Pumpkin Spice

October 19, 2014

For this autumn pantry party I made Pumpkin Spice. It can be used on just about anything and everything. Tonight I am making GAP chocolate by this fabulous lady, and topping the chocolates with a sprinkle of this mix.


3 part        Cinnamon Stick
1 part        All Spice Seeds
1 part        Star of Anise
1 part        Vanilla Bean, chopped into bits
1 part         Whole Cloves
1 part         Ginger, already grounded*
1 part         Nutmeg seed

Grind everything in  a spice grinder (except ginger) until finely milled, almost powder like.
Mix with ginger and store in an air tight container. Use before autumn is over.

*I used ground ginger because I was worried fresh would spoil the mix faster.

 More Uses

Lacto-Fermented (pickled) Heart Beets

March 4, 2014

Inspired by the vibrant and impassioned Annie Dru of Lardmouth, I've started to look for opportunities to lacto-ferment anything and everything.  These were fun to make and they're full of healthy probiotics for your belly.

Roast beets at 350 degrees until tender/a fork goes in easily (around 30-45 minutes depending on size).  Cool and peel (the skins rub off easily).  You can store them covered in the fridge for a day or so if you want to do this step in advance.

  • 1 part good Celtic or other mineral Salt
  • 1 part raw honey
  • 2 parts Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 parts whey*

Put the vinegar in a saucepan with your seasonings - I used 2 cinnamon sticks, a star anise pod and a few cloves.  Simmer on low for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and cool.

Whisk in the salt, honey and whey into the cool vinegar. 

Cut up your beets (if you're crazy like I am, thinly slice and then punch out small shapes - I did hearts for Valentine's Day) and put your beets into your jar(s).  Pour the pickling liquid over them and then top off with filtered water. 

Cover and store on the countertop for at least one day, up to five depending on how much you like fermented food.  Then put it in the fridge.

If you substitute a "cup" for the "parts" indicated you should have enough for 10-12 beets.  If you cut it down to 1/4 cup salt/honey; 1/2 cup ACV and 1 cup whey you should have enough for 4-6 beets.  And if you cut it down to 1 TBL per part you'd have enough for 1 beet.

Don't be surprised if you start quoting Portlandia.

*Don't know where to get whey?  Buy some yogurt; line a mesh colander with a thin dish towel (I like the inexpensive blue and white ones from Ikea); place this over a larger non-metallic mixing bowl and pour in the yogurt.  After a few hours you can tie up the ends of the dishcloth to a wooden spoon and hang it up over the bowl (I use an upper cupboard knob).  Let it drip for at least 8 hours (e.g. overnight).  The stuff in the bowl is whey and will keep in your fridge in a glass jar for up to 6 months.  It's useful stuff!  We add a TBL to 1 cup of oats and 1 cup of water every night to sprout them for the next morning's breakfast.  The stuff left in the dish towel is yogurt cheese and there are loads of recipes for it online.  It's a good substitute for cream cheese and I've also used it in my muffin recipes.

Homemade Gummies

We are coming off a strict GAPS protocol and I am always looking for ways to pump my kid full of broth, gelatin, and all sorts of healthy gut-lining goodness.   These are super-easy to make and even easier to remember - just 3+3+3. 

  • 3 Tbl grassfed gelatin (I use Great Lakes brand purchased through Amazon)
  • 3 oz juice
  • 3 Tbl Raw Honey

Mix in a saucepan over low temperature and then pour into molds.  I use flexible ice cube trays from Ikea in fun shapes.  Then put them in the fridge or freezer to firm up.  I like them best at room temperature but learned they will mold if not kept in the fridge.

You could also pour them into a greased pan and then cut into cubes.

Options:  - add organic oils such as lemon or orange (a drop will be just enough)

                - play around with natural dyes
                  (turmeric; beet, red cabbage, spinach, and carrot juice)

The ones pictured are equal parts lemon and lime juice (sometimes I use up to 4 oz of juice) and then grated a beet and squeezed a few drops of juice in for color.  It's not the best photo but aren't they pretty? 

Everything Seedy Topping

February 9, 2014

This is something I have been sprinkling on just about everything since my mother-in-law introduced it to me over a month ago.  It really couldn't be simpler to make or more versatile to use.  I especially love it on sliced avocado, green salads and creamy soups.  Sometimes I even eat it out of hand!  It is quite addictive.  I offer one caveat…..it is pretty garlicky, so kissers beware!

Everything Seedy Topping

3 parts sesame seeds
3 parts poppy seeds
2 parts dried minced garlic
2 parts dried minced onion
sea salt to taste

other add-ins: dried lemon peel, fennel seeds, black pepper…..the possibilities are endless, really!

Dark Chocolate Salted Truffle Cookies

January 31, 2014

  • 6 oz by weight unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 ¼ C semi-sweet or dark chocolate (I used semi-sweet)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅓ C lard, butter or palm shortening, softened but not liquid (I used butter)
  • ¾ C maple, date, palm or other granulated sugar (I used coconut)
  • 1 T vanilla
  • ¾ - 1 C almond flour
  • ¼ C dark chocolate/dutch process cocoa powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¼ t baking powder
  • coarse sea salt or pink salt for sprinkling
  1. Melt chocolate together into a smooth consistency, stirring constantly to prevent overcooking
  2. Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Note: if you'd like a more under-cooked brownie-like cookie, use ¾ C almond flour; if you prefer a thicker cake-like cookie, use 1 C. (I used a scant 1 C)
  3. Combine wet ingredients, except chocolate, by whisking until combined.
  4. Temper in melted chocolate by adding in about ¼ C and whisking.  Add another ¼ C of the warm chocolate and whisk again.  Then add the remaining melted chocolate.
  5. Slowly add in the dry ingredients, stirring on low until just incorporated -- final batter will be smooth and pliable.
  6. You may need to set your dough aside to chill for about 10 minutes in order to be able to shape into balls.
  7. Form tablespoon (or smaller) sized balls, sprinkle with salt then press semi-flat onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes, or until the center of the cookie begins to firm--will further harden as it rests.  Enjoy!

Turmeric Paste.

January 30, 2014

There are so many ways to use your turmeric paste. Too many to list. Remember that it has already been gently heated so you can use it cold straight out of the refrigerator in things that won't be heated. It's also nice to have it for hot meals.

On my blog I have the recipe for the turmeric paste, turmeric elixir, and golden milk.

Peppery Chicken Curry from my all time favorite indian cookbook (savoring the spice coast of india)

Ground Masala
  • 2 t coriander
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1¼ t black peppercorns
¾ t sea salt
¾ t turmeric paste
1½ pounds boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 T coconut oil
2 cups of thinly sliced onions
2 t minced garlic
2 t minced ginger
1 t minced serrano or Thai chili (I leave the seeds, but it's up to you)
¾ cup coconut milk
1 T Ghee
½ halved or broken cashews
½ a lemon
  1. Mix together and grind with a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle the masala. Add ¼ teaspoon of the salt and the turmeric paste. Rub the chicken pieces with this mixture and refrigerate for 1 hour ( you can skip the refrigeration step, but the extra flavor is worth the wait ).
  2. In a deep sauté pan ( I use a cast iron ) heat oil over med-high heat and sauté onions until they are medium brown. Add the garlic, ginger, and chilli and fry for 1 minute. Put in the chicken and remaining salt stirring frequently until the chicken loses it's pink. Stir in ¼ cup of water and ¼ coconut milk, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or so over low heat.
  3. Heat the ghee, sauté the cashews until golden brown. Set aside.
  4. When the chicken is cooked add the remaining coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Stir in the juice from the lemon half. Check seasoning. Garnish with cashews and serve over rice or veggies.

Backyard Lemons - Quick Preserved with Sea Salt

January 27, 2014

I've been looking forward to seeing all of you, and the pantry party is such an added bonus!  It always gives a boost to my daily cooking.  All those tasty little sauces, jams, spice mixes, and treats you provide add just the right zip and zing to anything we already have on the regular menu.  Those little extras take time and planning, so I rarely have anything like them on hand, but your gifts are typically the star of the show, adding so much interest.

A week or so ago, in my ongoing "lack of imagination for what to cook" doldrum, I was wondering what I could possibly conjure for the pantry party that would be up to par for such a lovely, talented group.  I'm not really ever hoping to impress, just send a little kitchen love to some of my favorite people!  My lingering question to the kitchen elves was answered one morning at school drop-off when my friend flagged me down in the parking lot, opened my car door, and put an overflowing crate of her lemons in my back seat.  I love lemons.  I hate expensive, wax-laden, store bought lemons.  A crate full of basically organic, juicy, seedless, thin-pithed, wax-free, backyard lemons...that's a whole lotta' kitchen love right there without doing anything to them (except providing a thorough scrub!)

  ​I've never preserved lemons before, but I wanted a quick method so you do not have to wait long to enjoy them.  I saw a Mark Bittman recipe in which he slices them, but he used sugar. Instead, I sliced, sea salted, covered them in their juice, and vacuum packed for 24 hours, then put them in your jars to sit out.  They should be ready to use.  Leave them on the counter if you want them softer/mellower as this variety is a bit bitter.  Store in the fridge to keep for a while.
They are very very very very very salty!  Use them to season foods and hold the salt otherwise.  You can rinse them if you want.
- Any of these recipes - citrus chicken and lemon basil semifreddo...http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2009/04/the-secret-ingredient-preserved-lemons-moroccan-recipes.html
- Cook with your grains or lentils to scent them with lemon.
 - Chop and add to -
Salad or salad dressing...try them in a Caesar dressing or an herbed vinaigrette...which would also be good over some crispy roasted potatoes
Grain salads...such as Quinoa Tabbouleh
Lentil and bean salads...try chickpeas or fava beans with onion, parsley, tomato
Veggies...grilled, steamed, or quick sauteed...maybe asparagus, broccoli, or green beans
Pasta....simple with olive oil, roasted garlic and maybe some grilled shrimp or chicken
Poached or grilled fish....wild salmon with capers
Dips and spreads...guacamole, hummus, salsas

Fingers crossed they came out right for you!
xoxo, Paula

Tonic Concentrate

January 2, 2014

The articles I read on Tonic said that Cinchona Bark was hard to find, but I found a good source that had it already ground and a reasonable price, Herbal Advantage. I also purchased the citric acid from here.

Before making this I didn't know that quinine was a muscle relaxer and fever reducer. I also had no idea that gin and tonics were used to prevent malaria.

I really love being able to control the amount of sweetness I add to a drink.

Tonic Concentrate (via Lottie and Doof via Tony Cecchini and the NYTimes )

4 cups water
1/4 cup (1 ounce/20 grams) cinchona bark, powdered (you can use a coffee grinder)
1/4 cup citric acid, also known as lemon salt
3 limes, only the peeled zests
3 lemons, only the peeled zests
1 grapefruit, only the peeled zests
1 cup chopped lemongrass (3-4 stalks)
9 whole allspice berries
6 whole cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lavender
3-4 cups rich simple syrup (I made mine from coconut sugar, but you can use turbinado sugar. by volume, two parts sugar to one of boiling water, stirred to dissolve)

In a covered saucepan, bring all ingredients except the simple syrup to a boil and reduce heat immediately; simmer on low for a half hour, then remove from heat and allow to cool fully. Transfer to a carafe or jar and chill for two days. Strain through a superfine chinois or cheesecloth, or by using a plunger press coffee maker. Return to the carafe and refrigerate for a day or two, allowing sediment to accumulate on bottom. When the layer of sediment seems stable, gently decant off the clearer liquid without disturbing the sediment “mud.” It should be about 3 cups at this point (I was closer to 2 1/2); add to this liquid an equal measure of simple syrup, mixing well. Funnel into a clean, capable bottle and refrigerate. Makes roughly 6 cups or 1.5 liters.