Herbs de Provence

Monday, April 27, 2020
Herbs de Provence is said to be an essential component of French and Mediterranean cooking. It’s a blend of dried herbs that bring a particular flavor to many dishes, such as chicken, grilled fish, roasted veggies, soups and more. It’s also wonderfully aromatic.

I was looking for something different to punch up my kefir cheese spread with when I came across this delicious sounding blend. I even had all the herbs on hand except for the Marjoram. For some reason I couldn't find it on the store shelf! Thankfully I found a live plant at a local nursery and brought it home with me where it lives happily amongst my other lovelies.

This blend is easily found on-line but I would rather make my own. Besides, several of the store brands include lavender and I prefer it without. The following recipe is the version for me!

Herbs de Provence

3 Tbs dried Thyme
2 Tbs dried Savory
2 Tbs dried Oregano
2 Tbs dried Parsley
1 Tbs dried Rosemary
1 Tbs dried Marjoram

(Optional: add 1 Tbs dried Lavender)

Combine all the herbs and store in a glass jar where you keep your other culinary herbs and spices. Depending on what you’ll be using it for you may want to toss it into a grinder to make it finer. That’s what I did with mine before adding it to my kefir cheese.

Use liberally according to your own taste. So good!

Mushrooms are not a vegetable!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Here me rant, here me roar!

I really want to know why-oh-why when I order a veggie sandwich, veggie salad, veggie fried rice, veggie pizza or some other VEGGIE meal it comes loaded with mushrooms. Mushrooms are not vegetables people!

Granted, since I know this is typical, I should make sure to emphasize that I do not want mushrooms when I place a veggie order. Most of the time I do make this request but sometimes I forget and then am disgruntled once more (like now) that folks either think mushrooms are veggies, or... they know nothing about veggie variety which causes them to fill the void with this rubbery fungal faux pas.

I have a lot to learn about mushrooms but according to this wiki, a mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. Mushrooms are not plants, they are a fungus. They eat organic matter, they do not photosynthesize like plants do.

Some mushrooms are even considered "magic". There's a bit of controversy over those so I'll just leave that alone for now.

Then there are the medicinal mushrooms that are in the coffee my naturopathic doctor recommended I drink. It's quite good.

So you can see that I am not attempting to banish mushrooms to a dark corner (which they would love). Nor am I suggesting they are not to be eaten.

I bet that if the mushroom could speak it would rant its culinary displeasure at being considered a veggie. This is probably some form of discrimination!

Long story short... if I want a veggie sub with mushrooms I'll order it that way.

Yes, I feel better now 😁

Herbed Kefir Crackers

Thursday, April 2, 2020

I love to have something crispy with my soup or salad, don’t you? What I don’t want is store bought breadsticks, croutons or crackers out of the box. I’m not saying I never go that route but if I can help it, I’ll make homemade crackers every time. They are so easy to make and the flavors are easily adjusted to compliment whatever type of meal you may have on the menu. 

Today my goal was to make crackers using an herb blend and the last of my kefir. I decided on the following combination and according to family, they turned out quite good. The kefir even imparts a slight cheesy taste.

Herbed Kefir Crackers

2 cups blanched almond flour (not meal)
¾ tsp celtic sea salt
2 Tbs Herbs de Provence (see recipe)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs milk kefir 
1 tsp water

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another. Now stir the wet into the dry. Bring the dough together with your hands and form into a short oblong shape. Place between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out to 1/8th inch thickness. Remove the top piece of parchment. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into desired sizes. Transfer the dough along with the parchment it’s on to a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the sheet for 20 minutes once out of the oven.

Note: Kefir is a living micro-organism and heating it kills some of its live enzymes. Nevertheless, there is still benefit because of the good nutrients that remain - calcium, proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals, phosphorous, magnesium, tryptophan, folate, biotin, and vitamins A, B2, B12, D, and K.

Lyn Beford-White. April 27, 2018. Fermented Foods and More. Cooking with milk kefir. Found here: https://www.fermentedfood.org/single-post/2018/04/27/Cooking-with-milk-kefir

Sally Fallon Morell with Mary G. Enig, PhD. January 1, 2000, last modified on February 4, 2014. Realmilk.com. Enzymes. Found here: http://www.realmilk.com/health/enzymes/