Three Wisconsin women farmers battle to legalize sale of home-baked goods

In this Deep Roots Radio interview, Lisa Kivirist describes the multi-year battle to legalize the sale of home-baked goods in the state Wisconsin. The Badger state has been one of only two in the entire country that has not permitted the sale of home-baked muffins, cookies and breads.
Lisa is one of three women farmers who sued the state in this effort, and recently won a state Judge’s declaration that the ban against the sale of home-baked goods is unconstitutional.Her sister champions in this effort are Dela Ends (Scotch Hill Farm) and Kriss Marion (Circle M Farm and Bed & Breakfast).
Lisa is an assertive champion of women farmers and their ability to build their farm-based businesses. The author of several books on eco-entrepreneurship, she and her husband run the award-winning Inn Serendipity Farm and Bread and Breakfast in southern Wisconsin.
I hope you enjoy this lively interview.
Sylvia

French sourdough boules

Ya gotta have heart!!

Americans love their flame grilled steaks, simmering pot roasts, and juicy burgers. But what about the rest of that 100% grass-fed steer? What do you do with the heart, liver, tongue, oxtail, shank bones and other lesser known cuts? Today, we’ll focus on the heart because it can become a favorite.
The heart of a full-grown beef steer can weight four or five pounds.It’s the most lean cut of meat in the cow. It’s also a muscle that’s worked constantly since conception. Lack of fat and constant use can make any muscle tough if not cooked correctly. Fortunately, there’s a great recipe and approach that makes for a luscious stew of tender morsals.
I adapted this recipe from Jennifer McLagan’s “Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal.” I’ve tapped the unique cooking powers of a stove-top pressure cooker to yield tender beef and a savory sauce. It’s a hearty meal when served over hot rice and with a side of steamed carrots. I washed my dinner down with home-brewed kombucha.

Moroccan beef heart stew with brown rice and home-fermented kimchi.

Moroccan beef heart stew with brown rice and home-fermented kimchi.

Here’s a recipe for a 4 lb. heart. If you have a cut of heart that’s smaller, simply reduce the other ingredients proportionally. Or, you can make the full recipe for the sauce – it’s delicious on eggs, polenta, rice or baked potatoes. Here’s the recipe:
Braised Heart

Audio

Chefs for sustainable food – James Beard Foundation VP Kris Moon on the new Impact Programs

We all know that chefs can cook, some of them extraordinarily. And we know that what they cook can reflect and flavor local culture. But did you know our chefs can – and increasingly do – play a role in redesigning a more sustainable, healthful food system in America?
I really enjoyed this conversation with Kris Moon, Vice President of the James Beard Foundation because the foundation’s Impact Programs spotlight and promote chef-led efforts to rebuild a more nutritious and regionally-sourced food system in our country.
Experienced and trained in restaurant management, nutrition and major networking events, Moon is leading programs true to the values and heart of the foundation’s namesake, James Beard – the chef and cookbook author who was lovingly regarded as “America’s favorite chef.”
I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio conversation.
Sylvia

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how its grown

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how its grown

Hearth breads made with poolish. Say, what?

Why is it that the hearth breads taste so good? Why do they have those wonderful brown crusts that crunch and shatter when you bite into them? And those holes! When you slice or tear them, their interiors are filled with large glossy holes perfect for holding butter and olive oil and tapenades. Why can’t you make them at home? Do you really need a wood-fired oven?

Hold on…let’s get rid of the myth first. You can bake hearth breads in your home oven. It’s not rocket science, but like anything worthwhile, hearth baking takes a bit of planning and time. Fortunately, however, you’re not chained to your kitchen. On the contrary; you use time, temperature and wet doughs to bend the bread-making process to fit into your schedule.
One strategy is using a pre-ferment – a portion of the total dough that’s mixed hours ahead of the bake. Why? Because a long contact between the water and flour helps free up more of the starches, sugars and proteins that help create great flavor. A pre-ferment also gives the loaf a longer shelf life.
One type of pre-ferment is called a poolish. (Some bread experts believe the term is of Polish origin, hence the name.)

Easy to make poolish starter (pre-ferment)

Easy to make poolish starter (pre-ferment)

It’s an easy-to-make batter made with flour, water and a tiny bit of yeast. You make it 4-16 hours before making the final dough. During those hours, it ferments on your kitchen counter or in your frig, a cold closet or in a chilly root cellar. The colder you keep it, the longer you can extend this process. You can tell it’s ready to use when the thick batter’s filled with bubbles and smells sweet.
When you’re ready to bake, you combine the poolish with the rest of your flour, additional water, sometimes a smidge of yeast, and salt to make up the final dough.
Focaccia with herb oil and freshly cracked salt

Focaccia with herb oil and freshly cracked salt

Loaves made with poolish include ciabatta, pizza, focaccia and other rustic breads.

Learn to make hearth breads using poolish at my hands-on class Tuesday, February 16 at Bull Brook Keep. I’m also holding a class on sourdough breads February 20. Classes are limited to 5 students. For details and to sign up, click here.
Sylvia

Beth Dooley, live, Sat. Jan. 30 – local winter recipes in the land of ice and snow

In last Saturday’s (Jan 13, 2016) Deep Roots Radio interview, chef/author/journalist Beth Dooley described how she came to live in the chilly Upper Midwest, and how it’s not only possible, but delicious to cook with local ingredients in snow-covered Minnesota. This history and grounding is at the heart of her new book, In Winter’s Kitchen.

This Saturday, Jan. 30, Beth will take us to the next step and describe actual recipes – ingredients and spices – for winter cooking. Join us!
What: Deep Roots Radio conversation with Beth Dooley on winter cooking in the land of ice and snow
When: Saturday, January 30, 9:00-9:30AM CT
Where: Broadcast and streamed live from the studios of WPCA Radio 93.1FM, www.wpcaradio.org

Here’s a sample recipe for Curry Potato Salad from Beth’s website, Beth Dooley’s Kitchen,Curry Potato Salad Beth Dooley So many others can be found in her cookbook, The Northern Heartland Kitchen.
Beth’s other cookbooks include: Minnesota’s Bounty: The Farmer’s Market Cookbook; Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland (with Lucia Watson); with Tracy Singleton and Marshall Paulsen, The Birchwood Cafe Cookbook); Meat and Potatoes; and, The Heartland: New American Cooking.

When it’s too hot: Get ready…set…ferment!

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It feels like 150 degrees out there; way too hot for picking beans, weeding beets and thinning carrots. And the thought of putting huge pots of water to boil to blanch greens and can veggies is crazy-making. But that’s what summer’s about, isn’t it – enjoying what you can now of the fruits and veggies from your garden, CSA box or farmers market, and preserving the rest for the much cooler days we know are ahead.
Fermentation is a great way to preserve veggies without heating up the kitchen. For example, yesterday – when it was 84 degrees – I put up kimchi (think of a very spicy Asian version of sauerkraut) and swiss chard stems. It was easy.
What is fermentation, you ask? It’s a method of preserving foods that’s been used for thousands of years by cultures the world over.
In a nutshell, and at its most basic, what you do is submerge your chopped, sliced or whole veggie in salted water (a brine) and then let the action of anaerobic bacteria do their work to “sour” the food. The beneficial micro-organism harnessed for this work is lactobacillus bacteria. That’s why this process is sometimes referred to as lacto-fermentation.
By the way, although the terms sound similar, lacto-fermentation has nothing to do with milk and lacto-intolerance. Instead, lacto refers to the lactic acid produced by the bacteria which acidifies the food, releases additional nutrients from the veggie, and keeps it safe to eat. Think of sauerkraut – fermented cabbage. Fermented foods can be ready to eat in a handful of days or after several weeks, and then stored for months more. Key to this process is constantly keeping the veggies submerged.

Napa cabbage kimchi and swiss chard stems ferment

Napa cabbage kimchi and swiss chard stems ferment


Oh, and what did I do with the chard leaves I stripped from the stems? I blanched them in boiling water for two (2) minutes and then plunged them into ice water to stop the cooking and ready them for the freezer. Again – easy.
So what’ll it be this weekend (after it cools down enough to head out to the garden)? I think I’ll pick green beans to ferment with a brine and a variety of other spices. Fennel? Caraway? Dill? What will work best with my grass-fed beef burgers, pot roasts and steaks?
Here are some of the books I’m using to build my fermentation skills:
– The Art of Fermentation, by Sandor E. Katz
– Fermented Vegetables, by Kristen K. Shockey & Christopher Shockey
– The Kimchi Cookbook, by Lauryn Chun
– The Nourished Kitchen, by Jennifer McGruther
– Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning, by The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante
What are you fermenting?
Sylvia

July 11, 9-9:30AM CT. The power of the Hungry Turtle (Institute) to re-invigorate local food culture.

What: Deep Roots Radio interview with Kristen Lee-Charlson, new Executive Director of Hungry Turtle Institute in Amery, Wisconsin.
When: Saturday, July 11, 2015, 9:00-9:30AM Central Time
Where: Broadcast and streamed live from the studios of WPCA Radio, 93.1FM and worldwide at www.wpcaradio.org.
Why: Consumer demand for local, sustainably-produced food continues to climb. Food lovers are also searching for information about the farms, nutrition, taste and preparation of the delicious and nutrient-packed veggies, fruits, and pastured meats. Ah, that’s were the Hungry Turtle Institute (HTI) comes in.
In its second year, HTI is a nonprofit dedicated to connecting food lovers and food growers to practical info and experiences, lively discussions, and other useful and fun resources. An example is the Hungry Turtle Weekend coming up July 18th.

Deep Roots Radio, 91.3FM and www.wpcaradio.org

Deep Roots Radio, 91.3FM and www.wpcaradio.org

Morning break after a three-dog night

It hit -28 last night at Bull Brook Keep, and that’s without taking windchill into account.
After pulling on my flap-earred hat, long-johns and heavy jacket, I fed and watered the chickens and fully expected to find frozen eggs in the nest boxes. Today’s harvest was small and cold, but not frozen. I’ll check the coop several times this morning to gather up any new contributions before they freeze and crack.

Hot and spicy break after a three-dog night

Hot and spicy break after a three-dog night


Chilly morning chores prompt substantial morning breaks. Today’s includes toasted French sourdough fortified with pastured butter and homemade jalapeño jelly, extra sharp Cheddar, a fresh pear and piping hot organic Welsh Morning tea with plenty of organic half-and-half and vanilla-spiked organic sugar. Thank you God.