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3/25/2015

Babka Bread 

I have been making hot cross buns for Easter for nearly 30 years. This year, I thought it might be time for some variety. In my search for traditional Easter breads I came across Babka.  “Sounds great,” I thought. “Let’s find the true recipe.” Easier said than done.

What Is Babka?

Babka is traditionally made in Poland, Russia, and other Eastern European countries. Apparently babka is a popular Christian Easter bread, but is also made in the Jewish tradition. Perhaps these two traditions for one bread are why I found so many recipes, all claiming to be the true traditional recipe.

I found recipes that add rum or vodka or almond extract or vanilla extract. Recipes that included a chocolate filling or no filling at all. Recipes that had icing and recipes that had no icing. Recipes to be made in a Bundt pan, or a coffee can, or a Brioche pan. Recipes that included raisins or dried cherries or neither. Recipes flavored with allspice or cinnamon or citrus, and recipes that eschewed all spices. Recipes that called for the bread to be soaked in a sugar solution before baking and recipes that called for a sugar soak after baking and recipes that called for no soaking at all.

So what is babka? It is that most traditional of celebration breads. A sweet bread that traditional cooks have adapted to whatever is still in the pantry come spring. Once I realized this, it allowed me to do the same. While I might experiment with other variations in the future, I adapted several recipes to ingredients on hand and developed this soft, tangy, sweet bread.

Babka Recipe

Ingredients 

• 2 tsp active dried yeast
• 2 tbsp warm water
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 3 eggs
• 3/4 cup sour cream (low-fat is fine)
• 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
• 1 tbsp grated orange peel
• 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
• 1/2 cup golden raisins

Icing Recipe

Ingredients

• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl or stand mixer bowl. Add sugar, eggs, sour cream and milk. Beat until smooth.

2. Add salt, citrus peel, and flour. Beat until a soft dough forms.

3. Add dried fruit, beating just to combine with the dough.

4. Push the dough into a greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

5. Push risen dough into a greased 10-cup Bundt pan. Cover and let rise another 40 – 60 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove babka from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.

7. Combine icing ingredients. Drizzle over nearly cool babka. Cool completely before cutting.

Special Considerations

This is a very loose, soft dough, best made using a stand mixer. However a large bowl and hand mixer will work also as there is no kneading involved. I used a greased baking spatula to evenly push the dough into the baking pan.

Any combination of dried fruit can be used instead of the cherries and raisins. Apparently cherries are used in the Polish tradition, but I also found numerous recipes that called for currents and candied fruit. Babka is a recipe that works well with any fruit. Maybe this is the year for you to start your own tradition, using what is available in your pantry.

Renee Pottle is an author, Family and Consumer Scientist, and Master Food Preserver. She writes about canning, baking, and urban homesteading at Seed to Pantry.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 



3/24/2015

 Redbud

Redbud's bright pink blossoms are one of the glories of spring, but they're not just eye candy. Those blossoms have a delicious flavor that is like a green bean with a lemony aftertaste.

Where to Find Redbud Trees

Different species of redbud grow in different parts of the world, each with edible blossoms. In eastern North America, look for Cercis canadensis; in California and other western states, look for C. occidentalis; and around the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia you'll find C. siliquastrum.

Redbud is a favorite with landscapers, who have spread it as far as Australia and South Africa. It is also because of landscapers that you'll often find it growing in urban and suburban areas. Left to its own devices, redbud likes to grow on sunny slopes but can survive as an understory tree or shrub. 

How to Identify

Redbuds are small trees with branches that often grow in a quirky zigzag pattern. The bark of young redbuds is smooth but becomes craggy as the trees mature. The clusters of pink or magenta blossoms appear before the leaves and seem to be growing directly out of the bark. The individual blossoms have an irregular shape like pea flowers, and indeed redbud is in the same legume plant family (Fabaceae) as peas.

The heart-shaped leaves have smooth edges, stalks with slightly swollen bases, and grow in an alternate pattern on the branches.

In late spring and early summer the flowers become pods that look like small snow peas. Once brown and mature, these seed pods often persist on the branches long after the trees have dropped their leaves in the autumn. 

How to Harvest Sustainably

Collecting the blossoms doesn't damage the trees, but it's a good idea not to strip the branches bare. Leave plenty of flowers on each branch both so that others can enjoy their beauty and so that some can mature and go to seed. 

How to Eat

Besides adding gorgeous color to food, redbud blossoms have an interesting flavor that starts out with a green bean-like taste and then develops a pleasantly sour aftertaste. They are fantastic raw on salads, but can also be pickled, added to sorbets, and are even good in muffins and baked goods.

pickled redbud

Pickled Redbud Recipe

Use these piquant and colorful pickles instead of capers in any recipe that calls for the latter. The texture of these pickled redbud blossoms is best if you collect the flower buds before they have fully opened.  

Ingredients

• Redbud blossoms
• White wine or distilled vinegar
• Water
• Kosher or other non-iodized salt 

Instructions

1. Rinse the flower clusters under cold water. Pinch off and discard the stems. 

2. Combine equal parts white vinegar and water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup of brine and stir to dissolve. Plan on an equal amount of brine by volume for the quantity of redbud buds that you have gathered. In other words, one cup of brine per cup of flowers. 

3. Fill a clean jar with the redbud blossoms, then cover them with the brine. Make sure the jar is completely full, then simply screw on the lid to keep the blossoms submerged under the brine. Some brine will leak out when you do so: that's okay. Place the jar on a small plate and leave at room temperature for three days, away from direct sunlight which could discolor the flowers. Be sure to unscrew the lid to release pressure a few times a day.

4. Transfer the jar to the refrigerator. Don't expose pickled redbud blossoms to heat or their texture and color will diminish (no boiling water bath canning for these).

Leda Meredith is the author of Northeast Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Beach Plums to Wineberries. You can watch her foraging and food preservation videos, and follow her food adventures at Leda's Urban Homestead. Her latest book is Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke...and More.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


3/20/2015

peppers

Stuffed with blue cheese, chicken and celery, and simmered in a spicy Buffalo-inspired sauce, these petite peppers pull double duty as hearty entrée or delightfully sloppy hors d’oeuvre.

I like chicken wings as much as the next person, but what really gets me all hot and finger-licking is the combination of wing sauce and blue cheese. I’m a bit of a weirdo, however, and I hate creamy dressings. So things like burgers or pizzas with Buffalo sauce and blue-cheese crumbles always get my vote. Don’t even get me started on Buffalo-chicken pizzas with no blue cheese—I mean, seriously, no blue cheese?

I’ve enjoyed (okay, from time-to-time become obsessed with) incorporating this pungent flavor duo into meatballs, pastas, and various appetizers, but these stuffed peppers are definitely the new family favorite.

Use your favorite small, sweet peppers from your garden, or check your supermarket for the ones sold in colorful assortments in clear, plastic bags—they are often labeled “sweet ones” or “dulcetta” peppers. Large jalapenos are the right size, but sweeter peppers add a bit more balance and complexity.

The filling is pureed in the food processor and transferred to a piping bag for easy pepper-stuffing. After three hours in the slow cooker, the peppers are tender, and the filling is juicy and flavorful like little pepper-enrobed sausages.

Minimize waste by dicing up the pepper tops and adding them straight to the cooking water of quinoa or rice along with salt, pepper, and cumin seeds. Add black beans and top with the stuffed peppers and sauce for a spicy and satisfying supper.

Yield: Serves 10-12 as hors d’oeuvres or 6-8 as an entrée with sides.

Buffalo-Chicken-Stuffed Peppers Recipe

• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 cup chopped carrot
• 2/3 cup chopped celery
• Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
• 1 pound raw, boneless, skinless chicken
• 1 tbsp granulated garlic
• 1 tbsp dried basil
• 1 tbsp dried oregano
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 4 oz crumbled blue cheese
• Approximately 20 small, sweet peppers, such as “dulcettas”
• 15 oz plain tomato sauce
• 4 tbsp butter
• 1 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s)

1. Cook the onion, carrot, and celery in a large sauté pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula, until the onion and celery begin to soften and brown, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in 1/4 tsp salt, cover, and let sweat off the heat for 10 minutes.

3. Transfer the onion mixture, along with any browned bits and juices, to the food processor, along with chicken, 1 tbsp kosher salt, several cranks of black pepper, and remaining herbs and spices.

4. Process till smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl as necessary.

5. Add the blue cheese and pulse several times to distribute. Let sit while you prepare the sauce and peppers. Alternatively, make the mixture up to 2 days ahead and store tightly covered in the fridge till ready to use.

6. Place the tomato sauce, butter, and hot sauce in the slow cooker and set to high.

7. Rinse the peppers, slice off the tops, and remove the cores and seeds.

8. Transfer the meat mixture to a piping bag and pipe the mixture into the peppers, sticking the tip of the bag as deep into the pepper as possible and lifting out slowly as you squeeze as much of the filling into each one as you can without bursting the pepper.

9. Gently stir the stuffed peppers to the sauce so that they are all coated. Cover and cook for 3 hours on high.

10. Serve with toothpicks and plenty of napkins as an hors d'oeuvre or over beans and grains as an entree.

Morgan Crumm is a mother, blogger, recipe-developer, and real-food advocate based in Dallas, TX. More of her work can be found at Being the Secret Ingredient, a blog about food, life, and love.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



3/20/2015

p eggs

Pickled eggs are a delicacy in the South. They baffle my Northwestern friends, ranging from completely unknown to stigmatized synonymy of the radioactive lookalikes found in gas station delis. My newfound desire to redefine the pickled egg returns me to my southern roots. Each spring, my grandmother would boil and peel a dozen eggs, then add them to beet pickles she had preserved in the fall. The eggs would cure for about a month, until the whites were dyed a royal purple. I remember being mesmerized by these strange, tangy treats as a kid. When my mischievous hens decided to initiate an early Easter egg hunt, hiding 16 eggs beneath their nesting boxes, I couldn’t resist the urge.

Perfecting the Boiled Egg

This is a topic deserving of attention. Who knew it could be so hard to agree on instructions for a seemingly simple task?

The Canadian Egg Industry instructs to place eggs in a single layer on the bottom of a saucepan and cover with cold water, about an inch above the eggs. Cover with a lid. On high heat, bring eggs to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and let stand in water for 18-23 minutes (larger eggs longer), keeping the lid on. Drain water and immediately run cold water over eggs until cooled.

Interestingly, the American Egg Board suggests removing from heat to sit for 9-15 minutes. Likewise, the final step is to cool in running water or a bowl of ice water, then refrigerate.

Cooking experts like Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse (among others) differ subtly on the best methods to boil eggs, but across the board there is agreement on the following precepts for peeling: avoid fresh eggs and cool the eggs after heating. By fresh eggs, I mean the freshest of eggs, think chickens in the backyard. The truth of the matter is: store bought eggs have traveled and that takes time. Don’t use nearly expired eggs for pickling, because they will need to cure in the refrigerator. In the book On Food and Cooking, author Harold McGee suggests adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water to augment the PH level of the albumen in the whites of fresh eggs (which happens naturally during aging). 

Red Beet Eggs

The National Center for Home Food Preservation hosts several recipes for pickled eggs.

Red Beet Eggs contain five ingredients:

• 1 cup of red beet juice (from canned beets)
• 1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
• a few canned beets (whole or slices)
• 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
• 12 peeled, hard-boiled eggs.

Instructions

1. Bring all ingredients (beet juice, beets, sugar, vinegar, and sugar) to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Pack no more than one dozen peeled, hard-cooked eggs loosely into a warm, pre-sterilized quart jar (or similar sized container).

3. Pour the hot pickling solution over the eggs in the jar. There should be enough pickling solution to completely cover the eggs.

4. Seal the jar with a secure lid, and refrigerate immediately.

The eggs will need to season for 2-4 weeks. The conversion is remarkable. The surrounding egg white takes on a chewy pickled quality and the yolk creates a soft balance of texture and flavor. It’s unlike any food or flavor I have ever eaten. It’s important to keep the pickled eggs refrigerated at all times! Use within 3-4 months for best quality.

I’m seeing a possible dilemma here. Now that you are intrigued, you may be missing the main ingredient. The good news is that pickled beets can be made anytime of the year. I actually still have a bag of beets in the fridge from September.

Ball Blue Book Recipe for Pickled Beets

Pickling beets is quick and simple. Because of the acidity in the vinegar solution, water bath processing is used instead of time-consuming pressure canning. The following recipe is from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving for pickled beets, yielding 6 pints. You may divide the recipe in half if needed.

p beet

Pickled beets require the following ingredients:

• 3 quarts beets (about 24)
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 sticks cinnamon*
• 1 tbsp allspice
• 1-1/2 tsp salt
• 3-1/2 cups vinegar
• 1/2 cups water

Instructions

1. Wash and cook beets. Peel.

2. Combine all ingredients, except for beets in a large saucepot and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes.

4. Pack beets in hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. (Optional: add pickle crisp to each jar)

5. Ladle hot liquid over beets, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2-piece caps.

6. Process 30 minutes in a boiling water canner.

*I do not care for the cinnamon flavor in the beets, so I eliminate this ingredient and add a tablespoon of pickling mix instead.

Ways to Eat Pickled Eggs

Impress your guests this spring as you add this colorful addition to the Easter table!

• colorful deviled eggs
• egg salad
• salad or sandwich topping
• right out of the jar

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 



3/19/2015

We create vitamin D when our bare skin is exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately, so few of us do that in these days of office jobs, video games, and sunscreen that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Report flagged the national lack of vitamin D as a “public health concern” because “under consumption has been linked in the scientific literature to adverse health outcomes.” Too little vitamin D leads to weak bones, tiredness, depression, and even heart trouble. Low levels of vitamin D also make it harder to absorb calcium, another nutrient flagged by the Dietary Guidelines Report.

I experienced the tiredness brought on by vitamin D deficiency last year as a side-effect to a side-effect. I came down with a bad case of shingles last spring, just when I should have been frolicking outside and restoring my vitamin D levels after being bundled up for the winter. The pain killers I took for the shingles made me very sensitive to light, so I literally spent the summer in our dim basement. My doctor didn't think to check my vitamin D levels or suggest supplements until I complained about sleeping 12 to 14 hours a day even after the rash was gone. As soon as I started taking a D supplement, I started feeling more energetic and sleeping less.

Mushrooms in sun

I'd much rather get my nutrition from pure, whole foods instead of supplements, an approach recommended by the Dietary Guidelines. Wild mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D because they were grown with some sun exposure, but I don't have the knowledge to safely forage for them. I was amazed to find that you can increase the vitamin D in store-bought mushrooms that were grown in the dark just by exposing them to sunlight.

Portobello mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight or UV radiation by their growers cost twice as much: about eight dollars a pound instead of four dollars a pound for untreated mushrooms. I buy the untreated mushrooms and put them outside on a cookie sheet for a few hours on a sunny day. According to a test done by Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti, shiitake mushrooms will create the most vitamin D when exposed to the sun gill-side up for 12 hours over 2 days. Just 8 hours of sunlight led to increase from 40 IU to 46,000 IU per 100 grams of mushrooms. I'm just after a little Vitamin D boost, though. The Medline Plus report on Vitamin D (see the bottom of this post) recommends just 600 to 800 IU a day for those over 1-year-old and recommends, as I do, that you talk with your doctor about your specific needs.

Mushroom Lettuce Wraps Recipe

mushroom lettuce wrap appetizer

Show off your heirloom lettuce by making these easy, flavorful wraps. Fill cool crisp leaves with warm, spicy fillings for a healthy appetizer or light meal. It's a great party treat too, especially if you let guests fill their own wraps. You can make all the fillings and clean the lettuce leaves in advance. Just make sure to serve the fillings hot and the leaves cold. Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as an appetizer.

Ingredients

• 8 ounces portobello mushroom caps
• 1/3 cup dried black beluga lentils or French green lentils
• 1 1/3 cups water
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 medium red sweet potato (about 8 ounces)
• 2 tsp sunflower oil or other neutral vegetable oil
• 1 tbsp minced ginger
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• ¼ tsp ground chipotle or cayenne pepper
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 2 green onions
• 1 small head loose-leaf lettuce, such as butterhead
• 1/4 cup salted and roasted cashews or peanuts, chopped
• hot sauce to taste (optional)

Instructions

1. Put mushroom caps gill-side up in a sunny spot for an hour or two between 10 am and 4 pm.

2. Put lentils, 2 cups water, and salt in a medium pot and soak for up to 12 hours. Add bayleaf, cover pot, bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to low so the water barely boils. Cook until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, about 30 minutes. Remove bayleaf.

3. Peel sweet potato and cut into small cubes, about 1/3 inch across. Put oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Add ginger, garlic, and chipotle pepper to oil and stir, cooking for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in sweet potato and 1/3 cup water and then cover skillet. Reduce heat to low and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drizzle sweet potatoes with maple syrup and stir to coat, then put in a covered bowl to keep warm while you cook the mushrooms.

4. Chop mushrooms into cubes about 1/3 inch across. Cut green onions into sections about ½ inch across. Cook mushrooms and green onions in the skillet used for the sweet potatoes, adding a little extra oil if needed to keep from sticking. Cook until mushrooms are tender and most of the juices have boiled off, about 10 minutes.

5. Cut leaves off lettuce head, rinse well, and dry in a salad spinner or by rolling leaves up in a clean kitchen towel. If you have more than you need, choose the prettiest ones for your lettuce wraps and save the rest for a salad later.

6. Fill each leaf with small spoonfuls of lentils, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and cashews, with hot sauce as desired. Avoid overfilling the leaves. To eat, pick up a lettuce leaf and fold the edges in like a burrito. Bite and enjoy the mix of cool crispy lettuce, savory and sweet warm fillings, and crunchy nuts.

mushroom lettuce wraps meal

Read Best Sources of Vitamin D for more information about Vitamin D mushrooms.

Sources

Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, accessed March 17, 2015.
Vitamin D
. Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, accessed March 17, 2015.

Vitamin D Deficiency
by Michael F. Holick, M.D., Ph.D.
New England Journal of Medicine, July 19, 2007.
Photobiology of vitamin D in mushrooms and its bioavailability in humans by Raphael-John H. Keegan, Zhiren Lu, Jaimee M. Bogusz, Jennifer E. Williams, and Michael F. Holick.
Dermato-Endocrinology 2013 Jan 1; 5(1): 165–176.
Place Mushrooms in Sunlight to Get Your Vitamin D
by Paul Stamets, Fungi Perfecti, 08/06/12.

Photo by Linda Watson (c) 2015 Cook for Good, used by permission.

Check out Linda's website Cook for Good for more recipes and tips. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. She is the author of Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet--All on $5 a Day or Less and Fifty Weeks of Green: Romance & Recipes.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



3/18/2015

pancakes

At around the one month mark of subsisting solely on homegrown foods I started craving, bready, starchy things. Prior to embarking on my homegrown challenge I wasn’t even a big bread eater, but roots have a lot of water in them and sheer volume of food I have to consume to stay active and warm in a cold New York winter has been a minor challenge. Fats are energy dense, but the only one I have in abundance is tallow, and I tolerate it in only limited amounts.

Then my sister-in-law pointed me to a recipe for pumpkin pancakes. I had a large pile of pumpkins sitting with my other squash. They were less palatable than their winter brethren, so I found they kept sitting on the shelf. I didn’t want the pumpkins to go to waste since I don’t know how big of a hungry gap I might have between the end of my root-cellar stores and the first harvests from my garden. I tried the pumpkin recipe and found the texture was precisely what I missed and craved.

I began by halving the pumpkins and digging out the seeds, which I cleaned and roasted in a pan at 350 with tallow and salt. The crunch of roasted seed turned out to be a real bonus texture that I didn’t even realize I missed until I found something that provided it. After dealing with the seeds I cut off the skin and sliced the flesh into slabs. I dehydrated whole slabs, but then my brother hit upon a much better method. He ran the slabs through the grater setting of a food processor before putting them into the dehydrator. The thin slices from a grater dry out much more quickly, and once dry, they’re far easier to turn into powder. The dried slabs are hard and brittle. I powdered some with a mortar and pestle, but it took a long time. Thin little strands can be “ground” with a regular Cuisinart blade, though the best way is to run them through a steel disc grain mill.

pumpkin

Powder in hand, I made some pancakes. They brown beautifully on a low heat and the texture is wonderful. The flavor of my pancakes left something to be desired, which I attribute largely to the under-ripe aspect of a few of the pumpkins I put into the mix. Also, my limited spice cupboard doesn’t allow for cinnamon and I think it would really improve the cakes to add it.

This is the recipe I used:

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup of pumpkin powder
• 5 eggs
• Large pinch of salt

Instructions

1. Heat a large, heavy pan and skim with tallow or other fat.

2. Mix the ingredients together and pour into the pan. Wait and watch and then flip when ready. It may take a couple of tries to get the browning just right depending on the particulars of your stove and frying pan.

I doused them with maple syrup and devoured. Yum.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



3/16/2015

Aerial Chicken Mushroom Stirfry 

With this being my first blog post with MOTHER EARTH NEWS, an introduction to who I am is in order. My name is Matt Trammell and I run Trammell Treasures Mushroom Farm near Kansas City. We specialize in gourmet mushroom growing, education and supplies.

Food has always been an important part of my life. Growing up I gleaned how to cook from my grandmother, mom, aunt, and sister. In our family, heavy comfort food was a specialty and so that is what I first learned how to cook. I then grew up and had my first child and came to understand the effects of this type of food was having on me and my family. I have spent the past 5-6 years revamping the classic foods that I love to be replaced with healthier alternatives.

Oyster Mushroom With food as a centerpiece to our lives, we began to think about growing our own food. The only problem was that we were living in an apartment without much space. Limited space pushed food cultivation to the backburner until the day when we returned from vacation and our washer had been leaking while we were gone and mushrooms were growing out of our carpet, drywall, and baseboards around the washer!

This prompted me to research mushrooms and molds to make sure we were not breathing in something toxic. I came across Mycelium Running, a book by Paul Stamets on how mushrooms can save the world. I was hooked and found out that mushrooms did not need nearly as much room as vegetables. I got to work. We grew just enough for the farmers market that first year and by the time the second year came around, we rented a house with acreage to be able to grow more and I changed jobs to be able to work from home. Our lives completely changed the moment those mushrooms popped up in our carpet and we have been on a unending mycological journey since.

Below is my absolute favorite go-to recipe when I want to satisfy my craving for Chinese food. I typically eat this with cauliflower rice or no rice at all. It is full of lots of great vegetables and I always feel energized and refreshed after eating instead of bloated and needing a nap.

Oyster Mushroom-Pineapple-Chicken Stir-Fry Recipe

Yield: 5-6 servings

Prep time 10-15 Minutes
Cook time: 10-15 Minutes
Total time: 20-30 Minutes

Chicken Mushroom Stirfry

Ingredients:

• 2 pounds chicken breast
• 4-8 ounces of oyster mushrooms
• 2 bell peppers, cut into long 1/2-inch slices
• 1 medium onion, cut into long 1/2-inch slices
• 1 broccoli crown
• 1/2 whole pineapple (fresh is best), cut into 1/2-inch-by-1-inch chunks
• 2 tbsp oil (I prefer coconut)
• 1/2 tbsp garlic, minced

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Sauce ingredients:

• 8 oz tomato sauce
• 1/3 cup tamari
• 1/3 cup molasses or honey
• 2 tbsp garlic chili sauce
• 2 tsp liquid smoke
• 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

1. Cut chicken and mushrooms into 1-inch chunks and pre-cut all vegetables and pineapple.

2. Measure out ingredients needed. Homemade sauce can be mixed together, simmered in a saucepan for 15 minutes and then set aside.

3. Preheat a skillet to medium high with the 2 tbsp of oil.

4. Put the chicken in the skillet when oil is hot and ready. Brown the chicken until done.

5. Put garlic and oyster mushrooms in for about 1 minute ahead of all the other vegetables and pineapple.

6. Let all ingredients cook down for a couple minutes and then add sauce.

7. Continue to simmer together for 5 minutes to really bring out the flavors.

8. Serve over rice or cauliflower rice.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.












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