You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2010.

Changing the way we eat has changed the way we shop for food – in a big way.  It didn’t happen overnight so it wasn’t like I was buying pop tarts & frozen pizzas regularly (both are addictingly good, btw) to all of a sudden switching to grass-fed meats and organic produce.  It was a gradual transition and the change really occurred over years rather than weeks.

One of the biggest changes was the increase in the number of eggs we eat.  Before, a dozen eggs in my fridge could last 2 weeks.  Now we probably go through 5-6 dozen in the same period.  Eggs, by design, are a nutrient rich food and a meal of eggs can be whipped up in no time.

I have been buying my eggs mainly from two sources.  One is sort of local (in-state) and the other is not.  I found 3 Acre Farm on LocalHarvest and stop for fresh eggs from Janelle whenever I travel to the Central Valley for business.  Janelle pastures her hens, where they feed on grass, bugs and vegetables from her garden, and also supplements their diet with organic chicken feed.  My other supply of eggs comes all the way from Colorado, Fox Fire Farms, where the hens are truly free ranging.  The eggs come in different beautiful colors – white, green, brown and blue – and have dark colored yolks.  There is no way that you could mistake these for ordinary commercially produced eggs.  I don’t have a photo of these eggs since we’re out of them for the moment, which is a bummer.  Since Fox Fire Farms doesn’t mass produce its eggs, the supply varies with the season and with the demand.  So I buy them when I can and when I can’t, I revert back to the organic ones from the market.  But the taste is definitely not the same.

One of the egg dishes I make all the time is a frittata and the recipe changes with the what I have in stock.  The following recipe, though, is a basic one that I use.  Use whatever fresh ingredients you have and be free to create your version.

Frittata

6 eggs

1/4 cup heavy cream (water or milk will work, too)

1 teaspoon chili sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 cup fresh spinach or broccoli, chopped

1/3 cup bell peppers, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

1/2 cup ham or cooked bacon

shredded cheese for topping (or try some crumbled goat cheese instead)

Coconut oil for cooking

  1. Preheat broiler.  Preheat oven-safe skillet on stove top (I love my 12-inch cast iron!).
  2. Beat eggs and cream together.  Stir in chili sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, spinach, bell pepper, tomato, and ham.
  3. Grease pan with a tablespoon or two of coconut oil.
  4. Pour mixture into skillet and cook over medium low heat.  Stir the eggs around gently.
  5. Let the egg cook until the top is almost set but still a bit jiggly.
  6. Sprinkle cheese on eggs and put the skillet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the top is lightly browned and bubbly.

This frittata is good for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  During the week, I’ll make it the night before so that it’s ready to go the next day.  Since my daughter loves eggs, this is a convenient way to also get some meat and veggies in the same bite.  How do you like your eggs?

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Ahhh… summer is here!  Now that June gloom has FINALLY left Southern California, we are getting some sunshine and warm weather.  And with warmer weather, the kefir (is it kee-fer or keh-fear?) that’s been culturing on my kitchen counter is just begging (no, really) to be used in some cool, creamy concoction.  So out came my Blendtec and the frozen fruit.  The drink is a cinch to make and tastes soooo much better than the stuff you get in the stores.

Raspberry Mango Kefir

3 cups kefir

1 cup total raspberries and mangoes

stevia to taste

Blend it all together until the mixture is smooth.  Insert straw & enjoy!

The “kefir”, by the way, sold in stores is not really kefir at all.  Not only does it not have the same taste or texture as the homemade version, it has very few strains of the various bacteria and none of the yeast found in true kefir.  That’s a lot of probiotic goodness that you are missing out on.  For everything you ever wanted to know about kefir, check out Dom’s site.

Kefir grains are easy to get and very easy to grow.  There are yahoo groups and other kefir lovers who are happy to share their extra grains.  What I like about kefir, compared to yogurt, is that no sterilization of equipment is required and the milk or cream doesn’t need to be cooked.  The microflora in the kefir keeps all the bad organisms in check so spoilage isn’t really an issue.  Another great thing about kefir is that it’s such a versatile food.  In it’s various forms, I use it in place of yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, cottage cheese, and cream cheese.

Now that we have a limitless supply of fresh kefir, our hot summer days will be quenched with all kinds of smoothies, frozen pops and treats.  Yum!  What will you make with your kefir?

I love chocolate – dark chocolate that is.  There are probably people out there who don’t like chocolate but I don’t know any of them.  I like it so much I buy bars of the stuff at a time and my pantry, as well as my purse, desk drawer and work bag, are never without it.  Most of the time I just break off pieces and savor the chocolate as is but when I crave something a little more involved, I try to incorporate all that dark chocolaty goodness in a recipe.

So for my first post, I am sharing a simple, spicy chocolate that’s a little exotic and really yummy.  Like, really yummy.

Spicy Dark Chocolate:

4 oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces

(I use equal parts 72% and 85% cocoa content)

1/4 to 1/2 tsp chile pepper

pinch of salt

  1. Melt chocolate over double boiler.
  2. Stir in chile pepper and salt.
  3. Pour into candy mold or free form on a silpat-lined cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm.

Mmmm.  The high cocoa content is very pronounced but the heat from chile is subtle and lingers.  I used a mix of cayenne pepper and a mild New Mexico chile powder with a smoky flavor.  Because I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to hot stuff, I started out with just a pinch of pepper.  But the bitter chocolate really calls for more heat to balance out the flavor.  Then I sprinkled some Maldon flake sea salt on the chocolate just because I wanted something salty.  Even though my husband didn’t care for the salt, my 15-month old daughter happily ate her piece.  Chocolate mustache, anyone?

While chocolate isn’t exactly primal, dark chocolate is lower in refined sugar and is a nice treat once in a while.  Now, I just need to work out the “once-in-a-while” part.