Soups are unlimited. There are those who can whip them up and those who do not know where to start. I balk at the idea anyone would purchase bouillon cubes or stock in a box. I have seen these items in many kitchens so I know people use them. Over the years, I have been producing great soups. I am embarrassed to say I even started a soup cookbook that is out shopping for new clothes. When I had restaurants, yes the many restaurants right here where I live in Humboldt County, I always made soups from total scratch. I did make myself a few shortcuts to expedite the process for some soups. One is roux. What is that supposed to mean?; I hear some shouting. Roux is a thickening mixture that could be a blog by itself but for now we will make it simple. You use roux to thicken cream soups and stews. I got to thinking I should make some roux mixes for folks to have on hand for just those dishes. I have one in my list of products called "Yabba Dabba Roux!" It flavors and thickens. Then for those who had to purchase flavorings to make soups, please look at the ingredients. The broth you paid good money for is mostly water. The boullion cubes are laced with MSG. I was asked by a friend to may a spice mix for soup and I have that mix into a product called, "Soup Saavy". I keep a jar near the stove and find that it works In many other kinds of dishes and of course it would. So while this is self less promotion of two products at All Mixed Up In Humboldt, I want to close with veggies, veggies, veggies!.Plant and pick what is in season. make vegetable stock out of all the parts you trim off. Season your stock to taste and have fun. Eat as much soup as you want. It really is a pretty guilt free food.
It is spring and finally after planting parsley every year in every nook and cranny, I have lots and discovered Parsley Pesto a few years ago. You can make it just like the basil traditional variety. Do a simple vegan variety which you can later add other things if you like (parmesan comes to mind) yet I make it taste good with out using cheese. Pines nuts are great and when I get to the store I may buy some. Pine nuts are traditionally used in pesto but now are about $25. a pound so I have discovered almond meal works well.
Today I gathered a huge bowl of parsley from various places in the yard. I washed it "correctly". (twice in a tub of cold water). I lifted it into the colander to drain while I peeled garlic. I have a vitamix which blends much better than a blender but use what you have.
1 cup whole cloves garlic
2 cups olive oil
2-3 Tbs salt
1 ton of stemmed fresh parsley (1/2 large grocery bag about)
1 cup almond meal
Blend garlic and oil, add salt then in groups add and blend fine the parsley. When all the parsley had been blended well add the almond meal. Save out about 1/2 cup in a med bowl and cook 1 lb of pasta when cooked, drain and toss with the pesto and serve hot. to have the pesto for later, fill 2 ice cube trays with the pesto and freeze. Use 1-2 cubes for 1/4 lb of pasta.
Note: after your pesto cubes are fully frozen you can transfer them to as freezer bag and use as you need them.
Feel free to comment on recipe or email any questions that you may have. thank you Kahish
With all you do during the holidays, I am sure that kitchen time is extra effort. Hopefully you have family and friends who like to help. Most often that is not the case as it should be.
All Mixed Up In Humboldt is taking a holiday in that the mixes are not being prepared during winter months. Kahish, travels and does research on where and how foods are grown in other regions. During this time with the use of the internet, it is still possible to interact and to ask questions about recipes or spice mixes. Put "ALL MIXED UP IN HUMBOLDT" on your list for next year to order up spice and food mixes that will help with your holiday planning. Two items that would be a stellar addition would be the focaccia bread mix and the sassy sausager. A stuffing made with your own bread is the best and the seasonings will make the difference. For now if you live in Humboldt County, you will find two of our seasoning mixes in bulk at the Arcata and Eureka Coop. The only other source would be a gift basket from Strawberry Rock Gallery in Trinidad California. With or without these great seasonings, make your meals with love and enjoy the process of creativity.
It is fall and the abundance of food is everywhere. No matter where you live chances are nature is dawning a harvest of fruits,nuts,herbs,greens, mushrooms and berries. Most berries are past their prime but some are making there second appearance like strawberries. Apples and pears are falling to the ground. Food costs are high but people leave fruit to rot on the ground. Go pick it up! So far this season, I have canned apple sauce, made loaves of raisin-apple bread, I dried both apples and Asian pears from a single tree each in our coastal garden. We walk daily and come home with a dozen eggs from a neighbors stand or a lobster mushroom that pushed its way up enough for one who is looking to notice and reddish orange camouflaged hump with the forest floor of moss and tree droppings. Winter squash is perfect for soups, pies and appetizers. Walnut trees are giving out free samples in the streets where a yard knows better than to contain all the nuts inside. The greens are happy that the evenings are cooler. The Swiss chard and kale are giving it up for nice additions to morning green drinks or mixed into any meal. I even have some parsley still even though most has gone to seed.
EXCELLENT GREEN DRINK
PIECE OF GINGER(2-3 TB)
2-3 LEAVES OF KALE OR CELERY
2-3 SPRIGS OF PARSLEY
2 C WATER OR JUICE
SPRIG OF MINT OR SOME LEMON OR LIME
BLEND AND DRINK ALL MORNING
The point is, get out there and look around, add edibles that you find into your meals. It is fresh, organic and in season...you can not get any better than that. Your body will love you.
Note: WHAT TO DO WITH SOME OF THESE FREEBIES
Dry fruits and mushrooms by slicing thin. If you do not have a food dehydrator, use porous trays and dry in sun or hanging about wood stove .Dried fruits can be chopped and added to granola. In our area certain edible mushrooms grow. They are very popular unfortunately as they are getting harder and harder to find. We usually just get chanterells. The lobster mushroom is a new addition and actually grows in my neighborhood.
Leafy greens left over or renewing themselves in the garden are just splendid to enjoy in almost anything you make from salad to soup. The more pungent the green the thinner I slice up so it doesn't over power the salad or other dishes. My "Forest Splash" is a nice sprinkle on greens. It is an organically grown elixir that is a sweet and sour delivery with herbs grown on site. All seasoning mixes from 'All Mixed Up In Humboldt' enhance all foods. An instant appetizer awaits you.
I made a nice chocolate cake with the "Seedy Sunday" now "Sunseed" scone mix the other day. It was a whim but I had not had cake in ages and some how it sounded good. The scone mix has a variety of nuts and seeds. I added cocoa, sweetner, and eggs. It baked nicely and then it occurred to me that some kind of frosting was in order but we really do not like things that are too sweet. I was thinking of german choc frosting but refused to buy brown sugar for it. The alternative came out rather nice and soon I hope to share it with you. come on over...the frosting is walnuts coconut shredded and coconut flour, sucanat, coconut oil and butter. I cooked it til it caramelized and realized it needed liquid. I added milk and stirred it till it look aw so lovely...could have used any liquid; almond milk, water, coconut milk...actually I had coconut milk opened so I finished off the can in the frosting too...This is sounding quite complicated as it is my pre-bed time ramble and recap. You will eventually get very precise and short version recipes...Just wanted to give you a little taste of my creative process. The cake came out fabulous and of course way too much for just two people. I will be walking around my neighborhood giving out samples.
If you are new to my blog or site, I will introduce you to my list of products and gradually you will get the recipes for how to use each one. It is a work in progress. For me it is especially a challenge to write down recipes. I can whip out food all day long and never use a recipe. I have refined my blends and of course written down the recipes for consistency in product just like I had to do when I operated my three different restaurants. I am working on a cook booklet for you. Each mix has great versatility. This was part of my inspiration to make the products in the first place. I am hoping you will be inspired to interact with my blog and we can do some of this together as you get a chance to cook with my mixes.
Current product list:
FLAXY LADY CRUST MIX
SUNSEED SCONE MIX
CAKIN’ IT pancake & muffin MIX
HOTSY TOTSY chili oil
AY,CARAMBA! MESO SAUCE
ALL-FOODS CATCH SAUCE
FOREST BAY SPLASH
BREEZY SUNSET TEA
'Gluten Free 'is not just a trend but an awakening of the factors that can cause gastro-intestinal distress. The serious part of the "trend" is that there are people who get seriously ill by consuming even the micro amount of gluten so for a food manufacturer to make a "gluten free" product there are many hours of research that should go into it. I must admit it has been a challenge studying this topic. I personally know people with gluten intolerance and some with Celiac disease. The later fall into the category that are the ones the gluten free market originally targeted as a hospital trip for those getting gluten by accident is often on the horizon. As I study nutrition and health myself it amazes me how I am always a bit behind the curve. I think I know so much and then the mere heating of food draws a frown from certain crowds. This has brought me to my happy place. "Trust your instincts and be true to yourself" ! That is all well and good unless something you are doing may adversely affect someone else. This is where one must take added responsibility.
This summer even my most unsuspecting friends have decided to go 'gluten free'. Damn! I was enjoying having them over for crepes and scones and muffins.
I have been experimenting in my kitchen with gluten free products. I will have a couple to offer at 'All Mixed Up In Humboldt". Thanks to my gluten free friends I tried to make gluten free biscotti. I know I made some great ones when I lived in Hawaii. I did not write the recipe down and figured it would come back. At first attempt the wonderful ingredients made them very tasty but as is the case with many gluten free items they were crumbly.. good news! I created a crumble crust that I have made and taken to several different events and everyone wants the recipe... the "crazy crust" is in the pike. It is used like a graham cracker crust for any quick filling. I moisten the mix and press it into a pie shell. The filling that was the biggest hit was tofu and chocolate blended...Yes! with that you have a recipe. It holds up cold but is more melted at room temperature. The people did not care. They went back for extra helpings.
I will do my part to make some special gluten free products. We actually have lowered our gluten intake at home naturally and it appears that gluten affects a larger part of our population than one would suspect.
One of my favorite appetizers are grilled veggies. You can use a heavy iron skillet an electric grill or the weber bbq. The best veggies are zucchini,eggplant and peppers. For a really colorful plate add carrots,beets and onions. Slice the vegetables uniformly 1/4 inch thick. Grill until dark grill marks or gold color on both sides.
Remove and immediately season with the best seasonings on the planet...
Yes, you may use 'All Mixed Up In Humboldt' seasonings with some olive oil and some balsalmic vinegar. You can also dip into the divine and scare yourself up some of my "Catch-All Sauce", "Hotsy Totsy Oil" or the elixer of bayberry and rosemary..."Bay Splash" These last three products are new and need to be specially ordered at www.allmixedupinhumboldt.com
It occurred to me that one of the most important things for anyone working in a kitchen to know is what tools are needed and work habits that ease the work load and create a a safe and healthy environment.
The area for food preparation needs to start out clean. All non food items such as cleaning supplies need to be in area not where food is or going to be. Now that may seem like a no brain er but you would be surprised. The general rule is non food below and food above.
The types of utensils and cookware are also of extreme importance. Now I am not a cooking "toy" collector by any means, in fact for years growing up we moved often and some how we would be without a rolling pin. I used to cook for my family and make biscuits and pies on occasion. An empty tin can for cutting biscuits and large bottle as a rolling pin for pie crust worked just fine.
I have always favored wooded spoons for various things. I like a certain feel and size depending on the chore. A long handle spoon for stirring things in a large stock pot is treasured in my kitchen. The most important part of cooking is the pan in which you use. You do have control over how much plastic and heavy metals you favor in your food. A good rule of thumb is don't heat anything in plastic or put hot foods in plastic. Cool the foods enough first if you are using plastic food containers. (like it should not be too hot on your skin like the baby bottle test)
Aluminum is basically a no no in America but as I travel it is still a widely used choice in many countries because aluminum pans are cheap.
Just know that what ever you cook your food in, chances are that material can leach into your food. That is why some advocate going back to cast iron pans to guarantee your daily allowance for iron. I used to mostly own cast iron and a few enamel covered iron pans when I lived more rural and used wood stoves as well. Cast iron requires a certain kind of maintenance like not using soap and finishing them with salt and oil. I now use stainless steel for the most part, however, if you need to cook anything that may need to simmer but not stick you will need a very heavy copper clad bottom or a heavy iron pot.
If you cook often enough you figure it out and know what pots are best for the job. There is also a new kind of environmentally friendly non stick skillet that is white inside. I got one to take to mexico cause I could only find lightweight cheap aluminum and teflon skillets in most outlets. I sometimes weakened to a teflon pan for a certain purpose. I find you have to really be on the ball to keep that stuff nice and I tell you, if one other person even helps in the kitchen, chances are the teflon pans will not survive.
I think if I am to elaborate about kitchen tools I risk over stating the obvious. I have found however that the obvious to me is non existent in many minds so I will go back to hand tools. Whisks, rubber spatulas and graters. I need these in my kitchen. I have survived fine without and I have decided that all need to be in my kitchen. Whisks to beat batters,eggs and make sauces or cereals so they are blended nice with out lumps and even consistency. Spatulas help to clean bowls and pans to get that last drop and to save dish washing time. Never use a rubber spatula to stir hot things or in blenders while they are going. Wooden spoons will fall into the 'do not use in blender' category. Note that when you are not looking someone in your household will indeed alter the shape of all your wooden spoons at one time or another with nicks that you yourself did not witness nor approve.
Storage containers are a good wrap up subject. first use glass as much as possible. food containers must always be thoroughly dried. If not you may be adding bacteria that will spoil the food. Hot foods must cool thoroughly before placing lid tight unless you intend to seal a tight lid and preserve longer then you are in essence hot packing the food with a lid that will vacuum seal shut. Occasionally if I am making homemade almond or soy milk and I have more than a quart I will put the extra in mason jars and vacuum seal. I still store in refrigerator as it will keep a good week or two over the few days otherwise.
Scoops, cups and funnels may need some attention. i like to use scoops with flour and little cups work for scooping different things. You can make funnels for filling med mouth jars by cutting off the top of a plastice bottle that has the right size for what you are looking for. spice jars often require that kind of custom funnel.
Knives and cutting boards should be a separate blog. the reason being is there are all kinds of knives and all kinds of cutting boards and care and sanitation for each one. You may email me to answer any questions I may have sparked here or barely addressed. Thank you for reading and for your interest in my spice and baking mixes. sincerely Kahish
Spring time is brimming with new. Taking the time to go on nature walks will reveal new plants poking their heads above ground. In Humboldt county we have many herbs and fungi amid the redwoods. Something rarely used in our area are "fiddle heads". It took me eating at a buffet bar in Hawaii to realize people eat these. They are the curled up beginnings of ferns. If boiled they have an asparagus like flavor and texture. I have since learned that in certain parts of the world they are highly coveted as certain mushrooms are. People actually camp out in the areas these things grow to have there stake in the harvest. If you happen to be gathering edible mushrooms or fiddle heads, a fantastic way to enjoy them is with any of the three spice mixes found here. You may also use the winter greens that are still giving you leaves like kale or chard. simply take a chopped up harvest of greens, mushrooms and/or fiddleheads; sauteed in light amount of oil til color changes and add a sprinkling of "Mojo Mixin", "Tater Teaser" or "Sassy Sausager". Your taste buds will dance and you mouth will spout WOW!