It’s been almost a month since I last wrote a blog post: I don’t think I’ve ever taken this long of a break! Why the silence? No particular reason except that I’m having a fun summer ;)
I haven’t taken any big trips or done anything super exciting: I’ve just been tending to (and eating/cooking from) my garden,
The strawberries I recently planted haven’t fruited yet, but that hasn’t stopped me from eating a whole lot of local strawberries this season already. Lately I am buying them from a few different farm stands in my town and they are fabulous.
I love eating them “as is,” but use them in all different recipes, too.
Strawberries are pretty fragile: in the past, I’ve sent far too many to the compost because I didn’t store them properly. But that was before I was really tuned into the food waste issue…things are different now! Since I’ve been writing posts to help promote Glad’s #SAVEITSUNDAY program, I’ve really learned a ton about food protection, including how best to store strawberries.
How to Prep and Protect Strawberries:
When you get your berries home from the grocery store/market, or even if you pick your own, you want to avoid washing them before you store them (wash them right before eating/using in a recipe instead). This helps stave off the molding that can happen due to the moisture the strawberries soak up when you wash them. Place the unwashed berries in a single layer in a bowl, on a plate, or in a glass or plastic food protection container, like GladWare, that you’ve lined with a tea towel (or paper towel).
Seal the container and keep on the countertop if it’s not too hot in your kitchen and/or it’s just for a few hours. Otherwise, store them in the refrigerator. (Source: Glad)
Before you even head out to purchase your strawberries though, it’s a good idea to have a plan for how to use them. This will allow you to buy the proper amount! (But if you end up with too many, never fear…just trim them and freeze for adding to smoothies and such).
What To Do with Strawberries:
Here are some of my recipes that use strawberries along with recipes from blogging buddies. And scroll down for a simple strawberry jam recipe that you’re going to love.
I am so happy to finally give you a little peek at my 2014 garden, the place where my husband and I have been working our butts off most weekends for the past few months.
Here’s what it looked like earlier this spring…
March 21, 2013:
April 20, 2013:
The top photo in this post and the photos below show what it looks like this morning!
June 23, 2014:
(Want to see what it looked like 5 years ago when we got started? Check out this post.)
Once a month, I excerpt a chapter from my book and partner with the folks from MightyNest on a related giveaway. This month, I’m focusing on the health benefits of eggs. Read on to learn more about how nutritious eggs can be…you’ll also have the opportunity to enter a giveaway for some great cookware!
Eggs are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Though many people worry about the cholesterol in eggs, this concern is generally unfounded: eating eggs won’t cause you to develop heart disease and there’s probably no reason for you to limit eggs in your diet, especially if you enjoy them. The key is to choose eggs of the highest quality in order to take advantage of all the nutritional benefits they offer.
A bunch of bloggers whose work I adore have come out with cookbooks lately. One such blogger is Erin Alderson of the blog Naturally Ella. Her brand new book is called The Homemade Flour Cookbook: The Home Cook’s Guide to Milling Nutritious Flours and Creating Delicious Recipes with Every Grain, Legume, Nut, and Seed from A-Z.
This book is based on the very cool concept that you can easily make your own fresh and nutritious flours at home. As much as I love to cook and bake, making my own flours isn’t something I’ve delved into much before (apart from blending oats to make oat flour), mostly because I assumed you needed special equipment (like a grain mill). While Erin does recommend investing in a grain mill, it turns out that you can do quite a lot more than make oat flour with a high-powered blender (which I already own). You can also mill some flours in a coffee grinder!
In this book, Erin not only delves into all the different ways you can make your own wholesome flours from different grains (including gluten-free grains), legumes, nuts and seeds, she also shares 100 very yummy-looking recipes that utilize the various fresh flours. The photos in the book, taken by Erin, are beautiful.
Because I have a big stash of dried chickpeas, I decided to try my hand at grinding chickpea flour in my blender. I was pretty skeptical about it working at first: chickpeas are so hard! After a minute or two the flour still looked like small rocks, but I played around with a few of the settings on my Blendtec and found that at #3, the chickpeas turned to a fine powder after another few minutes. Hooray!
I used my chickpea flour to make Erin’s recipe for Tomato Basil Socca Pizza. Socca is a flatbread that’s a specialty of Nice, France. I’ve never had socca but I know it has a reputation for being very tasty. I was happy for the inspiration to make it (I’d been meaning to try it ever since seeing this recipe on David Lebovitz’ blog ages ago).
Socca is so simple to make: all you need is the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt. You soak these together for an hour, then you cook the batter in a hot oiled skillet under a broiler.
I’ve purchased chickpea flour in the past and used it in gluten-free baking. It always had this odd, very bean-y flavor to me, which I didn’t love. I have to say that my fresh chickpea flour didn’t taste “off” at all: I really loved it in this base for an easy pizza. So while you can definitely use store-bought chickpea flour in this recipe, I recommend trying to make your own if you can because it’s fresher and really does have a different, milder flavor.
Many thanks to Erin for turning me on to making my own flours. I really look forward to seeing what I can do with ancient grains, legumes, nuts, etc. I cannot wait to try out more of the recipes in this book: there are so many incredibly creative and healthy savory and sweet recipes to choose from! And I have one extra copy of the book from the publisher to give away to one of my readers…the directions for entering the giveaway are below the recipe :)