Vegetarian canine chronicles continue, turnips

Acey loves all veg and fruit proferred and he’ll also go pick his own! He’s not wasteful or playful with it. He gets one at a time and eats it.

The only thing he has not cared for is salad greens but obviously if something’s on them or like I cook spinach with EVOO and lemonjiuce, he’s all over it.

This is an example of us eating raw turnips together. As stated (in silly voice), I learnt that I needn’t pick turnips for him and for me. He likes the root end and skins!

Oh, for Kraut’s Sake!

I grew up making sauerkraut (along with everything else). Regular readers can’t be disappointed: I grew up on a working ranch where we raised or hunted everything we ate. It has easily been since the mid-80s since I’ve made it! What I mostly recall is endless bowls of chopped cabbage and sneaking the plate off the crock, checking how the sauerkraut progressed.

I don’t remember anything helpful.

(Speaking of helpful, one of the great things about homemade sauerkraut is it’s FABULOUSLY healing due to probiotics for people with gut issues — it’s also FABULOUSLY healing for normals! Best of all, it’s delicious. You can also buy something like Flanagans. Remember, if it’s tinned, the probiotics are dead. Here’s what Flanagans parent company lists as health benefits of raw sauerkraut like theirs or your homemade kraut!)

Crock salvaged from barn

see 'Ma & Pa Kettle' section http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Kilbride

First, I had to find a crock. Mum uses the 2 gallon crock as her utensil holder. I think the 1 gallon stores salt someplace. I believe the 5 gallon was broken — used as a planter and the 3 gallon’s gone missing (probably borrowed by the Hoods, real name, who are much like Pa Kettle when it comes to borrowing*). I had to settle for the 4 gallon, which was sitting in one of the barns. I washed it with a hose and dish soap outside first. Obviously.

Crock rewashed inside

Crock rewashed inside

Then, I took it inside for more washingses. I let it drain upside down whilst chopping over 4lb of cabbage. I’m not good with knives, so that meant 90 minutes of chopping (I passed the time by listening to old Star Talk podcasts).

As I’d forgotten, I asked mum what the ratio was for sauerkraut and salt. ‘1lb salt for 40lb cabbage.’

Crock with layers of salt and cabbage

Crock with layers of salt and cabbage

Right. I had 4lb cabbage, so I ciphered (always a shaky premise) that was 1/10 of 40, therefore I needed 1/10 of a lb of salt. I used Celtic Sea Salt because it’s what I have. Growing up, I’d have used kosher salt. As I’d drop another layer of cabbage shreds, I’d scatter a table spoon of salt, mix and sort of tamp down.

Bobby regularly got up to look at what I was doing, without getting too close. This 4 gallon crock is about half my height! It was hard to wrangle empty but as I filled it, I barely managed to place it in its resting spot.

topped with cabbage leaves

topped with cabbage leaves

plated sauerkraut crock

plated sauerkraut crock

I topped it was we did when I was a kid (with cabbage leaves and a plate — more on that later). And finally, a tea towel because bugs will get interested.

Crock topped with tea towel

Crock topped with tea towel

A few hours later, I went to go check it. Here’s the ‘later.’ All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, could hardly get that mfing plate back off it again!

O.M.G. My plates as an adult are a different style and size than those used as a kid. I finally got it off and NO I don’t have other plates to use. I have dessert plates, which are way too small, but I only have one set of ‘china’ (a ‘cafe’ style set of 12 pieces or so that cost about $20, about 20 years ago).

Out came the google. It seems a lot of folks use a water-filled baggie, of course, they’re using MASON jars en lieu de crock. I had a big-arsed baggie, so I’m trying that. It has totally effed with my program and now I’m verklempt about the whole fakakta mess.

At any rate, it’s very close to how I grew up making it with most of the memories gone and too large of a plate. Oh, and of course the amount of cabbage is 1/10 what I’d have gone as a kid!

EDIT: I forgot to mention, in addition to all the pickled items we made (we pickled almost anything, much like frying…think pig’s feet, eggs, okra, etc.), we also made ‘Salty Brine Pickles.‘ I realize saying ‘salty brine’ is redundant. You’re getting a Family Heirloom Stupid Name. Those were also raw/fermented/full of probiotics.

 

* I didn’t test it for Rick-rolling but it began with the full length film ‘Ma and Pa Kettle,’ which was made in the 40s but was day-to-day life similar to my life, if I were Ma…only my kids were the adults and whoever was there.

quick supper: Salad with avocado and orange dressing

 

In addition to everything else I ate yesterday (a lot, don’t ask), I at least made a lovely, quick salad.

I was up at 4:30AM (normal) and got home at 8PM (a bit later than normal).

This uses ‘snacking tomatoes’ (premium price but during winter, when we’re not growing them, I’ve found they’re the only reliably good-tasting tomatoes — if you want tomatoes, pay for the good-tasting ones or don’t bother). I halved them.

I was going to use 2oz of avocado but decided to use 4oz. I added 1T of orange juice (fresh) as ‘dressing’ (fat + acid = simple dressing). The only other ingredients are 4C romaine and 1T tiny crumbles of raw walnuts. The large amount of avocado makes this calorie-dense. I’m not suggesting people eat tons of fat, even healthy fat. I’d be more slender if I didn’t.

I’ve been constipated (more than you expected to hear!), so I’m adding lots of fats.

  • 4C romaine (pre-washed and spin dry in spinner)
  • 4oz avocado
  • 1T fresh orange juice
  • 1T crumbled walnuts

You can add spices and it’s lovely to put pieces of orange in, as well. That just takes time to peel and chop. This was extremely fast–which is what I wanted.

Dill Pesto for fish

I love pesto (fresh!), who doesn’t? I’m not supposed to eat much garlic, so there’s only 3 cloves in this. Also, you’ll notice my BASIL is purple! It was my MOTHER’S DAY gift to my DAD (the “black”/ violet basil plant).

It’s doing nicely.

Anyhoo, so there’s the usual basil, garlic, EVOO, salt, pepper and this time:

a sprig of dill! Surprising, isn’t it? I virtually never use pine nuts, simply because I don’t keep them on hand.

You can use pesto on anything. Usually, it’s thought of as for use on pasta but I’ll use it on anything. I’d never made it with dill but this tilapia (bought a massive amount) needs a sauce. I love all kinds of fish and seafood but THIS tilapia is a little not-so-bueno. Dressing it up, surely helps. Here, I’ve plated them but also “opened” their beet leaf envelopes to show there’s fish inside 🙂

 

I put the ingredients together (you can see the herbs but there was much more basil) in a mini-food processor with the salt, pepper, garlic and EVOO — OH and grated parmesan cheese.

I smeared the raw fish with the fresh pesto and wrapped securely in beet leaves. Then, I places them in a skillet on simmer (low) with a tablespoon of coconut oil in the bottom and lidded it. The point is to steam the fish inside the leaves, leaving the pesto to saturate it all.

 

I lifted off the lid to add more beet leaves on top, just cos I could 🙂

It turned out better than I expected. It’s sublime. That wee sprig of dill goes a long way, so be careful if you use it! That was with 8oz of fish and about 6C of beet leaves (all combined).

 

 

Tilapia en Feuilles de Betteraves

I’ve talked about beet greens all summer. Baby beet greens are a delight raw, oddly cooking them brings out a bitter bite that you need to contend with as you cook, to your taste.

Grown-up beet greens put up a better fight. They’re fairly biting raw and become tensile enough to battle against jute.

The babies are long gone. Because I’m cheap (would rather spend sheqles on a new mbp rather than groceries), I still eat them but I’m growing bored.

Last night, I got in a bit before 20h and decided to cook some tilapia in them like grape leaves! I reckoned if they were edible, cool! If not, they at least helped steam/ hold in juices of the fish. A win/ possible-win!

It worked, mostly. The fish is GREAT. The beet greens were about 1/3 edible, mostly thanks to what I treated the fish with before I steamed them 🙂 Also, upon a brief tasting before they were done, I got scared and dumped some tamari over the lot, then worried if I’d completely messed it all up. Nope. It’s yummy!

Tilapia en Feuilles de Betteraves

  • fillets of tilapia, 4oz each
  • beet greens to wrap individually (adult beet greens, sans stems, are large but you may need to use more than one)
  • 1T coconut oil, per fillet
  • 1/2t lime juice
  • salt
  • rosemary
  • 2T tamari
I steamed them with seasonings dressed upon the fish, then wrapped in leaves, then lightly salted the outsides of the leaves (to “tenderize”). When I tested the fish (when thickest part flakes, it’s done), it still had some time left. I tugged off a piece of beet leaf and it was still putting up a good fight. I dumped 2T of tamari over the whole mess.
It tastes great to me! Granted, only about 1/3 of the beet leaves were tender enough to eat, so I put the fillets and what was left of the “good” leaves onto a cup of raw spinach, then placed sautéed summer squash and carrots (leftovers) around them.
For lunch, I put an entire serving in a container, reheated and chopped up (to eat). So, you only get that photo cos I was too tired to photograph whilst cooking. Sorry!

 

beet it…just beet it (raw or cooked beets & greens)

Beet greens are just about #1 in B vitamins when it comes to your average/ everyday veg–better than kale!

For the newcomers, I was raised on a working ranch and we raised everything we ate (including sugar cane)–with a “veg patch” of over 3 acres. Don’t tell me I’m lucky–I was the worker!

The upside is I knew how to run a kitchen by the age of 8! Also, well, I ate organic everything til I moved away around age 15 (including our own spring water, which tastes like Evian).

Right!

Point is, while we wasted little, we didn’t eat beet greens. We ate “wild edibles” or “wildcrafting” (what is truly “weeds”) and turnip greens, leaf lettuces, spinach, etc. Not beet greens. I started using them along with kohlrabi leaves as an adult (back on the ranch, which is now retired). Why? Times are tight. If it’s edible, I’m eating it. Turns out these things are very, very good for you!

You put a small spade in the ground near the beetroot and break up the soil to make it easier to pull out by the bottom of the stems. “Garden wash” (we get most of the bugs and dirt off outside) and let drain. When you bring them in, you can separate the beetroot from the beet greens but take care to leave PLENTY of stem (beet-violet is a strong dye!).

Cover with water in saucepan and boil til a fork inserts easily (only beetroot).

Drain and allow to cool enough so that you can handle them. The skin comes right off with fingertips (mind that any that slides under your nails will stain!).

 

 

Point is, you just pull it off with less effort that it takes to rip loose velcro on a toddler’s shoe. It’s REALLY easy.

beet greens pureed

Usually, I cook beet greens but this time, I thought I’d try them in a smoothie, like I like kale!

Erm…I used about 3C water and 1/2 of the beet greens I had here. Maybe 6C? It was quite bitter. Too bad I had no banana. I tried a peach and an apple but it was still sort of icky. I added some chia seeds (mmm, fat!) but it was still sort of bitter.

 

Finally, I remembered Gram’s saying, “Salt brings out the sweetness” and put in 2 dashes (from a shaker) of salt. That was for 6C of beet greens puréed in 3c (or so) of water…It was better the next day. That’s the salt doing its work!

For cooked beet roots, see:

 

Toasted Almond, Shrimp and Beet Greens, stirfry


or…I used some like this:

Extra Lean (96% lean) Ground Beef and Beet Greens

  • 1lb 96% lean ground beef
  • 10C raw, cleaned and destremmed beet greens
  • Hungarian paprika, ground coriander, rosemary, onions, ginger and salt (make sure all spices are gluten-free)

Fried up all together! I’m eating raw cauliflower on the side for work lunches. 🙂