the kitchen update (2008-2009)

Winter, two years ago in new york: thats when we first came up with our roasted leek and provolone sandwich,  which is basically an open-faced sandwich that will surprise most with its roasty attitude and uncommon approach.  olive oil and mustard seeds: heat them up and almost burn a chopped leek in the oil.  apply provolone to the roasted leek and place on toast.  turkey is an optional ingredient for the non-vegetarians.  thats the gist of it, this is one of our beloved recipes and we hereby pass it on to you, glorious individual making your way in the world with peace and a machine gun full of kisses.

august 22, 09... covelo

Its pickle time of year, and we have been talking to plenty of people at the farmers markets about pickle recipes, where to get nice small-sized pickling cucumbers, and how much to pay for them.  we have been paying between one and two dollars a pound, and are having good results with the methods we have been trying: middle eastern sour pickles and whey (sour dill) pickles.  a key element in the whey pickle recipe is grape leaves, which provide the tannins necessary to keep the pickles crunchy (blackberry leaves also work).  one of the things that we are excited about is the garlic that accompanies these pickles: wow! they taste delicious, especially the whey-fermented garlic...  sometimes we just have to scoop the garlic out of the pickle jar and munch it.  the other day we had some miso-squash sobe soup, and threw some sliced napa cabbage and a whey pickle on top.  we thought we were pretty old-time legit with the japanese stylings, ahem.august 20, 09...coveloWeve never been too keen on thick, sugary tomato sauces; which is about every single sauce that weve ever been served.  the best marinara i ever tasted was at a restaurant in the south of england.  it was thin, almost watery, and had lots of fresh tomato flavor.  the other day, looking at 101 cookbooks, we found a quick tomato sauce recipe which turned out to be very close to our ideal.  with plenty of tomatoes on hand,  ruby was able to put her spin on the recipe and cook what turned out to be our favorite spaghetti ever (and ruby doesnt even like spaghetti).  lickety-split tomato sauce goes great with medium or large rigatoni and macaroni-type pastas.  gotta mention: the leftovers filled a quart mason jar, and they were delicious a few days later... the recipe has a nice spicyness from the chiles so it tastes great cold.august 17th, 09... occidental    These little skillet-cooked pastries are going to blow up your picnic table: blackberries, rosemary, sugar and a little salt tucked into some pastry dough and toasted in a frying pan, dont fail me now.  we call them blackberry tiblets.  this time of year most folks have access to blackberries, maybe along some scenic lane near your home or at your local farmers market or co-op.  sally fallon has a neat recipe for fermented berry syrup, but our hedonistic compass was pointing us in the direction of the pastry continent.  blackberries are heavy with vitamins C & K, as well as trace minerals.  not only that, they are one of the top anti-oxidants in the world, according to our friend Ben Kamm, among others.  anyhows, picking blackberries is its own kind of adventure, so when you get back, pluck out this recipe and see what you think of our latest inspiration.  

august 10, 09... covelo

Squash and zucchini usually pile up this time of year.  its easy to grow and many people do so, leading to an unfortunate number of zucchini loaves being passed around.  in a moment of true inspiration, ruby grated up a few squash and zucchinis, splashed in some plum vinegar, toasted sesame oil and raw shoyu... welcome home, its east-west zucchini salad.  we chose the title 'east-west' because the condiments are east asian and squash is of american pedigree.  it originally comes from central america, where the meso-americans cultivated it some 8,000 years ago.  the name 'squash' come from skutasquash (a green thing eaten raw), a word from the Massachusett language.  the phytonutrient research on squash suggets it may prevent cell mutations (cancer), and the host of vitamins, minerals and nutrients make this inexpensive, humble vegetable difficult to pass up.

july 27, 09... fort bragg

Cauliflower figures prominently in Indian food, and weve often wondered why spicy cauliflower dishes dont make more headway here in the states.  well the season is in for such things here on Tom Palleys farm, and we have been experimenting with a few different recipes.  our roasted masala cauliflower is actually from the Organic Cooks Bible, which we recommend for general inspiration as well as information.  this dish calls for garam masala, which is sort of a 'basic blend of ground spices common in indian cuisine'.  its a very interesting spice; and once you start playing around with indian recipes and spices, things start looking a lot different.  one can usually find it in the bulk spice bins at a good organic market.  also, do yourself a favor and open your nexflix queue: this recipe goes great with a Satyajit Ray movie.  july 21st, 09...coveloWe eat lots of plain yogurt - its an eye-opening topping for a fritatta (we used to eat a lot of these), or on lentils, curry and spicy foods.  when served chilled, it makes an excellent complement to a hot dish.  usually we make a sauce with the yogurt and whatever we have around.  thats not to say that everything goes well with plain yogurt, but italian parsley, chili peppers (spicy or sweet), red or white onion, olives and cucumber will work well.  in the thick of summer, a cool sauce like this can really buoy up the general mood.  so with cucumbers and green onions in season, its clearly time to post our cucumber & green onion yogurt sauce.  we think you've got to mince the ingredients to get a good thing going, so get out the chopping board and dont be so damn lazy.  spices are also great companions here: cumin, paprika, coriander, curry, cayenne, fresh ground black pepper, and especially salt.  the salt does something good to the yogurt that's just hard to explain.  yogurt sauce is one of those moves that we think everyone should have a chance to learn about:  its cheap, delicious and good for ya.  plus, if you serve it to guests, it makes you look like a cosmopolitan bad-ass. july 20th, 09...point reyesBroccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat.  popularized in the USA by italian immigrants in the early 20th century,  it continues to be a mainstay in popular cuisine.  so thats good news.  the bad news: many overcook this member of the brassica family until the nutrient levels are rather diminished.  by cooking it lightly, you hang on to the indoles, the B complex, the calcium & phosphorus... you get what i mean.  but lifes not all about health, so forget all this nonsense and focus on Exalted Broccoli, which is just tasty on a summer afternoon when its kinda hot out and youre still wet from running through the sprinkler.  july 6th, 09...covelo

Lentils are a high-protein pulse, and have been part of the human diet since neolithic times.  they have a mild, earthy flavor thats great for spicing up, and the possibilities are endless.  last night, with a big bowl of sprouted & cooked lentils sitting on the counter, we were casting about for ideas.  then a friend came back from the farmers market with lots of 'cosmetically challenged', almost-overripe tomatoes and stonefruit (peaches, plums, nectarines).  ruby says, "luckily theres a ton of tomato recipes in Claudia Rodens book".  she found a recipe that would combine tomatoes and lentils & i started peeling garlic and chopping parsley.  at the last minute we had the idea of using peach juice in place of sugar.  the persians brought the peach from its native china and passed it on to the romans, so we decided to call this recipe Lentils In Persian Tomato Sauce.  its basically a lentil-tomato sauce dish with plenty of garlic and olive oil, and it went great with the fried early potatoes that we made for a side.  imagine you are lying on the dunes by the pyramids looking out over the nile at dusk.  the temperature is beginning to drop, and a calmness comes over you as they bring you this dish.  for a few moments you continue gazing out over the river and the sand, as the smell of the food begins to work on you.  

july 1st, 09...covelo

Sometimes i wonder if have a girls have a different relationship with food than boys.  one key thing i notice is when girls get hungry, you need to find them something to eat, soon.  they may suddenly decide that they are not hungry or say nothing sounds good, all the while getting more and more cranky.  without some snacks on hand or a good fast recipe, you may find yourself holding hands with an unhappy camper.  steamed eggs and greens (halberg style) is a rapid-fire dish that can feed a whole crew or a twosome with the same effort.  goes well with juice, coffee, gum, champagne, & french cigarettes. 

june 29th, 09...covelo

There are lots of beets to be had here at the farm, and while doing some re-reading of Sally Fallons Nourishing Traditions, we started to feel guilty about under-utilizing this curative wonder.  the beet is a terrific mineral-vitamin-nutrient bomb, but many folks dont find it that fun to eat.  its kind of strong-tasting, and not many people sit around wishing they had a beet to eat.  enter the Grecian Beet Salad, a great side dish that goes well with just about anything.  throw a plate of this on the picnic table and when they ask what is is, tell them you invented it.

june 14th, 09...covelo   

Back from peru and living on the farm... eating lots of greens and turnips & strawberries.  trips to the river, iced drinks and making grand plans.  green garlic and golden beets.  and speaking of beets, Beet Kvass is a great trick that everyone should know.  this lacto-fermented mainstay of eastern europe is regarded as a tonic for its regenerating effect on the body.  once its made, its easy to incorporate into your day; just chug down a little glass in the morning, and one more at night if you feel like it.  so, even though this is a medicinal rather that gustatory recipe, we recommend it.  summer is taking off all of her clothes here in Covelo, and the farm is filling the baskets and CSA boxes.  with gratitude and a hi-five, happy summer to ya.

june 3, 09...covelo

Breakfast, part 2:  oat groats are the hulled grain of the oat, otherwise unadulterated:  theyre not steamed, cut or pressed.  one can picture the english-hating, bagpipe-loving Scots availing themselves of this fare more than a thousand years ago, and maybe a thousand years hence.  so we decided to call our oat groat porridge scottish breakfast.  this kind of breakfast is easy to make, tastes great and makes you feel like you can really get some work done.  if you want to consume whole grains like all our ancestors did, and have a sustained release of sugars and carbs rather than a spike, put some butter or cream on top of a hot bowl of this stuff.  its the necessary ingredients for a long day of whatever the hell it is youre up to. march 2, 09...coveloBreakfast, part 1: at first blush, shoyu breakfast might seem like another so-healthy-youre-ready-to-skip-breakfast-recipe, but let me assure you: its not.  we get a lot of motivation out of this dish, and its mostly from the rockin flavor.  this is really more of a woah-i-feel-like-im-in-south-east-asia-but-im-only-in-my-sodding-kitchen-recipe.  the crunchyness of the sprouted quinoa and buckwheat are a really cool aspect of the overall aesthetic here.  combine that with sesame-olive oil egg, some raw tamari ('shoyu' or 'soy sauce') and a couple of greens, and youre definitely in business.  the grains provide a slow release of protein and carbs that keep you from getting hungry anytime soon.  hot or cold, this gustatory mashup is working.  p.s. makes a great nori-rollup for eating on the subway/bus/motorcycle sidecar on your way to work.february 27, 09...coveloCoffee is important to us (we met at a coffee shop!), and when we make it at home we use a stainless-steel Bialetti.  its small, easy to use, and quintessentially italian.  Alfonso Bialetti invented this great little coffee maker in 1933, which makes a small amount of coffee that is very much like espresso.  we like to heat up a little goat or cows milk and mix it with the coffee.  you get a kind of satisfaction making this stuff at home- the smell fills the place, and when you finally set down with your little cup and take a few sips, a mood of relaxation takes over, kind of what i imagine being a millionaire is like.  maybe youll enjoy bialetti espresso, too.january 19, 09...covelo Winters are short in northern california, but thats no consolation when its january and the only local restaurant has been closed for two weeks!  getting through the solstice and colder months has been a concern of humans since the beginning.  fermentation is one technique that our ancestors developed for putting up vegetables that provide nutrients in the cold seasons (we have been dipping liberally into our sauerkraut and kimchi stashes- more on that later).  but theres more to the dynamic of the winter season than just the consumption of nutrients.  seasonal slowdown can 'get' to people and make things seem a little dreary or depressing.  we place a lot of emphasis on food and the way a good meal can sustain & revive both the mental and physical aspects of our selves.  that may sound a little funny, but when you sit down to a bowl of white bean, hominy and chipotle soup, things start to look and feel pretty good.  thanks for calling.

january 5, 09...covelo

It was a cold christmas and new years here in Covelo.  power outages and frozen pipes can put a damper on a festive spirit, but one of the wonderful things that provided warmth and filled the house with a lovely aroma was our split pea dal with coconut-tumeric brown rice.  more than once this dish turned around my poor mood and caused a few grins to boot (thank you baby!).  dal is a thick spicy stew from the india/pakistan/bangladesh region.  'our' version has potatoes, which makes it even heartier.  p.s. happy new years, everybody...  the ninth year of the century is going to be the best one yet- i dont care what anybody says!

january 2, 09...covelo

Not many people know what to do when confronted with a big bunch of celery.  this is the place we found ourselves after getting it in our CSA box from Covelo Organics.  well, heres your pony- lima bean & celery salad with hot-chili olive oil.  remember our garbanzo-bean salad?  this is the Covelo, CA version... lima beans and fresh celery chilled together with chili-paprika olive oil, minced onions, garlic, and olives.  people are usually surprised by our cold-bean salads, and im telling you right now the secret is mincing.  the olives, onion, garlic, and additional chiles give up their flavors in subtle shades rather than bursts when you mince them.  dont be shy with the celery- put in plenty, as well as a few of the tops.  you might think its too much celery, but once it parties with the hot-chili olive oil it starts looking pretty attractive. november 2, 08...coveloFirst post from Covelo, CA.... we are excited to present our readers with a recipe for ginger-carrot 'sauerkraut' made with grated carrots, ginger and whey (easily obtained from a nice organic yogurt).  the first smell of this!  and then the taste: delicious, vital, and hard to describe.  it takes just a few days to ferment, and its a good introduction to lacto-fermentation.  this recipe doesnt require any special equipment and you end up with a quart mason jar of tangy kraut.  as i write this, a hot-smelling kimchee sits on the counter in our kitchen, slowly fermenting in brine (salt instead of whey) and seeming to become more fully flavored every time we test it.  fermented vegetables are a great companion to beans and grains- it makes such simple fare seem like a kind of delicacy.  not to mention the 'health benefits' which are just about off the charts... p.s. happy halloween!october 31, 08...covelo   Its almost time for us to leave the islands...  we are already nostalgic for the great lettuce, coconuts, bananas, eggs, limes and all the other fresh, local things here.  one thing we have been meaning to post is our raw-veg nori rolls recipe.  as non-vegetarians we find this dish satisfying and filling... you wouldnt think it, looking at the little rolls, but they go a long way thanks to the sunflower seed pate.  we eat these all the time- its an excellent way to consume a hell of a lot of nutrients in a rather cosmopolitan manner.  plus, theyre just tasty... share some with your friends and see what happens.september 12, 08...kailua kona  Last night we went to a party at some friends and brought our spring rolls.  the lights were very dim where the food was laid, and at one point someone said, 'is this bratwurst?'.  i said, 'no, theyre spring rolls'.  anyway, the spring rolls contain mung-bean noodles and various raw vegetables.  learning how to manipulate the spring roll rice-wrapper takes a little practice.  its pretty satisfying to bite into these hearty little rolls, but its the dipping sauces that make the whole thing really pop.  we include recipes for two sauces, and some variations.  come up with your own favorites and send them to us!  these are a good picnic or take-with item...  on a long train ride, having a tupperware of these can brighten your outlook.  p.s. speaking of bratwurst, weve made some great spring rolls with spicy ground pork.

september 7, 08...kailua kona

Sometimes nothing tastes better than a grilled-cheese sandwich and a side of sauerkraut (i like to bypass the butter, dry-grilling the sandwich in a hot pan).  its partly about the difference in temperature: a hot bite of sourdough and melted swiss and then a cold bite of red cabbage sauerkraut.  making sauerkraut is not a quick process- it involves mixing sliced cabbage with carraway seeds and whey and then pounding the mixture for ten minutes.  then you leave it to sit for at least a week, letting the fermentation do its magic...  and thats the quick version.  dont cavil at the task, because the flavor return on the time investment is mad bonus.  but wait- you cant talk about sauerkraut or fermentation without mentioning Wild Fermentation, the amazing book and website devoted to fermented foods and drinks.  once you glance at the list, youll see that many of your favorite foods are part of this category.  the website is one of those rare creatures of the internet: ardent, ad-free, and eminently useful. 

september 6, 08...kailua kona

If youre trapped in the middle of the afternoon, running out of energy and dreaming of coffee or a juicy nap, ive got three words for you: ginger-lemon brew.  splashing some of this stuff down your throat will raise your spirits up somewhere in the region of Mt. Olympus.  its an excellent wake-me-up beverage, providing physical and mental energy.  the triumvirate of ginger, honey and lemon provides that ultimate synergy: flavor and salutary benefit.  serving it hot or cold is a real question, however- because both are amazing.  some people find it too strong to drink straight, so watering it down a little for the Flanders may be a good idea.september 1, 08...kailua konaBecause we dont have access to a non-soy organic mayonnaise, we went looking for an alternative- and found this recipe for miso mayo in a raw-food cookbook.  its one of those things you have to taste in order to understand what all the hoop-la is about.  its not really mayonnaise in the traditional sense, but keeping a jar of this in the fridge allows you to liven up your boring dishes.  its a helluva topping on beans & grains- we havent met anyone who doesnt like this stuff. august 30, 08...kailua konaA recurring item on our personal menu is garbanzo bean salad.  The key ingredients are: chickpeas (garbanzo beans), minced onion, minced peppers, olive oil, sea salt, minced olives (any kind), and minced parsley.  Its a great cold-luncheon item, a good addition to a sit-down meal, or for just eating standing up in front of the fridge.  We came up with this recipe in upstate new york last summer, using these tasty little local peppers that we got at the farmers market in Bath, NY.  Play around with additional ingredients once you get this recipe down.  If you havent consulted our grain and bean-soaking page, you may want to before you start on this recipe- soaking is the beginning of the recipe and its got to go down 'the right way'.august 24, 08...kailua konaIts time to talk about sunflower seed pate:  sprouting seeds and making pate out of them is just a cool, simple thing everyone can do.  sprouting the seeds transforms this humble fare into a nutrient-packed phenomenon.  seriously- people have been doing this for thousands of years and it just works.  this pate is a key ingredient in our raw-veg nori rolls, and you can also spread it on your sandwich situation or dip something like chips into it.  AND then theres this option- chop up a baguette into little slices, broast them in a skillet, and then spread the pate onto the slices.  p.s. a little minced olive (martini, garlic-stuffed, black, any kind... just grab some olives and mince them) on top wont hurt, and it will make you look good if youre feeding this to guests.

august 22, 08...kailua kona

Recently we became aware of the impressive health and medicinal properties of the coconut.  as soon as you smell it, as soon as it hits your skin, you know you're on to something good.  there are a panoply of benefits to ingesting the raw oil, and its a reflection of our changing times that a good, high-quality organic product is readily available.  the brand weve been using is natures blessing... but there are other good companies selling virgin raw cold-pressed coconut oil.  we add it to our breakfast blend-ups, cook with it (curry!), and ingest a tablespoon every now and again on the suggestion of Sally Fallon, whose book Nourishing Traditions has been a big influence for us.  also, its a wonderful skin lotion: anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and a good base for for blending with other potent oils like neem or tea tree.

august 14, 08...kailua kona

Eating organic can be expensive!  one of the ways we keep food costs down is by utilizing that ultimate boon of any good market-  the dry-goods/bulk bins section.  yesterday after almost over-soaking some beans (they sprout and then you're bummed), we made red beans and rice, kona style.  local hawaiian chilies and coconut milk (canned- we use organic 'thai kitchen' because it has no preservatives) are what makes this recipe 'kona style'.  this dish really bulks up a meal- its filling and satisfying.  you might want to have some beer with it.  this time of year the farmers market is in full swing... we have alot of eating to do!

august 11, 08...kailua kona

We're big fans of raw-veg nori rolls.  but, it's pretty hard to imagine eating them with out a goodly quantity of our ginger-lime dressing.  always a hit with the raw-food crowd, this stuff pretty much explodes in your mouth and has a nice earthy undertone. it's good enough to swig right out of the bottle and it tastes good on just about anything, so i make enough to fill up an old salad dressing container.  p.s. it gives you a great energy boost.august 5, 08...kailua konaWe've been seeing plenty of eggplant at the local farmers market.  this veg, a nightshade, is in season & affordable right now but if you're anything like me, you don't have a lot of ideas for what to make with it.  as luck would have it, we recently picked up Claudia Rodens new book at the local library. she is an amazing lady with some great books but a minimal presence on the web.  'Arabesque'  covers three middle eastern cuisines: morrocan, turkish and lebanese, and has some appealing eggplant recipes.  The lebanese baba ghanouj that we made was an eye-opener and relatively simple to prepare.  you 'should' have some lebanese flatbread to eat it with but crackers, bagels or anything will do.  it's kind of like a tasty cream cheese spread, but the cheesy-ness comes from the plain yogurt and tahini.  (btw, its pronounced baa-ba ga-noosh)august 2, 08...kailua kona