Tag Archives: organic

{homemade chow chow}

14 Sep

i had never heard of chow chow until i lived in the south a few years back. y’all know i’m a big fan of sauerkraut… and this has similar ingredients, but with a different taste and process. chow chow is not fermented, although i’m certain you could change the ingredients and i bet a ferment would also taste amazing!

what i enjoy about making stuff like this is you don’t have to be so specific. you can play around with different measurements and/or sizes of veggies, combinations of veggies, etc. being in the kitchen is all about exploring, and i love to “play” with my food… and that is something i will never stop doing! 😀

some recipes that i explored suggested adding green tomatoes and/or spices or hot peppers… but this is what i came up with :

simple ingredients :

  • cabbage
  • onion
  • green pepper
  • red/yellow pepper

simple brine :

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water

start by heating brine ingredients in a sauce pan on low-medium heat until salt and sugar dissolve, then allow to cool to room temperature.

if you find that you have extra brine, you can always save it for something else like pickles or whatever other veggie you may want to use.

meanwhile, finely chop up all of the veggies…

pour {slightly cooled} brine mixture over the ingredients…

take some pictures, if you fancy…

then, add lid and store in the refrigerator for about a week. you can also use this same recipe and then pressure can or water-bath can and store in the pantry.

i made it both ways and both were delicious! i have one more jar left in the pantry, and i have been using the jar in the fridge for all kinds of fun stuff! it is SO GOOD with sausage or on a pork roll/bun… it adds the perfect balance of sweet to the savory. and it’s also good as a little snack or adding it to a charcuterie board or on a cracker, etc.

one thing I do like about the “canning” method is that the texture is a little softer. heat-processing this does break down the veggies a bit more and although i like it both ways, i do prefer the canning method. the nice thing is, canning is always an option even if i start with the fridge method.


do you like and/or make chow chow?! please share your comments and/or recipes below!

 

{garden update – volume 2}

7 Jun

this update is a little late… so much has been going on at the garden! we had a lot of rain here, and so the plants are growing and thriving so well!

i typically plant seasonally. so i started with my cool season crops like radishes, peas, beets, spinach, kale, arugula, and lettuce… most of which i have harvested lately. i also harvested the garlic and onions that i adopted from last year. the peas are starting to produce fruit which is exciting, and the lettuce is still thriving and i planted more this week. i started planting my summer crops – cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and more lettuce. i also planted flowers this year, which is kind of new for me – nasturtiums, calendula, and coneflower.

here is a progress report on what my overall garden plot looks like. i currently have a lot of seeds in the ground, and i take some pride in having beautiful soil and very little to no weeds. i am so excited to continue to watch the growth and progress! 🙂

do you have a garden? what are you growing?


          
Continue reading

{garden update}

30 Apr

the weather here in Maryland has been so confusing for the last two months. i think we even had a frost last week! however, i do believe we are finally hitting that spring stride… and i’m so ready!

i’ve been steadily getting my garden ready, also! currently, i have lots of sprouts coming up, hooray! i also have a lot of weeds, boo! but i’m holding off on doing too much weeding just yet so i make sure not to pull any sprouts. typically i don’t have any weeds and i take pride in that… but i’ll just have to be patient for now. 😉

here are some pics to show the progress. {if you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably already seen these… and if you don’t, please do – here.}


Continue reading

{new garden season!}

15 Feb

hey y’all!

it’s a bit early in the year for such things, but this area in the northeast offered some nice weather this past weekend, so i was eager to get outside and get my hands in the dirt! as you know, there isn’t much that makes me feel happier than being in nature – and especially, being in a garden!!!

#farmeraudrey

it pleases me to say – that i finally found a community garden that is only about 15 minutes from where i currently live. i am so excited about it! i was also pleasantly surprised to discover that the plot i adopted is about 3 times the size of the last one i took care of in north carolina! this gives me so many ideas on what to plant, and i am feeling so grateful!!!

please stay tuned… as there will be more updates to come… but for now, here’s a brief overview of the work i did this past saturday when the temperatures were in the high 50s!

before…

during…

after…

the person who took care of this plot last season planted lots of beautiful garlic and onions… which apparently are mine now! and although i am very grateful to have them, i will have to figure out what to do with some of the crops since ultimately i will need to have access to the foundation before it’s time to harvest them…

also – i feel like it doesn’t look like i did much {haha}… and i still have a lot of work to do… but i was there for about 3 hours and i was able to clear out a lot of weeds, etc… i also brought a souvenir home, in the form of a slight rash on my arms from all of the random things i was pulling out of the ground and off the fence line, in my attempt to start prepping the soil {haha!} but fret not, my body and skin are just fine now… that said – next time, i ought to consider and/or be more conscious about wearing longer sleeves… sometimes i just get right into the thick of things, without thinking much… 😉


are you prepping for a garden this year? please comment and share what you plan on growing and any tips you may have! i love to hear from and talk with fellow gardeners! ❤

also – please follow me on instagram for more updates!

 

 

{thirsty thursday – homemade komucha on tap}

22 Jul

i totally need to make a detailed post about this very soon.

i have been making my own kombucha for about 3 years now and i love it so much!

my favourite flavour is ginger, which is what is pictured in this batch.

are you curious about kombucha? it’s so easy to make and it is a wonderful health tonic full of minerals, amino acids, and gut-supporting probiotics. i’ve been consuming kombucha for almost 2 decades and a few years ago i finally started making my own.

stay tuned, and i’ll post more about my scoby {lovingly named “scooby”} and all of the other fun things that go into brewing kombucha at home 🙂

{sunday (funday) snacks}

18 Jul

speaking of eating seasonally and such…

on sundays lately, i’ve been curating a platter fully of yummy and healthy snacks to eat in leiu of lunch or dinner. i’ll have it out while i am cooking or relaxing or whatever else and just kind of graze on the snacks… basically all day.

here are a couple of pics of how i spent my last 2 sundays :

chianti-wine aged salami, garlic-herb wafer crackers, fresh avocado, fresh pineapple, locally-grown cherries, blueberries, & peaches, super thin pretzels, roasted mixed nuts, truffle parmesan crisps, dehydrated apples, apricots, dates, various chocolate, and a homemade kombucha spritzer mocktail

homemade tuna salad, organic mini toasts, garlic-herb salami, smoked oysters, mixed nuts, homemade pickles, fermented radishes, locally-grown broccoli & cauliflower, fresh avocado, dates, apricots, locally-grown blackberries & peaches, and a ginger tonic mocktail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{foto friday : cabbage guts}

24 Aug

you know i love this stuff, right?!

sorry if it’s redundant…

sorry, not sorry.

 

{happy (belated) asparagus season!}

18 Jun

i’ve been getting my fill of delicious organic asparagus!

it is a marvelous food to eat in spring because it is very cleansing to the body and blood. asparagus is also in season during the spring, which just further proves how awesome and intelligent nature is! 🙂

i like to enjoy asparagus raw or lightly sautéed in grass-fed butter with a dash of himalayan pink salt and black pepper. sometimes i like to add it to risotto with wild mushrooms. when i lived in the mountains years ago, i had a lot of fun foraging for asparagus because it grows wild on the western slope of colorado. pretty cool, huh?!

a tip for keeping asparagus : treat it like fresh-cut flowers. keep the ends trimmed and leave them in a little water in the fridge until ready to use. 

do you love asparagus? how do you like to prepare yours?

{foodie/foto/flashback friday – spring/garden fever}

9 Mar

seriously, though… is it time to garden, yet?! i am so eager to get out and play in the dirt!

i definitely want to grow some {organic} cabbage again this year!

here’s a little flashback friday for ya : to that ONE i grew last year and turned into delicious sauerkraut!


hope you have a great weekend!

{seriously obsessed with spices}

5 Feb

everyone knows i love to cook.

for the most part, i keep it super simple when making meals. and my philosophy is :

quality in = quality out.

in other words – if you start with good ingredients, you generally end with a good meal…

i have only recently begun experimenting with spices in my cooking. i have been collecting spice jars over the last few years, as i was gypsy-ing around the country… and when i settled in a place i feel at home in, i felt super excited to finally display my spice jars.

i received these cool 3-tiered bamboo spice racks as a christmas gift, and i was so eager to get my spice jars out of the cabinet and onto the counter.

it’s the little things, right?!

something about seeing this beautiful rainbow collection of spices just makes me feel so happy inside. and it’s really been fun to experiment with the different aromas/flavours.

of course, in true audrey michelle form, i alphabetized my spices.

here’s what is in my collection :

  • some kind of awesome spice my friend brought me from argentina 
  • all-spice
  • bay leaves
  • celery seed
  • chives
  • cilantro {homegrown and dried}
  • cinnamon
  • comfrey
  • coriander 
  • cumin
  • curry powder
  • dill {homegrown and dried}
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • herbs de province 
  • kelp 
  • lemon peel 
  • marjoram 
  • nutmeg
  • old bay seasoning (can’t live without it)
  • onion
  • oregano 
  • parsley
  • paprika
  • pickling spices
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • sesame seed (black)
  • salt (black)
  • tarragon (LOVE THIS STUFF!)
  • turmeric
  • saffron 
  • vanilla 

 

 

 

 

{homemade relish with my homegrown cucumbers!}

11 Jul

so, as i mentioned in my last blog – i have harvested well over 200 cucumbers this year from my garden! i wish i would’ve been weighing my harvests, to get more of an idea of yields. however, looking back through the fotos i snapped every time i harvest – it’s safe to say that number is pretty accurate. crazy, right?

anyway, on top of sharing my harvests with neighbors, and consuming a cucumber a day, i also enjoy making pickles and relish with my cucumbers! that’s why i specifically grow the pickling cucumbers. that, and i just think they taste better.

i will share my pickle recipe soon, but for now i want to share this super yummy relish recipe that a good friend of mine passed along to me last year. i love it because it’s very simple and does not have added sugar. the only sweetener is honey and i think it is so well-balanced in flavour. i love add my relish to egg salad or tuna salad. it’s also just good right out of the jar!

homemade pickle relish recipe : 

  • 1.5 pounds {pickling} cucumbers, finely diced {mine was homegrown}
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1.5 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill {mine was homegrown! 🙂}
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp kosher salt {i used himalayan pink salt}
  • 1 tsp celery ceeds
  • 1.5 cornstarch

directions : 

  • in large saucepan, combine all ingredients except cornstarch. simmer over medium-high head until vegetables are tender – about 8-10 minutes.
  • in small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 2-3 tbsp of the cooking liquid until smooth. add to pan and let cook another 3-5 minutes. cool.
  • use canning method to preserve, or store in airtight container, chilled, up to 1 month. also freezes well.

i made a lot more than what is pictured – this jar i gave to my neighbours. 🙂

i also tasted mine before adding the cornstarch. if i needed to increase any of the ingredients, i did. i think i added a little extra honey and vinegar to mine because i had a little more than 1.5 pounds of cucumbers. the key is to start with small amounts… you can always add more. i love the colour it turns out – that’s largely due to the turmeric.

i hope you enjoy this recipe and please do let me know if you ever try it out!

thanks for reading! 🙂

 

{saturdays in the garden : volume seven}

8 Jul

just a little update on the garden… my posts are not in “real time,” as it were… i’m several weeks behind in keeping up with what’s going on, currently.

for example, most of what you see in the following fotos, has been pulled from my plot. we are straight up in the heat of summer here in NC, and my tomatoes are just about all that remain. i pulled up all my broccoli, because i didn’t get it in the ground soon enough and it never formed a head. i harvested one beautiful cabbage that i’m currently making sauerkraut with. my cilantro is done… as is my dill and basil, but i planted more of both. i pulled my kale and planted arugula in its place. and my cucumbers are on their last limb, but i must’ve harvested around 200 of them this season. i have pickles for days! 😉

july will be focused on tomatoes. then in mid august, i will plant more cabbage and cucumbers and perhaps try again for more peas later in the month or toward september. i really enjoy making {and eating} sauerkraut, so i intend to plant a lot more cabbage for fall.

meanwhile, here are some pics of what late may/june were like in my plot :

so pretty and ALIVE!

still fascinated by pea tendrils… and i made lots of pesto with my basil!

oh kale, yeah!

harvest!

my beautiful cabbage! Continue reading

{first asparagus of the season}

9 Mar

asparagus

fresh from the farmer’s market! 🙂

looking at the different shapes of this asparagus, had me thinking similar to when i looked at all those cool seashells

i love asparagus so much and i only eat it when it’s in season.

did you know that asparagus is loaded with fiber and actually aids in cleansing our gut and also offers awesome detoxifying benefits? i think that’s so cool, considering it is in season in spring and that is a perfect time to prep our bodies for cleansing and switching gears to lighter foods. furthermore, asparagus is a natural diuretic… which may be TMI, but hey, it’s just a fact.


on a different note – i’m so ready for the time change and gaining more evening light! i am so super excited to start a garden this year!!

 

{farmers market turmeric root}

6 Jan

 

turmeric-2turmeric

have you ever seen turmeric root like this before?

i was fascinated when i spotted this at my local farmer’s market. when i go to visit, there is one stand in particular that i like to frequent. the lady who owns it is so sweet and always has a ton of good information on her products and she is always willing to answer my and all of my questions. it seems that the prices for produce at farmers’ markets are sometimes half the price of grocery stores or health food markets, which is just another reason why i love to support the farmers!!!

a few other reasons i choose to put my money into farmers markets are as follows : accessibility, freshness, availability, integrity, seasonality, friendliness, knowledge, willingness, and as i mentioned, affordability.

i had never seen turmeric root in this form, and i couldn’t wait to pick some up to take fotos of. sometimes i’ve seen parts of it broken off into larger and smaller pieces, but not in a huge chunk like this. i have been wanting to incorporate turmeric into my diet more frequently, particularly because i have been experiencing some pain in my elbow lately. and as you may know, turmeric is known for having anti-inflammatory properties. i am hoping that by consuming turmeric regularly, the pain in my elbow will substantially subside.

i thought it would be fun to share these fotos of turmeric, since it is so intriguing to look at! check out all the ‘knobs’ and ‘nodules’ and the funny/fascinating shapes it takes on and how it forms that way. i love all root vegetables, and when i find something in its natural state, i get even more excited about it. did you catch that cool post about ginger-root? i just love going to the farmer’s market and i one day hope to have a nice big garden in my backyard, as to grow lots of wonderful food. i basically want to be a farmer.

one of the things i’ve been doing with turmeric lately is making tea, which i am just loving! have you ever tried turmeric tea? i have been wanting to try it for so long now, but as with anything “new,” i tend to get intimidated until i actually just go for it! and i’m so glad i finally did! i made some tea with this beautiful chunk of turmeric, and i loved it so much that i wanted to share the recipe.

you can usually find fresh turmeric at health food stores. or if you have access to one, check at your local farmers market, as well. some of my research has discovered that you can also use the ground spice to make turmeric tea, however i prefer the fresh stuff. it’s definitely more time-consuming, but for me, it’s so worth it. plus, i just love the creative process. having said that, to be even more economical, you could make it with a mix of fresh and dried root.


super simple health-boosting turmeric tea :

turmerictea Continue reading

{baby pineapple!}

30 Nov

check out this cute tiny little pineapple i dropped a whopping five bucks on! haha

babypineapplebabypineapple-4

i have to say, i think i’ve decided that pineapple might be my favourite fruit.

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this one was so adorably cute, i just had to have it!

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i obviously ate the whole thing in one sitting 🙂


pineapple nutrition fun facts :

pineapples are totally loaded with vitamin c – tons of it! they are also high in manganese and fiber. furthermore, they help support a healthy digestive track. pineapples are, somewhat surprisingly, a good source of b-vitamins, as well. and don’t throw out that core! – it’s full of fiber and can be tossed into your blender to make an awesome smoothie!

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{it’s asparagus season!}

20 Apr

asparagusseason!-1

{bloomin’ onion}

16 Apr

food is alive!!!

bloominonion-1bloominonion-2

{mmm… mushrooms!}

8 Dec

shitakes-1

for risotto… nom nom!

{mmm… mirepoix}

8 Dec

mirepoix-1

with a twist… leeks!

{foto friday : “snake melon”}

17 Oct

snakemelon-2snakemelon-1

have you ever seen such a thing?  i sure hadn’t… but thanks to my awesome new job, i have been exploring all kinds of new produce.  this is called a “snake melon” but also formally known as an “armenian cucumber.”  the one i bought looks kind of like a question mark… yeah?

these interesting melons can grow up to 3-feet long!  and did you know that all cucumbers are melons?!  i sure didn’t.  something else new i learned, recently.  makes sense, though – right?!

😉

snakemelon-6

this cucumber was more like a melon, for sure.  had a similar texture to an english cucumber, but with a little less “crispness” and a much sweeter flavour.  not too sweet, but noticeably different than a regular cucumber.  i totally chowed down on some!  i hope you all get the chance to, as well!  😉

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