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“If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef” is the title of this article in The Atlantic. I eat all kinds of meat, but small amounts and infrequently, because I’ve read a lot about the concepts explained in this article and about the health benefits of a plant-focused diet.

The environmental impact of food animal production is enormous. Read the article above, and others on waste run-off from pork production to be convinced to eat more beans for environmental reasons. Read the articles below on eating more plants such as beans to be convinced for personal health reasons.

Below the research links is a How-To on pressure cooking beans and preparing my family’s favorite and quite simple rice and beans dish. Read the rest of this entry »

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Peter Reinhart’s Challah recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

I put Reinhart’s recipe in metric and made very minor adjustments to technique (basically the yeast prep).

Challah is so delicious and addictive. At my kids’ preschool, I learned to tear challah rather than cut it, and that it is acceptable for a kid to answer, “Both!” to the question, “Butter or cream cheese?”

I prefer butter, but plain and squished in your hand while driving is pretty awesome too.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Empanadas de Guayaba y Queso (Guava and Cheese Empanadas / Hand Pies / Turnovers)

My first time eating these was at the airport in Miami on my way back from visiting family in Buenos Aires. I fell in love. I started serving guava paste with hard cheeses as an appetizer, but didn’t try making pastries until a comedy video on the YouTube Mitú channel led me to a blog called My Big Fat Cuban Family that features Pastelitos de Guavaba y Queso using Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets. I was about to drop a box of these in my cart at the grocery store when I read the ingredients and saw hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Back onto the freezer shelf it went. I believe Whole Foods sells puff pastry sheets made with butter only, so someday I may buy them and follow the Cuban Family recipe…or maybe I will learn to make laminated dough myself.

In the meantime, here is my recipe for guava and cheese pastries, empanada style, with pie crust.  Read the rest of this entry »

A refreshing sourdough recipe to try this summer, or whenever you want a nutritious and unique bread.

My kids loved this bread, although only one of them actually likes quinoa as a dish. In fact, my daughter suggested I write:

“Step into summer with this citrus and mint sourdough bread…and leave out the gross quinoa if you want. By the way, we grow mint along our driveway, so come on over and get some.”

She’s a natural writer.

In all seriousness, sprouting quinoa makes it taste a little sweeter, and the lemon zest and mint turn the bread into a gourmet salad that you can top with crumbled feta or goat cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cheese sourdough breads are a favorite in my house, and I’ve made them many different ways, using many forms of cheese. My husband likes shredded cheese that is diffused throughout the crumb. My daughter likes big chunks that burn on the crust. My older son just loves it any way, and my younger son doesn’t like cheese inside bread (gasp!?).

In this Durum Herb Cheese Bread blog post I wrote for Breadtopia, I outline several was to add cheese and herbs, and show pictures of the resulting crumb they produce.

Below is my recipe for Cheddar Chive Thyme Sourdough Bread where the cheese and herbs are added after the bulk fermentation. Read the rest of this entry »

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In faint gray letters, that says 49 beats per minute.

A fit person’s resting heart rate. Mine.

I didn’t always have that. In my late twenties and much of my thirties, I was in and out of the hospital with pneumonia and lung bleeds. I couldn’t get up a flight of stairs without being out of breath. I rationed my activity, wanting to do things like play in the snow with my kids, but having setbacks if I dared too much.

Nowadays, I can walk my dog, go to a dance class, edit all day, and then take a train into the city to meet a friend for a late dinner — and not have a lung infection flare up. Anyone who knows chronic illness understands that a single one of those activities might result in payback later, so to do all is akin to a miracle. Read the rest of this entry »

Melissa blog pic fermented buckwheat

From the focus of my blog, it’s clear that I gluten — obviously I’ve no allergy, and I’ve learned that fermenting it makes it better for your digestive system and the nutrients in wheat more accessible to your body. Moreover, whole/ancient/heirloom grains have a ton of fiber which is great for blood sugar management, lipid profile, satiety etc.

Nonetheless I was so excited to work on a GLUTEN FREE BREAD RECIPE that was just published by Breadtopia. My daughter has a friend with celiacs, and now she won’t have to bring a bag of special food next time she sleeps over.

Moreover, even though I can eat gluten 24/7, I’ve chosen to make this bread over and over, because I like it, especially with cultured butter, a little honey, and a banana on the side. This is now my #1 breakfast on a rock climbing day.

This bread is really easy to make. It’s a good intro to fermentation for newbies, and buckwheat and flax seeds are crazy healthy.

 

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I’ve been working on this recipe ever since I googled “lemon bars” a year ago! Believe me that no one in my house has suffered from this recipe “work.”

The original recipe I made, found here, yields a pretty bar that has too little lemon curd for the thick crust, and is not lemony enough.

Here’s my Best Lemon Bar recipe. It’s easy to make. There are few steps, ingredients that are in every pantry, a measurable amount of lemon juice (vs. the imprecise “juice of X lemons”) and most important, it has a good ratio of tart lemon to buttery crust. Read the rest of this entry »

Melissa blog pic durum herb cheese1

I contributed a new recipe to Breadtopia for a durum wheat, herb, garlic and provolone cheese sourdough bread. I had a great time developing it, including an uh-duh moment of realizing that folding dough around large slices of cheese was going to make for a strange crumb structure because dough can’t reconnect through a big circle of cheese. (It was fun to tear apart and eat.)

That technique didn’t make the final cut, but I included a picture of it and other versions of the recipe at the end of the blog. See the final recipe I decided on and all the pics here on the Breadtopia blog.

fixingthefoodsystem

Last weekend, I spoke about my dad’s book, Fixing the Food System: Changing How We Produce and Consume Food.

I discussed what the book meant to my dad in the context of his career as a food policy journalist. My stepmom spoke about poverty, hunger and nutrition advocacy in the past; and a friend of my dad’s spoke about the path to solutions today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Instagram

A sourdough loaf, part whole grain. I can't remember more about it -- I'm looking thru old photos. I plan to score like this again. I forgot how much I like the grid score.
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#sourdough #sourdoughbread #artisanbread #fermentedfoods #fermentation #wildyeast #realbread #breadart Fresh #horchata #tamarindo and #watermelon drinks, plus amazing pupusas and curtido at this Salvadorian restaurant a couple of miles off the highway Sunrise #LakeMead #HooverDam and #BellagioChandelier #BellagioFountains A #tartineno3 inspired toasted #buckwheatsourdough with creme fraiche. 
#sourdough #surdeg #masamadre #leivitomadre #eksimaya #desem #buckwheat #naturallyleavened #trigosarraceno #feedfeed #realbread

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The First Ten Words by Rich Larson

Because a guy has to keep his chops sharp

Agatha Chocolats

Mystery Writer & Chocolate Enthusiast

GreenCooking

An 18 year old who is keen in creating new, exciting food

Breadtopia

baking and writing ~ a few of my favorite things

Sharing Plate

baking and writing ~ a few of my favorite things

Cooking without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

GoanImports.com

Learn about Goa Culture, Foods and Recipes

Life as I interpret it

When there is family, there is life, there is love. Live and Love well.

Steve Clapp

Author, Photographer

The First Ten Words by Rich Larson

Because a guy has to keep his chops sharp

Agatha Chocolats

Mystery Writer & Chocolate Enthusiast

GreenCooking

An 18 year old who is keen in creating new, exciting food

Breadtopia

baking and writing ~ a few of my favorite things

Sharing Plate

baking and writing ~ a few of my favorite things

Cooking without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

GoanImports.com

Learn about Goa Culture, Foods and Recipes

Life as I interpret it

When there is family, there is life, there is love. Live and Love well.

Steve Clapp

Author, Photographer