How to Make Soba Noodles

Last month I took an amazing class with author and chef Sonoko Sakai on how to make soba noodles by hand. She’s a great teacher and I managed to make a halfway decent couple of servings of noodles during the class. Like many Japanese arts, soba making has a series of very precise steps. The recipe itself is simple (just buckwheat flour and water), though you do have to pay close attention to the temperature and humidity in the room. Whil...

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Everlasting Flower for Colds

...and try it out and let me know what you think. How to make the tea: Add as many dried flower heads as will fill the hollow of your palm (7 or so? A very modest amount–Cecelia was adamant about that) to 1 cup of boiling water. Cover the cup and let it sit for 10 minutes or so–a good long steep.  It doesn’t taste bad. It does have the curious effect of sort of drying out the back of my throat–but not so much that it’s...

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New Zealand Spinach is the New . . . Spinach

Spotted in a neglected corner of our backyard: New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides). What’s interesting is that it self-seeded and grew with no supplemental water in the middle of summer in lead and zinc contaminated soil.  We’ve never been able to grow regular (and unrelated) spinach here. But there’s no stopping the New Zealand spinach. Due to the heavy metal problem we won’t be eating this particular specim...

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How To Ice Glaze Fish

...tment. You dip fatty fish in an ascorbic acid solution. Lean fish are pretreated in a brine. Once treated, you then put the fish in the freezer. Once frozen solid, you take them out of the freezer and dip them in ice water and put them back in the freezer. You repeat this process until there is a thin later of ice around the fish. Alternately, you can use a lemon-gelatin glaze. Full instructions for ice and gelatin glazing can be found o...

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Dr. Chase, 19th Century Mixologist

...n until all is intimately mixed, and bottle for use . . . A rounding tablespoon can be done up in a paper and carried convenently in the pocket when persons are going into out-of-the-way places, and added to half pint of cold water.” And, should all the sugar so loved in the 19th century rot out your teeth, Dr. Chase is kind enough to provide instructions on how to extract your own teeth with, “little or no pain.”...

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Comopost, Compost, Compost

As if I didn’t need a reminder of how important compost is to a vegetable garden, note the tomato above. It’s on its way out, but it grew with no supplemental water in hard-packed clay soil contaminated with lead and zinc in a hot side yard. Why did it do well while the rest of my vegetable garden did not do as so good this summer? Homemade compost. I didn’t have enough compost for the rest of the veggie garden so I bought som...

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The Return of the Paper Collar?

During the summertime in the warm climate we live in I often find myself wishing for the return of the paper collar. What better way to deal with ring around the collar than to just throw out the old collar and put on a new one? I have a theory (unproven, admittedly) that using paper collars would have less environmental impact than all the water and detergents we use to scrub out ring around the collar. Of course, the best solution would be to...

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Radical Beekeeper Michael Thiele Ventures Into New Territory

...chance to try this technique just after the lecture. I walked over to a display by the local county beekeeping association (that Thiele would probably be horrified by) that included a hive in Langstroth boxes being fed sugar water and kept within a mosquito netted tent. Somehow there must have been a gap in the tent and a very pissed off bee landed in my hair. I did exactly as Thiele said–I relaxed and imagined the bien. The bee crawled ou...

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Fermenting culture wih Sandor Katz

...but which I think we’ll have to blog on soon. Thank god someone is studying this stuff!  He said they’re really bringing to the fore our deep and intimate relationship with bacteria. • Because we drink chlorinated water and antibiotics are so grievously overused, we need to consciously replenish and diversify the bacteria in our guts by eating living foods like fermented vegetables and yogurt. • Lacto-fermenting vegetables is a very s...

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