Monday, January 30, 2012

Easy Almond Flour at Home

Because most baked goods are made with grains and sugars, and serve as vehicles for stuff we don't want to eat much of, like jams, syrups, frostings and other sugary toppings, we've been amazingly successful this past year in turning around the desire for baked goods.

Once in a while I'll whip up a batch of something made with almond flour, though, like pancakes.  They're scrumptious for breakfast with mixed berries atop.  I'll post the recipe.

But first, I urge you not to buy expensive, pre-ground bags of almond flour.  Once a nut is ground, the fats in it begin to oxidize.  You'll set back the oxidizing process enormously by using fresh, whole almonds ground the minute you want to use almond flour.

I've had some success making almond flour in a blade coffee grinder.  But I'm thrilled to report there's a new little food processor out, made by KitchenAid, that has a larger capacity than a coffee grinder and does a SUPERB job of turning out almond flour in seconds.  I think it's because they've raised the upper blade so that it catches pieces of nuts whirling around above the lower blade.

Many grain-free recipes call for blanched almond flour, but my whole, raw, unblanched almond flour performs wonderfully in every recipe I've tried.  A good source of almond flour recipes is Elana's Pantry.


Start with whole, raw (not roasted) almonds, organic if you can find them.  Almonds aren't a local crop, so I'll get them at our local health food stores or order them from a highly satisfactory online vendor called

If your almonds are frozen (I usually keep mine in the freezer), let them warm up a bit if you can.  It's easier on your grinder if the nuts aren't frozen.

For every cup of almond flour needed, use about the same amount of almonds.  For example, one cup of almonds will give you about one cup of almond flour.

Place almonds in your grinder of choice, paying attention to capacity of your grinder.  The little KitchenAid food processor above holds 2 cups, but the average coffee grinder will hold only 1/2 cup or so. 

Pulse a few times to begin breaking up the almonds into smaller pieces.  Then process constantly until you have a fine meal. 

The most important thing is to stop processing before you get almond butter!  But even if you do, almond butter is a wonderful thing, too.

Friday, January 20, 2012

2012: Winter CSA Box 5

Box 5 contained lovely romaine leaves, purple and green cabbages, turnips, thyme, russet potatoes, dried chickpeas, and huge red onions.  The chickpeas are resting comfortably while awaiting transfer to their giveaway winner!

I carmelized two of the onions in ghee, then added cardamom and chopped kale and apple in a loose adaptation (read:  too lazy to go look up the recipe) of this dish.  I love my local vegetables!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Legume Giveaway!

Why should the big name bloggers have all the fun?  As anyone reading Eating the Scenery knows, I no longer eat legumes.  But my CSA boxes have contained two lovely bags of them lately ... chickpeas and white lentils.

So ... why not a giveaway!

I assume that at least one or six Loyal Readers of Eating the Scenery do eat legumes.  Despite the strident tone of my sidebars (need to work on that), I try very hard not to be the Food Police.  Decisions about food are very personal.  Perhaps you eat legumes.  I have some I don't need.   Giving them to you doesn't mean I don't care about you.  I do hope you'll give some thought to preparing them, though.

That said, no hype, pressure or hypocrisy are involved when I say you won't find beautiful lentils and chickpeas like this anywhere but here ... southeast Washington State, the Fertile Crescent and Legume Capital of the Western World.  (Wait ... that might be hype.) 

Best of all, you don't have to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter to enter!  (Heaven forfend.  This blogger is too busy in the kitchen to bother with most social media.)

Just be the first person to comment on this post, say that you want the legumes, and I'll either ship these puppies to you or bring them to you, depending on where you live.

I'll reply to the winning post.  If I don't know you, I'll ask you to e-mail your address to me at

If no one comments, I'll be really embarrassed, and perhaps give up blogging entirely. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bone Broth in the Slow Cooker

I've been picking up grassfed beef soup bones here and there for a while (okay, a couple of years) and finally got 'em all out of the freezer the other day.  Inspired by bone broth makers all over the internet, and with the hope of a hot, nourishing collagen grog, I was (once again) suprised at how easy it all was.  And from first to last sip, the bone broth was, indeed, wonderful!

A diversionary note:  If you have wonderfully marrow-y bones like this, you can actually roast them 'til the marrow is crackly and bubbly, then eat the marrow.  I tasted it, and it was heavenly.  Believe it or not, marrow bones, served with a cool and crispy parsley salad, are a hot ticket item at a high-end restaurant in New York City.

Okay, back to the straight and marrow.  I'll keep this as brief as possible, because there are recipes all over creation for this stuff.

These amounts make roughly 3 quarts of broth.

You'll need:

  • Grassfed beef bones (about 4 pounds)
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Thaw your bones.  Rinse them well to remove any bone dust.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange bones on a baking sheet as shown.  At the last minute, I decided NOT to use the Silpat, so removed it and placed the bones directly on the baking sheet.

Roast for 20 minutes or so, then check to see how things are going.  The marrow should be sizzling, and any meat on the bones should be getting brown.  Keep roasting 'til things look nice and crispy and brown.  You can use unroasted bones, but roasting adds flavor and color to the finished broth.

While bones are roasting, cut up a few carrots, an onion, and some celery.  This is optional, but will make the broth tastier, I think.  Put the veggies in the crockpot, and add a couple of bay leaves and a few grinds of pepper.

Place bones in slow cooker.  Add water to a depth of at least an inch over the bones.  I used a 6-quart slow cooker for the bones shown.  Be sure to use quantities of bones, veggies and water that keep your slow cooker around 3/4 full ... that's what most manufacturers recommend, but mine was a tad more full than that and worked fine.  But don't fill it to the brim.  You'll need room for the simmering action.

Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the slow cooker.  The wisdom here is that the acid will help release the calcium and other goodies from the bones.

Cook on low heat for 12 to 24 hours.  I cooked mine for 15 hours with great results.  I had read that I should skim the broth periodically, but honestly, there was nothing to skim.  If you have anything floating that doesn't look nice, you could skim it off.

At this point you have a decision to make.  You can remove the bones, strain the broth, then put the bones BACK in the slow cooker, add more water, and keep making broth (for days, even!) until the bones begin to dissolve.  I elected not to do that.

With tongs, pick out the bones and place them on a platter to cool and discard.  Set up a strainer over a heat-proof casserole large enough to hold your broth, then ladle out broth into it.  When the broth level gets low enough, pour the rest of the slow cooker contents into the strainer.  Remove strainer, and stir a teaspoon or two of salt into your broth.  You can also wait and salt the broth to taste when you use it in soups or for drinking.

Cover and chill the broth.  Remove solid fat from top, then freeze broth in containers of choice.  If using glass, leave room for freezing broth to expand.

 And don't forget to heat up a mug of broth for yourself!  You've earned it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012: Winter CSA Box 4

Box 4 contained the crispiest, freshest salad greens (mostly romaine) I've ever seen.  There was a bunch of kale to swoon over, a big blue-green squash, russet potatoes, a bunch of beets, dried oregano, two cobs of popcorn and a bag of white lentils.

I have been busy cooking simple food that doesn't require much in the way of recipes.  But a few new things are in the blog pipeline ...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Salmon and Red Curry Soup with Winter Greens

I thought Tom Yum Goong was the best soup ever.  But I have a new favorite!  The braising greens from Box 2 found their way into this soup, which I made a second time with Box 3's braising greens, and adjusted the ingredients and seasonings to perfection for your enjoyment.

If you keep the broth-to-vegetable ratio steady, you can substitute freely for veggies you might not have on hand. 

2-1/2 pounds wild salmon fillets, skin on (I use Costco Kirkland brand, from the freezer case)
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 small red onions, sliced
3 cups sliced mushrooms
4 (slightly packed) cups greens (braising greens, spinach, sliced chard, etc.)

2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
2 tablespoons grated or minced ginger
8 cloves garlic, chopped
A couple of slices of seeded jalapeno pepper, or to taste
2 cups small zucchini, quartered and sliced

2 cans (14 ounces or so) coconut milk (not  the "lite" kind)
2 cups fish stock (or cooking broth from salmon)
2 cups water
1 bottle (8 ounces) clam broth (optional)
4 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey

1 cup sliced basil
1 cup chopped cilantro
Lime wedges

In large skillet, place salmon, wine, water and salt.  Simmer, covered, 20 minutes or so, until fish is cooked through.  Remove fish to plate, and remove skin.  Reserve cooking liquid.

While fish is cooking, heat coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add sliced onions, mushrooms, and greens.  Saute, stirring frequently, until onions and mushrooms begin to soften. 

Add curry paste, ginger, garlic, jalapeno and zucchini, and stir, then cook for about 2 minutes or until ginger and curry become fragrant. 

Stir in coconut milk, strained cooking liquid from salmon (or fish stock), water, clam juice, fish sauce, and honey.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or so.

Taste soup, and if needed, correct seasonings.

Break the salmon into largish chunks and add to soup.  Heat through. 

Serve in shallow bowls and top each serving with basil, cilantro and a lime wedge or two.

Serves four very hungry people.