Archives for: May 2004
I don’t know if you are like me but my body just will not tolerate flour products for breakfast, especially those perennial favorites: pancakes and waffles, even when made with grains other than wheat. This has posed quite a problem for me because I love making brunch on Sunday mornings, and one thing my family likes to eat best for brunch is pancakes. I was beginning to mourn the loss of this pleasure when I stumbled upon a fabulous pancake recipe: Norwegian Pancakes, and yes, it actually is a recipe from "Kitchen of Light" by Andreas Viestad mentioned in my previous blog.
What makes this recipe friendly for my body I can only guess but my sense is that firstly, it is mainly eggs and milk with very little flour, and secondly, it has no leavening which I really think is the key. As I get older I have noticed that food made with baking soda and baking powder just don’t seem to metabolize well in my body. I, of course, modify the recipe so as to make it friendly for B’s. The ingredients are:
3 large eggs
1&1/2 cups milk (I use cow’s milk)
2/3 cup flour (I use white spelt)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar or honey (sugar mixes better)
1&1/2 tablespoons melted butter
Blueberries or strawberries for serving
This recipe is quite easy to make: beat the eggs with a whisk and add the milk; beat well. Add the flour, salt, and sugar and whisk until the batter is smooth without lumps. The batter will be thin, somewhat like crepe batter. Mix in the melted butter after all the other ingredients are well combined. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes. While the batter is resting, make yourself a nice pot of herb tea, red raspberry leaf is my current fave. Take a minute to tune into your body and see what it needs this morning; perhaps putting on some music and doing gentle stretching exercises or maybe dancing around the room in delightful abandon. Next, go find a family member and tell them how much you love them and appreciate their presence in your life, it’s part of the recipe. And before the 30 minutes is up do remember to preheat a cast-iron or other heavy skillet.
When the skillet is heated to medium heat, add about a third of a cup of batter and tilt the skillet so that the batter covers the entire pan. If you do not have a lefse spatula (who does?), then leave a space near the edge of one side of the skillet for sliding a spatula under. The pancake will be ready to flip when the top is shiny and mostly dry, and there are small pinpricks from bubbles. You will not need extra butter for the skillet if your skillet is well seasoned.
Now for the flipping: without the lefse spatula it can be a little tricky. Lefse is a Norwegian staple, a flat bread made from potatoes and flour, similar to a tortilla. My family and I helped to make lefse with my husband’s family this past Thanksgiving, and without that spatula, lefse would be difficult to cook properly. But do not despair, the pancake batter is quite resilient and is easily flipped with a regular spatula. Insert the spatula under the reserved edge and loosen the entire pancake before flipping over in a rolling motion. See, that wasn’t so bad. It will get better with practice.
Serve the pancakes with berries and a little sugar or other sweetener, if desired. I like to eat them like a crepe, with berries down the middle and the sides folded over. My sons roll them up burrito style. Add some yogurt or a dollop of ricotta cheese for more protein heft. You just might enjoy them as much as I do.
My favorite latest find is the cookbook from Andreas Viestad entitled “Kitchen of Light”. Andreas is the host of the PBS cooking show "New Scandinavian Cooking with Andreas Viestad", and this book is the companion volume to the show. The pictures alone are worth the price of this book.
I know this may sound strange but my youngest son loves to watch cooking shows. And he loves anything associated with Norway. He has Norwegian and Swedish bloodlines from his father, and his grandfather , strongly aligned with the Viking heritage in his family, spent a summer living at a Viking “camp” in Sweden where they practiced the arts and craftsmanship of the Vikings, such as metallurgy and ship building. Grandpa even began a journey to recreate one of the early Viking voyages to North America. (I don’t think he made it beyond the Baltic Sea, however).
So when this new cooking show appeared on PBS that featured ‘Norwegian Cuisine’ , my son insisted I watch the show with him. I did not even know there was such a thing as Norwegian Cuisine. I was intrigued. I was even more delighted with the format of the show, which is part travelogue, part cultural history, all through the making and preparing of food. But I think the book is even better.
The book contains all the recipes of food prepared on the show and then some. And if you have access to fresh fish (you lucky dog) you are in for a wonderful treat. Since Norway has a long coastline in cold, northern seas, the cornerstone of Norwegian cuisine is fish. Lot’s of it. And there is an abundance of fish recipes in this book! OK, some of the recipes are for seafood but there are many that are B and other blood types friendly or can be easily adapted with a few substitutions. How about Slow-baked Salmon with Soy(tamari) Sauce and Ginger? Or Pan-Seared Cod with Garlic Puree?
But along with all that fish, there are several lamb recipes, which are often difficult to find. And beef. And venison! Need I say more?
I do! ! There are some interesting vegetable recipes, many using wild mushrooms, a whole section of potato recipes... and desserts. The desserts are light and fresh, often featuring fresh fruit or berries with few adornments. I want to try Wild Blueberry Parfait, Strawberry Snow, and especially Summer Berries with Bay Leaf Custard...doesn’t that sound interesting!
Have I mentioned the pictures? The photographs in this book are very beautiful, stunning in their simplicity, and a delight to the eye. If you don’t want to purchase the book, at least check it out from your local library. I think you’ll be glad you did.
And if anyone is daring enough to try the Gravlaks recipe, please let me know how it turns out.
Is it just me or is there anyone else out there that is mortified by the plethora of plastic surgery make-over shows currently being shown on network television? I cannot believe it! People willingly signing up for not just one surgery but phases of treatment requiring numerous surgeries and painful procedures. And the intense level of healing that their bodies must go through as a result of all that trauma. For Years. Just thinking about all that anaesthesia alone makes me ill. But the bottom line for me is what is it that motivates someone to take such drastic measures for superficial change?
Several months ago, a friend and I were talking about the popularity of these make-over shows, and she mentioned that social psychologists believe the make-over shows are a direct result of living in such a disconnected, mobile society, where first impressions are the ONLY impressions. We don’t develop the connections with people like our parents and grandparents did. If we interacted in our daily lives with people we went to elementary school with, people we knew our entire lives, we would judge them on the basis of their character and how they lived their lives; how they looked in appearance would be inconsequential.
I remember as a new mother and struggling with accepting the physical changes wrought from childbearing, I read in “Mothering” magazine an article from a man who had studied pygmy cultures in Africa. In pygmy societies, the woman who has the saggiest skin and the most stretch marks is seen as the most beautiful. Since children are so highly valued in pygmy society, the physical remnants of childbearing form the basis of their standards of beauty. How I clung to the notion that it is our standards of beauty that are at fault, not my changing body. And that what we see as beautiful is a reflection of our character, both individually and as a society.
Never having been one to embrace the beliefs and attitudes of the dominant culture, I realize I have always been attracted to interesting faces sculpted from experience and a life lived fully. And if there is a quirky personality living behind that face, all the better.
Went for an early evening hike today at The Garden of the Gods, the perfect time of year to hike in the park. The sun was warm, the air cool, and the tourists haven’t quite arrived yet. Being locals, we tend to hike the hills on the outskirts of the park, so we are away from the high traffic areas. Steve Garufi, on his blog coloradoguy.com has some pics of the Siamese Twins trail which is one of our favorites. (By the way, the “Kristin” in some of the pictures is not me.)
We had some late Spring snow/rain this year so the vegetation is lush and green... for now. There are lots of wildflowers, the prickly pears are budding, and the scrub oak are full of soft green leaves. Only the yucca were not in bloom, I only saw one flower stalk which is unusual.
Being that it was early evening, we saw a few deer grazing nearby the trail. They do not seem particularly alarmed by people any more, a sure indication of the intense useage the park receives. I also saw my first hummingbird of the season. Colorado has 4 species of hummers that vacation here in the summer. I have always liked hummingbirds. Seeing the hummingbird reminded me that my oldest son used to call me Hummingbird Woman when he was young.
We paused on our hike to let the boys scramble on some rock formations. They always seem especially eager to hike with us if they know we will let them climb around for a bit. Garden of the Gods is famous for its multitude of sandstone formations, many of the smaller ones are suitable for free climbing. I don’t know why the boys like to climb so much, perhaps it’s that full body cross-lateral movement that they need on some level. My O son seems to really need vigorous exercise, while A son seems to enjoy being in nature and observing wildlife best. Me, I like both of course. It’s a B thing.
After our hike, we had a late meal of leftover lamb stew for me and the O while the A’s enjoyed lentils and rice cooked with onions, carrots, and celery, very rejuvenating for all.
And the best thing today was we awoke to the sound of the phone ringing. My husband’s sister had given birth during the night to a baby girl. Weighing in at 9 lbs., she is a good size for a healthy baby girl born in high altitude; they live above 7500 feet.
Welcome to the world, little one.
Last night I went out with a friend to a Mexican restaurant that I hadn’t been to in years. In perusing the menu for something suitable to eat, I noticed that the only smart choice was the raw veggie platter. I was thinking about ordering that when I saw NACHOS on the menu, full of black beans, corn tortilla chips, cheese, tomato salsa, sour cream, and jalapeños. Not only does this restaurant have fantastic nachos but my husband and I often came here for nachos while we were dating so I have quite fond memories of the nachos in this place. So, what’’ll it be... rabbit food or nostalgia? Well, nostalgia won this round and I chose the nachos but I also agreed with myself to watch how this food choice affected my body and mind.
Now, I will occasionally eat corn or beans or even sometimes tomatoes, all of which are lethal for B’s but I never eat them all at one meal. Boy, was I in for a ride! The first thing I noticed was feeling like I was drunk, and I had only had a tiny sip of my margarita (honest!). I had difficulty tracking our conversation and when I stood up to leave the restaurant after about an hour, my legs felt shaky (and no, I hadn’t had any more alcohol beyond that one sip!) I felt dizzy getting into the car and by the time I returned home I was feeling irritable and agitated which stayed with me all evening and into the wee hours of the morning.
As I lay in bed trying to will myself to fall asleep, feeling like I had eaten the nutritional equivalent of wallpaper paste, or worse, for my evening meal, it suddenly dawned on me... this is how I used to feel all the time. All. The. Time. I had forgotten... I had forgotten the physical sensations and mental agitation of those years when I was eating vegetarian, macrobiotic, low-fat, you name it all in the name of “healthy”. And all it was doing was making me miserable.
Sometimes it’s good to have a little reality check. But this is one choice I am not likely to choose again.
As I picture amber waves of grain in my mind, it is not wheat that I am seeing but spelt. Spelt - that lovely, delicate, versatile, plump little grain. And being, generally speaking, suitable for all blood types, what’s not to love?
When I started on the Blood Type Diet several years ago, one of the first foods I eliminated was wheat, in particular, whole wheat and wheat germ. I like to bake and I was in the habit of using whole wheat flour and adding wheat germ to EVERYTHING: cookies, muffins, breads, and pancakes in particular. Since spelt flour is similar to wheat flour, I decided to give it a try and printed some spelt recipes off the internet. I was so impressed with the results that I began substituting spelt in all my recipes. I had some successes... but I also experienced a few failures and learned some things along the way. Since spelt does not absorb as much liquid as wheat, a little more spelt flour is needed when substituting for wheat. This produces a finer crumb in cakes and muffins. I use about 1/3 cup extra flour for every 3 cups in a recipe. I have also noticed that I am more satisfied with my results when I use a heavy liquid ingredient, such as butter and buttermilk, banana, winter or summer squash, carrots. Cookies made with spelt flour are often dry so I couple spelt with another grain such as oats which hold more moisture.
But, I had never tried preparing anything using spelt berries. So yesterday, I stopped by the health food store and picked some up. I soaked the spelt berries overnight, rinsed them, and cooked them in fresh water for about an hour. I first tried mixing the cooked berries in with some oatmeal topped with a little butter and dried blueberries. Delicious. Then I tried the spelt berries alone toped with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup, and dried cranberries. Tasty as well with an interesting and chewy texture. I think I’ll try making a spelt berry salad next.
Oh yeah, this love affair is definitely going to last.