Tag Archives: food

¡Papas!

This year we grew various potatoes. The pink and the purple were the most beautiful. The color equals more nutrients. Thank goodness that people in the seed saving world are keeping the incredible diversity of potatoes alive and accessible to gardeners!

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Aphrodisiac herb and spice liquor

I have the best friends! Just broke out this beautiful gift from a blossom buddy. This sweet spiced and herbed brandy is the perfect partner to a dark winter new moon walk. Lets all make some for ourselves!! I wish a little of this came out of the spring in oak creek!

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Chocolate banana panini

This type of dessert sandwich is ‘all the rage’ on the internets. It must be because its a pretty good idea. The panini first draft is nine grain sourdough bread, ripe bananas, a few drops of lemon juice for brightness, mini chocolate chips and walnuts with earth balance buttery spread on the outside. Then cook it in the George Foreman grill. Pretty yummy. I’ll have to keep experimenting with this formula!

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Nightshade romance

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I got married this summer which was super fun. We had a potluck and played kickball. Feelin’ pretty sappy about it today!

10 years ago my sweetheart made me an unanticipated breakfast. There was hardly a thing in the house so we each had a microwaved potato with cumin and tomato paste.

For this inspired dish pictured above I popped the whole cumin seed in oil. Then I added cubed red potatoes that I previously soaked in some salt water so they would be less gummy. Cooked them until they browned some and were tender. Then I added cherry tomatoes we grew in the garden and some baby chard and spinach. A little garlic powder and salt, and the ‘first meal’ is reinvented.

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Dehydrated pinto beans

We cooked loads of pinto beans this weekend. It took two shifts in the pressure cooker. Once the beans were cooked we added onions, garlic, cumin, green chiles and salt and cooked them more in the crock pot. Then we blended them with the immersion blender, and reduced the beans mix to a thick glop that we could spread it on the teflex sheets in the dehydrator. We dehydrated it over night and then put the dehydrated beans in the food processor to powder it. Ready for Paria Canyon trip in a few weeks! And it makes quick meals easy…so much more delicious to make it from scratch than get it from a can.

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Smoothie popsicles

Took at break from the great spring backyard roundup today to make homemade smoothie popsicles. I got the molds a few years ago at a discount store. I used a blender full of several bananas, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries ( picked last summer), along with young coconut and pineapple juice pulp. I used hot water poured over the frozen fruit as the liquid to blend. Filled these up and there was enough for one more smoothie for right now. To get them out of the molds when they are frozen, I just run the mold under hot water for a sec and it slides out.

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Preserving cilantro

I love fresh cilantro. Lately I’ve been eating guacamole almost every day and I like to make it pretty salad-y with cilantro and green onions from the hoop house. But, I know the happy cilantro plants will be less and less happy as it gets hotter in there. So, to preserve the fresh taste, I severely trimmed the cilantro leaves and tender stems and stuck it in the food processor with some water. Then, I froze it in I’ve cube trays. This morning for the guacamole, I used one ice cube of cilantro, adding a tiny bit of the boiling water from making tea to thaw it quickly. In a cooked Thai dish you could just throw the ice cube in there.

Dried cilantro just isn’t the same, and this method keeps the flavor nicely. Hopefully I’ll get one more crop of cilantro before its too warm.

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Raw fruit and nut bar

I really love to eat Lara Bars and thought it would be fun to try and make some myself. But since I like to soak and sprout nuts, these cherry pie fruit and nut bars that I made are a little different in texture. If you wanted to make them more like the one you can buy, just don’t soak any ingredients. You could also use raw almond butter too, and mix it with the fruit in a food processor.

 

For my bars I used dried cherries, raw almonds, raw sunflower seeds, and dates. I think it was about 1 unit of almonds, 1.5 units of cherries, .5 units of sunflower seeds, and .5 -.75 units of dates. So, not as sweet as a the Lara Bar, which lists dates as the first ingredient. I used my Champion juicer and my Excalibur dehydrator.

 

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First I soaked the cherries, nuts and seeds overnight. The cherries were pretty hard. I poured off the water. I had some to cherry nut water to drink and it was good!

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Then, I added the dates and mixed it all up.

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I put the ‘blank screen’ in the juicer so everything put into it comes out the pulp shoot and made the mixture into cherry date almond sun butter which tasted so amazing!

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Looks pretty gross but it would have made a great spread in this form.

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I had to dehydrate it because I soaked it, so it would keep better. If you chose not to soak it, I think it would form into bars really well, but this method left it a little too buttery. to me the health benefits of soaking are worth the extra steps.

I squished it into the screen covered with the Teflex sheet and scored it into bars with a butter knife. When it held it’s shape, I flipped it onto a screen with out the Teflex.

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Then, later, I separated them onto several screens to dry better. I took a long time for them to get to a chewy consistency.

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I put one batch in the fridge and one in the freezer and now its ready for my next snack time, hike or backpacking trip.

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the end of march hoophouse

We built a hoop house with a raised bed next the the house at the end of last November. Meant to do it all summer long, but my sweetheart and I were just hating our jobs and putting it off. So, we finally got it up before the first snow. We quit the crappy jobs too, and have much more reasonable ones now, which is lucky.

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The Thursday before xmas 2011, old friends came into town. We had planned to drive south out of the cold as is the wonder of AZ living, but we ended up just hanging out in the hoop house all day. I planted half the 8×15 foot space while my buddies knitted and schemed, all in summer clothes. Onions, garlic, parsley, red russian kale, spinach and bok choy.

Over New Year’s weekend I planted most of the rest of the space over a few days. Carrots, beets, cilantro, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel’s sprouts, swiss chard, and more garlic. Then, in the middle of January, I soaked and planted the pea seeds. Borage too! (can’t wait to candy the flowers, like I am always intending!)  A few days later I got two 55 gallon plastic barrels from a person I know who works at the pepsi bottling plant in town, to use as thermal mass. I think they had something sugary in them, so it took some rinsing. They warm up in the sun of the day and radiate heat out during cold nights.

The plants getting going:

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There were moments of strife since we built the hoophouse; big winds dislodged the side and snow got in, and it sometimes makes a major thwapping sound when the winds gust. The leaves of all the plants have been solid with frost, and I imagine that its been down in 0 degrees F in there a time or two, but we’ve had no plants die at all. I’ve never tested the cruiferous and other cool-season crops to this extreme before, but they totally perform! There’s hardly been a brown or cripsy leaf edge. It survived two feet of snow. Our friend came over the swept it off because we were out of town for that storm. It was a little nerve racking to be away from all the big green guys during the true test of the pvc pipe construction.

The plants now. I tried to get the snow outside in the frame:

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Now at the end of March, some of the bok choy is flowering and the spinach is getting ready to as well. We plan to save seed. The broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts are just beginning to transform from just leafy into their mature and eventually delicious shapes. And, the beets are carrots have pretty substantial, if still baby, roots. We have been harvesting loads of veggies, having a huge salad or stir fry every day, and using fresh herbs in everything. I’m no longer a regular member of our local CSA that gets winter veggies from farms around the Phoenix area, because i have so much here at the house. ( they have a super storefront, that it do visit – regional asparagus and citrus!! – along with the health food store, since I love young coconuts and cashews and cacao other luxuries) The intense high desert sun has made the hoophouse a topical paradise in the day time. I spend weekend days in there with the sarong on.

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ImageI’m getting ready to start tomato and peppers from seed in paper to-go coffee cups. I’ve been having friends save theirs for me. The hoophouse has proven to be my favorite way to garden in this extreme environment, so far. We’ll see how it continues to amaze as the seasons continue on. Seasons in Northern Arizona are different than what I experienced growing up in the northern plains. All winter its “winter-spring” back and forth. Then, we have “something weird with dry wind” where spring should go. Then, a hot and dry summer period, then “monsoons” that start after July 4th which feel like hot humid summer everyday until noon then heavy rains and then spring at night. Then rains continue into fall, and we do have a nice, but pretty warm fall after the rains quit. I can freeze during any of these seasons and the growing season tends to be very short. right when you are trying to get little seedlings to grow the dry winds are persisting. And we have gophers! But we made a chicken wire basket that we built the raised bend into. No one should be getting into this part of the garden from below!

I have a message with all of this sharing. If you can, figure out a way to make a hoophouse of your own. An internet search will yield better instructions than I can write, so surf on!

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