Return of Bean Friday: Bean Broth or “Tuscan Crazy Water”

water means you don’t have to worry about sticking or burning. At the very end, add salt and pepper. Strain the broth from the beans. She notes that the Tuscans dress these beans at the table using salt, pepper, olive oil and maybe vinegar.  I tried it, and it’s fine. Solid. Not super exciting, but healthy and hearty. I served the beans over rice with some of the broth. Another possibility, maybe a better possibility, would be to re...

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Processing and Winnowing Flax

rocessing seeds, but the amortization on that equipment would take years for our tiny garden. A huge mess was made. Good thing Kelly is off camping. In the end I managed to harvest nine ounces of flax seeds. Plans for a flax oil pressing fest were canceled. Meanwhile, as yet unnamed new kitten ponders the absurdity of the world’s smallest flax seed harvest from her pillow perch....

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Our favorite way to cook zucchini

tes like there’s a lot going on, but there’s not.” All you’ve got to do is shred your zucchini up on the large holes of your kitchen grater. Saute the shreds in an uncovered skillet with lots of olive oil and some chopped up garlic, until there’s no water in the pan, and the volume of the zucchini is reduced by about half. This transforms the zukes into a savory, glossy, succulent mush. Maybe that’s not the mo...

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Poached eggs and greens on toast with wildflowers

, hot pepper, etc.–or absolutely plain. At the same time, get some water going for poached eggs. While that’s heating, toast up some nice big slices of bread. Dress that toast how you like–with butter, olive oil, S&P, a rub of garlic, maybe a bit of some gourmet spread you’ve got in the fridge–whatever. (And by the way, just because it’s not part of our plan doesn’t mean that some bacon or ham might...

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DIY Christmas Trees

ctures. Two favorites: 1) The Mountain Dew Christmas tree.  On one hand, I’m appalled to think that somebody actually drank that much soda. On the other hand, the structure is really nice and it looks pretty all lit up: 2) And the hardback book tree, made out of a cut-up book. The cool thing about this one is that the cover stays intact, so you can close it up and store it on your book shelf until next season: Now, I know some people get...

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Bushcraft Video

ike hunting and blacksmithing, but I admire the grit. Here you can learn how to make a lamp out of raccoon fat and crap he scavenges from an abandoned cabin. This project is appealing (???)  to me because it combines homemade oil lamps, which I love, with a more recent interest in novel ways to deal pesky backyard critters. Skunk lamp, anyone? The Pathfinder School also has it’s own reality show–roughly cut footage of their camps and...

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Cornmeal Zucchini Pancakes

ash, but we used green zucchini. Cornmeal Zucchini Pancakes 1 1/4 cup cornmeal 3/4 cup all purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 tablespoon of sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 egg 1 cup of milk 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil 1 cup of grated zucchini, yellow or green, or yellow summer squash 3 tablespoons yellow bell pepper, diced fine (we skipped this) 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion Salsa for serving, homemade or store-bought, optional....

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Supper for a buck?

ans run about $1.50 a pound where we shop. One pound of dry beans makes about 6 cups of cooked beans. That’s a lot of food. I’m not going to try to do the math and add up the costs of the onion and herbs and olive oil I add to the beans. And I surely don’t have the patience to figure out the cost of the salad from our garden (do I have to figure in the mortgage?), but I do know that around this time of year I could forage a sala...

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How do you care for cast iron?

it with soap, just wipe it out with a damp cloth. Never scrub it with a pad or scouring powder. If stuff is stuck to the bottom, soak it, then scrape the residue off  gently with the flat edge of a spatula. If it looks dull, oil it. I know there are whole web sites devoted to the care of cast iron, and these have competing doctrines, especially when it comes to the seasoning process. I don’t have the strength to sort out these arguments,...

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L’hamd markad – Preserved Salted Lemons

ens to pizza. There’s also an expensive condiment you can recreate at home by blending together 2 preserved lemons lemons, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1/4 cup honey, 1 garlic clove, salt and pepper. Blend in some olive oil until it gets the consistency of mayonnaise. Moroccan cuisine makes a lot of sense in Los Angeles as the two places have similar climates and all the stuff that grows in Morocco also grows in Southern California–ol...

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