December 24, 2012

hot sauce x-mas present

2012.12_hot sauce
Eric smothers most of his food in hot sauce.  Since he loves it so much I decided to make it for him for x-mas.  While I was picking out hot peppers at the store, I couldn't decide if I should make red or green hot sauce.  I indecisively ended up making one of each.  Turned out to be pretty festive...

The internet was not at all clear about the best way to make hot sauce.  You can use any hot pepper you come across and then you can ferment the peppers, half ferment/ half cook the peppers, or just cook the peppers in order to access their juices.  You can also add other ingredients like onions.

Hey readers, do you have a favorite hot sauce recipe or a favorite hot pepper to grow in the garden specifically for its stellar hot sauce flavor? 

3/4 lb. hot peppers, stems removed
  • 3/4 lb. red frezno for my 1st batch
  • 1/2 lb. jalapeño + 1/4 lb. serrano for my 2nd batch
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. white vinegar

Use a food processor to mince up the hot peppers, garlic, and salt.  Put the mixture in a covered glass jar for a week.  Stir every few days.  Transfer to a small saucepan and add the vinegar. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.  Put it through a food processor again.  Strain the liquid into a bottle.

December 17, 2012

blueberry infused vodka

2012.12_blueberry infused vodka
Cheers!  Na zdrowie! За здоровя / Za zdorovja!

This blueberry infused vodka (aka horilka) finished infusing just in time for a whole hearted cheers!  Cheers to what you say?  To our buying a house in Wheat Ridge, CO!!  Here we come perennial edibles, bees, chickens, home energy improvements and more!!!!!

3 cups blueberries (we happened to have frozen around)
750 mL vodka

Soak blueberries in vodka for 3 - 6 weeks in a large glass jar.  Shake things up every once in awhile.  Strain the infused vodka into a fancy bottle.  Serve.  Also maybe figure out what to do with your leftover vodka blueberries.  Probably don't put them into pie as the solo fruit.  Too much alcohol!

November 25, 2012

savory french toast

2012.11_savory rosemary tomato french toast
Inspired by the idea of savory waffles,  I made savory french toast. Slices of rosemary bread were dipped in egg and fried, then topped with some of our last counter-ripened tomatoes and baked. This turned out really well. I would definitely make savory french toast again.

November 10, 2012

calendula salve

2012.11_calendula salve
I'm not sure how effective this healing salve will be since Eric made it from an oil that I infused with a friend about a year ago, but hey better late than never?  The salve is made of beeswax, olive oil, calendula (from the garden), chamomile, comfrey, lavender, and plantain. Next time we will slip in some vitamin E. 

November 7, 2012

bloody mary pizza

2012.11_bloody mary pizza
Bloody mary pizza, why not? (includes vodka, Worcestershire sauce, celery seed, pickled okra, dilly beans, and smoked mozzarella)

November 1, 2012

savory pumpkin cheddar bread

2012.11_savory pumpkin cheddar bread
I made a pumpkin-less version of this quick bread earlier in the year, but life is all things pumpkin these days so I had to squeeze in pumpkin this time.  I also used leeks in place of most of the chives called for in the original recipe because our chives are looking a little droopy after last week's snow storm (the second of the season! but as usual it has already melted).

1 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. red pepper
- - -
3 eggs
1 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. olive oil
- - -
4 oz. grated cheddar
2 oz. cubed cheddar
1/2 c. leek, thinly sliced
2 T. chives, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix together the dry stuff.  Mix together the wet stuff.  Mix the dry and wet together.  Fold in the cheddar, leeks, chives, and garlic.  Pour into a greased 5x9 loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes.

October 22, 2012

crispy kale and coconut

2012.10_crispy kale and coconut
Needing new inspiration for ways to eat kale, I searched and found a recipe for crispy kale and coconut. It seems the recipe originally appeared in the Super Natural Every Day book. This recipe is great because it is a bit like kale chips in that the kale takes on a satisfying, crispy texture, yet it isn't so important that every piece gets crispy. Plus, you can eat it with a spoon!

October 21, 2012

group jam session

2012.10_group jam session (4)
A friend organized a jam-making and canning session to process two big boxes of fruit: one of plums and one of pears. It took a long time, but together we canned 48 pints worth of plum jam, pear jam, and pear slices in vanilla brandy syrup.

I was particularly excited about the plum jam because we were able to rely on the naturally occurring pectin to get it to gel. Especially because of my past failure trying to do this with crabapples, which I simply didn't boil long enough and added too much sugar. But now I know the trick of using frozen spoons and plates to check if it will gel. We added some no-sugar pectin to the pear jam just because it was taking a long time.

Pitting plums, peeling pears. We didn't peel the plums, which saved a lot of work. While stewing, we blended them with an immersion blender, which turned the jam a wonderful dark purple color.
2012.10_group jam session (1)

We had a lot of simultaneous stove action:
2012.10_group jam session (2)

Dueling pressure canners (in water bath mode)–what a beautiful sight!
2012.10_group jam session (3)

October 20, 2012

acorn squash macaroni

2012.10_acorn squash macaroni
Noodles smothered in a puree of roasted acorn squash, roasted hatch green chilies, and caramelized whiskey maple onions.  Topped with chevre and garlic butter bread crumbs and baked to flavor infusing perfection!

October 10, 2012

pumpkin oat breakfast bars

2012.10_pumpkin oat breakfast bars
What's the deal with chia seeds, people?  Boulder seems pretty hot about them these days so I'm guessing that they must be some kind of "super food."

I just looked it up and chia seeds, like flax seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids.  As a vegetarian, you should pay some attention to making sure you get your omega-3. For all you meat eaters out there, I've heard food science mumbo jumbo about balancing omega-3 out with omega-6 because grain fed meat has thrown off our natural balance.

Warning, these are fairly healthy tasting.  Also, this was my first attempt at these so let me know if you come up with any good revisions.  I modified this recipe quite a bit to include pumpkin.

2 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c. oat flour (aka blended rolled oats)
1/2 c. ground flax seeds
1/4 c. chia seeds
1 1/2 t. baking powder 
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
dash nutmeg
dash allspice
- - -
1 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. cooked, pealed, blended pumpkin (or any other winter squash)
1/2 c. soy milk
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. peanut butter
1 T. vanilla extract
- - -
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients.  Mix wet and dry together.  Fold in dried fruit and nuts. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges turn golden.

October 9, 2012

vegan "pork" green chili

2012.10_vegan "pork" green chili
It snowed and frosted this past weekend. Right before the cold front swept through, we pulled a bunch of garden plants and harvested what we could. We got about 5 pounds of ripe tomatillos and another 3 pounds of unripe tomatillos. I'm not sure what to do with the unripe ones yet, but I made green chili with the ripe ones (and also gave away a bunch).

I based my vegan mock "pork" green chili recipe off this meaty recipe. In place of the pork, I used canned green jack fruit from the Asian grocery store.  It's a great filler for BBQ pulled "pork" sandwiches or tacos so I figured it would be good for this application.

This chili makes for a satisfying, hearty stew, but since we have a lot of produce to eat, I stowed away half in the freezer for future burrito smothering.  :)

2 - 20 oz. cans green jack fruit, drained
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 large yellow onions, diced
1 head garlic, minced
1 T. cumin
1 T. salt
1 t. black pepper
olive oil
4 c. veggie broth
3 lbs. tomatillos, husked, blended
1/2 bunch cilantro, blended
1/2 c. sugar
10 anaheim peppers, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, minced 
2 T. Vietnamese chili garlic sauce
2 T. mushroom soy sauce
1 T. molasses
dash liquid smoke

Sauté the jack fruit, mushrooms, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, and black pepper in olive oil until the onions are translucent.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the jack fruit chunks break apart.

Notes to self: next time I make this, I will try using roasted, pealed peppers.  The skins were a little distracting and I am wondering if they made things taste bitter.  I did use some less ripe tomatillos that could have contributed to the bitter effect as well...  I would also have made things hotter with jalapeños instead of the afterthought of Vietnamese chili garlic sauce.

October 8, 2012

Mushroom Cultivation Class

2012.10_mushroom cultivation workshop
This weekend I attended a Mushroom Cultivation Class, led by Jared Urchek of MycoSophia. Jared, who trained with Paul Stamets, is a knowledgeable and passionate teacher, which made it a great class.

We learned how to inoculated straw for growing in bags indoors, as well as how to inoculate logs with plugs and wood chip beds for outdoor mushroom cultivation.

It was hands-on so we got to try doing it all:

2012.10_mushroom cultivation workshop_straw
Spreading mycelium mass into pasteurized straw.

2012.10_mushroom cultivation workshop_logs
Hammering inoculated plugs into logs.

I took home a kit with straw inoculated with oyster mushroom spawn. Jared sells kits and spawn for many varieties of mushrooms--I look forward to trying some of the others in the future!

October 1, 2012

tomatillo salsa

2012.09_tomatillo salsa
This is our first year growing tomatillos and they are doing really well. We didn't think to put them in tomato cages to get them to grow upright so they've been slowly sprawling and taking over our garden, but I'm not going to complain because I get to eat tons of this fresh tomatillo salsa.

jalapeño pepper
lime juice
+apple (optional)

September 30, 2012

poblano polenta

2012.09_poblano polenta
Everyone likes to talk about soup as we transition into fall.  I, however, want to talk about the unglamorous yet satisfying alternate known as gruel.  Gruel is a great word, no?

Honestly though, this gruel is a creamy polenta made of cornmeal and amaranth.  I added late summer harvest to it like poblano pepper, tomato, onion, garlic, and cilantro.  I also added cream cheese that was leftover from a work event.  The cream cheese sort of makes the whole thing taste like jalapeño poppers... 

4 c. water
3/4 c. coarse corn meal
1/4 c. amaranth grain
olive oil
black pepper
cayenne pepper
cooked veggies
cheese or sour cream (optional)

Boil water.  Add corn meal, amaranth grain, salt, and oil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes stirring regularly.  When the polenta is soft enough to eat, add the remaining ingredients and eat up!

September 17, 2012

ghost pepper hot sauce seitan wings

2012.09_seitan wings
I finally understand the beauty of "buffalo wing sauce."

Like many, I enjoy the flavor and heat of hot sauce, but at some point, the capsaicin becomes unbearable. Enter the other half of wing sauce: fat! Capsaicin is fat-soluble so the butter or margarine in wing sauce lets you consume more of it than you would be able to otherwise!

I made seitan wings and covered half of them in chipotle peach bbq sauce, and the other half in this ghost pepper wing sauce. To make the wing sauce, I mixed equal parts melted margarine with some ghost pepper hot sauce that Julie made with a gifted ghost pepper, vinegar, water, and garlic. A little bit (start with a teaspoon or less) of xantham gum goes a long way to help make the wing sauce thicker.

2012.09_ghost pepper hot sauce
Photographing a bottle of hot sauce can be frustrating, so I turned it on its side...much better.

September 13, 2012

tis the season for pumpkin beer!

2012.09_upslope pumpkin ale
Thanks to the craft brewing movement, there are many great pumpkin beers out on the shelves this season.  This Upslope Pumpkin Ale was the 2011 winner in the "field" category at the Great American Beer Festival and it's brewed right here in Boulder!

September 12, 2012

homemade kvass

Well, I made some kvass. As you can see, it turned out a lot lighter in color than the kvass in Ukraine. Those are raisins floating in it, in case you were wondering (I was, since I had forgotten about adding the raisins). I followed this recipe. Here's the dark rye bread I made to flavor the kvass:
2012.09_kvass rye bread
Since I wanted carbonation, I followed the recipe variation that says "CAUTION: ONLY DO THIS IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING."

Now, I know what I'm doing, but after making kvass (and root beer and ginger beer previously), I can only conclude that making naturally carbonated sodas at home is scary and imprecise, especially if you're using glass bottles. The problem is: you want the soda to be sweet when done fermenting, so you add much more sugar than is needed for carbonation and plan to stop fermentation by putting the bottles in the fridge once there's enough carbonation. But fermentation times vary so much, it is hard to know when to fridge the bottles. If using a plastic bottle you can feel the pressure, but with our glass flip-tops, you can only know by opening them, thereby releasing the pressure. I fridged them after two days, but they had already fermented a lot and had to be opened carefully (I got sprayed in the face by the first one). At least there were no explosions... Some of the bottles required five whole minutes of bleeding pressure out before they could be safely opened!

Anyway, my strategy next time is to only add enough priming sugar to get the desired level of carbonation, and sweeten with an unfermentable sugar like xylitol or lactose. This is the strategy of cider-makers who want sweet cider without adding anything to kill the yeast, and beer-makers who add lactose (or originally whey) to make sweet milk stouts.

As for the flavor of the kvass, it wasn't as nice as I would have hoped. I might add molasses to the final product to give it a nice dark flavor. I did invent a kvass mixed drink: 1 glass of kvass + 1 shot of coffee liquer = caffass!

September 11, 2012

chilled ginger canteloupe soup

2012.09_chilled ginger canteloupe soup
I felt like I was making a smoothie when making this, but pouring it into a soup bowl somehow makes it different–gives you permission to eat it more slowly and savor it.

I would definitely make this again. It's a great way to use a canteloupe. The recipe is simple, just blend canteloupe with lemon juice, ginger, and a dash of salt. I garnished with some lemon cucumber and olive oil. I went heavy on the ginger and it was great.

September 10, 2012

bite-size caprese kabobs

2012.09_caprese kabobs My mom made these recently and I just had to recreate them myself. They are such a great way to enjoy the mini tomatoes and basil that are so plentiful this time of year. They are easy enough to make. Put the following on a toothpick:

sautéed veggie sausage
basil leaf
mini mozzarella ball
mini tomato half

and drizzle a mixture of balsamic vinegar and agave nectar over them. Putting them on the toothpick ensures you get an equally distributed bite of delicious ingredients.

September 9, 2012

how to make polish zapiekanke

We posted about enjoying the "zapiekanke" pizza bread we had in Krakow. It is basically pizza bread, but with sauteed mushroom paste instead of tomato sauce, topped with melted cheese and squirts of ketchup or other sauce (like hot sauce!). To make the mushroom paste, I picked up a pound of white mushrooms from the farmers market, chopped them finely in a food processor and sauteed with margerine, salt, and pepper. I froze a thin sheet of this in a freezer bag so I'll have some for later.

September 2, 2012

watermelon lime float

2012.09_watermelon lime float ingredients
I spent a leisurely afternoon at my neighborhood public library.  Among other things, I perused food magazines and spotted this watermelon float recipe in Bon Appetit.  Yum!!  It's a good thing I have plenty of watermelon at the moment!

The basic idea is to make watermelon juice by cutting up half a watermelon, removing the seeds, blending the remaining watermelon chunks, and straining out the pulp.  Then with your fresh watermelon juice, you add simple syrup, fresh lime juice, a pinch of salt, seltzer water, and lime ice cream.  Bon Appetit suggests flavoring Greek frozen yogurt with lime yourself, but since my grocery store already had key lime graham gelato on sale, I skipped that step.
 2012.09_watermelon lime float

jalapeno cream cheese

2012.09_jalapeno cream cheese
plain cream cheese + jalapenos + garlic powder + salt

September 1, 2012

linguine with eggplant tomato sauce

2012.09_linguine with eggplant tomato sauce
Pasta is such a satisfying comfort food! It is an extra special treat to be able to make the pasta sauce from scratch with local, seasonal produce.  What what?  Thank you Isabelle for the roma tomatoes, eggplant, leeks, and basil!

August 25, 2012

chardonnay and smoked paprika peach preserves

2012.08_chardonnay and smoked paprika peach preserves
With the remainder of the box of peaches, I made this chardonnay and smoked paprika peach preserve.  I was yet again inspired by inventive flavor combos mentioned on Local Kitchen.  Kaela didn't post a recipe so I made my best guess at ingredient ratios and I have to say that the final result turned out well!

And to make a good situation even better, Eric made crumpets!

3 lbs. seconds peaches (4 c. peach puree)
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. chardonnay
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/2 c. low sugar pectin

Yield: 3 pints

Lightly slice an X on the bottoms of the peaches.  Boil for 1-4 minutes or until the peaches bob to the top.  Remove the boiling peaches with a slotted spoon and dunk them in ice water.  Pull off the loosened skin.  Cut off any icky scrapes or bruises.  Don't be stingy! Spoiled bits could ruin the shelf life of the whole batch. Chop up the remaining good stuff and remove the pits.  Throw the processed peaches into a sauce pot with brown sugar, chardonnay, and smoked paprika.  Simmer over medium heat. Puree or mash to desired consistency.  Add pectin and follow the instructions on the pectin container.  Refrigerate or can.

August 20, 2012

chipotle peach bbq sauce

2012.08_chipotle peach bbq sauce
It's time for seconds peaches!!! You know... the peaches that are discounted because they are a slightly less pretty than all the other peaches? We were especially lucky this year to receive a whole box of seconds peaches for free from a friend with a connection in Palisade, Colorado. (thanks friend!)

So what did we do with a whole box of peaches? First we gorged ourselves.  Then I set a handful aside for peach crumble to be made later this week.  Then I weighed, sliced, and froze peaches putting 2.5 lbs of peaches per freezer bag because supposedly that should fill a pie.  Then I made chardonnay peach preserves (more on that soon) and this chipotle peach bbq sauce.

I based my recipe on local kitchen's peach cascabel bbq sauce.  There are many things I will do with this bbq sauce. First, I had to put it on a bbq tofu sandwich: tofu baked in olive oil, balsamic, tamari, and maple syrup, topped with micro greens and fresh garden tomatoes all on a seeded baguette smeared with chipotle peach bbq sauce.  Next up, pizza with pulled jackfruit!

3 lbs. seconds peaches (4 c. peach puree)
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
3 dried chipotle peppers
1 dried thai chile pepper
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/2 c. honey
2 T. black strap molasses
1 t. garlic powder
1 1/2 t. vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 t. salt

Yield: 3 pints

Lightly slice an X on the bottoms of the peaches.  Boil for 1-4 minutes or until the peaches bob to the top.  Remove the boiling peaches with a slotted spoon and dunk them in ice water.  Pull off the loosened skin.  Cut off any icky scrapes or bruises.  Don't be stingy! Spoiled bits could ruin the shelf life of the whole batch. Chop up the remaining good stuff and remove the pits.  Throw the processed peaches into a sauce pot over medium heat with the apple cider vinegar.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.  Puree and refrigerate.  Or if you like, you can can it in a boiling water bath.

August 18, 2012

tofu misozuke

2012.08_tofu misozuke
I encountered tofu misozuke (miso-cured tofu) at a farmers' market stand in California and was kind of blown away. It is tofu that has been transformed into a creamy cheesy spread simply by coating it with a mixture of miso, sugar, and sake. I knew I had to try making it. Here is the recipe from Rau Om (you can try/buy Rau Om's tofu-misozuke at several markets in the bay area and Oklahoma, or buy it from their online store).

Our first attempt at making tofu misozuke was semi-successful.We changed the moisture-absorbing paper towels every 1–2 weeks. After only 4 or 5 weeks (as opposed to the 2 months recommended by Rau Om), the tofu was cured all the way through. Maybe it went quickly because of the fridge temperature or altitude... Unfortunately, there were some mold spots growing on the outside of the cheesecloth/marinade, and one of our two blocks had to be composted because it was too moldy. The other one was delicious though. For our next attempt, we will check the paper towels more often and check the doneness after 3 or 4 weeks. And maybe we will try some variations that include red pepper flakes, nori, or tea.

August 7, 2012

purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean

2012.08_hyssop wine
Years ago a friend's mom brought some hyssop-infused wine to a gathering. I was intrigued, but forgot about it until we were gifted a perennial hyssop plant. What do you do with hyssop? The Internet warned of it's strong flavor and said that the French and Romans put it in wine–so that's what we did. It is pretty and adds a bit of refreshment to the wine, but mostly it is pretty. It also makes a nice tea.

August 5, 2012

inspirational pickles

2012.08_pickle inspiration
A friend introduced me to some amazing gourmet pickles: Hop-Pickle by Brooklyn Brine and Smokra by Rick's Picks.  Both had a kick to them and a twist of sophistication.  Honestly, I was going to take a year off from canning, but these pickles were sooooo good that I had to attempt making them.  I will certainly share the recipes if my versions are even half as good as the professionals'.

The Hop-Pickle has cucumber chunks stewed in Dogfish Head's 60 Minute IPA, apple cider vinegar, water, habanero, caramelized onion (onion, maple syrup, bourbon, etc), garlic, dill, spices, and smoked paprika.  For my own version of these pickles, I substituted the Dogfish head with Upslope's IPA, a beer from Boulder.

The Smokra has okra stewed in apple cider vinegar, water, garlic, salt, smoked paprika, curry powder, mustard seed, chili flakes, dried chili peppers, cayenne pepper. 

And because I was already canning and I had a pile of green beans, I made dilly beans as well.  Never know when you'll need to make a bloody mary!

July 29, 2012

cold garlicky potato soup

2012.07_cold garlicky potato soup
We had a lot of great soups in Poland and Ukraine, from spinach soup (with poached egg) to cold borscht (with hard boiled egg) to hot borscht (with smoked prunes). I've been inspired to make more soup, starting with this nice cold summer soup.

Potato, baked or boiled
Almond milk (or whatever milk)
Garlic cloves, to taste
Onion flower (or onion)
Lemon juice

Blend everything and top with hot croutons made with thyme, salt, garlic powder, and olive oil.

July 28, 2012

Now is the time for: bean salad

2012.07_bean salad
Our green beans have started to come in, despite the fact that our bean plants are remarkably short (~1 ft tall). Sooo, it is time to make bean salad. Goes well with tacos.

Green beans, blanched
Dry beans (ours were white and black mixed, from market)
Carrots, shredded
A dressing of your choice. Here's mine.

July 27, 2012

first tasting: sleepytime wit

2012.07_sleepytime wit
We cracked open the first bottle of our Sleepytime Wit, a witbier featuring lots of chamomile and honey. Coincidentally, we had just harvested a bunch of chamomile that is now drying on the table. While it does not look or taste like a witbier to me, it is tasty. You can taste the honey and there's a subtle scent of chamomile.

July 26, 2012

what's the deal radicchio?

2012.07_raddichio question mark
We planted radicchio in our garden, but these do not look like the radicchio on the seed packet–no purple core has formed. These do taste bitter like radicchio. Perhaps they are a variety of chicory or endive. What's the deal?

July 25, 2012

white pizza with sage

2012.07_white pizza with sage
Our garden is busting with sage! What does one do with so much sage?? I do not know. It seems you either have to try to ignore it or try to give it away to everyone you know. Anybody want some sage?

To make a minor dent in our growing collection of sage, I made this white pizza with sage from Deborah Madison's "Local Flavors".  Basically make your favorite pizza dough.  Roll it out, top it with olive oil and slices of fresh mozzarella, and bake for 7 minutes at 500° F.  Then add sage and bake for 8 more minutes.  Remove the pizza from the oven and top it with parmigiano reggiano, red pepper flakes, and sea salt.

I've made this pizza in the past with dried sage leaves and the flavor was much more intense and tasty than with fresh sage.  To improve the flavor of a fresh sage pizza, I would toss in fresh garlic next time.

July 24, 2012

taming the wild

2012.07_garden things
It's always nice to see the garden after being away. Our little patch of 100 square feet really exploded. We harvested chamomile, tomatillos, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, onion flowers, green beans, arugula, basil, sage, thyme, lemon balm, chocolate mint, and dill seed–all in the same day. I love all the variety we are growing this year!

Note to fellow arugula farmers: While our arugula keeps bolting, we keep chopping it down to the base and eating the leaves. No problem. Maybe next time I'll try pickling the seed pods like capers.

2012.07_taming the wild

beetroot smoothie

Have a ton of beets? Try a beetroot smoothie.
2012.07_beetroot smoothie

Beets (boiled and peeled) blended with ice cream, apple juice, a touch of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Serve with kale chips in the heat of summer.

July 23, 2012

curried peas and carrots with a biscuit smothered in peppery vegan gravy

2012.07_vegan black pepper gravy
Pea season is over! I hope you had a plentiful pea harvest to shell and freeze! If not this year, maybe next year. I for one missed that boat...  We managed to keep pace eating what grew in our garden and what came from our CSA share.

I made this meal about a month ago when all I had in the fridge was peas and carrots.   I instantly thought of the all-too-common steamed peas and carrots preparation.  I nearly gave up.  In the end though I persevered.  I braised the peas and carrots and flavored them with a touch of curry.  On the side I made my usual biscuits recipe and Eric made this totally awesome black peppery vegan gravy (based on Julie Hasson's recipe).

2 c. plain soymilk
1/4 c. flour
3 T. nutritional yeast
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1 T. margarine

Whisk together everything but the margarine.  Bring to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat while continuously whisking.  Reduce heat, add margarine, and continue to thicken until desired consistency,

July 22, 2012


Another thing I enjoyed having in Ukraine was kvass, a non/low alcoholic fermented drink made from stale rye bread. To me it tasted a bit like dark beer, but a little sweeter, and with a pleasant sour bread smell. Naturally, I want to try making some at home. It seems like implementations of it can vary widely, with some recipes simply including water, bread, yeast, and sugar, while others are more like soda and include "molasses, coffee powder, chicory root extract, St. John’s bread extract, prune juice, carbonated water and the usual sweeteners and preservatives." We'll see how a homebrew version compares to that served by restaurants and street vendors in Ukraine.

вегетаріанська їжа в Україні

Yes, that means "vegetarian food in Ukraine." Although not as easy as in Poland, it is possible to find good vegetarian food in Ukraine. (Note: I have nothing against traditional ways of raising and eating meat; my vegetarianism is primarily in the context of the U.S. meat industry).

Here's a recap of some of the interesting food and drinks we had in Ukraine (mainly Lviv). Hopefully we'll be making some of these at home in the coming months!

@ Kumpel in Lviv
Banosh (Банош) is a creamy cornmeal porridge from western Ukraine. A reputable source informed us that Kumpel has the best banosh in Lviv.

More after the jump...

July 17, 2012

wegetarianski in krakow, poland

We've mostly eaten and leisurely wandered our way through this vacation.  In Krakow my favorite places to eat were Cafe Młynek, Glonojad, Momo, and Massolit.  Massolit is bookstore with a small cafe menu that includes garlic bagels, quiche, and espresso.  Perfect for breakfast.  Momo offers delicious vegetarian food that tends towards Indian rather than Polish, but honestly, that can be a welcome change of pace.  Cafe Młynek and Glonojad have thoughtfully diverse menus that include interesting vegetarian Polish dishes some of which you can see below. 

2012.07_Cafe Mlynek in Krakow_bigos
@ Cafe Młynek in Krakow
sauerkraut and mushroom bigos (hunter's stew)

 2012.07_Cafe Mlynek in Krakow_pierogi
@ Cafe Młynek in Krakow
cranberry filled pierogi

2012.07_Glonogad in Krakow_fried cheese, spinach crepe, salads
@ Glonojad in Krakow
spinach nalesniki (crepe), fried smoked cheese with buckwheat groats, a sampler of salads including green bean, carrot, beet, and maybe kohlrabe, and lentil filled pierogi (not shown in this picture)

2012.07_Glonojad in Krakow_potato pancakes with Hungarian ragout
@ Glonojad in Krakow
potato pancake with Hungarian ragout