. The crust was cut to create the body, tentacles, and eyelids.

In a 400* oven, set the pie on a foil or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake covered for one hour. Uncover during the last five minutes so everything browns beautifully.

I was amazed that it didn't pour over the edge and the whole cherry eyes stayed intact and they didn't leak. It turned out better than I expected.

I loved how fast the fruit jelled and we were able to eat it hot. It's a bit gruesome to slice up, but with three nerdy science kids in the house, they loved it anyway!

I recommend vanilla ice cream and a glass of milk with this.

We will definitely being going back next year!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blueberry Crumble Pie

The pie filling is:

6 cups of fresh (or frozen) blueberries, rinsed and stems removed (if using frozen, do not defrost)
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbls lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup white granulated sugar or other sweetener like honey or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Gently mix the blueberries, sweetener, flour, allspice, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Transfer them to the chilled bottom crust of the pie pan and crimp the edges with your fingers. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

The crumble is:
3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated raw sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
8 tbls (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-

inch pieces

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the butter with two table knives until a granular, crumble forms. Sprinkle over the top of the filling. Bake for 40 minutes, covered with foil, shiny side down. Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes.

Set out to cool for at least 20 minutes to let the filling gel. Whip heavy cream and sugar. Best served slightly warm!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tibetan Beet Chicken Stew

This recipe produces a heavenly scented meal. It took some effort to prepare the beets. They needed to be peeled and chopped and that can be a bit messy, but if the hot pink won't wash off of your hands or cooking surfaces, use baby wipes.

1 whole hen quartered (I used 4 thighs with legs from Plato Dale) laid on 4 tbls of sesame seed oil in the bottom of a crockpot. Add in 3 small to medium sized onions chopped with their greens, 20 crushed garlic cloves, 4 chopped carrots, 12 beets peeled and chopped.

The stew is flavored with Advieh, a blend of seasonings similar to a masala, made up of: 

2 tbls each of black peppercorns, cloves, cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom seeds, bay leaves
¼ cup coriander seeds
1 tsp dried crushed chillies
1 tbls dried rose petals (optional)

Pour in a vegetable stock made from carrots and onions and celery leaves boiled soft in water and then pureed. 6 to 8 hours on low. Strain out the cardamon pods and bay leaves. Serve over rice.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Squash Spaghetti

In June, my husband Bob, on a whim, bought me the Pederno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Cutter after I showed him how nifty it was.

The promise of easily created homemade curly fries and vegan spaghetti had me squealing when the box finally arrived later that week.

The first dish I made was summer squash spaghetti with a Singer Naturals garlic scape pesto sauce.

I made a fresh loaf of Bistro Bread and whipped together some Strawberry Jam made with rhubarb. Slices were spread thick with Danish blue cheese and jam.

The salad had herbs from the garden and balsamic vinaigrette thinned jam.

It was all so delicious that I can't wait to use it over and over again.

SOLE of Buffalo's Urban Agricultural Series - #3 Seed Bombs

On Saturday, May 11th, SOLE of Buffalo taught how to make seed bombs,  how to handle first harvests, and how to prepare for second plantings. There was a steady stream of people who came to pack handfuls of bombs the hour that we were set up at the Foundry.

These bombs were made using bagged organic soil from Urban RootsCelluClay, and a mix of native seeds.

The soil was moist, so extra water was not needed. They were packed into silicon ice trays and hand packed into spheres and stored in egg containers for easy drying and storage.

Although many of the seeds came from Annie's garden, seeds were also provide by The Sample Seed Shop.

This local company provides high quality seeds for reasonable prices. Check out Remy's Facebook presence for seasonal updates.

The classes take place at the Foundry, the epicenter for indie artisans and crafters. Check them out! If you are interested in coming to future classes, contact Annie Levay-Krause via email and keep an eye out for more information on SOLE's main website or through their Facebook presence.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cherry Fairy Cakes - No Eggs!

We get a weekly share from Plato Dale Farms. This week included a large container of fresh sweet cherries. Dark, blood red; they were quickly washed, pitted, and minced.

On the morning of the 4th of July I had planned a number of dishes using cherries we had picked at Singer Naturals Farm, including fairy cakes.

In the early evening, after a late lunch, my daughter Leto was hit by a car while riding her scooter. She spent six days in the hospital and had the Titanium Elastic Nail System (warning - graphic) inserted into her broken femur.

I promised her when we got home I would make all sorts of cherry based treats, especially these cakes. Here we are eleven days later, eating these flower scented, squeezable, dainty bite-sized muffins.

Blend together 1 tsp each of baking soda and baking powder, 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup yogurt, 1/2 tsp almond extract, and 1 cup minced fruit. Add in 1 3/4 to 2 cups of flour, depending on how juicy your fruit is. The batter should be quite thick.

Spoon into a oiled muffin tin or papers. Bake at 350* for 15 minutes. Makes 54 fairy cakes or 24 regular sized muffin/cupcakes.

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee, 
fresh fruit, and good company.