Sunday, November 27, 2016

Maple Pumpkin Pie

1 ½ cups pureed pumpkin
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
½ cup maple syrup
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon*
1 ¼ ginger*
¼ tsp nutmeg*
¼ tsp cloves*
(*or 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
½ teaspoon salt

1 nine inch, deep dish whole wheat pie crust

Blend all ingredients and pour into pie shell and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

This is an original recipe developed over time out of an undying love of pumpkin pie and a desire to reduce my sugar intake. Since whole wheat pie crusts are not easy to make, I always make at least two at a time and double the recipe for the filling. You can also buy very good whole wheat, spelt or gluten free pie crusts already made in the freezer section of your health food supermarket. When making from fresh pumpkin, cut into chunks and simmer until the skin is soft. This makes them easier to peel. Puree in food processor.
The secret to this pie is the pumpkin itself. The heirloom Long Island Cheese Pumpkin is one of the oldest varieties cultivated in America. Ever since I purchased one in the store and threw the seeds in my compost, they come up every year as volunteers and every year I return the seeds to my compost. And we can thank Ken Ettlinger, a local Long Island seed saver and natural science educator for establishing a regional seed bank in the late 1970's to conserve the genetic resources of Long Island including this variety.

Rich in color, very sweet and arguably the best choice for pumpkin pie I would like to quote D.D. Tooker from an 1855 issue of Michigan Farmer: "The sweet pumpkin or pie squash is the only true article in my opinion for making the most delicious of Yankee notions - pumpkin pie - and I am not alone in my opinions, for I have yet to see the individual who would not agree with me in this matter."

You can purchase seeds and start your own tradition at: Rare Seeds

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Awesome Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Celebrating our daughters is an honor and a blessing. So when my daughter turned 36 this year I offered to make a birthday cake for her celebration. I love to bake but she has become the baker in our family and a master gluten-free baker at that. Since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree she does credit me with introducing her to alternative flours as a result of my own love of healthy baking. She, however, has taken the art to a whole other level. Baking is in her DNA inherited both from me, and the Italian women on her father’s side.
So when I asked her what kind of a cake she wanted, she replied, “gluten-free, dairy-free*, low sugar, carrot cake with butter cream frosting and no pineapple!” Yum. Carrot cake is one of my favorites and she had given me a challenge. As I began looking in earnest through my shelves of cookbooks and at online recipes I was shocked at how hard it was to find a good, healthy, sheet cake recipe, sin the pineapple and too many cups of sugar. Luckily one of my older cookbooks, The Deaf Smith Country Cookbook: Natural Foods forFamily Kitchens, by Marjorie Winn Ford, originally published in 1973, had a basic recipe that I was able to adjust. This resulted in an awesome carrot cake recipe that will hopefully save you time searching for something better. The gluten-free mix of flours comes directly from my lovely daughter, who as I mentioned earlier, is a master gluten-free baker.
*eggs AOK
Yield: 1 sheet cake (9X13)
4 lg. organic carrots, grated fine (approx. 3 C.)
1 cup organic white rice flour
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons almond meal/flour
¼ cup combination of flax seed meal and coconut flour
½ tsp guar gum
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup golden raisins
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup cold-pressed sunflower oil
1 teaspoon fair trade cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cardamom
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fair trade vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp aluminum free baking powder
¼ cup almond or coconut milk

Mix dry ingredients separately from wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and stir well until evenly moistened. Pour into an oiled and floured 9 X 13 cake pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350º. Remove from oven and cool completely on rack before frosting.

Sin-full Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz. package of organic cream cheese, softened
½ cup (1 stick) organic butter, softened
Confectioners sugar to taste (approx. 1 cup)

Whip until smooth and creamy. Frost liberally!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Perfect Pumpkin Soup

As winter is waning, yet the season still upon us, the last of the winter squash, a Long Island Cheese pumpkin begged to be cooked before being turned into compost. So, on this very cold and icy day in the Appalachian Mountains, deceptively headed for Spring, I made a pot of this perfect soup developed over time and now a family tradition from the beautifully rich and tasty orange flesh of this very tasty variety.

4 cups pumpkin, peeled and diced (may substitute half with butternut squash)
1 medium red onion, chopped
1-2 large jalapeños, chopped
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bouillon cube
1 teaspoon dried rosemary crushed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
dash all spice
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (1 Tbs. fresh if you can get it)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt to taste
1 cup heavy cream

toasted pumpkin seeds, course ground

Combine all ingredients except last three. Simmer covered until pumpkin is mushy and soft (approx. 25 minutes) stirring occasionally. Let cool. Puree in a blender or food processor. Return to pan and stir in cream, nutmeg and salt. Heat on low. Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.

Give thanks for your health for it is indeed your wealth and don't be afraid to spend a little extra money or time to buy organic, or make your food from scratch. Late Winter Blessings.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Traditional Cuban Black Bean Soup

Photo courtesy of Heather Homemade

16 oz. Frijoles Negros, dried black beans
Bay leaf
Olive oil
4 cloves garlic
I Spanish or yellow onion
1 green pepper
1 ½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
¼ cup dry white wine

Soak beans overnight in 4 cups water. Drain and rinse. Cook beans in 8 cups water with bay leaf and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium low, cover and simmer for one hour or beans are tender.

In the meantime press garlic into a little bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt mashed together, set aside. Then make a soffritto by frying (sautéing) chopped onions, garlic mixture, chopped green pepper, cumin, oregano, black pepper, sautéing until onions are translucent.

Add to cooked beans and simmer 15 minutes uncovered or until soup thickens. Add sugar, vinegar and white wine toward the end. Remove from stove, let cool slightly, puree half of the soup in a blender and add back to the soup. Heat through and serve with fresh chopped onion and fresh lime over white rice. Be careful of the brand of white rice. Asian white rice has been tested high in lead. I like to use American long grain white rice cooked in chicken broth with butter, salt and pepper.

Disfrútate de la comida

This recipe was inspired by Nydia's Kitchen.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Wild Blackberry Pie

Natalie won "Best Berry Picker!"
Berry Pie on the Fourth of July! The only thing better than summer time berry pickin' in the mountains is getting to eat the pie.

4 cups of berries
1/4 cup minute tapioca
1 cup organic sugar
1Tbsp. lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of cardamon
1 Tbsp. organic unsalted butter
2 pie crusts

Mix fruit, tapioca, sugar, lemon juice and spices in large bowl and let stand for 15 minutes. Fill pie crust of your choice with fruit mixture. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust, seal and flute edge. Cut several slits in crust. Bake in preheated 400º oven 45-50 minutes or until juices form bubbles that burst slowly. Cool until set.

Natalie and Jamie fresh from the field

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Nettle Stracciatella Soup

This recipe is a variation of the Stracciatella Italian egg drop soup, which is popular around Rome and southeastern Italy. Stracciatella is a term used for different types of Italian food including this soup. The addition of spinach and in this case nettles is an American variation. This was adapted from a recipe handed down to me through the Italian side of my children’s family. It is warm, fragrant and nourishing - especially with nettles!

2 quarts chicken broth
2 cups chopped fresh young nettles
1 sweet onion thinly sliced
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (plus additional for serving)
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons lemon zest
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper or to taste

Heat broth with salt, pepper and marjoram in a saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add onion and simmer until tender, just a couple of minutes. Add chopped nettles, cheese and stir. Simmer covered for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile whisk together eggs, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Slowly add this to the soup while whisking and cook until egg is set, just a couple of minutes. Serve hot with grated Parmesan cheese.

Harvesting young Wood Nettle in late Spring
Photos by Marion Z. Skydancer, ©2014
featuring Jamie MacLeod, Thea Summer Deer & Kaleo Wheeler

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Zucchini, Sausage & Goat Cheese Quiche

The word quiche may be French, but the dish is originally from Germany. Quiche means “cake” and is derived from the German word Kuchen. Since my husband and I both have German origins, I offer this up to the ancestors in celebration of mid-summer.

I made this with fresh veggies and herbs from the garden, always using organic ingredients and fertile farm fresh eggs.  The sausage was local, ground and hot spiced. You can substitute cooked, uncured, organic bacon for the sausage. It is also good poured and baked in a casserole dish if you wish to avoid the crust. I used a gluten free crust from the freezer section of my local health food store.

4 cups zucchini, grated
1 cup greens (spinach, turnip, and/or beet) chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 pound of ground hot spicy sausage
3 eggs
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced
½ tsp. dried oregano
2 cups sharp raw goat cheese, grated
1 garden ripe tomato, sliced
2 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped
sea salt and fair trade black pepper
1 gluten free or regular, deep-dish pastry crust

In a skillet, sauté onion and garlic in butter and olive oil under tender, add oregano, zucchini,  greens, and salt and pepper to taste sautéing until tender. Cook sausage in separate skillet breaking it up with a spatula until cooked through. In a large bowl whisk eggs with parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in cheese and zucchini mixture, sausage, and stir until well blended. Pour in pastry shell and layer top with half of the chopped basil, sliced tomato and remaining basil. Bake at 400º for 35 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.