Archives for posts with tag: herbs
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Shredded CARROTS and RADISHES, RUBYKRAUT, PICKLED CHILLIS and CELERY, CORIANDER, DILL, OIL and SCRAP APPLE BLACKBERRY VINEGAR.

Often when I teach workshops, participants seeking the health benefits of fermented foods ask about consuming them: how do we eat these foods? how do we incorporate them into our diet, our day, our meals? How do we use the ferments we make?

So I launch into my talk on the variable use of the word “pickle” and the idea of a savoury morsel, and sauerkraut and kimchi as foods that go as condiments or digestives or piquant flavour-rounders with many other foods.  And of course you can cook with ferments, and traditionally around the world many functioned to preserve raw ingredients later to be be used in cooked dishes like soups and stews. I explain how I like to toss kraut and small pieces of pickles in green salads, and sometimes to puree them in dressings, and to add probiotic, succulent brine to bolster flavour and acid. Raw is good for maximum bacterial benefit.

Lately I’ve been layering ferments in root vegetable salads.  These salads are nourishing, delicious, filling, and can be invented truly from what’s on hand in a well-stocked kitchen of local and seasonal ingredients. If you find yourself fermenting, then you’ll have interesting, creative fermented elements to incorporate, for endless possibilities, into your meals.

The formula I’ve been obsessed with is so basic: shredded roots, layered with a ferment and fresh herbs, then dressed.  And add whatever you like. Proportions are yours to decide. Leftovers are yours to use up.  Alliums, garlic, ginger and spices– yours to choose.

Here are a few salads I’ve made recently on this theme.

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Shredded BEETROOT and LEEK, RED ONIONS, SAUERKRAUT w white cabbage, spring greens, radish tops, coriander and cumin seed and ginger, PARSLEY, RED PEPPERS, Olive Oil and Vinegar.

 

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SWEDE (rutabaga), CARROT, KIMCHI with dandelion, cleavers, alexanders, chives, CORIANDER LEAF, DILL, YELLOW and RED PEPPERS, OLIVE OIL, LEMON JUICE, SESAME OIL.

 

 

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SWEDE, CARROT, LEEK, CELERY, some smashed PRESERVED LEMON, SAUERKRAUT, DILLWEED, AVOCADO,  the TURMERIC-Y BOTTOM of a JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE PICKLE, Olive Oil. (Fish would have been so nice in this!)

 

 

 

 

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A medieval garden – from British Library MS Royal 6 E IX f. 15v

The Healing Power of a Garden – A Medieval View.  Came across this article this morning and felt a surge of springtime joy, reading about Henry of Huntingdon’s Anglicanus Ortus, a Verse Herbal of the Twelfth Century.

“This is no ordinary herbal: the work is staged first as a discussion between a master and a student walking around a garden, inspecting the plants in their separate beds, and then as an awkward performance by the same master before Apollo and a critical audience, seated in a theatre at the garden’s centre. Beyond its didactic and performative aspects, the entire work is framed as a prayer to God’s generative capacity and the rational order of nature.” –http://pims.ca/pdf/st180.pdf 

Check out this link for enticing excerpts pertaining to oregano, strawberry, dill, horseradish, and more.  Am a bit sad it’s a $175 book — doesn’t it feel like historical cultural production like this should somehow exist in the commons, for all of us to learn from and enjoy? Maybe this is a book Google might buy and put up on the web…

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I’m feeling happy for the emergence on the food scene of Olia Hercules. I saw this film a while back and felt really thrilled to be learning from someone so deeply rooted in her own food traditions (and she’s deliberate on that plural) yet gifted with such a light and beautiful cook’s touch. That Ukrainian Green Borsht of hers is of course a much more vivacious cousin to my prosaic Schav.

Today in the Guardian is an excerpt from her new book Mamushka. I want it! Want want want! Because I know I’m going to be bowled over with inspiration, just as I was simply from reading about the way she uses fermented herbs in her lovely and simple soup.  Make sure to check out the link.

Her version uses dill, parsley, sorrel, celery, and spring onions. Read the rest of this entry »

If you enjoyed that clip, the whole film can be watched here, on the filmmaker’s page.  I watched it last night, and was moved by this portrait of the remarkable, utterly individual Juliette de Bairacli Levy, a majorly original and influential British herbalist.

Her life attests to living with passion, love, curiosity, a sense of being free. Read the rest of this entry »

Flowers and Onions and Black-eyed Peas

One more post then must-get-crackin’ cleaning this messy house!

Chives are great. Wikipedia is telling me they are the smallest species of edible onion. (I bet there’s a smaller one, waiting to be discovered by an intrepid forager somewhere, but hey-ho.) In a garden, they are apparently a good pest deterrent, though the flowers are attractive to bees– a wonderful combination. I love them because even as a novice gardener I am able to have them thrive, and because the “scapes” or leaves are so useful as a garnish and a flavour, and because my pot has flowered on and off, through the summer, on into now– late September.

That purple visible in the photo is a beautiful colour, and it’s so fun to eat flowers! This is such a nice dish, was so simple to make: Boil, perhaps having first soaked, the black eyed peas, drain them and let their heat slightly wilt and mellow the raw slivered moons of onion, a nice vinagrette and rehydrated sun dried tomatoes which feel like a nice ingredient to have on hand for a concentrated tomato taste when fresh ones aren’t possible. Salt and pepper, and the flowers, because purple and black and white and green look so great.

When I was really teaching myself to cook (an odd statement, because I still feel I’m always learning, and actively self-teaching)– I had a wonderful and personally influential book called The Natural Gourmet by Annemarie Colbin, who had a cooking school in New York City. (This book also has a very enlightening chapter on The “Five Phase Theory” –wood, fire, earth, metal, and water — in ancient Chinese philosophy as it pertains to cooking and eating. This is something I’d still love to get to grips with, at least intellectually.)

The Natural Gourmet has a recipe that I felt immediate prejudice against, for it’s mixing of world ingredients divorced from  their specific contexts. Nevertheless, I tried to make it, maybe that was 1992 (as the book came out in ’91) — and it’s become an important dish for me.   I’m always varying it but never not loving it, even as it’s morphed into something (usually vegetarian) Hoppin’ John that I seem to make every year, traditionally, on New Year’s Day. The dressing mixed flavours like whole-grain mustard, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and tamari. And in the salad of the legumes she put sun-dried tomatoes. “A dog’s dinner,” I would have thought, had I at the time known the phrase. And how wrong I would have been, because it’s absolutely delicious. And to remind myself to fight one’s own prejudices, I like to use sun-dried tomatoes whenever I cook black-eyed peas.

Thank you Annemarie Colbin.  Here you are at a recent Ted Talk I just found: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJtcuNiJnwk

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