Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Site!

Rubus Raspberry has moved.

I am working on a new blog; Same name, new site: I will have a little more room to expand. I have a good start but I still need to work out some kinks.

I want to thank you guys for reading the blog, I think you're awesome!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

French Toast

It was down to two recipes this week for the Dark Days Challenge: French Toast or Chicken Alfredo. I chose the french toast and I'm thinking of doing the chicken alfredo next week. I did make a run to the co-op for bread and bacon. I got the bacon from Pastures A Plenty and the sourdough bread from New French Bakery.

I am a pancake man and I have always been a pancake man... or boy when I was younger. I have made french toast a time or two in my life but I normally stick with pancakes. I might just have to switch over to french toast. It is a lot easier to make and it feeds that same craving. I made the batter for the bread with some half&half and 2 eggs. I cut the bread into 1/4" slices and dipped it into the batter. It cooked pretty fast. While doing that I baked the bacon at 350. When I cooked all the french toasted I cooked a couple eggs for the fun of it.

I normally don't eat breakfast and I haven't had a fried egg in a long time. It was a very nice treat. The sourdough was wonderful! The bacon topped with some local maple syrup...yum. Amara even had a couple slices of the french toast.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Growing up I would ask my parents to make lasagna and they always told me no. I asked why and they said it was too difficult to make. As an adult, I have never made lasagna because I thought it would be too difficult to make. You have: meat and sauce and noodles and cheese and more cheese and baking and left overs... Well for one of my Dark Days post I would like to make a lasagna from scratch. Well, as unprocessed as possible; meaning I need to make my own noodles. I guess I won't try to make the cheese...this time!

I found a couple videos on Youtube to make your own pasta. Man, there are some fancy pasta makers out there! I don't have a pasta maker, so I am doing it by hand. This year I really would like to get two things for my kitchen. 1. A Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Yes... I know, it is a must have. I need the ice cream maker attachment too... I have some wild ideas! 2. A dutch oven. A Lodge cast iron 7 quart dutch oven to be specific. I do most of my cooking on cast iron.

Back to the pasta. The recipe is like 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 egg and salt. Mix the flour and salt, add a beaten egg and mix up until it makes a ball. Then knead for a couple minutes and roll out to as thin as you want. Finally cut it into noodles. Simple stuff. I made pasta once like this and I can remember not being too impressed.

I think it's funny that when we think of pasta it's always the cheap dried crap down the grocery aisle. You can pick up a pound of dried pasta noodles for a buck. There is the whole wheat kind or the fancy imported kind for around two bucks. That's it. It seams like they all taste the same. I have never known anyone to regularly make their own noodles.

If you can get a recipe that works for you, think of some of the possibilities: Stuffed ravioli- OK, you could do a traditional thing like spinach and olive oil. BUT what if you got crazy and did a wild green and wild mushroom stuffed ravioli. Or another possibility- You are at home you want a spaghetti and you don't have noodles. You would have the know how to make a quick batch of noodles. (Not to mention Asian stuff or soups!)

My noodles turned out. They were a little too thick. They would have made a good noodle for an Alfredo, but not for spaghetti. I thought I rolled them out pretty thin... I will need to experiment with different flours too. I cooked them for 3 minutes and tossed them with some butter, olive oil, salt, pepper and Parmesan. It made for a quick meal and a good first attempt on noodle making. I am one step closer to that local lasagna. Maybe I should have my parents over for dinner that night...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Roast Chicken

I have had two chicken in my freezer for months. One that I processed last summer and the other one I got at the co-op late last summer. Buying local meat can get expensive. Buying whole chickens makes more sense than buying a cut up chicken or chicken breasts. But then you are left with a whole chicken you need to cut up or cook. Let's face it: The more an animal is processed the easier it is to eat. If I had to cut those short ribs off a cow carcass last week there is no way I would have enjoyed them.
When planning this meal I knew I had all the ingredients. One of the cool things about eating locally is that your pantry, freezer and frig fills up with local food. I didn't have to make my lovely trip to the co-op to make this meal.

Roast Chicken! That's where I started. I know you need a chicken, a oven, a pan of some sort, some butchers twine and some spices. But how long does the chicken cook and at what temperature? That's where my idol, Anthony Bourdain comes in. He made a 'Techniques Special' for No Reservations. I did a youtube search and found the roast chicken clip. Thomas Keller walked me through how to simply roast a chicken. Then I went to my kitchen to put it to practice.

I did it a little different than Thomas Keller did. I cut up some veggies to roast with the bird. I cut up a carrot, two onions, and three potatoes...all local. I added them to my cast iron cooking pan. Then I added some butter and a drizzle of sunflower oil. Then I went to cut the wishbone out of my chicken and found it was already gone. I rinsed it out and seasoned it generously with salt and pepper.

I plopped the chicken on top of the veggies and went to find my butchers twine. No luck! I have three young daughters that like to make girly things, such as necklaces and bracelets. Stuff I don't understand being a raised with no siblings. So somewhere a pretty little doll is wearing my butchers twine. I use the butchers twine to truss the chicken so the bird evenly cooks. You basically tie the legs and the wings into the body. Finally I tossed it in my oven at 400... without being trussed!

I took the wonderful-ness out of the oven and set in on the counter. It cooked for about 45 minutes. It smelled and looked done. I put a thermometer in it and it was at 180, so it was plenty done.  I picked at a few potatoes while letting the chicken set for 10 minutes. I cut off a breast and plated some veggies. At this point is when you are happy you took out that wishbone. Taking the wishbone out helps get those wonderful breasts off the bird easier.

I sat down at the table and gave out nothing but grunts of approval. It was very good. It was up there with the braised short ribs. What made it so good was the quality of the local free range chicken and the butter I put over the veggies.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Books

Growing up I didn't like to read. I still don't like to admit I like to read. It was my goal this year to read 12 books. I just might have done it. I want to share the books I have spent time with this year. Some are field guides and cookbooks so I can't say I read them cover to cover, but I used them well.

Top to bottom...due to size:

Folk Medicine- D.C. Jarvis.
I will save you from reading this one. He basically says that one drink will make your health a ton better. Seriously, if you have any heath problems- try it. The drink is: 1 cup good water, a tablespoon of raw honey and a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar. Drink it regularly for at least a week.  I have the apple cider vinegar and honey on hand at all times and use it when I feel like I should.

Peterson Field Guides- Medicinal Plants and Herbs AND Edible Wild Plants.
These books go hand in hand. I've gotten some good recipes and ideas from these books. Every time I read from them I become a more educated forager.

The Forager's Harvest- Samuel Thayer.
Samuel has two books and a dvd. Dude-is-it! He lives in Wisconsin and he forages. He has a ton of knowledge and experience.

Stalking the Wild Asparagus- Euell Gibbons.
This is a classic foraging book. He is a old dude that has a lot of practical information. A must read for foragers. The first copy came out in 1962.

Farm City- Novella Carpenter.
Super funny book! Novella lives in the hood in Oakland, CA. She squats on land and made a true urban farm. Wonderful book!!! I had to re-read this book this year, it was too good. I made Kristina read it too.

Stealth of Nations- Robert Neuwirth.
I haven't gotten all the way through this one, I'm reading it now. It's about the informal economy.

Healing Secrets of the Native Americans- Porter Shimer.
This is a pretty basic book of Native American healing herbs and healing traditions. We have a lot to learn from Native Americans.

The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Moments AND Wild Fermentation- Sandor Ellix Katz.
The first book is a must read for anyone reading my blog. Must read! Title says it all.
The second book is a 'cookbook' for live cultured foods.

Guerrilla Gardening: A manualfesto- David Tracey
Practical ideas on how and why to guerrilla garden.

Hunt, Gather, Cook- Hank Shaw.
This book has a lot of hunting, foraging and cooking information. It's a good book to expand your food horizons.

Nourishing Traditions- Sally Fallon.
Buy it!

The Herbal Medicine-Makers Handbook- James Green.
Herbal Medicine.

Seed to Seed- Suzanne Ashworth.
Shows you how to save seeds from your vegetable garden. This is knowledge we all should have.

The Locavore's Handbook AND Botany, Ballet and Dinner from Scratch- Leda Meredith.
Leda is a locavore that lives in New York City. The first book is a good guide to being a locavore. The second book has stories and recipes- I really enjoyed this book! After reading 'The Locavore's Handbook,' I did a search for locavores in Minnesota and found: This is a great blog for practical resources and recipes on local Minnesota food. 

A website worth putting out there. Daniel Vitalis is a very good looking guy that lives in Maine. He gained popularity from youtube. He has started a few projects the past couple of years. He does a lot of talking about rewilding yourself- becoming closer to nature. Almost a step past foraging. He is a little different but I like hearing him talk. He has a lot of videos on youtube and interviews at He does sell a few products, so I keep that in mind when he is talking...

Here are a couple books I want to get for 2012.

Novella Carpenter has a book that just came out called 'The Essential Urban Farmer.' I think it's more how-to than stories, but I will support anything Novella does.

Daniel Klein has a movie out! 'What Are We Doing Here?' Watch the trailer. Dude is awesome! The more I find out about him... he blows me away. A must see movie. Daniel also does The Perennial Plate

I am looking for suggestions on books or documentaries about food related stuff. What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Braised Short Ribs (Part 2)

Dark Days

Part 2 of 2. Here is part 1.

The Braised Short Ribs

I bought less than 1.5 pounds of the short ribs so my recipe isn't as big as what I'm going off. I used 3 pieces of bacon and cooked them in a 5 quart, heavy bottom pot. As the bacon was cooking I covered the short ribs in spelt flour.

I then browned the meat in only the bacon juice. I took out the meat and added some butter. I got local hand rolled butter, so I really don't know how much I put in... maybe like half a stick!? By that time I had a medium carrot- diced. Along with a small onion and a shallot- also diced. This is my first time cooking with a shallot. I added the veggies to the pot to start to cook them.

When the veggies were looking slightly browned I added my homemade wine. The wine I have is naturally carbonated, sweet and low in alcohol. I brought that to a boil and added my non-local spices- thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and two bay leaves.

At the point I ran to my chest freezer and grab a pint of turkey stock from the local Thanksgiving turkey and put that in the pot. When that just came to a boil I added the short ribs and put in the cut up bacon pieces, covered and set in my oven at 350.

The liquid was very dark. It was looking wonderful when I put it in. The recipe says to cook at 350 for 2 hours and turn the heat down to 325 the last 45 minutes or so.

Just after I put the pot in the oven I remembered I didn't add a pepper. While at the co-op I was thinking BBQ sauce and I found dried local peppers. Lately I have been craving smoked peppers in a dish, so I wanted to add a dried pepper to this dish. I took the pepper out of the bag and it sounded like a rattle. I cut half of it up and put it in the pot saving as many seeds as I could. By spring I should have a lot of seeds. I want to plant those seeds to see if I can get more peppers. I don't know the drying process, but it is worth a shot to see if the seeds survived. As a locavore that buys legit food you need to be thinking of getting food in the future AND for a decent price. I paid $2.99 for those peppers, if they grow I could potentially have peppers for years. (Not including the cost of growing and preserving them.)

I made the mashed potatoes. Then I took the short ribs out 2.5 hours later. These things are no joke. They looked awesome and smelled wonderful. I laid down some potatoes, the short ribs with some of the veggies and that sweet, sweet juice. Let it cool and dug in. I might need to go back up to the co-op for more short ribs.

The Co-op... Wha Haha! (Part 1)

The Co-op...Wha haha haha haha!!!

Part 1 of 2. Here is part 2.

For those of you that don't know, I am doing a local eating challenge called the Dark Days Challenge. Once a week I need to prepare a meal from sustainable, organic, local and ethically raised food- then blog about it. My first few post were a challenge due to the Daniel Fast and my cooking skills were not able to shine.

I feel I have been taking the easy way out by going to the co-op and buying what the co-op calls 'local food,' making a so-so dish and blogging about it. This week was a bit more fun. I was able to buy some meat; My Daniel Fast is over.

The past few weeks I have had "Braised Short Ribs" running through my head. I have never had them or made them. I have just felt inspired to make them. I love BBQ ribs! Love them! With this type of rib I feel they are more Asian?! Maybe? At the co-op I bought the short ribs, more sunflower oil, spelt flour, butter, carrots and some hot peppers- all local. I was thinking I was going to make a BBQ sauce to cook the ribs in. I was trying to think of what I had that was local to make the sauce. All I was missing was some vinegar.

From watching Food Network I knew I would have to slow cook the short ribs in some sauce. I just needed to know: what type of sauce, how long...etc. When I came home from the co-op I looked up recipes for braised short ribs and found an awesome one at The Pioneer Woman. This recipe did not have any type of BBQ sauce, but I could work with all ingredients. I am adapting this recipe for the short ribs and using her recipe for creamy mashed potatoes to complete the meal.

After looking at the recipes, I found I was a few ingredients short. So, I went back up to the co-op. On the drive up there I knew I had all of the ingredients at home, but they were not local. I was planning on only buying only two of the ingredients using the other two non-local ingredients because I didn't want to pay for their local counterparts.

I like my co-op, but every time I say the word "co-op," my wife cringes. She knows the food is better for you, but she also knows it costs twice as much. I have put A LOT of thought in becoming a locavore, but realized it is something I cannot do at this time.

I have been married for ten years and I have three daughters. I have a few points with this. (1.) All five of us will not always agree on food. (2.) The money will not always be there to get sustainable, organic, local and ethically raised food. (3.) This diet is something my wife and I have to be in complete agreement with.

Becoming a locavore is not something to take lightly. There are responsibilities. You will need to eat seasonally, preserve food, grow some food, FORAGE, visit farms or farmers, do a lot of meal work yourself and be a very thorough planner. Did I mention you need mad discipline?

That's why I'm saying I have been doing a very basic job getting my food. I have been going to the co-op, buying food that has the "buy local" sticker next to the price tag and cooking a simple meal. I feel I am not taking the responsibility in gathering my food. I know there is a ton more to eating local. I want this challenge to mean something. To go through the dark days of eating locally means preparing extensively for the dark days.

I have some preserved food. We had a garden last year and I knew I had to save as much as I could. We have pumpkins, tomatoes, wine, pickles and jams. If I knew I was going to go through the winter months as a locavore, my spring, summer and fall would be filled with doing as much as I could to make these dark days as pleasant as they could be.

When I got to the co-op I did buy all four ingredients I needed for the meal, so beyond the seasonings it will be a local meal. When I got home I looked in the fridge and found the non-local ingredients. I was a bit irritated by feeling I was wasting resources, but understanding the motions of eating locally. I told my wife and she had a 'thanks for wasting our precious money' laugh.

Part 2