Soaking Nuts

I’m not finding perfect consensus here, and I’m going to assume that the amount of salt to add and how long to soak is slightly arbitrary. From The Nourishing Gourmet:

Raw Pecans, Walnuts, or Almonds: Soak 4 cups walnuts with 2 tsp salt for 7 hours or overnight. Dehydrate 12-24 hours, until crisp.

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Preparing Grains

This is a little confusing. Some sites recommend yogurt, some say kefir is ok too, some recommend whey, and I think some recommend just water or acid. I plan on starting with the millet, but still haven’t finished researching options.

A good overview from Nourished Kitchen:

http://nourishedkitchen.com/soaking-grains-nuts-legumes/

First hit that came up on Google:

http://milkforthemorningcake.blogspot.com/2011/05/soaking-fermenting-grains-for-fluffy.html

“You can lacto ferment whole grains before cooking them by soaking them in tepid water with a couple of teaspoons of whey (from strained yogurt) or kefir. keep for 24 hours at room temperature, strain and then cook in the usual way. This can also be done with lemon juice or vinegar in place of the whey. Porridge is also best made this way with whey/kefir, as it has the highest phytate content of all grains.

Recipes containing grain flour, bean flour or nut meal can also be soaked in this way. Simply add the liquid ingredients to the flours, including a teaspoon of lemon juice, two of whey, or some actual yogurt in the recipe. Leave for 24 hours at room temperature and add the rest of the ingredients. You’ll find that breads are fluffier and more toothsome, and raising agents work better this way.”

A page on teff:

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/gluten-free-teff-high-in-nutrition/

“Teff only requires 36 hours or less to sprout – the shortest time of any grain.”

Making Bone Broth

I believe you’re supposed to add a little acid to help the vitamins and minerals dissolve, but I can’t find the link at the moment. Paleo Mom says 4 hours is ok, 24 hours is better. You can re-cook the same bones multiple times. Flavor comes from veggies and herbs.

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/03/recipe-chicken-bone-broth-revisited.html

Nourished Kitchen’s perpetual bone broth:

http://nourishedkitchen.com/perpetual-soup-the-easiest-bone-broth-youll-make/

Cooking Liver

At the farmer’s market, the vendor’s suggestion for both liver and kidneys was simply to slice it thin and fry it up with some veggies.

There are lots of suggestions on how to cook liver at the Weston. A. Price Foundation website. This one seems simplest.

  • Marinate slices of liver in the fridge overnight in lemon juice or water with vinegar, plus lots of garlic and bay laurel leaf. After marinating, pat dry and fry in olive oil and/or lard and/or butter until well done (really brown on the outside and slightly rose inside). (Kidneys work well with this recipe also.) The key is marinating to take away any unpleasant taste. Florabela

Breaking the Ice

The first words are always the hardest.

I arrive at this blog with more questions than answers. The big question is simple: How should I feed my family? My 9-month old daughter loves meat, my husband is perfectly happy as a vegetarian but willing to eat what the family eats, and my mother who is helping with childcare has Type 1 Diabetes and deserves good breakfasts and lunches. I want to shop and cook for the family in a way that is tasty, meets everyone’s needs, and is environmentally and ethically sustainable, yet doesn’t break the bank or become a full-time job.

The road to learning to cook in the first place was long and torturous. My Chinese grandmother cooked delicious meals for my entire family while I was growing up. I spent my twenties and half my thirties subsisting on takeout, restaurant food, and packaged, processed, junk. Respiratory allergies eventually caught up with me, and I was forced to learn how to cook in order to take charge of my health. In 2011, I met my now-husband Jeremy, and a vegetarian lifestyle became a big part of our shared lives. We cooked our way through a CSA box, shopped at farmer’s markets, and started a sourdough culture that’s been alive for four years and counting.

When I became pregnant, I started eating fish and meat again, but in fairly modest quantities, usually in restaurants where the vegetarian options seemed too cheese-laden to be particularly healthy. I considered this a temporary measure, as it went against my ethics of avoiding factory-farmed meat. What I wanted to do was buy humanely raised, grass-finished and pastured meat and prepare it myself, but that felt daunting at the time. So I did what I could, but didn’t aim for perfection.

Now that my daughter Nora is nine months old, I’m a bit less overwhelmed and a bit more willing to invest in shopping for high-quality fish and meat and preparing it myself. I’m also reading up a storm. This blog will chronicle both my findings, and my family’s meals.