Category Archives: FOOD INFO

THE LOCAVORE’S HANDBOOK

POST #943
I think I bought The Locavore’s Handbook: the Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget,  by Leda Meredith, by accident – I was looking for books by Wildman Steve Brill, and books on foraging in New York City. Nevertheless, I am happy to have it – I inhaled it in one day!

Meredith is a New Yorker, and she mostly gives information as to how to organize one’s life to eat local as much as possible, in order to reduce one’s carbon footprint – that said, she does give hints as to where you might look if you are in another part of the country. (The basics will apply if you live in another country, as well, but you will just have to find your own way to the resources).

I’ll admit that, on differing levels, I knew most of this information (as I said, I bought this book by accident), but Meredith addresses a number of issues which are near and dear to my heart – I live in a tiny New York City apartment, and she suggests storage ideas that I might not have thought of.

Meredith is not a raw foodist, or even a vegetarian, but I think we are all grown up enough that we can read books and get what we need from them. She talks extensively about foraging, community gardening, CSAs, food coops, food preservation (another topic near and dear to my heart) and home organization issues. In my reading, I have gotten quite a few ideas about how I can reorganize my kitchen and apartment to include more storage space.

If you are interested in eating local or organic, and/or if you live in a tiny New York apartment,  and you want to organize a locavore/vegan/raw vegan kitchen, this is the book for you. It’s really good.

KOMBUCHA & KEFIR RESEARCH

POST #942
I have the kombucha scoby and the water kefir grains in the refrigerator. The Russell James Chef Homestudy course I’m going through now has, just this week, given me a very good grounding in what I need to do for kombucha and kefir brewing. I just like to read up on as much background as I can.

KOMBUCHA
kombucha scoby getkombuchaI’m finding out that I may have destroyed my kombucha scoby – who knew that you shouldn’t put it in the refrigerator. Well, it’s been in there almost a week, and I probably won’t try to do anything with it until at least tomorrow. (the scoby picture is from getkombucha.com)

Meanwhile, I have found two downloadable kombucha brewing guides on-line:

The Cultures for Health ebook  is very extensive – it covers in pretty much detail just about anything you want to know. This site also has quite a few informative videos on kombucha

Kombucha Kamp’s kombucha guide is concise and informative. I like it as a checklist for after I have read through the entire Cultures for Health book.

Yemoos Nourishing Cultures’ kombucha FAQ  has some useful information, as well.

More details at GetKombucha.com What is Kombucha

dried kombucha kombuchananaDrying kombucha – I kept trying to find out how to dehydrate kombucha, but never came up with anything much about using a dehydrator. Most of the info was about how to air dry it. I saw one mention of dehydrating at 105 degrees, but when I tried to follow that google link, I didn’t find anything further. It seems you are supposed to dry it to jerky consistency, but, on kombuchanana , which has some interesting ideas for what to do with dried scoby, I saw this picture where it looks pretty dry.

water kefir grains wikipediaKEFIR
Cultures for Health has videos on water kefir . Their ebook deals only with milk kefir, but it is free and has interesting information (the picture is from Wikipedia)

Yemoos Nourishing Cultures has an extensive online water kefir “book”  which covers just about anything you could want to know.

Wellness Mama’s recipe promises Kefir soda  .

Lea’s Cooking’s kefir article  gives her recipes , as well as recipes she has found in her web research

YIPPEE!!! MY CSA IS STARTING UP THIS WEEK!

POST #929
halleluia-praise-the-lord3

 

I am very excited that my CSA is starting up this week – the first distribution is on Thursday! Yippee!  I cannot wait!CSA WK 1 veg

This year, I’m really going to work at eating more of the things in the box, even if I think I don’t like them (i.e. I’m going to work at consuming more lettuce and chard, instead of always trading them for something else)

Image

TOP GMO FOODS

TOP GMOsPOST #904

YOUNG THAI COCONUT – I dream of a frozen or dried option

POST #876
Many of us do not have easy access to young Thai coconuts, even though so .many raw recipes call for them.   I dream that, some day soon, someone will come up with a way to market frozen or dried young Thai coconut flesh, so that we can all have a chance to try out all of those delicious-sounding recipes.

I mean, how hard could it be to set up a factory similar to those which produce dried coconut and coconut water and coconut milk, to extract young Thai coconut from its shell and freeze it, or else dehydrate it, for use in food preparation?  It would seem, to me, at least, that such a venture would be cheaper, ultimately, than importing whole young Thai coconuts, which can go bad in a short time.  Such a production plant/factory could be established in a place where the coconuts grow, providing employment for local people (oh, green! oh, free market! oh, fair trade!), and still provide a competitive product for sale in Europe and North America (I say North America because I have seen, and partaken of young coconuts in South America, although they were not called “Thai” coconuts there.)

MY THANKSGIVING & BLACK FRIDAY

POST #865
On Wednesday night, I dehydrated some maitake mushrooms (I made them up in the marinade I usually use when I am going to use mushrooms as a meal inclusion – 1/4 C olive oil/1/4 C tamari – I won’t do that again – the mushrooms get smaller but the tamari doesn’t—maybe next time 1 T tamari) Still, they are not that bad, and people who like salt like them.

I didn’t feel like making Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. My room-mate is moving out after 12 years (no, not like that, and I am very happy that she has found a job at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after getting fired for being culturally incompatible with her boss), and I felt I needed to clean the kitchen (her job, which she hasn’t ever done). So, there I was on hands and knees, with my buddy Mr. Clean, scrubbing with a heavy duty sponge (a scrub brush wouldn’t do enough. Actually, I am feeling like I am in that Kafka story where the guy cannot clean enough – every time I turn around, there is grime!)

I’ll confess – I don’t like to work hard, and I can come up with a couple of thousand things to do that would be also useful.

SO…. I now have a jar of cranberry-orange relish fermenting, another jar of jalapeno sauerkraut, and a jar of mushrooms (wow! They really do shrink down! That jar was packed full yesterday!), and a jar of garlic/jalapeno squash working.
This morning, I got up to scrub the kitchen some more (you can’t imagine!). I was supposed to go to the Union Square Holiday Bazaar with a friend at 10, but she bowed out, so I stopped to juice some cranberries (woo! tres tart!) which I mixed with half again as much apple cider (still tart, but I liked it).

I went to Union Square, and looked around (most of the things I looked at would be good for my 25-year-old niece, but I have to get her take on colors and other stuff ; she is very different from the way I was at 25—yes, I do remember!). Then I went across the street and looked, for maybe 10 minutes, in DSW, but I couldn’t get past the rudeness of people who would stop in rafts across the wide aisles and not let me past, so I left, and took a cross-town bus to Sixth Ave. in Greenwich Village. There, I went into the LifeThyme organic store in search of Zukay salad dressings (Zukay’s answer to my inquiry as to where I could buy their salad dressing had assured me that LifeThyme carried them – WRONG!). No problem! Right next to LifeThyme is Bigelow’s Pharmacy, which carries an amazing assortment of essential oils, as well as homeopathic remedies.

Then I went to the Barnes & Noble which has always been there on the corner (but which, I learned today, is leaving the Village on 12/31/12), to see if they had anything I wanted to buy with the gift card I got for my birthday (no go! Maybe because they are going out of business? I’ll have to check out the Union Square location for raw recipe books—what if there are no more bookstores? How will we be able to look at books and decide if we want them?) I did find some interesting books for someone I know (can’t say here… she might be following my blog or something)

Anyway, I am headed for the kitchen again now. I am going to try using the pulp from the 3 C of cranberries, which I used to make the1/2 C of cranberry juice, to make some more cranberry/orange sauce (I expect I will need to add some more cranberries to fill the jar).

If the portobella mushrooms I have in the refrigerator are still viable, I am going to put those to ferment also.
If I have time, I will put up some carrots with ginger, garlic, and dill.

GRAND OPENING: Cultured Butternut Squash

POST #858
Back to the fermented butternut squash I told you about several days ago.

This was “opening night”!  WOO-HOO!
I want you to know that I have squirmed every day and night since I put that stuff up.  Because of the smell the fermenting gave off, I was afraid I had put in too much garlic, and then I worried I had put in too much jalapeno.  I had already started planning what I could do with it if I couldn’t eat it straight out of the jar.  (I’ve never gone through so much agony over a ferment before)

Well, tonight was the night I decided to open it up.  Tentatively, I took a heaping forkful out and put it in a bowl. Even more tentatively, I took a small forkful in my mouth!

Oh my!  Heavens!  Goodness! Woo-hoo! Oh boy! Wow!  This stuff beats tomato salsa in sweet flavor.  The squash is soft (the way I had hoped it would be — easy chewing), and the flavor is …. pickled!  Amazing!  I did not put any vinegar in the mix, but you’d think I had, from the bright, sweet flavor.  The garlic is not overwhelming, and the jalapeno just gives a mild zing.  I love that vinegary taste, for sure.

I combined it half and half with a “TuNo” mix, and ate a big bowl of it.

I can see grinding this up fine and making a spread to put on other food, or sandwiches, or use as a dip.  I could use it as a soup base.  I could use it as a salad base and add some sprouts (that reminds me, I need to make some new lentil sprouts).

Suffice it to say – this stuff is yummy!

This is stuff I could get hungry for all over the place  (and I don’t get hungry for much).

I will have to start a couple of new jars at least by tomorrow, because I want to show off this stuff and give it to my next-door-neighbors, people who have helped me or given me stuff, and some people I really don’t like (must do something to resolve the karma).  They will get the next jars!  This stuff is all for me!

Meanwhile, except that I am full, I would go right back to the kitchen and eat some more of this stuff. It is really good.

FREDERIC PATENAUDE BOOKS: GOOD DEALS HERE and no endless ads

POST #851
Frederic Patenaude books are on amazon.com!

You no longer need to scroll through miles of “but wait! there’s more! Did you know? Do you want to…?”

If you already know what you want, you can go to amazon.com and pick up those books at reasonable prices.

RAW CHEF DAN’S UBER-COOL POP-UP RESTAURANT

POST #844
Right before I left on vacation, I had the wonderful opportunity of participating in a “raw vegan pop-up restaurant” event at Raw Chef Dan’s place in Manhattan. Woo hoo!

I have taken a couple of Dan’s courses and loved them, as well as his interesting studio/classroom/kitchen — I am always fascinated by how people use space). (In case you are unaware, Dan is also the chef at Quintessence restaurant, on of the few remaining raw vegan restaurants in New York City.

I was very excited when this opportunity came up; for an amazingly minimal fee, I got a full meal with four or five delicious courses, a kombucha drink, and a delicious pumpkin pie with butter pecan ice crème to finish. The concept was that the attendees were to help eat up what his students had made during their course-work that day. (What a wonderful way for Dan to choose to give back).

I got there early so I also had the opportunity to chat with Dan, ask his opinion on some things I have heard around recently, and just enjoy some last leisurely moments before hopping a train for Virginia.

After a while, some other folks came along, filled up the two other tables, and brought along new conversational opportunities, which made for more fun. I was almost sorry I had to leave, although I was really full, and running short of time by then.

If you have not done so yet, I highly recommend that you check out the RawChefDan website, and, if you are in the city, check out his upcoming classes. Even if you are not local, you can still get his recipes and make delicious/easy-to-make dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen. Also, do sign up for his newsletter, so that you can receive news and announcements (that’s how I learned of the pop-up restaurant).

ORDERING BALL/KERR/MASON JARS – my ordeal, my success

I’ve mentioned that I had hear that you could order Ball/Kerr mason jars (it seems that Ball and Mason are the current brand names and “mason” is something like a generic name, anymore — the company which manufactures them responds to Ball and Mason).  I’ve mentioned that Ace Hardware has an unbeatable deal (order on-line for a price you cannot find anywhere else, and they ship it free to your local Ace Hardware store)

I went online tonight and located an Ace Hardware store which is on my subway line (and, added benefit, in a cute neighborhood that I would like to visit again, in Greenwich Village).  I tried to order, but the website would not accept my cellphone number. Grr.  Still, they have a 24-hour help line, with very polite American native English-speaking customer service reps.  Hence, I got my order placed in a relatively short time, and will be able to pick it up at an Ace Hardware Store on W. 3rd St. in Greenwich Village, just a couple of blocks from the train which will take me home again with no transfers. 

The cost for my jars is $10 less than anywhere I could find on-line, including amazon.com

If you need jars for canning, pickling, preserving, culturing, etc., or for whatever other reason,  I recommend Ace Hardware.