Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

Frantically Cleaning up! July 21, 2013

Filed under: Animal Husbandry,Events,Garden Fresh,Home Made — realfoodmama @ 3:16 pm
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So….next weekend (July 29th to be exact) is the local garden tour here in Santa Fe. Home Grown New Mexico, in cooperation with Edible Santa Fe, will be hosting this tour as an opportunity for local gardeners and enthusiasts to view a variety of different set ups here in the drought stricken southwest. Luckily for all attendees, my wreck of a yard is on the tour this year! Yahoo!

Unfortunately, my back yard has a tendency to dissolve into chaos without really trying, so this weekend has been designated “clean up weekend” with the expectation that it will actually continue through Friday and become a clean up WEEK. Pretty sure the baby daddy has already made three trips to the dump…

In all honesty, though, the “clean up” is really more of a beatifying than it is an actual cleaning. Things like making sure the weeds are below ankle level and ensuring that the fly population down by the goat pen is manageable – or at least well dressed. In addition to cleaning up and organizing we are also going to be installing a lovely piece of art work that has been relegated to the basement of a family member for the better part of two decades. Made years ago by the woman who I consider my second mother, the piece is a gorgeous “map”, made from slate and hand painted with poetry. It was decided that the piece would be placed in the orchard, a part of the yard that gets little foot traffic, and would provide a nice little meditative place to sit and enjoy the sounds of our urban farm. I fully anticipate actually using it even, long after the hordes of Santa Feans have left. The installation will not occur until Wednesday of this week, but I will endeavor to put up pictures of it as soon as we have it down.

And while I am nervous about potentially hundreds (OMG HUNDREDS?!) of people traipsing through my yard and eliciting curious glances from the goats, I am feeling quite privileged to be on the tour this year so I can share my version of self sufficiency with the public at large. Hopefully those of you who are local can swing by! Until then, Happy Eating!

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Red Chili Brownies July 29, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Events,Home Made,Recipe — realfoodmama @ 6:10 pm
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I am currently in the depths of catering hell. Well, not quite, but I can pretend in the hopes of getting sympathy right? Suffice it to say that while I am actually making a bunch of food for an event, it is generally going smoothly so the h-double-hockey-sticks is a bit of an exaggeration. I have successfully finished four deserts and am currently taking a short break from prep work for tomorrow’s breakfast. I figured what better time than now to share with you, my readers, the most excellent creation I conjured forth – Red Chili Brownies.

Now, I realize that this is not an entirely unique creation. In fact, chocolate and spice seems to be the thing these days, but I am proud of myself for the original recipe nonetheless and am hoping that some of you might enjoy nibbling on a few of these while imaging yourself in the Land of Enchantment.

For those of you familiar with the local fare, Red Chili is a staple in northern New Mexican food. Everyone seems to have an opinion about how to prepare it and while I do not purport to be an expert, I certainly have my own preferences. I tend to buy red chili powder, rather than pods, and use it as a seasoning for sauces and other savory dishes. This was my first foray into spicey-sweet.

I wish my camera was working because these things are beautiful. Basically I started with pan of brownies, which I then cut into circles with a biscuit cutter and topped with a thick bittersweet ganache and a dash of red chili powder. They are bite sized pieces of marvelosity. Which I realize isn’t a word but it certainly describes these little morsels!

Red Chili Brownie

10 TBSP organic unsalted butter
6 oz unsweetened chocolate of your choice
1 3/4 c organic cane sugar
4 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBSP vanilla
1 c flour
1 – 2 TBSP red chili powder from New Mexico red chili (if available)*
1 tsp cinnamon

*Depending on how hot you like it! I use about 1 TBSP because I am a whimp!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9×13 baking dish.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Whisk the flour, red chili and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside. While waiting for the chocolate to cool, beat the eggs and salt until light and foamy. Add the sugar and beat until mixed. Slowly add the cooled chocolate to the egg mixture, stirring while you do so in order to incorporate the chocolate fully. Fold the flour and chili mixture into the batter until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake until just set, so that a toothpick stuck in the center comes out somewhat cakey, about 18 minutes.

For the ganache:

Heat 1 c heavy cream over a low heat until it just starts to simmer at the edges and begins to form a skin. Pour an 8 oz bag of bittersweet chocolate chips into a heat proof bowl and then pour the hot cream over them, stirring until the mixture is smooth and uniform. Spread over the cooled brownies and sprinkle lightly with red chili powder.

Happy Eating! (and lets hope I can my camera up and running so I can have pics of these!)

 

Yummy seed bars February 26, 2011

Filed under: Home Made — realfoodmama @ 1:48 pm
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One of my favorite snacks from the Co-Op are the all organic and very delicious Bumble Bars.

Since I love them so I find their price tag a bit on the steep side. At over two dollars a pop, they are not really something I can buy with any regularity. Luckily for me, the bars have a very straightforward ingredient list (as all things should!) and I was able to buy the ingredients myself and try a few batches at home. I finally got results I was really happy with today and wanted to share it with my readers because everyone should try these.

Home Made Bumble Bars

2 TBSP unsalted organic butter
1/4 c organic brown rice syrup
1/3 to 1/2 c raw sesame seeds
1/4 c flax seeds
1 TBSP organic raw sliced almonds
1/4 tsp organic almond extract
1/4 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Heat the brown rice syrup and butter over low heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Add the sesame seeds and stir, letting it simmer for a few seconds. This takes the bitter edge off the raw sesame seeds. Add the flax seeds, almonds, extracts and cinnamon and stir until well mixed. Remove from the heat and pour out onto wax paper or greased parchment paper. Spread until at desired thickness (I like mine pretty thin…like a few centimeters.) Let cool and then cut and enjoy.

Store in an airtight container. They should keep for about a week.

Happy Eating!

 

Pork and Beans! January 7, 2011

Filed under: Home Made,Recipe,Stew — realfoodmama @ 10:52 pm
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Stewy goodness!

A friend of mine recently gifted me with a package of Rancho Gordo beans. Variety, Runner Cannellini Beans. I have been wanting to try these things for a long time, nearly nine months, and yet I haven’t taken it upon myself to purchase any. Suffice it to say I was very excited about trying them out and decided to improvise a dish using some cubed pork and Italian inspired ingredients. The result was quite delicious so I thought I would share it!

Pork and Cannellini Stew

1 1/2 c dried Cannellini beans
1/2 c home made chicken stock
1/2 c home made tomato sauce
1 lb cubed pork
10 slices dehydrated zucchini
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 TBSP flour
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by soaking the beans for a few hours to soften them. This can be done overnight if you’d like. Drain and place beans in the pot. Cover with six cups of water, add a couple of slices of the dried zucchini and let cook over low heat for about two hours.

For the pork, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Add the cumin and fennel seeds and let sizzle for a few minutes. Mix the flour with a bit of salt and pepper. Dry off the pork with a paper towel and dredge in the flour, then place in the oil. Brown the meat on all sides then transfer to the bean pot. Add the chicken stock and tomato sauce as well as the remaining dried zucchini, basil and oregano.

Let cook for another hour or until the beans are soft and the meat is tender. Serve over polenta and enjoy!

Happy Eating!

 

Welcome 2011! January 2, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Home Made,Kitchen Toys,Recipe — realfoodmama @ 12:03 pm

I am really looking forward to the new year, especially since I received some really nice gifts for the holidays (kitchen related of course!) that I anticipate using a lot in the coming months. For one I finally got the KitchenAid Mixer that I have been lusting after forever, complete with a grinder and a pasta extruder attachment! So now I can make my own sausage, ground beef, and extruded pasta! I also received a hand cranked pasta extruder which makes different things from the aforementioned automatic one.

I actually used the hand cranked one last evening to create a delicious dish of large macaroni in a mushroom bechemel sauce. It turned out fabulously and the noodles were delicious. I included the recipe, simple as it is, below.

Honestly I have been feeling rather uninspired when it comes to cooking these days, and as a result I have not been writing here as much as a result. I like to think that my new toys have given me some much need inspiration and I am really looking forward to some kitchen experimentation in the coming weeks.

I hope that all of you are enjoying 2011 so far and that the year brings each of us the abundance we deserve. Happy New Year and Happy Eating!

Baked Macaroni with Mushrooms

1 lb home made macaroni
1 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, diced small
1 c raw goat milk
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP organic unbleached flour
1/2 c grated Parmesan

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a 9×5 inch baking pan.

To make the bechemel:

Melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions and stir for about one minute. Add the flour and whisk off the heat until blended. Put back over the heat and add the milk. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium and cook until thick, whisking frequently. Set aside.

Saute the mushrooms in butter or olive oil until they have released all their moisture. Add to the bechemel.

Cook the noodles to al dente consistency. Drain. Mix the noodles with the sauce and pour into the baking dish. Cover with the Parmesan and place in the oven for 15 min or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has browned.

 

So many plums! October 13, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Canning,Garden Fresh,Home Made — realfoodmama @ 2:11 pm
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This year most of my fruit trees were frozen in a late frost, however the one tree that did avoid the worst of the cold weather has managed to produce a bumper crop. We have two plum trees in the yard, one of which is a beautiful, but very overgrown, mother. The other is a daughter offshoot that hides in the shade of our yard and generally gets overlooked. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of the fact that it was carrying fruit until about a month ago when I looked closely and realized the branches were laden with small, purple globes.

Since we purchased the house with established fruit trees, I am not sure what type of plum these are, however as they’ve ripened they have developed a lovely sweet-tart flavor and have a rather eerie green flesh. Yesterday we processed about ten cups in order to make what turned out to be nearly a gallon of preserves and we only used a third of the plums! I honestly have no idea what we are going to do with the rest, but I am hoping to find some recipes for plum cakes, puddings, pies, tarts…you get the idea!

Suffice it to say the bounty is pretty impressive and I am hopeful that as our fruit trees mature and we learn more about taking care of them we can avoid a frost kill like the one that happened this year and actually be able to harvest some apples, pears and apricots from the other trees in our mini-orchard.

Until then, however, any and all plum recipes are appreciated and I will definitely share my plum experiments as they occur! Happy Eating!

 

Cajeta…sort of September 14, 2010

Filed under: Home Made,Raw Goat Milk,Recipe — realfoodmama @ 4:27 pm
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So after perusing the goat forum I frequent (yes I realize I am kind of a loon) I decided to try a recipe posted for Cajeta. I modified it a bit because the original recipe called for corn starch. I try to avoid corn starch if at all possible because I have yet to find any that isn’t from GMO corn. Instead I used arrowroot powder. I have had success using it as a substitute in the past and this time was no different.

When using arrowroot powder as a substitute for corn starch, you want to use it at a 2:3 ratio. So if your recipe calls for 2 TBSP of corn starch, you use 4 tsp of arrowroot powder. A TBSP is = to 3 tsp.

Unfortunately, due to an “accident” the Cajeta is not particularly beautiful and as a result I refuse to post pictures of it!

So here is the recipe I used:

Cajeta

3 quarts raw goat milk
3 cups evaporated cane sugar
4 tsp arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

I admit to being totally confused as to the addition of the baking soda, but perhaps a knowledgeable reader can let me know what purpose it serves!

Basically you take a cup of the milk and, using a wire whisk, mix the arrowroot powder and baking soda in until it is smooth. Then add that mixture to the rest of the milk and sugar in a large pot. Bring rapidly to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium and let cook down until it thickens and darkens in color (this took me about 3.5 hours)

Of course, I scorched mine! You have to continue stirring regularly towards the end of the process or this will happen to you! I decided (due no doubt to the fact that I am sick) that I didn’t care about the weird brown bits. After tasting it I decided it was fine, didn’t taste at all burnt, and after over three hours of work I put it in jars anyway and moved on.

This doesn’t have to happen to you, however. Simply stir continuously in the last 30 minutes or so and you will avoid getting speckled Cajeta.

The flavor is great and I am really looking forward to getting some apples and making some horribly decadent tart with it soon. I will, of course, post about that when I make it! Until then, happy eating.