Archive for the ‘Food Sovereignty’ Category

Garden Update: First Crocus, Hazelnut Catkins, Sedum, and Bulb Action

While the West Coast has found itself with winter floods, here in Northern Indiana, we’ve had an unseasonably warm winter. I expected that, although even I’ve been surprised by just how warm: fifties to upper sixties in February. With sun! Thankfully, we’ve had at least some rain and a few snow showers, too, but as crazy as this weather is, it arrived as a welcome treat. We’ve taken many long walks on trails and in the woods, and I even spent some time cleaning up the garden.

Yesterday, I noticed a lot of bulbs beginning to poke through. When I took over Haus Am See in Fall 2015, I added another 1,000 Spring bulbs to the hundreds I had already planted around Faery Hof. I didn’t know how many would return this year, as apparently, not all tulips remain perennial. It looks like most plan to reveal themselves again, as I see signs of hyacinths, daffodils and tulips poking their way through mulch and thyme. Last Fall, I  planted another 100 or so bulbs, mostly a wide blooming time array of daffodils and some extra hyacinths.

What a nice surprise to see some crocus, though! These two smiled at me yesterday, as I moved mulch to weed. Normally, the bunnies eat these before I get to enjoy them, but here they bloom — the very first harbingers of Spring:

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Some of the nine sacred hazel trees and shrubs Continue reading

Door Number 17 ~ Elen of the Ways

I create each portal door with very specific local or personal intentions, but it always amazes me how those doors take on a life of their own, lending themselves to larger concerns as time or the door evolves. I painted this “Elen of the Ways” door for “Sustainable Sovereignty” regarding a local situation back in 2014. (It worked here, btw … so well that it left people marveling at the synchronicities and unusual openings.)

It strikes me that we’re at a similar point of tension in the world right now. On the one hand, we’ve got governments run amok, trouncing on rights, privacy, and basic human dignity, often manipulating the masses through humanity’s inherent kindness and desire”to do the right thing.” On the other hand, we’ve got so many simultaneous ecological crises happening that I wouldn’t even know where to begin listing them.

How do we find our way through all the different layers and levels? How do we activate kindness and caring in those who have forgotten their way? How do we balance the rights of the oppressed and the oppressors? Can we find TRUE balance and harmony instead of just flipping oppressed and oppressor? Can we each shift away from “power over” and find and embrace new ways of “power to”? How do we invoke and evoke leadership that protects the Land while also honoring the People of the Land?

I’ve seen 4:44 for months now, and I even “fell” into this door a few months ago, letting me know the portal to Sustainable Sovereignty is re-opening for more than our local situation. Today, I pray for similar miracles on the national and international levels. May we each open our own portals to that healed and healing world that already exists in perfect form, just waiting for us to believe, love and nurture it into being. The Rumi quote on this door comes from this poem:

THOUSANDS OF ROSE GARDENS

The intellect says: “The six directions are limits: there is no way out.”
Love says: “There is a way: I have traveled it thousands of times.”
The intellect saw a market and started to haggle:
Love saw thousands of markets beyond that market.
Lovers who drink the dregs of the wine reel from bliss to bliss:
The dark-hearted men of reason
Burn inwardly with denial.
The intellect says, “Do not go forward, annihilation contains only thorns.”
Love laughs back: “The thorns are in you.”
Enough words! Silence!
Pull the thorn of existence out of the heart! Fast!
For when you do you will see thousands of rose gardens in yourself.

 

Laura Bruno's Blog

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, there have been times in my life when I’ve faced problems so tricky, so “impossible” that the only way out was in. Deeeeeep inside, through the inner rabbit hole, through the spiral and out the newly created portal. In those days, I’d paint a door, and you know what? It worked.

For the past three “doors,” I’ve taken to canvases that portray some sort of doorway or entry point — still portals, but not painted on actual doors. I usually select a local or personal issue as the initial point of need or emotional spark, but then I create the portals as offerings for how such issues play out across the world. “As Within, So Without,” and “As Above, So Below.” I’ve painted portals for healing Lyme Disease, for welcoming a return of the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine

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Winter Greens and my PDC

Just two quick updates here:

  1. Yes, the gardens continue to produce in mid-January. We’ve had such weird weather here, ranging from minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit a couple weeks ago to 56(!) degrees last night. Between row covers and snow, the kale, miner’s lettuce, chard, and mustard are all still providing us with the tastiest of very fresh greens. I snuck out between rainstorms yesterday afternoon to harvest these yums for dinner and smoothies. I wouldn’t eat the chard raw, since it’s a little mushy, especially the stems, but when cooked, this frostbitten chard tastes unbelievably rich and chewy. One of our favorites!

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      2. It’s official: I completed my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) and am now qualified to offer permaculture consultations, help individuals and communities design permaculture setups, and also teach permaculture related workshops. In order to teach the full PDC, I would need more training and an apprenticeship, because that course covers a massive amount of material; however, I’m qualified and open to teaching smaller, more focused workshops for people who want to learn about permaculture before committing to the time and money associated with learning the full spectrum of permanent agriculture and permanent culture.

Summer Squash Recipes and the Fall Garden

People keep asking, “So, have you put your garden to bed for winter?” The short answer is: “No.” The longer answer is:

“No, not by a long shot! I’m still  swimming in summer squash — so much that I spent most non-session moments last week creating and freezing all sorts of ‘zucchini’ recipes to freeze for winter. I’ve got green striped cushaw still maturing, lettuce, kale, waist-high chard, collards, beans, sweet potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, raspberries, Brussels sprouts and more still trucking along. I waited so long to harvest my bags of potatoes that they sprouted again and began a second round of production. I’m still gathering loads of chocolate mint to dry for my nephew, best friend, brother and us. I’ve got garlic to put in the troughs as soon as I pull out the pepper and bean plants, which I can’t bear to do yet, since they continue to produce gobs and gobs of easily harvested yum’s.”

We also have flowers, since I aim for blooms as early and late as possible. This year the daffodils started in late March, and if all goes well, we should have blooms into late October or early November. Here was David’s mom’s birthday bouquet from yesterday:

birthday-bouquet

Colors have muted with the cooler nights and change of seasons. Above, you can see a selection of zinnias, sedum, bachelor’s buttons, snapdragons and shiso I’ve let flower and hopefully go to seed for next year. That shiso makes an amazing pesto with hazelnuts, homegrown garlic, olive oil and a bit of raw manchego.

The big news this past week was squash, specifically, white scallop squash and green striped cushaw, shown here with a lone eggplant:

harvest

I don’t grow zucchini, but zucchini recipes translate well for the ancient Native American heirloom known as white scallop squash. We far prefer it for texture, beauty, and taste. I know some readers decided to grow this low carb, high fiber wonder food after I blogged about it last year, so I thought I’d include recipes and links to recipes I’ve made with this summer squash. The main difference between white scallop squash and zucchini is that if you freeze zucchini or use it in baked goods, you really need to squeeze out a lot of water and drain it. White scallop squash lends itself better to freezing and baking, as it’s slightly drier. It also won’t color your dishes green like zucchini skin will. You only need to peel if the skin grows tough.

In case a temperate autumn has you swimming in summer squash, too, here are a bunch of treats I made last week or in previous weeks or years:

Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Corn Muffins

I significantly modified the above linked recipe, so I’ll share my own creation here, shown half-eaten, with dandelion-chicory tea:

zucchini-blueberry-corn-muffin

I’ll call my creation Blueberry-Elderberry-Squash Cornbread Muffins, since I took the opportunity to use up some of the many elderberries I had previously harvested and frozen.

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cups organic cornmeal
  • 1 1/3 cup organic sprouted red fife flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grated white scallop squash
  • 1 flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax mixed with 3 TBSP warm water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup hazelnut milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen elderberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (We use silicon muffin cups — highly recommended, with no paper waste. This recipe made 16.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt together. In a separate large bowl, stir together squash, flax, hazelnut milk, maple syrup and olive oil. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add the blueberries/elderberries.
  3. Fill your muffin cups about 3/4 full.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or almost clean — just a few crumbs.

Again, I modified the original recipe to use clean, easy to digest, vegan ingredients. Coconut oil would probably have been even yummier. I was just too lazy to melt it. I usually bake gluten-free, but our co-op had the organic, sprouted red fife flour on sale, and I’ve found that works well for pastry flour. The sprouting helps with digestion, too. I wouldn’t live on it, but it packs more protein than most gluten free flours. I also prefer hazelnut milk to almond milk, since we can grow hazelnuts right here (in our yard!) and they do not require the volume of water that almonds grown in drought ridden California do. Here’s the link to the original recipe I modified.

Other squash delights:

Vegan Zucchini Bread

I modified this recipe, too, using a combo of organic sprouted rye flour and the organic sprouted red fife flour. I used white scallop squash instead of zucchini, a combo of coconut sugar and birch sweetener (hard wood xylitol) for the sugar, and raw cacao nibs for the chocolate chips.

Savory Olive Oil Rosemary Zucchini Bread

Yum! I modified this one so much that I’ll list my own recipe below:

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups organic sprouted rye flour
  • 1½ cups organic sprouted red fife flour
  • 1 tsp. aluminum free baking soda
  • ½ tsp. non-GMO baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • a handful of garden fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary; finely minced
  • 3 TBSP ground flax powder mixed with 9 TBSP warm water
  • 2 tbsp. hazelnut milk
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups of white scallop squash; shredded, then left to sit over a colander
  • ¼ cup green onions, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray two 9 x 5 loaf pans with cooking spray (or use non-stick pans); set aside.
  3. In a bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, parsley, garlic powder and rosemary; mix until well combined; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add flax combo, hazelnut milk, apple sauce and olive oil; mix until thoroughly combined. Add squash and green onions; mix until incorporated. Carefully stir in flour mixture until just combined.
  5. Pour batter evenly between both loaf pans. Place in the oven and bake for 30- 40 minutes or until center comes out clean with a knife. Let cool in loaf pan for 10 minutes, then carefully take the loaf out and place on a cooling rack.

I served this bread with an easy lentil-salsa-squash soup, and the bread tasted almost like biscuits. We froze over half this recipe, as it’s dense and filling.

Easy-Lentil-Salsa Squash Soup

This recipe doesn’t have any measurements, as it’s the sort of soup you can prepare when you have leftovers or excess shredded squash that needs a use pronto!

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cups dried brown lentils
  • 1 two-inch strip of kombu (optional, but adds flavor and makes lentils more digestible)
  • 1 jar of your favorite red salsa
  • as much shredded squash as you want to use here — 3-5 cups
  • 1-2 cups vegetable broth (optional, you can sub water instead)
  • herbs and spices, to taste

Instructions

  1. Put the lentils and kombu in a large pot of water (about 4 x as much water as lentils) and bring to boil, then lower to simmer for approximately 40 minutes or until tender. You can drain off excess water or use as broth for the soup.
  2. After lentils have cooked for about 30 minutes, add salsa and squash, stirring in and covering until the squash gets tender. You can also add vegetable broth at this time, if using.
  3. Add any herbs or spices you desire. I used garden fresh thyme, celery leaves, and rosemary, plus a little sea salt. If you use a homemade veggie broth, you won’t need to use as much seasoning, depending on the flavors in your broth.

Zucchini and Black Bean Vegan Veggie Burgers

Um, wow! These are the beefiest, most authentic hamburger tasting veggie burgers I’ve ever made or tasted. Crazy. I followed the linked recipe exactly, except that I used white scallop squash, and I did not have steak seasoning. Instead, I used two different blends of grilling herbs and a couple splashes of vegan worcestershire sauce. Granted, I have not had a hamburger in over 14 years, but this was so similar to a beefy burger in color, texture and taste that it almost freaked me out. David can’t wait to try these now frozen treats!

Vegan Faux Salmon Patties

This is David’s new favorite thing! I threw these together in a spontaneous attempt to use up even more shredded white scallop squash. All measurements are VERY approximate.

Ingredients (all are organic and vegan)

  • 3-4 cups cooked red lentils
  • 1 two-inch piece of kombu (adds fishy flavor and aids digestion)
  • 1 cup dried rolled oats
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 1/2-1 onion
  • 1-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup walnuts (I used raw, sprouted and dehydrated, but use what you have)
  • optional celery
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dulse (seaweed)
  • small handful of dill
  • Splash of ketchup, to taste and for color
  • any leftover grains or lentils (I had a little leftover quinoa and brown lentils)
  • olive oil (just a few splashes)
  • 1-2 TBSP red miso paste (for taste and color)
  • a few splashes vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • lemon juice to taste
  • ground flax to thicken (depends on moisture and amounts of other ingredients. I probably used around 3-4 TBSP)
  • 1-5 DROPS liquid smoke (optional –for a smoked salmon flavor)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. While red lentils are cooling, finely chop or throw onion, celery, and garlic into food processor. Add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped by still chunky.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, mixing together until desire taste and texture. Add flax towards the end and let the mixture sit for five minutes to thicken and determine if you need more flax.
  4. Pour into loaf pans or form into patties.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on thickness, desired texture, and browning. We liked these crispy on the outside and still warm and tender on the inside.
  6. Serve warm or cooled like a fried fish, in veggie sushi, or as patties on a salad or sandwich. (I served over large lettuce leaves and topped with a homemade tartar sauce made from homemade pickles and Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise. David also added a little Fabanaise to homemade sauerkraut for a spontaneous cole slaw.)

Vegan Zucchini Brownies

These were another wow — so much so that I made them twice, once as brownies and then again as cupcakes for David’s mom’s birthday yesterday. As cupcakes, I used a little less applesauce and no nibs, since I knew we’d be serving them with (a moist) vegan vanilla ice cream. As brownies, they were ooey-gooey yum. We now have frozen healthy desserts for any sweet cravings or unexpected guests.

I did modify the original enough to give my version here. I’m sure the original rocks; I just don’t use canola oil, and I found that the recipe needed more chocolate powder to cover the taste of our olive oil. Here’s my version, but do check out the original, especially if you are using zucchini rather than white scallop squash. I have a feeling my drier version was due to my squash being drier, as well as the ingredient substitutions.

My version:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup birch sweetener/hardwood xylitol (not the GMO corn version!)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sprouted organic red fife flour
  • 1 cup sprouted organic rye flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used raw cacao, since I had that on hand)
  • 2 cups shredded white scallop squash
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ cup raw cacao nibs (optional, or other unsweetened vegan chocolate chips)
  • applesauce as needed if your baking mix seems too dry or unable to mix

 

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray, oil, or use a cornbread pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, and flour until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add cacao, squash, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the nibs or chocolate chips.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean but with a few crumbs clinging.
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve. ALTERNATE: pour batter into cupcake tins or silicon muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake 40-50 minutes (watch to prevent burning, but you want the cupcakes cooked through). Cool on wire rack.

Faux-lenta

This recipe makes a corn-free substitute for polenta. If you want a creamy polenta, use the less ground flax. If you need something harder, just add more ground flax towards the very end of blending. Do not let ground flax sit in a blender! It does firm up and will become very difficult to clean if you leave it in there.

Ingredients

  • 1-3 white scallop squash, roughly shopped
  • pinch of turmeric (for yellow color)
  • whatever Italian or other herbs you desire for flavor
  • 2-4 TBSP ground flax

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Blend the white scallop squash in a powerful blender until smooth. If you need to add a little hot water to help blend, that’s fine. It just might require more flax to harden the faux-lenta.
  3. Add pinch of turmeric and blend, checking for desired color. Then add in whatever herbs you would like. Polenta is normally quite bland, but we have made this with a slight curry flavor to serve alongside sauteed garlic and Swiss chard, as well as an Italian version to accompany pesto and chopped tomatoes. Less is more with the herbs, but you can coordinate them to your final desired flavor set.
  4. Add in the flax, a little at a time and blend until the mixture is like a very thick soup.
  5. Pour faux-lenta mixture into a pyrex or other baking dish and bake until desired solidity, 40 minutes-1 hour. The recipe described makes a creamy polenta substitute.  If you want round faux-lenta circles, bake in mini springform pans and add more flax.

Summer Squash Bundt Cake

I made this recipe a couple times last year, but it was very popular. Here’s the link to my recipe, and here’s the original SunOven Zucchini Bread I modified.

Vegan Alfredo Sauce

This is another older recipe, and typical me, no real measurements. Just do it to taste:

Ingredients

  • White scallop squash (peeled zucchini or yellow squash might also work, but we love the white scallop squash)
  • extra virgin organic olive oil
  • nutritional yeast
  • garlic
  • a bit of hot water to aid blending of the above in a Vitamix or other highspeed blender
  • Optional: dried then soaked porcini mushrooms, peas, cooking sherry, wheat free tamari

Amounts really do vary, so taste test as you go.

Instructions

  1. Add to a pot and bring to a slow boil, continue to taste test for creaminess and add more nutritional yeast if needed.
  2. I usually soak dried porcini mushrooms and use peas from our garden, adding those towards the end, along with a splash or more of sherry and just one splash of wheat free tamari.
  3. We salt and pepper to taste at the table and garnish the sauce with chopped fresh parsley and chives, served over quinoa pasta (elbows or penne). It is super yum, and don’t be shy with the garlic!

That should keep you busy. I know I was a cooking, baking maniac last week, waking up early, prepping between and then baking things during sessions, and freezing like a champ. I still have so much squash coming that I’ve arranged a Thursday donation to some farm fresh loving family friends who will deliver any excess to the local soup kitchen, on which our friend sits as Board President. It helps to have connections.

In any case, no, I have not put away the garden for winter. 🙂 Things look a bit subdued, but I have many harvests to go before the garden sleeps.

fall-yard

 

The Photo Version

As promised, here’s the photo version of ‘Twas the Weekend ‘Fore Autumn:

The Weekend ‘Fore Autumn

 

‘Twas the weekend ‘fore Autumn and all through the yard,

All the plants were a’thriving, including the chard.

chard

 

The bees dined on asters; the cushaw had grown.

The mums nearly bursting, the yard freshly mown.

 

Thai basil hummed purple; eggplants danced in the breeze–

The garden so fragrant, it drew many a sneeze!

 

Sweet potato vines covered the sides of the trough,

And on sedum and zinnias, butterflies sipped on and off.

 

For the first time in years, the holly had berries.

Boltonia blossoms delighted the faeries.

 

As Fall Equinox split the light and the dark,

Those flowers all giggled at anything stark.

 

The Robinhood roses had been blooming since June–

So hard to believe ‘twould be Halloween soon!

robinhood-roses-blooming-since-june

‘Twas the Weekend ‘Fore Autumn

The Weekend ‘Fore Autumn

 

‘Twas the weekend ‘fore Autumn and all through the yard,

All the plants were a’thriving, including the chard.

 

The bees dined on asters; the cushaw had grown.

The mums nearly bursting, the yard freshly mown.

 

Thai basil hummed purple; eggplants danced in the breeze–

The garden so fragrant, it drew many a sneeze!

 

Sweet potato vines covered the sides of the trough,

And on sedum and zinnias, butterflies sipped on and off.

 

For the first time in years, the holly had berries.

Boltonia blossoms delighted the faeries.

 

As Fall Equinox split the light and the dark,

Those flowers all giggled at anything stark.

 

The Robinhood roses had been blooming since June–

So hard to believe ‘twould be Halloween soon!

 

Garden Update ~ Butterflies, Blooms, Garden Tower Project and More

People keep asking me, “How was your garden this year?”

To which I reply, “It was good, but it’s still growing.” Although I have moments when I think I’d feel fine to have everything tucked away for winter, fall is really one of my favorite times in the garden. It’s butterfly season, for one, and even with those thousand bulbs I planted last year for this year’s spring, we still have more blooms in September than we do in April or May. Here are this week’s photos:

sunday-bouquet-2

Last Sunday’s bouquet for David’s mom.

butterfly-season

So many butterflies this year! Here’s one of several at a time that like to sip from red zinnias.

cushaw-update

The cushaw squash continue to grow. This one is about twice the size of the other one. I accidentally cut off two babies while trying to tame the vine, but these should be plenty! Last year I needed to give away three giants.

The Garden Tower put on another rush of growth. We now have so many ripe eggplants we’ll need to make baba ganoush. Oh, the sacrifice!

Not visible in the photos are some tiny spinach, broccolini and cilantro sprouts started for a late season harvest. Something ate a few of them, but we should still get some yummies.

scabrosa-rose
The scabrosa rose is blooming and making its trademark large, tasty hips.

asparagus-circle

Haus Am See’s herb spiral and asparagus hedge continue to fill in.

cosmos galore.jpg

We’ve got cosmos galore.

welcome-to-the-jungle

Welcome to my jungle!