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.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gooseberry Jam

Natalie picking gooseberries
Thanks to my English friend, Rachel, and her garden I was able to make gooseberry jam with my granddaughter this summer. It was a new experience for both of us and I couldn’t have done it without her help. Picking, tailing and stemming enough gooseberries to make jam is no small undertaking. Then, I had difficulty deciding which online recipe to follow. It seems Canada and Britain has it all over the US for gooseberry recipes. I picked the easiest and it turned out perfectly.

We used the dark, ripe wine colored fruits that have a distinct taste somewhat like a cross between a grape and a raspberry. The jam cries out for wild game and pairs well with meat. Try it with pork, marinated and baked chicken thighs, goose, turkey, lamb or buffalo. And beyond that it is simply a delicious preserve to have on your shelf this winter. No pectin is needed as these berries are high in natural pectin.
abandoned nest in gooseberry bush
4 cups gooseberries (2 pounds) - Wash, tail and stem, discarding any that are soft or damaged.
4 cups raw organic sugar (2 pounds)
1 1/4 cups water

Thorny gooseberries
Place gooseberries and water in a large pan, bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat until the gooseberries are tender, approximately ten minutes. Stir in sugar and simmer until dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook rapidly until setting point is reached, about 15 minutes. Mash with a masher during cooking. Ladle into sterilized jars and seal.

To test whether the jam has set: take the saucer from the freezer and drop a small spoonful of jam on to it. Allow it to cool for a minute then push your finger through the jam – if it wrinkles it’s ready; if not, boil for a few more minutes. Continue testing until the jam is ready. (Always remove the jam from the heat while you’re testing so that if it’s ready you won’t overcook it.)

Thea facilitates healing herbal retreats at ClearfieldCottage perched above Rachel’s garden. Meals are prepared from the garden and are local, seasonal and organic.
photos by Thea

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

White Peach and Wild Blackberry Cobbler

 Granddaughter's Aurora and Natalie

It's peach season in the Southern Appalachians!  Here is one of my family's all time favorites and a poem to make it even more personal.

1 ¾ cups flour (or any combination of gluten free flours)
¼ cup cornmeal
1 ¼ cups raw organic sugar
1-teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1 ½ sticks unsalted organic butter
2 cups organic buttermilk
3 cups peeled, pitted and chunked fresh white peaches
1-cup fresh wild black raspberries or blackberries
Ground fair trade cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350º

Melt butter in oblong baking dish in the oven and then remove. Whisk dry ingredients together and then mix with buttermilk to make batter. Pour batter over melted butter.  Spoon peaches evenly over batter and place berries in-between. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar. Bake 55 minutes.

by Thea Summer Deer ©2003

The Peach Tree is barren
having recently born her fruit
She stands with empty arms
against a sunset blush with peach
I thank her for her bounty so sweet
dropped at my feet

Images of peaches;
my newborn daughter’s vagina
covered with the most delicate of peach fuzz
so tender and juicy
these fruits of the earth
and my belly

my favorite camp counselor’s
name was Peachy
my mother’s peach cobbler recipe
adapted to my own
things passed down
from limb to ground
I receive
and give thanks
and pause for just a moment
to ponder empty arms
after a season of growing fruit

It was Miami, 1975
and the record store on Dixie
was named, “Peaches” with
rows and rows of LP’s in peach crates.
John Prine sang from somewhere overhead
“Blow up our TV’s. . .
feed ‘em all peaches,
and let ‘em find Jesus
all on their own,”
but who would remember
the 70’s that came after the 60’s
or the Navajo peach trees
before the Long Walk
or life in the country
before they took away our farms
and so it is
I ponder empty arms

Friday, March 22, 2013

Calendula Carrot Soup

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup sweet Vidalia onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup Granny Smith apple, chopped
1/2 cup raw peanuts, chopped in food processor
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 pounds carrots, chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoon dried calendula petals

In a large stockpot, melt butter over medium low heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté until they turn translucent. Add apple and peanuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin. Continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes over a low heat, stirring intermittently. Pour in stock, cover
and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Add calendula and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before pouring into a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Return to pot and stir in coconut milk. Cook over a medium low heat for 5 minutes. Do not let it come to a boil. Serves 4 - 6.

Calendula is a mildly bitter herb and therefore good for the liver. The flowers are medicinal and can be used as a spice to add color and a subtle, yet distinctive flavor reminiscent of saffron. Sometimes called poor man's saffron, or Egyptian saffron, it is similarly employed as a yellow dye for fabrics, cheese and cosmetics. Learn more in my book, Wisdom of the Plant Devas: Herbal Medicine for a New Earth.

You can also learn more in my work-at-your-own pace class, Love Your Liver: Spring and the Wood Element.