Bean Fest, Episode 4: Frijoles Refritos

...into a sort of bean gravy.  Don’t worry if that’s true for you–don’t worry about any of it. Refritos are so easy to make its impossible to go wrong. Keep reading. Just get yourself a big frying pan. Heat up a couple tablespoons of oil or fat of your choice in the bottom. Add a good quantity of minced onion. (I used 1/2 an onion for 3 cups of beans). Saute until the onion turns translucent. Then add in a clove or two of mi...

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Fabulous Postcards from HenCam

...ee lovely sets of postcard books based on antique photos of people with animals. One set is people and chickens, the second is people with other livestock, and the third in people and their dogs. (She promises she’s trying for a cat collection, but it seems kitties were a little too sly for early cameras, making good pictures (as opposed to cat-shaped blurs) hard to find.) She tells us she spent two years collecting pictures for these colle...

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The Lament of the Baker’s Wife

...of which, if Armageddon does arrive, you know what that means? Pizza Party at Root Simple!!! Woot! We could feed the neighborhood for a month. Those are 50 lb bags. They are propped against 5 gallon buckets. A five gallon bucket holds about 30 pounds of flour. I think we’ve got at least 200 lbs of flour piled up here. And where will it all go eventually? Straight to my hips, sweetheart! And I know I shouldn’t complain. “We have...

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Eight Things to Consider When Saving Vegetable Seeds

The directions for seed saving in our last book, Making It, almost got cut. Perhaps we should have just changed those directions to “Why it’s OK to buy seeds.” The fact is that it’s not easy to save the seeds of many vegetables thanks to the hard work of our bee friends. That being said, Shannon Carmody of Seed Saver’s Exchange gave a lecture at this year’s Heirloom Exposition with some tip...

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Cat Litter Compost, Installment #3

...gh room to wield a shovel comfortably. 2) A big pile is a good pile. While I made this work in a 50 gallon drum, the best compost comes from a bin which is about 1 cubic meter/yard in size. Smaller bins just don’t heat up sufficiently, and are invariably pokey and hard to work with. If you want to do this, do it big. 3) Careful with the litter you choose. Not many litters make the grade. You can’t use clay litter, or any litter made w...

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An update on Phoebe

...fering tonight, fighting for air. Now we are home with our other two cats, Trout and Buck, collectively known as the boys. Compared to them, Phoebe is a silent shadow, the most invisible of cats. Yet tonight, the house seems quiet and empty, even though the boys are galloping around in circles like idiots, yowling, like they always do this time of night. Without us realizing it, Phoebe quietly filled up a big space in our house. It’s the sa...

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Can Whole Wheat Solve the Wheat Allergy Problem?

...e kernel. Ponsford claims that many people who have wheat allergies have been able to eat his baked goods due to the use of whole wheat flours. Ponsford, through his bakery and his classes for amateur bakers, is showing how tasty baked goods can be that are made from real whole wheat flour. But it’s tricky. High extraction whole wheat flours are a lot less uniform than white flours. And they suck up a lot of water when you use them for maki...

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Stern Sprouted Wheat Vegan Cookie or Health Bar Type Things

...Then let it sit around at room temperature. Give it a rinse every morning and every night until it sprouts. Toss it around a bit so it aerates. Wheat will sprout in 24- 36 hours, depending on temperatures. I should pause here to point out that since this all happens at room temperature, you want to be careful about cleanliness. Keep your hands and tools and containers very clean. Don’t let the sprouts get too long (i.e. too old)  when makin...

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Recipe for the World’s Best Whole Wheat Pancake

...wn flour. Ferment for a long time with a sourdough starter. The heirloom grain I used is Sonora wheat, probably the oldest wheat in the Americas. It’s a soft, winter wheat traditionally used for tortillas. Recipe (based on Nancy Silverton’s pancakes) 210 grams starter 2 tablespoons maple syrup 3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil 2 eggs 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder The night before making th...

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2013 in Review Part I

...rs ago: hire a personal trainer to set up a gym program tailored to my needs and weaknesses. After many hours at the YMCA I’ve got PT syndrome under control but I’ve still got a lot of work to do. Thankfully, I’m back to running and fencing. February In February in Los Angeles it should rain. It didn’t. The year was the driest on record: 3.6 inches, making it a desert not the Mediterranean climate it should be. It seems t...

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