Apple season is upon us! I bought enough local organic apples to juice and make 4 liters (1 gallon) of hard dry cider. Very simple indeed but can take up to 6 months to make. I started with 1 liter (what you see here) to experiment with and it looked so good that I bit the bullet and made 3 more. Currently I have the other 3 open fermenting in jars covered with cheese cloth. I added some spices too; black peppercorns, fresh ginger, cardamon pods and clove. Probably going to let them ferment collecting wild yeasts for a few weeks then add to the carboy with my 1st liter and give it a couple months to ferment with an airlock. By Christmas I should have them bottled and ready for storage to age another month or two. I am hoping for a lightly spiced dry, bubbly hard cider. Yipee! I spent roughly 35$ on in season, local, organic apples so that I could ferment raw cider that I juiced myself. Next week I will be buying a gallon of juice from the same local organic orchard that has been UV treated to see if there is a difference in fermentation quality or taste. The gallon is only 10$ so definitely worth a shot since $ is sparse these days :)
Last night I had some new friends at my house for dinner. We all contributed a dish and had an amazing vegan feast. I made my paleo Creamy Cashew Pasta. This time after simmering and softening the cashews, I blended in a raw leek, raw garlic and fresh basil. Tossed the sauce with gently heated zucchini noodles, diced tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, asparagus and fresh cracked pepper. Then my friends brought a fantastic beet salad, delicious masa based “english muffin” and a yummy sweet potato Ethiopian dish that included quinoa, chickpeas, and fresh green peas. As if that wasn’t enough we also had a chocolate silk pie for desert. Not used to eating beans, soy and grain I ate moderate portions of the muffin, Ethiopian dish and pie but boy where they good!
I also made a gin lemonade cocktail that I really enjoyed.
Herbaceous Gin Lemonade:
Using Letherbee Gin I made a mixer as such: 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 6 small lemons), 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup and one cup gin. Pour two to four ounces of mixer over ice then top with bubbly water or bubbly mineral water. Yum! I think the cocktail would really shine with some fresh sage, lemon verbena, lavender or rosemary smudged around the rim of the glass for a lovely aromatic touch.
The spinach this time of year is soooooo beautiful. It’s deep green, crisp, hardy, plump and full of flavor. Im also still getting a few tomatoes in my csa box so I decided to make an omelet featuring these two ingredients plus the rest of my basil that is still kicking in my herb garden. I just made a shell out of egg and then filled with raw goodness and garlic. Very simple.
This was an impromptu dinner I made when a few friends dropped by. I didn’t have enough zucchini to make 3 portions of noodles so I also added a small cabbage shredded. I must say I LOVE the cabbage used as a noodles. Mellowed out the flavor of the zucchini and matched perfectly with the tomato sauce. For the sauce, I cooked a pound of ground beef then added my home made tomato sauce. I was worried that the dish was to simple so I covered with a generous portion of parsley and raw minced garlic. I loved it and so did my guests.
Seasons are changing and my body really needed some support. Using what I had from my csa box I created a super delicious chicken and veggie bone broth soup. Using home made bone broth or stock I added 1 lb chicken thigh meat, bok choy, purple top turnips, celery, carrots, sweet peppers and onions. It’s amazing how my body heals and come alive after eating a huge helping of this. Luckily I was able to make a large amount with what I had on hand so I froze 3 portions to use in the future when I might not be feeling the best.
Hands down one of my new favorite dishes. I canned about two dozen jars of tomato sauce using the seconds my farmer has been giving me. I made a super simple sauce just using tomatoes and basil. That simplicity will give me the freedom to flavor the sauce how I desire down the road. For this I pour a small jar of sauce in a pan and added a pinch of Ras El Hanout spice blend. Cracked 4-5 eggs on top and let that simmer and cook till firm. Served with a side of spinach greens which happen to be super hardy this time of year.
So my jog to the beach is only about 15min and I don’t go every morning but I am getting better at running for the first time ever. (Thanks to barefoot shoes) My body as well as my dog enjoys the workout brief as it may be. The best part is getting to the beach. This is my view. Sometimes we swim sometimes we don’t but as long as we are there early, we have the whole shoreline to ourselves! If I swim out a bit I can get a great view of downtown Chicago skyline. My dog Jinks doesn’t like to swim yet but I hope to change that.
So I have not been coming up with to many new recipes lately. But I have been making tons of tomato sauce. The farmer I work for gives me my choice of all the seconds, tomatoes that have been bruised, blemished or don’t have the aesthetics to be sold. So, I have been coming home each week with 50lbs of tomatoes for the past three Sundays. I have decided to make and can tomato sauce for the winter. Very simple like as well. I slice em up and throw them in my stock pot. Every time I get a decent layer in the pot, I sprinkle salt on the layer and keep going till the pot is full. I let it simmer for a few hours till the tomatoes are soft then blend it up with my immersion blender. Let that sauce simmer and reduce till thick, usually overnight. I have discovered that dry herbs taste best so I have been using herbs that I have dried from my garden along with a whole clove of garlic I got in my csa box. That’s it really, then I can them. So far I have about 14 16oz jars give or take a few I have used already.
I was making whey, for some pickling I am going to do, which left me with some great cream cheese that needed to be used. Couldn’t think of a better way than to use it in a lasagna. This recipe is rough and written while tired but you get the idea.
- 1 1/2 to 2 c soft homemade cream cheese
- 2-3 eggs
- 1lb ground beef
- marinara sauce
- 2 large zuchini
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and cut into strips
- parmesan reggiano for topping
- 1-2 c basil
- I sliced all the zucchini and eggplant into thin fat strips and roasted them with a bit of olive oil in the oven still soft.
- Sautéed the ground beef and mixed just enough marinara to coat and flavor the beef.
- Mix the cream cheese and the eggs. Mix enough eggs to smooth out the cream cheese so it is spreadable
- Oil the bottom of a small pan, I think mine is 8”x8”
- Layer some zucchini on the bottom
- Then some ground beef mixture
- Then a layer of kale
- Then some eggplant
- Followed by some cream cheese
- Next put a generous layer of basil all over.
- Again with a layer of ground beef, zucchini, eggplant, kale and finished off with the rest of cream cheese mixture.
- Top with parmesan reggiano and cracked pepper.
- Bake at 350 till holds up.
Served it with a simple side salad of head lettuce and homemade mayo/mustard dressing.
To continue my tour of summer salads, here is a filling one featuring sautéed chicken thighs and zucchini tossed with fresh tomatoes, avocado and marinated artichokes. Nothing fancy or difficult to make as I used marinated artichokes from the store. I also found a mustard made by co-op sauce that works as a fantastic dressing and doesn’t really taste all mustardy, so I used that too. Big, filling and easy.
I babysat for a few hours and my payment was all this amazing kale and collards from my friends garden! I love work trading and his collards are bar none.
Still jogging to the lake in the mornings. It’s kinda cool to get there and realize that not everything in our life is in our control. The waves were so big, choppy and crazy that I was not going to get in there. But I did sit on a big rock and let the waves hit my legs. The best thing about my beach spot is that I directly face the sun so the clouds and the reflection of the water is amazing. My dog surprisingly loved the waves, who knew. Otherwise he doesn’t like to swim at all which is a bummer.
Whoooo, I got up this morning and got myself to jog to the beach! Took my dog with me and we went for an early morning swim. Was gorgeous and today was the first time I have seen the lake so clear, I could see the sand at the bottom kind of clear. It was erie because our lake is so gross but seemed so clean. I will tell you though, I think I was the only living thing in that lake. I may have been able to see straight to the bottom but there was absolutely no life down there.
Now I am just going to go cook up 2-3 eggs and a cup or two of broccoli.