Healthy Pickles

Who knew there were healthy pickles and unhealthy pickles! I didn’t until we discovered Wild Fermentation, a way to make pickles just like your grandmother…..well…..your great-grandmother……no, maybe your great-great-grandmother! Somewhere back in your genealogy, whichever grandmother it was who made pickles from a salt and water brine, not using vinegar or “processing” them using modern-day canning techniques, is the grandmother you want to copy. All others bought into the lies of the modern age which turned perfectly nutritious food into dead matter, unfit for human or animal consumption.

Where canning kills enzymes, heat liable vitamins and other nutrition, pickling by fermentation creates a nutrient rich solution that not only offers a wide range of vitamins and minerals, but also serves as a natural pro-biotic, aiding in digestion.

Lemon Souffle Pancakes

Every once in awhile, my thoughts wander, contemplating owning a B&B or little country inn. I’m enough of a realist, that the first “B” part of the fantasy, as in “bed”, means mountains of linen laundry and endless changing of sheets, not my idea of a good time. It’s the second “B”, the breakfast part, that keeps me dreaming. Whenever one of my latest experiments is approved by happy, contented faces gathered around my breakfast table, I find myself contemplating, “what if” and “if only”.

The irony is, I’d never have expected any of my dreams to have included the word “breakfast”, unless it had something to do with travel, Paris and croissants. For most of my life, breakfast was something to be avoided, having an aversion to boxed cereals and pancake mixes, frozen waffles, and grocery-store eggs, all of which left me feeling queasy and light-headed. A simple piece of dry toast, accompanied by a cup of hot tea, satisfied me for decades. It was when my husband and I stayed at a quaint and historic Maine B&B, that I was inspired to expand my breakfast horizon.

Wild Blueberry Hunting

Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing. Ezekiel 47:12

This summer’s wild berry crop has blessed us with abundant black raspberries and blackberries, their seeds deposited by creatures a few summers ago in our yard, along our rock retaining walls, and in a once-hoped-for garden stolen from me by a persistent and destructive woodchuck. When the last blackberry thorn extracted its blood price from my arm, its bounty tucked away in the freezer, my mind turned towards the next harvest – blueberries.

Unlike past summers, we won’t be journeying to northern Maine, exploring Bar Harbor and Acadia coastal beaches, enjoying whale-watch excursions, sailboat rides, lobster dinners around the campfire – a black tie and white linen affair back in Minnesota where I grew up – and my favorite activity, wild blueberry picking. It’s the blueberry picking I’ll miss the most, the daily ritual of rising first-light-of-dawn, heading out into fog-enshrouded seaside fields, steaming mug of coffee in one hand, berry bucket in the other, in search of fresh berries.

This 'n That

An alternate title for this section might be, “Forgive us, Lord, we know not what we do……”………

Toxic Food Borne Illness

These include the usual culprits – mushrooms picked with little studying or knowledge, touching poison plants like poison ivy or poison oak; or eating poisoned or spoiled shellfish. Those don’t bother me, as much as the “heavy metal such as antimony, zinc, lead and copper can find their way into the food chain from the way in which we store food items. Foods, especially high acid foods e.g. fruit juices, can react with metal containers such as cans, after they are opened. The metal from the containers then enters the food and can be consumed.” Or worse…

Brined & Roasted or Grilled Whole Turkey

It’s mid-July and already, my mind is planning Thanksgiving, looking forward to eating juicy, succulent turkey, adjectives rarely used to describe turkeys of most holiday meals. No matter the techniques – roasting bags, butter rubs, tenting with foil, or using roasters – the meat was the least favorite part of the meal. Then we discovered organic pastured turkeys – turkeys raised the way turkeys were meant to be raised. Unlike factory-farmed counterparts, pastured turkeys have a good life – running free in fields filled with sunshine, plenty of juicy insects and nutrient-dense grass from which they can forage. There’s no doubt part of their great flavor is psychological. It’s a relief to know we’re eating meat that isn’t loaded with chemicals, preservatives, antibiotics, and growth
stimulants like arsenic.

Microbes & The Days of Creation

Without microbes, life itself would be impossible. But say the words “bacteria” or “virus”, and most people rush for the antibacterial soaps or sanitizers in a desire to kill off “germs” they believe might hurt them. In reality, as the following article points out, Only about 5–10% of all bacteria are pathogenic.

Turning those numbers around, we could say that, ….about 90-95% of all bacteria are beneficial. That’s a dramatically different perspective which can change the way we look at the world around us, including the food that we eat and how it is cared for and processed.

Kimchi Goes to Space....

For hundreds of generations, Koreans have long known their beloved fermented Kimchi was a rich resource of what food scientists today call, “functional properties”. Not only does Kimchi offer antioxidant, antimutagenic, and anticarcinogenic benefits, but also healthy doses of ascorbic acid (anti-scurvy used by ancient sailors), carotene and B-complex vitamins as well as calcium, iron and potassium. It’s all possible because bacteria and fungus, thriving on all fresh fruits and vegetables, breaks down components of the foods through complex biological processes, the most important being a lactic acid producing bacteria, Lactobacillus. Lactic acid gives kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, kefir, sourdough bread and yogurt their sour taste.

Sofrito Paella

I discovered two keys to a really good Paella – a really good Sofrito – a rich tomato foundation fondly called “the secret sauce” by Sofrito aficionados – and choosing the right kind of rice.

There are as many Sofritos, common to Puerto Rican, Spanish and Caribbean cuisine, as there are possibilities for incorporating their taste-tingling goodness into stews, soups or bean-based dishes, or, a Paella. All Sofritos begin with the same basic ingredients – onions, tomatoes, garlic and some form of peppers. From there, spices vary, reflecting individual cultures and tastes. Traditionally, Sofritos are prepared fresh weekly and kept on hand, used throughout the week, or in this case, prepared for one main dish.

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Cancer

I could have posted individual blog entries, but I think it is more important that all of the following information is kept in one convenient “archive”, if you will. The following is of vital importance to babies, pregnant women, men, children, in other words, every single person. Many of us are deficient in Vitamin D. One would think given the number of processed foods and pasteurized milk additive of Vitamin D that we’d have more than enough. But research from many leading institutions is showing just the opposite, that despite our food industry supplementing synthetic forms of Vitamin D, we are still a deficient people. And that puts us at risk for a huge range of diseases – everything from arthritis to cancer, and possibly even be yet another “cause” of Autism. The moral of this story is:

“The high rate of natural production of vitamin D3 cholecalciferol in the skin is the single most important fact every person should know about vitamin D because it has such profound implications for the natural human condition.” – NEJM


So Much Food, So Little Time.....

My husband researched restaurants ahead of time, discovering Penang had great reviews. We were on a mission, wanting Laksa, a Maylaysian soup for which there are hundreds of recipes and thousands of condiments from which one might choose to grace its surface creating variations as unique as individual taste.

Once seated, having a few sips of hot tea automatically delivered with the menus, we encountered our first problem of a long, lovely day. There were too many wonderful items on the menu. Malay cuisine is a wonderful mix, a “Best Of” including satay, nasi lemak, rendang, roti canai, murtabak, laksa – dishes from countries near ‘n far, influenced by ancient trade routes including China, north and south India, Thailand and even Portugal.