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Grain Silos and Wind Turbines are both common sights in eastern Washington. Loco Steve. Horse Heaven & Shepherds Flat. Used under Creative Commons License From Flickr.

If you live in farm country, you’ve probably seen cement or metal grain silos dotting the landscape. But did you ever think about how all that grain storage actually works? Read the rest of this entry »

Yin Yang Beans - aka calypsoI’ve written on this blog, quite a lot actually, about my love affair with dried beans. I’ve always loved them. Ever since I was a kid eating Navy Bean Soup. Sometimes when I eat at a Mexican restaurant, I’m really just there for the refried beans. And if the beans at a Mexican place AREN’T good? Well, then I tend to steer clear of the place from then on, regardless of how good the rest of the food is. Because if you can’t do justice to this humble staple, how much do you really care about the rest of your offerings? Read the rest of this entry »

Golden Turmeric tea
Golden turmeric tea.

I love following food/health trends. I get a huge kick out of how things come into vogue, and then fall out of vogue. I’ve enjoyed the whole coconut oil and kale trend of the last 5 years (or maybe its been 10. Seems like forever.) I even sometimes poke fun at the million and one things you can do with coconut oil, including remineralize your teeth (um, yeah, not getting on that band wagon, but if it works for you, more power to you).

One of the latest trends is all things turmeric. You can google this spice and read all about its amazing abilities, some of which are actually backed up by real science (anti-inflammatory,  Alzheimer reduction). Used in Indian cuisine, and as part of the ancient practice of Ayurvedic Medicine, its a fairly uncommon spice in the American kitchen, except as part of that 17 year old bottle of curry powder in the back of your cupboard.

But because of its rising popularity, this cousin to ginger is often now available fresh at your local grocery store. Evidently the whole “golden milk latte” trend was started by Gwyneth Paltro on her website Goop (which was almost enough to make me never try it – because Goop is what you get when you have way too much money and way not enough science between your ears).

But I kept seeing the fresh turmeric roots at the grocery store. And with the increasing aches and pains of age and its reputation for being anti-inflammatory, I finally decided to give golden milk a try. My biggest worry, soon put to rest, was that it would taste like liquid curry. It does not.

Recipes vary. A lot. But the three things most have in common are turmeric (fresh or powdered), ginger (fresh or powdered) and black pepper. You’ll often see cinnamon, cardamon, star anise and clove included. I based my recipe off of one from Epicurious. Because yes, even they have gotten on the band wagon. And of course, coconut milk. Because for the love of all things holy, we need more coconut milk. Wink.

You can just throw all of these powdered spices into a hot milk of your choice (cow, nut or otherwise), stir and drink. In fact, you can buy premade mixes that do the combining for you. But the spices don’t tend to stay suspended in the milk, and like hot cocoa, if you don’t keep swirling your mug between sips,  you have a really gritty mouthful at the end. Other recipes have you simmer the whole spices in milk. But who has time to do that on a daily basis? And the milk tends to separate during the long simmering.

So I take the same approach I do with my chai concentrate, and make a turmeric/spice concentrate with water, strain and store in the refrigerator, and then mix it half and half with my milk of choice when I want a mug. The concentrate will store in the fridge for at least 3 or 4 days.

Miles Away Farm Golden Milk Concentrate

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An anti-inflammatory turmeric tea worth sipping.

  • 2 small fresh turmeric roots, skin on, sliced thin (it has a lovely spicy earthy grassy smell)
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger root, skin on, sliced thin
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 4 cups water

Bring mixture to a low simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Short on time? Bring to a boil, turn off heat, and let it seep on the stove until its at room temperature.

Strain and store in the refrigerator.

To make a mug of “golden milk”, use equal measurements of milk of your choice (honestly, I like regular old cows milk) and spice concentrate and heat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove until hot. Stir in a spoonful of canned coconut milk (I just can’t do actual coconut oil here – its just an oil slick on the surface) and sweetener of choice if desired. I prefer honey.

Note: Turmeric STAINS. Which you know if you’ve ever made curry and stirred it with a wooden or rubber spoon. It’s actually used as a natural colorant in soaps. So, be careful not to spill and assume your cutting board will look a little weird after slicing fresh turmeric.

© Miles Away Farm 2018, where we’re miles away from jumping on every band wagon, but think this one might just be worth doing. Turmeric milk is evidently an Indian mother’s equivalent of a Jewish mother’s chicken soup for curing what ails you. And who am I to question mothers! AND, after 9 years, I’m finally able to embed recipes for easy printing. Now to go back and do that to all the ones I’ve written. Ugh.

Bullnose bell peppersSome time ago, on some Facebook group somewhere, the subject of organic certification of food came up. And someone chimed in with something along the lines of, “Organic certification is all big corporate BS anyway, and is meaningless. Don’t even bother.” Sigh. Got to love the negative Nellies who wait with self righteous anticipation for our impending doom. I did my best to educate the naysayer from a farmers perspective, but I’ve have been meaning to write a post about what organic certification really means ever since. My apologies up front. This post is LONG. Read the rest of this entry »

Ginko leaves in fall

Ginko. We love it because its the last remnant of an ancient plant line that has all but died out, but also because of the color and shape of the leaves in the fall.

Well, we’ve had a frost, though not a hard hard one (I still have a few late season paprika peppers hanging on that I blanketed with some agribon). The popcorn was finally harvested. The few winter squash I grew for us (we have a terrible squash bug issue here, so I don’t grow them for market anymore) are tucked away in the garage pantry. The sheep have been let into part of the garden to finish up the green tomatoes. Read the rest of this entry »

Overgrown kohlrabiAre you familiar with kohlrabi? It’s related to cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, which are technically all the same genus/species! It’s most closely related to broccoli in terms of flavor, essentially broccoli with a modified stem that turns into an above ground alien looking bulb. You peel and eat the bulb (though the whole plant is edible), which tastes like a crisp broccoli stem when raw, and mild broccoli when cooked.

A lot of people like kohlrabi raw, just sliced and used in a crudité (ie raw veggie) tray with dip or humus. I know one farmer who eats them like an apple! We personally love them shredded and cooked like hash browns with a bit of parmesan cheese thrown in at the end.

I plant them every spring, mostly because it’s really fun to introduce people to them at farmers market, and you rarely see them in the grocery store. Normally, you harvest them when they are about the size of a baseball/softball.

This year, I had a few that were still small when I was doing my main harvest, and so I didn’t harvest them…and then I ignored them for 3 months. They are now decidedly NOT small, resembling a small football. Kohlrabi can get woody, especially at the base, when allowed to grow large.

But as we move into fall in earnest, I’m craving all things soup and stew, including a broccoli cheese soup we love this time of year. My spring broccoli has long gone to seed, and my fall crop is still tiny and may not make it to harvest before it gets too cold. BUT I still had kohlrabi in the garden. What if I treated it like a potato, peeling and chopping it, and then cooking it until soft and pureeing it? Would that work instead of broccoli in this soup?

Turns out it worked like a charm.

If you DON’T happen to have a giant kohlrabi on hand, feel free to make this with broccoli like a normal human. Grin.

diced kohlrabi for soupKohlrabi (or Broccoli) Cheese Soup

  • 1 1/2 lbs peeled, diced kohlrabi (or chopped broccoli), woody parts removed.
  • 3/4 cup diced onion (or leek)
  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil or ghee
  • 1 cup diced potato
  • 4 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 4 oz grated cheese of choice (the original recipe called for blue or Gorgonzola – I used a pepper jack we had on hand)
  • Half & half or good olive oil for drizzling (optional)

Sauté onions in oil of choice with a good pinch of salt in a large saucepan over medium heat until softened and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add potato, kohlrabi or broccoli, stock, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Bring to a boil, cover, and then turn the heat down to low. Let simmer until the potato and kohlrabi are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Kohlrabi and potato soupStick blend using an immersion blender (or alternately, transfer to a blender in small batches) and blend until smooth. Over low heat, add shredded cheese to soup in small handfuls, stirring between each addition, until cheese is melted and incorporated. Taste for salt.

Serve immediately, with a drizzle of cream or a good olive oil and a grind of fresh pepper.

Bring on fall!

Looking for gifts for the holidays? Here’s where I’ll be. (This information can also be found, in more detail, on the “where to find me” page tab above). Miles Away Farm Holiday Show schedule

© Miles Away Farm 2018, where we’re amazed at how fast our brain and stomach switches from salads to soups as the weather gets cooler, and are surprised at how fast our October calendar is filling up!

 

IMG_20180915_093135923watermarkI didn’t grow as many bell peppers this year as I have in the past. They don’t sell well for me at farmers market, no matter how I have them priced. A fact that utterly baffles me because I love them and they are super nutritious. We eat them fresh in humus and stuffed this time of year, and freeze extras for later and enjoy them all winter.

Did you know that: Read the rest of this entry »

Big harvest heirloom tomatoesAugust. Ugh. I’ve learned to just say no to anything additional in August. Because its hot, and everything I’ve worked since March for is ripe and needs to be harvested. Onions. Potatoes. Seemingly endless cucumbers. Peppers galore. And of course, tomatoes. Lots and lots of heirloom tomatoes. Read the rest of this entry »

Whole30-Timeline-COLOR-SmallerUp until my early 30s, I weighed a ridiculous 105 lbs and could eat pretty much anything I wanted and not gain weight. I was on the low end of normal for the standard body mass index chart. Yeah. It wasn’t fair. But it was kind of awesome.

As I aged (and learned to cook) my weight slowly climbed. By my mid to late 30’s, I’d hit the 120-125  range (really about right for my 5’3″ small boned frame). And by my early 40’s I was between 125 and 130 pretty consistently, with occasional bouts of South Beach dieting or 3 day Detox smoothie resets to reign in the weight gain.

I’ve long had an interest in local food systems and health, and so our diet (I do most of the cooking) has shifted to more and more from-scratch cooking and less and less processed foods over the years, including knowing where our meat comes from. No longer do I look forward to making the Pillsbury pop-n-fresh Cinnamon Rolls on Sunday mornings like I did in my early 20’s. You won’t find boxed mac & cheese in our cupboards or frozen hot pockets in our freezer or fast food wrappers in the car. I literally can’t remember the last time I drank a full sugar soda. So compared to the average American diet, we really were eating pretty “clean” and had been for a very long time.

But this year, my weight hit 135. 135! I’m now officially just a few pounds from officially being overweight. With menopause kicking in full steam, I could no longer ignore the numbers on the scale or the paunch around my middle, despite our generally healthy diet and decent level of activity. And I could definitely not just eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight. My body seemed to hang on to every bread calorie like it might not ever see food again. Read the rest of this entry »

JenHairAug2011

This is my hair in August 2011. Probably the longest it had been in years. There’s probably some off the shelf semi-permanent hair color in there. I can’t remember. The gray is starting to show just a touch.

When I learned to make soap, a whole world of natural DIY products opened up for me. If I can master the chemistry of making soap, what ELSE can I make? Lotion? Toothpaste? Natural Deodorant? Shower Gel? Sugar Scrubs? Lip Balm? The list was almost endless, and I’ve tried a LOT of things. Some of which I continue to make, and sell, and some of which I don’t.

One of the products I no longer make is a true soap shampoo bar. Why you may ask? Isn’t more natural always better? In this case, no. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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