Real Food

Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.

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8/19/2014

peach

There is nothing that tastes like summer to me like a slice of fresh, juicy, perfectly ripened peach.

peach2

Every summer, on our way from Nashville to North Florida, my family would stop at Peach Park in Clanton, AL to stretch our legs, grab a bite, and load up on fresh produce— especially peaches. By the time we could see the bay out the window, baskets of peaches would have perfumed our minivan with their heavenly fragrance, and my face, hands, and shirt would be sticky from peaches snuck along the way.

These days summer also means balmy Saturday mornings at the farmers market, where I buy the most amazing fresh, local goat cheese. So before peach season got swept away for another year, I couldn’t resist pairing the two in a delicious summer sandwich, accented with lacy-thin strips of Serrano ham and butter-crisped bread.

Salty Serrano ham is a wonderful foil for the sweet peaches, and the crunch of the seared bread contrasts delightfully with the creamy chevre. 

Peach and Goat Cheese Sandwich

1 tbsp salted butter, preferably Kerrygold or homemade
2 slices sandwich bread (my favorite is Alpine Valley Organic 12 Grain with Omega-3)
2 tbsp of the freshest goat cheese (chevre) you can get your hands on, room temperature (if you happen to live near Flower Mound, TX, you can't beat the chevre from Latte Da Dairy)
1-2 slices Serrano ham (prosciutto is a good substitute if needed)
1 ripe yellow peach, preferably organic, very thinly sliced

peach3

Melt butter in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place bread, one slice stacked on top of the other, in the pan, and coax it around just a bit with a spatula to make sure the bottom slice is evenly coated with melted butter (stacking the slices helps weigh down the bread just enough to get optimal contact with the hot pan). When the bottom slice is golden and crisped (about 2 minutes), flip the stack over and repeat for second slice.

Transfer bread to a plate and spread 1 T goat cheese on the un-crisped side of each slice. Top one slice with ham and a layer of peaches and gently press the remaining slice on top. Slice diagonally and serve with remaining peaches slices. 

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



8/18/2014

ZucchiniHat

Are you overflowing with zucchini from the garden? It happens. In May, the seedlings come in four packs or the seeds come in a pouch of 20. You plant them all, with confidence but also enough doubt that it seems better to overdo it. Just in case. But now. Now it is August and you are swimming in zucchini. One plant would have been enough and you know that now, but it is too late. You are getting two zukes per plant every day and if you sleep late, they turn into baseball bats. Zucchini fill your refrigerator veggie bin. Your friends make sure they lock their car doors when they visit and check the trunk before they leave. Your neighbors don’t come to say hi anymore. Everyone is tired of your zucchini. How can you keep the bounty from being a burden? 

Shred It

Shred and freeze it! Freeze it in measured quantities for your recipes, so you use the right amount when you pull out a wad of frozen zucchini. Squeeze out the water and use it by its original measurement. My favorite recipes for this are zucchini bread and zucchini-crusted pizzas, both recipes are at the end of this post. There are many other recipe options for frozen zucchini. Plop the frozen wad in your favorite soup or chili recipe (my brother’s idea).

Bake zucchini breads and freeze them! If you have time and air conditioning and freezer space…you might consider loading the freezer with ready-to-go quick breads. Cook something new. Lasagna with zucchini layers? Ratatouille? You've grilled, but have you tried grilling extras for grilled veggie sandwiches with hummus for lunch? Research a recipe online and try a fresh take on zucchini.

Donate zukes to your local food bank or soup kitchen. Our food bank has a drop bin accessible at all hours. Call your local shelter or group home—if they have cooking facilities on site, they might accept vegetable donations.

What About the Green Baseball Bats?

Zucchini Battle

They are great for baking or shredding and freezing. Or make baked zucchini boats—scoop them out and stuff them with a chopped mixture of zucchini, meat, rice, tomatoes and spices. Have a zucchini toss! Have a zucchini battle (just pretend hit, as these buggers really would make effective weapons). Feed them to the chickens. Carve a sign. My zucchini sign lasted for over a week.  Use it as a greeting card. Write a note on it with a sharpie (the recipient can still peel it for cooking) or carve your greeting into the skin.

Two Gluten-Free Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini Sign

Both of these recipes are easily gluten-free. But don't let that scare away the wheat-eaters in the crowd; I happily serve all kinds of eaters these recipes. They are delicious and worthy.

Zucchini-crusted pizza – this link is the original, from Mollie Katzen’s book The Moosewood Cookbook. I substitute the flour with brown rice based all purpose gluten-free flour mix, but other gluten-free flours would work like gluten-free oat flour or almond flour. This one is hard to make dairy-free, as the cheese serves as a binder. There is barely any flour in it. 

I like the revision of the recipe in this blog, cooking it at high heat like a regular pizza crust. I don’t usually add toppings to the crust, because it stands alone so well and gets soggy with toppings. However, I will try toppings again with this blog’s revision of cooking the crusts at higher heat.

Gluten-Free (can be dairy-free) Zucchini Bread

Use your favorite recipe or search online for way too many options. This is my go-to gluten-free recipe. I have changed up the flours with success. I make it dairy-free, replacing the butter with coconut oil.

Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. They will be making a presentation about weeds and bugs in your organic garden at Mother Earth News Fair Sunday September 12. The Freedmans are one of six 2013 Mother Earth News Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at Mother Earth News and Blog.HouseInTheWoods.com, easy to follow from our Facebook Page. For more about the farm, go to HouseInTheWoods.com.



8/15/2014

A few years ago, I made Peach Cobbler Jam using this recipe.  It was absolutely delicious, and since then I have made it numerous times, modifying it slightly because I prefer to make low-sugar jams using Pomona's Pectin.  This summer, I decided to branch out and try it using different fruit.  The Cherry Cobbler jam was amazing, and today's Blackberry Nectarine Cobbler Jam was so good I decided this was definitely a recipe worth sharing! 

Normally, I don't recommend changing canning recipes.  When it comes to acidity levels and all that jazz, I always err on the side of caution.  However, thanks to the handy-dandy guide that comes in every package of Pomona's Pectin, I know that the 1/4 cup of lemon juice is enough to do the trick!

Cobbler Jam

Fruit Cobbler Jam

4 cups of pitted, peeled, chopped, mashed fruit (peach, nectarine, cherry, blackberry, blueberry, or a mixture)
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 tsp calcium water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp Pomona's Pectin
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or almond, which is great with cherries!)

Combine fruit, lemon juice, calcium water, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large pot.  Measure sugar and Pomona's Pectin in a separate bowl, stirring well to combine.  Bring fruit to a boil, and add sugar slowly.  Mix well for 1-2 minutes to dissolve pectin.  Return to a boil and remove from heat.  Fill jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Boil in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (add 1 minute more for every 1,000 ft above sea level).  Let jars cool, and check seals.

 



8/14/2014

shell moundAnthropologists and archaeologists are finally taking note of and publicizing what early two-leggeds ate on an everyday basis. The old elementary school image of a large group of hunters surrounding and killing a woolly mammoth for food is now seen as an occasional, and lucky occurrence. Keeping elders and children fed day after day was done by the gatherers — were they all women? — who dug tubers and roots, picked berries, snared small mammals, netted birds, and carried back shellfish, to feed their clan.

It’s all part of the vast food heritage saga, as are the 1,000 year-old shell mounds of Florida, once abundant, now existing in just a few, well-protected locations.

The PInellas Point Temple Mound in what is today St. Petersburg was created from the shells of the mollusks that were the native American settlers primary food source. The mound was built using the discarded shells as a base, with builders constructing a type of temple that was placed on top.

It was on this spot that in 1528, Juan Ortiz, a captured Spaniard, was said to have been nearly “barbequed” to death by a local chief as revenge for the nasty treatment of his people by the Spanish explorer Panfilio Narvaez a year earlier.

Ortiz was supposedly rescued from the “barbacoa,” a rack used for smoking and drying meat, - yes, the origin of the bar-b-que - by the chief’s daughter, Princess Hirrihigua, who later helped him escape. Ten years later, Ortiz worked as a translator for the Hernan De Soto expedition. His near escape from grilling was included in various reports that eventually made their way to England. princessplaque

Some believe the fabled Captain John Smith was inspired by this tale to fabricate the story of his own “rescue” 80 years later by another Indian princess, Pocahontas. 

The Tampa Bay area has over a thousand anthropological sites, but this is one of the best preserved. The mound sits in a residential neighborhood. Visitors can now easily get to the top via a wooden boardwalk and stairs, added through the preservation efforts of people in the area. Signs along the way explain the site’s history and natural features.

For more info, explore here

Mound photo via stpeterealestateblog.com

Visit The Food Museum for more food heritage and history.



8/13/2014

pita sq jpgI have to say that bread is my downfall in life.  I love bread.  I am not picky, I will eat any kind of bread that you put in front of me.  So I am always looking for new bread.  My daughter is 14 and also loves bread.  Packing school lunches, you start to look for new things.  Pita bread was the answer.  I love that it is a pocket.  So many times when I pack a lunch, the sandwich falls apart before she gets a chance to eat it.  Pita bread helps with that.  Not to mention the incredible taste!!!  So it is a win, win for mother's.  I am going to try this with Sourdoughs International's South African (which is a whole wheat culture) and their Polish (which is a rye culture) cultures.  I think you can not go wrong with these.

Khubz Arabi from Classic Sourdoughs Revised A Home Baker’s Handbook by Ed and Jean Wood

Khubz arabi (Arab Bread) is a soft, round flatbread—the pita of the desert. This is probably the most delicious pita I have ever encountered. It is produced throughout the Middle East, both commercially and in the home. Yield 8 Flatbreads

2 cups sourdough culture
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Pour the culture into a mixing bowl. Add the water, salt, and oil and mix. Add the flour a cup at a time until too stiff to mix by hand. Turn out onto a floured board and knead in the remaining flour until the dough is smooth and satiny. Proof for 8 to 12 hours at room temperature, about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap. Then gently ease the dough from the container to a floured board.

Divide into 8 equal balls. Roll the balls into round flats about ¼ inch thick and form 2 stacks with the rounds, separated by paper towels. Proof the rounds at 85 degrees in proofing box for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven and a baking sheet to 500°F. Use a hand board or large spatula to slide the rounds onto the heated baking sheet. Use care to avoid damage to the surface or the rounds may not puff completely. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the rounds puff and start to brown. Let cool on wire racks.

Happy baking.



8/13/2014

Canned Tomato BrothI preserve a lot of tomatoes.  You might call it my mission in life. In a few short weeks my kitchen will be covered from counter to counter with all different kinds of tomatoes, from cherries to big fat oxheart pastes, from saladettes to juicy beefsteak heirlooms.  I like to can all different types of tomatoes, separating their different flavors and textures into jewel colored jars.  But when you can varieties other than dense paste tomatoes, they create a lot of extra juice, which can lead to thin tomato sauce. To solve this problem I start separate the tomato water from the pulp and can the delicious tomato broth.

Making Tomato Broth

Canned Tomato Broth Recipe

15 pounds tomatoes
bottled lemon juice
salt (optional)

Skin the tomatoes by dipping them in boiling water and slipping off their skins. Heat pint canning jars in simmering water, along with lids, in preparation for canning. Quarter the pealed tomatoes, then slowly simmer them until they released their juices, about 20 minutes. Using a jelly bag strainer, separate the broth from the pulp without pressing. Use the pulp for canning, salsa or freezing.

Bring tomato broth back to a simmer. Remove jars from hot water. Add one tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to each hot pint jar before filling them with broth. You can add 1/2 tsp salt to each pint jar, although I prefer to leave the broth plain to avoid over salting my future dishes. Wipe the jar rims well, then topped with hot rings and lids. Add jars back to the boiling water. Process tomato broth pints at a full rolling boil for 35 minutes. Cool on a rack, then store in a cool dark place, removing rings and leaving lids. Reprocess any jars who’s lids do not seal. Yield about 6 pints.



8/8/2014

I have been bitten by the “juicing bug.”  I bought a juicer less than 12 hours after I finished watching the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead,” which is highly recommended to anyone looking to be inspired about health and natural foods.  After a honeymoon where I juiced anything and everything, I have found out a few recipes that really work for my tastes and budget that I have shared in picture form below.  I also wanted to share a few pearls with those who are new, or may be thinking of entering, the juicing game. 

juice

1) Experiment, experiment, experiment.  There are plenty of sites that will provide recipes and accompanying shopping lists to have a certain kind of juicing experience.  While following “the book” is ok at the start, accounting for personal taste and seasonal availability (and price) is not taken into account.  Try a little of this, a little of that, combinations that seem like they would not complement each other.  Remember (possibly write down) what worked and what didn’t.  Don’t worry too much if something doesn’t work because…….

2) If a taste is not appealing, diluting the juice is an easy way to kill a lot of the taste and still get all the nutrients extracted.

3) Sticking with the gross theme, don’t juice a parsnip.  It’s the one time I could not finish what I juiced.  I hope this saves at least one person from making the same mistake.

4) Green apples save the day.  When they are in season, I stock up, because I have learned, that no matter how funky the combo, if a green apple or two are in the mix, the taste will be manageable.  Remember, juicing a lot of fruit leads to high concentrations of natural sugars, so save the sweet stuff as sort of an ace up the sleeve.

5) Try the juice before shutting off or taking apart the juicer.  You’ll know before it’s too late whether that green apple or an extra carrot is needed, because, yes, putting everything back together while the new juice sits idly is sometimes more than I can handle.

So without further ado, here are the recipes:

apple chard

1 green apple, 3 carrots, 2 stalks celery, 2 stalks Swiss chard

beet

1 beet with leaves, ½ cucumber, 2 carrots, 2 stalks celery

ginger

2 carrots, 2 stalks celery, 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, ¼ of a butternut squash, 1 green apple

kale

2 stalks purple Kale, 3 carrots, 1 stalk broccoli, 1 top half of a butternut squash, 2 stalks celery

strawberry

2 stalks kale, 1 apple (any kind), 3-4 medium-sized strawberries, ½ large cucumber

Enjoy, and feel free to share a juice recipe in the comments section.












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