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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Lowly Lentils

Lentil Stew

Today is going to be one of those days when I know that I am going to be busy.  I also know that I do not have a meal planned for lunch and I am getting a late start.  Often on days like this I fix a pan of lentils.  I find that a lot of Americans do not know what lentils are and fewer eat them.  One friend says she dislikes the texture, while another only eats beans that are sweet, and others simply just do not like the color. 

Lentils come in various colors; red, yellow, brown, and green.  While there may be a variance in flavor, for me it is not significant enough for me to pay the higher price for the fancy colors.  Lentils are a legume so thus have all the nutrients of such.  Unlike other legumes, they do not require a long soaking period to break out the phytic acid.

I usually soak my lentils for about 45 minutes before I cook them. This is more to speed up the cooking process than anything. Like all beans they need to be washed and rinsed well before being put on to soak.  But soaking is not necessary so if you do not want to take the time just rinse and put them in your pan.

Most people who eat lentils usual follow some kind of Middle Eastern recipe, partly because this is where the recipes come from.  Many people believe that the Red Stew that Esau served Jacob was a pot of red lentils, and it could very well have been. 

While I usually vary the stuff I put into lentils there are some basic ingredients that I almost always use.  Lentils (1lb), celery (1 stalk), carrots (2), onion (1 med), garlic (2-3 cloves) salt, paprika, and white pepper (to taste).  Some times like today I will add tomatoes (1-2 cups)  because I have some that need to be used up.  And because it is chilly outside I will probably add in some fresh jalapeno and cummin (to taste) for a Mexican flavor.  (Any time you use cumin, lime enhances the flavor.)  Oh yes, because I have extra chicken stock I will cook them in stock but even that is not necessary yet it does seem to enhances the texture a bit so I highly recommend it.  And because I am making this as a soup/one pot meal, I will add in some meat.  This can be leftover beef or pork or ground beef or pork.  Before I serve it I will toss in some scallions and parsley (only because I have some they add color and texture). 

I would be remiss if I did not mention that my children love to top their lentils with sour cream…but we don’t have any today so that is just going to be too bad, so sad for them.   That is kind of the way with lentils, you can add and subtract from the recipe and still come out with an inexpensive, relatively easy yet nourishing meal.

Before we started on GAPS we would often use lentils as burrito stuffing and found it quite agreeable.  So they can be smashed up and made up like refried beans and are very good with salsa and sour cream on top. 

If hummus is your thing, try making it out of lentils.  You could take the above recipe and subtract the meat, grind it all up in a food processor toss in, extra garlic, and a little olive oil.   But that should be a topic for another day….

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Lentils

 

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Mustard Honey Wings

Wow, what a day it has been!  We processed 18 chickens today and we are ready for a light and entertaining evening.  Tuesday night has become our family night.  We view very little tv but we are NCIS fans, possibly because these shows have a military connection or maybe just because the story lines are good. But mostly because we have a couple of grown children studying the art of scriptwriting and filmmaking. These two shows are a good study in what works.

Our family night has turned into a special evening to include out of the ordinary foods and a more relaxed snacking kind of meal. 

And since I had an extra chicken wing or two, I decided to make them this evening’s meal.   Since we had a tomato based lunch I didn’t want to do anything with tomatoes.  Nor did I have time to marinade the wings…So I decided to make a mustard sauce.   I don’t think I can give you a recipe but I can tell you what I did. 

I took a bowl and scooped in a big clump of mustard, poured in some honey to just barely sweeten the mustard, poured in a little kefir whey, tossed in the following paparika, ground sage, ground rosemary, onion power, garlic powder, ground ginger, salt and pepper.  I stirred it all together, tasted it and decided it was just right.  Then I poured it over the wings, popped them in the oven at 350 and walked out of the kitchen.  

GAPS/SCD approved wings, a family night snack food and a glass of wine.  Thus we shall call it a day!!

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Making Kraut

Fermenting Kraut

 A better part of the day was spent in making Kraut.  I harvested several cabbages the other day so today’s chore was cleaning and chopping, smashing and packing kraut jars.  When all was said and done I ended up with exactly 4 gallons!!  I will put it in the basement and forget about it until much later.

I have been making lacto-fermented kraut for years now.  The recipe is found all over the internet and in several books so no need to duplicate that information here. As I have said in a previous post, I am not one to follow recipes very well.  But when I first started making kraut I was so afraid that I was going to do something wrong and eat spoiled food.  Since then, I have learned a good deal about fermenting. I am fearless now when it comes to lacto-fermenting.   If you have never played around with this wonderful way to preserve foods you are missing out on the fun and health benefits.

Kraut is like a good science experiment and you get to eat it too. Watching the fermentation process work is fascinating.  I have let jars of kraut sit for two years until the fermentation process is totally complete.  Kraut at this stage is safe to eat and very tasty.  By the time it has quit working the cabbage is very tender as if cooked yet darker in color.  Darling Hubby and child #3 likes it this way particularly cooked up with onions and butter.

I am still all excited about something that I learned last year when making up my fall harvest of kraut.  Because we always have excess whey from our kefir I went to using more whey and less salt. The kraut quits working before it gets to that “fully cooked” texture. Also it does not darken.  But the best part is that it tastes better, less salty.  I have gone to doing this with more of my veggies and we are very pleased with the outcome. 

Fermentation has become a great hobby of mine…and with that I must be off to another project. Salsa!

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Fermented Foods

 

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Baked Beans

My family loves beans and we have eaten them regularly for years as a means to stretch our food budget.  So imagine our horror when all of our favorites showed up on the banned food list and left us with Navy Beans which are our least favorite.  (I will write on limas another day.)   What was the cook to do??

Navy beans just do not taste like pintos or red beans.  When push came to shove we could live without the corn chips and tortillas in our Mexican food but doing without pinto beans really put a damper on our love for this particular ethic food group.

I am not one to give up easily when it comes to food preparation.  So I went in search of Navy Bean recipes, something that did not give us a watered down pot of white bean goo. I am notorious for not following a recipe but I do own a cookbook or two, usually ones that are dated prior to microwaving instructions.    I found the following in a couple of books.  This is my GAPS/SCD approved version.

Baked Beans
2 lbs wash well to remove any dirt and then soak overnight (or up to 24 hours)  1 large chopped onion, **1 pound of bacon/fatback, 1 cup of honey, 1 tbsp of dry mustard, 1/4 tsp of ground ginger, 2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp of black pepper

**one can eliminate the bacon or fatback and use a 1/4 cup of any GAPS approved oil-lard or butter being the best!**

After your beans have soaked rinse them well. In the bottom of a crock pot put in all of the ingredients and pour the beans over the top.  Cover with water.  Once your crock pot gets hot turn down on low and cook for 6-12 hours. (This can also be done in the oven baking at 250)  The longer they cook the darker the beans will get.  I soak the beans one day (24 hrs) and then put them in the crock pot at night and in the morning I have a pot of beans that can be used several ways.

Of course these are baked beans but they make terrific refried beans. There are two ways to do this… #1 heat an iron skillet then add oil (this process helps keep the beans from sticking horribly)  Put in the beans and cover for a minute or two warming  them until they are hot  (if needed add a little splash of water/stock).  I then take a wooden spoon and stir them vigorously until they are somewhat smooth (I like my refried beans with some bean texture.)  #2 you can take the hot beans out of the crock pot and put them in your mixer, splash in a bit of hot stock and blend until smooth.

Cover with cheese and you have the beginnings for a good Mexican meal!!

Refried Beans!!

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in Beans, Crock Pot

 

Quick and Easy Broth

Foundational to GAPS/SCD are the meat broths.   When an entire family is on the diet it can be a chore to keep up with the desired amount of broth.  During the introductory diet my family did away with our morning coffee and replaced it with a cup of broth tea.  Since then we have added back in our coffee but still have our cup of soup first.

There are several ways to approach this need for a continuous pot of stock.  One can make up large batches at a time and freeze or refrigerate it. (Stock with a good layer of fat on top will store in the refrigerator for several weeks.) The problem with freezing is that you have to thaw it in order to heat it up and some times we forget to put things out of the freezer… Storing it in the refrigerator takes up valuable space. Both of these are issues for me.  I usually make a fresh batch each night while I am sleeping. 

I load up my crock pot with frozen meat, bones, or whatever I am using at the time, add some water, toss in some salt and pepper and go off to bed.  By early morning the house begins to smell like soup and by the time everyone is rising, the first course to breakfast is piping hot and ready. (We eat eggs a bit later on in the morning.)  And most of the time what I cooked overnight is also our dinner and perhaps even our supper.  Three meals in one, that is my idea of easy meal prep.

Now, here is an unusual thing that I discovered. Meat bones can give you more than you might expect. When we cook anything with bones we pick the meat off and place the bones (skin and tissue) in a bag in the freezer.  When we get a bag of full of “used bones” we pile them in the crock pot and cover them with water.  This will result in a second pot of broth and surprisingly some times it comes out richer than the first batch. My oldest daughter speculates that something about the cooking and then freezing of the bones may break down their composition that allows for more nutrients to be released. Also because the frozen bones are often a mixture of different types of meats the flavor of the stock is enhanced.   So don’t just cook them and toss them away, save them for another day.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Uncategorized