Cauliflower Crust Pizza AND Roasting A Golden Cauliflower

Back in August when I was waiting for Jackpot to arrive in Maine, I tried out the cauliflower crust pizza idea I’ve heard about for years. Since I can’t eat gluten, I can’t eat pizza. Sadly. I love pizza.

I think I didn’t add enough egg—and the cauliflower base was still maybe too wet—which another egg would probably have “fixed.” Also, I cooked first before pulsing in my food processor. I had some basil leaves, so that’s what the dark spots are in this “dough.” I added some herbs and garlic as well. One spreads a circle on parchment, bakes at 350 for a bit and then uses the parchment to turn over the slab and bake it on the other side until it is browner. I used TWO sheets of parchment that way. The upper side was too wet to turn over without more parchment help.

I felt like each side baked a long time (30+ minutes) before the crust started to get a little brown.

Here’s the final product—and it was delicious. I ate one half and reheated the other half for supper. It reheated well.

The thinly sliced veggies on top of chicken pieces and with all topped by mozzarella cheese were nicely tender, so that part worked, but I was right at the line between ready and too done.

I will try out this idea one day soon again—and with a dryer base mix and more eggs, I expect a quicker baking time. And maybe I’ll pulse the cauliflower raw before steaming so the mixture can be put in a towel and wrung out.

Here’s a screenshot of one of the online recipes I found. This one does NOT flip the base to cook both sides before adding toppings—and I think one would need to do that.

Yesterday I bought a beautiful golden cauliflower and roasted it today—alongside a baby bok choy sliced and drizzled with cream.

I salted and added some Italian herb mixture and drizzled the cauliflower with some of my Organic Roots olive oil—adding only a tiny bit to the bok choy. I roasted at 400 for 15 minutes and turned everything with a spatula—then added a piece of cooked chicken breast from last night to reheat it. I put some cream on the chicken, too, to keep it moist.

Dinner (the middle of the day) was so lovely on a truly rainy day—and there are leftovers for supper.

I am grateful for the rain. I think my water pressure might have been lower than I like as it has been beautiful, but very dry.

Jackpot had a nice visit to the vet, where he always sees other dogs which makes him so happy. They took blood for his DNA test, and that got mailed this morning. They also gave him his second deworming pill and cut his nails.

I so hope this is the LAST deworming he will need.

He seems to be taking the rainy day in stride. It really is just pouring rain and is a big storm. Maybe we can walk by late afternoon. That would be nice for both of us.

Color Combinations: Red and Green

Turkey Tracks: August 17, 2022

Color Combinations: Red and Green

I’m enjoying coffee and a leisurely-spent morning as I wait for the big storm that is almost here.

RAIN!

I’ve followed quilter Bonnie Hunter’s blog for years now—and made many of her quilts. This morning she posted so many, many beautiful pictures she took after visiting a local flower farm with friend Martha—who dragged Bonnie out of her normal routine yesterday. (Bonnie runs a quilting retreat Inn that takes up to 12 guests at a time for a week.)

Bonnie has had a series of accidents this past year—and the last one broke her nose, blacked her eyes, and broke her foot/ankle. A swing broke and the upper supportive wooden bar came down and hit her. Her face is healed now, and she’s now in a boot she can take off here and there, and she seems to be feeling better. But I agree with her supportive friend Martha: Bonnie needed a break and a fun outing.

I was reminded while looking at the beautiful pictures she posted, that while I LOVE color and various color combinations, I have always loved red and green together. (I’m not talking about the bright and flat greens and reds that often appear in Christmas art.) Winter brings shades of green firs and red berries. But summer holds red-green combinations too. Here’s a picture Bonne included:

Rich reds and greens AND a Swallowtail butterfly.

I spent some time this morning after reading Bonnie’s daily post ordering seeds from Fedco and included zinna seeds since I have always loved them. The Cosmos seeds I just threw into garden beds and loosely scratched into the ground came up and are starting to bloom now. I’m going to try more of that in that pesky front bed on the hill. But I’ll plant the zinnas next spring more strategically. And I ordered the winter lettuce mix that I seed into my cold frame and cover for the winter.

One task yesterday was stuffing the doggie “bongs” with mashed green banana mixed with our local small “wild” blueberries and then freezing them for when I have to leave Jackpot in his crate for short periods next week—as I attend short events that I could not cancel. He’s too young to leave in the car alone just yet—but that will happen in time. And maybe pretty quickly. That will be a learning curve for him and will depend on how much I can trust him with his potty training.

Ripe bananas contain a TON of fructose sugar, but green bananas contain resistant starches that feed a dog’s microbiome and offer “antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory tannins, along with carotenoids that help prevent oxidative stress.” Blueberries are “an awesome source of prebiotic fiber and are chock-full of polyphenols….”. (Quotes are from THE FOREVER DOG, Dr. Karen Show Becker and Rodney Habib, page 230.) It is possible to overdue with the green banana, so use in small amounts. I froze the extra I had.

I cooked yesterday, so I’m going downstairs to sew.

Come on RAIN!

Rain is Coming!

Turkey Tracks: August 16, 2022

Rain is Coming!

A Nor’Easter, and it is arriving tonight and will hang until Thursday morning. If we are lucky.

When I woke up this morning I made my bed and dressed—and then realized that it was Tuesday, which is the day I do laundry.

After I had my morning coffee, I unmade the bed and washed things as I would not be able to hang my sheets on the line tomorrow. I love my clothes line. And I love sheets that have dried in the sun.

I FINISHED the LONG, LONG, LONG red wool scarf I’ve been knitting here and there. It’s all ready for winter, and I won’t be fussing about a too-short scarf this year. It’s at least 6 feet long and so yummy.

If you buy things in packages, it would be best now to reread all the labels.

Crickets! As in there are crickets in this package.

I’ve been reading about the “push” to include insects in our food, but I didn’t think it would happen this fast.

Note that the “cheddar cheese” is a “flavored” powder. That’s a fake food with a chemical tasting like cheese. I would argue that grains and too many beans mean too many carbohydrates—all of which turn into sugar in your body. I can’t eat beans, sadly. And I love grains of all kinds. But I now treat them like treats. These “puffs” may taste good, but that’s it nutritionally. This food will do you no favors. None.

Here’s today’s dinner, which I eat at noon.

I grilled a package of drumsticks—it doesn’t take long and they cook while I cooked the rice and the carrots. The rice only takes 10 minutes—and yes it is not an especially good food choice, but this basmanti rice is so fragrant and rich with a buttery flavor. It’s a treat. The okra is from the frozen okra packets I found at the Belfast coop. The cukes and carrots are organic. I so love our local cucumbers in the summer—just cold and sliced with a little salt and dill and a scant drizzle of olive oil. If I could, I’d add a splash of vinegar.

Last night I watched the Dutch movie THE FORGOTTEN BATTLE—a World War II battle that did not include Americans, but did include the Brits and Canadians who, like the Americans, are pushing the Nazis north. The battle takes place in the Netherlands after the Normandy landing and covers three characters who rub up against each other tangentially in the course of the story. It’s really well done—a complex, sensitive story. It is a war movie though—and you know what that means. Battle wounds and some Nazi evil. It’s on Netflix.

And Now I Wait—for Jackpot and Rain

Turkey Tracks: August 5, 2022

And Now I Wait—For Jackpot and Rain

We are meant to get rain today, but the time frame has already been moved from morning to afternoon. What we need is sustained, steady rain for several days, not just a thunderstorm. But we’ll take whatever we can get. I think the strong breeze from the bay is moving these summer storms west of us, away from the coast.

I got some good sewing time yesterday—only stopping at almost 8:30 pm for my salad supper. One border is on the “Wyoming Stars” quilt—which is working really well to contain that busy and interesting center, and I’m making the final pieced border now. Pics to follow when the top is done.

The Sweet Pups transport team has now started a Messenger message connection where all of the people adopting dogs on this trip are connected.  Right now, 6 people so far are meeting the train at the West Gardner (just south of Augusta) hospitality center on 95—about 45 minutes from me. It is truly heart warming to see how excited people are to be getting “their” rescue dogs.  And to see the wonderful work and caring that the folks at the Sanctuary and Rescue organization are doing.  I’ve been following them on their FB page.  

I’m more or less ready for Jackpot doggie’s arrival next Saturday.

I’ve been researching how to feed a puppy real food and how to transition a dog to real food. Feeding puppies is a bit tricky actually—as one needs to carefully balance the nutrients. But I’ve got it now, though I’m still rounding up ingredients, like a high-quality cod liver oil.

I’m a big fan of the vet, Dr. Karen Becker. And I’m learning more about Rodney Habib, who founded Planet Paws. Their new book THE FOREVER DOG is on my dining room table at the moment.

The new dog toys arrived yesterday. They are so cute. I still remember when AC came at 6 months of age and dived into the toy bucket downstairs. I want that joy to happen again.

There is an adorable video of Buster Brown. If the link doesn’t work, you can see it on my FB page or on the Sweet Paws Sanctuary FB page. Buster Brown is Jackpot’s brother (and clearly had a different dad—as is true too for Lace Top, the girl). Buster was too sick to rescue, so the Sanctuary is getting him sorted, and you can see he is doing much better. Recall that the mother dog had been tied to a tree for her whole life, and had her puppies there, but that the owner finally surrendered her.

Yesterday I made the most delicious potato salad that I combined with a grilled lamb burger.

I used 4 new red potatoes about 3 inches each—and they cooked (whole) in boiling water to cover them faster than I thought they would—about 25 minutes maybe. I drained them and let them cool while I did other things and then peeled and chopped them into big chunks. I had some homemade really tangy yogurt that I had strained and threw about 1/4 cup of that into a bowl where I put herbs from the garden (chives, basil, tarragon, thyme) and added some dried herbs, like dill and oregano. I added some green peas, some chopped veggies I had on hand (sweet onion, red bell pepper, cucumber) and some grated carrot. I swirled in some of my good olive oil (Organic Roots’ Koroneiki EVOO) and added salt.

It is DELICIOUS!

The Grinder

Turkey Tracks: July 14, 2022

The Grinder

These guys went on a quick trip to visit the grinder last Tuesday morning.

They make that visit about every 6 to 9 months—and this time the scissors with the blue handles triggered the trip—which isn’t far at all, only about 15 minutes or so to the south. The small scissors were dull to the tip, and they are the ones I keep by my sewing machine so they need to be sharp. If you have scissors with some serrated edges on one side (some of the Karen Kay Buckley scissors), ask the grinder NOT to sharpen on those edges.

The knife on the far right came, via a Japanese neighbor back in Falls Church, VA, many years ago. When sharpened it is…dead sharp. And very thin and light, too. I use these wider knives like paddles, too, to carry chopped bits to a pan.

Once sharpened, I can keep the knives pretty sharp for many months with frequent passes on the metal sharpening tool (a honing steel) that came with my good knife set.

Local peeps: the grinder is on Route 90 going south, on the left, just beyond Kelsey’s. Call before stopping by to make sure that the grinder is in and can sharpen what you have (594-7007). The business, Acute Grinding, is now owned by Food Prep Solutions, so here is the sign for which you will be looking. The grinder charged me $20 for these 6 pieces.

Some of the raspberries are ripening now. I got this many yesterday. Delicious!

On the last night Bryan’s family was here I made a big “fried rice” dish with what was left of the leg of lamb we roasted, some eggs I fried first (beef tallow) and added back in at the end, and tons of veggies—some leftovers already cooked and some cut for the dish and pan sautéed after removing the fried eggs—and the leftover rice. (Bryan and Corinne had lobsters that night, and the granddaughters had some hot dogs with their fried rice.)

I had LOTS left over, so I packaged it up in two large silicon bags and froze them. The other day I pulled out of the freezer some frozen broth, a package of ground lamb, and one of the packages of fried rice.

Instant soup—after I sautéed the ground lamb. I also added more herbs, salt, and more water.

It was delicious and provided two days of dinner and supper meals—AND time for me to do other things than cooking.

A Treasure at the Belfast Coop

Turkey Tracks: July 10, 2022

A Treasure at the Belfast Coop

A few weeks ago, while shopping for the recent family visit at the Belfast Coop (the neighboring town to the north), I saw, in the freezer section, frozen sliced OKRA.

I LOVE OKRA.

And most here in Maine have no idea what okra is, nevermind how to cook it.

I bought two packages and couldn’t wait to get home to cook some. It was as delicious as I recalled.

Imagine my surprise (not) when I was there yesterday, and there was a sale sign on the frozen okra packages. I bought four more packages and probably should have taken all that was left.

Again, I came right home to cook some for my dinner (in the middle of the day).

I also came home with a spaghetti squash—so I halved it, seeded it, and roasted it cut side down on a flat pan lined with parchment paper—using the convection oven to increase the cooking time—set at 350 degrees. I added my leftover chicken drumsticks during the last 10 minutes and turned off the convection. If you have not cooked spaghetti squash before, when it is soft/tender, turn it over and take a spoon and scoop out the squash meat, which breaks into the strands you see in the above picture. (Some use this squash like a spaghetti and top it with savory tomato sauce.)

Meanwhile, the okra only needed to be reheated in water. Stop when the water simmers to a boil, drain, and butter and salt.

Look at that pretty okra—so green, with its soft white seeds in the middle.

Now is when I should tell you that my Georgia grandfather did NOT like okra. He said he didn’t want to eat anything that swallowed before he was ready to swallow. Okra is soft and is slippery. I like it best just cooked until tender (I’d leave it whole) and after draining, topped with butter and salt/pepper. My grandmother on my father’s side, who lived in Oklahoma, used to pan fry her okra after dredging it in cornmeal. That’s good, too, but way more work. Okra is often stewed with fresh tomatoes—and is often present in gumbo. Okra and tomato is a lovely combo.

Today after digging up a whole bed of daffodils that need dividing as they are no longer robustly blooming, my mind turned to my leftover okra.

First, here’s the garden project, so you can see I worked up an appetite. The earth is very dry as we need rain. And I’m not finished, but it’s hot now and I was hungry.

And by the way, the lettuce needs to be pulled and shared with friends as the heat is bringing on its bolting. I’ve been eating out of this cold frame daily since April. I’ll replant with Masai filet bush beans which when they get rolling will give me tiny, sweet filet beans until a frost kills them.

Here’s my dinner at noon: reheated spaghetti squash and the okra, a fresh salad that includes a neighbor’s gift of sugar snap peas (delicious raw), and two grilled lamb chops. (The remaining two will be eaten with salad I already made for supper.)

I’ll read a little now and make a coffee, rest a bit, and will again tackle the daffodil project when shade hits the front yard.

The reward will be finishing a job I’ve wanted to avoid, a shower, and a little sewing time—with supper and hand-sewing all organized to enjoy while watching some tv.

Chicken Salad Bliss!

Turkey Tracks: June 16, 2022

Chicken Salad Bliss!

I started thinking about chicken salad yesterday while weeding in the garden.

I had just bought that morning a whole chicken that I was going to roast today.

But then the idea of chicken salad started roaming around in my head.

So, this morning I started making…chicken salad.

First, the chicken went into a pot deep enough to cover the chicken with water. And I threw in some hunks of celery, carrots, and onion. And, some salt. When the pot water came to a soft boil, I turned down the heat and cooked the chicken at a soft boil for 35 minutes.

Then I turned it off and went to Fresh Off the Farm for some soy-free eggs (Misty Farms, local peeps) and fresh celery. I should have added in some Italian parsley, but I didn’t think of that while in the store. I can also add some if I want. Or I could add some of those little green peas I seem to be craving.

When I came home, I strained off the now-cooler broth and put it in a freezer container for a soup down the road. And when the chicken cooled a bit more, I took the meat off the bones with my hands—as I wanted a shredded look, not a chopped look.

Home-made mayo is dead easy to make in a blender. Break two eggs into the bottom of the blender, add about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of good mustard (or some acid like lemon juice or white vinegar), salt, whatever herbs you might like to add and turn on the blender. From the top, drizzle a really good olive oil in a stream into the mixture and stop when the mass congeals. It takes a little over a cup of olive oil—but how much can depend on how big the egg yolks are, among other things.

I cut some celery and onion fine and grated some carrot—amounts here depend on your own tastes, including the amounts of salt and mayo. (If you want less mayo in the salad than you made, stir in a little whey from your yogurt as it will ferment the mayo and preserve it.)

And here’s my salad—the parsley would have given it more color.

Along the way I blanched some collard leaves for 5 minutes in slowly boiling water and laid them into a bread dish, separated by paper towels. I used to take out the central stems, but I don’t any more.

Use the collard leaves as healthy, nutritious wraps.

And voila, here’s LUNCH.

You could slice the finished wraps into bit-size pieces if you want to do that.

And now I can’t wait until dinner time.

The wind is high as a storm is blowing in—and so far I’ve avoided going out to weed as I’ve been happily busy in the kitchen.

But now…

Counting Veggies

Turkey Tracks: June 11, 2022

Counting Veggies

When I grew up in the 1950’s a typical dinner meal my mother cooked had meat, a green veggie, a starch (veggie or rice), and a side salad of iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. That description does not describe her awesome pot roast meal—but a salad would have accompanied it. The pot roast would have had meat, carrots, onions, and potatoes—so maybe the above description still sort of works if we count the side salad a ”green” veggie.

My mother’s parents lived in a small town in Georgia—Reynolds—and they had a farm outside town. The noon time dinner at my grandparents included many, many veggies from the farm garden—all cooked except for fresh sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. There was always meat, but dinner was a vegetable feast. Sometimes there were biscuits or the fried cornmeal pancakes that I dearly loved.

Over my lifetime, fresh raw veggies came into the markets and are enjoyed now virtually all year around. The side salad became a main course as a result.

Meanwhile, we’ve learned that eating a lot of veggies helps us in many ways—from nutrients to fiber. So, I have fun putting as many veggies as possible on my plate.

On Friday noon, while I grilled some local lamb chops, I chopped and started to stir fry vegetables I had on hand in beef tallow, with salt and herbs added. A small russet potato (they fry the best) cubed, half of a red pepper, a carrot, half of a zucchini, some chopped broccoli rabe, and some radicchio—the red that looks like cabbage—all went into the pan after the potato went first. Radicchio is a bitter green, and I eat it a lot both raw and cooked. I don’t know why I didn’t think to add onion. Onions contain sulfur which is a nutrient humans need and which isn’t always present in our onions due to the soil nutrient depletion Big AG’s farming methods have produced. I started chopping with the potato as I was hungry for pan-fried potato and it does need to go first as it takes longer to cook. But the veggie count is…SIX.

Here’s my lunch and dinner on Thursday—as when supper rolled around, I just reheated what I had cooked at noon for my dinner. Delicious!

Today I worked outside weeding all morning—and came in for lunch hungry and tired. I roasted twelve drumsticks: 4 for my meals today, 4 for the freezer, and 2 for tomorrow. They took 35 minutes in the convection oven at 350 degrees—with 5 minutes at a higher temperature to brown them off.

Meanwhile, I cooked some frozen green beans and corn. The plate below has lettuce from my garden, radicchio, onion, carrots, red pepper, cucumber, and green beans. That’s…SEVEN veggies and ONE GRAIN (the corn). And I need to replenish my celery—which would have made EIGHT veggies.

The salad is topped with dried dill, salt, and my Organic Roots olive oil. I was too hungry to get chives and their beautiful lavender flowers from the garden. Or, fresh tarragon and oregano. Next time.

And my salad for tonight is in the refrigerator ready to heat—though I’ll warm up the two drumsticks I mean to have with the salad. And I’ll slice up a whole apple for dessert with some organic mint tea.

AND, THE COLORS, THE COLORS; white, three greens, orange, two reds, and yellow.

My tummy is very happy after eating this beautiful salad.

Organic Roots Brings Home Blue Ribbons

Turkey Tracks: May 30, 2022

Organic Roots Brings Home Blue Ribbons

I love the Organic Roots Koroneiki olive oil—which is more robust than the other two choices.

I order the Koroneiki in the gallon size—and it usually takes me a year to go through a gallon as I mostly just use it for dressing my salads. However, I have tried it recently on roasted veggies, and it really shines there as well. I am cautious about heating olive oil with high heat though, as it fractures easily, which is not a good thing for the body as fracturing produces tiny, tiny shards. So I never sauté with olive oil, preferring the sturdier meat fats instead.

Covid stopped olive oil competitions in the past few years, so it is really nice to see how well Organic Roots is doing this year with resumed competitions.

Organic Roots is a family-owned organic oil producer in Northern California.

Eating and Sewing the Rainbow

Turkey Tracks: May 5, 2022

Eating and Sewing the Rainbow

Eating the rainbow at lunch today: roasted chicken and all kinds of veggies.

When I feel I’m getting full, I stop eating and put the leftovers into a bowl for my dinner meal. Sometime I just add more meat and veggies to the bowl and call it a night. Sometimes I add a tortilla heated over the flame on top of my stove—and add some butter when it is done. Sometimes I’ll also have a little dessert fruit. Mostly, I make an herbal tea, but sometimes I’ll have a coffee.

I am enjoying having my main meal in the middle of the day.

But speaking of rainbows, I just signed up for Tara Faughnan’s 10-month long Traverse Block of the Month—hosted by Sewtopia and starting in July. The project comes in two manufacturer choices (Windham Artisan Cottons or Kona cottons ) and two color ways. I chose the bright in the Windham Artisan Cottons. I love shot cottons. They have so much depth.

My experience with the ”Sugaridoo” quilt showed me it’s easy to make one row a month of a block that is fun.

And I fell in love with this colorful quilt.