With a bonanza supply of dehydrated tomatoes put by, I made this delicious spread that we’ve always called just “tomato stuff.” It’s like a tapenade, although without anchovies. I use it by itself to spread on thin slices of baguette or water crackers for an elegant appetizer and also use it by the big spoonful for enrich a pasta sauce instead of tomato paste, make a quick pizza, add body to a vegetable soup, add big flavor to a vinaigrette dressing, dress a plain dish of spaghetti, and put a bit of zing into a bland stew.
Years ago, a friend who once lived in Italy described a sandwich she had prepared for a picnic. Adapted to foods we can buy locally, it works well for late-summer suppers after a sweltering day in the gardens. It’s a lifesaver for days when I just don’t know what time dinner will happen until it happens.
Back when I was a child, my Mom used to occasionally buy a jar of mixed pickles. I loved the cauliflower, but there was usually just one small piece in each jar, and sometimes I didn’t even get that. Now make my own with nearly all cauliflower and onions — just a few cucumber chunks. A bowl of these is a perfect accompaniment when cold meat sandwiches are the menu.
These pickles have won a blue ribbon each time I entered them in the State Fair. They’re quite sweet with a spicy tang. We use them mostly on sandwiches and burgers. Here is my award-winning recipe for sweet pickles with bonus recipes for relish, tartar sauce and sandwiches.
As the pickling season approaches, it is very helpful to have everything you’ll need on hand. Here are some notes that will help you get started pickling, from choosing the right vinegars and where to find spices, to hints for using pickling equipment well.
Recent scientific studies suggest that the widely used antibacterial substance triclosan is not as harmless as we thought it was. It has significant health effects on different systems of the human body, while toxic intermediate can form easily once it is released in the environment.
Folks here mostly cook purple hull peas with quantities of fatty pork. Although this is similar to the way we Yankees bake beans, I wanted to try something healthier, more Mediterranean. I came up with a pea salad they call “Texas Caviar” and developed my own version of this healthy, nutritious dish.
A commercial pectin recipe for this preserve calls for 4 cups of fruit to 7 cups sugar. I use about ¼ of that: at least twice as much fruit and half the sugar, so my jams and preserves taste of the fruit instead of sugar and have half or less calories. As well as the usual breakfast toast spread, try adding your own homemade preserves to plain yogurt.
You can easily make your own glace cherries for fruit cakes and your Christmas stollen. The cherries you do yourself will be a darker red instead of that false neon color and will be made with only cane sugar and very little or no GMOs. These will actually taste like sweet cherries, with no odd chemical aftertaste. You’ll also save money.
My little toaster oven does a great job baking eight or 10 cookies, uses very little electricity itself, doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and saves the air conditioning. The variety is endless — see some flavor ideas below. Start with the basic dough and add to it, such as for these Toasted Almond Cookies. They’re buttery, tender, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
Blueberries are a superfood — one of the fruits highest in lycopene and antioxidants. Take advantage of their season and stock up. They do very well in the dehydrator and make scrumptious preserves to dollop on plain yogurt, slather on toast, or to fill quick little tartlets. This is a very thick, low-sugar preserve, very different from the Sure-Jel type.
Two years ago, I bought this little toaster oven, and I think it paid for itself the first year in energy savings just to bake up a pizza, a potato, or small casserole. And I discovered that it does a fine job baking fresh bread. The day before, I stir up some simple dough, enough to bake up my choice of a pizza, burger buns, or 2 ficelles (mini baguettes), a small fougasse, or ciabatta or focaccia — all without heating up the kitchen.
This article highlights four herbs that repel mosquitoes naturally and you’re probably already growing them in your garden: 'Creeping Lemon' thyme, Rosemary, Mint, and Lavender! All these mosquito-repellent plants are easy to grow, do well in containers, and actually attract beneficial birds and insects.
Apricots are easy to work with, as they don’t need peeling and the pits are easily removed. This jam has a much lower percentage of sugar than the usual recipes. Learn to make homemade, French-style Apricot Preserves for use as a base for a sweet and hot glaze and in Apricot Bread Pudding.
Rye bread is a challenge for many bread bakers. So many “hockey puck” disasters. This recipe works! With tiny amounts of sugar and fat, this is a very low-calorie, high-fiber bread that is also delicious.
European breads are frequently made with an overnight starter, called “Poolish” or “Biga”. A super-easy way of developing dough I learned from Peter Reinhart (author of The Bread Bakers Apprentice) has helped me to quickly put together some delicious, full-flavored sandwich breads. Here’s how.
Beautiful salads are a festive choice for special days. Make the Marinated Shrimp Salad for a Mothers’ Day luncheon, and then a variation with chicken and freshly picked snap beans for a hot summer day. Both salads are made well ahead and then marinate in the refrigerator until serving time.
Pepperidge Farm was the bread we always had at home. Years later, remembering their jingle, “The bread that tastes like breakfast, with honey, eggs and milk,” I started trying to duplicate that iconic bread. Finally, here is the recipe I developed with today’s flour and yeast.
If you’re going to get all the ingredients out and make a mess, you might as well bake a lot of bread. There are several breads I like to make, starting with the “whitest” and proceeding through to the darkest dough. Here are recipes for a basic white potato bread, a whole-wheat potato bread, and an oatmeal bread. Each recipe makes two loaves in a standard 9-by-5-inch pan.
My freezer is full of beef fat and I finally rendered tallow for cooking oil. We raise some pastured beef for our family, and while we enjoy the grass-fed beef, we have been slower to learn the art of cooking with homemade oil. That's changing. Read how and why I learned to render oil from beef fat to make homemade cooking oil (tallow).
Bake some delicious rustic breads — Cranberry-Pecan, Apple, and White Chocolate Apricot — and stock the freezer for special breakfasts and “high tea.” All the fruits in these breads give the loaves a craggy surface that’s wonderfully crunchy. These all keep for months wrapped well in the freezer. If you get them out the night before, they’ll be ready to slice for breakfast, toasted or not.
There is wild fruit nearly everywhere, free for the picking. This spring, as soon as leaf buds swell in your area, go looking for blooms. Take a ride, get somebody to drive for you, so you can search roadsides and fields, along railroad tracks, in power line right of ways, and maybe even an abandoned homesite, looking for brushy shrubs, brambles, vines and trees with white flowers.
I hate putting chemicals on my skin, so I use an essential oil spray that has proven to be very effective for preventing mosquito and other bug bites. In the past couple years in the garden, none of us have been bitten. Even at a riverside campground in Louisiana, there were no mosquito bites.
Making your own glace citrus peels is easy. You can save the peel from lemons, oranges, grapefruit and pomelos as you eat them. Just toss the peel into a zipper bag and keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days. I used Jacques Pepin’s method as guidance here.
This pastry dough recipe can be made in 10 minutes and rest overnight in the refrigerator. It’s simple and easy to work with as you bake up your choice of American or European pastries, including Italian Panettone, Cinnamon-Pecan Sticky Buns, and Brioche Raisinee. Dough and pastry recipes included.
Back in the early 1950s, my family moved to northern Kentucky. We had the great fortune to live just down the street from Louella Schierland, one of the contributing authors of the iconic Joy of Cooking. Mrs. Schierland gave my mother this recipe and I remember that these bourbon balls were stored in a coffee can in the refrigerator. I’ve made some changes to the original to avoid today’s GMOs. Makes about 40 treats.
I found a recipe in the King Arthur Cookie Companion that I developed a little so that I can now gift my gluten-intolerant friends with delicious cookies. Homemade almond paste is best here, but store-bought will do. Freshly made, these cookies have chewy texture; after a few days, they become airy and crunchy. Just as delicious either way. This recipe makes about 30 two-inch cookies.
My favorite, best cookie recipe just happens to actually be pretty healthy and a good choice for after-school snacks. I used to keep a tin in my office, available to anyone who hadn’t had time for lunch. They have enough protein, iron and whole grain to make them guilt-free. This recipe makes about 60 two-inch cookies that freeze well.
I love classic New Orleans food! Sometimes, though, the chefs are absolutely reckless with the butter, so I adapted this rich and very savory, New Orleans-style mushroom ragu for a healthier diet. I use portions of this Marchand de Vin sauce to enrich beef stews, other sauces, and in the version of Eggs Benedict called Eggs Hussarde. A dollop of this makes a plain meal into something really special.
Making your own hand and body cream is not difficult. Just be sure you can work for 30 minutes or so with no interruptions. Be very sure that the essential oils you choose are actually pure essential oils such as lavender, tea tree, lemongrass, etc. Quantities needed for a both a single 4-ounce jar and a large batch of nine 4-ounce jars are given.
Mincemeat is one of the best ways to preserve an abundance of fall pears. This delicious conserve makes a New England traditional spicy holiday pie. But it’s not just for pie — the chef of a Bon Appetit Top 50 Restaurants asked me for a quart of this to use as a garnish for a very special dinner. Consider a spoonful to garnish any pork or game entrée.
It’s easy and very economical to make your own almond paste. You’ll use this to fill pastries, cakes and your special Christmas Stollen. This makes 2 pounds, 2 ounces — as much as six of those pricey little cans — and you control the quality.
After the first of the crisp fall apples have started to soften, I love to have a sip of this for dessert on a cold winter’s night. This homemade apple cordial tastes like the absolute best apple pie you ever drank! Here is how I preserve the goodness of apples laced with sweet spices.
Fig Salami is a unique substitute for the usual cured sausage on a cheese plate; because it’s fruity, it works as well before or after dinner. It takes minutes to make, but plan ahead so it has time to set up and “cure” four or five days — after that, it will keep weeks in the refrigerator.
Twenty-five years ago, my daughter and I treated ourselves to New Orleans' famous Jazz Brunch at the Court of Two Sisters. One dish impressed me so much, I begged for the recipe. Our server took my plea to the kitchen and the chef actually sent down a copy! I have made some minor changes and offer it here that you, too, can enjoy this comforting eggplant dish.
Back in the 1950s, there was a restaurant in Stamford, Conn., named The Hamburger Den that was a local favorite, not just for pretty good burgers, but for pots of delicious relish on each table. Later, in the 90s, I decided I had to make that relish I so loved and finally came up with what I remembered to share here.
Not to be confused with Italian sofrito, which is a mix of sautéed vegetables used as a sauce base, this Cuban version is a pungent mix of raw herbs and vegetables. Cuban sofrito is used to add freshness, herbal notes and zing to many Cuban dishes.
The white part of watermelon rind makes a delicious pickle! Be sure to take a little time to make some for a garnish on sandwiches or as a key ingredient in Red Pepper Relish. The recipe below has won several ribbons in State Fairs over the years.
If you are lucky enough to come across some Hatch chili peppers and favorite variety of basil, here is a pesto recipe with a friendly amount of spice. Try it atop a Southwest chicken salad and transport yourself to New Mexico. (If you can’t make the festival, you can still make the pesto and dressing.)
Every summer, I make sure that I get plenty of pesto made and put up in little tubs in the freezer — enough to get me through the winter. There are three different kinds I like to have on hand for use in various dishes: Italian Pesto, French Pistou, and Hatch Pesto. They’re easy to make, freeze well, and make an ordinary meal into something special.
There are so many ways to dry herbs: in an oven on low heat, in a dehydrator, in the sun. However, overr time under well ventilated conditions, herbs will dry all by themselves with no additional encouragement.
I've had limoncello that was thick and tasted of lemon candy. The recipe shared here is lighter and has a more pure lemon flavor. No stovetop or heating is involved making for a quick-hit summer spirit that you can enjoy with steeping alone.
Calendula flowers make a lovely floral component for an organic vegetable garden. Plus, they pull their weight in terms of productivity: The petals are edible and can be used in skin-healing salves and balms.
Blossom-end rot is a perennial problem – meaning we will deal with it every year in our gardens. This doesn't mean that it can't be successfully minimized, with a jump start and some knowledge that gives us a leg up for next season. We will show you what causes blossom end rot and both the prevention and treatment to make sure that you minimize your losses this year.
Whey is the liquid that remains after milk is curdled. Full of protein and nutrients, whey can be used to soak beans or grains, as a substitute in baking, and for lacto-fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut.
Beans are usually divided into two categories: shell and snap. Shell beans have thicker pods and are typically cultivated for their seeds. Snap beans are harvested before their seeds ripen and are grown for their tasty pods. However, I've discovered there is some leeway in how beans are harvested and used.
Ground cherries were once a popular staple in backyard gardens. Urbanization and lost space to grow our food led to ground cherries falling out of favor. Though older folks may remember eating ground cherry jam, they’ve only recently begun reappearing at farmers markets and in seed catalogs. Ground cherries are easy to grow and pack an unusual flavor punch in jams, pies, savory sauces.
Seed libraries are meeting new challenges that point to the need for better education and understanding with the public, and with those charged with enforcing seed laws. Learn about the opportunities that are open in this evolving social movement.
When you do business with someone, you are indirectly condoning their methods. with access to the internet, anyone can do a little research to see which businesses are living up to our high expectations.
We all have the responsibility to do are best to preserve the Earth and the environment in any way we can. Some people take it to the extreme, but that isn't always necessary. There are many ways we can make simple changes in our lifestyles to contribute to saving what's most precious for our children and future generations.
Instituting community-wide, Eco-friendly programs can be a great way to beautify cities, save money, and do your duty to help preserve the planet. It might be difficult, but all it takes is one person to make a difference.
We are inundated with green messages that can sometimes be confusing or misleading. This phenomenon is especially true when it comes to the paint industry. There is much talk about No-VOC and Low-VOC paints, but what is the truth behind it?
A few months back I heard a comment on an NPR radio program that really caught my attention. The program was about the local food movement and at one point the guest on the show said, “Now remember - just because it’s local doesn’t necessarily mean it has a smaller carbon footprint. That Argentinian apple that was shipped on a barge with thousands of tons of other apples may actually have required less fuel per apple than the apple than came from a few hundred miles away in the back on a farmer’s pickup.”
My husband Alan’s first gift to me was Helen and Scott Nearing’s Living the Good Life. The books we turn to regularly have changed, although some we go back to again and again, year after year. A list of our top 10 favorite books follows.
An index of previous posts that have referenced green products. These posts have covered building- and home-related products, as well as chocolates, books, and other types of goods. Many of the products mentioned in these posts would make good gifts.
The Land Institute of Salina, Kan., held the 34th annual Prairie Festival Sept. 28-30, 2012. Keynote speakers including Wendell Berry and Palgummi Sainath inspired local farmers, students, and nature lovers.
If you would like to be represented by more elected officials who support environmental safeguards for our air, water, and land, take a look at these resources, including the League of Conservation Voters' National Environmental Scorecard.
In this political season, politicians often define people by their differences, creating strife and even outright contempt among people with opposing political views. Truth is, we have a great deal in common; it is our commonalities that bind us.
Describes a method of keeping red wiggler worms active and productive outside throughout the winter. Describes a method of sheltering and heating the worms using an active compost pile for heat and clear plastic glazing for shelter.
Wendy Albright remembers visiting her grandparent's farm where practicing organic living was the preferred way of life; they exercised natural crop cultivation, gathered fresh chicken eggs, canned both vegetables and meat and the term "eating like a thrasher" became a reality.
On May 4th in Washington DC a giant gluten-free cake will be built to raise awareness of the lack of labeling laws that would assure those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance a safe, reliable definition of gluten-free food labeling.
You can live a joyful gluten-free life! Through this blog, Wendy Gregory Kaho and other gluten-free experts will share their firsthand experiences and favorite tips for living well with celiac disease. The blog will regularly feature gluten-free foods and recipes, cookbooks, Internet resources, and much more.
There are many ways that each of us can lessen our unhealthy dependence on filthy fuels. You can do so in every area of your life, from choices you make regarding your house and home improvements, to food, transportation, and other consumer choices.
Green marketing faces new regulations from the FTC for the first time since 1998. Natural Home’s Editor-in-Chief, Robyn Griggs Lawrence, tells more in “FTC’s New Green Marketing Guidelines Go After Greenwashers.”
When Woods End Labs recently tested biodegradable plastics and found that most aren't compostable under home compost conditions, one reader (known as Eco-Oxo) wrote that Oxo biodegradable bags aren't designed to biodegrade under compost conditions. Woods End Labs is following up, taking the reader's suggestion and testing Oxo under the conditions Eco-Oxo recommends. This is Part 1 of the new test, where you can follow along and see how Oxo fares under different conditions.
In this blog series, I’ll guide you through eight sustainable wedding issues — starting with rings, and making stops for invitations and food — that are both easy and fun to remedy. After all, it may be your big day, but that doesn’t mean you should forget the big picture. This blog is all about green wedding gifts and eco-friendly wedding favors.
In this blog series, I’ll guide you through eight sustainable wedding issues — starting with rings, and making stops for invitations and food — that are both easy and fun to remedy. After all, it may be your big day, but that doesn’t mean you should forget the big picture. This blog is all about environmentally-friendly wedding food ideas.
In this blog series, I’ll guide you through eight sustainable wedding issues — starting with rings, and making stops for invitations and food — that are both easy and fun to remedy. After all, it may be your big day, but that doesn’t mean you should forget the big picture. This blog is all about eco-friendly wedding decorations.
In this blog series, I’ll guide you through eight sustainable wedding issues — starting with rings, and making stops for invitations and food — that are both easy and fun to remedy. After all, it may be your big day, but that doesn’t mean you should forget the big picture. This blog is all about eco wedding dresses.
In this blog series, I’ll guide you through eight sustainable wedding issues — starting with rings, and making stops for invitations and food — that are both easy and fun to remedy. After all, it may be your big day, but that doesn’t mean you should forget the big picture. This blog is all about green wedding venues.
Hosting a gathering for casual fun or big celebrations can use up a lot of resources and leave a mess. What are you favorite tips for keeping waste to a minimum without sacrificing fun when hosting a great event?
In this blog series, I’ll guide you through eight sustainable wedding issues — starting with rings, and making stops for invitations and food — that are both easy and fun to remedy. After all, it may be your big day, but that doesn’t mean you should forget the big picture. This blog is all about green wedding rings and green engagement rings.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi goes through the process of rejuvenating her hardwood floors, and describes how to avoid harmful ingredients in cleaning products, such as volatile organic compounds, in the process.
The U.S. Forest Service began hosting roundtable discussions on March 29 (continuing until May 12) to give citizens the opportunity to voice their opinions on the future management of national forests.
White nose syndrome continues to threaten bat populations. To help researchers find the cause, and hopefully a cure, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded $800,000 in grants. Here's what one organization is doing to save the Virginia Big-Eared Bat.
From carbon footprints to added wear and tear on everything from trails to monuments, travel of any kind leaves a mark on the environment. The difficulty of balancing the environmental effects of your travels with a desire to see and appreciate firsthand the natural and manmade marvels of the world isn't an easy task, and is an issue that's inspired a wealth of discussion. What do you think? Would you travel less, or otherwise change the way you travel, in order to protect the environment?
The Department of Homeland Security continues to build a 670-mile-long wall to create a barrier along the US-Mexico border. Although the wall will never completely stop illegal immigrants from coming into the country, it will risk the survival of animals and wildlife in the area.