Catching Up, Bone Broth, and Tea Recipe

I haven’t been making much time to write up recipes and posts, but I have been cooking up a storm. We’ve had over 100″ (yes, that’s right) of snow here and on snowy days all I want to do is hole up in my house and cook! I’ll be posting some new recipes soon.

Here’s what I’ve been up to …

I’ve been driving. My commute from the burbs to the city is now 2 hours in and 1.5 hours out. After working a full work-week I’m too tired to write long posts.  Essentially, I’m “working” 60 hours a week. sigh.

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I’ve been shoveling and maintaining paths to our chicken coop and front door. The plow guy can only do so much. The walkways and front porch is our job and for a month it was quite a job. On a positive note, the chickens have been consistently laying eggs all winter! I wasn’t expecting that at all. The eggs are such a gift. My girls turn a year old on April 9th and I plan to give them some special treats from us on that day. They love strawberries, tomatoes, oatmeal, and cabbage. Maybe a special salad?

Shoveling out the beehives hasn’t been fun either. Walking to the hives in four foot deep snow isn’t easy, but the hives are dug out and on a warm day the girls can take some cleansing flights easily enough.

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I’ve been making bone broth every weekend to sip during the week. Bone broth is easy, rich in protein, minerals, soothing to the gut, and great for the skin. We sip it in place of tea. If you have GERD, Leaky Gut, or an upset tummy drink bone broth every day. You can make it from slow cooking or using a pressure cooker. I roast a chicken or brown some beef bones and then put them in the pot with water, an onion, a few carrots, celery, and a garlic clove or two. If you use a slow cooker or stove-top you can plan to let it simmer for 12-24 hours. In a pressure cooker it will be ready in 1-2 hours. The longer you cook the bones the more minerals you will pull from the bones. Adding a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar will help leach the minerals quicker, too.

I’ve been creating new tinctures for my GingerSage Botanicals herbal business. I have a new Rose Elixir, Damiana-Rose Tincture, and a Hawaiian Awa (kava kava) Tincture. I have more items for sale so pop over and check it out. I sell a lot out of my home, but I do ship. Click on the link to shop: www.etsy.com/shop/GingerSageBotanicals

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I’ve been planning out a French potager garden. I want to expand our perennial beds to include more vegetables, interspersing them with the perennial flowering plants is a great way to create an edible garden. It will be beautiful and practical.

Picture from Avant Landscaping https://avantlandscaping.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/what-is-a-potager/
Picture from Avant Landscaping https://avantlandscaping.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/what-is-a-potager/

I’ve been reading and studying nature religions, specifically the Cabot Tradition of Witchcraft. I am honored to have studied under Laurie Cabot, the Official Witch of Salem and I look forward to deepening my studies in the future. You can learn more about it here: www. lauriecabot.com.

See Laurie on YouTube.

Well, that’s all for now! The bone broth needs straining and containing. The banana bread must come out of the oven, and the fire stoked. I know spring is coming, but for now it’s still winter.

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Until next time …

Make your own tea. I mix equal parts organic chamomile flowers, organic rose petals, and organic lemon balm. This blend is fragrant and helps ease stress and anxiety. Sip during the day and before bed to help you sleep well. Combine the herbs in equal parts in a sealed jar and store out of sunlight. To make a cup, use one rounded teaspoon for 8 ounces of water. Steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain and add sweetener of choice, preferably raw, local honey.

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Kanchani Milk

Golden Goddess Milk

Turmeric is a root, like ginger, but with a bright and glorious, rich golden hue. It’s hard to find in stores in its most natural root form, but you’ll find it easily in the spice aisle of any market. Turmeric is an old (4,000 year old) Ayurvedic and Tradition Chinese Medicine remedy for many ailments. In Sanskrit, turmeric’s name is “Kanchani” which means Golden Goddess. Turmeric truly is a goddess of healing. It is anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory. And, if all that wasn’t enough to get turmeric in your diet right NOW, there’s research on turmeric’s ability to fight cancer. HERE’s a link to a brief, but full-of-information article on circumin, the main healing ingredient in turmeric. If you are using turmeric for an acute health condition, I recommend sourcing ALL organic ingredients to lessen your toxic load while trying to heal.

You may wonder why there’s black pepper added to the recipe. The black pepper works as a catalyst with the turmeric to make the healing properties available to the body. Just a little pepper is enough to release the circumin.

Kanchani Milk

Makes 2 – 8oz. servings

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. raw whole milk (or almond milk)
  • 4T raw local honey or to taste
  • 1T coconut butter or coconut cream, melted and warm, not hot
  • 1t dried turmeric
  • 1t chia seeds
  • 1t real vanilla extract
  • 1t local bee pollen
  • ¼t dried ginger
  • ¼t cardamom
  • ⅛t freshly fine-ground black pepper
  • a couple shakes of cinnamon

Directions: Put all ingredients in a large mason jar, cover, and shake until all ingredients combine. If you find that some of the dried spices are clumping you can use a blender or a stick blender to incorporate the ingredients. Let the milk sit for an hour or so for the chia seeds to expand before drinking.

Drink as is, refrigerated, or slightly warmed.

 

 

Pumpkin Coconut Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

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This is so perfect for fall. That’s all I can say about my recipe.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Coconut Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients:

3C all-purpose flour (I used Cup4Cup gluten-free flour)

2C organic natural sugar

2C organic canned pumpkin

1½C semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (soy-free)

1C melted organic cultured unsalted butter, allowed to cool a bit

½C melted organic, extra virgin coconut oil, allowed to cool a bit

¼C organic shredded coconut

4 large eggs (I used 5 small-medium eggs from my chickens)

2t cinnamon

1t sea salt

1t baking soda

1t vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare the loaf pans by greasing with butter or using a Coconut Spray oil. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cinnamon, sea salt, baking soda, and chocolate chips. Give it a quick stir

In a small bowl combine the wet ingredients: pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to combine and then add the warm, but not hot, butter and coconut oil. Stir until all ingredients are combined.

Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir gently and only to combine; do not over-mix or you will create gluten and it will make your bread tough. We’re going for a tender loaf.

Pour batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans. Tamp on the counter to get the batter to settle and use spoon to even out the top. Sprinkle both loaves with the shredded coconut.

Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove from loaf pan to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Enjoy. It’s so good.

Note: I use organic ingredients as much as possible and do not always write ‘organic’ into my recipes. All my organic ingredients are found at local farm stands,  farmer’s markets, Market Basket, Whole Foods, Vitacost.com, or Amazon.com.

Wildflower Honey Liqueur

HoneyLiqueurBottle

This honey liqueur is simply delicious. It is an adaptation I made from Jane Lawson’s Snowflakes and Schnapps cookbook. It’s a beautifully done cookbook, rich with food photos and simple, wholesome (and gourmet) recipes. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy, not just for the visual feast, but the way she takes you on a culinary tour of Europe with her recipes.

There’s something about this liqueur that says sweet comfort. It’s full of flavor, and if you’re sipping it neat you can really taste the subtle flavors. Before you make this decide on what kind of honey to use. If you want a more robust, earthy flavor (my favorite) use the darker fall harvest honey. If you would prefer a lighter, more delicate flavor that will highlight the infusion, choose the lighter, spring harvest honey.

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Honey and Saffron Liqueur, adapted from Jane Lawson

Makes 1 Litre

Ingredients:

  • 750ml bottle of good vodka
  • ½C water
  • 1C dark, fall honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise, and finely chopped
  • 10 white peppercorns
  • ¼t freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pinches of saffron threads
  • 3 strips of lemon zest, white pith removed

Directions:

Put the honey, water, cinnamon stick, chopped vanilla bean, peppercorns, nutmeg, and saffron in a saucepan and bring just to boil. Quickly reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes.

Reheat until simmering, then remove from the heat and cool completely. Once cooled, strain through a fine mesh sieve, and add the vodka. Carefully pour into a sterilized airtight bottle and allow to the flavors to infuse at room temperature for a week before drinking.

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Neat (my favorite way) or On The Rocks.
  2. Martini: 2 parts vodka or gin, 1 part honey liqueur. Add a lemon twist.
  3. Whiskey/Scotch/Bourbon: equal parts honey liqueur and spirits, iced or neat.

Cassoulet

Cassoulet on Plate closeup

I didn’t set out to create my own cassoulet recipe, but when I started to prep for the recipe I pulled off the internet I soon realized how off the recipe was. I knew it wouldn’t turn out right – the recipe quantities just didn’t add up. It was then that I decided that I would make my own cassoulet. I chucked the internet recipe in the trash, got out my notepad, and started working my recipe.

The star of a cassoulet is the duck leg confit. I couldn’t find fresh, local duck legs to make my own duck confit. D’Artagnan sells their packaged duck breasts at small markets and at Whole Foods, but not fresh duck legs. Fresh are nearly impossible to find. And so, after some frustrated sighs, I decided that I would put my duck leg search on hold and start searching for an online source. I quickly found THE duck website: D’Artagnan. They sell hard-to-find game meats, source organic and natural, and they deliver quickly and inexpensively. Perfect. I ordered their duck confit, garlic pork sausage, duck sausage, and duck fat. Shipping only cost $8.95 for my entire order and it arrived packed on ice in only two days.

My family loved this dish and I think you will too. I served it with a side of braised kale with garlic.

CassouletIn Oven

Cassoulet

Ingredients:

  • 4 duck legs confit
  • 1# Great Northern white beans
  • ½# duck sausage, sliced into 1” pieces
  • ½# pork garlic sausage, sliced into 1” pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 3/4” pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 3C chicken stock
  • ¼C duck fat
  • 1t dried thyme
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh parsley to garnish

Crumb crust: 1C fresh breadcrumbs (I made mine with crackers) + 1T melted duck fat. Do NOT use store-bought breadcrumbs here.

Directions: Soak the Great Northern beans overnight. After 24 hours put the beans in a large stockpot and cover with water at least 3” above the beans. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to medium-high to keep them on a low boil for about 45 minutes. The beans should be tender, but still a bit firm; they will continue to cook in the cassoulet and you don’t want them to fall apart because they were overcooked. Drain the beans, and pour into your cassoulet pan or large Dutch oven.

In a large, cast iron skillet, brown the duck and pork sausages in half of the duck fat. Remove the sausage from the pan and add it to the beans. Make sure you scrape off all the burnt sausage bits from the bottom of your skillet – that’s where all the flavor is. Add the grease drippings, too. It will keep your cassoulet moist. Add the diced onion, minced garlic, chopped carrots, diced tomatoes, thyme, chicken stock, and all but 1T of duck fat to the beans and sausage. Place the 4 duck confit legs into the mixture. If the mixture isn’t covered by the chicken stock, add just enough to cover.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the duck legs and place them on a cutting board to cool down. Keep the cassoulet on simmer while you pick the duck meat off the bone. Return the duck meat to the cassoulet, discard the bones, and continue simmering on low heat, covered, for another 1.5 hours. If the cassoulet looks too soupy, take the cover off while it simmers. The stock will cook down and the flavors will become more concentrated, but be watchful so you don’t let it get dry.

Preheat oven to 375°.

After simmering on low heat for two hours on the stovetop, place the cassoulet into the oven with the cover off. Check periodically to see if the cassoulet is getting too dry. If it is too dry, add a bit more chicken stock.

Bake the cassoulet for an hour at 375 degrees. While the cassoulet is baking, prepare the crust, and have a well-deserved glass of wine.

To make the crumbs, place 2 cups of saltines or chowder crackers in a baggie. Roll over the baggie with a rolling pin until the crumbs are coarse. Pour the crumbs into a small bowl and stir in the leftover tablespoon of melted duck fat. After the cassoulet has baked for an hour, remove it from the oven and top with the crumbs.

Bake for another 30-45 minutes or until the crust is a nice, golden brown.

Bon Appetit!

Cassoulet on Plate

Honey Crêpes

Crepe

Cooking breakfast is my least favorite meal to prepare. I love going out for breakfast. There’s something just so perfect about waking up and having someone else make the first meal of the day for you. We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not make it special and start your day off great? A sit-down-at-the-table breakfast is the best way to start the day. Weekends are when I really look forward to a nice breakfast. Here is my recipe for crêpes filled with honey-walnut cream cheese. They are light, loaded with flavor and a bit of crunch, then finished with a sweet drizzle of raw honey. Serve with sliced fresh fruit. Add some jazz music, a pot of French press coffee, a newspaper, and your weekend has begun.

Honey Crêpes

Makes about 16 medium or 8 large crêpes

Batter ingredients:

  • ⅔C unbleached pastry flour or Cup4Cup gluten-free flour
  • ½C whole milk
  • 2 farm fresh eggs, room temperature
  • 2T liquid raw honey
  • butter

eggbatter

Filling ingredients:

  • 8oz. cream cheese (one brick), room temperature
  • ½C chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 3T liquid raw honey

Creamcheese filling

Directions:

In a small bowl, using a fork, mash together the cream cheese, honey, and walnuts. Keep stirring until all ingredients are combined. Set aside. In a larger bowl, whisk the flour, milk, eggs, and honey until you have a smooth batter.

Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat, then dot with butter. Drop a dollop of batter onto the pan, rotating it to slide the batter around the pan. You will have to decide how large you want your crêpe and adjust the amount your pour into your pan accordingly. Cook on one side for about 1 minute, then carefully flip over and cook the other side an addition 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat until your batter is gone.

Fill the crepe with 1 large tablespoon of the cream cheese filling, spread it on the crêpe to even it out, then fold or roll your crêpe.

Drizzle with honey before serving.