spices

Fire Cider

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I've been enjoying fire cider for some years now, and have had the joy of teaching a workshop at Kula Farm for the past two years. We all gather around, cut up ingredients, fill our jars and add cider vinegar, and then we wait. For a while. Strain, add honey, and just in time for the cooler months when we want a sip of something warm, spicy, and also immunity-boosting.

It’s very easy to make and it’s especially fun to make with family and friends (communal is best). It’s spicy, pungent, sweet, and for me, I’ve found it to be a great way to get my bronchial airways cleared. You can take a tsp or so with a meal, diluted or not, of you can add a splash to rice, dressings, soups, sauces, etc.

I first learned about Fire Cider from Rosemary Gladstar, a wonderful herbalism teacher and master. You can find a video of her making it here. Mountain Rose herbs also has a great recipe that I typically follow, and you can find it here.

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While this is a folk recipe, and the amounts (and even which) ingredients you use tends to vary and change with your mood, locale, season, etc…..I do like to use the base recipe above, and then you can spruce it up with whichever additional ingredients you want.

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The base is typically horseradish, onion, garlic, chili, and ginger. In the past, I’ve added cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, lemon, turmeric, rosemary, herbs….maybe all of them at the same time, maybe a select few. Enjoy the process, and let me know which add ins are your favorite! And remember to shake it daily, burp it (release some of the gas), strain after about a month, and then add a little bit of honey if using.

Happy Fire Cider Making!

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Batch Cooking: Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus & Spicy Chickpea Tabouilleh

I'm finding that as a mama, a chef, a teacher, I'm always looking for ease....and for many of us that literally means "open can, pour in pot, heat, eat". What we forget is that it takes time to drive out to the store, get the can, bring it home...and many times it's actually just easier to make a huge pot of something, freeze leftovers, and have your "higher self" remember to defrost it in the morning to eat for supper. That saves you a trip to the store and only takes the 15 seconds it takes for you to get said frozen item out on the counter before you leave for work. 

So, enter hummus. For many years, I used to buy it. And then I'd get frustrated when we ran out since we had to do without, and then again, drive to the store on the prescribed shopping day, buy the hummus, bring it home, and sometimes, (ugh) sometimes it wasn't even GOOD...it had foreign ingredients and an air pocket which would lead to spoiling of the entire batch. Then, you'd have to drive BACK to the store, give them the container, get your refund, and then drive back. What a waste of time, and moreover, what a lack of inspiration and trust in your own abilities to make the best lip-smaking humus you've ever had! That's right, I said it - you're a hummus goddess in the making, and you didn't even know it.

But hold your horses - before we even go there, you must understand batch cooking since it will save your life.

Batch cooking....Here goes:

1. Make something

2. Divide it in two

3. Make two recipes

4. Freeze leftovers

5. Hug yourself since you just saved some serious $$$

6. And have your family hug you for the culinary goddess you are.

 

So for this particular case, we batch cooked chickpeas (or garbanzos) and the steps are as follows:

1. Take 3-4 cups of dried chickpeas, and cover with 2 inches of water, let sit overnight.

2. In the morning drain and rinse. 

3. Place in pressure cooker, cover with fresh water 2 inches above beans and add in 3 inch piece of kombu seaweed

4. Place cover on top, secure in place, and raise pressure until the knob lifts (although this depends on your machine).

5. Lower flame to medium-low and cook for 29 minutes.

6. Turn off the stove and walk away, letting the pressure lower naturally.

Enter in two amazing recipes with the batch you just made. Make sure once the chickpeas cool, you drain them but retain the cooking water for later. You can discard the Kombu.

Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus:

2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 inch cubed jalapeño pepper

1 lemon, juiced

1/3 cup tahini

1 tsp cumin

3 shakes chipotle pepper powder

1 heaping tsp sea salt

3 cloves crushed and chopped garlic

Combine all ingredients together in a food processor and process well, adding just a little bit of chickpea water to smooth out into your desired consistency. Taste for seasonings and texture, and then pour into an airtight container and refrigerate. Serve with pumpkin seed oil (optional), pumpkin seeds and crudités.

Spicy Chickpea Tabouilleh:

3 cups cooked chickpeas

1 tsp each: cumin, pizza flavoring, chipotle powder, garlic powder, black pepper, poultry seasoning, and oregano

Combine all ingredients in an 8x8 baking vessel and stir well, making sure all beans are coated in the seasoning mixture, and bake at 350 degrees for roughly 35 minutes. 

Once cool, throw in 1 cup chopped fresh parsley, and serve.

Cinnamon Cacao Tonic

Tonics are quite the hit these days, especially in the world of raw foods ~ the primary reason for this is that raw foods are very cooling, and well, sometimes we need a balance in warmth and cool. Tonics are perfect for this since you can add herbs that support immunity, support detox, give you some serious energy, heat up the system (like cayenne adn cinnamon) and offer a sweet delight in the summer that you can feel confident is good for you.

The basic template for tonics are:

some kind of liquid or tea, 

superfoods and superherbs, 

a good fat,

and flavorings of your choice. 

You can add in whatever flavors you'd like - lemon ginger, maca and cinnamon (like ours), chocolate and cayenne, caramel vanilla, the ideas are as endless as your taste buds. But definitely MAKE them, and make them YOURS. While many people sip on starbucks and donuts in our afternoon slump (which by the way, is your body screaming for nutrition and support, not sugar), I'm sipping my cold or hot tonic (dependin on the season), knowing I'm getting what my body needs. Oh, and it's gorgeous to look at and wicked delicious, mind you. 

Again, get your type-A personality out of this one, since you can't go wrong...have fun, enjoy it, and be dazzled by your new favorite tonic beverage! But first, here are a few tips:

1. brew your tea: gynostemma, nettle, even peppermint, chammomile or straight almond milk could work too

2. add in medicinals and herbs: chaga, gynostemma, reishi, maca, etc.

3. add in your good fats: coconut meat, coconut butter or oil, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, etc.

4. add in your flavors: here we have cacao, cardamom, cinnamon, and english toffee

5. sweeten to taste: I'm always going for low-glycemic (since you don't want to slump again after drinking this) so my choice is stevia, but you can go with raisins, maybe a date or two. But stevia seems to be the hit with me, so aim for that. 

Cinnamon Cacao Tonic:

4 cups boiling water, brewed with 1 tea bag of gymnostemma tea ~ let cool (you'll only need 2 cups of this)

1.5 dropper fulls of liquid english toffee stevia

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp black maca (or regular is good)

pinch cardamom powder

1 tablespoon cacao powder

1/2 tsp vanilla powder

pinch salt

1 tablespoon coconut oil or coconut butter

1/4 cup walnuts

drizzle of almond milk (optional)

ice (optional)

Combine everything except the almond milk in a blender until smooth. This is a super generous portion, so maybe share it with someone you love :) Drizzle in some almond milk at the end and enjoy! ps. you can use any tea, but one bag of gymonstemma tea uses 4 cups of water. I save the remaining two cups and use it for tomorrow's batch. 

Hot Maca Tonic

Maca is one of my most favorite superfoods. It’s an adaptogen, which helps lower stress & makes us more resilient.  In addition, it’s known to help regulate hormones, increase semen production & help with fertility issues. There is such a thing called the “maca baby” phenomenon. Consider yourselves warned.

That said, it tastes amazing, so even if you don’t drink it or use it for these purposes, you’ll find that you’ll quickly learn to love this caramel-like taste. As with anything that’s potent and medicinal, it’s helpful to start out small and also it’s a good idea to take a break from it once in a while (as with Echinacea, etc.)

 Note: to achieve a creamy consistency, you might consider combining all of the ingredients together in a blender first, and then heating to desired temperature.

  • 1-cup water, coconut milk, almond milk, herbal brew of your choice, etc.
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  •  1 tsp sweetener of choice, optional (a drop of stevia is sufficient, or honey, coconut nectar, etc. I find that I like it on its own though)
  • Add ins: you can add in a bit of cacao powder, chai spices (cardamom, cinnamon, clove, etc.), ginger powder,  or if you’d like a restful sleep, add in some nutmeg. I also love a bit of vanilla powder on top.

Combine ingredients together in a small pot and heat to warm. Enjoy!