Early January 2015: Thistles - Artichokes, Cardoons, and Milk Thistle: Growing and Using
Late January 2015: Potatoes: Are they Healthy to Eat?Early February 2015: Favorite Herbs for Tincturing
Late February 2015: Why Raise Chickens?
Early March 2015: Favorite Wild and Unusual Salad Greens - Exploring Flavor, Pairings, Health Benefits
Late March 2015: Dandelions as Healers - for people, other plants, the land, and animals
April 2015: Onions - Medicinal Uses
May 2015: Designs for Medicinal Gardens
June 2015: Naturally Cleaning Your Home
Early July 2015: Chickpeas!
Late July 2015: Using Eggplants
August 2015: Delicious Anti-Inflammatories
September 2015: Super Salves
October 2015: Journeys in Mindfulness: Connecting with Plants - What is a connection? How do you develop spirituality in the garden?
Others by Jo Robinson that I also am glad to have on my shelf:
And I also highly recommend Peter Bane's book on permaculture - it gives a very clear and detailed picture of what permaculture is all about and is very useful in helping you apply to a backyard farm situtaion...
A fabulous DVD for those thinking of starting a small backyard farm:
My favorite CSA or garden-inspired cookbooks:
A great set of books to start reading to prepare for next Spring's gardening:
Recommended on Biodynamics:
Recommended on French Intensive or Intensive Gardening:
Recommended as a general, getting-started, Reference Guide to Organic Gardening:
You're probably still harvesting tomatoes right now - but stay aware of the low nighttime temps - if a frost is forecasted, harvest whatever is out there - That's the end! Many mostly-green tomatoes will ripen in the house, and if you want, you can pickle the green ones.
I always make big pots of tomato sauce and freeze it for the winter. You can also can tomato sauce, but I find it easier to just freeze it.
Here's the recipe I've been making with any assortment of the heirloom tomatoes I've been picking:
For each large batch of about 20 Plum-sized tomatoes, You need:
First clean and chop your ingredients:
The Garlic and Onions
How to Chop the Tomatoes
Heat Olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions, black pepper, red pepper, dried oregano.
Cook until onions start getting translucent. Add tomatoes and garlic.
Stir well and cook for about 1/2 an hour until they start to form a sauce. Turn heat to low. Add 1 small can of tomato paste. Stir in thoroughly and cook for another 15 minutes or so.
Then at very end, add fresh herbs, and take off heat.
I plated this sauce over angel hair spaghetti and sprinkled more fresh raw parsley over each bowl along with freshly grated romano cheese. Absolutely delicious. The romano and parsley flavors were just superb.
I then froze the rest of the sauce in individual meal-sized containers.
Peppers of all sorts, freeze great. And they last a long time in the freezer - I've found bags of peppers from over 2 years ago and they still tasted fine. To process peppers, I just rinse them, cut the stems off, and then cut in half and clean out the seeds. Then I just place the halves into bags in the freezer. I use bell pepper and/or hot pepper in almost every recipe so I just go into the freezer and take out however many I need and cut them up frozen and add to the recipe.
Note: Be careful when processing large amounts of hot peppers - even mildly hot peppers like Poblanos can cause true chemical burns on your fingers if you are processing enough of them! I ended up having to bring an ice-bag with me to sleep because my hand hurt so much!
TIP: I buy Mountain Valley Spring Water or Perrier or San Pelegrino in glass. While it may be cost prohibitive to use these brands for your daily water intake, I buy one bottle every week or two weeks, and then after drinking that once, I clean out the bottle and refill it each day with my well water.
By doing this, you are recycling, not supporting the plastic industry, not exposing yourself to chemicals in plastic, not spending any money, you can add lemon juice or tinctures without any plastic contamination, you're burning calories carrying the heavy glass bottle, and you can easily monitor how much water you consume during the course of the day. Wow.
Just make sure your choice of water does not become a limiting factor to drinking it. If you are drinking less water because of the cost of bottled water, supplement your bottles with reusable bottles or just fill up a previously used bottle with H20 from the tap.
Visit Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D website and consider getting a copy of his book: Your Body's Many Cries for Water, especially if you suspect you may be chronically dehydrated as many people are:
I decided we needed something sweet this month - these are absolutely delicious and are wheat and dairy free!
About 16 ounces of almond paste. You can make this yourself or use canned (2
1-1/2 c Confectioner's (Powdered) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large egg whites
2 tbsp mild honey
About 2 cups of lightly roasted pignolis or pine nuts
3-4 drops of lemon oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Crumble almond paste into food processor. Add sugar and salt and pulse until finely ground and well-mixed. Should be consistency of coarse corn meal.
Then move to a bowl and add egg whites, lemon oil, and honey. Beat at medium/high speed for 5 minutes.
Gently spoon batter into 1 inch dollops onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Very gently press the roasted pignoli nuts onto the tops of the cookies.
Bake until just turning golden around the edges about 12-15 minutes. Slide the parchment with cookies still attached onto a cooling rack. Once cookies are cool, carefully use a spatula to remove them from parchment. NOTE: You may have to clean off the spatula a couple times while doing this as it will get very sticky and then mess up the cookies.
A throw-together white carb-free meal
A Midsummer Farm
White Carb-Free Greens and Chicken Saute with Red Lentils
1 - 1-1/2 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken thigh meat - chopped into 1 inch pieces (chop when slightly frozen for easier quicker cutting). I usually take frozen chicken out of the freezer the night before, rinse and chop in the morning before work, and then it is all ready to throw together that evening.
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup red lentils
5-10 cloves of fresh garlic (to taste)
2 tsp garlic granules (Mountain Rose Herbs is a great source)
1 tsp mild red pepper flakes
1/2 - 1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried oregano herb
3 baby Bak Choi - coarsely chopped
1 bunch of dark leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard, escarole, collards, etc., shredded
5 tbsp Olive Oil
Heat Oilve Oil over medium low heat. Add onions, garlic granules, black and red pepper, lentils, and dried oregano. Heat until onions are starting to get soft. Add chicken, fresh garlic, and bok choi. Cook until chicken is done, mixing often. This is fast - the chicken is small and will cook through quickly. Add in the greens and sprinkle with salt.
NOTE: Health Coaching Clients get full access to my library of fabulous health books - click here for more info on my proven program dedicated to getting people I care about well again.
Now's a great time to start planning or re-accessing your garden! Here's a cool link for inspiration:Click Here!
Now is a great time to start planning and re-accessing your garden for next Spring. As you put your current garden to sleep or do your fall clean up chores, think about what changes you might want to make for next year. Do you have too much space being used with lawn and ornamental scrubs? Can you add some perennials and natives for next year? Can you grow more of your own food? Growing a garden puts us back in touch with both nature and our roots. It is intrinsically fulfilling. Nothing tastes better or is fresher or healthier than food you grew yourself. And you get lots of varied exercise out in the air and sun while caring for the garden.
Some tasks to do now: Start planning where you may want the garden or how you can add onto your current garden plot; start a compost pile; look into fencing options; start planning what to plant spring.
Location: You want a sunny location for growing most vegetables and herbs. It should also drain well and not be soggy. Put it as close to your house as possible so you can step out and grab a handful of basil while your cooking a meal. Avoid places that may have come into contact with chemicals, oil, etc. If you have been spraying your lawn, stop doing that and let the area rest and renew itself before starting an organic garden. 3 years should be safe. Consider proximity to your compost pile. Consider raised beds and other intensive gardening strategies. Check out these books for some great places to start some winter reading!
Compost Pile: Using your fall leaves is great starting place for a compost pile. Find a spot that is protected from wind, perhaps against a fence or wall, and loop chicken wire around it to keep it in place. Partial sun is best, but full sun and shade wok fine too in the long run. Compost is not picky. You can find a bunch of different rules and strategies for making compost, but it pretty much makes itself! Just pile your leaves into the loop of chicken wire, and then you start adding kitchen scraps, etc. to it! It won't do too much composting during the winter, but you should be able to get a good start and it will pick up again in the Spring, especially if you flip it over and fluff it up every other week or so next Spring.
Fencing: Always fence first! Before you start planting, make sure your vegetables are safe from deer, woodchucks, rabbits, etc. Fencing is the most expensive part of starting a garden, although you have quite a few good options.
What to Plant: What vegetables do you and your family enjoy the most? Consider salad greens - and fresh herbs - these are impossible to find in stores. Consider veggies that go bad fast - like greens. About 3 - 4 kale plants and about 10 Swiss Chard plants will keep a family in greens all summer - you can just go out a pick a bunch as you're cooking dinner. What did you make the most of last year? Was there anything you wished you had grown more of? Make some notes now, before the arrival of the seed catalogues, so you can work from a specific plan and not get too distracted!
My favorite place to buy high quality organic herbs:
When I can't grow my own, the first place I turn is Mountain Rose!
Some great books on pH Balancing and Acid-Alkaline Diet Information:
Link to useful e-book on Optimal Health with Alkaline Foods:Click Here!
Or try out : Energize for life website by clicking here!
Michael Pollen's newest book:
Biodynamic Books and DVD:
Links to Institute for Integrative Nutrition program:
Consider Participating in a workshop at Midsummer Farm taught by myself, a Holistic Health Coach and Artisanal Cooking Expert...
Three life-changing workshops this month!
All three of these workshops were developed from my perspective as a Holistic Health Coach. I see adding greens and beans to one's diet as a major way to getting healthier. They are probably the 2 most influential ingredients missing in our weekly diets. Greens and beans used to play a huge role in human eating habits. They are the backbone to a large number of native, artisanal, and ethnic meals, yet they have somehow gotten pushed to the sides of our modern eating habits to the detriment of our health! Sometimes they are only brought out on holidays as 'traditional' dishes... Getting greens and beans back into the heart and soul of our weekly and daily meals could seriously boost our health.
As an extremely busy person myself, my focus is on how to build a bean salad or one pot meal using local mixed greens, so you're not dependent on a fixed set of ingredients to search down and buy. Again, I want to make beans and greens an easy, no-thought addition to your meals. And although I do love to cook in artisanal ways - like in other words, no microwave - I do also believe in recipes and cooking styles that don't take tons of time so you can come home from work and pull together something delicious and super-healthy for your family.
Food quality is also an extremely important element in overall health, and you simply cannot get higher quality eggs than from your own organically-raised, pasture-roaming and foraging, and respectfully-treated hens. Not only will the Poultry Workshop teach how to raise birds properly, but you will also get an in-depth education on what to look for in purchasing all animal products. Most people 'don't get' what goes on behind such fake labels as 'free range' or 'happy hens' or even 'certified organic;' nor do most people know what respectful animal farmers go through to provide the high-quality products that they do.
So I will be sharing my secrets of quick and easy ways of getting tons of greens into your meals, enjoying a variety of beans in different ways, and the 'ins and outs' of raising chickens organically. You will go home with information and knowledge that will make you and your family healthier.
On that note, I wanted to share some thoughts on having fun. I'm always jumping on a soapbox about food - what's healthy, what really isn't, etc. etc. But food is actually rather secondary to our health. If you are not happy, you won't feel healthy, and it doesn't matter if you eat organic homemade food, you won't truly utilize what that food has to offer unless you are happy and contented and joyful while eating and digesting it.
And then we also turn to food when we feel out-of-sorts. We can turn a weight-loss plan into a real success story if we focus on getting happy and make having fun a priority. In other words, Eat Less, Play More!
Remember when you were a child and you got so wrapped up in playing, imagining or creating that you didn't want to stop when it was time to eat? Do you remember leaving your meal half-finished to run off and continue playing? Children innately understand that food is secondary to what is most nutritious and primary in life: fun and play.
As adults we seem to have lost our instinct to prioritize play. In our busy world, with its emphasis on work and responsibility, to be healthy and balanced we must focus on more than just our bodies; we must feed our whole selves: hearts, minds, and spirits.
Have you noticed that when your body, mind, and spirit are engaged in a creative project or happy relationship, your reliance on food seems to decrease? Likewise, when you are unsatisfied with your relationships, your job, or other areas of your life, you may depend on food to cheer, soothe, or numb you. When you are bored, you suddenly need a chocolate bar. When your life is out of balance, no amount of food can feed you where you truly need nourishment. The food that we eat is very important for health and balance, but what really feeds us - a full and fulfilling life - doesn't come on a plate.
What is fun for you? What makes you light up? What excites you? Make time for it this week. Even if you are very busy, try approaching a "serious" activity with an attitude of play. This can greatly reduce stress and anxiety. Don't forget the stereo and your CD collection; playing them while doing drudgery makes it much better - dance a bit too - get your body and muscles moving, and it is hard to feel depressed. Even a big languid stretch can make you feel better, even at your desk at work. Next time you find yourself doing something boring or tedious or hard and confusing, stop and re-evaluate the situation and find a way to have fun and grace while doing whatever task it is. Grace is such an empowering concept.
For the next week or so, at the beginning of the day, make planning something fun a primary task. If you're super busy - then make the primary task be to find a way to make one of your chores or projects more fun.
And while you're at it, think of how you can get someone else to start finding more fun in his/her daily life. Spread it around. And appreciate the people you love. Look at them and see them. And consciously make some gestures that show them how you feel. Give them respect, admiration, and love.
RECIPE: Building a Salad Dressing
You don't have to feel you need a recipe for creating a salad dressing. You just need to be aware of four elements and then look around your kitchen and start building your own new and exciting dressing.
4 elements to a salad dressing:
2) Oil (you can never really go wrong with Extra-Virgin, Organic, Cold-Pressed Olive Oil)
3) Backbone flavor: garlic or onion, pepper, salt, and a dash of sweet
4) Upfront flavor: Chopped Herbs and savory greens
optional 5) - some protein
You can use any type of vinegar from good old apple cider to fancy flavored vinegars; Just try to keep in mind your other ingredients and use a vinegar with a matching flavor. Although Extra Virgin Olive Oil is always a sound choice, a salad is the prefect place to use your delicate, more volatile oils like walnut, pistachio, and flax seed. You will probably always want to add something oniony - garlic powder, chopped fresh garlic, chopped chives, thinly sliced scallions or welsh onions, thinly sliced red onions, etc. And a dash of sea salt or seaweed usually helps round out the flavors. Experiment with red pepper flakes, paprika, and freshly ground black peppers. And adding a sweet usually really brings it all together - this could be a dash of fair-trade organic sugar, a dallop of brown rice syrup or barley malt, some chopped fresh stevia leaves, or a handful of berries or slices of pear. If you used balsamic vinegar, your dressing will probably be sweet enough. And don't forego adding chopped fresh herbs and spring greens! The protein you choose is totally up to you - beans, nuts, seeds, chicken, shrimp, avocado, hard boiled egg, tuna, pork - all seem to go well in most salads. Adding a protein really makes the salad into a meal. And once you have artistically created it, don't skimp on the dressing - it is the fats in the dressing that helps you fully metabolize all the nutrients and minerals in the raw greens.
Biodynamics is a wonderful method of gardening - above and beyond gardening organically. Biodynamics brings a broad variety of influences to gardening and taking these influences into account can make your garden more fruitful, your harvests more nutritionally dense, your gardening experience more in touch with nature, and more spiritual.
One aspect of Biodynamics involves certain plants or herbs that are understood to have Dynamic Properties. I thought I would describe one way that I use one of these dynamic herbs - German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) - to help grow healthy seedlings.
This is really the first herbal preparation we use with our plants. Basically, all you have to do is brew a strong tea of Dried German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) blossoms, then dilute about 1:10 Tea:Water, pour into a spritzer bottle, and once your seedlings emerge, spray them quite vigorously with the tea water.
This preparation prevents damping off or fungal growth in the seed flats. The seedlings seem to love it. For the young seedlings, we find that spritzing them works better than soaking from the bottom. It keeps them from getting too water-logged and the spritzing encourages them to grow strong stems. Do not spritz the flats with this tea until the seeds have actually germinated.
NOTE - be sure to use German Chamomile, not Roman. And if you are picking your own, harvest the blossoms for drying before June 24th.
Mountain Rose Herbs offer dried German Chamomile Blossoms - there is a link on my web page you can use - http://www.midsummerfarm.com/teas.htm. If you are having trouble finding dried German Chamomile blossoms and you have seedlings started that you want to spray right now, I would be happy to give you some when you come by for eggs Wednesday evenings at 5:30. Or just send me an email and we'll arrange something.
Well, I suppose that you all realize how different in flavor and nutrients eggs grown by farmers like us are from supermarket eggs. Well there is another big difference, and that is the freshness. Usually when you buy eggs from us, they were laid a day or so beforehand. This is a fabulous thing, but can be frustrating if you hard boil them and try to peel them, as there is no air separating the shell from the membrane and the white. As eggs age, air seeps through the porous shell and creates a space between the shell, the membrane and the white, this space makes the egg easier to peel.
Here's what I do to hard boil eggs:
Put eggs on bottom of a large sauce pot. Fill with cold water to about 2 inches above tops of eggs.
Put pot on medium heat, uncovered. Bring to just starting to simmer. Then remove pot from heat, but leave eggs in the hot water, cover, and wait 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, pour hot water off and shake pot around with eggs in it so the shells crack.
Then add cold water to pot and keep changing water so it stays cold.
Leaves cracked eggs in cold water for at least 20 minutes.
The temperature changes should help force air into the eggs and the cold water should also help separate the shell and membrane.
Note: you can tell how old an egg is by floating it in a bowl of water. If the egg lays on the bottom of the bowl on its side, it is fresh. If it stands up but remains on the bottom, it is still pretty fresh, but ready to be hard boiled. If the egg starts to float up off the bottom, then it is less than fresh; the higher it floats, the more air is in the shell and up it goes. Once an egg actually sticks out of the water, it is pretty old, and probably should be discarded.
I don�t know where it came from � the idea that a house looks proper if it has cube-scrubs and a plain green grass lawn. Maybe it was some sort of Rockefeller-envy. But it seems that people are now beginning to feel that this is banally suburban... Maybe boring. Maybe worthless. Maybe even ugly if it has been sprayed with chemicals that are draining into our natural water systems, and death is the most active thing going on in it � death to bugs, weeds, the health of our animals and children.
Sorry to be so dramatic � but it is a dramatic subject � all that death - and yet sometimes I feel people view a property that is not �kept up� to look like the 1950�s-suburban-dream to be actually immoral. And indeed, the home organic garden tends to still be a bit of an anti-establishment action... �We can feed ourselves� could be anti-capitalistic even.
Ok � well, we�ve come a long way baby from the 1950�s ideal lifestyle. A lot of people today feel very differently about what landscaping can be, and especially people who are reading this newsletter are more realistic, knowledgeable, and creative than the general masses, so I don�t mean to �preach to the choir� .... But if you haven�t considered tilling up the lawn or at least a part of it, or if you could use a bit of inspiration for another project to take on, I thought I would mention some great alternative landscaping ideas. There just is so much you can do with the property around your house.
Growing food is a fabulous thing to do. It grounds your home; makes it a productive place where you can feed yourself. The idea of the Victory garden is coming back - but instead of Victory over WWII, people are viewing the V-garden as Victory over Recession. You can save money by growing your own veggies. But I think even more importantly, you will be eating healthier when you have a garden as you will want to eat your vegetables. They are tastier and fresher and will probably have more nutrients in them than the vegetables you get in stores. There is something so fulfilling about eating your own vegetables. And you�ll get exercise doing the gardening. Gardening involves both muscle building activity as well as yoga-like stretching and flexibility-building activity. Instead of paying someone to mow your lawn and then paying for a gym membership to keep in shape, try gardening instead!
Growing herbs is essential for any true foodie; you simply can�t construct a meal using those limp, lifeless things in plastic clamshell containers at the grocery store. And there are so many wonderful varieties of flavors of herbs that you just won�t get to experience unless you grow them yourself. Have you tried Mitsuba? Chervil? Shiso? Garlic Chives? Salad Burnett?
And then there are so many other things you can plant and collect. Bee-Plants and plants that feed our native pollinators, for example. Adding a border of pollinator-loving plants can make a HUGE difference in the population of native pollinators in the general area.
There are also native plants and endangered herbs that you can grow on your property. It may again seem like a small effort, but you are making a difference providing genetic diversity as the plant adapts and responds to your locale. And every grouping or stand does make a difference, spreading that plant�s influence and presence wider and denser.
And then if you tend to collect things, the plant world is wildly exciting � although probably dangerous! Look through catalogs or the internet and look for a particular species or genus that appeals to you. I truly believe that people in today�s society are missing out on nuances � on details. Our lives have become so general. So we say we want sage, and then we buy sage � but there are literally 20 different culinary sages and hundreds of varieties of other sages. By paying attention and comparing the differences in flavor, texture, appearance, etc. we can hone our observation skills. Become more fully involved with the world. The brain needs exercise, and I see �noticing the nuances� as a lost skill. We lose enough of these types of skills, and I can see our brains atrophying. I am obsessed with herbs � ever since Swissette Herb Farm (I really loved that place!) closed, I have made it a mission of mine to be the next Swissette for people. Many of my herbs are from Dora Gerber originally. And I can�t help but �collect� wide varities of monarda, oregano, sage, natives, thymes, etc etc. and it is so fulfilling and fun to pursue them!
You may also discover that certain plants appeal to you on a different level. Some people call these spirit friend or totem plants ... I don�t think of these plants as talking to me, so much as I find that my spirit really likes having their spirit around me... My household � the land I live on � wouldn�t feel the same without their presence. Comfrey and Sorrel are important to me for this reason. Until I got my comfrey and sorrel patches established, I felt uncomfortable in a way.
And although it is a small influence, short grass is almost worthless in cleaning our air. Tall, leafy plants have a much bigger influence on our air and on combating pollution.
So that�s my rant this month � be creative with your landscaping. Be yourself. Find a plant you love and grows lots of it. Organically � maybe Biodynamically. Grow six different oreganos. Or plant six fabulous Asian pungent greens and lay a bunch of each out on a platter for summer picnics. Till up part or all of the lawn and make it into something great, artistic, helpful, useful, blessed.
Here are some fabulous books you might consider:
Catnips (Nepeta) and Calamints
Ferns - esp. Japanese Painted
Lily of the Valley
Sweet Woodruff (Galium)
Mountain Mint (Pycanthemum)
Achillea or Yarrows
Monk�s Hood (Aconitum)
juga (Bugle Weed)
Lady�s Mantle (Alchemilla)
Artemisia (worm-wood family - includes tarragon, southern wood, sweet annie)
Asclepias (milk-weeds, butterfly weed, swallowwart)
Hyssop (Anise as well)
Lysimachia � various loosestrifes
Lemon Balm (Melissa)
Oreganos and Marjoram
Stachys (Lamb�s Ear)
To Cook with:
I use Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil the most in cooking. I buy it in glass - there are lots of different ones available. Occasionally, I use butter. I tend to buy Olive oil in bulk to save money, and I store the unused bottles in the fridge. I keep the bottle I am using on the counter at room temperature because the oil can be adversely affected by repeatedly cooling and heating. That is really all I use for cooking except that I use the Spectrum high-heat Sunflower oil if I make popcorn.
I also use Olive Oil often, but I also use Walnut Oil, Flax Seed Oil, and Avocado Oil. I buy these in glass, and I keep them in the fridge. I don't buy them in bulk, because they do get old rather quickly.
I also eat only grassfed meat. And I eat lots of seeds, nuts, fish, and of course the best eggs! I do also take a fish oil supplement for extra DHA and EPA, and I take extra in the winter when my skin gets so dry from the dry indoor heat. I also take a Borage Seed Supplement as well for GLA.
And I avoid processed foods from giant companies with trans-fat at all costs. They truly scare me!
You will feel a huge difference if you drop trans fat and start getting strict with your oil quality. It will take some time though to fully detox from the trans fat and start healing. Skin issues will take the longest to clear up, as skin tends to be the last thing your body worries about. But I promise that the effort will be totally worth it!
This month our focus is on the various types of fats and oils - feel free to download my chart of types of fats:
Here is a new and lovely book on Omega-3s:
Our recipe this month is for Beef or Lamb Stock, which is inspired by our Soups and Broths Workshop and our Conscious Eating Workshop. When you start eating with a true respect for the animal you want to make best use of the various cuts, including the soup bones, which are full of super nutrients. Although I once felt a bit overwhelmed about dealing with the old-fashioned meat cuts, now I look forward to using them - the things you make with these cuts are the real art and soul of cooking - they are multi-layered and truly delectable.
Here is the process I've been using for Beef (or Lamb) Broth - don't do this as a rush - make it a Sunday project, so the whole process is nourishing.
1) Put a small amount of olive oil or butter in a large soup pot. Over medium heat, brown some meaty bones (beef and lamb both make excellent broths). Brown in batches if you have too; bones should be arranged so there's only a single layer and each piece has room around it, otherwise they'll steam and not brown. When one side is browned, turn them over. Really let them brown thoroughly - you want the flavor and the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. When they're all browned, set them aside.
2) Next, add lots (a few cups) of coarsely chopped vegetables [onion, carrots, parsnips, turnips, celery (or celery leaves), parsley (including the stalk, etc. etc.) ] and cook until tender letting them pick up all the fond (bits that form your base of flavor) left behind by the bones and meat in the pot.
3) When the vegetables are softened, add back the meat bones and enough water to cover well, again scraping up the brown bits. You can add spices now too like bay leaves, black pepper, and garlic. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, partially cover, and simmer for several hours. Skim off any foam, and keep an eye on the level of the liquid - you want some reduction, but not too much. Alternately cover and uncover--the idea is that you want it to keep simmering (covered) and to reduce a bit (uncovered), but not down to nothing.
4) After about 3-5 hours, the soup should be reduced about 1-2 inches and the broth should be rich in both color and flavor. Strain, refrigerate, scoop off excess fat.
NOTE - You cannot use non-stick cook ware for these recipes - you won't get browned bits of fond to scrape off or deglaze with!
In light of our starting to plant our allium and parsley seeds this month, I am also posting some good sources for organic seeds. Don't forget to check out our 2009 Variety Listing:
We'll be updating and posting some new poultry info to our Heirloom Poultry page as well in the very near future.If you do not currently subscribe to our newsletter, please consider doing so and sign up above !
Fats and Oils Part 1
This month our focus is on fats and oils - very important part of our dietary needs yet something that many people try to avoid due to myths perpetrated by our greedy diet industry. We also have a side focus on chewing - which may seem silly but actually chewing has a big influence on our metabolism. Brown Rice is a wonderful place to start focusing on chewing. Our recipe this month is for Pickled Butterbeans, another recipe inspired by our Beans Workshop. If you do not currently subscribe to our newsletter, please consider doing so and sign up above !
Here are the books I mention in the newsletter :
Achieving Optimal Weight
This month our focus is on how to achieve optimal weight - a weight you feel comfortable in. I also give a list of things you can add to your life and diet that will help crowd out things that lead to ill health and gaining unwanted weight. We also have a side focus on heartburn. Our recipe this month is for Black Salad with Forbidden Rice and French Lentils. We're also announcing three upcoming workshops at the farm. If you do not currently subscribe to our newsletter, please consider doing so and sign up above !
Here are some great books that will inspire and help you in achieving and maintaining optimal weight:
These are not diet plans, which work for some people and actually are completely wrong for others. These books are holistic in philosophy and basically describe how to achieve optimal health.
And here are some fantastic cookbooks that really are much more than just cook books:
This is the great beginner's DVD for starting T'ai Chi:
Deconstructing Sugar & White Carb Cravings
This month our focus is on handling cravings and reducing white carbs and sugar in our diets. In the newsletter, we focus on ways to make cravings work for us rather than against us, we have a listing of Natural Sweeteners, and we discuss some supplements that can be of use. Our recipe this month is for Baked Root Veggies with Rosemary, and we also have tips for cooking Heritage Turkey, as Thanksgiving is right around the corner (see below)! If you do not currently subscribe to our newsletter, please consider doing so and sign up above !
Heritage Breed Turkey Cooking TipsEveryone probably has an old family recipe for cooking Thanksgiving turkey. But that recipe has been changed to accommodate the factory-pharmed turkeys in supermarkets, which are completely different from the original turkeys prepared by our ancestors. The main difference is that the factory turkeys are unnaturally raised - with such large breasts that they cannot move about normally. They are also usually pumped full of hormones to make them grow faster and antibiotics to combat the sickness that would be brought on by the stressful living conditions. The good news is that there are many local farmers dedicated to raising the old-fashioned real turkeys on pasture in natural and healthy environments. Due to the work and expense of raising turkeys properly, these birds are much more expensive than the supermarket turkeys, which are sometimes thrown at you for free in supermarkets. But they are more than worth the extra expense - after all, the turkey is the focal point of this traditional holiday! To cook a heritage turkey, you don't have to completely change your traditional recipe - just make a few adjustments - ~Heritage turkeys should be cooked in a hot oven - 425 degrees F. Cook until the internal temperature is 150 degrees F. And let the bird rest, upside down if possible, for about 15 minutes before serving. (Heritage turkeys do not have to cook all day as the factory birds do.) ~Don't stuff the bird - the stuffing will take too long to cook, and the meat will end up too dry. Instead, make your family stuffing recipe and bake as a side dish. Put some apples or oranges and extra herbs into the cavity instead of the stuffing for even more flavor. Veritas Farms in New Paltz still has some turkeys available. Mark and I were just up there this weekend to buy some of their pork, and visited the turkey pasture - and we can assure you that the birds are very healthy and happy - and will be delicious! They are Narrangansetts - big, beautiful, brown and silver birds. The pick up will be at Veritas farm in New Paltz on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving from 8 am - 6 pm. Call or email Stephanie to reserve a bird. They are $7.50 a pound and are between 10-20 lbs. They will also have pies, squash, potatoes, and other meats available as well. (Veritas will also be bringing turkeys to a couple drop-off points in NYC. Call Stephanie for details if you're interested!) A great resource for cooking grassfed meat is The Grassfed Gourmet by Shannon Hayes.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is a great resource for info on Heritage Breeds:
Conscious Eating by Gabriel Cousens delves into how food choices affect body mind, emotion, and spiritual life.
And on the same lines, we also have Mindless Eating - a fantastic book that sheds light on to how our mind set affects our metabolism - this book can make a real difference in many people's lives:
Other highly recommended books on escaping from the sugar habit and preventing diabetes include:
Here's the link to Deborah Lain's website:
********************************************************************************And one of the best websites on the web:
Exercise DVD that I am enjoying this November: