Friday, March 28, 2014

Danelion root Chai and Chia Oatmeal

Hello!  Long time no blog!  My love and life and passion and word energy have been all wrapped up in launching my Reiki Healing pratice, teaching yoga, dreaming workshops, and studying healing....  you can check it out on my other blog.  But as the snow melts and the sun warms, my mind is wandering back to the homestead as more than a place to lay my head, to food as more than something to fill my belly after a long long day.  AND.  I have a brand new niece that has me buying yarn and knitting needles on my lunch break and oogling patterns for wee vests and sweaters and tunics and things.  oh me oh my, let the needles fly!

Raif and I did an Ayurvedic kitchari fast recently, which isn't really a fast in the traditional sense of not-eating, since you are still eating hearty fare all day long.  It brought to the forefront for me just how frequently I go to food for comfort, when I'm bored or uninspired at work, when I'm actually thirsty, or tired.  It was a challenging mindfulness exercise to be sure!

Kitchari is, at its most basic, a mix of mung beans (easily digestible) and basmati rice (whose nutritional index is different than that of regular rice, I found out.  Also, did you know that short grain and long grain rice's nutrition are different from each other?  Oh the things you learn when you research other things!), boiled into a mash with hing (aka asafetida) - an ayurvedic herb known as "effective in a thousand ways" and turmeric, the "golden goddess" - an AMAZING tonic herb.  I also used ginger and coriander.  Then we broke the fast with probiotic kefir and buttermilk sweetened with maple syrup.

Coming out of the fast, I made us each a quart of Chai tea with dandelion root.  Dandelion root supports detox and has an overall tonifying effect on the liver.  The chai was really good.  I'll have to experiment a bit more before I can say this authoritatively, but I think that the presence of the slightly bitter root added a depth to the chai that I've felt to be lacking in the last few batches I made.  It may also have been the dried orange peel.  At any rate it was really really good.  
-Take a sauce pot of water on high heat.  Add a stick of cinnamon, some cardamom seeds (generously), some whole coriander (stingily), black peppercorns, whole cloves, dandelion root (broken into peices), dried orange peel.  Let boil for 10-15 minutes?  Or so.  Take off the heat, and add a tablespoon of black tea.  Mix it together and let it begin to cool.  5 minutes.  Strain into mason jars and mix with honey.  Enjoy throughout the day.

For the next few breakfasts, I had soaked oatmeal made with chia seeds.  I dismissed chia seeds as #hypefood for a very long time.  But I've jumped on the bandwagon.  They're great.  There's research into the antioxidants they give, but they won me over when I had a chia seed smoothie before a long night of teaching and healing sessions and it kept me going from after work at 5 pm until 10 pm when I had dinner.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Food Traditions

The holy-days of midwinter festivals revolve around food.  Always.  We gather for the meal, gather round the table, basking in the warmth of fire, friends, family, and love-made-edible.  
Gnocchi and Salad

Gnocchi for Solstice this year.  I remember having salmon for solstice in Maine, but since we have salmon all the time now, and the sister is vegetarian....  we decided to experiment.  We're still learning gnocchi technique :)
Solstice Dinner

This gallette was beautiful and delicious.  The grad student made it her first day back in the arctic, cause there's nothing more like a "welcome home" than spending time in the kitchen. 
Saged sweet potato and chevre gallette

We started what I hope are new traditions this year...  I don't quite feel they can be called traditions until they are done at least twice?  Homemade Thai food on christmas eve: courtesy of my sister, who simmered lemongrass and galangal lime leaves and fresh ginger in the coconut milk she then went on to use to make the curry!

Hoppin' John : Food for good luck

And as always and ever since I was a very little girl.  I ate Hoppin' John on New Years' Day for good luck and abundance.  This year I swapped out the collards from some kale from the freezer from this summer's CSA...  Kale is the arctic Collard, right? 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Buche de Noel

Buche de Noel and Krumkakes

Oh SmittenKitchen, I am smitten with thee.  I used your chocolate roll cake recipe for this year's Buche de Noel.  It was divine. Served with a dear friend's Krumkakes, it was the perfect end to an epic christmas meal of roasted duck.  I do believe that a Buche de Noel on Christmas Day just may become a new tradition on the Homestead.

**"Noel" is written in lingonberries I harvested :-)

(if you use the recipe, PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT SHE SAYS ABOUT USING WAX PAPER WHEN YOU UNROLL THE CAKE.  it will make a world of difference, and save many expletives.)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Minced Moose Heart : Homestead Eating

Maple went moose hunting in Minto Flats last week...  which means, of course that a moose heart appeared in my refrigerator the other day.  (I castigated him soundly for leaving the liver to feed the ravens and wolves.  Next time!  Ha!  I'm such a gracious and grateful friend who not only gets wild meat that I did not have to hunt, but who also goes on to complain about the bits she did not get!  Oh my.  My astrologer though, says I should be eating moose/game liver two or three times a year.  Let me know if you happen to come into any.)  THANK YOU MAPLE!!!!

Heart.  I've written about heart before.  Heart is delicious.  I did not take the time to brine it this year, admittedly more due to negligence and forgetfulness than to plan.  But it still makes a great stew!  The heart its self was probably as big as my head.  Not quite.  But nearly. Cutting into it, I was as always, full of awe over organ and muscle and tissue.  Ventricle, chamber, heartstrings.

The husky enjoyed her wolf-food of heart trimmings, as did the not-so-little kitten: they were pretty cute begging in the kitchen together. The lady cat preferred to nap thank-you-very-much.

The human heart is a third or more neuro-cells (vs. muscle cells), and holds its own intelligence.  The heart is also an endocrine gland in itself, generating the hormones to regulate the system, not just responding to those released by the thymus.  Amazing. In the same way that eating fish head soup is good for hypo-thyroidism, and eating brains is good for growing infants and children, eating of this intelligence and beauty and pure awe I imagine is likewise good for heart and mind and hormones.  Not to mention that its chock full of nutrition.

Anyhow, last nights dinner (and tomorrow's too, no doubt) was a stew of minced minto moose heart, with Snowbasin chicken stock and zuccini, cauliflower and peas from the summer's CSA.  This is what eating is meant to be.  I used half the heart in this meal, and froze the rest for another crockpot later this winter.

For those interested in the brass tacks:

Saute onion and lots of garlic in a VERY GENEROUS pool of olive oil.
Add chopped carrots, bay, paprika, basil, marjoram, savory, oregano, parsley and saute a few minutes.
Add flour, like you're making a roux.
Then stir in homemade bone broth/chicken stock.
Pour in some balsamic vinagre and add a rind of parmesean cheese.
Add some water to preferred volume.
Put in frozen zuccini, frozen cauliflower and chopped heart.
Simmer for 40 + minutes.
Add peas.
Top with grated parmesean and add salt/pepper to taste.

Enjoy in front of the fire.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Midwinter tidings

Midwinter holy days have a special place in my heart.  Here in Alaska, the months of December and January roll into one another, days so short and nights so long. 
Celebrating this time of sun return is so important to me and to
This (sub) arctic land we live in. 
Growing up I was always appalled at the crazy blatant commercialism surrounding Christmas (and even Hannukah). The idea of Christmas season starting directly after thanksgiving appalled me. I still think that the simultaneous Halloween and Christmas displays are a bit appalling. 
But anymore, living so far north, when we see twenty below at Halloween, I yearn for the tree as soon as thankful feasting is done. 

The dark and the cold is so very long in duration, and the celebration of interior and internal warmth, light and live is so very necessary at this time of year, that I find myself becoming "that person" who decorates their heart out in the first few days of December. And I enjoy it. It nourishes me. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day of giving Thanks

Thanksgiving day. 

A day for counting blessings. 

For loving family, both near and far. 

A day to celebrate food. And life.

Every year a day of feasting. Quintessential tastes. 

I am thankful for gamay  grapes, for husky love, for time spent in the kitchen. For tastes of memories past and futures yet to come. For my grandmother's silver and great grandmother's tablecloth. For the warmth of wood fires and of love. For the earth and all her bounty. I am grateful to a bird, to rice and celery and carrots and brussel sprouts, potatoes, grapes and walnuts. I'm thankful for ginger and sage and clove and cinnamon, marjoram, thyme, salt and pepper. For pumpkin and apple. For cranberries, oranges, wine. For vintners and farmers, for cows. For artisans, weavers, craftsmen. For truckers and planes and long dead  lifeforms' carbon. I'm grateful for the harvest. For abundance. For summer past and winter present. I'm grateful for joy and opportunities, for sorrow and experience. I'm grateful for abundance. 
I'm grateful for the presence of love, touching the lives of some of those closest to me. I'm grateful for health. Thank you earth, thank you sky. Thank you cosmic void, womb of beginnings. Thank you North. Thank you East. Thank you South. Thank you West. 

Thank you hot tub!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Making Tea

It was a dear friend's birthday earlier this week.  She's been sick, so I brought her quarts of chicken stock for the making of healing soups, and a birthday gift of tea.  I blended red raspberry leaves with arctic chamomile, red clover and calendula (all harvested this summer) for a soothing mix.  Making herbal teas is like distilling summer sunshine into a cup of steaming winter warmth.

I found these awesome diy tea bags at the Co-op for a welcome reasonable price.  They're sealed on three sides, and you simply fill them with your own blend of herbs or teas.  I sometimes feel that brewing a whole pot of loose leaf tea is prohibitively onerous (at other times its precisely what I want) and so its nice to be able to go to the comfort and convenience of these little pouches.

Then you heat seal the open end.  A hair iron worked wonders.

And voila!
A perfect little pouch of comfort and warmth and healing energies.