June 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
When I started cooking at Nine Mile Farm in Delmar NY on Thursdays, I imagine I would learn, from Rebekah Rice, how to organically grow new foods. I planned to feed the farmers, put produce going bad to good use while developing recipes and bring home leftovers as a payment. But last but not least have fun.
Before the produce gets to me, the food is touched by many hands, not machines. ( Reflecting on this makes me follow in love with the produce before I even start cooking!) Someone is sorting seeds, someone is planting, someone is weeding, watering, transplanting. On harvest day, someone is selecting, counting, sorting and by the time it gets to me, the cook, It has layers of stories that I may not ever know or hear during the few hours I am there each week. I appreciate the stories, I can taste them.
I have not cooked alone and that has also being great. Cooking along side farmers helps me understand what is like to cook and eat in season. The farmer told me: “Well, we have early onions so far, so that is what we will use!” So the Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce will have early onions and garlic scapes and some of last year’s sun dried tomatoes. I am also super happy about that!
I am learning so much from other cooks in the kitchen and improvisation is at the heart of this process. I rely on techniques I have internalized and just keep myself open to use what comes my way.
Mid-week I get a text with what Rebekah, Azuré and Christian are harvesting, what they may have extras and what is coming up. I am of course reading these e-mails 11pm right before going to bed and then I can not follow sleep thinking of what a good problem it is to have lots of garlic scapes and rhubarb. Yum, raw rhubarb on a tabbouleh salad and I am making beef patties and really need a barbecue sauce…
Problem solved. Yes, I am sure I can make some kind of rhubarb barbecue sauce?… I can figure out the details in the morning. I went to bed satisfied.
Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce adapted from www.canadianliving.com
Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce
about 2 pounds of Rhubarb
1 to 1/2 cups of sun dried tomatoes
1/2 bunch of young onions
2-3 cups water, more as needed
1 1/2 cups of garlic spaces, finely chopped
1/3 cup rapadura
1/4 cup honey
3 TBSP Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp mild pepper powder
salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a boil for a minute and then reduce to a simmer, cooking with the pot lid propped open, but to keep your stove top clean. Cook until rhubarb is tender, about 20- 25 minutes.
May 14, 2015 § 2 Comments
Say SCOBY! Symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. What a fun class!
And Kraut, Kefir, Kombucha, Fermented Salsa and Sourdough Pita.
Thanks to everyone who came to Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA) ” Can to Preserve the Land ” fermentation workshop at Honest Weight Food Co-op. I love that I get to do these classes as an outreach coordinator for ASA. We are able to reflect on the role of local land and local farms. We talked about the local produce in season and how by learning to ferment we extend our opportunities to eat local food.
In this class, we talked about the nutritional and experimental nature of home fermentation and how the microbes do all the work to transform bland carbohydrates into sour, bubbly drinks and breads!
This time I was joined by Caren Irgang, RPI-Sage Hillel Civil Engineering major. She said that being a “hungry all the time” college student is only part of the motivation to learn about cultures.
“I like observing the magic of the process and products (explaining the world around me in a tangible, edible way), probiotics (because of chronic disease colitis and I am excited by structural properties (as a structural engineer).”
We used Sandor’s recipe from the book Wild Fermentation to make Sauerkraut
If you need to add extra brine mix: 1 1/2 TBSP ( 4.5 tsp) Sea Salt per 4 cups of water
For the Kombucha we used Cultures for Health recipe
I am very thankful to Our Happy Acres for sharing online a delicious Whole Wheat Sourdough Pita Bread. I adapted their recipe by adding a 30 minute autolyze and increased the water to 4 ounces. ( I did use matured White Whole Wheat starter, 100% hydration)
8 oz mature White Whole Wheat sourdough starter
8 oz White Whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz warm water
1. Mix starter, flour and water and mix for 5 minutes.
2. Let dough rest 30 minutes in a dark place
3. Add salt and olive oil and mix on low speed with dough hook and knead for 5 minutes
4. Let dough rise in a oiled bowl for about 2 hours.
5. Divide dough in 8 balls, roll out and bake on a pizza stone on a preheated 500F oven for 2 minutes on one side and turn and bake one more minute on the other size.
6. If storing, let it cool, keep air thigh, it freezes well.
and Fermented Salsa
- 3 lbs of tomatoes
- 1-2 onions
- head of minced garlic
- 1 bunch of fresh Cilantro (some prefer parsley)
- juice of 1-2 lemons or limes
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- Spices to taste (chipotle chili powder, cumin, oregano, fresh hot or sweet peppers, cumin, and cayenne)
- Pulse in a food processor until finely chopped, or dice by hand: tomatoes, peppers, onion and cilantro and garlic.
- Strain extra liquid if desired and add contents to a bowl
- Add lemon juice, salt, spices
- Pour into quart of half gallon size mason jars, leaving about an inch of head space, and secure the lid tightly.
- Leave on the counter for approximately 2-3 days and taste to desired flavor.
- Transfer to fridge to storage
This salsa will keep up to a few months in the fridge. I have read up to 8 months, actually. The flavors will actually intensify over time.
* If you are using whey use only 1 tablespoon of sea salt and add 2 tablespoons of whey.
Caren tested the ferment I brought from home for the class to taste using PH strips she ordered online. All good and ready to taste!
Last we talked about how to make Water kefir:
- 3 cups of water
- 1/3 cups of grain
- ¼ cup sugar
- Melt the sugar in boiling water, and then add some cold water to cool it off and fill up the jar. But I like the water to be a little warmer than room temp when I put the grains in.
- Whenever I wake them up from hibernation it takes several batches of sugar water to get them going.
- Dehydrating is very easy. I just spread them out on a piece of parchment paper, on a cookie sheet, for a few days until they are hard. They will shrink quite a bit, but plump right back up when you put them in the sugar water.
May 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
Eating seasonally is a way to savor life. It challenges me to make time to cook, enjoy the moment and the produce at hand. I look forward to ramps that are around 2 weeks in a year; if I can get them. Here how we are enjoying this gift from Chef Michael Lapi, who carefully forages them. Our 2 week ramp diet: raw, blanched on dishes, pesto, on pizza and with rice and lentils.
I am thankful for Spring. Or is it summer already? It sure feels like this week with highs around 80F. I am very happy to see the sun and the flours, but we need the rain. The sorrel is back and next I hope is the asparagus and radishes soon.
In the food processor or blender:
2 cups of ramps, cleaned and blanched
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
3 TBSP lemon juice
3 TBSP Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
salt and black pepper to taste
April 22, 2015 § 2 Comments
Finally we see green in Upstate New York. We had some rain the past two days. Farmers are busy. I made to my garden this week to plant radishes, salad and peas. Still, we are eating in season, the very last produce from the button of our freezers and ferments. Today I visited the Denison Farm and they had left: celeriac, sweet potatoes, and shallots. There is no better way to cook for me than to use what I have in hands. I thought, uhm, I can make slaw, but cakes like latkes were perfect with some fish tonight. I see our sorrel coming up and I can’t wait for the asparagus… soon, very soon. But for now, these delicious precious local produce are still available and you may even get a good deal if you wish to buy extra to ferment. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato and Celeriac cakes
1 1/2 cups of shredded sweet potatoes,
1 1/2 cups of shredded celeriac
2 small shallots, chopped
3 tablespoons of flour of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a bowl while heating up a couple tablespoons of high heat oil on a medium frying pan. I used a cast iron. Fry each cakes for about 1 minute on each side on medium heat. We enjoyed with some sour cream.
March 25, 2015 § Leave a comment
adapted from my friend Phyllis Capparelli’s recipe
I played with this recipe until I got a base that I can use different nuts and fruits and it is not too sweet. This recipe makes 1 gallon of granola. Oven 300
12 cups of Old Fashioned Oats
1.5 tsp salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/12 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup of almonds, chopped
3/4 cup of other nuts or seeds
3/4 cup of organic coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup maple syrup
3 cups dried fruit, added after the granola is baked
Mix the first 6 ingredients together.
Melt coconut oil, add maple syrup to it and mix until well combine
Add the liquid to the oat mix. Spread on roasting pans and bake oven 300 for about 1 hour, mixing every 15-20 minutes until golden. After it is cooled, add dried fruit and store in a glass container. If not eating for a while, it can be frozen.
March 25, 2015 § 2 Comments
Shepherd pie, a meat pie with a crust of mashed potatoes is one of the ways we use frozen vegetables we grew the past summer. I have eaten similar dishes, Hachis (chopped or minced) in France or “escondidinho” (hidden) in Brazil and they all have this nice way to use root vegetables as well. The addition of a gift of venison made this a delicious meal.
Here how I made this dish, but one can make it without meat and use other vegetables they like. I decided on sweet potatoes but I often use carrots.
1) I start by prepping the venison. I add boiled water to the defrosted 1 pound of ground venison. Wait one minute and drain. Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice and saute the meat in high heat oil. Add to the meat 1 onion chopped, 5-6 large whole tomatoes from our garden (but you could use canned, sun dried or fresh in season), 2 sweet potatoes, diced (for sweetness), a whole head of garlic, minced, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp paprika, 2 tsp dried basil, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 2 hours.
2) Meanwhile, I cooked 6 medium russet potatoes on salted water until soft enough to mash with a fork. Drain the water, add 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of sour cream and mashed until smooth, reserve.
3) When the sauce is thick, add 2 cups of frozen green beans and 1 cup of frozen corn. Bring to a boil and turn it off.
4) To assemble the pie, add the meat mixture to the bottom of the baking dish and spread the mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven 400F for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbly.
March 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
If I can’t have “carne de sol” (sun-dried meat), I am happy to have fridge cured meat (dry cure). Carne de sol is salted, sun cured beef. I often had with yucca or cooked inside rice (Maria Isabel dish bellow). It is used in Feijoada. Carne de sol is also fried and served as an appetizer in Brazil. It was part of my family’s table growing up. My mom is from the Northeast of Brazil and when relatives and friends would come to Goiânia (central of Brazil) to visit, they would bring us “carne de sol.” The sun-dried meat was made by adding lots of salt and letting the meat sit on a clothing line, on the sun of Bahia state for a couple of days. Now this meat is found everywhere, even Brazilian stores in Newark, NJ. After this test, I am excited to make this often with local fresh beef.
Tonight we ate “Maria Isabel” which calls for the salted cured beef cooked with rice. I used my fridge cured meat and it was delicious, tender and full flavor. Obrigada mamãe pela a receita!
I know there is a lot of fear around preserving foods at home, here some recommendation. I love the oral history and the cooking methods and recipes that gets passed down to me from my family and friends, so I try to follow the steps.
For the fridge salted cured beef I started with a cut of fresh, not previously frozen flank steak. Mom also uses other cuts like “chã de dentro,” looking at this photo you get an idea of the cuts and names, we could also use round in US.
1) a hand full of salt for about 2 pounds of beef. Rub salt on both sides. Cover the meat with a towel and place in the fridge. Each day, discard the water the salt draws out. Turn the meat and repeat this for about a week.
2) After a week, the meat looks dark and to make sure, I placed in the freezer for another 24 hours to finish drying.
3) I cut the meat in half and will use about 1 pound for my dish and kept the rest in the freezer
Maria Isabel Recipe
2 cups of carne de sol, cut and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 cups of rice
scallion and parsley to serve
1) Cut the meat into thin strips, cook under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes
2) Add meat to half cooked onions and garlic and stir
3) cook meat with onion stirring for about 1 minute
4) Add rice and fry until rice starts to turn golden
5) Add hot water to just cover the rice and cook opened until the water goes down
6) Repeat and add water to just cover the rice again. When the water goes down for the second time, turn the pot off and cover and wait 10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.