Author Archives for Kim Sanwald

Walk on the Wild Side

Wow, it’s been quite a week. My sadness for our country is overwhelming. I bow to my black and brown brothers and sisters who in spite of the pandemic have peacefully protested for justice for George Floyd and for themselves. We have not been listening. Historically, it has always been the youth that have demanded change. Although the timing of such things is not in our hands, the call for justice is asking us to lend our voices to promote it. I am proud of our country’s youth and have confidence they will help to lead us out of this quagmire.

Here, we still farm. This week we have planted, caged and wired 400 tomato plants. When they become ripe, we will savor their sweetness, dust off our canners and prepare for cooler months. We will sell some, process for our future and take what we have remaining to local food banks. Our land is sacred to us. It has fed many families for 2 decades. As we age we are confident this land will find its future in the hands of like minded people of service.

This week we needed a sturdy salad that we could enjoy when we were too tired to cook. This amazing salad will hold for 5 days in the frig and only gets better as the dressing macerates the veggies in the salad. It has crunch, texture, and an appealing nuttiness that compliments the lemony dressing. It’s great for a picnic or potluck, since it’s completely stable with no dairy. I think you will agree it’s a keeper.

WILD RICE SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups good quality long grain wild rice
  • 6 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup green onions (white and green parts), sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, halved and sliced thin
  • 8 slices bacon, chopped, fried, drained (optional)
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a heavy medium pot bring the rice, water and salt to a boil. Adjust heat to medium and simmer until tender, 45-55 minutes. Drain, and place in a large bowl.
  2. To toast pecans, heat oven to 350 degrees F and place on rimmed baking sheet. Toast for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  3. Add celery, green onions. parsley, and mushrooms to bowl. Mix gently.
  4. In a pint mason jar, measure avocado oil and fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Shake vigorously.
  5. Add pecans and dressing to bowl and mix thoroughly. Place in decorative bowl or platter. Crumble bacon on top. Serve.

Serves 6-8

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“Truth never damages a cause that is just.” —Mahatma Gandhi

 

When Sweet and Sour Collide

The days and weeks are blurring together as we continue to self-shelter. The things that make the days distinct from each other are often absent. Monday seems the same as Wednesday, as we work on the farm; not at all sure that our efforts will hit their intended destination. The pandemic has changed virtually every known thing to the unknown. Then, something happens that feels disproportionately meaningful. A delivery of asparagus, from a dear friend’s garden, or eight pounds of beautiful red rhubarb for use in something delicious. These small things are a welcome distraction. I cling to food, love, nature and friendships like a life-line on a sinking ship. There are times when I sit down to write this food blog that I question the why of it; does it even mean anything anymore? But food it what we do here. We wake up thinking about it, and dream about it as we sleep.

When you have a passion, it is so important to continue to keep the faith, and do what you love. It is how each of us affects our environment for the better. Stay present. Do your best. Stay kind. Fight for justice. There is sour as well as sweetness in life; and we must always remember this going forward each day.

So this week I made pasta dishes, grilled, and turned all that lovely asparagus into soup; each dish a celebration of late spring. Then came the rhubarb; the deep red kind that you can only find with the old varieties. I just love the stuff. First, I made a simple syrup for cocktails. Next, I slow roasted some with sugar, white wine and vanilla to serve with maple-yogurt. But the bulk of it was turned into Rhubarb Chutney. Combined with apple cider vinegar, sugar, spices, red onion and golden raisins. Wow! I love how chutneys seem to be a surprise with every mouthful. This can be used with roasted chicken, pork tenderloin or even over ice cream. I cut way back on the sugar, as I feel that what is typically recommended is usually more than my palette can take. This lets the rhubarb shine, while allowing you to appreciate its overall savoriness. I was pleased with the results that yielded 11 half pints. I then processed it in a water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Beautiful red rhubarb

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup can sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups fresh rhubarb, cut in 1/2 inch cubes (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup (generous) finely chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine first 8 ingredients (sugar through red pepper) in heavy Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add rhubarb, onion and golden raisins; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil as you thoroughly mix ingredients.
  3. Cook until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens slightly, 5-8 minutes.
  4. Fill 1/2 pint canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch head-space. Attach lids and rings. Water bath process for 15 minutes.
  5. Let cool completely.

Yield: 5-6 jelly jars

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

Safe Harbor

These are challenging times.  There is anxiety and confusion as we take in information and make decisions on how to best weather this storm.  Val and I are are sheltering in place for the time being.  I know many who are doing the same; I also know many who are not.  It’s sad that in this country the slightest inconvenience is seen as something insurmountable.  People hoard, people party, people refuse to see our interconnection.  What affects you, may also affect me, and vice-versa.  Val and I are evaluating our presence at our beloved farmers market.  Our schools are closed for 3 weeks.  The corona-virus is spreading faster than testing kits are available.  As interconnected individuals, what can we do?  Pause….stay calm….be kind.

I came across a meaningful Facebook post which I will pass along:

Conversations will not be cancelled.  Relationships will not be cancelled.  Love will not be cancelled.  Songs will not be cancelled.  Reading will not be cancelled.  Self-care will not be cancelled.  Hope will not be cancelled.

May we lean into the stuff that remains.

I took a walk in the sunshine this morning.  I could smell the land opening up to the approaching spring.  We will be planting our garlic soon.  I will be tilling the soil this week.  Is it so bad to take a step back and breathe?  Unplug for a while?  My new cookbook, Twisted Basics: Laugh, Cook, Eat!! invites you to do just that.  Slow down, make meals with your family, break bread together.  Dig a little deeper into our relationships with other.  Technology has opened up a whole new world; it has also separated us from each other.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-technology; I’m suggesting that we discipline ourselves, so that it’s not a 24/7 onslaught.  We need to think our own thoughts, make our own discoveries, nourish our human connections.  Nothing helps us reach that goal better than creating meals together.  The other suggestion I would make is that each of us spend a few hours a day in silence.  In silence we can calm ourselves, breathe, feel gratitude, be not only prayerful,  but hopeful.  It certainly starts within the safe harbors of our homes.

Zucchini Muffins:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large farm fresh eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups (280g) cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups packed grated zucchini
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 3/4 cups (400g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
  • 12-16 paper muffin cups

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat the eggs in a large bowl.  Mix in the sugar and vanilla extract.  Stir in the grated zucchini and the melted butter.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Stir in the dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture. (Be careful not to over-mix!)  Stir in walnuts, raisins or cranberries if using.
  4. Place muffin cups in muffin tin.  Using a spoon, fill the muffin cups just to the top.  If you are using parchment liners (which I love), you can be slightly more generous.
  5. Bake on the middle rack of oven, until golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Let cool on wire rack for 5 minutes; then remove from muffin tin and let cool completely.

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Yield: 12-16 muffins

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson