Shea Comfrey-Calendula Butter

My friend, Joy, brought me back Shea butter from the States, woohoo! Just in time to make my healing salve, but this time with Shea butter, the fat that’s extracted from the nuts of the African shea tree. It’s used for all kinds of skin problems, from dry skin, burns, to wrinkles and eczema. i’m combining it here with calendula and comfrey to ease pain and soothe and heal rough, dry skin, as well as lip sores.

Recipe of the Day -Shea Comfrey-Calendula Butter

Ingredients:

1/2 c. cold pressed olive oil

1 ounce dried herbs: 1/2 ounce calendula and 1/2 ounce comfrey

1/2 c. shea butter

1/2 c. coconut oil

1/3 c. beeswax

1/4 c. cacao butter

3 vitamin E capsules (of at least 400 units)

10 drops Essential Oil (lavender, rose, or jasmine, lemon, or your choice)

1 tsp. mica powder, color of choice, to color the salve. (But you don’t need to.)

Cheesecloth to strain herbs

Directions: Place your herbs into an oven safe dish and pour the olive oil in. Stir and bake in the oven at the lowest possible temperature (200 degrees or less) and bake for 3 hours. This is your infused oil. (Or, you can pour olive oil directly over the herbs in a clean jar and let sit for 6 weeks.)

    1. After 3 hours allow the mix to cool slightly but strain through the cheesecloth while it’s still warm. Squeeze out all the oil you can.
    2. Put your mixture in a pot on the stove (a double boiler would be great) and very GENTLY heat the oil mix back up, without burning. Add all the other ingredients, except the essential oils.
    3. Puncture and add your vitamin E capsules (or about 1/2 teaspoon if using liquid E) and then add your beeswax. Stir until it’s completely melted and blended.
    4. Remove from heat and let cool just a minute or two while you add the essential oil  and mica powder – your color. Move to fridge and let cool another hour or until starting to harden around the edges but still somewhat soft.Use a hand mixer to whip for 10 minutes until fluffy.Return to the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set.Then pour into a wide mouth jar or several small jars. As it cools the mixture will become semi-solid and be the perfect consistency.
    5.  Word/Phrase of the Day – erase una vez – once upon a time
    6. Tip of the Day – The combination of shea and cocoa butter with two nourishing oils makes a highly moisturizing combination, but whipping the mix helps it go on smoothly without being oily.

Jacoticaba Crumble

You know, i was humbled when some guests left and I found a $10 bill hidden under a mat on the coffee table. To help me out, you know? And i was wondering which thing I should use it for. And then, one of my old workers asked me on facebook if he could borrow $10 and work it off for me. Which is 3 hours work here! So I said, yes, and he just sanded and lacquered all my wooden shutters and front door. And while it was drying he weeded and dug around with the 28-year old energy that is truly unstoppable. Isn’t it amazing how money moves around. i feel so humbled, then i feel so honored that someone would ask me for help (and he, young soul, has two little kids!) and then so grateful for…just…everything and everyone.

Recipe of the Day – Jaboticaba Crumble

Ingredients;

1 lb. jaboticaba berries

1 lb cherries, blueberries, black or other berries

4 c. GF cake flour

1 T. honey

Topping;

2 T. GF cake flour

3 T. rolled oats

1 T. honey

2 T. Coconut oil

Mix together 1 lb jaboticabas and other berries, if you like with the cake flour and honey. Place into well-greased ramekins.
For the topping, in a separate bowl mix the cake flour, oats (non instant), honey and oil.
Pour topping over the berries and bake for 20 mins at 200°C until golden brown. Serve with a dollop of banana ice cream and jaboticaba syrup.

Jaboticaba Syrup

Halve about 25 berries and simmer with 1 cup of water in a heavy-base pot for 15 minutes.
Add 2 tbsp honey and 2 tsp grated ginger.
Simmer for another 15 minutes and strain.

Word/Phrase of the Day – me sentía humilde – i felt humbled

Tip of the Day – Make your banana ice cream by freezing a cup of frozen, cut bananas and then blending! That’s it!

Jaboticaba Smoothie

Maria and Dennis at the juice Factory have Jaboticaba, the Brazilian grapetree. It’s the seventh year in cultivation here at her and Dennis’ farm in Vilcabamba, which is just now producing fruit. Much like  the acai berry, jaboticaba is high in antioxidants, minerals and Vitamin C. Jaboticaba smoothies, starting Friday until they’re gone, $3.75 at the juice Factory

Recipe of the Day – jaboticaba Smoothie

Ingredients :

1 c. jacoticaba syrup

1-2 bananas, frozen

1 c. nut/seed milk

To make the syrup Simmer 1kg whole, crushed jaboticaba fruit in 250ml water until the fruit is pulpy (about 20 minutes). Add the juice of 1 large lemon, plus 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cardamom pods, and allow to cool.

Directions for the smoothie –

Blend all ingredients.

Word/Phrase of the Day – que madrugador what an early bird

Tip of the Day – Keep the skins, dry them and store in a jar, to add to syrups and cereals for a real boost of beta-carotene. They, the berries are also full of vitamins C, D and E, as well as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and fructose.

Lebanese Green Beans (Lubee)

My daughter received these beautiful pheasant feathers as a gift for doing such beautiful photography for a wedding. Can you believe that! Que regalo! What a gift!

Recipe of the Day – Lubee

Ingredients –

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala, or cinnamon
  • 2 c. diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions;

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 2 minutes {if you are using meat, it can be added here and sautéed for an addition 4 minutes}.

  1. Add the green beans, spices and tomatoes and mix together. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until green beans {and tofu or meat, if using it} are tender, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste as well as salt and pepper.
  2. Serve warm over rice or quinoa with a side of pita bread and yogurt.

Word of the Day – pheasant –Faisán

Tip of the Day – You could add mushrooms to the saute mix, and serve with rice, raw crackers, salad pita bread, hummus and nut/seed or plain yogurt.

Fondant Potatoes

 Two Lucas stories! Hey, last night i was sitting at the table, and one of my slippers was missing. And i said, Lucas, go bring me my slipper (which was on his bed, of course,) and he went over, got it, and laid it down at my feet!!! Come on! Tiko was SO jealous with all the attention Lucas got!

Okay, and the other one, is that i always make Lukie and Tiko stop at the gate until i tell them we can go, right? Well the other day the gate was wide open, and they were waiting for me to walk with them. Georgie said she walked by with her baby, and even called their names, and they wouldn’t take one step!!! Whoaaaa! That’s fantatic, huh?

Picture and adapted recipe from allrecipes.com

Recipe of the Day – Fondant potatoes

Ingredients –

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

  1. Cut off ends of russet potatoes, stand potatoes on end, and peel potatoes from top to bottom with a sharp knife to make each potato into a uniform cylinder. Cut each cylinder in half crosswise to make 6 potato cylinders about 2 inches long.
  2. Place potatoes into a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes to remove starch from outsides; pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Place a heavy oven-proof skillet (such as a cast iron skillet) over high heat. Pour in oil; heat until it shimmers slightly.
  4. Place potato cylinders with best-looking ends into the hot oil, lower heat to medium-high, and pan-fry potatoes until well-browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
  5. Flip the potatoes onto the opposite ends. As they cook, use a paper towel held with tongs to carefully blot out the oil from the skillet. Add butter and thyme sprigs to skillet.
  6. Pick up a rosemary sprig with tongs and use it to paint oil or butter over the top of the potatoes. Cook until butter foams and foam turns from white to a pale tan color. Season with more salt and pepper. Pour vegetable or chicken stock into skillet.
  7. Transfer skillet to preheated oven and cook until potatoes are tender and creamy inside, about 30 minutes. If potatoes aren’t tender, add 1/4 cup more stock and let cook 10 more minutes.
  8. Place potatoes on a serving platter and spoon thyme-scented butter remaining in skillet over potatoes. Garnish with rosemary sprigs. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.

Word of the Day – zapatillas – slippers

Tip of the Day – Allrecioes.com does this with thyme, instead of rosemary.

DIy Curry Paste

THe word, curry, to americans, means the taste of curry powder, but really there are a thousand spices of india you can use to make this curry, which means ‘sauce’ in india.

Recipe of the Day – Curry paste

Ingredients

  • 3 T. coriander seeds
  • 2 T. cumin seeds
  • 1 T. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp . black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 or 2 dried chiles, as hot as you want them
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 ‘ ginger peeled and finely grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 4 T. white wine or cider vinegar
  • Chili oil or hot chili oil or sweet chili oil to cover the paste for storing

Directions;

Use the wet things first, that release the moisture  – Add grated ginger, garlic, tomato purée and white wine vinegar and mix well to make a paste. Stir in the chili oil.

  1. Put the seeds and peppercorns into a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Cook for about three minutes, stirring often, until the mustard seeds start to pop and the seeds turn golden and aromatic. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes.

  2. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, paprika and dried chilies to a pestle and mortar. Add the cooled toasted spices and grind everything together into a fine powder. Add the salt.

  3. Use immediately, or spoon the paste into a jar, cover with the oil mixture, seal with a lid and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Word of the Day – para moler – to grind

Tip of the Day – A real curry from India is made by grinding the curry, chili and spices in a mortar and pestle. For extra depth of flavor toast the spices in a dry sauce pan or oven. And it matters when you add each spice, what order. So do that. Because you are literally, buildng flavors.

Toasted Quinoa Chocolate Crunch Bars

My daughter was showing me on video, these beautiful columns of light seemingly beaming upwards in the skies of Montana. They are from unshielded lights, visible when it’s super cold. They are actually ice crystals, shaped like plates, that are usually in high clouds, but they float in the air, close to the ground, and then reflect light back downwards, making pillars of light. The collected light beams from millions of cyrstals relfecting light towards your eyes.

Recipe of the Day – Toasted Quinoa Chocolate Crunch Bars

 

Orange Chili Chocolates

Usually i have one mosquito per season, right? But his year I had to unfurl the mosquito net which hangs from the ceiling. I couldn’t sleep, with the attacks. Look how they just fly right into the net. Can you tell I got sick of mending the little holes? Everywhere there is a stick-um, there’s a hole. And more!

Big mortar and pestle in front of the chocolate store, filled eith cacao beans

Recipe of the Day – Orange Chile Chocolates

Ingredients:
1/4 c. coconut oil or cacao butter, melted
1 /4 c. raw cacao powder/carob
1/4 c. coconut nectar, honey or sweetener of choice

1 tsp. cayenne or chili powder of choice

5 drops essential orange oil

1T. Shredded orange peels
dash of vanilla powder
dash of salt

1 capful olive oil for greasing the molds, unless they’re silicon.

Directions:

Melt all ingredients  gently over a double boiler, and whisk until creamy.
Pour one drop olive oil in each ice cube mold. Spread to cover the  sides.
Pour chocolate in one half of each mold. Place a small orange peel in each one. Cover with chocolate.
Chill/freeze 10 minutes or more.

Word of the Day – picaduras – bites

Tip of the Day – Sliced bananas are wonderful inside each cube. They come put like cadbury eggs!

Burma Ferment8ed Tea Leaf Salad

My daughter is in San Francisco having this life-changing salad, she calls it. The Tea leaf dressing will change your world. Tangy but not over-powering, just super-interesting.

Then she told me this neat story of clean-up and Buddha Shrines. On a corner in Oakland just east of Lake Merritt, At 11th and 19th there used to be a horrible amount of dumping and crime. Someone, Dan Stevenson put a Buddha there, without being even particularly religious, and then people started cleaning up around it, making it a little altar, and now look at it! At first the City rejected it, but the neighborhood wanted it so badly, the City acquiesed!

Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

 

Ingredients

  • 1 c. dried green tea leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 c. kale or cabbage, finely chopped
  • ½ c. finely chopped cilantro, loosely packed
  • ½ c. green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 T. garlic paste
  • 2 T.  finely chopped ginger root
  • 2 green chilies, minced (optional)
  • juice squeezed fresh from one lime
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 3 T. coconut oil
  • 1 head garlic,minced
  • 2 T. sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 T. roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup thin tomato wedges (optional)
  • Final Dressing –
  • 1 T. garlic oil
  • 1 teaspoon Bragg’s aminos or fish sauce
  • fresh lime slices
  • pinch of salt

Directions

Fermenting the Tea Leaves
Pour 4 cups of hot water over the dried tea leaves, stir, and let soak until the leaves have expanded about 10 minutes. Then drain, and discard any tough bits. Squeeze out any remaining liquid from the  leaves.. Do this two more times, then let sit an hour to remove the bitterness. Chop the leaves finely and mix together with the kale, cilantro and greens,  ginger, garlic paste,  salt and  lime. . Cover the dish tightly and allow it to ferment for two days in a dark, cool space. Then place in the fridge.

To serve, set a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and let them heat, shaking the skillet from time to time to ensure that they aren’t scorching. You will start to smell them toasting after a few minutes. Keep stirring so they don’t scorch, and cook for another minute or two, until they are golden. Transfer to a dinner plate and let cool completely. Next, heat the oil over medium-high heat, add the sliced garlic, reduce the heat to medium and fry until just golden, about 5 minutes. Lift the garlic out of the oil with a slotted utensil and set aside on a plate to crisp up. Save the oil, now flavored with garlic, to use in the final dressing.

Serve the salad unmixed, arranging small piles of all the ingredients on a platter. Toss the fermented tea leaves with the reserved garlic oil, fish sauce, and lime juice .Add a generous pinch of salt, mix again, taste and adjust other seasonings if needed. Place the leaves in a neat pile in the center of the other crunchy mix-ins.

Word of the Day – altar-altar, Buddha -Buda

Tip of the Day – You can add dried shrimp, soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained, if you like.

 

DIY Vanilla Extract

Did you know there are pressure points to wake you up?

Press each one  for at least six minutes:
  • The top of the head.
  • The top of the back of the neck.
  • On the back of the hands (in between the thumb and forefinger)
  • Just below the knees.
  • Bottom of the feet—at the center just below the balls of the feet.

Recipe of the Day – DIY Vanilla Extract

  • Ingredients:

    • 8 oz. Glass Bottle or Jar
    • 7  vanilla beans
    • 1 cup Vodka 70 Proof/35% Alcohol (or you can also use Bourbon, Rum or Brandy; any brand/quality)
      • Directions: Scrape the vanilla beans from the pods, if you need to. Split vanilla beans in half lengthwise, leaving the tip of one end attached. Place into a clean bottle(s). If the vanilla bean is too long for the bottle, cut in half or thirds as needed. Fill the bottle with vodka or bourbon and secure the top to the bottle. Label the bottle and shake vigorously. Store in a cool, dark location for at least a month, shaking once per week. The longer the vanilla extract steeps, the darker and more intense the vanilla flavor and scent.

      Word of the Day – pulsar

      Tip of the Day – This yields 1 cup of homemade vanilla extract – 1 (8-ounce) bottle or 2 (4-ounce) bottles. Try different kinds of vanilla – like Madagascar Vanilla or Ecuadorian Vanilla.