Happy belated Tasha Tudor day! Yesterday was our Saturday and a bit busy, so we had an impromptu tea of biscuits and fruit. (One of the many great reasons to keep un-baked biscuits in the freezer, ready to go). Hubby was busy with 6 cords of wood, so he popped in all dusty and dirty but I told him Tasha would not mind. She liked a hard working man ;-) As always Tasha seems to be a part of our day to day!
In my attempt to eat low carb (trying to keep my blood glucose down) I am eating basically a paleo diet. Not that I chose a paleo diet, it just mostly suits my needs. I do eat a lot of raw and vegetarian (although vegetarian can be carby, all those beans and rice) but I can only go a few days without meat. Since we buy a whole animal, cows and pigs, we get a lot of ground meat. Which is fine. I like it, it is versatile. Burgers, meat patties and meatballs are served often in my house. I am always looking for a way to change it up a bit and these Moroccan burgers are a big hit. It seems like a lot of spice for only a pound of beef but that is the point. You want these really flavorful, so go heavy handed with the spices. Also play with what you like and what you have on-hand. Honestly, I do not even measure when I make this. I tried to give amounts reflective of how I measure in my mind. A good smoked paprika is a must. I use lots of turmeric and garlic because it is so healthy. My hands are so orange when I make these but it is worth it and a cheap way to bling up cheap food. Enjoy!!
Add all ingredients to a bowl and gently mix together. If you want to check the taste, take a small bit, fry in a pan and taste. Besides burgers, which we loved grilled, this makes great baked meatballs. Add one or two eggs, roll meatballs about the size of a walnut and bake 20-30 minutes at 350◦F
*Note, you will noticed there is no bread crumbs in the burger or meatballs. That is because it is not carb friendly but feel free to add it if you like. Yes, they are a bit firmer without the bread crumbs but for me, they are fine and a small sacrifice to pay for my health. If you want them moister and do not want to use bread crumbs, try 1/2 cup of grated zucchini. If you peel off the skin, you family will not even know it is there!!
Also I probably use more, like a generous TBL or tsp. because I do not measure. So really feel free to add a lot and see how you like it.
I confess even though I am 52, have had years of therapy and have moved on in a lot of ways from my childhood, negative thoughts and comments said to me as a child still plague me. It is fun, I find they creep up on me when I least expect it. Like I am having a great day, then ... boom, the smallest thing has me thinking, "you are so dumb" "you do not even try, if you would only apply yourself" "you are not going to amount to much". I get in a spiral of negative thoughts and I (or ask my hubby) have to talk myself out of them. I love the idea that my brain has rent and only good renters will reside there!!
Happy (102, if you were still with us!!) Birthday Julia! You were one of the most influential people in my life when it came to cooking. I will always remember Saturday afternoons, cooking with you and my mother. Happy memories!!
This is definitely a year of questions. Last year was too. I think it is a hard place to be, I like answers better than questions. Having said that I am trying to embrace now, embrace the question, not the answer!
We are still working on the kitchen and probably will be for another couple of years (we work slow and David has very little free time). The floor still needs to be pulled up, there is hard word under that gross linoleum. I would like to put in a farm sink and there is work to be done in the pantry but still all is looking good. I am happy. I think now when you come into the kitchen you get a real feel for what I am trying to convey. A victorian French kitchen!!
Nerina (my gas range) is a free standing stove, so there is blank space on both sides. I have a little storage table David build me on the other side of the range but David is going to make me a narrow rack to hold platters on this side. Since you walk in and see this bare stove, I wanted something to help dress up the space. This is my french corner for the summer. I change it out with whims. I do not have much display space in my kitchen, so I am enjoying this little table!!
Almost 6 months into this lifestyle change, there are certain things I still struggle with (like not wanting to exercise). I can feel overwhelmed, like I have no power, no self-control. It is like I keep bumping against the same wall over and over but I have to remind myself I do have the power. I just have to pick myself up, click my heels and use that power!!
Well if you do not like chocolate, than this post will probably do nothing for you. But since I cannot imagine anyone not liking chocolate, I will continue on :-) Granted you may not be a chocoholic like me. Red wine and chocolate have their own food group in my life. Since wine raises my blood sugar, I have had to imbibe lightly (which is probably a good thing) but dark chocolate has been my life raft on this journey.
As I posted before, the first 6 weeks of my diet I did not eat sugar but I ate dark, very dark 80-90% chocolate. I would have a square, which I would take tinyyyyy nibbles off when I thought I was going to break down like a small child (which I felt like a lot, especially those first 2 weeks coming off carbs and sugar). Luckily I already liked really dark chocolate. Which has very little sugar and is good for me, so as long as I do not eat the whole bar in one day.
My appreciation of chocolate is beyond a candy bars. Really started in my teens when my mother and I went on a day-long chocolate excursion. Can you imaging a whole day learning, tasting and cooking with chocolate? It was heaven and opened up a whole new world for me. The tasting showed me there is so much more to chocolate besides just sweetness. In the morning, we visited two chocolate makers in San Fransisco. Then had a lunch prepared with all dishes, savory and sweet, using chocolate. In the afternoon was a chocolate tasting. Starting with white ending with unsweetened. We tasted at lest 20 chocolates. Have you ever done a chocolate tasting? If not I encourage you to. It will open up your world, like it did mine. Chocolate, like wine, has many different characteristics. It can be fruity, peppery, coffee, herby, acidic or sweet. It is not until you start tasting them side by side can you really see the difference. Once you see the difference, you start to slow down and really enjoy that piece of chocolate. You notice the texture, how it melts and of course the different nuances of flavor. After all of you are going to eat chocolate you should really stop and savor it. Eat the best you can get your hands on. Look beyond those grocery store candy bars. Chocolate is sooo much more. Have a tasting party. It is fun and you will find how you and your friends all like different things. Here is a chocolate tasting sheet you can download.
I believe in the power of chocolate. Cocoa is good for your health. They have flavanoids, are full of antioxidant and high levels if magnesium..Cocoa beans contain phenylethylamine (PEA), an antidepressant that stimulates the body's adrenaline and dopamine levels for a dose of happy feelings. If you are eating modest amounts of dark chocolate, it should not raise your blood sugar. As I said in the beginning of the post chocolate has been my life raft on this low carb/sugar lifestyle change. And that is a life raft I can live with!!
PS, my all time fav chocolate for eating is Madacasse 80%. It is pricey and hard to come by but soo good. Dark cherries, slightly acidity and long finish. Amazing!!
Cocoa beans contain phenylethylamine (PEA), an antidepressant that stimulates the body's adrenaline and dopamine levels for a dose of happy feelings.
Good day fellow Tasha fans. In light of the fact that Tasha Tudor's family has their own blog, I have decided to hand Tasha Tudor day over to them, so to speak. I will continue to honor Tasha every year in my own life and with my family but not on my blog. The reason I am posting about this is to ask you if you have my button on your blog would you mind removing it and linki Rookery Ramblings instead for Tasha Tudor day. Really the family should be.directing this. I love that every year we all take a moment, stop and think about Tasha. Think about how she has inspired us to live life more simply but fuller. Tasha affects my day to day life in a real way and I am very thankful for this.
Also a reminder Tasha Tudor day is one month from now, August 28. I think my girls and I will have tea out in the garden. Maybe read Becky's Birthday xox
This message is very close to my heart. I am a crier, emotional and have a lot of empathy of those suffering, outsiders like me but this was frowned upon by some in my childhood. I was told a lot to suck it up and not show my emotions. I was told it made me weak but I realized in time that my emotions were my strength. It takes strength to be vulnerable and those criticizing me, actually were afraid themselves to show their vulnerability. It is a risk to be vulnerable but it is worth it, even if we are rejected. Because being emotional is what makes us human and that makes us a better person.
One of the joys of living on the water in the northwest, is how tepid the summers are. It rarely goes over 75. Most people do not have air conditioning or ceiling fans. And for those few hot days, well like when it snows ... we fall apart ;-) This last weekend we were in for record breaking heat, so I turned to my facebook friends for no-cook ideas. They always give me the best advice. One friend mentioned an ice box cake. I will be honest and say I have not had many of these, even as a child.
So after much research this is my spin on ice box cake. Pineapple and caramel have always been a favorite combination of mine. I love the sweet acidity of fresh pineapple against the richness of caramel. Now this would be even better with homemade cookies but since the whole point was not to heat up my kitchen I bought cookies and salted caramel sauce (Trader Joes). The amounts do not have to be exact, just have plenty of everything. I have to say I LOVED this combo. A real fav and perfect on a really hot summers day!!
Pineapple Salted Caramel Ice Box Cake
Makes a 9” round cake, but you can use any pan. Even just make a mountain of it on a cookie sheet. the messier the better.
36 small vanilla cookies, any cookie, shortbread or graham cracker will work
Assemble all your fillings
Take the pineapple and chop in food processor until you have a chunky sauce.
Warm up caramel sauce, if using pre-made. Remove lid and microwave jar for 30 seconds to soften up sauce.
Make whipped cream. 3 cups of heavy cream whipped w/ 1 TBL. of sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
Then assemble cake
Line your pan w/ parchment paper (plastic wrap will do but not as good as parchment).
Arrange ⅟ᴣ of your cookies on the bottom of the pan. Spread one cup of whipped cream over the cookies. Do not worry if it gets all messy, it will taste just fine. Next spread half of the purreed pineapple. Then drizzle some caramel sauce over the pineapple. Repeat layering again starting with the cookies. Then top with the last ⅟ᴣ of the cookies, then whipped cream. Lastly drizzle more caramel sauce. Cover top with plastic wrap, so it is not touching the cake and store in freezer. Takes a good 6-9 hours or overnight to freeze. Enjoy!!!
The summer issue of Gatherings is out (and I made the cover, woohoo ;-). Sadly this is our finally issue. I am sorry to see Gatherings end but I think we are ending on our best work yet and that is a beautiful way to end. I learned so much being a food editor. Working with Annetta Bosakova (all the photos are her work) and Heather Spriggs Thompson has been such a learning experience and I grew quite close to both of them. Heather has always trusted my "food vision" for the magazine and I cannot tell you how much that means to me. Annetta is always able to take what is in my minds eye and make it come to life. That is not an easy task but then she is very gifted.
The summer issue has a recipe for making Herb Infused Butter (which is very different from herb butter. I keep jars of it in my fridge for cooking). There is also two recipes using the butter: Grilled Chicken with Bay Butter/Honey Glaze and Lavender Butter Chocolate Brownies. I am always looking for new way to use fresh herbs!
These brownies can be made gluten free, whole wheat or regular but I wanted to post a grain-free version here on the blog, for anyone struggling with high blood sugar like me. This brownie is a twist of my daughter’s all-time favorite dessert, all chocolate brownies. There is no coco powder in this recipe; it is all chopped chocolate, butter and not a lot of flour,. They are rich, dense and a small bite goes a long way. The twist is I first infused the butter with lavender before making the brownies. It is a simple way to give them a little something! I bet they will become a family favorite for you too!
Chocolate Lavender Butter Brownies
Makes 8x8 pan
1 cup bittersweet, 60-80 percent dark chocolate, chips or chopped
½ cup lavender infused butter, see notes below
1 ½ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup almond flour
2 TBL coconut flour
If you do not have lavender butter on-hand, make butter first.
Pre-heat oven 350°F and grease an 8x8 baking pan.
In a sauce pan set on the lowest setting of your stove gently melt chocolate and butter until the chocolate is melts. Then whisk in sugar. Next whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in salt, almond and coconut flours. The batter is thick but pourable. Fill greased pan and bake 15-20 minutes. Just until the side puff up a bit and the center is not runny. I like my brownies very soft, so I bake 15 minutes. Let cool in pan.
Lavender Infused Butter
Makes ½ cup
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter. I use unsalted, grass-fed butter
5-7 fresh lavender heads (you can use the steams too. I use a bit of both)
Set butter and lavender in a small sauce pan, gentlying melting butter on the lowest setting of your stove. If butter starts to sizzle or brown, pull it off the heat. You are just trying to melt the butter without breaking the butter fat, so you do not want the butter to boil or fry. When butter is melted, pull pan off heat and let the butter and lavender sit for half an hour. If butter has hardened, re-melt, strain out the herbs and pour butter into a container. Butter will keep 2 weeks refrigerated.
Please use organic unsprayed lavender.
Mint or anise hyssop would be good herbs to use in this recipe. You can use dried lavender too, about a TBL but fresh is so much better.
Feel free to try these brownies without herb infused butter. This is just a pain old good brownie recipe and our family favorite for years.
A regular or gluten-free version of this recipe and the grilled chicken and herb infused butter is in the Summer 2014 Gatherings Magazine