Sprouted Barley Porridge with Cranberry Coconut Cream

 

I recently stumbled upon a neat trick to cook barley quickly and make its nutrients more available to the bod: sprouting overnight in kombucha spiked water. Read More

Scrappy Kitchen: Using Ends, Peels, & Stems (Strawberry Top and Herb Stem Soda & Kombucha; Buttermilk Lemon Rind Scones)

Recently I was slicing off the tops of our precious (price and flavor wise!) Harry’s Barry’s Gaviota Strawberries, and lamented throwing away even the tops with .000005 oz. of fruit attached.   I thought to myself, “there must be a way to use even this tiny bit of flavor.”  So I tossed them in the blender with a bit of water and added the puree to my homemade soda (unstrained) and kombucha (strained).  I had some herbs in the crisper that were mostly stem, too, so I put them to use in a similar manner.  The resulting drinks were so unique, fresh and flavorful that I had to share!

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You may recall my post on carrot tops, another kitchen scrap that probably gets tossed in the majority of kitchens.  They make an earthy pesto that I discovered can be made with other veggie tops:  beet greens, celery leaf, fennel frond . . . you get the idea.  You can change up the nuts, oils, acid, and cheeses to your liking.  You’ll empower your creative cooking muscle and feel as resourceful as your pioneer/homesteading great grandmother.

With baking goods, you can use fruit scraps and herb stems to create a glaze for scones, donuts, or as a life-extender for your dreary marmalade.  It won’t be your mother’s marmalade, but it will be jazzy and fun.

If you want to make kombucha, roll your sleeves up and try this recipe, then at the flavoring stage add your strained strawberry tops and proceed as normal with the recipe.  For homemade soda, do the same.

For a nice change to your glazed scones, try this recipe below which I created with buttermilk (another thrifty creation . . . another recipe for another day), lemon rind, yuzu powder and herbs:

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sugar or honey

1 – 2 tablespoons zest (grapefruit, lemon, or orange)
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup cold butter
2 large eggs, plus an extra for the egg wash
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup citrus juice (grapefruit, lemon, or orange)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

small handful of rosemary or lavender

Glaze:

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup water

1/2 cup yuzu powder, sifted (Note:  I substituted yuzu for 2 cups of powdered sugar)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 lemon rind

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and zest. Rub the zest and sugar together with your fingers to release the oils.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, zest, and poppy seeds. Cut the butter into the flour mixture. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, combine the 2 eggs, buttermilk, citrus juice, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the egg mixture and stir until it comes together. Whisk the additional egg in a small bowl combined with 1 tablespoon water. Set aside.
Turn out on a lightly floured counter and knead a few times until it holds it’s shape. Divide into two equal portions (a kitchen scale helps with this) and roll into an 8 or 9 inch circle. Dust the bottom of the circles with flour.
Cut each circle into 6 or 8 triangles. Place the triangles on a parchment lined baking sheet. Lightly brush with the egg wash, then bake for 15-25 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until golden and cooked through.  Cool on a wire rack and glaze.  Top with herbs.

Make the lemon glaze in a double boiler, or for a simpler alternative, you can zap it in the microwave. First puree the lemon rind with the water and honey.  Mix in lemon juice with the yuzu until dissolved in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water for the double-boiler method, or in a microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in the butter and lemon zest. Either nuke the glaze for 30 seconds or continue whisking in the double boiler. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

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Midweek Maintenance

Between cooking breakfast & dinner, packing lunches and reading my favorite blogs, I have to tend to some regular tasks on a weekly basis in order to keep us healthy, happy and well fed.  These include keeping up foods/drinks that we consume often and that I grew tired of paying too much money for AND which I learned on the internet and through reading books that I could make at home with a measure of good attitude, patience and industriousness.

What do you do on a regular basis to keep yourself well fed and your blog well read?  What do you enjoy most and least of those tasks???

Here are some things I did this week to keep the food machine running smoothly:

Like I said, pack lunches and make breakfast:

Go to the Farmer’s Market:

Maintain Bone Broth for stock, sauces and healthy sipping:

Flavor and Pressurize Kombucha and Feed Sourdough Starter:

Sidewalk Surprise: Loquats

The lovely painting above is entitled “Loquats and Mountain Bird,” by Anonymous Southern Song artist, in the Collection of the National Palace Museum, Beijing.

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Side Yard Loquats

Ever been surprised by a flash of realized abundance in your life, when and where you were least looking for it?  That’s what happened when we realized the tree on our “private property” part of our Santa Monica sidewalk is a loquat tree, and that the fruit it yields not only edible but delicious.  It’s flavor is a perfect marriage of sweet and sour (think mango, citrus and apricot) and I’ve got a motherlode in my kitchen waiting to be eaten as is, or become granita, syrup for kombucha, jam, barbeque sauce, who knows what else.

This morning I made loquat kombucha

This morning I made loquat kombucha

See you in a week

See you in a week

I had always wondered what was growing on our side yard tree, then this weekend at my favorite cafe Red Bread a fellow sat down next to me with a  backpack full of what I recognized to be our tree fruit.  On his way to the weekly community produce swap, he explained to me that these were indeed loquats.  Down the rabbit hole of internet research I went.  Later that afternoon, after reading around, my enthusiasm for our newfound crop at its peak, I brought my husband a piece of loquat who, though he loved the puckering flavor, dampened my glee with the comment, “I think I taste a faint essence of diesel fuel” (we have a bus stop smack in front of the tree, about 10 feet from our front window).

Our Tree

Our Tree

The Loquat up close

The Loquat up close

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae,native to south-central China. It is a large evergreen shrub or small tree, grown commercially for its yellow fruit, and also cultivated as an ornamental plant.

Eriobotrya japonica was formerly thought to be closely related to the genus Mespilus, and is still sometimes known as the Japanese medlar. It is also known as Japanese plum and Chinese plum. In Japan it is called biwa. And in China, it is called Lo Guat in Cantonese and pipa  in Mandarin.

The loquat has a high sugar, acid, and pectin content. It is best eaten dead ripe.  On the internet you can find many recipes for loquat  jam, jelly and pie, and on the private website entirely devoted to the fruit “Loquatworld.com” you can find links to some pretty offbeat delicacies, like pickled loquat and loquat grappa.

The large seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide and should not be eaten.

For an impressive source of information on loquat history, including different varieties, availability and commercialization (or lack thereof), I refer you to my local produce celebrity writer and David Karp and his 1999 article in the LA Times, “Loco for Loquats.”

Stay tuned for loquat recipes!