Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mr. Larry's Raisin Walnut Bread

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Every Friday I get to visit one of my favorite people on this huge spinning ball we call earth.  My Milk Farmer.  Well, to reduce him to that it almost a crime.  He is a good honest man, dedicated to the local real food movement.  I am honored to have created this loaf for him and his wife.  It is Raisin Walnut Bread, their favorite and weekly breakfast staple.

Made with freshly ground flour, and soaked overnight to maximize nutrient absorption.  I bake it like my Soaked Bread, in my grandmother's dutch oven.  And do my best to deliver it warm to him each Friday.

My most pleasurable moments are when he finds it still warm, and must cut off the end.  We sit and chat about food politics and how we can fathom a return to Eden in the food scene.  My children play with his barn cat and chase his chickens.



At this moment in the week I feel connected.  To mankind. To the earth.  To the beautiful Jerseys that chew on the grass I walk on and make me white gold.  It will drip from my children's mouths and sit on their upper lip.  It will be in my coffee first thing in the morning, or wash down my chocolate chip bedtime snack.  I dream of ways we can all begin to interconnect our needs with each other.  Not in socialism, or capitalism, but in respect for one another's work, and care for our fellow human beings.
I know, it's just milk, and it's just bread.  And you can pick it up at the gas station on your way home to the suburbs in your big SUV.  But does it have to be that way?  This bread takes time, this milk, the utmost care and then, it is so, so much more!

5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (freshly ground if possible)
1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup of rolled oats
1 Tbsp. of cane sugar
2 tsp. of sea salt
1/2 tsp. of instant yeast
1/3 cup of kefir, yogurt, or whey
approx. 3 cups of filtered water
1 cup of organic raisins
1/2 cup shelled walnuts (halved or chopped)

Mix all of the dry ingredients together (not the raisins and walnuts).  On low add kefir and once incorporated begin adding water slowly until a slightly sticky or shaggy dough forms.  Add in raisins and walnuts until evenly incorporated.  Cover and allow to sit 7+ hours or overnight.




Preheat oven with a covered dutch oven in it to 500.  While heating, turn dough out onto a floured surface, form a loaf the shape of your dutch oven.  Be careful not to knead or overwork the dough.  A couple of turns is all it needs.



Cover and allow to rest until oven is preheated.



Remove dutch oven from oven and place loaf carefully into the pot.  You can dust the bottom with cornmeal, or not.  I have stopped doing this, because it is so hard to find organic corn meal, and the loaf doesn't stick when you don't use it.  Sometimes a couple raisins will remain, but the loaf comes out undamaged.
Put lid on and return dutch oven to oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.
Reduce heat to 400.  Remove lid.  Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, let sit for 10 or so minutes then shake out from the pan onto a cooling rack to continue cooling...if you can resist not cutting into it immediately!
(That's the hardest part :-)



Hope you try the recipe!  And more so I hope you contemplate your own relationship to bread and milk, the earth and mankind.  Blessings if you find new truth for yourself.

Love and Butter,

Mishelle


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Friday, June 14, 2013

Weekly Butter 6/14

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I'm finally back on the grid this week.  Morning sickness has been gone for a while.  Baseball season is over...which seriously, what is the deal with so many games in a little league baseball season?  Anyone?  Every other sport my kids play--one game, baseball 3-4/week.  I also had a scare with an ultrasound and have now moved past worrying about that.  And after all that we spent a week at the beach.  So rested and tan, I am ready to enter back into the virtual world!  


Here are some things I read this week I thought were worth sharing.  

First, an amazing post from Ann Voskamp about working through our anger in parenting, even though we may have been raised to do differently.  This one really felt like my heart was exhaling it as I read her words. If there is anything I need to learn to receive it is Grace.  And if there is anything I need to learn to give it is Grace.

This second article was written by Stephen Miller as a tribute to his 10-year anniversary.  They got married at 18 and 20, and he speaks to the reasons not to follow the cultural movement of marrying older and starting a family earlier.  I have heard a lot of "wow you don't look old enough to have 5 kids" or "5? really, were you planning that?" or worst all, "are you excited about this one?"  Seriously, people am I excited that the God on high placed within me life and gave me the privilege of growing and nurturing it with my own body?  Am I excited that the Lord would see me a fit enough servant to raise 5 people into the gift of his mercy and grace?  So, yes I get it, not everyone likes kids or wants a bunch of them, but why ask questions like this.  I don't go around asking opinion-charged questions to people who have chosen to live their life differently than I.  I cannot fathom why people would feel the need to ask me the questions they do.)...sorry rant is over :)  The article...it's good.  It's good to hear someone speak with a similar heart on the subject.

With summer breaking out in full force here...it was 95 with full humidity the other day!!  My garden is coming in and so are the mosquitoes.  I found these recipes for homemade organic fertilizer made from kitchen scraps and a diy organic mosquito repellent.  I can't wait to try them!
Speaking of my garden, I planted a tomatillo plant this summer for the first time.  After I tried a recipe for "guacamole salsa" last summer that had me loading up on them, I figured I'd grow my own.  I hope to perfect my own recipe by the end of the summer.  

I also want to perfect some Chocolate Kefir Cream.  I've done vanilla every summer, but chocolate may take a little more work.  I found this recipe, but I must be honest it has me a little nervous about adding the eggs to the warm milk.  Have you ever had "ice cream" with scrambled eggs in it.  I have once and it was quite an experience!  I remember how good the ice cream was and you wanted to eat it so bad, and then you would bite into a rubbery egg piece.  So because of that, I've always stuck with no egg recipes.  So this summer, will be the summer I move past that fear!

Is there anything you are afraid of in the kitchen?  What would it take you to get past it?  For me it is always a little success...which doesn't always come easy!

Well I know it isn't official until next week, but in my book, once there's watermelon and watersides, it's here!   Happy Summer everyone!!

Love and Butter,

Mishelle

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Let's Talk Liver

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If you have been around the traditional food circles very long, you will soon find one of the things that makes us stand apart from the other Real Food peeps out there.  Sacred Meats.  Yep.  Organ Meats.  Liver.  Heart.  Brains.  Okay if you are gagging...please keep reading, you may learn something.  These are the parts of the animal that most people throw away or use as fishing bait.  But these are also the meats that traditional cultures knew to be the best for strength and healing.

I must first say liver is gross.  I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I have found some magical way to cook it that makes it taste like Filet Mignon.  I will say that I have found a couple of ways to cook it to get it down the hatch so that my family can reap the benefits of this life-giving meat.  

As far as heart and brains...well, we will leave those for another day.  I haven't gotten brave enough to eat brains yet, but we did have the heart of our cow ground into our meat, so we are eating a little of it each time we eat tacos or bologonese sauce.  Haven't noticed any difference.  Would love to discuss that later on a post on why you should consider purchasing a side (or half) of beef from a local farmer.

On to liver.  It's bloody.  It's mushy.  It has a strong flavor.  If you cook it too long it taste like rubber.  And all of the recipes with it feature it with onions which are hard enough to get kids to eat in the first place.  So why even try to get the stuff down?

Almost all tradional cultures prize organ meats for their ability to build reserves of strength and vitality.  Organ meats are extremely rich in fat-soluble vitamins A & D, as well as essential fatty acids, important very-long chain superunsaturated  fatty acids and the whole gamut of macro and trace minerals.  (Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions)

So if our grandparents ate liver on a regular basis, why don't we?  Modern science, in an attempt to explain heart attacks and clogged arteries has placed the blame on dietary cholesterol.  This subject is more then I want to get into here, but I will address it simply.  Cholesterol is our body's protection against inflammation.   Inflammation is caused by foreign substances, most likely high-sugar diets, high-stress lifestyles, and the onslaught of poisonous substances in our environment and food (i.e. pesticides,  fertilizers and pollution).  Dietary cholesterol does not raise blood cholesterol. Period.

Another concern about eating liver is toxins.  Because the liver filters toxins from the body, then one would assume the liver of an animal would be full of toxins.  For this reason, I recommend knowing the farm where your liver comes from.  The lower the toxic load on your cow, the cleaner the liver.  Cows raised in rural places on untreated grass will be the healthiest.  Your local organic grocery store should be able to provide you with this information, or the farm the liver is from so you can contact them yourself.  Better yet, take a drive, meet the farmer, see the cows.  Then you really can rest assured you are giving your family the best!
Even organic liver may contain some toxic substances, but its nutritive value outweighs the dangers of any toxins it contains.  Not only does liver provide copper, zinc, iron, and vitamins A and D in abundance, it is also a rich source of antioxidants--substances that help your own liver remove toxic substances from the body. (Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions)

So, do you eat liver?  Do your kids freak out about it?  Or worse, do you freak out about it?  I've been eating liver more regularly since I found we are expecting Love #5 in October.  My husband and I have been experimenting with different ways to prepare it, so that we can all get more down.  I'm working on some posts/pictures to share with you.  Until next time...

Love and Butter,

Mishelle

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Brown Rice & Quinoa Salad With Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

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During the cooler months I roast 2 chickens almost every week to take some of the pressure off life when it comes to fixing meals.  Now that the deep south is heating up, I am trying to use my oven a little less and send my husband out the back door to the grill.  I just found my rotisserie attachment and I can't wait to use it on my whole chickens, but this week he grilled up some boneless skinless breasts for us to use in meals.

I must say boneless skinless meat is not my favorite for flavor at all and it tends to get dry easy.  I do however recognize how convenient it is and I can tell from cruising Pinterest that it is the most popular form of chicken people use.  My husband is AH-mazing on the grill, but even his perfect chicken breast, I won't just sit down and eat.  But they do make a perfect addition to grain-based salads or tossed salads, where I can soak them with lots good fats like my Homemade Probiotic Ranch Dressing or this simple Vinaigrette I want to share today.  

This is a salad a friend of mine created a few years back, and after she shared it at a picnic it became a mainstay in the spring and summer months in our house.  You can use green beans or asparagus, which ever is in season.  You can even use the frozen and it will still be good.  

It was originally made with all quinoa, but when forced to improvise (like at 4:45 when I realized I had only 1 cup of quinoa and the nearest store that sells it is 20 minutes away), I tried making it with brown rice.  I have to say I think it is a little better.  The chewy texture of the brown rice melds well with the creaminess of the quinoa.  It also doesn't hurt that brown rice is quite a bit cheaper!

This recipe makes a lot of salad.  You could easily half it or keep the extra in the fridge for quick lunches.  Because it's mayonnaise free and is good cold or at room temp, it would be great for all of those summer picnics too!



Simple Brown Rice & Quinoa Salad w/Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

For the Salad mix together in a large bowl:

4 cups of cooked & cooled Brown rice and/or Quinoa (important that it is cooled or it will melt your cheese)
12 oz of asparagus or green beans, steamed and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
3 grilled chicken breast cut into bite size chunks (shredded chicken would work too)
4-6 oz of dried cranberries
4 oz of crumbled Bleu or Gorgonzola Cheese
A handful of sliced almonds (optional)


For the Vinaigrette: 

Juice of one large lemon, seeds removed (approx. 1/8th of a cup)
1 tsp. of honey
1 tsp. of salt
2 tsp. of dried basil or 2 Tbsp. of fresh basil chopped finely
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together ingredients and pour over salad.  Mix well and serve.  

This will save well for extras for a few days.  If you leave out the chicken it makes a great side dish.  And just in case you are like I was when I first started cooking, here are directions for how I make fool-proof brown rice.


2 cups of uncooked Brown Rice or Quinoa (I like a combination of both best 1 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup quinoa)
4 cups of filtered water or chicken stock
1 tsp. of sea salt
2 Tbsp. of butter

To cook rice combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Turn to low and cover for 30 minutes to an hour.  Try not to stir, this is easier said than done.  When liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and let set 10 minutes before fluffing and serving.  For the salad, add rice to a bowl and put in the freezer until it cools.

I know you are thinking, seriously lady?  I know how to cook rice, but I do have to say this was not a skill I had.  I was perplexed by the burned pot of sticky goo years ago and would only use those nice little "minute" bags.  I was finally very thankful when someone broke down the process for me.  We all have to start somewhere!  And trust me my "somewhere" was a very sad place.

Well, keep enjoying the summer, I know I will a little more when my tomatoes come in.

Love and Butter,

Mishelle






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