Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Ever since I can remember, I have loved the taste of coconut.

My dad would buy a coconut and I remember a couple of different ways of trying to get it open.

One was with a nail and a hammer. I remember drinking the milk with a straw.

The other was smashing the coconut on the sidewalk with great force; naturally, this would waste most of the liquid inside. But what fun! I don’t have many memories from when I was a little girl, but some of the ones with my dad are really good.

I loved eating the hard flesh of the coconut, even the papery brown part. So exotic, yet sweet, mild, and comforting.

Of course I loved shredded coconut as well and this is likely because it was sweetened with that powdery coating of sugar.

I know coconut is a deal-breaker for a lot of people. You love it or hate it. Like raisins. Or olives. Or cilantro. Sweet potatoes. Squash. Brains. Heart. Tongue. Cheek. Okay, so it’s starting to sound like sex and aren’t food and sex what it’s all about?

You know the greatest granola in the world, right? If you’ve been paying attention for any length of time around here, you know it is my granola.

For quite some time, I’ve switched away from canola oil. I’ve tried sunflower, safflower, and grapeseed oils. Recently, I bought some jars of coconut oil, mostly because I found it CHEAP at TJ Maxx and I used to use it ALL THE TIME when I did a lot of massage.

So I bought it to slather on myself after a shower or bath (is that TMI? TF Bad).

Back in 1987, when I was a massage student in Akron, Ohio, I did many hours of adjunct training in Neuromuscular Therapy with Paul St. John.

Studying this form of massage, which is a deep-tissue therapy based largely on Janet Travell’s work, is what, in part, made me a great massage therapist. I became all thumbs. And fingertips. And elbows (more acquired tastes, like brains and cheeks and hearts and tongues). You might not think it, but I used to be excessively strong in my hands. Always folks think men are the ones who give the deepest and best massages, but I’ve never experienced massages as focused and excellent and DEEP as [some] from [some] women. Just sayin’.

We were encouraged to use coconut oil by Paul St. John. I’ll tell you why. It is solid at room temperature. It melts on contact with the body. It is easy to control how much you use. When you do deep tissue work, in the style that I was taught, you want to stay very, very specific on the places in the muscles or tendons or ligaments that need attention. You don’t want to slide all over the place (like lomi lomi or something fer chrissakes!).

Last night, when I made my 20-cup batch of granola, I realized, quite late, that I was out of any oil but olive oil. Well, you can’t use olive oil for your granola, no way, no how. So I made it with some of the unopened coconut oil from one of the jars I’d stocked up on. People, this batch of granola is the BOMB. YES YES YES.

When I was in Kauai, I was treated to a traditional hula performance by a mother and daughter. Apparently, the dances that tend to be performed for the mainland tourists are not true, traditional hula. Historically, the women were topless, just like the men (though our mother and daughter were clothed on top). The dance has far more depth of meaning than appears on the surface with a lot of complexity to the movements of the hips, arms, legs, feet, and hands (maybe nowadays there is more emphasis on the real thing?). But what, white people from the mainland couldn’t handle a native peoples’ traditional dance? Imagine that. Almost like an entire portion of the populace voting against their own interests. But I digress….

I have this photo in my card collection and I love it. I can see it in my mind sometimes. Lots of thoughts come to me. Her pride. Her beautiful poise. The sense I have of her uncompromising posture. You know what I see? DON’T FUCK WITH ME.

Read Full Post »

Before the birth of my first daughter, my midwife gave me a recipe for LABOR AID, a concoction that was supposed to help keep me hydrated and energized during the whole of labor and childbirth. Paul must have made the batch of it up at some point, I don’t really remember, but it is one of the best things I can think of from an otherwise long and exhausting birth (I still haven’t told you my birth stories. Some day maybe).

I have been trying to find an adequate recipe for a home-made energy drink since I’ve started biking again. I tend to be more dehydrated than most people, not sure why; add to that the intense heat this spring and I often find myself thirsty and head-achy even on days I’m not working out. I know I need support in the form of fluids and minerals. I feel it deep down in myself and high up in my light-headed brain. It’s a familiar place which seems to go hand-in-hand somehow with sleep-deprivation, depression, and anemia.

Here’s the rough labor aid recipe I’ve been making of late. My youngest kid, the baker, has the job of helping to make this when I call for it. She pulls out the funnel, strainer, lemons, maple syrup, and sea salt, as well as the old green glass Sunsweet Prune Juice jar from my childhood. And away we go….

Labor Aid or Sports Drink Recipe:

juice of 3 lemons

1/4 C maple syrup (you already know we use local, because, well, we can)

1/2 tsp sea salt (I use whatever we have in the cupboard, but I am partial to pink varieties)

4-5 C water

Put it all in an appropriate refrigerator jar or pitcher, whatever you’ve got. My old green glass jar, from my childhood, is my favorite. It holds 40 oz. of liquid, it’s skinny to fit better in our crammed fridge; it rocks. Shake. Refrigerate. Shake again and drink at will. Enjoy. Make more.

Notes:

Recently, someone told me that Celtic sea salt has the highest concentration of minerals of all sea salts. I haven’t heeded the advice yet, so fuck me. That’s how one gets to be in labor (eventually) in the first place.

When I searched on teh internets, I found that many recipes call for adding 1 or 2 crushed Ca-Mg tablets. You make your stuff, I’ll make mine. They also said you can just drink some Emergen-C as a substitute for Gatorade. So fuck me again.

Sometimes I strain the lemon juice, sometimes not. I like pulp, but running the juice through a sieve makes the process of getting rid of the abundant seeds a lot easier.

I have used this for taking my Fe supplements when I’m anemic. Fe is better absorbed when taken with something acidic, so this drink is a good way of getting that synergistic Vitamin C at the same time.

Here’s a photo I lifted off of google images because it was so much easier than taking a photo of my own bottle. When Hubby and I used to go on road trips, I’d make up a big batch of raspberry iced tea and put it in one of these jars, oh god, that was good stuff! I used to have a clear glass bottle and a brown one, too. I think my mom still has another green one like this. You can find them at antique malls and junk shops. Of course, the lid on mine has been replaced, the old ones are usually rusted. I think baby food jar lids fit. My current bottle has a lid from maraschino cherries which makes a mind-blowing combination of childhood glass memories.

I could tell a story about how one of my green glass bottles broke one winter. It involves hot coffee, about 8 inches of snow on the back porch, my eager scientific mind, and my desire for my frozen-blended coffee drink double-fast.

Anyway, let me know what you think and feel free to share your own recipes. I’ll be waiting! Love, twinkly

Read Full Post »

I prefer the Oxford comma

I know it’s not rocket science to troll the blogosphere for stupid products* which sound teenage-funny to Americans, but after one batch of ramen noodles, you are likely still hungry and need to follow up with another. You are a slut after all.

*I didn’t look for this. Someone deposited it directly into my inbox. I’m an errand girl sent by grocery clerks.

Read Full Post »

When I was a kid back in Farmington, Michigan, I copied this recipe from a cookbook in the school library. The book was called “Cook-In” as far as my records indicate. I have looked for that cookbook high and low my whole life and even now, with the internet, to no avail.

We moved from Michigan to Ohio when I was in the middle of 4th Grade, so that is a lot of years that I’ve made this bread because, now, as you know, I’m in the 107th Grade. God am I smart!

Here’s the recipe:

2C flour (I use half white, half whole wheat, to make it a bit more wholesome)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 C unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 C sugar (I use less–3/4 C)
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 C ripe, mashed bananas (2-3)
1/2 C crunchy peanut butter (I use more–3/4 C+)

Remove butter and eggs from fridge 1 hour before using
Grease a 9″x 5″x 4″ loaf pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar, adding sugar gradually. Add egg and blend well. Add bananas and peanut butter.
Add dry ingredients to wet in 2 or 3 mixes.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake appx 45 minutes (it is such a moist bread that it will take more like an hour, my pets). Test for doneness until toothpick comes out dry from the center of loaf.

EAT WITH BUTTER, WARM, IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU! DEELICIOUS! But it is very crumbly so exhibit caution when toasting in a traditional toaster…

Note: I never make a single batch of this, but rather double or triple the recipe so I can freeze it for future munchin’ (remember I don’t care much for baking, so I like to maximize my labor if I bake at all). Makes a great breakfast bread.

Other info:

I am not a fan of a traditional banana nut bread. I don’t like an overwhelming banana flavor. I also don’t like walnuts (though they are very good for you) and walnuts are the nuts one finds in most banana breads.

The other recipe I make is from Molly Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook. The ORIGINAL edition is the one I love. Her banana nut bread recipe is CRAZY! It has everything in it but heroin–strong brewed coffee, grated orange rind, sesame seeds to line the baking pans. I also make it with half whole wheat/half white flour and you’d think an old hippie like Katzen would have that in her book, but she doesn’t. I use almonds as the nuts for that bread and I don’t add in evil overpowering nutmeg, but you could, ’cause it’s as expensive as heroin.

Molly Katzen’s recipe makes an amazing banana nut bread and does not taste overwhelmingly like bananas.

Now? GO BAKE!

I like how the banana up there is sort of reclining and showing itself off. Not really phallic, but sexy nonetheless.

Read Full Post »

Butternut squash is an old staple crop here in the Valley, but in attempting to research it on the web, I couldn’t get a clear history (time to ply Farmer Dan for answers). Squash was part of a traditional Three Sisters garden. When my kids were each in 3rd Grade at their school, they planted a Three Sisters garden. Awesome.

You see field after field of butternut all along the Connecticut River. I know the pumpkin crop in New England was heavily damaged due to Hurricane Irene; I’m not as sure about the butternut squash. You see truckloads piled high traveling hither, thither, and yon on the roads around here. I haven’t really noticed this year.

It’s been damp and cloudy for days. I feel like I’m in Ohio except for those wild animals that were running around over there last week. Hubby and I discussed our memories, from about 20 years ago, of living in Kent and reading for weeks about someone in Rootstown who had a wild-animal farm where some little kid got attacked by a tiger. Claims of safety ensued, lawsuits and debates followed. At least I think it was Rootstown. Anybody else remember this?

In this week’s Thankful Thursday, I wrote about homemade veggie stock. I’m simply too lazy to write up a veggie stock prescription right now, but it would make logical sense to have your veggie stock ready before you cook this. Also, in keeping with being NON-CANDY-ASS, you’ll want to have soaked about a cup (or slightly less) of white beans the night before so they’re ready to go for adding to this soup.

Here comes a recipe for one of my favorite soups of all time. FAVORITE OF ALL TIME! That’s a bold statement:

Kale, Butternut Squash, and White Bean Soup                                                                                                                                     from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin

1/3 C olive oil
2 large onions, diced
10 C vegetable stock
1 C finely diced canned tomatoes, with liquid
2 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced, appx 2 C
2 C cooked or canned white beans, well rinsed
1/2 lb. kale, shredded
grated parmagiano-reggiano

1. Heat oil in stockpot. Add onions and cook until tender.
2. Stir in stock, tomatoes, rosemary, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Add squash and simmer. Cook 30 minutes until squash is tender.
3. Add beans and kale, cook 15 minutes and serve with cheese.

NOTES: I make this soup in all manner of batches and sizes, usually doubling it or more. The quantities of ingredients are very forgiving. Sometimes I use fresh tomatoes to no detriment, or of course (NOT CANDY-ASS ALERT) the ones I’ve roasted and frozen from the summer crop. I also sometimes use spinach over kale. Just a softer texture, not so much for the flavor. It freezes well and is a great fall soup when the crops are all in. If I use fresh rosemary, I add it toward the end of cooking. I always use my own veggie stock which I highly recommend over store-bought or bouillon.

The recipe was given to me by an old Kent friend, Abby Greer. She made it at a Play Group Christmas Party in 1998. Warm memories and post-partum depression.

For musical accompaniment, you could play “Beautiful Soup” from some manifestation of Alice in Wonderland, the best one being Gene Wilder singing it from a somewhat charming 1990’s TV movie. Or you could listen to this which seems to fit my mood today and the weather we’ve had of late, even though the video was shot in the spring.

Read Full Post »

Kale, how do I love thee?

One, you start with the letter K. Not many vegetables can make that claim (kohlrabi?).

When I was anemic (severely), you called to me, for you are full of iron. Fe on the periodic table, from the Latin, ferrum, meaning, well, iron.

The most common nutritional deficiency in the world? Lack of iron.

The most abundant element on earth? Iron.

Why do you need iron in your body? So your red blood cells can carry oxygen (O). You need 4 Fe molecules per erythrocyte in order to carry one molecule of O2. This is why anemic folks get out of breath (at least I did).

Wait a minute, twinkly, is this the same iron that we see rusting on playground fences and garden tools?

HELL YES! Would I lie to you?

What do you need to absorb iron so your red blood cells can carry oxygen? Something acidic (lemon or orange juice work well). What can interfere with Fe absorption? Among other things, calcium (Ca). The particulars of this get pretty tricky so if you are interested, you should do some of your own research.

What form of iron do humans most successfully absorb? Heme iron, found in red meat, especially liver, also oysters. You can eat a lot of kale and it will help, but it won’t get you out of a severe anemia.

Kale is in the brassica family. It is a cabbage or cruciferous vegetable, named for the shape of the leaves at its base. You can therefore feel virtuous for eating cabbages, getting to the crux of the matter, as it were.

Here’s my basic kale recipe and how I cook my kale almost always, though I do put it in soups and frittatas and egg-and-cheese strata. Me and the mister just love it this way and I think you will, too:

Get yourself a bunch of lacinito kale (aka dinosaur, Tuscan, or black kale)

But twinkly, can’t I use another kind of kale?

NO. This is my blog and you will do as I say and cook as I do.

Here’s why–

the lacinito kale is beautiful and dark, dark green. Its leaves are firmer than the other varieties of kale. It is darker green, so, even though I’m making this up, it stands to reason that it’s higher in vitamin A and all of the B-complex vitamins. It cooks up crunchier than other kale because it’s leaves are so dang firm. No soggy crap!

That tough stem that all kale recipes tell you to remove? You can leave it. You can leave it in all varieties of kale, but especially with the lacinito kale. Yes, you can trim it at the bottom if it is a 1/4 inch or more wide, but leave the rest.

Okay, back to the recipe:

Ingredients:

appx 1 lb fresh lacinito kale, trimmed at the bottom

appx 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil (you already know your fats should be organic)

garlic, at least 3 cloves (I like the hard-necked garlic when it’s available) ready for a garlic press

half a lemon

some toasted sesame oil and don’t use the Trader Joe’s stuff because it doesn’t have a shaker-top and it’s not too flavorful to boot

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

good set of metal cooking-tongs (you won’t be using a non-stick pan, right me maties?)

Method:

Grab your big bunch o’ kale

Rinse the leaves. Usually kale is pretty clean of dirt, but sometimes does have some little bugs

After rinsing, leave the leaves full of those beautiful, silvery dew drops of water

Cut your kale into a chiffonade. Use a really good, sharp knife–not serrated,’kay?

(chiffonade is French, but your knife should probably be German)

You don’t have to cut it super-fancy thin, but about 1/8″ is good. You’ll need to cut narrow across, not length-wise

Heat about a TBSP of evoo in a large pan on medium heat, or if your stove gets really hot (I have electric, sorry purists), turn that down a notch. Don’t use a non-stick pan because a. Teflon will kill you (the fumes can kill a bird) and leach icky endocrine-disruptors and hormone mimicers into everything and into everyone’s gonads, even fish and especially amphibians and b. your kale will not sear properly and have a tiny crunch to it.

If you are anemic (menstruating ladies, take heed), you can use a cast-iron pan for extra iron

When your oil has a bit of a sheen on it, throw in the kale. It will sizzle and pop. Take a step back and let the dew do its magic.

While the kale steams a bit in the pan, take your garlic cloves and crush them in a garlic press (I DO sometimes slice my garlic, but I prefer the crushed in this recipe). Throw the garlic onto the kale.

Grab up a tong-full of kale and turn it in the pan a few times. Do this until all of the kale gets a turn: fair is fair. The garlic needs to be distributed evenly.

Grab your half-a-lemon and squeeze some of that baby into your pan. Sizzle, sizzle. Do your guests like a lot of lemon? Use more juice. Keep grabbing up the kale and turning it in the pan.

Take the toasted sesame oil and shake shake shake it onto the kale. Now you can also shake your booty. Put on some James Brown. Now you’re cookin’! Maybe five shakes should do the trick. It’s really a matter of preference.

You can put a pinch or so of sea salt (appx 1/4 tsp) onto the kale and grind some pepper on there, too. Salt seems to go pretty far on kale, not sure why, so don’t overdo it; you can always add more after a taste-test.

That’s about all. I like the kale to have a lot of crunchiness and some signs of searing, but I don’t like it to lose its bright hue. You can cook it so it has no searing or you can cook the living hell out of it like our parents’ generation seemed to do to all green veggies.

HIT IT AND QUIT IT!

Would I lie to you?

photo: ©kgfarthing2011

Read Full Post »

Last week, I mentioned not only my love for arugula, but also my love for it with a fine, homemade vinaigrette.

I have been making my own dressings for a long, long time, just like you. About 2 years ago, I sampled this version on a friend’s spring arugula and I have not made another type of dressing since. Call it sad, call it funny, call me dull, call me silly, but every time I have the slightest inkling of making another vinaigrette, I default to this instead.

This recipe came to me from the great Lara Radysh. As usual, I’ve tweaked it to be a wee bit twinkly.

Lara Radysh’s Balsamic Vinaigrette (with a few meanderings into twinkly-dom)

2 TBSP prepared mustard

1/2 tsp tamari

3 cloves fresh, crushed garlic

3/4 C balsamic vinegar

2 tsp real maple syrup (no fake crap!)

1 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil (hereafter referred to as evoo)

1/2 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Look, I know you’re smart. You can stop right here and just do what you will with the above ingredients. You’ve made dressing before.

On the other hand, here you are, so let’s do it twinkly-style:

You already know about using all good and fresh ingredients, right? Your fats (oils) should be organic, but maybe I’ll post on that later. I’ve switched to organic evoo in the last couple of years and for the most part I stick with that. I am not wealthy, so I don’t go crazy with the evoo, but I do get organic whenever it’s on sale. I really stock up, as you can imagine, because we go through the stuff like mad. You can even find organic evoo at Marshall’s, but it’s not vetted like the American brands, so I don’t know. Maybe it’s not really organically grown. Just don’t put too many fats with pesticides in your body because fat likes to hold on to chemicals.

I try to use the balsamic vinegar that was taste-tested as the best by Cook’s Illustrated. I know that makes me seem like I’m snooty and maybe even more silly than before, but that’s their job, so why not take advantage of it? It’s not even a snooty brand, just Monari Federzoni Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. The price of balsamic has sky-rocketed in the last couple of years (like everything else), so again, I buy huge quantities of this stuff when it’s on sale (a buck or more savings per bottle! not bad). We go through it like piss through a racehorse.

As far as the mustard: use whatever you like best. It should be really yummy. We always have some in the fridge, whatever was on sale. Hubby uses a lot of it, but I don’t touch the stuff. Except in this recipe. I like a stone-ground or a dijon the best, but I’ll use anything but French’s, honey mustard, or spicy.

Now, my doves, even though the ingredients up there are all measured out, the only thing I actually measure is the balsamic and the evoo. I use a lot of dashes and smidgens and tiny pours. You can do the same. Play with it. For instance, you don’t have to use any maple syrup; salt, either. You do have to use the garlic, that’s one thing. It’s not the same AT ALL without that. Or the tamari. You have to use a few shakes of tamari.

Another thing–use a large, glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. The jar I use is an old fluff jar. I don’t even use fluff, but I think I pinched the jar accidentally at a potluck. Who even eats fluff? When I was a kid, my neighbor’s mom would make him sandwiches with fluff and peanut butter. Look, I know it’s a “thing,” but I’ve never eaten one or made one for my kids and I never will. But this fluff jar is great. Don’t use a plastic jar, okay? And make sure your jar can hold this quantity BEFORE you start pouring. Yes, that should have been Step One. Oops.

Put the ingredients in the above order into your jar and turn on some really good dance music. Shake your booty and shake the jar in equal amounts until everything is a saucy mix. Okay, I know that’s silly, but do it anyway. Keep the vinaigrette refrigerated; remove about a 1/2 hour before using (evoo congeals in the cold).

That’s it. You are done. Except that the original recipe calls for “any herbs you have around.” While I appreciate this instruction, and you are welcome to it, I never put any herbs in my dressing. We don’t use it up too quickly, after all. Maybe it lasts 2-3 days, maybe a week, depending on how many salads we eat. I don’t like soggy herbs.

But you know what I love, don’t you? If you’ve been following along here at all, you know I love my herb garden. I love to put any number of different fresh herbs right in with the greens before tossing with the vinaigrette.

I will tell you that my favorite herb, fresh out of my front garden bed, is tarragon. This year, the tarragon is out-of-this-world, the best it’s ever been. It’s huge and full and green and delicious, enough to make me think I may secretly be French. I add a few chopped chives sometimes and also lemon thyme. Those are my favorites. Not much for other herbs in a salad. But sometimes I add some nasturtium leaves and petals. But always put the flower petals on after you toss the salad, right? Yes. Pansies and violets are fun. You can use violet leaves in the spring, they are quite good for you. Don’t forget the arugula if it’s in season. That’s where this all came from. Arugula that’s not local and in-season does not compare, my pets. Fresh arugula too is “out-of-this-world.” Maybe that’s why they call it rocket.

Now I’m gonna use a stock photo of the tarragon because it’s late and it’s the new moon and dark in the garden. Tarragon is in the artemesia family, full of mystery and medicine, ruled by Diana (the moon, again). Did you know that if you look up an herb like tarragon on Google images, you’ll find all kinds of amazing recipes? I am salivating already.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »