Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lacto-Fermented Salsa

Lacto-Fermented Salsa

5 -6 large tomatoes
2 -3 serrano peppers
1 clove garlic
¼ of an onion
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon sea salt
Jalapeno pepper
3 Tablespoons whey
Lemon juice of ½ a lemon

Optional – Cooked salsa has a different taste than raw salsa. Grilling the peppers changes the taste of the peppers especially. This step is optional. You may choose to grill some of the peppers and not others.

Place tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onion on cookie sheet. Place under broiler. Broil until toasted. The garlic and onion should be removed first. Next, remove the tomatoes. The skin will split open. Lastly, remove the peppers after turning several times to toast all sides. Place the tomatoes and peppers in a plastic zipper bag until ready to use. This will help steam them and helps in removing the skin.

Finely chop garlic and onion, or blend in food processor or blend with motor and pestle.

Remove peel of tomatoes and peppers. If you have sensitive skin you may have to use gloves. Remove as much peel as possible. (If desired seed tomatoes and peppers.) Grind these with the garlic and onion.

If you are using any fresh peppers, remove seeds and finely chop or grind. Add cilantro. This can be ground or left chopped. Season salsa with salt, whey and lemon juice.

Stir well. Let sit out about 8 – 24 hours. After culturing, store in refrigerator.

Fermented salsa has beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and is contains nutrients that are more easily digested than non fermented foods. This salsa can last for months when refrigerated.

After learning about cultured foods I spoke with my grandmother about this. She told me that her mother always left the salsa out overnight. She said that it allowed all the flavors to come together improving the taste of the salsa.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Our Family Favorites

These are our family favorite recipes. Not are are completely NT so you may have to make your own substitutions. Recently, our neighborhood made a cookbook and each family submitted some recipes. These were our picks:

Lo Mein

4 packages beef Ramen noodles or use buckwheat noodles

Boil noodles for 2 minutes, drain and set aside.

1 cup fresh chopped vegetables or 1 cup frozen stir-fry blend vegetables
(carrots, onions- sliced thinly, bean sprouts, celery, broccoli, peas)
1 cup cooked meat, diced
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup natural soy sauce

butter or oil

Saute vegetables in butter or oil about 5 minutes. Add meat. Add noodles, sauce and both. Toss and saute 3- 5 minutes more.

Canned Beef Tacos

1 12 oz. can beef chunks
1/2 cup beef gravy (optional)
Dash hot sauce if desired

Cheese, Monterey Jack or Cheddar or both

10 - 12 sprouted corn tortillas, room temperature
Coconut or palm oil for frying

In small pan, place beef chunks and water from can. Add gravy and stir well. Heat over med-high
heat to simmer. Break apart the beef chunks until the meat is shredded. Simmer until thickened and
water boils out. (Option - add 1/4 cup salsa.)

Meanwhile, heat oil over med-high to high heat. (If oil smokes it is too hot.) When oil is very hot, dip tortilla in
about half-way. Let fry 2 -3 seconds, and drop tortilla onto the first half so it is folded in half and makes
taco shape. Let continue to fry up to a minute and flip. Shells should be pliable, not too crispy. Drain on
paper towels. Repeat with all 12 taco shells.

Spoon 1 -2 Tablespoons meat into each shell. Top with shredded cheese and place upright in casserole
dish. Repeat with all tacos. Bake at 325 for 10 - 15 minutes until cheese melts and tacos are crispy.

These tacos are the first Mexican food I learned to make when my husband and I married. I learned to make
them from his aunt and they are so easy and delicious that they have become a staple in our home.

This same recipe also makes great taquitos, just warm the tortillas in foil in a warm oven, roll with the meat and staple closed with a toothpick. Fry until crispy and remove toothpicks.

Chicken on the Barbie

1 large package chicken drumsticks
1 large white onion, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed, chopped (use it all)
1 lemon, cut in slices
Sea Salt, Pepper, Garlic Salt, and Lemon Pepper or celery salt

Spray bottle, filled with lemon-lime soda or lime/sugar water.

Rinse your chicken and sprinkle with the above spices. Place the chicken in a large
plastic, zipper-bag. Add the lemons, onion and cilantro. Knead the bag to allow chicken
to marinate. Leave refrigerated for 8 - 10 hours. (Occasionally knead and shake the

Grill chicken on grill on low setting, spraying with spray-bottle all flare-ups every five
minutes or so, turning chicken as well. This chicken will take 20 - 30 minutes to cook.

This chicken is great for camping. You can use frozen chicken drumsticks and leave
them in the cooler all day in the plastic zipper-bag.

Honey BBQ Hot Wings

1 pkg. chicken wings.

Rinse chicken. Use cleaver to separate wing and thigh. Trim tip off wing and discard.

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup fine sourdough breadcrumbs

Mix well. Coat each chicken piece in batter. Store on lightly floured cookie sheet until ready to fry.
Heat oil to very hot but not smoking. Deep fry 4 - 6 wings for 10 - 12 minutes each. Set aside to cool.

Honey BBQ Sauce

1 cup BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup organic ketchup
2 Tablespoons brown sugar or maple sugar
1/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce (less for less heat)
1/2 cup organic maple syrup
1/2 cup butter
2 Tablespoons raw honey

Bring just to a boil, stirring well. Use as dip or to coat wings.

Very Berry Muffins


2 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
2 large beaten eggs
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 cups frozen berries (we like Marion berry, Raspberry, Blueberry mix)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease 12 muffin cups or use paper muffin cup liners.

In medium bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make well in center.
Set aside.

In small bowl, combine eggs, milk and oil. Pour into well above. Mix into batter. Add
2 cups frozen berries and stir to incorporate.

Spoon into muffin pan. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 12 large
muffins or 24 small muffins.

(my son makes these all the time. They are an easy recipe for kids.)

Pancake Cake

1/2 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup butter 1 cup milk
1/2 cup maple syrup 3 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small saucepan, heat brown sugar, butter and maple syrup over low heat. Stir constantly, until melted.
Pour into ungreased 13x9 pan.

Whip egg whites until they form peaks. In another bowl, mix remaining ingredients, including egg yolks until blended and slowly
mix into the egg whites. Pour batter over syrup mixture. Bake in oven 30 - 35 minutes or until it springs back. Serve upside-down.

my 2nd son (this is his favorite breakfast)
This recipe is taken from the book Homeschooling by Heart

Carne Asada

4 lb flank steak or skirt steak (available at Carniceria's or Mexican Meat Markets)
1 large white onion, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed, chopped
2-3 lemons, halved
seasoning (1 tsp. garlic salt, 1 tsp. celery salt, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. pepper, 1/4 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 2 dashes of cayenne pepper) mix well

Place meat piece in casserole dish flat. Squeeze lemon over top, add sprinkling of seasoning, sprinkle with onion slices and cilantro. Add another piece meat. Repeat until all meat is seasoned. Roll meat up tightly and cover in plastic wrap and tinfoil. Let marinate at least 6 - 8 hours, refrigerated. Grill.

Cut into small slices and serve in warm corn tortillas (tacos, traditionally topped with cilantro and diced onions), or in warmed flour tortillas (burritos, served with shredded cheese).

Chicken Fajitas

1/4 pound chorizo sausage
1/4 pound bacon, diced
1 1/2 pound chicken, cut into thin strips
1 small white onion, sliced thinly
1 orange bell pepper, julienne
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper

In large saucepan, over med-high heat, fry chorizo. After about 5 minutes, add bacon. Cook until crispy. Add chicken, saute until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add onion and peppers, saute until just tender. Serve while sizzling over warm flour tortillas with shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Garcia's Shredded Beef

1 beef roast, any cut
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
5 yellow chile peppers, chopped (leave seeds in for hotter flavor)
juice of one lemon

Place roast in crock-pot. Squeeze lemon over and drop in chopped onion, tomato and peppers. Cook on low for 12 - 14 hours. Shred with fork. Salt to taste just before serving.

Use this shredded beef in tacos, burritos, sopes, tamales or chimichangas.

Spanish Rice

1 cup short grain rice
1 Tablespoon butter or oil

2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
4 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup mixed frozen, fresh or canned veggies (usually peas and carrots, corn or fresh chopped onion and/or bell pepper or chile peppers)
Season to taste (dash cumin or garlic powder)

In saucepan heat oil over med-high heat. Add rice. Saute rice until toasted. Add water and tomato or bullion. Add vegetables. Bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat. Simmer rice for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sourdough Ciabatta

These rolls have the taste of my Grandpa's sourdough biscuits. It is a mild sour taste. We especially enjoy these for making torta's.

Sourdough Ciabatta
makes 6 rolls

2 cups sourdough starter
1 cup lukewarm water
2 Tablespoons raw honey
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 Tablespoons yeast
3 - 4 cups flour

Day One:
Refreshing Sourdough starter:

Add sourdough starter (at least 1/2 cup) or mother to mixing bowl. Add 3 cups lukewarm water and 3 cups flour. Beat well. Remove 1 cup starter and store in crock. Cover the mixing bowl and let rest 8 - 12 hours. This will be your sponge, or proofed sourdough.

Day Two:
Starter will be very bubbly and frothy.

In large bowl combine water and starter in mixing bowl. Stir in the salt, honey, and yeast. Beat well. Add 3 cups flour, a cup at a time. Knead in bowl for about 5 minutes. Dough will be very sticky. Let rise 1/2 hour in cool place. Add additional 1/2 cup or more flour and knead again. Dough will now become smooth. Let rise again 2 hours or until doubled. (If you choose not to use yeast, this will take several hours. You can punch down dough and let rest in refrigerator until the next day. Let warm to room temp before proceeding.)

Punch down and shape dough into a flat shape. Cut dough into 6 pieces. Place on greased, floured cookie sheet to rise. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in warm area about 2 hours more, or until doubled. (If you are not using yeast this step will take longer.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a water bath below the baking rack. Spray oven with water bottle just before inserting bread. Spray again every five minutes or so. Bake for 20 minutes. If darker bread is desired, broil bread slightly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Beef, Barley and Sweet Potato Stew

This recipe has been modified from the original version found at

Preparation: Use hulled barley, which retains its germ and bran. Rinse and soak barley for 48 hours. Discard water and rinse barley.

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 pounds stew meat
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup sliced celery with leaves
5 cups beef stock or broth
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup hulled barley, rinsed
4 cups sweet potato chunks
2 cups sliced carrots, 1 inch rounds
1 1/2 cups cubed parsnips
1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, try Annie's Naturals
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 28-can whole tomatoes in juice, broken apart
1 1/2 cups peas

Slow Cooker: Add all ingredients except peas. Cook on low 8 - 10 hours. Add peas in last 30 minutes of cooking.

Heat oil in Dutch oven or large saucepan on med-high. Add meat and cook until no longer pink. Stir in onions and celery. Saute for 5 minutes or until onions are soft. Add stock or broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 1 1/2 hours.
Add barley, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, Worcestershire sauce, and oregano. Cover and simmer 50 - 60 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomatoes and peas. Bring to simmer 10 - 15 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Tips: This stew will be thicker the second day and you may need to add broth or water to thin when reheating.

Moroccan-Spiced Lamb and Lentil Stew

We tried lamb a few months ago and the whole family enjoyed the flavor. I think we get into the beef and chicken rut. I wanted to try lamb and thought this sounded like a good way to introduce it.

Preparation: Rinse and clean lentils. Soak in cool water 48 hours. Lentils will begin to sprout. Rinse for use. Lentils can be stored in water in refrigerator one to two days longer if needed.

Moroccan Lamb and Lentil Stew

1 1/2 pounds lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups beef stock or broth
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup red lentils, rinsed, sprouted
4 cups peeled, cubed winter squash
1 small rutabaga, cubed
3/4 cup raisins

Slow Cooker - Combine ingredients and cook on low for 8 - 10 hours.

In Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb and brown. Reduce heat, add onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add stock and spices. Bring to a low simmer, cover, cook 1 1/2 hours or until lamb is tender.
Stir in lentils, vegetables and raisins. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until squash and lentils are tender. Season to taste with pepper and sea salt.

Note: this recipe has been adapted from

Curried Lentils

I found this recipe at deliciousliving magazine. The title was Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach. This recipe has been modified. The recipe states serves four but for us it served about 6. I like this recipe, it was delicious, almost like a meatless chili dish.

Preparation: Rinse and clean lentils. Soak in cool water for 48 hours. Rinse well. Lentils should begin to sprout. These can be refrigerated in water for an additional day or two if needed.

Curried Lentils

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup lentils, rinsed, sprouted
2 cups broth
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 teaspoon+ sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped raw almonds, garnish
sour cream or yogurt to garnish

Heat coconut oil in large pan or pot. Add onion and garlic, saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder, ginger, and cumin. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in lentils and broth; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and red pepper, cover and cook for 10 additional minutes. Sweet potatoes should be tender. Stir in spinach and cook 1 minute longer, until spinach is just wilted. Add salt and adjust seasonings to taste. (You can double the cumin and curry for a spicier dish.) Serve with sour cream or yogurt and almonds.