Radish Sandwich

What is this, you might be asking? Why does it warrant its own photo? This, my friends, is a crucial tool for making my new favorite sandwich.

Radishes, butter, and salt on a slice of bread. You should try it, if it isn’t already a combination that you’ve discovered. (Oh, why didn’t someone tell me this was summer perfection?)

As for the photo, that’s what I’m calling my gypsy butter bell. If you find yourself traveling and in need of spreadable butter, here’s what you do:
-Leave your stick of butter out on the counter for about a half hour.
-Unwrap and smoosh into a small tea cup.
-Flip the cup over into a bowl of cool water.

Enjoy some good old-fashioned butter on bread.

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One Skillet Chicken and Dumplings

Here’s some comfort food for you.

chicken (about 2 breasts or any chicken parts that you like, hacked up)
4 tbls. butter
1 large onion, diced
1/3 c. AP flour
3 cups chicken stock (or any amount of water + stock that equals 3 cups.)
6 or so large carrots, split into quarters
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp salt and about 1/2 tsp. white pepper

  1. Cut your chicken into large (3 bite) pieces.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium.
  3. Brown chicken in the butter and then remove from skillet.
  4. Cook the onion in the skillet until tender, for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over and stir around.   Cook for one minute, until it begins to brown.
  5. Whisk in liquid.
  6. Return skillet to the mixture.  Add carrots and herbs and seasonings.  Cover and cook over medium low for 20  minutes.

While the chicken and veggies are cooking, mix up the dumplings:

1 cup milk
3 tbls. butter
2 cups AP flour
1 tbls. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt

Heat milk and melt in butter. With a fork stir this into the dry ingredients.

7. Gently lay the dumplings on the surface of the liquid. Cover and cook for ten minutes.

Get the most from your gruel

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and I apologize.  Mostly we have just been eating out of the freezer or making some of our winter standbys, which we posted last winter.  I’ve been very thankful for the canned peaches and pears that I put away in the summer (and vow to can twice as many peaches next year.)  I’ve been making a lot of yogurt smoothies from my frozen berries and frozen veggies have mostly gone into quiches, which serve as a good dinner and leftover lunch.

My lack of formal cooking might also have something to do with the dark winter nights but is probably more owed to the fact that I now have a slight addiction to waffles.  Really, I’ll eat them for any meal. I’ve been freezing them in stacks in a freezer bag and reheating them in the toaster oven – it works quite well.

When I’m not eating waffles, I find that oatmeal is a great winter breakfast. I like steel cut (or Irish) oats the best, because they really give you something to chew. However, they take so long to cook that I never seem to have time in the morning.  Nourishing Traditions, a book that I got from the library, solved my problem.

Soaking oats over night is not only convenient but can give you a nutritional advantage. When oats, or any grain soak over night with a little bit of dairy, you can feel confident that you’re getting the most out of your grain.

All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc.. ..and block their absorption.. .. Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid.

Also,

During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.

People throughout history and cultures have traditionally soaked and fermented their grains, and scientists are now finding that the action of fermenting allows for increased absorption of vitamins (especially B).

So, if it’s healthier and easier, why not soak your oats over night? Here’s how:

1 cup cracked oats
1 cup warm water
2 tbls. dairy with helpful cultures (yogurt, buttermilk, or whey)

1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water, additional

  1. The night before-
    Mix oats with 1 cup warm water and dairy. Mix, cover, and leave on the counter for at least 7 hours (and up to 24).
  2. In the morning-
    Bring 1 cup of water to boil. (A teapot works well.) Stir this and your salt into the soaked oats mixture.
  3. Bring to a simmer on medium. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 5-10 minutes, until your oats are the consistency you like.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in any of those good things that you like: nuts, dried fruit, honey, maple syrup.

Notes: The book goes on to comment about granola and other breakfast grains. Apparently exposure to dry heat, as in the making of granola, strips valuable nutrients from the grain. That’s unfortunate. She says, “For a new generation of hardy children, we must return to the breakfast cereals of our ancestors – soaked gruels and porridges.” Granola is out. Eat your gruel, kids.

Gifts for people who like good food

Sustainable Bainbridge just released their holiday gift guide, which has wonderful handmade, local gift ideas. (Yes, some of them are edible.) You’ll find particularly sweet ideas at Sweet Life Farms. They always have spectacularly beautiful and delicious gift packs available. They’ll have an open house this weekend as part of Christmas in the Country.

BI Vineyards has strawberry dessert wine out now. It’s priced and sized right to just fit right down there in the toe of a stocking. It won’t last long, so find them at the winter market or stop by the vineyard soon. While there, check out Laughing Crow Farm’s garlic braids. Everyone appreciates a beautiful and functional gift.

Eat local. Shop local. You’ll feel happier about spending money this December. Really.

Hotlips Makes it Big

HOTLIPS enjoys the viewNow it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Hot Lips Soda, hand-crafted, real fruit soda which sources extra fruit from local farmers. Earlier this year, we were excited to know that you could purchase it in Seattle (though it had been well worth routing your road trip though Portland to pick it up.)

Now, HOTLIPS has made it big. Check out their blurb in the NYT.

Stocking up for holiday guests? Make the yummy soda choice. Read: Some Soda Starts at the Farm.

Kitchen Scraps

  • It’s fall! We’ve been doing a lot of preserving lately and our pantry is satisfyingly filling peaches in light syrupup with glass jars of delicious fruits and veggies. I’ve been relying on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website and recommend it to anyone who is looking to begin a canning project. So far, we’ve canned: pears in light syrup, pear sauce, peaches in light syrup, tomato sauce, ketchups, pickles, and jams.
  • Anne was a guest blogger on A Year in Bread, which has begun a series of Friday Favorites. It’s been great to read about others’ favorite, stand-by bread recipes. Check it out!
  • Perhaps the most bizarre island tradition can be found next week at the Bainbridge Island farmer’s market: the great zucchini race! You won’t want to miss it. While you’re at the market, look for more ways to prepare for winter: winter csa sign ups at Persephone and Butler Green Farms and Laughing Crow’s list for winter storage potatoes. Don’t forget to buy extra for your freezer.
  • The Day Rd. pumpkin patch is now open. It’s hard to believe it’s time for jack-o-lanterns. Why not make it a local one? The field is full now of pumpkins and, over the next few weeks, it will be fun to watch them disappear.
  • The next time that you go to visit the troll, have a sandwich at this new-ish Fremont lunch place: Homegrown. Seattle is a hard town to find a great sandwich in and Homegrown eclipses all expectations – local, organic, and scrumptiously delicious. Their sandwiches are just innovative enough to be intriguing but also rather predictable, as sandwiches should be. Here’s a recent review.