Wednesday, March 5, 2014

feeding our families - march


Hello again to all of our "feeding our families" friends. How fun and exciting it has been to be sharing with everyone through these first months of the year. Even if the kitchen and pantry are feeling less than thrilling at the moment. It is still winter here though, and probably that, plus garden yearning, really add to kitchen blahs? What a time to start up this project!

I am afraid I am only going to talk about cabbage. Raw, sautéed, fermented. It really is a very handy winter vegetable. And everyone here loves it. So yay. But I will try not to subject you to too much more cabbage-ness.

But a favorite recent lunch was sautéed onions and cabbage on toast. I think any vegetable simply sautéed and served over toast makes a good lunch.
Oh, and my girls really love onion too. If I am chopping onion for a meal then they will came and take big chunks off the plate for raw snacking.

I would like to start making more varieties of lacto fermented vegetables besides the usual sauerkraut. I do not use a culture for our cabbage/sauerkraut, just whey and sea salt, or no whey and extra sea salt. Anyone else having success fermenting other vegetables, with or without a special culture?

I would also like to start doing some soaked grain baked goods. Perhaps the buttermilk biscuit recipe in Nourishing Traditions would be a good place to start. Baby Elsa has not had any grains yet and I would prefer them to be soaked to begin with.

A couple questions answered from last time…

What do we do with our cultured cream? Well, the main reason I like to have it on hand is to add some cultured probiotic goodness to our meals. I will stir it into soups or stews just before serving, or drizzle it on top of a bowl of beans. Really good with any dishes were you might use sour cream. Very similar to sour cream, just not as thick, a little less sour. Also called creme fraiche. Also good on fruit. Served on biscuits with honey. Good for baby while we are waiting for our raw milk share to begin again, as I would prefer for her to have only raw or cultured dairy.

How do we make our rye porridge? Coarsely ground, soaked overnight if I remember, cooked in three times as much water on stove top, stirring very frequently as it has a tendency to stick and burn if you're not careful. We do the same thing with other grains, barley being another favorite. We used to do a "grain of the day" (Waldorf) porridge rotation throughout the week, which is useful for menu simplifying, plus if someone isn't so fond of one grain then at least it's not coming back around for another week.

Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

My recipes of course have to come with notes and rambling…
These cookies are very rich. You can make them with other nut butters (maybe seeds too? sunflower? sesame tahini cookies?) but I warn you that then they become even more rich. Peanut is my favorite, followed by walnut (in photo) which I made recently when we were out of peanut butter. (Used hand blender to make walnut butter in a jar, worked well.) I want to try them with pecans soon.

You can make them less rich by substituting 1/4 cup of sugar for 1/4 cup of the maple syrup. But then they have sugar. We use organic sugar.

We use all organic ingredients. Always. Because we are very afraid of gmo foods.

For fats/oils in baking we use coconut oil or butter. We do not use the extra virgin super coconut flavored oil because some people here do not like coconut, and also it will change the taste of these cookies, which is fine if you like the coconut flavor, but we use the milder version, expeller pressed and organic. And organic butter, because dairy, yikes, add 100 other concerns besides gmo's to the list of reasons why we won't eat conventional dairy products.

Also I have made these with kamut flour.

Now we shall try to get on with the recipe...

1 ½ cups brown rice flour
1 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter) (ours is fresh ground peanuts. do not use one with sugar added)
½ cup coconut oil or softened butter (or melted and slightly cooled butter)
½ cup maple syrup (careful it is not so cold that it hardens your oil/butter, but I never go so far as to actually warm it)
¼ teaspoon salt

Oven at 350 degrees (F)

In a medium bowl add peanut butter, coconut oil or butter, maple syrup, and salt. Mix well. Add flour. Mix well again. The dough will be fairly wet. In general it is very forgiving. I rarely even measure the ingredients exactly, but then again I have been baking these for about 15 years.

Place tablespoon size balls (I use an actual tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop up the dough) on cookie sheet with an inch or so between them. They will not spread too much. Then make the cute little criss cross peanut butter cookie prints with a fork. If dough is too sticky then dip your fork in cold water  occasionally while making the marks, no more stickiness…

Bake for 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on tray for a bit before trying to move as they will be delicate while still hot. Makes about 2 dozen-ish.

And remember, I told you that these are very, very rich.
(Which is why I am leaving out the adding chocolate chips option. Jason likes them that way but it is too much for me.) (Also because I am not fond of chocolate.) (Yes, I know that is crazy.) (But also, when well cooled, and for a very special occasion, you could dip the cookies halfway in melted chocolate!)

Okay, recipe done now, in case you were wondering.

Those delicious peach tarts were made by the girls. Chloe sometimes gets consumed by the desire to bake a surprise something. I was not allowed into the kitchen at all.

And finally, after saying for more than 10 years that he wanted them, Jason made onion rings. Wow, they were really, really good!

So what is going on in your kitchen lately?
It has been suggested that maybe we can do one of those linky things (like for ginny's yarn-along) so that more of you can join us in the sharing. I will look into that, but for now if you would like to then please feel free to leave a link in the comments to one of your recent food posts.

I'm so late with my post this month that perhaps you have already visited everyone else…

Thanks again to my inspiring mama friends!!!



Kelly said...

So glad I hopped onto to blogger! I didn't think anyone was blogging anymore ;) So glad to see you are! I'll be following you daily! Looks so yummy here :) Dusting off my own blog too! xx Kelly

Jules said...

Well, Renee, that is indeed funny about our shared love of cabbage. I am determined to make your sautéed lunch in the next few days ~ it sounds delicious! My kids will eat spoonfuls of kraut now, too, but only when I've made certain combinations. It is really good for curbing a sweet craving, have you tried that? I love all the kitchen goodness...this series has been so helpful to me!
xo Jules

Marie said...

When it comes to soaked grain baked recipes, I've found all of my best recipes and advice comes from GNOWFGLINS at
The Fundamentals Book is full of not only great soaked grain recipes, but advice on how to make other recipes into soaked grain recipes. It also has info or soaking grains, fermenting vegetables, dairy, kefir, etc. It was an awesome find. Enjoy!

Mama Ash Grove said...

Cabbage! I love it!
My favorite is red cabbage, chopped and eaten raw with olive oil and lemon juice. MMM.
The sauteed cabbage and onion on toast sounds so delicious, that I am planning to try it today.
HUGS you!

Heather said...

Love this Renee! Soaking grains has become an important part of our kitchen as well, and there is still so much to learn. This cookie recipe is going on our list for Sunday. Yummy!

Sarah-Our Island Home said...

Oh my! Fantastic post! After reading your last post (or was it the one before) I tried roasted cabbage and everyone in my home loved it!!! So happy to have discovered this! I will have to try it sautéed on toast now and your cookies too. I have thought of doing a grain a day porridge rotation but no one in my family other than me (and my wee little guy) love porridge enough to eat it everyday. I am wanting to learn more about soaking grains (in baking especially).

The Southern Peach-Girls said...

I'm new to your blog, and am loving it! I have made a couple of ferments. The kimchi in NT is wonderful! Love it, love it. I also make a fermented salsa. I made the cortido from NT, but it is only being chipped at a bit at a time, not my all time favorite. Though not bad, I just prefer the other ones I make more.

A wonderful tip I found to help my ferments be really successful is to pour some liquid coconut oil over the top of the packed contents in your jar. This keeps it from exposure to the air. I couldn't afford the fancy fermenting jars, and had horrible results with an airlock system we put together that we saw on the web. Using the coconut oil produces some amazing bubbling action :-) Make sure to 'burp' your jars!

I do use homemade whey as a starter, but have never bought the Cladwell type starters.


Tracey said...

We eat a lot of cabbage here too.
I ferment not only cabbage, but carrots, beets, cucumber and my favorite is salsa which I can eat by the jar.
I'm looking forward to trying your cookie recipe, I'm pretty fond of peanut butter myself.

amanda said...

yumyumyum. I am a big fan of cabbage but have yet to try to do any fermenting. I recently picked up sandor Ellix Katz's little book on fermenting and can't wait to dive in, as we are big sauerkraut and kimchi fans around here. and pb cookies? yes, please.