Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Super Tonics, super indeed!

"accuse not nature: she hath done her part:do thou but thine."
Digestive juices in the gut, Intestinal flora, and every cell in your body craves this stuff: it is the stuff every science lab is trying to conjure up into pill form and sell it to you with a pretty label. They would hate for you to know that for the price of a few Ball jars from the hardware store, a tub of yogurt and a few vegetables from your organic market, you could have, growing on your kitchen counter an amazing concoction of vitamins and enzymes far more available for your bodies absorption than anything some warehouse in New Jersey could ship to you. Beet Kvass:
1 half gallon ball jar: $1.98
1/4 Cup Whey (which can be "dripped" from a tub of plain yogurt $3.49...use the remaining yogurt as a cultured cream for a delicious butternut squash soup!)
3 medium beets $1.99
1Tbs Sea salt
Mix all ingredients in the jar, secure lid, and leave in a room temperature place with no direct sunlight and no electrical outlets near by (we wouldn't want genetically mutated mr. bacteria guys) for 3-15days...depending on how much of a kick you are going for!

-loaded with nutrients
-cleanses the blood
-promotes regularity
-aids digestion
-alkalizes the blood
-cleanses the liver
-treats kidney stones (better than mountain dew)
-enzymatic rich, insuring quality assimilation by the body

WOW! all for the low price of $7.49 (with a jar that can be re-used time after time), that is 128 one ounce servings, which is 5cents an ounce!...and it really doesn't taste that bad!
If anything, it can be added to home made dressings. Throw in a clove of garlic, some cilantro, you will never taste it:)

Ginger Ale

Where did we get this idea that when we are sick, saltines and corn syrup (labeled as ginger ale) would do anything to bring us refreshment from our icky state of being? Well, because it does! Ginger ale, the real deal, recipe as follows:
3/4 C ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 C fresh lime juice
1/2 C rapadura (unprocessed cane sugar)
2 tea sea salt
1/4 C whey (drippings from yogurt strained through a cheese cloth)
2 quarts filtered water, Three days sitting in the counter until the lid of the jar is nice and tight, indicating that the little bacteria guys have been busy, bustling away created lacto-fermented, refreshing "original soda".
And, as an added bonus, ginger is helpful as an anti-inflammatory, reliever of migraines, treatment for dizziness, fever, high cholesterol, indigestion, low libido in women, motion sickness and morning sickness, sciatica, sore throat, tendinitis, toothache, ulcers, viral infections worms, chronic fatigue, even body odor! (Green Pharmacy, by J. A. Duke, PHD)
-the mother of all weird organisms, the living creature of sci-fi, no one knows how to classify this "symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria". Monica said it is a hold-over from another time...erie music plays.
This mushroom like culture, feasts on black tea and white sugar, floating around in its room temperature glass container. (I know you are dying to see a picture...I haven't made one yet, but I will post it when I do)
Kombucha is the only thing besides the human liver that makes glucuronic acid, a powerful detoxifyer in the body. After it is done feasting and excreting, it makes a baby kombucha mushroom attached to its underside.
So next time your neighbor asks for a cup of sugar, throw in a baby "bouch" as well! I am sure they will thank you! (or puke in their mouth, depending on how you present it :0)

Recipe: boil 3 quarts of water, add 1 cup white sugar and steep 4 bags of organic black tea. Let the mixture cool in a bowl. Once the liquid is room temperature, remove the tea bags and add your baby kombucha culture. It wants to swim around in that beautiful mixture feasting, excreting and growing an off spring covered in a dark place for 7 to 10 days. The result is a delightful fizzy drink, that tastes nothing like sugar and tea, but more like yeast/cider and deliciousness! This spongy kombucha "pancake" can be stored in a glass container in the refrigerator until ready to be used again.

There you have it folks. Some refreshing super tonics. A strong competitor for what ever is in the medicine cabinet, the Gatorade bottle, and the soda can.
Bottoms up!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Nutrient dense stock

Once again, I found myself embarrassed having no idea where stock came from...is it just the drippings from meat after it has been cooked? This yellowish tinted water I buy in 1quart boxes from the grocery store was (and still is actually) surrounded in mystery, as the ingredients don't disclose much: "organic chicken flavor, Natural chicken flavor, onion powder, turmeric and organic flavor". No wonder I am confused!

Saturday mornings Nourishing Traditional foods class was going to be all about stock. I was stoked about stock!

Starting off class, Monica announced that it was best to show us the end product first, and talk through the preparations of this basic foundation of soups and stews since the beginning of time. She pulled the boiling stainless steel pot off the stove, poured it over a stock strainer and into a glass bowl. The brown mucky liquid instantly started separating, and I could see the sediments at the bottom, separate from the fat layer on the top.

Here is natures most abundant source of minerals in their most easily absorbent form as a "true electrolyte solution". None of the minerals work independently in and of themselves, and rely tremendously on one another to do their jobs well: as follows

calcium-this guy gets a lot of press for playing a vital role for strong bones and teeth. It is also needed for the heart and nervous system and for muscle growth. But did you know that you need vitamin D (fat soluble) in order to even absorb calcium? Throw out that skim milk people, and don't scrape that good fat layer off the top of the broth just yet.
sodium: essential to life! Needed to regulate water balance, fluid distribution on either side of the cell walls, supports the functions of the adrenal glands as well as maintains the acid-alkaline balance of the body.
chloride: This guy, in conjunction with sodium and potassium keeps acid-alkaline balance in the blood as well as the passage of fluids across cell membranes. Proper protein and carbohydrate digestion depend on this mineral.
Magnesium is needed for enzyme activity, calcium and potassium uptake, nerve transmission, bone formation and metabolism of carbohydrates and protein!
sulphur:keeps infections away, blocks harmful effects of radiation and pollution and slows down aging! These guys are the building blocks of cell membranes and supher is a major component of the gel-like connective tissue in cartilage and skin.

A good broth should turn into gel as an indicator that it came from a healthy animal. One that ate its natural diet, exercised with its animal friends, and enjoyed lazy days in the beautiful sunshine. A good broth should be the staple of every bowl of hearty soup served on the American table.
A good broth is a lot easier to make, and a lot less mysterious than I imagined, available to you in a few easy steps, which I will gladly pass along!

Beef Broth:
1. 7 pounds of bones "Meaty bones", which add flavor and color, roasted in the oven before adding to pot, and "boney bones" such as marrow and knuckle bones, these yield much gelatin, a very important ingredient in a well made stock.(this is a picture of the bones after they have been cooking for 75 hours)
2. 4 quarts of water (filtered of course)
3. the Trinity of all great soups=diced carrots, onion and celery
4. vinegar, just 1/2 cup will do. Let the vinegar sit in the liquid for an hour, as the acid is needed to pull the minerals from the bones.Now is the time to not cook, but "roll" the stock, uncovered on that stove for 24-72 hours baby! Oh yea.

Strain out all the pulverized chunks, pour into a bowl, and allow to cool.

This delicious mixture goes in the freezer and gets pulled out when you are in a bind and need to make a fast dinner. Throw in some veggies, garlic and there you have it, the real McCoy, the stuff nourishing soup is made of. Time to kick that can to the curb!
No "organic", "Natural" or "other flavors" here folks...just maybe a higher gas bill:)