My sister inspired me to make hamentashen, the traditional cookie for Purim. My favorite filling is the poppyseed one, but I didn't have any poppyseeds, so I used blueberry jam my friends Kat's Dad made. These were good, but I did miss the poppyseed filling. The jam is delicious, but I found it to be a bit too sweet with the sweet cookie. Anyhow, I'll include a filling option for making them with the poppyseed filling. I would also make them with a shortbread type dough (i.e. more butter) if I made them again.

Blueberry Hamantaschen
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
blueberry jam or poppyseed filling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
1. Cream butter, sugar and egg in a large bowl.
2. Sift flour and baking powder.
3. Mix a bit of the flour mixture into the creamed butter, then add the milk, then the rest of the flour. Mix in vanilla.
4. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into circles. I used a wide-mouth canning jar rim. Lay circles on a sheet pan with parchment paper and fill each with a dollop of filling. Fold in sides so that they for cute little triangles.
5. Bake for 15-30 minutes.


Cheese grits with a fried egg

Cooking Block

I haven't posted in a few days. It hasn't been out of business or laziness. I've kind of had a cooking block. I mean, I've been cooking, but nothing inspired enough to share with you all. So today I'm going to post, whether I have something interesting to share with you or not. Stay posted.

Here's a list of some dishes I've been thinking about cooking lately; now you can get excited too.

On the Horizon:
1. Meat balls (we just got ground beef from the farm)
2. Pasole (my housemate dumpstered a big can of hominy!)
3. New hot breakfast cereals
4. Baked sweet potato fries
5. Chocolate dipped bananas (mom, you'll love these)
6. Rice pudding
7. Lemon souffle cake
8. Grits with a fried egg on top

Ok, I'm out of ideas for now...xoxo


Roasted Broccoli

I find that most kids if they like broccoli prefer either the fluffy tops or the crunchier stems. When I was little I only liked the stems and I would gift the tops to my mom. Now I like the tops better, but I enjoy both. Here's my favorite way to prepare broccoli; it doesn't get much simpler than this. It's so simple, it's almost not worth writing up, but every time I make it people ask me how I did it.
Roasted Broccoli
Preheat oven to 425F

1 bunch broccoli
whole garlic cloves (optional)
olive oil, about 1-2 tablespoons
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Cut broccoli into florets and peal outer layer of the stem and cut into similarly sized pieces
2. Toss with oil, salt, pepper, and garlic if using
3. Lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Be sure to leave enough space between the pieces so that they get crisp, not steamed
4. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until just crispy and tender.


Chocolate chip cookies and friends

First off, I have a great chocolate chip cookie recipe for ya'll. I believe it's adapted from Sherry Yard; I've made these cookies so many times I have the recipe memorized. These are everything a chocolate chip cookie should be, chewy, a little crispy on the edges, sweet, and chocolaty. I learned a technique at the last rest restaurant I worked at in order to get a chewy, as opposed to cakey cookie, with those lovely cracks.

The secret is to take the cookies out of the oven half way through the baking process and slam the sheet pan down on the counter a few times, then put them back in the oven and slam them down a final time when you take them out again. I was so excited when I learned this; it's so simple, but makes a huge difference--you're cookies will never be the same again.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
4oz unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
7 oz chocolate chips (a little over 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
1. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside
2. In a standing mixer or by hand cream butter until pale yellow, about 2 minutes
3. Add sugars and vanilla and cream on medium speed until smooth
4. Add egg and mix on low until just incorporate, about 30 seconds
5. Add flour, BS, and salt and mix on low until just mixed, do not over mix
6. mix in chocolate chips
7. Roll into 2oz balls, about 2 inches in diameter, I find 1 sheet pan holds 10 cookies if you stagger them.
8. Bake for about 8 minutes, slam down in the counter until cracked a bit, and spread. Rotate and alternate sheet pans on oven racks and back another 4 minutes. Slam down again and let cool.
We got our first day of good weather in a long time. We were all ridiculously happy. It finally feels like Spring may actually come one day. I sure hope so.

Off to enjoy the sunshine. If you don't have sunshine, I'm very sorry, but at least you can go bake these cookies; they are debatably as good as sunshine.


Homemade almond milk

Raw almond milk is super cheap, ridiculously easy, and delicious. All you need is some cheese cloth or a nut milk bag.

Raw Cinnamon Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds
5 cups water
sprinkling of cinnamon to taste
2 tablespoons of honey (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

1. Soak almonds for 12-24 hours
2. Blend soaked almonds and water for about 3 minutes until smooth
3. Strain through cheese cloth and squeeze excess water out of pulp; make sure to do this thoroughly, most of the flavor comes out of the almonds in this process
4. Add cinnamon, vanilla, honey if you want a little sweetness, and salt. Shake vigorously or blend again. Refrigerate for up to a week. Shake before using.

I like almond milk in my cereal, hot chocolate, heated with some maple syrup, or simply straight up. However, I don't like it in coffee because it doesn't have the creaminess to counter the bitterness.



Chocolate avocado mousse pie

Favorite lunches

(picture taken by my sister, kyle; "Le Pen" is the best pen ever and good pens are crucial to a good list making experience)

I ate some pretty weird lunches growing up. No bad feelings or anything, but my mom cannot pack a lunch. She has 4 kids and never got it down. I hope she won't take this personally because I think she's one of the best cooks I know, but tasty lunches are her culinary down-fall.

In her defense, delicious, quick lunches are hard, I'd say the hardest meal of the day to master, especially if it has to get packed up and sit in a backpack rattling around and getting soggy for hours. That said I've compiled a list of my favorite lunches because:

A. I like lists
B. I especially like lists of favorites

Lunches to get excited about:
1. peanut butter and honey with a little cinnamon sandwich. The key hear is the perfect ratio of bread to peanut butter. I prefer mine open-faced, then you don't get too much bread in one bite and you can really taste the toppings.
2. fried eggs and toast with butter and nutritional yeast. I've been eating this a lot lately. I know nutritional yeast is some serious hippie shit, but I love it (not on everything!); it reminds me of my childhood.
3. sushi, no explanation necessary
4. grilled cheese and soup
5. BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avo, tomato), a winning combination, no mayo please.
6. tempeh ruben, but the cheese has to be melted and the tempeh crispy on the edges.
7. a bowl of granola or cold cereal with banana and a sprinkling of cinnamon really does it sometimes
8. Asian pasta salad with sugar snap peas, toasted sesame seeds, and peanut sauce; great hot or cold.
9. leftovers that are good the next day, such as pizza
10. turkey sando with lots of mustard and all the fixins'.

go forth and eat tasty lunches.


Valentine Saucepan Fudge Drops

Being valentines day weekend and all I felt the need to bake something sweet and chocolatety. I've been meaning to try this recipe for a while now because it's a chocolate cookie that tastes like a brownie, mmmm. Plus, Alice Medrich knows her shit when it comes to chocolate and any cookie that's good enough for her is good enough for me.

I made a few changes to the recipe. I went ahead and browned the butter when melting it and threw a vanilla bean in there because, well, I LOVE vanilla brown butter. I actually keep a tub of it on hand in the fridge at all times. I also used white spelt flour instead of all-purpose. Lastly, I skipped dusting them with powdered sugar before baking because I thought it was unnecessary; too much sweet takes away from the chocolate right?

These easy cookies have crunch edges and chewy, fudgy centers.

Saucepan Fudge Drops
Adapted from Alice Medrich

makes about 25 cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour or white spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoon unsalted vanilla brown butter (skip the vanilla bean if you want)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Arrange the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together thoroughly. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter an vanilla bean if using until nicely browned (when it smells amazing it's done), watch it carefully so that it doesn't burn. Off the heat, sift in the cocoa until blended and smooth. Stir in the sugars until blended; the mixture will be stiff and sandy. Mix in the yogurt and vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and fold and stir just until it is entirely moistened and incorporated into the cocoa mixture--do not stir more than necessary.

Scoop generous table spoons of the dough 1 1/2 inches apart onto the lined cookie sheets. I rolled them and then pressed them down a little because I'm a cookie perfectionist.

Bake until the cookies look dry and cracked on top but still feel a little soft when pressed, 9-11 minutes. Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through the baking. Slide the cookies, on the paper, off the sheets and onto racks to cool; or set pans on the racks and let cool.

These cookies will keep for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container, although they soften and lose their crunchy exterior. They also freeze well.




I'm going to a pot luck tonight and my friend Emma said I should bring cornbread because she's bringing chili. So that's that.

I stand right in between the Southern vs. Northern cornbread debate. I don't like mine too sweet, but a hint of sweetness is nice. I also am not looking for the moistness of a cake, but I don't like my cornbread to be dry either. This recipe looked like it had the best of both worlds.

This recipe is adapted from Shauna.

Spelt Cornbread
1 cup white spelt flour
¾ cup cornmeal (like you would use to make polenta)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a square or round baking pan with your favorite oil or butter.

Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set that bowl aside.

Measure out the sour cream, yogurt, maple syrup, and melted butter. Mix them all together. Whisk in the eggs and beat them all together until the liquids have become a coherent mixture.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir it all together until just moistened.

Pour the cornbread batter into the pan and bake the cornbread for twenty minutes, or until the top has reached the golden color you desire. Let it cool for a few moments.

Serve with soft butter and honey.

Serves six.


Best Granola

Claiming best is dangerous when it comes to recipes but..
this is my favorite granola recipe and it's the best.

I got this recipe from Molly at Orangette.
She adapted the recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Feast. I used sorghum syrup because I had it and a friend made it locally.

Go make this now, you'll never buy granola again.

Dry ingredients
5 cups rolled oats
2 to 3 cups raw almonds
1 cup hulled raw sunflower seeds
¾ cup sesame seeds
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt

Wet ingredients:
¾ cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup sorghum syrup or brown rice syrup
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. vegetable or nut oil (I used macadamia nut oil)

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Stir to mix well. In a small bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Stir to mix well. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones, and stir well.

Spread the mixture evenly on two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until evenly golden brown. Set a timer to go off every ten minutes while the granola bakes, so you can rotate the pans and give the granola a good stir; this helps it to cook evenly. When it’s ready, remove the pans from the oven, stir well – this will keep it from cooling into a hard, solid sheet – and set aside to cool. The finished granola may still feel slightly soft when it comes out of the oven, but it will crisp as it cools.

Scoop cooled granola into to a large zipper-lock plastic bag or other airtight container. Store in the refrigerator indefinitely.

Yield: about 10 cups


Some favorite foods

here's some all-time favs in no particular order:

1. cinnamon toast
2. white nectarines
3. roast chicken with potatoes
4. dark chocolate truffles
5. earl grey tea with milk and honey
6. raspberries plopped on your fingers, then eaten one by one
7. raw milk just after milking, or even better, right from the udder into a cup of coffee


My first gluten-free pizza

Pretty cute and tasty.

Haw Creek honey cheesecake ice cream

We get our honey from a Haw Creek, a local apiary. We just got a new gallon of honey yesterday. My housemate Kat who is the proud owner of a wonderful ice cream maker also just got back the lid for it, which was temporarily lost amongst her boyfriend's things. So, I thought today would be the perfect day to make honey ice cream, honey cheesecake ice cream to be exact.

I made this recipe up based on previous ice cream making experience. Let me know whether you think it's a keeper.

I'm sure some lavender would also be great in here. If you have some dried lavender you could add it to the milk before you heat it and strain it out after making the custard.

Haw Creek Honey Cheesecake Ice Cream
4 egg yolks
1 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz. cream cheese
6 tbs honey
juice from 2 lemons (2 tbs)
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp extract

1. Using a food processor, or by hand, mix cream cheese, yogurt (or sour cream or heavy cream) , honey, vanilla extract (if using), and lemon juice until smooth. Set aside.
2. Prepare an ice bath.
3. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl until smooth. Split vanilla bean in half and scrape out seeds. Heat milk and vanilla bean pod and seeds until bubbles appear on top, but not quite boiling. Slowly whisk hot milk into eggs. (If you're not using vanilla bean, just leave it out)
4. Return to heat stirring constantly. Bring to 170 degrees F or until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
5. Strain into a clean bowl and place in the prepared ice bath. When cool, whisk in cream cheese mixture. Adjust for sweetness and/or lemon. Churn according to ice cream making instructions.



Gluten-free crusty boule

This is the gluten-free version of dutch oven bread. Here's the link to the recipe I used.

Here's my main problem: I don't have parchment paper and I'm pissed about it. I feel this is a very crucial component to getting this bread to look perfect. So, when I went to put my loaf into the dutch oven, it flipped and that's why the crust doesn't look smooth, but a bit thorny and the shape is funny. I'm waiting for it to cool before I try it, but I'll let ya'll know flavor-wise what I think.

I'm excited to try the recipe again with parchment paper!


Family dinner

Every Sunday at 7:30pm we have family dinners. Every other week we have an official house meeting along with dinner, the other nights are purely for fun, friendship, and yumminess purposes. Tonight was my night to cook.

First things first; the tempeh came out great, not perfect, but great. The flavor was wonderful, but the top dried and solidified better than the bottom. Next time we are going to try a plastic bag method with holes on the top and bottom so that the air flow is more consistent.

Tonight's Menu:

butternut squash and house made tempeh vegetable curry
short grain brown rice
sauteed garlicky collard greens
dilly lemon, raisin yogurt sauce
homemade rye bread



Warren Wilson Garden Crew.

This is where I work. This picture is recycled from last spring, but it gives you an idea of the loveliness of the folks I work with. This is our green house. We tend to about 4 acres of land including chickens, bees, an apple orchard, and lots of fruits and vegetables.

We're pretty skilled at having a good time.

Making Tempeh

The process of making tempeh is really simple and cheap.

We just boiled soybeans for a bit until they were cooked, but still crunchy. Then you have to get the hulls off, which you can do by massaging them in you hands, they slip right off like little jackets.

Then you skim off the hulls and cook a little more until they are cooked, but still crunchy enough that you wouldn't eat them that way.

Then we lay them in a pan, mixed in two tablespoons of vinegar and the tempeh starter, covered the pan with tinfoil, poked holes with a fork, and put in the dehydrator at 90 F. You could also use your oven at the lowest setting with the door propped open. After 24 hours it should be done.

I had no idea it was so quick and simple. I think barbecued tempeh with collards are on the menu for family dinner on Sunday.
Happy tempeh face, for sure.


Hollar to the sibs

you three are the very best.

Grilled cheese on an open fire

We lost power today, but I wanted a grilled cheese bad.

Granola Bars

These little guys are kind of a mix between an energy bar (because they're chewy) and a granola bar (because they're oaty). They're not too sweet, pretty healthy tasting, but a good grab and go snack I think.

Banana Oat Bars

Preheat oven to 350 F


3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla

In a bowl mix:

2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt

Mix the dry mixture with the blended banana mixture. Add chocolate and raisins.

1/2 dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup raisins

Pour into a greased 8 inch square pan and smooth out with a spatula.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars, about 12.

Icy Rain

On a more positive note, things that are fun/exciting in my world:

1. We got a beautiful new tea kettle for the house yesterday. Our old one didn't whistle, so it would it was always hard to tell whether the water was boiling or not and it was also made out of this super thin aluminum, pretty scary.
2. We got our tempeh starter in the mail! It only takes 24 hours and will make about 18 pounds of tempeh, wow. The soybeans are soakin' as I type.
3. This sucky weather will at least make me want to stay inside this weekend and write 2 philosophy papers and read a lot of Freud.
4. Yesterday we also bought a much needed set of glass mixing bowls (8) that nest together. They range from very small to quite large and make me very happy.
5. Can't think of a number 5 at the moment, I'll get back to you.


Polenta vs grits

This is a heated discussion we've had one too many times in my house. Being a northerner, I did not grow up with grits and only ate polenta occasionally at fancy Italian restaurants. However, living in the south, grits have become a staple dish that I have developed a great fondness for. I have been under the impression for quite some time that polenta and grits are essentially the same product (course ground corn meal) and the difference is only in the preparation, though the preparation is often remarkably similar.

I have done some research which has made me realize just how wide-spread the confusion surrounding the subject is.

My conclusion? I was right, they are the same thing, though different types of corn and corn processing is more common in certain regions of the world. For example, many southern brands of grits are marketed as being stone ground and white corn meal is more commonly seen in the south.

Us northerners should get off our high horses.

Also, one shopping tip: if you see polenta and grits in different bins in the bulk section of your grocery store, buy the cheaper of the two, which will be the grits no doubt.

Any thoughts on the subject?

Weird things I ate as a kid

1. Toast with mayonnaise and melted cheese (preferably Swiss)
2. Big fat slices of dense brown bread from Peter Reinhardt's old bakery, steamed with large amounts of butter and nutritional yeast. I used to eat this so fast I would get big chunks stuck in my throat, very painful, but worth it.
3. All sandwiches in "roll-up" form, this meant regular and some not so regular sandwich fixins' rolled up in a flour tortilla.
4. These mint carob malt soy milk drinks that came in those little capri-sun style baggies; I haven't been able to find them anywhere for about 15 years. I loved freezing them and eating them like Popsicles.

Hey, Nice Crust

Baking Instructions:

1. Take the dough out of the fridge, flour surface, shape dough quickly (30 seconds should be sufficient), and set on a piece of parchment paper.
2. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 500 F with dutch oven inside for at least 20 minutes.
3. Slash the dough 1/4 inch deep in whatever pattern you like.
4. Once the pot is preheated, lift the dough, still on the parchment paper, and drop it in the pot. Cover with lid and bake for 15 minutes.
5. Remove lid, and bake for 15-20 more minutes at 450 F.
6. Remove loaf from pot and allow to cool on a rack.

Admire and devour the pillowy crumb and crusty goodness.

Mid-day Ramblings

This photo was taken last spring.

These are my herb ladies; they're super great. We all have a shared love for stinging nettles, bagging tea, mix cds that feature very sappy love songs, and general witch-type activities--most notably, brewing big batches of herbal concoctions. I found this picture today while working on my winter project for the garden which is putting together an index of recipe cards for our CSA boxes. Last spring I put together a cookbook of CSA recipes entitled "Eat More Kohlrabi" and the recipe cards are a mix of new recipes I love and recipes from the cookbook. It's a pretty fun way to spend the morning.

Shortly, I will run back to my house before my philosophy class to check on the rise of my bread dough and pop it in the fridge for baking tonight.

I'm off to be an extremely focused and dedicated student now and try my very best not to think about anything cooking related for the next hour. Wish me luck.

Dutch Oven Bread

After many requests from my housemates, I am going to make dutch oven baked bread. Once I learned about using a dutch oven to make artisan style bread in any crappy home oven, I was hooked. There are various other tricks to making super bread at home such as putting water in a pan at the bottom of the oven, baking the bread initially at a very high temp, etc, but the dutch oven is the most life changing.

It all started with the infamous no-knead bread article by Mark Bittman written in the New York Times years ago by Jim Lahey. This recipe is the one I turn people if they are intimidated/have had scarring bread baking experiences in their past. It's infallible, impressive, and delicious.

If you want to buy me a gift anytime soon, I'd probably ask for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. Check out their website for great recipes and bread baking advice. I am especially excited about their book because they have developed gluten-free bread using their moist, no-knead, dutch oven baked technique. The other great part is that it takes no time at all because you whip up a batch of dough, store it in the fridge and tear off portions when ever you feel the desire for fresh baked bread come on. I recently found out I have a gluten allergy this past month after getting a horrible, itchy rash. This was pretty devestating at first, being a baker and all, but I accepted this new dietary restriction and have become excited about exploring the realm of gluten-free baking.

However, today I will be baking Jeff and Zoe's basic gluten-filled bread recipe because I still need to buy some xanthan gum and tapioca flour before I dive into the world of gluten-free artisan bread and my housemates aren't the patient types.

Super Easy Artisan Bread
Adapted from Jeff and Zoe
(I'm only making half the recipe because we are running out of flour, but this is the full recipe)

In a large bowl or container with a lid mix together:
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbs active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbs course salt

Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and then dump in:

6 1/2 cups flour

Mix well with a spoon and let sit for a few hours covered until it has risen and then deflated a bit. Store in the fridge until you are ready to bake. The flavor develops as the dough sits, so there's no need to use the dough in a hurry; it's good for a week or so.

I'll go through the baking process with ya'll later this evening. Have a lovely day!


Fermentation Window

I forgot to let you all know that I pulled out the yogurt from it's cozy sleeping bag this morning and it turned out great. The best way to get consistent results is to use a kitchen thermometer when heating and cooling the milk, but we don't have one yet, so the result is always just a little different, which is fun too.

Because I've been been on the topic of fermentation, I thought I'd post a photo of our wild kitchen windowsill full of various fermenting and sprouting things. Some people are a little freaked out by it, but we like this kind of hippie shit. On the left we have some kind of sun tea brewing, the next three jars are various kinds of sprouts, then we have a jar of rejuvelac (a fermented drink made from wheat berries), next to that is one of the jars we make sauerkraut in, and lastly we have two jars of kombucha brewing away.

Morning Ritual

Mornings are very important to me and my morning ritual is critical to my morning happiness, anyone who knows me will attest to this.

This is a major point of contention for Scott, arguably the biggest source of contention in our relationship. You see, he likes to wake up slowly, in bed, drift in and out of sleep, cuddle, etc. I on the other hand, can not stand this; I get super antsy and can't deal with being awake, yet not caffeinated. I feel unproductive (I know this is totally irrational and a little disturbing). It makes me feel very unloving admitting this, but it's just the truth. So, our morning routine is for me to wake up and try to get out of bed before Scott notices, which he always does, then he will start whining and physically pin me down so that I don't leave him. Then I have to lie and say I will just go make coffee than come back to bed. He knows this is a lie and points it out. Then I make a face and feel badly, but head to the kitchen despite it all to start my morning ritual.

It always starts with caffiene. I'm extremely pretentious about my coffee. I like it strong. I like dark, usually french roast and I like it with whole milk. I think sweetened coffee is sickening.

I always make breakfast first thing after I make coffee. I usually sip my coffee as I do this.

I'm usually not too adventurous in the morning when it comes to food. It's the one meal I don't feel the need to experiment with too much, I don't want to throw off my morning with any new, drastic culinary moves.

I pretty much eat the same thing every morning. I know this sounds boring, but really it's not at all; it's ultimate comfort actually. I am an oatmeal in the morning kind of girl. Sometimes I have cold cereal instead, but usually oatmeal. I don't like to get too fancy with my oats, I like to add some fruit, an apple or banana, sometimes berries, cinnamon, two big pinches of sea salt, some nut butter or sprinkled nuts, that kind of thing. I don't like too many toppings at once; simple and satisfying is what I'm aiming for.

Sometimes I go crazy and scoop some yogurt on top, or add some coconut flakes, chopped figs, a sprinkling of granola, but you get the basic idea.

Here's today's bowl, nothing flashy or fancy, but, damn, it never fails.

The last part of my morning ritual is to sit down with my breakfast and coffee and read the news, cookbooks, philosophy reading I've put off, that kind of thing. It's oh so relaxing and if for some reason my morning ritual gets thrown off, I get absolutely pissed.


Blog Crazy

Some would say I've gone to blog city today...

but I just had to leave one more photo with ya'll tonight.


I feel a little silly writing this post because I'm worried it might get gushy/gross/annoying and this is a food blog, not a bunch of sappy shit, but non-the-less he's important to me so here I go...

This is Scott and, yes, that is a pig head. Scott loves pig roasts, I mean really loves them. One of his favorite things to do is slaughter a pig or two, set up a large outdoor smoker, stay up all night drinking whiskey, stoking the fire, telling stories, and singing songs in Spanish.

We met at school, the story is extremely cute and romantic, but I'll save that for another day. He is a dairy farmer and is about to start a new job in Dodgeville, Wisconsin as the farm manager for Uplands Cheese Company. I'll be moving out to join him in May. So there, he will come up in the future I'm sure.

(Scott, hope you like the blog!)


Here is Katz's yogurt recipe; I think it's the best:

8-24 hours

Quart/liter jar
Insulated cooler (or sleeping bag/warm blankets--this is what we use!)
Ingredients (for 1 quart):
1 quart/1 liter whole milk (or any kind of milk including soy, coconut, rice, etc.)
1 tablespoon/15 milliliters fresh live-culture plain yogurt for starter culture

1. Preheat the jar and insulated cooler (I put a sleeping bag in the drier to get it warm, but this is not necessary) with hot water so they will not drain heat from the yogurt and it can stay warm to ferment.
2. Heat the milk until bubbles begin to form. If you use a thermometer, heat milk to 180 degrees F. Use gentle heat, and stir frequently, to avoid burning the milk. If does not need to come to a full boil. The heating is not absolutely necessary, but it results in a thicker yogurt.
3. Cool the mild to 110 degrees F, or the point where it feels hot, but it is not hard to keep you (clean!) finger in it. You can speed the cooling process by setting the pot with the hot milk into a bowl or pot of cold water. Don't let the milk get too cool; the yogurt cultures are most active in the above-body-temperature range.
4. Mix starter yogurt into the milk. Use just 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) per quart. I used to use more starter, assuming that more is better, until I consulted my number one kitchen reference book, The Joy of Cooking (1964 edition), known affectionately as "Joy" in our kitchen. "You may wonder why so little starter is used and think that a little more will produce a better result. It won't. The bacillus, if crowded, gives a sour, watery product. But if the culture has sufficient Lebensraum (German for 'room to live'), it will be rich, mild and creamy." Mix the starter thoroughly into the milk, and pour the mixture into the preheated jar.
5. Cap the jar and place it in the preheated insulated cooler (or sleeping bag). If much space remains in the cooler, fill it will bottles of hot water (not too hot to touch) and/or towels. Close the cooler. Place the cooler in a warm spot where it will not be disturbed. "Yogurt has the added idiosyncrasy that it doesn't care to be jostled while growing," notes Joy.
6. Check the yogurt after 8 to 12 hours. It should have a tangy flavor and some thickness. If it isn't thick (hasn't "yoged"), warm it up by filling the insulated cooler with hot water around the jar of yogurt, adding more starter, and leaving it 4 to 8 hours. You can leave it to ferment longer if you wish. It will become more sour, as more of the milk's lactose is converted into lactic acid. A longer fermentation period can often make yogurt digestible even for lactose-intolerant individuals.
7. Yogurt can store in the refrigerator for weeks, though its flavor will become more sour over time. Save some of you yogurt to use as a starter for the next batch.

****Please don't be intimidated by the length of this recipe! Once you do it the first time, you get it and it takes no time/effort at all. I included this detailed recipe because I want ya'll to have great results the first time and become life-long yogurt makers, ok?!

Happy yogurt making.


I briefly mentioned our shared passion for fermentation, that we Preston Co-op house members have, in my profile, but I thought I would elaborate on the wonders of wild fermentation in today's post.

We have various fermentation projects going on continuously under our roof and many more which we have hopes and dreams about experimenting with in the future. Our current and previous projects include, yogurt making (which I plan to post about in detail tonight), sauerkraut and kimchis, mead, sourdough breads, kombucha, rejuvelac, and pickles of all kinds. We also have a tempeh starter on the way in the mail!

If you have any interest in getting into fermentation I highly recommend the book "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz. If you are at all into things homemade, fermenting can be a very exciting and rewarding experience for many reasons but some that have jumped out at me recently are:

1. Most fermentation projects are super easy and super cheap. (I was at a local health food store the other day where they were selling tiny jars of sauerkraut for $17 each and we have literally gallons of it in our house that we have been giving away and trying to come up with new creative uses for!)
2. Going through the process of fermenting foods is exciting, kind of like watching a child develop and age. Fermented foods are literally a product of their environment; a sourdough starter or sauerkraut will taste totally different depending on the weather, location, season, and year in which it's made.
3. They are easily digestible, delicious, and nutritious.
4. Fermentation is an ideal way to preserve foods, especially if you have a garden--you can live off of your bounty all year long.

I leave you with a picture of our humble kitchen.

If you are interested in making your own yogurt, check out tonight's post. It's unbelievably easy and takes no special equipment; yogurt makers are totally STUPID and make your own is as cheap as buying milk. At our house we make about 2 half gallon jars a week; it has definitely become a staple (we tend to flip if the yogurt has run out).

Happy February everyone!