Sunday, February 14, 2010

Real Food Challenge, Week #2

This week we looked at
Day #8: Fats for High Heat
Day #9: Fight Against GMOs
Day #10: Fats You Shouldn’t Cook
Day #11: Bake Some Sourdough
Day #12: Find Real Milk
Day #13: Get Your Bacteria
Day #14: Happy Valentine’s Day

Fats for High Heat
We usually sautĂ© with butter or olive oil mostly out of habit. According to Nourished Kitchen, neither of these are generally suited to high heat cooking. Our pantry/freezer has beef tallow, ghee, coconut oil, lard, bacon grease, duck fat*, turkey fat, and chicken fat. I should be using one of those to fry my eggs in the morning. We’ll save the butter for putting on vegetables. I posted a note by the stove as a reminder.

Fight Against GMOs
I downloaded the Non-GMO Shopping Guide and posted the link on Facebook.

Fats You Shouldn’t Cook
The assignment is to devise an uncooked recipe using flax oil, olive oil or butter. At this point, I don’t have a need to cook something like this. I’ll look for an opportunity. I have made mayo from olive oil and I have never been happy with the taste. No matter what oil I use, it always tastes like the oil is off. Some perfectly good mayo batches got thrown out because it didn't taste right to me. I want to try making mayo with bacon grease!

Bake Some Sourdough
Gotta skip this one. I'm eating low carb. If I bake it for my family, I’ll end up eating it instead of them. When reading Nourishing Traditions, the grains seem to be the hardest part. I would leave that to last. Maybe that’s why it was in the first week - so we have the whole month to work on it…? I made some awesome low-carb crackers this week. They weren’t organic, but now I have organic ingredients to make them again. The crumbs were a very nice crouton replacement in salads.

Find Real Milk
Saturday I borrowed The Untold Story of Milk from the library. Two weeks ago I joined a co-op which has a drop off in my town twice a month. Raw, grass-fed milk is $7/gallon, which is pretty reasonable. I don’t know how long raw milk will last in my fridge. I’m going to try to buy enough to last until the next drop-off date. I have heard of freezing it, but there’s no room in the freezer. The best part is that it comes in plastic gallons. Most people want it in glass. The raw milk I have tried before was noticeably different, but this milk tastes very much like the whole milk from the grocery store. My kids didn't notice the difference!! This is very important to me! My kids guzzle milk – especially when they are served weird stuff like heart and oxtails. (That was 2 dinners this week.) If milk is going to be a large percentage of their diet, I want to make sure they get the best bang for the buck!

There is another source that I am excited about! My grocery store chain carries a brand called Farmer’s Creamery for $4.97 / half-gallon. This is milk from Amish and Mennonite farmers in Iowa. It is grass-fed, non-homogenized, and low-heat pasteurized. It is the absolute best that can be achieved from a grocery store in Illinois. I still don’t have a good source of other milk products that we love: cheese, cream cheese, sour cream and butter. I think I can get organic versions of some of them. Have you ever read the ingredients on regular cream cheese? It doesn’t look right to me.

I bought some raw cream from the co-op 2 weeks ago. Saturday morning it didn’t taste right and I had to dump my tea. It smelled like cheese. I asked my farmer friend how to use it or culture it. She said it is still good. We figured out I can make salad dressing with it. I added ranch dressing ingredients and it became really awesome!

Get Your Bacteria
Probiotics are getting a lot of good press for preventing illness. I read years ago that if you are faced with the flu, you can take 1 capsule of high-potency probiotics every 30-60 minutes until the diarrhea is gone. Today, one of my friends said her whole house has stomach flu and she thought she was coming down with it. I brought her a bottle that only contained 1 capsule andshe said she felt a little better about 45 minutes later.

Last night I had kimchee and sauerkraut with dinner. They were both from a jar, but I think the kimchee was still alive. The label said not to shake it or it might explode! I plan to make some more sauerkraut soon. I’m looking for a source of organic cabbage.

I just got my hands on 2 sets of kefir grains for milk. One is fermenting 1 quart of Farmer’s Creamery milk right now. The extra set was offered to my church email list. Someone has claimed them. A friend emailed to ask what kefir grains are. She was so interested, I’ll give her some grains when my batch multiplies. Spreading the love…..

Here’s a beautiful quote from “Please accept the real kefir grains as precious living beings. Love them, talk to them, handle them gently, feed them regularly and they will pay you back with your health. When you take loving care about them, they will be with you for the rest of your life and you will be the one who benefited most.”

Pantry update: new additions were sucanat and Real Salt from Utah.

Sunday we went on a winter hike at the local nature center. When it was over, they offered hot chocolate out of a can. Instead, we dragged the kids out of there and made it with organic whole milk and sucanat. (Organic, free trade cocoa is on my shopping list.)

Happy Valentine’s Day
Jim bought me organic flowers and organic, free trade chocolate from a resource he found here. You would think I'd do the same... I gave him a ticket to the Chicago Auto Show and Fannie May Mint Meltaways from the grocery store.

*The duck fat was an awesome xmas gift. My brother-in-law, Bill, roasted 6 (!) ducks on Christmas. I didn't ask if they were organic. Our family celebration was in the party room of his condo complex. The oven there wasn’t working, so he had to take the ducks over to the condo. It caused a delay. We had already eaten the other food when he brought out those gorgeous birds. I saw all the drippings and asked if I could take them home. I poured them into 2 empty 2L bottles. The next day I warmed it all up and separated the drippings from the fat. The drippings are for soup or gravy. It's like homemade bouillon! MMMMMM……


  1. It took me a long time to get used to the flavor of mayonnaise made with straight olive oil - but now I love it. One thing that's a good compromise is bacon mayonnaise (use 1/2 melted bacon fat and 1/2 EVOO). It is incredible. Because the smokiness of the bacon fat is so pronounced, you can't really taste the EVOO (good or bad, depending on your opinion).

    I used Farmers Creamery until I found a cow share, I'm a big fan of them since they make good quality milk accessible to so many more people.

  2. >> No matter what oil I use, it always tastes like the oil is off.

    I had that problem the first several times I tried to make mayo. Is yours also turning out a lot less thick than regular mayo? The two seemed to be related for me: it would be thin to the point that swirls I'd make stirring it with a spoon wouldn't stay like they would with store-bought mayo, and the taste was like the oil had gone bad. When I figured out how to get it nice and thick, the taste improved, too. (But oh the heartache of all the oil and egg I threw out while I was figuring it out!)

    I envy your duck drippings. Mmm. :D