Category Archives: loving life

Pasture Raised Eggs and other goodies on The Whole30

I grew up on a small farm in Northern California. I use the term farm loosely but we did have chickens, a garden and my beautiful  Quarter horses.

We grew( at various times and with various success) potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, melons etc……just enough to feed our large family of 8 kids and two adults.

My favorite breakfast was the delicious free range eggs our chickens provided us with. The yolks of a sunny side up egg looked like bright sunshine on the plate. I loved them scrambled with Vella dry jack cheese and chives from the garden.. makes me hungry to think about it. I still make scrambled eggs that way, just without the  Vella dry jack for now.

If you have to buy eggs at the farmers market or the store it can be very confusing..  Natural eggs?? aren’t they all natural? Organic Eggs? Again the confusion. Is the egg organic or the feed the chicken eats ?

free range?another one that’s really misleading… gets me thinking that the chickens are all running around and getting their pecking order on..but in reality they are probably moved from spot to spot in a portable pen on a small patch of ground.

Here is the deal.. buy pasture raised eggs if you can. That means that the chickens get to roam around freely in a pasture and eat grubs and stuff , as well as any organic feed they might be supplemented with.

But if you can, buy them from a farm that you have checked out yourself.. I get mine from a neighbor friend  who has chickens…. Illegally of course, but without the Rooster strutting around and looking for attention from the hens , it is a pretty quiet enterprise.

I also buy my pasture raised eggs at Whole Foods if I need to.  (like when the snooty neighbor who never eats, let alone an “OMG egg with butter!”, complained about my friends egg business and tried to shut it down)

Pictured is a great simple recipe for breakfast on the Whole30 or just because you want to start your day healthy and satisfied.

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 In order to make this the correct way you need to have Ghee or Clarified butter prepped. Here is the easy way to do that,

The night before... melt 4 sticks( 1 pound) of grass fed organic butter ( I love Strauss dairy) in a medium sauce pan on medium/high heat, let the butter melt completely and turn to simmer. Simmer for 8-10 minutes until it starts to crackle. This is the water evaporating out of the butter. The cream foam will rise to the surface( you may skim off if you like) and you will see the gold liquid start to separate on the bottom of the pan. It is okay to have some brown bits but do not let the butter burn.

note to self…..Do Not get sidetracked by your Instagram while melting the butter!

Turn off the heat and pour the liquid butter into a  small rectangular glass container with a lid. Let it chill overnight in the frig and then in the morning before you cook your breakfast, poke a large hole in the butter and pour off the milky liquid. These are the milk solids that cause burning when you use a pat of unclarified butter in a hot pan!

This clarified butter or simple ghee (There is a slight difference that you can research ) is now ready for the next weeks worth of cooking. I also refrigerate the clarified butter liquid it in a small ice cube tray so that I have  the proper portions already to go.  One cube is perfect for my big saute pan and is about a thumb size of good fat!

Back to the breakfast recipe:

Salsa  poached eggs with spinach and leeks

Ingredients for two servings:

2 portions of clarified butter

4  illegally raised pasture raised eggs

4 cups organic spinach

2 organic leeks, white part only, rinsed clean of sand

1 cup hot ,organic salsa of your choice, If store bought make sure it has no sugar!

salt and pepper to taste

prep the leeks .. cut them in half lengthwise and slice then thinly.

Using a large saute pan, turn on medium heat and pre heat the pan,

Add the butter and let it melt completely.

Add the leeks….. saute them until the start to get crispy edges.

Add the salsa and stir well.

Add the spinach and cook down. It will rapidly reduce in size and water will be created from the spinach leaves.

Crack your eggs over the  top of the spinach mix , sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover with a glass lid to poach the eggs with the steam.Poach the mix for approx. 5 minutes, Until  you see the egg white start to cook and become white.

When the white start to harden flip the mixture over gently.

Cook for three more minutes.

Devour and Have a delicious day!

Grandson in the Garden

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My grandson Jack loves the garden. 19 Months old and he picks herbs and veggies with me. Green juice is something he gulps down with a smile♥

It is never too early to nurture their love for all things yummy that come out of the garden!

Jack and I picked Japanese eggplant, zucchini, tarragon, basil, lemon basil, chives, Italian parsley and fennel flowers that were dripping with pollen. We had to interrupt the very busy bees that were harvesting all of the pollen. I wish I could find their honey hive….

 

Anyway the following recipe is for the fresh multi -herb pesto we made to marinate and grill the veggies with.

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup  fresh lemon basil leaves

1/2 cup fresh tarragon leaves

2 Tsp. fresh Thyme leaves

1/2 c. Italian parsley

1/4 cup chopped chives

4 fennel flowers( if you have them)

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 c. EVOO

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1/2 c. toasted pine nuts

fresh seasonal vegetables

In the bowl of your food processor place the loosely packed herbs, garlic cloves and salt. Process with the pulse speed for 30 seconds, on and off. Add the toasted pine nuts and pulse for an additional 30 seconds, on and off to mix them together. The mixture should be pretty smooth by this time. Add the EVVO and mix for 45 seconds until blended together and no big pieces remain in the bowl. Add more olive oil to taste if you like a smoother consistency.

 

Cut your fresh eggplant and zucchini lengthwise and brush with the pesto mixture. Reserve the extra pesto.

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let this marinate for up to two hours. Place on the hot grill skin side down for 3 minutes, flip and char the other side. Total cooking time is about 7 minutes but watch the vegetables carefully. If you have a veggie basket for your grill then use that. It makes it really easy.

I like to toss up whole wheat pasta with the leftover pesto and grate some Asiago over it, maybe add some chopped garden fresh tomatoes. Delish!

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Farm to Fork Cooking Class

We had a great time cooking together at my first Farm to Fork cooking class at The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. By we  I mean this crazy, delicious group of people. Thank you to all of you who attended. I had a great time sharing the kitchen and garden with you.

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The Ecology Center is founded and run by Evan Marks and if you live locally than you need to visit. Check them out at http://www.theecologycenter.org

It is located right next to South Coast Organic farm so you can fill your Veggie basket at the same time!

Anna Maria making pasta like a pro!
Anna Maria making pasta like a pro!

Join us if you can on June 20. We will be heating up the cobb oven and making fresh pizza, crust dough courtesy of Chris Blank, a local home baker . I will be instructing on three different sauces to top them off.

We would love to have you join us so go to the ecology center website for info. Pizza and wine, joined together with fellow foodies make for a great Thursday night!

Stay delicious..

Have a delectable day !

Inspired by the abundance of my garden, the enthusiastic wag of Rowdy’s tail and an overflowing grateful heart this morning ………

Whatever the seasoning,Whatever the dish, Whatever the occasion, do it Generously and with Love, for that in the end is what the Shared experience of cooking and eating is all about.

Elizabeth Rozin, 20th Century writer ( and eater obviously)

Make your day delicious !

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