Monday, August 23, 2010

Tomato Salsa; Fermented

A new recipe, one that I got from Barb at Nourishing Gourmet (see link)

My friend Mona, and I tried this out Saturday and it was a lot fun. I tried two different fermentations; one with lacto-bacillus whey from Drake's Goat Milk Yogurt, and the other was my own Kombucha. The Kombucha quart was so active it bent the lid upward after only 2 days and I had to open it before before the jar exploded. I took out half of the salsa put back the other half into the fridge with a Kombucha mushroom to keep it aerobic. We ate the fresh, fermented salsa and really enjoyed it. It was fizzy, and had a punch to it..... very satisfying. there seemed to be a lot of lactic acid. I guess Kombucha microbes must love tomatoes. In this picture you can see the Kombucha "scooby" or mushroom that will allow some flexibility during cold storage fermenting and keep the microbes safe. I've used this Kombucha mushroom with my sauerkraut also. ( see my first blog)

You will need for 1 or 2 quarts;

8-10 ripe tomatoes preferably from your garden, various kinds

3 mild peppers, big to med size and to your taste for hotness

5-6 cloves of garlic

1 yellow onion med size

1 bunch of cilantro

1 TBS Real Salt per quart

Cumin powder.... 1/4 tsp per quart

3-4 TBS live whey per quart

The most important thing about salsa and (perhaps the hardest part) is getting the skins off the tomatoes and peppers. There are two ways to do it relatively easily. One is to roast the halved tomatoes and peppers close to the heat unit in an oven on broil (the picture below shows our vegetables before going under the broiler) another way is to grill the vegetables over open flame and yet another way is to drop tomatoes into boiling water for a minute or two. I believe this is called par-boiling. I haven't par-boiled peppers, just tomatoes. It is best to roast peppers in broiler or open flame or grill.

When the tomatoes split their skins remove and let cool enough to peel. When the peppers get brown and blistered rotate until at least 3 sides are blistered. Remove those and place in a zip-lock bag and let steam. When they cool, their skins will come off fairly easy.

The peeled tomatoes goes into a food processor and blended to desired texture and the peeled peppers, onion and peeled garlic I chop by hand to desired texture. If peppers are the hot kind, please wear rubber or latex gloves. These peppers were not that hot and we chopped by hand but maybe the capsicum oils were not fully developed yet. ( I am showing my ignorance of peppers.)

We combined the onion, garlic, peppers and cilantro together and it didn't taste very hot, so Mona went to her garden and got about 5 or 6 little round green chili peppers and chopped those and added them.
We alternated layers of tomato pulp and green pepper mix between 3 quart jars and then last added the 1 TBS salt and 3-4 TBS of lacto-bacillus whey. I put Kombucha in one of the jars and that is the one that almost exploded. The liquid should be within 1 inch of the top. We tightened the lids, labeled the date and whey and set to ferment for 3 days at room temperature. The liquids in the picture are whey on the left and Kombucha on the right.

The salsa I opened for fear of exploding, tasted just exactly hot enough for us. A couple days of fermenting brought about the hotness we wanted. The rest of it is still in cold storage.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lamb and Portobello Mushrooms

This is a favorite dish of ours. We are carnivores (blood type O and B) and lamb is one of the best, tastiest meats around. The tenderest meat parts are lamb chops. Shoulder meat is tougher but cheaper. I will sometimes combine a few chops with some shoulder pieces.
Lamb, bison and elk need to be cooked fast and hot. If cooked too much, they taste kinda metallic (high iron content in these meats) and can get tough. It is best to cook hot and fast leaving the center warm but raw. ( According to Weston A. Price research, some raw meat is very healthy and nutritious)

We had this last night and it was wonderful. I fixed this dish for some friends several weeks ago who were sure that they didn't like lamb but they liked this.

You will need;

1-1 1/2 pound of lamb chops (6-7) or some chops and maybe a shoulder cut

6-8 med size portobello mushrooms

half an onion

1/4 to 1/3 heavy cream or more

4 cloves of garlic

1 TBS or so of refined coconut oil or ghee

iron skillet or stainless

Real Salt

The hardest part of this recipe is the cutting and trimming of fat. Use a very sharp knife and trim off most of the fat and connective tissue. You can salt the lamb chops and fry them fast on both sides and I have done that and it is good if you like gnawing on bones, but cutting off the meat makes it easier to eat and less primitive for company.

I salt the meat chunks and rub finely chopped garlic into the meat, if not using fresh garlic, some dried, powdered garlic will do.

Slice and saute the onion and mushrooms first, in ghee or refined coconut oil and push to side of skillet or remove. Add the meat chunks and brown on all sides ( I use med. high heat) Don't over cook!

Place meat in a shallow bowl, put the sauteed mushrooms and onions on top and last, drizzle some cream over all. Adjust seasoning and serve hot.

I do not suggest serving any grain with red meat. I find as an "O" that my body will digest the meat and fat with some vegetables just fine without the starches, but add bread, pasta, rice even quinoa and everything slows down and the meat doesn't get digested properly. Non-starch vegetables fresh or steamed, go very well with meat, not grain.

This recipe is good with ground turkey, bison and beef as well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ABO Blood Type Diet

I love apricots, have done art works featuring apricots, have made apricot jam most of my life but.....they are only on my "neutral list" for a blood type O ("Live Right for Your Type"). However, the later research in "Genotype", says that for a blood type O Gatherer, me, apricots are a super food! Knew it! I love them!

I am quoting from some books that I have read and use as reference written by Dr. Peter J. Dadamo, a Naturpathic physician and researcher who resides in Connecticut. He had a most remarkable and radical idea handed down to him by his Naturpathic Doctor father. In the '80s Dr. Dadamo researched the idea that the blood held the secret to diet ( and I believe a whole lot more).....that one diet specifically, vegetarianism does not fit the whole world population. His father thought it had something to do with blood type and before he died, he tried various protein based diets with his patients and began to see a pattern, that his son would later delve into and validate with his own research and clients. For a Naturpath to promote red meat protein for anyone of O blood was unheard of ......the "healthfood" subculture for the last 60 or so years has loudly proselyted vegetarianism for all. But the Dadamo's discovered something very different. And the fact that the Dadamo family are blood type A's which of the 4 types does best with vegetarianism, which they practice, makes this idea even more astonishing.

Blood type O's are the carnivores and that is almost half the world population. A's take up most of the other half with B's coming in way below and AB's are the fewest and according to research, the newest blood type to evolve. O's and B's are carnivores doing well to plan meals around fish, red meat, eggs and cultured dairy. But A's and AB's do well with plant proteins some fish and poultry, cultured dairy, grains and limited or no red meat. All four groups have their beneficial, neutral and avoid lists of animal proteins, plant proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vegetables, fruits, beverages and condiments.

I came upon this diet early in 2004, while single and living with another middle aged woman who rented a bedroom from me. We both had health problems and were both interested in anything that could notch up our health care, believing that diet is key. She brought home a book that she saw in Canada that was getting some attention. She handed me the book and asked me to preview it and see if there was anything to it. The book was, "Eat Right for Your Blood Type" by Dr. Peter J. Dadamo and was published in 1997. I did read it and it felt like truth to me. The simple idea in that book changed my life, health and outlook on my future.

We both decided to give it a try. She was an O and so was I. Out went everything made of wheat, corn or potatoes ( avoids for O's)...which was just about everything in my kitchen shelves, freezer and refrigerator. All prepared, or packaged foods had one of those two key ingredients; wheat or corn. That was an education right there.

We bought meat and fish and vegetables and spent the next several months experimenting with new foods and meat ....some foods we never heard of. We took turns cooking in my kitchen as we gave up convenience foods in grocery stores and fast food restaurants. We had some very interesting meals and invented new "comfort foods". Some of our experiments were not very successful. But we kept our sense of humor and persisted. For the previous 5-6 years I was practicing a sort of vegetarianism but it was really a kind of "starchitarianism" and I was putting on weight, aging rapidly and slowing down due to painful knees. But I figured this was due to aging because vegetarianism was the "correct" diet for everyone, right?

We both noticed some dramatic changes right from the start. My friend cancelled a scheduled surgery for Gerd. She had been sleeping sitting up cause the stomach acid would burn her esophagus when she laid down. Her gerd was caused by starches we later figured out, bread and specifically wheat. She realized much later that she must have been celiac or close to it.

For me, I noticed right away the knuckles on both of my hands stopped hurting and the swelling went down and also my knees. Rheumatoid arthritis was gone! It's never come back because I don't eat wheat any more. Oops, yes I do but it is in my sourdough bread and I have found that fermenting the wheat or spelt in my bread neutralizes or deconstructs the toxins (lectins) that were causing the auto-immune reaction known as rheumatoid arthritis. We both lost weight, my tinnitis stopped, my hair grew back in and darkened, my eyes and skin cleared up and I started sleeping better. Before I started the Blood Type Diet, I had a complete physical with blood tests. My cholesterol's were high with LDL way up and HDL low. Six weeks after starting this diet and dropping starchy carbohydrates and eating lots more meat, I had another blood test and my LDL and HDL readings reversed. I have continued to have yearly blood tests and it has stayed really positive.

Buffalo, or bison has been added to our diet and we love it. Our Harmon's grocery store now carries a few versions of it and we have it once a week. It's cooked hot and fast and we don't grill. We eat grass-fed beef from Redmond Farms in Redmond Utah ( where Real Salt comes from), we eat their free-range eggs, and we eat fish 2-3 times a week plus turkey and some elk when we can get it. We don't eat chicken. It is an avoid for B's which is what my husband is. We also eat lamb (love the lamb). Yes, this is an expensive diet.

O hunter/gatherer and B herder/dairy person, we eat a lot of expensive, tasty animals and their products. We figure spend money now on best fuel for us and spend very little later in life on treatments, therapies and drugs for nasty diseases. It also helps both of us that I cook.

I cook most everything we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks. We do go out to dinner maybe once a week but have found a few restaurants where we can get meat and vegetables without a lot of filling breads, pastas or potatoes. Promoting this diet, way of life to others is a hard task....not because they don't agree that there could be some benefit for them, but it requires careful shopping, home food preparation and cooking and women, women my age don't want to give up convenience. I guess they would rather suffer the high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, etc. and have the medical community "fix" them up with drugs and surgery rather than get healthy themselves.

It was through my blood type O beverage food list that I discovered Kombucha. I bought the commercial Kombucha for a while but that led me to making my own which I have been doing for 2 years and Kombucha led me to other fermentation foods and to Sallly Fallon and NT which I believe is the next logical step from Dr. Dadamo's brilliant idea. Dr. Dadamo does not promote any dairy for O's or A's because first of all his tests were for "commercial dairy" products and not "raw" dairy or grass-fed dairy products and there is a huge difference and an O's and A's cannot digest lactose (milk sugar) as youth and adults (B's can). I knew that years ago from my own body reactions.

What Sally Fallon and the Weston Price Foundation added to my knowledge was that fermented/ cultured dairy products from non-commercial, non corn-fed industrialized animals, could be tolerated by lactose intolerant folks. Thank you, Thank you! I now enjoy Kefir and yogurt from cow and goat milk and cheese and butter from pastured cows. My B type husband can enjoy the fresh raw milk and I make kefir out of it. The whey I get from yogurts, I use to ferment my other foods. As a result my health is getting better and better and my immune system is the strongest it has ever been.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Joanne's Still Life Gallery

"Apricot Jam" 22"x18" prismacolor on paper
In previous blogs, I have talked about how food and art come together naturally for me. My art has always been about food, in particular fruit. I have used fruit symbolically in my work for many years. Food, fruit, kitchen, nourishment are all about what I do as a wife and mother. It's my work and my pleasure to nurture those I love, including me. I rejoice in the work of a woman, in nurturing living things around me; my husband, my two sons when they were with me, friends and family, plants in house and garden, various cats I've had in life, and now friendly microbes. "Apricot Jam" is a tribute to my mother, Ismae and my grandmother, Annie, who taught me and my sisters how to can fruit.

"Backyard Labors" 22"x 18" prismacolor on paper

Fruitful, is term used in scripture and it has a lot of meaning for me in my art work. My first serious pieces of art were done in colored pencil in the early nineties. I loved working color pencil back then because they were "interrupt able". With a houseful of teenagers and my work teaching art at a junior high, color pencil (Berol Prismacolors were best) was just the thing. I could just abruptly leave the pencils with no tools or mess to clean up and come back later. However, those color pencil works took months to complete. "Backyard Labors" is a self portrait of me and my first year at gardening. After living in apartments for many years, we finally got a house and this is the result of my first gardening experience there. Those objects are sitting on a director's chair in the back yard and that pink fabric was my gardening sweatshirt.

"Unexpected Light" 24"x20" prismacolor on paper

I wore that polka dot apron for years and had another one like it only red with white dots. Those two aprons ended up in a lot of my still lifes. The apples are bruised and dinged which was how I was feeling at the time. During this hard time I cling ed tightly to my faith in Jesus Christ.

"Divided" 20"x16" prismacolor on paper

I did a few commissions for other women in my neighborhood during the early nineties, but I don't have digital pictures of those works. I would go into a friend's house and she would collect some objects that meant a lot to her and we would arrange those objects in a pleasing manner and I took pictures then retired to my home studio to do the work. By the time I was ready to quit junior high school teaching (burn-out) for a while and go back to school myself for a master's degree in art, those colored pencil works proved useful and slides of them got me into graduate school. "Divided" is a visual statement of the end of my second marriage. It's a sad piece, beautifully done.

Graduate school full time was a joy. I was 54, single again and with student loans to keep body and soul together I embarked on a new path. I wanted to keep using still life objects because they could express so much for me, but I wanted to work faster and better and not quite so realistic. I wanted to learn how to really paint. I worked watercolors, oils and acrylics. I took figure painting classes and loved it but the figure just wasn't my mode of expression. I took landscape painting and could do it but landscapes although so necessary for Utah artists to survive financially, just wasn't my expression either. I tried other subjects and no subjects but kept coming back to still life with a nutrition flavor.

"Mixed Nourishment 3" 36"x24" acrylic and oil on stitched fabric and stretched paper

In graduate school (BYU) I learned to work in series. The idea was to get a good idea and work it with variations. If the idea was good, it would motivate others until the idea played itself out. "Mixed Nourishment #3" is the third in a 15 painting series about food and nourishment. I thought that with this series I could add more meaning by hand stitching or sewing my own grounds rather than just paint on plain canvas. So, I collected cotton and linen fabrics from my own home like used dish towels, sheets, clothing, drapes and cut them up, reassembled them stitched them up and then glued the finished "skins" to stretched paper on stretcher boards. This provided the painting surface. I also collaged images when needed like photocopies of utensils or pages from old copies of Book of Mormon. I painted acrylic first then finished with oil paint. I developed a very complex and labor intensive process but I thought it added more meaning. I mean, that woman's work is labor intensive if she does it right, Sewing represents the work women do to hold a marriage and family together. I thought it appropriate. However, the work did go a lot faster than my old color pencil process....more complex and interesting but faster. That's what I got out of my 3 years of graduate school....wait, I got a lot more than that but for my art work this is what emerged.

"Green Series #4" 22"x28" oil on canvas

"Green Series #5" 22"x28" oil on canvas

The "Green Series" had originally 8 works all the same size and similar subject matter. Green is one of those colors that has endless variations and I wanted to explore some of those variations. I have 4 of the 8 left.

"Nectarines" 22"x28" acrylic and oil on stitched fabric and stretched paper

"Nectarines" is one of 6 part series exploring illusionary space and flat space on highly surface. I only have this one left.

"Safe Place" 30"x30" acrylic and oil on stitched fabric and stretched paper

This large work was the beginning of a 55-60 work series called Safe Place. I used stitched fabrics and collaged paper parts and started painting with acrylic then finished with oils. I wanted to symbolically create safe places for children and adults. I used fruit, the figure of a house, fences, trees, grids, moons and suns. Sometimes pages of scripture were embedded into the paintings and glazed or painted over. Most of this series are sold. "A" Gallery in SLC did most of the sales and I don't know who bought them. Not all were this big. Most of this series were small like 9x12. It was a fine series and I had a good run of it. The next painting is also part of that series.
"Safe Place for Seven" 16"x22" mixed media

In most of this series, there is a part of the painting that is threatening and is contrasted with the safe and comfortable parts. In the above painting, I drew with silver pen images that look high tech. I was looking a the underside of a mother board.

"Cherries 1" and "Cherries 2" 12"x16" mixed media

These two works are my most recent and were inspired by a bumper crop of great cherries in June of '09.

"Daughter of Ever" watercolor 12"x16"

This is the only watercolor on this gallery. I've done a ton of watercolor still lifes but most of them are gone; gifts or sold.

This last one is small and I did it for me and my third husband. It is a mixed media as well but on a small metal plate. I glued the stitched fabric to the metal and it is not framed.

"Marriage" 10"x10"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beet Kvass: pickled beets through lacto-fermentation

Do you remember pickled beets? My mother made them and I loved them as a child growing up. I remember my fingers turning red and soaking them in lemon juice to get the stain out. My mother made them with vinegar and sugar. I long ago gave up those two ingredients and so have not enjoyed pickled beets for years, until now. Thanks to lacto-fermentation, I have pickled beets again but without the sugar and vinegar.
This process is so simple that anyone can do it. I get the recipe from Sally Fallon in her book, "Nourishing Traditions". As she puts it, pickled beets have been around for centuries using natural pickling or lacto-fermentation. The beets are eaten as pickles and the juice was consumed as a liver tonic. The deep red color just tells you it was meant for cleansing the liver.

You will need:

about 2 lbs of beets, perhaps from your own garden.

2 clean quart jars with lids

1 TBS Real salt or other natural, high mineral salt per quart jar

2-4 TBS of yogurt whey with living lacto-bacillus microbes per quart

The process is simple enough either peel and chop up the beets raw or cooked. I've done it both ways, and found that the raw beets are hard to chew even with a couple months of fermenting. So, the batches I have done lately, I use cooked beets. Cook in enough pure water that can cover the whole beets. Cook until tender. The juice is reserved and peeling and chopping are made easier.

Filling the quart jars is up to you. If you want a lot of the juice (tonic) then use 2 jars and fill loosely. If you want more solids, then pack tightly. Measure the salt and sprinkle on the beets then fill with juice and then the bacteria rich whey. (See previous blog "Sauerkraut". I use the whey gathered from Goat milk yogurt but plain cow yogurt will work also.) The liquid should fill jar to within and inch of the top. If there isn't enough beet juice, use some pure water.

Beets are sweet and the bacteria love consuming the beet sugar. The salt is a preserver and a deterrent for the bacteria to not produce too much alcohol.

Gently stir the contents of the jars to distribute the salt and whey. Clean the rims of the bottles and apply the lids tightly. Jars are left out at room temperature for 3 days and then put in cold storage. If lids are too loose, during fermentation, the juice will escape and make a red mess on counter or in fridge.

Give the microbes at least 3 weeks before opening but you can wait up to 3 months. Once opened, eat within a few weeks. Drink the juice as a liver tonic. Yes, it is salty, but this salt with it's high mineral content is good for you. You can also water down the tonic which is what I do. I find the fermented beet juice is a good laxative.

Don't forget to date the jars, very important so you will know when to open.

I made this salad one day for lunch with lots of greens, some strips of fried egg and lastly, I sprinkled some of my last batch of fermented beets. It was just too pretty and colorful not to take a picture!