Chimichurri Sauce

A spicy Argentinian parsley-based green sauce for …anything; soups, eggs, salad dressing, pasties, chicken, steak, or fish.

 

In a blender, add

1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/2  cup red wine vinegar
pinch or two red chili flakes
pinch or two of  salt
couple shakes of pepper
3 – 4 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 – 3/4 tsp. cumin powder
2 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley – most of the stems trimmed
1 bunch fresh cilantro – most of the stems trimmed

Pulse on high or ‘ice chop; setting – more olive oil if needed – until just blended (rustic).

Taste and adjust spices as desired.

Other Variations:

red onions
fresh oregano
lime or lime juice
sherry or balsamic vinegar (instead of red wine vinegar)
basil

For a creamy version, add:

avocado
sour cream or
mayonnaise

Resources:

Skirt Steak, Chimichurri & Veggies | Feli & Jamie Oliver (herb brush seasoning)

Argentinian-Style Fresh Herb Salsa and Marinade

Creamy Chimichurri Dip

Traditional Chimichurri

Advertisements

Sourdough Starter – Grandma

A cousin, who is just about to turn 21, has been experimenting with making sourdough starter recently. We’ve enjoyed times together in the kitchen experimenting with making different foods – especially salsa.

When a recipe for this just turned up in Grandma’s things (as I was searching for something else) I took it as an ‘attaboy!’ cooking sign for Brennan from Grandma.

________

To make starter, place 1 cup milk in a glass jar or crock (nothing metal) and allow it to stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

Stir in 1 cup flour (to speed the process, place in front of an open window to expose the dough to the wild yeast cells floating in the wind). Leave uncovered in a warm place (80 degrees) for 2 to 5 days, depending on how long it takes to bubble and sour.

fermented flour and milk

*If it starts to dry out, stir in enough warm water to bring it back to the original consistency. Once it has a good sour aroma and is full of bubbles, it is ready to use.

Try to maintain 1 12/ cup starter. Each time you use part of your starter, replenish it with a mixture of equal parts of milk and flour. Leave at room temperature until it again becomes full of bubbles, the cover and store in the refrigerator.

home made bread

 

Here’s a step-by-step sourdough starter making video series by Food Wishes.

Updates:

“I had a slight resurgence in interest in sourdough a couple of months ago and looked up “how-to” on the internet. What’s written below is repeated over and over with very little variation (i.e. maybe mix the flour in originally) in many, many places. So this is the method. My bacteriology and mycology training just can’t seem to settle with this. It seems dangerous. Yet this is how people have done it for generations. ….There was one time when I sustained a sourdough culture for about 4-6 months and it worked great. But it was from a purchased “starter kit.”

“Wayne has some experience with sourdough starter I think. I clearly recall him talking about “throwing it a biscuit” every now and then, meaning replenishing it with flour & water to keep it going if you didn’t bake any bread for a while.” – Jeanette

“Sourdough is a wonderful hobby, it doesn’t take much luvin’ but one needs to keep it fed so it doesn’t go bad and get “ugly” and die. I’m told, though I never tried it, if you grow weary of your friend you can add enuff flour to make a pretty hard ball and just put it away. Then ,when you feel inspired again . you just squish it up in some water and VILOA! yer back in bidness 🙂 What a great friend !! Better’n a dawg or cat even.” – Wayne

“Thanks Jeanette.  I was hoping you might have an explanation about how letting the milk “sour” sets up a fermentation process that kills germs.  Now I know skepticism is okay.   I have discarded sourdough starter that had the “pink, green or dark brown” look.  It probably happened because I failed to “feed” it.  In any case, I don’t like to experiment with my intestinal tract.” – Mary

Jeanette’s Online Research:

I “Googled” it and here’s the link:  http://motherhood.modernmom.com/can-sick-baking-bread-bad-starter-9205.html

The use of a starter when baking bread shortens the rising time and gives the bread a complex, developed flavor not ordinarily available through the use of only yeast. Making your own sourdough — or starter-based — bread is not hard, but it is an act of commitment; the use of a bad starter is not only dangerous but could be deadly.

Bad Starters

Starters work by creating an ideal place for wild yeast and friendly bacteria to settle and populate. If treated correctly, these friendly microorganisms will make the dough untenable for unfriendly germs — the friendly bacteria will produce lactic acid, which will make the bread tangy and the starter toxic to most microorganisms. However, if you allow the yeast in your starter to die, room will become available for germs and toxin-forming bacteria — such as E. coli — to settle in. While many bakers would argue that almost all starters can be saved — considering that there may be a chance of serious contamination — discard starters that show signs of distress to be safe.

Signs of Contamination

A starter should be white, light gray or light tan. It should smell like bread dough, of yeast or of its ingredients. It should bubble subtly and occasionally burp. If the starter has liquid on top of it — this is called hooch, and it is the alcohol the starter’s yeast produces from fermentation — it should be clear, white, light gray or light brown. If the starter or its hooch is pink, green or dark brown, discard the starter. If it smells or looks moldy, discard the starter. If the starter is fizzing or the starter has spots or patches — which are signs of foreign bacterial growth — discard the starter.

Additional Resources:

Lactic Acid Gone Bad

Lisa’s recommended Fermentation books:

click on the image to visit the book’s Amazon page.

art of fermentation art of fermentation2

nourishing traditions fermentation for beginners

 

 

 

Christmas Salad

christmas salad

Fresh persimmons in a salad?  Are you kidding?!

Opening one’s mind and taste buds to new thoughts, ideas and flavors is what keeps life interesting. The idea of including fresh persimmons in a salad presented itself when I attended a supper club meal at Polly’s Paladar. This creation was made with bitter greens, pomegranates, and candied pecans. It was topped with hot pork chunks and served with a vinegrette dressing.

Here is my modified version.  I named it ‘Christmas Salad’ because I first made it right after Thanksgiving – using turkey left-overs – and everyone exclaimed that the colors (spinach, pomegranties, persimmons and mandarines)…looked just like Christmas.

 

Candied Pecans

Coat as many pecans as you plan to use with maple syrup. Spread them out flat on a baking pan and cook at 200 degrees until nuts are lightly toasted (and dry) …..approx. 30 minutes.

IMG_6211wb

Fresh spinach

Fresh persimmon(s) – soft…almost squishy…peeled and seeded – chopped into bite-sized bits

Mandarines – peeled

Pomegranate seeds

Top wth your favorite protein

Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing

 

pomegranate-1076657_640

 

 

Detoxing, Recharging and Cleaning Out the Pipes

Stefan Krause, Germany

I’ve watched many friends doing detoxes and cleanses but was never brave enough to try one myself.  What is a detox? It is like flushing out  slow-running pipes in your plumbing system….except this one is in your body. Over time, our soft tissues and circulatory system accumulates things that we wish it wouldn’t; chemicals from cleaning products, preservatives from processed foods, heavy metals from environmental pollution and the list goes on…

On a scale from one to ten, I figured that my daily eating habits rated about a 7.5. There was room for improvement. A system-wide preventative-maintenance program seemed like a good idea at this point, because I’d clicked over another zero on the odometer of life. Finally, I was curious to find out if I had the willpower and resolve necessary to be really good with everything that I put in my mouth.

I signed up for an 11 Day Clean Eating Program with Zywies (Z ī -wees) Health Coach, Mafer Frantz. In the beginning, I was worried that I might fail. I love my morning coffee and enjoy satisfying a desire for something sweet after lunch.

IMG_6987-lrwebAccording to Mafer, “detoxing at least 4 times a year supports a healthy body for a lifetime.” Her program promises that you won’t go hungry, you will eat whole, seasonal foods and you will have more energy and feel great. Her promises are true.

The regime begins with drinking lots of water! First thing in the morning, a splash of apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper is added to it. For the remainder of the day you are drinking water with unsweetened fruit juice concentrates. The next step is the elimination of some of the things that we all know are not good for us – sugar, caffeine, bread, cheese and certain meats. Going along with every step, Mafer provides educational articles to read about what happens inside our bodies as a result of  eating the foods we habitually consume.

Alternatives and substitutions are where things start to get interesting and where my failure-worry was replaced with curiosity and enthusiasm for all of the new things to eat, snack on and prepare.

At the conclusion of the program, I did feel more energized. I haven’t resumed my prior coffee habit and I have adopted new, healthier, practices that will be incorporated into my (and my families) everyday life. I have also learned, once again, that I don’t have to be afraid of change.

Since this blog follows the ebb and flow of Shared Tastes, you will be seeing my own take on preparing and eating superfoods, more seasonal whole foods and more vegetarian dishes. Many of these are directly inspired by Mafer Frantz’s 11 Day Clean Eating Program.

 

400dpiLogo_14_247x160

 

certificateLISAREDFERN

 

Yellow Cauliflower & French Green Lentil Soup

In my house there are some who think that they do not like cauliflower (they shall remain nameless). When a nose was crinkled at the cauliflower answer to, “What are we having.”

My response was, “Just wait.”

We sat down for dinner, the first bites went in….a pause…

And then the phrase that always brings out my cook’s Cheshire cat smile, “This is good!”

Another win for Mom.

Yellow Cauliflower and green lentil soup

 

4-6 tblsp. olive oil
6 oz. Applegate Genoa Salami (or other nitrate free salami)  [6 oz is a pack and a half] – chopped
1 medium onion – chopped
2 large carrots – chopped
4-6 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
1 tbslp. Celtic sea salt [or to taste]
2 tblsp. thyme
1 medium to large head yellow cauliflower
3/4  – 1 1/2 cups French Green Lentils

Place olive oil and salami into a soup pot.

Saute over medium heat until you can smell the salami (about 5 minutes), add onions & carrots, saute until they are tender.

Add the chicken broth / stock, salt & thyme.

Cut out and finely chop the thick stem parts of the cauliflower and break floweretes into small pieces.

Add cauliflower and lentils to pot and cover.

Let it cook at a rolling bowl – make sure to check that liquid doesn’t evaporate – for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until lentils are soft.

 

*The bold salami and chicken broth flavors dominate this dish making the cauliflower more of a texture rather than a central feature.

 

Sautèed Onions and Chia Seeds over Butternut Squash

A savory vegetarian dish with seasonal produce, and lots of healthy oil for adding moisture to the hair and skin.

 

Fully cook a butternut squash.

Remove skin and seeds, then mash or blend to desired consistency.

Add fresh or dried thyme, cardamom (1 drop food-grade essential oil**), turmeric and garlic powder to taste.

 

In a frying pan sautè one onion – sliced – with 4 tblsp. olive or coconut oil. Once the onions are browned add

2 tblsp. chia seeds

2 tblsp. pine nuts

1 tblsp. (or more to taste) liquid aminos

 

Top butternut squash with sautèed onion mixture for a yummy, warm, one dish meal

IMG_0179wb

** I have a specific brand of food-grade essential oils that use in my recipes.  DO NOT consume any random brand of essential oil as many of them contain toxic filler ingredients. If you’d like to know more about that brand that I use, you can contact me via e-mail.

 

Stuffed Mushrooms – Todd Frantz

 

 

 

todds stuffed mushrooms

 

A holiday treat shared with lovely friends that is sure to become a frequently requested family favorite.

Coat cooking pan with olive oil

desired amount of fresh mushrooms with stems removed

Filling (enough to fill the mushrooms):
olives
capers
garlic
salt
Italian Seasoning

finely chop all of the above – fill the base of the mushroom caps

smoked Gouda cheese – chop finely or grate – place on top of filling

several pieces of mostly cooked bacon – finely chopped – place on top of cheese

brush, spray or drizzle olive oil over the top of the mushrooms (keeps them moist)

Bake at 425˚ until cheese is melted.

Apple (or other fruit) Cider Vinegar

I LOVE it when I can work in my kitchen preparing one thing…and have numerous other things going on at the same time. This one utilizes scraps from ‘other things going on.’

apples

Apples or other tart fruit scraps

1 cup honey per gallon of water

Open glass or crock container

Towels or cloth for covering

Time…

Chop apples into chunks (or use scraps from pie making)

Add honey – stir to mix well

Put a glass plate on top with a weight to make sure all fruit is submergedapples in bowl

Cover with towels (the towels are to keep out fruit flies *see fruit fly trap below) or use a rubber band to tightly tie down a cloth around the opening of the container.

Place in dark spot on counter or in pantry for a month or more…taste occasionally till it’s reached the desired strength
Note: a white ‘fermenting’ scum will appear on the top [this is normal]…scoop it off if you wish…or scoot it aside for taste testing

Strain out fruit

Put liquid in a glass jar with a lid

The 'floaties' are a good thing....it's what turns the fruit liquid into vinegar. Bacteria, air, and sugar create a vinegar 'mother.'

The ‘floaties’ are a good thing….it’s what turns the fruit liquid into vinegar. Bacteria, air, and sugar create a vinegar ‘mother.’

Let it sit another 6 weeks – Voila! It’s Vinegar!jar

Lisa’s Notes:

Like many cooks before me, I have to test my results before sharing a recipe.gift bottles

I experimented with different sugars; concluding that I like honey the best. I tried different sitting times; deducing that a stronger taste will result from a longer sit – but also that the type of fruit used, air temperature, and the time of year that you make it will also have an effect. Which boils it down to – the taste will tell you when it’s done.

Fruit Fly Trap – In an open dish on your counter, place vinegar, liquid dish soap and a piece of fruit that sticks up over the liquid

Additional Resources: 

From The White House Cookbook 1887  – Digitized – Michigan State University Library

“Apple Vinegar (economical and good)
Have an earthen jar ready for use. Into this put your apple peelings and cores if good. Cover generously with water. Cover the jar tight, and let stand in cool place. Every day parings may be added, putting on more water each time. When cold tea is left, pour into this jar and also add molasses to the proportion of a cup to a gallon of water. In the course of two or three weeks you will have an excellent vinegar made of nothing. When ready to use, strain through cheese cloth and stand away. This has been tried with good results, and with a little thought economical housekeepers can make enough in one summer to last all winter. ”

Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores – Mother Earth News

How to Make Homemade Vinegar – Mother Earth News

Creating Homemade Fruit Vinegars – Mother Earth News

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinegar

http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/vinegar-history.html

Coconunt Milk Whipped Cream

A surprisingly tasty non-dairy dessert topping.

whipped cream - coconut milk-web

2 cans full fat coconut milk – refrigerated for two days

several drops almond extract

3/4 cup maple syrup

Using a fine mesh strainer, pour the coconut milk through it.  Discard or reuse the liquid that goes through the strainer.

Place the thicker contents of the strainer into a bowl with almond extract and maple syrup.

Beat with electric mixer on high until soft peaks form.

This will keep  – stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.

coconut milk

Stuffed Sweet Potaotes

This is a family (especially kid) pleaser! A yummy comfort food for a cold, rainy night.

IMG_1434

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Hollow out potato – leaving enough inside the ‘shell’ to support the structure.

In a pan, saute

2-4 tbslp. olive oil
with 2-3 cloves garlic – chopped
and 2 large carrots – julienned

once carrot are softened
add 2 small zucchini – julienned
3 green onions –  chopped fine
3-4 medium sized tomatillos – chopped fine (if you like a tart flavor…add more!)
remove from heat once zucchini has softened

*may also add meat for protein – in this recipe, I added chopped ham

line the bottom of the potato with shredded Kerrygold Dubliner cheese
fill with sauted vegetables then top with more cheese