*photos by Lori Eanes
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
You can only imagine what's been going on late nights around here. After the kidos are in bed its time to make cheddar-cheddar and more cheddar. We have finally been breaking open some of the first hard cheese we made after Ginger calved back in May when we were inundated with milk. The cheese is sharp and creamy, each one tasting totally different. One or two tasting not-so-edible but several that have been devoured with soup and crackers or warm bread. Making hard cheese definitely has a learning curve and since I have a shorter attention span, hubby seems to be the cheese scientist in our kitchen. It is super fun to have different interests within the same overall genre of homesteading/farming. We can enjoy and benefit from each others hobbies without having to do everything ourselves. There has been talk of creating a cheese cave for properly aging all this hard cheese. But for now it is stored at the bottom of the fridge. I have visions of shelves of yellow cheese rounds dancing in my head. Who knows what 2014 will hold....
Friday, November 22, 2013
Coffee substitute? Bay nut truffles? If you don't already know, get hip to one of our yummiest native wild foods, California bay nuts. Relative to the avacado, the California Bay Laurel has a myriad of uses from food and medicine, to furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and other woodworking.
On a recent field trip to Point Reyes my son and I collected a bunch of bay nuts. I brought them home and sat them in a bowl on the table to fully ripen.
After all the skins were pretty dark, I peeled off the outer fruit which resembles a tiny avocado. I then gave them a good rinse in a colander and roasted them in a shallow baking dish for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. I let them cool and cracked off the shells which revealed the bay nuts looking almost identical to roasted coffee beans just bit lighter in color. Into the grinder they went (with some cacao nibs for good measure of course!) and whola...my very own roasted Bay nut coffee. It's pretty delicious, I must say I'm hooked, especially with fresh, frothy cream and honey. Well worth the effort, all natural, hand gathered and without that jittery effect coffee can have. Now I just need my year's supply! Here is the link to a great local video on how to process bay nuts. Enjoy!
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
I am in love with this stuff! A wonderful liver and blood tonic, beet kvass is a surprisingly tasty fermented beverage made from raw beets, filtered water and whey. A friend gave me the idea to add fresh lemon and ginger to mine. Here is a basic recipe. (Definitely reduce the salt as the recommended amount is very salty.)
A vinegar infusion made with organic raw apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, horseradish, ginger, and cayenne pepper. This concoction is rich with acetic acid, mineral salts and vitamins. The acidity kills many forms of bacteria on contact and helps aid healing and cleansing in the body as well as fight infection. Fire cider is strongly ant-bacterial and anti-viral, great for boosting immunity and fighting off sickness, especially when taken close to onset. It can be taken straight or added to water, juice, etc. It is very spicy so nice to take with a spoon of raw honey. Check out my recipe here.
Add raw garlic to everything, fresh or cooked it does wonders for your immune system.
- SEA VEGETABLES
Seaweeds like kombu, wakami, and nori make great additions to soups, stews, salads and main dishes. They supply optimum nourishment, enhance immune function, and revitalize cardiovascular, nervous, digestive, and endocrine systems.
- RAW HONEY
Honey is anti bacterial and demulcent, meaning it relaxes, soothes and protects tissues. Honey is also nutritive and mildly laxative. It is beneficial for relieving dryness in the throat and for treating cough and difficulty swallowing. Combining honey with a strong infusion of sage is a classic preparation for relieving hoarseness and respiratory congestion.
This fermented food is rich in vitamins, iron, potassium, anti-oxidants, and live lactobacilli, which enhance your body's ability to extract nutrients from food. Miso is easy to make at home. This is the recipe we use.
DARK LEAFY GREENS
Kale, collards, mustards, dandelion- all do wonders for your health. Eat daily chopped fresh in salads, steamed with high quality butter, sauteed with fresh garlic and ginger, or add to soups. These greens will give you your dose of vitamins and calcium, while keeping you looking and feeling youthful and radiant.
Shitake and reishi are medicinal mushrooms. Both are adaptogenic, revitalizing, regenerative, and able to directly suppress infection. Cook mushrooms well (do not eat raw, as the chitin in the mushrooms needs to be cooked for awhile to break down). Make a strong mushroom tea or broth for a nourishing morning drink.
- STOCKS and BONE BROTH
Chicken, beef, fish and vegetable stocks are all super foods! Bone broth can be a rich life enhancing foundation to to any meal. A pot of simmering stock is an essential part of our kitchen. We also make weekly root immunity soup. Use the crock pot if you like, add astragalus and burdock roots, potatoes, carrots, garlic, lots of ginger, onions and seaweed. Cook until roots are soft then add miso, tamari, a squeeze of lemon or lime and some dark leafy greens or sprouts at the end.
Here's to winter wellness!!
Here's to winter wellness!!
Thursday, October 31, 2013
For those of us who want an infinite supply of free fruit trees, this seems like a revolutionary technique. Air layering, also called marcotting, is a technique of propagation where a target region of tree bark is wounded and then surrounded in a moisture retaining medium, such as compost, then covered with a plastic film. Rooting hormone is applied to encourage the wounded region to grow roots. When enough roots have grown from the wound, the stem from the parent plant is cut and the new tree planted. It takes about two- three months for a new plant to become mature. Now the question is...does it work? We have tried it on three of our apples trees, a pear, peach, orange, and lemon. We'll let you know in a few months!
We happened upon this you tube about air layering fruit trees. If you are into propagating, this is definitely worth 17 minutes of your time...watch and find out what we are so jazzed about.
Monday, October 28, 2013
|Beginnings of a new quilt made with scraps from my stash|
Below are three of the quilts I love from the Gee's Bend exhibit, they are so simple yet the colors and the designs are exquisitely artful. These quilts were mostly made from old worn out clothing, Sears corduroy and denim.
The stories behind these amazing women are not only moving and inspiring, but humbling. After experiencing the artwork at the exhibit and reading all of the women's stories in the book, I realized how important it is to use what we have, not always out of necessity but because frugality has become a lost art.
These days, when I get excited about piecing together a new quilt or dreaming up some kind of crochet project I try to always use what I have whether it is just old scraps of fabric from previous projects, recycling some jeans, or yarn from my stash basket. This latest quilt I am making for my bedroom reminds me a bit of Frida Kahlo's style with the bright colors, flowers, teals and reds. A little bit of color brings light and a warm uplifting energy, perfect as we move into the crispy cool days of autumn.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
We are more than half way through September and quickly approaching the Autumn equinox. This last month has been a whirlwind of back to school activity but some of us still find time to lounge on a haybale in the sunshine with a good book. (Quiet moments like these are what life is all about!) It's almost time to slow everything down internally and externally. But not quite yet...
|volunteers Kenji and Ayana planting potatoes|
This week we met for our home-made food co-op which has been such a blessing. What an inspiring group of women and the food is amazing.
This month's trade consisted of fermented dill pickles, beet kvass, pink sauerkraut, fresh raw mixed milk cheese, sprouted wasabi almonds, gluten free power cookies, dried peaches, apricots and strawberries, golden harvest season soup, chicken sage sausage patties, and chile sauce. Whew, pretty great stuff.
Some news on what's been going on in our kitchen...we recently borrowed a cream separator from a friend which has been fun to experiment with. (In goes the warm raw milk, and out pours the cream on one side and skim milk on the other.)
The extra fridge is full of milk and cream these days so after trying my hands at cheese making for several months now I am transitioning into the world of gelato. Yes! gelato of all kinds, coffee, avocado, persimmon, whatever I can get my hands on.
Balancing the busi-ness of life with a sparkle of creativity can be a challenge but we must always hold onto the beauty and stay grateful for it all. There is no time of year I love more than autumn!