A simple and fresh salad with homemade dressing. #scratchcook
I’m watching Cooked, the documentary series on Netflix featuring Michael Pollan, and I was inspired to share my life with respect to some of the ideas presented in the show.
Namely, home cooked meals.
My family eats most of our meals at home, and almost all of them are made from scratch.
Scratch cooking means the meals are made from fresh ingredients. Therefore, we don’t eat a lot of meals made from ingredients that are pre-cooked or processed, except a few (canned sardines/tuna, organic salsa, BBQ sauce, etc).
Sadly, it’s not what’s going on in most American homes anymore. Michael Pollan points out in Cooked that as the amount of time cooking went down, obesity went up. I’m not surprised.
Maybe I’m a bit strange, but I get such a rush from cooking this way. I think making meals from scratch is beautiful, especially when I’m connected to my food by knowing my farmer, fisherman, and rancher. When I cut into an orange that was grown in my mom’s yard, and the light hits it just right so I see the misty spray coming from the peel, and I smell the intense aroma… I get chills from the thrill.
In fact, my Amazon wish list is filled with pots, quality utensils, and other kitchen gadgets I want in my collection. When a birthday or holiday comes around, I ask for these things. Do I ask for clothes, purses, or shoes? No. I ask for a Le Creuset pot or a fancy ice cream machine or a beautiful salt collection.
I’ll admit not every meal I make is a success, in spite of the time I put into it. I also recognize that making all of these meals isn’t always easy. I experience a large part of my life in the kitchen preparing food, shopping for food, cleaning up after cooking (there are so many dishes to wash!). But… At least I know what’s in my food. I approve of the ingredients. I don’t have to wonder.
As a result, my comfort level in the kitchen has grown tremendously. For the most part, I can fix my messes, and if I can’t, I still know the meal was made with wholesome organic ingredients, which compensates for any culinary mishaps, at least in my opinion.
My meals are pure, organic, and prepared just the way I want. And, aside from the obvious nutrition reasons, it comes back to Chop Wood Carry Water for me. I enjoy the process. The kitchen draws me in… if I’m not making something I’ll find something to make.
Well, in spite of that image above, I’m making a tea for Michigan State fans, because I thought them when I was mixing it together. It’s matcha green tea and white tea. Those are their colors: green and white. Nuff’ said.
My five year old daughter, Kamea, was visiting my mom for the night, and they surprised me with this video that she made about “how to meditate.” Glad to know that all of my meditating is rubbing off on her.
We drink it because matcha green tea powder gives us a luscious energy and makes us feel so good. It makes us mentally alert, while feeling calm and chill at the same time. So good. It also has a powerful punch of nutritional benefits from being anti-viral to anti-cancer to being an overall kickin’ superfood. It gives that extra edge.
In my quest to inject more matcha into my life, I have taken matcha beyond its traditional role as merely a tea by creating these 55 recipes for adding matcha as an ingredient to all kinds of foods, including smoothies, soups, sides, salads, desserts, breakfast, snacks, condiments, beverages (tea and non-tea), and even beauty mask recipes!
If you’re not familiar with einkorn flour, here’s Carla Bartolucci, einkorn expert, from her book, Einkorn. (I highly recommend this book for some beautiful recipes and information on einkorn wheat.)
Einkorn is the most ancient species of wheat and its husks protect the inner seeds from mycotoxins.
Einkorn has simple genetics, with fewer chromosomes than other wheat. Einkorn has never been hybridized.
Einkorn is more nutritious than modern wheat, with nearly 30 percent more protein and more antioxidants, B vitamins, and minerals. It also has less starch, meaning fewer carbohydrates.
In genetic testing, einkorn was found to lack certain gluten proteins that people with wheat intolerances cannot digest. More specifically, neither of the two gluten-forming proteins behaves as it does in conventional wheat and so the gluten in einkorn can be tolerated by many people with sensitivity to wheat.
In German, einkorn means “one grain” because each grain is attached individually rather than in clusters, to the stalk.
So, you see it’s pretty amazing stuff if you don’t suffer from celiac disease. And, if you feel like you’re gluten intolerant, then you might not be with einkorn. As you can imagine, I figured that using einkorn, which is easier to digest… in the form of sourdough bread… well, that’s even easier to digest… sounds perfect.
Except, well, it wasn’t. (User error, to be sure.)
I never would’ve seen this beauty if I hadn’t started walking.
I’ve been walking lately. A lot. And, it’s so fun.
My draw to walking came as the result of some life changes I’m making:
To chill out.
Hear and follow my intuition. (Like, wow, it’s amazing what happens when I listen to my intuition after quieting down my friggin’ cray-cray mind.)
Overall, do fewer things in my day. (Fewer things on the schedule, go with the flow.)
One of my favorite quotes in Taoism is…
To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”
My intuition told me to walk, which would help me do less of other things, because walking a great distance takes time. My intuition told me I needed it. I’ll be honest… It helps me clear my mind, and a clear mind is a powerful mind.
So, I started walking. And, I walked a lot.
I found that being out in nature, especially during the season of spring was extra special, and I couldn’t help but stop to notice and feel all of the colors and life surrounding me outside in nature.
I found myself looking at plants as they were about to blossom, excited to come back the next day and see the full bloom. Tracking the progress with pictures became an adventure.
(day 1) Hello, pretty.
(day 2) “And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful then the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin
As I mentioned before, when researching sourdough bread making and sourdough starters, there are a lot of variances in directions.
One gal I saw, Wardee, mentioned that she keeps her starter active on her counter by having a small amount of starter to which it’s fed a tablespoon of flour (or two) and a tablespoon of water twice a day. Sometimes three times a day. She said that if you keep a cup or less of starter then a maintenance feeding is all you need. She detailed it specifically in this podcast. She writes…
Only feed it what you need to build it up for when you need it. If you are going to bake something that requires a bit more, feed it a bit more on that occasion. This way, you’ll nearly always have enough, and usually not ever too much. (Of course, adjustment is needed to account for your family’s baking goals.)
What is a maintenance amount? A tablespoon or 2.
Every morning: I feed my starter 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour, plus some water (a bit less than the flour). Same thing each evening.
Every 2nd or 3rd day, I have enough starter to bake our favorite bread — the no-knead artisan einkorn loaf.
And, she has a recipe for No-Knead Einkorn Sourdough Bread which I plan to try as I’d love to use einkorn exclusively for health reasons. Her recipe calls for 1/4 cup (60 grams) of the sourdough starter so I know she at least needs the starter to be of that quantity. After weighing what is in the picture above, it’s about 46 grams.
The sourdough starter maintenance recipe by Ken Forkish is a lot more flour being used than a tablespoon, and is probably for people making multiple loaves of bread a week. Not exactly sure yet.
Lastly, Cultures for Health recommends that whatever amount you are doing, be sure that the weights (using a scale) are equal amounts of weight of the starter, water and flour. For example, 50 grams of starter, 50 grams of water, 50 grams of flour.
Anyway, I was intrigued by this small active sourdough starter thing that Wardee discussed, and decided to try it.
That said, upon using all my strength to break a loaf in half, I found it kind of pretty inside and a bit tasty, too. I am jokingly telling people that at least I know a good sourdough bread crouton recipe.
I mentioned a couple of things that might have contributed to it, at least in part:
Sourdough that stuck to my bannetons.
1) Something went wrong with my bannetonproofing baskets. I floured them a good degree, or so I thought. Yet, there was quite a bit that stuck.
2) I’m not sure I proofed them long enough as the dough was quite gooey. I’m not an expert baker so I have no idea, but I can’t help but think that.
3) I also had trouble shaping the dough prior to putting them in the baskets but I have no guesses as to why that is.
I plan on another go at making sourdough bread but I’ll try a different recipe.
I will also try using this jovial linen couche. Jovial is the company who makes the einkorn flour I bought, too. The linen couche is supposed to be AWESOME in such a way that the bread doesn’t stick. I will use it in the colander method as shown below in her second example.
Check it out…
And, here’s Wardee telling you more details about a linen couche.