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Pantry Staples

Pumpkin Seed-Herb Sauce

TIME: 15 MINUTES; SERVES: 1 PINT

This sauce was born from having an excess of wilting cilantro in my fridge. I was going to make zhoug, a spicy cilantro sauce that’s made with fresh jalapenos and garlic, but I wanted to beef it up to serve alongside salmon. I was looking through my assortment of seeds and nuts for pesto inspiration, and thought the toasted flavor and color of pumpkin seeds would be perfect. With further research, I discovered a traditional sauce from the Yucatan region called Sikil P’ak, taken from the Mayan words for pumpkin seed and tomatoes.

This adaptation swaps tomatoes for rehydrated, smoky chipotle peppers. I added half an avocado for extra creaminess as well. Now it’s a staple in my fridge—I eat it alongside fish, roast chicken, or slathered on veggies. It’s delicious stirred into crème fraîche for a rich accompaniment to soups or stews.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup cilantro, stems and leaves
1 cup parsley, stems and leaves
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
2 tbls. sherry vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbls. capers, drained
1/4 tsp. each ground coriander, cardamom, and cumin
1/2 avocado (opt.)
2 dried chipotle peppers, or 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded (opt.)
1/2 tsp. salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the chipotle peppers and let sit for about 10 minutes to re-hydrate. Remove from the water, (but reserve water for thinning the sauce), cut in half and discard the stems and seeds. Roughly chop.

  2. While the peppers are re-hydrating, spread the pumpkin seeds evenly in a pan over medium-low heat. Toast until they start to sizzle and pop, stirring often to avoid burning. Remove from heat.

  3. Place all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Adjust seasonings. Thin with the chipotle water if necessary.

  4. Spoon into a jar and drizzle olive oil on top. Will keep for 1 week in the fridge.

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Dashi Broth

TIME: 2 HOURS; SERVES: ~1 QUART

Sea vegetables aren’t widely consumed in America, unless you eat a ton of sushi or buy those seasoned nori snack sheets. Seaweed comes in all forms (Dulse, Nori, Kombu, Wakame…), and has incredible health benefits. It is high in iodine, iron, glutamic acid, and digestive enzymes—all essential components that are lacking in the American diet. The American Thyroid organization states that over 1/3 of the world’s population is iodine-deficient, and because our bodies don’t naturally produce it, it’s important to consume iodine-rich foods for a properly functioning thyroid (the gland that regulates much of our hormonal & metabolic function).

Vegetarian and vegan folks are typically deficient because iodine is found primarily in seafood. Incorporating sustainably harvested sea vegetables is a great way to add these necessary minerals and enzymes to our diet. Kombu, the seaweed that is the base of Dashi, has a mild, umami flavor and is a nutritional powerhouse. I keep a couple quarts of homemade Dashi in my fridge to use as an alternative to bone broth. By adding smoked bonito flakes (katsuo dashi), you’ll have an even more flavorful broth that can be used as the base of miso soup, various sauces, or my favorite—as a simple sipping broth.

INGREDIENTS

2 quarts water
2 sheets kombu (each 3” x 5”)
1 cup packed, smoked bonito flakes (opt.)

METHOD

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the kombu and water and let soak for about 1 hour.

  2. Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer, careful not to boil. Turn heat down to low, and cook for another 30 minutes, until the kombu can be easily pierced. Remove the kombu with tongs (and save to make seaweed salad!)

  3. If adding the bonito flakes, sprinkle over the strained, hot dashi and push down with a spoon but do not stir. Let steep for 5 - 10 minutes.

  4. Strain the dashi through a fine sieve. If not using immediately, let cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Pickled Okra

TIME: 20 MINUTES (not including canning time); SERVES: 4 PINTS
Adapted from Linda Ziedrich’s, The Joy of Pickling

Okra is one of my favorite veggies that we grow (it is our logo, after all). I love okra in all different forms: grilled, roasted, raw, and of course, pickled!

These are fun to pull out at a dinner party in the middle of winter, or give as gifts throughout the season. Most people know okra for its mucilaginous qualities—careful not to cut past the stem and into the pod (where the goo lives), or else the brine will thicken and become very unappetizing. It’s also important to use fresh, smaller okra. Large okra can be tough and fibrous—another unpleasant surprise when chomping on a pickle. It’s best to buy okra at a farmers market, or grow your own! Okra doesn’t keep for more than a few days, so stray away from okra with black or brown spots and soft stems. You want green, crisp pods for the best pickles.

INGREDIENTS

4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
4 small dried or fresh hot peppers (red and yellow varieties are pretty)
4 lemon slices
4 tsp. pickling spice, or a mix of: dill seed, mustard seed, bay leaves (crushed), coriander seed, black peppercorns, allspice, cloves
1 quart water
1 quart apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
1/4 cup kosher salt (non-iodized)

METHOD

  1. Divide the garlic, lemon, peppers, and spices evenly between 4 sterilized pint jars.

  2. Trim the stems from the okra, but do not cut into the pod itself. Stuff the okra into the jars.

  3. Mix the water, vinegar, and salt together in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

  4. Ladle the hot brine into the jars, leaving about 1/4 inch headspace. If you are not canning them, let the jars cool, then transfer to the fridge. Wait 2 - 3 weeks before eating.

  5. If you are canning, process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Store for at least 3 weeks before eating.

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Coconut Yogurt

TIME: 10 minutes (plus time to culture) SERVES: 1 PINT

Coconut yogurt is a satisfying treat if you have a lactose intolerance, or are trying to minimize carbs. It is very rich, so I recommend eating just a couple spoonfuls at a time—it makes a great probiotic-filled snack, or topping for Chocolate-Avocado Pudding.

*Unlike the effervescent coconut yogurt from New Earth Superfoods or GT Dave’s CocoYo, this is mild & creamy—similar to Greek yogurt.

INGREDIENTS

1 can full-fat coconut milk (I’ve found the “Classic” Native Forest brand produces a better result than the “Simple”—I assume this is due to the guar gum)
2 probiotic capsules (I use this one because it is available in the refrigerated section of my grocery store.) Avoid probiotic pills, because they need to be crushed instead of opened & emptied

METHOD

  1. If your coconut milk has separated, pour into a bowl and mix thoroughly until emulsified and creamy. This is easier at room temperature.

  2. Open the probiotic capsules, empty them into the coconut milk and stir thoroughly.

  3. Cover loosely with a small plate or clean dish towl, and let sit at room temperature in a warm, dark place for a few days, until slightly soured and thickened, stirring once or twice per day.

  4. Transfer to the fridge with a tight fitting lid to further thicken.

  5. After it has cooled, it will be incredibly thick and ready to eat! You can then add your favorite flavorings, or enjoy as is.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes, with Lemon Curd & Cream

TIME: 1 HOUR (not including cooling time); SERVES: 12 MUFFINS
Adapted from Christina Tosi’s ‘Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins’ in the Cherry Bombe cookbook

This recipe is a little more involved than I typically tend towards (and definitely not gluten or sugar-free), but worth the extra steps! If you don’t want to overdue it, skip the lemon curd filling and the whipped topping, and you’ll still have the best, most-lemony poppy seed muffins ever.

My sister is the pastry chef, not me. (I use a ziplock with the corner cut out as a piping bag.) You will, however, benefit from an electric hand mixer or stand-up mixer. Having to whip egg whites and cream butter & sugar by hand makes these already involved cupcakes a little too daunting.

*Note: If you don’t have access to Meyer lemons, other varieties are fine, you just may need to purchase a few extra because they can yield less juice. Stray away from bottled lemon juice—you will need the zest and pulp as well, so fresh lemons are a necessity here.

INGREDIENTS

Cupcakes
4 (Meyer) lemons, zest and flesh
3 large egg whites
6 tbls. unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup buttermilk or crème fraîche
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (I’ve made these with gluten-free flour—they require a little more baking time)
1 tbls. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Lemon Curd (makes 1 cup)
2 large egg yolks
2 large whole eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (~5 lemons)
5 tbls. unsalted butter, diced
Pinch of salt
Whipped Lemon-Cream Topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
~1/2 cup lemon curd, or to taste

METHOD

  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

  2. Zest the lemons and set aside. Cut off the top and bottom of each lemon. Holding each lemon upright, use a paring knife to slice down the sides, removing the white pith until only the fruit is left. Run a paring knife along each segment to extract the flesh from the membrane, making sure to remove any seeds. Do this over a bowl to collect all the juice. Cut the segments into slivers if they haven’t already broken apart, and add to the bowl along with the zest. Set aside.

  3. Using either a hand mixer or standing mixer, whip the egg whites until medium-firm peaks form. Set aside.

  4. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low, add the egg yolks and buttermilk/crème fraîche. Mix until combined.

  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds. Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, alternating with the lemons until incorporated.

  6. Add half the egg whites and mix to combine. Add the other half and gently fold, careful not to over mix.

  7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely. These can be made a day in advance.

  8. For the lemon curd: Mix all ingredients together in a heavy bottom saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the butter melts and the curd becomes thick. Do not overcook.

  9. Immediately remove from the stove and strain through a mesh sieve, pressing down with a rubber spatula. Let cool completely. Curd can be made up to 3 days in advance.

  10. Assembly: Once you are ready to assemble the cupcakes, cut out a hole from the center of each cupcake with a serrated knife.

  11. Spoon half the lemon curd into a sturdy plastic bag, or piping bag, and cut a small hole in the bottom corner. Squeeze enough curd into each hole to almost fill. If you don’t have enough, you can add more from the reserved curd, just know you’ll have less to add to the whipped cream topping.

  12. Cut the bottom off each cupcake plug that was removed. Replace the flattened plug on top of the lemon curd.

  13. For the whipped lemon-cream: Just before serving, whip the cream until stiff, but careful not to over mix because you will make butter!

  14. Fold in the remaining lemon curd. Avoid adding too much, or the cream will become wet and heavy.

  15. Using a different sturdy plastic bag, spoon the whipped topping in and cut a hole in the bottom corner—a pastry tip is nice here. Pipe on top, concealing the plug.

  16. Refrigerate If not serving immediately. Pass around fresh raspberries or blueberries for a nice touch.

Pickled Hungarian Wax Peppers

TIME: 20 MINUTES; SERVES: 2 QUARTS

We grow Hungarian Wax Peppers specifically for this recipe. If you can’t find these neon yellow heirlooms at your local farmers’ market, substitute banana peppers, although they pack a little less punch.

These quick pickles are delicious topped on any soup, stew, burger, wrap, egg dish, salad—you name it. The perfect amount of heat, paired with a swift kick of acid, is sure to brighten any dish.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds yellow Hungarian Wax Peppers (20 - 30 peppers, depending on size)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
4 tbls. kosher salt
2 tbls. black peppercorns
2 tsp. black mustard seeds

METHOD

  1. If you are very sensitive to hot peppers, wear latex gloves. Wash the peppers and trim off the stem. Slice the peppers into rounds (don’t worry about removing the seeds).

  2. Divide the peppers into 2 clean quart jars. Place 1 clove of garlic, 1 tbls. peppercorns, and 1 tsp. mustard seeds in each jar.

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Pour the hot liquid over the peppers to cover.

  2. Seal with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 2 days before eating. These will keep in the fridge for at least 2 months.

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Ginger-Cinnamon Hazelnut Butter

TIME: 30 MINUTES; SERVES: 3/4 CUP
Adapted from the ‘Minimalist Baker’

If you have a high-quality food processor or blender, you can make your own nut butters in a matter of minutes. Another bonus is that you can add or subtract any spices or flavorings you wish, and use any kind of nut or seed.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup raw hazelnuts
1/2 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
A dash of salt
A sprinkle of chili powder (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 12 minutes, until dark brown—but not burnt—and fragrant.

  2. Remove from oven and let cool slightly—the skins slip off more easily if cool. Transfer to a large kitchen towel, fold over the nuts, and roll them around to remove most of the skins. Fewer skins will produce a creamier nut butter.

  3. Place skinned hazelnuts in a food processor. Purée until a butter begins to form, scraping down the sides as needed.

  4. Once it is creamy and smooth, add the ground cinnamon, ginger, chili powder, and salt. Purée again until mixed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

  5. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Cinnamon-Hazelnut Latte

TIME: 15 MINUTES (not including making the hazelnut butter or milk), SERVES: 1 MUG

If you’ve followed our two other recipes for Roasted Nut Milk and Roasted Nut Butter, this is the creamiest, most comforting way to join the two, and keeps you going for hours with the added fat and protein. This drink makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning and turn on the blender.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own nut milks or butters, you can, of course, purchase them. I love the flavor of hazelnuts, but it can be difficult to find hazelnut butter/milk at the store—try a cinnamon-almond latte instead!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup brewed coffee or Americano
1 cup hazelnut milk, or alternative “milk” of choice
1 tbls. Ginger-Cinnamon Hazelnut Butter, or nut butter of choice
Dash of Ceylon cinnamon
1 scoop unflavored collagen peptide proteins (opt.)
1 tbls. coconut oil, MCT oil, or ghee (opt.)
1 - 2 tsp. sweetener of choice (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Brew coffee or espresso.

  2. Heat your preferred nut/seed “milk” in a small saucepan.

  3. Add the coffee, “milk”, and remaining ingredients in a blender.

  4. Blend on high for 20+ seconds until very smooth and frothy. It should appear lighter in color.

  5. Pour into your favorite mug and sprinkle with cinnamon for a fancy touch.

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Roasted Nut or Seed Milk

TIME: 20 - 30 MINUTES (not including soaking time); SERVES: 3 1/2 CUPS
Adapted from Julia Turshen’s, ‘Small Victories‘

Even if you don’t have a lactose allergy, this “milk” is delicious in both hot or iced drinks. You can use any nut or seed you prefer, but like Julia Turshen, I’m a big fan of hazelnuts. Feel free to add different flavorings as well: a bit of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla, and some of your favorite sweetener makes a yummy Horchata-esque beverage, or a delicious base for chai and coffee drinks. Roasted and pressed nut milks are traditional in many cultures; I encourage you to experiment with nuts/seeds that can be grown locally & organically in your region.

*Rather than purchasing roasted nuts, look for raw nuts that have been kept in cool temperatures—a rancid, roasted nut is one of the worst kitchen surprises.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup raw nuts or seeds of choice (hazelnut, almond, pumpkin, etc.)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Spread the nuts/seeds on a baking sheet and roast until browned—but not burnt—and fragrant, about 12 minutes (8 minutes for seeds). If you hear them popping, give them a quick stir.

  3. Transfer toasted nuts/seeds to a quart jar and add enough water to cover by at least 1” (the nuts will soak up the liquid). Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

  4. Drain the nuts/seeds and discard the liquid. Place in a blender with 4 cups fresh, cold water and process on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.

  5. Drain the nuts/seeds in a “nut milk bag” or cheese bag over a bowl. (Pro-tip: tie and let hang from your kitchen faucet—it can take a while to strain). Squeeze out the remaining liquid by twisting the bag from the top down. Compost the leftover nutmeat or spread outside for the squirrels.

  6. Add optional seasonings at this point. Keep in a quart jar in the fridge, and drink either warmed or iced. Shake well before use.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pressed Hazelnut Milk

Pressed Hazelnut Milk

Roasted Hazelnuts

Roasted Hazelnuts

Cinnamon-Hazelnut Latte

Cinnamon-Hazelnut Latte

Turmeric-Brined Eggs with Star Anise & Cinnamon

TIME: 15 MINUTES (not including boiling eggs and overnight brining); SERVES: 1 QUART (~8 eggs)

Living in Pennsylvania, I’ve become very familiar with the classic PA Dutch dish, “Beet Pickled Eggs”. The fuchsia hue is gorgeous, and got me thinking of other ingredients I could use to color boiled eggs, which of course brought me to: turmeric!

Adding a small cinnamon stick and star anise pod kicks up this brine’s game. I love to serve these sprinkled with “everything seasoning” for a fun appetizer, or make pickled-deviled eggs with turmeric mayo.

INGREDIENTS

~8 “9 minute” boiled eggs (or however many you can squish in a jar comfortably)
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 cups filtered water
2 tbls. kosher salt
2 tbls. black peppercorns
1 small cinnamon stick
2 star anise pods
1 tsp. ground turmeric or 1 tbls. peeled, fresh grated turmeric

METHOD

  1. Peel the boiled eggs and set aside.

  2. Mix remaining ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

  3. Place eggs in a quart jar, and cover with the brine. Let sit in the fridge overnight, shaking every so often.

  4. After you serve the eggs, you can use the brine again to pickle veggies or another batch of eggs.


Recycled brine for Daikon radish, carrot & celery pickles.

Recycled brine for Daikon radish, carrot & celery pickles.

Chocolate-Avocado Pudding

TIME: 15 MINUTES; SERVES: 4

This isn’t even close to a seasonal Pennsylvanian dish, but since I’m a California native, I feel justified in posting a recipe made primarily from avocados.

For those of you who follow a Keto diet, this is a super rich, fiber-filled, chocolatey treat. My preferred zero-carb sweetener is Erythritol because it doesn’t have an off-putting aftertaste, and can be bought in 1:1 sugar ratios. Feel free to substitute maple syrup or cane sugar. Adding a dollop of coconut yogurt or crème fraîche and a sprinkle of cacao nibs makes it super fun and fancy.

INGREDIENTS

2 avocados
1/3 cup high-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
1/4 cup Erythritol or favorite sweetener
1/4 cup crème fraîche or coconut cream
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, or heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
A dash Ceylon cinnamon
A pinch cayenne or chili powder
A pinch salt

METHOD

  1. Purée all ingredients in a food processor until very smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides to incorporate all the cocoa powder. Adjust the sweetness and consistency to your liking.

  2. For serving, scoop equal amounts into 4 small serving dishes or ramekins. Finish with a dollop of crème fraîche, coconut yogurt, or whipped cream, a sprinkle of cacao nibs, and a couple raspberries.

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Crème Fraîche

TIME: 5 MINUTES (plus 3 - 5 days to culture); SERVES: 1 PINT

Crème fraîche is one of the most important staples in my kitchen. This French version of sour cream is an incredible cultured food that costs only a few dollars to make, and has all the probiotic health benefits of high-quality, fermented dairy. The high-fat, low-carbohydrate content is perfect for those following a Keto diet, and making your own allows you to choose organic, grass-fed cream instead of conventional, ultra-pasteurized.

Crème fraîche is particularly useful in cooking because it doesn’t curdle when heated and can be simmered in sauces and soups. Purists may choose to purchase a true crème fraîche culture, but I find using cultured buttermilk to be just as effective & delicious.

INGREDIENTS

1 pint heavy whipping cream, preferably grass-fed & organic. Steer away from ultra-pasteurized for the best nutritional value and flavor. Raw cream is ideal if you have access to it.
2 tbls. cultured buttermilk

METHOD

  1. Stir the buttermilk into the cream.

  2. Cover with a cloth or loose fitting lid.

  3. Set on the counter away from direct sunlight. Fermentation will occur more quickly in a slightly warm place.

  4. Stir every day. After a couple days, you will notice the cream thickening. Once it is thick and slightly tangy, transfer to the fridge with a tight fitting lid. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.

*There’s a certain schedule that I stick to: Every week or so, I purchase a whole, organic chicken, a quart of buttermilk, and a pint of heavy whipping cream. For the chicken, I follow Samin Norat’s recipe for Buttermilk-Marinated Chicken, saving a couple tbls. of buttermilk to make crème fraîche. Once I finish off the roast chicken and the crème fraîche has cultured, I start the process again (and if I have saved enough chicken carcasses, I’'ll simmer a batch of bone broth as well).

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Turmeric Mayonnaise or Aioli

TIME: 15 MINUTES; SERVES: 1+ CUP

Homemade mayonnaise & Aioli are other pantry staples that require hardly any time and have far superior flavor, especially if you source high-quality ingredients. A bit of turmeric creates a beautiful golden hue which is stunning alongside roasted vegetables or grilled meats. Turmeric also has incredible anti-inflammatory properties, found in the compound curcumin, so I try to incorporate a dash or two wherever I can. Black pepper boosts the absorption of curcumin, so make sure to add a few grinds as well.

Many folks choose to emulsify the oils and eggs by hand with a whisk. Even though I appreciate the art of emulsification, I choose to use an immersion blender. You can also use a handheld mixer with a whisk attachment, a food processor or standing blender.

INGREDIENTS

1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup neutral oil (I use 1/4 cup avocado or high-oleic sunflower oil + 1/4 cup MCT oil)
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 - 2 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar of choice
2 - 3 garlic cloves, pressed or mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt (opt.)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard (opt.)
1 - 2 tbls. cold water
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. If using an immersion blender, add the egg yolk, lemon & Dijon mustard to a pint jar.

  2. Mix oils together in a measuring cup, or other vessel that will be easy to pour without spilling.

  3. Blend the egg, lemon & Dijon while consistently and slowly drizzling in the oil. Once the sauce begins to thicken, you can drizzle a little more quickly. Adding too much oil at once will cause the emulsion to “break” and will result in a curdled mess.

  4. Once very thick, add the garlic, turmeric, salt & pepper to taste. If still too thick, add the cold water, 1 tbls. at a time.

  5. If not already in a glass jar, transfer to one and let sit for about 30 minutes for the flavors to meld. Use immediately, or keep in the fridge for up to a week. *The addition of garlic will lose its fresh flavor after a week’s time.

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Frothy Matcha Latte

TIME: 5 MINUTES, SERVES: 1 MUG

I recently fell in love with the bitter, almost umami flavor of matcha powder. The bright green color alone is enough to sway you, especially during a dreary morning. Matcha translates to "powdered tea." Unlike the green tea we’re familiar with, matcha is made from whole, pulverized leaves, so 100% of the nutrients are available. One cup of matcha is said to equal 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea in terms of nutritional content. Because of this, is also contains more caffeine, similar to a cup of coffee. Compared to the caffeine buzz from coffee, matcha creates an “alert calm” due to a natural substance called l-theanine, which induces relaxation without drowsiness. I am very sensitive to caffeine from coffee, but when I drink matha, I don’t feel the same aggressive effects.

This is a drink I sometimes substitute for my ‘Get-Up-And-Go Coffee” in the morning. The added fat & protein keeps me satiated and mellows out the bitterness of the matcha. Make sure to blend rather than mix for the best froth.

INGREDIENTS

1 tsp. high-quality, culinary matcha powder
1 tbls. unrefined coconut oil or MCT oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides)
1 tbls. ghee or grass-fed butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
2 tbls. heavy cream or half & half (or alternative “milk”)
1 tbls. unflavored, collagen protein peptides (opt.)
1 tbls. Erythritol or favorite sweetener (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Pour all ingredients into a blender. Blend on high for 20 seconds and serve in your favorite mug.

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Ginger-Turmeric Sauerkraut

TIME: 20 MINUTES, plus ~1 week fermentation; SERVES: 1 QUART

I add a couple tablespoons of sauerkraut to almost every meal I eat. Purchasing living, small-batch ‘kraut can run you upwards of $8, but making it can cost as little as $1 (and it’s more fun to see it bubbling happily in your kitchen!) I love this recipe primarily for its vibrant color and flavor. However, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and digestive-aid from ginger are definitely a plus. Don’t forget to include a few grinds of fresh black pepper to fully assimilate the benefits of turmeric.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds green cabbage (1 medium head) cored and finely chopped or shaved on a mandolin
1 tbls. + 1 tsp. kosher salt (non-iodized)
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
A pinch crushed red pepper flakes (opt.)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & grated
1/2 - 1-inch piece fresh turmeric, grated (or 1/2 - 1 tsp. ground)

METHOD

  1. Combine cabbage and salt in a bowl. Massage for about 5 minutes until juices are released and the cabbage significantly decreases in volume. *A general salt ratio is about 2 tsp. per pound of cabbage. You want the cabbage to be too salty to eat enjoyably, but not inedible. Add more salt if necessary, and taste often. If you add an excess of salt, the ‘kraut will not ferment because it will inhibit all bacteria growth—good and bad. If you add too little, funky bacteria can infect your batch and turn it soggy or gross.

  2. Once you’re confident with the salt ratio, add the remaining ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.

  3. Pack into a quart-sized mason jar. There should be plenty of natural brine to cover the cabbage if you massaged enough.

  4. Weigh down the cabbage so it is fully submerged by the brine. I like to use Masontops glass pickle weights. You can also use a clean rock or a smaller jar.

  5. You can cover with a clean cloth & rubber band (so fruit flies can’t get in), but it’s worth investing in pickle pipes! (Also available at Masontops). These silicone airlocks allow pressure to vent without exposure to oxygen. Make sure to place your jar on a plate to catch the brine that bubbles out.

  6. Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Depending on temperature, you will notice your ‘kraut bubbling in a day or two. Let it do its thing, making sure the cabbage is still submerged in brine for 5 - 7 days. Taste often. Once it is pleasantly sour and no longer too salty, remove the weight and transfer to the fridge with a tight fitting lid. Will keep for months, although I’m sure you’ll be whipping up another batch in no time.

Smoked trout and fried eggs with ‘kraut

Smoked trout and fried eggs with ‘kraut

Pastured-Chicken Bone Broth

TIME: 8 - 12 HOURS; SERVES: 4+ QUARTS

I’m fortunate enough to share a property with some of the best growers of pastured pork and chicken. This is essential when making bone broth: that the source is the purest one you can find. You’ve probably heard of the benefits of bone broth and its almost “miracle-working” hype. Essentially, it’s the product of animal bones (chicken, beef, pork, etc.), acid (apple cider vinegar) and vegetables/seasonings, cooked on low for many hours. The bones themselves eventually break down into collagen, essential amino acids and necessary vitamins & minerals. This causes the ‘gel’ effect when cooled, similar to a rich gravy, or pan drippings.

After contracting a digestive parasite several years ago, bone broth was the only thing I could ingest without feeling terrible. From this experience, I do believe it has a great capacity to heal and nourish. When I’m feeling under the weather—especially from a stomach bug—bone broth is the golden elixir that brings life back into my being. I love it as a warming mid-day snack with lemon and salt, or first thing in the morning to jump start my digestive system. I also use it as stock for any soup, stew, or gravy. Bone broth is the perfect way to transform kitchen scraps into a nutritious & versatile staple.

If you have a crock pot, this is a great way to put it to use. If you prefer cooking on the stove top, I sometimes leave a pot covered, on the lowest heat overnight, and in the morning have a delicious savory treat to sip on. Make a habit of buying whole chickens (or stew birds!) and saving the carcasses in your freezer. Adding chicken feet is particularly useful in getting the most gelatin & collagen into your broth. Once I have enough carcasses or chicken parts to fill a large soup pot, I’ll make a big batch of broth and freeze it in plastic quarts or bags.

INGREDIENTS

Chicken bones, enough to fill half of a large soup pot (necks, back, feet, etc.). After roasting a whole bird (Buttermilk-Marinated Roast Chicken!) I’ll put the carcass into the freezer for easy prep.
A few glugs apple cider vinegar
A couple bay leaves
1 tbls. black peppercorns
The following veggies are optional:
1 bunch parsley with stems
A few carrots with tops
A few stalks celery with leaves, or 1 - 2 celeriac, chopped
1 head garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
1 - 2 onions, unpeeled, cut in half
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh lemon juice

METHOD

  1. Place the chicken bones/parts in the soup pot, enough to fill 1/4 - 1/2 way to the top.

  2. Pile all the other goodies in, except the salt & lemon.

  3. Fill with just enough filtered water to cover. Add the vinegar.

  4. Turn the heat on medium-high and let slowly reach a steady boil. It’s important to keep an eye on the broth before it boils to skim off the brown scum that will rise to the top. This scum is filled with impurities and should be discarded.

  5. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat to very low, cover, and let simmer for 8 - 12 hours.

  6. Let cool, then strain. Everything left behind should be very mushy and flavorless. This is okay to compost.

  7. Season with salt and lemon juice to taste.

  8. Let cool completely, and place in glass jars in the fridge, or plastic containers / quart bags in the freezer.

Crock Pot:

  1. Place all ingredients in the crock pot, and set on low for 8 - 12 hours.

  2. Follow the remaining steps for straining and storage.

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The Joy of Roasted & Grilled Veggies

The grill is a great option when it’s too hot inside to imagine turning on the oven. But in the Fall, I typically have the oven on for several hours a day, roasting loads of veggies to nosh on throughout the week. Whenever I have an excess of root vegetables, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet potatoes, apples,—anything—I chop ‘em up and throw them in the oven.

Generally, I stick to 4 rules:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Coat the veggies in high-heat oil & season generously with salt & pepper (include other herbs and spices depending on the veggie).

  3. Spread out in a single layer. Use more pans if necessary to avoid overcrowding.

  4. Rotate the pan halfway through; wait until they’ve browned on one side before flipping.

Roasting time varies on the vegetables & how they’ve been chopped, but also on the type of pan, the specific oven, etc.. For more delicate items, I check after 15 - 20 minutes. For starchier, sturdier veggies, I’ll check after 30 - 45 minutes. Oftentimes I’ll mix a variety of similar veggies together, like carrots and turnips, fennel & onions, or peppers and eggplants.

Veggies prepped for grilling

Veggies prepped for grilling

Grilled Tatsoi

Grilled Tatsoi

Roasted beets & sweet potatoes over micro greens

Roasted beets & sweet potatoes over micro greens

Okra skewers

Okra skewers

Get-up-and-Go Coffee

TIME: 15 MINUTES, SERVES: 1 MUG

Summers on the farm typically require waking up much too early to even consider breakfast. On harvest & planting days, I need something to keep my energy up without weighing me down. This coffee is a take on the popular ‘bulletproof’ coffee. It’s a fast way to get fat & protein, and keeps me completely satiated until noon.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup brewed coffee or Americano
1 tbls. ghee or grass-fed butter
1 tbls. unrefined coconut oil or MCT oil (Medium Chain Triglyceride)
1 tbls. unflavored, collagen protein peptides (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Brew coffee or espresso.

  2. Blend all the ingredients in a high-powered blender for about 20 seconds until very frothy.

Chocolate-Sesame Banana Bread

TIME: 1.5 HOURS; SERVES: 1, 9 X 5 INCH LOAF PAN
Adapted from Camille Becerra’s recipe in ‘Cherry Bombe’

This gluten-free banana "bread" and I have a love-hate relationship: I adored it so much that I started eating a fat slice slathered in crème fraîche every morning for breakfast. I soon realized I was justifying eating cake for breakfast, and sadly ended our love affair. But I’ll whip up a loaf every now and then when I’m feeling fancy.

The original recipe is not gluten-free, and is made with ginger & coconut instead of chocolate & tahini. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to make your dream banana cake bread.

I wouldn't categorize this under "seasonal recipes", except for the fact that our local grocery outlet gets weekly shipments of over-ripe bananas and I feel obligated to divert some of them from the waste stream.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup sesame seeds
4 bananas: 3 mashed, 1 cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup cane sugar, rapadura or coconut sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plain, whole-fat yogurt
1 cup gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup cacao nibs (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  2. Grease a 9 × 5-inch loaf pan with butter or oil and coat with the sesame seeds. I do this by pouring the seeds in and swirling them around as I would flour a cake pan.

  3. Mix the 3 mashed bananas, tahini, sugar, eggs, and yogurt together in a large bowl.

  4. In another bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, and optional cacao nibs. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to incorporate.

  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and garnish with the remaining halved banana on top, like an off-set yin yang.

  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 50 - 60 minutes more, or until a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

  7. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before slicing. The loaf will keep at room temperature, wrapped in beeswax wrap for up to 3 days.

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Marinated Italian Eggplant

TIME: 20 MINUTES (plus salting & marinating) SERVES: 1+ PINT
Adapted from Linda Ziedrich’s ‘The Joy of Pickling’

I get a lot of questions about how to best use eggplants. There are plenty of ways to blister, broil, grill, or purée this nightshade, however, one of my favorite uses is raw! When I have too many young, fresh fruits, I make this version of marinated eggplant (drowned in olive oil, because…always). This is delicious with sharp cheese & salami as a tasty antipasto, or in sandwiches with arugula, provolone and roasted red peppers.

INGREDIENTS

2 - 3 smallish Italian or Asian Eggplant, peeled, halved & sliced into 1/4 inch half moons (about 2 cups)
1 tbls. kosher salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 - 4 garlic cloves, slivered
10 - 12 Italian basil leaves, torn
A pinch crushed red pepper flakes

METHOD

  1. Sprinkle the salt over the eggplant in a colander, and let drain for as little as 30 minutes, but up to 1 day.

  2. Squeeze out any extra moisture from the eggplant. Toss with the vinegar, oil, & crushed red pepper flakes in a large bowl, and let sit for another hour, turning occasionally.

  3. Layer the eggplant, garlic, & basil in a jar and gently press down.

  4. Pour any remaining marinade over. If it doesn’t cover, add more olive oil.

  5. Seal and let sit in the fridge for at least 3 days before tasting. Make sure to add more olive oil if necessary. The eggplant will keep for a couple weeks. Let it reach room temperature before serving, because the oil will solidify.

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