October 22, 2012

crispy kale and coconut

2012.10_crispy kale and coconut
Needing new inspiration for ways to eat kale, I searched and found a recipe for crispy kale and coconut. It seems the recipe originally appeared in the Super Natural Every Day book. This recipe is great because it is a bit like kale chips in that the kale takes on a satisfying, crispy texture, yet it isn't so important that every piece gets crispy. Plus, you can eat it with a spoon!

October 21, 2012

group jam session

2012.10_group jam session (4)
A friend organized a jam-making and canning session to process two big boxes of fruit: one of plums and one of pears. It took a long time, but together we canned 48 pints worth of plum jam, pear jam, and pear slices in vanilla brandy syrup.

I was particularly excited about the plum jam because we were able to rely on the naturally occurring pectin to get it to gel. Especially because of my past failure trying to do this with crabapples, which I simply didn't boil long enough and added too much sugar. But now I know the trick of using frozen spoons and plates to check if it will gel. We added some no-sugar pectin to the pear jam just because it was taking a long time.

Pitting plums, peeling pears. We didn't peel the plums, which saved a lot of work. While stewing, we blended them with an immersion blender, which turned the jam a wonderful dark purple color.
2012.10_group jam session (1)

We had a lot of simultaneous stove action:
2012.10_group jam session (2)

Dueling pressure canners (in water bath mode)–what a beautiful sight!
2012.10_group jam session (3)

October 20, 2012

acorn squash macaroni

2012.10_acorn squash macaroni
Noodles smothered in a puree of roasted acorn squash, roasted hatch green chilies, and caramelized whiskey maple onions.  Topped with chevre and garlic butter bread crumbs and baked to flavor infusing perfection!

October 10, 2012

pumpkin oat breakfast bars

2012.10_pumpkin oat breakfast bars
What's the deal with chia seeds, people?  Boulder seems pretty hot about them these days so I'm guessing that they must be some kind of "super food."

I just looked it up and chia seeds, like flax seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids.  As a vegetarian, you should pay some attention to making sure you get your omega-3. For all you meat eaters out there, I've heard food science mumbo jumbo about balancing omega-3 out with omega-6 because grain fed meat has thrown off our natural balance.

Warning, these are fairly healthy tasting.  Also, this was my first attempt at these so let me know if you come up with any good revisions.  I modified this recipe quite a bit to include pumpkin.

2 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c. oat flour (aka blended rolled oats)
1/2 c. ground flax seeds
1/4 c. chia seeds
1 1/2 t. baking powder 
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
dash nutmeg
dash allspice
- - -
1 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. cooked, pealed, blended pumpkin (or any other winter squash)
1/2 c. soy milk
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. peanut butter
1 T. vanilla extract
- - -
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients.  Mix wet and dry together.  Fold in dried fruit and nuts. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges turn golden.

October 9, 2012

vegan "pork" green chili

2012.10_vegan "pork" green chili
It snowed and frosted this past weekend. Right before the cold front swept through, we pulled a bunch of garden plants and harvested what we could. We got about 5 pounds of ripe tomatillos and another 3 pounds of unripe tomatillos. I'm not sure what to do with the unripe ones yet, but I made green chili with the ripe ones (and also gave away a bunch).

I based my vegan mock "pork" green chili recipe off this meaty recipe. In place of the pork, I used canned green jack fruit from the Asian grocery store.  It's a great filler for BBQ pulled "pork" sandwiches or tacos so I figured it would be good for this application.

This chili makes for a satisfying, hearty stew, but since we have a lot of produce to eat, I stowed away half in the freezer for future burrito smothering.  :)

2 - 20 oz. cans green jack fruit, drained
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 large yellow onions, diced
1 head garlic, minced
1 T. cumin
1 T. salt
1 t. black pepper
olive oil
4 c. veggie broth
3 lbs. tomatillos, husked, blended
1/2 bunch cilantro, blended
1/2 c. sugar
10 anaheim peppers, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, minced 
2 T. Vietnamese chili garlic sauce
2 T. mushroom soy sauce
1 T. molasses
dash liquid smoke

Sauté the jack fruit, mushrooms, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, and black pepper in olive oil until the onions are translucent.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the jack fruit chunks break apart.

Notes to self: next time I make this, I will try using roasted, pealed peppers.  The skins were a little distracting and I am wondering if they made things taste bitter.  I did use some less ripe tomatillos that could have contributed to the bitter effect as well...  I would also have made things hotter with jalapeños instead of the afterthought of Vietnamese chili garlic sauce.

October 8, 2012

Mushroom Cultivation Class

2012.10_mushroom cultivation workshop
This weekend I attended a Mushroom Cultivation Class, led by Jared Urchek of MycoSophia. Jared, who trained with Paul Stamets, is a knowledgeable and passionate teacher, which made it a great class.

We learned how to inoculated straw for growing in bags indoors, as well as how to inoculate logs with plugs and wood chip beds for outdoor mushroom cultivation.

It was hands-on so we got to try doing it all:

2012.10_mushroom cultivation workshop_straw
Spreading mycelium mass into pasteurized straw.

2012.10_mushroom cultivation workshop_logs
Hammering inoculated plugs into logs.

I took home a kit with straw inoculated with oyster mushroom spawn. Jared sells kits and spawn for many varieties of mushrooms--I look forward to trying some of the others in the future!

October 1, 2012

tomatillo salsa

2012.09_tomatillo salsa
This is our first year growing tomatillos and they are doing really well. We didn't think to put them in tomato cages to get them to grow upright so they've been slowly sprawling and taking over our garden, but I'm not going to complain because I get to eat tons of this fresh tomatillo salsa.

jalapeño pepper
lime juice
+apple (optional)