Thursday, June 9, 2016
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
People often ask for my recipe of pickles. I make them Finnish style, the way I am used to eating them, so here you go!
Fermenting pickles is a little bit more trickier than making sauerkraut or fermenting some other vegetables. Let me tell you the tricks for good pickles that are not mushy!
1. Choose cucumbers that are meant for pickling. They have a hard skin. Choose cucumbers that are firm and as fresh as possible. Use whole cucumbers (smaller often are better) instead of slicing them (that works too).
4. Make the brine. The ratio of salt and water I use is 25 grams per 1 liter of water (I know, you will just have to figure that out! :)). Dissolve salt in the water. Use non-chlorinated water. Chlorine can kill the good bacteria.
5. Place cucumbers and spices, and a source of tannin in layers in a glass jar. I recommend using airlock jars to ensure success. For spices you can use a few whole cloves of garlic, some fresh horse radish, and fresh dill leaves, stalks and flower heads. (A spoonful of mustard seeds are nice too if not on AIP). A source of tannin can be grape leaves, oak leaves, horse radish leaves or even black tea leaves. In Finland they use often fresh black currant and raspberry leaves. I have even used blackberry leaves from my garden.
6. Leave an inch or two of space for the weight to keep the cukes under the brine and for some air space. To keep pickles under the brine, I often use carrot sticks in the opposite direction than the pickles under the weight.
7. Pour brine over the cukes and makes sure they stay under the brine, especially if not using an airlock! Then it is critical to ensure anaerobic conditions and avoid mold etc. harmful growth. Leave a little space before closing the airlock jar. Add some water to the airlock.
8. Put the jar in a dark place and ferment in room temperature for about 10 days. Do not open the jar in between. After 10 days move to the fridge. The pickles should be ready in a few weeks. You can slice one open and if there are still white spots or areas inside, it is not quite ready in my opinion.
Some people check the pH of the brine before moving the cucumbers to the cold. If the pH is less than 4.2, the brine protects the pickles from harmful bacteria growth. Below you can see two jars of pickles ready to ferment. One is with mustard seeds, the other without. Both have dill, one even the dill blossoms and for tannin to this one I added blackberry leaves.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
We often eat our burgers with lettuce wraps (just like the protein style burger at In-N-Out, which by the way if you are in California and have food allergies, you can ask to be plain and "allergy burger" so they are more cautious). Sometimes we eat burgers also with just a salad or with with a side of broccoli but every now and then I make buns which makes the kids especially so happy. I make them to be honest mostly just to hear them say things like: "You make the best hamburger buns in the whole world!" The kids say these paleo (and AIP) buns are the best ever. I have had even non-paleo kids say that they are really good.
Instead of fries I often serve some kind of veggie side. Or serve the veggies as an appetizer as I learnt from my friend. I have noticed if I put the veggies as a side, the kids may leave them on the plate and just eat the burger but if I serve the veggies as an appetizer when they are at their hungriest, before giving the main course, the veggies might disappear quickly. This time the appetizer/side was steamed broccoli with lemon juice from our own lemons. The avocado in the burger adds creaminess without any sauces.
California burgers for four with a side of lemony broccoli1 lb ground beef
Herbamare or salt
1 tbsp tallow or other cooking fat for frying
half a lemon
3 ripe (yellow) plantains or around 4 ripe burro bananas
1 cup arrowroot starch
1/3-1/2 cup water
1/4 cup avocado oil
1 tsp salt
1. Set your oven to 350F.
2. Prepare the batter for the buns: Peel plantains and chop them. Add everything to the blender: the plantains, 1 cup arrowroot starch, 1/3-1/2 cups water (add first the smaller amount but increase if the blender can't mix it), 1 tsp salt and 1/4 cup of avocado oil (you could replace some of this with water). Scoop eight pancake size piles of batter, for instance with the 1/3 cup measuring cup, on 1-2 parchment paper lined cookie sheets or jelly roll pans. Leave some space between as they may spread a little. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.
3. Steam broccoli now so you can serve it as appetizers. Steam in a steamer pot until the fork just goes through, don't let them become mushy. Add a capful of olive oil, sprinkle some Herbamare on them and squeeze half a lemon on them as well.
4. Heat some tallow on medium heat in a cast iron pan (you could also grill the burgers!). Share the pound of ground meat in four pieces, form burgers, salt with Herbamare and fry from both sides until cooked.
5. Cut some avocado slices and get some lettuce from the garden (or your fridge :)) to go with the burgers.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
People sometimes seem to think that Paleo diet consists mostly of meat and it is even criticized because of that. Maybe some people do paleo like that, eating mostly meat and only a little vegetables. Inspired by Dr. Terry Wahls among others (and listening to how my body feels) I try to eat lots and lots of vegetables even though when faced with food intolerances and moving towards paleo diet, I took meat back to my diet. I wanted to post a picture of my vegan paleo plate to show that paleo food can be mostly vegetables.I eat meat but not necessarily at every meal. When I am filling my plate, I fill it with often about 75% vegetables and only about 25% meat or fish. The percentages vary of course and are averages. I do not eat legumes or nuts so I need the meat for protein source but in fact I eat now more vegetables than when I was vegetarian and my meals often consisted of pasta, cheese and vegetables as a small side. I wasn't eating very healthy then. Now vegetables are the main part of the meal.
I have been eating this a lot recently. I created it for a breakfast bowl but it could be eaten for lunch or dinner too. It is delicious and I have even packed it to go. (Once I even ate some when I was stuck in morning traffic on my way to Beverly Hills for work...)
So all you will need is:
- A batch of cooked spaghetti squash which you can prepare in bigger batches ahead of time and just warm it up in the frying pan or microwave. How to prepare spaghetti squash. Add some salt, olive oil and fresh herbs to taste if you like.
- Some fried ground beef or bison. Add salt to taste. You could also use any other leftover meat.
- Sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables
- Sliced olives (check ingredients so they are AIP compatible if following AIP)
- You can also add any leftover salad or veggies or sliced avocado is delicious on it too.
Pur spaghetti squash in the bowl and top it with all the other ingredients. Enjoy!
PS. This would make an excellent camping or travel food too that you could prepare ahead of time and eat cold or find a way to warm it up. Don't heat the fermented veggies though, keep them separate. Heating would destroy beneficial bacteria.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Saturday, May 23, 2015
I am doing some maintenance work in this blog so please be patient with me. It seems like I accidentally sent an old post to subscribers etc... I am learning! :)
Have a magical day!
One thing I would like to try the acupressure for - one day - is the jet lag. We travel to see family in Finland sometimes and the jetlag is always an issue.
Monday, April 27, 2015
Mead (sima) is an essential part of May Day celebrations in Finland. Mead and homemade donuts! That's what a good May Day is made of. We also used to go marching with labor unions and leftist political party people on May Day. It is like our Labor Day. It also is the celebration day of all students. May Day is the celebration of spring. Everyone is outside, celebrating, on the streets and in the parks, there are picnics and general happiness in the air.
- Boil about 1/4 of the water and pour it on the honey with the rest of the water cold to achieve slightly warm water. The honey will melt in it easily and it will be around the right temperature for the yeast. Dry yeast needs the water to be 105-110 Fahrenheit for it to start doing its job.
- Add sliced lemons. You can use oranges instead too if you like. Some people add the juice of the citrus fruit and some peel separately. My parents sliced the fruit so that is what I usually do too. If I am feeling very fancy, I squeeze the juice out and grate the peel and add them separately.
- Cover the container with a napkin or cheese cloth and rubber band, or even a lid, and keep in room temperature for 24 hours. Bottle it and add a few raisins to each bottle. If you have plenty of time, put the bottles in the fridge at this point and sima should be ready in 7 days. If you need your sima to be ready sooner, leave the bottles in room temperature for three days. To avoid the bottles from exploding as the mead ferments, you may want to "burp" them once a day (just open the bottle and close it back up).
- You know your sima is ready when the raisins float on top. Serve with homemade donuts - wait, I have to start working on a paleo version of those.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
I am preparing for a Story Relaxation class I am leading tomorrow for children with their parents. I am going to teach a lot of different ways to use stories, your imagination, touch and guided imagery to relax, be mindful and connect with each other. This is one of the exercises I plan to use. I translated this relaxation exercise from Heike Jung's book that has Massage stories and movement games for children. It is perfect to start the Earth Day week as well! Have a lovely week and keep your feet firmly grounded on the earth!
Relaxation exercise for children