Nasturtium Pesto

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Oh yes I did! The garden as a whole did ok this year, but the Nasturtium are going gangbusters. It’s been a busy fall but I had to take a minute to share this. It’s delicious and pretty, and would accompany a hard strong cheese just beautifully.
Blend your flowers and some oil and lime juice and see how much you’ve really got, before adding the rest. The flowers look like a lot more when they are whole.
As many Nasturtium as you can gather, others quantities relative to that.
Papita ( raw green pumpkin seeds)
Raw sunflower seeds
Olive oil
Lime juice
A fresh Garlic clove
Salt
Pinch of paprika (I like it hot)
I also froze some for a winter treat too!

Left Over Hash

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My absolute favorite summer brunch is poached eggs over grill leftovers. Here served with fresh avocado and garden tomatoes. For quick hash par-boil grated potatoes for about 3 minutes in water with salt and cider vinegar.
– warm your cast iron pan with chopped garlic.
– push garlic to the side and turn up heat and add more oil, then toss in drained, par-boiled potato.
– flatten with spatula and wait for some crisping to happen. Turn a few times.
-Add paprika, a hot and smokey one preferably.
– Toss in diced meat and vegetable leftovers. Here I had grilled leaks ( high in natural fructans) corn, summer squash and steak and chicken. Heat until warmed through.

Jerusalem Artichoke Slaw

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Jerusalem Artichokes are a vegetable I just seemed to forget about for a while. Years ago in my food co-op days they were all the rage for everything from juicing to roasting like potatoes. I saw some in the store and went for it, as I had also just read an article about how great they are for your gut microbiome. The possibilities for slaw are endless and raw and that’s why I tend to slaw everything .
For today’s :
2 Jerusalem Artichoke (slightly pealed)
3 Carrots
Juice of 1 lime
A thumb of fresh ginger (also grated)
A small bit of finely chopped cilantro
A Tbsp of sesame oil
Sea salt and pepper
It’s really good. I’m excited to try also fennel instead of carrots and add toasted leek and a sherry dressing!

Fiddlehead Time!

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I always look forward to that day in spring when I get to eat fiddleheads. Usually it’s only once a year. Maybe from an honor system stand by the side of the road- or this year in my CSA box from Enterprise Farm.
Sautéed with oil, garlic and salt they are delicious, this year I added crumbled bacon and tons of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Then tossed them with quinoa, artichoke hearts and sunflower seeds.
It was really a meal in itself , but the lamb burgers we grilled went really well. Happy Spring!

Easy Fermentation!

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 I attended a workshop on fermentation of winter storage crops last weekend and I’m diving in with both feet. What a fantastic and simple way to preserve the root vegetables, cabbage and winter greens you might be tired of eating right about now. I’m already a convert to the health benefits of eating and drinking (Kombucha) fermented foods with all their healthy probiotics.  I recommend reading about it more if you are new to the idea. Kimchi is of course the most famous fermented vegetable condiment and you can also just be making these for the taste.

I’ve got sliced water melon radish and carrot, parsnip, black radish “Kim Chi” going right now. 
The Basics:
-Sliced chucks of vegetables need to go in a brine, grated and finely shredded vegetables are massaged with sea salt and release their own juices to then make the liquid needed for fermentation. 
– Brine = 1 tablespoon of sea salt to quart of water and 1 tablespoon of yogurt whey. Plus anything you want to add for flavor.
– IMPORTANT – Tap water used to make brine must be left out 24 hours so that the chlorine will off gas. Otherwise the chlorine will kill of the probiotics you wants to form.
-The liquid whey from your organic plain yogurt helps as an additive when making a brine to get the healthy bacteria going.
-1 Quart Jar = 2lb shredded veg  = 1 Tablespoon sea salt
This is a somewhat low salt approach and even lower salt content can be used with the addition of a Tablespoon of the yogurt whey.
-Yogurt whey also helps with high sugar content vegetables like beets and carrots, that can tend to go to fast into alcoholic fermentation.
– Pack very tightly with fist into jar so that all air bubbles are pushed out – no oxygen is the key to growing the healthy bacteria only. Put the lid on jar somewhat loosely. Use a glass weight or a small glass jar to help keep vegetables pressed under the liquid, although not nessesary. I’ve just been checking my liquid level every couple of days.
-Put away in a corner where it’s 60-70 degrees, on a tray to catch liquid that will bubble out. Most vegetables are done in 7-10 days . Taste daily to see if it’s “done” for your tastes. 
-Always make sure everything is submerged under liquid, mold will form on anything that is allowed to touch oxygen. That mold can just be scraped away and you can keep going.
– A tip for keeping chunks of vegetables crisp in this process is adding a grape or oak leaf.
For “Kim Chi” Style condiment I grated two pounds of mixed carrots parsnips and black radish, added 2 diced jalapenos, a big thumb of diced ginger, 5 cloves of garlic, 4 shakes of fish sauce and 1 healthy tablespoon of Applewood smoked sea salt.
Massage the veg, minus the hot peppers until lots of liquid has releases, about 5 minutes. Add in the hot peppers and pack into your jar. 
A clean jar is necessary but no stealization is needed as in canning. A great use for reusing jars.
A recommended book on the topic is Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz
 
 

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Make your own mustard

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Now that I’ve made this whole grain champagne Dijon, I will be trying to make all different flavors. Not to mention that a $2.69 bag of mustard seeds makes about $50 bucks worth of gourmet mustard. I used just brown seeds and you can find them at Indian markets or finer grocery stores. I made a big batch so I could give some away too. You will need a large mouth glass jar and your stick blender.
1 cup Champagne or dry sparkling
wine.
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup whole brown mustard seeds
1 generous teaspoon of sea salt
Put everything in your jar and let sit in a dark corner for 3 days. Then blend with your stick blender for about 7-10 minutes. You want the seeds to be just flecks and the mixture to emulsify. You’ll never buy mustard again. Keep refrigerated for months, but it will lose some of its punch over time so enjoy right away.