WARNING: science-based nutrition will rock your world.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."  
~Hans Christian Anderson

Monday, July 19, 2010

Homemade Tomato Sauce: Worth It?

48 tomatoes...

48 tomatoes...

48 tomatoes, plus a tart...

Pick, scald, peel, seed, chop, drain. Break for decaf and dark chocolate.

Saute one large sweet onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add two large bulbs (heads) organic garlic and a generous splash balsamic. Add tomatoes, a light palm of salt. Basil? Not this time. Medium heat for 3 hours, uncovered. Stir...stir. Low heat through the night, uncovered.

Rise. Smell. Stir. Yeah, baby. Jar. Freeze.

Breakfast: scrape pot with crusty bread. Top sauced bread with homemade pesto. Eat, standing, eyes closed. Aaahhh...bella. Lick lips.

48 tomatoes, 2 quarts of righteous sauce. Each to be consumed with a $48 bottle of something red. Double mark-up, you know.

Worth it? Yes. Make your reservation now. Space limited. You bring the wine. Something Italian, perhaps...or vintage Californian.

Stool Art: Bistro, by Cindy Cash, 1996

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cucumber Pulp: Tzatziki and Other Edible (Or Not) Ideas!

You're looking at the foundational ingredients for Tzatziki (pronounced "zat - ZEE - key," silent T), a traditional, nourishing and intensely flavorful Greek-inspired dip or sauce. Its uses are only limited by your imagination. Please revisit the post on Whey (June 29, 2010) for instructions on making Greek-style yogurt - easier than rocket science, I promise.

Ingredients for Tzatziki (I rarely measure, and you don't have to, either, unless you're baking):
  • The curds from one quart of plain, whole milk yogurt
  • The pulp from 4 large cukes (seeds included, unless they offend you; if you didn't remove them before pureeing your cukes, it's no big deal; I use the seeds - lots of nutrients in seeds!)
  • 2 or more cloves garlic, finely minced
  • A generous squeeze of lemon juice
  • A couple of tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • A generous tablespoon of fresh or dried dill
  • 4 or more fresh mint leaves, finely minced (optional, but soooo good)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a bowl, and smash with a large fork. Taste, and adjust seasonings. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to blend flavors.

How to Use Tzatziki 
  • Spread on tomato or turkey sandwiches instead of mayonnaise...you may never look back
  • Dip fresh garden veggies in it
  • Dress grilled lamb or other meat of your choice
  • Top a baked potato with it
  • Experiment and share your results with us!
     More Uses for Cucumber Pulp
    • Natural Make-up Remover and Skin Soother (sunburn remedy): slowly simmer the pulp with a cup of milk; strain and store the liquid in a jar; refrigerate; clean your face before bedtime, or gently rub on skin irritations. Thank the well-used pulp, then toss it in the compost bin.
    • 1/2 cup pulp replaces 1/2 cup of oil in homemade bread, cake, or biscuits
    • Turn a cool bath into a spa treatment
    • Make a batch of chilled summer soup...hmmm...gazpacho... 
    • Add to your garden compost, if you're out of energy; but first, see if your dog or cat will eat it

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Sun Salutations

    "Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life."
         - Rachel Carson

    Garden Equivalent of Ruby Red Slippers

    "Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm." Abraham Lincoln

    Cucumber Juice: Spit of the Garden!

    Cucumbers are the gold medal winners in my 2010 garden. I can't give them away fast enough, and they  grow monstrously large if not picked hourly; cukes love to play hide and seek.  I decided to juice the bigger ones, figuring I'd take cool baths with cucumber juice, read some Jane Austen, and pretend to be the favored daughter of respected but cash-poor Victorian aristocracy who gets the guy and the horse at the end.

    But first, I tasted it.

    How oddly refreshing, I thought. So I shared the beautiful green juice with a friend who gagged, shuddered and softly said, "This tastes like someone else's spit." Well, that got me to thinking about the old woman who once was my mountain neighbor, and the day I was stung by five yellow jackets while transplanting zinnias. She reached in her mouth, pulled out a wad of tarry tobacco spit, and daubed it on my stings. Instant relief! Could cucumber juice have the magic properties of Lily Wykle's spit? If a garden produced spit, would it come from a cucumber? Well, yeah. There has to be something productive to do with those overgrown blimps.

    How to Juice Cukes: wash and slice your cukes in half, no need to peel if they're organic; scoop out the seeds ONLY if they offend you; cut up the slices into large chunks. Place chunks into your blender or food processor. Puree until smooth; pour the puree into a strainer lined with cheesecloth; after a few minutes, you may want to help the juice separate from the pulp by gently squeezing and wringing out the cheesecloth; save the pulp for later use. Pour into a glass container and chill.

    How to Serve: straight up, or, with a squeeze of fresh lemon, or frozen into cubes and floated in a glass of water or a Bloody Mary. Make sure the juice is well chilled, and give your taste buds a day or two to adjust. The more you sip, the better it becomes. Open your mind and heart to cuke juice; the benefits will be obvious soon enough.

    What people are saying about cucumber juice (other than the spit comment):

    • Cuke juice helps with aching, painful joints – and after 2 days of juicing cucumbers I was pain-free
    • Cucumber Juice is extremely good for your hair, skin and nails
    • Cucumber Juice is high in potassium - a great natural source of electrolytes
    • Cucumber Juice can help lower your blood pressure
    • Cucumber is a wonderful source for silica
    • Silica is important for healthy connective tissue, ligaments, cartilage, muscles, tendons, and bone
    • Cucumber juice supplies the body Molybdenem, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Manganese, Tryotophan, Magnesium, and Chlorophyll
    • Cucumbers are a great way to cool down your body's inflammatory response
    • Cucumber is very alkaline; cancer cannot live in an alkaline environment
    • Cucumber juice is also used to heal and cure issues with acne, water retention, arthritis, kidneys, eczema, psoriasis, and hair loss (really? hair loss?)
    • Cucumber juice is a diuretic and therefore has wonderful cleansing powers
    Cucumber Juice: Nature's internal spit-shine!

      Eat The Rainbow: Simple Recipes Included

             What could be easier than this lunch?
             (OK, a drive-thru, ha ha ha)

      Chickpeas: cook a bag of chickpeas according to directions (overnight soak, etc.), OR open a can, drain it, and rinse the peas in cold water. Throw them in a bowl. Anticipate your next delicious move.

      Party Dress for the Chickpeas: toss a handful of herbs (cilantro, dill, basil, parsley, or a combo), a jalapeno pepper, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, some lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a blender or food processor; add more oil and / or lemon juice if needed. Pour what you need over the chickpeas, and refrigerate the rest for later. You'll use it again.

      Four- Minute Steamed Okra: set up your well-used steamer basket scenario (see July 2nd post for explicit steaming directions); when the water steams, add the okra; set the kitchen timer for NO MORE THAN 4 minutes. Remove the basket promptly, and drizzle the little green alien pods with olive oil and sea salt.  

      MY HEARTFELT OKRA TESTIMONY: eating okra lightly cooked this way will change your world, I swear. My favorite okra recipe used to be this: boil a quart of salt water; add a pound of okra; cook for 20 minutes, then flush down the toilet. Think you don't like okra? Think again, my friend. I was a card-carrying okra hater unless it was fried dark brown and covered with ketchup. Stewed? Ugh. Still makes me gag just thinking about it. But, this, I'm serious; it's my favorite summer food. Be brave, and you will be rewarded.

      Chilled purple cabbage: turn your burner on medium high; in a frying pan, heat up a couple tablespoons of chicken broth or water; add a couple of cups or more chopped cabbage of any color (mine happened to be purple which turned a lovely color of blue when cooked - much more palatable than the artificial blue of M&Ms); add a liberal pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, and stir; after a minute or two, you might need to add another tablespoon or so of liquid, depending on how old the cabbage is - the younger it is, the quicker it will cook - and cover it for another minute. It takes approximately 5 minutes or less to cook cabbage this way, and it will be crunchy, not mushy. Eat what you want, and store the rest. Cabbage is good for breakfast, remember?

      Marinated Cukes and Onions: Slice a bunch of garden cukes as thin as you can; slice a large sweet onion very thinly, too; in a large casserole-type glass container, layer the cukes and onions. Boil one cup of apple cider vinegar, one cup of water, and 1/2 cup of honey or organic cane sugar. Pour the hot mixture over the cukes and onions until the veggies are covered. If you need more liquid, just add more vinegar and water. If you want these babies even sweeter, add balsamic vinegar at the end.

      Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Peppers: wash 'em, eat 'em.

      Friday, July 2, 2010

      Potato Salad: Unique, Like You!

      You'll be the only one carrying a bowl of this tasty salad to the family reunion, guaranteed!

      Assemble Your Ingredients
      6 or more medium red or white potatoes
      1/4 cup give or take olive oil
      1/8 cup or a little more vinegar - cider, balsamic, rice, wine, whatever (mix it up!)
      1/4 cup or so finely chopped fresh herbs (I used dill, thyme, rosemary, and parsley in this batch)
      1/4 cup minced sweet onion, if you like onions
      4 or more finely minced garlic cloves
      1/4 cup capers (optional, but add them; they add so much distinction to the dish)
      conservative salt and liberal pepper to taste


      Slice and cube your potatoes to about the size shown in the picture above
      Place your steamer basket (What, you don't have one yet? Dang. Stop what you're doing and go to the grocery store. Look in the gadget section and buy one; they're cheap. I'll wait.)
      Place your newly purchased and washed steamer basket in a large pot with about an inch or so of water in the bottom, making sure the water doesn't rise above the bottom of the steamer basket, and cover.
      When you see steam, carefully pour your potatoes into the basket, replace your lid, and set your kitchen timer - 10 minutes for white potatoes, 12 minutes for red ones (my potatoes are freshly dug from my garden. If yours are store-bought, the time may vary a bit. Just stick a fork in them, they'll tell you if they're done)
      Remove the basket from the pot, and place in the sink for a minute. Congratulations!
      Transfer the potatoes to a bowl, and while they're warm, mix a little salt in with them.
      Next, add your olive oil, then your vinegar, then just throw the rest in there and toss.
      Adjust seasonings, but be very conservative with your salt, as the capers are salty. The longer your potato salad sits, the better it gets.