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Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits

14 Jan
by Deanne

All the reading I did about Food Trends for 2014 got me hungry for biscuits.  So I followed Steve around the kitchen last night as he put together a batch of whole wheat honey biscuits.  He doesn’t follow recipes so I have to have a pen in hand if I want to re-create it later.Photo of biscuits

Lightly crisp on the outside and warm and steamy on the inside, was the experience I enjoyed when I sampled them.  Oh yes, they have a hint of sweetness from the honey.  The were even slightly FarmerChef-y. The honey was purchased last summer at the farmers market.  If you get a chance, do buy local wheat flour from a local farmer as we have done in the past.

Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits

(makes 9 biscuits)Photo of teapot and biscuit

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 stick butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and use pastry cutter to mix in the small pieces of cold butter.  Combine until the mixture looks like gravel. Then add honey and milk and combine into a ball in the center of the bowl.  If needed add a little more flour to hold everything together. Place on a floured surface and shape into a square.  Use pastry cutter to cut into 9 or 12 biscuits depending on how big you’d like them to be. Put biscuits on a baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Snuggle up with a cup of tea and good book and enjoy!

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No Food in the House Soup

21 Dec
by Deanne

Have you ever come home from work and looked in the fridge to discover that there is no food in the house?  When I found myself in this situation, I challenged myself to respond like the chefs on CHOPPED.  Those inventive chefs compete against each other to come up with a meal based on oddball items in a market basket.

Potatoes, celery, onions, frozen green pepper, turnips (already boiled a week ago) and vegetable stock were the collection of ingredients I found in my “market basket.”

A cooking strategy I picked up from Luke and Steve is to start chopping and sweating onions and celery.  This buys me a bit of time time while the creative juices start flowing.  Eventually I put together a pretty decent tasting soup.  It must have been good because this is the only picture I was able to capture.

Photo of empty bowl

No Food in the House Soup

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup green peppers

4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

2-3 turnips, boiled

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth

1/2 cup water

1.  Heat olive oil in a heavy pot.  Add onions, celery, and green peppers and sweat until soft.

2.  Place already cooked turnips and up to  1/2 cup water in a blender,

3.  Add celery, onions, turnips and green peppers and blend until smooth and creamy.

4.  Boil potatoes in another pan.

5.  Heat vegetable broth and mixture from the blender.  Add potatoes when cooked and mash slightly. 

6.  Heat and season soup with black pepper and rosemary.  Serve immediately or save for another meal.

Celery Root and Apple Bisque

9 Dec
by Deanne

Photo of Celery Root and Apple SoupPhoto of Plant Powered Diet BookHere is a recipe I found in The Plant-Powered Diet by Sharon Palmer, RD.  This is the book that I mentioned in the  Phytos First post. When I looked in the CSA box, and saw celery root, I remembered this soup Francine made back when she taught me about celeriac for the first time.  Then I saw the apples in the box and decided to try a recipe from the new book I purchased.  According to Ms. Palmer, the phytochemicals in celery root have been linked to brain protection.

Celery Root and Apple Bisque

(makes about 7 cups)

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup, sliced, well rinsed leeks

1 medium potato, peeled and diced

3 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 small apple, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth

1 and 1/2 cup water

1/2 cup unsweetened plain plant-based milk  (I used almond milk)

Heat olive oil in a heavy pot.  Add leeks, potato, celery root, celery stalk, apple, thyme, and black pepper and saute for 10 minutes.

Add broth and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for an additional 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.  Add the milk and process until blended and serve immediately.

Mixed Up Kimchi

20 Nov
by Deanne

Now that we are not running a restaurant and not living near our garden, we signed up for four weeks of a late season community supported agriculture (CSA) membership.  photo of CSA box

It is a great way to challenge our cooking and preparation skills. Steve wanted to see if he could get creative with the ingredients from our CSA box and make kimchi. Instead of using napa cabbage, this version has turnips cut into matchsticks, kohlrabi shredded, a head of regular cabbage course chopped. Our recipe is “mixed up” because we used more than just cabbage. 

Our family first learned about kimchi when Francine was in college and became friends with several people from South Korea. If you haven’t tried kimchi before it is is a traditional Korean dish of fermented chilli peppers with cabbage. The dish is as large of a part of Korean culture as cheese is to the culture which we were raised.  While it is mostly served as a side dish, it can also be used as a basis for other meals such as fried rice, broths and stews.

I didn’t think I was a fan of Kimchi. I have tried to experience the appeal in the past but didn’t think I had acquired a taste for the dish. This batch convinced me otherwise.  I love the ginger that lingers and I appreciate that it is not quite as hot as other versions I have sampled. The very day Steve  made it, I saw a blogger (Teacup Chronicles) who used kimchi  to make tacos.  For the last week I have been eating just a bit for breakfast or lunch as an easy was to add more veggies when ever possible.

Photo of Kimchi

Mixed Up Kimchi

(makes about 3 quarts)

1 head regular cabbage

1 kohlrabi

8 turnips

1/2 cup salt

4 quarts water

1 lb scallions

Kimchi Sauce

5 inches of ginger

6 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/4 cup red Korean chili paste

1/2 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sweet rice flour

1/2 cup water

Find a container to dissolve the 1/2 cup salt in 4 quarts of water.  After chopping the cabbage, kohlrabi, and turnips, toss and let soak in the water/salt mixture for an hour or two. It goes against our intuition but this process actually takes the extra water out of the veggies. Save the scallions until you combine everything at the end of the process.

Photo of Kimchi Tacos

To make the sauce you will begin by heating rice vinegar, sweet glutinous rice flour or (1/2 cup cooked rice liquified in a blender) and 1/2 cup water.  Heat until the sauce is thickened and then add ginger, garlic, Korean paste, fish sauce and sugar.  Combine all and set aside while you finish preparing the greens (cabbage, kohlrabi, and turnips).

Drain, rinse and dry the greens in a salad spinner. Add sauce and one bunch of scallions diced, mix together and put in container that allows you to press the mixture down and leave on counter for a couple days till it bubbles nicely and then place in fridge

We added a little pork and some salad greens on two white corn tortillas to make kimchi tacos. Here is the blog post that inspired us but we topped ours with sesame seeds and added sesame oil, rice vinegar, and lime to the salad greens.

Let us know if you like kimchi or if you are willing to try it.  Keep in mind, it could take awhile to get used to it.  Once you do, you will crave its fermented goodness.

What Shall I Fix for Dinner? Phytos First!

14 Nov
by Deanne

Photo of Greens on the Grill

Phytos First is my new mantra.   Phytos is short for phytochemicals.  Here is an explanation from the American Cancer Society:

Phytochemicals are a wide variety of compounds made by plants, that may affect human health. They are found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains. Scientists have identified thousands of phytochemicals, although only a small fraction have been studied closely. Some of the better-known phytochemicals include beta carotene and other carotenoids, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), folic acid, and vitamin E.

The mantra, Phytos First, came to me after reading countless stories of people who were cured or nearly cured from medical conditions by changing the focus of their diet.  Just one of many examples is the story of Dr. Terry Wahls, an Iowa City based doctor and patient diagnosed with with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in 2000.  By 2003 she had used chemotherapy in an attempt to slow the disease and began using a tilt-recline wheelchair because of weakness of her back muscles.   The story of her recovery is shared on a TedX talk

My brain has been trained to think about proteins first, usually in the form of meats. Now, I’d like to remind myself that proteins can come from plants too and filling my meals with plants first is something I choose to do. If you adhere to a Paleo diet, you still need to think about what fruits and veggies to add to your day, which is probably a little harder than to think about if one has been on a mostly processed food regime of eating.

A few weeks ago I picked up a book called The Plant-Powered Diet by Sharon Palmer, RD. When I heard the author speak at  the Women Food and Ag Network conference, I was excited.  Knowing how hard it is to change our diet, I looked through the book and saw recipes, and lots of charts that would be helpful in learning about the plants that might show up in my CSA box or plants that we might decide to plant in our garden.

Will you join me as I learn how to move from asking myself, what shall I fix for dinner, to asking, how can I add my phytochemicals first?  Now days, I strive to stand at the fridge full of chopped greens, cut cabbage, and a bin full of apples and I can easily put together a soup or a salad.  In the past, if I was hungry while I was cooking, I would eat crackers and cheese.  Now, I will cut an apple and spread on a little nut butter to munch on while cooking.

If you are a blogger who also wants to fill our day with Phytos First please use this hashtag to promote your posts that have veggie recipes or tips for preparing plants based foods fast:  #PhytosFirst   I will re-tweet them.

Top photo creditAmanda Petersen Photography

Boo: Scary White Bread

31 Oct
by Deanne

Boo!Phot of scary white bread sandwich

I made this blurry ghost of sandwich out of sourdough bread from our new local baker to wish you a Happy Halloween.  I also wanted to tell you about resistant starch.  That is starch that acts more like fiber when metabolized.

You have probably heard that eating white bread is not a good idea because it spikes our blood sugar level worse than if we were eating Halloween candy. If a person is diabetic or pre-diabetic this is a true concern. 

Well it turns out that there has been research that tells us that sourdough bread does not raise a person’s glucose levels as much as breads made without the benefit of sourdough. However, extracted enzymes digest both types of bread equally as fast.

Bottom line: Sourdough is a traditional method that has been used since we first started to make bread.  There is more to metabolism than what begin to know. Scientists do find shortcuts to producing food but in the end, it causes trouble for us because they don’t understand the synergy of our complex metabolic process.

Check out the scientific study on resistant starches here.

Or here, If you’d like to read or listen to something less scientific.

 

Another Way to Be Pink: Watermelon Radish Salad

29 Oct

By Deanne

When I was shopping at the farmers market on Saturday there were a lot of people running around with pink clothing and wigs.  Being a bit clueless, I finally realized that there must have been an event to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research.    

Photo of watermelon radish cut into matchsticks or ribbons

Have you heard the term pinkwashing? 

It is an ad and marketing campaign where a company or organization claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.

One way to deal with pinkwashing is to learn more about the product you buy. 

In contrast to just mindlessly buying consumer packaged goods wrapped in pink ribbons, consider this Chinese proverb:

“Eating pungent radish and drinking hot tea, let the starved doctors beg on their knees.”

Digging a bit deeper, one learns that radishes are full of phytochemicals like zeaxanthin, lutein and beta-carotene. The lovely pink watermelon radish is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

There seems to be a pattern unfolding on this real food journey:  nutrient-rich, plant based foods can have a large positive impact on our health.  If you agree, join me in developing a FarmerChef lifestyle by shopping and cooking mostly local and real foods. You might even consider planting a raised-bed garden.  It may seem overwhelming at first, but we can make it fun and make a difference to our health.

Francine introduced me to this pink beauty when she returned from China.  I picked one up at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market and decided to make this recipe.  A slight variation to Francine’s recipe which is also very good. The three spices:  cinnamon, turmeric, and cloves are added because of their health benefits and flavor. Photo of watermelon radish Photo of watermelon radish salad

Watermelon Radish Salad

  • 1 large watermelon radish, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1 small white onion, also sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (fresh ground)
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Use a peeler to remove the outside of the radish.  Slice radish and then cut slices into lovely pink ribbons. 

Slice onion and place in large mixing bowl.

In a smaller bowl mix the juice, oil, sea salt, pepper, rice wine vinegar, cinnamon, cloves, and turmeric and make a simple dressing to pour over the radish and onions.

Do you think it would be cool to pass out these radishes at the next #bepink event?  Imagine the conversations and education about the value of real food.