Rose Petal Rice Pudding
1 tablespoon packed fresh rose petals, or 1 teaspoon dried
½ cup hot water
1 cup cold water
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon butter
2 tablespoons dried rose petals (in tea strainers)
2 cups milk
Two 2-inch cinnamon sticks
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the cold water, rice, salt, and butter and place over high heat. Bring to a light boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the rice is mostly cooked, 15 to 20 minutes. Add more water if necessary. Set aside.
In another medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, rose petals in strainers, cinnamon, and sugar and place over high heat. Bring to a low simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until fragrant and the sugar is dissolved, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the rice mixture into the milk mixture and increase the heat to medium. Strain the reserved rose petal tea into the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the desired consistency is reached, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract and remove the cinnamon sticks. The finished pudding can be served hot or chilled. (Makes six to eight 1/2-cup servings.)
Making Simple Upcycled Mittens from Out-of-Use Sweaters
Note: Use the bottom hemline or the cuffs of the sweater as the bottom edge of your mittens. This way the edges will be finished already, with no extra sewing required. Even better, if the hemline or cuffs are ribbed, the edge of your finished piece will have a nice stretch that allows for a good, close fit without being restrictive.
Makes 6 (5” X 3”) or 2 (9 ½” X 4 ¾”) loaves
The above recipe card is available as a free download to print at home. Includes both 3" by 5" & 4" by 6" formats.
3 pounds of dried (not candied) fruit, a combination of your favorites
½ pound nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds)
½ cup dark rum, or peach brandy
½ pound butter, room temperature
½ pound unrefined sugar
2 cups unbleached flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
oil for greasing pans, parchment paper
½ cup milk
½–1 cup dark rum, or peach brandy to brush on finished loaves
Rich Winter Herbal Hot Cocoa
The combination of bitter dandelion root and silky chocolate is enlivening and restorative. This recipe calls for 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar, which is just enough to take the edge off the natural bitter flavor; try using beet sugar, sucanat, or even molasses. Since you’re using powders here, there is no steeping time required.
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
1 recipe of your favorite (2-crust) butter pie crust
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick (1/2 cup) fresh unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (recommended: Maldon sea salt flakes)
apple pie filling
4 to 6 lemons
5 to 6 medium to large apples (Baker's Note: A mixture of Crispin, Granny Smith and Cortland is nice)
apple spice mix
1/3 cup raw sugar (castor, unrefined, large granule sugar)
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
for the assembly
1 egg beaten
raw sugar, for sprinkling on top
1 teaspoon sea salt (flake)
special equipment: mandolin for slicing and a pastry brush
To make the pie crust:
1. Prepare one 2-crust batch of your favorite all-butter pie crust. Roll the bottom crust to fit a 9-inch pan, and cut the top crust as a lattice, approximately 1-inch in width or as desired. Chill the rolled crust while you prepare the salted caramel and apple filling.
To make the salted caramel:
1. Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil.
2. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper. Cook's Note: This process can take a while depending on the heat source. Keep an eye on it, if the caramel begins to smoke, you've burned it and you'll have to start over.
3. Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove it from the heat and immediately add the heavy cream - the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam. Be cautious as the sugar will be very hot.
4. Whisk the final mixture together well over low heat and sprinkle in the sea salt. Set the caramel aside while you prepare the apple filling.
To make the apple filling:
1. Juice the lemons into a large mixing bowl. Core, peel, and thinly slice the whole apples. Cook's Note: A mandolin works great for producing very thin slices.
2. Dredge all the apple slices in the freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent browning and to add flavor. Set the prepared apples aside.
To make the apple spice mix:
1. In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and Angostura bitters. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices.
To assemble the pie:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on the hotness of your oven).
2. Gather your rolled pie crust, salted caramel, and apple mixture. Begin by layering 1/3 of the apples in the bottom of the crust so that there are minimal gaps. Pour 1/3 of the caramel over the apples.
3. Add 1/3 of the apples and caramel for a second layer, and then add a third layer of apples and then the caramel again. Cook's Note: Save a small portion of the caramel to pour on top once the lattice is assembled.
4. Assemble the lattice crust and flute the edges of the crust. Pour the last bit of caramel on top. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with raw sugar and sea salt.
5. Bake the pie on a baking sheet larger than the pie pan for 20 minutes (otherwise the caramel will bubble over and burn on the bottom of your oven). Reduce the oven temperature to 325 to 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. You can test the apples for doneness with a long toothpick or small knife. The apples should be just soft.
6. Let the pie cool, then slice and enjoy.
Sausage, Kale & Potato Casserole
Warm and hearty, this is the sort of comfort food you want to turn to when the mercury dips. It can be made gluten-free by simply replacing the all purpose flour with a gluten-free option mix. Serves 6 to 8.
2 pounds sausage links (such as bratwurst)
1 onion, diced
2 large bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half or milk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 pounds white potatoes, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Liberally butter a 9 × 13-inch casserole dish and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage links and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on the outside and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
3. Return the pan to the heat and add the diced onion. Add more olive oil if necessary. Sauté the onions for five 5 minutes, then add the kale. Cook for 5 more minutes.
4. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a separate large saucepan. Add the flour and cook, whisking continuously, until beige and bubbly, about 1 minute. Whisk in the half-and-half and cook, stirring continuously, until fully incorporated and hot, about 1 minute.
5. Add the Worcestershire sauce, about two-thirds of the cheddar, and half of the Parmesan and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat.
6. Lay half of the white potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Layer half of the sweet potatoes over that, and sprinkle with another pinch of salt and black pepper. Spoon half of the cheese sauce evenly over the layered potatoes. Cut the cooked sausage into ¼-inch slices, and layer half of them the slices over the cheese sauce. Layer half of the kale-onion mixture over the sausage.
7. Repeat this process for the remaining white potatoes, sweet potatoes, cheese sauce, sausage slices, and onion-kale mixture. Top with the remaining grated cheddar and Parmesan.
8. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until cooked through and browned on top. Allow the casserole to sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Curried Purple Cabbage and Sweet Potato Soup
Serves 3 to 4
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium-to-large head of purple cabbage, chopped
5 to 6 garlic cloves
2 cups chopped sweet potato
One 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the coconut oil and let it melt. Add the celery and onion and cook until soft and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and garlic and sauté until the cabbage is wilted and the garlic is browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the sweet potato, coconut milk, vegetable broth, curry, thyme, and cayenne, if using. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and allow the soup to cook until the sweet potato is soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve.
Spiced Winter Squash and Pecan Tea Bread
This sweet bread, scented with warming spices, is an ideal companion on a frosty day. Slather it with soft butter or, even better, cream cheese for a yummy treat. I make this bread with red kuri, but any winter squash is fine. Makes one 9"x5" loaf.
1) Begin by roasting the squash. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the squash down the middle, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
2) Place the squash cut side down on a lightly-oiled baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour or until soft. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool for a few minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
3) Butter a 9"x 5" bread pan. Set aside.
4) Once the squash has cooled, scoop the flesh out of the skin and place in a food processor. Puree for several minutes until smooth. Alternatively, mash by hand with a potato masher.
5) Combine the flour, baking power, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk briefly to mix.
6) In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. This can be done with either an electric mixer or by hand.
7) Add the eggs, one at a time.
8) Add the vanilla extract and the squash puree and mix well.
9) Add the flour mixture in two parts and mix gently. Fold in the pecans.
10) Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Smooth top with a spatula. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
Strip back whatever’s on top of the ground—plants, leaves, gravel, even concrete—and what will you find? Soil. Soil, a single word. As if a single word could even begin to describe the immensity of what is happening right beneath our feet: a dance of microbial and fungal life in a sea of nutrients and minerals. All of this taking place in discrete layers, each defined by their different physical, chemical and mineral properties.
Interestingly, soil scientists refer to each layer as a horizon. Isn’t that perfect? Dig into the ground and what do you find? A horizon. Dig deeper. Another layer. Another horizon.
Isn’t it the same when we look into ourselves? Scratch back a layer of what you thought was yourself and what do you find? Another layer. Another horizon.
We talk of broadening our horizons, meaning to expand our abilities and understanding. The usual interpretation of this metaphor would be to look outward to gain this capacity. But perhaps there exists another interpretation. Could it be that by looking inward, by uncovering accreted material lain down through our lives, we could find a core of true understanding and openness—our essential natures?
This is not to say that we need dispense with all of our layers: the rich humus and topsoil where our relations with others occur or the protective layers where we preserve and filter our inner private life. It is rather to suggest that by visualizing the anatomy of our selves like that of soil depicted above, we may cultivate for ourselves lives of greater vitality and depth, grounded to bedrock.
—Jason Miller, Taproot Issue 1::SOIL
(In an effort to learn more about her husband’s farming roots, Brooklyn illustrator Julia Rothman dove into the world of farming manuals and guides. The result is her book Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life – a collection of whimsical illustrated charts covering the wide spectrum of farm life – from a dandelion wine recipe, to chicken comb styles, squash varieties and everything in between. The book’s colorful pages are a treat for the eyes of young and old farmers alike. This illustration is excerpted from the book, text and illustrations copyright Julia Rothman, used with permission from Storey Publishing.)