alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Feels like Autumn; USA color (WA))
The hero of my fantasy series Night Calls is Alfreda Sorensson, a young practitioner on her way to being a full blown wizard. While I am not Allie, I carry in my heart many of the things she loves and creates wherever she lives. I grow herbs when I can, seek out fresh, organic food and seasonings, and dream of growing heritage apple trees. In a sense, the seeds of her grimoire, Denizens of the Night, are stashed in bits and pieces in folders and my computer.

It’s the season for her elderberry cordial, so I thought I’d share her recipe with you.

This recipe is traditionally used to keep pretty much everything in the unfriendly microbe category away. Fans of it back in colder climes start making it in November and take it until March. Refrigerated the mix can last two months or so, and then seems to go off slightly in flavor. If you cut the honey, it doesn’t last as long. I personally make 2-3 batches a winter. If you are taking it only for preventative purposes and stay healthy, you probably need only a teaspoon a day. If ill or immune compromised, or everyone else at work is ill, you may choose to take up to a tablespoon a day. When ill, if you can keep it down, a half teaspoon an hour might help.

Does this really work? Well, I haven’t had flu in the ten years I’ve made this recipe. So either it works for me, or my immune system is now scary strong. YMMV. I am not a doctor or a practitioner.

Yes, this could be the base for an alcoholic version, but the honey benefits will probably die gasping under the alcohol. Check with your herbalist, or research medicinal cordials. I never add alcohol to mine, but alcohol in correct proportions could make it shelf stable. Use good honey, not mixed from all over the world pasteurized stuff. Honey has curative properties, but you don’t want the honey to get too hot. So do NOT add honey before boiling; add after the mix has cooled down quite a bit.

Remember, do not give this to a child under two years of age. Research honey–there are sound reasons why you don’t give it to infants or toddlers.

Elderbery Cordial for Health

1 cup dried elderberries (organic if possible)
4 cups filtered water
1 square inch peeled organic ginger, slivered up or grated (if desired)
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
sprinkle ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Ceylonese cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Saigon Cassia cinnamon

Up to one cup unpasteurized local honey.

Bring water, berries, ginger, and spice mixture to a low, rolling boil. Cook at a gentle roll for fifteen minutes, mostly covered (it can spatter) but not sealed as boil-over will happen. Then set aside to cool down a bit.

Set strainer in 4 quart Pyrex measuring cup; strain mixture. Gently press berries and ginger to get last of juice out. Compost berries, if you compost. Let juice cool some more. You may have up to 3 cups of liquid.

Add one cup of unpasteurized honey. I sample until desired sweetness is reached, but do not add more than one cup. Stir until dissolved, then carefully pour into a clean one quart wide mouth ball jar. (You may add more spring water to recover a full four cups, if desired. But boil that water first.) Refrigerate. Always use a clean spoon each time you dip into the jar. I actually stir and then pour into a shot glass and shoot my morning cordial. You’ve got enough for 1 tsp. a day for three people, with a full recipe. I have halved this in the past to keep it fresh, or if I am heading out for holidays for a few weeks. I try to start taking this two weeks before extensive travel, and then make more on my return.

Thanks to writer Becky Kyle for the ginger suggestion.

I will add that I most definitely am not a medical practitioner. If this has entertained you, I’m glad. And if you feel this traditional berry can improve your life, Allie is delighted that you made its acquaintance!
alfreda89: (Winter_Mette's Glogg)
Those of you who know me are aware that I have a decadent chili recipe made slowly with dark beer. But now that I live alone AND no longer eat gluten, I haven't even returned to my wonderful recipe. (I can now have an occasional wheat sourdough-made-with-natural-sponge-and-no-yeast. Like once every six months. Sigh.)

Wandering at my local Natural Grocer, I found the Simply Organic packets. Most of them are still too powerful for me, but my inner sense liked the Mild Chili packet. I had a pound of grass-fed beef begging to be used, so I grabbed a 14 oz. can of Muir Glen tomatoes (I like whole, peeled and cut them up--the recipe on the packet suggests diced tomatoes) rejected beans this time and hurried home for chili.

I will say right here that this product is labeled Vegan, but not GF. I am often HIGHLY sensitive to GF, and did not have any of my gluten reactions to this product. The company does make Certified gluten products, and I will keep a lookout for their mole sauce (certified!). So this is a "possible but verify" in whatever fashion you use for safe food for you. Organic, simple, possibly a new week night meal....

I did it this way:

1 Tbsp EVOO (that's Extra Virgin Olive Oil for those new to the acronym.)
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
1 can Muir Glen Organic whole, peeled tomatoes, cut up (I toss the stem areas; never ripe enough for me.)
1 packet Simply Organic Mild Chili spice.

I decided not to add extra salt, garlic or onion until I tested the packet, and felt it did not need it. Wasn't my chili, of course, but it was tasty! No beans (in the recipe) since I am being easy on beans right now. Also--I am into good fat, and this was Grass-fed beef, so I did NOT drain it as the packet suggested. If you're not using grass-fed beef, I would definitely follow the packet and drain after cooking the beef (cooking on low, if you use the EVOO.)

I did have chili burps from this version, and I don't burp from my version. So one of their additions was saying "hummm?" Maybe the coriander, maybe the rice flour or cane sugar in this form.

Lovely with GMO-free corn chips (blue, today!) or cheesy rolls I made.
alfreda89: (Winter_Mette's Glogg)
This is a gluten-free soup, BTW.

It was hard to name this, because "Texas" implies heat, or BBQ, and you will find neither in this--except for some grated Daikon radish. That may be a surprise. When I don't feel quite right, it's time for a touch soup--that's when I simply wander the market, reaching for but not touching vegetables. If my hand relaxes on the veggie, it's desired for the soup. So the recipe comes after the selection. Today, I went heavily white root.

This Saturday I chose:

1/2 of one large white onion, peeled and diced
2 cups water
2 bunches of maroon carrots--short, fat fellows sometimes called Rainbow. Diagonal sliced.
5 medium to small Japanese white turnips, diced
1 heaping teaspoon grated Daikon radish. A friend warned me about fresh Daikon radish!
One 32 ounce ball jar bone broth (made only with sea salt), with fat (I had lamb on hand)
1 small-medium garnet sweet potato, peeled and rough diced
Two cloves classic white garlic, peeled, cored and minced
1 bunch young, skinny parsnips, trimmed, peeled, diced, and sauteed prior to adding to soup. (I used EVOO to saute.)
Grey Celtic Salt, coarse. About a teaspoon.
Read more... )
The deep flavor comes from a bone broth as the base. You may want more salt, spices, some herbs--I'm in healing mode again, so I stopped here. And am about to go eat my root veggie lunch. First, I'll bake some tapioca with Parmesan center rolls!
alfreda89: (Winter_Mette's Glogg)
I use this to keep pretty much everything unfriendly in the microbe category away. I make it in November and take it until March, usually. Refrigerated, the mix can last two months or so, and then seems to go off slightly. If you cut the honey, it doesn't last as long. If you live in a warmer climate, refrigerate it. So I make 2-3 batches a winter. If you are taking it only for preventative purposes and are quite healthy, you probably need only a teaspoon a day. If ill or immune compromised, or everyone else at work is ill, you may choose to take up to a tablespoon a day. When ill, if you can keep it down, a half teaspoon an hour might help.

Yes, this could be the base for an alcoholic version, but the honey benefits will probably die gasping under the alcohol. Check with your herbalist, or your books. I never add alcohol to mine, but alcohol could make it shelf stable.

Use good honey, not mixed from all over the world pasteurized junk. Honey has curative properties, but you don't want the honey to get too hot. So do NOT add before boiling, add after the mix has cooled down quite a bit.

Accordingly, if you use real honey, do not give this to a child under two years of age. Research honey.

1 cup dried elderberries (organic if possible.)
4 cups filtered water.
1 square inch peeled organic ginger, slivered up or grated.
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
sprinkle ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Ceylonese cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Saigon Cassia cinnamon

Up to one cup unpasteurized local honey.

Bring water, berries, ginger, and spice mixture to a low, rolling boil. Cook at a roll for fifteen minutes, mostly covered but not sealed as boil-over could happen. Then set aside to cool down a bit.

Set strainer in 4 quart Pyrex measuring cup; strain mixture. Gently press berries and ginger to get last of juice out. Compost berries, if you compost. Let juice cool some more. You may have up to 3 cups of liquid.

Add one cup of unpasteurized honey. I sample until desired sweetness is reached, but do not add more than one cup. Stir until dissolved, then carefully pour into a clean one quart wide mouth ball jar. Sample and refrigerate. Always use a clean spoon each time you dip into the jar. You've got enough for 1 tsp. a day for three people, with a full recipe. I take more when I don't feel well, so I made the entire recipe this time. I have halved this in the past to keep it fresh.

The ginger is a new addition from my friend Becky Kyle!
alfreda89: (Winter_Mette's Glogg)
Right now, this will be a link, not the recipe itself, because the person who introduced me to the recipe has it in her archive. That's http://eats.pinjing,net, whose owner often has great recipes. She got the recipe from The Cinnamon Quill.

Mochi Brownie Two-Bites

Why did I think to mention this now? Well, I did just send the recipe link to someone yesterday. But I made some for two friends Friday, and had a bit of dough left over. (My mini pan holds 24, and I doubled the recipe.) I put the overflow into a sealed glass container before fleeing the house. Three days later, I made up the refrigerated brownie dough.

These gluten free brownies are great! A little bit lighter than the original, more like a chewy cake than the dense mochi bites. So, if the original brownies are a bit dense for you, the dough kept well for 72 hours and cooked up without any additions.
alfreda89: (Winter_Mette's Glogg)
By popular demand, here's what I was up to the other day. This recipe is not from a macrobiotic cookbook, it's from Food Cures: Breakthrough Nutritional Prescriptions for Everything from Colds to Cancer by Readers Digest. But the principals of macrobiotic cooking hold for this soup -- use the freshest ingredients you can get, organic if you can, in season if possible, and chow down on a magnificent nutrient-fest! This soup contains ginger and turmeric, both known for having inflammation-fighting properties.
Goodness Awaits you! )
I have frozen one ball jar of this, but don't know how well that will work. We'll see. Eat it within three days or so for optimal taste and nutrients. So far this book has been quite interesting. This is my first soup from it, but I will be trying some of the others, too.
alfreda89: (Winter_Mette's Glogg)
And the subject is...the perfect chocolate chip cookie. And it's gluten-free. See my take on it over here, with links to a real pastry artist's books and site.

I'll be packing up a box of these for [livejournal.com profile] bevhale today.
alfreda89: (Blankenship Reeds)
Let’s talk about one of my cornerstones of healing – Vega Morning Tea. The basics of this come from a medicinal tea created by Herman and Cornelia Aihara, the great teachers and cheerleaders of the American Macrobiotic movement. They designed it for cancer patients, but I think that anyone suffering from a chronic illness, or anyone who feels drained, exhausted, stressed and unable to comfortably digest food, can benefit from this drink.
Getting down to details )
Take control of your health – try Vega Morning Tea. You can find kudzu starch, umeboshi paste, shoyu/tamari sauce, and kukicha tea all on-line at Eden Foods and/or Gold Mine Natural Foods.

I wish for you healing.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (A light in dark places)
Americans were reminded that we were not immune to the troubles of the world.

Here is one woman's memory, and her reminder that we know how to pull together in a crisis -- we know how to forge a community. We do it every day in the blog communities we set up.

So, she offers us her story, and a recipe.

http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/2010/09/symons-homemade-spaghetti-with-heirloom.html

I'm part Pennsylvania Dutch -- we bring food to everything. This comforts me.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Feels like Autumn; USA color (WA))
Costco North in Austin TX has not only Toll House chocolate chips, but Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips! So, get that holiday baking chocolate now! (For a modest bribe, I will go with you and get you Costco prices. Cash only -- they take checks or AMX from members only.)
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Red Cascade)
Here's the article from Dining & Wine in the NYT -- on finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Look fast, it's the New York Times!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/09chip.html?_r=1&ref=dining&oref=slogin

And here's the recipe --

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html?oref=slogin

IT'S ALIVE!

Apr. 9th, 2008 03:57 pm
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Polar Lights)
Does anyone have a sourdough bread recipe they love, and will share?

Why? We gotta make sure this is good stuff before forwarding!

***
Great minds think alike! The question of the ancient K____ sourdough has been raised, and today, I can answer it. The yeast lives!

Seriously, the yeast was dried and in the back if the fridge when we moved from our previous house. I asked W what it was, and he told me -- and it occurred to me that yeast dormant for thousands of years has been cultured. So, we took it along. And last week, I gave it organic wheat and water, prepared the jar, and tucked it next to the refrigerator. I can smell sourness and alcohol, and I think we're in business.

The proper way to send it, amazingly, is to dry it out, probably on parchment paper, and then mail it along. So, when I'm sure we're doing all right, I will dry out some yeast and send it along.

Dad Yeast -- the glue of the family! (Apparently in the family some XX years or so.)

Pear Sorbet

Jan. 5th, 2008 06:26 pm
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Chai anime)
When a pear goes bad and tries to take its siblings with it, there’s only one solution...pear sorbet. I looked on-line, I looked in FROZEN DESSERTS by Liddell & Weir, and THE ULTIMATE ICE CREAM BOOK by Weinstein, didn’t find exactly what I wanted, and threw this together from the books and instinct. I recommend both these books. Weinstein’s book has cone recipes, too. The great strength to Liddell & Weir’s book is they teach you a good simple syrup (super-saturated liquid sugar) recipe, and all the recipes in their book use that same ratio of sugar to water. This is a big deal – they tested in LOTS of different brands of freezers. Recipes online need to give you their own recipe for the syrup, or you’ll have no idea how sweet the recipe will be -- or if the ratio of liquid to solid works. I always try to test an on-line recipe before I need it for a party.

Remember – pears can fool you. The one with the rotten spot had chemically changed the entire pear; it was toast. Taste each ripe pear to be sure it hasn’t gone too far!

By request, the recipe follows )
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Chai anime)
One of the problems of my illness is that forces conspire to limit my recognition of time flow. I start something by, say, thawing fresh chicken breasts I had previously frozen, and then suddenly there's this raw meat and I have no idea what to do about it. So, it was time to seek some intuition.


Curry in a hurry )
NOTE -- Do NOT add all the spice at any one point. This was my compromise with using pre-made curry powder. Spices added at the wrong point cause a recipe to turn out very odd -- or even inedible -- if you don't know what you're doing. For cheap spice advice, pick up this little gem. It's Bev Hale's old booklet she tossed together back when there were few books on Indo-Pak cooking. No pictures, no fancy publisher pages -- this was the equivalent of a mimeo back in the days. But just for starters, it contains the best chicken soup recipe in the world.

Buy it from Yard Dog Press -- it's cheaper and Bev actually gets a royalty. (Amazon means a ten cent royalty, but if you buy a chapbook from the publisher, it's a LOT more. And the publisher even gets paid!)
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Chai)
As promised... (We love our diet....)

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries (our version)

1 ounce 62% cacao Scharffen Berger semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce Lake Champlain dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 Tbsp. whipping cream

Dash favorite extract

8 strawberries, washed, pat dry or air dry (or can mess up results) Retain caps for holding

Place chopped chocolate (I use a serrated bread knife, which works like a champ) and whipping cream into a Pyrex measuring cup or bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power, stir, then another 30 seconds at 50% power. Stir in your favorite extract (I recommend vanilla or almond) and let chocolate cool slightly.

Dip each dry strawberry in the chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Place on a piece of parchment paper on a small plate. Refrigerate or freeze for a minimum of 15 minutes to set chocolate.

This serves 2. (Yes--you can make this with Nestles semisweet chips. It will not melt as smoothly, requiring more whipping cream, and will not pop off the parchment or naked plate as smoothly. But in a pinch, it's tasty.)

Like I have said--South Beach Diet is very livable. We were doing this with straight S-B, but my taste buds are changing again, and the last batch tasted burnt to me--so the addition of the Lake Champaign for smoothness.

I am more interested in cooking for allergies. Who knows where this will end?

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