Ducklings are so entertaining!

We are trying again with ducklings. A bit wiser from our experience last summer. Here are the ducks on Day 6.

Ducklings Day 6

Ducklings Day 6

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Creamy Irish Oats in a double boiler

I just love something warm and creamy for breakfast. Lately, one of my favorite breakfasts is Irish oats also called steel-cut oats or oat groats. The secret is to presoak the oats the night before. It does require a bit of thinking ahead, but totally worth it.

Before I learned about presoaking in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, Irish oats took too long to cook for a weekday breakfast.  But using the presoak method and a double-boiler makes them practical for a weekday breakfast.

The night before in the top of the double boiler place:
1 cup oats
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons whey (or lemon juice)

oats, water, and whey in top of double boiler

Oats ready to soak overnight.

In the morning add 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the soaked oats and bring to a boil. Then place mixture over the bottom of the double boiler (which is filled with boiling water). Stir in a few raisins, if you like, then  cover to cook. Since it is cooking over boiling water you don’t have to stir or worry about it sticking or burning on the bottom.

Oats cooking on double boiler

Oats on the double boiler, ready to cover and cook.

At this point I leave the kitchen to shower and dress. By the time I am finished dressing, the Irish oats are ready. For a super treat, serve with maple syrup and plain whole milk yogurt. What a fabulous breakfast! Yum Ranch!!

Note: The presoaking not only saves cooking time, but makes the oats more digestible.

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Baby Turnips & Greens side dish

The turnips are already up in my garden here in Alpine.  In fact they needed thinning. So I ended up with a basket of baby turnips and greens which turned into a tasty simple side dish for dinner.
Here is what I started with:

Baby turnips and greens on cutting board.

Lots of turnip greens and some baby turnips fresh from the garden.

I cut the larger ones in half.

Turnips cleaned and cut

Turnips cleaned and cut.

8 cups baby turnips and greens, cleaned and cut
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon coriander, ground
1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground

1) Heat water in a large pot to boiling. Add turnips and greens. Cook until all are wilted, about 5 minutes. Then drain water from turnips and greens. (They really cook down to a much smaller amount.)

Turnips cooking in water in pot

Turnips wilting in the pot of water.

2) Heat oil in a  skillet. Add coriander and cumin. Sauté spices for 1 minutes.

3) Add turnips and greens to spices in skillet and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes.

Turnips in skillet.

Tender and mild the turnips are ready to eat.

This is now my favorite way to use those turnips from the garden. Yum ranch!

Posted in Easy, Garden, Vegetable | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Yum Ranch Scones with Oats and Spelt

We were out of bread, out of crackers and soup was on the menu. What to do for a quick addition to the supper? These scones were the perfect answer. There was not one left after supper. If you don’t have the spelt flour, use unbleached white flour.

Yum Ranch Scones with Oats and Spelt

Preheat oven to 425°F

1 cup rolled oats
2 cups white spelt flour
½ teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt
¼ cup butter
1 cup of buttermilk or sour milk

1) Put rolled oats In the food processor and process to create oat flour. (The oat flour does not need to be completely fine. It is OK to have a few flakes.)

Rolled oats in the food processor.

After processing the oats should look like this.

2) To oat flour  in the food processor, add the rest of the dry ingredients and butter cut into 8 smaller cubes. Then process until the texture of cornmeal.

Dry ingredients and butter in food processor.

The dry ingredients and the butter processed together.

3) Pour contents of food processor into a bowl. Add the buttermilk or sour milk and mix to form a rough ball of dough.

4) On a greased cookie sheet, form the dough into two rounds and pat into circles about 1 inch thick. With a sharp knife make 3 diameter cuts into each round defining 6 wedges in each round.

scones on the baking sheet

The scones are ready to go into the oven.

5) Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes on a stoneware cookie sheet or 15-18 minutes on a metal cookie sheet.

Baked scones on cooling rack.

These scones are ready to eat. Yum Ranch! So tasty.

These are guaranteed to be a hit. Don’t forget the butter and jam.

Posted in Easy, Quick bread | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Abalone Patè with Asian Accents

Looking for something different to take to the next potluck? Try this light and somewhat exotic,  abalone pate as a topping  for crackers or as a filling for lettuce wraps.

Abalone Pate with Asian Accents

1 lb canned abalone

Can of abalone, abalone meat, and abalone shell on cutting board

Contents of 1 can of abalone, cut into small chunks

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
few drops of sesame oil


Mix-in veggies
3 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
1/3 cup celery, finely diced
1/3 cup red bell pepper, finely diced

1. Drain the abalone and cut into small chunks..
2. Mix together the marinade ingredients, pour over the abalone and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. In food processor pulse the abalone and marinade until the abalone is finely minced, so it still has texture.
4. Mix in the finely diced veggies. Transfer mixture to serving bowl.
5. Serve with crackers or romaine lettuce.

Crackers, Abalone pate, lettuce leaves

Delicious with Ak-Mak crackers or lettuce leaves.

Posted in Appetizer, Easy | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Winter Root Vegetable Stir-Fry

Root vegetables have a lot of natural sweetness. The combination of flavors in this stir-fry is very satisfying. Roots have all the energy of the summer sun stored. So enjoy this captured summer sun for dinner tonight!

Winter Root Vegetable Stir-Fry

The Veggies
6 cups of julienned root vegetables (Julienne means to slice thin to about the size of a match stick.)
Use a mix of root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, Daikon radish, yellow beets, celery root, rutabaga, turnip.

The Sauce
1 tablespoon ginger root, diced
1 green onion, chopped
¼ bunch of cilantro. chopped
1 medium clove garlic. chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
¼ cup mirin wine (available in Asian grocery stores)

Coconut Oil for frying

Tip: Start some rice cooking. Probably 2 cups of dry rice for this amount of veggies.

1) Prepare the veggies.

2) Put the sauce ingredients in the blender and blend well.

3) Heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan to medium hot.

4) Add the veggies and stir-fry until tender.

5) Add the sauce to the veggies, mix well to evenly coat the veggies in the sauce and cook for 3 minutes.

6) Serve veggies over rice. It’s a Yum Ranch dinner!

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Yumranch House Bread with Rosemary

This is an almost-no-knead, long rise bread. It is the bread that I make most often, because it is so delicious and not complicated to make. It does take a bit of time, but you have flexibility.  The rosemary adds a wonderful flavor and it grows abundantly around my house.

Rosemary bush

Rosemary bush

But it is tasty even without the rosemary. Then it has a mild sourdough bread flavor.

Special things you need Dutch oven (4.5 qt), baking parchment paper, Pam spray or liquid lecithin & oil

3 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rosemary (optional, but so good)
1/4 teaspoon of yeast (yes, that is right only 0.25 teaspoon)
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup light  beer (a dark beer will make the bread taste like beer)
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar (or in place of beer and vinegar you can use the same volume of  Kombucha)

Step 1 Dry ingredients
Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl:
unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, salt, rosemary,  yeast

Step 2 Wet ingredients
Measure the wet ingredients into a bowl or 2-cup measuring cup:
water,  beer,  vinegar (or in place of beer and vinegar you can use the same volume of  Kombucha)

Step 3 Making the dough
Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix well until the dough forms a nice ball.

Dough in a bowl ready for the long rise

Dough in a bowl ready for the long rise

Step 4 The long rise
Cover the bowl with a pan lid or plate. Then let the dough sit for 8 to 18 hours. (Lots of flexibility with the timing.) So, you can mix in the evening and cook it the next day or mix it in the morning the bake it after work.

Step 5 Shaping the loaf
Put 2 tablespoons of flour on a cutting board and form the dough into a a nice round ball. You may want to  knead it a few times to make it form a nice round shape.

Dough formed into a round shape

Dough formed into a round shape

Step 6 Preparing for the short rise
Take 18 inches of baking parchment paper and spray with Pam (vegetable oil & lecithin aerosol) or use a homemade substitute by spreading 2 teaspoons of oil with 1/2 teaspoon of liquid lecithin on the parchment paper.

Baking parchment with oil & lecithin

Baking parchment with oil & lecithin

Step 7 The short rise
Place the ball of dough on the parchment paper, roll it around to cover a bit with oil/lecithin mix and set aside to rise for 2 more hours. Set the bread in a skillet to rise, not the Dutch oven, because the Dutch oven will be preheated before baking the bread.

Dough ready for the slow rise on parchment paper in a skillet

Dough ready for the slow rise on parchment paper in a skillet

Step 8 Baking the bread
Turn on the oven to 425°. Place a cast-iron dutch oven (an enameled dutch over works great) into the oven to heat. Heat the oven and a cast-iron dutch oven to 425° for about 15 minutes.  Gently and carefully lift the dough into the hot Dutch oven, cover,  and bake for 40 minutes at 425°.

Bread ready to bake in the Dutch oven

Bread ready to bake in the Dutch oven

Step 9 Cooling the bread
Remove bread from the Dutch oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before cutting into the loaf.

Round loaf of bread on cooling rack

Bread cooling on a rack


Posted in Garden, Yeast bread | 4 Comments

Yum Ranch Salsa

We are picking the last of our tomatoes these days. There is nothing simpler or more delicious than a fresh tomato salsa. Of course you can make it any time of year using canned diced tomatoes, but oh, those fresh tomatoes. This salsa is not spicy and can be enjoyed by those that do not enjoy spicy, hot food. If you miss the hot, then spice it up, by making your favorite hot sauce available at the table.

Yum Ranch Salsa

1 bunch green onions or scallions
1 bunch cilantro
6 medium fresh tomatoes chopped or one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

1)      Clean the green onions and the cilantro.
2)      Trim the root ends from the onions and chop both the green and white parts of the green onion.
3)      Cut off the bottom 1/2 inch from the cilantro stem and discard any yellowing or brown leaves. Chop the cilantro.
4)      Combine cilantro and green onions in a 2-quart bowl. Add tomatoes.

Yum Ranch Salsa

Yum Ranch Salsa

I recommend serving this with unsalted tortilla chips. You can really taste the flavors and the freshness when served with unsalted tortilla chips. This is also great served with scrambled eggs or an omelet! And it can dress-up a hearty soup.


Posted in Easy, Garden, gluten-free | Leave a comment

Black Bean Brownies

This is a fun recipe n0-grain. It is a very rich tasty brownie, no one will suspect the secret ingredient unless you tell them. It does contain dairy and eggs, but if wheat or gluten is the problem, these are a real treat.

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
Oh, so chocolatey! And gluten-free.

Temperature: 350°F
Pan: 8×8-inch baking pan or 9 inch pie pan, greased
Servings: 16

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed very well (about 1 3/4 cup of cooked, unseasoned beans)
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar or rapadura
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips , divided use

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan and set aside.

2) Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Process until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the chips and pulse a few times until the chips are broken up a bit.

3) Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
4) Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before slicing.
Variation: Add cup chopped walnuts to the batter with the chocolate chips.

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Creamy Dreamy Parsnip Soup

The other day I was in the mood for smooth and creamy. Time to make another parsnip  soup. I discovered this soup last winter when I had both parsnips and cauliflower on hand. The soup was so successful that we planted parsnips in the garden this spring. The soup can be vegan by using coconut milk and that has become our favorite way to have it. It is easy and quick to make. And can be served either hot or cold.

A parsnip from the garden and a bowl of Creamy Dreamy Parsnip Soup.

Creamy Dreamy Parsnip Soup
1 onion, diced
1 Tablespoon of butter or oil
5 parsnips, scrubbed and diced
1 medium cauliflower, broken into florets
1 quart of water
1\2 can of coconut milk + 1 cup of water or 1 1\2 cups whole milk
1\4 teaspoon nutmeg

1) In 4-quart sauce pan sauté onion in butter or oil.
2) Add parsnips and cauliflower to onions. Cover with water (add more if 1 quart is not enough.) Simmer for 30 minutes until parsnips and cauliflower is very soft.
3) Blend soup to a very smooth consistency. Add milk and  nutmeg.
4) Reheat gently to serving temperature.

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