August 24, 2015

caesar salad & sauerkraut

This weekend my fella had a craving for Caesar salad. It was so intense that he almost bought a "salad-in-a-bag" version at the supermarket before I stopped him. Caesar salad is a classic that I love having almost anytime but the strange truth is that I have never made it with a dressing from scratch. Silly me. It is so ridiculously simple and delicious that I had to share it with you here.

  • bread
  • romaine lettuce (1 head will suffice)
  • anchovies (half a tin or 6 anchovy slices)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • medium - large clove of garlic minced
  • fresh cracked pepper
 1. Tear the bread into bite sized pieces, place in bowl, sprinkle with a bit of olive oil, toss and toast on a baking sheet in a 375* oven for about 10 minutes. I used a lonely sandwich roll we had sitting the fridge that needed to be used.
 2. While the bread toasts, cut the romaine once lengthwise and then chop up each half into bite-sized pieces. 
 3. Dice anchovies and place them into a mixing bowl. Add salt and crushed garlic and mix thoroughly.
 4. Whisk in egg yolks. Once incorporated add mustard and lemon juice.
 5. Drip in olive oil slowly, whisking constantly to incorporate. 
 6. Continue whisking until dressing becomes thick and glossy.

I poured the dressing over the chopped romaine and lightly tossed it with the toasted bread and a handful of cherry tomatoes, giving a few healthy turns from the pepper mill before serving. You could also top it with shaved parmesan here too. A freshly made, dressing from scratch, Caesar salad just can not be beat. It is likely to become a staple in my salad repertoire.

In the past week I not only started my first sourdough starter and batch of red wine vinegar, I took my first stab at fermenting by starting a batch of sauerkraut. I have been decidedly intimidated by the process but am trying to add more fermented foods into my diet. I finally got over my fear and followed the advice and recipe of the lovely and talented Cindy O'Beirn of The Cob Shop. With a little salt and a lot of cabbage you will have a delicious batch of healthy veg in as little as 1 week!

July 3, 2015

zucchini bread

So far this summer has been nothing like the last. It has been unrelentingly sunny with temperatures consistently between 90 and 100 degrees. Throughout April and May I enjoyed a hearty little bounty from my first proper garden but as June approached and the heat intensified I was at a loss trying to keep the fruits of my labor multiplying. There was a brief stretch were the zucchinis stayed strong and luckily, the tomatoes are still multiplying quickly. Here we are now in the week before the 4th of July holiday and the summer storms have finally arrived and seemingly are saving my crops from complete peril.

I have been really enjoying afternoons on the porch while the thunder and lightning crackle overhead. It's also such a pleasure to see the plants coming back from the dryness and the heat. And here I am with plenty of tomatoes and two large zucchini and about to leave town for about two weeks. What to do?

Zucchini bread.

But this is not your mother's zucchini bread recipe. This is a deliciously healthy alternative. It's made with coconut oil, whole grain flour, honey and apple for sweetness and a mix of crunchy nuts and seeds to finish it off. The plan is to bring this with us on the road tomorrow and have it for breakfast for the first couple days of our holiday. I hope to be making it again as soon as I return from being away.

  • 1 1⁄2 cups whole grain, unbleached flour (or flour of your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 apple grated
  • crushed almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds
 1. Mix together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
 2. In a large bowl combine honey, oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir in grated zucchini and apple. Add dry ingredients in small batches.
 3. Stir until well incorporated.
 4. Pour batter into a loaf pan that has been greased with coconut oil and dusted with flour.
 5. Top with crushed almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds or nuts & seeds of your choice. Or leave plain.
 6. Place into a 350* oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

May 21, 2015

sowing seeds

If I have been absent here on the Peregrine Papers it is for good reasons. In addition to being happily consumed at my pottery wheel, I have been finding equal joy digging in the soil of my own back yard. I arrived in Georgia just shy of a year ago, pulling up in a moving truck filled with my humble belongings at the tail end of June. I understood quickly that I wouldn't have much of a chance getting a garden started that late in the summer, though I couldn't help myself from potting a few herbs and a lonely cherry tomato plant that put out approximately 3 pieces of fruit nearing October. I instead put my energy into planning and the first step of preparing my garden for 2015 was to start a compost pile. I found a relatively inexpensive option in a wire mesh cage that I originally set up on the spot where I knew the future garden would be in hopes of getting the soil enriched and also aiding in clearing some of the land.

It was also important to me to invest in a compost bucket for the kitchen waste. I found another reasonably priced option in this ceramic, easy to clean, lidded pail that has a sturdy handle and uses filters in the lid to keep in decomposing odors. And it just looks good. In the winter we keep it out on the counter but once it becomes fruit fly season, this things lives in the fridge.

Next up was the fun part, deciding what we want to eat. Starting in March, after much perusing, I found most of my plants and seeds online through Baker Creek. Not only do they have an endless selection, I am a complete sucker for their beautifully illustrated packages. I started some of the seeds indoors (kale, green onions), others went into pots on the back porch (lettuce, arugula), and the rest were going to planted straight into the ground.

After being clear of the chance of a frost, I was eager to break ground on the garden plot. The first order of business was sifting the compost and moving the cage. Once I had a gorgeous pile of clean compost I measured out the space that the raised bed, I had ordered online, was going to occupy and proceeded to till, rake and turn the ground until it was ready to be framed finding random bits of treasure like bricks, rocks, pottery, shells and old cigarillo filters along the way. I poured in six large bags of garden soil and my compost which only filled the beds about halfway. Before going out to get more soil I decided to keep the level lower so that adding new soil next year would be easy.

The herbs and lettuces came in fast and I have been enjoying them since April. The first real harvest came at the beginning of May with the gathering of my French breakfast radishes. Even though they grew up small due to my lack of thinning (lesson learned), they are so perfectly sharp and peppery and I have already pickled them following this fast and easy quick pickle recipe I found on Pinterest by Cookie & Kate. The tomatoes and peppers are coming along just fine and we have been happily eating the kale regularly. The beans are wildly reaching for the heavens and just this morning I plucked some zucchini blossoms off for a tasty appetizer to tonight's dinner. If all goes well I will share the recipe with you. Happy gardening!

March 24, 2015

springing forward

Spring, in Georgia, has come perfectly on time. It may be the first time that I can remember being in a place where that felt true and for that I feel deeply grateful. Last Friday was the Spring Equinox, as well as the New Moon and a solar eclipse and right on cue that day turned out to be a brilliant 70 degree day with trees bursting in bloom everywhere you looked. Knowing that friends and family back in Philadelphia were getting hit with another blast of snow felt bittersweet. There is something invigorating about the change of seasons, most especially spring. Besides clearing out and cleaning up my home and excitedly planning out my first, honest herb and vegetable gardens, I have been busy in the pottery studio every chance I get. Here is a sample of what I have been working on just in time for the planting season...

March 2, 2015

evading winter

For the third February in a row I was lucky enough to head to warmer climes and meet up with friends old and new. This year (and last) I double booked myself and had the pleasure of going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and promptly heading west to Northern California. I thought that my move to Georgia would bring with it mild winters and a respite from snow and frost. All told, it had been one of the most pleasant winters I have ever experienced but that started to change right about when I left town for the Crescent City. While I was gone, Athens, Ga had a scant snow fall and a small ice storm and some parts of town lost power. Temperatures were frigid. I was happily soaking up sun walking through the parks and streets of New Orleans and slurping oysters while taking in the salt air off the bays of Marin.