heidi, jordan, and elle ... experiencing life ...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weekend Recap- Raw Chevre and Animals in the Applegate

wow, i guess it's been a little bit since i've posted on here...my days home have been so full of good times i've hardly sat down at the computer. so here i am writing at the office :)

last week, jordan and i ventured into cheesemaking, and made our own totally raw chevre! a whole half-gallon made two little pints, heehee! but, now we have tons of whey stored in the freezer to use for fermenting things! that should be fun to figure out!
we bought a goat-cheese-making kit that came with recipes, but all of them instructed us to "sanitize" the milk to by boiling it, then cooling it to make the cheese...jordan ended up finding a good, simple recipe online for "totally raw goat cheese"...i'll have to find the information at home and post it if anyone is interested.

we basically added the culture and rennet to milk and let it sit on the counter for at least 24 hours, then drained it through butter cloth (or multiple layers of cheesecloth) for another 24 hours at least. i think we let ours drain for more like 48 hours, and have really crumbly dry cheese, which makes it really easy to crumble it for salads :)

in one pint jar, we added lavender and rosemary, in the other went rosemary and chives, all from our front garden :) so anyway, this weekend, we finally got around to buying some greens to try our own lavender rosemary chevre out on a salad.

mmmm, so good with walnuts, olive oil, and balsamic :)

on saturday, we managed to squeeze in our first weekend escape-this was the first time i left the ashland area since we moved here! (not counting jordan's graduation and our trip to hawaii, which happened about 2 weeks after our move...and jordan had the priviledge of an overnight trip to portland to meet the chiropractic board)... but this was our first weekend outing in our new homebase! :)

we drove about an hour northwest of ashland to the beautiful little applegate valley, where the majority of the farms we see at the farmers' market come from.
destination #1: cowhorn winery-southern oregon's only biodynamic winery and farm, which goes way beyond the label of organic-the owners' do all they can to make the place a "closed ecosystem" by using everything they can from the location (i.e. using the rocks they pick to line a pond and make raised beds), and put as much back into it as they can as well (i.e. lots of composting). i didn't take any photos there, unfortunately, but it's pretty early in the season, so there really isn't much to see, mostly dirt, rocks, and bare grape vines :)

destination #2: sanctuary one- a little farm that houses rescued domestic and farm animals. elle has been absolutely LOVING animals, to the point of screeching when she sees a dog walking down the street! so, we found out about this farm and thought it would be a fun way for elle to meet all kinds of animals.

waiting in line for dinner! :)

we all had a fun time meeting cats, goats, horses, ducks, geese and even a pot-bellied pig! lots of fun photo ops there :)

in the "cat house" :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Miracle of Life

i made a very interesting and amazing observation this morning when i was planting some new seeds in my egg cartons, and i just have to share it! so, i label what i've planted with pieces of tape attached to toothpicks. in one carton i filled 2/3 of it with sage and tomatoes, so there was one section that was open for more seeds. being me, i was of course second guessing which side of my markers i had planted the seeds in (i had labeled both sides of the tape, so it really could've been either side...)

i had just watered the seeds, so the whole thing was wet. i started poking around in the section i was pretty sure was open, and of course didn't see any seeds, but i wanted to confirm that there were indeed tomato seeds in the next section over.

i poked my finger in, and the dirt was hot!! a little more poking, and sure enough, there was a tomato seed...not yet sprouted...but life was happening! the little seed seemed to be making its home warm all by itself! the section right next to it that i had been poking in was cold!!

i don't know about you, but i was amazed! just another example shown to me of how perfect the nature of things really are.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Raw Goat's Milk Ice Cream

we ended up with some amazing ice cream the other night! i know goat's milk to a lot of people does not sound amazing, but our source is exceptional! we stopped at the grocery store earlier that evening to pick up a couple things (walked out $83 poorer, of course) and were sooo tempted as we walked by the ice cream case, as we had just run out the day before. we always mean to make our own, but most times we break down and just buy it. i think there is no perfect ice cream to buy, at least at the stores we shop at. one ice cream is organic, but adds fillers, another is wonderful and has no filler whatsoever, but the milk is conventional. the goat milk ice cream you can buy costs about $7 a pint! so, we gathered our will power and walked by without the goods, telling ourselves, we will make some ice cream with our goat milk!

and we did!! and it is AMAZING!

this is an improvised recipe, made delicious by two things in particular:
1) we added some goat cheese we had had in the fridge because we had no cream. goat cream is really really hard to come by, we learned from our supplier of raw goat's milk, "hunt family farm", mostly because goat milk doesn't separate like cow's milk.

2) it was inspired by the flavor, "rosemary pinenut praline" at "ici" in berkeley. the owner was a pastry chef at alice water's restaurant, "chez panisse", so her ice cream is out of this world, of course.

what we ended up with was "cheesy rosemary almond"... here it is, enjoy!

-3/4 c goat cheese (the chevre kind)
-2/3 c sweetener (maple syrup, sorghum syrup, turbinado sugar, etc... for my sake, please steer clear of agave...it really is no different than high fructose corn syrup, made from the starchy root of the plant (not the nectar) and chemically processed to death)
-2 fresh eggs

*blend these until frothy

-add raw goat's milk to make a total of 1 quart
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary
-1/4 c roasted, salted almonds

*gently pulse in the blender until it is mixed (it's important to be gentle with the raw milk, to keep its integrity)

chill for a bit, then put it in whatever ice cream maker you have, and you have some lovely tasting cool, creamy, sweet and salty raw ice cream!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring has Sprung!

my peas are up!! i am so excited! to see new life spring forth from the earth is so rewarding. it reminds me that the innate wisdom of the earth and universe work so perfectly together... definitely more perfect than my egg cartons and grow light for sure!! when comparing my spindly little seedlings that i tried in vain to keep alive (only the peppers are still alive...) to these little pea shoots that have broken though the crusty soil (and it is reaaally crusty for some reason!), i am in awe, and have great respect for the perfect symphony of life that is so powerful in the springtime.
spring has also rewarded us with the opportunity to use its power to help us
with the chores! my first load of laundry hung out to dry in the wind made me so happy, that i was actually a little surprised at how good i felt!...doing laundry! it brought us back to a time when things moved slower, and i think maybe it really does help time to move slower. to methodically place each item of clothing on the line forces one's body and being to slow down and breathe for a change.
the other evening, with a load-and-a-half still on the line, i was tempted to just leave them there for night, and do some other things on the not-so-important to-do list in my head. i must've felt at least a little on edge, or crabby, because after i decided that maybe i really should take the clothes off the line, my whole body, mind, attitude-everything felt so much better! i could physically feel myself lighten! the to-do list didn't go away of course, but the need to stop, and be present, and feel the breeze on my face reminded me that just being, and enjoying every moment, is what really counts.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mayonnaise from Scratch, and a bit of Egg-y Wisdom :)

this is one of the things i ended up making last weekend with our friends, and it has been requested that i share the recipe. i can't remember the exact source to credit, but i believe jordan found this on the internet one day a while back when we decided it would be cheaper, and much better for us to make mayo from scratch. despite all i've heard to the contrary, i've never had trouble getting the perfect consistency. ...with the exception of last weekend (of course)...i had to dump the whole thing out, and start over! actually, we've saved it, hoping to make hollandaise out of it...we'll see. i don't know if it was because i used all apple cider vinegar (from the bottom of the jar, no less) instead of part lemon juice like i usually do, or because i dumped the last 1/2 cup of oil in all at once (like the recipe says) instead of gradually... like i usually do... i guess playing hostess is distracting to me? haha! anyway, here it is:

using a food processor or blender, blend together:
*1 egg
*1 tsp dry mustard (or just a scoop of regular mustard of your choice, that's what i do)
*1 tsp salt
*dash of cayenne pepper (adjust to your spiciness preference)
*2-4 cloves garlic (again, adjust to your level of love for garlic)
once blended, add:
*1/4 cup olive oil(this CAN go in all at once)
then add SLOWLY:
*1/2 cup olive oil
once blended add:
*3 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice (as stated above, i do a bit of apple cider vinegar AND lemon juice
then add SLOWLY (although it doesn't have to be as slow as the first bit):
*1/2 cup olive oil (your total amt of olive oil comes to 1 1/4 cups)
*make sure it's all blended well, and it should be a really nice mayonnaise :)

**a note on eggs:
notice that this recipe does call for a RAW egg (although, the vinegar and lemon juice does CURE it). i must point out that all eggs are NOT created equal. I advise using a healthy, hearty egg from a happy (preferably local) chicken that is able to express her chickenness by living a happy life outside, in the pasture, eating bugs. :) this is not the same as cage free, or even "free-range" that you can get at most grocery stores nowadays. i urge you to be aware of where the eggs you buy are coming from as most large "farms" that label their eggs as anything "free" generally have a small door at the end of a huge building, inviting the chickens to step outside, if they wish- most do not think to take advantage of that priviledge. these chickens are not near as healthy and hearty as true "pastured" chickens, and the eggs of such chickens are compromised as well (e.g. they may not be as able to keep undesirable bacteria from proliferating).
several years ago, we made a good friend quite sick by feeding him a lovely dessert with raw eggs. back then, we shopped mostly by price, so i assure you, they weren't the best money could buy... so i whole heartedly believe that all eggs are not equal. that's my soapbox for the day, do with it what you will. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Seedling Disaster

argh! so, i got so excited a month and a half ago about being able to grow my own food from scratch that i put all my seeds nicely in egg cartons, on the top bunk in our spare bedroom complete with grow lights... now, i realize and admit that several plants were started too early, even for this mild climate of ashland, oregon, but i thought, "oh, they'll just get a little bigger here inside, and i can have a nice early crop of some yummy produce"! ...apparently these little seedlings have a time limit on how long they enjoy egg cartons... and they're still really really tiny! not sure yet what i did wrong, but the majority of them have keeled over and wilted- their leaves have fallen off, and their gangly stems are laying flat on the dirt.

so, yesterday, being our day home from the office, i attempted to do some damage control. broccoli, cabbage, one cauliflower (that's all that was left, from two whole egg cartons!), leeks and onions (what little onions still looked vi
able, i plan on putting some more seeds directly in the garden this weekend) have gone into the garden to face the elements, for better or for worse. herbs have gone into a large herb pot we have sitting on our front sidewalk (and forgot to take inside last night, hope they survived!) even though they are still sooo small! tomatoes, melons, and peppers (which apparently i wasn't supposed to start until APRIL, and i started them in FEBRUARY!) have been transplanted into all the larger pots i could find, and put back up on the bunk under the lights, along with celery, which still looks ok in the egg carton, and a few flowers which may be a lost cause... i may lose most of my tomatoes, but hopefully it's not too late to start some more seeds, i hope to have tomatoes coming out my ears this fall so i can have lots of canned and frozen tomato goodness to last us through the winter. :) ugh, so this is a rather dramatic start to our food-independence story! I'm sure it's not the end, stay tuned for more entertainment! =D

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Weekend Review

so, we did have a wonderful time with jenny, don, ava, and danica while they were here... the weekend went entirely too fast! i cannot believe how much ava has grown since we saw her last-she's 2 1/2 months younger than elle, and she speeds right past her when crawling! it's so fun watching them together! i wouldn't say they play with each other, but rather they observe on another... and tend to want whatever toy the other has in her hand at the moment. it was great to catch up with jenny and danica well, can't leave them out of the equation, but i have to admit most of everyone's attention was on the babies...and danica's oh-so-cute baby bump! :) can't wait to meet her little one!!