Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dandelion Noodles

I'm sure you have heard of "spinach noodles."  Well, these are "Dandelion Noodles" and they are not only delicious, but very nutritious as well!

Dandelion Noodles

Go out and pick some dandelion leaves.  It does not matter if you pick them early before they turn bitter.  Your noodles are going to taste really nice.

Wash them, and dry them on a towel or give them a whirl in your salad spinner.

Remove the tender leaf parts from the rib in the middle. Discard the ribs.

Here is what I used:

1 1/4 cups dandelion greens, packed down
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon Realsalt
"Goldenwhite" flour ~ it is organic and has the germ and about 10% of the bran left in it

Place the greens and water in a small saucepan, put on the lid and steam the greens until they are tender.

Allow to cool, then put the greens, eggs, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into a bowl and start adding flour, a little at a time until it is stiff enough to knead.  Knead on a floured surface for about 3 minutes.

Divide into two pieces and roll each one out on a floured surface, very thinly, and then cut into noodles with a pizza cutter.

Drop into boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes.  Drain and serve with plenty of butter and salt.  

A 5 pound Oyster Mushroom!

When I went out to get the mail this morning, I found this beauty on a tree stump in our yard!  Not knowing if it is safe to eat, or even worth eating, I talked to my daughter who has some knowledge of mushrooms and also researched online.

This is an "oyster mushroom."  Beautiful!  Smells so nice and when I weighed it, it came in at 5 pounds!  I fried up a little of it for lunch in butter and am going to dehydrate a lot of it.  So delicious!  Free!  I feel so blessed!

Here it is sitting in a basket on the stove.  It took quite a while to clean.  It is now all washed and draining on a towel on the table.  By the way, it is a myth that you should not wash mushrooms.  They don't absorb water.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Chicken Tractor...

My husband has not yet built a chicken coop for our new chickens.  They live in a crate in the garage right now, but when the weather is fine, we take them out to this lovely chicken tractor!  I took this picture before it was completed.  Now, there are two small wheels on the back end, and a mechanism on each side to lift it slightly.  We move it onto a fresh patch of grass each day.  They love it!

The "tractor" is made with "hog panels", chicken wire, and covered with a tarp.  

The first time it rained, I was looking out the kitchen window and saw them... they were all clustered in the corner where the rain was blowing right in, looking out and up with fascination!  They are so funny.

Monday, May 20, 2013

My answer to store-bought crackers...

There are certain things my DH loves to eat with crackers... and I wanted to get him some the other day.  I carefully read label after label, trying to find something that didn't have any scary ingredients like soy oil and other things that he doesn't eat anymore.  There was NOTHING except some little round "melba toast" garlic-herb thingies and they were made with white flour.  I did get those for him.  And I got to thinking I might be able to come up with my own version.  Here it is and we like it.  They are very crunchy, but nicely tasty with some liver pate or broken into soup.

Sourdough Garlic-Herb Melba Rounds

1 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, packed down well
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage, packed down well
2 large garlic cloves, put through a garlic press or minced very finely
1 teaspoon Realsalt
Freshly ground whole wheat flour
Extra-virgin olive oil for bowl

French bread pan for two loaves (optional)

Combine the sourdough starter, water, garlic, herbs and salt.  
Begin adding whole wheat flour, a little at a time and stir in thoroughly.
Add and stir in flour until the dough is stiff enough to knead.
Using a little more flour to prevent sticking, knead vigorously for 10 minutes.
Wash and dry bowl.
Put a little olive oil in the bowl and rub it around.
Put the dough in and turn it over to oil the top.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Let rise for 12 hours.
Moisten your work surface with water and place the dough on it.
Divide it into two, and form into two long skinny loaves that will fit in your French bread pans that have been buttered well.
Alternately, you can put them on a buttered baking pan, but they will be less "round."
Allow to rise in pans until when you touch it lightly with your finger, the dough springs back slowly.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees F. for 30 min.
Cool completely on wire rack.
Slice into 1/4 inch slices.
Place slices on baking sheets and into a 200 degree F. oven.
After 2 hours, turn slices over and put the baking sheets back into the oven for 1 more hour.
Remove from oven and check to make sure they are dry and crisp.
Do not let them cool before putting into containers if you live in a humid climate.
Store in air-tight containers at room temperature.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Did you know you can eat radish leaves?

Well, I didn't know that either. When I brought in the first radishes of the season, I thought, "What a shame that I have to throw away all of those greens!"  So, I looked on the internet. (How did we survive before the World Wide Web came along?? ;)

And you CAN eat radish leaves!  They are a little bitter, but bitter is good when mixed with other flavors, and of course they are good FOR you. 

I added the leaves from the first batch to a salad.  Very nice.  Last night, I brought in even more radishes.

See the first picture up there?  I carefully washed the tender parts of the greens (avoiding the tougher stemmy parts.)  Then, I gave them a good whirl in the salad spinner.  I melted about a Tablespoon of bacon grease in my cast iron pan, on medium-low heat, added the leaves, and sauteed them, stirring until they were nicely wilted down. (I thought I had taken a picture of the finished product, but now I realize that my camera battery fizzled right then. :(

When they were nicely done, I put on salt and pepper. I served them with Jami's fabulous
No-Fail 5-minute Hollandaise Sauce.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Pork neck bones...

A friend gave me the neck bones from a hog they had butchered.  She said she wouldn't use them. She knows I'll eat "anything!" ;)  A few months ago, I blogged about the benefits of bone broth HERE.  If you have not taken up making good, nourishing broths for your family, you are missing out on an easy and economical way to boost nutrition.  

A quote from the Weston A. Price Foundation ~ "Good broth will resurrect the dead," says a South American proverb. Said Escoffier: "Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done."

I did not take pictures of the whole process, but here is the lovely, gelatinous stock I ended up with:

...and here is the meat I pulled off the bones after cooking.  There was more than two POUNDS of meat!  If I ever get pork neck bones again, I think I will cook them like ribs with barbecue sauce!  The meat is tender, juicy and delicious.

Pork Neck Bone Stock

Neck bones from a butchered hog
1 large chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, cleaned and sliced thinly
water to cover

Place all the ingredients in a Crock Pot, cover them with water, put on the lid and set on "low."  Let it slowly cook for 24 hours.  Allow to cool.  Strain the stock through a sieve and set the bones and meat aside.  Pick the meat from the bones.  Discard the spent bones and the vegetables.

Use your lovely, healthy, stock to make soups, sauces, or just to drink with some salt added, and heated up in a mug.  Yum.  

This is particularly wonderful for someone who is ill or an invalid.  Nevertheless, drinking bone broth every day is advisable for everyone.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day 42...

Our girls are getting so big!  Lately, they've lived in a pen in the garage, and the weather is SO nice today.  We decided they needed an outing!  My husband is going to build a proper chicken coop, but right now he is off buying a few things so they can have a bigger outside run while they wait for a permanent home.  :)  They are wonderful chickens.  Friendly and calm.  If I put out my hand, they walk right up and let me pick them up.
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