Food & Health Archive


Our Top 5 Food & Drink Blog Posts of 2014

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

This time of year always makes us feel a little nostalgic and a little hungry. What better way to combine these two feelings than with a look back at our most popular food and drink blog posts of 2014. In this top five list, you’ll find nourishing whole foods to improve your gut health, ideas on how to use wild edibles in the kitchen, preserving techniques for your fruit harvest surplus, and more. Not surprising that two entries on this short list are from our favorite fermentation guru—Sandor Ellix Katz.

And, for some extra countdown fun, check out our overall Top 10 blog posts from 2014. Did your favorite make the list?

2014′s Most Popular Food & Drink Blog Posts

#5: Be Good to Your Gut – Nourishing Food for Better Health

Restorative diets, whole foods, and traditional cooking methods have certainly gained traction this year. The Heal Your Gut Cookbook by certified holistic health counselor Hilary Boynton and whole-foods advocate Mary G. Brackett features all of these nourishing trends, plus 200 family-friendly, appealing recipes designed to heal and seal a leaky gut.

#4: Move Over Squirrels, It’s Acorn Harvesting Time

Foraging for wild edibles plays a big part in living a more resilient and sustainable life. In the following excerpt from The Art of Fermentation, author Sandor Katz encourages readers to explore an abundant food resource that falls from the trees every autumn—acorns.

 

#3: Breathe Life Back into Winter With Sprouts

Growing sprouts is one of the simplest things you can do even in the winter months and they are packed with nutrient-rich vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. According to Didi Emmons, author of Wild Flavors, most any edible seed can become an edible sprout, but her favorites are wheat berries, kamut, quinoa, lentils, and chickpeas.

 

#2: Homemade Hooch – Dandelion Wine

This winemaking process takes some patience, but it is worth the effort. In his book Wild Fermentation, Sandor Katz says, “Dandelion wine is the classic flower wine, made with the bright yellow flowers of the plentiful and easy-to-find weed. Don’t believe the hype of the manicured lawn lobby; dandelion is not only beautiful and tasty, but potent liver-cleansing medicine.”

#1: Make Your Own Whole Fruit Jam

The #1 food blog post of 2014 is…drumroll please… a recipe for whole fruit jam with no added sugar from Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning. This recipe relies on the natural sugars in fruit to provide a balanced flavor and sweetness. All you need is very ripe fruit of any type, a large saucepan, and canning jars.

10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do?

We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading list. With topics ranging from sustainable meat production to the secret lives of black bears to life lessons from a contrary farmer, and more, these books are sure to lighten up your days and keep your mind active long after the first signs of spring.

So throw another log on the fire, grab a blanket, and tuck in for the long haul with these new and classic favorites from Chelsea Green.

Winter Reading List

An Unlikely Vineyard by Deirdre Heekin
Ranked one of the best wine books of 2014 by The New York Times, An Unlikely Vineyard tells the evolutionary story of Deirdre Heekin’s farm from overgrown fields to a fertile, productive, and beautiful landscape that melds with its natural environment. Accompanied throughout by lush photography, this gentle narrative will appeal to anyone who loves food, farms, and living well.
Slowspoke: A Unicyclist’s Guide to America by Mark Schimmoeller
Slowspoke is about more than a cross-country trip on a unicycle; it’s a meditation on a way of life that Americans find increasingly rare; one that practices a playful, recalcitrant slowness. Schimmoeller intersperses recollections of his journey with vignettes of his present-day, off-the-grid homesteading with his wife in Kentucky and their effort to save an old growth forest. This memoir, deemed “profoundly simple, funny, and sincere” by Publishers Weekly, will help you slow down and appreciate every winter day.
Grass, Soil, Hope by Courtney White
This book tackles an increasingly crucial question: What can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges confronting all of humanity today, including climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress, and economic instability? White believes the answer lies in the soil beneath our feet and our efforts to sequester carbon.
In the Company of Bears by Benjamin Kilham
In this book, Kilham unveils his groundbreaking work observing communication and interactions between wild black bears. Diagnosed with dyslexia, Kilham comes to discover that thinking differently is truly his greatest tool for understanding the natural world. You might not master the art of hibernation this winter, but In the Company of Bears will open your mind to the insights the non-human world can offer. Now available as an audio book!
Angels By the River by Gus Speth
In this compelling memoir, you follow Speth’s unlikely path—from a Southern boyhood to his career as an influential mainstream environmentalist to his current system-changing activism. Speth calls for a new environmentalism to confront the complex challenges of today.
Gene Everlasting: A Contrary Farmer’s Thoughts on Living Forever by Gene Logsdon
How do farmers relate to life and death? In this collection of essays, Logsdon reflects on the intimate connection farmers have with the food chain through his experiences as a farmer up to his most recent bout with cancer. Kirkus gives this book a starred review and calls it a “perceptive and understatedly well-written meditation.”
Carbon Shock by Mark Schapiro
It may be cold outside, but things are heating up in the atmosphere. Schapiro’s book is an investigative study into the relationship between climate change and the economy. His in-depth analysis into the cost of carbon in our daily lives will inspire you to not only think deeply about the impact of climate change, but also to put on another sweater.
Defending Beef by Nicolette Hahn Niman
Niman writes from the unique perspective of an environmental lawyer and vegetarian turned cattle rancher. In her latest book, she explains how, contrary to public opinion, cattle are neither inherently bad for the earth nor for our nutritional health. She convincingly shows how, with proper oversight, cattle can play an essential role in maintaining grassland ecosystems and are an irreplaceable part of the world’s food system. According to the LA Times, Niman’s argument for sustainable meat production “skewers the sacred cows of the anti-meat orthodoxy.”
The Seed Underground by Janisse Ray
In this award-winning book, Ray explores the crucial value of saving seeds in the local food movement and shares stories from numerous seed savers, as well as tips on how to save seeds yourself.
Taste, Memory by David Buchanan
In this book, Buchanan examines the relationship between past and present farming through the value of culturally forgotten foods and new varieties. He draws from his experiences as a grower of various heirloom species to show that thoughtful selection is necessary when matching diverse species with the needs of a particular land and climate.

A Look Back at 2014: Our Top 10 Blog Posts

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

As we look back on the year almost finished, we’ve started to take stock in what our community has found most useful to them. If it’s one thing (or two) we know about our readers, it’s that they love growing food and getting their hands dirty. How can we be so sure? Six of our ten most popular blog posts from 2014 are garden related.

See for yourself: We’ve listed them all below, they offer a wealth of information on topics from growing mushrooms on a pair of old jeans, to drinking nutrient-rich sap straight from the tree, to tips on cooking the perfect grassfed steak, and more. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more about some of our favorite blog posts from the past year. So, be sure to check back.

For now, though, let the Top Ten countdown begin!

#10. What is a Plant Guild?

Plant experts and permaculture designers Wayne Weiseman, Daniel Halsey, and Bryce Ruddock share what they’ve learned about plant guilds in their new book, Integrated Forest Gardening.

#9. How to Plan the Best Garden Ever

This post features author Carol Deppe’s techniques and tricks, from her book The Resilient Gardener, to help alleviate some of the hard work that goes into growing your own food. Also, be sure to check out Deppe’s new book, The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, where she explores the practical methods as well as the deeper essence of gardening.

#8. Building Your Backyard Permaculture Paradise

More information on building plant guilds and drafting a master species list is shared in this excerpt from Paradise Lot.

#7. Grow Mushrooms on Your Jeans. Seriously.

The ultimate way to recycle, use old clothes to grow food! Tradd Cotter, author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation provides an easy, step-by-step outline of how to grow oyster mushrooms using the most unlikeliest of materials – a pair of jeans.

#6. The Ultimate Raised Bed: How To Make An Herb Spiral

The herb spiral: A beautiful year-round focal point for your garden that is easy and fun to build and saves both space and water. In Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist, author Michael Judd shows how to create this edibles-producing superstar.

#5. Tree Sap: Nature’s Energy Drink

It’s not as sticky as you might think. Tree sap, whether from maple, birch, or walnut, is comprised mostly of water with 2 percent or less sugar and loaded with minerals, nutrients, enzymes, antioxidants, and more. Learn about this incredible, all-natural beverage from Michael Farrell in this excerpt from The Sugarmaker’s Companion.

#4. How to Start Seedlings in a Cold Frame

Harness the heating power of the sun even in the winter months with these guidelines on how to start seedlings in a cold frame from master gardener Eliot Coleman. Excerpted from his book Four-Season Harvest.

#3. Recipe: Ginger Beer

A top 10 list certainly wouldn’t be complete without a couple contributions from the fermentation guru himself, Sandor Katz. Check out his recipe for all-natural ginger beer using a “ginger-bug” to start the fermentation process.

#2. DIY Dilly Beans: Voted “Best Snack Ever”

Sandor Katz is a self-proclaimed “vinegar obsessed freak on the verge of collapse every time a pickle is near.” His recipe for Dilly Beans will hopefully convince you these are indeed the “best snack ever.”

#1. How to Cook the Perfect Tender Grassfed Steak

It’s heartening to see so many people are supporting small-scale farmers and actively seeking out ways to properly cook their ethically sourced grassfed steak. This #1 most popular post features pointers from farmer and cookbook author Shannon Hayes (Long Way on a Little, The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook) on how to cook the most tender grassfed steak both indoors and on the grill. For more information on the environmental and health benefits of sustainable meat production, read Nicolette Hahn Niman’s new book, Defending Beef.

Here’s to a successful 2014 and we’re looking forward to sharing even more great content from our talented authors in 2015.

Cheers!

Wine Pairings for the Holidays

Monday, December 8th, 2014

As you prepare to celebrate with friends or sit down with family this holiday season, it’s good to know what kind of wine to serve on the right occasion with the right meal, right? Deirdre Heekin, wine maker and author of An Unlikely Vineyard, is here to share some of her favorite wines along with food pairing suggestions. Her selections include a variety of wines that pair well with anything from shellfish to roasted root vegetables to a plate of aged cheeses, and more.

In her latest book, Heekin tells her unlikely story of growing wine in the hills of Vermont and her quest to express the essence of place in every bottle. Eric Asimov, wine critic for the New York Times lists An Unlikely Vineyard as one of the best wine books of 2014. He writes, “I love this book, which conveys beautifully why the best wine is, at heart, an agricultural expression.”

The natural wines on this list succeed in this expression of terroir and capturing landscape in a bottle.

Salut!

****
Sparkling Wines

For the holidays, the desire for celebration is always front and center, so having a few different kinds of bubbly on hand makes those impromptu toasts or dinners easy. Sparkling wines are a little higher in acidity making them great companions for all kinds of dishes— anything from raw oysters to roasted root vegetables beneath a golden roast goose.

Ca’ dei Zago Prosecco– Italy
This family makes one thing, and one thing very well, an ancestral-style biodynamically farmed prosecco. It’s distinctive, real, and very well-priced.

Podere Saliceto L’Albone – Italy
If you want to surprise and cause a little bit of stir, the L’Albone is your number. It’s a dark and savory, dry red Lambrusco, great when paired with good, fatty cured meats and stuffed agnelotti pasta in broth.

Furlani – Italy
For a splurge, any of the Furlani wines will please. These are true alpine wines from high in the Dolomites. They make a very dry Brut Natur and a stunning sparkling rosé. These wines make me think of snow and sitting by the fire.

White Wines

For whites, I look for wines with a lighter and intriguing offering that pair well with all kinds of appetizers and starters made from vegetables, smoked fish, shell fish, or salty cured meats.

Meinklang’s Somlo – Hungary
This wine is from northern Hungary. Biodynamically grown, this blend of four rather obscure Hungarian grapes, tells well the story of the landscape there.

Domaine Guillot-Broux – France
This medium-bodied Chardonnay is from one of the oldest certified organic vineyards in France. Elegant at the start of a meal, but also holds up to the main course, even that beef tenderloin.

Tanganelli’s Anatrino or Anatraso – Italy
These two wines come from vines more than 110 years old and their character is resplendent in a deep amber, or orange color. Because of the color, aroma, texture, and tannins these wines are the epitome of versatile, working effortlessly with oysters to aged cheeses.

Red Wines

The red wines that beckon to me during all these celebratory meals are ones that will not weigh me down. Since holiday food is often rich, I like a little counterpoint in the wine. My go-to bottles again exhibit that flexibility which allows them to go with so many different foods.

Montemelino Rosso – Italy
A cunning and silky blend of Sangiovese and Gamay, the wines from this tiny vineyard are naturally fermented and aged in old oak barrels that sleep under the farmhouse and in the little chapel on the property.

Paterna Rosso – Italy
Another medium-bodied to lighter red from outside Arezzo in Tuscany. The wine shimmers with flowers and fruit and a little earth and pairs well with vegetables, meat, and fish—think pork shoulder, or roasted trout.

San Fereolo Dolcetto – Italy
For a slightly brambly wine, though still very feminine, the biodynamically farmed San Fereolo Dolcetto always inspires me. Crushed cranberries, woodland fruit, slate and ink come to mind in winespeak, but the reality is the wine transports you to the edge of the forest. It makes me think of roast fowl, juniper, and clove, celebrations around the table, and raising glasses to the new year.

Celebrating 30 Years of Publishing and Planting Trees

Monday, December 1st, 2014

The internationally best-selling book The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono, with wood engravings by Michael McCurdy, appeared in Chelsea Green’s first catalog in 1985 and has remained in print ever since. This powerful ecological fable continues to remain relevant, as you can read for yourself below, and best exemplifies our core publishing mission.

The following excerpt of this award-winning book appears in the forthcoming book, The Chelsea Green Reader, which is being published in celebration of our 30th anniversary as a book publisher. Each book excerpt is preceded by a short introduction, which we have included here.

Enjoy!

Jean Giono, one of France’s most celebrated twentieth-century novelists, wrote this ecological fable in the early 1950s. It was far ahead of its time. Chelsea Green persuaded the wood engraver and fine press publisher Michael McCurdy to make twenty engravings that dramatically enhance the book’s simple but powerful narrative. For the first time—almost three decades after its publication in Paris in Vogue magazine—the story appeared in book form in 1985. In time it became an international bestseller, and in 1992 Chelsea Green created an audio edition, with Boston’s WGBH classical music host Robert J. Lurtsema reading and original music by the Paul Winter Consort. In many ways this book embodies the spirit of our company.

1ManWho

There was peace in being with this man. The next day I asked if I might rest here for a day. He found it quite natural—or, to be more exact, he gave me the impression that nothing could startle him. The rest was not absolutely necessary, but I was interested and wished to know more about him. He opened the pen and led his flock to pasture. Before leaving, he plunged his sack of carefully selected and counted acorns into a pail of water.ic by the Paul Winter Consort. In many ways this book embodies the spirit of our company.

I noticed that he carried for a stick an iron rod as thick as my thumb and about a yard and a half long. Resting myself by walking, I followed a path parallel to his. His pasture was in a valley. He left the dog in charge of the little flock and climbed toward where I stood. I was afraid that he was about to rebuke me for my indiscretion, but it was not that at all: this was the way he was going, and he invited me to go along if I had nothing better to do. He climbed to the top of the ridge, about a hundred yards away.

There he began thrusting his iron rod into the earth, making a hole in which he planted an acorn; then he refilled the hole. He was planting oak trees. I asked him if the land belonged to him. He answered no. Did he know whose it was? He did not. He supposed it was community property, or perhaps belonged to people who cared nothing about it. He was not interested in finding out whose it was. He planted his hundred acorns with the greatest care.

After the midday meal he resumed his planting. I suppose I must have been fairly insistent in my questioning, for he answered me. For three years he had been planting trees in this wilderness. He had planted one hundred thousand. Of the hundred thousand, twenty thousand had sprouted. Of the twenty thousand he still expected to lose about half, to rodents or to the unpredictable designs of Providence. There remained ten thousand oak trees to grow where nothing had grown before.

That was when I began to wonder about the age of this man. He was obviously over fifty. Fifty-five, he told me. His name was Elzéard Bouffier. He had once had a farm in the lowlands. There he had had his life. He had lost his only son, then his wife. He had withdrawn into this solitude where his pleasure was to live leisurely with his lambs and his dog. It was his opinion that this land was dying for want of trees. He added that, having no very pressing business of his own, he had resolved to remedy this state of affairs.

The oaks of 1910 were then ten years old and taller than either of us. It was an impressive spectacle. I was literally speechless and, as he did not talk, we spent the whole day walking in silence through his forest. In three sections, it measured eleven kilometers in length and three kilometers at its greatest width. When you remembered that all this had sprung from the hands and the soul of this one man, without technical resources, you understood that men could be as effectual as God in other realms than that of destruction.

He had pursued his plan, and beech trees as high as my shoulder, spreading out as far as the eye could reach, confirmed it. He showed me handsome clumps of birch planted five years before—that is, in 1915, when I had been fighting at Verdun. He had set them out in all the valleys where he had guessed—and rightly—that there was moisture almost at the surface of the ground. They were as delicate as young girls, and very well established.

Creation seemed to come about in a sort of chain reaction. He did not worry about it; he was determinedly pursuing his task in all its simplicity; but as we went back toward the village I saw water flowing in brooks that had been dry since the memory of man. This was the most impressive result of chain reaction that I had seen. These dry streams had once, long ago, run with water. Some of the dreary villages I mentioned before had been built on the sites of ancient Roman settlements, traces of which still remained; and archaeologists, exploring there, had found fishhooks where, in the twentieth century, cisterns were needed to assure a small supply of water.

The wind, too, scattered seeds. As the water reappeared, so there reappeared willows, rushes, meadows, gardens, flowers, and a certain purpose in being alive. But the transformation took place so gradually that it became part of the pattern without causing any astonishment. Hunters, climbing into the wilderness in pursuit of hares or wild boar, had of course noticed the sudden growth of little trees, but had attributed it to some natural caprice of the earth. That is why no one meddled with Elzéard Bouffier’s work. If he had been detected he would have had opposition. He was indetectable. Who in the villages or in the administration could have dreamed of such perseverance in a magnificent generosity?

To have anything like a precise idea of this exceptional character one must not forget that he worked in total solitude: so total that, toward the end of his life, he lost the habit of speech. Or perhaps it was that he saw no need for it.

Tasty Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

As much as we love pumpkins, sometimes it can be a challenge to figure out how to take advantage of all those nourishing seeds. Packed with rich nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and plant-based omega-3s, these seeds are certainly worth the extra effort in the kitchen.  If you’re tired of the standard roasting drill, try some of the following alternative ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds.

But first, remember to soak your seeds. All seeds, as well as nuts, grains, and beans, have phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that hinder healthy digestion. According to the authors of The Heal Your Gut Cookbook, Hilary Boynton and Mary Brackett, taking the 

time to soak and dehydrate your raw pumpkin seeds neutralizes these harmful “anti-nutrients.” Going through this vital process will not only please your stomach, but also improve nutrient absorption. See the excerpt at the end of this post for step-by-step instructions on how to soak and dehydrate nuts and seeds.

Once you’ve properly prepared your seeds, put them to good use in a Cilantro and Pumpkin Seed Pesto from Cooking Close to Home or try this Pumpkin Granola recipe from The Heal Your Gut Cookbook.

Granola – makes 1 quart

1/2 cup cashews, soaked 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup pecans, soaked 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds 1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
2 tbsp cinnamon 1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until a very chunky paste is formed. Spread on your dehydrator’s nonstick drying sheet and set at 145°F for 12 to 24 hours, stirring once or twice. (Or spread on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven on its lowest possible setting for 12 to 24 hours, depending on temperature.) Break up granola; store in an airtight container in the fridge.

The Heal Your Gut Cookbook: Nuts and Seeds

Chelsea Green Publishing Turns 30!

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Explore a slideshow of cover images from some of our most iconic books over the past 30 years. Excerpts from these books and close to 100 others are all part of a new Chelsea Green anthology celebrating our 30th anniversary – The Chelsea Green Reader.

This collection offers readers a glimpse into our wide-ranging list of books and authors and to the important ideas that they express. Interesting and worth reading in their own right, the individual passages when taken as a whole trace the evolution of a highly successful small publisher—something that is almost an oxymoron in these days of corporate buyouts and multinational book groups.

Take a walk down memory lane with us and check out this selection of book covers from 1985 to the present.

Fresh Fig Pecan Bread for the Holidays

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Sure to be a hit at any holiday gathering, master bread baker Richard Miscovich describes this Fig Pecan Bread as slightly sweet, delicious, nutritious, and soothing. Here is the full recipe from his latest book, From the Wood-Fired Oven.

*****

Fig Pecan Bread
By Richard Miscovich

One of my favorite baking books—and one that gives me a lot of inspiration to develop new breads—is The Book of Bread by Jérôme Assire. It’s a beautiful book with great photos of breads from around the world. I was ready to put a dried fruit and nut bread into production when I saw a collection of Swiss breads that included Sauserbrot made with wheat and spelt flours and including chestnut and grape must—unfermented freshly squeezed juice. I dropped the juice and whole wheat flour but added a higher ratio of spelt flour and included walnuts, dried figs, and oats. I immediately recognized it as a slightly sweet bread that was also delicious, nutritious, and soothing. Have it at breakfast, at teatime, or as a bedtime snack.

Be sure to use old-fashioned oats or the thicker, chewy kind you might be able to get through your local miller. “Quick” oats don’t give the bread the same texture and don’t look as pretty on the outside of the loaf. Whole wheat flour can be substituted for the spelt flour, but the taste won’t be quite so distinctive. Whole-grain spelt flour and the addition of a high percentage of pecans and figs will make a denser dough. Be aware that the dough will be delicate and that spelt has a shorter proofing tolerance than hard red winter wheat.

It took me several years to realize I should replace the walnuts in this formula with pecans, partly because a pecan tree grows right next to my ovenhouse. In the fall, local pecans are available at roadside stands and people stock their freezers with bags of the rich nut meats, more milky, tender, and fresh than those available in most stores. Enjoy fresh, local nuts if you are lucky enough to have access to them.

We’re also grateful when somebody drops off a load of pecan wood. The logs split nicely, and the branches can be cut into manageable lengths with a pair of heavy-duty loppers and a reciprocating saw. Pecan wood provides fewer BTUs than oak, which means it is less dense. This is an advantage when a fire is just starting and needs heat to accumulate so that the hot firebox will support a more complete combustion. Oak requires a hot environment to get started, so it’s best to add pecan early on and save the oak for later. The pecan also combusts efficiently—little ash is left over after a load of pecan is burned.

We inherited three fig trees when we bought this property. Mid- to late July is when the figs start to ripen. I like to harvest twice a day, once in the morning and again in the late afternoon when the sun warms the sweet and sensual fruit. I so appreciate these two local trees, pecan and fig, that give us beauty, shade, oxygen, fresh nuts, bountiful bowls of figs, and fuel.

Yield: 3 medium loaves
Prefermented flour: 20%
Wood-fired oven temperature window: 425°F to 450°F (218–232°C)
Home oven: Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).

Levain Ingredient Weight (g) Volume Baker’s %
Bread flour 120 1 cup 100
Water 120 1/2 cup 100
Liquid sourdough starter 14 1 1/2 tbsp 12
Total 254

Combine the flour, water, and starter. Mix until smooth. Cover and allow to ferment at 77°F (25°C) for 8 to 10 hours.

Final Dough Ingredient Weight (g) Volume Baker’s %
Pecans, halves 150 1 3/4 cup 26
Figs, dried, chopped 230 1 1/2 cup 40
Water 345 1 1/2 cup 80
Levain 240 *
Bread flour 335 2 3/4 cup 79
Whole spelt flour 123 1 1/4 cup 21
Oats 57 2/3 cup 10
Instant active yeast 2.3 1/2 tsp 0.4
Salt 12 1 tbsp 2.1
Total 1,494.3
Extra oats to roll loaf as needed as needed

* Best measured by weight; volume varies with ripeness.

Desired dough temperature: Adjust the water temperature so the dough is 77°F (25°C) at the end
of mixing.
Lightly toast the pecans, chop them, and let them cool. (Be sure they are completely cool before adding them to the dough so they don’t affect the dough temperature.)
Before measuring the figs, remove any tough stems, chop the figs, and set them aside.

Autolyse: Remove 14g of starter from the levain. Pour the water around the edge of the levain to help release all of the preferment. Add the water and levain to the mixing bowl. Add the flours and oats, but hold back all the other ingredients. Mix by hand or a mixer until thoroughly incorporated and homogeneous, but you needn’t develop the dough at this point. It’s okay if the dough is still shaggy. Cover to prevent a skin from forming and autolyse for 20 to 30 minutes.

Mixing:
By hand: After the autolyse, add the yeast and salt. Mix the dough with your hand and a plastic dough scraper for a minute to incorporate the ingredients.
Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead by hand using the techniques described in chapter 6. Hand mixing will take about 8 to 10 minutes. The dough is going to seem wet, but you’ll see the pecans and figs transform the consistency when you add them at this time.
By mixer: After the autolyse, add the yeast and salt and mix on slow speed for 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Stop occasionally while mixing to scrape the dough off the hook. Reduce the mixer speed to slow, add the pecans and figs, and mix until incorporated.
When complete, the dough will be smooth and slightly tacky; it’ll pull back when tugged. Remember, the dough will develop considerably during fermenting and folding.

Primary fermentation: Place the dough in a covered container and let it ferment for 2 hours, folding once after 60 minutes.

Dividing/preshaping: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into three pieces. Preshape each piece into a loose round ball, and place bottom up on a lightly floured surface. Cover the loaves and let them rest for about 20 minutes.

Shaping: Shape the loaves into bâtards. Roll each onto a damp cloth and then into a tray of oats. Place the loaves seam side up on a non-floured couche. Allow to proof for 1 to 11⁄2 hours.

Scoring and baking: Just before baking, turn the loaves onto a lightly floured peel. Score with three angled cuts across the loaf. The oat coating makes scoring a bit difficult. Be sure to use a new blade and score assertively. Bake in a steamed 450°F (232°C) oven.
Or place in a heated combo cooker, score, cover, and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 40 minutes.

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas From Chelsea Green

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Thinking about cooking a pasture-raised turkey this year or adding a new recipe to your Thanksgiving repertoire? Look no further than these delicious dishes from our authors whose books focus on nourishing food and how to produce it sustainably.

Starting with the star of many Thanksgiving tables, Shannon Hayes (Long Way on a Little) walks you through how to prepare a pasture-raised turkey and gives you her favorite recipe for Walnut-Sausage Stuffing, in the excerpt below.

To add some leafy greens and fresh vegetables to the menu, Carol Deppe (The Resilient Gardener, The Tao of Vegetable Gardening) suggests building a salad without the use of dressing. Her technique involves balancing a mix of full-flavored greens and herbs with a variety of other complimentary ingredients to create biodiversity in a bowl.

On to the dessert! Michael Phillips (The Apple Grower, The Holistic Orchard) shares his recipe for Lost Nation Cider Pie. Named after his orchard in northern New Hampshire, this traditional apple pie is made with cider jelly. Making cider jelly is a separate process that may require more time than your normal pie recipe. But, it’s well worth the extra effort.

After that big meal your guests are going to want something warm and relaxing to curl up with by the fire. Katrina Blair (The Wild Wisdom of Weeds) offers a unique recipe you won’t find on many Thanksgiving menus – Thistle Chai Root Tea. Thistle can be found growing all over the country, usually near where people live. Blair says now is a great time to harvest thistle roots while the ground is still moist from fall precipitation. For tender roots, look for thistles that are a rosette of leaves rather than the ones that have already gone to seed.

Thistle Chai Root Tea – Blend all ingredients until fine and then strain for a finer consistency.

2 cups fresh thistle root, chopped 1 tsp cloves
1 cup cashews 1 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup honey 1 tsp nutmeg
4 cups water 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon 1-inch piece ginger

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Chelsea Green!

*****

Pastured Turkey Cooking Tips and Walnut-Sausage Stuffing Recipe
By Shannon Hayes

For the past week, farm families across the country (including my own) have been rising each morning to engage in what has become our own unique, albeit macabre, Thanksgiving Tradition. We are processing our turkeys.

Unlike the factory-farmed birds found in most grocery stores, these birds are usually processed just a few feet from the lush grasses where they were raised, quite often by the same hands that first gently set their newly hatched toes into a brooder, and then carefully moved them, once they were old enough, out to the fields for a few months of free-ranging turkey living. Now that the processing is complete, our birds sit in our coolers and await our customers, who will venture out to the farm for a tradition of their own, retrieving their annual Thanksgiving feast. For those of you who are new to this process, here is a list of tips to guide you through and make sure that you have a delicious holiday feast.

Please be flexible. If you are buying your pasture-raised turkey from a small, local, sustainable farmer, thank you VERY much for supporting us. That said, please remember that pasture-raised turkeys are not like factory-farmed birds. Outside of conscientious animal husbandry, we are unable to control the size of our Thanksgiving turkeys. Please be forgiving if the bird we have for you is a little larger or a little smaller than you anticipated. Cook a sizeable quantity of sausage stuffing if it is too small (a recipe appears below), or enjoy the leftovers if it is too large. If the bird is so large that it cannot fit in your oven, simply remove the legs before roasting it.

Know what you are buying. If you don’t personally know the farmer who is growing your turkey, take the time to know what you are buying! “Pastured” is not necessarily the same as “free-range.” Some grass-based farmers use the word “free-range” to describe their pasture-raised birds, but any conventional factory farm can also label their birds “free-range” if they are not in individual cages, and if they have “access” to the outdoors – even if the “outdoors” happens to be feces-laden penned-in concrete pads outside the barn door, with no access to grass. “Pastured” implies that the bird was out on grass for most of its life, where it ate grass and foraged for bugs, in addition to receiving some grain.

Brining optional. If tradition dictates that you season your meat by brining your bird, by all means, do so. However, many people brine in order to keep the bird from drying out. This is not at all necessary. Pastured birds are significantly juicier and more flavorful than factory farmed birds. You can spare yourself this extra step as a reward for making the sustainable holiday choice!

Monitor the internal temperature. Somewhere, a lot of folks came to believe that turkeys needed to be roasted until they had an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Yuck. You don’t need to do that. Your turkey need only be cooked to 165 degrees. If the breast is done and the thighs are not, take the bird out of the oven, carve off the legs and thighs, and put them back in to cook while you carve the breast and make your gravy. That entire holiday myth about coming to the table with a perfect whole bird and then engaging in exposition carving is about as realistic as expecting our daughters will grow up to look like Barbie (and who’d want that, anyhow?). Just have fun and enjoy the good food.

Cook the stuffing separately. I know a lot of folks like to put the stuffing inside their holiday birds, and if Thanksgiving will be positively ruined if you break tradition, then stuff away. However, for a couple reasons, I recommend cooking your stuffing separately. First, everyone’s stuffing recipe is different. Therefore, the density will not be consistent, which means that cooking times will vary dramatically. I am unable to recommend a cooking time, since I cannot control what stuffing each person uses. Also, due to food safety concerns, I happen to think it is safer to cook the stuffing outside the bird. Plus, it is much easier to lift and move both the bird and the stuffing when prepared separately, and to monitor the doneness of each. Rather than putting stuffing in my bird’s cavity, I put in aromatics, like an onion, carrot, garlic and some fresh herbs. When the bird is cooked, I add these aromatics to my compost heap. The aromatics perfume the meat beautifully, and the only seasoning I wind up using on the surface is butter, salt and pepper.

No need to flip. I used to ascribe to that crazy method of first roasting the bird upside down, then flipping it over to brown the breast. The idea was that the bird would cook more evenly, and the breast wouldn’t dry out. When I did this, the turkey came out fine. But I suffered 2nd degree burns, threw out my back, ruined two sets of potholders and nearly dropped the thing on the floor. Pasture-raised turkeys are naturally juicy. Don’t make yourself crazy with this stunt. Just put it in the oven breast-side up, like you would a whole chicken, and don’t over-cook it. Take it out when the breast is 165 degrees (see #2, above). If, despite the disparaging comments in item 2, above, you still want to show off the whole bird, then bring it into the dining room, allow everyone to ooh and aah, then scuttle back to the kitchen, and proceed as explained above.

Be ready for faster cook times. Pasture-raised turkeys will cook faster than factory-farmed birds. Figure on 12-15 minutes per pound, uncovered, at 325 degrees as you plan your dinner. That said, oven temperatures and individual birds will always vary. Use an internal meat thermometer to know for sure when the bird is cooked.

Use a good-quality roasting pan. If this is your first Thanksgiving and you do not yet own a turkey roasting pan and cannot find one to borrow, treat yourself to a really top-quality roaster, especially if you have a sizeable bird. (I don’t like to endorse products, but I must say that my favorite is the large stainless All-Clad roaster. Last I knew they were still made in the U.S.A. – but then, I bought mine ten years ago, so that may have changed. My mom has other name-brand roasting pans, and they are shabby in comparison to mine. Please don’t tell her I said that….) Cheap aluminum pans from the grocery store can easily buckle when you remove the bird from the oven, potentially causing the cook serious burns or myriad other injuries in efforts to catch the falling fowl. Plus, they often end up in the recycling bin, or worse, landfills.

Pick the meat off the bird before making stock. If you plan to make soup from your turkey leftovers, be sure to remove all the meat from the bones before you boil the carcass for stock. Add the chunks of turkey back to the broth just before serving the soup. This prevents the meat from getting rubbery and stringy. For an extra-nutritious stock, follow the advice offered in Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, and add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water 30 minutes before you begin boiling the carcass or, better still, use the recipe for chicken stock in The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook. The process of adding acid to the stock draws more minerals from the bones and releases them into the liquid.

Recipe: Walnut Sausage Stuffing (serves 8)

INGREDIENTS
1 whole baguette, chopped into ½ inch cubes and allowed to sit out overnight
2 Tablespoons fennel seeds
1 cup walnuts, mildly crushed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1# Sweet Italian, Hot Italian, or Breakfast sausage
4 Tablespoons butter
4 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or use one cup fresh)
½ cup raisins
2 T rubbed sage
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brandy
6 eggs
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a mid-sized skillet up to a medium-hot temperature.
Add the fennel seeds and allow them to toast until fragrant.
Remove the seeds to a small dish, then add the walnuts to the same hot, dry skillet and allow them to toast 3-5 minutes, taking care to stir them constantly to prevent burning.
Pour the walnuts off into a large bowl.
Add olive oil to the same skillet, then fry the sausage until it is cooked through (about 8-10 minutes).
Remove the sausage to the same large bowl containing the walnuts.
Add the butter to the skillet, allowing it to melt and blend with the sausage drippings.
Add the onions and carrots, sauté 2 minutes, then add the cranberries and raisins and sauté two minutes longer.
Sprinkle the sage over the vegetables, sauté 1 minute, then add the garlic and toasted fennel seeds.
Sauté two minutes longer, then add the entire mixture into the large bowl with the walnuts and sausage.
To the same big bowl, add the bread, chicken broth, eggs, salt, pepper and brandy, and prepare to get messy.
Using your hands (or salad servers), thoroughly mix all the ingredients.
Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking pan, add the stuffing, then cover tightly with a piece of buttered aluminum foil.
Allow the stuffing to cook 35 minutes, the remove the foil and allow it to bake 30 minutes longer, until the top is nicely crisped and lightly browned.

How to Use Lambsquarter from Root to Plant to Seed

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Some people might take one look at a patch of lambsquarter and yank it out of the ground to rid their garden or yard of an undesirable weed. Not wild-foods advocate and author Katrina Blair. At her home in Durango, CO, she tends to her lambsquarter and a number of other so-called weeds with the utmost care.

Why, you ask? Because according to Blair’s extensive research weeds are entirely misunderstood plants. In her new book, The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, she focuses on the thirteen plants which together comprise a complete food source and extensive medical pharmacy and first-aid kit.

Blair’s philosophy is sobering, realistic, and ultimately optimistic. If we can open our eyes to see the wisdom found in these weeds right under our feet, instead of trying to eradicate an “invasive,” we could potentially achieve true food security and optimal health.

Lambsquarter is one of Blair’s 13 “super weeds.” You can blend its leaves into a green juice, sprout its quinoa-like seeds and use them in a salad, mash its roots into a cleansing soap, and more. In the following excerpt, learn all about the edible and medicinal uses of lambsquarter and find recipes for a variety of lambsquarter-based foods and products.

Happy foraging!

*****

Edible Uses of Lambsquarter

Lambsquarter is exceptionally nutritious. Our bodies can produce fourteen of the essential amino acids, but eight of them need to be found in external sources. Lambsquarter is one of those valuable sources.

The whitish dust present on each leaf is made up of mineral salts from the soil and is an indication of its mineral-rich value. Often the lambsquarter leaves will taste salty and therefore make quite a nutritious salt replacement or addition to dishes! Lambsquarter seasoning is made easily by drying the leaves and mixing them with other spices.

Lambsquarter is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. For example, 3.5 ounces of raw lambsquarter, which is about 1 cup of greens, contains 73 percent vitamin A and 96 percent vitamin C of your recommended daily allowances suggested by the USDA. It is also a fantastic source of the B vitamins complex including thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin.

Use Like Spinach

Wild lambsquarter vary in their tastes. The flavor is related not only to different species, but also to the stages of growth and to the soil conditions. In general, however, all lambsquarter leaves are edible. The wild greens can be used just like spinach. They can be eaten fresh in salads, juiced, and added to any recipes that call for greens. They are best eaten when younger, however; when the leaves mature with age, the flavor can change due to a greater potency of oxalic acids. I find that when lambsquarter has built up too many oxalic acids, I experience a slight burning sensation in the back of my throat. This is why I recommend tasting the leaves by themselves before harvesting any quantity of them. This is especially important when making green juices or smoothies. When downing a liquid in several gulps, your body does not have the time to tell you to stop.

Harvest Seeds in the Fall

The seeds make a highly nutritious food staple for multiple uses in recipes. They can be harvested in the fall and ground into cereal or used as flour for bread. Similar to quinoa, lambsquarter seeds can be easily sprouted in one to two days. Add the sprouts to any meal to benefit from the rich nutrients.  Lambsquarter seeds also make great microgreens. They start out small and frail looking but given time grow into healthy plants with delicious flavor.

All lambsquarter seeds are edible; however, some are easier to use for a food staple than others. The wild versions have varying natures of seed production. Some varieties are easy to harvest and separate the chaff, while others are quite difficult. When possible, separate the seed from the outer layer and always taste the wild grains alone before adding any seasoning or salt, to get the true taste of the food. This practice will protect you from overeating something that your body would normally tell you to stop eating.

Wild grains are more potent than domesticated grains and a small amount is often enough to sustain your energy. Another way to increase the seeds’ resources is not to cook them, but instead to sprout them. Sprouting the seeds is a natural way to let the outer layer fall off on its own. Using lambsquarter sprouts is a way to increase seed benefits and sustain your winter storage to last even longer! If wild plants are potent already and go a long way, sprouted wild grains are even more concentrated in nutritional value and truly go the extra mile for supporting your optimal health.

Medicinal Uses of Lambsquarter

Lambsquarter is an important source of food that can be considered a key staple, while at the same time it is also an extremely valuable medicine. When the leaves are chewed into a green paste and applied to the body, it makes a great poultice for insect bites, minor scrapes, injuries, inflammation, and sunburn. The greens are beneficial for soothing arthritic joint pain when chewed into a mash and placed directly on the sensitive areas.

The leaves support the decrease of pain by reducing inflammation and bringing about an increase of circulation.

A tea of the leaves is beneficial for diarrhea, internal inflammation, stomach aches, and loss of appetite. The tea can also be used as a wash to heal skin irritations and other external complaints. Soaking the body in bathwater with lambsquarter tea added will support skin health by toning and tightening the tissues.

The green leaves when eaten in their fresh raw state are particularly beneficial for supporting the healing of anemic blood conditions. The leaves are exceptionally rich in iron and help to increase blood cell count and overall vitality of the circulatory system. The greens and seeds are very high in protein and phenolic content, and also have significant antioxidant capacity for eliminating unwanted free radicals in the body.

The roots contain a significant amount of saponin, which creates a natural soapy quality when mashed or beaten. In addition to the roots being extremely useful in making a cleansing soap, the composition of saponin also creates a cleansing and laxative effect in the body when drunk as a tea. Lambsquarter root tea is helpful for removing excesses from the body by the way of assisting elimination.

The young greens, especially when tender in the spring, can be juiced for their calcium and vitamins A, C, and B complex in addition to vital enzymes, chlorophyll, and trace minerals. The juice has a gentle detoxifying nature. Lambsquarter is an important green in this day and age of accumulated pollution. The greens are valuable for purifying the body of unwanted toxins due to their exceptionally high chlorophyll content. The chlorophyll binds with or chelates toxins that may be stored in fat cells and removes them in the urine. Our body is wise and tends to isolate toxins away from our vital organs by storing them in fat cells. When the toxins are released into the bloodstream it is key to have a source of chlorophyll to bind up the toxins until they are discharged from the body. We want to assure that they are not redeposited in the body while in the bloodstream. Fasting is a beneficial way to detoxify the body; however, because of the concentrations of petrochemicals found in our daily environment, it is wise to avoid fasting on water alone. It is best to have the support of wild greens in the form of dilute juices to protect our cleansing bodies from the potential side effects of environmental toxins causing harm on their way out.

The young lambsquarter green juice is delicious, but when the leaves get older, make sure to taste them first to know if the flavor is agreeable to you. The gentle astringent properties of lambsquarter make it healthy for tightening internal organs as well as externally for skin. The juice makes a beautifying and cleansing body wash. It is also a useful mouthwash for tightening the gums and eliminating bad breath.

The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: Lambsquarter Recipes


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