In the Kitchen

How One Regards a Plum

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We finally made it to a friend’s to pick the last of the plums. She’d had her fill but didn’t want any to go to waste. We should have been a week earlier; the plums quite literally exploding with ripeness. We lost a few on the 10 minute drive home. The rest went immediately into the dehydrator. They are pure sweetness !

Earlier in the morning I had read this (from brainpickings):

 

I consider a tree.

I can look on it as a picture: stiff column in a shock of light, or splash of green shot with the delicate blue and silver of the background.

I can perceive it as movement: flowing veins on clinging, pressing pith, suck of the roots, breathing of the leaves, ceaseless commerce with earth and air—and the obscure growth itself.

I can classify it in a species and study it as a type in its structure and mode of life.

I can subdue its actual presence and form so sternly that I recognise it only as an expression of law — of the laws in accordance with which a constant opposition of forces is continually adjusted, or of those in accordance with which the component substances mingle and separate.

I can dissipate it and perpetuate it in number, in pure numerical relation.

In all this the tree remains my object, occupies space and time, and has its nature and constitution.

It can, however, also come about, if I have both will and grace, that in considering the tree I become bound up in relation to it. The tree is now no longer It. I have been seized by the power of exclusiveness.

To effect this it is not necessary for me to give up any of the ways in which I consider the tree. There is nothing from which I would have to turn my eyes away in order to see, and no knowledge that I would have to forget. Rather is everything, picture and movement, species and type, law and number, indivisibly united in this event.

Everything belonging to the tree is in this: its form and structure, its colours and chemical composition, its intercourse with the elements and with the stars, are all present in a single whole.

The tree is no impression, no play of my imagination, no value depending on my mood; but it is bodied over against me and has to do with me, as I with it — only in a different way.

Let no attempt be made to sap the strength from the meaning of the relation: relation is mutual. 

– Martin Buber

 

Today I’m considering it again. My relation with the plums in my belly being quite clear.

 

 

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When in Doubt Make Cookies

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No chestnuts, no open fire. We have ginger cookies and natural gas. Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule, Happy Holidays everyone !

Ginger Spice Cookies (gluten and dairy free)

3 cups almond flour

1 1/2 tsp coconut flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp gr. ginger

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp each nutmeg, cardamon, cloves

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup molasses

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp minced candied ginger

cane sugar

In food processor pulse together almond flour, coconut flour, salt, soda and dry spices. Add coconut oil. Pulse to mix. Add molasses, maple syrup and candied ginger. Pulse until a dough forms.

Make dough in to 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll in cane sugar. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and flatten to ~ 1/4 inch. Bake at 350 F for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Keep an eye on them they can burn easily ! Makes ~ 3 dozen cookies.

Enjoy !

Keep the Heat

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It’s still hot – and DRY ! I feel like I’ve spent all Summer watering the garden. It will be cold soon enough though, and we’ll be glad of the “stored heat” in all the things gathered and squirrelled away. I dug horseradish root on the weekend and added that to the already harvested cayenne, garlic and onions as a base for fire cider. Fresh ginger and turmeric made it in too, along with a few herbs that called out to me: rosemary, wild bergamot, calendula and echinacea.  Heat to melt Winter’s cold !

 

Hello My Old Heart

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A return of old friends

 

Harvest

 

 

 

Gather

 

 

 

Uncommon Greens

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Lamb’s Quarters

Lamb’s Quarters (chenopodium album) is considered an edible weed. But go ahead and grow it on purpose. Put it with the kale and the lettuce; civilized like. Pampered, it’s much more tender, and cooked it is much tastier than spinach. Throw some radish greens into the mix. They’re prickly, but cooking  sees to that. Oh, and add turnip tops; the bottoms do better in the fall anyway.

It’s Not the Heat …

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Heck, it is the heat (and the humidity). That’s southern Ontario for you; one week there’s frost warnings and the next, it’s a steam bath ! The garden has been taking up more of my time and things are coming along pretty good. The garlic is looking lovely ,

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Garlic (hardneck)

and our chums (cross between a cherry and a plum) blossomed profusely the last two weeks.

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Opata Chum

They’ve proved to be exceptionally hardy ! The other stone fruit trees didn’t fare so well. It was a hard winter on trees; we had a number of freeze thaw cycles. Then to top it all off, there were two ice storms in late winter/early spring. So, no blooms on the peach, apricot, plum or plumcot. They’ve all leafed out well except the peach which is limping along. Hopefully it will hang in there.

But hey, it is rhubarb season so time to celebrate! This year I decided to try rhubarb syrup. It makes a spectacularly pink elixir that was a welcomed treat with water and ice today. I thought it deserved a pretty name and came up with “Rhuby Slipper”. Not original alas, a quick google search showed others had similar thoughts. A refreshing local sub for lemonade !

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Garden Rhubarb

Rhuby Slipper

Rhubarb syrup:

Simmer 4 cups of chopped rhubarb with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water for ~20 to 30 minutes.

Strain and keep the syrup refrigerated. The leftover cooked rhubarb is great on toast.

 

Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of syrup to 8 – 10 oz of water (sparkling would be nice).

Serve with ice.

Put a Ukelele tune on (Wild Child)

Try to keep cool !

 

While we’re on the topic of cold drinks …

Dorothy’s Green Dream

In a blender that can handle ice:

Blend 4 cups of water, 2 lemons (peeled and seeded), 2 strips of lemon zest, 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup fresh french tarragon and 2 cups ice cubes.

Later in the season basil is good in place of the tarragon. Some day I’ll try mint.

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French Tarragon

 

 

Change Everything

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rabbit and pooh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love when people take things and make them their own. I was revisiting a cake recipe today because I found my first two bakings too “wet” for my liking. I checked out the comments on the online recipe and sure enough there were some good suggestions. There were also several readers who wrote along the lines of, ” I loved this recipe – I just changed …” followed by a list of 4 or 5 things. This happens all the time with posted recipes, often the recipe is pretty unrecognizable by the end ! My smile for the day.

All this reminded me of leading art workshops. Some people follow the recipe and some people go off on their own and change everything (shout out to my friend Natali)! I cast my vote for enthusiastic self expression !

The fruits of my (changing) labour :

Winnie the Pooh and Rabbit Have Cake

Some honey for Pooh, some tart lemon for Rabbit, together they have cake. Or, if you don’t have a taste for whimsical you could call it Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes.

Ingredients

2 small organic lemons

4 large eggs

1 cup of honey

2 cups almond flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons of poppy seeds

 Instructions

Boil the lemons whole for 30 to 45 minutes, or until soft. Yes the whole thing, peel and all (thus organic lemons).

Cool the lemons, then cut open and remove seeds. Place lemons in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Add eggs, honey,almond flour, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds and pulse until well combined.

Scoop a generous 1/4 cup of batter into each  paper lined cup in a 12 cup muffin tin.

Bake at 375 °F for 10 minutes, rotate pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more (or until done).

 

If you are feeling decadent, some lemon cream icing would be lovely !