Spiced Fennel + Chive Filled Chapati

I’ve been thinking about spicy chapati covered in salt and melted ghee. Maybe it’s the snow and rain we’ve had this week, or maybe it’s the sunshine we have now and the miraculous survival and growth of the greens in our garden that were covered in snow and frozen for days during the last few storms, barely, yet adequately protected by their row cover. These are lemony, crispy, satisfying envelopes of spiced fennel and chives and the addition of fried apples and fried parsley (two of my favorite things) and yogurt makes them beautiful and well rounded. I originally ate these for dinner with ground lamb, and for the lunch the next day with a simple garden side salad. The ghee-fried apples are equally tasty for dessert, again with yogurt and the addition of cinnamon.

Spiced Fennel + Chive Filled Chapati

Chapati dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sprouted whole wheat flour
½ tsp Himalyan sea salt
¾ cup ghee, melted
Method:
1. Stir together the flour, salt and ½ cup water until the mix comes loosely together, then transfer to a work surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until the dough is cohesive and smooth.
2. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, roll into balls, then place in a dish and cover with the melted ghee and allow to rest, covered, for 2 hours or so. Prepare the spice mix, fennel and toppings while the dough rests.
3. Roll the dough into squares. Rubbing a little more ghee on the surface and fill with the spiced fennel and chives. Fold the square closed at the sides and then top and bottom to seal in the filling. It helps to use a little ghee to help seal the pockets.
4. Heat a large cast iron and add half of the leftover ghee. Fry the chapati squares until they are crisp and browned on each side, adding ghee as needed and working in batches to avoid overcrowding.
5. Once all the chapati’s are fried, throw the sliced apples and parsley into the hot, sizzling ghee. Season with salt and a squeeze of lemon and fry until slightly browned and crispy.
6. Serve the chapati with the fried apples and parsley, whole milk yogurt, a simple side salad, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

Spice mix
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cracked cumin seeds
6 cloves minced garlic
1 inch minced ginger
Method:
1. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the coriander and cumin seeds, then add the rest of the spices and stir to combine.

Fennel + Chives
1 fennel sliced thin
1 bunch chives, chopped
Olive oil or ghee
Himalayan sea salt
Lemon
Method:
1. Heat a cast iron to medium-high and add oil or ghee to the pan. Add the fennel and chives, salt to taste and squeeze lemon juice on top.
2. Cook until the fennel is softened, and both the fennel and chives are slightly crisped. Move the fennel and chives to the side of the pan and add a little more oil or ghee. Bloom the spice mix in this part of the pan until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, then stir it into the fennel-chives.
3. Remove from heat.

Toppings:
1 apple thinly sliced
1 bunch parsley coarsely chopped
Whole milk plain yogurt
Method: see step 5-6 in the chapati dough recipe.




Tribute: Mary Oliver

“Teach the children. We don’t matter so much, but the children do. Show them daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen. The lives of the blue sailors, mallow, sunbursts, the moccasin flowers. And the frisky ones–inkberry, lamb’s quarters, blueberries. And the aromatic ones–rosemary, oregano. Give them peppermint to put in their pockets as they go to school. Give them the fields and the woods and the possibility of the world salvaged from the lords of profit. Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms

Attention is the beginning of devotion.

Mary Oliver, Upstream

Salmon Hand Rolls with Spicy Kimchi and Kumquats

My baby slept well last night, so naturally, I was awake and thinking about breakfast while it was still dark outside. It reminded me of the early days, when he was a newborn and the birds would sing in the spring around 4 or 5 in the morning and I would think, I made it through another night, and I would be so excited for the sun to come up. The birds brought the dawn and the sun followed and made me feel awake and capable, and as the sun went down, I thought about the birds and how their song would comfort me and remind me the sun was coming.

Now, my baby sleeps (usually), but I still wake up sometimes in these dark pre-dawn moments and it’s winter so the birds aren’t singing yet, but thoughts about my morning coffee and what to make for breakfast today provide me with the same comfort and same excitement when the sun comes up and the day officially begins.

When the sun came up today, I made these salmon hand rolls. If you can find kumquats and a good quality, spicy kimchi, they add the requisite sweet, spicy, and sour these hand rolls depend on for tastiness beyond the ordinary. I thoroughly enjoyed eating these for breakfast, as did my little man who appears to especially enjoy the feeling, sensation and surprise of salmon roe in his mouth.

Salmon Hand Rolls with Kimchi and Kumquats

Several sheets of Nori, cut in half
1 filet of salmon (6 oz.)
1 meyer lemon
5 kumquats, thinly sliced
Kimchi, thinly sliced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 handful of arugula
Greek yogurt
Salmon Roe
Togarashi
Ghee
Sea salt

Method:

  1. Mise en place! Prepare your ingredients so you can get rolling. Your station will include: cooked salmon, sliced kimchi, avocado, Greek yogurt, salmon roe, togarashi and arugula.
  2. Heat a cast iron to medium and add a spoonful of ghee. Season the filet of salmon with salt and a generous squeeze of lemon and cook for a few minutes on each side. Medium-low and slow works well for salmon and I always turn the heat off before it’s done so it doesn’t dry out and overcook.
  3. During the last few minutes of cooking, throw the sliced kumquats into the cast iron and cook until the salmon is finished.
  4. With two forks, gently flake the fish apart in the pan, mixing in the juices and kumquats.
  5. Lay out the nori sheet horizontally and place the fillings on the left mid-upper quadrant. Carefully tuck the outer edge under the ingredients and roll into a cone. I am not an expert hand roller and a quick google search about how to roll one is better than any text instructions I can offer.
  6. Eat the hand roll right away. Alternatively, set out all of the ingredients and let people roll their own and serve with a side salad of arugula dressed simply with olive oil and more sliced kumquats.

Sourcing: My wild salmon filet and roe came from Loki Fish Co., meyer lemon and kumquats from the food coop, arugula from my garden, Greek yogurt from Straus, kimchi from Mother in Laws, and togarashi from Healdsburg Shed.

Sprouted Pecan, Coconut & Cacao Granola

This is a delightful granola recipe that you can add or substitute any number of nuts, seeds, or dried fruit. I especially love the chopped ginger, it adds spice and crunch and unexpected subtle heat and dimension as do the cacao nibs. You can adjust the amount of ghee, or add olive oil and sesame seeds and take this granola in a more savory direction, or even add chopped fresh turmeric along with the fresh ginger. You could use honey or coconut palm sugar instead of maple syrup and eat the granola with your favorite milk, yogurt, kefir, ice cream, or smoothie. Granola is versatile indeed.

Sprouted Pecan, Coconut & Cacao Granola

1 ½ cups pecans
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup raw cacao nibs
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
¼ cup dried currants
½ cup ghee
¼ maple syrup
½ tsp sea salt
½ vanilla powder

Method

  1. Soak the pecans and pumpkin seeds (separately) in a few cups of water for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250F.
  3. Drain and discard the soaking water and gently pat the pecans and pumpkin seeds dry. Gently melt the ghee and mix in the maple syrup, then add the salt and vanilla powder. Mix the pecans, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, coconut, and chia seeds together in a large bowl and pour the ghee-maple syrup blend on top. Stir to evenly coat and spread the mix on a large baking sheet.
  4. Bake the granola low and slow for around 1 ½ – 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Halfway through, add the chopped ginger. When the granola is done cooking the coconut flakes should be lightly browned. Add the dried currants and store in mason jars in the refrigerator or freezer.

Grass-Fed Beef Chuck Roast Barbacoa Style

I’ve been experimenting with chuck roast for a few years because we always get so many cuts when we harvest our cows. I made this version for Mr. Bob Hammer’s birthday bash and it was a hit through and through. Spicy, rich, salty, shredded chuck roast that is ready to pair with roasted squash, or thrown in a handmade tortilla, this preparation is satisfying on a cold winter day. I measure the true success of my meaty dishes by my oldest brother’s enthusiasm level and intake. It’s fair to say he ate an impressive quantity of this dish with obvious vocalizations of joy. Thanks for the parameter of tastiness, Nick.

Grass-fed Beef Chuck Roast Barbacoa Style
1 3-4 lb grass-fed chuck roast, bone in
Sea salt
Pepper

Barbacoa Sauce
8-10 dried chili peppers, I used a mix of 3 chipotle, 1 cayenne, 5 guajillo.
2 tablespoons maple syrup
I can organic, peeled tomatoes (28 oz)
1 tablespoon cumin seed
2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves
1 in season orange, mandarin, or another citrus, sliced

Method:

  1. Generously salt the chuck roast as many hours in advance as possible. Let the chuck come to room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting. During this time, make the sauce.
  2. Heat a large cast iron and place the dried peppers in the hot pan until slightly blackened. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with warm water. Toast the cumin seeds in the cast iron until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Place the garlic, cumin, maple syrup, tomatoes, vinegar, and 2 tsp sea salt in a blender. After the peppers have rehydrated for 10 minutes, toss them in the blender with the soaking water and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness and saltiness as desired, but keep in mind this sauce will cook down, so be careful not to over salt.
  4. Turn the oven to 450F. When the oven is preheated, place the chuck roast in the oven and roast for around 10 minutes to slightly brown.
  5. Take the roast out of the oven and turn it down to 350F.
  6. Pour the sauce over the chuck roast, and cover with aluminum foil. Roast the chuck for 2-3 hours.
  7. Take the roast out of the oven and shred with a fork and knife. Pour the sauce into a separate saucepan and add the orange slices. Ladle a few ladlefulls of sauce over the meat and place back in the oven uncovered. Reduce the sauce on medium-low in the saucepan while the meat continues to caramelize and brown for another 20 minutes or so.
  8. Serve the barbacoa in tacos like we did on Bob’s birthday, or eat it ladled over roasted butternut or other squash with winter greens, yogurt and extra sauce spooned on top.

The Pleasures of Eating

The Pleasures of Eating: “I mentioned earlier the politics, esthetics, and ethics of food. But to speak of the pleasure of eating is to go beyond those categories. Eating with the fullest pleasure – pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance – is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.”
Full essay from What are people for? by Wendell Berry

It’s this time of year, during the transition from summer to fall, that the best thing to do is cook the bounty over hot flames.

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