Stir Fried Watermelon Rind

Whenever we buy a watermelon and it has rind to speak of (a lot of the little personal sized ones don't), I carefully trim away the green skin, then the rind, and cut it up before storing for later use. Interestingly, the rind of the watermelon is the most nutritious part, despite the awesome of the flesh.

Today, I managed to get the Pig to take a nap, as she'd had a pretty long few days and even longer month following the death of our beloved cat Aleister. But I was starving. She'd already requested butter-poached fish, sauteed broccoli, and rice for dinner, so I didn't want to go flesh for my lunch and did want to bump up my veggies for the day. After poking about through the fridge, I discovered half of a small onion and a quart of rind, so this formed the basis of the meal. Poking about the kitchen further, I found a sad tomato that the Pig and I bought from a farmer on our way back from our last trip to Austin, as well as a bottle of ají picante that I'd redi…

Easy Mac'n'Cheese

This is kind of a weird thing to say, but I usually can't stand mac'n'cheese. Occasionally I'll like a baked one, if it's lacking bechamel, but otherwise I'm a firm pass on this dish. My kid, however, really seems to like it. For a while, the Pig had gotten really into boxed MNC, and away from homemade of any type. One day, she really wanted MNC, and I was like, "I'm hungry too. If you let me make it homemade, I'll make it." She agreed, so I grabbed a bag of spätzle (b/c lazy) and made kasnocken for her. Since then, she's refused the box stuff. The other day, I didn't really feel like making that, when she asked for MNC, so I made this instead. The principle is basically the same, though. This takes about 20 minutes to make, which makes it perfect for a fast lunch. We split it, and she was happy because, she told me, it's fairly similar to the boxed without being quite the same. Hope you enjoy!

1 8-ounce package pasta (I used smal…

Medicinal Soup (AKA Garlic Soup)

I started feeling sick on Monday, and foolishly attributed this to ragweed making a late season play against my general well-being. Tuesday, I realized how terribly wrong I was, but mostly just tried to suck this up with lots of fluids and broth, as well as various lozenges. By Tuesday night, I was sick enough that I realized I had gotten some kind of upper respiratory infection and couldn't breathe well enough to sleep without treating it properly. So I made some poultices and teas and drowned myself in them, then finally fell out. Wednesday, woke up quite a bit better, but the Pig was coughing. Turns out I'd passed the pestilence onto her. Since at 5, she's never been ill with normal stuff we're all used to, I figured I'd better nip it quickly and started drowning us both in tisanes, broth, elderberry syrup, and other such. Today, she was better, save a slight residual cough. I'm mostly better.

It occurred to me at some point, though, that I lack the mental …

Cabbage and Leek Kraut

The Piggy and I developed this recipe specifically to go into ukha, a Russian fish soup. It's also really good in other things, but we mostly use it for soup, unless I'm frying something that needs both cabbage and leeks.

This recipe is very easy to make, requiring only 3 ingredients, but it does need a bit of special equipment. If you don't have a muddler, use either a wine bottle, flat-ended rolling pin, or potato masher. In most of my fermented foods, I use swing-top fermenting jars (I use a mix of Fido, le Parfair, and Kilner, but I've got some odd IKEA jars and other such as well). I mostly use these because they obviate the need for multiple items per Mason jar you'll ferment in, such as weights, fermenting pipes, airlocks, and so forth, but it's also much simpler when you know there's no need to check your ferments to see if they're doing okay. If the seal is good, they're doing okay. Plus, I get to use my Mason jars for other things, like j…

Foraged Foods: Nightshade Tarts

I realized the other day that it's been a very long time since my last post. My life has changed in a lot of ways, one of which is that I've returned to foraging. Since my interests currently lie primarily in foraged foods and ales, my focus will be on that for the foreseeable future.

One favorite foraged food for us is black nightshade. Although commonly perceived as poisonous, this is a food plant if you're treating it properly. The leaves can be cooked and eaten (young ones raw as well), but the primary value to my 5 year old, Piggy, is the berries. Filled with seeds and sugary sweet, they're a lovely treat. I recently dug up some S. americanum plants and transplanted to our container garden, but most of the berries I cooked today came from a plant nearly as tall as me that I noticed while foraging for dock seeds. That bush was huge. And also weighed down with ripe fruits, so I took a lot of fruit. I left about 1/4 of the fruit for the birds, focusing only on fruit …

Fried Cabbage

I made this the other day for breakfast, because there was a quarter cabbage sitting in the fridge looking like it needed to be eaten, a bit of jarred garlic in the fridge when I wanted the jar to go away, and because I still have half a jar of those olives that I sincerely do need to eat up. Plus, I sometimes eat like a toddler. Anyway, this was delicious, I enjoyed it, and I will be making it again this weekend. Scale the quantities directly to feed more than 1 person with this recipe. Hope you enjoy!

1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cabbage, core removed, then cut up (I like slivers, but you could do cubes or whatever)
1 minced garlic clove (jarred is fine)
salt and pepper to taste
pinch nigella or caraway seeds
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice (can use zest instead; can use bottled juice)
3 jalapeno-stuffed olives, chopped (optional; you might want hot sauce if not, though; I rinsed mine because they're old)

Melt butter in pan. Add cabbage, salt, and pepper. Fry until tips of ca…

Almond, Blueberry, and Maple Granola

Granola is always awesome, but it's very expensive to buy at the store. Making it at home is inexpensive and just takes a few minutes of active prep time, plus 80 minutes in the oven. For the blueberries, I buy fresh blueberries in massive quantities when they're in season and deeply discounted, then dry them. Typically I do this until I've got about a gallon dried total. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can either oven or sun dry them (If you've opted for sun drying, freeze them for 72 hours after they're finished to kill any possible insect eggs that may have been laid anyway and then store in the pantry). If you want some clumps, squeeze the mixture well once you've put it in the half sheet pan. Otherwise, it will be more like loose cereal.

4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup each: wheat germ, wheat bran, flax seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup each: vegetable oil, maple syrup
 1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 250. Pu…