Wednesday, October 31, 2007

purple kraut.

I have been reading the book Nourishing Traditions as well as a few branch off books over the past year or so. We keep trying different recipes for food preservation, fermentation, as well as just good things like bone broth for stock. We had a few cabbages come in with our CSA recently, so I have been trying sauerkraut - using whey. This batch I used purple cabbage. Yummy.

Basic Sauerkraut

2 pint glass canning jars with plastic lids
1 Medium Cabbage
1 Tbsp sea salt
4 Tbsp of whey (you may use already fermented sauerkraut as an inoculate or simply add another tablespoon of salt.)
Optional -- caraway seeds (1 Tbsp)

Grate cabbage with a hand grater or in a food processor. Put it into a big bowl with the salt and whey, and pound it a little bit with a potato masher or meat mallet.

Press the mixture into a clean glass jar using a wooden spoon. Press firmly until the juice rises to the top and covers the mixture, which it will do when it is pounded enough. Leave at least an inch or more of space at the top of the jar.

Cover the kraut and store the jar in a cupboard or dark place for 3-4 days before transferring to the refrigerator. The sauerkraut may be consumed after a couple of weeks, though if you allow the fermentation process to continue for a month or so in the refrigerator the flavor will be even better.

It tastes great - the purple cabbage seems to be a bit mild, and the kraut is almost sweet and tangy at the same time. YUM. And the color...crazy.

Monday, October 29, 2007

chewy ginger cookies

The boys made some yummy cookies yesterday. They are just chewy enough but don't stick together. Mmmm.

¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
2 tsp. baking soda
2½ cups flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°F (200°C).
Cream the butter & sugar together.
Add the egg & stir in the molasses.
Combine the baking soda, flour, spices & salt in a separate bowl.
Combine the wet & dry mixtures.
Shape into small balls & roll in sugar (we used turbinado).
Place on greased cookie sheet. Don't flatten.
Bake for about 10 minutes.

And, using organic ingredients makes them just that much yummier. Try a version with a little bit of ground flax seed too - it doesn't hurt the recipe balance and adds a little more of that rich flavor and texture.

Friday, October 26, 2007

New blog ... getting it rolling.

Hello! This is a side blog to my main Mom in Madison blog. We have been doing so much to eat better - buying direct from the farm, visiting farmer's markets, joining a CSA, keeping a garden and so on. And, of course, all of that leads into our exploration of dehydrating, preserving, freezing, fermenting, baking and more. AND of course there is lots of cooking with kids. I hope to keep food a part of my main blog, but we have been doing so much, that I hope to be able to include more by having this here. I'll be duplicating some of my food posts here from my other blog, as well as adding to it as we go!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fresh Udon.

After reading this issue of Saveur, I just had to try to make fresh udon noodles. I don't have udon flour, but I do have whole wheat. Hmmm.

The noodles turned out great. Very flavorful and just the right texture. Yummy.

I used pre-ground organic whole wheat flour for this batch to see how it I am going to try to make some using some of our own freshly ground wheat berries!

The recipe is in the latest Saveur magazine issue - the recipe comes from the book "At Home With Japanese Cooking" by Elizabeth Andoh. There is also an easy to follow step by step recipe here, which has a more accurate water to flour ratio than in the magazine (I had to add a bit of water).

CSA Box This Week

Well, it is almost over. We have only one more CSA pick up after today. My seasons move with the CSA box, the outdoor Farmer's Market, and the U-Picks. We are very lucky to live where we can continue to visit the Farmer's Market throughout the winter and find much, much more than just soap and pickles well into the dark cold winter months. But it isn't the same as the feeling of abundance that comes into this area all summer. I am not a hot weather person at all, and really love the autumn coolness and cold nights and always look forward to the snow. But I do feel a bit of nostalgia at the end of each growing season.

Sure - I will have hints of summer flavor from my freezer and basement all winter. I will still get our dairy and meat from someone I can chit-chat with. And I'll still visit the winter Farmer's Market every week or two for those items I cannot find at the local coop. But for now, I'll enjoy these last few weeks of autumn and every bite that goes with it.

This week in our box:
Lettuce, arugula, spinach, hakuri turnips, red radishes, brussel sprout stalk, red cabbage, celeriac, acorn squash, parsley root.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fresh Pasta.

Today we decided to make fresh pasta to go with the home made tomato sauce we cooked this morning. Think pasta from scratch is too hard? Hey - a two year old can make it! :) And boy did he have fun.

He helped measure and stir, but I did the kneading.

His big brother did come in to help with the pasta cranking, because what 4 year old could stay away? But this little guy did most of the work.

It turned out great - mmm. I'll post the recipe soon!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pasta Sauce.

We decided to make some fresh pasta sauce today to use the last of our Roma Tomatoes. The boys rinsed them and then helped scoop out the gloop after I cut them into 1/2. We scattered diced leeks and whole fresh garlic on a baking pan, and then place the scooped halves skin up on the pan. We sprinkled over some of the dried herbs from our garden and some sea salt.

They baked for about 45 minutes on 325.

The smell was awesome. They came out when nice and roasted.

We put everything into the cuisinart for a whiz before going into a pot. We added just a little bit of red wine and some more of our dried garden herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary).

We let it just sit and simmer for a few hours and get nice and dark and thick. What is next? Well, we need some pasta to go with it!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Caramelized Apple Tart...mmmmmm...

The local foods potluck picnic today was a great time - good food, great weather, fun conversation, happy kids. I posted last night with what I was making, and today, here is the first of two recipes.

Caramelized Apple Tart with Cinnamon Custard

(recipe from Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating From America's Farmers' Markets, from Deborah Madison)


For the Apples:
3 apples (I wanted super apple, so I used 6)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar

For the Batter:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra
1/2 cup sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-inch tart pan. Peel and core the apples, then slice them into thin wedges. Melt the butter in a wide nonstick skillet, add the apples, and sprinkle them with the sugar. Cook over high heat, occasionally flipping the apples, until they start to caramelize, then reduce the heat to medium. Keep a close eye on the apples, turning them frequently so they don't burn. This will take about 15 minutes in all. Turn off the heat.

To make the batter, cream the butter and sugar in a mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla and salt, then stir in the flour. Smooth the batter into the tart pan with a spatula, pushing it up the sides to make a rim. Lay the apples over the batter.

Mix the ingredients for the cream together, then pour it over the apples. Set the tart on a sheet pan and bake until the crust is golden and starting to pull away from the sides, about 35 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

I altered a few things to keep it mostly *local* for the potluck. I used fresh ground whole wheat flour for the crust - yum. I substituted maple syrup for sugar. And in WI, finding local eggs, cream, butter and apples is easy. It was spectacular. And, a drizzle of our home made boiled cider on the plate before eating -

Friday, October 19, 2007

Local Foods.

Today was a happily busy Friday.

Tomorrow we are meeting several other families from my online mom bookclub at a park for a local foods potluck picnic. This month our book selection was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and we are having this potluck to tie in with the book, and also to get out in this great fall weather and meet face to face after only chatting about books online for who knows how long. It looks like it will be a perfect day.

I planned on making several things - figuring one won't work out. So far so good though! The boys helped with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. in the kitchen today, much to the frustration of my husband, but they did a great job. They ground flour, sifted, peeled/cored apples, scrubbed vegetables - they made a mess. What fun!

A sneak peek of what we are making?
--Roasted Root Vegetables & Mashed Squash with Red Wine Sauce
::Includes locally grown herbs, carrots, brussel sprouts, radishes, beets, squash, garlic & flour. Also using local red wine & butter.

--Caramelized Apple Tart with Cinnamon Custard
:: Includes local apples, eggs, flour, cream, butter, and maple syrup combined with a few extra spices.

--Whole Wheat Bread
::Includes local wheat, honey, and milk. I'm taking this to go along with the apple butter I made a few weeks ago.


Should be a fun day.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

CSA Box This Week

My son picked the lovely background fabric for the photo today.

Today in our box we have: lettuce, arugula, leeks, carrots, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, red beets, beauty heart radish, red kuri squash, italian parsley!

Our CSA finishes for the season at the end of October. Another year passes...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cider Pressing.

Today we visited the farm where we get our organic wheat. They also have 120 trees of organically grown apples. Some varieties are great for eating/baking. And there are some special antique apple varieties which are particularly good for cider. Hard cider. We have really enjoyed chatting with this couple, and were excited to go today. And cider apples was our mission.

We first dropped off my husband so that they could get all the equipment set up and rolling. No, we didn't just drive over and pick up the finished cider. We met the farmer and pressed it together!

I went and visited a park with the boys for awhile, and then went back to join them after the first hour. A was very excited. The pressing machine is very loud (yes, they have the hand crank variety, but we were pressing over 80 pounds of apples!), so the guys all had on ear protection -- there was even a kid sized set for A. I didn't have any ear protection, hence many of my dark from a distance photos.

At a certain point in the process A was able to hold containers under the nozzle and collect. He was given a special cup to taste test the freshly pressed apple cider as it flowed out--mmmmm.

After all 80 pounds were done, we finished up, chatted a bit, and loaded the car with our cider, plus some frozen cider for a neighbor. A got to sit in some special John Deere machinery, which made his day, before we left. We picked up another 5 pounds of wheat for bread making too.

It was such a beautiful day to be outside - cold and cloudy, dry leaves underfoot, wind blowing through the trees. Standing outside in the chill chatting about fresh wheat bread recipes and kids. Very fall, very fun.

Our neighbor plans to use his cider to make hard cider the modern way - using yeast and sugars. We plan to try our first batch of naturally fermented hard cider - which should be ready in about 6 months. We'll see how it goes!

Oh, and where was G? He fell asleep after playing in the park and slept through the entire event, in the car, 20 feet from the loud cider press. Amazing.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

CSA Box This Week

This week in our CSA box: Arugula, french breakfast radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, carrots, delicata squash, italian parsley, garlic, "mystery" squash, and some roma tomatoes!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Applesauce revisited...

I have had a dozen or so requests for the applesauce recipe from our last batch (see here). Here it is!


1/2 case apples
1/2 cup orange juice (you can use lemons too...I like flavor from oranges)
1 cup maple syrup
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Core & cut apples into quarters and fill pot. We peeled 80% of ours, leaving only some for color. Pour orange juice over the top, add about 1.5 cups of water to pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for several hours until the apples are soft and mushy. During the simmering, push down the apples with a potato masher or stir well with spoon. Make sure nothing is burning on bottom...Allow to cool. Stir in syrup & spices. If you like chunky applesauce, leave as is. For smoother applesauce, pass in batches through food mill. Store in fridge or freeze.

CSA Box This Week

This week in our CSA Box: Brussellini, slicing & roma tomato mix, leeks, mixed beets, celeriac, broccoli, red cabbage, carnival squash.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Apple recipes...Mmmm.

As requested, here are a few yummy apple recipes. :)

Apple Butter (pic above)

5-1/2 pounds apples, peeled and sliced/chopped (= about 15-18 med. sized apples)
2 cups sugar* (I like to use maple syrup or honey)
1/4 - 1/2 cup apple cider (optional...helps break it down faster)
2-3 tsp cinnamon, or 3 whole cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp ground allspice or nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Place apples in a slow cooker. Add all of the ingredients and mix well. Put on lid and cook on high for 1 hour (stir a few times). Reduce the heat to low. Cover again and cook on low for 9-12 hours - or until it is thick and dark brown. Stir occasionally. Uncover and cook for one more hour. Remove cinnamon if you used whole sticks. If you like a smoother apple butter, you can run it through a food mill or use a stick blender. You can process for canning, freeze, or refrigerate and eat within a few weeks.

*Many ab recipes call for up to 4 cups of sugar. I don't like to use that much...I prefer the intense apple sweetness...using sweet apple varieties and honey or maple syrup makes a richer flavor. You can also use 3-4 cups of white sugar for a sweeter traditional apple butter.

Boiled Cider (or Cider "syrup")

1 gallon fresh unpasteurized apple cider

Pour cider into a stainless steel pot, bring to a low boil - don't cover. Gently boil (don't scald/burn!) and let boil for several hours until reduced. The liquid reduction is about 7:1.

I like to start with a gallon and get a little more than a pint after reduction.

It is delicious - super intense apple flavor with a smoky sweetness. Tastes great on oatmeal, yogurt, drizzled over fresh apple is SO good.