By Lyra Bloom
Lately, we’ve been getting into nut milks. Nuts are a wonderful source of protein, of course, but they’re also a great source of other nutrients, including vitamin E, calcium and magnesium, a powerhouse of cancer-fighting phytochemicals, and they’re a source of healthy cholesterol-lowering dietary fats. And they’re MUCH healthier for you than dairy. (What’s wrong with dairy? See the sidebar below.)
Now, you can get your nut milk pre-packaged at the market; but it tastes so much better to make fresh, whole nut milk yourself. There are no extra ingredients or preservatives, it’s more cost-effective in the long run, and it cuts down on packaging and trash. Plus, it’s fun, and the taste is so much richer!
Recently, I decided to try making a cashew cream. Cashews are among the creamiest of nuts, and I’ve been seeing more and more recipes that take advantage of that. (Come back next month, when I show you how to make a dairy-free mac & cheese that is light years beyond Kraft Dinner!)
Visit Lyra’s blog for many more tasty recipes:
Why are Canadians (and Americans!) becoming so obese?
It could be the cheese.
Consider this: milk is full of healthy hormones designed to promote incredibly rapid growth and weight gain in infants. Cow’s milk is designed to turn a 100-pound calf into a 1,000 pound cow in less than a year-and cows use pretty much the same hormones as humans do. That doesn’t even begin to address the issue of artificial hormones-which makes it even worse!
Adults simply aren’t designed to drink milk. Most adult humans are “lactose-intolerant”-our bodies stop producing the enzyme to digest milk sometime during childhood. That should tell us something. Read more »
Start the day before by hitchhiking to town, 40 km south, to get groceries or wheedle a ride from the neighbors. Amuse their precocious six year old in the backseat with rock paper scissors. At the supermarket, act alien to modern society and stare at the the produce sprinklers with deep puzzlement and fear. Shudder in disgust to imported kale. Find BRAGG. There is no soup without Bragg. Tell the cashier about the great snow boots you're wearing. Refuse any bags. Spend ten minutes by the bottled water stuffing the groceries into your mountain hikers' backpack with ergonomic precision. Hike along the beach for forty minutes, in those too-great snowboots, to the hitchhiking spot while praying to get a decent ride back home. At the spot, another neighbor almost runs you over in her jeep. Scream in mirth all the way home from this miraculous blessing of a ride.
The day of the soup.
Chop half an onion. Fry in grapeseed oil. That's the cheapest of the fancy oils. And it's not the rapeseed oil kind. Grapeseed. Use Bragg with the relish of Martha Stewart dousing her cooking in red wine. Toss in a gallon of water. Have mind short circuit from this point on and run on hunger and instinct. Chop carrots.. no.. peel beet.. no.. squash! damn the squash! Hack at the spaghetti squash with several knives until the carved pieces are flat enough to fit into a pot. Steam squash chunks. Chop a potato, handling the fish-filet knife with the finesse of a thumb-less toddler. Wonder if you're really losing it when most of the potato bits free-fall to the ground. Toss them in, and some yam. Gotta have the yam. Floor-yam that is. Hike the temp to high and spice up the soup's life with dry dill weed and turmeric, the only two spices (/grass bits) you're really comfortable using in cooking. Read more »
by Lyra Bloom
A lot of people ask me, “Why don’t you eat bread? Everybody eats bread!”
When I tell them that my body has a problem with the gluten in wheat and other grains, some ask me, “Oh, do you have Celiac Disease?”
I actually don’t know. In Celiac Disease, gluten causes an inflammation of the small intestine resulting in food absorption problems.
Testing involves a six-week gluten-heavy diet to see if you get really sick–a process I didn’t want to go through. I was having digestive problems and after I cut gluten out of my diet they went away.
Celiac is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases, often mistaken for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. People of Irish and other Celtic ancestry are particularly at risk, but it’s estimated that 1 in 133 people have it. A much higher percentage of people (1 in 7) have some gluten sensitivity.
Gluten is a protein in grains like wheat, barley, rye, and oats. It’s the gummy stuff that makes dough sticky and stretchy, helps make bread and pizza dough rise in an airy, puffy way, and helps cakes and muffins hold their shape.
Living gluten-free is tricky in this culture, where half the food is served between two slices of bread, or on a sesame seed bun. But there are alternatives:
Baking—Use gluten-free flours, such as rice, buckwheat, potato, soy or nut flours. (Add eggs or xanthan gum to make up for the lack of gluten).
Pasta—Use rice- and corn-based pasta. Polenta (corn) goes well in any Italian recipe. Also, try the Asian section for tasty rice or yam noodles.
Cooking—Instead of bread, serve rice pilaf, roasted potatoes, or exotic grains like amaranth or quinoa.
Watch out! Many “veggie meat” substitutes get their chewy meatiness from gluten. Avoid kamut, spelt, and triticale, which are actually heirloom wheat varieties.
Read ingredients! Wheat flour is added to everything from Buckwheat pancake mix to Potato gnocchi. Read more »
KeukenHeksen at WolfHaven
This “health soup” is one way my grandmother kept 7 children going through wet Dutch winters a century ago, when everybody was on a 50-mile diet.
dark red berries, dried, canned, or fresh
fruit juice, leftover cider or wine
other fruits, chopped into tidbits
cinnamon, cloves, anise
Throw everything except the barley into a large pot over medium heat. Bring mixture to a brief boil and toss in the barley, maybe a cup for a 10-12-quart pot. Spice to taste and let it simmer until the barley is done and the raisins, craisins, and dried fruit are plumped up. The liquid will have thickened somewhat. Adjust the spices and add a little honey, steevia or sugar if necessary. A touch of lemon juice can add interest.
Go easy on adding fruits like apples or pears that turn to mush when cooked. That’s another recipe.
Served hot for winter breakfast, or cold with a little whipped cream for dessert, gezondsheit brei when thickened to the next level can be used as a fruit compote, on toast, waffles, or those wonderful eggy pizzella available at our farmers’ market.
You can freeze or can gezondsheits brei. How long it keeps in the fridge depends on how spiced it is.
by the KeukenHeksen at WolfHaven
You’ll get no precise measurements from me—in our house teaspoons and tablespoons are so forlorn they hug one another standing in the equally lonesome measuring cup, whispering sweet nothings to one another. Nope, Blackberry Gravy is what happens spontaneously in August when you are trying to cook six dishes at once in a Powell River “heritage” kitchen.
Start with your own gravy. You know—whatever semi-liquid you use to make meat and potatoes slide down efficiently. Chicken/duck/turkey-based would be nice. Maybe skip the wheat flour in favor of a less sludgy thickener: fufu flour is my favourite (cassava), or rice flour, potato, cornstarch…whatever. Of course there’s already plenty of garlic in the mix, and sweet, very fine or powdered onion.
So much for basics. Now for the exotics. Since you’re going to make a fruity gravy, why not ginger, coriander, tarragon, and maybe fresh basil as a brightener. Use your imagination here—thinking of what the blackberries will contribute, I might even try nutmeg or cinnamon next time. Seriously. But I’ll never forget to add a generous glop of dry sherry (unless it’s the turn of Stone’s Ginger liqueur).
Next burner over, the blackberry compote simmered temptingly. A bit wacky from picking berries in the sun, I tried just a cooking-spoonful. Mixy-mixy-mix—yum! More! Two or three doses later, I had a gravy so perfect, it would be a sin to call it gravy. It needs something French—coulis? Just dribble it in pleasing patterns around the mound of mashed.
Wasn’t that fun? Thank Earth for the mighty blackberry!